Two Tuesday Quotes: Watt and Iqbal
Life is definitely not a rehearsal, this is it.
Nations are born in the hearts of poets, they prosper and die in the hands of politicians.
Allama Muhammad Iqbal
Biographical information after the jump.
Mike Watt is an American musician and a founding member of the seminal punk group the Minutemen. The Minutemen got their start in the punk music scene in California around the same time as the Beastie Boys were becoming a New York hardcore group. When the Minutemen played New York’s CBGB in the early 1980s, New York fans embraced them with the same fervor that they traditionally reserved for local acts like the Beastie Boys. In 1985, the Minutemen’s legacy was cut short when guitar player and vocalist D. Boon was killed in an automobile accident.
In 1986, Watt formed fIREHOSE, a band that picked up musically where the Minutemen had left off. In 1991, fiREHOSE signed with Columbia Records, their first major label contract. In 1992, Beastie Boys invited fiREHOSE to open for them when they were touring in support of Check Your Head. (Source)
In the late 1970′s, few musicians in Pedro wrote their own songs and if they did, they tried to copy what was already popular. With the advent of punk, especially inspired by new British bands Wire and The Pop Group, Boon and Watt realized they could write their own songs and invent their own sound In 1978, with drummer George Hurley and vocalist Martin Tamburovich, they formed The Reactionaries and then in 1980, the trio of Boon, Hurley and Watt became the Minutemen (after a couple of gigs with drummer Frank Tonche). They were quickly embraced by the LA “punk” scene, which by then included Black Flag (who took them on their first European tour in 1983), The Germs and Circle Jerks, visual artist Raymond Pettibon, who created many of their flyers and album covers, and independent labels, like their own New Alliance Records, which released Husker Du’s first single, and SST, for whom the Minutemen later recorded.
From the start, even amongst their super freak punk peers, the Minutemen displayed a very original style. Their extremely brief and efficient songs were a kaleidoscope of musical genres, from the short bursts of what has now come to define punk to psychedelic, hardcore, folk and jazz, while referencing wildly dissimilar artists like John Coltrane, Captain Beefheart, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Blue Oyster Cult. Their lyrics were succinct, too, yet eloquent. Their name itself was a play on words: they were (mahy-noot) men, blue-collar working stiffs who loved great works of fiction, history and politics and who could toss astute barbs at Ronald Reagan, Michael Jackson and others. They had their own lexicon known as “Pedro-speak.” Words and phrases like “we jam econo” “mersh” and “this band could be your life” still endure three decades later.
From early on Watt’s lyrics were especially pre-occupied with the individual. Rather than writing anthems for an unknown public, he wrote about himself, initially as “I,” then later in the third person as “Watt,” often riffing in an abstract beat-poet style on fleeting thoughts, mundane personal experiences, books and authors he loved – particularly James Joyce – and his own optimistic ideals. (Source)