raul morales - drums
watt - thud staff, spiel
pete mazich - organ, singing
jonah loewenberg - son of gabe and jennifer
(left to right)
steve kaul - the man outside the van
thursday, november 4, 2004 - tampa, fl
Woke up about nine, feeling very well rested, and like a new person, it's amazing what a shower, topped with a good sleep session can do. Mike was out doing the up keep on the van, and pete was table side, pouring hot coffee down the hatch. The drive today isn't long, maybe a hundred and sixty miles. Playing in tampa, well actually, ybor city, in tampa. In my bedroom, hangin' on the wall is an old adolescents flyer, and there playing in ybor city, i'd never even heard of it till finding that flyer, and here i am. To tell you the truth, ybor kinda depressed me, just not my thing, lot's of theme bars, tattoo parlors, unfortunately somebody's, but not this sailors dream. reminded me of a mourning on bourbon st., all the trash from the night before, piled up on the sidewalks, stinkin' it up in the hot weather, the smell of vomit and booze creeping outta every doorway... blah, frat boys paradise, probably looks clean and respectable at night, but i saw in the mid day, when everybody who goes there is sleepin' off the hangover from the night before, not happening. It was steaming, so i thought maybe a movie, cool place to be, plus i wanna see the ray charles movie, ten bucks matinee... fuck all that. Spent the down time on a coffee jag. Got load in at five, so after a few hours of roaming, with no luck in finding a good spot to just sit and read, i make way back to the club. It's fucked, no music stores in ybor, seems like with all these clubs, there'd be tons of bands, and in those bands there'd be musician, and what do musician need to get the job done, well? Yep, you guessed it... music equipment, right, what a fuckin' no brainer that is, seems like someone would have the idea to open a shop, but fuck that, this town needs another bar. I really needed a music store, but what can i do. When we're back at the club, pete and i try to figure out how to fix the kick claw, the the guy who helps run the club, over hears us, and brings over a drill, and some sheet metal screws, he saved the day, and pete had it all geared up, and better than new in no time, even fixed a couple other things... thanks pete, your my hero.
Right after sound check, the other band shows up, urbane cowboys, and they set their gear up, and go thru a song or three. The drums sound weird alone, i hope mine don't sound like that... when they all play together though, it sounds much better. It's gonna be an early show, and i've already seen what ybor has to offer, i decide to rack em' up, and play a one man game of pool, just stick around the club until showtime. Spent some time talking with the boss, tony, he told two of his favorite people to work with were jonathan richman, and mike watt. He's been around a long time, and he has a bunch of good stories, he was telling me about pickin' up richman from the greyhound station, told me about ten years ago, jonathan richman did a tour of u.s., with just his guitar, and a greyhound pass, how fuckin' cool, i've taken greyhound to gigs, but not all the way across the country, gig to gig, also met a couple of cool kids from the burbs, they paid for the show, but don't have the time to stick around, they both have curfews, and they just wanted to meet mike, they were pretty cool, i convinced em' to at least stick around for a few songs. This nights been going by pretty quick, and the first band is already started their set. They were kinda country, did wave of mutilation, in their style. Drummer had four rack toms, what's that about. Met lots of nice folk, one guy, i think his name was bernie, i shouldn't feel to bad, he spent the whole night calling me ralph, well anyway, he did a life size painting of the door of the boat, brahma bull, and even a working door handle... pretty rad.
Since pete fixed my gear, i got a good feelin', atleast i won't be watching the bass drum slide away, and worrying about that shit. It was a good show, the only problem is, after fifty gigs i still can't get pluckin', i don't know what it is, doing the shuffle is a bitch for me, one day it'll come... hopefully tomorrow, other than that i think we did all right, i broke a good sweat, so that says something. I can usually tell if we're gonna play together the first few bars of the first song, if that goes well, ninety percent chance so will the rest. It poured while we were playing, must of been some hot ass rain, cuz it was like seventy five at one in the mourning, i don't think i could handle living in florida, it's not the heat that gets me, it's the humidity... how's that for cliche. After the show we went and stayed with gabe. In his backyard he had a little shack, told me that it was a pirate radio station for years, till it finally got raided that's pretty neat, i used to have thoughts of doing a pirate radio station, when i lived in a basement in pedro, it just made sense, it'd be hard to find, and i was always spinning records anyway, but i went on a four month tour, and never moved back to the basement, so there went that, it's probably something i should consider again. I was pretty fuckin' tired, so i found a comfortable spot on the couch, and called it a night.
popped at steve and alicia's and the house was strangely empty; I figured they had gone to work or something while I knew watt had gone to change the oil in the boat. rollie was still conked so I decided to go take a long shower; I han't indulged in this luxury in a couple of days so I stood and soaked under the hot water for awhile to take the ache out of my tired-ass bones and it was most welcome I tell ya. feeling much better I decided to get some coffee and do my email; steve had a wi-fi connect so I could do a hook up easy. alicia had left us out some banana bread and fruit so I munched down some of this (I left a few pieces for rollie), then went and got some coffee and did my email. I went back to grab some more fruit and I noticed that there wasn't any banana bread left; I looked over at buster (one of steve and alicia's dogs), and noticed he was looking at me kind of sheepishly. I said to him "you ate that banana bread didn't you buster"? he immediately rolled over and barked at me- the little bugger had given himself away (that's ok it was his pad anyway so I had to cut him some slack). rollie woke up and strode in, he asked me where everyone was and I explained the sitch to him- watt came back a little while later followed by alicia who had just taken the kids to school. alicia offered to fry us up some eggs and I declined as I had just loaded up on the fruit and banana bread but watt took her up on the offer. we continued working on the puters' until watt called for us to bail and we loaded up the gear into the boat, said our goodbyes to alicia and we were off once again. much respect to steve and alicia for sharing their pad w/ us and making us feel at home.
having conked in the bench as soon as we left I woke up just as we were pulling off the freeway into tampa; we passed thru the center of ybor city and it seemed like I had been there just yesterday, so goes tour memory. I spotted a cool little pad that me and jer had chowed at last tour- it was called carmine's and I remembered the kind cuban sandwiches that they had. thinkin' about ya jer....
we pulled up in front of the orpheum where we were playing at and it looked pretty much the same- I peeked in the window and I noticed that they had built up the stage and added new PA cabinets which was cool as the old stage had been pretty small and the PA was iffy at best. soundcheck wasn't for a couple of hours so me and rollie went for a hoof to the downtown area; he was looking for a music store to replace a spike that had broken on the front of his kick drum and it kept sliding forward while he played (not cool at all). we asked around but the only info we got was that there was a place about twnty minutes out of town (a trip, we were informed that would take two hours back and forth by bus). rollie had a coff' jones going so he got an iced quad shot and we sat around and read the local music rags and people watched. I was feeling a little hungry but rollie wasn't, so we split up and I hoofed it down to a pad called the green iguana where I had some caribbean conch stew w/ some great merlot (I was determined to only drink red wine for the remainder of the tour). rollie walked in and we sat outside the restaurant, rapped and people watched for awhile then hoofed it back to the club as it was nearing check' time.
the door to the orph' was open so we loaded the gear in; rollie was very concerned about the broken spike on his drum so I decided to take a look at it. he showed me how it was mounted to his drum set and after mulling it over in my head I decided what was needed. i went to the boat to grab my tool kit and asked dave if he had a drill, some bits and four #12 sheet metal screws. fortunately, he had all these items and I set to work- drilled out the rivets on the brackets and replaced em' w/ the screws, then crazy-glued them in place. success! rollie was happy as a clam (I fixed one of his tom stands too). matt the soundman showed up and miked us up quickly and we ran thru the "red and the black"; everything sounded copacetic so we broke down and I went to sit bar-side to chimp. dawn, the bartender showed up and I gave her a big hug- it was good to see her and she had gotten married in the last year! we rapped and swapped photos (she of hubby and me of lil the kill, tone, and the girls). I could tell she was really happy- she glowed when she talked about her hubby. one of the coolest things about the tour life is you make friends all over and it's amazing the changes you witness after not having seen them for a year. a trip this tour life is...
I chimped for awhile then did my email and read some posts on the yahoo watt list (cj marsicano had written a glowing review of our philly show-much respect cj). the first band, the urbane cowboys' started their set and I listened to them while I rapped w/ a couple of cats that had been at last year's show and gabe lowenburg also showed up (we had stayed w/ him last tour and were crashing at his pad again this time). his lady jenn was at home as she had to wake up early(she teaches first grade), and he also told me that they had a 7 month old little boy now too! ( amazing the things that can happen in a year-what a trip). the cowboys' did a social d' cover (ball and chain- I used to do this in my wedding band), and they did a britney spears cover that was hilarious. they finished up their set and I went to take care of my pre-gig duties and help rollie set up the gear. the chief came in and we rammed into the piece; I was in a good mood and I gave it my all as well as rollie but I could tell that there was something bothering the chief. I kept my smile and kept looking at watt who soon snapped out of his mysterious funk and went off. the crowd was very cool and gave us much love; I was happy w/ the gig and very happy w/ how we were turning into a formidable live machine (It makes watt smile and that makes me smile).
watt did the merch while we packed up the tools and we took several pictures w/ a bunch of cool peeps. I was happy as a clam. we loaded up the boat and gabe hopped in w/ us and navigated us to his pad- the weather was a little cooler as it had rained and there was a cold front coming, so maybe we would get a respite from the stickiness of the last four days. we got to gabe's pad and settled in- I made some tea for me and watt and we burned a little nug and rapped before I climbed in the bag and drifted away. buona notte musicanti.....
