Indie rock's founding father -- Mike Watt gives his opinion on Bikini Kill, Sebadoh and his own band, Minutemen

By Ethan Smith
Updated January 27, 1995 at 05:00 AM EST

Ex-Minutemen and -fIREHOSE bassist Mike Watt’s upcoming solo debut, ball-hog or tugboat? is a who’s who of alternative rock, including guest performances from Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder and Dinosaur Jr’s J Mascis. And as a founding father of indie rock, who better to give us a tour of some of its special moments? Here’s what he said while flipping through the record racks at Kim’s Underground in New York City.

BLACK FLAG Nervous BreakdownEP (SST) 1978: ”Flag helped set up the whole touring thing. A lot of punk bands in the ’70s didn’t want to tour. They were signed to majors or wanted to be, and aspired to be lazy rock stars.”

RICHARD HELL & THE VOIDOIDS Richard Hell EP (Ork) 1976: ”His first record. On the back there was a phone number and it said ‘Call Hell.’ So I called, but then I got scared and hung up when he answered.”

MINUTEMEN Double Nickels on the Dime (SST) 1984: ”Probably the best record I ever played on.”

WIRE Pink Flag (Harvest) 1977: ”These guys didn’t need guitar solos or choruses. They taught me that music is what you do; there’s no formula.”

BIKINI KILL Pussy Whipped (Kill Rock Stars) 1993: ”I like them. Punk is too boy-heavy, so it’s good to see some girls doing it too.”

SHELLAC At Action Park (Touch and Go) 1994: ”(Producer) Steve Albini’s new band. He sends (Sonic Youth’s) Thurston Moore faxes ranting about the industry. We need more of that and less people whinin’ about no hot water on the tour bus.”

JOHNNY THUNDERS AND THE HEARTBREAKERS L.A.M.F. (Track) 1977: ”I saw him play one gig where he passed out. His gigs were always a gamble. But that’s what made it neat: You didn’t know what would happen.”

ROKY ERICKSON Reverend of Karmic Youth (Skyclad) 1990: ”He went to jail when he got busted for stealing his neighbors’ mail and tacking it up on his wall. His music is really sublime.”

SEBADOH Bakesale (Sub Pop) 1994: ”I’m glad they’re having some success now, ’cause I think Lou (Barlow) is one of the best songwriters around.”

MOISTBOYZ ”O.G. Simpson” single (X-PLOIT) 1994: ”This is a Ween side project. I’m glad somebody finally did something creative with that O.J. mug shot.”