This is my favorite picture of the whole morning. We talked a lot of San Pedro history that day, one of my favorite subjects. Many thanks to Mike Watt for reaching out and giving me a tour of his digs. I’d also like to thank Skipper Jeff, a new neighbor who recently moved to Pedro, welcome!!
Like I said, Mike is currently in Brazil with Iggy and the Stooges. He has a podcast that he produces here in town called The Watt from Pedro Show. You can find it on itunes or www.twfps.com.
The prac pad has everything you’d imagine a musician would need to get some good rehearsal time in; mics, amps, soundproof walls, chords galore, tools and much much more. Mike sits at the drumset he has permanently set up to save time.
The soundproofed walls are covered with old set lists and gifts from fans that he keeps for good luck. As a fan of anything, its such a wonderful thing to see that an artist appreciates the love he gets from his fans.
Michael David Watt was born in Portsmouth, VA and moved to San Pedro when he was 9 years old. His father was in the Navy and the family lived in the now abandoned Navy Housing off of Western Ave (you can still see his old backyard that faces the street). Mike met his future bandmate D. Boon when his family moved to the Park Western Estates and Dennis Boon lived at the nearby Channel Heights Housing development. The duo started the Minutemen with D. Boon on guitar, George Hurley on drums and Mike Watt on bass. The Minutemen are credited with being pioneers in the punk music genre and were the subjects of the 2005 documentary We Jam Econo which showcased the band’s thrifty and do-it-yourself approach to music. The Minutemen ended in 1985 when D. Boon died in a tragic car accident.
Mike Watt continues to play bass for his own projects as well as other bands. He is currently in Brazil with the reunited Iggy and The Stooges playing their first show of the 2010 tour as I type this. In 2008 Mike received the lifetime achievement award from Bass Player Magazine. The award was presented to him by good friend Flea of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
I usually keep to the surrounding areas of my walks for ‘Saturday in the Park’ subjects, so I hadn’t planned on covering Angels Gate for a while. That was until I received an email from a Mr. Mike Watt inviting me to check out Angels Gate and his practice pad. I didn’t think it was that Mike Watt, the musician. And if it was, I don’t know anyone who knows him and I was sure my little blog was on a strictly friends and family readership level. But it was THAT Mike Watt of Minutemen and fIREHOSE fame, a fan of his, Skipper Jeff introduced him to my blog and the rest is history.
Mike Watt has had rehearsal space up at Angels Gate Cultural Center for the past 23 years, he actually has the proud distinction of holding the longest lease in the community of artists. His ‘prac pad’, as he calls it, is located in the building pictured below. Here’s a funny bit of trivia, it actually used to hold the toilets for the military complex.