Wattamess Watson

A conversation between Andy & Josh about family, music, good eats, why the Beatles are overrated & maybe we’ll get to some tittays.  To Josh Watson’s dad, happy father’s day 2010. This is your son; a hard worker, great guitarist and fine performer.

By Andrew Whorehall & Josh Watson


 

I was approached by friend & musician, Daniel McMahon, to interview Mr. Josh Watson. The idea was propositioned by Dan after Josh and he had traded off nasty guitar licks at an after hours party that the future local chain restaurant, Brio (Abreo), was throwing for people who love Rockford-Flavored-After-Hours Potato-Martini-Tasting–Contests.

(I was not there nor do I ‘do’ Rockford for entertainment and pleasure and cannot verify who may have won the contest. I do know that the winner took home the empty Potato Martini glass and neither Dan or Josh won.) Point being, these two guys are two of the finest guitarists & musicians the midwest has to offer. Both possessing a large luggage of performance skills, experience, youth, character and deceptive punk rock attitude. However I don’t know Josh outside of seeing him in 4-5 different bands the past decade and walked into this blind.

WATT I know: He loves cover bands and rightfully so; they’re bread butter winners around these forgotten zips and pay for extra meals, bills, pizzas, burritos, fried rice and guitars. He also loves fucking with the Internet, particularly with his stalkers and after-2am drunk friends on Facebook.His character speaks loud and to the point whether you like it or not. Every time I physically run into to him (not on the internet) he looks me square in the face and says, “Gimme Nickleback, gimme fake tits, brah,” while raising his index and pinky fingers, the other fingers folded and walking away.  It looks like this, imagine this is someone else’s hand in your face:

\m/

Josh lives rock n roll, so much so that he scares me  sometimes. I firmly believe he goes to the places in his mind that few I know go to.  Most musicians and artists have to whether we enjoy it or not. Mainly to survive being surrounded by so many goddamned amateurs in an amateur infested country; and there is a city full of goddamned amateurs where Mr. Watson and I are from– Rockford, IL. I hope he finds his own exile on main street, heads north across the Illinois-Wisconsin border before deciding where his talents will best be respected.

Two horses talking amongst thousands of ponies, read below and meet Josh Watson.


 

On Tue, 6/8/10, Mr. Andrew Whorehall wrote:

From: Andrew Whorehall
Subject: Wattamess Watson: 21 Loaded Questions for Josh Watson.
To: imjoshwatson@yahoo.com
Date: Tuesday, June 8, 2010, 7:58 PM

Joshua,
it’s a pleasure, you’re the first local musician interview/conversation I’ve been asked to partake in.  Let me put it to you like this;  You’re my virgin, I am your car, whatever happens here will not stay here, I will tell everyone about it. The good and bad. Anything you say in return will not be edited to cover up the truth. Use your words wisely- especially if you just got dumped or drunk.  (Yes, the rules do not apply to me. Anything I say will be edited.) With that being said, I will correct some of your written grammar if needed without changing your voice, slang, acronyms and your spirit.  Let it rip, Josh, here we go.

Andrew Whorehall {AW}: I’ve seen you play in many bands and you always stick out.  Be it on the guitar, the mic or casually prowling behind and in front of others- tell me a bit about your background:  Where you grew up, your parents influence, did they push you or stray you from music?  Did you ever tell them something you regret but never had a chance to apologize for?  This is the place, tell me and I’ll share it with everyone so we forgive you for them publicly. Pretend I am Internet Jesus forgiving your sins for Internet’s mankind.

Joshua Watson {Josh}: I grew up on the west side of Rockford, IL and I still live on the west side today. As long as I live in this town I’ll never leave the west side. I did live in Princeton, IL for one year of my life in 1987.  My dad took a job down there and I f*cking hated it. I was so glad to come back to my friends here.  I wouldn’t say my parents pushed music on me. They bought me a sh*itty little muppets drumset when I was 2. Then the following 2 years they upgraded me to something better each Christmas.  So, yeah, I started out as a drummer.  Actually, I didn’t even start playing guitar til I was about 9 and it happened to be that year I lived in Princeton so I guess something good came from living in that town for a year.

