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Just wanted to share some thoughts and questions

Discussion in 'Ask Mike Watt [Archived]' started by Irie01, Sep 4, 2002.

  1. Irie01


    Jan 22, 2002
    Hey Mike. I made a post a while back asking you some questions about punk. At that time I hadn't even heard much punk except for Sublime. I think that you gave me the best answer possible.I need to look inside myself and find my own sound.That has been in my mind since, and I now know what I need to do.
    Since that thread, I feel that I have been enlightened musically and spiritually in a sense.Why? Because I went out and bought as much music that I could.I got all the Minutemen albums that I could find. From Punch Line and What Makes A Man Start Fires, to Double Nickels and Politics of Time.I got Ragin' Full On and If'N w/ Firehose. I got the Minor Threat albums. I got all the Bad Brains and Fugazi albums. Listening to this music I felt like a little kid on Christmas Eve. It was all brand new to me opened my mind to a whole new world of music, expression, ideas, and inspiration. I dont think my playing or thinking could ever be the same as it was before I found punk music. I am especially glad that I found the music that you George and D. Boon created. Your playing hits me in a spot that no other bass player has ever quite touched. I got chills and felt energy go through my body when I was listening to From One Cums One and you played that solo at the end. I thought to myself,"I want to make someone else feel that way through my music when the right time comes for me to create and share it." I shared this to let you know what kind of influence you and all the great musicians and people that were and are a part of punk music can have on another person, and to express my thanks to you.
    I also wanted to ask you a couple questions concerning bass. How much of a influence and effect did 'music theory' have on your playing(if any) in creating music and songs? Aside from consistent practice and passing of time,what can I do to help my right and left hand finger speed to play smoothly and melodic over faster drum beats? I really do not feel that I ever want to use a pick and I am most comfortable with my right hand thumb on my pick up using my two fingers with rest strokes. I am sure that there are tons of questions that I would love to ask you, but I know that your are busy so I will throw them at you when I feel that it is a good time during my progression in playing. Thanks for taking time to be a part of this cite.
    As always,keep it real,keep it fun,keep it loud, and keep it away from commercialization, propaganda, and greedy motives of creation.
  2. watt

    watt the man in the van w/a bass in his hand Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2001
    san pedro, california

    thank so kindly for the nice thoughts, really.

    as for what's important about songs, I'd say emotion and feel. what you're trying to do is get a work to laugh or cry or contemplate or charge hard... whatever. in my opinion, theory can help or hurt, it's a tricky thing. it can keep you from getting humble or it can intimidate you into losing your humanity. I think it has to be used right and that's up to the creator wielding it. too subjective to have a blanket answer on this. this is not to belittle folks who've spent time on theory, no way. that is a great discipline and worthy of much respect. I just don't think it's the whole picture when it comes to composition. you need sparks, inspiration - stuff like that. also, I believe music in ensemble is about conversations between the instruments. it's righteous to make that relationship interesting.

    one thing though, nothing can replace practice - just gotta do it. good practice comes when the people playing are listening to each other and keeping that conversation interesting.

    good luck!

    on bass, watt

  3. pgoat


    Sep 5, 2002
    a very interesting question and a great thought provoking thread - I certainly cannot hope to share any thoughts as important and wise as what Mike just offered, but I was reminded of a famous quote - can't remember if it was Charlie Parker or whoever - that may bear repeating here: "If you haven't Lived it, it won't come out of your horn" (or something to that effect).

    Mr Watt really said it well - keeping the humanity in it at all times is what - in my opinion - separates good technical musicians from great artists. The two need not be mutually exclusive.

    I remember my old teacher telling me to study hard between gigs - but once on the bandstand, forget that **** and just BLOW!!!!!!! (sometimes easier said than done, I admit!) The technique supports the expression of who you are. How much technique do you need? Maybe just enough to let you speak your piece.

    Of course guys like Mike Watt, John Coltrane, Charlie Christian, Jimi Hendrix and (Insert your inspiring greats here) clearly help us all strive to make great music and touch others! Those guys who've given us joy and opened our eyes and ears and made the hair on the back of our necks stand up. There's no substitute for that.....

    If I may humbly add my own take - Just don't get hung up on labels like punk jazz rock rap whatever -It's music, it's expression. It's life, baby!:)
  4. watt

    watt the man in the van w/a bass in his hand Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2001
    san pedro, california

    these are very kind words, thank you. great insights to what really matters too. thanks for that also.

    on bass, watt


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