mike watt + the secondmen
"el mar cura todo" tour 2004 diary
week 3

pete, watt and raul in front of the boat in saint louis, mo - week 3 of tour - 2004

watt - thud staff, spiel
pete mazich - organ, singing
raul morales - drums

(left to right w/a saint louis cat named
joe edwards in between watt and pete)

steve kaul - the man outside the van

thursday, september 30, 2004 - iowa city, ia

from raul:

   Gabes oasis, i've already heard the horror stories about this place, well not the club, but the stairs out back that the gear has to go up. They're these rickety, rusty steps, held up by various shapes, and sizes of wood. The last time mike was here, him in rossler, had to carry the hammond up in the rain, well yesterday the weather was great, and those steps didn't look to intimidating, hell, ever been to the warehouse, in lacrosse, five or six flights of stairs, seemed like they're almost going vertical. Gabes wasn't too bad, and the gear makes it in without a problem. Every show we get diffrent kinds of habanero salsa, and today we got the best yet, batch #37, had a picture of a guy screaming, with the caption... pain is pleasure... wasn't that hot, but it had a real strong garlic taste, perfect salsa. After downing a big jar of the good stuff, we're ready for sound check, and after sound check, i'm ready to go find some coffee, walkin' around campus is a funny thing, cuz you automaticaly take on the roll of student, and everyone around you thinks you go to their school. find a pretty decent cup of coffee, and go scour the alleys of down town iowa city, not to much in the way of art, but i spotted a couple cool pieces, there was this rad painting done in spray paint, of a tooth brush and tooth paste... whatever, i liked it, not much else, i swear there was only about six alleyways, the whole downtown, is built around the campus, so there were lot's of bars, and over priced clothing stores. Found the local record store, and just milled around, flipping through records, while listening to the presidential debate, yeah, debate, when they closed, i went to the bookstore to listen to it there, when the yuppie moms got to loud and excited, over some tool signing his crappy book i went to a bar across the street, there they had about twenty chairs set up, and a bunch of people drinkin' and watching it on telivision, when the frat boys playing pool, listening to outkast way to loud got on my nerves, i went to the bar next door, to play lord of the rings pinball.

   Almost gig time, so back to the club i go, walking down the alley i can hear the first band announce their last tune, show must've started early, cuz they weren't supposed to go on till ten. Kiriko, met them after their set, they seemed like really sweet people, sorry i missed your show dudes. After them came the bottom feeders, total riff rock, they were good at riffin' too, also had a real solid drummer, something funny about him, a friend of mikes came up and told me the second group had a badass female drummer, so i go up front to watch this badass in action, and get this it's a man in pigtails... cute. We're up next, the last couple of shows have been faves of mine, had a few yammer heads out at sea, but i think they where excited, and not trying to hear themselves over the music. Good crowd, i had a real good time playin' for iowa city, thanks dudes, also met this guy john eagle, turns out we have a bunch of mpls. folks in common, fun talking with him, hopefully we'll run into each other again. After the scarier going down the rusted staircase load, we go over to a friend of mikes, and his wife milindas house, some of the coolest people put us up, and i'm super greatful for that, thanks guys. they had a real talkitive puppy dog, and cat, after a few drags off some mota it's snack time, i know that it's not good for you to eat before you go to bed, but i always need a little something in my stomach to help me sleep, plus it's just a can of plain tuna, so yeah, i crack that open and share some with kitty, and get to sleeping... Kevin rager or dan, hopefully your reading this, mike forgot his flannel in the room next to your studio, he really wants to get it back, you can contact us at the hoot page. thanks dudes i'm sure he'd really appreciate it. bye bye.

from pete:

   I was awakened by the gentle prodding of raul; I had slept pretty well (in a recording studio the time never changes), but I still felt a little shitty; the burn in my throat was still present so I went out to the boat and ate some homemade habanero salsa that someone had kindly given us along w/ a couple of fresh ones and waited for the good burn to hit my head. I laid back on the bench seat and read a magazine while resting my weary bones. I had called lil the kill and my best bro' tone from the post office in st. louis but neither was home and it made me think about em' as I was laying there. I really missed em' alot. I miss home alot.

   watt finished up his email duty and we loaded our stuff up into the boat; one of dan's buds from the night before, kevin, had crashed w/ us so we gave him a lift to his ride. nice cat that kevin. after dropping him off, raul manned the shotgun seat as I attempted to conk in the back. have to shake this cold.

   I awoke from my slumber just as we pulled in back of the pad (gabe's oasis), and immediately noticed the wonderful, rickety, metal "safety stairs" that led to the stage area (this was my first time playing this pad and I had been duly warned about them by watt and jer). luckily, mr. sun was smiling upon us, so it didn't look like it would be too bad of a trip. we lugged the gear outside and got it up the stairs pretty quickly (altho' when we were taking the B3 up it nearly flipped over but we caught it just in time). twisted my left hand up a bit- gotta be careful about that shit-can't work the machine w/damaged digits, maybe some gloves would be in order? we set up the gear on stage, then went downstairs into the bar area. mike introduces me to two friends of his, dave and jason; dave has a tattoo shop in town and wants me to check it out. I followed him to the pad and checked out some of his work- very impressive artist and he was into japanese kanji as he had been a marine and lived in japan for ten years (I'm way into kanji and I wanted my next piece to be in this style). this incredibly gracious cat then offered to work on me for free! very cool. I looked over several designs but I couldn't decide on anything, so I tried to explain to him what I was trying to say (each piece of ink I have signifies very specific things in my life). what I was looking for was something that conveys a road, a shining path, the right road if you will. davey goes to his bookshelf and pulls down a copy of "zen training, methods and philosophy" by katsuki sekida and points to the cover. on it was a design similar to a runescript that consisted of a square followed by a triangle that interlocks w/ a circle. it means "the way" he tells me. as soon as I saw it I knew it was the one. yup I say, let's do it. "and keep the book too he says" (I'm constantly amazed by the kindness we're privy to on the road and it reminds of the fact that there are many good people around). Davey quickly set up and had the ink done on my arm in about a half hour, a beautiful job and it looks like it was done w/ brush strokes. the burn was very kind and I felt totally cleansed afterwards. he sent me off w/ the book, a little container of homemade tattoo goo (new ink requires a little maintenance in the beginning), and an offer to crash at his pad. woh... much, much respect g... I am humbled.

   I hoofed it back to gabe's just in time for soundcheck; I showed off the new ink to mike- he dug on it even tho' I know the chief is not into ink himself but I appreciated the fact that he indulged one of my vices. the soundman, john showed up and set us up in short order and we ripped thru the set. everything sounded copacetic so I went downstairs to chimp some diary. I didn't get to hear the first band, kiriko, much to my chagrin, but I finished the chimp by the time that the second band started (bottomfeeder). they were very intense and the crowd dug em' much as did I. they finished up their set and I went to go rouse the chief and grab the merch. I made him some tea and me and rollie waited by the side of the stage for the man to show. show he did soon enough, and we were off. we pulled the piece off well and the crowd dug it very much (very few clams too). we went into the encore and that was great too (i did do somewhat of a stumble-fuck on part of the dylan song tho'). I was happy w/ the gig and many people came up to us afterwards w/ nice comments. very cool peeps. with some help we loaded the stuff down the "safety stairs" w/o mishap and got it into the boat. davey hopped in the shotgun seat and navigated us to his pad where we quickly settlled in and had a little conversation and tea. I was very beat and went into the bedroom that davey had set up for me and rollie and I was out in a flash. laku noc sviraci.....

from watt:

   pop to find marty bailed but kevin still on the deck konked. new outfit for the next three days - a pendleton flannel all good and itchy. trippy colors too - mostly blue but w/red and brown laced in. no white though - I like a flannel w/a little white at least so in a pad w/black lights, you can get lit up and look righteous. the thing about these shirt cuz they're all wool is to remember not to put them in a dryer to get dry after you wash them cuz they'll shrink up all small. that's happened to this one at least once and it's kind of hard to tuck in but what the fuck - it's the one I pulled out when I reached behind the seat and into my clothes sack so to hell w/it - it's getting worn the next three days. raul fixes up some kind of coff but damn is it watery. don't mean to sound like I'm complaining though, must be that coffee jones coming down on me. I get some online access on the local phone line here and send out a voter register flow to my peeps I got from jenny toomey and then we get into the boat w/kevin - he wants a lift to near the highway we need out of town. dan told him to lock up cuz he's bound for a trip to brazil. thanks again for the konk space, dan - good luck w/the studio scene.

   we get to us-40 and drop kevin off. I then realize my stupid fucking mistake - I donated one my favorite flannels ever at dan's studio, the one I'm wearing on the back of my "the secondman's middle stand" album (it's kind of maroon and has pearloid snaps instead of buttons). I had laid it over a speaker cab to dry out when I readied myself for konk last night. well, kevin says he's been reading these tour spiels so if you're reading this, kevin, please either contact me here at the hoot page or just send it to the hoot line post office box - c/o mike watt, p.o. box 1821, san pedro, ca, 90733, usa. man, do I feel like a total idiot cuz I really love that shirt. maybe it's a lesson to learn about getting to attached to "things" but I did get it really econo at a thrift store and dig it only cuz how it is, it's esthetic and shit like that. aaarrrgggggghhhh, I can't believe I did that - stupid fucking watt.

   I take us east on us-40 through downtown saint louis (great view of the arch) and over the mississippi river into east saint louis (which is in illinois) and then onto the I-70 for just a little bit before coming about north on I-55. yet again we have good fortune w/clear blue skies. we pass through springfield, where abe lincoln was born and is buried. then, right past raymond (great name for a town!), some asshole in a big rig that's hauling pigs is driving like a stupid fuck all over the road. he's speeding and not at all being safe so I let him get by to get the hell away but when he cuts right in front, we get splattered by all this pig shit that's running out from the back of his trailer. you can imagine the smell of that - pig shit coming all over our windshield and it the grill. what a son of bitch. we pull off at farmersville, the next exit and clean the windshield while I gas the boat up. I'd like to hand the helm over to pete but he's still tired from his late night talk show w/our saint louis hosts. it's ok - I can take her in cuz we're making good time. the got a 'way here so pete gets me a tuna sandwich while I fuel the boat. I tear into little pieces a couple of our sacto habaneros and fill the 'way-wich w/that when I get into. good eats and nothing like a little heated vapor coming off the brain to keep your attention lively for the road. the next move is I-155 north and through peoria, where my ma spent her teen years. I haven't been here since a boy (this is where my grandma mimi lived and my uncle david and sonny still do) but I don't get much a sight of it cuz we take the belt bypass to avoid the downtown plug. trippy how this tour took me past both towns where my ma was a girl and the town where my pop was raised. then it's north on I-74 to the quad cities.

   there's been lots of pro-current-administration signs all through southern illinois - one that struck me was "freedom isn't free - vote bush" like the price of freedom is to give that guy the presidential public servant job. some kind of logic. I think the first debate between him and kerry is tonight though I'm not sure exactly cuz tour has us so focused on getting around in the boat and working the piece for people. yesterday, when I got gas somewhere in missouri, there was a newspaper headline I spotted that said kerry was cutting his ads in that state and that was an indication he was "ceding" it. oh yeah - the newspapers in the u.s. are all part of that "liberal media" stuff that spins things - silly watt.

   from the quad cities, we pass into iowa and onto I-80 for the final part of today's journey. raul's learning good at his navigating endeavor and helps me get the boat into downtown iowa city where the gig is tonight at gabe's oasis. how many times have I played here? a bunch and that's ok cuz I dig it. pete gets to see "the famous metals stairs" you load up the equipment onto the stage (the gig is on the top floor of a two storey pad). these babies are all rusted up and through, blocks of wood propping them up and such. too bad it's not raining cuz that's when it's really fun. oh well, we get the stuff up and in, then I go park the boat and get a falafel from one of these outside cart vendors. small but ok. love falaf (love to abbrev too).

   coming back, I see davey who's a happening cat I spent some time w/last time I played here. he had invited us to play his tattoo shop acoustically but pete's b-3 hammond is way beyond that. he does play accordion good though so maybe we should carry one of those for just such a gig, hmm... I send pete w/davey up to his shop and he comes back w/a tattoo on his right forearm from the cover of a zen book - davey was a marine and spent ten years in japan. he did it like it was from brushstrokes, good work. davey's invited us to konk at his pad, thank you for that too. we do a soundcheck w/soundman big john - another soundman named john is here too and I thank him again for bring me the little gibson bass one tour when it got spaced and left here during the load out. luckily, this john (the littler john) had a soundman gig in chicago for an iowa band the same day we did (then next day) and brought it w/him after I had called back in a panic. thank you again, john! I go to the boat and try to do two phoner spiels but the one for a paper that serves our town (trippy doing one of those while on tour out here, huh?) so I just do the one w/a montreal cat named oliver who asks me good stuff - singular things that aren't that same ol' same ol', know what I mean? I dig that. I then konk pretty deep.

   summoned by pete, I'm yanked from snoresville. I was tired. am better now. I missed both the openers, locals called bottomfeeder and kitkiro - and for that I'm very sorry, like I am w/all that I miss. it's not that I want to be have to concede to my limitations w/the energy/rest thing. aahh, I don't know how to word it to make it as sincere for being that lame on cats playing as I truly mean it. anyway, the piece is to be done and we're here to do it. the secondman band is tight though pete's blowing some clams but they're tiny ones. he has a great confidence-building thing for me, I get much support playing w/pete - he's a rock. I dig the way he's right across the stage and facing right at me so I'm never where I can't see him, be in the moment w/him. I can't ever imagine playing where he was behind me or where I couldn't be able to have my eye easily land on him. that would be a nightmare. raul has got good focus too and he's right there w/us in each instant we shuffle the deck and build the next instantaneous house, collapse it and thread up a new one. he's catching on real good and we're getting a language together, the three-way. I'm trying much to look out too, connect w/the folks but I want to be honest about how much mortar of a spirit kind is putting these bricks up here together. I got some good cats to work the bass w/and it's where it's at for me. watt blows some clams too - be assured but they don't shake me like they have these last few tours. it's still a scary thing for me to do what I'm doing but I'm more convinced of getting it together... shit, I don't know all the way, really - it just seems like I can move this now as it is one piece and something I can make a whole journey of, now having it beginning-middle-end and not just a fragment or even a sizable chunk. john's really got the monitors good - the best all tour so far. I can dig that much! the piece gets done and we go off to the side room and pete's a little down cuz of those tiny clams he blew but I tell him not to worry cuz he did real good and raul too. happening secondmen sharing the stage w/me! we go back out and blast the encores up real good.

