Feeling Good / Sometimes I’m Happy is a single from Li’l Pit, a one-off side project started by Mike Watt while he was experimenting with a stand-up bass. After getting comfortable with the instrument, Watt got together with some friends, including Jane’s Addiction and Porno For Pyros drummer Stephen Perkins, and cranked out the two songs that make up this single. Released in August of 1997 by Kill Rock Stars, this two-track vinyl single is the only release from this side project, although the band did perform a handful of live shows together. The two songs on this single are cover songs.
The single was recorded and mixed in April of 1997 at Crazybird Studio in Montebello, CA
The following article about Li’l Pit from Addicted To Noise:
Mike Watt, Stephen Perkins Jump Into Li’l Pit
Ex-Minutemen bassist joins Porno for Pyros drummer and little known singer in jazzy side project.
Addicted To Noise Staff Writer Chris Nelson reports : When Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley wrote the lyric “It’s a new dawn / It’s a new life for me,” for their 1965 musical The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd, little did they know how pertinent the lines would be 30 years on for a veteran punk, a rocker on a “relapse” and an unknown vocalist.
The words could hardly be more fitting however, for Li’l Pit, the four-piece jazz combo comprised of bassist Mike Watt (Minutemen, fIREHOSE), Stephen Perkins (Jane’s Addiction, Porno For Pyros), singer Thalia Ferreira, along with clarinet player Leo Chelyapov. The group has just released Bricusse & Newley’s “Feeling Good” (RealAudio excerpt) backed with the jazz standard “Sometimes I’m Happy” as their first single for the Kill Rock Stars label.
The record marks not only something of a “new life” for Watt, who plays upright bass for the first time on record, but also for Ferreira, who’d never recorded at all before she found herself in the studio with members of the Minutemen and Jane’s Addiction.
The pair met two years ago in their hometown of San Pedro, Calif. when Watt saw Ferreira singing with her band Linus. After they became friends, the singer asked Watt if he wanted to work on “Feeling Good” and “Sometimes I’m Happy,” which she had first heard on the Alive album by jazz vocalist Carmen McCray.
“He mentioned that he was playing a stand-up bass now, and that would be great,” Ferreira, 25, said. “All I was expecting was just to do them, not really have a single.”
The 39-year-old Watt, never one to turn down a new musical challenge, jumped on the idea. “It was her idea to do the songs,” said Watt, who also releases his second solo album Contemplating the Engine Room this month. “I listened to them, and said, ‘Whoa!,’ these arrangements are pretty sparsed out. It’d be neat to play string bass to them and do something way different.” Before long, Watt had brought Perkins — the two played together when Watt went on the road as Porno For Pyro’s bassist last year, as well as in the experimental band Banyan — and Chelyapov (a Russian-born clarinetist who’d also played with Porno) into the Li’l Pit fold.
Recorded during a single evening in April, the seven-inch features four players creating a sound that is far from what is typically associated with the higher-profile members of the quartet. “I’d gotten that bass about two-and-half years ago and I wanted to learn it,” Watt said. “There’s nothing like recording — having the thing live forever — to inspire you to learn.”
Ferreira said Watt’s excitement for the project was contagious for someone just learning the ropes. “He was totally gung ho,” she said. “We would both practice together because I’m new at this and he’s new at it. I was really comfortable because we were both on equal levels. Watching him not knowing much to being as good as he got was really interesting. You know his style, how he bangs on the bass, gets really hard and rough — it was really cool to see him do that on the stand-up bass because I’ve never seen anyone play like that.”
For Perkins, at 30, now preparing to head out for a Jane’s Addiction reunion tour, the material was closer to his roots, but still a departure from his work with Jane’s and Porno. “I’m a great appreciator of the old jazz, swing era,” he said. “That was the first music I ever played to, Buddy Rich, Benny Goodman type stuff.”
Watt said he carried the name for the group around for five years, inspired by a scene in an L.A. club called the White Horse. The floor there had barely enough room for two people to mosh, he said, and the term “Li’l Pit” reminded him of the comic strip character Li’l Abner.
The bass player is hardly a stranger to musical side projects: He also plays in a Material Girl cover band called the Madonnabes as well as the dual bass group Dos, and Banyan. Nowadays, Watt said he’s looking for something more from his extracurricular work than simply another outlet for songs.
“It seems more and more when I do other bands, I want ’em to be a completely different little journey,” he said. “I’ll play bass, but I want it to be in different worlds. It’s like driving: it’s still rubber wheels on your car, but you’re going through the desert, now you’re going through the forest, now you’re going through the bayou, now you’re going through the beltway.” [Wed., Oct. 1, 1997, 9 a.m. PDT]
- Feeling Good
- Sometimes I’m Happy
Release Date: 08/1997
Released By: Kill Rock Stars
ID Number(s): KRS-284
Medium(s): 7″ Vinyl