Leon casino, Dos (San Pedro, California)
Kira + Mike Watt
May 17th, 2014
800 AURORA STREET
Houston, Texas 77009
Kira: Electric Bass, Vocals
Mike Watt: Electric Bass, Vocals
“Punk rock is whatever we made it to be.” – D. Boone
What musical project epitomizes this ethos more than Dos? The highly unique and very personal music of two bass guitars and vocals has its roots in two of the most important bands of Southern Californian punk’s golden era.
Black Flag’s most experimental, most musically diverse, and most prolific period occurred during the tenure of bassist Kira. Kira’s solid lines, reliable time, and connected tones provided a key rhythmic foundation for the band’s jazz-influenced explorations and increasingly groove-oriented material. The only woman to have ever played in the band (and a rare female presence in the male-dominated hardcore punk scene), Kira’s strong musical training was critical to Black Flag’s evolving direction. Dedicated to music as much as she ever has been, Kira’s departure from Black Flag signaled a shift away from public performance. Since that time, she has become a sound editor for films and television. She has won two Emmy awards for this work, including a 2011 Emmy for Game of Thrones.
It could be argued that Mike Watt did nothing short of redefining the role of the bass in rock music. Not since John Entwistle, had the bass come forward as such a driving, virtuosic, melodic, and foregrounded instrument. As a founding member of the Minutemen and fIREHOSE (and many other projects), Watt helped construct tightly powerful and precisely perfected compositions that manically united influences of classic rock, post-punk, jazz, funk, free-associative poetry, and radical politics. The All Music Guide to Rock calls Watt “The living embodiment of the punk rock spirit.” His intensity, humility, individuality, work ethic, and total commitment attest to that. Watt says that in his youth “Bass is where you put the lame guy.” His total reinvention of that instrument’s role may be the most potent evidence as to the spirit of his punk rock, which is truly and creatively “whatever we made it to be”.
Possibly the two best bass players in the history of punk rock came together as Dos in 1985. The completely idiosyncratic project has managed to remain active almost 30 years later. But Dos is no punk rock revival project. It’s a band that evolves with new material. While the earlier releases included quirky instrumental duets (written as background music for Kira’s nephew’s bedtime stories and including kernels of future fIREHOSE numbers), later releases expanded the repertoire to include more songs and an interesting range of covers by great woman singers (Billie Holiday, Selena, Patsy Cline).
Girls Rock Camp Houston and Nameless Sound have united to bring this special duo to Houston for a rare and intimate performance at 14 Pews. Sharing a commitment to youth, creativity and the importance of an artists’ control of their own work, the two organizations will also present Watt and Kira in workshops to youth in Houston. They will share their passion, their expertise, their music, and their commitment to the DIY ethos with young girls of the Girls Rock Camp and guitar students at Milby High School.