   the folks are yet again very kind w/their thanks. j mascis' buddy scott puffer's here and shares some niceness. last time I was here we stayed w/rachel, her brother came this time and she's here too. I talk w/more than a few bass players - love doing that. some folks from older shows have checked back in and that's happening. the cats from the openers share w/me... dan, an old friend from when he was drumming for run westy run gives me some bottomfeeder cds - good to see him again. I go settle w/boss doug and he's cat I'm always glad to work his room for. he saw the debates and said it was a lot of image but some points got brought up that have been stomped on w/sideswipes but I think I would've got weirded-out having to sit through seeing that, though I do have a curious mind and would want to put it to an experience rather than hearing it from others. he tells me yo la tango was playing at the school tonight too. I hope the piece doesn't make the body politic (speaking of my physical body) seem like it's more important that the consequences of who's got war powers. I don't know how to balance such shit right, especially immersed how I am in tour mode... not that it's any kind of excuse. I am a minuteman. I sure wish d. boon was here to help w/these things...

   back down those stairs and the load-out is injury-free. many thanks. davey piles into the boat w/us and directs us to his pad. his wife melinda (like my sister's name) is there to meet us... so is the puppy who barks and barks 'till he gets secure enough we mean no harm. davey has a million questions for me but he's had an interesting life himself and I like hearing about it. much respect to these kind folks to have us over and be such righteous hosts. I found that mask jimbo gave me - the bonus kind w/the velvet on one side and a wide velcro strap. I dig the fact jimbo gave it to me too. noches.

friday, october 1, 2004 - minneapolis, mn

from raul:

   Cheese and fire works, welcome to wisconsin. Played the 7th. st. entry last night, weather coming up from iowa city was brutal, rain... hugh rain, and a very strong side wind, but the boats got strong sails, and a good captian, so we made it through. I was just at the entry about four months ago with killer dreamer. We played a couple of shows with the soviettes, and japanther... great bands, but anyways it's good to be back. Felt kinda odd at first, i was in mpls, under the same context, but with diffrent people, you know how places just aren't the same when certain people aren't around, well i defiently had that feeling, like being home sick at home, mike from the quincy punks worked there, and seeing him made me feel better, i already knew i'd see brad from rivet head later, cuz he was in pedro about to go on tour as toys that kills roadie, and he told me he'd be getting into town the mourning of our gig, so that's covered, next person that comes to mind is rana, really rad girl i met about a year ago, and from what i remember, she took me out to lunch last time i was in mpls. with no money, so i thought i'd return the favor. Gave her a call after sound check, and i'm in luck, she's home, with no plans till later on, and within ten minutes she comes peddlen' up to the front of the club... okay now it's starting to feel like minneapolis. After huggin' and hangin' and smokein' for a few minutes, we take a walk over to pizza luce to grab a few slices. Good pizza, strong beers, the waitress seemed a little bit drunk... rad, and what was really rad was that she didn't charge us for the pizza, just the drinks, i don't know if she was drunk and forgot, or if she was just being cool, i'm kinda bad at judgeing stuff like that, it seems like im always getting hooked up with discounts or getting stuff for free, so i can't even tell if it was a mistake or not... regardless, we pay the reduced bill and leave a nice tip, and are on our way... thanks waitress from pizza luce... you ruled.

   P.J. harvey is playin' the big room next door to the entry, and we all got free passes, i'm not a fan, having never even heard her group, but rana and i wanna play the dr. who pinball machine over there, so we hop next door, and listen to the set while i get tore up at pinball, rana tells me i play better trashed. Opening up for p.j, was moris tepper, mike told me he used to be in captian beef hearts band, i watched his set before rana showed up. Very angular with his guitar, it was just him, and a drummer, who at the end of the set started playing guitar, thought it was pretty good, he had all these effects on his vocals that made him sound like he was suckin' up helium or something... the crowd was defiently tripped out by the whole thing. Almost show time, and very cool, brad and mellissa showed, brad tells me he's half crazy, and fully delerious from lack of sleep, he got into town about five this mourning, trooper, i love brad, and now the only people missing are the soviettes, and i didn't even call em', what a dick, but hey i didn't have to, they called my house, to see if the rumor was true... confirmed, they came down right after their gig across town, thanks annie, susie and dave, it made me really happy to see all of you. Gig was rough for the dudes, but we got through it, Pete told me after he felt a little scared, maybe intimidated by the packed house, and mike had a hole worn into his cable, and it was making the most annoying buzz, it was like having a fourth member, a really loud and annoying fourth member, i thought we did real good regardless, and the fans were real receptive, we got a good team here, and i think folks can see that, i of course, had my share of flubs too, especially during angels gate, and a few of the encore songs... sorry boys, but after it's all over and done with, i'd say it was a pretty rad show, even had a fan tell me it was the best watt gig they'd ever seen... big words.

   After the gears loaded, we head over to cindys house, a friend of mikes. super sweet lady, even pulled out big soft beds for us to crash on, don't get me wrong, i'll sleep on any floor, but sometimes a bed is what your body needs, and it'll thank you for it in the mourning, when you don't wake up stiff as board... thanks cindy, i got the best nights sleep, and thanks for the strong cup of coffe. Later in the mourning, another long time watt friend, steve, treated us to breakfast at victors... a cuban restaurant... revolutionary cooking, good stuff, perfect restaurant atmosphere, damn i talk about food alot, this place was cool though, color everywhere, waitresses flying within an inch past each other, and you know it's good cuz there's a line out the door. With our bellies full of fuel, we're off to madison, and a new day of tour is underway... thanks so much for the chow steve, it was hella good. Bye bye... rawl.

from pete:

   popped on the bed at davey's fucking freezing- raul had tried to close the window in the room but had been unsuccessful in his attempts (he did cover me w/ a blankie tho'). I ambled into the bathroom and did a quick wash up after which my senses slowly came back to me. watt was in the front room putting up the last week of diaries and I split a spliff w/ rollie as I wanted to immediately go back into sueno as soon as I hit the bench seat. I walked outside to pre-load some of my stuff into the boat and it was starting to rain-crap!(it was gonna be a hellride). we bid our goodbyes to davey and his wife and steamed off once again. much respect davey for the fine ink and for offering us up your pad. I was in suenoville for the first part of the hellride, but I took the helm for the second part. It poured pretty much the entire way that I drove but mr. sun graced us w/ his countenance as I pulled into minneapolis- it was way freezing so I threw on a flannel (one of several that davey had graciously given us). I scored one for my little man tone too- it would be his first; thanks again davey. we loaded up the gear into the pad (the 7th street entry), as quick as we could as watt had to go dock the boat in a parking lot adjacent to the pad. we set everything up on stage and went to go check out the big room next door as ron the soundman miked us up. pj harvey was running thru her check' and we checked it out for a minute- very cool. we went back into the 7th entry and ran thru our own check'. things sounded good so we broke down the gear and layed it in the backline. todd, the drummer for shellac showed up to say hi; he rapped w/ watt for awhile and asked us we needed anything. nice man. I chimped diary and the first band, the awkwards came in. they set up and ran thru their check'; they played the ventures tune "walk don't run" plus a couple of other surf selections. great musicianship and their tone was very down. I rapped w/ them after their check'- very nice cats. as I'm chimping, a bartender who works in the club walks in and says "this guy that's playing next door fucking sucks"(he was speaking of moris tepper who was the opener for pj harvey). I say "oh yeah, why's that?"(he however failed to hear me). that remark really fucking peeved me; moris had opened up in the same club that we had w/ frank black on the first show of our first tour (he also played guitar w/ captain beefheart for a time), and is a killer musician. I way dug on his show. he was doing the solo thing this time around and was using a bam-bam box(altho' a drummer does come up on a few things), and a voice processor. I went into a rant to the awkward cats about what a prick this cat was; I feel that if you're going to proclaim something as shit you should be articulate enough to explain why. thinking about it now I can't fault him too hard. hate for something is more often than not generated by fear of something unfamiliar or different to the subject so in effect this was a typical human response in (albeit there are some of us whose minds are more open to the not typically seen). still pisses me off tho'.

   I went outside and listened to pj for awhile; she had quite a crowd, it was packed. the sound was strangely dark coming out of the speakers (more than likely the result of a soundman not used to the room). I went down to the band room and rapped w/ the awkwards' cats again about gear and stuff after which they went to go start their set. I listened to em' for awhile- great original instrumentals and tasty guitar work. they definitely played together. an old friend watt's, laura came down to say hi- very nice lady,one of those people that immediately becomes a friend. I rapped w/ her for awhile and after she left laid my head down for a little sueno. The awkwards' finished their set and grant hart went on(grant played drums for husker du). he was playing solo on the guitar tonite and I wanted to check him out. I went out into the club and listened. watt saw me and we took the performance in together interesting cat. did a couple of really cool quirky tunes but I think he got a little peeved at the audience and towards the end began singing "ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall". it was stellar. I dug on it much. grant walked off stage and I went downstairs to go rap w/ him and introduced myself; he really was peeved at the audience and told me it was like playing a wedding. I told him "I know exactly what you feel like bro' (I really felt his pain).

   I went back upstairs to help rollie set up the tools; the place was totally packed. holy fuck..I began to feel nervous-not good. we got everything together and launched into the piece; I was feeling my nerve break as I was surrounded by folks and it fueled the phobia. you end up planting the seed of what you are their expectations of you and it's a kind of domino effect. my focus started to fade and I blew some stupid clams- the entire piece came thru me as a blur and I was bummed. also, there was a ground buzz coming out of watt's amp that added another degree of futility to the proceedings. damn! watt took us downstairs and he felt my mood (he said he could read my body language). however, like the good chief he is, he told us to focus more on the encore and to play together. It put me at ease much. we went up and ripped thru the encore tunes but the buzz was a major issue, especially on the quiet tunes. I did a lame take on "this ain't no picnic" (sorry d..), but the dylan song at least came out decent. we almost fell apart on the roky tune as watt just stopped playing the bass on it cause the buzz was deafening. there was also much yammering in the rear. we pulled thru and finished up the set. many cats came up to us afterward and gave us many nice compliments-much respect. this one was a definite character-builder. watt slung the merch while me and rollie packed up the gear. we got all the gear loaded in and we were off to the house of a friend of watt's (cindy), where we were crashing for the nite. In the boat on the way we rapped about the gig in general and what went wrong. Mike sympathized with us on the whole sitch' and said we would do better tomorrow.

   we got over to cindy's house, settled in and rapped. me and rollie knocked down a pair of beers and I made some tea for the chief. I truly love sailing on this ship. I called lil the kill and we all rapped w/ her for awhile- it was good to hear her voice. I also talked to my little man tone. he's way into school and that makes me happy; I miss him much. I got into my bag and rapped w/ watt a little while longer but soon the sandman cometh and I had to go w/ him. buona notte musicanti......

from watt:

   pop at eight and get some water heated up for tea cuz I can't find any coff. there's a machine so I pour water through that but I can't find the beans. the tea is some orange flavored stuff that seems to have caff so ok - trippy how these kind of details catch in the head. what about dreams? I've had dreams of people fending off offers to do bank robberies and then becoming abstract (abstract? it's a fucking dream! - I guess what would be really weird is if they weren't coming off abstract and I've had those... usually scary as hell), people directing things, meticulously involved in something I can't understand or am convince I'm confused about, trying to recall names and events and screwing them up before a judge, putting faces w/names and floundering to fathom a desperate need to do so, finding myself frozen in time as I hurtle at millions of miles and trying to comprehend what that should mean, putting my fingers through the bass strings and getting them sticky cuz the neck is pudding and not wood - the strings are but vapors, a gathered-up centralness more thought than felt, feeling smells w/my mouth - shit like that. I'll write them down more 'pert-near soon as I'm popped. I'll start that tomorrow cuz now it's afternoon on saturday as I'm writing about friday - what I can retrieve of this morning was a batter of yellow ingulfing me and how creaky my joints were to make some kind of headway out of it. my thoughts became full of gears, like workings of a tiny watch and in my head they were going faster and faster, making a whirl like nobody's business - like a hummingbird's heart. I was then that hummingbird heart and the blood was jamming though me like sensations rushing in from all the senses and colliding in the head at once, a train wreck. at the bottom of the ravine, there was me - crumpled but feeling a wetness (a cool one) and then rising, more and more dispersed as I got dryer. finally I was sunlight, being sucked into the sun cuz for some weird reason, I had be enlightened by what I thought was an amazing truth: the sun was lit up that way and had no energy of its own. it needed me and that's why the dream was put in my head.

