mike watt + the missingmen
We're up about 8am this morning, not too much sleep last night. Even though we've been here in Equery for a few days trying to get use to the time shift, it's still been hard for me to get on a good sched, getting tired during the day, and wide awake at 4am The czech guys arrived about 6pm the night before we bail to start this tour. Great guys, got the chance to talk and get to know 'em over dinner. I was feeling tired after dinner, so i snuck away and tried to get some good rest. No dice, i hear tom and watt hangin out, so i get up to join 'em both downstairs... we all end up only gettin' a couple hours of sleep.
Most the gear is on the van, so after a quick breakfast, us missingmen and hyori throw in the few things we've brought, and head to the netherlands to get the 1st gig under our belt. Would like to thank Christine and Masai again for making us feel so welcome in their home. And actually, should thank give thanks to some other folks as well. First, my girl paloma, who gives me an endless amount of support w/ most anything i do, and her family as well. A few hours before we left to the airport, her cousin went and tracked down the fedex driver who was delivering my fake tooth to her aunt's dental office. As it was enroute, her aunt rosio, got me prepped, and took out the temporary, and her aunt nena glued it in...totally freakin awesome ladies, i owe them big time. Also dirk for pickin' up me and watt and gettin' us to LAX.
Grey skies on our way to utrecht, but once there we get some sun, but not much warmth to go w/ it. We're all using the gear the czech brought w/ them. Turns out the club has a drum kit in back though, so i decide to use that so our changeover will flow better, and the other band can stay set up behind us. Sometimes the house kits can be a little beat up, but this one is a pretty together mapex yellow sparkle kit, and same size drums as i play at home, so it's pretty comfortable. Sound check is quick, and once we're done, tom and i go on a walk around the neighborhood. We're back just in time to get the last of the chow, fresh indochina kinda meal w/ lots of fresh veggies, and some rice on the side. I'm also asked if i can be designated driver for the evening, which is no problem, never a bad thing to not drink too much. This will be my first time driving in europe though, but i'm into it! macario says we gotta do an early check-in at the place we're sleepin' so i take it the opportunity to use this as a chance to get used to the clutch in the van. Tom comes along, and is much help w/ eyes and also in the roundabouts. Not too far either, 8 miles or so.
pretty good turnout for the gig, and thankfully not too late either, it's rough waiting to play sometimes...my nerves will get to me. i spent the time stretching, and pounding water, i don't wanna cramp up or pull a muscle the first night out. Really live sound on stage, which i like sometimes. maybe because it gives more room for clams to go a little less unnoticed, i dont' if that's a wack reason or not, but i feel a little less exposed, and i thought we did pretty good, considering no prac in a week, and on borrowed equipment. Very nice folks at this gig, and while the czech guys are tearing down their gig, i talked w/ a local named Wim, really nice man who knew lots about music, especially punk rock from los angeles in the 80's also sst stuff, his favorite was husker du:
i tell him my first introduction to them was land speed record, which mike and d. put out on their label new alliance from san pedro. My first introduction to sst was the blasting concept album, it has some intense bands on it, and that's how i first heard the meat puppets, saccharine trust, black flag, and minutemen. I knew new alliance though, because one of my 1st was the descendents bonus fat that had the ride the wild e.p. along w/ the the other tunes... i loved that record, and know for a fact that it's where i got my surf style of drummin' from, i really liked stevenson's playing.
load-out tonight takes a little longer too, when we left equery, the bags were just thrown in on top of the equipment, so macario needs a little time to find the right way to load the gear in. czech guys all get pretty hammered, and it takes some time to get em' all together to get them into the van once we're loaded up. Jarda even got in the boat drinkin' a beer, i had to tell him not while i drive dude, not to be a lamer, but the last thing i need is to get pulled over w/ an open container in the van. Drive back to hotel is quick, and i'm way more confident since i already know how to get there. The tricky part once we're there, is not the reversing down the tiny driveway, it's getting the help of two hammered czech dudes..whew! Tom was the one who i was focused on, and he helped me big time, and saved us from almost getting the wheel stuck in a hole that was covered with an old piece of splintered up wood... so lucky it was able to take the weight for those few seconds, tom said he heard it start creaking, and it was almost about to give, we were so lucky with that one. Most of us are staying in the same room w/ bunk beds, i decide to stay on a bottom bunk, if i roll out, i'll be closer to the floor. The czech dudes are out instantly, tom and i both didn't drink at the gig, so we share a couple of beers i brought back from the gig. After a quick wind down, sleep comes real easy.
monday, 5pm: sitting in the new international terminal at LAX with mike and raul, i eat a turkey and cheese sandwich and make some last connections with friends and family on the phone. it's relatively quiet here right now. on the plane the boarding is complicated because i have to put my guitar in the overhead compartment but it all works out alright, and the seat between me and the guy in the window seat next to me is empty, which lifts both our spirits in anticipation of the long journey to come.
earlier i wrestled with my packing like i always do, i never get much enjoyment from the process but thanks to a smallish pelican case my bro will got for me it limits the options extremely and that helps me. i load my backpack with my most precious items for doing gigs, pedals etc... it's probably 40+ pounds and my guitar in its gig bag adds extra efforts whence loading into the plane. my mom and dad are the absolute best folks someone like me could ever hope for, they've always been completely behind me going off and doing what i want to do, play guitar, and i think my confidence has been a product of their confidence in me. my brother is also very supportive in another way, he keeps me on my toes, he can see through any lazy behaviors that i can tend to have, he calls me on things. he is extremely talented and entertaining and any conflicts between us are usually out of wanting more for each other, i think. also, before going away on tours, for the last ten years!!, Caroline has helped me not to freak out, just been there for me, all the time. so, that's my support group, pretty much...there are others that have been the closest friends to me, and helped me push along on this crazy path, whom i wont put names to, but that doesn't doesn't belittle their importance to me.
once we arrive to france we are shuttled to christine's living compound and settle into the comfortable accommodations for the next couple of days, before our first gig in utrecht on friday. i do my best to adjust to euro time but i nap on and off till dinner time. we have quiche and wine, fresh veggies and salads. then i hit the wall and i fall asleep at 8 only to wake up at 11:30 and sit with mike and raul till about 4 and go to sleep again. we wake for breakfast, socialize with the band "cheap wine" who are in residency here doing a recording. very nice dudes. it's an ideal place for that sort of thing, lots of space for everyone. the day drifts by and i get some sleep but wake a couple times through the night.
[days pass: things happen, food eaten]
on thursday we meet the czech guys, then macario comes and we hang together for one last night before tour truly begins.
our first gig is in utrecht, nederland, my first time to play here but not my first time here. i went to school to study electronic and tape music at a place called the instituut voor sonologie just after high school in 1980. it's great to see this city again and get to try to use my very limited dutch. i feel a bit burnt out when we arrive, just tired and maybe still some jet lag, but raul and i walk a little after soundcheck and sit to eat with the others when we return to the club. we watch the first act perform, a guy named craig who plays guitar and sings songs, old seed. i like it. the czech guys go on after and are a total trip on stage. musically and performance wise, almost surreal. a lot of information. i know i'll get it more as i hear it more. wild show. i drink as much water as much water as possible and stretch in the cramped room behind the stage. i'm sore but my energy stays up for our show. is goes pretty well. my string pops out of it's saddle a couple times but i adapt and fel alright by the end of the set. raul drives us to a b&b where we park and find a bunk bed with the others. raul and i sit up for 20 more mins whispering about the gig and ht the sack at 3.
actually the tour for us started on monday (april twentyseven) cuz that's when the plane took off from lax w/me and my missingmen on it, an air france 777 out of terminal b - first time being there after a major makeover... I remember the time I was there to bail for some stooges gigs and saw that "pink's" had disappeared but damn if that whole chow part of the 'port is now gone and security is where that was now instead of on each: right up the middle. my old buddy dirk got us here from pedro here in his brand new to him 1966 plymouth valiant wagon (w/slant six), first time on the freeway for him in it, me and raul too. tom came from manhattan beach where he lives... we don't know about this new stuff they built, kind of sterile but the overhead being high up and lots of windows is neat... just no esthetic, oh well. it does have function - you know what has function? these fucking high pitch alarms that keep going off, very soothing.
we get on the plane and take off right on time, six and a half in the evening - I like bailing at night when I gotta go to europe cuz they're nine hours ahead so we'll arrive in the early afternoon. it's been like eight months since I've done this so I'm a little out of shape - the fucking flight is kind of hard on me this time, even w/all three of us w/our own aisle seat w/no one next to us (very lucky), no fucking lumbar support kicked my ass 'pert-near the whole ten and half hours the flying took. I fucking spaced and forgot a book (wanted to bring "hopscotch" by) to bring to read like a 'tard so I have to resort to airplane movie world: "the crossing" was a new one from hong kong w/subtitles that was intense and made me cry some, "dial m for murder" from mr hitchkock in the 50s was righteous to see again and then this hobbit shit crap film from I guess recently drove me to turn the fucking garbage off. I swear I don't how to get through these hellrides but somehow I do, at least the chicken and noodles ain't too bad...
very easy coming into france here via charles de gaulle airport though it takes an hour for the sacks to come down the conveyor belt but hey, better than the shit never coming, right? tourboss macario's there to welcome us, miss hiyori w/him after arriving from hamburg in germany. tourboss macario doesn't drive but his ma christine does and brings us to her pad about thirty miles north in the countryside to a little village called erquery where her and her other son masai live on a little compound made of an old stone barn and an older chapel plus a tower where they raised pigeons. very olde-timey and very nice, really beautiful. they aslo share this place w/an incrdible lover dog name pancho, such a good aura about him, he loves howling w/the church bells when they ring.
also for the time being there's a band called cheap wine made up of young men from around these parts, real nice cats and they can jam. they're recording stuff for a release and have turned the part of the pad we're usually into a recording studio so we're in a little house on the side, very happening. christine cooks us righteous the whole time - we're here the rest of tuesday, wednesday and thursday - thursday evening is when we meet uz jsme doma who are czech cats who are touring w/us, they're from czech republic. first time I learn about them but they've been around thirty years - mirek's the only one who's from the beginning, there's been many lineups for them, the others are from the 2000s. everyone very friendly, great spirit - good way to start a tour, important to have happening spirit so really good start. cheap wine bassman val let's me wail on his rick 4001 and damn if don't really play good, he's got a really good bass, respect.
gig day is may day is friday, we're to pull anchor at nine and half so last shovel w/christine is at eight - actually masai cooked last night's tartiflette in his own special way and it was good, I always think of emma goldman on mayday, thank you for learning me big time, raymond pettibon! I have some leftovers. the boat is a big sprinter rented in czech cuz it's more econo. our crew is nine and damn if it don't seat nine - I put myself furthest aft and to the starboard - I'm thinking this time cuz you know my port ear's got scar tissue that don't take to too much sun too well. like w/this tour, I learn - little by little but I learn (try to).
a gas station closed cuz of may day - is it's a holiday here? it takes some searching but we find a robot station and diesel it up for 1.40 euro a liter which about $5.70 a gallon u.s. - pretty happening for europe but prolly cuz the euro is really weak against the dollar now. drummerman jarda at the wheel, kind of windy so this big boat weaves some... kind of hard for tom cuz he thinks something he chowed this more gave him an allergic reaction and he puked his brains out right before we bailed, damn. I really feel bad for him. w/tom and raul it's real important I do everything I can to keep them safe so it's frustrating not being able to him w/this crap sitch that's got him suffering. we get into belgium around eleven and a half and pull over I guess for cigarette break - what? ok. sure I quit them a couple of years ago, much healthier for me that way. I wonder though what we're gonna do on the longer drives cuz pulling over too much... oh well, just as long as we're safe is what I care about.
