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Baker's Dozen

"The Spirit": Mike Watt Of The Missingmen's Favourite Albums
John Calvert , March 6th, 2014 10:13

Currently in the middle of a European tour, the Minutemen, Dos and Firehose founder pares down his record collection to give John Calvert his thirteen all-time top LPs


John Coltrane - A Love Supreme
I was introduced to Coltrane through Raymond Pettibon [artist and brother of Black Flag's Gregg Ginn]. I met Pettibon in February '79 - he lived about 16 miles south of Pedro in this surfer town called Hermosa Beach. He's my best friend. He's been a beautiful man in my life, especially around the time I lost D. Boon. Pettibon taught me about Dada: he was the one who came up with the "four towels" [the Black Flag logo] - that's what we called it. I don't get to see him anymore, though, 'cause he lives in New York. 

 So Pettibon turns me onto jazz, and I had never heard jazz before, so again like with Beefheart and Stooges, I thought Coltrane was just punk; I didn't know he'd been dead for ten years! I was so fucking ignorant back then. One of the things Pettibon taught me was that punk was always there, in one form or another: it's just different shifts; it changes shape. As somebody once said: "The only thing new is you… finding out about it". So then Pettibon starts fuckin' bringing me to gigs! And I get to see like, Elvin Jones, Ray Brown and Billy Higgins, and also trippers like Blind Al Hibbler, or "Little" Jimmy Scott! I mean there's 20 people at the gig, so you're sittin' at this table and the guy's giving you fuckin' eye contact! 

So jazz is so important for me. Not musically so much, more ethically. I mean, if you read some of Coltrane's interviews... so many things he said about music I totally believe in. Like, he once said, "All musicians are looking for some kind of truth."

There's one interview where the journalist asks what Coltrane listens to when he's playing his solos, in his head. And he answers: "The bass". I was like YEAAAAH… it's not just the idiot friend! 

But, yeah, there was a lot of trippy things about Coltrane. Even his eyes tripped me out. What we say in America is that, "he walked the walk". Remember that composition he wrote about quitting heroin? Well, this was around the time when everyone thought you had to be fucked up like Charlie Parker, but Coltrane knew that if he quit heroin he could be even better. And what Meltzer told me -how'd he put it - "Coltrane kicked heroin out of the temple".

And also, Coltrane was a sailor too. His first recording was when he was in the Navy in Hawaii.