Mike Watt and his Secondmen will head out on the road on April 29th and jam econo for a month, a rigorous touring philosophy the former Minutemen bassist has honored for more than two decades. Typical of Watt's here-today-gone-tomorrow itineraries of years past, the El Mar Cura Todo tour (translation: the Sea Cures Everything) will visit thirty-one cities in thirty-one days.
"People have certain kinds of expectations of what a band should be like," Watt says. "But twenty-five years on, I do things the same way. I still don't have a manager. I've never taken tour support. I load my own gear. Things that work, why do you have to fix 'em? I'd rather take risks with the music than the lifestyle. Jamming econo makes sense."
Watt, 46, will be plugging his third solo album (and his first in almost seven years) The Secondman's Middle Stand, which is set for a May 11th release on Columbia/Red Ink. Like his last album, Contemplating the Engine Room, Middle Stand will be a conceptual set of songs focused on an illness that nearly killed Watt in 2000, after an internal abscess ruptured. During his sick spell, Watt put down the bass for the first extended period of time since he started playing as a teen. On the album he likens the stages of illness and recovery to Dante's The Divine Comedy. "The sickness is the inferno, and the healing purgatory and then there's getting to do ride my bicycle, play my bass and paddle my kayak," he says. "It was a hell ride. I can't tell you what it was like."
Middle Stand finds Watt backed by Pete Mazich on organ and Jerry Trebotic on drums, the first time he's recorded with the pair of longshoremen from his native San Pedro, California. "I tried the organ to put myself in a different place," Watt says of the lineup. "To me, one of the biggest threats is reruns. I try to put myself in situations where I have to improvise and not do the same old same old."
In addition to the tour and album, Watt will be a featured player in a documentary about the Minutemen, the beloved Eighties underground trio. The film, by director Tim Irwin, should see release this year, and bears Watt's mantra as its title, We Jam Econo.
Mike Watt and the Secondmen tour dates:
4/29: Tempe, AZ, Big Fish Pub
4/30: Albuquerque, NM, Launchpad
5/1: Amarillo, TX, Brewster's
5/2: Oklahoma City, VZD
5/3: Fayetteville, AR, Dickson Street Theater
5/4: Springfield, MO, Rockwell
5/5: Little Rock, Vino's
5/6: Dallas, Gypsy Tea Room
5/7: Austin, Stubb's
5/8: Houston, Rudyard's Pub
5/9: New Orleans, The Parish
5/10: Birmingham, AL, The Nick
5/11: Memphis, Hi-Tone
5/12: Nashville, The End
5/13: Atlanta, The Earl
5/14: Charlotte, NC, Tremont Music Hall
5/15: Carrboro, NC, Cat's Cradle
5/16: Baltimore, Ottobar
5/17: New York, Mercury Lounge
5/18: Cambridge, MA, T.T. the Bear's
5/19: Philadelphia, Khyber
5/20: Pittsburgh, The World
5/21: Ferndale, MI, Magic Bag
5/22: Cleveland Heights, OH, Grog Shop
5/23: Cincinnati, Top Cat's
5/24: St. Louis, Blueberry Hill
5/25: Chicago, Double Door
5/26: Madison, WI, High Noon Saloon
5/27: Minneapolis, 7th Street Entry
5/28: Lincoln, NE, Knickerbocker's
5/29: Denver, Bluebird Theater