I forgot to talk about the weather. there was some sun when we landed and later on that day but since then it's cold, gray and rainy. you would never know it was spring, even w/the rain quitting as we get more north cuz damn if it ain't chilly. english is the middle language w/our team, macario native speaking french and the czech cats obviously doing czech - mirek does real good english w/his bandmates maybe not so much, especially bassman pepa. mirek has great tour stories, not just in europe but lots u.s. and canada ones, interesting to hear what he's experienced, much respect. also the whole behind the iron curtain thing w/having to do secret gigs, whoa.
sure glad we to prac the piece yesterday even w/no amps and raul beating a chair cushion and the metal chair leg cuz damn if saturday wasn't the last time we played together. not only me was thinking but tom and raul just as much. when you shirk prac you have nobody to blame except yourself when you start blowing major clams and we're all on board w/that thinking so amps or not, we prac'd the whole piece. we stop near brussels in a little town where tourboass macario says he can get a tub from some cat here for econo but just like at the first pad we tried to get fueled up at, it's closed for the holiday. maneuvering the big boat is tough but jarda gets us back the path we need. north through belgium, the traff begins big time plug as netherlands gets closer and closer. we cross the border around two and a half - trippy you can't tell where the border is except for a sign - in the early 80s days of touring over here, this was the only border like this and it I think it was kind of the first version of what part of the e.u. is about. the sun comes out more and more 'til we get to utrecht which is around four and a half. oh yeah, there was yet another stop but this time I think it was to switch ponies cuz now trumpetman adam got on the wheel for the last bit of driving. the venue for tonight reminds of some of the japan live houses which also have prac pads and recording rooms, it's called dB's and the soundman axel is real nice cat. he let's me use the house bass amp (ampeg ) cuz looking at pepa's "torque" (what brand? I think it's from england) head only has two hundred transistor watts of power - I'll use it when I got to, no prob but if I don't, I wanna save it for pepa.
by the load-in door outside are some tables and benches and damn if it ain't not cold anymore but very nice 'pert-near pedro w/the sun shining nice. tom seems to be feeling better (he'd been puking this morning as we pulled anchor and then all covered and konk during the boat ride), he goes w/raul to do w/the konk pad, raul getting used to driving the boat. the man from the other band playing w/us tonight, old seed, greets me w/help to remember meeting him fifteen years ago in his native winnipeg, canada town - his name's craig and he lives in germany now, gave up on the new world years ago and now does man-alone acoustic guitar and singing touring, very kind cat to me. then who comes up to say hi? it's dutch dude carlos, my dear old buddy - he was my bookerman in europe for 'pert-near twenty years - crimony, how I miss him!
he lives in rotterdam these days but is from the south, in zeeland. we spiel for hours cuz I wanna catch up as much as I can. I love this man, very genuine. he wants to hear the story of how j is really the cat that who got the stooges reunion stuff going, I go all the way back to ronnie coming to my gigs to getting to record that "velvet goldmine" soundtrack w/him and steve shelley w/thurst cuz of don flemming and jimbo to that illness that 'pert-near killed me to the hellride bands (east coast w/j and murph, west coast w/peter and perk from porno for pyros) doing stooges tunes to help me get strong on bass again to doing tour bass w/j mascis + the fog where in ann arbor asked me to call ronnie to jam w/us which lead him to ask ronnie to tour w/us so the last third of the gig would be stooges tunes w/him to thurst curating the 2002 all tomorrow's parties festival at ucla w/scotty on drums (asheton, asheton, mascis + watt) and then the europe gigs which caught ig's attention and them him inviting the asheton brothers to join him on "skull ring" and finally to coacella... 125 months I then served w/them, incredible classroom ever for watt, love it love it!! I barely chow the plate of chinese the gigboss jerome kindly provides but he kicks down for carlos after a bit so I join him w/words stuffed between the shoveling w/my hashi... I got new hashi box for this tour cuz the one I had for years got all broke. me and carlos the see uz jsme doma drummerman jarda being pushed around in a cart wearing a trippy white outfit, what??!!!
it's gig time and uz jsme doma are opening, what a mindblow - they're all wearing the same white outfit.
the band is incredible, great musicians and really bring it w/much spirit. my first time seeing them, wow. I'm pretty blown away, it doesn't matter they sing in czech cuz they bring it and I really fucking feel it. great job, new friends! up next is old seed (craig) and he sings/plays real good, tells lots of jokes too. our turn's next, 11:40 pm - forty minutes late. that's show biz.
first gig of the tour, kind of scary? no, big time scary! always is. we're a little rough but rally and though there's some hills and valley, the clams are pretty little comparatively I think. I really blow it though in "hill-man" part though, prolly the worse maybe I've ever played it, the shame... I recover for the wind-up and for that I'm most grateful but how did I lose focus like that? after five tours too, huh? I'm real embarrassed. t raul's on the house kit and he does good but there's some kinks, same w/tom (he's playing through merik's marshall halfstack) but both guys save the day for me by hanging tough and never letting go, I'm really proud of them as well as big time grateful. the utrecht gig-goers are very kind though and bring us back for an encore - fuck if I don't clam one of the pieces there up as well. I thank everyone much, holler d. boon's name and tell them happy may day, "start your own band!" I tell them.
I go right to the merch table but damn the red lights shining make it hard to tell this year's orange shirts from last year's white ones, carumba! so many folks, truly - so many. there's eric from the old days when I'd play at "tivioli" here in town (last one maybe 1991) and damn if eric from that band ain't here tonight... also a younger man working at the new version, he's got one of those mike watt flannels from altamont! in fact he works at the new "tivoli" - ain't that a trip? I'm most grateful. one last big hug for carlos, maybe we see him later in the tour, who knows? when loaded up, I say boss to gigboss jerome, great cat, I thank him much.
we pull anchor at two and head out of town down a tiny road to a konk pad called "bill and lettie's b and b" which is really olde-timey and neat. no time cuz of having to pop earlier for england gig tomorrow so after hosing off I get up the stairs slow but safe and konk quick as my mind will let me after this start of a kind of strange way of something I've been doing so long but I'm gonna roll w/it and try to learn all I can. thank god tom and raul are w/me.
saturday, may 2, 2015 - brixton, england
big travel day for us today, so after a quick breakfast we get on the road and headed to the train that will get us underneath and across the english channel, total trip, and a little scary to think about. Once we're thru customs, tom is picked to do the england drive on the opposite of the road that he's used to, and i'm chosen to do the drive after the gig again, wonder if the other guys are a scared, makes me a lil nervous too, i've never done it either, but i'm up for it. I sit up front w/ tom, and help him get into the city, and guide him to brixton part using the gps on a freakin' phone, that keeps losing signal which is totally frustrating, especially for tom who has to drive w/ out knowing where the fuck he's going! i've done tours w/ only maps, and even with watt my first euro tours with him were all maps, but as soon as we used tomtom on a euro tour years ago, that was it, and that's totally the way to go, especially to have it mounted on the dash where you can see it,, not holding a cell phone that keeps losing reception..crazy! As soon as we're at the club, i suggest to mike that we buy one, he's been thinkin' about it too, and let's me know that hyori has one at home, and we can pick it up when we play hamburg next week.
Small club tonight, so it's decided we will use the gear at the club to save space and time, there's also a bunch of bands. The kit i have to work with is maybe the most beater i've seen...whew! Only one bum leg, and the other side is propped up with a cow bell. It's not only me though, watt has a toy to work with too. fuck it, we don't mind it. i just wish i would of played it harder at sound check, or found a better solution than the cow bell.
After sound check, tom and i take a walk down the block to find a place to chow down. We run into the other guys doing food at a totally greased out place, fish and chips deal. Across the st though we see a sit down indian place. We got time to kill, so this option seems like the way to go. We hadn't eaten all day, so we wanted something with some freshness. i had biryani w/ chicken, and some veggie curry on the side, really tasty stuff, lots of different flavors going on. We must of sat there for like 2hrs, owner was actually really cool about it though, and didn't mind at all, he said he got lots of band folks comin' down from the windmill to eat there.
When we got back to the club, the bands had already started, and i went right up front and watched a local trio called small gang, great band, and really nice dudes. i was real tuckered out from traveling all day, so i waited out the rest of the gig hangin' w/ tom at the merch table. wish i had the energy to walk though, it's lame to be in a town you never been too, and have no energy to explore it.
when the czech guys announce it's their last song, i decide to make my way up to the front of the stage so i can be ready to go. They end up doing an encore, so i'm right up front for the last tune. I liked their set tonight, they didn't have an england adapter to use keyboard, so they played more guitar driven songs. All the band used the drums, up front, but jarda had to put them in the rear of the stage, so i had to set up again, he let me use his cymbals to make things quicker thankfully.
So like i had mentioned earlier, i should of found something better than the cow bell, turns out we couldn't even find the cow bell!! So i grabbed a brick to keep it from tippin over. i should fuckin' know better though, a brick ain't gonna do shit for me. So the kick drum is all over the place from start to finish, and i'm cussin' myself and the kick drum for the wack situation, totally miserable. I had to tug on it to get it back any chance i had, but from the drum moving, the kick pedal kept comin' off, and was almost fully sideways 99% of the gig. I had to use my foot in between songs to straighten it out, total nightmare, and all focus was out the window. I pulled thru though, and only missed a beat while comin' out of baby cradelin'. We fade out, and i stopped a lil early to try, but fail to screw pedal on. Regardless, we played a pretty good gig, really hard, and got totally drenched in sweat. I change instantly, i do not wanna catch a cold, and this england weather has a bite to it. Seems like we need more of a system for bringing things out of the windmill, because now, it's just a big pile of gear and bags on the street, totally amutuer styley. it's comical, but seems like more hassle than anything? Once the gear is in, i get in the driver's seat, and prepare for the potential weirdness of driving' on the opposite side of the street. Tom is there w/ me, so that gives me all the confidence i need, luckily the rain has let up too. Getting' out of town is of course just as windy as getting in, but a little less traffic, and downhill too, which is easier to manage w/ the clutch. I just cruise 'er slow and steady, and we're in the clear in no time. Right before the highway, i spot a shell station on our side of the road, very easy in and out, and we're extremely low on diesel. For reasons unknown, macario ask me not to stop, so of course, an hour later we're rollin' on fumes in the middle of fuckin' nowhere!! luckily, we spot the one station on the highway on the way to the train, close call number two in two days. Also, we end up late to the train on account of a total wander drive. For other unknown reasons, someone thought it was a good idea to just put into the name of the town into the gps instead of the actual address of the train station, after many wrong turns, circling round abouts, and even a trip into a dead end, we finally find the the cracked up and un-lit one laner driveway entrance, which to our defense looked like a road to an abandoned part of town, but also, maybe we're just lame brains too. Once we check in, we find we're 10 minutes late for the departure, and must wait an hour. which, is not an issue really, we still have 5 hours to go once we're thru anyhow. Just really glad we've made it this far unscathed, i know everyone, including myself is in delirium.
we wake after 4 hours of sleep at 7am, clean up and have coffee, bread and cheese, cereals, juice. talking with the owner lady, letty, about the house we learn about it's amazing history. it's a mid-1600's structure with hand carved wooden beams and various rooms for farm life of the time, a cheese cellar. the thatched roof is incredible. we have a serious drive today, all the way to calais in france, hop on the train and take the chunnel to dover england and the drive to brixton in london. i don't feel in the rhythm of tour yet after only 1 gig, and the adam from the czech guys does the driving to the train. we go through the customs before we get into the line of cars to drive onto the train. this is my first time at the wheel...i will be the england driver on our way to the gig. i've driven in ireland before, but that was a while ago, so it's a little scary to do. the train works well, we get through the 23 mile tunnel and onto u.k. soil and i drive the highway with raul navigating from a cell phone. all's fine till we get to the curving roads of london, and into brixton. eventually we get there, load in, and sound check. i'm very tired already, and raul and i go get some indian food and sit and talk and eat to kill a couple hours. there are 9 bands on the bill tonight...we're last. there is some interesting music and i plant myself in a chair by the merch table and conserve energy till about 11 when we go on. we play well, i think. i use a vox amp that i like and we get through the set. it's very sweaty, i'm soaked, and it's cold and wet outside. fun show though.
pop at eight and take some real steep stairs down to shovel chow but it's a slow-go for cuz of this fucked up knee and damn if taking a tumble now would be a good thing for the tour. I chow some salami stuffed between two pieces of toast w/mustard, love this combo. the konkpadboss lottie comes to visit and cuz I say in dutch 'thank you' she thinks I know her language but I let her know I only collect words from other people's speech and converse only in english. I have never pretended to know any other ways of speaking - damn, I wish I could but bass takes up too much time - I dearly wish I could, believe me. we pull anchor at nine. I wanna learn tom more blue oyster cult other than "the red and the black" so I push "she's as beautiful as a foot" and "hot rails to hell" into his ears via my ipod - he's way into it, alright! raul's next...
today's a hellride but the whole sitch is kind of trip. now tomorrow we play in amsterdam which is like thirty miles away so what makes total sense is to play in brixton (southern part of london, england area) tonight, around 320 miles each way counting the channel crossing (we're taking the chunnel to do that). oh well, that's just the way cards get dealt so I ain't gonna bellyache. we cross into belgium around eleven and a half, sun now draped w/white haze clouds but at lest not raining - bye bye cali sky that blessed my visit from carlos yesterday afternoon at the gigpad. there's tint on the window so lots of my pictures ain't for shit, terrible. oh well. as long as we're safe. the czech cats have been usually at the wheel (except for mirek and tourboss macario who don't drive even off tour) but they ask tom and raul to take the helm in england cuz the driving's on the other side of the road and they've never done it. I nominate tom - I do way most of the driving on tour back home but overseas the last few tours I've been letting that go to be stronger for gigs cuz I ain't as strong and gotta kind of ration why I got. HUGE plug trying to get out of belgium and into france for calais, frustrating - lots of construction is the main cause but there's lots of cars also... so it goes. we bear w/it... finally shit breaks up and we're moving again, we still get to the chunnel entry at pas-de-calais in time, the border check is actually here in france and what a really kind borderman who deals w/us and our work permit thing (u.s. people need them for only here to gigs), it's a "butter" crossing, very smoov. I love it when it's this way, of course. no one except me has ever done this before, you drive the van up on the train (the cars made for our kind of big sprinter, it's three meters/nine and half feet high) and then stay in your vehicle as the train travels under the english channel, it takes about fortyfive minutes.
