Matthew would have wanted us to go hear some good bass. Our long-time hero Mike Watt was in SF to finish off his “the cord that spun its own top” tour at Bottom of the Hill. Went with Will, Mike, Roger, Chris, Josh (xian and Jeremy also there). No words for this show — bass, drums, organ trio, but this was no Jimmy Smith, no MMW — organ such a perfect foil to Watt’s bass, rhythms unlike anything I’ve ever experienced, but totally rocking in a maritime punk sort of way. Difficult to describe, but utterly satisfying.
Matthew told me once he actually had mixed feelings about Watt’s playing, and I guess I can understand why, from Matt’s perspective, although he did dig a lot of Watt’s thing — just not all of it. At the same time, Matthew was nothing if not totally open minded, happy to be turned on to new experiences, happy to see people stretching out into new territories. I think he would have really enjoyed the evening — it sure felt like he was with us. We hoisted a glass or two in his honor.
As the band approached the stage for the encore, I snagged Watt and told him quickly about Matthew Sperry, Bay Area bassist hit by a car while on bike and killed two days ago. Watt took stage and dedicated the encore to Matthew, so everything that came next was for him. It was hard to know whether to focus my attention on the music or on the memory of Matt, so I danced instead. The encore consisted of a (for lack of a better description) Hawkwind-style driving space jam segued into The Minutemen’s “This Ain’t No Picnic,” morphed into The Stooges’ “Little Doll,” which finally evolved into an inspiring rant on getting real, connecting with people, making your own art, etc. In a low voice, Watt intoned:
Go to the source. Cut the strings. No Old Navy. No Gap. No American Idol. Make your own life. People living together. Start a band. Make your own fun.
Later, as Watt was busy signing posters, we came up to the stage and told him a bit more about Matthew, told him how much the encore had meant to us. Watt said he was a bicyclist himself. Seemed genuinely moved. Pressed his palms together and made a small namaste bow. Signed a poster for us:
bass and bikes,