mike watt + the secondmen
"el mar cura todo in europe too" tour 2005 diary
week 5

paul konkedraul konked
watt at the wheel

paul roessler - organ, singing
raul morales - drums
watt - thud staff, spiel

(clockwise from top left)

dutch dude calros - the man outside the van

sunday, may 1, 2005 - le harve, france

from raul:

   The day got started before the sun was up, two hours to be exact, 4:30 in the morning. The idea was to get started early enough that we could make it to the top of france, and get the ferry across across the channel over to england. I hadn't slept for a day, but i also don't drive, so i took shot gun, so paul could rest up to take second shift. We've had two night drives, this is the first early morning. Getting outta town is the first part of the comedy. Uri had gotten a map from the front desk, and drew a line of our path. the funny part was he crossed out right over the names of the street, so it was a guessing game from the get. It was tough to stay alert, much less awake, i knew i had to, atleast for the first part, getting outta town,and on the right track is the main deal. On the highway, everything seems in order, then all the sudden the freeway just pushes us off, no warning, just cones and cement blocks in the middle of the highway. We had to exit, and the only thing to do was hang a port, and hope for some kinda detour. No detour, and were in the center of nowhere. no lights, no idea, we've only been on the road fiften minutes, it's almost defeating, not quit there, cuz we can still make jokes about it at five in the morning. Me and watt are trippin', but we can't just stay in the middle of the road wondering what to do. We notice cars keep comin' off, going down certain streets, and comin' back a few minutes later, so that's not the way to go, plus we already went the other direcion, and there was no option. The freeway is the dirtection that we came off in the first place, so that leaves one direction... success, even with the process of elimination, it still felt lucky to find the right way.

   I tried hard to stay awake, it seemed almost impossible. i was tryin' to read, but that would just eventually wear my eyes.I was in and out during the sunrise, it was a pretty sureal thing, and finally stayed awake when the sound of the camera started. Mike got some total drool shots, i could feel myself doing the nod off, and i couldn't control it... whiplash. Early on i was glad i had gottn food at the marchada the day before. Sardines and chips, i had also gotten a loaf of bread, so i made watt a sardine sandwhich outta that... sounds gross, so does a big mac, this, to me, is tour soul food, and it's great cuz you can eat without stopping the drive. Watt makes hella far, and has paul take over for a couple hour.

   About a hundred or so clicks from the top of france, we stopped in chartres, and visited the cathedral, scary looking place. Had a dark grey look, very gothic. Reminds me of where sauraman lived. Two gigantic towers, one with so much detail it was hard to take in, i couldn't believe what i was seeing, big stone half arches, that seemed to be holding it up. When i actually stepped in it was hard for my eyes to adjust, it was almosrt pitch black. It seems alot of the cathedrals i've seen have been modernized, not the case with this guy. lots of candles, and the mininmal light that came in thru the stained glass. That was another intense thing, the size of the whole pieces of glass had to be over twenty five feet tall, and there were tons of em', all diffrent from the next. It was all trippy, the confessionals were in the middle of the place so you'd circle em' and they had the tinyest doors. There where levels, obviously, but i couldn't find a set of steps anywhere, maybe behind one of those tiny doors, how else would you get the enormous pipe organ fifty feet up, jump. It was pretty amazing, alot diffrent from what i've seen so far, as far as cathedrals go. One deal that wasn't to good, the air was strange inside, sorta damp. It was hard to breath, smelled real strange.

   It's muggy as hell outside, it's like being in the south, the bugs are the same situation too, and there's smashed up buggies all over the boat. It's impossible to see out the window. The idea is, maybe we can stop and clean it, easy enough. It's been an issue all over europe to clean the windshield, i can count today as another. ata the station we stop at, there's squigees, but no soapy water in any of the deals, there all bone dry. We gotta take it to the spicket and turn the water on it. A lady from inside does come out to fill up the basins, by that time we had been going back and forth for ten minutes, she seemed so pissed she had to change the water, i felt like i disturbed her from something way more imporant, it was a hugh help, and we thanked her, it didn't help. The best is when we got the giant sponge and the bucket of exceedindly soapy agua, mike washed the boat right there.

   Made it to the port with time to spare, so it was a good idea to leave early. I'd so much rather be early than late, rushing sucks. When we stopped, i finished off the rest of the grub, medaterrainian vegetable medely, and a tuna sandwhich with chips, had a picnic in the grass. There was an hour or two before we had to board the ferry, but no walking around, i gotta finish this book so i can get back to the diaries. Had a cup of coffee, and a good conversation with paul, then it was time to board. It was neat to be driving inside of a big ship. I've been on a car ferry once before, somewhere in eastern canada, but we just parked on the deck, and it wasn't overnight, this is a first. It's pretty much a floatin' hotel, but the more excessive parts being a beauty salon, movie theatre, casino, it's only overnight, people cannot be bothered for even a day. Watt stayed in the room to sleep, he's been at it all day with a little rest, gotta give it up, he got us here. Paul and i on the other hand have never watched as a ferry of this size leave port, so regardless of tiredness, i gotta go to the top deck and check it out. It's a great view of the city and harbor, and we're way up there... Paul mentions hurling himself over the side of the ship, you'd freeze to death i tell him. Not if did it off the back and into the propellers he says... morbid shit, i love paul, he's a crack up. Once we're outta the port, and away from the city lights, it gets dark real fast, and real foggy. The tiredness is startin' to take over, there'e no stopping it, it's to strong. I think paulsy wanted to check out a flick, but i had to go back and sleep, and i had the only key.

from paul:

   The artist who's name I couldn't remember was Ricard Gelado. He is reproducing the works of Helios Gomez.

   Sleep restlessly till about noon, when Mike wakes me up to take over to drive. Probably missed some beautiful stuff between Barcelona and a coupla hunnrt clicks south of Bourges where I take over but it's rolling farmland with these yellow spiiled paint fields that are too well tended to be goldenrod, alternating with rich green. I've never seen a painter capture this, and if one did no one would believe s/he's being realistic. Poor Raul has to do a second shift in the passenger seat and his head rolls like a junkie on the nod. I just go straight for three hours and the gas tank is only at a half, when Mike wakes up and suggests we stop for lunch at Chartres.

   Which is so cool because I've been to Chartres many many years ago. Maybe it was a Mark Curry tour in the early 90's. I was asleep on a tour bus and one of the crew guys woke me up in the middle of the night and we went out and there was this huge cathedral, I don't know why I was allowed inside in the middle of the night, the whole memory is hazy, no one else from the band got up to look at it.

   It. It is old, with roots going back to 4th century. There are templar legends about it. It is one of the centers of Christendom. And it is huge. It's much bigger than the Duomo in Firenze, gloomier, more "gothic." There would be no point in Michaelangelo painting the ceiling, because the ceiling is so high you couldn't see anything, over 100 feet. In all that gloom and towering the long long stained glass windows, some 800 yrs old, really create the light and the mood, but there are also elaborate carvings and sculptures, saints, crosses, madonnas the whole cathedral thing. Sorry. When you walk in it is so awe inspiring you're just hushed. But I notice I have come as a tourist and not a pilgrim and I am missing out on how deep the experience can be. I'm a little rushed, afraid to lose Mike and Raul who are wandering around taking pictures, afraid we won't get back to the van in time because we only paid for an hour of parking. But I sit for a minute and try to allow the weight of the years to take me away and I do touch it a little, then I look over into one of the side areas where there was a big wooden cross on the wall and there is a young girl on her knees praying maybe eight years old. I don't know if she was real.

   We head back to the van and Mike takes over, Raul finally getting to lie down. It's about four now, and we're about three hours out of La Havre. Along the road are signs saying what famous chateaus are in the neighborhood but we can't see them from the road. After a while we sense the ocean, we cross the Seine and parallel it to where it empties into the Atlantic at Normandy. We are three hours early for the ferry. I think this is a testament to Mike's experience and discipline; it was the right decision to leave straight after the gig. I guess he's accomplished a few hell rides in his day.

   We wait around, then get in line to board, wait in a lounge for a while, complete the boarding process. Mike seems out of sorts, I'm sure he's exhausted, but I somehow piss him off trying to help find our room and he doesn't hide it. I try to not be thrown by this, but I will be insane for days. We get to our cabin, leave our bags and Raul and I go to explore the ship.

   It's neat to be on the huge ferry. We go to the top deck, aft and watch as we pull out. The whole experience of pulling out of a harbor on a big ship is so great. It's always kind of damp and windy and you're way up high in the air, the boat spreads the ocean and sends waves off from it's sides in geometric patterns. It's nighttime and all the lights of the shore mark the distance you would have to swim if you went overboard. And I do feel an almost uncontrollable urge to jump off the high deck. I do not want to die. I just want things to be better and I feel like I make all the wrong moves, say all the wrong lines. Drowning is the last way I would want to go, though. I keep my feet on the deck. Raul and I watch the view, he takes pictures. They're showing the Aviator in the theater but we've missed the start and we can't go in. I also have a strong desire to let Scorsese do my thinking for me for some hours, another total checkout. The ferry is like an ocean liner, casino, duty free shop. We get some pounds and I explain to Raul that even though he got half as many pounds as Euros or Dollars that doesn't mean he got less money. How wrong I am as the prices on the boat and London will prove.

   We gain an hour crossing the channel so it's only a little after 11 when we go down to the cabin. Even though there are four bunks Watt chooses to sleep on the floor. I roll into the bunk and can barely feel the movement of the ship; it's my second sleep in a row in a moving vehicle.

   It's not enough to think about Hellin. Thinking about her is medicine to my soul. But if there is a power in love then I need to tap into it, I feel like I'm drifting madly and helplessly again. It's sort of like prayer what I'm going to do. I'm going to love Hellin there in the dark for a while, but I'm going to love Alex and Adam. I've got to release this flood that I have damned up with fear and judgement and pain. And I am going to love the rest of the human beings in my life one by one till I fall asleep.

      The egocentric attempt to dominate the world, to bring as much of the world as possible under the control of the ego, has only to proceed for a little while before it raises the difficulty of the ego's controlling itself.
                  -Alan Watts

from watt:

   the sun coming up over the mediterranean is a righteous thing, bathing the boat starboard to port w/orangeness... love it so. raul's out again, he drifts from konk mostly when I spiel and then leaves wake time when I return to silent running - it's so reassuring w/him there like that for me, 'pert-near making this mission within a mission a real possibility. in the back of my mind I keep telling myself "if you're too tired, pull over." this is the lesson I must always keep deep ingrained me cuz of what happened to d. boon. I got gas just before leaving spanish land and w/fuel for the boat, I got some for me too - trippy long skinny sausage folded in half that I chow by squeezing it through an open end in chunks. kind of like a softer genoa salami w/pockets of what seems like pure salt - whoa. it gives me strength to wheel us down the road though.

   the first big town we roll through in france is perpignan, next is narbonne (again but from the other way) and a little past this, I pull over to leave a message on dutch dude carlos' machine saying we're ok and it's steady as she goes for us... I know he's worried about what has to be done but I wanna reassure him some. I turn us north before montpelier and head for millau - we're taking a route I've never done before, straight up through the middle of france - it's a road plan carlos faxed to me along w/the english work permits and I think it's a good one. us in this dutch boat pass through all the mountain stuff of puy-de-dome, having the good fortune of good weather mostly on us - some wind sometimes, even some sprinkles but not much and it being a little brisk is ok on helping to keep me alert. trippy how raul's body has mastered tour life - he can konk w/his head hanging forward w/out himself being slumped. sure, his mouth is wide opened but he is getting rest in this virtual semi-state. as I said before, if I need he pops right up and when I'm done he's back in sleepytown, amazing. paul's been konked the whole time though at one stop, he let his coffee-fiend thing get on him and was about to down when I begged him please to let it go and let konk take him so he'd be all rested for when I knew at sometime I'd need him to take over cuz there was no way I could do the whole 1157 klicks or whatever this road tally would add up to be (I got that number from the routing carlos flowed). much thanks to paul for taking some non-musical direction from me too. see, raul's a pedaler back in pedro and though he now owns the old boat (I sold my 1990 ford econoline e-250 to him for $500), he has no driver's license and his buddy kevin drives it. that leaves only paul to relieve me so I dearly want him rested up when that time must inevitably come. I watch the plates on the other cars on the road and they're completely french, this is not maybe so the tourist way to go though it's mainly family-loaded cars I see on this sunday, traffic not plugged or slowed but still enough to be far from empty. I take us through clermont-ferrand and then past vichy (a physical connection where before it was always a thing from history books that meant "collaboration") - we're past the mountains now, I pull us on over for fuel and let paul take over for about three hundred klicks, taking us through bourges, orleans and on to chartres. the whole of paul's shift, I was konked big time - from the moment he started his first and only drive of this tour to when I popped just before chartres (home of a huge old cathedral w/the town's name - he said he's been here before but I'm grateful again for him indulging me for a look-see of my own). it was three hours of much needed konk for me, I totally needed it and me going under that fast surely meant I trusted paul enough to have him wheel us. he did really good.

   the cathedral was built mostly in the twelfth century but there's later add-ons like a fifteenth century spire - you can imagine how works like this get appropriated by the current agenda of the day. I think of all the workers who toiled here who'll be forever anonymous but then I'm always thinking about that. this is an elaborate piece of work here though, damn - the stained glass, the chapel w/in a chapel and all the figures - outside around the hatches too. trippy how things are subordinated regarding this w/the three main ones: the beginning, middle and end (as in second coming, final judgement) of jesus aren't in that order but beginning, END and midlle where the center hatch has the biggest focus. we are a funny species that way. another thing I get to thinking on is stations (they're carved up on the walls) - lots of times I'm checking out VIII cuz that's where veronica might be seen - she's the one my ma took her confirmed name from and one story has jesus' face getting but in her veil. well, supposedly this place got started w/a relic that was a veil but though there's ladies by jesus, there's no veil scene. I'm prone to chasing down patterns that seem to cling on in me, like getting a foothold to gain a perspective - something like that. it's all too big for me to hold at once, more like finding myself bathing in than symbols rather getting self-righteous or definitive about them. what's definitely going down w/me though is kind of choke-out on my lungs - it's hard to breathe in here, maybe old old old dust is making itself truly felt on me. it clears up the second I get outside and breathe the air out there. neat pad though, lots to make me think about - damn, tons. I could stare at the carved faces and stuff on the outside alone for an infinity. lots of riddles for me to develop (notice I didn't say find!).

   paul is in the passenger seat now and navigates us through dreux, where we stop for chow but it's some serious chick-ching so we move on 'til a gas stop in vereux has paul chowing up but me and raul holding off. cuz of spring, bugs are making the windshield harder and harder to look through but the gas pad has no water for squeegie use so we make do w/using the spigot for radiator use a few islands away. a lady appears after a while to "refresh" the water reservoirs and looks kind of pissed off - we didn't mean any harm, just wanted to get a better look at france w/some clean windows. maybe a boss got on her case cuz they saw us improvising, shit - it's may day (fucked up I'm not playing on this date - can't remember when that happened last) and the last thing I want is to give a fellow worker hell. I wish I could speak french to apologize and explain. trippy but raul tells me the same thing when we get under way again, I guess it was running through both our minds. paul offers us his french fries (he had the people there throw all his chow in a plastic bag) so I chow some - no salt but his sister weened me off that years ago. did I already write about that this tour? there are things about kira I'll never forget, they're inscribed in me. I think she was the first really to get me to think about my health. we go through rouen and then pick up the autoroute again to le harve, the road since chartres was secondary but not too tiny. man, is it a relief to get to this port - whoa, the atlantic ocean and we've made it safe after fifteen hours of full road sail, blessed be. I get out and hoof after putting the boat in right before the ferry check-in gates cuz they'll be open for us in a bit. I go over to the bus terminal and make a call to dutch dude carlos and leave a message on his machine we've arrived safe, then go get some kebab at a turkish place, stopping at a gas station to get paul an ice cream cone cuz I know he likes sweets and he was saying how we're going to now go to england where gigs are more like u.s. ones and we're not as much "treated like kings" as he puts it, like on the continent here where hotels are part of the deal for playing. it's not such an issue for me cuz it's about doing gigs, this tour life but I want paul to know I appreciate him doing what he can for us. raul, I know is having his mind blown coming over to the parts for the first time ever and has no pre-conceptions, being used to hardcore tours and playing in living rooms, basements and garages anyway. we're a mixed bunch.

   I think it's the first time for both of my guys on a ferry so I tell them it's kind of like a floating konk pad, the way I've fit into our plan. we drive on and the hoof up to the cabin I got us, a little kranky cuz I need both some space and konk. they want to see the boat shove off from the upper decks but I'm quick on the deck so I don't join them and instead am prone and in snoresville seconds after they've sealed me in w/some hatchclose. the last day of the tour w/out a gig but not an empty day for sure.

monday, may 2, 2005 - london, england

from raul:

   Arrived at around six thirty in the morning, and we gained an hour. Watt woke me up and told me that we had just ported, so i ran upstairs to scope it out. Not quite yet to land, maybe fifteen more minutes. It was great being in the port so early in the morning, made me think of home. The diffrence from was the battle ships all over, cold morning with lots of moisture in the sky, and it's drizzling a bit. On they way down to the garage, i see the exchange booth, and decide to get some pounds. I'm not sure, and i'd like to give the lady the benifit of the doubt, but i think she tried to rip me off for eighty bucks. I called her out on it, and it was fixed. It's weird, she knew i had just woken up, was groggy, and even more in a hurry... seemed shady, whatever, no harm. I think paul took more offense than i did. To me, karma can be a bitch, and i believe in that crap, so she's rolling the dice, not me. While this was going on, there were inaudiable announcements over the loud speakers. I think they were saying was to hurry the hell up, get off the damn boat. We made it downstairs just as they were tellin' watt to start moving the line, perfect timing. The border check is a breeze, the nice lady checked our passports and sent up on thru. Instantly it's bizzare, were driving on the oppisite side of the road, it's tough to get used to even just sitting, i can't imagine driving like that. Every left turn, i gulp, and twist my head in all directions.. instinctivly, i think we're headed the wrong direction. Most the drive into london, i have my head buried doing some chimpin', so i don't get a look of how jacked the streets are, but i can hear paul call out street names every other second. The names change from block to block, watt had bought the london a-z, and it still seemed tough. The a-z list every street, ally way, drive way in london, it's our bible for the next two days.

   We're in town real early, it's nine thirty when we get to the club, and nobodys there till noon. It's right down the road from piccadilly circus, sorta like the manhatten part of london, or what manhatten copied from london, one was first. I take a walk up there to find somthing to eat. Everything is so expensive, it's unbelieveable, the dollar is turd, a pound is $1.95, so it's basically double, and all the prices are the same, this town can eat your money fast, four dollars for a cup of coffee, thats just way to much. Paul and i do a little searchin', and find a pad with reasonable deals, with good food. I wish i would've tried the avacado shake. While we're eatin' it's starts with the rain. Not uncommen for london, but it sucks, i got shit that can't get wet in my back pack, and we have lots of time to do whatever, i don't wanna spend it sittin' in the van watchin' it pour... i swear it was sunny five minutes ago. On the way back to put some things away, it stops, i'll come to find most of the days are like this, and the weather changes very frequintly, and with little warning. It's great though, cuz for now it's stopped. Got to see the cliche sites, big ben, parliment, and even walked thru the park to the palace. There was people all over the place, i mean herd like, flooded. The guards were putting on a show, drum lines, guards doing the marches with guns, i can't believe there'd be such a put on for tourist, then we remember, it's a bank holiday. Celebrating what, i'm not sure, maybe it's like the labor day that we have in the states. It's not to happening, it's way to crowded, and now of course my sweatshirt is a nusince, cuz it's pratically a hot summer day, for how long, i'm not sure, nobody is. All i know is im burning up. We both head back to the van to shed some clothes. After, paul decides to stay back, and read in the park, i'm gonna go check out the city.

   It reminds me of a smaller manhatten, even has the hugh televised advertisments. In L.a., we even got some of our own, right on hollywood blvd. The powers concept to make every big city the same is almost complete, at least i don't see a starbucks around. I'm sure they have the equally as evil counterpart, i just don't know what it is. I walked for hours, and it all stayed relitively the same, lots and lots of shops. Finally i had to give it a rest, i found a bookstore, and spent an hour reading. The promoter is suppossed to be there at three, and it's close to, so i should go back. When he shows, the boys move the van around the to the front, but paul tells me that they're going to the back, easy mistake. i'm in the back talkin' with sean for about ten minutes, when i decide to go 'round front to see where the hell they went. The last piece of equipment is being hauled out as i walk up, opps.

