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Watt Juggles, Learns From His Many Projects

SANTA FE, N.M. — Mike Watt makes it look easy balancing his life.

Aside from starting bands such as the Minutemen, dos, and fIREHOSE or performing with the group Banyan, Watt has also been the bassist for The Stooges since 2003.

The bassist and producer also finds himself hosting his Internet radio show, “The Watt From Pedro Show.”

Mike Watt & The Missingmen
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1
WHERE: Sol at Santa Fe Brewing, 37 Fire Place
HOW MUCH: $12 available at or 505-988-1234

Despite all of his projects, he never feels overwhelmed.


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“I see them all as opportunities and not burdens,” he says during an interview from Allston, Mass. “Yes, I get weaker as I get less younger, but I try with all that I got. I truly believe everyone’s got something to teach me if I only got enough time to fit it in. That’s the problem, having enough time! You never know when your last gig is, though, so I try my hardest as much as I can.”

One would think after the decades-long career Watt has amassed, his growth would have plateaued.

“I’ve tried to become more and more of a student because of a search for truth, the kind John Coltrane talked about,” he says. “I’ve become a better bassman because of it, and also different collaborations where I get further down the road with the bass. I try to see situations me and my bass are in as kind of classrooms for me to learn in.”

In addition to all of his projects, Watt is also a solo musician. He released his latest solo effort, “Hyphenated-man,” in 2011.

When it comes to writing, Watt says his style and process has evolved “big time.”

“I would’ve never imagined myself as a Minuteman writing a punk opera, let alone three of them,” he explains. “I like to write in the morning either during (in my head) or right after pedaling my bike or paddling my kayak. My style has changed, too, changed with my music spirit and also my body becoming less young – that’s a reality I have to face, but kind of interesting. I don’t break as many strings any more, either.”

Watt is in the midst of a 41-date tour and recently got back from Austin and Washington, D.C.

“I flew to Austin to do the Austin City Limits Festival with The Stooges,” he explains. “And before that, I was in D.C. with the Minutemen for a gig. This is also the last go around for my third opera.”

While performing is always fun, Watt admits that being on the road is equally great and he loves learning about other places than his hometown.

“I have the disease of being curious,” he explains. “My pop was in the Navy as an engine room guy, and that’s how he saw the world, traveling the ports. I do it with gigs. I love firsthand experiences and in a way, too, I feel like Don Quixote. It’s about taking turns and learning each step of the way.”