Mike Watt has no No. 1 albums, no hit singles, no buzz-bin clips on MTV. And he never has. But he's a legend that has had collaborated with everyone from Iggy Pop to Eddie Vedder to Dave Grohl to Beastie Boys to members of The Mars Volta. He isn't famous so much as infamous.
Watt is a founding member of seminal punk band Minutemen, whose "jam econo" philosophy laid much of the mental framework for the independent rock movement.
His current album, Hyphenated-Man, embodies Watt's stripped-down, no-bullshit approach in an even bolder fashion. It is Watt's third "punk opera," which features 30 songs that Watt says are part of a bigger song re-examining his life as a middle-aged man.
His seemingly contradictory ability to create an ambitious project, while rarely breaking the two-minute mark on a song, is why Watt is one of modern rock's most influential bassists.