tom's at the wheel when come up at folkestone and head northwest for london. he does really great for driving on the wrong side of the road w/the wrong kind of vehicle (england has the wheel on the right and not the left). tourboss macario has no map and so it's up to first road signs to get us near and then mirek's leash (mobile phone) which keeps losing signal to get us closer. man, what a halfass this is, I suggest to tourboss macario the night before when there's internet available he uses some mapping website to get a map to where we're going and take a screenshot - just a suggestion. just driving to brixton and hoping to find the pad? well, ok. tom does a great job maneuvering the big boat around. I don't think he's ever wheeled something this big, let alone on the wrong side of the road. what's really righteous is raul right next to him to help, guide and warn. the plan for after the gig is for them to switch roles cuz tom's got bad eyes for night driving.
anyway, it's like five pm (england's an hour earlier than the continent) when we find the pad (mirek's leash map comes through after his happening persistance), it's called "the windmill" and it's gonna be the first time I've play brixton in thirtytwo years - it was a pad called the brixton "ace" and it was black flag and minutemen - first time ever for us pedro guys in this land. the gigboss is george and he's a righteous cat - made this gig happen for us like a week and a half, crimony! I give him huge grateful hug. this is a festival for walpurgis which I never heard of 'til today but I can dig it. we do a short soundcheck w/soundman paul who is very cool people. the amp I'm using is a little orange solid state lunchbox looking trip on top of what looks like a one twelve cab (also orange) but actually has two speakers, one in front of each other - trippy. first time I've ever worked an orange amp before so I'm into it - up on two crates even. tom's got a good sounding old vox, maybe an ac30 and raul's got like last night, mapex - which has only one kick leg so paul uses a cowbell to prop up one side. after check I chow some lamb shwarma miss hiyori got from around the street, it's really good - lots of salad stuff. I get to rap w/some nice cats who I've rapped w/before at gigs. this pad's got a real good feel by it's own character but w/the gig-goers too, fucking happening and much respect to them from me. I get told so many times thanks for playing here - I ain't gonna wait another thirtytwo years, let me tell you! this young man gives me a book his sister wrote called "a girl is a half-formed thing" and said she's HUGE james joyce fan, her name is eimera mcbride. so glad cuz I forgot to bring a book for tour like a baka. by the way, I got asked to be part of a second volume of a music tribute to "finnegans wake" - can you believe it? very kind... and so many kind cats here give me the good word, good folks w/much heart.
I check out and dig the bands before us: former utopia, smallgang and crumbling ghost - they all play w/lots of heart. our czech buddies let go of their outfits and keyboard for tonight but still really bring it w/some bitchin' playing. while they're wailing away my old buddy jose arrives and he's got some got heavy news/feelings but I'm glad he could get out and he's doing much struggle to handle it - he's gotten into swing/blues/rockabilly/lindy hop, etc to get stuff out. I admire him much for not giving up and wallowing.
it's our turn to play and we get the piece going after me thanking everyone involved here tonight. jose's right in front of me, even though it's the 70th bday for richard meltzer who is such a hero for me and who I wanted to do the gig for, I wanna do it for jose too. great feel from the gig-goers but damn if I ain't distracted by a hard shadow on my neck cuz of one side of the p.a. pillar is causing cuz of where I am in relation to where the light's coming from. now if I just kept my eyes closed and "felt" where I was w/the neck it would be one thing but by me trying to look, I blow many too sharp or too flat clams, aaarrrrrggghhh what a baka I am. I still got joy to buoy me cuz of great playing from raul and tom plus the gig-goers giving right back. raul's got some drum issues cuz I hear much cussing but it ain't whining, it's more like aiding abetting his wailing. second gig of the tour can be better cuz of watt but it's good one cuz of the other folks involved and helping. thirsty like crazy cuz I completely sweated up the outfit - levis 'pert-near down to the knees but there's no beers... I just want a beer after I play (I drink nothing before gig) when I go sit next to the merch stuff but... one real cold one comes and I got that going down the in hole like a god damn - crimony if I ain't most grateful! however I'm a super baka idiot for spacing on thanking soundman paul for being our fouth man tonight cuz he was beautiufl - baka fucking watt!
I rap w/many kind gig-goers, old friend b is here w/simon and they're both so very nice - damn, I wish I would've played better, aarrrrrgggghhhhh - have to fight the regrets welling up in me. all the good spiel from sincere folks helps but I have my challenges which I think are a good thing to have... most grateful to the gig-goers, most grateful to raul and tom - a little disappointed in watt but I keep on pushing.
gigboss george has me sign the orange bass amp everybody used tonight, whoa! man, is he righteous people - huge hugs of respect for him from me! love his ethic and his work, great scene he's working here to get stuff happening, much respect. I think back to me and d. boon first playing brixton all those years ago... the resonances, huh? crimony.
raul now at the wheel, we pull anchor at one (is my watch right?) w/tom right next door to him for help, role reversal from earlier today. the missingmen work the england driving for the team, viva! viva viva! I'm very proud of them. they make me feel secure enough to konk easy in the baka seat. I pop when we're at the chunnel entrance in folkestone, we return whence we came. it's 'pert-near six and a half in the morning when pop out into france at pas-de-calais and the czech buddies take over driving. I learn from my men it was tough finding the chunnel opening in england and took many loops - I was konked and not aware but am so grateful for their persistance and dedication to keeping us all safe.
sunday, may 2, 2015 - amsterdam, netherlands
Ride back to Netherlands is freakin' intense, everyone is burnt out. Jarda did the first hour or so outta the train, and adam took care of it the rest of the way. We rolled into town around 10:30, and it was decided that tom, jarda and i would share a room. We were a little early for check in, so we waited it out w/ some coffee in the hotel eating area that was right next to the room. Those guys let me shower first, maybe because they think i'm the stinkiest, i don't know? Whatever the reason, i'm totally grateful to wash off the gunk from last night, i felt nasty, and this hot shower was exactly what i needed, feeling so much better after. We have four hrs till sound check, so we all konked out. Mine was sorta restless, i had really lame dreams about home, i was happy when i woke up in Amsterdam.
The club ochii is just a couple minutes walk from the hotel, so i think we're all stoked tonight's gonna be a little easier on us. Once we're in, we're greeted by the very nice volunteer soundman named gary. I ask him if there's a house kit, and he says sure is, but not something i'd wanna use. Ok i tell him, but i'd like to see anyway. In the tiny backstage area there's a bunch of random gear, and i'm able to find 3 pieces i can use, floor tom, rack tom, and a one legged kick drum. luckily, i there's a box of random hardware too, in there i found a leg that didn't belong to the kit, but i made it work. There was also stands w/ out felts or wingnuts, but i brought some of those along, so i'm gonna make this work w/ a lil love. The snares were a little too wore out, and sounded boxy, so i used jarda's. Turned out to be a good kit to play, and they had a rug w/ a piece of wood taped to the front, so that helped out lots with the slippage. Gary hooked us up proper, and we had a good sounding stage. Dinner is also served at the club upstairs, well seasoned potatoes, quinoa, and lentils w/ salad...perfect.
After sound check, i went for a short walk in the vondel park just across the street the club, beautifully calm place. Good turn out tonight, lots of folks for a rainy sunday. It's a good gig, we played real well together, and no huge clams, and it feels like we're gettin' into the swing. There's some space on stage tonight, and watt comes up behind me during the last two encore tunes. We haven't had coltrane's love supreme playin' after the gigs yet for some reason, but gary is on top of it, and plays a live version of favorite things, which kicks much butt, and i like very much. No, it's not supreme, but no problem w/ me, wonder if watt minds? maybe we could change it up this tour?
Since the hotel is not far at all from the room, and i haven't had a pivo in a couple days, i stay over after the gig, and have a few local beers w/ tom and some of the gig-goers. Got to talk w/ jan bart and his buddy who i hadn't seen in years, and also boston phil who lives here now, who had many nice things to say about the music we did tonight, so cool of him. oh, and also made a new friend named roland, great kid who gave us a chance, and really digs it now, really cool of him too! Tom and i do not overstay our welcome, and shortly after we get back to the room for some much needed sleep.
we have to load out and pack back into the van for another trip to the train. raul is designated driver now and i navigate for him through the twisting roads out of town. it's 1:30 by the time we get on the road and it's a long couple hours with some misguided directions and poorly marked signage to find the chunnel back to france. we miss our 4:00am train so we sit in the parking lot to wait for the next one. raul and i walk around delerious in the cold dark morning air, not sure what our plan is. after a while we have to roust jarda off a couch in the waiting area to get behind the wheel and get onto the train. it's 5 something by the time we begin to roll back to calais. everyone is sleeping in the van except me and mike and we yak about pere ubu and related bands for 45 mins till we re emerge into the morning light on french soil. jarda continues driving as the light comes up, but we pull over to make a switch of drivers in belgium...7 or 8 in the morning and i haven't slept for over 24 hours. i get in back and we continue towards amsterdam.
it's another 4 hours till we arrive at the hotel by the occii club where we play tonight. raul and jarda and i get a room on the ground floor and we shower and get in bed to catch whatever rest we can before we load in. i'm out for 3 hours, still tired but so much better to get a little rest. the occii club is 1 block away, and after loading and soundchecking we are fed a great vegi-meal. potatoes, letils, salad, and a half glass of red wine. i head back to the hotel and lay down again for a couple of hours. raul is in the room too, and we head back over to the club at about 8 to see some of old seeds opening set and then the czech guys do their thing. i hang upstairs with mike until our turn to play. i feel pretty good playing, a couple mistakes but overall we do a great job i think. afterwards we do a quick pack, but we get to leave the stuff in the club so we dont have to load out till tomorrow. i talk with a couple nice dudes i have met before, rehydrate and head back to the hotel to get some seriously needed rest.
I stay popped awake after our channel crossing, jarda at the wheel. kind of not comfortable in the seat here but damn if it couldn't be worse so please take this as bellyaching cuz we gotta do what the sitch calls for or how else do we have the nerve to expect something like gigs or seeing stuff we can't find back home? we don't so I don't mean to make these chimpings sound like total kvetch. we diesel up and I get a bacon-lettuce-tomato packaged sandwich which I make bearable by stuffing it w/potato chips from last night's gig ("bacon sizzler" flavor!), I gotta chow something. I chimp diary. the weather is rainy but at least the traff is calm w/zero plug. our czech buddies like to take puff breaks every two hours or so adam's turn is next on the rudder and finally pepa for the last hour to get us to amsterdam, we arrive at the "hotel central parc" a few blocks from the venue around ten and a half. fuck, we did it, blessed it be! right quick I get out of the goddan soak-sweated outfit from the gig and hose off, crimony ain't that truly a fucking blessing! I konk hard 'til four but not w/out a sense of big time gratitude to everyone involved driving us all safe to/from brixton - whoa, what a fucking mission... but in the long run, way worth it!
five is when we get on over to the venue, a former squat now official but still very righteous pad called occii - I've played here a few times now and dig both the pad and the folks here much.
the gigboss sjoerd is waiting for us and helps load in. the sky helps as well w/laying off w/the rain for a while. the soundman gary knows the score, has done me before... actually I have tom decide what I should use tonight cuz the stairs are pretty steep for my fucking lame knee so I just stay planted upstairs (dressing room/chow pad). tom decides the house bass amp is too tiny so we're gonna go w/our czech buddy pepa's "torque" amp and some kind 4x10 speaker box. it works good for soundcheck. oh, tom's on mirek's marshall and raul's working the house yamaha kit. drummerman jarda asks us to sign his snare drum w/a u.v. pen, don't think I've ever done that before.
when we finish the check I slowly get back topside and do a spiel w/a kind man named matt (I think so? my fucking baka memory, so sorry) who's spieled w/me before. he reads to me what I think of this part of an interview he did w/the band lightning bolt answering what they thought of the minutemen. it's trippy how they're confused why we played w/black flag and all that, they just came later and weren't there so I don't blame them, they just had a different idea of punk then the people we were and were w/in them days. I got to meet bassman brian, real nice man and he man, he can play his ass off - much respect to him. anyway, I don't mean to sound like an idiot or patronizing or anything but I never really got asked to react to something like that before. I sure wish the lightning bolt guys would've got to meet d. boon though cuz I think they would've dug him - georgie too, especially the drummer. after the spiel I chow these fucking righteous potatoes roasted w/herbs along w/a salad w/olive oil and vinegar which make for a really great symphony in the mouth. I chimp diary after and then rap w/painterman phil, a cat from boston who went to the channel and pads like that. good to see him again. picturetakingman roger says hi also. w/my fucked up knee I just gotta stay up here cuz once I go down then maybe it's smart to try and not come up again, treacherous for cojo watt. this also means I can only hear our czech buddies and also old seed - yeah, craig got added on here at the last minute also.
we were supposed to go on at ten but damn if it ain't over an hour when we actually do... it being work/school night, I feel that's kind of lame on the gig-goers and in fact tourboss macario made it a point to me he didn't want that to go down but he said shit happened. oh well, I will say that it ends up being the best gig of the tour so far and I think that's cuz I blew way less clams. the lighting on the stage was perfect for me and also raul wasn't behind me as much - the stage sitch last night dictated how we had to be but I play much better looking at raul w/out the look-backs but not like that was the reason for my major clamblow... I think every gig you throw the dice but starting a tour can be a little tougher... aarrrggghh, I'm just glad I did better! I can tell you the amsterdam gig-goers were very kind to us and give much support and spirit, beautiful. even if it was late on a work/school night. for encore I move between raul and tom - I got both room and confidence to do, it's a good time.