pop at eight bells to find rainy the righteous dog right there still beside me. man, she was great cuz that little sheet only worked for a couple of hours until it got a little cools for watt. in a mostly konked state, I got up to get my konk sack but the darkness kept it hidden. on a chair though I felt for a tiny blankie, more like a bigger towel and used that but w/out rainy's body heat, I would've been truly miserable. can't believe it cooled down like that cuz already it's warming up again. maybe it was just me then... I had this dream I was kind of like a dog and running wild up and down hillsides. I say "kind of" cuz I was looking out my eyes, like the were portholes and not being able to see what my externalness was like. it did seem like I was low to the ground and I was bouncing, like maybe I was on all fours. smells were all in my head too, sights being kind of dimmed (sort of black and white like) but a huge spectrum of smells were like shaping my perception, my consciousness. I smelled those honeysuckles, like when I was a boy in virginia - it put in my head a memory of walking home from meadowbrook grade school there, when I was in love w/both dinosaurs and wanting to be an astronaut. that made me think of laika, a dog the russians put in space w/one of the early sputniks. it was trippy, my hair felt long and like there was wind running though it - not all curly and mushroom-like as it is when it gets long on me actually but like if I had straight hair that would blow back in the wind or across my face or even strands of it going into my mouth if I was trying to talk. this was weird too cuz it wasn't like it was from running, this hair stuff (that was more the up and down bouncing thing) - it was like I was on a building like ten or twenty stories up (or even more - I couldn't tell cuz I didn't look down... even in the dream I had vertigo like in my waking life) on a balcony-like place... I saw helicopters taking off from all kinds of building roofs but none of them higher than I was, all of them lower so I could look down on them. I could see a river - I knew it was a river cuz I could see the other bank but it was a huge one and for some reason, it made me think of the pacific ocean, the water around my pedro town and I started to miss it... only for a while though cuz though I had feelings of longing still, it wasn't just for my town but something more than that (which is hard to believe cuz I love my town so), something that made me feel I was now very tiny on the ground and looking up at where I was or at least trying to - really all I could see was a skyscraper towering way above me, dwarfing me and giving me such a strain in my neck to get the huge angle needed to look up. then the emptiness in me felt worse than just missing, it was if I had chased it away. I then leaned so far back (either I was getting smaller or the building higher - or was it a building, really? it seemed almost a tree and I wanted to talk to it but remembered my only developed sense was my smell, one reason I couldn't understand what my eyes saw... talking was impossible too, it was like I wanted to say every fucking word I knew at once and therefore, none could come out) I fell over behind me in a huge hole (deep-wise) and fell for what felt like a month, shivering more and more as I dropped. it's then when I popped to both the sun through the window's and little dog rainy's warmness.
steve and alicia's kids were getting ready for school and said hi to me. that's where I got told rainy's name again (I space like crazy, hard for me to keep track) and that name came from her getting found on a rainy day. usually, she's all dirty - she likes getting filthy but her time w/me is different cuz she's been all clean. I've never had a dog been so loving on me. I gotta go get the boat's oil changed so alicia crayons a map while I talk w/steve some. he works at a vet's hospital and has to leave soon. these are some very nice folks - damn, I wish I could talk w/steve for a while. I try to cram in as much as I can but we both got shit to do so I thank him much and leave my guys to continue konking as I take the boat into town. I find the jiffy lube and put the boat in for the re-juicing of her fluids. an older gentleman helps me, asking about the music I do. he's been all over, loves to travel. he where's a svetko hat like the one I got and fingerless gloves to guard himself from the sun. what a nice cat. I drive home and see a post office, I mail the only little shirt I got left to the brightest star in my sky. getting back to steve and alicia's, I find pete and raul getting themselves ready after rising. alicia gets back on her bike (earlier she'd pedaled off) and fries me an egg and puts it on an english muffin (I earlier chowed a bunch of melon slices and strawberries that got put out for us). I ask if it's a nightmare, living in a college town and alicia says no, cuz of it being that way, there's lots of culture around. I never thought of that (idiot watt). time to go, I want to beat the traff into tampa. we bid farewell and much thanks. very cool peeps, this family here.
south on I-75 and wading into nutland w/the way some of these motherfuckers drive. I'm talking semis doing like ninety w/wide loads - this one rig w/a giant boat (and I mean giant, a huge shrink-wrapped yacht) and another taking up a lane in a half w/a giant office (usually you see these transported in halves but this is the whole fucking thing) - it's insane. I try to get the fuck out of the picture, keep away as much as possible. it's sunny w/huge white puffed-up clouds and humid as hell - not comfortable. remember, the boat has no air conditioning - I've never had one that has. we pass the big daddy don garlits drag museum south of ocala, I've been here lots but not this time. lots of billboards have been ripped up and torn apart from the four storms florida got slammed w/in september - intense. we take I-275 and then an exit worth on I-4 to the ybor city part of tampa, getting to the gig about three pm.
this pad is called the orpheum and I've played here more than a couple times. david lets me in soon after my guys went to forge for chow (I had another tuna 'way-wich when we gassed up midway on our ride here - billy bryson's habaneros very much welcomed in what I chomped down) which is happening cuz I was starting to chimp diary in the boat and man, was it a fucking swelter. I continue in the club - they got air conditioning working here now plus a little taller stage and better p.a. much respect to bossman tony for the improvements (probably david too). my guys return and we load in, doing a soundcheck w/soundman matt cuz the regular cat, shinji, got deported back to japan. damn. matt's cool though. I meet the openers, a local band called the urbane cowboys. I like saying hi to the cats we share the stage w/cuz it breaks down walls. we got enough walls in this world between us. bossman tony comes and brings fruit - I chow a banana and a pear raul gives me, mmm... pete helps raul repair the claw of his kickdrum w/a drill and bits david has - all of us helping each other... people ask how I tour like I do and this is the bottom line to it - it is not all watt, no way. this young man named andrew comes by, he's brought here by his ma cuz he's too young to come to the gig but wants to talk about bass. he asks me lots of stuff and I'm very into answering all I can - not just equipment stuff but how I got into it, me and d. boon, touring and trying to find the sound w/in me and not just stuff I copied off records or read about in creem magazine (though that stuff did inspire us). I told him how profound I was affected by finding the punk scene, how it empowered me and d. boon to do what we did. his ma takes pictures of his and then she talks to me about what I do and why I do it - she says she thinks what I'm doing is for the right reasons - whoa, thank you much. good luck to you in music, andrew - work your bass good. bossman tony tells me kerry has conceded so forget about that eleven day thing the guy said in that charleston coffee shop yesterday. he's originally from england so has a kind of different perspective, he said he was kind of surprised. well, at least things are settled I guess and we can all move on and deal w/what's now on the table. I still have hope we're all strong enough to get through whatever, even try to change things that try to lame stuff out. mandate? who's mandate? voices of reason can't get stomped out. I go to the boat and konk - shirt off though cuz it's sweaty again, like the last few before-gig konks.
I'm shook up by pete who's come w/some tea and to tell me where on plus he's seen something he can't hardly believe - he tells me to look in the back of this minivan parked in front of us. as I'm getting my shirt on and shaking my head from sueno, this guy comes and asks if I want any acid, do I have any acid - what? I tell him no, of course not. man. then this cat named bernie - I talked w/him a long time about bukowski last time I played here, much respect to him. well, he's got a painting he did of the driver's side of the boat - it's painted but the mirror and part of the econoline logo are actual so it's like a three-d or relief-like thing. it's beautiful. it for sure can't fit w/us though cuz it's huge, one-to-one scale - actual size. he gives me a number of a cat named miguel he's gonna send it to in long beach and I can get it after tour. it sure is a neat piece, wow. I go back to the boat to get the wacksack w/the tipurse in it and I hear that same guy who w/the acid rap tell bernie to go somewhere else w/him, forget "twelve bucks for this garbage." man, this frosts my ass much. I know I shouldn't let it get to me but we haven't even played one note yet - this is the first time we've ever done the piece in tampa and this person isn't even gonna give us a chance. I'm just kind of steamed. I go in and we're 'pert-near ready but I test the montiors and whoa, they're muffed/boomy and skivvies w/the two miles of country road sounding to no end so I work w/matt to get that together. I know, not the best of entrances but man, after gigs like the merc and tt's - places w/good sound but the monitors eq'd real bad, it made for really tough gigs, not to sound like a pansy. it's those lowmid overtones that fuck things up bad for you one stage, bogarting all the other tones. that's why I'm taking a little time here. they're not perfect - shit, I ain't going for that but way better than when I got up here and it's only a couple of minutes. there's drama robbed from a bit but man, I'm trying to learn to get things a little more together if it's possible too. I am chomping at the bit though and a somewhat angry so I fly at the piece when we get it under way. I'm so chaffed in a way I holler out "fuck you" - not on th mic but I gotta get this off my chest in a way. I know this isn't a good thing - last night w/the finger and now w/the cussing, I can't let these little weird things get on me - I can't control how people act and reacting to them just makes me kind of hand-puppet and not in charge of my own senses. I do not feel justified just cuz I'm on stage, in fact it makes me feel a little small. it's not what my ma would call "professional" and people who don't know what's going on in my head and why I'm doing why I am have no idea where it's coming from and it's not fair to them. I gotta be bigger than reacting to such piddly shit. that hardcore kid last night just wanted some attention, some acknowledgement from raul - maybe even to cheer him on and this guy tonight - well, maybe he don't dig watt. I am not very together to get all huffy I don't think. it does drive me hard for the piece though, I have to admit. I just gotta get focused w/a little more positiveness (I know that might be a cornyass word but what I mean is being not so abusive or flaunting anger on someone). both times (last night and tonight), I felt small right after. I let my temper get me, and that's a failure at some level. even when I finish the piece (by the way, my guys did good though raul had some probs w/the groove in "pluckin'..." some - he'll get it though), I say that if anyone things what I did was garbage then I'll give them money back so you can see I'm feeling a little guilty maybe to besides a little high on the horse. both though are symptoms of not very healthy character though and I gotta get that together. I wish now I could apologize personally to each of them really cuz I feel like an idiot, how I acted. obviously, I'm insecure and that has something to do w/it. I'm intent to learn from these goofs I made.
we get done and there's much kindness once again from the folks who come up to talk to me while I sling, I sign one man's fender p-bass - good luck to him w/music. a cat named jay talks to me some, he's got a righteous blue flannel, much respect to him... I love a good flannel. he gives plenty of good word my way, gracias - which I'm wishing to everyone so kind to do that. there's a cat who's got an indie record store - the way I found punk in the 70s (zed of london in long beach, ca back then), much respect here too. I talk w/soundman matt about getting those shocks after some loud pops came through the system and he's as puzzled as I am though there was a heavy rain while the set went on (florida can be like that, rain w/out freeze) and maybe there was lightning? trippy shit seems to happen - maybe it was karma on me for that surely 'tude I kind of had during the piece!
we load up and then I talk some w/bossman tony, always love getting the word from him and it's a pleasure to share on a gig - thank you, tony... his helperman david too. wish I knew the door cat's name cuz he said he dug the show, his first time watching what I do. everyone deserves a thanks from me and don't need any hell just cuz I might be feeling insecure - that shit can't be justified in my mind and really, I don't want it to. I wanna be a better human. we pile gabe in the boat w/us and head for his pad. the dog of the domain takes some smells to make sure we're ok but he's tolerant w/us. same w/the two cats. some spiel, some tea and then in sack and sack out for the out of gas bass player, whew.