   One other band tonight, while they sound check, i go next door and get something to eat. It's not seperate, and along with a eatery, bar, and club, there's a gallery, theatre, and a book and movie store. I should of got the fish and chips, something traditional, it just seemed to greasy at the time, i opt for some greens, not enough on this tour. In the restarant is a 'puter, and it has free internet, so i write kid kevin back home, and me mum. Capricorn starts soon after. The first metal band we've played with. I thought they were awesome, very heavy, sometimes reminding me of federation x, but only briefly. In between the heaviness, the guitars would do these harmonies that were pretty epic, the sound track to fantasy a movie. Had some good old sounding thrash parts, good stuff. After the day off it's good to get to playin' again. Gig is a goodie, people that came to see the show were super friendly, it's great when folks are clapping for parts of songs, it breaks the ice, sometimes the whole club will be hushed, and we'll be playin' so quite you can hear people breathing. It's rad to get so much attention, but it can add to some already tense feelings, i'd like the crowd to be more at ease, tonight was the perfect mixture of that. It can go both ways, to much attention, and no atention span. After saying bye to the capricrn dudes, they were cool enough to give me a vinal copy of there record.. i hope it can survive two more weeks of tour and a plane flight. I've gotten albums home from tour before, but the only place to put this record is in a case that gets smashed around everyday. So enough of that, we say bye and head for the pad, it's not close, and we have no one to follow, but we do have the a-z. Paul does a fantastic job directing us there, he's great with the maps, i'm already thinkin' about how lost i'll be tomorrow.

from paul:

   I wake to Mike chimping at about 5 a.m. I go in and out and wake up again for good as he leaves the room. I get up because I want to see us pull in, get a little more seafarin' whatsit. Raul's right behind me as we go up; we check out to see if there's free breakfast; that's a laugh; more like chingching breakfast. We're basically too late to see much; we're practically berthing, but we do notice her majesties war fleet off the starboard bow. They keep making announcements that Raul and I miss, just can't quite catch what they're going on about, but I'm pretty sure are important; he decides to change some more money, $20 worth, gives the girl $100, she gives him 10 pounds! When he asks for his change she says: "How do you tell your money apart, it's all the same color and size!" uh huh, I've seen that grift before, especially considering we are totally fucking up late getting to the van. I ask the guy next to the scam artist change girl how to get to the van and he tells us, then says:"Sir, you have been called" like what the fuck are you still doing here. I had a feeling it was going down like that, so we rush down, and make it to the car just as Watt has to pull away. It could have been semi-ugly as we have to go through customs, but customs was a breeze so the whole thing was just very nerve wracking.

   We pick up the map book of London driving on the left side like we're trying to kill ourselves. It's scary. Mike does great, he just keeps telling himself "stay to the left, stay to the left" but there are a few times we pull into intersections with NO IDEA what we are doing; just kinda closing our eyes and saying "10 o'clock!!!" and hoping for the best. It is basically a sensation of driving the wrong way down a one way street, constantly. Meanwhile we're calling off every little alley and mew we pass, I'm trying to stay exactly on top of where we are, and it really goes pretty good considering we're playing NEXT DOOR TO THE QUEEN. Yes, the club is on the Mall which is the street that leads right to Buckingham Palace, it seems way too high falutin for us, like Mike is about to be knighted. We've really been lucky because it's a bank holiday and the nightmare of London traffic combined with London roads and London left handedness hasn't materialized. We find the club with remarkable ease although a slight nervous aneurism. I mean it went good but it was stressful. Anyway we find a parking spot around 9a.m. after getting into Portsmouth at six and clearing customs by 6:30 or 7. and Raul and I search for some food.

   The prices are a fucking shocker. Donuts and coffee is out, but we look a little and find a place where I can get a English breakfast for L3.75 which is over $7.50 but it has eggs, sausage, ham, vinegar beans, a slice of tomato and coffee, so cool, I'm fed, but I'm probably going to need more pounds. Then we head out to make the little tourist circuit; I've got the map book and want to figure things out, Raul just wants to keep moving. I saw nothing coming in because I was so focussed on the map, but Raul saw Big Ben and we go that way.

   I'm a dumbass, I don't even know that that's the House of Parliament. It's a REALLY impressive building, everybody's seen that I guess, ostentatious to say the least, right next to it is Westminster Abbey, a CATHEDRAL, but we've seen some bitchin cathedrals and we move on. There are a lot of statues of people, Cromwell, Richard the Lionhearted, Lincoln, some real british looking guys with british mustaches that got statues for ruling the Indian people. We follow the marching band sounds it turns out to be the Buckinham palace guard: the guys in the red suits and funny hair! They are doing their maneuvers, marching old school with their AK47's and their tubas then they all go marching off in front of Buckingham palace. It's really surreal, you see pictures your whole life but I never paid much attention. I guess those are the guys specifically charged with guarding the queen? There's lots of people, we fight through the crowd, Raul doesn't like crowds, then we head back to the van. It's unbelievably cool to be walking around in central London but am I anywhere in the vicinity? Of course not. I wind up getting a book and reading and falling asleep in the park. My head is ablaze in full glory with the horror of my self hatred that I was going on about earlier, absolute revulsion.

   At around three I go back into ICA which is now open. It's some kind of govt. sponsored museum or art thingy. They have a museum show called Beck's Futures going on, I don't know what that was about except Al English told me later that it's an annual presentation of a bunch of artists and one of them wins and gets money. I looked VERY briefly at some of it and it didn't grab me at all. But there were some good screensavers, that's art don't you think? The museum is open but the venue is still padlocked, the receptionist doesn't really seem to want me hanging around and calls the guy with the keys and points out the crew to me who are at a little bar drinking. Now we can load in. It's a big black room and Ian, Francis and I agree that it's a shame to be in this dark room when it's so beautiful outside. And it is really beautiful, but it's always like that in England, right?

   We check, its a bit verby, but we've dealt with that before, Sean and Al show up with some drinks and chips and fruit. Sean is older with a beard, he works for Barry who is the promoter, and who also I guess is the guy beyhind All Tomorrow's Parties. Al is younger, with cool hair, tells me later he works for Matador records, has a band called Youthmovie Soundtracks Strategies and is the contact at ACI. I get a feeling he's "skeptical" about us, but I ask him later and he says no and I believe him, he's shy or tired or something. And Sean points out...an internet connection!! I hop on, it's been two weeks! there are some pictures of Hellin and an email but not very much for so long. She says she's been having anxiety, I don't know why we get that, it's so random, it feels like when someone just snuck up behind you and yelled BOO!! And then you have this flood of nervousness not connected to anything it's so FUCKING UNPLEASANT. Watt finally gets two weeks of the diary up, I check my emails before we leave the club late and Hellin hasn't checked them yet. Hope she's OK.

   The opening band the Capricorns start checking and I feel like it's not a very good pairing. They are SUPER loud and heavy and metal based, tuned way down, octavers, baritone guits I dunno, low low low sludgy. Kinda cool too, instrumental, but so loud it's painful to stand in front of. I wonder a little if we'll sound all small, but the Coltrane should wash the ears.

   Raul and I have dinner with Al and Sean, I get some good fish and chips, not all greasy, shishi art institute fish and chips. They talk alot about all tomorrows parties, it sounds like a great thing, 2500 people (Mike says 6000) at a little resort near the water with lots of really cool music, the bands rubbing shoulders with the kids. I went to the one my friend Rick did in Long Beach at the Queen Mary, it was so cool, Iggy with Mike, one of his early ones; Mars Volta; Elliott Smith was supposed to play but he had just died so there was a tribute to him instead, James Chance and the Contortions plus lots of other cool underground music, but the setting was so neat and that's a big part of it, the Queen Mary towering, Long Beach lit up and beautiful. Rick died a few months after that, he was one of my best friends and I miss him a lot. I guess Barry knew Rick; Sean said Rick had done so great with the LA version. That was a bad year for losing people.

   After dinner Al takes me out for a walk to what he says is his favorite place in London; a bridge across the Thames with an awesome view, there's a wierd building, huge, shaped like a catapillar pupa, the insanely large ferris wheel of course, all the old stuff and the muddy filthy river sliding by below us. I like him a lot, his band is unapologetically prog, he says King Crimson and when I hear his CD it really is, kinda Genesis too. Good lyrics as well. I tell him what I've been saying lately, I'm starting to wonder if a good gig for me would be lighthouse keeper. He found out he's not going to keep his job booking ACI and he might move back to Oxford, work in a bar and concentrate on his band. That sounds nice although when he says that one of the great things about the job is you can drink there I just say; "I wouldn't want to drink that much!" He went to school in music business which he says didn't help him a bit, but that stuff gives you confidence.

   We get back and I go up and do diaries as the Capricorns get ready to go on. It is empty! Feel a cave coming. That's a drag because this is London etc. but I don't let those things get to me, I'm interested in a transcendent performance, if only one person sees it, that's cool. It really is, I've found that with my own music, I pick up "fans" one at a time. Few people give it a listen, but once in a while one person will hear my music exactly the way I heard it, it's rare and precious, and it has to be good enough for me cause it's never been any other way. The Capricorns finish, we set up quick and Watt gives us the pep talk: "OK, guys this is the total character builder" and we go on to a pretty empty house.

   Except when we hit the first chords, the people come in from the next room and it's pretty full!!! I was pretty surprised, I had no idea there were alot of people waiting outside. Raul knew and didn't say anything! Mike is great, smiling and seeming to have fun, even when the floor tom mike was abruptly unmuted halfway through the set changing things drastically. We played good, although when Mike whipped out "Riot Industry" which we haven't played for a while I didn't go to the bridge. Whoops.

   Apparently some bouncers fucked with people while Watt was talking and selling shirts to them after the show and he was really pissed. I didn't see it but I felt a wierd vibe in that place starting from the guy at reception when I first got there who was what you might call "snooty." Al and Sean were great, Ian and Francis were great, but it seemed like some of the ACI people weren't into rock gigs.

   Anyway while that was going on we were trying to load out, it seemed to take a long time; finally we hit the road with some directions through London and it's more Mr. Toads Wild Ride with me hunched over the map book, but we get there despite the fact that the numbering on the street the hotel is on is unorthodox, going 1-60 on one side and then back 61-100 on the other...did I explain that right? Anyway you just wouldn't see that in America.

   I get in bed and am able to deeply, deeply love Hellin, Alex and Adam, but before I get to the rest of you I'm out. Sorry. Tomorrow.

from watt:

   pop at six and half bells and panic some, then realize england's an hour behind so the six o'clock pull-in time is still a half hour late cuz I forgot to change my watch before konking. damn, I was tired last night that I was out 'pert-near immediately. am so glad we got into le harve safe though, so fucking grateful. now it being this early in morning, threre's no rush at all to get into london town, none at all and I can very much dig that. I don't need stress if I can help it in these years so I like to pad everything w/extra time. much respect to uri and his wishes to be free of time but I've found to help minus down the lack of freedom from stress due to time, a look at the watch to make sure you're way full of it for what you need is the best route for watt. hell, I konked in my outfit so it's just a matter of putting on my 'puter wacksack and hoofing down to the car hold deck and getting the boat - no morning supplement/mouth-body scrub/face steel scrape for watt this morning it's quite ok cuz we're safe now in england for this part of our mission. the front hatches are open and vehicle motors are coming on - where are my guys? vehicles are starting to roll when I'm so relieved to see raul and paul running to the boat... quick, they're in and we're off and onto dry land... en-land. the immigration officer takes our passports and work permits - thank god we those came through, thank carlos and barry - runs them through and we're allowed to pass in minutes, much MUCH gratitude. we've been so lucky w/the borders this tour, hallelujah!

   ok, next test on me is driving on the wrong side of the road cuz that's what they do here. the wrong side of the road if you come from where I do, that is. for them though, it's the right side (notice why I ask my guys to give directions w/port and starboard cuz that word "right" can get so confusing?) for them and I'm a guest here so I will learn. "keep to the left, whatever happens" I keep thinking to myself. it is a trip to do this, a big one - especially coming out of a driveway or on these round-abouts. compounding it some is I'm in a boat that's got it's wheel on the wrong side for this land, a left-side one like what's used in the u.s. and the continent just across the channel. what must be heavy also is the dilemma of the cat in the passenger - he's the one straddling the center line cuz usually the wheelman's the closest to that. I am so focused on keeping safe w/this "challenge" put forth on us - last night before konking I said a prayer even for help to keeping me aware and not fuck up. it's a mindblow to my eyes to see the cars coming the way they are but I gotta just jump in the water in swim. first task is to get a map of london cuz there's like four thousand roads at least and lots of them are just a block or two long. we stop at a gas station and I get a street atlas that's like 270 pages at a mile and a quarter wide each. the street layout is even more hilarious - no grid whatsoever, everything going every which way and one thing map doesn't tell you is the one ways and the do-no-enters which are all the way up the yang. pretty comical but it's part of what's called for to sally forth in these parts so we ain't gonna bitch about it. I get a sandwich that's got prawns (shrimps) on it and a sack of potato chips, stuffing them in w/the prawns to get some texture for me going. the coff is that instant stuff that's mainly for stomping on a caffeine jones, right? sure can't be for taste, not to sound all picky or whatever. I remember george berz (j mascis + the fog drummer w/me) making a big case out of coff that wasn't up to nyc standards when I toured w/him - too much. he even started bringing around his own french press coff maker 'til he did a donate on it in some town. good to think of george again - even for that silly reason cuz he's got a baby coming soon and I'm really happy for him and gim. anyway, we get down the road up north to london and are going to approach things from the south once we get on the m25 ring from portsmouth. last time I was here in london, I read about a "congestion charge" for some parts of town and pull over at a news stand to get one for the boat but the cat there can't get the dutch plates we got to register so I go to another one down the block and this guy says he'll sell me one for tomorrow (five pounds, about ten dollars!) but today's a "bank holiday" and you don't need one. damn, I was wondering why the traffic was way light to what I've come to expect! I get the piece of paper (camera's film your license plates to see if you're in compliance, damn!) and we continue on. paul's navigating and puts on a course that weaves us along pretty good 'til we get to the thames river where we're put into some pretzle-crazy intersection that leaves us clueless but somehow we end up on the vauxhall bridge, just where we wanted! bizarre. the gig's at a place called ica and it's on this grand "street" called the mall, real close to where the queen lives in buckingham palace and all kinds of fancy british royal stuff and monuments. it's on nine bells in the morning and we're not expected 'til three pm so I find a place to park behind the pad in pall mall square. no prob parking and there's no charge cuz of the holiday, my guys go hoof and sightsee while I go get a coff (non-instant) and tuna on a baguette after chimping diary after a few hours and damn if it ain't seven pounds (around fourteen dollars) - THIS IS AN EXPENSIVE TOWN! I'm not talking restaurant either, whoa. I notice the statue we're parked in front of (there's statues all over these parts), it's a guy dressed up in heavy winter gear and it says:

   "had we lived I should have had a tale
   to tell of the hardihood endurance and
   courage of my companions which would
   have stirred the heart of every englishman
   these rough notes and our dead bodies must
   tell the tale"

         - robert falcon scott

now that's some heavy tour spiel to have been chimped, I feel kind of puny doing my own right here though I believe raul and paul surely have some form of "hardihoood" to endure touring w/me so much resepct to them. it's a trip to keep things in some sort of perspective cuz man, you can get king of carried away w/yourself, being self-aborbed so in writing about how you see yourself and see others - how they see you. I notice how many folks look to the statue so much more than all the others that are about. even trippier is when raul starts chimping his diary on his 'puter, sitting at the base of this statue of captain scott (him and his guys failed on a mission to the south pole), I notice how he gets more attention than the statue - I see people's head first look to him, then up at the statue and then back to raul. it's surreal and puts in me a sense I can't articulate but nonetheless dig. it's living breathing life telling the tale though it'd be the last thing in the world people might think is thoughts from a punk drummer describing his tour w/the crazy pedro bassman.

   load in time and I bring the boat around and we unload. francis and ian help us out, they're surprised there's just three of us. francis does the soundcheck w/us (first time he's dealt w/a leslie!) and then I'm joyed-up much to find there's internet access (after eleven days!) and I can get the last two weeks of diary up. I know it's really important to paul cuz he's writing for his wife helen and I want help him so w/that. I know hoot page readers like it too. I've never had such trouble getting on to the net like this tour though last summer's stooges euro gigs were kind of tough too. barry's the gigboss for tonight (he's brought me on to play several all tomorrow's parties festivals) but here now are his helpermen sean and al who are nice cats. sean's got us some tobasco to go in the lameass salsa, his heart's in the right place. I also get to meet tonight's openers, capricorns who are english but have one guy from upstate new york. these are some nice guys and play a heavy powered chug w/their music. the bass player's got one of those eb-3 basses that have a slotted headstock, trippy. this lady writer named carol comes to do a spiel w/me regarding john lennon and I talk about my take on him. I was never a big beatles fan as a boy, maybe cuz everyone else was and I had none of their records... 'pert-near the only tune of theirs I liked was "glass onion" but I did like john lennon's stuff, especially "working class hero" and that live plastic ono band record. she asks me about where I was when he was shot to death and I tell her about being in the hospital and almost dying from pneumonia - it was right around when darby crash died too. I was burning up w/fever and puking my brains out when the tv up on the wall said he was killed and it shook me up, even if in the state I was in. al says I got a call from dutch dude carlos so I talk w/him and get the walkie-talkie leash coded up w/a new prepaid card and then al brings me to chow some very strange version of a falafel, like a mashed-up veggie burger on a bun. the good part is getting to talk to bossman barry - he just got here and told me some really good stooges news. I can't write about here though, am not supposed to speak of what's coming yet. sorry. I go back to the dressing room and carlton, the mainman from easy action who released "the secondman's middle stand" overseas here comes to say hi and I'm really glad to see him - big hugs. bassist steve lawson, one of those six string monsters says hi - me and kira did a weird namm gig w/him and were supposed to do stuff this last january but idiot watt hurt his arm flying over his bicycle handlebars. maybe this next one though. steve's a nice cat.

   I'm gonna play hard for my friends tonight. I also wanna keep the string of three good gigs we did in spain still going even if tonight looks like character builder time. it definitely is for capricorns but they put their heart way into it. our turn and the place fills up much more but I was committed whatever the case, I charge hard. it's a great crowd to play for, a good spirit even for a wack piece such as I could write - much respect to them. my guys put good focus on me too and do really well, even w/crazyass sound shit like feedback crazy floor tom flood and some notes from the bottom end of the organ shaking the stage like a drum head. I know I write a lot about the sound/acoustic stuff a bunch but I hope that doesn't sound like I'm so obsessive about cuz a good gig doesn't come from things only like that, there's a lot of untangibles in fact that have nothing to do w/any of that - like how am I delivering whatever from within me. like some young man says to me after the gig, "a bad builder blames his tools" (I think I've used a similar quote many times). it seems the biggest challenge is 'pert-near me getting over myself and out of the way w/the way I can get freaked out so and crumble - yep, even after all these fucking years. so I did ok tonight, much thanks to the folks helping me out w/the spirit I already mentioned, they brought in tons for us. I sling and talk w/them - one guy's got a shirt from the last u.s. tour (he flows me a live recording of john coltrane in copenhagen on november 20, 1961 - mucho gracias!), and he asked me earlier if he could tape the gig and of course I said sure - I was tripped out kind of that he liked the heidelberg show that's obviously made the rounds, courstesy of armyman ray and mac daddy (much respect to both of them) and I hope he like what's went down tonight too. damn, I thought I blew the heidelberg gig out of the water... well, maybe not as bad as ljubjana or terrecina but what do I know but what I think I seee fit to chimp in these diaries? I don't wanna take anything away from anyone as to what they feel. there's a cat here from buffalo, a big man - I'm sorry I didn't get an extra-larges made of the shrits but dutch dude carlos said euro folks don't much get them... I've been asked a lot though, oh well - sorry. one thing that really gets me pissed is the security people here are really rude to people and running them out - here we went on early and we're before curfew and these motherfuckers wanna treat people like cattle and herd them out - that ain't proper. I will not play here again. no offense to either frances or ian cuz they were great but these other guys are way out of line. gigboss barry just rented out the room so it's not his fault either, it's the dickheads themselves. there's an irish cat who was at the berlin gig and he wants me to sign some pictures. we have to go out into the hall to do it cuz of these pricks. I'm so sorry... I hate seeing people treated like shit after they've been so nice to us, aaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrgggg... it makes me so mad.

   we load out as the capricorns are loading their stuff into their converted ambulance which are trippy - tall and narrow. we have some fun talking about how people from different places pronounce things different, how cool it is we're all not totally homogenous yet. there's differences in phrasing too, like this spiel I saw on an ad at a bus stop for a current sean penn movie: "a corker of a twist" - but fuck it, vive le' difference! I can dig it. safe seas to these cats, we pile into our own boat, paul navigates us to the columbia hotel and that's no small fete - this town is laid out so crazy as far as roads go, quite a mindblow... the street numbering too can be wild - like even and odd on the same side of the street and going up one end and then around the to the other side! we find it though and even have it easy w/parking on the street (this boat's too tall for parking structure stuff. as for the 'tel it's like $230 for us three to stay in one room, chick-ching! we're not talking bourgeois stuff either but that's this town. I forgot my re-chargable batteries and on my way back from the boat, some u.s. guys stop me in the lobby - they're a san diego band called the truckee brothers and are very nice cats. we have a lot of fun talking about stuff and have a friend in common w/me, a cat san diego way named o (no one know what the o stands for!) who's ubiquitous to that town's scene forever and someone I've always dug much. I like these guys' spirit - a young band not caught up in pretension and raring to go. I give them kind of pep talk cuz I like what they're saying and they kind of had a tough gig tonight so I relate the natural cycles like that if you're in this racket long enough. I'm way tired though cuz of all the hellride the last few two days so I wish them safe seas and go up to join my guys who must've wondered if I got waylaid in a dangerous way or something. I love my guys. I get on the deck, prop my head against a pillow against the wall and immediately konk, knowing I'm safe w/them.

tuesday, may 3, 2005 - liverpool, england

from raul:

    Okay, my turn with the london a-z, not to tough getting outta town, i've been lost in towns alot smaller than this. The streets do change from block to block, you gotta stay on it, that's really it, follow every street, you can't even take your eyes off the map, just call out names, and the two other dudes well tell you if your wrong or right. This method seems the best, cuz anytime i leave the map, it's near impossible to find where i'm at, streets are just flying by. Sucess, up north, thru b,ham, home of the great black sabbath, and then a bit further north up to liverpool. The streets weren't as sporadic as london, but it was a little trial to find the club, at one point we ended up in a bus depot in the middle of all the parked buses. After that going the wrong way on a one way, and almost getting side swiped, we figured our best bet would be to retrace our steps and start over again. Finally the directions started to add up. The only problem was we couldn't find the street we needed. After looking real hard, it's spotted, what ever genious painted the building, also painted the sigh, every thing was the same color... it was camo.

