Mike Watt’s Band Il Sogno Del Marinaio third video release from New Album

Canto Secondo is the name of the second album from Il Sogno Del Marinaio (“the  sailor’s dream” in Italian), which is a trio made up of Stefano Pilia on guitar, Andrea Belfi on drums and Mike Watt (MINUTEMEN, fIREHOSE, Iggy & The Stooges…) on bass.  They’ve just released the third video from the album, “Auslander” which you can view here:  http://youtu.be/luuvYDjokHI . The album was released August 26, 2014 on Clenchedwrench; two weeks later Il Sogno began a 53 gigs in 53 days U.S. tour supporting it.
“The latest musical project from Mike Watt.” Watt, the bassist best known for his stints in the Minutemen and the reformed Stooges, is often lauded for his affable demeanor and his open-minded approach, both of which are on display on Canto Secondo, the sophomore effort from the adventurous trio. The bassist is joined in the band by drummer, Andrea Belfi, and guitarist, Stefano Pilia, though there’s never a doubt Watt’s the one running the show, anchoring the trio’s occasionally prog-leaning, jazz-rock explorations with his rubbery basslines and spoken-word rants.” – Andy Downing/ColumbusAlive.com

“Bassist Mike Watt’s prolific career began in his early adolescence, when D. Boon fell from a tree as Watt was passing through the area. Strangers to one another, the two struck up a conversation, which led to a friendship. That friendship eventually escalated to the formation of the hugely influential punk band Minutemen. Watt is attuned to the fact that his role in Minutemen was seeded in chance encounter. When D. Boon died tragically in an automobile accident, forcing the dissolution of Minutemen, the lesson Watt learned was to remain open to the artistic opportunities that present themselves, and to extend a helping hand where he could. It’s a simple philosophy, but Watt embraces it with monastic dedication and, as a result, has found himself collaborating with artists as diverse as Iggy Pop, visual artist Raymond Pettibon, Sonic Youth and J Mascis. Watt keeps his lines of communication more open than most artists of his stature. So he is often sent material by artists seeking feedback and desirous of sharing their music with Watt as he has shared his with them over the years. As an outlet for this wealth of largely under-the-radar material, Watt created the Watt from Pedro Show, currently available as a podcast; on it, Watt plays an eclectic mix of material he’s received, along with anything else that excites him. “I think one of the things I’ve learned is that if I’ve got my mind open enough, everyone’s got something to teach me,” Watt says. For many new artists, Watt’s encouragement is enough to get them over the initial intimidation and rejection implicit in starting out. “Mr. Watt hit me up in the MySpace days,” recalls Tom Fec, known for his work with Black Moth Super Rainbow and as the solo artist Tobacco. “He’s the guy I think of to remind me why I do what I do when all the noise around me is making me cynical. … I wouldn’t be surprised if he understands my music better than I do.” Il Sogno del Marinaio, Watt’s current endeavor, began when guitarist Stefan Pilia reached out to Watt, following a stint supporting him while Watt was touring Europe with his second opera. After working with Watt on tour, Pilia’s initial intimidation at Watt’s reputation as a punk-rock legend diminished. “I immediately felt a strong sense of familiarity with him. I knew about his history, but as soon as I met him, his humanity just overwhelmed his history,” Pilia explains. Now touring in support of a second album, Canto Secondo, Il Sogno del Marinaio’s songs are in keeping with band’s nautically themed name, as sprawling as the seas themselves, yet steered as tightly as the ships that cross them. For Watt’s part, he seems to have chosen the artist’s life as a vehicle for human interaction. “I’m not a musician; I got into playing bass to be with D. Boon. So my first motivation for music was to be with my friend,” Watt says. He is clearly honored to be afforded such chances and feels a responsibility to honor each one that presents itself to the utmost. “I only do as much as I can handle. The worst thing in the world is having to tell someone ‘no,'” Watt says. “If you are going to do something for someone, you can’t do it half-assed,” he continues. “I try to look at it as the ‘O’ word, opportunity, not the ‘B’ word, burden.” –
Ian Thomas/Pittsburgh City Paper

“Mike Watt rolls through Memphis Thursday with his newest project, Il Sogno del Marinaio. They play Thursday at the Hi-Tone. The trio features Italians Stefano Pilia on guitar and drummer Andrea Belfi. The band’s second album, Canto Segondo, came out in August on Watt’s own Clenchedwrench label. The album is more of what you’ve come to expect from Watt, prog infused jazzy post hardcore crossed with about fifty other genres. They’re doing fifty-nine shows in fifty-nine days, an impressive and brutal touring schedule. The first time I saw Mike Watt was in the summer of 2002 at the Bluebird Theatre in Denver. He was 44 years old and played with twice the energy of most people half his age. At the end of the show, he gave a very heartfelt and emotional thank you to everyone in attendance. He explained that this was his 48th tour of the U.S., an achievement he started with the Minutemen and continued in fIREHOSE and as a solo artist. He said he felt lucky to be able to continue playing music for as long as he had. It was a pretty spiritual experience, one I’ve only had a few times since at shows. He sat on stage selling merch from a Hefty bag and signing every poster and record people brought him. He had genuine conversations with everyone who came up and didn’t leave until it was obvious that all those looking to chat and meet with him had gotten their opportunity. He came to notoriety as solo artist for most mainstream music fans with his 1995 solo album Ballhog or Tugboat? Dave Grohl and Eddie Vedder served as his backing band on the album as well as the tour. He’s also served as bassist for the reformed Stooges over the last ten years or so. – Severin Allgood/Memphis Flyer 9/29

