Pop Quiz: Mike Watt

Aidin Vaziri | Bassist Mike Watt, 53, who made his name with Southern California punk band the Minutemen, has released a new rock opera about growing up and growing old, “Hyphenated Man.” The album contains 30 songs, and Watt, who recently has spent much of his time on the road as an auxiliary member of the reunited Stooges, is celebrating by playing 51 concerts in 52 days with the trio Missingmen. He also appears on new releases by several artists on his label, Clenched Wrench, including Nels Cline and Richard Meltzer. We spoke to him by phone from Cleveland.

Mike Watt
Q: You’re doing 51 gigs in 52 days. Are your knees holding up?
A: My knees hurt. It gets you a little hoarse. You can’t build calluses on the vocal cords. But I’m holding up pretty well for a 53-year-old punker. I’m not going to complain. I’m grateful people want to see this opera.
Q: Why did you make a concept album about your midlife crisis?
A: It’s called a crisis sometimes, but I don’t think it is. The whole thing about midlife is it’s supposed to be a total nightmare, but you get to have experiences you didn’t get to have earlier.
Q: Sure, if you get to watch Iggy Pop wiggle his butt every night.
A: I never thought about that. My work is a little different. It’s scary because you know death is coming closer. Now I want to record more and more. In the Minutemen days, the album was just a flier to get people to the gig. Now I think of it as something that’s going to be around forever.
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