   The club was right under our noses. No ones gonna show for an hour, so to pass the time i go for awalk down to the water front. Think that maybe for a second i should go to the beatles musuem, then i think not. It sounds like a better idea to see liverpool now. The streets aren't that crowded, there's a hugh football game on, and everybody is crowding the pubs. Found a vegan cafe, and got outta the cold and had some caffine, nice lady gave it to me cuz i was on tour, thats sweet. It was a perfect place to catch up on some writin'. I like livepool, it's real, london was just a big city. Liverpool was beat, but there was something about it... there was way to many bars though. I thought i'd play it safe, and show up a half hour early. I can see the last of the equipment comin' out as i turn the corner. Don't worry watt says, we saved the stairs for you. I had to carry it all up by myself, even the leslie, we usually have the help of four people for that... by myself... Baahhah.. just kidding, there were like ten of us there, all helped and it was up quick. I set up speedy, did a check and went down stairs for some beans and rice... now were talking, only thing missin' is tortillas and hot sauce. The pad is called hell, downs stairs is heaven. Inside are paintings from horror movies, good ones too, like demons. Great one, check it out,even some susperia painting. boss knew a ton about all these good zombie flicks, turned me on to some japnesse movies, i guess there're doing some intense gore.

   It constantly looks like it's gonna rain, but i gotta find the liverpool art, it's around, just not in the obvious. It starts with seeing some stencils, just follow em' around, and see where it leads me. From across the street i can see what looks like a empty lot, and from the looks of liverpool, that seems wrong, from what i see, it's brick buildings in rows right next to each other. I walk across the street, and i notice it's not even a lot, so i peak myhead over the wall, a fifteen foot drop, and paintings all over the place.

   Walking back to the club, i notice that a lot of cops are grouping up, then i see em' parkin' in vans on the corners, looks like riot gear. Outta the pubs i can hear soccer chants, reminds me of ummagumma, it's all pretty trippy. Then it dawns on me, it's the fucking game, and from the sounds of it, liverpool won. I'm sure everyone's happy, but the thought of hundreds of skinheads roaming around after a game gives me the creeps... ten skins, and a long haired darky walk into an alley... not a funny joke, so going back to the club makes the most sense. Playing with a couple locals, 2000 b.c., it's the promoters band, and their first gig, also local heros, mugstar. First is 2000, out of control, the drummer has that animal style down, it was like a thirty minute drum solo, very moon. the sound was kinda like beefhearts magic band or something, really out there rhythms, and changes all over the place. They've only been around a few weeks, it shows in the best way. Mugstar is alot more strait forward, more rock and roll, but there's something kinda off about them too. At one point the dude wha was singin' and playin' guitar, swithched to the bass, the bass player went and picked up a sax. Did a bass drums and sax durge, but not slow, not funeral march, and not break neck. Real heavy though, like a fun house out take. The only guy on stage was the drummer, the rest of the group lurched around in between the audience.

   We've had some really good gigs, so it's gotta end sometime. Really it wasn't that bad, i'm being sacastic. The sound guy did have a problem with stage volume, he didn't want any of it, the loudest thing comin' off the stage was the snare drum. I gotta remember, what i hear and what everybody else hears is way diffrent. There was some nasty feed back goin' on, but phil was on it, atleast he was paying attention, some guys won't even be at their table.

   Staying at a hostel around the block from the club, with lots of help from everyone there, the gear gets lugged down two flights of stairs quick. Maybe that's why upstairs was hell, cuz you had to lug the gear up there. I had the thought of total drunken mayhem outside, i also had the same feelin' in boston last year when they won the world series, nothin' happened. That's not entirely true, that girl did get shot in the face, and that sad, but that was a few days before, and the fault of incompetant police, not base ball fans. Anyway, or van wasn't flipped, and the roaming gangs of skinheads didn't seem as threating than when i was alone. Still a threat, earlier i had met a gig goer, and his friend was skatin' by himself earlier that day, and got jumped by skins... what assholes. I guess those two little old ladies who hated the beatles were right when they told me to be careful, cuz liverpool was a scarey place.

from paul:

   It's so hard to write these diaries right now. I just force myself to try to narrate each days events, but it must be dry reading because I've really been in such a downer since Spain. Maybe it's fatigue, maybe it's depression, whatever, we know what it fucking is don't we. I don't know what to say. I'm sorry. I wanted to live a tale of hope. I could say a million things that we talk about or that happen that make me sad, or want to die or shake me with anxiety attacks which is a fancy word for being scared. I look at all the possible futures...unhealthy.

   Now is great. In Liverpool. Touring England. Less than two weeks before I go home. Happy to go home, sad to go home. Sad for the tour to be over. Don't know if I'll ever get back here. Don't know whats going to happen to us when I get back. Didn't know if I'd make it back to America. Made alot of "if something happens..." speeches. Listen you fuckers. I do my job. I don't moan or complain, except I guess in these diaries; I pull my weight I do a great show. No one knows whats going on. Maybe they all do. They wouldn't probably write in their diaries: "Paul is so depressing I'd like to put him out of his misery." I don't want to be like this. I'm trying to find joy. It's no use. I will hide it from everyone so well they'll have no idea. I can do it for ten more days.

   The Duomo. Remember the Duomo. Remember the Germs reunion when Pat and Lorna and Don played with the fake Darby, Shane. There are great days, great events, it doesn't matter what city you're in sometimes the spirit is just lifted and soars and flys. In between you make the best. Remember. This too shall pass. It's OK to be a little mad, you're doing your best, you're doing great. Go walk around and look for life.

   I do notice people avoiding me and keeping away from me. They can tell I'm not OK. If you read these diaries, please talk to me. You set me free and I won't bite.

   It sounded like we weren't going to get an early start, but I think Mike woke up at 7or 7:30 and I dunno we got up and got ready. There was a nice English breakfast with fried toast and eggs meat, coffee not too healthy maybe but HEAVY and filling, with a very nice very British old lady serving us. Then we're on the road trying to get out of London, Raul's in the hotseat but he does great and we get out without incident. It is a very big wierd messed up city, in a way it seems like Los Angeles, you can't possibly appreciate it unless you live there, although they do have that nice touristy British Empire stuff. Once we get out of London I pretty much crash for most of the drive to Liverpool.

   We wander a little getting into Liverpool, the directions are vague but we pull up in front of the club around three I think. The club owner appears, Kevin, and he's sort of strange, can't get a read on him, but we're really early and we just sit in the car. I don't think he's the promoter. I say he's strange because later I talk to people who say he's strange so I feel supported in my impressions. The sound guy, Phillip shows up, saying he needs to EQ the room, it was a problem last night, says it's a bad sounding room. Eventually they're all ready and we start loading in around 5, Raul shows up just in time.

   We carry the shit up the stairs. It's hard. It's fucking strenuous. It's a good workout! The club is called Heaven and Hell or something and it's a pub decorated with ghouls and flame. The liverpool accents are adorable. We soundcheck. There is one monitor. The room doesn't sound that bad to me, the PA sounds bad to me. I'm sorry. Liverpool seems kind of drab, but remember what I said about not judging cities from a few hours. The promoter Paul shows up, he's totally there for us, thats obvious; great guy although sometimes my American ears have trouble following. There is a huge soccer game tonight, we'll go on after. Liverpool played Chelsea to a tie and this is the revenge game. As someone says, " about time they be taken down a peg!"

   I've been going back and censoring myself right now, in a better mood deleting. Let's just say there were some little traces of self pity, wallowing, swallowing. I've been leaving everything till now, but this was too embarassing even for me and you. Sometimes I just take out words Like "fucking" if I say it over and over...sometimes I add phrases like: "it's a good workout!" which gives a totally different slant on whatever I'm complaining about.

   Do you see why it might not be advisable for me to drink and do drugs??

   There's some chips and fruit and a chili and rice concoction which is fine. I go walk around outside at around 8 but everything is closed and almost everyone is in pubs breathlessly watching a soccer game. It's cold and a mist is coming in but still no rain in England!

   I walk for a little while thinking I could find an interrnet cafe; that wasn't going to happen. Or a place to buy a phone card, because like I've said there's one sure fire way to feel better if it's an emergency. But no. So I keep walking to some sort of city center where there's museums and state buildings, big old gloomy 19th century loomers with pillars etc. And guys on pedestals. There were guys on pedestals in London too. Big 100 foot pedestals. I started wondering who gets the big pedestals. This one was Wellington. I didn't think I even knew who he was, but it sort of came back that he'd been the guy that the English kept throwing at Napoleon till eventually...Waterloo!! But even the guys on the 100 foot pedestals still have seagulls on their heads. There were other guys in this little park, which is the ONLY green spot in Liverpool it said on a plaque, which is pretty sad, because it wasn't much. There were statues of guys with names like Gladstone and Balfour, Liverpool's sons who had done things for the poor and for orphans and sick, guys that you'd think just spent their whole lives grinding money out of the underclass and here they are immortalized for good works. I'm not sure I'm buying it 100%, aren't these the guys who make sure there is an underclass? I dunno, I don't trust anything I say or think. Anyway they didn't get the 100 foot pillars, just regular statue stuff. And no seagulls that I saw.

   On the way back, I don't believe it an INTERNET PHONE BOOTH! I am able to check my emails but not send any which is VERY FRUSTRATING but anyway Hellin hasn't checked hers or sent any so no relief there, I guess she kind of gave up checking them regularly since it was so long since I was able to make contact.


   There, I left that, there was a bunch of that crap but bye bye, sorry.

   So, it's pretty chilly and I head back to the club which is getting hoppin'; I can tell it's going to be good. On the way back I pass seems like dozens and dozens of pubs with people watching soccer. I check and Liverpool is up 1 to 0 in the first few minutes which is probably an insurmountable lead. I'm kind of excited about seeing a possible soccer outbreak first hand. I go upstairs to the backstage, not well at all, and the first band is playing, 2000 BC, and they're wierd I have to go down and check them out. Raul says it was there first show, I thought they had this bizarre combination of primitive and polish. Raul mentioned Beefheart and yeah, the guitars had this Beefheart/Geza X arthritis style that I couldn't decide whether it was on purpose or just wonderfully amateur. I'm still not sure, but they were young and cool. After they got off, one of the guitarists came up and we hung out and I guess he was talking english. Or maybe I don't speak english, don't get me wrong he was totally sweet he even looked a little like John Lennon which made my Liverpool stay even more liverpudlian. Meanwhile the other band was on, Mudstar who really were going for a Hawkwind thing but Mike says were more Sonic Youth. It's amazing how it seems like a lot of bands don't really bother to sing too much anymore, maybe I'm slanted perception wise, but alot of the bands we play with are instrumental or sing once in a while, totally sporadically. As Mudstar draws to an ear splitting climax and ends their set, I can hear drunken singing from somewhere, it's the soccer hordes whooping it up; Liverpool triumphant.

   Most of my gear is in the upstairs dressing room (with the big fake Japanese widows that Kevin had been really proud of, what a tripper, I hardly talked to the guy but I liked him, he was young, good looking and so dry I don't even know if he was dry) so I carry it down and try to set up, my brain essentially boiling in oil. And it was wierd, the band had basically just left it's gear there and disappeared, so I started shuffling it around, it was a low, small very crowded stage, the music was really pumping, it was pretty crowded and I had to bring the gear through the crowd. Now Mike and Raul had to deal with all these factors too, and I don't think they felt apeshit, although I do remember Raul wishing the music was not so ear splitting. It takes a while to move gear and there just seems like there's millions of cords, direct boxes just a mess. But we get on and start.

   And I'm crappy. I never get comfortable, I make mistakes, I don't use the insanity I just flounder and can't get it together at least to my satisfaction at all. After, Mike says everybody has shows like that but I don't think I do, maybe this is the second or third of the whole tour to some degree or other, and the others had serious mitigating circumstances. I'm not sure this did and I'm pissed. Well maybe it did a little bit, but mostly just suck assed, and couldn't leave the fucking head at home. At one point I decided very seriously that I wasn't cut out to be a professional musician, I wasn't good enough and that from now on I would just do it as a hobby. That's the kind of thoughts I was having all day but it was nicely crystalized right there. I mentioned that to Raul and he said: "None of us are!" and thats why he's Raul and I'm psycho. Thanks Raul. And thanks Mike for saying everybody has bad shows, I believed you. But I remembered Manlio and Squartet/Neo and what I remembered about the joy of music watching them, I first learned it listening to Jimi Hendrix later Keith Richards and lots of others, it has power, and I have responsibility to use it, and it won't happen tomorrow no matter what.

   We have a lot of help loading down the steps thank god, but it's still a great workout! Drunken gaggles of singing Liverpudlians pass bombarding us with joyous renditions of a song that informs us that "We are Liverpudlians." I'm kinda making fun of soccerfan, but it was really neat to be here and see this cultural phenomenon first hand; and I've acted pretty pleased(idiotic) about the Lakers now and again.

   Paul takes us over to this hostel, we get a room with two bunkbeds, Mike drags a mattress on the floor. It's really different from hotels; the guy at the front desk recites a little litany of services and rules which I don't really focus on because I think I'm checking into a hotel and I wish I would have because it was interesting and other. Paul really wants us to come out drinking with him but there's no way Mike is and me too I guess and I ask Raul if he's gonna go, because i feel bad that none of us are partiers to hang out and forge bonds with the people we meet. That's really lame that I even fucking think about it probably. Mike, I think, takes this as me egging Raul on to drink and I can see why he would think that under the circumstances, but it's really not the case here. He says he's seen people get sober and then push others to drink, I really don't want to be a total wet blanket, but I don't think that's me, wanting to encourage Raul to fuck up. I'll see though if it is. Raul doesn't want to anyway so big deal.

   I lie down and think of Hellin of course, mostly worry, paranoia because I haven't been in touch with her and because I'm a sick puppy. And I think of Alex and Adam and how they're coming out of a rough time just like their Mom and Dad and I get to one other person before it's lights out: My incredible magnificent unbelievable sister who I hold in such respect and awe and sometimes envy and sometimes don't but more and more just want to be a big huge brother part of her life from now on. YAY KIRA!!! XOXO

from watt:

   pop at eight bells - still paying of the konk debt incurred from the hellride from la roca. I gotta get money in the parking meter so I hose off quick and then join my guys for a "full english breakfast" which means eggs, tomato, bacon, sausage (hotdog-like), baked beans and toast - all deep fried except the toast which I don't eat but shovel all the rest. we got sun, alright but that's how yesterday started too and then rain came - luckily it wore off at noon. you never know how weather will go in these parts, never. raul's in the navigator seat and uses the london map book to put us on a course for the northwest cuz tonight's gig is in liverpool. what a mission it is for him (but he does good), guiding us through the chicane of streets 'til we find the motorway out, taking 'pert-near an hour. we stop to get gas and for cleaning windows rather than a squeegie, they got a hug sponge which comes in handy cuz of a big spill up front in the coffeecup holder which soaks it up quick. fuel is way expensive here, like $6.88 u.s. a gallon and that's diesel cuz that's what this boat uses (and that's cheaper than gas) - holy shit! we go north through birmingham and catch the m6 towards liverpool. the sky starts to darken and then rain starts dumping down on us big time but cuts after an hour. it's supposed to be may FLOWERS not SHOWERS, right? no wonder it's so green where there's not town (which mostly is really beatdown gray). I get a chicken sandwich and stuff it w/"ham and english mustard" potato chips - they've got some wild flavors for potato chips here in england. back on the motorway, I see a truck w/an oocl can - that's a shipping company that flows containers to the port back in l.a. and it makes me a little homesick for my pedro town - avert your eyes, watt cuz there's still a week and a half of work to do. there's an election coming here in a couple days and the tories rather than show their candidate, show tony blair giggling w/"imagine five more years of this? are you thinking what we're thinking?" - basically the same simplistic "thinking" (yeah, right) buzztalk we've seen in other countries' nationalistic parties' billboards. do these guys have pow-wows about this stuff cuz it all seems to have a common thread, the image of someone brave saying what "what everyone is saying" w/out specifics to cloud things up. spooky. my buddy raymond's told me many times elections would lead to stuff like this, lowest common denominator marketing, preying on our most idiotic natures. almost makes you want to swear them off but you know you'd probably be the first to fight to bring them back. the human condition can sometimes be so insane!

   we get into liverpool and head for the docks, like our directions direct us. they're worded trippy, like:

"the venue is hev'n & hell, when you come into the city centre if you aim for hanover st. and follow the map on this site. hanover st. is close to the albert dock which all signs should direct you to, liverpool central is also on hanover st. and should be signposted. if you aim for pier head when you come into the city and if the river is on your right as you come in aim to turn left just as you can see the albert dock on your right then the road will take you into hanover street. this will obviously be a right turn if you are arriving from the other direction."

   life is a mystery, for sure! of course, we get lost and circle around the downtown near the water a few times before we see a street map and paul jumps out to have a look-see. we blow by the street we need cuz in england they put lots of their street signs right on buildings and some of these either fall off or in this case, get painted over in the same paint the rest of the wall is but eventually we get where we need to be. that's why we leave early - "pad for wander" is our motto! this is the beatles' town, right? I've heard it was kind of beat up and in some ways it is but not slaughtered. I think it's so good to go see things for yourself and not just take other's words for it. there's a big soccer game today and liverpool has their first chance in like twenty years to make the euro cup finals. I remember the greeks winning last year when I was in athens w/the stooges and they were big underdogs... I like underdogs - same w/the red sox last fall when I played their town when they won the world series. the guy for the club says it's ok to park out front where I'm at but maybe I should not be halfway on the sidewalk - hey, I was just trying to make room cuz man, are some of these streets big time narrow. I put the boat right and my guys go scour to chow themselves. there's a flattering shot of me bellowing into a mic on a flyer stuck in the window showing off one of my missing molars due to methamphetamine stupidness in my younger years - so very flattering!

   I chimp diary 'til gigboss paul shows and lets me in, just as raul and paul come up the street from their wander. two flights of stairs to load up but at least they're two small flights. paul's got some rice and veggie which tastes great, thank you. I do a recorded spiel for a cat around my age named jim who's really great and makes it fun and interesting despite some early probs w/his machine. he's got some great life-affirming philosophy to share w/me too which I dig. next I join my guys to do a soundcheck upstairs w/soundman phil and that goes good though there's some weird midrange stuff about the room but hey, "work the room" as you keep reading me chimp. I go down to the boat and do a spiel w/morgan, a young man who's nervous cuz it's his first interview but he does really well, I help him understand somewhat where I'm at and a little of why I came to be what I am (my guess anyway). he's laughing much which is a good thing, especially w/questions about the minutemen and their angle at putting politics in the songs. like d. boon once said, "...the best situation the minutemen could be in is creating a situation where we don't have to write political songs." that's always tripped me out when I think of him saying that cuz he was a courageous man in the way he was never afraid to speak his mind or express his art. I've been constantly been trying to learn from his example, much in the same way raymond pettibon has inspired me... two great men I've been so lucky to have in my life. I have to say I've been so fortunate w/all the cats I've gotten to play w/in bands, how each of them has taught me something special - each in their own way: thurston/kim/lee/steve, george hurley, ed fROMOHIO, steve reed, nels cline, steve hodges, the porno for pyros and stooges cats, j masics + george berz, tom watson, vince meghrouni, jerry trebotic, pete mazich and even michael preussner to name just some - oh, of course let me add kira, who's been my bandmate/teacher in my longest-going group, dos. also, my men outside the van: steve kaul and dutch dude carlos. we're all taking turns learning from each other, this is what I want to impress upon morgan here. when watt spiels, it's very much really not just about watt.

