Album Mini-review: Mike Watt — “Ring Spiel” Tour ’95
File next to: Meat Puppets, Mission of Burma, Sugar
Gravelly-voiced bassist Watt first made his name as the bassist in The Minutemen, and after that group’s end in the wake of D. Boon‘s untimely death, with Firehose. Eventually he embarked on a solo career; his first solo tour – in support of 1995’s Ball-Hog or Tugboat? – featured an unnamed all-star band backing him as he sang and played his thunderous bass lines. The archival release “Ring Spiel” Tour ’95 documents a show from that tour. The band includes Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam), Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters), Pat Smear (The Germs) and William Goldsmith (Sunny Day Real Estate). Despite that heavyweight backing, Ring Spiel is completely Watt’s show. The set list – drawing mostly from Ball-Hog or Tugboat? – feature Watt’s trebly-yet-roaring electric bass at the center of most of the songs. Left-field covers (Madonna, Blue Öyster Cult) only add to the fun.
About the Author
With a background in marketing and advertising, Bill Kopp got his professional start writing for Trouser Press. After a stint as Editor-in-chief for a national music magazine, Bill launched Musoscribe in 2009, and has published new content every business day since then (and every single day since 2018). The 4000-plus interviews, essays, and reviews on Musoscribe reflect Bill's keen interest in American musical forms, most notably rock, jazz, and soul. His work features a special emphasis on reissues and vinyl. Bill's work also appears in many other outlets both online and in print. He regularly hosts lecture/discussions on artists and albums of historical importance (including monthly events Music to Your Ears and Music Movie Mondays), and is a frequent guest on music-focused radio programs and podcasts. In Spring 2023 he is co-teaching a history of Rock 'n' Roll at UNC Asheville's College for Seniors. He also researches and authors liner notes for album reissues -- more than 30 to date -- and co-produced a reissue of jazz legend Julian "Cannonball" Adderley's final album. His first book, Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2018, and in paperback in 2019. His second book, Disturbing the Peace: 415 Records and the Rise of New Wave, was published in 2021 by HoZac Books. His third book, What's the Big Idea: 40 Great Concept Albums will be published in 2024. Read even more about him here.