Formed: 1986 in San Pedro, Calif.
Sounds like: A streamlined, corn-fed offshoot of the Minutemen’s working-class punk funk.
For fans of: Minutemen (duh), Camper Van Beethoven, Violent Femmes, early ’90s alt-rock.
Latest release: Low Flows: The Columbia Years (1991-1994), a survey of the band’s major-label years, timed to coincide with its first shows in almost two decades.
Why you care: The story of Firehose could be titled “How Mike Watt Got His Groove Back.” Known today as the hardest-working man in punk, by 1986, Watt was ready to call it quits. A van accident the year before took the life of his best friend, D. Boon, and brought a premature end to blue-collar legends the Minutemen, and in his grief, the bassist considered retiring from music altogether. Superfan Ed Crawford, however, wouldn’t let that happen. A student at Ohio State University, he drove out to California and more or less forced Watt and drummer George Hurley to start a new band. Although it inherited one of indie rock’s most distinctive rhythm sections, Firehose forged its own legacy over the course of eight years, with Crawford bringing a Midwestern folksiness to Watt and Hurley’s free-punk mélange. More important than any of its records, though, the band convinced Watt to get back on the road, where he’s stayed ever since. If nothing else, this reunion offers a chance to salute the group that saved punk’s truest believer from a life working the docks. It deserves a reappraisal for that alone.