   I need to keep the timeline straight - let me to refer back to the morning of friday, october 1 and not the morning of saturday, october 2. sorry about that. I just figured I lose detail and it'd become like the dreams I had earlier last week and up to then. ok then, after thanking davey much and him loading raul up w/twinkies and other health foods (he also lets us have tom waits' "the night rider), we embark onto the boat, finding the skies dark and rain washing the boat of the pig shit it got sprayed w/yesterday. it'll be a tougher ride but it's nice the boat'll be free of that. the first big rain we've had this tour except for a little bit in seattle - pretty good run. I over-react and get into panic over raul being ready right for his navigator role and want to have a course plotted out of town now. what a fucking idiot I am - like panic every helped anything! he's got a steady beam though and don't get much riled - like pete, much respect to both of them. what we need to do is head north into minnesota and from iowa city, that means there's interstate as north as cedar falls and then some highway (or orange or red road in the rand-mcnally atlas) before blue road (interstate grade from the same map book) again. raul gets his bearing 'pert-near quick and has us north on I-380. the drops get really big time to time and damn, do I wish the boat's fast speed on the wipers worked cuz we only got the slow speed but the rain is not so constant as to make it totally lame. at cedar falls, we need to take us-218 but get a little side-tracked. I tell raul you gotta watch it in these situations cuz you can be on the wrong road for quite a time before you realized you fucked up so I've developed a habit of checking a bunch for signs mean the right road's been taken. a small detour and we're back on track. at floyd, we turn west on us-18 'till it hits the I-35 just past mason city and go north on that. the border's not far from here. the first big town in minnesota we get to is albert lea and I pull the boat in to gas it and switch up w/pete. only like a hundred miles to go but it takes a while, especially the closer we get to the twin cities cuz there's much plug w/the traff and four wrecks besides - all rear-enders which means peopole driving too fast and too close. aaarrrrgggghhhhh! life and good health are precious! I wish it wasn't so gray cuz it's pretty country out here, back in iowa too - in fact, I dig all the different ways the u.s. and other lands I get to tour through are except for maybe blight from bad human interactions w/the nature we share. this is the state w/ten thousad lakes, right? it's got the mississippi river running right through minneapolis, 'pert-near it's beginning even. man, a town w/out the smog bowl syndrome, righteous to see clearness around it's buildings, even w/heaviness w/weather. it's lighten up as we get into town, rain even stopping. since pete's driving and I'm at the map, we go right from the freeway and straight to the venue w/out a blowby - not trying sound all conceited but it's tough for those learning or not as familiar to get us from point a to point b. this must be the first time in many tours where we haven't screwed up at least a little. to think of it, this is the first time in a few tours I haven't had to go to eden and do bass amp stuff.

   conrad's there to meet me as I get into first avenue - tonight we're playing the 7th street entry. love conrad much, a pal for many years. we load in quick cuz the boat's right on the street - man, has this street got fucked up w/mersh neon shit. this downtown has taken some blows, culture-wise but you can take a walk here yourself and decide. since this is my diary, let me tell you what I think: it makes me puke. there's some weird stuff even w/the club here now, my old buddy steve mcclellan got scissored. I love this man so much, it's weird. at least nate's here and I dig him much. to hear him have to listen to this idiot (I guess it was the guy who scissored steve) playing boss, micromanaging how an ad for "latin night" at the club should read (after about an hour of hot air from him, it was decided it should read "latin night"), I feel for him having to dance like this. what a bizarre scene... p.j. harvey is playing in the big room and I go to take a couple of pictures of her doing soundchecck and this guy comes up from behind and puts his arms around me. I tell him I'm mike watt and he lets me go. oops, sorry to make trouble. next to check is morris tepper - he's opening for p.j. and I say hi - I last saw him when he played on the same bill w/me and georgie on the queen mary last november. back to the entry for a soundcheck w/soundman ron and todd from shellac comes to say hi - he's moved back here from chicago. good to see him. one of those gigs in december is atp uk 2004 and the other's opening for shellac in london. I go back up to the office and grant hart (husker du drummer) comes in to visit - actually, he's opening up for me - alright! he's gonna be solo, playing guitar and singing. I update the hoot page for the week's tour spiel and then who comes in? steve mcclellan - yes! two essential minne friends of mine and we shoot the shit. grant wants to talk about the election and so does steve. steve wants to vote for someone from an anarchist party but unfortunately there isn't one. grant says he might run for a council seat - they're both frustrated w/what we're presented w/for an election. steve says fear is running everything. grant's upset w/nader trying to "go out w/a hard-on" and dilute republican opposition. it's a spirited talk. I love both my old buddies. we talk so much that I miss the tepper/p.j. gig (it's an early one cuz of dance night later) which is ok but I also miss my konk time which is kind of hard on me. I'm just not strong enough to go w/out that konk but I really wanted to be w/my friends and just got kind of caught up. I also did a spiel w/a couple from a zine called atomic who are young people and asking me young things about punk that I don't get asked much - I dug that. they're the next shift and it's trippy to hear where they're coming from. makes me optimistic. I'm glad I got to talk w/them though I know I must've seemed like the biggest lunatic ever, a real nutball. didn't mean to be but I am ridiculous.

   steve had to go get his kids so he's gotta miss both of us play. I see grant do his set and I like it much. then it's our turn. hmm... pete's body language's a little stiff - seems he's a little uptight. he blows some clams too, I think his focus is off. I believe in pete much though and know these things can happen. I throw myself into the gig w/all I got. I'm feeling a little fatigued, must be from no konk. it's one of our harder gigs this tour. there's some hardware probs too. the cord from my bass to the pedal board has been wearing where it rubs on it and I noticed this a couple of gigs ago. well, the shielding must be pretty much gone now cuz there's all kinds of noise is coming out of my amp - especially when we go into quiet parts, aaaarrrrrrrrrrggggghhhhh. I plow on but I can tell it's bugging my guys much. the folks have us back for more and by the time we get to the roky song, I have to turn my fucking bass all the way cuz of the noise and just do the spiel. pete's confused and tries to do the bass part (what?!) - what's a problem is he's jacked up the volume and I have to tell him to get it down, make things tiny. raul's completely lost and flounders but at least softly. like I said, these things happen. I keep it together and we finish up ok. I tell pete not to worry cuz every now and then I have it tough too - it's a part of tour life.

   cindy's given me the key to that pad I've stayed at the last few times through here and we load up - one more big hug for conrad - and then head for there. in the boat, I tell my guys I know we can bounce back and do better tomorrow. at cindy's we pull out our bags for konk and before letting myself sink into sueno (but having my mask down over my eyes), I talk about what I see us trying to do w/this band and have it play for people. I want to show three cats w/their individual personalities and ways of expressing themselves come together for some tunes to help build an interesting conversation - it's not really about "backing watt up" - no way, I don't organize the music we're trying to do in that way. I'm putting my guys right up there w/me cuz that's the tradition of dynamics I've learned from, back from my minutemen days. it's a trippy place to be in, having your drummer and organ player pivot off of you. it calls for listening and being focused which means no auto-pilot but that's ok from where I'm coming from. I want it to be a dare on the passion level and yeah, that means some risk so if we fumble a little, it's not out of the realm of possibilities in my mind, it doesn't make me crazy w/anger or shit like that. to promote my guys giving it what they can, I don't want them so choked up that they'll have to stomp on their hearts and spirit. it's not just about getting parts right - it's about getting these machines were operating to laugh and cry in a trippy interplay w/each other. I hope I made some sense. these are good cats and deserve my report. I love them much. I'm so tired though, I hope made some sense. noches.

saturday, october 2, 2004 - madison, wi

from raul:

   Hangin' at thuy and buckys place, pete just made us some breakfast, and now him and I are smoking the mota the soviettes left at the bar for us, topped it off with a little hash... listening to the new brian wilson record... smile, i guess the record was abandoned and left unfinished like thirty something years ago, and now it's out, it's pretty rad, and in a way sorta twisted sounding. Last night was one of the hardest gigs of the tour for me, after we finish the gig we always talk about what we fucked up, or what we can do to make the encore set better, when no one had anything to say about me screwing up every song we played i couldn't believe it, when the guys said they thought we played worse in mpls. i couldn't believe that either... must of just been me letting the nerveousness get a hold , i just felt like i wasn't keeping up my end of the deal, pete told me not to worry about shit so much... he's right, it just sucks to play shitty to a packed place, auctually it just sucks to play shitty... it happens. met lots of cool people from madison who loved the show, that's another thing that's weird, when people loved the gig, and you felt like you'd played the worst ever, goes to show you what i know, thanks madison for all the nice words.

   Get the gear loaded, and head over to buckys house, rad place, said they only lived there a few months, seemed like they'd been there for years, i don't know if that makes any sense, but the place was real comfortable. Got a good nights sleep, in the back room. Woke up feeling great, and in the best mood. In the back room there were seven big windows, all letting in the perfect amount of sun and breeze,and i had a perfect view of the trees in the back yard, life can't be much better than where i'm at right now, so i decide to hang out with the cats, lay in bed and read awhile... Pete made the one of the best breakfasts i've had all tour, potatoes, black beans, eggs, and tortillas, feels like i'm back in pedro at 673. Feelin' a lot better about the show last night, maybe it wasn't as bad as i remember, then again maybe it was worse, but my attitude today is fuck it, there's always tonight to do it up proper, and i promise myself i will. I swear about an hour after breakfast, we start in on lunch, i feel like a hobbit staying in this place that reminds me of the shire, smoking pipe mota, getting started on second breakfast. The night before a guy named eric told mike he wanted to have a bar-b-que, and mike asked for something wisconsin... he defiently got it, bratwurst boiled in murphys stout, then cooked on the grill. Eric also brought over all kinds of other fixins', thanks man. After eating, and swapping stories, bucky had a good one about dropping outta high school to roadie for the necros when they toured with the misfits, with some hesitation, but not much, we decide we gotta get going, the drive is only ninety miles, but it's an early sunday show, and who knows maybe if we're lucky we'll get lost. see ya later.

from pete:

   popped at cindy's- she had made us some coffee and I downed it greedily; I felt much better today then I have in several days so my mood was good. I wasn't bumming too hard on last nites's show and I was determined to focus more and make it up. we bid cindy goodbye and steamed out of dodge. much respect to you cindy for letting us crash at your pad. I conked out on the bench seat; the ride wasn't a long one but the chief wanted to catch some sueno as he didn't need to be pushing himself and I had to help him out. we all look out for each other us secondmen.

   I manned the helm for a couple of hours and in no time we were in madison; there was construction going on on the surface streets, so we blew by the pad once. I flipped er' about and we steamed around the capitol building several times before we finally found the pad (the high noon saloon) and we went in to scope it out. It was a new pad and was done up like a sports bar but it looked like the PA was very kind so I was into it. A cat named nate let us in and helped us load the gear in and we set it up on the stage (it was a good size stage so I had plenty room to move). I went into the head to shave and do some tattoo maintenance, the soundman, dave had showed up by this time and got us miked up in short order (dan had built all the cabinets in the pad by himself- awesome work). watt was conking in the boat so I went to rouse him and we ran thru the check'. it sounded really good and my monitor mix was stellar. I rapped gear w/ dave for awhile; he's a true gearhead and I love talking shop w/ the sound cats. very nice and articulate man.

   I went over to the bar to chimp some diary- some friends of raul's stopped by to say hey (they had also come to the minneapolis show) and as I was re-introducing myself to one of the girls I knocked over my beer right into my ti book (what a fucking clumsy-ass I am) I quickly blew off the keyboard and removed it; i succeeded in cleaning it off and kept any brew from hitting the processor. I made a mental note to keep any beverages at least five feet away from puter'. very lucky I was this time.

   I finished up the chimp and went back to the band room to kick back for awhile. I listened to the opening band do their check'; they were some cats called "colony of watts"(after mike), and they were very intense and loud. I dug on the the tones od the bass player they had been a last minute addition to the show as the original band's bass player had gotten sick. we were dedicating this show to a promoter named tom layton- and old friend of watt's who had died suddednly at the age of 45. very tragic. I really wanted to do a good show for him and me and raul talked about keeping it together for the chief. I called my ma and rapped w/ her for awhile- she told me she was way into the diaries and asked how our health was doing. I assured her I was doing much better. My mom is the greatest and a big influence on me. she has a true bohemian spirit. A cat that said he knew watt came in and we rapped w/ him for awhile. he said he couldn't stay for the show as his brother was coming to pick him up so we put his bro' on the guest list so he could stay. I caught up on a little shut-eye while the first band did their set. the crowd dug on them much and they finished their set to much applause. I went to go rouse the chief and grab the merch box- this finished, I went to go make the chief some tea and me and rollie waited for the man to show up. he soon sauntered in and drank his tea then summoned us secondmen up. he told us- "are you ready"? we said yeah, got behind the machines and launched into the piece. I was determined not to allow anything bad to enter my head and I focused wholly on watt and rollie. the leg shakes came up on me (why, I didn't know as I wasn't nervous), but this shit is involuntary sometimes so I planted my leg down hard. watt's pedalboard was in an awkward position for him and I could tell it was pissing him off, so I stuck to him like glue and kept smiling. The deeper we got into the piece the harder I pushed myself and wound myself up. I was way into it and the crowd dug it too (I must of looked fucking insane to some of those peeps as my nose tends to run onstage sometimes and when I get really amped up the spittle flies). there was some yammering going on in the back but watt brought us down to a whisper and it made the yammer that much louder (which also succeeded in bringing it down ). the crowd gave us much love and we walked off the stage to much applause and headed over to the bandroom for our gig spiel; watt liked the gig better than the previous nite's -we clammed it up some but the energy was there. rollie was feeling way down on himself but I assured him that he had done fine (I was very familiar w/ how he was feeling and I let him know it). we went back up and launched into the encore- again I amped myself up to the point that I nearly passed out on "we are time" (I almost welcome that feeling tho').

   we finished up the set to much applause and me and rollie broke down the tools while watt slung the merch'. we signed many posters and I talked w/ several cats who were very supportive of us. much respect to you folks. we loaded up the boat and were off towards Bucky and thuy's (bucky had played in a band called the tarbabies which had been on tour w/ watt). we got to the pad and settled in- we rapped about the gig for awhile; I felt good about it but rollie was a little bummed. I still assured him he had done well as I knew his depression would pass. thuy made us some kind ginger tea and I soon started feeling the after-effects of the gig and climbed into my bag. sueno settled over me. laku noc sviraci....