I go to the merch table and meet w/gig-goers, there's several that were at the utrecht one, whoa - thank you much, most kind people! my old friend from the u.s. ron goudy of modern warfare gives me a whiskey - hey, after the gig so I will do (not before) and I also get to meet painterman phil's lady... always nervous when people who come to your gigs lots decide to bring a friend and the you're hoping you don't disappoint, you know? very awkward but they're both so very kind. soundman gary gives me digital sound files of the gig, whoa! a tall man tells me his ma is czech and where did I get connection the uz jsme doma band - I point over to tourboss macario, that's who. damn if it andy from nomeansno - oh man, GREAT BIG HUGS - he's here w/his son who's a bassman himself - hugs for him too. wow, can't believe. incredible respect to them both. beautiful father and son.
the 'tel is only a couple of blocks so time for time for me to bail. there's a gig-goer who earlier asked me if I said "start your own band!" and yep, I tell him that's what I said so he says that's what he's gonna do - he says, "you just wait!" and I hug big time as I hobble for konkville... 'pert-near right after hosing off in the chamber I am out like a, like a - well, out like that.
monday, may 3, 2015 - enschede, netherlands
The room i'm in is just next to the dining area of this hotel, so me tom, and jarda are all woken up from the racket of the other guest going back and forth. We decide to not try and sleep thru it, but to get up and chow. I'm still wore out from the England travel too, so no big hoof before we bail, maybe if i hadn't stayed up later i'd feel more rested, trippy to be in amsterdam, and want to rest more than explore. After breakfast i crashed out for another hour.
Playing a squatted warehouse tonight, big space w/ artist set up in rows next to each other in little homemade cubbies, kinda re-purposed things as walls etc...the place smells like paint and various chemicals big time. There's probably like 5 vehicles parked inside, and piles of old paint cans, and piles of you name it's , 50 bikes stacked on eachother, and just the most random shit all over to be used for art, or for anything really, even the pisser was a barrel cut in half long ways w/ a drain put in it.They've been here for 4 years, but w/ the amount of shit everywhere, seems for like 40, reminds me of sanford and son. We play in a pit that looks like it was used for truck repair or something. A group of us are shown to the sleeping part for the bands/travelers in the rear of the warehouse, in upstairs room w/ sky light, and about 10 beds. Totally clean in here, and will be a great place to camp for the night.
Before sound check, i search around the rubble for various drums, and end up piecing a kit together in about a half hour, some i find in the warehouse next door. These guys had busted a hole in the wall for access, and used the building as a wood shop, and upstairs there were more piles of busted equipment. I Ended up w/ 3 matching tama pieces that had a silver wrap. I wet a towel i'd grabbed from the bar, and dusted em' off. hoping for something not totally wack. I don't know what to think, is this crafty, or am i freakin' nuts, i guess really i was just lookin' for something to do, and anyhow, it'll save time and make change over easy.
We decided that we'd switch off w/ clean-up, so tonight, since we'll play 1st, we check last. whew!! soundcheck was horrible, playin' in this big cement pit everything was just so loud. Watt thought i was playin' behind the beat too, but turns out he was way outta tune w/ tom..arrgh! after that's fixed, it sounds a lil more together though, but not much, this makes me worried about gig time. No hoof today either, instead tom and i try to do transcendental meditation up in the sleeping space. Maybe this sounds corny, but this helps calms the both of us, and after just laying there for a half an hour, i feel totally calmed. Dinner is soon after which is a spinach and mushroom quiche style dish fresh from oven, all vegan and very good. I only have a small piece w/ a big salad since we play soon.
Truthfully sound of gig is 10 times better than i'd anticipated, i think that the people being there helped soak up the sound. Unique thing too, it wasn't a traditional set up at all, and more than half of crowd was behind me, and some dudes sittin' on the steps just a couple feet in front of me... so maybe we should of set up facing the other direction, w/ the most floor space, we're not all there though, so this doesn't even cross our minds, but soundman jon doesn't bother to bring it up, either way, i don't mind. Like watt says, work the room.. we do, and the soft parts are extra soft and we get a nice moody version of bell rung-man.
jarda, raul and i have a quick breakfast and then join the rest of the group to load out of the club and into the van. we stand on the sidewalk with our gear while dodging bicycle riders on the bike path. even a tiny car with an elderly woman behind the wheel rolls down this narrow pathway between the sidewalk and the street. the skies are clear with strong wind, very pretty. we pack and head towards enschede, another town i've never been to. we arrive an hour later.
the space we play is a squated industrial building filled with eccentric plastic sculptures and broken up spaces for people to make their art. the room we play in is an old auto repair garage with a pit sunken in the middle, where we set up an d soundcheck. we are shown the room where we all can sleep later and raul and i take the moment to lay down and do a 10 minute transcendental meditation which feels really good. it's great to have mutual likes with raul at times like these. we spend a lot of time hanging out and talking. the evening continues and we are treated to a fine vegan meal with vegi quiche with perfectly flakey crust and a crispy green salad, so tasty.
after uz jsme doma plays we go into the pit and push though a tough set, for me at least. i have a hard time with the sound and my amp has a funny buzz during the quiet parts. still we have a good time, the locals seem to enjoy it enough. afterwards i am treated to the "coq du jour", "the mexican", which is basically a Bloody Mary without celery...not bad at all. i have chats with a couple different folks, band stuff, politics, films, the night expands and gets later and later.....i follow some people next door in a connected squat for another phase of party, talking, etc...now it's very late and i need to break away to lay down before it's too late. i fall asleep at some point.
pop just before nine. ok, we've been gone from home one week now. there's bright sun roaring into the windows, I can dig it. I'm confused about checkout time and pull anchor time... I can't remember if tourboss macario told me anything about this, I'm a fucking baka. better to be early than late though so fuck, I go down to checkout and there he is in the mess hall not far from the lobby, I hear his voice and a couple of the czech buddies. the paper from the 'tel said chow was ten euros but tourboss macario says it's free so I have a sandwich using toast w/salami, cheese and mustard stuffed between - I like this kind of thing since a boy... I have another! I swallow coff also. load up the boat at twelve and a half, I hobble the couple of blocks over to the occii pad, the gigboss sjoerd waiting for us, respect. this is very dangerous situation cuz not only are we on a busy road but the bike paths are full of pedalers wailing on it - it's a miracle no wrecks, I shit thee not. did I say "bike" path? there's scooters and even an old lady in a tiny car - I swear I saw her smiling as she wails by, crimony. we have to be careful and somehow we get the boat loaded w/no incident, I am most grateful. also, we still got much sun! we head east for enschede.
I spiel w/mirek about how band members are picked in uz jsme doma. over the thirty years there's been many versions of the band w/only him being the only constant. he tells me he puts out ads asking for people. he makes midi files of his music (he's the band's songwriter) and flows them to potential members and then auditions them. he also tells me there's a policy of when one cat wants to quit, they have to find a replacement and teach them what they know uz jsme doma music. right now youngest member is drummerman jarda at twentyseven, trumpetman adam is thirtyfour and bassman pepa is forty - oh, mirek is fiftythree... hmm, that makes me oldest one (missingmen tom is five years younger and raul, twenty) on the tour - again! that's ok, it's the reality of the dealio...
onto the highway w/no wander, fucking happening! there's lots of traff though (hurry up and wait) - finally break free of plug and as the sun gets blankied by clouds w/stop to fuel - no, adam at the wheel wants to check the tire pressure, righteous idea but then the machine takes three euros and they say to wait for germany and I'm like "fuck that!" and get them their three euros to get us right. how much is three euros worth against our lives? they go for it - thank you big time, thank you, czech buddies.
I used to take way more chances as a stupid more-younger person. anyway, everyone is very kind to get on board w/this, "diky" is thank you in czech and I tell each one that. speaking of slav (or southern slav as in the balkan), our czech buddies trip a little bit on the little speak of the former yugoslav I know from going to high school w/immigrant cats in my pedro town, like how to say dick (kurac) you little piece of shit (tisi mali govno), you big piece of shit (tisi velike govno), go fuck yourself (jebi se) and kind things like that but like my buddy jose (remember from last night?), I don't converse in anything but pedro-speak, other than that I'm just a fucking word and phrase collector, a fucking idiot. oh, "prosim" is "please" in czech, another good one to know and of course "sorry" ("promin").
we arrive in enschede right around three, another five minutes and we'd be in germany but this is still holland. real soon we're at the loch which is a former auto repair pad turned into an artist factory... fantastic place, many "sculptures" from garbage plastic, whoa!
we load in and do soundcheck w/soundman jan, great cat. very unique situation for tonight - we are in a pit! yeah, the gig-goers will be at the "rim" (as if we were playing at the bottom of empty swimming pool), trippy! for the first time also this tour we will go on before our czech buddies - I asked tourboss macario to make this happen cuz they play so good, I believe they deserve this as respect from us. I'm glad he's into it. after we shovel great homemade (cooked by jeanette) chow of like a deepdish w/crust on the bottom and edges filled w/a mushroom filling w/a very fresh and tasty way-leafy salad, love it. I use piri piri sauce they got a bottle of here also, good flavors coming together!
we're gonna go on at nine and a half. in the meantime, mirek shows me the uz jsme doma pop up book done up by his buddy martin - the same cat who does their stage mural and album artwork. damn if this pop up book ain't a real piece of work, I really dig it, much respect to him.
our gig is interesting. great dynamic w/the gig-goers, for this tour the least amount of yammering yet. they give us sincere respect and much focus. tom and raul are playing their ass off. I'm thinking I'm doing ok to though I gotta admit I fucked up more than half of the words for the hell-building-man part, what a fucking baka idiot I am. there was a clam in the first solo of the last part also - not to use this as a crutch of an excuse but the lights are coming from the deck and up at us which is prolly happening for the esthetic but tough if you open your eyes - remember the shadow in brixton on me? I avoided much of this problem by playing w/my eyes closed or bringing the bass right up to my face. I do better w/the encores also - damn if I didn't really fuck up one last night, the shame... raul held the course though and got us through (tom mainly sings in that one). like w/their excellent driving in england, my men always come through for me, they are most bitchin' truly.
I go to the mersh table and many kind people rap w/me. one man is a bassman and he reminds me I did play here before w/fIREHOSE in the late 80s (I had told the gig-goers this was my first time in this town, what a baka I am!) but what's really a trip is when I came to end of the third opera's jug-footed-man part where I quote buddy rich's "no beards" line, I was staring right at him and damn if he doesn't have a big ol' beard. I apologize to him big time and say I've had many beards - hell, I didn't shave once during the whole fourteen months I toured my first opera so what the fuck am I talking about?! he's very kind and so is his buddy, I'm most grateful. all three dutch gigs got seen by this young man roland, he raps w/me a good while, he's a big john frusciante fan and just recently found my music through him. he's very expressive, calls himself "out-of-his-head-man" which in context to the piece he's just witnessed three times is pretty fucking right on! raul brings me what they're calling the "cock du jour" which is cocktail called "the mexican" but we would call it a bloody mary and maybe find very little of it mexican but hey, we're guests here and everyone so nice. I think latin america is really exotic for these cats, interesting.
our czech buddies put on a blister gig, I think they're great doing clean-up. the black lights on their white skater outfits are big time surreal! things keep going and going, much cramps coming from the dj bucket podium by the hatch - I have to let go and konk. so glad for miss hiyori getting these air mattresses, the back of the sprinter van is quiet enough for konk and so I do.
wednesday, may 6, 2015 - hamburg, germany
Playing inside the cargo hold of an old fish processing boat in the harbor of Hamburg, it's been converted to a club, but still functions, and travels around europe doing music and visual art events, so awesome! We're here for two days, and get tiny cabins w/ bunks to share. Again, it's me tom and jarda, and we have four just big enough bunks, and a little table in the middle and a sink, there's also a small round window that you can unscrew the latches to open for airflow. I take a bottom bunk, Jarda's on the one above me, and tom is on the bottom bunk next to us, the top one we use to store bags and such. Great accommodations, and stoked to have a pad for the night off. Me, Hiyori, and Czech guys walk a mile or so to the grocery store to get some food for dinner tonight. I get some simple things for sandwiches, and a bottle of cheap wine, and it's decided we'll go to the center of Hamburg by train tomorrow. Hyori's mac machine went kaput sometime on this trip, so lame, and she's bummed, and has just found out that it can't be fixed...weak. She's gonna bite the bullet though, and get a new one. Tom and i tag along w/ her. While she's doin' here thing, Tom and i take a walk just across the street. Since i got dinner stuff last night, Tom buys me my first good euro coffee of the tour, and a croissant w/ jam while hyori gets her machine set up. Hiyori takes us on a mini tour of thr centrum, and also shows us personal things, like places she's worked before, i think she's lived here for 20 years plus maybe. She also treats us to some donor kebab in a sit down turk place, extremely sweet of her.
