Available for the first time commercially in any format, “Ring Spiel” Tour ’95 is a thrilling audio document of ‘the man in the van with a bass in his hands’ trailblazing 1995 solo tour, recorded at the legendary Metro club in Chicago, featuring an all-star backing band.
In February 1995, Columbia Records released ball-hog or tugboat?, the first solo release by Mike Watt, the influential punk rock bassist/musician whose bands - Minutemen and Firehose - helped define the sound and direction of rock. Also known as ‘The Wrestling Album,’ ball-hog or tugboat? features the punk pioneer’s collaborations with artistic peers and descendants, such as Henry Rollins, Flea, Thurston Moore, J Mascis, Adam Horovitz, Mike Diamond, Frank Black, Dave Pirner, Evan Dando, Nels Cline, Pat Smear, Dave Grohl and Eddie Vedder, among many other friends, ‘getting into the ring’ with Watt.
In March 1995, Columbia Records announced that Watt would be hitting the road for the first time as a solo artist. Members of opening bands Hovercraft and Foo Fighters - Vedder, Grohl, Smear and drummer William Goldsmith - joined headliner Watt on-stage as eager participants of the jaw-dropping back-up band heard on the “Ring Spiel” Tour ’95 album.
Watt’s relentlessly energetic set at The Metro on May 6, 1995 is an astonishing sonic time machine, catapulting the listener back to that historic gig, with Watt and his fired-up and raw back-up squad, the musical lineup constantly shifting between performances to accommodate the different feel and shape of each song.
“Ring Spiel” Tour ’95 is being released with the full authorization of all participating members, providing fans a fitting, thrilling testament of Watt’s enduring and continuing punk rock D.I.Y. musical imprint.