Flannels are a staple in a skateboarder's wardrobe, so when Altamont partnered with Mike Watt to recreate his iconic flannel, then it's worthy of noting, writing an article about and tracking down.
For those who don't know, Mike Watt was a member of the perennial punk band The Minutemen, the mastermind behind fIREHOSE and one of the most influential bass players in recent music history.
Altamont marketing genius Patrick O'Dell recalls his first exposure to Watt's music, "I got into him through fIREHOSE first, when I was I skater in Ohio, the album was coincidently called 'Fromohio.' I am not sure, but I believe the cover photo was taken on the river next to Dodge Skatepark in Columbus where I grew up skating, but that may have been my imagination. Later I backtracked into the Minutemen. They were perfect skate rock, similar to Dinosaur Jr."
O'Dell is passionate about history and in his estimation, "Mike Watt is one of the nicest, coolest guys I've ever met and he's a walking punk rock history book. I've asked him endless questions about The Minutemen, Black Flag, Darby Crash, Sonic Youth, Iggy ... in fact he's currently in The Stooges! And yet he's so humble. As far as skating goes, Natas skated to fIREHOSE in one of the best skate video parts of all time. He also plays on the theme to Jackass. Watt's not a skater himself, but his music was a huge influence on skating. He is perfect for Altamont, because he's at that cross section of skating, art, music and history."
Watt may not ride a board, but if you've seen him play it looks like he's riding his bass: carving, grinding and flowing, always present, relying on his wits and abilities. "I try to work my bass like it was a skateboard. I like the idea of throwing your body into it and I like the idea of risk along with being creative at the same time. I like the idea of expression, using the moment and using what's immediately available, the sense of innovation and improvising. A human working a skateboard says these kinds of things to me and I wanna channel that into my working the bass." For a musician who claims no stake in skateboarding, Watt sure sounds like a skater, summarizing, "You can't talk your way out of it if you tumble and hit the deck -- you have to pick yourself up and get back on -- I really like that. For someone like me, that's transcendent."
When Altamont reached out to Watt, O'Dell recalls that he "was very excited. So we made a replica of his shirt, which was also on the cover of The Minutemen's 'Double Nickels on the Dime' cover. It's the same shirt on both covers and was his way of giving continuity between the two bands, (The Minutemen ended when the singer and guitar player D. Boon died). We also made a photo t-shirt of Watt playing live on stage."
For Watt, working with Altamont has been easy, "The Altamont folks show me MUCH respect and implemented all my ideas and wants into this flannel design. So many things are jive and just face in this world, what an incredible righteous thing to have folks being genuine with you. I am particular about my flannels. I got to wearing them when a boy and first meeting D. Boon. At that time the only rock band he knew was Creedence Clearwater Revival and when his ma put me on bass and I tried to learn those tunes, for the life of me I couldn't hear what was going on. So I thought if I wore John Fogerty's shirts he would still like me. So there's a deep connection -- we're talking like when I was thirteen, I'll be 55 this December -- with these kind of shirts and me. A flannel always makes me think of me and D. Boon together, that makes me smile most big time."
Currently on a US tour with The Stooges, Watt said, "I have been wearing my Altamont flannel every gig on this tour." To get your hands on the flannel that's bringing out all the aforementioned good vibes head to altamontapparel.com.