Back at the stubnitz, the Czech dudes are using the time to learn new tunes for a recording sesh they have comin' up. I chill out in the cabin and read a couple pages before falling asleep. When we're told it's our turn, both tom and i double time it downstairs. The club has a kit, and i use the kick, rack tom and snare drum, which i really like, has a good crack to it. Our soundcheck seems to take hours, no sound guy shows up till forty five minutes before doors. Whatever, we were here waiting, he's a real nice guy though, named blo. He explains that he was busy elsewhere gettin' the ship ready for an event they had going on the next day, so he was just busy, totally understandable, but nobody told us what was up, and we were both waiting for hours. After our quick check, i cruise upstairs for a late dinner, just a little bit of pasta w/ some meat sauce.
unfortunately, the opener is stuck in a bad traffic jam over 100km away, so the czech guys are up first, they end up going a few songs over the time, and are still playin' when we're asked to start...aarrgghh! We wait on side of the stage and they start to go into second encore.. this is when we take a stand, and ask to go on. We set up quick, and played quick too, really fast set, was i little difficult for me for some reason. I think maybe the coffee i had earlier had a fucked up effect on me, and really tensed me up. That topped w/ faster playing did not lock in right sometime's, and tempo's seemed all over. We did play w/ some fire though though, and i feel this outweighed the clams. I learned some exercises to relax my wrist from jarda, which helped at soundcheck too, but come gig time i was all tensed up, from both nerves and caffeine. People are sincerely nice though, and i think the mistakes we make are hyper real, and over analyzed in our minds. We're hard on ourselves, but that's not a bad thing...we just don't wanna get soft.
the sun and humid air feels good as we load out, i feel worn from last night and we have a bit of a drive but no gig tonight.. we will shoot for the place we play tomorrow night and stay there. the rains and winds come and the traffic is thick, and i am sore. hours pass, drivers change, hiyori takes the wheel for the first time and does a good job. when we roll into hamburg we loop and loop searching for street names, finally finding the stubnitz boat on the river and carry all the gear up and down wet metal stairs and into the main room of the ship. we have cabins on the boat where we get to sleep for the next two nights, it's great, and i get my bunk and lay down for a few minutes. i'm very tired and relived to not be playing tonight, which is very unusual for me and us. it's a beautiful ship, and we explore it and then sit together in the small galley and eat some left overs. there are a couple bands playing here tonight, but i take the time to change my strings and get my stuff in order. the night goes on, i get cozy in my bunk and go to sleep early.
i wake at 6:30 and jump in the shower and shave and crawl back into my sack for another hour or so till waking and emailing and drinking tea. raul and hiyori and i decide to take the train into hamburg center to the apple store to get hiyori a new computer, it's nice to get outside and raul and i sit for a coffee and croissant and wait for hiyori to wrap things up at the apple store. afterwards we take a short bus trip to get some showarma sandwiches and then back to the boat. there's some down time while uz jsme doma run through some songs in the live room. there is some pasta being made with red sauce and i have a bowl before we soundcheck on the crowded stage. it's great to be staying right here so we don't have to move out till tomorrow. there is an opening act tonight but he calls from the highway and stuck in heavy traffic, so the czech guys go on first, then us, then the French guy closes the gig. it's a good show, a couple mistakes here and there, but overall good energy. we all hang in the front room while the french guy does a sweet set of looped guitar and drums and it feels like the perfect come down to long day. our little cabin and my tiny bunk are very wonderful and i am asleep in moments.
tuesday popped around nine and a half - very good konk in the back of the sprinter van on the air mattress. first day off of the tour but also liberation day in netherlands and I think it's the first time I've ever gotten to celebrate it, makes me think of d. boon big time. I go get coff from the kitchen, feel the fucking knot on my head from hitting on end table in that amsterdam 'tel monday morning - aarrrggghh. not too bad but damn... I check email: painterman phil from amsterdam flows me this link on huge hieronymous bosch celebration where he lived, in 's-hertogenbosch. I write immediately an email to carlos (remember I saw him in utrecht?) to see if maybe we can be part somehow? w/out this painterman there would've been no "hyphenated-man" - I shit thee not.
twenty after one we pull anchor, bye bye good folks of the loch... well, it takes fucking like twenty minutes to finally leave, damn - do I need a crowbar to pry us away?! pepa at the wheel w/miss hiyori next door to navigate cuz she lives in hamburg. w/in minutes we cross the border and are in germany. big wind and the boat's getting tossed. we suggest a slower speed maybe - no gig so no rush but even if even w/gig, why take chances? back row here has no air but I'll deal w/that, the yellow jacket comes off. the gig shirt's drying (the shirt I wear every gig this tour was from my ma from last xmas, and orange/blue/gray/white whatever plaid flannel) so it's barechest and no mystery I got a fucking gut but it's all three us back here and you know tom and raul are used to it. we pass through osnabruck - the minutemen played this town w/black flag in early 1983 and it's where I first met richard hell - both our bands we're opening for him and I was so nervous I couldn't speak. he shook my hand and said "hey, mr minuteman" - I couldn't believe it... my first punk rock hero (I put a picture of him on my bass and it was like a line in the sand, changed my life!) and there he was... I was so self-conconsious and freaked out, I bolted. I still have a mug the gigboss gave me, it was a lady which is kind of rare. it was the first time I chowed europe pizza too, I remember the olives weren't fucking pitted and I almost broke my teeth like a baka. a little before three we pull over for some fuel (not much cuz it's 1.35/liter for diesel on the highway here) and since we're in germany, I get a wurst w/brot and senf (fat-ass hot dog w/bread and mustard) and chow that on the curb, it's good and my first chow for the day.
we switch ponies, miss hiyori now on the wheel... rain starts coming down heavy. luckily the rain relents after a while. it's starts getting muggy - jacket back off and showing out. the traff turns to plug to make it more intense. I keep my mind off by chimping diary. we pull over for some of our czech buddies to stomp on their gorilla cigarette jones... the sky goes way dark w/huge storm clouds and the wind kicks up like a motherfucker - and there's fog rolling in too, shit. the sky so black... reminds of back home in the midwest - you might wanna call it tornado weather but they ain't got tornados here, do the?
miss hiyori drives us careful and we make it to the waterfront that's south of hamburg, letting go of the wheel to jarda. of course there's some time to wander so we do that for an hour, making a few laps around where we don't have to be and then, voila!
we arrive at the stubnitz (wiki info here) which is a boat, yes! we're playing here tomorrow but get to stay here tonight, so very kind of the cats here. it was part of the old east german fishing fleet, a factory boat for processing fish from smaller trawlers. since the early 90s it's been a place for theatre, art and gigs - it goes to different towns and ties up to do stuff, what other pad is like that? I'm really into this venue! one of the crew here named rica invites us on, she's very kind like everyone here - the chefman is from dunkirk and is very interesting, he hips me to a bunch of infos from french navy words to schnapps and early morning racing in hungary, respect!
raul goes w/the czech guys for chow run, he says again they wandered (maybe it's their hobby?) but eventually found a market and I chow a couple of bread rolls stuffed w/tiny (like half a pinky size) sausages, goat cheese and mustard along w/cherry tomatoes and cucumber slices on the side. I talk to il sogno del marinaio drummerman andrea who lives in berlin - maybe he has a gig for us there? he did his first big u.s. tour w/me and il sogno del marinaio guitarman stefano last fall. so good to hear his voice again.
there's a gig here tonight and I see two swiss guys in a band called blind butcher that are a trip. dummerman does bass pedals at same time as he drums so damn if they ain't got a bass player! both have great outfits also. it's a good time. tiny bunk in the cabin I'm in, I imagine an east german sailor in a wild sea getting tossed around here! actually no toss but rather only sound of rope tying the boat to pier moaning w/the strain. trippy.
gig day and I pop just before nine. mirek makes me turkish kind of coff he likes which means no filter so you don't drink the whole cup down. it's good, I like it. there's news via the internet that there was a guy killed in hamburg yesterday cuz of the storm - actually there was tornados, crimony! I've never heard of such things. there's big clouds out but also lots of sun so we got no rain but some wind - go and take shots of all around the boat topside - wish I could hit the engine room but entry forbidden... understand this ain't a "fixed monument" or whatever but a operating seaworthy ship. there's a hammock on the top deck and damn if I don't lay out in that, way fucking relaxed. there is nothing like a hammock except maybe a hammock on a boat, righteous.
I ate a can of tuna - well, the tuna in the can which my only chow 'til tom and raul return w/miss hiyori from the city and w/this a donner which is pretty good. I then try to follow the history of the ottoman's I got here on my 'puter version of the encyclopedia britannica but goddamn is hard to follow all the twists, especially in its beginning. seems after it was a slow crumble but dame is it a spaghetti nest of different bosses and peoples. of course byzantium is involved and you know where we get that word "byzantine" to describe something twisted/convoluted? whoa, right here, man, right here maybe. just as I'm overwhelmed by all these names, dates and whatever when another of the crew here named vera offer's another cabin w/its own head even! she's most kind, truly. it's been "updated" since its east german days I think, there's pillars from trees that've been installed, beautiful - rough and beautiful. I do huge hot soak in tub - yeah, this cabin has a head w/a tub! and there's a mirror over the sink so I can shave... even cut nose hairs (I brought safety scissors in the man sack) too! I then wait in this cabin w/the lights off - damn if I don't konk for like two hours! I guess the soundcheck was either delayed or tom couldn't find me or both but I make my way into down into the aft part of the hull which is where the stage is. you can see many cooling coils still on the bulkheads (actually the inside of the hull), I guess this is where they stored the fish brought on board from the smaller trawlers. we do a quick check w/soundman blo (very happening people) and then go chow a little pasta and sauce from the dunkirk chefman which is real good. I go to the cabin, sit in the dark and think - I see through the porthole bash.o guitarist graeme, so I go right out to meet him and we have a good long spiel about u.s. constitution stuff, he's a very interesting cat. I go back up to the cabin and think in the dark. I think about the big coils of rope I saw earlier in the day on the deck... george hurley used to sometimes call the head a "coliling booth" where turds you shat appeared as coils - "coiling and toiling" was even the name of one of our fIREHOSE tours, I shit thee not.
well, I'm kind of pissed cuz it's a work night for gig-goers and we were told we'd go on a quarter of eleven and damn if that ain't in a couple of minutes. our czech buddies clear out fast as they can but it takes some time - aarrrrggggghhh. so glad raul using the house kit (sonor) w/jarda's floor tom so the setup can real quick. frustrating though when tom's monitor has a prob, loose connection - this is what happens when you're all rushed. I'm cussing pretty big time and can you believe butjean-herve penon the guitarman for faust is right in front down in the pit and asking me to lighten up - whoa, I tell him his english is pretty good... he gets me into a better mood for a but as we start the piece after my opening speech, I start getting angry again which makes me blow clams. aaarrrrrrgggghhhh, I force myself to get over it and not be stuck in rage world... it does make for a certain fire though. the hamburg gig-goers got a great spirit truly. there's a few cats w/video cameras that work for the stubntez, it's a live feed of what we're doing - I remember seeing the swiss cats last night like that. we get better and better as we get more and more through the piece. I start thinking about playing in the boat here more and more also, thinking about my pop - he did twenty years for the navy in the engine room, was a machinist mate and got up to chief. a big reason I do kayak is cuz it feels like I'm my own engine room when I paddle.
we get done w/the piece and they bring us back for encore. macario joins us again for the final throw, his second time but I mention it now cuz he's got it more together. glad to have him aboard, he's a good closer. I go up the merch table and many kind folks give the good word. one lady said her parents were big minutemen fans (we played the markthalle here thirtytwo years ago), ain't that a trip. I once again get to rap w/graeme, he's the best. I meet a bassman named henning, who's got a band called some of my best friends about bass - he's got a great suggestion of james jamerson (big time inspiration for me on bass) playing: bouncy - yes! we also spiel about submarines. he's a great cat. so is bassman tim of the deeper dees - in fact he might be able to fill in some holes w/this tour... you can imagine a watt tour w/twentyone holes?! fuck, never in my thirtyfive years. but anyway, getting to talk w/these very kind people really makes things better for me, puts me in a great mood. we also get to hear sheik anorak who finally arrived cuz of transpo problems. he's a really nice cat from lyon in france. so glad he made it, better late then never and he's got some serious groove, respect!
back in the mess, I get to rap w/the blind butcher drummerman roland who's also got his own stuff going too. interesting man, great sense of humor and damn if he can't play like a motherfucker. much respect to him. so kind of tourboss macario to provide bottle of jim beam, czech trumpetman adam shares whiskey views w/me regarding bourbon - I mention my view of scotch/irish whisky being more like treble and bourbon being more bass. just a thought and not a commandment.
people here have a good time tripping on my nightwear. glad to make happy. I'm beat, time to konk.
friday, may 8, 2015 - aalborg, denmark
Off the ship about one pm today, we gotta wait for our lp's to arrive though, then we go to Hiyori's pad, and then north to almost the top part of Denmark to a port town called Aalborg. After we leave Hiyori's place, we end up back in the center of Hamburg, and 10 minutes from stubnitz? Something is definitely up, and we totally went an hour in the wrong direction. As we slowly roll in the traffic plug, i hear it was because of construction, really hard to believe that there was only one way to go, and the only option was closed... maybe i'm wrong though. so what was supposed to be a 4 hour drive, turns into more than double that, what the shit! Regardless, i'm stoked we have a destination, a club called 1000 fryd in Aalborg. Enroute to club, we stop to get some groceries from a store inside the mall. I'm not a big fan of malls, but i like food, so fuck it, gotta do whatcha gotta do. Macario ask that we take no longer than 30 minutes to shop for chow. Me, Tom and Hiyori team up and get Some good bread, stinky cheese, average deli meats, and some fresh greens, cucumber, tomatoes and radishes for a salad, i also get a couple irish beers to go w/ dinner. 1000 fryd has a great loft style place upstairs, and will be a good comfortable place to call home for the next two nights. Hiyori washes and chops up the veggies, and the 3 of us have a tasty meal. Some of the Czech guys are really upset about the no meat policy in the kitchen, because they're unable to cook the food they bought, and will have to chuck it, bummer, but them's the rules. Seems like when Missingmen are in this sitch, we always go for sandwich, easy, and no cookin' of anything.