from watt:

   pop and had this dream... I talked about it yesterday already! what I'm gonna do is start the day's writing w/that morning and that way I can put down what went down. cindy gets up and makes me coff, good and strong. I know I'm gonna pay for missing my pre-gig konk last night - I can feel some sickness prying it's fucking way into me, shit. cindy calls steve and he's coming over to take us to chow. as my guys get their morning thing on, I tell cindy I noticed all the buddha books she's got around and how scotty has been learning me things during the stooges gigs we did this summer. she says it's helping her to let go which is what steve was saying he's working on last night. life's a trip. I've had to learn (and am still learning) the same things myself. cindy said watching me and my guys do the piece last night was like watching a gospel thing, like I was all "testifying" and the like. it is trippy for me to re-live some of the things about the hellride (regarding the sickness) but it's also "hooray for life!" too. I feel it's really something about where I am in life now, this middle time. there's a weird resonance in me and I think the piece reflects that. I guess there's always been something weird about me but this how it's manifesting itself now. all them waters under the bridges and how I bob about, 'pert-near like a little doll. it is a weird long song but I feel compelled to do it now. it ain't just about sickness, I swear! if you took a kite you made of orange paper and flew it on a windy day, there'd be so much more to think about than the color of the paper. that's my take anyway. I guess I am testifying, trying to prove I'm alive. maybe it's me in the jury box too, I don't know. I don't have the strongest confidence about things. mainly, I get a feeling and trying to go w/that, even using minutemen momentum when I have to cuz the doubts can beat on me so. mis-steps, misfires, stumbles... I gotta keep going, even to twirl in a spin 'till I get my bearings and wits. I'm learning to hear myself breathe when I'm tired too... pedaling/paddling's taught me much on that. the piece bears witness to this stuff I got going in my head/heart/spirit. me forming things from feelings is a heft but I'm trying. I got so much to inspire me though, that's the real luck I'm realizing. other ways of making works maybe for me is just form. that's why I say this piece now done it's whole gives me a focus. I don't know if that translates to others (though my guys helping me realize it are righteous in their commitment) the same and maybe how could it but I gotta wail w/it. maybe like REALLY riding a skateboard. my thoughts get kind of crazy over this. it does get me ecstatic. I shower and put on a new flannel for the next three shows - it's one davey gave me in iowa city. no fortyfive degree bias or flaps on the pockets but at least there's two of them. kind of a subdued patter to it, nice. fresh skivvies and levis too.

   steve comes and we go over to victor's, a cubano chow pad. I get the cuba hash and it's great. me and steve talk about political things again and I tell him something raymond's taught me regarding people and their personal politics, that you can't judge them on that, it's more important how you conduct yourself w/each other - how you treat each other. sometimes these high-faluting views seem more like hoot and hollers for what basketball team you're for or something and they can't be reconciled by beating each over the head w/abuse... I'm talking about at the one-on-one level. it gets personal and so many other things involve themselves, it's not really about logic or whatever really cuz things can so easily get dragged down into pride and shame or whatever. seems people convince themselves actually... how we treat each other is a bigger issue. raymond has always been so generous w/me and god, has taught me tons but when I think about it, maybe some of it is cuz I let him teach me, I want him to teach me. one thing he's really taught me to do is listen better. his mind is intense that way, taking so much in. in the end, people gotta learn how to live in their own skin and I think a lot of posturing comes from having to deal w/that. it's sad how we humans can treat each other but on the other hand, what a gift to get some niceness. who's paying for what? I guess that'll always be nagging at us too. to confront w/out an affront? dilemmaville. definitely enough tension to make an art out of it. steve introduces me to victor - he's doing the cooking and I'm honored to meet him, what a nice cat - much resepct. victor asks me to sign his wall and I put "love and bass, viva." big hugs for steve and I can't wait 'till I see him again. we're off for madison.

   well, not right away cuz first we gotta loop back after blowing by the I-94 exit. gotta stay vigilant, I remind raul in the navigatore seat... help the idiot at the helm (watt). cool weather but bright blue skies - yesterday's rain is now gone, great. east on I-94, dairy land hills and glens roll by as we go through eau claire - these are parts where the got cheese curds for sale in the gas stations. when it's our turn to refuel, I stop in osseso and fresh ponies time w/pete at the wheel for the last hour and a half. finally, the gas pad has some 'dines! I get six packs (they're only ninetynine cents each) - three in louisiana hot sauce and three w/green chilies. actually, they herring steaks but they're a lot like 'dines so fuck it. I chow a tin w/some of the crackers I already have. they go down good.

   we get into madison around four, the downtown of this city's between two lakes - an isthmus - w/the state capitol building in the middle. I'm on the bench in the back so it's raul w/the map and we blow by where we want and end up west of the capitol. we loop back and find the high noon saloon. this is the pad that kathy opened in may to replace okayz corral which was burned down a few years ago. it's still under contruction or rather the grounds around it still are. I know the intentions were good and I loved so much playing the old okayz but this new pad is weird on me. the roof is like thirty or more feet up and the stage comes out like you're popping out of a cake. it's got a sports bar feel to it. I don't mean to sound like I'm insulting kathy that's not at all what I'm trying to do, what she did for madison was so important w/her old club. the people who are here working are very happening - at six, soundman dave sets up after we'd already put up our gear - I had gone to get an hour or so of konk to try and makeup for losing on yesterday's rest (you might wonder why I can't make it up during the night konk but you gotta understand that I just can't sleep in and that's why naps help me so much). I find the problem w/my top cabinet going out - a screw is missing from one of the banana pin connectors. luckily, that beat up cable ron gave us yesterday has a screw I use to make my shit shipshape. pete lends me a cable (one of those w/the old-fashioned vacuum cleaner coverings on it) and we do a soundcheck and I feel more of that sickness coming on. oh boy. it's hard to make a focus from this stage cuz everything's so wide open... aaarrgggghhh, I must sound like a whiner. actually, I'm happy to play anywhere and have no room to nitpick. the barlady (fuck, forgot her name like an idiot) brings some tea - there's already some salsa. some of the best store-bought salsa I've found (besides that great batch 37 habanero/garlic stuff we had in iowa city) is under a label called "mrs. renfro's" and there's a jar of that here though it's a green kind and has much more garlic than the red kind. I like it much and man, to chilies help to open the fucking sinuses. I'm sick though, I know it. damn. I go to the boat and konk. first though, I say hi to the cats in colony of watt's - a local band opening for us tonight. they were called at the last minute when the band that originally was going to do it had to have their bass player hospitalized. I hope he's ok. back in the boat, I chow another tin of those herring steaks and then try to konk but it's hard - I think that tea in the dressing room had fucking caffeine in it, shit. I do go under for like an hour but not after lying still for two. damn, just when I need it most.

   pete wakes me from an insane persecution dream - I was being shook down in a setting not too unlike kafka's "the trial" except I was in some weird factory-like situation and I couldn't figure out what my job was or how I why I was being chased around for though it was clear I was running for my life - damn, the look in the eyes of the people who were after me... I come into the club and am introduced to mary lou, she's tom layton's sister. this gig is the first one I'm doing in madison since tom layton passed away in his sleep a few months ago. this is very heavy on me cuz I loved tom much. he did my gigs for in this town for twenty years and was always the best to me. we'd always have good talks about things when I'd come to play and through email in recent years, we kept in touch that way too. tom was just a few months older than me, oh man - he was way too young to go. I'm given a bag of stuff that was found in his pad and bring it up on stage w/me. tonight's gig is for tom and I tell the folks that. we do the piece. it's kind of a tough go for raul but he's ok - I love his spirit. he just gets a little ahead and has to pull back some on the reins so he can match w/the dork on bass a bit more. pete does really good and his only clam is an extra "pissbags and tubing" at the end of that tune's second verse. I'm really proud of pete cuz he was burning it up pretty good. I feel the congestion in my head hard but want to do good for tom, I'm thinking about him much while we're delivering this opera. I was lucky, I got to live. tom never got to see me do this piece for him but I told him about it much. in the last part, I turn into a pelican and I think of tom. I can't figure this world and how it works but I'm so glad we were both part of each other's worlds... we always will be. we get done and I call for bucky - man, am I glad he's here. we get an encore and I do my best w/what I got - oh boy am I mess but much generousness from the folks here, thank you all.

   I get a t-shirt from the colony of watts band (and that's what it says) - I tell them I'll wear it at a stooges gig (iggy likes me wearing t-shirts). they sure are nice guys. a lot of niceness from all these folks. a thank you to bosslady kathy for having me at her new pad. of course, hugs for mary lou and it's so great peter's here too (he's been doing my milwaukee shows for years). the lady who found tom and cleaned out his apartment has big hugs for me too - this is a heavy time. lots of love for tom. there's the couple who's baby's playing drums, bass and guitar - ace - I get them some d. boon stickers (I had a couple in the boat). people leaving, people coming on aboard - that's life. from milwaukee, claire is here - this is a surprise! wow. she's living here now for school. talk about pedaling... and paddling! california. so much now going through me, adrenaline from the gig and maybe the hurts from sickness pushed down cuz of that. ha! silly watt. time always gets too little here. today has pretty much run quite a gamut on me. of course now my words are the most clumsy. hugs then.

   we finish loading and bucky's given us directions to thuy's new pad not too far away (raul navigates most excellently), one from 1905. whoa, it's very happening. I get in my sack quick cuz I know the crash will come on me hard and at once. thuy's grown some great habaneros and me and pete chow some. I do even more and get a good wail going, makes me kind of speechless. this is ok, this kind of where I want to be cuz it's a fucking rush. whew. after a bit (funny how you jones for more right after but I hold off), some tea (w/out caffeine!) and a little spiel then I'm out and crumbled.

sunday, october 3, 2004 - milwaukee, wi

from raul:

   Get to shank hall about five, supposed to be there at four, but on account of a few missed exits we're gonna be a bit late, well at least we get the good shots mike says, turning the negative to a positive. When i woke up pete in mike where making fun of some road sign with a funny town name, just doing the word play, i thought i was still dreaming, and they where both speaking in tounges, when i realised that i wasn't dreaming, and they where still speaking in tounges i got scared for a minute, thought i was going mad, then i remembered... thhe magic of hashish. It's an early show, but i still got time to spare, so i call mama and papa, and go grab some coffee, plus i want to see if i could find where the modern machines live, wouldn't be milwaukee without em', no luck on finding the shipwreck, but had a good caffinated walk. Back at the club, i find pete chimpin' away while sippin' on some irish coffee... coffee and whiskey. Not to many people around, and i have the feelin' it's gonna stay like, some people in madison tell me that alot of locals won't go to shank hall, that's it's just to steril, not really conducive to a punk rock show, when we got there i was expecting a dentist office waiting room or something, wasn't that at all, kinda reminded of bars in vegas, without the slot machines. the music oplaying out of the p.a makes me wanna take a razor to my wrist, turns out it's john cale, too bad. While i'm staring out the window thinking of diffrent ways to make the pain of this song to go away, dan and dave walk by. Dan told me he was just on the 'puter checkin' out watt, and found out i was in the group, and so he came down to see the show.

   The opening group where called wooden robot, cool band, if you've ever seen delicatessen, or the city of lost children, i can't remember the directors name, but anyways wooden robots music reminded me of those films, very errie, probably because they had a acordian player, and someone who played the saw, totally interesting, i liked it a lot, guitar player told me they just opened up for hasil adkins a week ago, lucky bastards. Time for us to go on, odd, it's nine thirty, and we're already on... early sunday show, i don't mind. Thought we did so much better tonight than in madison, i felt i redeemed myself to me and the band, thanks to sound man brian his stage sound helped me alot, plus i felt way more at ease on stage, i don't know what it is, but big stages just give me the shakes sometimes, anyways this place wasn't big or crowded, and i had the best time... whew!, what a relief. after the gig i hang out with dan while i pact up the stuff,it's pretty rad, dan just became a high school teacher of u.s history and government, congragulations dan, seems like i know a bunch of people who are becoming, or are already teachers, that's so awesome, someones gotta teach, and i would've loved to have anybody i know who teaches as a high school teacher. Right before the gig a dude gave us an invitation to sleep at his house, cool guy his name was mike shepard, he lived about a half hour in the wrong direction, but we got the next day off, so it's no big deal... thanks mike. Had some chips and salsa, then hit the sack, had some really weird dreams that i can't quite explain, and turns out everybody had some odd dreams, sometimes a heavy sleep brings that on. bye bye.

from pete:

   popped at bucky and thuy's and promptly went to hose off. I more than likely bogarted the shower for too long, but I had to soak for a while-my bones were really aching. I felt much better after. thuy asked if we wanted to chow and gave us full rein over her kitchen(much respect thuy). I had four eggs, potatoes and black beans and some noodles to work with. being a fair hand at improvisational cuisine, I set to work. did up the spuds and beans w/ some garlic and sesame oil, the noodles got the same treatment along w/ some soy sauce while I made an omelette out of the eggs w/ some fresh habi peppers. it came out pretty well and we strapped on the feedbag. very kind. bucky informed us that a friend of his, eric was bringing over some brats' to que' before we took off (we only had a short drive to milwaukee). woh..and I'd just stuffed myself.

   Bucky had a copy of brian wilson's "smile" and we gave that a couple of spins on the cd player. it was brilliant; the sound was awesome (vocs were layed down using one of the original universal audio tube desks). the musicianship is outstanding. It made me feel good to know that this piece finally reached fruition; I'm a major fan of brian wilson. definitely go out and score this disc. eric came over and started up on the brat' rock. he boiled em' for about 15 minutes in sauteed onions and stout beer, then layed em' on the grill. they were awesome (I really felt bad that I could only eat one). watt and rollie however pounded down about three apiece. damn!.

   we rapped w/ bucky, thuy and eric for awhile, then it was time to get outta dodge-we bid them all goodbye and steamed off towards brewtown. much respect to bucky and thuy for having us and to eric for the kind brats'.

   the drive was a relatively short one and since I was in the "navigatore " position I had to plot out our descent; I did ok until we got in close- then we had a blowby and had to loop it. we got off the right off-ramp but the pad was on a one-way street and we almost went in the wrong way if it wasn't for a quick manuever on the chief's part. we went down a parallel street and were in front of the pad (the shank hall), in a few minutes. we loaded out the gear and got it all set up in a snap; the soundman, brian had us miked up and we rolled thru the check'. things sounded very good but I noticed that there were some harmonics missing on the B3 and one of the drawbars was out. no sweat, I popped the top and had things soldered up in no time. success!-everything was copacetic again(damn glad I brought those tools). the opening band, wooden robot showed up and they went thru their check'. very cool band- they had a lady that played a saw! (sounded much like a theremin), and another young lady that played accordian; it was a small hohner student model and had a very cool musette sound in it. I asked her if I could try it out and she handed it to me- it was pretty small for me but I succeeded in squeezing out some of the polka riffs I knew (I hadn't picked one up since we recorded the stranglers' tune for the punk rock aerobics disc). cool little squeeze box. I retired to the side of the bar and went into chimp mode.