friday, november 5, 2004 - jacksonville, fl
Took the same route north, as we did a couple days ago going down south to gainseville, alot of billboard skeletons with no advertisements inside, which in my opinion is kinda nice, since florida is a billboard mecca. Showed up to the gig early, so we could go down the block and get some laundry done, drunk biker dude, with a tall boy in hands, passed out drunk in front of the t.v., the laundry lady kept poking him, trying to get him to wake up so she could kick him out, when he finally did wake up, he bursted straight into song, atleast he was in a good mood, he looked pretty scary, i wouldn't wanna wake him up. After laundry, we drive over to the back of the club and wait for the doors to open, we're waitin', and it's getting on five thirty, screw this waitin' stuff, i'm gonna go around front and see if anybody's inside. So i give the front door a few raps, lady answers, doors not locked, okay sorry, i just didn't wanna barge in. Who are so she snaps at me, well, i'm rawl, and i'm in the secondmen, we're parked out back, and we'd like to get our gear on stage. You can't be parked back there, plus bands can't load in till after six... okay, our itinerary says five, but that's fine, we'll pull around front and load our gear in an hour. Five, she says, you got the wrong information, you better call back whoever gave you that information, and tell em' they're wrong... that won't be necessary. Did you guys even confirm this show, did you do a call back,you know that's what bands are supposed to do. Well, we haven't had the time, the show is booked, we know that much, we've been on the road for fifty days, and haven't had the chance, well, you can't be back there... okay i tell her, thanks for your time, see ya later. Wow, total stank attitude, i was very polite, and she defiantly wasn't. After i tell the boys what's up, they kinda wonder, must be new rules, we've always loaded thru the back door, but if we can't we can't. A few minutes later, the lady comes running out, the secondmen, the secondmen... i thought you said the second band, I'm sorry, i thought you were locals, man not treatin' the local bands to good are we. She let us go in thru the back intrance, which made things so easier, there wasn't even a parking lane out front, cars were just speeding down the road... it was all pretty funny when you think about it, she gave me the biggest attitude for no reason, it's not who you know, it's who you blow, she turned out to be a sweet heart, and she was so proud of her bad attitude, that she was gloatin' around the bar that i saw her rough side. While we're doing the sound check, we get a message that christy called... doh!. mike forgot that we were supposed to go to her place and have lunch before the show, we suck, but the dudes needed to do some clothes... priority. Christy, is a friend of the groups, and someone who i just met a couple months ago in portland while she was looking for a new place to live, she seemed like a sweet girl, and i feel bad that we flaked on her. Damn, i was feeling pretty hungry too, oh well. After check, i went for a walk to find something to eat, the only places nearby, were a bunch of booge yuppie restaurants, i opted for the latter, which was subway, my second of the day. After the way, i walked around jacksonville for a while, and almost got lost doing, not lost, but i defiantly got turned around. Back at the club i found the guys macking some chips and salsa, for an extra kick, they spiced it up with some fresh habenero peppers... good stuff, like mike always says, no burn no learn.
I managed to miss all the opening bands talking with the bartender, the stank lady, and christy, also whupped some locals on the who pinball machine. It's been awhile since there's been any pinball on tour, so the jones was strong. Our playing was alright, the sound was awful, i didn't what it was, mike thought that maybe it was the floor tom feeding back again, or maybe things were cranked to loud in drum wedge, turned out the sound guy forgot to mike the bass amp, and left the mic laying against the side of the cabinet. I'm sure, he kept cranking the bass to bring it up in the house, but it was only amplifying the rumble and making massive feed back... duh!. Playing was good though, abunch of drunk fools in the house tonight, one such man did a stage dive... only to be caught by the floor... ouch!. It was a energetic gig, the crowd was all smiles, and all about the dancin'. The group went back to christys' to get our sleep on, turns out she decided to have a little impromptu party, and stops off at her bar to get some adult beverages. A beer sounds good, but not a party i need to get some shut eye, so when we get there, i sneak upstairs, and find a big long couch i can call my own for the night.
popped at gabe's and I felt really good; mr. sun was shining outside and the rain had indeed brought in a little cold front so the weather was almost exactly like cali- no heavy stickiness and swelter (very kind indeed). I did a quick wash up then went to make some coffee for me and watt. gabe woke up and told me there were some bagels in the fridge along w/ some cream cheese if we wanted to chow. I cut up a mess of em' and toasted up those bad boys in the broiler, when all of a sudden a light bulb went off in my head- dines'! I went out to the boat and grabbed a can of em' in spring water and laid em' out on the bagels w/ some cream cheese and habi' hot sauce. killer breakfast! (I should make this a regular thing). gabe's little son woke up and what an adorable child- all smiles and not shy at all. it reminded me of my own little man tone- I really miss him (lil the kill and the girls too).
watt finished up his email work so we rolled up the bags and loaded em' into the boat and took some snaps w/ gabe's little man. and once again we were off... much respect again to gabe and jenn for having us and congratulations on the arrival of your little man (the fun has just begun)...
the trip to jacksonvile was a relatively short one but we wanted to get there early as we really had to do laundry-the stink bags were in a state of overflow). I conked on the bench and when i awoke we were about thirty miles out of town- rollie navigated us in and we pulled into the laundromat soon after. I read "blinded by the right" while the ropa was spinnin' and watched this cat that was asleep in a chair by the machines; he had his head tilted back, mouth wide open and snoring like a rhino while all the while his right hand is in a death grip around a budweiser can (how he never managed to drop that can defies all laws of physics). sensing a prime photo op, I motion for rollie to get his camera and he takes pics of the cat from all angles (too bad I didn't bring some oil paints and a canvas). after awhile the cat wakes up and starts singing some sort off a hymnal at the top of his voice. he says something to me and I can't understand a goddamn thing he's saying and I tell him as much. he asks me louder if I'm from jacksonville and I reply, "nope". he then attempts to communicate to rollie to no avail. he gets up, goes to the bathroom, comes out and taps knuckles w/me and says "later dude". hope he made it home safe (I told him so too ).
having finished our laundry, we drove the couple of hundred feet down to the back of the club (jackrabbit's), where we parked the boat. we had about forty-five minutes till soundcheck so me and rollie hoofed it down to a little pad up the street to grab some chow. we got back to the club after about an hour and rollie went to go check in the front if anyone was around. he came back to the boat and told us that the lady said we couldn't load out in the back, we would have to come in the front (a very dangerous proposition w/ the traffic flying by at this hour), due to problems w/ the neighbors. what's this all about? what neighbors?(we were loading in for fuck's sake). the lady in question then appears at the back door, it's tim the boss man's wife and when she sees watt and me she realizes who we are and apologizes; apparently, loading in the front is a rule for the local bands only (I still fail to see why tho'). anyways, it's good to see ann again and we exchange pleasantries then load our gear on stage. she calls rob the soundman and he shows up soon and gets us going. we do the check and everything sounds pretty copacetic so we break down and I go bar side to start my chimp. christie, the lady we stayed w/ last year (and who had been at our portland show), showed up- she had made us some chow but we had forgotten and flaked. she was cool about it tho'( I assured her it would get eaten later). I finished up my chimp and listened to the first band- they were pretty cool. someone taps me on the shoulder and it's none other than hugh manatee (no, really), who I had met the last couple of tours. he had brought his son w/ him (who is a bass player), and we rapped for awhile about kids and the like. such a nice cat that hugh. I also rapped w/ this young kid named steve who was very excited about seeing us (maybe more so cause' he was a little borracho), but he was a sweet kid nonetheless. I also met a lady named ellen (an ex-girlfriend of ed fromohio), and a friend of hers named jackie. very nice peeps.
the second opening band finished up its set and I pulled duty then went to help rollie set up the machines. watt comes in and we launch into the piece. we are strong as ever on it tho' I lose focus in a couple of parts and I totally blow my solo on pissbags' cause the drums sound like a wash to me in that part. there is a bit of an annoying upper-mid hum that seems to be coming from rollie's floor tom; rob tries to gate it but it's still present to some degree. the folks are into it but are also yammering up a storm- I flash em' the yammer sign during the dylan tune and it calms them down a bit but it's still a cacaphony. at several points in the set steve (the kid I was rapping w/ before the show), gets up on stage, dances around and jumps back in the crowd but the last time he does this it's a backward stage dive into the crowd and nobody catches him! he lands back first right on the floor- lucky he didn't fuck himself up seriously (the magic of alcohol once again rears its ugly head). we finish up the encore set to much applause and I feel really good about the gig. only bogart was my volume pedal (ernie ball) has a tension problem and it won't go down to zero volume so I have to do the volume rock por mano' on the roky tune (I'll have to check this problem out tomorrow).
me and rollie get the gear broken down as watt slings the merch and we sign a few posters for some kind peeps. we get everything loaded in the van and we follow christy back to her pad; she's done much work on it in the last year and it's absolutely gorgeous- she's a very talented lady. we rap for awhile w/ ellen, jackie, mitch and a few other peeps that are there and burn a few nugs (I also munch out on the kind roast that christie had made for us). the sandman soon cometh however so I climbed into the bag and I was out right quick. spokoinoy nochi musikanti.....
pop at seven bells to find gabe's wife jennifer getting ready for her job teaching first greaders, she's just about to bail. she just had their baby jonah seven months ago though I never heard him - a quiet little sleeper. I had a kafka "the trial" dream where I was in some kind of court, answering for "inappropriate behavior" but it was up to me to tell the judge where I thought I had gone wrong. I made several cases for myself but each time I looked into the judge's face to see if it was proper, I could swear it was no man but a stone statue w/a robe draped on it. not just a stone-like disposition but actual fucking stone, a carved statue. it wasn't even that realistic (I got more and more confident w/each look to examine closer), 'pert-near like a tiki in a way. it was bizarre. the "courtroom" I was in was like an old barn w/pieces of the roof missing and the sun shining in were shafts almost solid in nature, the color of hazel eyes - really green eyes maybe cuz my ma said my pop's eyes were hazel and sometimes they were kind of green but at other times they seemed almost gray and any green in them were just flecks. these shafts were the color of green, green eyes and like eyes, I could feel them look right into me, all the way down. this made me deliver my spiels in not the most confident of manners and I would stumble much, causing me to want to start again and get it more together. each time too, it seemed as if I left out something, making things sound too confusing, too convoluted but it wasn't from intent, much more from being inept. I felt like a fucking 'tard. no matter how hard I tried to "make my case," the more full of shit I'd feel and backtrack to qualify what I'd say until all was a mess of tangle and babble. I felt each spiel dug me deeper and deeper into a hole. there was no one to blame either cuz on this statue and the shafts of green light were in the barn w/me. I don't know why but there was the unbearable sense of embarrassment inside me, like I was blowing clam after clam at a gig for no other reason than to be just blowing it. aahh, this was a wringer of a dream. not scary like violence or hurt was coming on me, more for bad choices I was making to represent for myself. then it got really pathetic, I wanted to be just like a little one, a child and curl up as if to say I was sorry for whatever I did, maybe everything I did was wrong. these are painful thoughts and can't be that healthy but I get them time to time in my waking life. to have them come on a dream is pretty intense. I hose off and then get week seven of the diaries ready for the hoot page, drinking coff I made from the bag put out for me. it's called "eight o'clock" blend but I went in on it early. gabe wakes and then so do my guys. pete makes up these bagels w/cream cheese and 'dines from the boat - that's a great idea and tastes good. we use "liquid summer" which is a sauce gabe gives for the boat. a little watery and not a lot of heat but some ok flavor. he gets little baby jonah, adorable. I put the diaries up and check email - shit, a fucking buttload... the last to come through the pipe though shows up in the window (no way I can start getting to all these now) is a poem from snez about our halloween chapel hill gig she saw:
MESOSTIC RE THE SHOW
by Snezana Zabic
benevolent deMon plucks
catguts wIth giant steps
the organ groan maKes
every dErvish twirl
the old Witch dips her drumsticks into the cauldron
to scrApe the thickness at the bottom:
it's a poTent brew, chapel hill, halloween
the secondman's middle sTand
"pissbags & tubing"
music wraps me up in tough-sofT spiderweb swabs of
noise and Hush and breezes of melody
on this diesel train of clatter and silEnce
yes, the body Sometimes
choosEs to quit and that's
when you deCide:
we'll hOld on here, grab the second chance so hard
kNuckles turn electric yellow
surrenDer to this hell? no fucking chance
...but for a moMent even the quivering
cymbals are mufflEd
and listeNers hold their breaths
trippy. thank you, snez. man, as for the rest of these in the inbox - I hope folks don't think I'm an asshole or a the hugest shirker ever... I have a lot of catching up to do when tour's done and I'm back in pedro.
