NEM#108: Mike Watt’s Punk Operas

Ace bassist Mike started with punk legends MINUTEMEN in the early ’80s, broke into the majors with fireHOSE going into the ’90s, and was so beloved by the alternative music scene that his first solo album in ’94 was star-studded, with Eddie Vedder and Dave Grohl in the supporting tour. Mike has released three concept albums over the years and has collaborated on dozes of projects as well as backing Iggy Pop in the reformed Stooges.

We discuss “Bob Dylan Wrote Propaganda Songs” by Minutemen from What Makes a Man Start Fires (1983), “The Boilerman” from Contemplating the Engine Room (1997), the first, second, and last sections from Hyphenated-Man (2011), and “I Got Marty Feldman Eyes” from the Big Walnuts Yonder self-titled album (2017). We conclude by listening to “Yeah, We’re Gonna Learn to Fall” by Jumpstarted Plowhards from Round One (2019) featuring Todd Congelliere. Intro: “Walking the Cow” by fireHOSE from Flyin’ the Flannel (1991). For more, visit mikewatt.com.

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NEM#93: Peter Aaron Lives in the Blues-Punk Moment

Peter started in hardcore punk and used the blues to add depth for his band the Chrome Cranks, which released four studio albums and a live album in the mid-1990s, then another in 2012. Since then he’s been a music journalist and author, writing about the Ramones, the Band, and others, with occasional musical projects. We discuss his new single “Bomb Train Blues” (2018) with the band Young Skulls, Chrome Cranks tracks “Dark Room” from Chrome Cranks (1994), and “Rubber Rat” from Ain’t No Lies in Blood (2012). We conclude by listening to “Purge 4” from Purges by Peter Aaron and Brian Chase (2016). Intro/outro: “Hot Blonde Cocktail” by the Chrome Cranks from Love in Exile (1997). For more, see peteraaron.org.

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NEM #56: “Dr. Frank” Portman Writes His Inner Teenager

Frank has led punk band The Mr. T Experience in the Bay Area since 1985, and has also released three successful music-related books for teens since 2006.

We discuss “Down With the Universe” from King Dork Approximately (2016), “Big, Strange, Beautiful Hammer” from Yesterday Rules (2004), and “More Than Toast” from Our Bodies Our Selves (1993). We conclude by listening to “Even Hitler Had a Girlfriend,” a 2014 single by Dr. Frank & the Bye-Bye Blackbirds. Opening/closing music: “Danny Partridge” from Everybody’s Entitled to Their Own Opinion (1986). Learn more at frankportman.com.

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