“Starting with the affirmation of man/ I work myself backwards using cynicism,” Mike Watt sings on the Minutemen’s classic track “The Glory of Man.” “I live sweat, I dream light years/ I am the tide – the rise and fall.” For many of our writers individuals like Mike Watt and bands like the Shins or rap groups like Das Racist have served as a means to connect and filter our understanding of late 20th and early 21st century culture and history. Needless to say it was a veritable red letter day when Watt tweeted at ToM regarding an article we had written about the band. Undoubtedly, Watt remains a testament to the ethos of the hardcore punk movement—”Punk rock is an idea, not a musical style”—so any endorsement from the San Pedro icon makes the editorial staff quiver with pogo-like excitement.
Over the years, ToM writers have ventured out into cultural studies and politics to engage a variety of music related topics from unpublished Beatles’ songs about immigration to the conspiracy-laced politics of post-9/11 underground hip hop to the controversy over Amanda Palmer’s crowdsourcing indie rock. Our own Alex Sayf Cummings even just published a book on music piracy Democracy of Sound, so clearly ToM is invested.
“Mr. narrator, this is Bob Dylan to me. My story could be his songs I’m his soldier child,” sang the late D. Boon on the Minutemen’s “History Lesson Part II.” “Our band could be your life.” For some of us, music has been, perhaps not our life, but a significant portion of it. Take a look at some ToM’s work below because even if you don’t believe us (a reasonable position if there ever was one), Mike Watt’s beyond reproach.