Hear Minutemen’s Mike Watt & Big Boys’ Tim Kerr Cover Each Other On New 7”
Underground rock veteran Mike Watt has been in the game for more than 40 years, and he’s still plenty active. In the past year or so, Watt has covered Bikini Kill, helped out on the benefit album Land Trust, and played in the new lineup of the reunited Porno For Pyros. But Watt still remains best-known and best-loved because of his time in the Minutemen, the San Pedro band who formed in 1980 and did all sorts of weird and adventurous things with hardcore punk. Today, we get a new split 7″ where Watt and fellow underground legend Tim Kerr pay respects to each other’s bands.
Tim Kerr was the guitarist in the Big Boys, the great underrated Austin band who brought their own subverted frat-party aesthetics and funky strut to hardcore. On the new split, Watt and his band the Second Missingmen cover “We Got Soul,” the bouncy and horn-happy shout-along that the Big Boys first released on their classic 1982 EP Fun, Fun, Fun. The whole joke of the Mike Watt cover is that Watt and his band have turned “We Got Soul” into an actual Stax-style soul track, slowing it down and putting Hammond organ and congas all over everything.
For his part, Tim Kerr has covered the Minutemen’s “History Lesson – Part II,” the mythic origin-story number from that band’s canonical 1984 double album Double Nickels On The Time. Mike Watt wrote that song, but his late bandmate D. Boon did the narration, and it gave Michael Azerrad’s underground rock history Our Band Could Be Your Life its title. Kerr has covered “History Lesson – Part II” as an acoustic folk song, and he’s brought in a whole mob of other punk veterans to deliver the whole monologue, line by line. Dozens of musicians repeat those words on the cover, including Fugazi’s Ian MacKaye, Mudhoney’s Mark Arm, the Oblivians’ Eric Friedl, the Pogues’ Cait O’Riordan, and X’s John Doe. Below, listen to those two covers, as well as the original versions of “We Got Soul” and “History Lesson – Part II.”
Mike Watt and Tim Kerr’s split 7″ is out now on Red Parakeet Records.