Eye-Gifts from Pedro: photography of Mike Watt, iconic punk bassist



watt-c.jpg Track 16 Gallery in Santa Monica is currently hosting an exhibition of photography by Mike Watt, best known as the bassist for one of the greatest bands in the history of mankind, the Minutemen. He has also collaborated musically with such diverse acts as Sonic Youth, Iggy Pop, Eddie Vedder and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Above, two shots from the current photography exhibition. For many years, Watt has lived in San Pedro, near the urban Port of Los Angeles. He began photographing the port area in 2002, mostly while kayaking or biking. He explains:

I started taking digital shots when columbia records gave me a primitive mavecia (used floppy discs!) in 1997. I really didn't get into it though w/the bike riding in the early morning (I started pedaling in 1996 after like 22 years of not riding a bicycle cuz I got a car at sixteen) 'till around 2002. I was in love w/early morning but never thought of taking pictures. you know, pedro faces east - much different than the other so cal water towns and that's what we got: sunrises and not really sunsets. I started paddling maybe seven years ago. I love my kayak and it's above-the-waist action so it gives my knees a break (I paddle tuesdays, thursdays and saturdays) - I had surgeries on them in my early twenties (I'm fiftytwo now) cuz I was born w/them bad (gift from my pop's danish ma) and fuck, my pop was a sailor - an engine room cat (chief, machinist mate) so why not be my own engine room? so I'm a paddler besides a pedaler. I have a waterproof camera for when I'm in the 'yak and then one for pedaling I carry in kind of a purse the goes over my shoulder crosswise.
Eye-Gifts from Pedro: Mike Watt at Track 16 Gallery. Here's a video interview with the artist, and here are more images from the show.

(track16.com, thanks Laurie and Sean)


  1. …best known as the bassist for one of the greatest bands in the history of mankind, the Minutemen.

    Let’s not forget fIREHOSE when we’re speaking of Greatest-band-of-all-time-for-the-day!

    1. Nor forget that he has played (and continues to play) bass in Iggy and the Stooges since 2003!

  2. Just wanted to concur with the assertion that the Minutemen were indeed one of the best bands of all time. And that Mike Watt would make a most excellent guest blogger.

  3. Did this show get extended? Because according to the gallery site, it closed yesterday.

    1. I attest to the veracity of the aquathug assertion. As someone who was born in San Pedro, at a red brick hospital that no longer exists in a time nearly forgotten, the place indeed no longer exists, amen. Watt, hey.

      1. craig1st and aquathug, wtf? Is there a gaping void outside my window I don’t know about? Also, if you’re talking about the hospital up by Fort MacArthur, hey, my grandfather worked there! If you’re referring to San Pedro hospital, yes it’s still there and still made of red brick. Things change, guys.

  4. Seconding the guest-blogger suggestion, that’s a great idea.

    Besides playing in at least two of the best bands of all time, it’s worth adding that by all accounts (including my own experience, on several occasions) Watt’s also one of the nicest guys in the music business.

    1. Watt as a guest blogger would be great. In a previous job, I dealt with a lot of musical “artists” and Watt was probably the coolest, most self-effacing big name star that I ever had the pleasure of working with.

  5. I third having Mike Watt as a guest blogger. I finally had a chance to meet Mike in Tokyo about a year ago. I got choked up trying to tell him how much his (The Minutemen)’s music meant to me as a kid. He just gave me a little hug and said “Write your own book, start your own band.” Coolest guy ever.

  6. One more vote for Watt as guest blogger! And yes, he is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, inside the music business or out.

  7. Just to add some fuel to the guest-penman talk – aside from being one of the great living electric bass players, Watt holds down a busy blog of his own adventures as a hard working touring musician. He’s got a great and totally unique outlook on life and creativity that’s well worth reading. hootpage.com is his site (scroll down some for text links to various diaries)…

Comments are closed.