we take shots w/little jonah and then bid him and his pop farewell - thank you, gabe. we head back whence we came, north on I-275 then I-75, through ocala and then in gainesville, fl-26 to us-301 and I-10 west... a total in-reverse replay of yesterday and the last part of the day before - we're in jacksonville by three bells. actually, it's a little different cuz the humidity has been totally blown out and the weather much like back home in cali, righteous. I know it might sound a little soft but that's what we're used to and though I'm not going to cower out and run, the sweatiness does put a drain on me. let's just say I'm grateful for the gift of dry instead of wet heat to tour in. not even that hot really, seventies - trippy when you think of the rest of the country in november however. on the way, I got a 'way tuna sandwich stuffed w/habaneros and chips (trippy roasted garlic ones) - this way was a drive-through one connected to a gas station. raul was surprised the lady who gave me the sandwich was asian ethnicity when he though her voice had a spanish accent. see when you ass-u-mme, all of us humans are prone to this. he'll get a dose when we get to the gig.
before we pull into the back of jack rabbit's (the venue we're at tonight), we do our wash at the laundromat we always do cuz it's just a block away. I decide I ain't gonna chow dinner tonight cuz I want to eat a sandwich at this pad that's never open when we come here, some pad called sam's. it closes like at 3:30 pm or something, must be only for lunches maybe. they got liverwurst but when I ask for it, "sam" (I'm guessing it was him, an older cat) says it's "liverbest" however this does not taste like new york city. oh yeah, we're in jacksonville - hmm... this laundromat is always the hottest ever I've been in but today it's bearable but still, my outfits dry in like fifteen minutes. good to have clean outfits. I put a new one on yesterday for tampa, still sticking to an out fit everything days - at least w/the shirts (cuz of self-fouling, I had to break that convention w/the levis and skivvies a couple of times - aaaaaarrrrrrrrggggggghhhhhh).
we go to load in a the club and anne, the lady that just got there is freaked out by raul and thinks he's from an opening band, later apologizing when she comes out back and finds the old guy at the boat's wheel (me). whoops. "secondmen" not "second band" - pretty funny. she's a sweetheart though, at least raul didn't have his hoodie on, huh? seems w/us humans, perception is at least nine-tenths of the law. we load in w/soundman rob - man, he looks familiar. on the way here, I told my guys about konking at an opening band's pad after the jacksonville show (actually, this is the san marco part of jacksonville) me and the pair of pliers did (tom watson and vince meghrouni) some years ago and a weird situation developed w/vince and the lady friend of the bass player. it was all mistaken whatever (she had gone into the room vince was konked in and rob found her there in the morning but vince never did know rob did until I was shuttling us down the freeway very quickly in the boat - rob had told me I had "a real class act" of a drummer when I popped and I had no idea what was up until I was enlightened. rob never went off though - much respect - but he was steamin')but intense w/emotion w/this man - I thought his name was gus (cuz of my fucked-up-at-times memory) but it was the cat here, rob! he was a good cat then and is sill one now. he's got facial hair and some more weight but he's still the big man I remember and w/a good heart. this lady was a handful for him and he got put through the ringer but is doing well now - he was looking much forward to seeing vince again, telling my guys they had some "history" and all. my guys got told this while I was outside so it was a trip to hear this from him - that's when it dawned on me (idiot watt) that rob here was actually the "gus" of what I had told. everyone laughs, life is trippy. I know vince wouldn't have smiled w/a big grin at rob, asked for a towel and said, "oh, that little jamie" if he would've had people were partnered up in the pad then. rob ain't pissed now though, he really was looking forward to seeing vince.
before soundcheck, I want to do something about this lane poor pickup of mine going down in it's routing and getting stuck - the springs holding it not being nearly enough to withstand my pummeling. rob lets me have some foam rubber he's got on his wall by the mixing desk and I stuff that under the pickup to make things way more bonus. I change strings too, it being that time of the week again. better than a breakage and making the piece intermitten intermittent - I like it flowing as one stream. we do soundcheck and then pete adds some of bill bryson's habaneros to the salsa we've been given and this makes for some good eats w/the chips. we gotta chow these things down before rot sets in - this isn't like the rest of the country right now w/coldness to help preserve them. I then go to the boat and konk.
pete gets me and gives me tea - grazie dio, pete. I missed the openers, locals called seventeen after and hand over hand - very sorry. I must've konked three and some straight hours, tired watt. we do the piece and we do pretty good though some of the focus is challenged cuz of a huge feedback on raul'd drum's lowend, like w/the floor tom and kick. whoa, it's a hummer. the crowd goes between big yammers and enthusiastic support - kind of weird but nothing like here last year w/those two hecklers who would not stop w/their "hey mike..." every five seconds. one guy does stage dive backwards and no one catches him. I'm glad he wasn't hurt. trippy to see that during this opera, hmm... different folks for different pokes, I guess. we finish up and this nice man named bondi gives me some really neat artwork he made for me, beautiful. he's friends w/both rob (my printer ma, a righteous cat in saint augustine who couldn't make it tonight) and that guy in hoboken who gave me the "a love supreme" book on coltrane. trippy connections. hugh manatee comes up to talk some while I sling - he's been coming to my gigs many, many years and even takes his son now. he said he registered to vote so he could have the right to complain but his sample ballot came yesterday - "alright, florida!" he said. he's a great cat. the two dudes I've promised to go fishing w/since 1987 are here and damn, I gotta make good on that. really, I'd love to - damn. they're good peeps too. an old friend from the fIREHOSE days, el and her friend jackie are here too - many years since I last saw them. this man who says he's a "heavy metal bass player" says he likes my playing, very generous of him. I tell him geezer butler was a big influence on me when I was younger - like john coltrane says, "music is a big reservoir." so true, I've come to find it. lots of kindness, lots of pictures taken w/folks, signing things, getting their cds - this tour's been full of this each nice - amazing you can a sense of people being so angry, just being out on the road and then at the gig here, there's just the opposite. makes it so hard to try your hardest and just be genuine, truly. I settle w/boss tim and tell him mike halloran in san diego says hi - he called me today cuz he was talking w/wayne coyne ("luigi") for the all tomorrow's parties festival going on in l.a. right now. tim used to be w/the spirit in san diego - on the u.s. side w/the other big water! our scene sure is some fabric! we load up the boat.
christie, where we stayed at last time in jacksonville has invited us over again (we saw in portland at the beginning of this tour too!) and so raul rides w/her and we follow. I'd rather have raul w/us and tell him when we get there, no disrespect to christie but we gotta be together for tour. raul understands, he never gets too uptight and he's a great tour/shipmate. I get into my skivvies to head off sickness cuz of being in sweaty-wet clothes. el and jackie show up and they keep talking about my look now, that it's healthier and though it's kind of them, it makes me feel unconscious. two of the cats who were at the gig come by too to talk and I try to keep as much as I can but the adrenaline is running out. thank god the tv got turned off - I've never seen anything like it, a projector making the image the size of an entire wall, whoa. I just can't take much sound or stimulation after playing my brains out, sorry. it's good to see el and jackie again and they want to know why I look why I do (hell, I must've looked very unhealthy before) and I tell of my pedaling and paddling in the morning, my scissoring of the drinking and eating better (my own-cooked chows). the other two guys are nice too but they're more about telling me how they like my songs and bass playing, brian (the name of one of them) asking to one day jam w/me. I get asked this a lot but man, I'm just too busy, sorry to say - no disrespect intended. he asks where do I make my stand or are my words just poetry? (!??!!?) hmm... pete brings me more tea and then I have to konk so I make w/the mask and ear plugs. that's the cue, guys... el and jackie have already bailed. christie's making my guys chow - like an idiot, I spaced and forgot to bring us over for that when we got into town (I was thinking "laundromat" and just headed there). it smells good but finally being still in this konk sack, feeling the reverberations of the gig just done finally calm and subside in me feels even better so I give into that... better for me these days to shovel in daylight. sleepytown next stop.
saturday, november 6, 2004 - tallahassee, fl
Wake up at christys' pretty early, ofcourse mike's all ready up, i've only woken up before him twice all tour. This house is hella comfortable, C. had gutted the whole thing when she bought it, and did all the design and remodeling her self. The shower was in a bed room, it was this hugh tub, so big that you didn't need a shower curtain, i felt like i was in on cribs or something, taking a shower in shaqs pad, this place was a trip, there was also personalized art toilets everywhere, christy told me she was in the middle of working on danny elfmans' can, what a trip. We all got up about the same time, and christy was kind enough to brew us some coffee, and cook us up some breakfast... thanks for everything christy. After chow i laid around reading some lovecraft, i ended up falling back asleep. Don't know why i was so tired, maybe the schedule is starting to wear, but i ended up sleeping on the way over to tallahassee too, only two weeks left, i don't wanna be all worn out for em'... that would blow, but body knows best, and it was telling me to get some rest. Playing the beta bar tonight, we get there early, and luckily the boss is there doing some work for a few minutes, so we get to the load in over with, pete and i are both pretty hungry, so we hoof it in search of grub. Walk a good mile in the wrong direction, not the wrong direction, but not towards any chow house either, fuck there's hardly anything in this part of tallahassee, and what little there is, is closed. We decide to head back and start going the other direction, finally find a place another two miles down.