I slept like a mofo last night, and i'm second to last to wake up, pepa being last, just like at the loch. Still groggy, Tom waits for me to get dressed, so we can go out for a walk to stretch our legs. It's cloudy out, but no rain, just a few sprinkles here and there. We're not exactly sure where we're at, so we go to the bridge down the st to get a better perspective of the town, and decide to walk the waterfront, and paths along the park near an old church. Then we do some walkin' in the center of town where all the folks shop. Neat old houses turned into shops and cafes just right off the main drag, new mixed w/ old. Maybe some are still houses lived in too, hope so. It's starting to rain, so we decide to head back before it gets too wet.
The crew just seems to lounge around the loft most the day, probably waiting for dinner, nobody has the money for this country, and it's not worth the exchange since we're only here for the night. I had lots of time today to communicate w/ home which was great! paloma let me know that her and kevin took care of two calimucho silk screening jobs the last two days. She's been helpin' much w/ pick ups and art work, and luckily for us kevin was in town that week, so he could pull the ink. so glad we didn't have to turn down more work because i was gone. It's been more difficult w/ kevin now in portland, but he's still doing calimucho there, so we're lookin' at this as growth.
Tonight, we're the bologna, and we play right in the middle...great! Not too late either, and we're on stage at 10, and jammin' by 10:20. Weird sound, and there's a big low end feedback. Watt thinks floor tom, but i got gels on it, and i'm holding it so the skin won't move, i think soundman just has the mic way too loud. Anyhow, i hold it, and don't hardly play during cherry headed lover-man. This throws us all off, and it's a terrible version, and watt even says something to sound man over the pa... luckily this gets his attention though, and he's able to right it quickly. It was a loud bar scene too, so lots of talkin' the folks that wanted to see it though, they came right up front, and were pretty respectful of us, just one dude talkin a little, we'd catch him off guard by stopping, or getting quite suddenly, and his voice would be all loud and shit, kinda funny. I'm glad we're able to rally, and not let the situation ruin the gig. Big Embarrassment for me was droppin' a stick during encores, what a lame maneuver, i think maybe because of sweaty hands it slipped out of my right out. Oh man, i feel stupid! Both Tom and Mike are very understanding about this though, it's me who's being rough on myself. We try to be on time, and i think we're even done w/ a few minutes to spare. I quickly get my cymbals off, and change out snare stand, and help Jarda w/ pulling the drums back some, and getting some of the hardware into position. When i ask him what else i can do, he just says have a beer and relax... sweet guy!
it is grey and wet in the morning, i feel tired and sore again but i pack my stuff and help load gear up and out of the boat and into the van. it's cold and i feel a bit weak, so i take my time with stuff. i sit in the loaded van waiting for the others to finish up emails and whatever, hiyori is also waiting on some records that will be delivered. we get rolling around 1. we follow hiyori to her place in a suburb north of hamburg and drop off records and grab small sandwiches at a bakery and then get onto the autobahn. the drive is long, and the is a lot of traffic from construction, but we don't have a show tonight, again, so we just need to get to the venue to stay the night. eventually we cross the border of denmark and the land starts looking different, the buildings are more modern and beautiful and they seem to compliment the land in a different way. the sun stays up till 9:30 and it's finally dark when we roll into allborg and into an alley where the 1000 fryd cafe/club is located. we all pile out and start loading all our stuff into the semi empty bar space and onto the stage. soon a young lady named katerina shows us the upstairs rooms where we can stay the next two nights. it's perfect and i grab a sleeping mat on the floor and have a bite with raul and hiyori of sandwiches and salad that we bought at our last stop in germany. we all kind of wind down, and i hit the sack after a couple emails.
i wake and shower, and raul and i go for a walk in chilly danish outdoors. we walk and talk, observe. back at the venue we all hang around and eventually the swedish band, vanna inget (pronounced: vohna) show up and we help them load in and onstage. upstairs we have some tasty vegan pasta and salad and a very delicious baked raison nut bread that i indulge in with 3 pieces. vona inget play their set and i watch most of it and really enjoy it. i love hearing songs sung in swede. then we play and it feels good, aside from some lowend feedback, a good show. uz jsme doma get to close it out tonight and its fun to watch them do their thing to the smallish crowd of locals. upstairs after the show we all hang together and talk and drink beer till it's time to sleep.
pop at ten. there's some toast, I chow that w/coff after a good soak - love that tub. piping hot water... get the tub warm w/a mix, the get in and hot only hot 'til you're a float toy - that's the way I dig it my bones (especially knees) do too. it's pretty sunny out the porthole. I chimp diary. miss hiyori's gotta wait for vinyl for her mersh, the pressing company had a problem w/their machines and so there was like a one week delay. I can feel a vibe from some of the older crew (the ones who make the boat work) that's it's time to go, my crippled slow ass clogging up the hallways and go-slow on the fucking stairs.
load the boat (our czech rented sprinter) at one - much easier than loading from cuz of the tide making the angle of the gangplank more calmer. I feel useless cuz of my fucking lame portside knee preventing me from helping, pathetic. I wanna pull my share but fuck, this torn ligament keeps me from doing anything productive that way, fuck I can't even run let alone lift anything much more than my bass and back wack 'puter sack. since the man sack has wheels and a handle, I use that for a fucking walker. aarrrrrggggghhhhhh. well, we make due and I'm most grateful for everyone taking up the slack from me w/the no shlep help.
the vinyls finally arrive (truckman got lost!) so we bail at two pm, we follow miss hiyori to her pad in haldenstadt (hamburg suburb) and while waiting for her to get tom and raul clothes she washed there yesterday, I get a weird kind of pretzel bread roll that got some cheese chili tiny filling/topping whatever... it's two euros and is only other chow besides that toast for me today. we get caught in a massive plug on the autobahn going towards keil and have to actually bail from that route - luckily miss hiyori brought her tomtom gps and that gets us another route but damn if we ain't gotta go back into central hamburg - what?! poor jarda at the wheel, it's like a fucking two our plug we fucking gotta wade through, crimony! I think back home in so cal ain't the only parts w/plug traff these days... we got more lanes and those are plugged but... anyway, grin and bare it, right? the plug finally relents and we make our way through jutland, this part of germany is really pretty. holstein is part of the name of this region (state)? I actually see some of those kind of cows on some farms! we got a bunch in our land. a quarter of seven near the border w/denmark in flensburg for chow and fuel (we leave euro zone to go to denmark) but damn if it's a huge mall - crimony, I come six thousand miles to go to a fucking mall! I chow a skinny wurst w/a bread and mustard plus a beer from the gas station, four euros all together.
soon we're into denmark, no border check. very pretty here. my pop's ma was from denmark, I think that's where my knees came from cuz I saw the same situation w/some great uncles from her side at a family thing one time a while ago. trippy. before I had gray mustache, there used to be red in it - you think that's danish? whoa, eight and half hours since we left the stubnitz in hamburg when we pull drop anchor in aalborg - it's ten and a half now.
I dig this pad 1000fryd - great vibe and they're letting us konk upstairs. I get to meet the gigboss nikolai who's very cool people, real happy face and not jive. big parts upstairs for everyone to konk on good mattresses and blankie. it's my first time in this town but I first played denmark thirtytwo years ago in both aarhus and copenhagen, both south of here. I'm real beat, time to konk so I do.
gig day and I pop at eleven - yeah, fucking eleven bells! today's ve day - it was seventy years ago. internet says mr putin put on a big moscow parade and the new tank they were showing out konked out and had to get tow, whoops. actually I think the commonwealth lands had the celebration yesterday, no one is united - trippy how that bottle I beer I got was in flensburg cuz damn if that was where the nazis put the nazi capital after berlin got rolled after dummkopf nummer eins yanked his life from himself. I think a navy boss signed the we quit paper. what a fucked up thing, that war - sixty million killed... twentysix million soviet, eighteen million chinese and so on... all the lands losing people breaks my heart thinking/remember - but these wars going on now too, fucking baka... please let's stop the fucking wars, people!
ok, I got that out.
I check the internet and a man I was talking to last week at the brixton gig name mark wants me to know about the women who spit - hmm... interesting. miss hiyori's 'puter went kaput back in erquery and she got a replacement yesterday. luckily she has backup drive and I could migrate all her stuff and help organizing her shots and movies, she takes a buttload. this takes a little while but it's worth I think so she can get on a good road, organize by folders named w/dates. that iphoto crap is just too slow and has 'tard elements. I guess whatever works for whoever - there is no one way but he's the baka watt way. I find info on this band mirek on the ride up here was telling me influenced him big time as younger man, a band I saw a few times called chinas comidas - ain't that a trip? hell, I even find a screamers connection I didn't know of... man, I dug screamers gigs - they were huge band in 70s hollywood scene me and d. boon learned punk from. trippy about connections like that - w/a czech dude too! so glad tourboss macario got us touring together like this. a funny link from a cat makes me think if it wasn't all an accident - was it? this former kgb man claims ussr funded punk movement! I immediately write my buddy raymond pettibon about this... he said only dils but then they bit them in the ass! raymond's beautiful.
I get to meet the padboss peter, very nice cat - everyone here is. soundcheck w/soundman martin after our czech buddies get done (we switch playing cleanup tonight), we're on a stage I like though some acoustic challenges w/the low ceiling making for it to act kind of like cupboard but we'll ride it out, I'm thinking. raul for the first time of the tour uses jarda's whole kit. I'm w/pepa's amp and tom w/mirek's. they sure are kind to share.
while there's sun, I wanna see outside. I go hobbling around parts near to take shots, the sun's out bright but that don't mean it's warm - not too bad though.
there used to be a fjord a few blocks away but a flood made the north part an island, the folks at the pad told me. there's a big bridge across but there's wind also and I'm a little scared w/my knee the way it is. I go over the water though. there's some soosh pads and a china restaurant pizza pads but of course everyone wants kroner. the kroner is what they use for money here, not the euro... one denmark kroner right now equals about fifteen cents (one euro now is about $1.12 u.s.) but of course cuz of the little time here, I got none. one pad close to the venue I check out says they'll take ten euros for a sixtyfive kebab plate to go. two brothers from iraq and one of their sons I think, it's called "princip" and damn if it ain't good, their own style. they come from the north of their land, near the kurds. they talk about how broken their land is... I tell them one day I wanna play there (one's a drummer and the other does keyboards) but they say to wait about thirtyfive years. ok. I really do wanna play there one day, one way.
when I get done shoveling that happening kebab w/the hashi, I read some more news from the internet: cuz of anger in scotland over the referendum last september, mr cameron wins election - can't wait to talk w/brother sam (my cuz bandman) about that this summer when I return overseas for cuz tour. trippy how bash.o guitarman graeme told me wednesday night it was gonna be four way leading to some kind of crisis. I never can predict our elections back home - I've been surprised so many times. it's 'pert-near like what bands end up being mersh... beyond me.