Naw, I’ve never told my parents anything I’ve regretted. My parents are amazing.

AW: Funny how the Muppets marked your musical life. It marked mine as well; they released one of the finest records. This is loaded, one thing I’ve noticed from a distance is that you have a great work ethic. Many people around these sh*tty zip codes assume you party hard all the time, a man about town— you don’t fool me though. You work hard.  How many jobs are you currently holding down and are you finding it a bit more difficult to balance all the responsibilities that it takes to pay bills and commit to playing in so many bands?

Josh: I don’t party all the time.  I know that’s difficult to believe. I save that for Friday and Saturday.  I may, once in a while, do a bottle of wine or a 6 pack of Bud Heavys after UPS one night, but not so often. The 2 jobs I work are actually fairly easy.  Guzzardo’s I love. Its great to sit around and talk about music and gear with people all day. UPS on the other hand, it’s run its course.  The pay and free benefits are a bonus though.  There is just so much bullsh*t you hafta deal with there.  I actually play in all these bands to help with the bills and drinking money.  My work schedule is Sunday thru Thursday so I never have a difficult time playing a gig— unless of course Stu Johnson decides the Sons of Many Bitches (the country-punk rock alter-ego of veteran midwesterners, The Pimps) needs to do a Wednesday night at Krypto.

AW: Jobs with benefits are rarities around here, at least you know that’s why you’re still doing it.  It’s a hard trade off for artists, man, I get  it. Your time for benefits, and how much is our time really worth when it affects other positive, creative skills to offer if given the right time and opportunities to create music for a living?  I believe it’s all about demographics, Josh, we’ll come back to that later.  Movin on- how many of your Facebook friends are really your friends? Do you ever feel the need to delete them for kicks?  What are your thoughts on using a scrabble bag of letters to randomly delete people from your facebook profile?

Josh: I can actually say a lot of them are my friends. I can’t give you a specific number. There are many people on my friends list I have lotsa love for. I never delete people. I usually will just hide them, but the scrabble thing is kinda a good idea so maybe I’ll start deleting some folks just to try it.

AW: You should, I do it all the time to fuck with the grid, but mainly for creative purposes. Got a few projects in motion and one is all about stealing other peoples stupid fucking internet posts to turn into stupid internet stories that will become published material at some point.  I’m sure it’ll make me a handful of enemies where my intents are misunderstood, but that’s my creative right to exercise and play with. It’s good to remind everyone we know that social media outlets like Facebook means nothing outside of being a deceptive marketing tool that invades everyones privacy. The internet is just one big free advertising orgy where the fucking idiots gather to share their family photos, birthdates, names, email addresses and bragging rights about something amazing they made for dinner for the machine to steal, sell, archive, resell and abuse. No one realizes what you lose when you agree to Terms and Conditions.  I do like the way you abuse Facebook. Again, onward:   Do you ever feel the urge to quit playing music altogether? Moments of frustration, etc.? Some musicians say it hits when they show up 3 hours away for a gig and 4 people are there. Then it happens again and again, and the frustration grows.  How do you, as a musician and a tax-paying American, balance the dream job and reality of day to day work and life?

Josh: I’ll never stop playing music, it’s the one thing I’m some what good at. It’s my life.  Even now that I’m in cover bands, I’m not ruling out never doing an original thing again. I think the Sons should start writing more and doing more of our own material. I would love to write with Stu and Tony. I would love to quit my jobs and do the damn thing.  I could.  I don’t really have any bills, a wife or kids.  If someone had the life to make the dream into a reality it would be me.  It’s just a lot easier said than done. The only moments of frustration I’ve had playing was when i was in an original band and the above things you mention would happen more often than not.  It gets old.  Also, when you have band members whose hearts aren’t into it as much as yours. That’s also frustrating.

AW: Wives and babies change everything, Josh.  I just don’t see the benefit of having children in these tough times, especially because of our regional demographics. Not until it’s legal to sell the first baby at least, buy a trip out of town to a better town to start a family. Have you ever considered being a scientist or mayor of Rockford? Do you feel the latter is a bit more achievable than the former job career I mentioned if you stay in Rockford, IL?