   I finished up the chimp and looked around; there were some peeps inside but it looked like we might have a cave; I didn't mind, it made me all that much more determined to play well for the peeps. wooden robot came on and a couple of rollie's friends showed up unexpectedly, so we all sat and watched them. very cool band and very nice cats to boot. no vocals, but they didn't need em'. they made their tools sing.

   the robots' finished up their set and me and rollie moved the tools in place; I also went to go make the chief some tea. I went outside to go rouse him and picked up the merch ' box. went inside and we waited. he came in soon and we launched into the set. it was a great show; we played it hard and rollie was in a much better mood'. the peeps were way into it and gave us much love. we finished up the set and I ran into the head as my back teeth were floating- I ran back into the band room so we could discuss how the gig went and as I was hurdling up the stairs I slammed the top of my knee straight into a wooden bannister. arghhh!, I almost fell right on my face. clumsy ass... I limped into the band room and we talked about the gig- but the pain broke my focus. I straightened and massaged my leg repeatedly, and we went up to do the encore. I was in a little pain but my focus came back. we ripped thru the encore like a steamroller and once again the folks gave us much love. it was a great gig. we broke down the tools as watt slung merch' and we signed several copies of the "middle stand" cd and posters. very nice folks.

   after we broke things down I had a couple of shots of maker's mark w/ the manager of the shank- a really nice cat. peter, the promoter came up and introduced me to brian ritchie (the violent femme's bass player-an old friend of watt's), and jerry harrison, who was the key's cat for the modern lovers' and the talking heads (man was I glad I didn't know he was there or I might have lost my nerve). very nice cats, and they dug on the show.

    loaded up the gear into the boat, and we were off towards mike shepherd's (who had offered up his pad). we got to mike's pad and settled in - downed some beers and pistachios while watt signed some of mike's minutemen and firehose cd's. the adrenalin began to wear off and I could feel the sueno creeping up on me. I iced my knee for about twenty minutes to bring down the swelling, then crawled into my welcome bag and conked. quickly. buona notte musicanti....

from watt:

   I pop and the dream I was in was one of those mouth ones again but there's was all kind of tastes on what was in it so it was weird cuz as I moved around, the same parts would taste different - it was more like my mouth had the different parts of tasting and what was foreign (not of me) had a sameness but I couldn't figure what it was. this was weighing much on me in the dream. it was like a vapor (again?), but at the same time extending out of me, like I was porous as a sieve and the boundaries of my being defined by what seemed dense enough to felt (?) as form. so in effect, it was like I couldn't tell where I started or ended or what I was fucking tasting. I could feel an outside though, encapsulating me and being of something velvet like and soaking up the sound - all the sound cuz I couldn't hear shit the whole time. so what's w/the taste thing? I think it's cuz this sickness stressing on me has made lose that sense, you know how you can hold your nose and then taste no difference between an apple and an onion? these fucking mocos in my sinuses are doing this. also, I think there's a fever thing - not constant but in spurts that are churning up my head. I don't really feel the aches in my joints like I do when a flu's really on me so I don't think it's that - more like a head cold maybe? I know for sure it's gonna play hell w/the spiel for the gigs though. some cough but no hacks, like it's a got a foothold kind of but not really getting its claws in yet. gotta keep it from getting any further in. more chilies later for sure. bucky comes down stairs - he told me he's been having trouble sleeping in (like me) so he makes up coff and gives me this book he found of thuy's, it's fidel castro's "history will absolve me" and it's his spiel on the moncada barracks attack he was part of in 1953. I read the first five chapters (it's totally his style - I know it by the speeches I read of his in preparation for the "I, fidel" film from years back. that still has to be edited - how many folks have asked me "when is it coming out?!" well, like orson wells said, "no wine before its time") but my eyes are too watered up from this sickness shit to keep going. damn.

   we only got a 75 mile drive today to milwaukee so we're taking it easy. my guys are still konked when I take the boat to lube pad not very far away - the boat's just a little past the three-k mark from the last change in bellingham. while I'm waiting for that to get done (the airfilters need changing too) and since it's sunday, I call my ma back in pedro. my sister melinda's there chowing w/her so I get to talk to her as well. both are doing good though my ma had to have another surgery on her feet. the one she had a few months ago to get rid of the corns hurting her had her w/pins left in, which usually are absorbed by the body but her's weren't so they gotta go back and get those out. damn. she talks a little about the presidential debate last thursday, my ma likes to talk about those things and she always. she went door-to-door for kennedy and the same for mcgovern. she's like doug in iowa city who was talking about the substance more - seems image and how they both came off is what I'm mostly hearing so I can appreciate that. I didn't see them so I'm listening much more than telling when this stuff comes up. again I have to say it's so weird that you can think of politics just being a beauty contest held every four years. I think some of that is from an instinct humans might have for autonomy, wanting to be left alone and not coerced. I guess that gets manifested sort of into some sense of apathy but can you blame a current deep down that doesn't want to be rolled up into a rah-rah? the problem is the consequences of such power invested - the arms, the monies, the toll on nature, what's left for the kids and so on... what a mess. like an image is enough to deal w/all that? freaky. the resonance of such a hollowness - sick music, huh? again I'm gonna say how much I miss talking to d. boon about this stuff. thank god I got raymond when I'm back home.

   I go back to the pad and pete's made up some breakfast chow. it's black beans in a mash, eggs omeletted up w/out chees but w/habaneros and potatoes. makes for a good shovel. funny though cuz we got some more trough coming at one! bucky's buddy eric's coming by to cook up brats on the grill. I guess this is the feedbag day of the tour! last night bucky explained to me his current take on music. he's a righteous guitarist and had this great band called the tar babies but he says lately his synapses for making music have be kind of snipped, he's just not feeling it these days. that's ok, I know it'll come back to him cuz he surely has it in him. I asked him who likes to listen to in town and he says there's this bottle-slide player named joe black. eric gets the brats cooked up and I have three of them! I thank him much and he talks about the election coming up too, why are people voting the way they are, like they're strung up w/abstraction. such are these days or maybe it's always been that way! we find ourselves always trying to speak for each other cuz it must surely confound us as to why. I find myself doing this too, chasing those shadows in plato's cave.

   time to bail cuz it's a four pm load-in at shank hall (early show tonight, on at nine). funny name, huh? it's from that "spinal tap" movie. back on I-94 and we're due east. pete's navigating this time and a mis-read puts us going south out of downtown. whoops. at least we get a good view of the port of milwaukee - kind of like pedro w/the breakwater they built here on lake michigan. one of the lighthouses is painted up all red and black, alright! we have to loop back and then blow-by where we have to go to again so it's another loop-back at the baseball stadium. pretty funny. we get to the pad and ned's there to let us in. we load in quick (we're a half-hour late cuz of the blow-bys/loop-backs) and do our soundcheck w/soundman brian. all the pictures of folks who've been on this stage on the walls here, what a trip. even watt's up here - what a crazy quilt they all make. trippy how I'm part of something or other, to think I got into music just to be w/my friend (d. boon). I'm still glad of that connection though cuz it feels genuine to me. it would've been neat to have a piture of me w/him up there... the little effigy of a stonehenge that hangs at the back of the stage is broke into two so I repair it best I can, fitting the toothpicks into the styrofoam to once again make it whole. I meet the young people in the opening band, a local instrumental band called wooden robot. their soundcheck is neat, they use mainly acoustic stuff like an accordian, a saw, a string bass, etc. I'm still paying for missing that konk in minneapolis though so I'm just gonna have to miss their set, damn. I go to the boat and konk.

   it's a fevered konk but it's a deep one where I was kind of suffocating, like drowning. probably from all the mocos in my head! yesterday, when I got that herring chow and switched w/pete, I forgot to say I also got this time/newsweek whatever w/a bod dylan interview and short excerpt from his new book (I tore out those pages and dumped the rest). most of it weirded me out, kind of spin stuff you hear from a campaign manager but I liked one thing he said, something like "when I was young, I had visions. now I have dreams." that's trippy. maybe I have weird plays I find myself forced to be in. whatever, I still like some songs he wrote, they're good ones. I don't know exactly why or what for but I like them. I know he had some sort of influence on me, I just know it. now is that a good thing? hmm... well, you don't pick who your parents are either. I don't really remember "picking" bob dylan to like, I just liked it. it wasn't cuz I was told to either. his songs were trippy and I got into him. I did have these one weird period, just after high school. d. boon's ma had just died and it devastated all of his - him, his brother joe, his pop danny and me too. d. boon was going to join the navy. I started reading these bob dylan bios and wanted to try and be him - go to nyc, play acoustic guitar, shit like that. the navy wouldn't let d. boon in cuz of his eyes and me and him found punk rock up in hollywood so that hankering I had (I never wanted to meet or stalk him, I just wanted to somehow be him - it was insane) went away and we started writing songs w/each other. you get crazy ideas sometimes. I guess his image seemed like a romantic one, like don quixote. I think I'm still drawn to something like that, w/the touring and all. it is not my place to judge bob dylan but I can judge mike watt: he's weird.

   pete comes to get me and says the gig's a cave - talk for something a little less than a sell out (!)... ok, this is the smallest attended gig of the tour but I'm all amped for it (something I learned from the minutemen days) and I'm really happy pete and raul are too. in my book, these are the real deal - not hollow men. I got some real fever going and my voice is all tight in its chords cuz of the sickness but I'm fully into this mission. I focus much on pete and raul but acknowledge the folks too. it's funny how success can be based on nurenberg rally proportions! I'm glad my men share my values on such ideas. it's a struggle cuz of my lack of health but I think the gig burned out the fever - I feel so much better when we're done. there were some clams but the band made me proud. a the folks here made me feel quite privileged to play for them. brian did great monitors for me and that helped a bunch. later a lot of folks told me it sounded good out front too and that actually counts for more cuz like I've said before, us people up on stage get in for free.

   after the encores, I sling and talk to the folks. there's a young man who's convinced I've drank many heinekens w/him - this happens time to time. I tell him I had some intense whiskey river days but beer's been gone w/me for quite a while - like w/the fIREHOSE days cuz I just got tired of pissing. he's sure of it though. what's in his hand now? a heineken - hmm... he does say it's the sixth time he's seen me and that's very kind of him, much respect. there's michael jackson (not that one but the wisconsin one) w/some gifts of ground coffee - thank you michael, michael. another mike - mike sheppard (not that one but again, the wisconsin one) offers us a pad to konk at - much thanks to you too. there's a lady who's a r.n. (registered nurse) and she says she could more than relate to "pissbags and tubing" - many laughs from both of us. I think it's wonderful though that she helps folks like that. in the hospital, I had so much respect for what I called people's grace, their generosity in helping those so helpless. I know it's their job but there's a human to human connection that I find precious and a gift. it touched me much through my hellride, same w/my sister melinda. there's a cat who's in the service and he tells me how much his bro in the navy liked the "...engine room" opera but thought it was just about my pop and the navy so I tell him about the minutemen being part of an allegory. I told him it's ok if he didn't know that cuz there's always a gap between the person making a work and the person experiencing it, just is. that explanation seems trippy on him. he says his pop was a draftcard burner and him w/his brother are servicemen. hmm... that's ok - there's separation between pops and sons too. every life is a different perspective, a different take - even between brothers, even from the same womb... that's what I think. I tell him about the young man who had just got out of the navy and came to a columbia, mo gig I did like six years ago and he gave me his navy work clothes. I thought that was a beautiful gift and wore that shirt at many shows, tell it fell apart. at another "...enigne room" gig around the same time in cleveland heights, this former submariner gave me his "fish," the pin they give you when you complete submarine school. that was most kind too. they were more like "tour totems" to me and it was happening they wanted to share that. for all our differences, there's tons of common ground too. just this tour, at the iowa city show, was a very nice cat just back from iraq and he liked the sickness opera, said he had some of my music over there. what bigger sickness than war? shit can relate. man, if you knew the things I've read into raymond's art! it's always cracking him up. brain richie from the violent femmes flew back from a gig in norfolk, virginia and saw the gig. much respect to him. he gives me a great punch 'gar - raymond's always bringing me this brand when he's overseas. w/brian is jerry harrison, who was w/the modern lovers. I tell him about seeing him play in another band he was w/in 1977 at the whisky and I was on pcp (stupid fucking nineteen year old watt). I had slid down a hill face first in all this mud and couldn't even feel it, I was a mess. he says something trippy about the stooges' music, saying it's a lot about syncopation. that's a great insight. he's an interesting man.

   settle up w/bossman peter (big hugs for him), we load up and follow mike a half-hour west to waukesha, where he lives. he tells me "you think you live econo?" and opens his door to a very zen-like pad: some weights for lifting and about a dozen small potted cactuses. we roll our sacks out on the deck - pete's been so righteous about getting me throatcoat tea right before I'm on stage and thenwhen we get to the pad we're konking at. pete's never a "me first" kind of guy, he is very down. the more I get to know raul, the more I can tell he's like that too. lucky watt. mask down, I konk hurt but happy.

monday, october 4, 2004 - indianapolis, in

from raul:

