Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Matt Oliver, Mastered by Sam Patlove
Mike Watt was pulling his leg behind him. He could barely move. He had a honking leg brace on the piece in question, the casualty of one wrong move at a Stooges gig a few nights before. He was doing the rounds at South By Southwest though, promoting his newest album, a freakish mini-opera called, "Hyphenated-Man." The record is a dissertation occupied with the countless dissections that can be done regarding man and all of his flaws and idiosyncrasies. They come out a mile a minute, these window peekings, these interesting footnotes that place man in all of his many different - or for the purpose of the record, 31 choice - forms, where Watt provides us with the colorful ways that man's full of himself. It's a phrase that shouldn't be taken as a jab, but more of a very agreeable statement. Man cannot help but be full of himself. He fails or falls behind if he's not in this world of survival of the fakest. Those that don't want to play the game, kiss the right feet or fellate when fellatio is what's asked for if there's to be any possibility of more money or advancing that power and those brawny arms and well-coifed head of hair up the line and ladder, will be forgotten about. It creates the many sides of man that are often left unspoken and embarrassing. Watt, a founding member of the Minutemen, digs in to the haywire dynamics of what it takes to be certain types of men these days, or any days. These are archetypes of men that he's most certainly known throughout his decades of playing punk rock music and traveling all over the world. He's likely got an abundance of material and here he intersects what he's seen and what he's found with imaginative leaps, adding slices of absurdity and fable tones to the rationales that are claimed. The multi-facets that Watt reflects and expands upon with "Hyphenated-Man" are incredible and you are quick to realize how dense of an outline of a man, or a character, can be in just over one minute of words and frantic music. You can boil it down to the barest of essentials and the picture you're likely to see is one of purity. It might not be gold and it's likely nowhere near flattering, but damn right it's honest. The man Watt is, with his fucked up leg, could have been a new him for the day or the week, however long he remained hampered by it. He could have played the Confused-Parts-Man. He could have been the Stuffed-In-The-Drum-Man. Or he could have just remained the narrator. There's really no telling. At the end of it all, no matter what picture is drawn, no matter what's been said or down to get to the destinations sought, these men all spill out of their heads when they're struck there and they are all lain into holes in the ground when nothing's working any more.