mike watt and jun izawa interview in
"bass magazine"

may 2008 edition, pages 144 - 146

third page of interview:

first page of mike watt and jun izawa interview in 'bass magazine'

english translation by sakura okada:

   Jun: That is a very new idea for me. I've been thinking about how I make one note longer and bigger, but never thought of wavy pitch. When I was watching Mike play, he was quite aggressive and hard picking, but that went really well with songs-not self centered sound. I noticed that.

   Mike: I think my style is much influenced by D. Boon/ minutemen. He had this philosophy that bass and drums should be the basic and center of the band sound. I might be an aggressive player, as I always long for john Entwisle and Jack Blues. But luckily I also know about the plays of James Jemmerson and Larry Graham. They never made themselves to play to be more than other instruments, but they taught me this driving feeling , fearless groove. At that time, there were no good PA systems, but they were making that groove. And again, D. Boon. Because he had such an amazing ears, I now know how to communicate with people through the space and pitch extents of sound. I always trying myself to play for the songs, and I guess there are lots of ways for it. There are lots of instruments and players, and if the players try to do that, then mission would be done.

Any advice for the techniques?

   Mike: I think the position of picking is very important. If it gets close to rear, then the sound will be sharp, and if it gets close to the neck then the sound will be thick. I noticed that many players these days want to use pedals. How many are you using, Jun?

   Jun: Five...

   Mike: See? I tried that on my another project, but the 'bottom end' which should be so important has lost quite a lot, and I felt this bad balance with kick, so I connect with amps directly. I can make tones like using effecters, only with my right hand.

   I am using EB-3 made in 1963, I got have it(modify) EQ inside and make it to do by-pass. For the Stooges, I was asked quite old sound, so I use passive, but for my own bands, I use EQ quite a lot. I've been using EB-?a lot, so I noticed this problem that the front pickup is too close to the neck and made sound too thick. So I took off the front and I took it back to the position of pick up for precession bass. There were 2 volume controls and that was a problem as well. If I use one of it, then I can't blend the sound. So I have an alternation done with 1 volume and blend button, I believe this made the sound a big change.

   Jun: I see.

   Mike: I know you play with pick, and I respect that.

   When I was young, I might have looked down by people if I used pick, but who cares!

   That is a way to play bass, too. See, Chuck Rainy, he uses his nails to picking. Entwistle did everything- like pick and slap. I think we should forget about that kind of prejudice.

   What I am trying now is picking with using 2 fingers. I call it flipper, using 2 fingers for one string and this way could affect on compression and attack. That is why my sound is aggressive, but at the same time it goes good with band sound. If you look at my hands, you notice that there are no blisters, and no thicker palm. I guess if you want to play forever, then you should change your playing style all the time. I know some players stopped playing by accidents etc, but I could say there should be another way to play. Bass is the instrument which we could find ways to play. Then it's good if you could be a part of the band.

second page of interview

loop back to mike watt's hoot page

this page created 25 april 08