Josh: When I’m drunk I like to believe I’m a scientist. I would like to run for mayor, but people would just think I was trying to rip Jesus (Correa) off.  So, I’ll probably never run.  Maybe Alderman or County Board though.  My grandparents have been on both of those. “My Grandma is on the County Board!” is another one of my favorite quotes.  If I ever do run for county board I’d run on the promise that I’d change this ‘city’s strip club law.’ Really? I gotta drive 45 minutes to see some g*d damn titties?  That’s bullsh*t!  My Grandma is on the board right now. I tell her all the time to do something about it.  Don’t think she’s gonna make it work for me.

AW: One of the most ridiculous problems holding back our local economy is the fact we, as law abiding hard working citizens, have to drive so far to see some beautiful tittays.  Where are the ladies going to see some horse cocks these days? It makes no sense. Only in Rockford, IL.  Is there anywhere else in this world you want to play music and possibly feel less stress about making a living or having to drive farther to see what man & woman has earned the right to enjoy?

Josh: Austin, or in the Dallas area.There’s a station down there called the Range outta Fort Worth. Great station all Americana type music. The guitar players all wanna be Keith and Ronnie.  I’d love it.  They play all a bunch of local cats and the station is all about them.

AW: Ahhhh, Ronnies. They (Stones) stole him from Rod and Ian– one of my favorite band, The Faces.  You know they had 2 great Ronnies?  Ronnie Wood and Ronnie Lane.  Check out Rod’s Never a Dull Moment. His finest post-Faces work, because of Ronnie Wood. He co-wrote and played on many of those great British, folk-rock tunes.  Do you have any pets? A gold fish, dog, anything?  If you have a cat, skip the details, I don’t want to talk about cats. If no pets, why not?

Josh: I hate cats. I think cats are only good for punting.  It’s probably because I tormented my Aunt’s cat as a child.  ‘Sugar’ was the cats name.  That thing fucking hated me.  I have a dog named ‘Otto.’  He’s one of my heros. He’s a husky/shepherd mix.  That f*cker has got it made, too.

AW: Man, all dogs have it made. I believe dogs are more honorable than humans. Have you ever asked fellow musicians for girl advice? Do you find their opinions to be bloated and hedonistic?  Since we’re on the subject, what do you think of squirrels and chefs?

Josh: One of my best friends of 25 years is a musician, so of course I’ve asked him for advice.  His opinions are NOT too bloated or hedionstic, there are plenty of musicians opinions whose are though— prolly including myself, ha. Squirrels are just rats with a bushy tails. Have you’ve ever been to Canada?  The Squirrels are black up there. I love chefs. I’m fat, I love food.

AW: No, I’ve never been to Canada, I’m afraid I’ll love it.  I need to be somewhere I loathe to create. You’ve perfected the art of playin’ in a cover band, the Stones, the Crowes coming up, have you ever considered your own band? I ask because you’re too good of a performer and guitarist to continue playing in bands with local indie has-been veteran rockers— like Mark Muraski of Golden Rocket and Stu Johnson of Sarkoma. ; )

Josh: I’ve been writing my own stuff since 5th grade, I still do.  I was in an original band with the same guys for many years. We eventually became the Buddha Nuggs then the Van Dammits.  We recorded 2 cd’s and played a lot shows. It was fun but a lot of hard work.  Even more hard work when only half the band is really into it.  I’d love to do an original thing again, if I can find the right guys.  Actually, Stu and Mark would probably be 2 guys I wouldn’t mind being involved in an original project with. Mark’s new project, “Mister Meerasake & The Macaques” is sounding great.  I’d shred G-D-C chords all over that fucker’s face if he asks me to.

AW: Stu & Mark are great musicians with much to learn from if that’s your thing. It’s too bad about The Van Dammits, Josh, good band.  Seems like a lotta good bands split when the work starts to pay off a  bit and larger opening slots get booked, etc. I’ve never understood it from my perspective around these parts.  It’s as if we all want to secretly quit at everything that starts to go good to prove some sort of self-destructive point because at the end of the day when the work is done, we’re still living in Rockford, IL. I’m under the assumption you’ve played with everyone.  Anyone locally you want to play in a band with you haven’t had a chance to yet? (NOTE:  You can’t say Cheap Trick. I will not allow it because Geo Braun, journalist, from the Rockford Register Star has that band covered quite well.  As if they need more  press while younger local artists swim in shit local press.)