Everyone has someone they look up to, but it’s rare to be the person everyone looks up, to be respected by musicians and fans all over the world. Mike Watt approaches the bass more like a drum kit than a guitar, not in a slap bass fashion but with the style of a jazz drummer exploring the bounds of his kit. His distinguished style can be heard on countless recordings that span nearly every genre of music. Still, Mike Watt is the epitome of punk at its core – do what you wanna do and play what you wanna play, regardless of what anyone thinks. In 1980, Watt, along with friends D. Boon and George Hurley, started the highly influential punk band the Minutemen. But the band was struck by tragedy in 1985 when D. Boon was killed in a car accident. To work through his depression, Watt carried on with Hurley and started Firehose. When the opportunity presented itself to play bass in the Stooges, Watt’s mind was blown by the possibility of playing in the reunited band. After all he’s accomplished, Watt has no intention of relenting, with releases from the Black Gang, Dos, Cuz, Big Walnuts Yonder, and a project with Jim O’Rourke in the future. Since early September, Watt has been touring in support of il Sogno del Marinaio’s latest album, Canto Secundo. The tour hits the Magic Stick on Sunday, Oct. 4, and Watt was thrilled to chat about the old days and what’s to come.

METRO TIMES: With Canto Secundo, it’s evident that you’ve grown as a band.
MIKE WATT: We’d only been together for three or four days when we made the first record. This one, we spent eight days, instead of two and a half, just us three with Bruno Germano recording it. He put the studio in this old barn outside of Bologna, and there was a farmhouse next to it. I never left! These guys cooked for me. The whole thing was there. I never left the premises. It was scary; I didn’t want to let ’em down, wanted to play good for ’em. I’m really proud to be with these two guys on that record.

MT: After so many years of touring, how do you approach it these days?
WATT: I’m really into having the boat in ship shape for tour, and I’m bringing two guys from Italy who have never really done a tour of the U.S. before. I’ve got to get them back to Italy. When I go on tour, the number one priority is getting my guys back safe. Number two, it’s playing good for the people who work all week to come see you play, then three, four, five, six … whatever, maybe I can get some good pictures, or good chow. I think it’s going to be my 65th tour. In Firehose days, there would be three tours in one year. Firehose did, I think, 20 tours in seven-and-a half years. It was in a very tough part of my life. I owe Edward and Georgie much for helping me through all that. For something like that, maybe playing was the best thing for me to do, playing for people. Me and D. Boon, we came from arena rock. We didn’t even know about clubs until punk. We really dug it. It’s funny because later in my life – and with Minutemen some too – we did play bigger pads, but a lot of our punk was in reaction to arena rock [laughs]. In some ways, I feel much closer to vaudeville than I do to arena rock. When people ask me about the old days, I say, “Yeah, the old days of punk was a lot about people and making their own parallel universe,” because you didn’t fit into the popular one. It’s a pretty human thing to do. Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, 1855, he put that out himself. [laughs] So, DIY is at least 165 years old.

MT: When playing with Andrea and Stefano, did you teach them about jamming econo?
WATT: Yeah. Your average cat … it’s kind of tough to be a musician there. They’re in like four or five bands each, and there’s 21 years’ difference, so there’s a gap that way. Actually, we’re both from the punk scene, just a couple of dickheads [laughs]. So, in a way, I didn’t have to enlighten them to the things econo. These guys went to school, too, for music and art. They’re trained guys, but they come from pretty modest backgrounds. I know they work incredibly hard. A lot of these musical situations – even going back to D. Boon – they’re kind of by accident. I’ve never really had an audition, or put an ad out for something.
[Read the entire interview here: http://www.metrotimes.com/detroit/stooges-collaborator-mike-watt-returns-to-detroit/Content?oid=2251538]
– Johnny Drop/Metro Times 10/1

