Mike Watt rolls through Memphis Thursday with his newest project, Il Sogno del Marinaio. They play Thursday at the Hi-Tone
. The trio features Italians Stefano Pilia on guitar and drummer Andrea Belfi. The band's second album, Canto Segondo, came out in August on Watt's own Clenchedwrench label. The album is more of what you've come to expect from Watt, prog infused jazzy post hardcore crossed with about fifty other genres. They're doing fifty-nine shows in fifty-nine days, an impressive and brutal touring schedule.
The first time I saw Mike Watt was in the summer of 2002 at the Bluebird Theatre in Denver. He was 44 years old and played with twice the energy of most people half his age. At the end of the show, he gave a very heartfelt and emotional thank you to everyone in attendance. He explained that this was his 48th tour of the U.S., an achievement he started with the Minutemen and continued in fIREHOSE and as a solo artist. He said he felt lucky to be able to continue playing music for as long as he had. It was a pretty spiritual experience, one I've only had a few times since at shows. He sat on stage selling merch from a Hefty bag and signing every poster and record people brought him. He had genuine conversations with everyone who came up and didn't leave until it was obvious that all those looking to chat and meet with him had gotten their opportunity.
He came to notoriety as solo artist for most mainstream music fans with his 1995 solo album Ballhog or Tugboat? Dave Grohl and Eddie Vedder served as his backing band on the album as well as the tour. He's also served as bassist for the reformed Stooges over the last ten years or so.