The man of a million bands, an artist that’s seemingly always creating and performing, legendary bassist Mike Watt has formed yet another new group. This newest outfit is called Jumpstarted Plowhards and features Watt along with F.Y.P and Toys that Kill guitarist and vocalist Todd Congellier. While they haven’t shared any new music yet, they’ve announced a new album that will be released on October 4 of this year called Round One. It’ll be released on Congellier’s label Recess Records on 45RPM 12″.
Round One will feature a host of guest drummers, including one that has a special chemistry with Watt, his former bandmate in Minutemen and fIREHOSE, George Hurley. Also appearing on the album is Patty Schemel, who’s been in bands like Hole, Upset, Juliette Lewis and the Licks, and tons of other projects. Jerry Trebotic and Raul Morales who perform with Watt in mike watt + the secondmen will also be performing on the new album.
Watt and Congellier have a long history together, both being part of the South Bay punk scene and San Pedro in particular, sharing bills when F.Y.P and Dos (Watt’s double-bass musical project) were in their heyday. In 2013, mike watt + the secondmen released a cover of a Toys that Kill song, “No One” and then after touring together in 2017, Watt proposed the two music veterans collaborate on a project.
According to a press release, the songs that make up Round One were initially bass parts over a click track that Watt would send to Congellier. The guitarist would then flesh them out with guitars and vocals, using other well-known drummers to complete the songs. The result was a CD of 15 recordings that Congellier took to the studio and after adding his parts, had a specific drummer in mind for many of the tracks. Congellier gave a very interesting breakdown of each song and why he chose the respective drummer.
“Nick Aguilar (Neighborhood Brats, Slaughterhouse) is very versatile,” he said. “I wanted some pounding and a li’l surf with ‘On The Counter’ and he pulled it off without making those desired aspects obvious. ‘The Punk Setup’ just one of the songs in the long-term project that fit George Hurley. No one I know plays like George. Some of these I thought, ‘George or nothing’ right from the start. I changed the song a bit after I tracked him. So, he made the song better. Jimmy Felix (Toys That Kill) is a jungle beat pounder. ‘The Garter Snakes’ is the closest to the stuff I write with Toys That Kill so Jimmy was obvious for it. ‘Claws Break Down’ is another song that I went back and improved after drum tracking. Patty Schemel is sparse on this and it really adds to it tremendously. Brian Brunak (Fartbarf) is super technical but I think excels at the rock. ‘Yeah, We’re Gonna Learn To Fall’ needed rolls without overfilling. I had a drum loop on that was close to the basic idea but also terrible. I took it off and just had the click and he got it right away. Trevor Rounseville (Clown Sounds) loves heavy music and ‘Makin’ it All Settle Down’ is the heaviest song we got. Jerry Trebotic has so much hyper energy but doesn’t overdo it. It’s rare. I think he nails it. There’s even a happy accident on ‘Commie Klara’ that anyone else would 99% for sure redo. Raul Morales played in my old band F.Y.P. before joining watt. ‘Babylon Gone’ sounds nothing like my F.Y.P. songs but the chemistry is the same.”
Watt has proven over the years that he can jam with just about anyone. He is playing with Flipper (with Dave Yow on vocals) as they go on tour, he has played with Nels Cline and more in Big Walnuts Yonder and he even spent some time with The Stooges. Last year he proved that quite literally when he took part in the Los Angeles edition of the venerable impromptu concert experience Rock Lottery. There he performed along with Jared Tankel of The Budos Band, Patty Schemel of Hole and Upset, Kelcey Ayer of Local Natives and Charlie Overbey of The Broken Arrows, Deadbolt and Custom Made Scars – they were, for one night only, The Smoking Nurses.
The band will not be hitting the road until they have ample material – they’re not planning to gig until they’ve put out five installments, “rounds” you could say. So far, they’re already forming the basics of what will become Round 2, so they could be hitting a stage near you sooner than later.