micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links
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Monday, July 29, 2002
The great rock/folk/funk/creative improvised music bassist bassist and composer Mike Watt has some words of wisdom to both musicians and journalists:
There were a lot of independent distributors in those days [the early 1980s] who were working the mom-and-pop stores, people kind of doing what you did, not part of a huge corporate paradigm, so the relationship wasn't that bizarre. Of course politics came out of that -- they started creating their own bands, and you'd have to compete with them -- but what Ian's talking about is totally right on. You create demand -- you try to make things interesting enough for people to hanker [for them]. You just don't say, "This is part of this genre, and since you're wearing the right clothes you deserve this" -- which is the way I see things shaped now. I think to get your records out now… I mean, can you trust any of those middlemen kind of things anymore? You go either people who are genuinely into it, like these mom-and-pops, or maybe a direct thing like the Internet, where people go to your site -- I know a lot of bands are doing that. It's like [being] a newspaper writer -- does he really have to write for a paper anymore? He can publish his own writings. It's a whole change of thinking in a way, and it's gonna come around that way. But again, that's just delivery, you're still gonna have to come up with interesting stories or songs. We're never gonna get off that dilemma -- and maybe that's a good thing.Watt said this as part of an interview that he did along with Ian MacKaye, of Fugazi, Minor Threat and Dischord Records fame. They were interview by Vivek J. Tiwary of StarPolish.
The main theme of the interview is what it means to be an artist with inegrity and that is a topic that should be studied by just about anybody who wants to live with integrity. I'd include some more quotes but so much of the whole interview deserves to be read.
Do note that on third page -the same page from where the above Watt quotes comes- MacKaye praises Neil Young and Crazy Horse.