   Got an off day today, not into that at all. It's a weird feeling, sailing city to city, then all the sudden... stop!, totally screws up the flow of travel, plus we have no one to stay with, so that means hotel, listen to me, i sound like a little shit, boo fuckin' hoo, we gotta stay in a room, but hopefully you get what what i mean, it's just so much cooler staying at someones place for so many diffrent reasons. Pretty uneventful day, stayed at a place right off the interstate, pretty sketchy pad, had a dude scoping us out as soon as we pull up, he's hangin' out in front of the stairs right in front of our room, i make peace by giving him a smoke, and his little girl a piece of fruit, i crash for about an hour right when my head hit the pillow. Woke up hungry and bored, so pete and i head out to see what we can find with in walking distance, i'm hopeing for soom good eats, and a movie theatre, pete wants to see what the local pub has to offer, i'm up for that... pubs have food, greasy, but it's food. Find a spot about a half mile down the main drag, kinda lucked out, all i saw was a buncha hotels, and a white castle... blah!. So we hang out for a minute, and watch the locals freak out about football, there's gotta be atleast twenty televisions in this place. Pete started up a conversation with a local at the bar, dude was hilarious, had a buncha rhymes about some girl who stepped out on him, funny stuff, he even kinda looked like eminem, had a wicked limp from almost dying in a car wreck, told us that when he got his settlement he was gonna buy a drum machine, and an escalade to start his mobile bussiness of selling basketball jerseys... good luck, after about an hour, i think it's time to go, we gotta get the key from mike so we don't get locked out, early he said he was gonna konk in the boat, there was a lot of traffic in and out of our nieghbors place, and mike didn't wanna take any chances with the safety of the boat, I did offer to take the boat shift, but mikes got the thirty below sleeping bag, and i got the little boy scout special, with a broken zipper even... he thinks i'll freeze to death, he's probably right. Pete needed to make a couple of phone calls, so we hit up the spot next to our room, i could almost hear the record scratch, but once we got to talkin' every one was real nice, some big scarey lookin' biker even gave me a quarter, when the computer cheated at video chess, after that we decided to bounce back to our old watering hole, for a few adult bevrages, that didn't last to long, the place was filled with jocko homos screaming at the television, our buddy was still there. Fuck it we need to go back, trying to have fun here, is like trying to squeeze water out of a rock, this shit is down right depressing, had the most fun of the night, back at the room with pete watching adult swim, cartoons where cracking us up. Pete made a phone call home, cuz the cartoons reminded him of watching em' with his boy, and crashed out wiithin' the hour, pete didn't know i was passed out, until he realized he was the only one laughing. Just saw this fucked up sign, big guns made america free, little guns protect you and me, guns save lives. com.

from pete:

   popped at mike's and did a quick whore's hose-off; we packed our stuff up quickly and I downed three enzyme tablets (watt gave me some of these as they're much more effective than vitamins for keeping the bugs away). we hopped into the boat and we were off. much respect to you mike for letting us crash at your pad. being that this was our only day off on the tour, we leisurely steamed to indy and scored a hotel room near the freeway just as we entered the town. it was a dollar inn; very econo and just what we needed. we pullled up close to our room and immediately some cats that were hanging out near there (questionable cats), began checking us out. we got our stuff out and into the room but not before one of the women hanging out asked us for some food so mike gave her his bag of chips and raul offered her some fruit. this put me at ease a little but I still wondered about the other peeps (you just never know). we settled in and both rollie and me conked while watching cnn- mike went to go score some chow. we awoke later and decided to do a little hoof rock as the cabin fever was seeping in (having a day off feels really strange as it breaks up the momentum we're used to). we hoofed a good half-mile until we found a little pub, then settled in to have a few drinks and rap. we kicked it for awhile, had some chips and salsa and met this really nice cat named james who we rapped w/ for awhile , then hoofed it on back to the ho' to check in w/ the chief. we kicked it in the room for awhile then went back to the pub and had some more drinks w/ james. hopped over to the holiday inn lounge for a nightcap, but it was a much more foo-foo atmosphere- not my kind of thing. we bid the james man goodnite (what a really sweet cat), and went across the street to our ho'. watt was sleeping in the boat as seemingly we were in the heart of crackistan and the safety of the boat was paramount. me and rollie watched "futurama" on the cartoon network and it made me think of my little man tone (me and him have a routine of watching "futurama", "family guy", and "inoyashu" every night at home and I miss this totally- he's a five-year old w/ an extremely dark sense of humor; like his old man). I called the homestead and rapped w/ him for awhile- he was perplexed as "futurama" wasn't on in cali yet, so I tried to explain it to him but he wasn't getting it. I really miss my little man; my girls too.

   I watched the tube a little longer but soon the sandman creeped up and I had to let him in. laku noc sviraci....

from watt:

   pop at eight bells to find our host mike already gone. man, I had some restless konk last night - rolling all over the deck w/fevers coming on and off me the whole time. that fucking factory nightmare was back w/me the whole time - I found somewhere way in the back of the plant to get some work going, a compressed-air rivet gun or something but I was using it like a hammer to bust up some old boiler plate - it was insane. people coming back to give me the eye and was convinced they were planning a way to take me out. I was very paranoid. for some reason, I felt very compelled to do work there, like I couldn't shirk it or even run away - I don't why, especially knowing these motherfuckers wanted to get me. I know the fever was playing on my mind big time though cuz it sure felt like delirium I've had from other sickness, fever-induced kind. tour sickness is a fucking rough haul but I've found the only way out is to walk through it and stay firm. sure is intense on a body though... and the mind/will. gotta push on...

   we leave mike a thank you note and his parking pass and then head out. back on I-94 east but bypassing milwaukee w/the I-894, it appears the most direct route is I-94 though chicago and into indiana and then south on I-65 to indianapolis. there's no big hurry cuz today is a no-gig day - pretty unusual for a watt tour. where's there dread is chicago traffic - that can be as big a nightmare as back home in so cal. my thining is though that maybe cuz of the window we're driving in, we might miss both the coming and going traff and that would be great. you see, not only is chicago a big town (only new york and l.a. are bigger), cuz of the great lakes, the main truck conduit east to west (and the other way too) for the north is through here. oh boy. it gets really intense as you get up to the border w/indiana and then just past it... I've been in plugs lasting hours there. we get out of wisconsin ok and just into illinois, we stop to get gas and some 'way. my guys are nice enough to get me my tuna/lettuce/tomato/onion/mustard/olive sandwich when I gas and that cuts down on our off-road time. while gassing up, I get another blankie for the back, a rough-feel one from mexico. it's getting cold as we move into fall! can't wait for the colors on the trees though - we don't get that in pedro. I get a new rand-mcnally atlas too, this one we got is worn out. like I've said, it's better to have your analog resource work alongside the 'puter one for better navigating - my guys are catching on. the jar kevin gave us in kansas city of those peppers his buddy pickled got stuffed w/habanero ones from the sacto bunch (that was a big bag, folks) and they've been pickling it up for some days now so I try three of them on my sandwich. the shit's good medicine for sickness besides intense brain journeys. most excellent tasting, yes! I don't know why people stick anything but the most tiniest of mayonnaise (just to hold things together) w/tuna salad and even worse, sweeten it all up - tastes better to me to have it "tarted" w/some puckerables. I like sours, I like heat - that's watt... salty and sweet? nope. funniest sign so far maybe this tour? "bong recreation area" - either it's named after somebody (senor bong?) or...

   downtown chicago is 'pert-near plug-free (VERY lucky us) w/light traff and the skies overhead clear - it's been this way since morning though we can see clouds up ahead in indiana. they don't look rain-heavy though. into the south side and there's lots of construction to make truck lanes as we get past the white sox stadium but still no stops, just slowing it down to forty or fifty which is way ok w/me. we see billboards for a costume pad and that makes us think of halloween coming up - my favorite holiday and one I've played dressed up in an outfit for many many years now - I love it. we'll be in chapel hill for this one and I haven't figured out what I might be yet. last time I played chapel hill on a halloween, I wore a paper mache head kevin (the lawrence cat who was at the kansas city show - his buddy had the peppers) had made. a handmade costume is truly unique and something I'd be partial to. it's hard however to have that happen when you're playing a different town every day. we got that head weeks before the gig but I carried in the boat just for that occasion. many thanks to kevin for that. it was some "south park" character but I'm not familiar enough w/that to say who (sorry). it was neat though, really round. pete wants him and raul to be "the secondwomen" - pete woud wear women's clothes in the madonnabes (that was weird, never figured it out but maybe it was cuz ron dinkins did - I wore a mouse suit cuz obviously we were sidemousing madonna's works and I wanted to show her respect in my own way). raul's still a young man and maybe not secure enough yet to do that (or not yet too old not to give a fuck). whatever they each want to wear is ok w/me... I just like the idea that one day a year we finally admit to each other what we're doing all the other days of the year which is WEARING FUCKING COSTUMES. amen.

   into indiana and south on I-65, we leave those clouds behind and head for open skies, great. pretty flat here w/lots of cornfields, pretty. when you see cornfields in the fall, they're always all browned up and ready for the disc or the combine. guess I'm driving the whole way, I'm trying not to do that too much so as to ration out my energy better but no gig tonight and getting wore out so I can konk early will be a good thing. pete tells me and raul about his grandparents and them passing away. his grandpop died at his first wedding engagement party and he fed his grandma her last meal before she passed away. very heavy. wild stuff too w/his great grandma, he says his little boy tony one time he told him and ljil her name. he said she came in his room one night and said she was maria. pete said that was a trip cuz he'd never once mentioned that to him and she had died very young. I like pete telling me about his family, makes the svetko hat fit more easy on my head. we pull into lafayette for one more gas stop - home of purdue and the boilermakers - funny seeing one of those guys painted on the side of a barn. makes sense though, why not? it's all work - something for a college person to look up to (better than them looking down on, for sure).

   for some reason, I remember the club being on the west side of indianapolis so I go for the outer loop there, I-465 south. however, I'm retarded cuz it's way more to the north so I turn us back around. we continue on back up the I-65 and I don't realize I did a blow-by 'till we get to lebanon (the indiana one), what a doof. I swing us back around, whence we came and it's once more pat the gutwein popcorn farm and around to I-465 north, where we want. man, this comical. we find this dollar inn place for the night and get a room. there's a chinese restaurant nearby and I go get some san shan soup and fish flavored pork, two things I don't think I've ever ordered before. the soup has a 'pert-near clear broth w/peas in the pod, bamboo, big scallops, fake crab and huge mushroom pieces. the pork has got some bamboo pieces w/it in some kind of gravy but it's hard for me to taste what it's like cuz of all the mocos in head. there are chilies in it though and I can at least FEEL those. I chimp some diary for a bit. pete and raul take off for some chow and whatever and it's maybe 8:30 pm when I hit the boat w/my sack. it's kind of a wierd sitch at the ho here and I feel safer w/the boat. you know what they say, "go down w/the ship." it is cold but not in the sack - this thing works good. much thanks again to brice at 686 for such a happening donate.

tuesday, october 5, 2004 - indianapolis, in

from raul:

   After sleeping in a hotelroom all night i always have a sore throat, i don't know if it's breathing old stale air, or the heater being jacked up or what, but damn my throat felt lame, and as far as my head goes, forget about it. Mike slept in the boat last night... brave captain, he thinks someone tried to rob the van, shit he knows someone did, but he scared them away. So glad nothing shitty went down... so glad. Got in to broad ripple pretty early, and first things first, went and drank some coffee, had a lot of time to kill, so i got to walkin'. Stumbled on this hugh graffitti project by taking a right turn down some random alley, guess every alley is random in a place you've never been before. Spent at least an hour and a half taking photos, amazing pieces everywhere, after that i went walking up and down the strip looking for petey, found him sitting at an old wooden table reading the paper, he seemed kinda grumpy, so i took him out for some lunch... indian food...mmmmmm. Spent most the day checking out thrift stores, and all the other odd little shops collage towns have to offer, not one stinkin' book store, that was odd, but there was super extensive record store, i picked up jonathan richmond live in berkeley and boston, make yourself happy, and go buy it. After walking around all day i need a break, so i went down to the canal to hang with the quacks.

   Finally six rolls around, fuck, i was starting to grow roots, load in and run through our sound check, now a few more hours to kill, thats easy... coffee and pinball. Good show for me, the other dudes weren't into the sound, finally it worked for me, the folks who came where so sweet, even had a lady she wanted to take me home with her, not in some preverted creep way, but in sweet kinda way. I've said it in just about every entry i've made but, i love small stages, if it where up to me i'd play on the floor, i don't like the idea of being on some sort of a pedestal, which is what a stage pretty much is, i under stand that it works to the crowd advantage, you know, so everybody can see, but some clubs are outta control, but this ones not, and that makes me a happy boy. I also felt communication between the group was good on stage, that helps so much to, when we got that going, it makes the set a hell of a lot better, cuz if we don't it feels like we're all playing our own version of the same song, insted of playing the same song together as a whole, i'm still butchering our roky cover, but i'll get it... you got to think of the clam bucket as half empty, instead of half full.

from pete:

   popped in the ho'- had some strange sueno; I was playing at some wedding gig and the bride was giving me coffee w/ opium in it. it was a good gig though. the chief rapped on the hatch and I let him in; he told me that he had awoke around one AM to take a piss and he had heard somebody opening up the hatch on the boat- he had yelled out "get the fuck out of here", and the person had screamed and left. dangerous liaisons in crackistan- must of been a pants-shitter for the chief. me and rollie heard nothing as we were deep in suenoville. I felt a little guilty that I had not been with him in the boat; I have a deep protectional vibe towards the chief- very much consider him familia (as I do rollie also), and I would do someone great bodily harm if I felt they were being threatened in any way.

   I did a quick hose off after which we loaded up the gear and steamed off towards the club (the patio). me and rollie had a coffee jones going; there was a barfucks' on the corner, but we refuse to patronize these slack motherfuckers so we hoofed it on down the street until we found a suitable private proprietorship (and the coffee was great). I was down on the bones' so rollie loaned me some to buy a blondie (brownies in reverse I call them). very kind, and we kicked it, drinking coff' and scanning the local music rags. we hoofed it back to the patio but the chief had taken off somewhere in the boat. damn! we searched around to no avail but figured he had gone off to do some shopping. we had about six hours to blow so we scoped out all the local shops; there was a very kind record shop that had just about everything that you could want, then went to go chow at a little indian pad. it was a buffet and we really strapped on the feedbag. it made both me and rollie happy. cut to about six hours later, the chief pulls up in the boat and I am truly relieved. turns out he had docked only a few blocks away to avoid the parking meter kuyp and had wondered where we were. he immediately gave us our bones' for the next six weeks and we counted it up and stowed it. we were gonna send it out at the post office but just missed the closing. very lame. went back to the patio and the soundman, johnny showed up. we unloaded the gear and set up; he had us miked up lickety-split and we ripped thru the check'. it sounded good. we were still tight even tho' we had missed a day.

