Vinyl Vlog 193

Vinyl Vlog 193

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Tuesday, 20 December 2016
COLUMN

Mike Watt
Ball-Hog or Tugboat?

The juggernaut that is Mike Watt hasn’t always been the unstoppable force we know him as now. The death of his best friend and Minutemen comrade D. Boon made him a broken man, pondering what was next for him. On the documentary We Jam Econo, Watt chokes up when he thinks about D. Boon’s death. “That was a tough day for Watt,” he says.

Mike Watt has certainly come a long way since his debut Ball-Hog or Tug Boat. He doesn’t even consider it an opera. “It’s my wrestling record,” he says. It’s the record that he made to prove to himself he can still make it in this world. But Watt is smart, and he recruited his friends to help him in this journey of rediscovery. This album is no small-fry — it’s Watt’s most commercially successful album since Double Nickels on the Dime.

And that’s what Ball-hog or Tugboat is about. It’s a document of friendship more than anything. Each song has a unique contributor who brings Watt’s songs to life. One thing is for sure, Watt has a lot of love coming his way and support comes from the likes of J. Mascic, Henry Rollins, Dave Grohl, Eddie Vedder, and Frank Black and dozens more. The result fits is a bit schizophrenic and all over the place (especially that now-notorious Kathleen Hanna “track”) but absolutely Watt-like in essence. There are so many genres and so much love for music on Ball-hog that there’s something everyone can appreciate.

The Org Music folks have taken on the monumental task of issuing and reissuing Watt’s catalog on vinyl and have done a stellar job on this album: pressing it on double 180 gram LP on a gatefold sleeve. The whole package feels like a high-quality document.

Of course, as a Watt fan I have my personal favorites (Engine Room) and guilty pleasures (Secondman’s Middle Stand), but Ball-hog is arguably the album that defines Watt’s place is music the best. The music world respects this man, and he feels humbled by it. Ball-hog or Tugboat is where one starts as a newcomer and where one ends as a fan. That’s powerful stuff.

Get your vinyl from the source.

 

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