Look, I' ll admit it, punk legend Mike Watt and his brand of Pedro-Speak have been a part of this site since the day I came aboard. Plus, like Watt, I' m a sucker for old California maritime towns. Combine that with my desire to have a garage, hardwood floors and not live in the ghetto for under a grand a month in a location that was roughly central — and by the the water — in a sprawling megalopolis, and well, Pedro, man. Pee-droh!
Plus, the Minutemen are probably in the top ten of my subliminal influences, and the way they conducted themselves places them easily in my top ten of overt influences. So it was only natural that our first "Celebrity Struggle Buggies" piece would be on Mike Watt and his van. Very nearly a year ago, Watt retired his old boat, a ' 90 351W-powered E-250 and picked up an '05 E-350 with a Triton V-10. As Watt' s been busy this year touring on bass with the Stooges (The goddamn freakin' Stooges, people!), he's yet to set sail in his latest craft on an extended Watt-band cruise.
The Old Boat.
So besides cruising around, smoking cigarettes and listening to random radio shows, what does Mike Watt, humble man, spieler of spiels, carrier of the torch for the mighty d. boon and San Pedro' s most famous living resident (side note, boon and Charles Bukowski are buried in the same cemetery), do with his van? Well, he uses it as an amphibious assault craft, of sorts. In the back resides Zaby, Watt's beloved kayak. (And yes, Farago, the Pynchon reference was lost on me until Watt explained it back off, you overeducated battery-licker, you!) In fact, this week, he' s putting together the shelf that' ll hold the band' s gear while still allowing space for Zaby up top. It s a rock 'n' roll tour van. It' s a facilitator for aquatic recreation. Take that, Pontiac Aztek.
Kayak a nonstandard, non-dealer-installed option.
Otherwise, the van' s amenities are sparse — crank windows, a 2/3-full ashtray, a just-installed backseat ahead of the cargo area and custom yak decals. As Watt points out, you don' t want anything too flashy or that spells out "band, " because it becomes a target for theft. And besides, I don 't know if there' s really anything more befitting Watt than a white van festooned with monochromatic yaks. Watt makes some stickers that he sells to benefit Doctors Without Borders with a picture of d. boon that reads, " Punk is whatever we made it to be. ' In Watt' s hands, a simple white Ford van becomes a quirky little work of art with a personality all its own.
by Davey G. Johnson