   I walk around some of the streets nearby, folks are anxious for their big soccer game. some are wearing the team jersey and it's funny how it reads "carlsburg" (a beer maker) instead of maybe liverpool. everything gets a sponsor these days it seems. when I heard they were putting taco bells (fake mexican fast food) on u.s. navy aircraft carriers, I wondered who's uniforms the people manning those posts wore. looks like the symbol for this town is a gryphon w/an olive branch (or is it an oak branch?) hanging out of it's mouth. lots of towns in europe have symbols for them, maybe I've already noted this in these chimpings but it makes me think what would pedro's be? d. boon kind of made it an anchor for us on one of the labels of the "double nickels on the dime" album. I don't know if our town would approve of us speaking for them though... I do remember a "motto" that was arrived at for san pedro by some "motto commission" or whatever and what they came up w/was "san pedro, a whale of a town!" crimony. I get back to the club and meet a very young band playing downstairs, maybe in their middle teens. they've been together only a few months but I tell them they gotta one day tour. they look at me like I'm an older insane man. they are nice to me though. I give them "man in the van w/a bass in his hand" stickers and wish them much luck. I then go out to the boat and konk on the deck there, this narrow slot between the front and back seats. damn, it ain't like my boat for sure.

   I pop to hear all kinds of singing in the streets, liverpool has beat chelsea in the big soccer game. I'm happy for them. I can hear the first opening band, 2000 b.c. playing and they're pretty trippy. both openers are local and the gigboss paul said they both very much wanted to play w/me, that's very nice of them. it's kind of cold so I decide to move up to the club - I find it amazing people are in shirt sleeves on the streets, damn. I've seen this kind of thing in montana and the dakotas too - tough folks big time w/dealing w/weather. I go upstairs and find a back room all dark that's used for storage and find some deck space behind some speaker columns and lay down there to hear the second opener wailing away below us, a band called mugstar - yet another band I've heard this tour w/some sonic youth influence. they sound great. our turn next and we deliver the piece. one tiny wedge for monitors and phil's having feedback problems but I do ok as does raul but it's obvious paul's got some focus difficulties. I know he's trying his hardest but we're only humans and like the way women have their periods, we got our better and not so better nights playing. I tell paul this after cuz I don't want him to beat himself up so badly about it, I tell him we'll do better tomorrow night in scotland. it was major lame anyway, just a little off the mark. I think we still did ok and I did let myself bring us down, that would be way worse than the few clams paul blew. I've been having trouble w/the fucking effects pedals, I'll never get the art of "pedal dancing" down right and will be so glad when I'm free of them, when this piece is put to bed. I think I'm more at home w/the "fingers to strings to amp" routing, no offense to anyone who is into stomping on these devices and get it together. maybe I can work up to one boost button for solos - I'll try that at home w/my eden navigator but this "pedal board" shit is too much for me. the liverpool folks are most kind even if some of the younger ones can't hang - I notice some cats my age which is pretty ok and kind of unusual. not to say all the folks w/more youth bailed cuz when we're done, lots come up and give me hearty handshakes and thanks for the gig. much respect to all these cats for letting us to the piece for them cuz I know it's weird. I know paul's a little upset w/himself but I try and reassure him theses things happen and he didn't let me down - gigs are weird things in themselves. it's very admirable what both raul and him put into each throw we give at this thing, I couldn't ask for more.

   back down the stairs w/the equipment for the load-out and the boat's passed by many a happily singing liverpuddlyin cuz their team won. I talk some w/friends of gigboss paul's, cool guys who join me in praising the universality of music and how it can transcend differences if we let it. much respect to them. paul jumps in the boat w/us and directs me to a hostel where we're to konk for the night. we get there and I thank him much for letting me play liverpool for the first. "a working class hero is something to be" indeed. there's bunks on a hardwood deck in the chamber we have so I pull the mattress off one and get prone on that. there's a period of me dealing w/some foot and calf cramps as I spin about some, weird. konk puts out that candle soon though... a grateful watt.

wednesday, may 4, 2005 - edinburgh, scotland

from raul:

   The cafe next door to the hostel had a really cheap english breakfast, and some 'puters, that's were i found the dudes in the morning, so i joined em'. It was a pound for thirty minutes, enough time to check my mail... no way, it took my dumb ass twenty five just to get to say it wouldn't work, watt tried to help me and he got the same response, fuck it, no thang... the breakfast on the other hand did work. Going to edinburough, some of the people working the club last night, said it wasn't all that, kind of a trippy place. Seems like maybe a little north/south rivalry, who knows. I thought it was beautiful, looked nothing like liverpool, maybe that was the beef. It seemed a litle more tourist, but it wasn't excessive, seems like a place that people who live in the surrounding area come to spend the day with their family. Paul and i walked up a set of stairs that lead off the river, and there was a great panoramic view of the city with castles on each side. Walked around the old town, just talkin' with paul. Got some coffee to go, and had a seat on the stairs in front of an old church.

   Early gig tonight, we're on at a half past eight, there's not to much time to exlpore, but that's quite alright, the earlier we play, the earlier we can get started on our drive to glasgow. It's about an hour away, but if we leave by two, that would suck, from the way it looks, we'll be gone by the latest, eleven. Playin' with a band from glasgow called el hombre. Tight three piece, bass guitar drums, sorta funk, but not like cheese white boy funk, good grooves. Only had vocals on one tune, the rest were instrumental. For such an early show, there's some folks around, and they're into the song. Sound wise, it was real boom, i had told the guy that he could do anything he wanted, just don't make it too boomy. He'll try he says. Didn't try to hard, it was so big sounding, I was trying to play the kick with some dynamic, and if it was too soft, the sound wasn't there, it had to be a certain pressure for the mic to pick it up, then just a little more pressure, and it sounds like it's exploding, and the bass speakers are right under the stage, it was shakin'. Besides that, which was more funny than anything, it was a good gig. Insted of takin' the gear back up the stairs, like earlier, we brought it out the back door. Gears in the boat, time to head out to glasgow. Dep and lorna are comin' with, deps gonna give us his apartment for the the next couple days, sweet people. it's awesome, a home away from home. On the way to glasgow i did some talkin' with dep. a bunch of years ago he'd even been to pedro, stayed at the hostel in angels gate, just a block away from my old house, that's rad. He works at a record store, and loved to talk about music. Once we showed at his place, we got the tour and were told to make our selves at home, Deps great. I don't know about everybody else, but i'm beat. There's a mattress propped in the hallway, i can hear it calin'.

from paul:

   Wake up at the hostel slumber party deal, Mike showers, I ask shoud I, do I have time? He says yeah, I got to be clean to stay healthy even though my body's stench isn't as bad as his. He is so fucking funny sometimes. I shower, no towels (that was one of the things the guy at reception ran down, I swear) drip dry, go to check out, hit the road and Mike is at an internet bar which is contiguous. For a pound (two bucks) you get a half hour, plus they have food. So I order food get on, got a note from Hellin and Stephane from What's wrong with us, and Jeff and Jim etc. but AOL is doing the same crap as in the phone booth last night, I can't SEND. So Mike tells me to open an account on My way and I do it takes a second: PaulRoessler@myway.com . So there you go. If anybody actually reads this stuff they can email me. Please don't spam. We're there for awhile, Raul joins the party and I think we hit the road at 9:30 or 10?

   Easy exit from Liverpool, it's a beat down town as Mike puts it, meaning working class hit hard by the vagaries I think, but I sense there's something there that I haven't really touched at all, a community spirit, an energy, a rough good humor, a creative bent. And alot of Beatles tourist stuff!

   Pretty soon we're heading up toward Scotland and Mike is giving us a little history lesson; the trees die out and it's beautiful hills with lots of sheep and tons of little lambs that are very cute, many of which will soon be slaughtered. You really have to do mental gymnastics to eat meat, and I do. I feel some shame for eating meat and guzzling gas. There's not alot of super dramatic scenery, but there are some pretty little towns in the area of Biggar coming up on Edinburgh(pronounced Edinborough) it's all pretty pastoral and ole way o life. Course that ole way of life is how we get wool and lamb and y'know lots. What am I saying? We were talking about the romantic notions of communes and how it's actually alot of work, I could see being a successful sheep farmer would take some doin and having some knowledge, no? Plus you gotta go ahead and watch all that death y'know? Die, die die little lambys. No illusions about the lamb chops. The terrible terrible crying of the spring lambs, Clarice.

   We pull into Edinburgh and it is so happening: all kinds of brilliant old stuff, CASTLES and MONUMENTS and CHURCHES and CATHEDRALS on a hill with CLIFFS overlooking a beautiful bay it is SUCH a pretty town, really contrasting from Liverpool, who I think's magic is subtle and gritty and not touristy at all. But this is vacation spot, although I don't know what you do here. It also happens to be really far north, even with Copenhagen so it gets cold!

   We get to the club, right in the heart of all the oldness, Mike pulls into a TOUGH parking spot successfully and pretty immediatly the police are hassling him for god knows what reason. Someone must have called them, we were walking around aimlessly a minute trying to find the club and that was enough, What fucking ever. Another stairs load this one down without much help except this cool redhead, maybe Raul caught her name, cuz I didn't. The club is this 400 year old cavern under these old structures, catacombs under bitchin apartment castles. It was explained by soundman Tom and lightman Scrapper that these arches hold that shit up, someone broke through into this place, hauled away the trash and if you use it after a few years it's yours. Anyway cool underground club and pretty clean and well put together. We check and it seems like it should be OK though wierd: only two monitor sends, so I don't really get one; plus I'm actually set up a little in FRONT of the PA which might be good or leave me permanently deaf. WE'LL SEE.

   I am totally relaxed, positive, upbeat all day. OK? SO WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT? And it's not just getting an email from Hellin, she was brief sounded under the gun...it's HORMONAL or some fucking thing. Or NORMAL some people tell me. Poor demented SOBs. Midlife crisis would be a REAL ugly name for it. Flat out fear of life and cowardice might be a good description. A healthy realistic assessment would be a cruel nihilistic view.

   By the way, someone came up to me at a show who had been reading these diaries and said: "Don't worry you'll be home soon." Please believe me that I love being here, if I continued the diaries after I got home, which I would Love to do somehow, this mental shit continues, it is not tied to outside events as far as I can tell. It's more like a post traumatic stress reaction to fairly benign events and occurances over the course of my life. OK not benign to ME, but nothing that MANY MANY people have survived and thrived through. And I will too, soon. Maybe right now! I'm fine! Cured! Not a problem all day, maybe that's the last of it!!!!!

   We get a ten pound buyout and Raul and I hit the streets. I can't resist getting a Starbucks for sentimental reasons. We head north a few blocks till we're at a bridge that overlooks the big train station which cuts through the middle of the whole panorama: huge castle to the left, huge castle to the right, a big Dark Crystal gothic spire left which turns out to be a monument to Walter Scott, big museums, parks, churches and just a general impression that almost every building seems to contribute to the picture of a rich 18th or 19th century port. We head west along the tracks and I go into a shop for stamps, postcards and maybe a phone card and with the help of the counterguy do a pretty good job of embarrassing myself. I ask him how much to send a postcard to America and he says I need to ask the postoffice, then I ask about phone cards and he's got em! There's a confusion about whether I'll be able to use them in Holland and Belgium and the answer is no, so I just get a 5 pounder and figure I'll use em in the British isles which will be good enough, but I'm juggling British pounds, Scot pounds and fucking Euro change keeps turning up, I hate just succumbing and going Help! Anyway I survive that, Raul says its a thing he's learning: assessing a situation before you're in the middle of it, hmmm. I jokingly have the idea to start a band with Raul and teach Hellin bass, do an La punk legends European tour, it would be so cheesy. He asked me why I don't start a band with my kid and I say he wouldn't be caught dead in a band with me which makes me kinda sad, but we did do a great Rap album together with a friend of his; A-Fucking -Mazing, I should make that shit available it's so good.

   We actually don't walk around that much, I get a mediocre donner kabob which fills me up nicely; he goes back to the club while I call Hellin and talk to her and Alex. Everything's everything. Extreme grief and extreme joy always go hand in hand. I heard it said years ago that artists shouldn't have families and I always thought it was because they distract, take time and give a lame sorta "family values" color to your art, but maybe that's a young man's outlook. Maybe it's that artist feel things so intensly that they can't really handle the highs and lows of being so entwined and enmeshed with other human beings, and their out of control emotions are toxic to the others. These days, I almost feel like I have to tone down my artistic bent to try to be a better human being an husband and dad and friend and a part of me feels like that is a great sin. A sin dilemna, damned if you do damned if you don't, but there's no judgement, the other position is moderation in all things something I've not been able to find. I generally sit in my chair, muscles tense, mind spinning emotions in upheaval, eyes darting, standing up, walking, sitting down, standing up walking sitting down...

   But Love conquers. Love has got to be the master. I always did art out of love for everyone, now I'm trying to learn to love those around me in such a way that it doesn't try to kill them, if I can learn that, I'll be able to make better art for you, perhaps. If not, I have loved.

   I get back and the opening band, El Hombre Trajeado another instrumental band! is on, playing for about twenty people. I'm a little disappointed, it's still light out, we're supposed to go on at 8:30 although they push it back to 8:50 and of course nobody is going to f'n be there at that hour. They're good though, I don't really get to check them out but they're playing with us again tomorrow. When they're done we set up, and by the time we go on, the club is pretty full. Which you may have noticed, happens almost every night, and my perception that it's always going to be a cave is insecurity. We start and I'm focussed but setting up in front of the high end if the PA has made it so I'm getting an unfortunate nasty honking midrange on the organ, nothing FEELS good and rich, so I have to concentrate on accuracy and have faith that there's some low end in the house. That's one of the problems of playing really soft onstage, my tone is really sacrificed but what are you going to do, the Leslie is REALLY LOUD! But the crowd is incredible, like some of the crowds early that we haven't had in a while, TOTALLY SILENT, even in places where there's an opportunity to jump in and clap, they just seem transfixed, no one leaves, it's really good. We rock the dungeon.

   We get to load out the back instead of going up the stairs which is a plus, I guess we couldn't use that entrance in the daytime. Mike has decided that we'll go ahead and drive the 40 miles to Glasgow tonight with Dep and Lorna who's house we are staying at and who have come to the Edinburgh gig. They're old friends of Mikes and seem like cool people, I guess they're both in bands, I don't know their whole story yet, but we'll be able to crash in the same pad for two days, which can be good.

   As we head out of town we drive through a Beverly Hills type area with palacial estates. It seems like longer than 45 minutes to get to get to Glasgow but Mike finds a spot right in front and we walk up the two flights to a nice one bedroom. They get us settled in, say to help ourselves to anything and then just leave the place to us!

   Mike grabs the living room floor, I start chimping in the bedroom and when I look up everyone's asleep and I have the best sleeping quarters which is embarrassing. Raul and Mike seriously seem to prefer, floors, matresses, couches...I mean I'll take a bed in a bedroom everytime if I have a choice, but I don't want to be grabbing the choice all the time. I dunno.

   Goodnight family. All blood relatives back and forward in time, all relatives by marriage branching out till every human being alive, dead or as yet unborn join in love.

from watt:

   pop just after eight bells (still paying off that tiredness debt) and I rush down to the street to get the parking happening. damn, the meter started running ten minutes ago and there's a parking meter checker guy but he let's me slide w/out a ticket, thanks much - more niceness for the foreign visitor watt. the policemen here wear bright green on both their cars and their coats, so much different than all the scary gestapo black cops are getting into back home. I get back to the hostel and hose off, then go next door where there's an internet cafe - the first one since I first used one this tour back in munster. there's an email from my ma and she was worried cuz of all the weeks w/out getting to speak w/me and then not seeing any diary updates 'til yesterday. I hate that happening to her cuz I know she worries much for her only son and am glad she's relieved. I write her back saying I'm sorry cuz of all the lameness I've been having w/internet access this tour and to let both my sisters melinda and marilyn know I'm ok too. we've got a small little family, just the four of us. this place has chow so I eat pretty much the same thing I had yesterday in london: eggs, tomato, bacon, sausage (hotdog-like), baked beans and toast - all deep fried except this time the toast is like we have it in the u.s., just toasted and not deep fried so I chow everything. paul gets on a machine next to me and I get him to open a web account at a site that's not either microshite (not-so-hotmail) or time-warner (hey-oh-hell). why give into those fucks if you don't have to? bigger nightmares have crumbled. I got a great email from my friend elizabeth who says she now has a niece, her sister just had a little girl via a c-section (like I was delivered) - alright, much happiness for all involved! I talk to paul about babies, how I was such a coward not to meet that challenge in regards to how lame and unfair that was for kira. I was trying to be honest w/myself though - having tour life just made me think so much of my pop being gone cuz of him being a sailor and I didn't want the same thing happening to little ones I was responsible for - it was so tough to see ma have to raise us three 'pert-near by herself that I did not want to see that happen cuz of me. paul said I would've acted different once there was a birth but I'm sorry I can't share his confidence - he tells me I would've done like I do w/music and commit big time. I say but look how I fuck up w/music... and a child is a life. I should of made kira more aware of these feelings I had about myself before we were married. I feel bad especially for her cuz she really wanted to be a ma, that's why I believe she married me. that was not a bad intention of hers, not at all but I am such a mess, look how slow it is for me to grow up. I can try and help or "contribute" to this world in other ways. and hey, we still have our dos band. I tell paul I could never be upset at his sister for ending that marriage ever. she's a strong lady and has all of my respect. she would've made a great ma too I believe. women only have so much time, guys (like myself) shouldn't be such idiots about that.

   we pile into the boat and head for the water, whence we came. we hit the m6 and go north, it's kind of cloudy but no rain at least. it's been fourteen years since there's been a watt gig in edinburgh and that was w/fIREHOSE. as you go north into england, you begin to see less and less cities and more of these stone fences criss-crossing green hills and valleys, tons of sheep chowing grass around most of them. lots of cows too. it being spring time, there's a lot of lambs and that brings kind of a sad pall down inside the boat w/us. I recall how the stooges soundman rik hart told me last year that on his honeymoon in the irish countryside he heard this massively intense mooing all night and in the morning found out it was the cows being so sad for having the calves taken away to be made into veal. damn. we talk about shakespeare's "hamlet" again - paul was discussing the "to be or not to be stuff" as something crucial to the issue of suicide on the way to london monday morning and my point was maybe it was more about how can love prevail in world full of bullshit and corruption, could that be the bigger question and the suicide stuff more about despairing over that. I know paul gets suicide thoughts but I said I think everyone gets those in some way, our minds imagine all kinds of shit cuz of, well, just cuz it can. poe talked about it somewhat I think in his "the imp of perverse" essay (it's been a long time since I read that, I should read it again - same w/"hamlet" - you can never read anything enough times it seems!). I want paul to know he's got very positive and affirming currents flowing through him as well as cruddy ones, it's how we act on them that determines our character. I guess it's a point of philosophy but I recognize good things in him and want him to realize those so he doesn't build up too big an argument against carrying on. life is a struggle but it's worth it, we gotta fight what I believe is a weird form of vanity that lets us have contempt for it, even w/all the pains that seem to have to be suffered. I love paul.

   we pass hadrian's wall and pass into scotland. "watt" is a scottish name - there's a james watt college near glasgow. a trip my pop's name is 'pert-near that (james richard watt being his), huh? james watt the inventor (I think he died in 1721) made improvements to the steam engine so it could help fuel the industrial revolution so they named the power unit after him, the "watt" (one watt is equal to 745.7 horsepower). there was an idiot cabinet member under ronald reagan named james watt too... so much for family names. it's how you act more than what name you find you've been given. I'm learning much that my thoughts have to be tempered. I hope I don't sound too rash sometimes (hamlet acted rash on misinformation - shakespeare's laugh/cry at our "full of fury, signifying nothing" selves). raul's in the back, catching up on his chimping while paul navigates and I fuck up on a direction he gives me and it's about a eight mile loop to get going right at where the road splits between glasgow and edinburgh. when we get on the right road, we find it's a small one and pass through some villages being done up w/cottages for "holidays" (they use that word the way we use "vacation"). of course, there's still tons of sheep and cows too. paul does good getting us right to the street the venue's on in the old town of edinburgh. I see a parking space right in front of cabaret volataire (the pad's name) and put the boat into a space only inches bigger than herself - much tighter turning radiuses w/these than the big econoline I got back home. I get out and am greeted by the co-promoters aisle (pronounced "eye-la") and grainne as I leave the hatch but right at that instant, a young plainclothes policeman identifies himself and asks if I had anything to drink cuz of my "demeanor" - what? he said the foreign van, the way I parked and my "demeanor" made it appear as if I had been drinking and I tell him that I'm sorry but I've had nothing to drink and I'd take a breath test if he wanted me to. he asks why I'm here, where I've been and what do I do so I tell him and then he says he's determined I'm not in need of being tested for alcohol and to have a nice day. whoa, that was trippy. he didn't even ask for my license but hey, I'm not complaining. I guess I better get a handle on my "demeanor" then, huh? fuck, do I get carried away w/myself. I don't wanna cause any trouble just for the sake of trouble. I'm glad I didn't freak him out too much, I was polite and he did ask me about my music, seemed interested. the promoter ladies said cops around their town want to feel important but maybe I indeed appeared as a kook. I don't how many younger people have told me how "wasted" I appeared on stage when the reality was I was as sober as a judge. sorry to everyone.

