Legendary bassist and member of seminal and eclectic punk, alt rock, and indie outfits like Minutemen, Firehose, Dos, and countless others, Mike Watt has, for nearly 25 years, commanded a celebrated solo career as well, all the while collaborating with a laundry list of fellow alt rock and punk icons on various side projects, recordings, tours, and more (chief among them The Stooges). One of his most active and long-running backing bands has been dubbed The Missingmen, and that’s who’ll be backing Watt when he plays Nashville for the first time in years tonight, Oct. 20 at Exit/In, with support from genre-bending Memphis punks Joecephus and The George Jonestown Massacre and local proggy, heavy punk outfit Look What I Did! Any self-respecting fan of ’80s underground punk and post-hardcore will already know how essential this show is, but you can learn more about Watt and the rest of the lineup below, then grab tickets here while they last!
MIKE WATT & THE MISSINGMEN
Once of the most acclaimed bassists in rock, and one of the most prolific figures in punk over the last four decades, Mike Watt first rose to fame with his legendary and influential early group the Minutemen. Formed in LA’s San Pedro community, where Watt relocated at a young age with his family, and has remained ever since, Minutemen’s post-punk and post-hardcore sound was infused with bits of funk, free jazz, folk, and more, establishing them as an early fixture of famed label SST’s roster, and making them an immeasurably influential part of the early ’80s DIY punk underground. Though their run was tragically cut short by the death of frontman D. Boon in 1985, briefly prompting Watt to consider stepping away from music, he and Minutemen bandmate George Hurley went on to form seminal alt rock outfit Firehose the following year, leading to a near decade-long run that included a major label stint in the early ’90s. Though, if his career were split into three major acts, a subsequent solo run would come next, Mike Watt has always had his hand is many projects at once, notably forming bass duo Dos with his ex-wife Kira Roessler in the ’80s, spending a decade in the ’00s as bassist for the reunited Stooges, fronting indie rock supergroup Big Walnuts Yonder, taking part in art rock outfit Banyan, and, to varying degrees of longevity and attention, forming side projects and/or contributing to collaborations on projects involving members of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, The Beastie Boys, Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth, Black Flag, Jane’s Addiction, Wilco, The Mars Volta, The Hives, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and countless other legendary artists. Since making a strong solo debut with 1995’s Ball-Hog or Tugboat?, Watt has seen something of a revolving lineup of backing players, but one of the more famous incarnations is The Secondmen, who came together before his stint with The Stooges, and have continued to round out his trio intermittently over the years. First named as a joke when filling in for the unavailable Secondmen in ’06, but then also turned into an ongoing and respectable trio in their own right, since appearing on several recordings, The Missingmen are rounded out by guitarist Tom Watson and drummer Raul Morales, who both have roots in the same ’80s underground LA punk scene as Watt. Part of more recent solo efforts, The Missingmen also seem to play Minutemen material live, which makes this Nashville outing all the more essential!
JOECEPHUS AND THE GEORGE JONESTOWN MASSACRE
Hailing from nearby Memphis, Joecephus and The George Jonestown Massacre find the sweet spot between hard rock, punk, country, and metal. Helmed by lifelong musician Joey Killingsworth, the band got their start after single “Quittin Time” attracted attention from the release of an EP under Joey’s own name, prompting him to recruit a rotating slate of backing players in 2004, soon finding themselves sharing the stage with the likes of Shooter Jennings, David Allan Coe, Agent Orange, and Reverend Horton Heat. Over the decade and a half since, Joecephus have released several well-received full-lengths, and continue to remain a well-regarded live fixture, able to match with a variety of acts thanks to their genre-bending sound, certainly harboring the right type of off-kilter, scrappy sensibilities to compliment Mike Watt.
LOOK WHAT I DID
Formed in 2001 in Nashville before relocating to LA (then subsequently moving back following the Combat Records release of their sophomore full-length, Minuteman for the Moment), Look What I Did channel elements of punk, metal, prog, post-hardcore, pop, and math rock, all bound by smart, social and politically charged lyricism, a fiercely DIY attitude, and a bombastic live aggression and unpredictability. Though their activities have waned a bit in recent years, the group are set to release their fifth album, Sympathy Porn, on Nov. 19, their first since 2015’s Zanzibar III: Analog Prison (aside from a few new singles in the years in between), though they continue to be a fairly regular live local fixture, popping up at clubs and dives around town, and occasionally being tapped to support shows like this. As clear disciples of acts like Minutemen, there’s no doubt LWID are primed to open this one; don’t be late!
Mike Watt & The Missingmen, Joecephus and The George Jonestown Massacre, and Look What I Did will perform tonight, Oct. 20 at Exit/In. The show is 18+, begins at 8 p.m. (doors at 7 p.m.), and tickets are available to purchase for $20.