Mike Watt and the Secondmen

By - Oct 1st, 2004 02:52 pm
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By Jeremy M. Rottgen

Columbia Records

www.wattage.com

Dubbed a punk opera on Mike Watt’s spiel place, www.hootpage.com, The Secondman’s Middle Stand is quite a departure for the seasoned bassist. Busting things down to a trio with bass, drums and keyboard, the formula is simple, but the outcome is huge.

The inspiration for the album came after Watt fell seriously ill and decided to document his experience. The result is a very personal account that puts the listener inside Watt’s head for once. It’s quite a trip, even for the most avid of Watt fans.

The album is divided into three sections of three songs each. Watt borrowed from great literature like Dante’s Divine Comedy to describe his death-defying journey back to health.

You can feel the flu-like symptoms from the beginning with “Boilin’ Blazes.” The organ blasts from Pete Mazich keep things moving like psychedelic bombs bursting around Watt’s thuds. Odd time signatures keep the drums beating, mixing and swirling around. The dynamics created by these three is a testament to great musicianship. Songs like “Puked to High Heaven,” “Pissbags and Tubing,” and “Beltsandedman” describe his agony with the straight-ahead, brutal honesty you’d expect from the spiel-meister.

On October 3, Mike Watt plays Shank Hall, 1434 N. Farwell Ave.

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