   we load in down some stairs (only a flight) and this pad's been made from under a bridge archway, trippy. it sort of reminds me of the rockhaus in salzburgh cuz bare stone is for the walls. I'm happy as a pig in shit to find some real hot chili for the first time on this tour, a bottle of scotch bonnet pepper (close to habaneros) west indain sauce, viva! I how like two-thirds of the bottle on some chips they got quick. not really intense hot but not tobasco either. we do a soundcheck w/soundman tom right after I change strings. it's been over a week and I don't want to have to stop the piece cuz of a string snap. my guys go off to chow and I hold the fort, eating some plums, a pear and a banana as I chimp diary. there's an opening band tonight, glasgow cats called el hombre trajeado ("the not-so-well dressed man") and they start the gig early, like at eight. they're really good, a mostly instrumental guitar/bass/drums trio w/some minutemen influence. I've played them on the watt from pedro radio show before. we go on at ten 'til nine - I can dig that and it's not the hugest crowd ever but man, are they focused on us. you can hear a pin drop. the sound on stage is pretty horrible cuz the bass bins under it make raul's kick and floor tom bogart almost the entire sound, but I sally forth despite those hells cuz what's the use in bitching or throwing a hissy fit? when is it ever beneficial to have one of those? if I can get it more together on stage w/out stooping to that then maybe I could extend that more to other parts in my life... it seems there's "encouragement" to get your panties bunched up when you feel "justified" cuz of a perceived "injustice" ("I said 'attend me, flatterer!' do I have to repeat myself?") when an a strategy that might actually help to fix things in fact probably calls more for you to let that shit go and be calm w/your nature that way. that's why I really felt I let things down when I "broke the spell" by saying something about the feedback in terrecina - that was a really bad move. so I hold the course and we do ok, just have to trust that soundman tom's getting the sound out front right cuz you can't run it from the stage, I gotta except that and work on what I do have control over, helping to direct my guys and then get my own shit together, working the bass and getting the spiel out right.

   the folks really like it when we finish and have us back for more. again I leave out the dylan, cobra verde and roky covers and stick to the faster three tunes - I can't tell you why but that's what I was feeling we should do, the same as last night in liverpool. maybe the dylan song tomorrow in glasgow for dep, the cat we're staying w/tonight and tomorrow (he's also putting on the glasgow gig) cuz he's such a music person w/both owning tons of records and owning a store that sells them. him and his girl lorna wait while I circle the boat back round after slinging 'pert-near all the shirts but a few smalls and the same w/cds (these cats are so kind w/their words, handshakes and hugs - it's much heartfelt, I'm so glad I gave the gig what I had) so we can load up from a little side street. aisle rides w/me and hopes it was ok and I reassure her about the hill and valley thing if you're in this racket long enough. vic from the scottish bbc comes to help load, he missed the gig cuz of arriving late, damn but maybe he can make tomorrow's. he's cool people. I'm just glad me and my guys delivered the piece pretty good. lorna sits in the navigator seat and directs us through town towards the motorway and at some intersections there's strobes going off - she says they're "speed cameras" catching speeders. now I don't speed but the speedometer is this boat is in klicks where england uses mph like we do in the u.s. - fuck, I hope I didn't get snapped by any speed camera. lorna thinks it was for the cars going the other way and plus, a bus ahead of me is kind of pulling away. on the motorway, I keep hanging out in the "overtake" lane cuz I keep confusing it w/the "slow lane" we got in the u.s. cuz we drive on the other side. idiot watt. I also don't recognize the signs that say a lane is closing cuz of construction - maybe I must seem like a 'tard to my scottish friends here! I'm being safe though, no crazy shit, just getting used to the differences. we get great luck find a parking space right in front of dep's apartment and though it's little, I get the boat right in (even w/out being able to see the curb). whew, I hate driving much after playing but we had to do it tonight - so glad glasgow wasn't much further. we find a spot right in front of dep's pad and I put the boat right in it - like I said before, these boats over here got some tight turning radiuses! dep bails to lorna's and leaves us to have his pad like the generous cat he most certainly is, much thanks to him. a tiny bit of hang out time or whatever but soon I'm given a huge comforter and get into my skivvies under that on the deck, get fitted w/mask and then am out.

thursday, may 5, 2005 - glasgow, scotland

from raul:

    I slept on a loose matress next to the door, woke up to watt steppin' out, right back to sleep. Woke up again to the sound of keys, watt steppin' back in. When i opened the door, he looked to his left, he seemed shocked, he was trying to fit the key in the nieghbors door. Weather here plays games, one second it's rainin', and the next it's not, watt got a dose of water. i didn't wanna get wet just yet, i'm gettin' sick, so that would suck. I spent most the morning learning some history about the gun club, i've only heard the albums. Also read up on studio one, and big jamacian sound systems. Dep has an eco washer and dryer, i remember the one in germany, it took about five hours, i had to remember to get my clothes after we played. Today, nothin' but time, so i'll wait, i need some clean socks. These ecos' didn't take nearly as long as i thought, and for the moment it's stopped raining. Paul and i went out for some coffee, and i would love to find a grocery store. Stayin' in the west part of town, right by a college, so coffee isn't hard to find. It's on the little strip that all college towns have. The manager of the pad was cool, after we got the first cups, he started flowin' the drinks, even makin' paul fancy lad drinks, i just wanted black coffee. Ofcourse, it starts to rain while we're inside, nothin' to do but wait it out, good chance to do some mail. On the way back to the pad, there's a row of little middle eastern stores, so i stop in to get some food to make. it's all british, damn baked beans again, no vegetables, but i did get some rice. Anything is better than tryin' to find food in the rain, plus the gigs at a vegan cafe tonight, and at the risk of soundin' like a total dork, i'm looking forward to that.

   Tonight el hombre is playin' again, but tonight with the addition of a chello player. The boss had givin' us some cash for grub, but when i ordered, they wouldn't take the money, this is cool, i can still put the money back into the place, there's also a record store. Place is called mono, it's a vegan restarant, with a little grocery store, a record store, coffee/liquor bar, and a stage, prett amazing place, it's like a four in one. It's deps store, and it's a good one, a bunch of vinyl that i knew i shouldn't get it, it be tragedy to get home, and all the l.p.s are warped and cracked. I opted digital, Captain beef heart, and the new quasimoto record. Dep suggested gettin' a new record that just came out, jessica reid, and her two brothers, from the jesus and the mary chains had a new group. At the risk of sounding like an even bigger dork, i like the mary chain, psycho candy is an intense listen. Well i didn't get it, i could kick my self, it's gonna be an import in the states, and i was in glasgow... what a retard. Dep's great, he even gave me his discount. Like i figured, great food, paul couldn't finish his, so i also got a sample of the stir fry, aahh, some veggies. At half past eight, el hombre take stage. They were great in edinbrough, but tonight for some reason i like the set a bit more, i'm able to hear the songs more, plus they changed half the set on account of the cello player, she was graet too. While i'm settin' up gettin ready to play, i can smell smoke, like burnin' hair or something, paul smells the same thing and tells me somethings on fire, it's the drummer for el hombres' trap case, shit's burnin'. When we open it up, a hugh cloud of smokes comes out, it's a blanket on fire. How in the hell did that happen, took it outside and stomped it out, maybe the guy threw a smoke in there or something, who knows. During the sound check, alister the noise boy, kept askin' us to turn down, for me almost impossible, so the loudest thing on the stage is drums, and i have the leslie right behind my shoulder, what's that about. This is the kinda situation where the work the room ethic comes in handy. Place was packed all the way to the back, besides havin' the rough sound on stage, i think the gig we did good, no major tard moves to speak of, the other guys probably have diffrent opinions, It was even harder to judge how we did after the gig. Right after someone would come up saying how the show was bettter than last nights, there'd be someone behind them saying just the oppisite, so who knows. I'm gonna get recordings of both gigs, then the mystery will be solved. Sorry about the last couple days being short, but i need to get caught up, but know this. Everyone that i met in glasgow was great, got treated like old friends, and i gotta give a big thanks to dep, he's a brother.

from paul:

   This is what it's like getting old: you look in the mirror and think: "God, I look like a dork" and there's NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT!!

   Sleep good in a bedroom, double bed nice lazy. Raining outside. Rouse, do as ordered: rummage around for toast and jam and tea. Get CAUGHT UP ON DIARIES!! Raul and I will make an expedition. Mike was out before I woke as often, says he got rained on. DO LAUNDRY! Energy efficient so takes hours.

   Head out around noon, all I really need is a post box to send a card but Raul says coffee and my ears prick up. It's pretty dreary, but cold and invigorating I guess, soon we're walking along a little river through the town with old bridges with Scot coats of arms on them, really nice with some below average grafitti; we find a sorta main drag, think we're heading towards a cathedral but it's actually University of Glasgow unless its U of Scotland. Everything is stone; Scot style I can't really explain I guess do a little internet tour of Scotland. Hellin suggested I buy a little throwaway camera, because she wants to see these places, I guess she's not taking me up on my little suggested google searches. I guess she also doesn't know that I have my photographer, Raul, on payroll and will receive a CD with the entire trip upon my return.

    We turn back from the U. and find a likely coffee shop. I can't be as ascetic as Raul and I order a fucking Mocha and Pastry, it's good and we share the pastry. We sit at a table, notice cigs and lighter, one of the guys that works there, Collin sits down, Raul asks him if he can use his lighter, and Collin says: "You take my table now you want to use my lighter?" which is conversation opener deluxe. We talk, but we don't even know where we're playing so we can't invite him; he doesn't know Mike Watt and he doesn't seem like he's that interested anyway. Raul asks how much are refills which opens the door to a free Mocha and these mochas are mega whipped creme masterpieces. I've given up translating pounds to dollars, these folks don't, everything is priced about the same as America, maybe slightly attractive prices but in pounds which means everything is double. Fucked but I can't get myself to eat cold beans like Raul. Another thing to be sort of frustrated about, I've grown spoiled, I can't fucking believe it. It's part of the weakness you figure you're bummed about whatever you're bummed about so at least you can feast on goodies and it's the problem itself, like drinking shots of tequila to hide the discomfort. I've also been told that there is infinite abundance in the universe and it is our fear of want that creates the lack of material things in the world. So I dunno. Sometimes it seems true, it doesn't seem to matter if I go without or take what I want, I still have whatever I need. Thoughts?

   Collin also hooks us up with some free internet, and AGAIN problems with AOL they HATE them here it seems but Myway is working so I send Hellin a little heads up. I also send Tania in Geneva a hello and Sabina and Davide cause I really liked them and I've been meaning to follow up on that.

   Collin was hard to understand.

   I'm feeling good again today, we don't walk too much and I head back for a shower and relaxation, feeling clean and rested.

   Later: Dep picks us up pretty promptly at 4:30 to head over to soundcheck, I sit in the back with Raul, the city just seems gloomy; Mike says something and I start spinning down, I cast about for tools and techniques but bla bla bla.

   The club is a vegan coffee shop with a record store (Owned by Dep) a little vegan food store and even a little lending library they're trying to get together. It's a great little community center but the PA looks small. We load the stuff and get it up, check and the sound guy seems to want us to play at a ridiculously low volume or we're too loud for the PA. We do it at sound check, but I think we're all planning on coming up a little at the gig. I'm withdrawing fast and when Raul hands me a very soft teddy bear it feels very good to snuggle with it. I find a book called Genome and start reading it; it's a great nonfiction about the evolution of genes and it allows me to completely ignore everything but not really. The opener, El Hombre Trajeado get there, they're such nice guys, I try with all my strength and effort to act natural, talk like a regular person.

   We get a buyout AND free anything we want vegan meal; when I try to pay they won't take the money. And It's a GREAT meal too: Incredible tomato pepper soup and a mega stir fry that I got Dep to recommend with Ginger beer. I STUFF myself and feel like maybe the shittiness was from being hungry and maybe so, but it starts coming back with a vengence. I hide at a booth in the back reading the book as the club fills up. A few times I walk through the crowd and Mike is sitting at a table with a group of people and Raul is talking to someone and I realize clearly how wierd I am; there is no way I could have a rational, normal conversation with anyone in the club right now and possibly anyone ever again. Despairing I scurry back to my rabbit hole but Raul is calling me over. Relieved I go and he introduces me to a guy named Kenny saying: "A tour diary reader!" I always tell Raul that I'm pretty sure no one is actually out there reading these, and it's kind of alarming to think there might be. But I sit down and talk to him and Raul has saved the day again because I don't have to pretend to have any kind of grip for anyone who has read the tour diaries and still wants to talk to me. So it's nice, I'm not alone, there's another REALLY unique Scot couple named Paula and Tom that sit at the table, hearts of gold but another planet, me too tho, so can't talk. And we're sitting at a table in the back like four human beings and El Hombre starts playing. They're good, they've added a cello player which is nice; they're a little like minutemen crossed with mellow meatpuppets. Paula, who's been drinking, says she never heard the minutemen but have heard they were great, she loves el Hombre Trajeado; she asks about us. I tell her Dante, she says Tom will be interested who's an ol' longhair guy and i fill him in and he right away talks about numbers and circles and I say exactly! you'll hear it. I'm drinking something called Irn Brew or something which is special Scottish coca cola; tastes a little like red bull or something undefinable. Kenny said he's up to Bologna in the tour diaries and it's "intense"; he really doesn't like the talk about driving the car head on into other lanes but he sees I'm FINE! And we're havin a good time at the rock show.

   El Hombre finishes and I go up to help them off and get set up. I swear I smell something burning, but can't figure it out. Well, we're setting up and the smoke smell is getting stronger and finally I see smoke coming out of El Hombre's drum case. I lift off the top and a BIG billow of smoke pours out, there's a small fire in the trap case, there. Raul yells: "Fire!" so I take the burning blanket out and drop it outside. That was cool.

   Time to jam the coffee house scene. But we just can't face the acoustic volume level so we rock out a little and Mike actually asks me to play a little louder and it's not bad for me; I can work with the sound fine. I'm playing accurately and almost NO mindmelts that I can recall, but Mike is in his own private hell of discomfort and seems to be struggling. I've been saying this all tour: the sound on Mike's side can be TOTALLY DIFFERENT than the sound for me or Raul, it just can. So I try to "stay out of the result"...I don't know what's working in the house, I just do the best I can with what I hear. The crowd is great though and substantial, at the end of "Pluckin" a girl in the audience is singing in a round with us, that's a first. To me the Opera has really been coming into it's own lately, maybe it's just me finally really getting comfortable with it, but it seems like it's reaching a new level. The Scot shows were recorded and the dude is sending us a copy, love to own those.

   We gradually load out, talking to folks. There's a irish guy who's doing a paper for school on post-colonial literature, i.e. when a culture has been under colonial rule, then comes out and has to recreate it's new identity. His examples were Ireland (so he's into Joyce of course) but also Africa and India. I should have told him Poland, it's come out of colonialism a bunch of times, although maybe not specifically the colonialism he wants to talk about. Indonesia? It's wierd talking to intelligent, educated people about serious subjects at the end of a night of rocknroll and drinking, it's shocking, sometimes you think you're just talking to the wasted guy and he's a PHD or something. Happens all the time.

   We say goodbye to Grannye who was a big help putting on both Scottish shows, Raul is chagrinned when a beautiful girl he was watching all night seems to hook up before our eyes with a scarily unattractive bloke. I'm sorry, god I could be saying all this stuff with such beautifully cutting vicious language, I'm trying really hard not to...should we try it again? Ahh, just read between the gentle lines.

   Dep takes us back to his pad, I'm really getting a sense of him being a really important part of the scene up here in Scotland, what with the record store, this whole coffee shop/co op deal is awesome, I saw a picture of him playing guitar at his house, I never even asked what that was about, his beautiful gal, Lorna, in a band; and he just seems like such a happy guy, I really hope he is and stays such. I didn't get a contact info from him; Mike...I'd love to get his email.

   We get back to his place and I get the mistaken idea that he's going to be staying there and my stuff is scattered all over his room. He, Mike and Raul go in the living room and the election results are on, Tories (conservatives) have gained but labor has held on; Social Democrats, a third party, made gains. I gather all my stuff and figure I'm on the couch tonight, I feel shy and set up to do diaries in the kitchen; when I go back in the living room there's the beautiful cover of the Twisted Roots vinyl sitting out for me to sign, as well as the crimony single and EP. The Twisted Roots album is a rerelease of a single from 1981, plus a track off a compilation plus some home four tracks we made, but the cover and artwork is so cool, I think; Dionysus, the label, did a great job. I wrote some liner notes, first time I ever did anything like that I think. I don't think we ever got a good review in the six months we were together, in fact unbelievably bad vicious ones, but every one I've seen of this record was pretty great which is hilarious because some of it is so childish and low fi. I'm really proud of it though. And the Crimony stuff was Mike and me playing together, must have been 1986 or 7. Crimony always makes me feel a bit wistful, I feel like I missed out on a great chance. Instead of true collaboration it's mostly Mike writing parts to a bunch of songs I was writing at the time. Some of the songs are pretty cool, some I don't like it was wierd, I would write a song and play it for mike and he would be like: "OK, lets do it" and alot of 'em I wouldn't really be too sure about and I was right. Oh well. My life was such a whirlwind then, I had two baby boys, I was in Twisted Roots, 45 Grave, working on Ruthensmear (Pat Smear) album, DC3, Abominable (solo Instrumental album) fuck spread totally thin. Probably thought I was a real superstar too, and Mike had just gone through something I couldn't even comprehend. I hadn't really experienced much suffering then, I don't know, I was probably just insensitive; super self-involved. I remember once the bearing went out on our car and Mike offerd to fix it and we took him up on it, fuck it was total torure for him, I'm sure. He drove all the way to Hollywood to do it too.

   I couldn't help it then and I can't help it now.

   I sort of remember at the time that it was all out of control and out of balance with Mike and Crimony. I never really was in control at all, Mike was like the producer of that project in a way. He told me recently that he learned a lot about playing with keyboards through that and it applied to the secondmen.

   Anyway, Dep heads off, I write diaries in the kitchen till I realize everyone's asleep. Thanks Dep.

   Did you ever see that movie: "Jacob's Ladder"?

   I don't feel like I'm intelligent enough to live my own life, to figure it all out. By the end of it all, maybe we've accumulated enough experience to look back and see all these patterns and signifigances but too late for anything but regret. That's what's so amazing about my wife and our marriage. We have stopped dancing long enough to stand still and to know where the other will be. Can it all go away, be an illusion? Sure. But I have no regrets about one thing: I may have done a lifetime of wrongs, but I loved her.

   Good night.

from watt:

   cinco de mayo here in scotland and I pop w/the knowledge of no driving to do yet it's still eight bells when that happens. I'm paying off that sleep debt maybe only an hour or two each morning cuz usually it'd be six bells unless the gig was really late. I borrowed konk for that la roca to le harve hellride on the installment plan, huh? it's a gray morning but I wanna hoof, get some circulation going. dep told me of a park to hit last night so I aim for that, my guys still asleep. dep's hood is the beginning of the west end here in glasgow and there's a neat part w/green but wouldn't you know it, the sky opens up and pours on me. I get back on some streets and can hide from it 'til it gets intermittent and then I search around to find some coff - trippy how the little stores (even a "twentyfour hour" one) mostly don't have coff pots going w/some cooking in it but I do find one and they got a roll they put some pork in to so I throw that and some coff down and continue to hoof 'til I feel fluids get circulated inside me. I don't wanna get a cold so it's important I don't get my feet wet - I'm careful where I step, something I try to do anyway cuz of the bad knees shit too. all together, I'm not that together but I am grateful for what I do get to do. sure miss my pedalling and paddling but I've gone on about that before in these chimpings - it just gets a little more intense as tour gets further on. not a lot a birds out - you know, I've been wondering all this journey overseas about this raptors, birds of prey I've been seeing while going down the road. mostly in the u.s. these are hawks, usually red-tailed ones but these are different - same kind of behaviour but their heads, bodies and wings are different. finally uri in spain hipped me to the fact that these are falcons and not hawks. that makes sense. I love watching birds. scottie (stooges stickman) knows a lot about birds. riding my bicycle and not having a motor hide all kinds of things has opened up an opportunity to hear the drill the early morning birds have and I love it. I know from watching nanny and the little chicks she's raising that they can be mean forms of life but there's a beauty that puts a wonder in me about them. I especially love the pelicans. they only have songs as babies and are silent when grown - one reason I used them in the last part of the sickness opera. there are things important to me I've discovered that don't have to be verbalized - I'm not not talking external but speaking here of myself - it is a learning path I'm on to realize more about this myself. my fascination w/birds is one way that's being manifested in me. I know that sounds weird.

