Defiantly lowercase ex-Minutemen bassist mike watt understands why he’s so overworked — he can’t say no to the many offers that come his way. Recently, he has been juggling side projects including Banyan, the Fog, Li’l Pit, Crimony, Bootstrappers, Spielgusher and the Mission Men, as well as a coveted ongoing assignment in Iggy Pop’s reunited Stooges. He also has been practicing with drummer George Hurley and vocalist-guitarist Ed Crawford. The alt-rock trio fIREHOSE, which hasn’t played together in 18 years, is appearing in concert backing its new Columbia anthology “lowFLOWS,” featuring 1991’s “Flyin’ the Flannel” and 1993’s “Mr. Machinery Operator,” plus bonus tracks.
It’s 9 a.m., but you’ve been up for five hours already? Yeah. I do that regularly — I just start getting my stuff going. And today is kayak day — Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday is kayaking, bicycling is Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. I live in San Pedro, the harbor of Los Angeles, so for nine years now I’ve done kayaking. It’s a little one-man, engine-room device, and I start out inside the harbor and go out to breakwater and the open sea.
Ever get in a “Help, Mr. Wizard!” situation out there? Sometimes it’s scary. I mean, the sea can change like that, and its power is incredible. But you can’t get scared, or that’ll be a part of the problem, as well. But yeah, there have been some real Mr. Wizard moments, so you’ve got to be respectful. And at that time of day, there’s hardly anybody out, so there’s sea lions, pelicans, dolphins, cormorants and some trippy little ducks — it’s pretty intense. But the trick is never stopping, because when you stop you lose momentum and you have to rebuild it again.
What kind of bike do you ride? An off-road bike with the wider tires. But this bike and kayak thing — this is where all these pictures for this upcoming book come from. I started taking pictures with a digital camera because I was seeing all this stuff. And being on the bike or in the kayak, you don’t arrange that stuff — it just comes to you, and if you’ve got your camera ready, you can capture it.
But this book (“mike watt: On and Off Bass”) wasn’t your idea? I never even imagined my pictures being on paper; they were just for me to share with the cats on my flow list. But this publisher in New York, Three Rooms Press, asked me to put out a book after a gallery show in Santa Monica. But I didn’t feel confident enough to pick my own pictures — I’m more secure about working the bass, really.
If You Go
Where: Slim’s, 333 11th St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Wednesday
Contact: (415) 522-0333, www.slimstickets.com