When Mike Watt started playing music at the age of 13 he wasn’t aware that bass and guitar were different instruments. His childhood friend, D. Boon, helped distinguish the two by playing guitar, so Watt picked up the bass and the two began playing together. In their early incarnation, a group called The Bright Orange Band, they played mostly cover songs, going through several line-up and name changes. In 1980, the pair formed the core of seminal LA punk band The Minutemen. They played their first show with the equally influential early incarnation of Black Flag.
SST Records put out the band’s first EP, Paranoid Time, shortly thereafter, and their subsequent LP, The Punch Line, in 1981. At the time, a young upstart artist in LA, Raymond Pettibon (born Raymond Ginn) was creating the album covers for SST records, which was owned by his brother and Black Flag guitarist Greg Ginn, as well as flyers for local punk shows. Years later, Watt has solidified his place in rock’s canon as one of the genre’s most influential bass players—the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Blood Sugar Sex Magik was dedicated to him—and Pettibon has attained a following as a legitimate gallery artist, with shows across the country—including exhibits at the LA County Museum Of Art and New York’s Museum Of Modern Art—highlighting his sometimes incendiary, often ironic comic-style ink and paper work.
“I’ve known Ray since back in the day,” Watt told the Weekly during a phone interview from his home in San Pedro. Watt was discussing his upcoming show at the Riverside Art Museum where he will supply improvised music and vocals as Pettibon provides the visual art experience. The show is designed for both artists to play off of each other. “We’ve never tried this in front of an audience before. But all art comes together. It’s like when I’m reading something or see something and I get inspired . . . art is like a big band and everyone has to come together. Something like this seems so natural,” Watt says. (Phil Fuller)
Earwax Series: Mike Watt with artist Raymond Pettibon and Pegasissy at the Riverside Art Museum, 3425 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside, (951) 684-7111; www.riversideartmuseum.com. Friday, 7PM, $6