   I get back to dep's pad and my guys are up. raul's made some beans. he likes to have cans of that w/him so he can rustle up his own chow when he feels he needs it. I like the way he can take care of himself and the way he improvises in order to do so. he's such a pleasure to have aboard w/me. I try bending up my glasses better. there was a shop nearby where I saw some lady fixing on some guy's glasses but she looked freaked out when she looked up at me looking through the window at her and I lost my nerve to go on in. I hate doing that, mostly never intending to but I guess I got weirdo looks that put some people off. not everyone though, some folks are so nice to me w/out ever laying eyes on me before. then there are times where at first, the put aback but then they warm up once they know things are alright. anyway, I kept from going in there - don't know why cuz I could've easily gave her a chance to let me have a chance. what happened was I put my glasses on top of the amp to do the london gig and I guess they off and fell to the deck, my clumsy ass stomping on them w/out me knowing it. luckily they didn't get broke or the thin metal snapped (one reason I wear my glasses now way more than when I had to start using them was cuz they got so much lighter - when I first got some, they were a nightmare to have weighing down on my face. they'd also break real easy when I'd konk reading w/them on and I'd roll all over on them) but one of the pads that lets them rest on your nose got lost - I couldn't find it anywhere after the gig so now the frame just sits right on my nose. fuck, I'm such an idiot. the gigs after that I've been zipping them up in my yellow jacket before I start the gig. speaking of my yellow jacket... I washed a pair of levis and the pairs of skivvies in dep's tub before I began my morning hoof - he's got an electric towel warmer/dryer and this has worked good for me before w/washing jeans but when I got back to the pad, I found that paul and raul were doing laundry cuz dep has a small washer and dryer. when the machines got freed up from them, I finally got to wash my yellow jacket - it's been over five weeks of tour life in that thing w/out a wash so it made me really happy to get to do that. tour gets me desensitized to lots of gross stuff but I know he can wear on others and especially squarejohns. sometimes I just konk on the deck or rest at the venue and there's no carpet so you can imagine what can get on the coat. I also put it on 'pert-near quick after playing so things get kind of hermetically sealed inside that way too, kind of like how a stew works. believe it or not, I do wash when at home in pedro almost twice a week. I ain't as gross as I sometimes appear. well, maybe I am but I'm trying to get better - at least healthier... gotta keep my health, just gotta... as long as I can... I got work to do!

   I chimp diary and add raul's stuff to the hoot page from last week cuz he didn't give me his chimpings in time and I've had such a lameass time getting internet access over here on this euro tour. I hope I don't sound like a broken record about that but it's frustrating. it's not just a matter of checking email but getting to update the hoot page too. paul really counts on it to let his wife helen know what's going on and of course I like folks to travel along w/us via our chimped-in tour spiel. I figure it might put notions in folks to do their own "tours" - maybe not music ones but similar-type quixotic sally forths in the matter of making in some adventure in life by voyaging. damn, I wish we would've started doing this as minutemen - can you imagine how righteous d. boon's tour spiel would be? oh man... georgie would've had some good ones too, I bet.

   dep comes and we get in the boat to head for the venue, this place called mono that houses a veggie chow pad and his record store, a great one called monorail music. great, great music in his pad - soon he'll be online too so you don't have to be in glasgow to see what I mean. this space is round but pretty big and they've built a stage in one part. the p.a. is kind of tiny but "you work the room" - I think it'll be way ok for the gig even though soundman alistaire says I got my bass way too loud for soundcheck, saying it was louder than the whole p.a. - oops, I didn't mean to do that and turned it way down. the problem w/that though is raul can't hear anything. we'll be able to adjust... alistaire asks me to turn up a little after we do "the red and the black" anyway. I never try to make the soundman feel he's not appreciated cuz that is so fucked up in my thinking. the cat working the mixing desk is just like another member of your band in my opinion. alistaire seems a little new to the craft besides, why be a princess and try to feel good about yourself by making others feel bad? I do a big spiel w/a writer named grahame - first we start in the band but the el hombre trajeado band (the same cats who opened last night's show - by the way, "hombre" is our slang for the police on my tours) starts doing soundcheck so we move outside but the rain starts and we end up in the boat but come to think about it, that's the best place a watt spiel can take place - even in a rented one. grahame is very thorough in his questioning but it's very pleasant and even fun in a way cuz when cats ask good things, you end up learning stuff about yourself you might otherwise not notice. he's interested much in the piece but that ends up being like half the interview cuz the second half is lots about my story w/the stooges which is quite ok cuz it is a very remarkable thing in my life. I love talking to cats who are genuinely into that band, not just in a name-dropping fashion but cuz they got stooges running through their veins as likewise myself. I love sharing that kind of passion w/someone who's got it fired up already in themselves, it maybe makes my crazy talk a little easier to make sense out of. grahame has stooges much inside his fabric, whoa. I try to give him all the insights I can muster and hopefully some sense of the total respect for those guys, how I am humbled so to try and do my best for them. if you were to be on a fly on the wall maybe, you would not see the same watt that runs his own band. w/the stooges, I am a deckhand but that's no step-down, even w/their incredible legacy and the power/mindblows they can rev up now, being a deckhand is just another form of living life when you have several dimensions (and I think everyone should have) to manifest yourself. I think things get strange when you're always the boss (so many things to miss out on learning) or always the deckhand (resentment brewing from no self-realization attempts) or always being in the crowd (proxylife). I think it's healthy to have a hand in all three of these roles in some kind of cycle that suits your nature. I think life forces this on us anyway whether we admit it or not. I gotta keep learning and to do that, I gotta keep finding challenging places for me to be in. I say find cuz it's not always about "making" it happen... stuff comes into my life in ways I can't ever imagine.

   I go back to the pad after this great spiel w/grahame and dep let's me use his 'puter to check email which is so good cuz carlos has sent me important stuff which I'm able to print out - it's dep's store 'puter and not my little alpurse getting access so there's no way for me to have this stuff unless it's hard copy. I get done w/that and get greeted by carolyn, a glasgow friend of original seconman jer who's come to see me play a few times now. she's ordered some 'taters so I do too cuz I went and sidemoused (the original definition of "sidemouse" was "one who's mouses on another's chow while waiting for theirs") lots of her's, using the last of the scotch bonnet sauce - damn, only lasted one day. el hombre trajeado starts the gig and it's early again, like eight and this time they have a cello player. this is a great band, really trippy w/their interplay an nothing anthemic - more like I'd imagine some little thoughts from leopold bloom's head during his puttering around dublin.

   we're next and it appears to me we're driving the gig's sound from the stage, like maybe only the spiel is coming out of the p.a. this isn't the real problem I feel w/the gig though, what's really up is me losing my nerve some - damn, it hasn't been since terrecina since this last happened but here it is coming up on me again. I fight really REALLY hard against it - shit, I wish there was a button somewhere on me I could push - I could smash to fix things. I totally fuck up the bass solo in the bridge of the first song - the one where no one else is playing. I don't think I even tuned up!!! I didn't use the pedal board for soundcheck and that's where the tuner was - I just tuned up to paul but it my fearful stupidness, I just started up the piece w/out checking where I was. realizing that almost makes me really start clamming it up but luckily I hold on. I get it together a little for "...high heaven" and "bursted..." but then man, is the purgatory stuff hard. I feel like such a jerk when I get this way, having to fight the urge to bold so bad... I hang on though and get us into the paradise part where I do a little better. funny, I can hear carolyn big time singing w/us in the end of "pluckin'..." but she doesn't fade out w/us, instead trading weirdly timed responses to our "calls" - thank you, carolyn. she has little fear and obviously balls like churchbells. we repeat the encores we did last night after I thank the folks here much for their open-mindedness... actually, that's something I do every night besides also thanking them for having open hearts too - much respect from me for that. people come and talk to me, very kind w/their words. two cats named noel and sean from the band hospital ship give me a copy of joyce's "ulysses" which is a trip cuz raul was just saying the other day he wanted to read it soon as he can so later I give him this copy cuz I have a few now. noel and sean are going to try and bring the "we jam econo" doc here to glasgow too. really nice guys. there's a picture in my hoot gallery of me w/a mustache and fist in the air taken right in front of this place last summer and it's a trip the guy who took it comes to say hi and he wants to give me the original (I only had a small jpeg) as soon as he finishes "moving house." much thanks - I want to use for a promo shot cuz it's a weird combination of me relaxed (for once) and yet focused. I think it can make people laugh too. the gigboss grainne comes up and talks to me on stage, wanting to hear about my past some and the community I come from - she knows some of the folks who've been my friends for years. she's also married to a guy in mogwai named stuart and I'm very honored to meet him cuz they're a great band from this town - one reason I think there's so many open minds and people interested in folks doing stuff creative.

   finally, time to load up (a lot of spiel for watt tonight!) and there's some rain coming down so we gotta do it quick. this tall man helps us who earlier brought in his bass for me to sign - very nice of him. we get the boat packed up and then dep jumps in w/us, we're bound back for his pad. he puts on the tv when we get there to see what the election results are (today was voting day here) and it looks like the party in power will stay in power but w/a smaller majority. it's a war party since blair went in w/bush on iraq but they show some labour guys who won tonight like robyn cook who were against the war and quit his minister gig over it. I guess the party has some splits over this issue. dep is really deep into watching this. there's talk of an overt racist party that lost big time and then another labour guy w/mohammed in his name that said it's good people voted against that kind of stupidity and like cook, he too was against the war. he said he won cuz of his stand on local issues. it's only a glimpse but it's neat to see how voting stuff works in other lands. dep bails again for lorna's and soon I'm out on the deck and bound for konkdom.

friday, may 6, 2005 - leicester, england

from raul:

   Left deps pretty early, got a ride ahead of us today, plus it's another early gig... some of these clubs really like to double book. Had a few blow bys, but nothin' too disastrous, just had to take some smaller roads to get back on track, but that's good, get the scenic route of the scotland country side. Also had some wrong turns on the ever popular english round abouts, nothin' too big there either, easy problems to solve. Once we get into town, using the funniest/ vaugest map, just circles and lines without street names, our land mark is a hotel on the side of the road. Paul wakes up just as we pass it, he spots it and yells out... over there. Over where mike says, use the clock. Paul had just woken up, i think the last thing on his mind where the hands of a clock. Nobodies home, the nieghbor tells us the boss is usually in and out all day, but should be here soon. I'm startin to feel pretty sick in the throat, damn, almost made it the whole tour too, this sucks. I don't feel like walkin' around to much, so i just sit next door and have some coffee. Good timing, as soon as the cafe closes, the boss shows. Small dark club, with a low stage, Ian, the boss and i are in front of the stage talkin' with phil the sound dude. Ian has a really thick accent, and it's diffrent from phils'. It was weird, for some reason i could understand ian better than phil could, an american who can undersatnd me better than you, ian said... phil did not like hearin' that. He really didn't do a proper check, just had me play the whole kit for half a minute and that was it... whatever, he's the boss, and maybe he's great, who knows. It struck me odd though, cuz he had made fun of the specifics on the spec sheet. You guys must get some bad sound, to worry about stuff like this. Basically, the spec says please put the key board in the mix, and don't make it sound like i'm singin' under water, no problem for phil, to him these problems were the work of amatuars, and laughable.

   After the sound check, i'm feeling a little better, so i go across the street to have some pizza with ian and his mates. After half a pie, i'm feelin' much better, i'm glad too, cuz not to have a walk after the amount of cheese and bread i ate, would be wrong. There's a little town center, with a farmers market, but mostly pubs and shops that are all closed for the day, but outside of this, leicester seemed like a pretty rough place. in the middle of all this though, paul and i did find an acient grave yard. It was pretty acidental, i had him walkin' all the alley ways with me. I didn't know what i was lookin' for... nothing inparticular. One thing i did know was if i found it, it wouldn't be in a shopping district. At first he seemed kinda resistant, cuz i was leading us absolutely nowhere, finally he let the guard down, except when i walked down a particular street, and he mentioned something about gettin' jumped. He decides to head back, i'm still looking for nothin', and keep walkin'. Skip skip the dog dosn't go on for another fourty minutes, and just on that name alone i wanna check em' out, it gives you no insight to how they might sound. i've been suprised by most the bands that we've played with on tour, they never sound how i think they might, so i stopped trying to figure it out a while ago. It dosn't matter anyway. The singer was very british, and was antagonising the crowd before the first note was hit. What's the matter, haven't i got what they've got, referring to all the people clumped together in the back and no where near him. He just got on the floor and started pulling at folks legs, it was great, a punk band, and no music was involved yet. Like most of the british bands we've played with, these guys, are too, very angular, mainly bass driven', some tripped out rhythms. Drummer just used kick, snare and hats. Guitar played real dissonant scratchy noise, and would sometimes get a mini trombone and play it thru the pick ups, or, just scrap at the strings with it. I like em', tryin' to completely annoy every body brings back memories of my first bands. If funny how kids start bands for reaasons adults would never think of. Like pissin' of the nieghbors, or hating the jocks at school, insted of looking for acceptance. Had a funny song, with a great line. "the only thing good about being alive is that you can say... i wish i was dead". that over and over again, in a thick english accent was hilarious, totally snotty.

   Well, you know how usually we have the coltrane on before we play, not tonight. I go to paul, i like the new york dolls too, but this isn't trane. He askes phil if he'd throw it on, phil is not too happy about hearing that , if i'm doing that, then i'm not doing this, and besides, what makes you think i'll be ready in fifteen minutes. He was givin some attitude, i don't know phil, but i've known paul a few months now, and he would not be a dick about this, he just wanted to stay on schedule, there's a club right after, so we only got an hour and a half. Lot's of folks, i'm suprised, it's still light outside. Everything is geared up to a good show, the only problem, phil does not wanna be our forth member, he'd rather talk thru the set. Lots of feed back, and just all around shitty sound. I could tell it took it's toll on both the guys, pretty frustrating... for me, all the drums sounded like wet cardboard. We got all the way until the second to last song, and finally watt had had enough. He started doing the yammer hands in phils direction, we had stopped playin', and he still wouldn't look at us. He was clearly visable from the stage, and was deep in conversation, which also means we couldn't of been loud enough in the mains either, what a dick. Finally watt starts talkin', sorry to interupt your important conversation phil, and while he's saying that there's squealing feed back, and we're not even playing he says. Hopefully phil was a little embarrassed, he deserved it, after all that talk, he made it really hard on stage, even more for the other guys than me. People seemed really undersatnding, and for all i know they didn't get any of it, maybe it sounded great out front. Paul was a bit pissed when the set was over, i felt for him. I mean besides for those little things, it was a great gig, i just think he wan't satisfied with a few things. We held it together good, in spite of the weirdness, it was a challenge, and we came out on top. After the show i got called two of the funniest things ever a cheeky geezer, that sounds so rad, i was asured that geezer didn't translate to what us americans thought it might, but if it did i would still like it. Also met a couple who used to live in hollywood, they worked for greg at sst when it was in long beach, right next to pedro. Kate and tony, real sweet. Gotta remember to throw a rock in the pacific for kate.

   As were getin' the gear ready to go into the van, rastas' start loadin' in a massive sound system, i can still smell the fresh paint from the stencils on it. A fan of the secondmen had handed me a spliff, and then left. Seems kosher, dreadlocked rastas settin' up a system, if i'm safe anywhere, it feels like it's here. No way, security guy sniffs it out and has me pin pointed quick... he was cool and just asked me to put it out. As soon as the gear starts goin' out, the rain starts comin' down. We had lots of help, so it only took about ten minutes. The pad we are staying is close, but to be safe we have ian come along as our guide, this makes things way easier, it was close, but it would've been hard to find. On the way, watt realizes that he forgot his mic, that would be to good of a donate, and we're still close, so he drops us off, and him and ian go back to the club to see if phil left it, or decided that we were asses, and as payment took the mic for his own. Paul and i shared a room tonight, we did some chimpin' and got down with quasimoto.

from paul:

   No, how do you change things that are so deeply ingrained? When you see me at a show, all twisted up sending out "keep away! keep away! keep away!" and what I really want is for you to talk to me? When I am happy if someone is nice to me and all torn up if they're not? When you constantly compare, make hierarchies. That's just fantasy, how do you stop things like that, that you've done maybe 45 years? How do you stop being afraid? How do you accept who you are?

   We have a seven hour drive to Leicester (pronounced Lester) so we're out by 8. I only slept five hours, but that doesn't seem like an excuse to sleep the WHOLE WAY. I woke up a few times to stuff my face with English roadside goodies other than that I am ballast for the whole trip. The English countryside is beautiful, rich rich green; the weather's pretty good; I missed it all. As we pull into Leicester I groggily hear Mike and Raul hmmm not arguing so much as stressing an where the gig is. I swim up into consciousness and open my eyes and see the club. "There it is." We are there. I knock. a painter answers, we can't get in yet.

   It's rahther chilly. I wander off under the road through a subway underpass, kind of looking for a bathroom; see a pubish place and take care of business. There's alot of students about, definitly on the fringe of a college. I go into a little park which are called the Royal Gardens, apparently William 1 gave his buddy Leicester this land and this was his compound, 'bout 1060 or so. Builds a big mound, fortifies it, wood at first, later stone, a chapel a castle. There's not much of a castle there now that I could see, mostly come and gone; park dedicated 1926. One of Leicesters offspring goes on to be a King of England and I guess doesn't keep this one up. I'm not sure how much time I have so I just do a quick circuit, feel OK, just groggy.

   Head back, still can't get in, Raul is in a pub next door having a coffee. I join him and we split a big plate of salty nachos, pretty gross, we might have known and ordered something English. SO we get in load the sound guy Phillip isn't there yet. The club is a real dingy rocknroll club long and deep, you could get alot of people in there probably. There's an unbelievable little cell that I mistake for backstage, actually up two flights of stairs there's a little bedroom with chips, salsa and fruit, water: a place to be. A while before soundcheck, I'm upstairs, hear Raul playing drums we get it done. After notice there's two mikes on the Leslie rather than the customary three, I hadn't noticed, I figured Phil would know, he didn't. I'm trying to foreshadow and sprinkle clues for the nightmare the show was later, but it seemed like it was going to be OK. I tell him it'll be cool, just throw another mike on, it'll work out. We do super quick soundchecks and he made a remark: "that's all it really needs to be" And I said yeah, we're really simple and yet people still fuck it up, feedback etc.

   The promoter's name is Ian, he's a totally sweet guy, I like him immediatly. He gives us buyout money and we go to a pizza place. Actually he goes, I say I'll be right there, me and Raul follow shortly and I can't fucking find the place for a while. BUT we do and eat, it's bad pizza but whatryagonna do? We hang out with Ian and his two buddies, Ian has heard from a friend that it's going to be "really crazy" because I'm in the band; I say: "Has he read the tour diaries?" Actually I guess his friend knows something about music I've been involved with.

   Raul and I go for a walk around Lester, through a big sort of Santa Monica promenade type deal only everything is closed. It could be kind of nice, there's some old stuff mixed in, a city building from 1800's, little cobblestone stuff, maybe I'm a little numb to Europe, but I also think different parts of Europe are a little more modernized. We do find a nice old church with attendent cemetary, Raul gets a picture of me praying at a grave. It's unbelievably miserable reading about widows who outlived all three of their sons, and various other stories told by the tombstones all before 1850. Raul is really jonesin' for GRAFITTI preferably STENCILES!! I've had about enough walking around so I head back, send a postcard and oh yeah the opening band Spin Spin the Dog is on. They are WACKY the singer is real strange looks like a mad business man or maybe something else that I can't quite define; there's alot of screaming, The guitarist plays his guitar with a coronet, I don't know if he played the coronet, harmolodium, woow, I can't even describe these guys, con f'n frontational, not easy listening. Go to their website. Go to all the bands we play with's website, why not?