Josh: Man I have played with a lot great musicians in this town. I haven’t really thought about it.  I’d really like to play with Steve Van Horn. He’s the man on Drums. We always talk about it when I’m drunk, but it hasn’t happened yet.

AW: Steve’s a name I keep hearing in different circles as well. A great drummer who hides that fact- thanks for blowing his cover. You ‘own’ many things.  On your Facebook page you state, “I pretty much own the tri-state area and your face.” Have you ever wanted to own a sitar? Prove me wrong, seems like a pretty pointless instrument. Right? Bored rock snobs and dare to be different pop stars use it, would you agree? The Beatles were praised for using it. George Harrison’s middle eastern flavors tried to ruin late 60s rock n’ roll– wouldn’t you say?  Is this why you prefer the Stones over the Beatles?

Josh: I haven’t owned a sitar.  I wouldn’t say it’s a pointless instrument. We actually used to have an electric one at Guzzardo’s that I was gonna use to record a part on a Van Dammit’s song. It would have fit perfectly. It never happened though. I couldn’t tell you what the first song the Beatles used a sitar on but Brian Jones played one on “Paint It Black” and that came out in ’66.  I prefer the Stones to the Beatles because I love my rock n roll loud, live, sloppy, sexy, dirty, in your face, 3 chords, guitar weaving, driven— and the fab four just don’t do that for me. Great songwriters, musicians, huge influence.  However, they’re not my cup of tea.

AW: Not my cup of tea either. Too many songs about love and loving and feeling the love and needing the love. A songwriting formula cop out for these ears. People aren’t that loving, they’re possessive. The human race has been destroying everything about being alive on planet earth since the apes evolved into humans. Evolving and loving are basically the same fucked up possessive word, give or take a letter. Whatever. Speaking of classic rock gods and performing. As a child, did you ever say out loud to your parents about the other kids your age, “F*ck their He-Man dolls, I wanna shred some faces off brah”?

Josh: No way man. I loved He-Man, GI Joes, Lego’s, Hot Wheels.  Actually when I was that young I was all about baseball. I thought for sure one day I was going to play for the Cubs.

AW: Thank god you never played for them! Lovably losing is not cool. The Cubs are the picture perfect example of an American business model that takes from the poor to feed the rich.Do you consider Oasis a classic rock band or not?  What are your thoughts on the brothers Gallgher? Choose your words wisely, they did tour with the Robinson brothers (Black Crowes) which I hear you consider the inheritors to the Stones’ mantle.

Josh: I like Oasis especially their first 2 albums. I saw them opening night at the then Rosemont Horizon right after ‘Whats the Story’ came out.  Noel was singing.  They wrote some good catchy tunes.  The Gallagher Bros are a bunch of wankers though. A Bunch of f*cking sods.  I did catch them on the ‘Brotherly Love’ tour too with the Crowes with Liam singing, I thought they sounded much better. I consider Guns n Roses inheritors of the Stones mantle too. I’m talking Appetite GnR. To too bad Axl is such a stupid f*ck face. They probably coulda went on to do great things.

AW: Isn’t Champagne Supernova the ultimate show closer for any cover band though?  Would you ever name a band or your child, Champagne Supernova?  Please offer us some baby names to consider because many people in Rockford love making babies- do you?

Josh: If and when I ever have babies they will be named:
Trays On, Shots On and of course Drinks O
n.

AW: Triplets?! Loads! On your facebook info page you state you are a “Conservative” but you’ve also been caught many times saying, “Sit on My Face,” and “I own this God Damn town.” Many conservatives may not like your statements or abilities to ride the fence. How do you feel about Al Gore winning the popular election in 2000, and then getting robbed by the conservative movement with help from our own Supreme Court?  Don’t you think that the years of 2000-2008 may have been a bit different without CONservatives in office?