opening up is a band from sweden called vanna inget and they charge hard. they're really good about the times too and allow us to go on right to the second. the aalborg gig-goers give us a great welcome but damn if by the cherry-headed-lover-man there's a low mid feedback coming off of the floor tom like a motherfuck, I mean this baby is eating our whole sound and damn (again) if I ain't gotta leave the libretto and say stuff over the mic to soundman martin cuz maybe it's just us swimming in the feedback bogarting us like a fucking blankie. I don't stop playing though and I still keep as much of the piece's words as I can between the pleas of help. he gets it together, whew. no more monitors but I'm close enough to the side mains to hear something of what's coming out of my mouth. I blew some clams but not many, very emotional gig. I know my pop loved his ma and think about her, think about him - both gone and here I am, it's a trippy thing being conscious but vital - vital I get it together w/tom and raul and deliver this piece! can't get too internal, right? they're both playing real good though they got some challenges too, I'm so lucky to be aboard w/them... also we're lucky to get to play for these aalborg gig-goers, they give us big time respect even w/some yammering at the bar from some not-so-conscious folks, it's a good time. macario joins us for the closer on the deck (no stage for him!) after tome really puts out for the encores. it's a little tough for us to have days off like this tour's had, prolly a bigger challenge than anything else but we perceiver. much respect to tom and raul, much. there's I wrote this piece for them to help me deliver, why I picked them. I bow deep as I chimp this, I do.
much kindness at the merch table, "tak" is thank you here and man this "thor" beer tastes good after getting so sweaty. our czech buddies bring it and tear it up good, the do an instrumental about a sailor and a gray whale who fall in love and have a baby giraffe, trippy.
we have a good time upstairs w/them when they finish plus some of the swedish vanna inget cats (the drummerman andreas is really cool people) and a man from australia that's got roots everywhere, he schools me much on some heavy "doom" or whatever you call this kind of metal... I'm really happy we end up somehow (how the fuck?!) talking about ronnie james dio cuz I got to spend time w/him twice, some real time rapping w/him and just loved his person, what a righteous cat. the vanna inget singer karolina puts this australian man's long hair in a braid in mere moments - damn, that's some technique, crimony! she also explains that their band name can translate to our baka speech as "let it go, man" - I can dig it. ok, I see on the yellow watch it's past three bells, time to konk. I say bye and go konk.
thursday, may 14, 2015 - turku, finland
Woke up sick as shit this morning...aarrgghh! This is day two of feeling weak, yesterday, we had day off, and i spent 90% of the day laid out on a little sleep mat in pentii's office. sleep has been difficult, and i'm getting like four hour throughout the night, and finally crashing once the sun comes up. I think my body is beat down from two long travel days, i know that's why my sleepin' sched is off. On the first day, i was up for at least 24 hrs by the time i crashed on the second ferry to Finland at about 8am in the morning. Very hard two days, and that's all i gotta say about that.
We've been holdin' up in a little pad just north of the center of turku, quaint country vibe just a fifteen minute walk from the center of town. Days off for us are difficult, and i think we all have a case of cabin fever. One of the days hiyori and the band take the walk into town to the turku art museum to check out some early Finnish paintings, and a trippy movie called DEAR JESUS, DO SOMETHING! Group Field trip that i totally needed, my plan was to go back the next day to walk the river and take the boat back, but sickness got in the way. The next day i spent the whole day inside reading patti smith's just kids, but ultimately feeling shitty. Very rainy weather outside too. Adam and Pepa took the time to make dinner for us tonight, a brothy soup from the leftovers from the night before, and also stuffed bell peppers, w/ a tomato based sauce on white rice. the soup fit the the weather, and my cold condition perfect. again, lots of trouble sleeping though... probably due to lack of physical activity.
On our last day at Pentii's, i'm starting to come around, head is still plugged up, and green, but the ache's are going back to just the normal wear of travel. most the day is rainy again, but luckily stops before we gotta pack up and get to the gig. For all we had stacked against us, i thought we did a good gig despite some dynamic things and issues w/ volume. The Czech guys have it totally together though, and it shows. They're mostly stayin' at the practice pad down the road from pentii, so they're ready w/ 5 new tunes for tonight's show. I never even checked it out! Our first morning in Turku, jarda showed me all the bites he'd gotten while sleepin' on the floor there. The night before, i was jokin' to him about gettin' lice from the punk house too! So, he refused to go back there to sleep, and ended up bunking w/ us, but set up camp in the kitchen after the cooking was done.
today the crazy drive begins, though first we rise, drink coffee and juice and load the van. everyone is moving slowly it seems, not in a rush to spend the next day in transit. we have several days till our next show in turku, finland, which means we have to get to the ferry on the coast of denmark first. the czech guys are very helpful with loading but i do my best to be useful, even with some strong body soreness. i pace myself, then we finally start to roll. adam is behind the wheel, he's a good driver and i feel safe in the back with him there. jarda takes over at a certain point and again i feel pretty safe, which is important in a packed van like this. we get to the ferry and have a short wait till the trucks and cars drive into the belly of the ship. the weather is more chilly, and wetter and windier than anything we get back home. once situated, i curl into a ball in a chair on the ferry and sit with other travelers on our way to sweden. the three hours move slowly and i have a bad taste in my mouth from the dry roasted peanuts i ate earlier. next we disembark and drive and drive, stopping for a moment somewhere between gotterburg and stockholm. it's disturbing to see a mcdonald's at every gas stop here. time expands, the sun slowly fades to grey and at sometime, close to midnight, we arrive at the ferry station. it's closed, and the streets are strangely quiet for a saturday night. we make suggestions as to what to do for the next few hours till the ferry office opens at 6. finally, i think to myself, if only if there were a starbucks, or even a mcdonald's to hang at to get out of the van maybe have internet?? we wander through the empty roads to the center of the stockholm saturday nightlife area, not really what any of us were looking for, but we park and a few of us venture out into the cold, looking for a place to sit, maybe a toilet or a cup of tea? i catch up with raul, mike, and mirek, and at the heart of the disco world we are rejected from entering any bar left open now at 1:30 or whatever. one door guy says, "you're not on the list". it's a joke anyway, and i guess it's on us. we walk and laugh from sleep deprivation and appreciate that it's not raining. so, back to the van, then back to the ferry building and park in the lot and wait... the temperature drops, mike shares a corner of an open sleeping bag with me, i guess cause my shivering legs were annoying enough. in any case, i think of that penguin film, of them huddling together like this, i drift into an uneasy sleep for enough time to have a dream of being stuck in the van. in the dream, in the seat i'm actually sitting in, there is a tucan in the seat in front of me and raul is trying to feed it some bread or something and the huge bill of the bird is snapping at his fingers, stressful. it's too cold to sleep and i'm kind of miserable. it's 4 then 5, and finally the sun starts to come back, slowly. mirek and macario go into the building and eventually we can go in to use the toilets, and then we get into line again for the next ferry to finland. this time we have little cabins to share, with bunks, and showers, and we spend the next 12 hours on that boat.
we travel in relative luxury now, warmth, available food now that we can use euros again. it's about 8am and hiyori, raul and i find the cafeteria and pay the 11.50 euros for the buffet breakfast, happily, and mike finds us sitting at a round corner table and we sit and eat slowly and pocket some fruit for later and i head back to the cabin to get some sleep, finally.
i awaken around 2:30, and take a shower in the tiny motorhome-like bathroom, shave, etc. i figure i need to try to stay on the local time schedule as best i can. raul rouses too. i go downstairs to do emailing and join mike at a small table where other travelers are watching a road race of some kind, it's an enjoyable distraction, we talk and write and watch the tiny islands go by the windows of the ferry. it's still very grey and cold looking out there. during the last couple of hours before arrival, i get a disappointing sandwich and a beer, find raul on his iphone, pack up my stuff, and prepare to get back into the van. it's not too long till we arrive at our new place of temporary residence in turku, and pentti's place is not far from the center of town. in the wet cold late afternoon, we load our gear into the basement of his place, and find spaces on the floor for our pads as we get to know our gracious host.
pentti is a musician, instrument maker, contact microphone builder, label runner, recording artist, engineer, music lover, and real interesting dude. i look over his music collection and have fun looking at his home made electronic sound devices. it reminds me of my electronic roots. some of our gang split to stay at another pad about a 5 minutes walk away. the evening winds down, and our long journey from allborg is finally completed. incredible. i am asleep.
it's getting colder and wetter in the morning, not too bad but we lounge around and do emails and read inside. it's kind of a lost day, kind of just recharging a bit, taking it easy. i don't remember much about this day. mirek makes us all a very nice meal, celery root soup, with goulash and dumplings, all fresh made. very czech style and very delicious. we stay up listening to various musics but i hit the sack by midnight.
on tuesday, raul and hiyori and mike and i go out for a walk over a bridge and into the center of town thats not too far away. the wind is blowing cold, but it's not raining as we walk by an old church, by a river, through town, across the market square, up a hill to the turku museum. it's nice to get inside out of the wind. we slowly walk into rooms of late 19th, and early 20th century landscape and portrait paintings of local artist, and into a room with more impressionistic works. eventually we come to a partitioned room and go through the black curtain where a film is being screened in a loop. johann bergstrom hyldahl? a film entitled "dear jesus, do something". we sit through the 24 minute film and it's enjoyable funny and tragic. we like it. downstairs we see another finnish artists works and complete stay there. after that raul and i continue walking through town, talking and observing. finally back at the house, 5 hour after we'd left, there is more czech cuisine on the stove. it smells great after being out in the cold all day. we cozy and wait our turn to enjoy the schnitzel and fried cheese and veggies. in the mean time, pentti stokes up the sauna downstairs, and after eating, mike and pentti and i have an intense heat bath. we sweat out toxins, and scrape off dead skin, and shower and climb onto sleeping pads. i do emailing, and talk a bit with raul in out little room space before hitting the hay.
wednesday is yet another day indoors, the windy rain and grey skies make it easy to hibernate. i make one run to the store with hiyori to get another 12 pack of local beer for the house. that's the only time i have my shoes on all day. other than reading and writing and internet, we just cruise along till dinner time. adam and peppa are preparing yet more czech style food, a delicious soup that we crumble little dried peppers into, and then a stuffed pepper and a scoop of rice in nice sauce. i'm stuffed after all that. i rub my eye with the fingers i crumble the spicy peppers with and feel the sting. as the evening slows raul is not feeling so well and we find our little sleeping pads in the little room.
gig day, finally!! i wake kind of early, i slept alright, some tossing and turning, and soreness. however, it's nice to have had this space to hang out in during these last few days, pentti has been so cool to share his home and so cool to get to know. even so, it has been 5 days since we've played last and i know we all feel tight from the down time. mike and pentti do the watt from pedro show pod cast in the kitchen and the rest of us stay busy with stuff till we have to load gear back out of the basement and into the van for the short trip to the club. after the load into klubi (the club), i drive the van a few blocks to find parking with pentti and we walk back talking about his earlier days here in turku, making music and working the scene over the years. at the club we set up, check, eat some salad, rice and curry, and sit in back and talk a bit. the hours go by till uz jsme doma goes on at 9:15 and plays an intense set to a rather small group of locals who chose the gig over the hockey game tonight. it's understood that that's a reason for the smallish turnout. we go on and play as hard and as well as if it were sold out, i do love that about this band, aside from some mistakes from lack of practice it goes well, we feel good about it, we have fun, and during our breaking down of gear some nice locals give us some kind words about the show. i am designated driver, so macario and i walk the 10 blocks back to the van and i drive back with him and slowly we load out and into the van, and i drive he full van back to pentti's and we all come down from the adrenaline and after watching a part of an old twin peaks episode raul and i konk in the little room.
saturday in aalborg I popped at nine and a half. I realize I didn't hose off yesterday so I hose off this morning. days off on a non-stooges tour are strange for me! I chimp up last night's gig for the diary and get it up on the just before we gotta bail...
pull anchor from 1000fryk ten ahead of noon after saying bye to gigboss nikokai, I invite him to my pedro town. he says maybe next summer he might visit miami... I wonder what summer in miami is like for a cat from northern denmark? I tell him we can paddle kayaks, he says he does that in the rivers here. much respect and tak ('thanks' in danish). it's rainy, gray and cold but not freezing. I try to get one last shot of the pad but the camera jams up, damn it. in the boat though I free it w/tom sitting next to me and giving a huge girly gasp which really helps but you know? maybe it did cuz it starts working again. tour cameras take a beat from me, maybe I've been through 'pert-near eight of them? this one's a canon sx160 and still in the race. in less than an hour we stop for diesel cuz it's cheaper than in sweden right near where we get the ferry at frederikshavn. there's two danish navy frigates/corvettes, trippy looking w/their strange angle and flat surfaces, pretty modern. we gotta wait a bit in a little room and then ten before two we board a stenaline ferry, driving up into the bow.
soon the boat's underway but damn if there ain't hardly anywhere to sit... so many gambling machines and they let the walk-on passengers first, aarrrgggghhh, we do find some space by the little kid playing area which also is on the way to the liquor store. it's mainly swedes buy booze - they bring their own carts, one cats shlepping seventeen cases (408 cans) I count! I guess it's a lot cheaper. after a bit, two staff ladies wheel in a cart that says "lotteri" and people line up to by tickets to see if they can win some booze. I see one winner get a bottle of wine, the rest I guess are "supporting" them. well, we got a lottery for money back home, I think 'pert-near every state has one - to each his own. "everyone deserves a break" is the slogan on the cart. I chow a falafel sandwich 1000fryd gigboss nikolai gave us all each, dry but the lowensenf helps w/that... damn, we're running out though, need to find some more somehow someway.
