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Interviews, Podcast

Mike Watt on America, Iggy, and His 1995 Tour with Grohl and Vedder

Listen to an interview with the legendary punk bassist on the Culture Creature podcast

mike watt interview

Mike Watt in 1995. Photo by Kevin Mazur

Today on the Culture Creature podcast: an interview with punk vet Mike Watt (formerly of Minutemen and fIREHOSE). Listen to the full interview above.

Watt recently released the live album Ring Spiel Tour ’95, recorded at club Metro in Chicago during his 1995 solo tour. Watt’s opening bands on that tour were Foo Fighters (on their very first tour) and Hovercraft (featuring Eddie Vedder). Many of those musicians were performing double duty: every night, Watt’s backing band included Eddie Vedder, Dave Grohl, guitarist Pat Smear (Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Germs), and drummer William Goldsmith (Foo Fighters, Sunny Day Real Estate). The Ring Spiel Tour ’95 documents one night of Watt’s performance with this astounding all-star band.

At the time, Watt was promoting his 1995 solo effort Ball-Hog or Tug Boat, an album which featured an astonishing list of contributors: Henry Rollins, Flea, Thurston Moore, J Mascis, members of the Beastie Boys, Frank Black, Dave Pirner, Evan Dando, Nels Cline, Pat Smear, Dave Grohl and Eddie Vedder.

In 2011, Grohl, Smear and Vedder joined Mike Watt for a reprise of their Ring Spiel lineup; watch video of the event here.

Mike Watt Interview Highlights

Mike Watt on Grohl, Iggy, and D. Boon:Both [Dave Grohl and Eddie Vedder] are pretty fearless. You know, I’ve been very lucky [to play with] people like Edward, D. Boon, Iggy. These guys are hard chargers – you’re onstage with them, even if you’re the biggest cowardly lion, you can borrow from them. They’re such hard chargers. You can not be scared with D. Boon onstage. He wasn’t conceited at all, but when it was time to play, he wanted to play. He never got the willies, you know?”

Mike Watt on the 2016 Presidential election: “In some ways, it’s like a sports game, people just want their team to win, they don’t think about the consequences…. I was a boy in the sixties. I saw people in the streets with civil rights, free speech, the war… The country had never really been through that in a way…. In fact, in some ways it was healthy. We had to deal with some issues that weren’t dealing with – and actually a lot of those same problems are comin’ right back, we’re dealin’ with ‘em again. There’s no shortcuts.”

Listen to the entire interview on the Culture Creature podcast.

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