As a fan of Wes Anderson movies, indie rock and vinyl, this rare unique gem from American Laundromat Records was a must have. Its like they conceived the project with me as target market. Ergo: songs featured in Wes Anderson’s eclectic-as-fck oeuvre, but performed/covered by indie rock bands.
The album is filled with surprises no doubt but, I managed to provide a surprise for the goodly Mike Watt and his Secondmen at a show at my favourite dive bar Winters (@nocrapontap) in Pacifica, California on Dec. 6, 2016… (by the way, after a rough stretch – death of Mom – my buddy “Maddog” Mike McCarthy went with me for which i was grateful – i have a snap of the ticket somewhere too).
I saw Mike Watt and Secondmen the night before opening for “X” on the 40th anniversary tour at The Independent in San Francisco but then i was alone and this show was intimate in a crowded bar – where the crowd seemed either 50-something SF punk oldschool (most of whom had recorded something) or 20-something with a chance to see a legend.
Anyhow, after another stunning, breakneck performance in which they played a variety of classic Minutemen songs with D. Boone’s guitar and vocals handled instead by a man pounding the shit out of a Hammond B3 organ with a spinning Leslie speaker to boot, and accompanied by a manic drummer who played more like hard free jazz then a standard ole rock ‘n’ roll man…
After the set (as they were roadie-ing their own gear) I asked the Secondmen, “Do you guys remember recording the Rolling Stones’ Streetfightng Man?” They replied “yeah like two years ago… but not sure where that ended up…” So I pulled out the black gatefold vinyl to their amazement. I mean they seemed truly surprised and thrilled which was a honestly swell feeling to bring some happy to them.
I had a paint marker for them to decorate the album with drumsticks and keyboards and I told him how I caught their show the night before opening for the also-legendary punk band X on their 40th anniversary tour. “Like being a Deadhead except ya know, with The Secondmen…”
Then, CJ (the adorable Sasquatch-like owner of Winter’s) took me upstairs where the kindly Mr. Watt, who is a personal hero and I’ve seen a dozen times in various incarnations including: fIREHOSE [ticket stub from SLC circa 1990 in this collage], Missingmen [evidence via Backstage Rider], Pair of Pliers, various rock operas and barnrippers etc. over three decades, completed the trifecta by signing it personally to me, “For Uncle Weed, Much Bass”. I told him thanks for the music and all that.
The signatures smudged due to abundant beer and pouring rain but… makes it all the more unique.
PS Jello Biafra was at the show (the guitar plater from Guantanamo School of Medicine heads up The Freak Accident opening act), when he was standing next to me I leaned over (wearing my suede fringed jacket and jeans) and said “I am the suede denim secret police, here to steal your uncool niece” of course he got the reference from one of his own Dead Kennedys songs, and exclaimed “I didn’t even have one of those jackets in my hippie days!”… He was wearing a US flag embroidered Western-style shirt which later he layered on a hoodie and a leather jacket when he headed out in a 1963 Plymouth Valiant in the dumping rain.
Alas, I forgot my copy of Jello’s first spoken word album “No More Cocoons” at Mike’s house so a sig for that will wait for another time.
Vinyl tell stories like streaming just can’t. Plus hard to sign a stream and frankly – all rn’r cynicism aside – mementos from heroes are treats.