“Mike Watt shuffled into the Larimer Lounge through the front door last night, with a slight limp and wearing a backpack, just like a member of the audience. Until he stepped up on the stage and joined his current trio, Il Sogno del Marinaio, you might have thought he was just there to watch. But once he had his bass in hand, the monster that we all know as the legendary San Pedro bassist emerged, and completely transformed the whole venue.
What followed for about an hour was, at times, disjointed, atonal and choppy – to the inexperienced ear. But to ears that are familiar with Watt’s music, it was bliss. Because, as with the jazz complexities from the likes of Watt’s hero, John Coltrane, it’s never about the parts of Watt’s sound – never just a riff or a bass line, or a screech or a growl – it’s about the whole thing, all rolled up and busting off the stage all over. The latest Watt project to explode from the Larimer’s low stage included two young men – both more than 20 years younger than Watt – who have never toured the U.S. before this year. Guitarist Stefano Pilia, from Italy, formed a meandering guitar onslaught that matched Watt’s frenetic bass nearly perfectly, jazzy chords and complex riffs drenched in delays and reverb. Drummer Andrea Belfi, from Berlin, added some masterfully consistent, monster beats with the thunder of a locomotive, skipping across hundreds of time signatures with ease. As they evoked a Zappa and the Mothers of Invention feel, they also worked in plenty of SoCal hardcore and some post rock into their set. The majority of the songs were instrumental, a few were accompanied by Watt’s signature pop, click and growl vocals, and a few were sung by the two Europeans. One in particular – sung by Belfi from behind the trap set – showcased his ability to howl, with no discernible lyrics, which worked rather well. The tour this trio is on was put together by Watt to take these two musicians on a tour of the U.S. And they’re doing it by hitting 53 cities in 53 nights (last night’s show was number 15). All I could think of was how lucky they were. Endless nights on the road, followed by quick, explosive, loving shows in small venues, with barely enough time to load up, eat and hit the highway again. What a way to see the country? And what better guide could they have asked for?
– Billy Thieme/HeyReverb.com 9/26

Il Sogno Del Marinaio “Canto Secondo” tour 2014:
wed/sep 10 – the casbah – san diego, ca
thu/sep 11 – the echo – los angeles, ca
fri/sep 12 – bottom of the hill – san francisco, ca
sat/sep 13 – the catalyst (atrium) – santa cruz, ca
mon/sep 15 – strummer’s – fresno, ca
tue/sep 16 – the blue lamp – sacramento, ca
wed/sep 17 – wow hall – eugene, or
thu/sep 18 – doug fir lounge – portland, or
fri/sep 19 – capitol theater – olympia, wa
sat/sep 20 – tractor tavern – ballard, wa
sun/sep 21 – the hop – spokane, wa
mon/sep 22 – neurolux – boise, id
tue/sep 23 – urban lounge – salt lake city, ut
wed/sep 24 – larimer lounge – denver, co
thu/sep 25 – slowdown – omaha, ne
fri/sep 26 – the bottleneck – lawrence, ks
sat/sep 27 – gabe’s oasis – iowa city, ia
sun/sep 28 – turf club – st. paul, mn
mon/sep 29 – high noon saloon – madison, wi
tue/sep 30 – schubas tavern – chicago, il
wed/oct 1 – the duck room at blueberry hill – st. louis, mo
thu/oct 2 – the hi-tone cafe – memphis, tn
fri/oct 3 – zanzabar – louisville, ky
sat/oct 4 – the basement – columbus, oh
sun/oct 5 – the magic stick – detroit, mi
mon/oct 6 – the grog shop – cleveland heights, oh
tue/oct 7 – the brillobox – pittsburgh, pa
wed/oct 8 – sportsmen’s tavern – buffalo, ny
thu/oct 9 – the low beat – albany, ny
fri/oct 10 – showcase lounge at higher ground – s. burlington, vt
sat/oct 11 – port city music hall  – portland, me
sun/oct 12 – great scott – allston, ma
mon/oct 13 – the outer space (ballroom) – hamden, ct
tue/oct 14 – fete lounge – providence, ri
wed/oct 15 – the bell house – brooklyn, ny
thu/oct 16 – mercury lounge – new york, ny
fri/oct 17 – johnny brenda’s – philadelphia, pa
sat/oct 18 – the camel – richmond, va
sun/oct 19 – black cat (backstage) – washington, dc
mon/oct 20 – the casbah @ tremont – charlotte, nc
tues/oct 21 – the royal american – charleston, sc
wed/oct 22 – the earl – e. atlanta, ga
thu/oct 23 – jack rabbits – jacksonville, fl
fri/oct 24 – high dive – gainesville, fl
sat/oct 25 – alchemy tavern – mobile, al
sun/oct 26 – one eyed jacks – new orleans, la
mon/oct 27 – fitzgerald’s – houston, tx
tue/oct 28 – red 7 – austin, tx
wed/oct 29 – club dada – dallas, tx
thu/oct 30 – vzd’s – oklahoma city, ok
fri/oct 31 – low spirits – albuquerque, nm
sat/nov 1 – crescent ballroom – phoenix, az

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