Josh: I actually voted for Gore. I’m a moderate conservative. More fiscal conservative. I don’t give a flying f*ck what hardcore right-wingers think. Same goes for the far left.  I tend to lean right.  Everyone I know is more liberal.  Used to make for some fun drunk debates.  Who knows if those 8 years woulda been different. Probably not.  Gore’s a f*cking douchebag.  All politicians are. I bet his wife left him because he lost though. Poor chap.  There’s something else the left can blame Bush about— haha, Gore’s marriage ending! I’ve lost interest in politics.  All they care about is money and getting re-elected.  F*ck em. I used to watch the cable news shows and get all fired up.  Now I just watch ESPN and Billy the Exterminator on A & E.

AW: Caring for American politics has become trivial. I realized, like many, that my voting rights don’t matter with a national election. Locally is different.  We can still make a difference here, but people are so fucking lazy, proud and complacent that 70-80% of our county’s registered voters don’t show up to vote.  Fucking know it all hillbillies and thieves.  Rockford’s a great town to be a corrupt, white collar criminal because the people are so fucking stupid and strangely proud about it all– if that’s your thing.  After Gore was instructed to give up the argument, I adopted the notion that the wrestling sport I enjoyed as a child was just as real as politics and national elections. OK, now that we’ve given more data for the FBI to store in our personal file folder, let’s share more useless data with the privacy invader pigs to store.  Saturday at 5:57am on Facebook you said:   “actually.. I dont even GIVE a F*CK!!!! I need to hang out on the east side! Im wasting my f*cking time” I occasionally go to Buffalo Wild Wings to escape my side of town or to the always amazing Old Chicago for Italian Nachos. It’s so different than, say, hanging out with potato martini eating hot chicks in UGGs who can’t read or do basic math at Abreo, correct?  What’s your favorite local eats?  Which nationality makes the best food for Josh?  Please explain where you were wasting your time as well.

Josh: Haha thats just another great I’m feeling sorry for myself moment. I felt down on my luck because I was unable find any random chick to take home and spoon. It happens sometimes. I meant the east side, just to try and find some new chicks to hang out with. In the words of Keith Richards, “Sometimes you just need to change the backdrop! It might be easier over there.” Haha, Chens is the jam man. I haven’t eaten there in a while. Lung Fung is amazing, too– haven’t tried the smoothie, though.  Asian cuisine is hands down my favorite for good eats even tho i’ll just about eat anything you put in front of me. Except fish, unless of course it’s between a chick’s legs. Soap is an option, Ladies.

AW: Speaking of chicks and fish stick sandwiches. Where are the sexiest, cleanest waitresses and bartenders with no personalities to meet if you’re a stranger passing through the Rock River Valley?

Josh: Who gives a shit about personality? Show yo fawkin tittays!

AW: Where are the nicest, maybe not so pretty ones with great personalities and good conversations? Nevermind, no one cares.  On June 3rd at 10:17pm you said, “Hmm, I dunno what it is but in the past few weeks I’ve seen more hot moms at Guzzardos than the whole past 7 years Ive worked there.. word must be out that I know Ryan Moore.”  Who is Ryan Moore and why should every man know this man to know hot moms? Have you ever tried Target? They have hot moms there, too.

Josh: Ryan Moore is one of my best friends who prefers cougars. He’s on the prowl for cougars— anywhere.

AW: Ryan sounds like a hero. Ok Josh, I’ve steered us off track. I knew you were gonna be good game for this, but I’m gonna get serious for the last two questions since we’ve probably weeded out our invasive opponents at this point in the article. Your dad is a major inspiration: On May 29th at 2:29am you said on Facebook, “theres nothing better than drinking beer and listening to the stones at 2 am than with my old man.. greatest f*cking times ever!!” You do know how lucky you are, correct?  Not many of us men get to drink a beer and listen to the Stones til 2am with dad- that’s a pretty rare feat and I want to talk about your dad a bit being that Father’s Day is approaching. It seems he may have the greatest influence on you as a musician?  Yes?  No?  You guys ever punch each other in the arm for kicks? Seems like he’s a cool dad. How did he approach you about the birds and the bees as a kid?