We have lots of time to kill, so after grubbin' , pete and i hit up a art gallery thrift store, this place kept us busy for awhile, it was fucked up, right next store was a shop named urban world, what kinda bullshit is that, the place where all the white frat dudes get their " hip hop gear"... retarded. When we get back to the club i start catching up on my chimpin', seeing as how i slept on the way to the gig. The sun dropped pretty fast, it's only six and already it's dark. Soon after, matt the sound guy showed, opened up the door, and we all got geared up for sound check. While we were checkin', five eight showed up, some old friends of mikes from athens, really nice guys. Also playing was the salty sea men, i know, kinda gross name, but it fit, these guys played sea chantys' on the deck outside the club, dressed from head to toe in full pirate garb. This brought such a fun element to the show, it kinda reminded me of being at home, all these people outside, drinkin' and dancin', singin' along to sea chantys'... that's fine and dandy, my friend sandy, girl from pensacola, she can't sing a chanty, these guys and girl were a good time, they played in between the sets of the three bands. With all the bands on the show, and the gig not getting started till ten, we din't get on stage till after one, people were gettin' tired, i know i was, i'm feeling real beat tonight. Our playin' was good, but it felt like we were practicing, and these people just happened to be there, i'm sure they were into it, or they just could've left, unless it was like looking at a car accident, and they just couldn't divert they're attention. After the gig we went over to derricks place, he was sweet enough to offer his house to us. I'm not too sure what the others did, but i know what i did, i went to the back bedroom and went to sleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.
popped at christy's pad; I was feeling a little light-headed and I went upstairs for a hose-off- feeling much better afterwards I went downstairs and hooked up to christy's wi-fi connect, did some email and read some watt list posts; much respect to johnny fubar (chris) for the kind pics of our northampton show (and yes, my new tattoo does mean "the way"). Christy graciously let me use her cell and I called up my mom first; she had sent me an email about the swastika shirt that I had worn at a few gigs w/ the cross thru it- she was concerned that I would be attacked by skinheads. I assured her that I was in no imminent danger (this all stems from my mom's experiences as a little girl at the hands of real nazis). I then gave lil the kill a buzz and we rapped for awhile; talked a little to my little man tone too; he had a bit of a cold and I told him he needed to rest and drink alot of water. I got back on the phone w/ lil and was interrupted by tone (who wanted mom to bring him some water immediately as dad had told him to drink alot of it). tough little man that tone. It made me feel so much better to hear their voices, I would see them soon enough. christy had made us up some eggs for breakfast and I chowed a little of this down w/ some pellegrino (christy was also a big fan of this sparkly water). watt finished up his email work and it came time to bail so we loaded up the bags in the boat, and we were off once again. much respect to christy for once again having us and making us feel at home (she also told us that she was coming to the show in tallahassee- a 3 hour drive-woh!).
raul asked for the bench seat as he was really tired so I obliged him and assumed the navigatore position- we had a relatively short ride to tallahassee and we had some directs' that watt had pulled off of yahoo so I led him to the freeway and we were on our way w/ relatively little hassle. I nodded off and my head bobbed up and down like it was on a spring- I tried to read a little but my heavy eyelids did not allow me to do so. I was startled awake by watt who yelled " get that map out sailor"!, so I knew we were close. evidently we had done a blow-by as all of these yahoo and map-blast directs are ambiguous at best and should be only used for general reference. I pulled up the map on the ti book and groggily scoped out where we were- watt had to bring the boat around as we had almost drove straight out of town. he wanted us to get in early as florida state was having a homecoming game and the traffic would be a major bogart if we didn't make it in time. we pulled up in front of the club (the beta bar), soon enough and the boss of the pad (brian) was conveniently there and we loaded all the gear in. brian had to leave soon after but at least we had unloaded. me and rollie hoofed it up the street in search of some chow but our search had proved moot in the westerly direction. we decided to move east as I remembered a little pad that me and jer had frequented last tour. looking around, I realized that we had beat the traffic snarl by a small margin; the first game had finished and what a cluster fuck of humanity this had caused- cars and peeps all over! alot of frat boys yelling out of their vehicles and whooping it up- a most repulsive scenario to say the least. we got to the street where I had remembered the pad was but strangely enough it wasn't there. suspecting navigator error we walked a block down and sure enough there it was (a one-block blow-by). rollie noticed a greek pad nearby and we opted to go there instead; it was a good choice and we strapped on the feedbag. very kind chicken kebabs and couscous I must say. we hoofed it back to the pad and the soundman, will was there and we sallied forth to set up the gear. I tried to fix the volume pedal but to no avail- the string which controlled the potentiometer travel had broken and these things were a horrible bitch to fix. shit! what now? luckily, will saved the day by providing me w/ a dunlop volume pedal to use that someone had left behind; it was a tad bit smaller but it would have to do. christy showed up and watched us go thru the check'-everything sounded great tho' I would have to get used to the logistics of the new pedal but at least I had one to use. much respect will. one of the opening bands was five-eight; they were from athens, georgia and had opened up for us in pensacola last year. very nice cats. I retired to the band room and sank deep into chimp mode.
some hours later I came out of my chimp trance and listened a little to the openeing band. they were ok , but not really my bag. a little too pop for my taste, but the crowd dug on em'. rollie told me I had to come and listen to the band playing on the outside deck- they were called "the alaskan pirate and his salty seamen"; they were all dressed up like pirates (the bass man was dressed in a shark suit w/ a fin on his back), and they sang all these sea chanty's which the crowd seemed to know all the words to. I dug on em' much. five-eight launched into their set and I checked em' out for awhile; they had a great rapport w/ the audience and played very intense (especially the guitar player). I loved em'.
I went back into the band room to lay my head down for awhile- I was a little beat and I tried to cop some z's before we went on- rollie came in while I was out and did the same. hearing the opening strains of five-eight's final tune I sprung into action and made some tea and tried to shake my grogginess off. we got all the tools up on stage and I went to go wake up thhe chief; he pointed out to me that it was 12:45 AM! fuck! I had not even realized I had been so into the chimping and my curt sueno. I grabbed the nerch box and went back in- some of the crowd had already left, can't say I could blame them. this is a way late starting time but I suspect that due to the fact that the boss of the pad was playing drums in the first band he had pulled a little time squeeze. whatever. watt ambled in and we launched into the piece; the energy was good and the peeps were very gracious but it was basically deadwood out there. blank stares. for what it's worth I couldn't totally fault the folks as we had started way late (latest show of the tour so far), and they were probably worn out. we rammed thru the encore set w/ almost no stops in between and finished up. the crowd was very nice to us aside from their almost zombie-like behavior. this gig had definitely sucked all the life out of me that's for sure and I quickly packed up the gear and backed up the boat to the back of the club for a quick getaway. we had everything broken down and packed within thirty minutes. will had set us up w/ a pad to stay at w/ a friend of his named derek and we followed him back to the house which was about ten minutes away. we settled in and rapped w/ derek for awhile; burned a little nug and I read a little of the new book that I had purchased, "the jungle" by upton sinclair (I had last read this book in high school and I was enjoying it even more this time around (or had least gained more of an appreciation for it). my eyelids however, began to get heavy and before long I switched out the light, both outside and in. buona notte musicanti....
pop at eight bells and have to piss. funny, chisty's put in a head right next to the kitchen - only a few feet from the sink I pissed in last time I was here (not on purpose but cuz I couldn't find the head - see the porland entry), the sink that had no drain pipe hooked up and I had to paper towel it up off the deck! her pad is really nice now, she's got lots finished and it's really happening. even the toilets are like works of art, all kinds of things cemented on and painted up to make them works of art. I had a dream last night I was at the beach. it was trippy, nothing about this dream was scary - weird for a watt tour dream! I was laying on the sand, near the water and the roar of the waves pounding the shore right in front of me was intense. I was only getting misted though, no drenchers. it was if my attention narrowed on each drop of mist coming on me, a sensation like the lightest of fingernails grazing against the skin - trippy. makes me feel electric, charged. at the same time, I feel myself slowly sinking into the warm sand, real slow. after what feels like hours (all the time in wonder w/the mist droplets), only my head is sticking out from the sand and w/that, I feel I'm going under any further. even though this is crazy and unfathomable, I don't feel afraid about it - now the mist on my face and my lips. it's all quite comfortable, in fact (me deep in this quite exquisite warmness and at the same time w/gentle coolness on my cheeks). this whole time, the beach has been deserted but bit by bit, I see someone walking and coming nearer. it's strange but before I ever see the face, I see the tan lines like someone would have from the sun reaching places not covered by a bathing suit. the trippy thing is that what I think is a bathing suit is actually where the tan lines - no clothes are involved! whoa, I feel embarrassed, the way a boy would and can feel my face go flush and red. it wasn't like I could really turn away either cuz my head was pretty stationary w/it buried so and it was from the periphery of what side vision I had that made me realizing this possible. almost on me, I could see who it was and tried to speak but just bass came out of my mouth - bass lines, like from my little bass. I thought of the compass on her - I've often had a vision that if I balanced my bass w/my left thumb behind the neck just in the right place where it wouldn't tip and fall, that it would always point my in the best direction. I could tell it was from this little gibson bass not someone elses or one my other ones, like my moon or my thunderbird cuz of the tone - us bass peeps are always looking for the tone grail and these bass lines coming out of my mouth made me happy. I wasn't concerned much they weren't words and in fact was kind of happy they weren't cuz then I didn't have worry so about using the wrongs ones being clumsy w/them period. at first, these riffs I knew but then I got feeling so inspired, I started inventing and improvising on the fly. damn, I wish I had a recording machine in the dream cuz I was digging what was coming out, like an underneath part of me was giving birth to these - very heartfelt but righteously cliche-free, giving me a huge hankering to make them be. this was a nice dream. in the kitchen there's an orange kitty making hunger sounds so I chow it w/some dry cat food. christy comes down in a bit and cooks us up scrambled eggs and little 'tater cubes, thank you. she says she might drive to tallahassee tonight and see the gig so we say our byes/thanks and bail.
