Mike Watt – “Arrow-Pierced-Egg-Man”

Punk/underground rock lifer (and recent Stooges stand-in) Mike Watt has said Hyphenated-Man — his third opera, fourth proper solo album, and first proper outing since 2004 — was inspired by listening to the Minutemen for the first time since bandmate/lifelong friend D Boon died in a van accident in 1985: He’d pulled out the Minutemen records while being interviewed for the 2005 We Jam Econo documentary. (That’s twenty fucking years later…) Watt’s love for his old friend is one of the more moving, enduring stories in American music and it’s always fascinating hearing him pull art from that pain. Of course, because it’s Watt, the results are suitably idiosyncratic (note album art). He’s backed on Hyphenated-Man by the Missingmen, returned from their trip to camp Lou Barlow (who ’90s nerds should remember covered the Minutemen’s ‘Sickles and Hammers” on Sebadoh’s 1991 masterwork III.) Here’s Hyphenated opener “Arrow-Pierced-Egg-Man.”

Mike Watt – “Arrow-Pierced-Egg-Man”

More background:

whereas …engine room dealt w/my pop’s life in the navy as a metaphor for the story of the minutemen and …middle stand was a parallel to dante’s “comedia” dealing w/an illness that almost killed me in 2000, this third opera is quite different in that it has no standard narrative (libretto!) meaning no regular beginning-middle-end and is as it were “simultaneous” in the way a mirror from just inside my head – right in this middle-age moment of mine – was then shattered into thirty pieces and then each piece stuffed in the head to show a piece of my state of mind (or out-of-mind) as of now. ‘thirty tunes?’ yes, they’re little ones… actually they’re ‘thirty parts’ of one big tune. back in 2005, too heavy to really hear minutemen stuff for many years, I had to face myself and get the nerve up to hear it again when I agreed to let keith scheiron and tim irwin make the we jam econo documentary (many thanks to them and all who helped out on that). 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.

Hyphenated-Man:

01 “Arrow-Pierced-Egg-Man”
02 “Beak-Holding-Letter-Man”
03 “Hammering-Castle-Bird-Man”
04 “Bird-in-the-Helmet-Man”
05 “Belly-Stabbed-Man”
06 “Stuffed-in-the-Drum-Man”
07 “Baby-Cradling-Tree-Man”
08 “Hollowed-Out-Man”
09 “Finger-Pointing-Man”
10 “Own-Horn-Blowing-Man”
11 “Fryingpan-Man”
12 “Head-and-Feet-Only-Man”
13 “Shield-Shouldered-Man”
14 “Cherry-Head-Lover-Man”
15 “Mouse-Headed-Man”
16 “Antlered-Man”
17 “Pinned-to-the-Table-Man”
18 “Confused-Parts-Man”
19 “Bell-Rung-Man”
20 “Boot-Wearing-Fish-Man”
21 “Thistle-Headed-Man”
22 “Funnel-Capped-Man”
23 “Blowing-It-Out-Both-Ends-Man”
24 “Jug-Footed-Man”
25 “Lute-and-Dagger-Man”
26 “Mockery-Robed-Man”
27 “Hill-Man”
28 “Hell-Building-Man”
29 “Man-Shitting-Man”
30 “Wheel-Bound-Man”

Hyphenated-Man is out 3/1 via Watt’s own clenchedwrench. It was released in Japan via Parabolica last year in conjunction with Watt’s tour of that country. It’s now out everywhere else in physical and digital formats. For the completists, the other two operas are 1997’s Contemplating The Engine Room and 2004’s The Secondman’s Middle Stand. Also, read Michael Azerrad’s Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981-1991 if you haven’t. (Then listen to Double Nickels on the Dime so you can get the reference.)

Mike Watt 2010 Promo Photo