Why I practice and actors rehearse (Mike Watt)



by Mike Watt (march, 1995)

When I’m either alone or together with my people going through the tunes I call it practice and not rehearsal. Actors rehearse. I practice the songs. I do not play the role of bass player – I am the bass player! I do not have to rehearse my role as bass player but rather I have to practice the tunes for the upcoming gig. I actually have to pluck the bridge cables the bass uses for string and not perform mime. Practice is not rehearsal. The semantics here are important. The wages of this lazy thinking lead me to the defense of my craft.

By lazy thinking I’m talking about riding with the cliché, cooking up the angle, tying in the bllshit, anteing up the bonus-hype – trying to sell something for what it ain’t, in simple words. They got jerks saying “got to go rehearse” so they can somehow see themselves as players in the great rock dream and not as operators of god’s engines, learning the way they work. Engines make sound, be it bass, throat, stomp, jug… whatever! Can you picture this at the practice pad: “ok, let’s play this song and Thurston, when I wink – you do a ‘townshend’ and jump in the air”. Sounds are created and dealt with not that “lights, camera, action!” shit. I mean that’s fine for pictures and theatre but we’re talking about wailing out fucking music! Gigs are spontaneous when genuine, everyone can agree to this, can’t they? Practice for the gig but don’t give in and try to rehearse it – let the gods roll the fucking dice!

But the lazy thinkers have another agenda. They embody the pure spirit of the crap artist. They will try to talk you into salt after selling you canker sores. They won’t let you practice medicine and maybe heal them sores. No, they’d rather have you rehearse your role as christ and after buying their salt (cuz salt is hip this week), cake it up and rub it into your sores. Forget about if it feels right or natural because what you’re here for is to rehearse the great drama! You’re no longer free to practice for your gig.

Once they divorce you from your reality you have nothing left but the role they have for you, born of their lazy thinking, fresh from the cookie-cutter. People, defend yourself first with language. Don’t let them pigeon-hole you – reserve the right to define yourself! Practice playing music and don’t give in and try to rehearse it. Save that for the putzs who work for lazy thinkers! At least wonder about the implications.


2 Responses to “Why I practice and actors rehearse (Mike Watt)”

  1. 1 Kevin

    On a recent solo tour (three or four years ago), my friend Ted asked (via email) if he get up on stage and play a few songs on guitar with Watt during the Providence show. Watt said yes – I wish I could have been there for that.

  2. Damn. What’d they play?

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