With Napalm...with Marijuana....with a clenched fist...with the history of the world. -- Mike Watt
I made this picture using Photoshop. It is a possible album cover for my rock n rollOn Monday 5/9, Chepe and I had a bass/drum practice run-through of our set in his
trio Coffee Pot Break. I am a huge fan of RnR Iconography and Album Art; that is,
the artwork on rock n roll record albums, specifically LP's, which are now a thing of
Starting with the Beatles and Stones and bands of that era like The Who and Pink
Floyd, both in the UK and USA, starting around 1964 and lasting till about 1989 when CD's had fully replaced Vinyl – for 25 years, all the music I listened to was released
in a cardboard jacket covered with interesting imagery and psychedelic lettering.
My brother and I used to go a RnR convention back in the early 80's, the first
Saturday each month at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, to buy RnR memorabelia,
records, posters, etc. YES albums like 1972's Fragile designed by Roger Dean,
double and sometimes even single albums opening up like Jefferson Airplane’s
1967 After Bathing at Baxters or the 1971 Warhol designed Sticky Fingers with the
zipper on the jeans opening to reveal bulging underwear.
It’s been a long time since new music came housed in an opening jacket,
like Queen's 1977 News of the World album jacket with the giant wreaking havoc
and the members of Queen all bloodied in the metal hands of the beast. Then again,
it’s been a long time since a double A side release like We Will Rock You and We
are the Champions.
At the same time, A sides and B sides are no longer with us. The scene from
Almost Famous, where the young Cameron Crowe is holding the Tommy record,
listening to Sparks really shows the power of Rock n Roll music.
These days, with MP3 files and digital downloading, RnR artwork is not what it once
was. Album art of the 70’s has largely been replaced by CD booklets and Website
Since I’m kind of stuck in the past, still listening to my Minutemen Joy EP cassette in
my Cadillac Car, I hope, if Coffee Pot Break ever releases an album, that it comes
with some kind of Art-ful housing. Flibby's already designed our Coffee Pot Break
logo and I've done several possible covers.
So I showed my Computer professor my portfolio, which was largely Coffee Pot
Break poster/album cover possibilities and Mr. Huberman gave me some useful
pointers. I showed the Jaguar Break Out pic to my prof and several people. In
speaking of my ‘goal’ or intention in creation I tried to mention the Dutch
artist, Hieronymus Bosch (1450 - 1516), the artist who did wild paintings with so
much going on, it takes a while to SEE everything. Unfortunately, I couldn't think of
Bosch's name. I knew Deep Purple used one of Bosch's paintings for their Debut
Album, but I couldn't think of the man's name. I could have easily looked the name up on the Interweb, but I hoped someone would come up with the man's name. I knew
everybody knew him, but nobody could name him. "He did the cover of the Deep
Purple debut albumI" I beckoned. "It's one of his paintings with them in it!" For an
entire week, Flibby, my brother, Chepe, none could come up with the name. Nor could I.
Deep Purple's Debut Album 1970 Garden of Earthly Delights 1st showing 1516 Currently at Madrid's Prado Museo
Till the day when I logged onto Mike Watts Hoot Page.
basement studio. That evening, we purchased tickets for Mike Watt and the Missing
Men online. It was the first I'd heard of Watt's new Trio. The show was Wednesday
night 5/11 and I was excited to go. I got home and checked Watt's Hootpage. After
logging on and scrolling down, I beheld the name, Hieronymus Bosch! I immediately
remembered trying to think of the name. There it was.
I even did a few gigs w/george hurley w/us as a duet doing some of the old tunes
and it was trippy for me, like I was digging on how "econo" those tiny tunes were -
no filler, right to point and distilled down to the bare nada. also, a big influence was
those little creatures in those old hieronymus bosch paintings - I read a theory
about them maybe being visualizations of proverbs or aphorisms and me, not
knowing much about sixteenth century dutch/flemish culture, made up my own
meanings! -- Mike Watt from his blog.
The picture of Mike Watt and the Missing Men was taken by Chepe Escondido with
his nifty cell phone. The show was incredible. Chepe and I stood up front the entire
show. The show was at LA's Bootleg Theater in between Silver Lake and
Downtown. I've already watch this show on Youtube several times. The opening act
was a female duet, guitar and drums, called Ancient Ribbons. They were awesome.
Chepe and I prayed to Manny Mota between shows. There was a large back area, a wooden terrrace for smoking, and there we partook. The Missing Band started
playing and I could tell -- it was one piece of music lasting a little over an hour. At the
conclusion, I was high and I must have said to 4 different people. "That was like
an Opera. It was like one long piece."
The show was loud and we were up in front against a large speaker. I had pulled two cotton filters out of two cigarettes and put one in each ear. After the show, I removed
the ear filters and discarded them.
When the Headlining band started, it was loud -- as loud as or louder than The
Missingmen had been. At one point I wanted to leave, but Chepe looked as if
he was enjoying himself, so I went out to the lounge. It was odd, because The
Missing Men were not the headliner, but in my mind, WHO could play after nobody?
Nobody short of The Who. It was hard to say whether or not I liked the Headlining
Band, whose name I can not remember. At that moment, they sounded like noise. I
retired to the outside deck.
There I met Tom, Watt's guitarist. "How did you get to play with Mike Watt I asked
him. "I played in punk bands who recorded on the SST label back in the 80's so
that's where I first met Mike Watt," Tom told me. I met the drummer, Raul, who told
me, "It wasn't LIKE one long piece, it WAS one long piece!" Then I met Mike Watt
and when I told him, "That piece sounded like an Opera." His reply was, "It didn't
SOUND LIKE an Opera, it was an Opera." A Rock Opera like Tommy!
I asked Mike Watt how his day was. He told me about driving all the way to
Riverside from San Pedro to help out a friend. It was cool hearing Mike Watt talk to
me. He even remembered my name! He said to me, "In military speak, Bravo
means backup plan." "I didn't know that Mike Watt. Thank you," was my reply. Watt
went to the restroom and I took the opportunity to go get Chepe.
It was lounder inside. It was so loud, I wanted to get out of there quickly. I saw
Chepe. I said to him, "Would you like to meet Mike Watt?" He said, "Hell yeah!"
We went out back. I said, "Mr. Watt, I want to introduce you my good friend, Chepe
Escondido. Chepe introduced me to YOU and the Minutemen back in 1987!" Watt's reply, "Respect. Nice to meet you, Chepe."
I stood back and watched as Chepe and Mike Watt chatted about art and music for
about 20 minutes. Mike Watt is very knowledgeable about Art. He told us that The
Garden of Earthly Delights and many Bosch paintings are at the Prada in Madrid.
"They call him El Bosco in Spain." He told us.
Meeting Mike Watt was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Watt seemed like one of us. I've met Michael Jackson and it wasn't even the same. Meeting Mike
Watt was not an Stargazing Experience (to quote the Rainbow song). It was more
like an opportunity to thank Mike Watt.
I gave Mike Watt a copy of my book, Culturebook, which I end with a quote by Mike
Watt. The Minutemen are the first people I thank in my book. I surely hope Mike watt
reads my Culturebook. I'm sure he'll like it.