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We almost lost Mike Watt and didn’t even know it. This past January, beaten up by a doctor’s misdiagnosis, the best punk bassist of all time “spent 38 straight days in a fever, wasted away to 130 pounds and lost four pints of blood,” according to the Columbia Records media department. Soon he got a nasty infection “inside the perineum (the soft fleshy area of the groin)” which then exploded. The anchor for the Minutemen and fIREHOSE was rushed to L.A. County Hospital for emergency surgery, surgery that saved his life. Watt spent the next four months in bed. Now, thank god, he’s all patched up, has strapped his bass on, and has jumped in another Econoline for yet another tour. Think about it: If he hadn’t made it, what would we be missing? Watt has invented, fathered, and lived in his very own working-class, sweat-and-guts universe. It’s a universe where Bob Dylan, Joyce, Huck Finn, and Thurston Moore go bowling. Put on the Minutemen’s Double Nickles on the Dime or his last solo album, Contemplating the Engine Room, and you get arty punk worlds populated with words like “spiel” and “mersh” and allusions to Michael Jackson, Marx, and of course his beloved San Pedro, Calif. He’s still pushing the limits of his bass, his world. Go see Watt, watch him pop a bass string, tell him that you are glad he didn’t join D. Boon in heaven, and thank him. Just thank him. At TIME TK at the Black Cat, 1831 14th St. NW. PRICE TK. (202) 667-7960. (Jason Cherkis)