Mike Watt of The Minutemen

Mike Watt & Opinions on Lady Gaga and Death Cab for Cutie

Mike Watt of the California punk band The Minutemen talks about the band's history, legacy and influential album Double Nickels on the Dime.

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Last week Jim and Greg said they were waiting for the big zeppelin to head to the clouds. That'd be Apple, and this week it did. Apple has entered the final stages of negotiations with the major record labels and music publishers for a service that will allow people to upload and store their music on the web and listen to it on any of their devices. Unlike its competitors Amazon and Google, who beat Apple to the punch, iCloud is in cooperation with the big labels. Because of this and because of iTunes' already huge user base, Apple may again become king of the clouds.

LimeWire has agreed to pay $105 million to a group of major record labels in an out-of-court settlement over piracy. The file-sharing site was one of the biggest and received a court order to shut down last year. The RIAA has been going through sites like LimeWire one by one, and with success. But the rate of file-sharing hasn't slowed. And the real question is if any of the musicians“infringed”upon will actually receive this bounty.

The Smoking Gun has revealed surprising demands in pop singer Katy Perry's concert rider. We suppose it makes sense to ban conversations with chauffeurs. And of course you'd need specially designed furniture. But no carnations! Actually, the biggest revelation concerned the icky practice of ticket re-selling. Perry's camp reserves the right to require promoters to hold back tickets to be re-sold on the secondary market. In other words, Katy Perry may scalp her own tickets. Jim and Greg spoke to Wall Street Journal reporter Ethan Smith about this topic a couple of years ago, but laying out these plans in plain words on a contract is on a whole new level. It makes you yearn for the days of M&M demands.


Mike Watt

doublenicklesonthedime By the early 1980's, punk had become less about sticking it to the man, and more about conforming to a set of rules. Then came The Minutemen with Double Nickels on the Dime, the 1984 album that threw out the punk rulebook. This week Jim and Greg are joined by Minutemen bassist Mike Watt, who founded the San Pedro hardcore group alongside drummer George Hurley and larger-than-life lead singer and guitarist D. Boon. The Minutemen weren't afraid to experiment with their sound, incorporating jazz and funk, as well as "Econo"—a lo-fi, DIY attitude that would later inspire indie rock. Ever the motor-mouth philosopher, Watt waxes poetic about jamming econo, the true meaning of“Double Nickels on the Dime,”and his idea of a "Hot Topic."

reviewBorn This WayBorn This Way available on iTunes

Lady Gaga Born This Way

There's a new hit pop album with Euro-pop dance beats and controversial lyrics designed to tweak the Catholic Church. Sound familiar? No, it's not Madonna, but Lady Gaga and her new album Born This Way. She might be the biggest star in the world right now, but she still has some surprises in her–including a fondness for '80s hair metal bombast. Jim was disappointed to hear Clarence Clemons on sax and Mutt Lange on production. He was further disappointed to hear the amount of over-singing. Jim wanted to love Born This Way, but it's a Trash It. Greg agrees that the record is totally overblown. It's like Gaga on steroids, and unfortunately, never lets up. A few standout tracks will work pounding in a stadium or club, but as an album, he'd just say Burn It.

reviewCodes and Keys (Deluxe)Narrow Stairs available on iTunes

Death Cab for Cutie Narrow Stairs

Death Cab for Cutie also has a new album out called Codes and Keys. It's been only three years since Narrow Stairs in 2008, but lead singer Ben Gibbard has a whole new outlook on life. He's become Mr. Zooey Deschanel, and he's become sober. But Greg insists that the lyrics still express a lot of anxiety, mostly about the idea of“home.”Greg also notes the wonderful sonic experimentation courtesy of band member and producer Chris Walla. In fact, this was their Eno-inspired album, much to Jim's delight. He hears a much happier Gibbard, nothing like the emo-sap that repelled Summer from The O.C. Both critics give Codes and Keys a Buy It.


Featured Songs

  1. George Harrison, Cloud Nine, Cloud Nine, Dark Horse, 1987
  2. AC/DC, Live Wire, T.N.T., EMI, 1975
  3. Katy Perry, Firework, Teenage Dream, EMI, 2010
  4. The Minutemen, Maybe Partying Will Help, Double Nickels On The Dime, SST, 1984
  5. The Minutemen, Shit From An Old Notebook, Double Nickels On The Dime, SST, 1984
  6. The Minutemen, D.'s Car Jam/Anxious Mo-Fo, Double Nickels On The Dime, SST, 1984
  7. The Minutemen, Political Song For Michael Jackson, Double Nickels On The Dime, SST, 1984
  8. The Minutemen, Corona, Double Nickles On The Dime, SST, 1984
  9. The Minutemen, Two Beads At The End, Double Nickels On The Dime, SST, 1984
  10. The Minutemen, June 16th, Double Nickels On The Dime, SST, 1984
  11. The Minutemen, My Heart And The Real World, Double Nickels On The Dime, SST, 1984
  12. Wire, Ex Lion Tamer, Pink Flag, Harvest, 1977
  13. Hüsker Dü, Something I Learned Today, Zen Arcade, SST, 1984
  14. The Minutemen, Don't Look Now, Double Nickels On The Dime, SST, 1984
  15. The Minutemen, Doctor Wu, Double Nickels On The Dime, SST, 1984
  16. The Minutemen, History Lesson, Part 2, Double Nickels On The Dime, SST, 1984
  17. The Minutemen, The Glory Of Man, Double Nickels On The Dime, SST, 1984
  18. The Minutemen, This Ain't No Picnic, Double Nickels On The Dime, SST, 1984
  19. The Minutemen, Love Dance, Double Nickels On The Dime, SST, 1984
  20. Lady Gaga, Born This Way, Born This Way, Streamline, 2011
  21. Lady Gaga, Bloody Mary, Born This Way, Streamline, 2011
  22. Death Cab For Cutie, You Are A Tourist, Codes And Keys, Atlantic, 2011
  23. Death Cab For Cutie, Doors Unlocked And Open, Codes And Keys, Atlantic, 2011
  24. The Antlers, I Don't Want Love, Burst Apart, Frenchkiss, 2011
  25. Johnny Thunders And The Heartbreakers, Get Off The Phone, L.A.M.F., Track, 1977
  26. The Gaslight Anthem, American Slang, American Slang, Side One Dummy, 2010
  27. Babes In Toyland, Bruise Violet, Fontanelle, Reprise, 1992


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