   We're on. Only not quite. There's a problem. New York Dolls is blasting from the sound system. Phil is hooking up the lines so I ask him very nicely to get the Coltrane going. He retorts and I mean retorts: "what makes you think I'm going to be ready in fifteen minutes?" Ooh. I check to see if I was rude, nope, but I try again: "Ok, Ok just trying to stay on schedual" pointing to my watch which says we're supposed to be on in ten. Watt is sitting at the side of the stage which usually means we're ready to go on. I go upstairs to get stickers and an adapter and when I get down...still New York Dolls. Phil is still puttering around; I mention Coltrane again and he kinda goes off saying if he's putting on the CD he's not setting up the mikes. Whew. Mike has witnessed the whole thing; I say; "maybe I didn't handle that so good" but Mike doesn't think I did anything wrong. Coltrane finally goes on, a few minutes later we're ready to go but Phil wants a line check, which means you make sound on every instrument to make sure they're all working. Kinda spoils the drama a little and most guys forego it.

   I'm running all this down because once we start playing the nightmare starts and these are all little precursors. And the nightmare is that by the second song I'm hearing the bass so loud that I am physically sick. Really, I'm in a panic, because I don't know how I'm going to make it through the set, much less play well. Mike keeps bending over and trying to adjust his sound, he's got distortion on for some reason, just trying to deal. I don't really think to tell Mike to turn down because I'm so used letting him read the room and playing to him, plus I know that his level is not really the problem, the abuse is coming from other quarters. I remember that the previous band's vocals were buried, so I extrapolate that the PA is weak and I, yes, I admiit it, TURN UP to try to blend and make sure I'm in the front. It's awful. And when i'm that uncomfortable I make mistakes.

   Finally, Mike comes up and says "It's all organ!" which compounds the problem. Now I realize for sure, what I was pretty sure of already: we are in different worlds sonically on this stage. Plus there are all kinds of different feedbacks: lows, mids, highs; a veritable cornucopia of cacophony! We limp through to the Pluckin, Pedallin, Paddlin fade, where we repeat the refrain nine times and fade out. Throughout the feedback just kind of rolls along. Mike is trying to get Phil's attention with some eye contact as I have been doing throughout the set, but Phil is engrossed in a deep conversation with an unidentified fellow in a Sonic Youth teeshirt. Then Mike does something I have really never seen him do in all our shows: he blatantly calls out the soundman. Totally deservedly, but I'm pretty sure MIke is in balls of stress and frustration to do it, he would never willingly do that, even as a last resort. He says: "You get paid for this?"

   Finally it's over. I'm aghast. We get off and Mike is pissed and so am I. He hauls into me a little it feels like, but from his side of the stage I was a big part of the problem, cranking up like Motorhead, although I wasn't actually any louder than half the shows we've done. I begin to wonder if Phil, out of the goodness of his heart, put bass in my monitor and organ in Mike's so that we would be able to "hear" each other. In any case we go back out for the encores and the sound is better, Phil has accomplished this by shutting off the monitors but at least there's no more feedback. I play the encore by braille, I can't hear a note of the organ and that's just the way it's gotta be. I'm shaking though.

   After, Mike wants to go over things some more. And I fucking snap. I've been through this nightmare, I did the best I could, I really want to crawl into a hole and disappear permanently. If you've read any of these diaries, you know how my head extrapolates a little setback to the end of the world, and I've done calculus on this motherfucker. And I go right back at Mike, take it personal rather than accept the criticism and file it away. But I'm pissed at the soundman, pissed at myself for not rising above, pissed cause there are some nice people right in the front that I feel have been ripped off. And see, that is not true. In front, who knows how much of this microscopic shit actually is horrible. So Tony and Kate, who I met right before we played, and were so cool, were thrilled. I said: "I don't know" and they said: "hey all that shit adds to it." And it does often, I agree although in this case, with the nature of what we're doing, and some of the traditions we are emulating and speaking to, I do feel that a perfect, powerful, dynamic and sensitive reading of the piece would be the optimum. But Chaos theory raises it's head and that's why we have opposable thumbs.

   So we yell, and say stupid things and I'm so sad because I love Mike and I believe the things he says when he's mad, I believe in my heart that there's an element of truth to them, and I respect his opinion about things so where does that leave me? Jim Miller says the root of my problem is Piece-of-Shitism and I never wanted to accept that, but a person who feels good about themselves is not so in need of constant propping up and doesn't care so much about other's opinion. So, gee, Jim's right as usual.

   We're in healing mode before we leave the stage but if Tony and Kate like that stuff they got a dose. Later they told me that they named their child Angel(L.A.) Kira among other names and that touched me, i can't wait to tell Kira although she may already know. Tony may be doing a musical project with Mike down the pike.

   As we load out the reaggae disco is loading in, huge cabinets pushed by Rasta looking guys in clouds of sweet smoke that don't seem the least interested in us hanging around another second and why should they. We are supposed to be out by ten, I don't have a second to check my watch but it's congested and eventually we're on our way to the hotel.

   In the van along with Ian the promoter and us is Nez and old Irish friend of Mikes that's been coming to shows for 15 years. He says he loved the show and there you go. He even said he liked it better than his previous view at all tomorrow's parties with pete and jer which allowed me to feel typically cocky for a second till I realized that was the FIRST EVER performance and Pete famously had to play it on a little toy keyboard. Oh god the agony he must have been in!!

   We get to the hotel and I realize I have forgotten Coltrane in the shitstorm but Raul grabbed it GOOD MAN! And Mike has forgotten his fucking microphone ( a sign perhaps of our argument getting to him the way it got to me ) so he heads back to the club while we check in and I collapse in the room with Raul who has said nothing but at one point casually says: "what were you guys arguing about?" Raul is so great. And I can't really remember. We both get on computers for a little while, he playing his new hip hop CD which to me is genius and unlistenable. Then we put on the Prisoner. He's asleep in five minutes and I get maybe half way through; beaten and depressed I don't even get a prayer in before I'm out. I'm sorry, dear; I didn't say goodnight last night; here's a belated kiss and a beating heart in your hands.

from watt:

   pop at seven bells and hose off - forgot to mention that yesterday I got a soak here dep's tub but today not much time cuz it's both a seven hour ride south to leicester and an early gig w/us on stage at 8:30 pm. I hoof down the street and get some coff at a pad nearby dep's - I pass this statue of a two weirdos on a strange two-legged horse - obviously these must be from a cartoon - the plaque says it's in honor of bud neill, who created these characters lobey dosser, el fideldo and rank bain - I know nothing of them now but am intrigued to some day. tour can bring you on some trippy tangents, huh? the coff pad has this cat from portugal working at it and he did cruise ships for twelve years so knows of my town. he says it's hard for him living w/rain all the time, he says he thinks it effects some of the folks living here cuz they come in the morning all down and bummed. "live life" he says he wants to tell them. I wanna tell him there's plenty of folks in sunny california the same way but don't. he's probably got memories of portugal in his head kind of colored w/rose-tinted glasses they way we humans do stuff like that. he's a nice cat though and talks w/me some, wants to know about tour. I get a "meat mountian" panini which is stuffed w/pastrami, turkey, gorganzola and mustard. good chow for two and half pounds. I go back towards dep's and the sun comes barreling out - it's like that so big time over here... if you don't like the current weather, just wait a few minutes cuz thinks can very much change. I stop at a phone booth and call my pool friend tony - you can dial direct out like that, I just remembered. we're eight hours ahead of pedro time but he's still awake. it's so good to hear his voice, my first call back to my town this tour. tony says there's been eight shootings on the freeways in so cal, damn. what's wrong w/us over there? the gun stuff is so fucking crazy. he's doing ok though, I can't wait to see him again. tony got his little pickup truck stolen just before I left on this tour, damn. he's a cat who can afford the least of anyone I know but he didn't let it get him down too much. I love tony, he's my oldest bud I've known in cali - thirtythree years now. d. boon taught him the first songs he could play on guitar. you can see him for a bit in the "we jam econo" film - he's the one who know me and d. boon before all the other people in that movie except for my ma. I can only talk to tony a little bit here cuz the phone eats all my pieces of metal pound but I'm so glad I got to spiel w/him and can't wait to see him next week when I get back.

   I roust my guys and leave dep a thank you note cuz of all the righteous help he did for us, much respect. I wheel us to the motorway, raul's in the navigator seat today and soon we're south on the m6 towards england. the sky gets dark, the sky gets bright - it's dry, it's wet. paul konks in the back, I think about the hamlet spiel we had yesterday and think of something ralph waldo emerson said:

   "it is as impossible for a man to be cheated
   by any one but himself, as for a thing to be
   and not to be at the same time."

   raul konks a lot too, I won't really need his help navigating 'til I'm past hadrian's wall and into england. it's ok for watt to kart around a boat of konked people, I'm quite used to it and most the time maybe it's better if I don't spiel so much so I can save my voice some. that's the one part of tour that takes the beat downs for me, the voice. I'd doing ok this tour though, never have lost it once though one gig it was kind of hobbled, I think it was terrecina. man, such a beautiful town and wonderful people there - plus dutch dude carlos and claudio were there too, aaaarrrrrgggghhh... why did I have to fuck that gig up so? can't dwell too much on it though, gotta let it go or it'll consume me big time. "one life is many is many gigs..." I pass a hanjin can on a truck - more thoughts of the harbor and home. hanjin's got a huge terminal where the navy base used to be on terminal island, just east of pedro. pete and jer work lots there. lots of sheeps and some cows too out the window of the boat as I look - we leave scotland and here's where lots of those stone fences start up. "welcome to red rose land" reads a sign in regards to lanshire - the white rose was for yorkshire and the war between them both was called "the war of the roses" which I think is weird way to think of flowers cuz I love them so. civil wars aren't too civil, are they? lots of the cows around here lay on the ground, I wonder why cuz back in the u.s. you hardly see them do that. maybe it's cuz of all the green, green grass, I don't know. a couple of vans pulling trailers full of 'yaks pass - man, am I hankering to do that again... don't let me get started! we stop for gas and I get something called a "bacon bap" which is saltyass ham/bacon in a roll. what does bap mean? we pass between liverpool and manchester and head for the turn off at stoke-on-trent but blow-by so we correct by taking a little road to a town called uttoexeter so we can catch the m1 road down through derby and on to leicester. raul's up now and having quite a time but we make do, probably quite a riot for paul to hear us "reason" things out up front. but get to where we must, we do - however. derby (they pronounce it over here "darby" - like the germs' singer) is where I stayed last summer for a couple of days when the stooges played this race track in donington. pretty country, the midlands.

   we get into town and the map is a pretty trippy personal take on what you get in a thomas brothers guide (the road bible of southern california), like just lines going out like a miro work but we sense we're kind of close when paul wakes up and sees it right out the window as we blow by. we loop around and I park a block behind while my guys go check the scene. after a bit, this cat rides up on a bike and it's the gigboss, ian. he's very happening and has a neat flannel on too. he tells me to park up on the sidewalk in front of this pad, the charlotte. too much but I see his point cuz there's no curb action and it's 'pert-near on a traffic circle, cars whizzing by and shit. we load in to the pad and set up, meeting the soundman phil who seems ok - older, like me but ok. cuz of the gig being earlier, I ask ian if I can chow soon and he says sure - he can get indian (yeah!) but first, go look up stairs. I go up there and find... can you believe it???!!! habaneros! damn, I can't believe it! there's some shitty mersh salsa but I dump some and fill it up w/five chilies I've chopped up, orange and red ones. now these aren't as hot as ones back in the u.s. but they are habaneros and got heat - ian said they came from a turkish pad. I get a little swelter going and am so glad. we do soundcheck w/phil and things seem ok. I then go to the boat to chimp diary.

   ian comes w/the indian chow - it's some curry w/fish and it's got some heat. there's another container w/spinach that's got potatoes in it plus some nan bread - it's way soft and fresh - man, do I love this stuff! I stuff hunks of it w/the curry and spinach and chow it 'pert-near burrito style. lucky watt today. I chimp more diary and then find myself konk in that little space behind the front seats (on the deck). I meant just to "rest my eyes" but full-on snoresville came on me. damn, cuz I missed the openers who we're nottingham cats called spin spin the dog. damn, I really wanted to see them after hearing ian tell me about their band. I did meet tony and kate, english friends of mine I once gave a tour of pedro. tony gives me a cohiba 'gar - damn. one day he's gonna get some words going w/a guitarist friend of his and I'm gonna help out w/some bass. one day, when he's ready. him and kate have a family so he's got priorities and much respect to that. "no wine before its time" is what I've told him (I got that from orson wells). I saw my dublin friend nez who's lived just to the west in birmingham for years, I saw him out the boat window but he didn't hear me holler, damn - I'll see him later though, I hope. oh, I forgot but this cat named kristian showed me stuff for the book version of the "we jam econo" minutmen doc. it's gonna have all the spiel the movie and the dvd has plus even more. that means all the folks who speak about us will have there words written down and they'll be lots of images and stills - lots of these he's showing me I'm seeing for the first time... the only suggestion I make is for the type font - maybe they could get the type off of the back of "the politics of time" album cuz that was the same typewriter I used for a lot of things, including the label. just a thought. I like what kristian did and am glad nothing was redacted into like a "reader's digest version" or something like that.

   ok, let me tell you about the gig. the sound was ok for the first and even second tune but then things went really weird. the bass disappeared and the organ became everything. a feedback came on the singing and toms that was intense. the stage had cupboard effect and when the people came up, it kind of sealed things in where we were so maybe that contributed some. maybe stuff was out of phase - it was hard to communicate w/phil cuz some tall guy in a sonic youth shirt (no, it wasn't thurst - it was a guy in a sonic youth shirt, not in sonic youth) was having a non-stop conversation w/him. I was trying hard not to get distracted - I was doing ok mostly but man, it was a struggle. I lost some nerve in the purgatory part. I kept signalling for paul to bring things down cuz maybe that was the only hope for us up here soundwise. finally in "angels gate" I told him "it's all organ" but turned my head sideways so hopefully folks wouldn't see - things got better but still my bass was no where - no avail cuz it's not supposed to be a solo bass thing anyway. for "pluckin'..." there's such a feedback on the end vocal part that I ask phil to help out which really bums me out (I apologized to the crowd for it later) cuz I wanted so much to "stay in character" no matter what and commit everything to "delivering the piece." it was only a few words but damn, I wish I wouldn't of done that. after "pelicanman," we go off stage and we talk about what a nightmare it was w/the sound. oh well, let's do the encores. I really throw hard on the songs - we do everything we know, all six encores - I told gigboss ian I'd do everything I could for him - I go right up to quitting time. right after, I have some talk w/paul but my tactics in delivering it are poor and he takes it personally. we have words and they're mean ones but after a while I just tell him to hit me if he's really that angry cuz I think this is getting way out from just some music stuff I wanted to talk about, communication things like him telling me if he's got bass coming out of the monitors at him (that's what he told me). anyway, my point is not to make it sound like I'm right in this chimping (and by that he was wrong) but that I love him and let him know if it takes some more talking to work things out then I will and won't run away or harbor a festering animosity about it. that would be truly lame of me and I'd hate it. I think he knew what I meant by me telling him to hit me. it was weird, I haven't told many people to do that but it seemed the only thing to do to try and defuse things. of course nez, tony and kate didn't wanna see what was happening but me and paul had to work it out - everything is not for appearances. of course I thought it a bunch after, couldn't help but do that - this is not the minutemen where we blew out arguments like that. I shake soundman phils hand and tell him not too worry - I wanted to stop me being angry so I don't wanna pick it up again for something we can't change anyway, it would be just for the sake of throwing a tantrum. there's a guy from birmingham who says hi to me - birmingham, alabama! that's nice - in fact, there's all kinds of nice folks. I'm sorry if the thing w/paul made me a little near-sighted and I overlooked anyone. also, cuz of another event coming into the club, people got shoved out quick which was not happening. damn, I hate shit like that. people are not cattle.

   so we load up the boat w/both nez and ian in the boat w/us and go to the 'tel. I remember I don't have my mic and to make sure, we check the cases and sure enough... I spaced. I tell raul and paul to stay here so they can konk and then take nez and paul back to the pad - sure enough, the mic is there, great. that's good news. we all three talk some and then I gotta get back cuz I'm tired. big hugs for nez, he's dear to me. he saw georgie playing in japan a couple of months ago w/red krayola - said he played in a kimono, great! bye, nez. ian rides back w/me and I tell him he was so great him having us aboard. I've been lucky w/lots of gigbosses being happening cats. grateful watt. I start to go into the bed and breakfast pad (that's what they call it) and I forgot to get my bag. damn, I fumble and lose the keys, dropping them. damn, I gotta piss. damn. I find the keys, get the back - haul ass back but am not in time. shit. there's no head in the room but there is a sink so there's some washing to do before I konk. it wasn't a full on niagra but enough to need the scrubbing. then I konk.

saturday, may 7, 2005 - brighton, england

from raul:

   Woke up to yet another english breakfast, baked beans and eggs, also had a bowl of three diffrent kinds of cereal mixed together, and a glass of orange juice... Good stuff. I was sittin' in the back, while paul took the navigator position. Still feeling slighty shitty, so i just read a little and slept. Woke up at a gas station in the middle from here to there, the back leak in the back tire is getting worse. Since yesterday it went down considerably. Fuck it, time to change the tire. One big problem, dudes at the rental place flaked out on the jack. Not too cool. That could of left us in a totally fucked situation, well it kinda did... just not a full blow out... knock on wood. Mike thought of the second best thing, fix a flat. All the air outta the tire, put in the fix a flat, and fill her back up, just in time to miss the rain. After about reading a few pages, i was back asleep. Woke up right outside the club. AAARRRGGG!!!!. That sucks, it's good to see what i'm gettin' into, what's around in relation to the club, today i have no clue. Club has a funny name, it's called free butts... i don't think it's supposed to be funny though, i'm just immature. No bodies home yet, so paul and i decide to go for a walk, we split up pretty quick, he wanted to go to the the beach, and i got pulled in by the city. It was like a little mini haight, everything painted hippie style, over priced shops and people everywhere. There was a flea market going on as well, and even though i knew i wouldn't buy anything, sometimes it's fun to rummage thru useless junk, weird, i know. it's just the pack rat in me. Lots of good art too, and some great bookstores. After an hour, just like the haight, it got old, or i got bored, or maybe both, does it even matter... Sure it does. I kinda start in the direction that paul went. He was easy to find, just looked in the royal gardens. It was just about time to get back to load in too, or so we thought. still nobody home. Around the corner is a bar, and they have wireless, so i hang there have some coffee and do mail, the luddite is slowly leaving, it's kinda sad, but one thing i'll never use is a electric can opener, that's just stupid. When we go back, the doors are open, and it's cool to get the gear in. For some reason, i think it's gonna be a good show, little dingy bar, the stage is only a couple inches off the ground. I'm kinda a bad judge at counting folks, but it looks like maybe a hudred fifty people could pack this place wall to wall. Sound guy is a younger guy too, not as jaded looking as phil from leister. He put on beef hearts safe as milk, and everybody went to work doin' what they gotta do. While we're doin' the check, blackhorse walks in, i had met one of em' earlier down the road, he recognized paul and i from the 'puter, nice guy.

   After the check, it's chow time, total spread, and the best salsa we've gotten all tour, no offense to any one who tried, but this had habenero in it. Really good vegi chile, rice, salad, and pita and hummus, and a bunch of fresh vegetables, these folks have already been so nice to us. Up above the free butt is another bar and i don't think they serve food though, but there is a kitchen that's used to cook for the bands. After chow i went back over to the place around the block to finish checkin' the mail. that was abunch of irritating disasters and lost mail, and if that's not enough, a stripper with a little dog kept hittin' on me. Yeah i know, maybe some dudes dream, but not mine... kinda drunk too, made me feel weird, so i bailed. There's nieghbors to the club, real close, so we have an early show, we'll be on by nine thirty, i guess the nieghbors have been threatin' to try to get the club closed, so they've got a curfew. I made it back in time to catch the the last half of blackhorses' set, really together for a first gig. The place is packed, i can't wait to play, the nervous energy was intense in the best possible way... really, i just wanna do good, deliver. Steven did a great job doing the sound, i didn't need any moniter either, both amps were so close. With all the folks packed in, there was zilch for air, it was a total sweat box. High energy, on all fronts. We're doin' great until watt broke the power supply during angels gate. Insted of lettin' it get to him, he just unplugged it and hooked it back up dry, bass to cord to amp, and kept going... what else could he do. That kinda threw us for a loop, but only for a second... we got back on track. I was so full of energy that i had a couple off time clams, was just playin' to fast, i think with the audience they went unnoticed. Over all, one of my favorite gigs so far. Had another good clam during the encore. During the first song, the red and the black. While i was doing fills a stick flew right out of my sweaty palms, made a quick recovery, it was pretty comical, cuz sometimes watt will point at me while i'm doing em', and this time i blew it... whatever, we had a good laugh before the song was even over. After, he told the folks that i had did it on purpose, wanted to disspell the myth, show that imperfection is as good as anything else or something like that.

