mike watt and jun izawa interview in
"bass magazine"

may 2008 edition, pages 144 - 146

second page of interview:

first page of mike watt and jun izawa interview in 'bass magazine'

english translation by sakura okada:

How did you write funanori song with Kaori?

   Mike: We did it via internet! She sent me the track with an email, then I played bass line on it then send it back. We continued that for a while. Well, Kaori didn't say OK for my bass lineŠnormally musicians know about my long carrier, so that made them say yes to my play. But she doesn't care and said 'do it again!'. I loved that!

   Having a music carrier is nothing to do with making a great music. I have so many things to learn from a girl who is 24 years younger than me. So I was quite happy to play a new bass line again and again. If people got to the top, then it would be difficult for them to learn things. Especially Bass guitar is meant to support the other instruments so I need to study all the time. I guess I learned that from punk scene and now I am bringing this to the people in the world. Time is changing, but this spirit lasts forever.

   Jun: I really got that message being with Mike. Every time we finished gigs, Mike told the audience to form a band. Before this tour happened, he was a living legend to me. He was so far away from me. Then suddenly he became a close friend. I can't think of my life without him and I'm sure I'll be lost after he leave(laugh)-I am just joking!

   Anyway, basically he is very open minded and we all know that is so cool. I just want to be like that, open minded mature person.

   Mike: Arigato! John Coltrane used to say that "music is a relief." (should be "reservoir" and not relief - mike watt)

   And I am saved by playing with many players. I played with Jun and Kentaro (54-71) who was a bass player as well, so it was triple bass sound. That made me to get so many ideas. People make me to do music. So I don't think that I am a legend or something.

   I am saved by everyone.

   Jun: I totally agree with Mike. I always get this feeling that I am saved by music. I clearly notice the difference of my bass lines on my happy times and on sad times. And I know Mike is the person who can express those feelings with playing bass. I would like to express feelings that come from communications.

   Mike: We have to admit that we are controlled, having pressures, and there are not much choices in our society. So playing gigs is one of a spaces for liberation of our feelings. I really want us to have some interpret freedom in music. I used to got beer cans and shit thrown by the audience when I was young and still carrying our own style. When I went to Europe , I had to fight with Nazis. I guess we need to carry our faith, even sometimes communication is very difficult.

   Jun: Yeah, I know that. We've got chances to play away from our ground, but we can't make our play only to amuse all the audience. That is not what we are doing. I really want to have my faith and be open minded. I know there is an age difference, and respects something like that, but I need to be open minded with the audience.

   Mike: Well, the LA Punk scene which I used to belong, there was no border between the stage and the audience. There was arena rock going on at that time, so people might think that the artists on the stage were like gods, but at the punk gigs, there was a guy playing on the stage few minutes ago, now standing next to you and talking to you. So that kind of stuff made people think like "maybe we could do a band just like him". That is true. I am not sure which is better though, very complicated. As for Japanese scene, usually the tickets costs like 3000 yen($30.00), so I am not sure I could do whatever I want to. I need to answer the audience, at least I have to try. Because there should be a responsibility. I could find it interesting somehow. That is what I learned from my long carrier. And that makes a motivation to play.

   Jun: That is great!

   Mike: People always ask the same question like "how have you been playing for such a long time?". John Coltrane whom I respect so much, played the last tour with local musicians instead of his own band. So he happened to play with armature people, but he said he learned so many skills from them. I once played with this boy who started play bass 3 days ago, and I learned a lot, I mean he had so many ideas which even professional couldn't have. This Bass guitar we play, is mainly a low tone instrument, so it sounds long wavy pitch. For that, there should be a long note and we can't play the true sound of it. But when we learn to play bass we want to try many notes and lost the bass's original sound. That boy couldn't move his fingers smoothly yet, but that made him play a long note and that was much better than a bad professionals. So that means it doesn't matter if you are armature or professional. You only need to have this attitude to learn as much as possible, then the motivation for playing lasts.

first page of interview

third page of interview

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this page created 25 april 08