Mike Watt - In The Engine Room
I don’t actually know what Watt the Widow Babies had in mind when they wrote the song Mike Watt Created the Universe with a Bass Solo for their Mike Watt EP, but the riff that opens this track (and Watt’s album Contemplating The Engine Room) is what comes into my head.
Variously described as a punk rock opera [Watt’s term], a concept album, and a song cycle, the songs that make up Contemplating The Engine Room explore Watt’s personal history, from his home and his father’s life in the Navy through the relationships that made up the Minutemen and Firehose.
In 1997 I saw Watt perform the album before I’d actually heard the recording, and the bass riff that starts In The Engine Room, which returns throughout the album, was immediately fixed in my memory.
If this is a new one to you, give yourself a little time to adjust to Watt’s voice, listen a couple of times, and then sit down and soak up the entire album. I made the happy discovery that the live show I saw is available from the Internet Archive, so give it a listen. Please.