the weather is really happening - no humidity and the heat just in the seventies, yes. to have a tour full of the best pedro weather would be a gift beyond compare - I try to up the odds of having as much as that by touring the way I do in the fall, clockwise. accordingly I do the opposite in the spring, counterclockwise (think of the center of a clock being like in kansas and pedro's at like 7:30). we go west on I-10, the tree lines here being 'pert-near totally pines. pretty. not too many offramps or towns here either. when the boat needs gas, we stop at a pad that has a 'way connected to it and I have a tuna one prepped w/bill bryson's habaneros, good eats. I know this might sound pretty monotonous but having habaneros kick up your inside heat always seems to make for an interesting ride. one reason we left kind of early (besides usually just doing that anyway!) is that florida state (the university in tallahassee - it's not just the state capitol) has it's homecoming game today against duke and it started at noon so if we get in at two pm, the stadium will still be filled w/"all those who would plug our way" and that would be a very good thing. we make it a half hour later than predicted though cuz we used yahoo! (the web site) map directions from christie's 'puter and they're fucking bunk - we blow by the turn we have to make cuz it's called monroe on the street instead of the us-27 they had us looking for. I realized this about twenty blocks west of where we needed and pete helps chart a plan bravo to get us where we need. this pad is called the beta bar and I've done a few gigs here before. bossman brian had the cowhaus too, a sight for gigs I've done here too. tonight he's also gonna have his band believe in toledo open even (he's the drummer), a lot like in the early days of punk where the fanzine you read about playing a place had the cat putting on the gig opening up (he probably wrote the article even that got you interested in coming there) and later you'd konk at his pad. old punk was very much about people connecting w/people - not much of a machine existed then. pete and raul hoof to forge for whatever and I park the boat where it ain't by the dumpsters (something about the smell and flies). I then hoof near the lot (this pad has great parking - nothing like some of the nightmare situations that's stressed us so - it's a huge dirt lot next to the place) and these two cats have a bar-b-q smoker trailer set up cooking chow for probably football game people. I did try the sandwich pad right here but they said they were closed when I walked in (what, three in the afternoon on a saturday!) and kind of stumbled on to this outside, not realizing at first what it was. one of the guys opens up a smoker and says what he's got is "boston butt" which is what he calls pork shoulder. he's also got q'd-up leg and thighs (connected) of chicken. I get a boston butt sandwich and a chicken thing and this is some very good q, great. I forgot to say that brian was here when we arrived so we unloaded the gear, the back of the boat empty for pete to konk in when he comes back from his foray w/raul. I chimp forward on the back bench (we have the band gear separated from us w/wood construction - the bulkhead starts about half a foot aft of the bench and doesn't go to the top, it stops about a foot and half from there so we can stow stuff above the gear, we call this the "shelf" - georgie used to konk up here in fIREHOSE days and call that mode "shelflife"). mike from 5-8 shows up w/his wife - they're on the bill tonight too - he says hi and we talk a little before taking off to find a hotel. dark comes on and I rap w/this young guy I talked to last time I was in town - he's down cuz of the election and even wants to move him and his people to canada. I tell him about how I read in matthew collin's "guerilla radio" book that serbia lost a lot of bright folks cuz of the wars that milosevic dragged them through - people moving to chicago to wash dishes and such. I think canada is a great land w/great people but there's still a chance here in the u.s. to make change - I'm that optimistic but he's gotta decide for himself what to do. I think emotions are running high cuz of the drama just played out and some thought after the fact will settle in so the despair I've been sometimes hearing won't totally take hold. shit, somehow we've survived all these presidents through the years, all these politicians in all kinds of offices. I don't think people what a fucking miracle that might be if you considered things the way they are, not trying to belittle any concerns. raymond could articulate this better than I can but he's pointed out to me the bare thread of whim we all dangle by arrogant shithoarders w/hardly any concern of consequence, working their power games as if we were but pawns in that game. anyway, since this guy is in the arts, I say listen to you heart. he says there's mersh flooding out the true art and he's right but that's the human condition, probably always has been - I can't think of a "better days" and don't want to fall asleep trying to. I do understand his frustration though, damn. no quick medicine, that's for sure. fare thee well, brother.
it was in this very lot a year and a half ago that iggy called me about that first stooges gig in twentynine years to be had and I'd be on bass, the one at coachella. he talked to me quite a while, it was so intense on me, hearing the word from the man himself. I still fell the tingles that were running through me then while that was happening now. in fact, I call him up and leave a message on his machine saying I'm in good health, there's two weeks of this tour left and he inspires me much to try my hardest every time I'm working a stage. I think about it before I make the call so I'll be concise and not babble and then get it all out in about ninety seconds. this man means a lot to me, the bow of the boat. ron and scotty too, I love the stooges so. the whole thing is such a mindblow for me. I'm 'pert-near twirling in circles as the phone rings and I deliver my spiel and then get a rush when I hang up - whoa, gotta sit on the ground here a sec. I then go around the back to get to the club's hatch but I have to dodge the boat's aft hatches that pete's left open and there's this spigot w/out a handle sticking out of the club's wall that nails me in the port ankle - fuck, that hurts! it tears some skin and I bleed a little through my sock. shit, should've been paying more attention than just letting my head hang in the clouds (well, it's night - the moon's an intense crescent). it's not bad, cut-wise but sure does hurt. soundman will arrives and we do a soundcheck w/him, he's a great cat and it's good to see him again. this dj named ryan from the radio station at the university (v89, "the voice) comes by and asks me to do an interview so I go w/him (though he's confined to wheelchair cuz of a car wreck six years ago, he drives a car himself - getting in and out himself, putting his chair in the back seat) and spiel for an hour at the station. it's a good spiel, him asking me great things to riff on, like where I've been and where I'm going - where I think punk's been and where it's going... much respect to him. a good spiel has so much to do w/the cat you're spieling w/in such a big way. even though my spiels might sound like monologues, I'm actually bouncing off the thoughts being beamed at me by the questioner. I get back and talk to 5-8 bassist dan a little and then konk cuz man, I'm beat. spieling is almost as hard as a gig for me!
pete comes w/tea and gets me... I can't believe me watch says quarter of one, whoa! this definitely is the latest gig of the tour cuz it's like one am when we begin the piece. beside the 5-8 guys and bossman brian's band, there was a band called the alaskan pirate and his salty seamen (guess what they were dressed as? aarrrrrrrrgghh!) who played in between so that's what made thing run so late. not only is my ankle killing me but I'm tired, even w/all that konk. I want to play good every gig this tour though so I put everything I have into. I can just imagine the cats in the crowd and how worn they must be... I got in for free so it's stupid for me to complain and give it all I got. we do the piece pretty good (I do tell raul after he's hitting the splash too hard in "pelicanman" in the chorus - can't believe how nitpicky I get!) though I only go for four of the encore tunes instead of all of them like we've been doing most shows since my voice bounced back (that brooklyn gig) cuz it's coming on like two and half bells in the morning! pete did good improvising w/a backup volume foot pedal cuz the string that works in his regular one snapped - yet another tour casualty. that foam rubber under my lane poor pickup is working out good, no more pickup getting crammed and stuck down. I'm really into how good my guys did, especially w/the situation - will too got great sound for us on stage. nice folks w/nice things to say, again I'm very grateful, thank you peeps, thank you much. I sign another bass, this cat has a band called alien8 and he said he heard the radio spiel and dug that, saying he's doing recordings where he's playing everything, just to do it and see what happens. now that's a spirit of adventure I can very much dig - that inspires me! I can't wait to get working on my next stuff, really. people w/fire in them fire me up, it's always been this way - it's contagious! the cats from bulldog cycles helped promote the show and they've been to many of my shows before, such generous hearts they have. much respect to them. one of them, kevin, works here now - he says I owe him some pinball games... shit, if it wasn't so late... sorry, kev. I say hi to bassman ian, who's working behind the bar - I've stayed at his pad a couple of times. many cool peeps for watt in tallahassee, much respect for that.
will's got a buddy named derek who's offered to put us up so raul wakes up christy (she konked in her car during our set!) and she follows us following him to his pad. derek's very generous w/his pad and his hospitality, truly. me and pete share some talk and mota w/him for a bit - man, he's got some huge gatos that have got to be the most intense for smelling our stuff and us this tour - maybe a couple of hundred sniffs each, the are curious! not ones really to purr it up and get rubs but not for hiding either, they are very interested in the odors we have to us, the ones from the towns we've past (and probably other gatos!). I'm pulling down my mask (ear plugs already in) and I notice pete's reading upton sinclair's "the jungle" - no wonder he's always konking while I'm driving, maybe he has trouble falling asleep. I would not be able to read one word though, not now... I'm done. noches, pete.
sunday, november 7, 2004 - birmingham, al
Left derricks' pretty early, also gained an hour crossing the time zone, so we show up to the nick real early. It's a sunny day, and there's a park across the street, so i decide to head over, find a sunny spot in the grass, and get started on the sand pebbles. For some unknown reason, the first thing i do when we show up is walk around to the side of the club, bad move, i'm instantly attacked by bugs, little fuckers ate me alive, i had atleast ten diffrent bites, in the span of thirty seconds, bastards love my blood, hope i don't come down with the west nile. It was really nice to be hangin' out in the park, and there wasn't as many bugs as the back of the club. In between reading, i watched some locals play an intense, aggressive game of basketball. I was there for a while, it was a good spot, and i could still see the boat, at one point i fell asleep in the grass, i remember watching little bugs real close, then waking up with drool all over my arm. It's been getting dark real early, so by five thirty the sun was almost down. I head back over to the club to wait for the load in, it's usually at six, so that gives me a half an hour to get mauled by those little fuckers. While i'm waitin', a local girl shows up to use the pay phone, see tells me the sound guy won't be here until eight, i check the list, and sure enough, load in at eight. Fuck i need some way to kill the time, i can't just sit around reading, getting eaten alive, so i decide to hoof it to anywhere. I find a little bar/ cafe called the garage a few blocks up. I order up some coffee, and they give it to me in a wax coke cup, this place seems pretty bunk, so i just hang out front, half way thru the coffee i gotta piss, so i go back inside, thru the depressing bar scene, and find the bathroom. Totally stumbled on the least expected, this place had a hugh patio in the back, as big as the whole block it was on, it's nice and dark, and there's random shaped lights hanging all over the over grown trees, you could almost get lost. The best thing about it was all the old junk everywhere, there was all these glass fronts on both sides, and they looked like old garages, there was a bunch of em' made up to look like throw backs, for all i know, they weren't made up, and maybe they built the cafe around them. Neat vibe, very surreal, i found a table way in the back, and finished my coffee, and read some pages, the coffee made me feel alot better, and along with the place, put me in the mood to explore, and see what else i could find around here. I was under the impression there was nothing around, i not really sure why, i just didn't get the feeling of anything nearby, i was somewhat wrong, i did find the street with the over priced coffee, and the ritzy thai place, and i also found pete, sippin' some overpriced coffee. He told me he'd been up here a couple hours, and that he had already eaten, i was starved, so i left him to the caffeine, and i went in search for food. Before i ate, i called home and talked to kid kevin for awhile, they had a practice with flepps on drums, which i'd love top hear his take on the killer dreamer songs. there's is a big show comin' up in pedro, and instead of missing it cuz i'm outta town, i told the boys that they should fill my sneakers for the night, i'd hate to have them miss out cuz i'm not there. Kevin tells me the cat won't stop fighting, the roommates are driving him crazy, and there's a show at the house tonight, all this makes me happy, cuz it's still the same old fourth st. This tour is going by fast, and we're almost done, i'm gonna miss it, but it will be good to be home for awhile... you know, ride my bike, pet the cat, cook food, hang on the porch... the good stuff. After the call my stomach starts eating itself, so to appease the gods i go in the first place i see, and i'm in luck, it's vegetarian chinese food...mmmmmmmm. When i finish i go a block over to see if pete's still around, he is, and he's just about to walk back to the club.