   I retreated to the side of the bar and did the chimp; afterwards me and rollie went to the local pub where I tested my intake of stolichnaya and water- then went back to the record store where rollie scored a kind cd of jonathan richman and the modern lovers while I bought deep purple's "machine head" (the album that caused my B3 epiphany). we went back to the patio and the opening band had already finished their set. we carted out the tools then I went to go rouse the chief. we waited by the side of the stage and the man walked in, plugged in and we were off. having not played for a day, we were on fire and the crowd dug us much. I was fucking possessed and totally went off- however, the organ volume seemed to me to be bogarting the proceedings somewhat so I kept it down in the beginning. the chief however told me to crank it, so I did and things were real titty until the end. the crowd applauded then strangely got silent (maybe intimidated?). anyways, we go back up for the encore and hit it hard; the peeps dug on it much but towards the end some cats got into a scuffle in front of the stage (one of em' even got brained w/ a barstool) and the hombre showed up; chalk it up once again to the magic of alcohol. too bad, they had just wanted to hang out and help us w/ our gear. I also royally trashed one of the intros to "I have always been here before" and watt stopped the tune and made us start over. deserved this shit major. we finished up the set w/ no error and the crowd gave us much love. much respect to the peeps for absorbing the clams better than we do. me and rollie packed up the tools, watt slung the merch' and we had the boat loaded up quick. A cat named eric offered us his pad and we steamed over there- he lived only a couple blocks away, so the trip was curt (very welcome). we settled in quickly and me and rollie shared a smoke on the porch. we both felt it had been a good gig. I slipped into the bag and the sueno came calling. buona notte musicanti....

from watt:

   pop in the minus thirtyfive sack in the boat around 6:30 am but then konk again 'till eight. hell, I had two other pops too - one at four am and the other at one. the one am one was to piss and something scary happened then. I filled a green tea (plum flavored) bottle of piss and maybe made some noise, I don't know but a few minutes later, the side hatch is opened by somebody! now I had my mask down and everything - this konk sack is a mummy one and has a hoody too so that was around my head and I hollered w/out thinking at the top of my lungs, "GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!!!" and whoever it was ran off in a flash. I guess the fucking hatch wasn't locked! what an idiot I am. what luck it got tried then, when I had just popped. I went out through one of the fore hatches and battened that side hatch from the outside and then got in back in my sack. I was a little for a bit but then sank back into konk. I know this might sound weird but I'm kind of grateful to whoever was there. sure, it was fucked they opened the hatch (whatever the intentions) but at least they didn't come back w/a gun or a knife to hurt me w/and in fact, just left me alone. the four am konk (I had my watch on so that's how I know) was cuz of this very frightening dream - frightening cuz in it, my dear friend nanny (she's the lady who draws for my shirts) was killed, her sister lis (who we stayed w/in s.f.) had told me she'd been gone now for a while. this really REALLY spooked me but tiredness kept me down for two more konks w/that same dream coming up on me. finally, when I did pop, I got on the walkie-talkie to call back to pedro to talk w/her... what a relief when she answered the phone. I told her what happened and she thought it was just as freaky as I did. damn, glad it was just a fucking dream. maybe tom's dying was playing on my unconscious, I don't know. it was truly a fucked up thing. I hoofed over and had some oatmeal w/yougurt mixed in it at some crap place. the sun was out real bright w/out a cloud in the blueness and that cheered me up more. some knocks on the ho hatch and finding both my guys safe was even better. whew. my head was way clearer of infection and I don't think I had any fever last night so maybe this sickness shit is on its way out too. a good start for today.

   we get back on the I-465 loop and take us-31 south. the gig's in the broad ripple part of town, near the white river and raul gets a little mixed up navigate us through what's apparent is a money part of town. whoops, a dead end street, time for a loop (hmm... no blow-by though, what can this mean?). we get to the pad but at ten in the morning, fat chance it'd be open. I park in front but the meters are like a quarter for every twenty minutes - fuck that. might as well check out things before I look for an open curb w/out a meter nearby. this pad's called the patio and I last played here maybe six years ago - I remember it was w/a dayton band called the real lu-lu or something like that. I remember the drummer being a nice cat who did some time w/the breeders and guided by voices. speaking of which, nate told me in minneapolis that guided by voices was breaking up this year - bob told me he was going to do that last time I played w/him. I just know he'll keep doing music though, probably as bob pollard cuz I can feel he's got it in his blood. anyway, the hatch to the club is open! soundman johnny's here and says load-in can happen at five. I tell him I'll be back then and take the boat a couple blocks in front of this methodist church that has a sign that says "open hearts - open minds - open doors" and I like that. I chimp diary to catch everything up. I'm feeling much better too, this sickness must be on its way out - thank god for small mercies. my guys went out hoofing as soon as I stopped by the patio so I don't know where they are now and for sure they don't know where I put the boat. they got my walkie-talkie number though, if worse comes to worse. the weather is like cali and just like the way I like it: mild and sunny. there's color coming to the trees, just starting here. I go walk a bit to see if I see my guys or they see me - no sign but I get a bagel at an indie coff pad. guess what's right next store? arefucks, of course - what a strategy, you see this all over. w/the border thing coming sunday, I want to pay my guys in advance and so count that out for them. the meters go to six and they're two hour ones so at four I leave my place by the church and go across the street from the club. there's a greek deli right by so I get a lamb gyro there. the cats who own it are in fact jordanian and the gyro is righteous, wailing w/cucumber sauce and real spicy. there's some jordanian spicy olives and I get a pound of those - I can't resist. this shit is good! of couse, I'll stretch them out and not shovel the whole tub. I must admit you gotta go get the drool bucket for watt when he's standing in front of a cold case w/like ten different kinds of happening olives sitting there! I made sure to load the gyro up w/habaneros - I know this is instrumental in kicking the sickness where it hurts, big time.

   my guys show up and there's a parking space right out front of the pad so I dock the boat there. this cat named bill blood comes up and gives us each a three-headed monster necklace and then to me a tin smoked kipper snacks (herring fillets) he said his pop liked to chow, thank you much. we're next to the door of a pad that sells popcorn and pete's tripping hard on how many people keep going into to get bags of it. makes me think about that too. I'm thinking more about playing again though. weird to have a day off, a day from playing. I know it was good for me catching up from losing that pre-gig konk time on friday and it helped w/the spiel too but it can throw the rhythm of the band off too. raul says he's itching to play too - that's some good spirit. how lame it would be to be stuck w/some tiara-toting princesses always whining about doing what we set off from pedro to do: play gigs. I know pete feels the same also - I got a righteous crew, much respect. we load-in and do a soundcheck w/soundman johnny. he's cool peeps and works bass too so we talk some about those machines. I change my strings - learned my lesson is salt lake city. feels/sounds great to play w/a fresh set. the monitors are peavy and shy on the mids which makes it hard for me to hear the spiel right. oh well, work the room and don't moan - the best prescription. how many gigs in the old days when we had NO monitors? pete had his organ open in milwaukee to fix a bad key but it only fails w/a certain voice on the draw bar - the repair would take a total tear-down so he'll just plow on.

   I go to the boat and back up the 'puter on a little firewire drive I got. then I go do a phoner spiel for a story in little rock - it's w/a bass player named katie who's a little down cuz of the election and the cycle of music we're kind of so I try to invigorate her w/some up talk and perspectives that I use when I'm getting doubts weighing me down too. my pop's grandpa was from earl, arkansas so there's a little bit of common ground - of course there's the bass and just being involved in the arts, period. I tell her about the emma goldman idea of "small inspired minorities" and how the "masses thinking" just doesn't make a lot of sense cuz it's pretty much a hose job and waters down everything passionate you trying to make real. I try to get people excited that way cuz it excites me too. a lot of these thoughts I got from d. boon, raymond, thurston and others and I feel important to carry them on. of course, I put my watt thinking w/them too, it comes along w/what life experiences have taught me and those perspectives - a learning/doing thing. I think it's important to admit too these things are guesses too in part cuz you just can't think you got a monopoly on the truth or your learning boat will be full spouting holes quick. like perry said, gotta keep the child's eye wonder going.

   I go back to the boat to konk. right before I slip under, I hear the door man tell the cash register lady (who's going to get coffee), "tell them mike watt's here" and she says "I don't even know who the fuck that is!" life is funny. I'm just some weirdo from pedro, come here to work the town w/my bass. it's ok if someone doesn't know who the fuck I am - even if they work the pad I'm at. this konk is solid and I emerge from it w/a grapple on the leg from pete. we were putting our stuff back after soundcheck, I met the opening band, a local one called sonus ventorium but I'm afraid I missed their set and I'm sorry. I have to say this so many times in a tour but look what happened when I missed my konk... I'm just not strong enough. that must sound fucking weak, shit. anyway, I get the little bass and head inside. feels good to play again. hard to hear pete's organ a little - one problem w/him putting his organ in his monitors is him not letting his leslie amp wail on stage so I can play to it. I have this hand signal routine w/my guys to let them know when to get faster, slower, louder and softer - I'm giving pete plenty of the LOUDER now. we do good though, especially after missing a day of playing and really, the only rough spot is w/the end of "pelicanman" - both pete and raul totally miss the infinity fade out dynamic (!) but those things happen. this guys yells out at the end, "the cotton gin will never make you obsolete, mike watt!" that's trippy but even trippier is when we come off stage, they pad gets totally silent. hmm... do they want more? they seemed to be into but this is strange - don't want milk them or make them feel sorry for us. there was a debate between the vice president people (cheney and edwards) for the coming election on earlier - had this an effect? ok, that was supposed to be funny but it shows how awkward I'm feeling, like the opera put a damper in the pamper on things or whatever. I go and tell them it was a weird long song and I don't blame to think what they think but they want some more so we do those encore ones. we do them good except for the roky song which is really bad (sorry, guys) - we gotta get that together cuz I just want to do that one slow and the band keeps outrunning me - I even had to stop us at one point (which was probably a stupid thing to do and now I regret it) and get it going again. oh well, we'll get it better. it was a tough gig for me at times w/the spiel cuz of no mids in the monitor, like I was talking about earlier but I kind of expected that. all in all, I was proud of us though. I use those the words I saw on the church sign to thank the crowd cuz I think they really fit - by them having open hearts and minds, they let us use and open door to them, much respect.

   the folks are very nice to us and I rap w/them while I sling. one cat saw me play this town w/the minutemen nineteen years ago - I remember that gig: the openers were called the primates and wore togas! a sad thing happens when we're loading out though. this one guy was telling me lyrics from my old songs and stuff, a very kind cat but maybe w/a little too much drink in him. somehow, him and his friend all of the sudden start fighting w/the club people and it's a mandance, a violent retarded one. shit, I hate to see this happen. they end up handcuffed by the police (who show up in four squad cars immediately) and sitting on the sidewalk - they're going to jail. the club people weren't been belig or knucklehead - I felt bad for them too cuz this was just a terrible thing to happen. liquor is a fucked-up teacher and we all gotta learn, sometimes it's very tough. aaarrrggghh, it's truly a bummer and I really don't know what to say except I'm sorry. it was a drunk thing, through and through - people arrested, even a cat on crutches hurt - damn. I say I'm sorry to club people and then to the two guys cuffed on the sidewalk, then we get in the boat w/bryan and his friend john who have invited us to konk at their pad a couple blocks away. it was an early gig, only one am when I get in the sack and hit it for sleepytown.

wednesday, october 6, 2004 - champaign, il

from raul:

   Got to get to the post office, and downtown champaigne is not to big so it wasn't hard to find, it was about three blocks from the club, gotta send some stuff home, pay some bills, and send a postcard out for mike, he forgot his flannel in st. louis, and he really wants it's back. I liked downtown champaign, well atleast for a place to walk around for a day, no graffitti though, that always irks me, seems way to steril, and unlived in, like a movie lot town... nobodys home, the pluses were the drum shop right next to the club... that's a first, and the bookstores, especially the three story one. After our long awaited lunch, pete and i spent a couple hours in there, i found a couple of lovecraft books for super cheap, had a stack i wanted to get, but the boats packed as is, and we don't need more crap. After five hours of exploring, downtown starts to loose it's appeal, and now that i think about, all that's there is coffee shops and bars... doh!, i was dupped, i'm in a collage town, defeated, and kinda upset about having been had, pete and i give in, and hit up the crappiest, dingiest bar we can find, the brass rail... if you got the time, we got the beer, kinda rad in a depressing sorta way, just a couple of dudes off work watching the ball game, after a beer, we go across the street to the boogie bar, really lame in a totally depressing sorta way, we went in and walked right out. Finally pay dirt, we find a place pete's happy with, i'm psyched, fish tails pinball, games got it going on, real fast, and good ramps, defiently not a bore, port, starbord, extra ball, i play on four quarters for about a half hour... oh shit, sound check. Make it back with enough time to change a drum head.