we arrive in goteborg, sweden at five and a half when me and my men are enlighten to the fact that it was not possible to use either phone or web to purchase tickets we need to take a ferry from stockholm for turku which is also where our first finnish gig is gonna be. we try around the port but saturday evening makes for everything closed, same thing at the central train station which I guide us too cuz of being here once to do a stooges gig like three or so years ago, damn. well, we got a six hour drive to stockholm to do anyway so we head west head into the rainy cold, hard to believe the main road is a two laner. adam's been at the wheels and continues to be, even after piss stop at chow pad where the smell in the head is like the ferry - yeah, didn't start out that way but by the end of the stena danica (that was the name of the ferry we just took) ride, the head's were totaling overflowing and w/huge odor perfuming the boat w/scent of both piss and turd. good show! amazing how someone running a chow pad would want this kind waft making people all hungry and shit, mouth salivating for the "fajita burger" whatever-the-fuck-that-is advertised right by the head entrance. interesting. twenty after eight we switch ponies, jarda now at the wheel. mirek teaches me new new translation for mouse-headed-man lyrics: jako mysh ('like a mouse' in czech) and a mysh spiva ('and the mouse sings' in czech). so great, every czech gig we got coming I'll do it. we stop again at twenty after ten to switch ponies back, adam returns to the helm. the rain's stopped and the road is now two lanes on each side. I'm so glad no more music from tourboss macario cuz it's starting be the same thing over and over... soon I'm gonna ask for an end to his music dictatorship and to spread it around a little - I got an ipod. we get to the silja line terminal (I guess the mascot is a muumi - someone somewhere hipped me to the books about them) a quarter after midnight. after about ten minutes, tourboss macario decides we should find somewhere to wait the five hours it's gonna be 'til the terminal open and hopefully we can find tickets to board. we go into the center part of stockholm, pulling over to ask folks - tourboss macario says he doesn't like to talk to people but damn if the three ladies at bus stop get him to ask in english (scandinavia people are 'pert-near all incredible at english, respect) where maybe there's something for us to somewhere to while away the hour 'til fucking crack of dawn. we get directected more and more to the middle of town and damn if me, raul and mirek become the scouting party when we drop anchor. what do we find? trendy discos w/morphed from cafes w/big lines. we're finally directed to what we're told would be somewhere for us to go but every fucking place says they're closing or closed - this one pad obviously open has their velvet rope chump tell us we're not on the list... what fucking list?! and he never asked our names, how does he know?! just like back home, same mentality of these kinds of areas and that's why I'm never there but I'm wondering where in stockholm is more happening part of town? there's gotta be something better than "the soap bar" or whatever the fuck it's called. mirek asks at tons of pads w/no luck... we mosey back to the boat to find the other cats and make our way back to the terminal, guess we're gonna just have man it out and konk here in the lot near the terminal's hatch... god damn is it cold. happy spring. at least it seems safe and we can konk maybe w/out getting attacked.
sunday morning... somehow we push through and make it to dawn, tom asks if tourboss macario is trying to kill us and I say no but... six and a half and we're in line to board the "baltic princess" ferry. it's cold and rainy but we're happy to have it through the knife - hell, even 128 euros instead of the baka four hundred the web site that wouldn't work for mirek or tourboss macario. we got two cabins, tourboss macario joins the czech guys and we're in the other - there's a porthole but actually it's a mirror so it makes for total dark when we hit the lights. before that though, we need to chow - glad we didn't waste coin converting to swedish money but that meant nothing but the gummi candies and nuts miss hiyori had so we hit the buffet... eleven euros but it's all you can stomach and I get that rollmop herring stuff w/salad, scrambled eggs, stubby short sausage and tiny meatballs plus bacon along w/a good amount of apple juice - oh yeah, some cottage cheese too! so glad raul and tom brought some tobasco. then we konk, konk hard. I pop at like elven - do it on purpose cuz I don't wanna reverse the konk cycle but fuck if it ain't hard. I go use the barely flowing internet to update the diary w/spiel raul gave me. joe boon (d. boon's little brother) wrote me to enlighten to me the fact that the park western proj him and his family lived in wasn't exactly old navy housing like we were told then but federally funded housing for ship builders for the second world war - ok, thanks for that. happy for the enlightenment. still federal government though I'm thinking not all that different than the navy housing I moved to from virginia a couple of miles north of there. I bet those ships the built were navy ones, huh? so glad I ended up in newer proj (park westen estates) right near - damn if it ain't still there! (d. boon's pad was torn down to make "tarragona" tract homes, even renamed the streets). I also get word from brother vasko in his skopje town in macedonia about this hell and wanna so much help somehow... damn this stupid fucking violence shit. peckers! I watch the spanish grand prix formula 1 race, damn how the cars have changed, longer now w/a section behind the front wheels and the rest of the body, different rear end spoiler trip, "gameboy" fucking steering wheels - I feel like a dinosaur. not really a race except maybe between third and fourth place... mercedes team gets first two, ferrari third. I used to be so into drag racing as a kid, fucking loved watching it and reading all the zines I could find at the sav-on in the park western plaza. you know what? I wonder if we stopped in mariehamn? I wonder cuz it's a twelve hour ride. I know we also had to be careful cuz man if we didn't pass a buttload of islands, some so tiny but still w/pads on them - the stockholm archipelago is pretty much a mindblow. turku also an incredible amount of little islands too - the finnish archipelago are amazing what about these lands got this way, tons more even, crimony!. I find out this is a finnish boat and that's why you can buy chow w/euros - dinner buffet is seventeen of them so I bail on that and get ham sandwich instead for four (about $4.50 u.s. now). I also re-learn (I've played in finland like three times w/the stooges) the phrase for thank you in finish: kiitos - great word to know!
seven bells when we drop anchor (finland is one hour ahead of where we just were), tourboss macario (who doesn't drive) and my tom (who does) have to quick move the boat cuz of the trucks that gotta get out - the rest of us gotta wait to be the last out cuz we're on foot out the hold. a real incredible thing is the pad we're konking at is only like ten minutes from the harbor - what? maybe we should do laps for a few hours? fuck no! we meet our host pentti who bitchin' people, great beard also. we're making camp in his pad. he's a bassman too, also guitar and percussion - respect. his english is righteous. the czech buddies are konking in a pad that's a buddy of penti's named tapio, they give us a couple of beers they got on the swede boat. oh, mirek is konking here, upstairs. our inflatable mattresses come in handy, such a good idea from miss hiyori to procure those for us. it's mother's day so I write my ma but I was gonna do it anyway cuz that's what I do on sunday on tour anyway - when I'm off tour I chow breakfast w/her and my sister melinda. so glad to hear my ma is ok.
I start adding up the time to get here from aalborg... like thirty hours! I have a discussion w/tourboss macario and the uz jsme doma boss mirek about the twentytwo hours after the helsinki gig to get to mirek's pad in czech coming up on monday - well, stop about halfway on the border between lithuania and poland, no more straight throughs. this is good relief. we share the last of the jim beam from aalborg w/pepa and adam, time for konk.
monday and I pop at lik seven - my cycle is all disturbed from the denmark to finland hellride and it's gonna take a little bit to get back on where I'm genki. I read stories about stuff on the net 'til finally another person wakes - it's mirek and makes what he calls turkish coffee, damn if pentti doesn't make the same thing, he says it's not so common in finland. I fucking shave, yes. of the nine of our team, only I remain while they go and forage at some grocery store, get provisions cuz we're here 'til friday morning, so VERY KIND of pentti, truly. around eleven and a half the sun cuts through some clouds but not for long - still not as dark and rainy as yesterday though. happy spring. pentti has five captain beefheart albums, a couple by king crimson and a marvin gaye one that's got "what's going on" w/my bass hero james jamerson thumpin' on it, HUGE respect. our czech buddies are making chow for tonight - mirek's the mainman chef but adam and pepa are helping him big time. smells real good! I'm not getting out of this fucking nightwear today but I did shave!
after going to the market (we're here four days), tom starts learning chess from raul. I used to do chess club at lunch time in high school, intense game - no dice or chance stuff like cards dealt. dinner time finds us chowed by mirek w/some celerova (celery root soup) and a goulash w/knedliky (potato dumplings) and pork he has cooked up from scratch himself and damn if it ain't really good, much respect to him. after we have big spiel w/pentti about experimental music - tom went to school in holland (utrecht) for a year when he was in early twenties and can relate, I can cuz of listening to carl stone on his show on kpfk in the 70s called imaginary island while raul listens to us all in his chamber on his air mattress. very interesting is pentti's musical journey - from in ecuador as a boy to hair bands and then punk in pori (finland) to here in turku w/anything goes (check his umpio site here) after that. he's most interesting cat besides having huge generous heart. his mind's as sharp as motherfucker too, respect. two in morning when I finally run out of gas and have to konk.
tuesday morning I pop at nine, much better I feel and more back on my body cycle, 'pert-near cured of that stockholm freeze-out. I am most grateful. pentti makes me his style coff (very much like mirek's turk style) and I talk w/mirek about bijelo dugme I find out was a big band in his music history - he tells of seeing them as a boy at a croatian summer camp and it making him wanna do a band, he immediately wanted to be an organ player. now for me, it was only rock band from former country yugoslavia where some from there (mostly from island of vis off dalmatian coast) went to san pedro high w/me, immigrant cats. trippy later my secondmen would be from croatian families and in fact the first thing we recorded together was as masina doing an esma redzepova tune but also many gigs before that as the madonnabes - ain't life a trip?
I get into my levis and put on the yellow coat - no gig shirt though, I'll save that for thursday, when we play. it's one in the afternoon when me, my men and miss hiyori hoof into a gray sky that looks like it won't burn away from sun but at least ain't leaking rain on the deck to make my hobble even more dangerous. we head for the middle of town, pentti's pad ain't too far from it. not sunny but not too cold and windy either - everyone tells me it was nicer yesterday but I was in no shape health-wise. I am now and damn if I don't dig the exercise even if it's slow-go (so sorry to tom and raul). we first over railroad track bridge then river bridge and there's the big old church, looks like many materials to build this. then we go along river - some art in the river, four huge floating mallard models and a fancy bird. over a bridge and to the main square. can't believe we see a mall entrance and then facade to make outside look olde-timey. ok. we head towards the turku art museum which is up on a hill. small but nice. upstairs is the permanent collect, landscapes of waves and forest scenes. then there's this twentyfour minute film/piece up stairs from a couple years ago called "dear jesus, do something!" by johan bergstrom hyldahl which kind of lynchian but a voice all it's own and I dig it. a little absurdist but also kind of skeptical of all our conviction w/both science and knowing what the fuck we're doing. great work - it's got us talking way after, even back at pentti's pad, made quite an impression on me and my men. ground floor last, I see every work they got here by ellen thesleff - when my ma wrote she heard finnish people never smile - I thought that was crazy, the young man who helped us find the museum smiled tons but sure enough, there was no smiling in none of her self-portraits. I think this lady was way ahead of her time, the feeling in her econo abstraction and strong emotion but free w/dream/love form. respect.
pentti offers up his sauna for use, it's downstairs. crimony, I ain't been in one for like four or five years - I love these things, the shvitz kind too (shvitz is steam bath, sauna is dry heat w/cedar walls). tom joins me and whoa, a wood burner - first time for me, I've always been in gas or electric ones. I got the ladle to pour the water on the rocks and the wails on us in waves. fucking righteous. soon I'm tasting salt cuz of everything getting pushed out of me, filth along w/the salt - made do I feel transformed after the immediate cold show I take after being able to take no more of the broist w/my heart pounding like motherfucker... a man could be no cleaner or relaxed than me now and damn it konk takes me before nine fucking bells, I'm out.
wednesday I pop at ten to find gray rainy outside as seen from window eye gift and am totally surprised (not). chow last of my schnitzel. miss hiyori cooks up chow for us, very kind. find out raul has sickness, damn. hopefully he doesn't give it to me or tom but even more important is that he gets his health back fast as he can. I don't think I'm getting out of the nightwear, the weather is really heavy for a cojo like me risking shit out in that. I do internet, find link to john coltrane talking in his station wagon in november of 1966. this has been floating around for a while now but here it's in one piece, it's via pacifica which has a station in so cal called kpfk which is where I learned so much about a lot of stuff, like zbs mind movies, experimental music via carl stone - trippy how night before last pentti talking w/tom about such a thing brought back lots of memories. richard meltzer had a show there too, "hepcats from hell" is what it was called (he talks about it here along w/other stuff), sometimes don bolles guest hosted for him (another spiel w/don here - the man is good spieler and get this: a fucking grandfather, I shit thee not! by the way, looking for a hepcats from hell internet info I found a show I heard richard do w/guests nervous gender - holy fucking cow! total flashback time for watt, total.