Back just in time for the check, total roadhouse style bar, i like this place, and all the people who work here are real cool to us. Fuck if sound check wasn't till eight, i wonder what time we'll play, when i ask the sound man, he tells me it's a late crowd, and we won't go on till a quarter past midnight, man everybody's gonna be burnt, past midnight on a sunday... oh well, it happens. After the sound check, i go to the back of the club to check out the lonely pinball machine. Some guys come up and tell that the sound check was great, and that they can't wait for the show, thanks i saw, and introduce myself, and ask them where they're from, we're from starkville, no fuckin' way, my friend jason grumpie lives in starkville, oh you mean jason triplet, yep, that's the one. It's nice meeting friends of friends in random circumstances, man i fucked up by not calling jason, i didn't even realize we were that close. Playing with a local group called pacific radio, three outta the four guys work at the club, the guitar player looks look matt o' war from fleshies. The pacific radios didn't go on till ten forty five, this whole playin' late thing is startin' to wear on me, all the energy i might have is gone by the time midnight hits, my fourth wind way being me. Sitting around a bar is draining in itself, it has the ability to suck the energy right outta me, especially if i'm not saucin'. Finally, play time. As soon as we get into the first song, the adrenaline kicks, and my spirit starts comin' back. Mike decided to pick up the tempo too, which wakes me up double time, this i like, plus it's fun to play fast, it makes it so i can get a good sweat going, and i feel like i put some energy into it, ya know, i didn't have to hold back. I had one major clam to speak of, during bursted man i totally played two parts completely backwards, i have no idea how, but somehow we pulled through, and trucked right thru.
I've been real tired lately, and playing so late does not help the situation, i hate to complain, but really the past few days i've been so beat, so when we get to the place we're staying, i waste no time in getting some sleep, the last thing i remember hearing was, the young guys the first one to go, i had to laugh, i bet this guy couldn't last a week on the road.
popped at derek's pad and the first thing I notice is the burning in my throat; damn! this crap was coming back. fortunately I didn't feel feverish so i knew it was an infection resulting from a slight scratch that I had gotten in my throat from eating some tortilla chips. it had not had a chance to heal and things were getting worse now. we still had thirteen gigs to go and I did not want to spend them in intense pain. I made some tea and drank it down in short gulps; I felt a tad better but I was a little worried. we rolled up our bags, loaded our gear into the boat and bid goodbye to derek. much respect for having us.
we got moving and copped some z's on the bench seat as I really wanted to hasten my healing and I had only gotten about four hours worth the night before due to the late start. at some point I woke up and we were in front of the club (the nick) and I felt a little disoriented and sticky from the heat. I got up and looked around- no rollie or watt in sight so I ate some fruit that we had in the dry stores and drank some water. I picked up "the jungle" and read thru a little of that too. after a time watt showed up and wanted to chimp a little so I got out, changed my shirt and went for a little walk. I was feeling some hunger pangs so I decided to look for an appropriate chow pad, maybe middle eastern or thai. I walked for a couple of miles until I discovered the center of town which was called "five points"; most of the pads weren't open until about five or six so I kept hoofing until I found a que' pad called jim's. I went in and ordered up a chicken caesar salad. I had brought a bag of fresh habi's w/ me and I cut up about six of em' and laid em' on top. whoo!, kind burn. not finding any private coffee pads I reluctantly went to a barfucks' and scored a latte and sat down to do some chimping. I was deep into it for I don't know how long when rollie comes up and breaks the spell. I told him I would be finished soon but he told me he would go grab some chow on his own in the interim. I finished my chimp up soon after and ontinued reading "the jungle". 7:30 soon rolled around and rollie showed up after which we hoofed it back to the club for the soundcheck. the pad was open so we loaded the gear in and set it up on the stage. the soundman, danny , miked us up and we ran thru the check'. everything was decent so we broke down and I went to watch tv barside. the opening band, pacific stereo, came in and set their gear up on stage; we rapped w/ them for a piece- very nice cats, all of them. this was inexplicably going to be another late show so we had plenty of time to blow- we weren't going on until midnite for chrissakes!. me and rollie sat barside and watched "adult swim"; it made me think of my little man tone again- I really miss him alot. we watched pacific stereo's set and they were pretty damn cool. I dug on em'.
we went up and slameed thru the piece; the crowd was sparse but they did seem to get into it- a little hint of dead wood nonetheless. I was feeling really pissy cause' of my throat and it was fucking my mood up- watt could tell I wasn't all there. we finished up the set and I was really mad at the crowd (this was more me than them tho'). several people did come up w/ very nice compliments and much respect to them for that. I really felt like shit and my throat was raw. a cat named paul came up to raul and offered us up his pad to crash at so after we loaded the boat up he climbed in the shotgun seat and led us back to his pad. we got in and I made some tea for me and watt and we rapped ffor awhile- I attempted to read a little of "the jungle" but I was beat. sleep came quickly. buona notte musicanti...
pop at eight bells and go to hose off but can't find how to make that work so I soak in the tub. feels good on that sore ankle - the cut made by that spigot was small but I have some swelling - looks like an half a baseball there, ouch. glad I could soak it. good to have these mosquito bites I got all over soaked also. oh, the wounds of tour. I'm not trying to complain though cuz it could be so much worse. I woke up out of a dream where a hallway w/painting after painting on the walls kept me absorbed. what was really trippy was that I could see an image in each frame as I was a few feet from it but once I'd get right to it, all I could see was a blankness w/a frame around it. I say blankness cuz it was just white like there was paper there but actually blankness, like a void. it wasn't black either, like you'd think of in an outer space context but nothing. this weirded me out much, frame after frame like this... actually, there was like a written description next to each but I didn't have my glasses (!) and the writing was so small. very frustrating. eventually, I got up the gumption to find out what this blankness was, what did it feel like and after looking all about me for a bit (I was paranoid a guard or someone would pounce on me though I saw no one about anywhere), I put my fingers on it and they sank right in - in felt like warm butter so I went further until my arm was in up to my elbow and then... fuck, it was stuck! now it was panic time, I wanted to get it out before someone came and got angry. I felt like a total idiot - why did I do that? fucking idiot watt. if I did get in trouble, I felt I totally deserved it cuz why didn't I have more respect for this person's stuff, whatever it was. maybe I was just oblivious and not aware enough, why'd I have to do and fucking put my hand on it. I felt like briar rabbit and the tar babe, sort of. I thought of that story, how they more he struggled, the more messed up he got in it. there's a lesson there, I guess. seems lots of times I'm only fucking it up worse for myself, I swear to you. anyway, I finally manage to yank my arm free and out from the frame gushes gallon upon gallon of mustard - it smells much like mustard and is yellow like it. I mean it's flying out and soon I'm being carried down the hall by it like I was in some kind of rapids, bizarre! my intent was to keep as still as possible cuz it seemed like I'd be able to "float" or whatever on it and struggling only pulled me down in it. by being still, I felt a crust forming around me, the mustard more brown where it touched me than in the rest of the "river" or whatever. all my focus went to this "crust" and I became engrossed in how the colors went from yellow to brown to my flesh color. the three seemed to merge. finally though, I realized I was melting in it and the "crust" was now just residue left from me being turned to mustard. I felt my mouth full of it (by the way, I love mustard) and then everything turned yellow - I felt my eyes fill w/it so intense that the lenses of my eyes popped out, my last thoughts were of toothpaste-like thick streams shooting from the center of my brown irises. holy cow.
I get my guys and we ready to bail, I write a thank you note to derek for his niceness. we say bye to christie and she heads east on I-10 (back to jacksonville) while we head west. the weather is again righteous w/no humidity, intense heat or cold - just perfect and I am not exaggerating. this is the weather you'd wish every day of a tour was like, at least I would cuz it's safer driving for the boat, easier for konking before the gig and easier for doing the gig. you can stay healthier better too, as well as the body joints not being so hard put upon (like w/wet cold). we are blessed - we do our blessing: "bless the boat, bless the band, bless buddy" - a picture of buddy rich is taped to the inside of the boat's roof. then it's three blasts w/the bottle of peach-flavored air "freshener" that is gotta be the worse. it helps us on focusing for the best for that moment though, makes us humble about the intense endeavor a tour really is. we continue down the panhandle of florida, the road almost entirely lined by pines - we pass into the central time zone and pick up an hour. south of dothan, alabama, we turn north on us-231 and cross the border, heading for there. we save a bunch mile by going this way rather than staying on the freeway, like we did going to gainesville the other day. bye bye florida. it took three stops at 'ways today until we found an open one where I can chow down a bill bryson habanero stuffed tuna one, loading it up w/some potato chips too - I like the crunch they give them. it's a few hours on this road until we pick up I-65 at montgomery. from there I take us into birmingham, pete's been konked the whole time cuz he's got a soreness in his throat and I want him to rest. raul guides me to the venue, a pad called the nick. I've been here lots but not in maybe six years - I think last time was w/nels for the last go around of the "...engine room" opera. no one's here so my guys each take off and hoof while I hold the fort in the boat and chimp diary. when I finish my entry, I call john strohm (I met him when blake babies played w/fIREHOSE) and he comes down w/some thai chow and I shovel what he calls basil shrimp. I like it. john tells me about moving away from playing music and now being a lawyer after schooling for it here. he got turned off by a lot of the crap the racket's full of and yanked the plug. he elaborates on all this until danny the soundman shows up at eight to open things up. we set up and do soundcheck - that's all john can see cuz of the lawyer job and so we say bye. that was nice of him to chow me like that. I find out he's helping the opening band who's called pacific stereo by giving them free lawyer help. actually, some fo the guys in the band opened up for me before in a band they had called couchfort. I go to the boat and konk pretty hard.
for some reason, I pop by myself at midnight and within moments, pete's there w/the tea. trippy, like an alarm clock inside of me. I can tell pete's spirit is kind of down, I bet it's that throat shit cuz for pete to be even one percent less than the bull he is then the most be some kind of assault being put on him by infection bugs. man, I wish I could reach down there and yank them out. pete's my rock and I feel even weaker than I usually do w/out him there w/me strong. I gotta pull together and help him on stage. I have to say I'm not into these late fucking gigs - especially on a sunday, what's up w/that?! starting the piece, I can tell young raul is even stressed some by this... he's a little down on the oomph so I push up the tempo some in "burstedman" and he gets lost for a bit but recovers well - viva raul! I blow some clams too but overall, I think we do pretty good. danny had the monitors good - much different than last time I played here. when we came back for the encore, I say something about the yammering to those at the bar but then say I'm sorry. I don't mean to come off high and mighty, I apologize. it was just a little insecurity... hell, if I had it together better, I'd get their attention that way and wouldn't have to complain. I've got to really work on that. it's something scotty (from the stooges) would call "more of a buddha-like nature." anything to fucking get over myself, I swear. it's a weird defensivness that makes me wanna puke when I think about it later, seems more and more the quicker I am to recognize it but can't get the fucking plug pushed into the spout of the stupid jug fast enough. I'm gonna keep trying though. the other thing is crawling into myself and not engaging folks, cowering. it's not wild, it's not goofy - it's fucked up. if folks only knew how small I feel inside, how very little I have it together. in a way I wish this was way more apparent although who the fuck wants to witness that? on the other hand, I like what john coltrane said about "uplifting people" people w/his music. hell, I'm trying to do that w/my guys, uplift them so they can help me but I must come off as a lunatic w/them. I want to learn to inspire them more, then us three can help bring the cats who came to the gig on board. maybe it's this piece though I don't really think so since I've been having trouble w/this for years. not to sound sentimental but d. boon played his ass off and so did edward. that was pretty empowering for the likes of someone like me. this gig has be weird for me in a way too cuz I realize my anchor necklace is gone from around my neck - fuck, what happened to it? aahh, panic! I had to push on and play my best but damn, I couldn't have donated this too... maybe it's in the boat and fell off when I konked but I don't know how. oh well. we finish up and there's nice words from the folks - I sign a poster for a pastry chef, whoa - don't think I've done that before knowingly. the pacific stereo guys talk to me, good words from them about gigs in the past - they once were in chicago and saw me carrying my wash across the street from the cabaret metro and that cracked them up. life's a trip. a nice man named matt gives me a sweater his grandma gave him - a wooly one w/stripes... never had one like this before, how very kind.
