I had to think for a minute whether this should go on BubbasMonkey.com or HeavyJohnsonTrio.com. This night, September 28th, 1999 at the Crystal Ballroom, has historical significance for me personally as well as the HJ3 guys, but I figure since they're the ones who hooked me up with this second opportunity, it should go on their site. What is this opportunity I speak of, you ask? Well, it all started nearly ten years ago in Knoxville, Tennessee. I was interviewing George Hurley for the first issue of my zine, Skin Flute. Mike Watt was asleep at the time, but after the show I spotted him coming back into the club through the front door. I yelled out his name as I reached into my coat pocket. The look on his face was like he thought I had a gun or something, but when he saw it was a cigar his face lit up like a freakin' Xmas tree. See, I had bought them that day because I'd read that he likes 'em a lot, as do I. He was so pleased he started speaking in Spanish. I didn't know what the hell he was saying, but I had my photographer Amy take a few shots of me lighting his cigar. Days later she gave me the bad news that she had already run out of film when she took those photos (old style camera, I guess). So that was the first opportunity which slipped away from me.   Last year at Berbati's, I was hoping to have a second opportunity, but it didn't quite work out because I never had a chance to talk with him mano y mano. However, I did hand him a cigar at the end of the show, which also happened to be their last show of the tour, and he lit it with my lighter, hoisted it up and bellowed to the crowd, "Tour's over!"

Anyways, fast forward to 1999, with an excellent lineup opening for Mr. Watt and crew, including the Heavy Johnson Trio, Sunset Valley, and The Drones. After the show, Mike was outside packing up the van. It was magic just to watch that. You could tell he's been doing this for years. Once again, I brought ceegars, this time a fancy box o' ten (Joya De Nicaragua ... I highly recommend 'em). I gave two to Mike and asked if he remembered the Berbati's show. He did, no surprise, but I was amazed when he remembered Knoxville. I knew he wasn't bullshitting me either because he said the name of the club, "The Planet" (actually the Planet Earth, but close enough). So I told him my sad tale and mentioned how I'd brought my camera and wondered if I could try it again. And the rest is history ...

Photos At Last


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