Josh: Yeah man I’ve been dealt a great hand in life.  Great family, friends. Lotsa luck.  My pops is a big influence on me.  He plays guitar.  He taught me some of the basic things for playing guitar and I just kinda went from there.  He’s a huge Stones fan also.  Thats where I get it.  I’ll put money on it that there isn’t another Father/Son duo that has seen the Stones 40 times together across the Country. Matter of fact he drunk dialed me lastnite, he was watching some Stones on blu-ray and was like, Man next time you come down here we’re gonna put this motherf*cker on!  Keith is on fire!  He gave me Exile On Main Street on casette for Christmas in 1987 every since then I’ve played guitar. I knew right then and there, ok I’m a guitar player now.  I don’t think we’ve ever punched eachother in the arm, ha. F*ck, I think all he ever told me was to ‘wrap it up.’  We never really sat down and had the talk.

AW:  Alright, Josh, name off 10 songs you can’t live without for one reason or another. Then, name off 10 songs you play with all of your bands that you can’t wait to play again and again. Also, if you’d like to ask me a question, your turn. Do it here and I’ll give ya what I got to conclude this piece.

Josh: Well you know the Stones have recorded over 400 songs so this might be hard to narrow down:
Wild Horses
Tumblin’ Dice
Beast Of Burden
Gimme Shelter
Jumpin’ Jack Flash
Memory Motel
Before They Make Me Run
Love In Vain
Moonlight Mile
Far Away Eyes — this will change tomorrow I’m sure

AW: Man, I love, love, love Far Away Eyes the finest Stones moment for me.  The Handsome Family (Brett and Rennie Sparks) do an amazing cover of it, sidenote.

Josh: I love to play these songs:
Jumpin’ Jack Flash
Midnight Rambler
Wild Horses
Good Hearted Woman
Amos Moses
Sometimes Salvation
Thorn In My Pride
Descending
; and if the Van Dammits ever do a reunion show: Titties N Fiddies and No Shame
And now for you Mr. Whorehall:  Would you agree that “gimme Nickleback, gimme fake tits” is the greatest line that your other moniker, Silent Kit, has ever written?

AW:  It’s a creatively handicapped line. I’ve written better. It’s no different than the band it mocks, Nickelback, or the fake fun bags it pokes at and the people that support these plastic American ‘things.’  Americans love sh*tty music and orange skinned women with fake tits. That’s fine, everyone is different. However, Nickleback and fake tits are not good things for people to consume too much of. They’re poisonous cultural influences that has infected millions of fucking amateurs.  Why is that a problem?  Amateurs are breeding amateurs– see the problem? human entropy in effect. The song you’re implying, “I.M. a’Merica,” Stu Johnson and the Pimps found something punk in it to cover on their recent record that I knew was there in sprit, but could never execute with my Silent Kit outlet. The original studio demo version of the song was recorded with Zach Staas during a two day, 8 song, bender at the sadly short-lived Fuse Recording Studio, owned by Miles Nielsen and Mark Muraski, on Charles St. (former Lundgren’s Camera Shop). That was a magical recording space for a few years. “I.M. a’mercia” was a bit more folk-hootenanny-political in nature with many references to Georgie Jr. and oil fields, not fake tits and Nickleback.  Stu and I rewrote half of the new version of the song via text messaging. He needed it to be more sexist, a’Merican, rather than it being too political for The Pimps to do.  A smart move for his record and overall entertainment value. Will either version be listened to 100 years from now?  Maybe, maybe not.  No one in our dirty, corrupt, Cheap Trick lovin’, slutty, proud douchebag city gives a fuck about what I creative do or what anyone else does anyway. Whatever.  WATTEVER. Watt a mess, indeed.

You have a drink or a slice of pizza on me the next time we run into each other. Thanks for doing this, Josh.

Pet those puppies and safe travels,

AW

__________________________________________________________

Originally Published by Sock Monkey Sound  |  All Rights Reserved  |  © 2010 andywhorehall.com & Josh Watson

Wattamess WatsonAndy Whorehall
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3 comments on "Wattamess Watson"

  1. Steve Lindsay on

    Nice work boys. Laughed my ass off!

  2. All the kudos go to Mr. Andy Whorehall and that slacker DeCastris.

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