   People had the best things to say after the show, my favorite is when someone comes in with no idea of who watt is or what to expect and it has a good impact on em'. Then you know that the words are genuine. Lot's of folks also drove from london who knew nothin' about the london gig, that's weird, but it was great to have em' here tonight. By the time i'd finished, it looked like i had jumped in water, i was completely soaked, it felt all right. A couple guys helped us out lot's with the gear, one had came alone from london, and was just killin' time before he met some friends, and another had missed his train... that sucks. His attitude, i got a bag of grass, and a book, plus i'm an insomniac, he was gonna walk the city until the first morning train. Regardless of why they were there, they gave us lots of help. By tomorrow, i expect a full blown sickness... standing out here in drenched in sweat in a thirty degree brighton night, nothin' left to do now except have a few beers, smoke some cigerettes, stay up real late, and welcome this cold with open arms... don't worry ma, i'm being sarcastic.

from paul:

   Awake frozen because the window was open. That might be a good thing to check. Ovenight an infestation of termites has eaten through my ears leaving large rotten porous sections and cavities in my head. I head down for English breakfast and it's all there: American style coffee on the burner, bowls of cereal which I help myself to, and a plate of eggs, ham, beans annd skinny little hotdogs for the asking. Raul joins me, then I go up while he's finishing, wanting a shower and getting one. In the shower I think and try to take the 12 steps on the situation last night; one- I'm powerless, really, over Mike and the inevitable road/artistic frictions; two believe that something other than me can resolve the situation- yeah the passage of time always does; three: let it, back off don't give it charge, surrender; four- look at my part...yeah I was freaked out and pissed by the nightmare and poured fuel on the fire ; Five- confess... and at that point the secret knock sounds at the door and it's Mike wanting to complete the healing. He also has turned to 12 step (probably thinking it's a good way to communicate with me- it demands me to be my higher self or something) and talks about principles over personalities; I think he means not to let our personalities get in the way of our artistic principles. He acts like it's behind us, it's definitly behind me.

   While we were arguing, one of the things he accused me of was not living up to the principles. Of course I don't, not within a million miles, great, one more failure. And I prove it on the drive; we stop for coffee which is L2.50 my head does the math; $5, and when they don't charge me for the $4 sweet roll, I can't bring myself to tell them. That's not like me. I never do that especially if I'm with someone who can witness and be bewildered and bedazzled by my show of character.

   We hit the road for Brighton; we have to circumvent the London orbital loop and then bomb down to the beach, but a little way out of Leicester Mike notices that the slow leak in the rear left tire is not as slow anymore and the thing is almost completely flat. We pull over and ascertain a spare. We also ascertain no jack. Yes the jack is gone and we can't really fix the tire. Mike, always thinking, picks up some fix a flat stuff, puts it in and we go on hoping it'll do the trick with much cursing about the Diks for Hire van rental company. We only have to make it three more days though.

   We hit some bad traffic where they're working on the road near London, we see two wickedass Ferraris and a Maszerati heading for a car show or something and pull into Brighton at around three. We have almost no trouble finding the Freebutt, a tiny two story affair in the old school pub style, but it's still closed. Raul and I decide to walk around. I'm pretty intent on getting to the water and checking out the boardwalk; Raul is a little looser and wants to go through off the beaten track places to find grafitti. We split up.

   Brighton is a beachfront resort town; what's different is it has been for, like, 500 years or something. Well maybe not that long, but pretty soon I'm passing through the grounds of this nuts castle built for George the 4th in 1787. Notice the year? "Y'know I'm kinda depressed about losing the colonies, I think I'll build a sort of Taj mahal getaway by the beach." Mike says Victoria built it for him for his mistress but it didn't say that in the tourist signs I saw. Anyway it's pretty crazy, google Brighton Palace I think that might show it. And there's grounds/gardens with lots of kids and hippies, dreadlocks etc. acting like it's hot and summery even though it isn't remotely by Cali standards. But maybe they're happy because summer is at least approaching. I pass through the palace grounds and am quickly into 4th st. Promenade for days, if you don't know what that is, it's in Santa Monica; you know, a street you can't drive down with stores on both sides and jugglers and jazz bands and artists drawing charactures of little kids or painting on their faces. That was Brighton today. Then I got through that and there's the Atlantic, a big amusement park pier just like Santa Monica only British, a boardwalk loaded with stores and restaurants, very Redondo beach. Only instead of the sand it's all pebbles which makes a wierd sound when people walk on it. I go out on a little walkway and theres an 8 foot tall brass donut, except there are little shapes of Australia, America, England far apart, I think it's the mystic vision of the four dimensional globe. I wander along the coast, thinking I have some pounds I need to spend before I leave England tomorrow, but I can't do it; I finally get a three pound fish sandwich (not three pounds in weight...in price) which wasn't good, but I actually was hungry and that helped. Down the beach I see one of the piers that didn't make it: it's a burned twisted hulk that they never bothered to haul off. My mental state is distracted by all the fresh input so the heaviness doesn't come on; rolling of eyes if you will, I'm reaching the point where my mood swings are one of the most entertaining things about me.

   I like Brighton, I like the beach, I like the familiarity of the coast community with a fucking giant wierd Hindu palace in the middle of it. We had agreed to meet back at 4:30 though so I gotta head back, running into Raul blocks from the coast so he never got to it, too bad.

   We get to the club, still nothing doin' so we head over to this little coffeeshop we had spotted before that has free wireless internet. Raul gets on, we have a coffee. The counterguy asks us what we're doing here, we say gig, he's never heard of Watt but then someone comes up and says: "Paul and Raul?" It's Duncan from the opening band Black Horse, he's knocking back a few rumncokes. It's their first show and it's his first show EVER so he's nervous as fuck, I remember my first show it was early 1970 and I was twelve and I was nervous like hell! Anyway we talk, Duncan says he's a "knob twister"; I guess he plays some kind of groove box and does washes. Raul goes online, then I go online really quick and hellin hasn't enmailed me.

   OK once and for all, see, there's nothing existential or cool or valid about my fuckijng problem. Simple shallow straight ahead shit fucks me up and it's totally embarassing. And sometimes, yeah, I don't even know why, but I'm sure it's nothing too deep. Whatever, I start spinning.

   We go back and we can load in now, and do, set up. I know it's gonna take a while to be ready to soundcheck, Mike has gone to post Raul's week 4 diaries. So I run and call Hellin. And everythings fine, she's just not a big words person...gonna see you in a week, meet the kitties.

   Run back and check and feel better. This is a little tiny room, little bar maybe 150 capacity max, I've got a good feeling though, I think it's going to go well. Jim, the sound guy is young and seems completely on top of it.

   I go back out to walk around, I don't remember how I got so wierded out again so fast, it's stupid anyway; the way the madness works is this: if you're lonly go somewhere by yourself and isolate, take a long solitary walk!! There's a nice sized carnival in the park by the club with all the cheesy Michael Jackson's Thriller! rides and the Frankenstein! fun house and stuff like that, I'm looking for some candy or desert, ONLY EYE couldn't find it in a place like that. There's a skatepark with grafitti that Raul will never photograph, I'm very tragic as I wander through the dusk all overloaded and frazzled and instead of finding peaceful places to sit, I keep winding up in amusement and/or skate parks. I keep walking and there's St. Peter's Cathedral, nothing too dramatic or enormous but it's open and I dunno, fucking churches are about my speed nowadays, I go in there and sit down and it's like: Phew. Thats sad. So I'm sitting and this guy starts playing the church organ, practicing a piece and he's good! And the piece is bitchin, kinda modern, he's playing with his feet on the pedals and I'm digging it. He keeps working on it and I do these wierd things in my head, comparing our lives, how I'm here as a musician traveling; it's awesome; I can barely handle it, I used to compose in a church in about 1974 or 5, it's so wierd all the twists and turns, punk rock, a punk rock wife, punk rock kids, punk rock tours; meanwhile he's here, in Brighton playing this beautiful music, practicing.

   I edge closer cause I just want to know what he's playing, he's working; I don't want to disturb him, it's a cathedral which is kinda intimidating too but finally I'm right behind him and I ask all timid: "Can I ask what that piece is" and he says it's by a french composer, I think he said his name was Veneer or Venier. I said: "20th century right? and he said yes barely. He was about my age probably seemed older a little maybe he was, but such a nice British guy, just instantly great. And the organ is such a beautiful and noble instrument, gorgeous the sound; the natural cathedral reverb and the stops and pipes up to the ceiling some big around like barrels. And I'm really glad I came in, it was a great walk, two great walks full of unnecessary sturm and drang, pointless emotional canyons and stunning visuals from carnival to cathedral.

   Oh yeah, the organ piece had the doorbell theme in it...y'know the one? Dum, dum, dum,dum....dum, dum, dum, dum.

   When I get back to the club dinner is served upstairs, and Sean, who helped us load in has done a great job. Ian in Leicaster found some hot chili's for Mike and Sean has used them in some Salsa and two kinds of chili, vegetarian and not and the food is lively! And by now it's 8:30 and Black Horse in going on, I was going to sit in the kitchen and write about all the wonderous stuff I had seen but there wasn't really anywhere to do it and I wanted to see the band anyway.

   Downstairs, it's pretty crowded and getting warm. I slip up near the front of the stage and they're jamming out with guitar/laptop, bass, drums and Duncan playing some kind of box. The drummer is a girl, Claire, and she's really good; all in all a good first show and the crowd seemed to dig them.

   We have to do some manuevering in the little club shifting our equipment around even though Raul has let Claire use some of his drums. Coltrane is on, we're ready.

   And it's a rip roarer, loud and hot and sweaty. It's one of those shows we haven't had the whole tour, where around song two the keyboard is so slippery with my sweat and the general humidity that it requires a whole new playing style that's like hot ice skating. It's really hard in two places: where I'm by myself in "Tied a Reed" and in the verses of "Angels Gate" but other than that the moisture isn't really an issue except ruining clothes and burning eyes, that sort of thing. Mike's fucking pedals go out at the beginning of Angels Gate and aren't coming back, he blows them off like I've been waiting for him to do all tour and it's fine. Mike's touch is so expressive it's almost like an effect sometimes; there are a few places in the set where the pedals are really integral: Belt Sanded Man of course, Pelican Man too, although I liked it without the effect. The crowd is great, but it's a sauna.

   We have no merch left so Mike's customary slanging from the stage is out; there's no way off the stage except through the crowd so we hang in the steam. I hand some stickers out, get some back and some guys help us break down, a tall guy named Alex is especially helpful. When the outside air hits our overheated bodies I'm sure we steam and its COLD! Feels good.

   We're staying at a guy named Chris' house, I'm not sure how he got roped into it or what his connection is but he goes with us in the van and we head west along the coast passing beautiful high end hotels overlooking the ocean, towering and ornamented. His pad is right on the land side of PCH, whoops it feels like Pacific Coast Highway but it's not...Atlantic Coast Highway? We go in, he blows up a double air mattress for me in my own room so I can finally get down all the crazy Brighton sights. He mentions a few things in passing: recently separated from his wife, I saw the pictures of his daughters on the mantle. He's selling the place, maybe following them to Dublin, he's going sailing tomorrow.

   I'm sorry that Chris is going through that stuff, I don't really know any more about it than that, but I hope he and his wife find happiness. Relationships are hard. Like I've said: our greatest joys walk hand in hand with our greatest sorrows: Love, childeren, music, life. If you want to fly with the angels I guess we have to go mano a mano with the demons.

   Good night Helenka, Alexander and Adam, my little angels and demons.

   Nirvana is a word of such dubious etymology that a simple translation is exceedingly difficult. It has been variously connected with Sanskrit roots which would make it mean the blowing out of a flame or simply the blowing out, or with the cessation of waves, turnings or circlings of the mind.
            -Alan Watts

from watt:

   pop at seven bells and discover that like an idiot, I put those scrubbed levis in the plastic stench bag so not only did they not get a start on drying (I was going to have to hang them up in the back of the boat anyway), they got fouled from the not-so-much ghosts of stenchings past. fuck. what the hell, I put on a pair I washed at dep's up in glasgow. same w/the skivvies. now for chow - I"m gonna finish that india chow I only did half of last night. man, do I dig this stuff. again I get to wail the taste buds up w/goodness, love it. it's bright and sunny too, what a greeting for my favorite part of the day... man, do I love mornings cuz they're righteous. if this is weird to hear, I'm sorry but that's the way I feel. there's a sundial in this tiny park next to the konk pad and I stare at a long time, I don't know, I'm kind of transfixed by it... seems I can see the shadow actually move. I do have some weird thoughts on my head about me and paul after the gig last night so after chowing and then chimping some, I go up to the room he's in and explain some things, about how maybe my tactics were lame at trying to talk about things musical w/him and having them appear as they were somehow personal cuz really, they weren't. I told him I'm gonna be better w/that cuz I can't change the past and explaining where I was coming from doesn't fix anything but maybe it can let him know where I was coming from and where I'm going to try to get to in the future. there's gonna be something cuz were humans and issues are bound to happen but I tell him I'll never run away and always be there to try and talk things through - I won't be all huffy. I love paul.

   we head off for brighton, catching the m1 south out of town for the last saturday gig of this tour (we're at that stage of the mission now, the part where each day of the week is the last of that day of the week). paul's navigating, sitting next to me w/raul konked in the back. he wakes from time to time cuz he wants bad to catch up on the diary. I know his sisters dig reading them but I don't pester him to do any chimping - it's of his own volition. we stop for gas cuz I'm getting weird sensations w/the wheel, guessing maybe it's that fucking slow leak in the aft starboard tire. sure enough, it's down to like fourteen pounds - 'pert-near a fucking flat! damn, I just added air too. I check out the spare underneath, just forward of the rear bumper and it looks in good shape (it's a real tire too, not one of those little doughnut lameasses) so maybe we should change that. I go where the jack's supposed to be, just inside the passenger side door side in the step well and fuck, nothing's there - just loose restraining straps. I see a tire iron and the fold-out rod you twist to jack the jack w/under the passenger seat but the jack is nowhere. these stupid diks autovorheer fucks rented us a boat not only a tire w/a slow leak, in need of tune-up (remember that warning light coming on when the motor died driving into geneva?) but the also give us no jack. aaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrgggggghhhhhhhh... I hope they learn from this cuz I certainly am. I think a minute and then go into the store part of the gas station and get a can of this shit called "holt's tyreweld" (yep, it's spell tyre here like gray is spelled grey) which is some silicon sealant stuff to get you home if you hit a nail. we ain't got much riding w/this boat (shhhh... I don't want her to hear in case it'll make her upset) so maybe it'll hold. back on the road, the sky grays up but then brights up again as we get around the "orbital" (that's what they call the london ring road, the m25). it's here we get some big plug and traffic slows to a crawl, putting all homesick thoughts very much in check cuz traff plugs make me grrrr my teeth. I've learned to leave lots of time to face them though so that grrrr doesn't spread to my stomach - I don't need the stress. we mosey along for over an hour, covering all of a mile or so. passing us - three in a row - are three ferraris and a maserati - all brand new, whoa. I saw at least ten new ferraris in italy, some others around europe too this tour - man, they must be some beans to own. my guess is these three hoddies were going to a car show maybe. I see an old morgan and some racer that looks like from the teens or twenties too, yeah. I should mention euro motorcycle cats - these folks take their outfits quite seriously, they most cost a mint. all padded up and jointed, pretty future-looking stuff. not so much harley action either, mostly fast rice burners and euro equivalents. I chow up a few of the chilies ian flowed me last night and get some great rush. we get around the plug and onto the m23 to brigthon which is a town on the english channel about fifty miles south of london. we pass some guys in white playing cricket, don't see much of that. they score a lot in that game and it can go for days. one day I gotta watch a whole one. there's some bowls going on a little further down the way too, kind of like what italians in my town used to do, calling it bacci ball. paul guides me in, using the directs which are excellent except for the last one but a little wander has us run right into w/out hardly expecting it. the directs say parking is tough so I put the boat right in front of the pad cuz I'm gonna wait 'til one of the only two nearby spaces open up (one's a cab so I'm suspecting it'll have to bail at some point). I tell my guys to hoof and check out the town and go as far as the water, see the piers and stuff which are pretty neat. I'll stay here and wait for the parking space (no one's at the club yet - oh yeah, it's called the free butt and the poster out front listing the coming attractions has a neat one upstairs tonight, it's called "I plugged her in and she just blew up") but first I go a couple of blocks and get a big donner kebab which is a turkish chow where thin lamb slices are put in a pita w/salad on top. there's a trippy old church called saint peter's on the way - that's what our town's name is in spainsh, san pedro). I can hear organ sounds coming out of it... I chimp diary for a while and sure enough, the cabbie gets in his cab and bails so I get the place. I had to piss and the pad still ain't open so I used a coff cup but it slipped so more fucking piss on me, god damn it! fuck if I don't wish for having a piss bag fitted sometimes. I know this is something I'd never would actually want to have forced on me but shit, do I sometimes get the notion out of frustration. it ain't bad but it's enough to make me holler in the boat - glad no one's around.

   some folks come to open up the pad and I meet soundman steve. I have a talk w/him about sound stuff, telling him of last night's "adventure" and all. he's a young man who's very enthusiastic and I very much doubt any problems so maybe I'm saying this for my sake... and paul's - him and raul show up from their wanderings and we load the gear in. raul says a coff shop down the road a little bit has free wifi so I go load up his diary stuff for week four onto the hoot page. must've seemed weird to folks reading along and suddenly see him disappear like that. I meet this nice cat named sean who says he's gonna cook dinner for us, alright. he's got some habanero too - wow, says he got it a turkish place to and that they're grown in uganda. damn, what a trip. I meet the gigboss who's named phil and he's very happening, like sean and also like ian last night. these are regular cats w/no bullshit around them, it's such an honor to be part of what they got going. lots of the way I notice about folks I see doing stuff I like w/music reminds of the best what was in the old days: independent minded folks who are people w/out fronts and straight up, very conducive for someone like me doing what I do. I thrive on it. we do soundcheck w/steve and the room sounds good. upstairs, I chow sean's chilli and it's righteous. he's got lime and cilantro too to go w/it and the rice, an excellent "meld" as he calls it. such good stuff. we have a talk about current events. I gotta come play overseas more often, it's compliments me playing in my parts - I get to learn from all over.

   I do a phoner w/an irish writer regarding the show near cork. he asks me good stuff, interested too in my bloomsday journey last year. I hear the band darkhorse open up the gig from upstairs here, it's an earlier show cuz of the pad being by a bunch of housing. they sound good but I want to finish the chimping yesterday's memories. our turn and it's a good crowd. the sound is so much better than last night, wow. all the bodies up close absorb lots of paul's organ so I ask him to turn up, giving him signals - he finally gets it in "puked..." lots of times paul is right on me but at others he gets lost in his playing, maybe I'm the same way. it's starts getting sweaty fast and soon it's clear this is gonna be the tour's most sweltering of gigs. my guys do good and I keep my nerve, much happening spirit from the crowd too. I know it's a weird piece and people don't know what to expect (got word from carlton that cds missed me again so I'm not going to have any more this tour - hope they get around later in the stores though) so much respect to them for see what I'm up to in these moments. I accidently stomp on that fucked up power supply at the end of "beltsandedman" and she's finally done for - the wires are way too gone. damn but it was bound to happen. I just plug straight in and bypass all the pedal crap. whatever, the piece is about more than that. we finish up and get brought back to much good will, thank you good folks of brighton. a good scene here for sure. we play the four fastest encore tunes... your guess, ok? - I threw raul and paul for a loop too cuz they went into the dylan tune when I was actually counting out the cobra verde one! we're done and my outfit is totally soaked, whew.

   much good word from cats who come up to give me their music, sign flyers, take pictures - even a bass pickgurad from a cat named guy on the talkbass.com forum who drove six hours out to see the gig. an artist from nashville, tennessee named yobelart says hi - he's on tour too, right fucking on! I thank the darkhorse folks for sharing the stage w/us and of course give big grazies to gigboss phil, soundman steve and cookerman sean too. I had a good time. much respect as always to raul and paul also. I have to go sit in the boat some though to cool off and get into another flannel - I'll wash this blue one (still have worn it every gig this tour!) later tonight. whew. ok, load the boat up and we're going to stay w/this kind man named chris so he hops in the boat w/us and we go to his pad, just east of town on the road next to the water. I scrub that gig shirt and then chris gives me a thin sleeping bag to unzip and fold out to use as a blankie, he's got a good rugged-up deck for me to konk on. this is the thinest sleeping I've ever seen but it'll work well cuz there's like five or something heaters going in this pad. chris was from australia so he talks about that after I've wandered around w/spiel about u.s. civil war medicine, wooden tall ships, abstract journeys via book reading - raul rolled up some mota he was given and I'm tangent bound totally. I run out of gas soon though and konk soon takes me.

   wow, week five is done... what a trip.

read week 4 of the tour diary

read week 6 of the tour diary

loop back to mike watt's hoot page

this page created 7 may 05