   Played with a band outta brooklyn, really nice guys, and girl, i know it sucks to stick bands with sounds, but these guys where like a sober stones with paul westerburg singin' every other song, whatever the fuck that means, but i liked em', cryin' in my beer music. Before the gig while i'm standing in front of the club, i met jim, a florida native, who now lives in champaign, talked about the old florida scene, he even knew my nieghbor, dan destructo... small world, also telling me about seeing rad bands like the descendants, and the replacements, two of my all time favorites, and this dude got to see em' playing house shows, after talking for a while we hed next door to pay a visit to fish tales, had a few heated games, thanks for the time jim, it was a good one. Weird time on stage, defiently not one of my favorite shows, it's bound to happen though, with sixty four gigs, they can't all be winners, and this one was trailing, as far as feelin' goes... we got through it though, it was rough, but we made it. I can't even pin point why it was so tough, but mike felt it to, i could see it in his face... weirdness all around. After the gig we head over to urbana, a town right next to champaign, to stay with some kids who offered us their space. After getting stoned, i started to get cabin fever, or maybe it was just parinoia, but i needed to be outside, so i make mikey some tea, and get to steppin'. Rad little town, so many trees, that i couldn't even see the stars, sidewalks made out of bricks, and hugh houses three stories everywhere, after about an hour of roaming, i think to myself, i'm high as a kite, wandering around this town i've never been, staring at the trees and shit, dressed in all black, and it's three in the mourning, that thought took me from a happy go lucky midnight stroll, to a parinoid speed walk, got a cash waiting to happen. After the that i got kinda spooked, and the trees started making creepy shapes, all the dark alleys that looked inviting at first started to scare me, and then the silence starts bringin' me down, and as i'm walkin' back, i imagine michael meyers everywhere... small town illinois. I was reminded of being a little kid, and i remember taking out the garbage, the trash cans where on the side of the house, and the space was so small, trees on one side, and a wall on the other, i'd start to feel trapped, and i'd have this hugh fear of every unimaginable creature hideing to my left just waiting to get it's paws on me, i'd be so afraid, i'd run as fast as i could back to house, the gift of loving horror movies, makeing me afraid of the dark, that brought up another memory, i remember sneaking outta bed to watch night flight, that's the only time you could see the bark at the moon video, and as i'm flippin' through the channels, i see children of the corn for the first time, freaky shit for a six year old to be watchin', the diner scene alone, when the kid stuck the old guys hand in the blender, you don't even see it hit, just the blood splattered walls... so good, i remember being so scared, that about every ten minutes i'd have to watch my sesame st. video to calm myself down, for some reason just hearing the name malaki gave me the shivers, remember the count, a vampire who taught you about numbers, he was so cool.

from pete:

   I was awakened by the chief and immediately went to do a quick wash-up; eric had an electric shaver w/ a trimmer which was very cool as my stache' was fast becoming part of my daily chow; I gladly mowed that shit down. post-trim, I rolled up the old bag and we loaded our stuff into the boat. me and rollie hoofed it down to the post office (conveniently located right down the street)so we could send some bones home, after that we went to a coff' pad next door to fix our jones'. one of the cats that worked there had been to our show the night before and graciously comped us the coff' (quad espresso shots w/ ice). I shpritzed a little honey in mine and I was good to go. much respect. we hopped into the boat and steamed off towards champaign. much respect to eric for having us..

   the trip was a quick one, so we got into town early and me and rollie immediately hoofed it over to the local post office again so we could send more bones home. having accomplished this task we went to scope out a proper chow pad; I was in the mood for some thai (and we found a place), but when we went in it seemed to be devoid of any clientele- not a good thing, so onwards we hoofed. we finally found a mandarin/szechwan pad that seemingly matched our criteria (there were actual people chowing there), so we settled in and strapped on the feedbag. I ordered some spicy chicken and fried rice which I promptly kicked up a notch by adding two or three tablespoons of hot sauce. g, that burn was kind I tell you what!(a much needed brain flossing). also had some great egg drop soup. downed it all w/ some sake (I'm way into sake). feeling much better, we decided to go around town and do a little exploring and we soon found a great pro drum shop where rollie purchased a new head for his floor tom and I scored a mic claw for the bottom rotor of the leslie. we placed our bounty in the boat and headed out once again, this time in search of a bookstore which we found quickly enough and boy what a pad it was. much like bertrand smith's acres of books back home in cali. three floors of every conceivable type of tome you would ever want to digest (oddly enough they didn't have "the sand pebbles"which watt wanted me to read). we scoped all three floors, then moved on and passed thru several more stores; a vintage clothes pad, a sporting goods pad and another bookstore (which also didn't have "the sand pebbles"- what's up w/ that?). we stopped to have a little drinky in a local bar called "the brass rail", a very colorful blue collar bar (an understatement to say the least), and watched baseball on the tube. The atmosphere was bumming me out tho', so we hoofed it over to a little sports bar that was next to the high dive (the pad we were playing at). it was depressing too, but for totally different reasons (I'm not into the sports bar vibe at all). given our limited choice of venue we hung out for a while reading the local rags and rollie played some pinball. one of the mags gave "the middle stand" a great review and it inspired me to want to play real good for the peeps.

   six o'clock rolled around so we headed over to the boat and loaded our gear into the high dive and assembled everything on the stage. an old bus of watt's by the name of kemp stopped by and kindly assisted us. very nice cat (and he has a music store). we rapped gear for awhile until the soundman jimmy, showed and miked us up proper. we ran thru the check' quickly and everything sounded good. I was excited to play. as was customary, I retired to the side of the bar and went into chimp mode. while I chimped, I listened to "machine head" to amp me up a little. a few peeps flowed in and I rapped w/ them for awhile- they were very cool. one of them, a lady named laura rapped w/ me about politics and music and she was excited to see us play(it was her first watt show). it gave me much courage.

   the first band finished up their set and we went to move the tools into place. I roused the chief from his slumber, grabbed the merch' box and soon we were off. we ripped thru the piece w/ relatively few clams but I could tell from the look on watt and rollie's face that they weren't into it. I tried to hammer em' into it but it wasn't happening (it didn't help that the place was a cave either). I actually watched cats leaving while we were halfway thru the piece but I didn't let it faze me. fuck that, I pushed that much harder. I have to admit that the people who did stay were very nice to us and showed us much love. much respect to you all. this one was a definite character builder.

   we packed up the tools and a couple of nice cats offered us up their pad to crash. we loaded up the boat and got to their pad lickety-split where we rapped and burned the midnite mote'. pretty soon I could feel the sandman kicking at my windows so I slipped into the bag and drifted. buona notte musicanti...que chinga eso!

from watt:

   pop at six and half bells in the middle of some strange dreaming. the sound of bryan's shoes on his hardware floor are a backdrop for me trying to figure some meaning... he's gotta a gig teaching sign language to highschoolers and told us all about that experience last night - he'd dropped out of high school himself so it's kind of a trip to do what he's doing. he likes it though. anyway, in the dream, I found myself lost amongst acres and acres of tangled-plumbing w/pipes going every which-way. what seemed to be the center (or the center from where I was) was this huge flange w/what appeared to be a white cover w/a word I couldn't read, my eyes being all blury w/my glasses missing and my head not being that all together. climbing through the tangle, I got to this flange and found the cover rubber and was able to pull it off around its lip. reaching inside, I found like a grease trap w/all these words stuck in it. pulling them out, one at a time, I couldn't figure any of them out cuz they were all covered in merde and mocos - yechh. one did fit in my hand completely - it was a one letter one and being able to put my finger in a hole part and finding a curve at the other end, like a little 'g' if it was more like a little 'c' in a way. even trippier, when I got it free from the tangle of the words - there was a few 'I' ones but that was it for the ones w/just one letter and I left those be - it was not covered w/any of the shit the other words were but even weirder was I couldn't see any of it just feel it - not even blurriness. I could put my fingers around it to sense its form but it was like an invisible hardness but not really invisible cuz I couldn't see my hand behind it - what was behind my hand (the mess of pipes) was what covering my hand so in a way, it was like a window through my hand but that couldn't be cuz I cover it in my fist and see my fingers outside it but not behind it if I then opened my hand. this caused me much to ponder, even when I popped awake.

   I went and pissed and remembered pete asking bryan to use his electric shaver and him saying ok. I've never used one of these but back during the summer gigs w/the stooges, scotty told me I should check one out cuz that's what he uses. hmm... I thought why not? whoa, it was way different, you had to press the machine really hard against your face, almost like giving it rubs. if you did this w/a razor, you'd cut yourself all to shit. there were three round heads on it and they were like spring-loaded or something and kind of conformed w/the different parts of your face and chin. it was weird. I don't know it was as close as a razor but there were no cuts. there was a smell. I hosed over and washed my face twice as good as usual, thinking maybe that machine ground the cut bear back into your pours. it was trippy. I hoof and get coff where I did yesterday and there's an ad inside from two girls who are starting a punk band and need two other girls. what I like about the ad is that is says it's ok if you're a little "too outrageous." pretty funny, I hope they find crazy-ass wild mother fuckers. I walk over to the supermarket to get some band-aids, the kind they got that will stay on even w/sweat cuz where my watch has been rubbing on the inside of my right wrist (I'm right-handed but wear it on the right instead of the left like most is cuz I have to bend my left hand to fret on the bass neck and the watch can fuck w/that though the bracelets I got from gig-goers don't) - the plastic of the strap is irritating a sore, rubbing between the skin and the bass and keeps it from getting to heal. I find some that might work. I walk past that methodist church again w/that sign I liked yesterday and the sun's coming up right behind the belltower so I get a snap of that, intense. I get back to bryan's pad and roust my guys, telling them to go to the post office and mail their monies home. they do that and then were off, rolling to the next town.

   it's a straight shot west on I-74 to champaign (we're back-tracking a little bit - we're doing some of that this tour though man-outside-the-van steve kaul has routed me up pretty righteously this tour, which is par for him - much respect). cali weather once again and that's happening - bless the boat, bless the band and bless buddy rich. only a couple of hours and we're in the parking lot next to the venue, the highdive. my guys take off to hoof and I go get some envelopes, then chow at a diner called sam's (we're in champaign's old downtown). I get a salad and chicken-fried steak (something I hardly ever eat but once a tour's ok). then it's back to the boat and I chimp diary, then post all my road expenses receipts I've gotten so far on the tour which thins up the wallet. that's better on my ass. my old indiana friend kemp comes by the boat w/his new two-year-old joe and I'm so happy for him. a pop at fortynine, alright! kemp's great peeps and I haven't seen him for a bit so it's big joys for me to hug him again. he helps us load in and we do a soundcheck w/soundman jimmy. great to see bossman ward who always has kind words for me. it's always a pleasure to work for him. I meet the folks in the mendoza line, one of the openers (the other's charles billus) and they're from brooklyn, ny. very nice folks. I do an interview w/a paper in so cal on the phone - though they're in torrance, they do a supplement for our town called "more san pedro." I tell the writer about how it's neat about giving back to my town instead of just thinking of it as a "thermos bottle" like I have (something to insulate me from whatever that might pollute me fro the outside), what I've already said about playing w/pete and raul. I go to the boat and eat those kippered herring things I got yesterday, supplementing them w/habaneros from our "pickled jar" and dig it much. then I konk hard.

   pete gets me sometime after eleven and I shake myself awake for the gig. damn, second show in a row now where I have to go w/out any hot tea (pete usually has that for me, most kind of him) and it's hard getting my voice going. the sound is really weird up here and besides that, we're pretty high up - I feel really distant from the folks w/much bright light in my eye and kind of stiff in the bones, almost frozen - a weird scene for me. this is a college town w/the university of illinois here and a big cover story on me in the school weekly but the gig is caving. I've had that happen to me in champaign before. no matter though, a "character builder" at the very least. I can tell my guys are feeling weird - not so much cuz of the cave but their bass player is 'pert-near petrified. I try rally myself, saying inside, "this isn't like that last few tours - you gotta a piece to focus around, watt" and I do come out of it some. every so many gigs, I come up on this somehow - seems never to fail. raul blows the hugest of clams near the end of "burstedman" but it's not enough to wreck the momentum me and pete got going so the train stays on the track. I'm proud of my guys, much. I get looseer and we do a better ending to "pelicanman" than yesterday, actually fading the ending. it might've sounded bad out front, maybe worse than on stage but I just have to put faith in the soundman (I always tell them that they're the fourth guy in the band) and trust jimmy but it seems that maybe we drove some folks out. that's the kind of piece this is maybe too, I don't know. I just gotta play it at this point in my life, just have to. I'm glad pete and raul understand cuz in a way, that's really all that matters to me. I'm not meaning to be selfish or self-absorbed but there's no other way I could muster the nerve to go for something like this and I do feel very driven to do it.

   the audience has us back for an encore and we do that for them, much respect. I talk w/some cats - one cat says it was the best rock show he's even seen... I've been told that more than a few times this tour and each time it trips me out, much respect to them for the generosity. I think that's why it's ok to dare to something kind of bizarre, worth the risk - if not just for my own sanity. there's a cat who tells me I was his meterman in long beach, I job I had in the late 70s. he tells me his neighborhood and yep, I did do those pads. he's recites the poem I wrote about it:

   I never gave a damn
   about the meterman
   'till I was the man
   who had to read the meters,

   obviously, I had some time to think about it. I would have to make four hundred "reads" a day and would see about a hundred dogs - only bit twice the entire time too and those were from little ones. oops, back to now: bossman ward has many kind words for me, he always has and I'm much grateful for that. he says I look healthier than last time, like a man his age (thirtyfive). of course, that makes me blush. big hugs for him. big hugs for kemp, good luck w/little joe. this nice cat will and his buddies invite us over for konkage and we follow them into champaign's sister town urbana and over to their pad. one of the guys got all this vinyl from a seizure of a drug dealer's property and he's got the first nwa album, alright. very funny sleeve, they're wearing flavor flav clocks and there's two beastie-like guys w/them, one w/a budweiser forty. hilarious. I try and talk as much as I can w/them cuz they're great cats but I'm worn out and ready to slip into my konk sack. two of them got a two-drum-only band called satan's beer vomit. they say they kind of stopped playing but me and my guys try and urge them not to give it up. we try to promote expression amongst the folks cuz that's what we're about. there's some weird pauses, people waiting for me to start up another thread or elaborate on something they've said but I'm just too out of gas. I apologize.

   time for the mask. time for konk. they cut the lights and I'm about to sink under when my mind flickers and starts to light up. I see the whole gig we just did flash before me from the inside of the mask. it's an intense soulsearch for me to figure why I was the way I was. hmm... I have to overcome... me! like steve mcclellan said last friday, he mentioned that old "pogo" cartoon where pogo says, "we've met the enemy and it is us." amen, steve. for the sake of my secondmen guys at least - for the sake of those people who work all week to get up the bones to come see the gig - I have got to get it together. I think of future tours, this always happens cuz I have no intention of quitting, even when I feel the shittiest about myself. it's something d. boon left me in the form of momentum to help me even when I'm flailing and drowning in doubt. such a gift. righteous d. boon...

read week 2 of the tour diary

read week 4 of the tour diary

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this page created 01 oct 04