oh, the nick barlady lent me a flashlight to look for the anchor necklace on the stage and that proved fruitless but another search of the boat found it on the deck - yes! I feel so grateful to have it. I don't know how it came off but pete clasps it once more around my neck. whew! a cat named paul has offered us his pad to konk at not too far away and we put him in the boat w/us after loading up and go there. he's in the publishing racket and moved here from the northwest. thank you much, paul. I am really tired - two nights of real late gigs, whoa... I konk quick as my mask comes down.
monday, november 8, 2004 - mobile, al
Pete wakes me up, and tells me mike is down the street at the coffee place, and that we're gonna leave shortly. Drive today is around four hours, gotta go back through montgomery, then head over to mobile. I spent half the time readin' sand pebbles, and the other half sleeping. Mike woke me up right at the freeway change, hollering, what's my move sailor, what's my move, scared the crap outta me, luckily i had the route memorized, or there could've been a total blow by. A few miles driving once we're off the interstate, and we're there. Playin' a place called satori, it's a cafe/ coffee place. At first the idea of this doesn't really excite, cuz usually it blows playin' coffee houses, but when i see this place, it's like an oasis. First off, it's open, so i know i won't be spending my day waiting for a stinkin' bar to open, there's nice shady spots in the grass in back, and tables all around, not a plank of wood resting on a couple buckets. It's pretty hot, and i could use a drink, so i go around front, and order up a strawberry smoothie, no hot water from the back of the boat for me today. While i'm hangin out front, enjoying the sun, the waitress comes over and starts up a conversation, she's a cool lady, just got off work, and is in need of a smoke, i hand one over, and we get to talking, she's a singer in a country band, kinda of like the hainghts she tells me... no way, you know the pine hill hainghts, sure do, i tell her about how they just played my house a few weeks before i left on tour, turns out we had a few people in common... north america is turning into one big neighborhood, i love the punk rock community, it's made it possible for me to know so many different people, in so many different parts of the country, i can't wait to check it out over seas. After the smokes, i go inside, and find a quite spot in the corner to get some reading done. While i'm reading my eyes keep droopin', and i keep noddin' off, i decide to go back to the room we're playin' in and lay down on the couch, sleep hits quick.
I don't know how long i was out, it felt like days, when i woke up mike was right there, he looked over at me, smiled, and said sueno, which translates into dreaming, yep, and it was a good one. Right as i'm waking up, this guy starts setting up some grub, his names is dennis, and his mom made us some of the best sea food gumbo i've ever had, food was kickin', had some rice and chile to top it all off, i ate two big bowls of it, so good. No opening bands, and we're gonna play early, eight thirty, this is very happenin'. I love this place, the attitude is so chill, very relaxing. I spend what down there is hangin' out with all the local kids out front, that's another thing that rules about this gig, it's all ages. Playing was good, it was like playing a house show, there's not mics all over the drums, just one laying inside the bass drum, which i think things sound so much better without em', when you start putting mics everywhere, there's more room for bad sound. This auctually was a house show, cuz the cafe was an old pad, it was like playin' at the old koos' in santa ana. I thought we did good, it took me a minute to get comfortable, it's hard sometimes to tell what people are thinkin', they were just being real attentive, and checkin' out what we were doing, it was a lot of fun playing for these folks, people went outta there way to make us feel at home, that's such a cool thing, and i think it comes out in the playin', somtimes i feel like i'm being scrutinized under a microscope, you just gotta put those feelings in the back of your mind.
After we got the gear loaded in we head over to dennis' place. The dudes have been here before, not me. Once we get settled, i chow down some more of that fabulous gumbo that dennis' mom made, polished that off, and had a shower, and hit up the sack. The guys were sleeping in the room above the garage, so i took moms sewing room, and feel asleep instantly.
woke up on the deck at paul's- my throat was still on fire and pondered what to do about this sitch- it was starting to effect my left ear as well and it was stressing me out. watt asked me if I felt feverish at all- I didn't, so we determined that the infection was localized and that I should gargle w/ hydrogen peroxide every two hours and lay off the chokes, mote, and booze. fine w/ me, I just wanted the pain to go away and leave me alone so I could focus on the remaining gigs. paul gave us some verbal directs' to the freeway and we were off once again. much respect to you paul for your kindness.
I laid back in the bench and tried to talk as little as possible, I read for a time until we pulled over to fuel up and grab some chow- I also needed to get a bottle of peroxide. I spotted a que' place next door and i had a jones for some so I went to go scope it out but alas the place wasn't open yet but they did have the que' fired up so it was a major taunt. de-nied! I went into the gas station where we had stopped and bought a choc. chip cookie- my only respite from the hunger. we would have to travel farther to find a way'. rollie did find me a bottle of peroxide at another staion next door tho'(thanks rollie) we continued down the freeway a little further until we saw the friendly subway' sign and immediately pulled in to grab some chow; I scored a chicken sandwich which I liberally doused w/ habi sauce and ate half of- the rest I would save for later. I cracked open the peroxide bottle and gargled w/ it for about a minute as directed and the burn did subside somewhat. I laid back once again and immediately fell into sueno state.
some time after, I heard the boat pull over and hatches being slammed but I drifted off once again. when I awoke, I was drenched in sweat and felt very sticky; I sat up and looked around, we were parked in back of the pad we were playing at (satori's coffee house), but there was no one in sight. I was feeling grogged out so I did the "motionless w/ a blank stare for awhile until I snapped out of it. strangely, there was a heavy smell of que' in the air. I needed a change of clothes badly so I hopped out of the boat and went to the back to grab some clean duds, got back in the boat and changed(I also found out where the que' smell was emanating from- there was a que' pad next door to the coffee house). I felt a little better and my throat was feeling much better too altho' I still had some scratchiness. todd, the promoter came outside and asked how i was feeling; I told him I was much better- he's a real nice cat and it's always a pleasure to play for him. he also said that dennis (the cat we had stayed w/ last in mobile), would be bringing us over some shrimp gumbo! woo hoo! I went inside and rollie was fast asleep on a couch while mike was chimping away in a corner. he was also concerned about my well being and I told him I would be just fine. Todd's lady, jessica had made us some very kind salsa and cut us up some fresh habi's so I pounded down about four of em' to clear up my head- it did the trick in spades. I looked around at our venue- it was just that, a coffeehouse and it looked like it could do maybe 40 or 50 peeps, but no matter, I was used to playing these kinds of gigs w/ the crowd way up in your face, so I was way into it. dennis showed up w/ the gumbo in tow and we strapped on the feedbag; I have to say I felt really good after I ate that hot stew and it really upped my confidence. I could move mountains once again! I was still determined to lay off the vices tho' so I made some tea and sipped on it slowly. we went back out to the boat and w/ the help of todd and dennis, got all the gear in and set up. we weren't miking up any of the machines so we zipped thru the check' and it sounded absolutely wonderful; it would be like playing in someone's living room. I went to the front of the pad and finished up my chimping- only had a short time to do it as this was going to be an early show (and I was way into that too after the last couple of shows). we hung around a little while longer until a gang of peeps began to show up, then todd blazed the coltrane over the PA and we launched into the set. we all played like we were on fire and I dug into my machine w/ a vengeance; it was a relief to go off after feeling like shit for two days and by the end of the set I was drenched in sweat but I felt really good. the crowd responded in kind and were kind of tripped to see us in such an intimate setting but loved it nonetheless. I felt great about the gig. we packed up the gear and I made myself some tea again, then w/ the help of todd and dennis again we loaded up the boat and followed dennis back to his pad. rollie got the bedroom in the house while me and watt crashed out in the room above dennis's garage. I found a cd that dennis had of carl reiner and mel brooks doing "the 2000 year old man"( haven't heard this in years) and I listened to that for awhile then read some of "the jungle". around midnite tho' I could feel the eyelids getting heavy so I slipped into the bag and I was out. quick. laku noc sviraci....
pop at eight bells. I dreamed I was parts of an engine, that's what it felt like. I didn't feel I was human at all, I was the workings for this motor. all I could smell was full of oil and gas, it was choking me out but my cough's sounded mechanical and 'pert-near regular as thy had been driven by a cam. I kept trying to get a bigger view of the situation I was in but kept getting yanked in the acute detail of being such a contraption, remembering how my pop taught me an internal combustion motor worked. I remember being a boy and first truly realizing the spark plugs fired when the points opened and not closed. I could feel each jolt as the rotor came around to the appropriate wire and the shake it would give me brought memories of when I was healing from the sickness and the nerves were knitting together as the holes where the surgery were in my 'taint (and the hole that resulted from the infection blowing out) slowly came together - I didn't sleep for weeks and the twilight sort-of atmosphere I found myself in (but no deep konk) would be all shook up by these tremors. I could feel almost bone on bone and then it'd be as if I'd will lubricant into those spots and smooth that sensation out cuz it was horrible. there were constant cycles of this. I felt like my pop in the engine room in a way cuz though I was like him helpint to push the boat, I had no idea where it was going - him being way down below all those decks and me not really know what the hell was going on. I hardly "saw" - it was mostly feels and sensations. what I did "see" was like an allegory, I was trying to make sense of things in my mind and was drawing a mental picture of this engine to actualize it for sake of some kind of sanity cuz I knew (ha!) this wasn't the reality on the dealio - that was something I was trying to pursue. my dreams sometimes get like this, like an analogy to make things clearer actually starts confusing me w/what I'm trying perceive and it runs me in circles. I do remember running out of gas and finally sputtering out but this wasn't wholely a bad thing cuz at least I had some peace... only for a while though cuz then I got scared that I hadn't run out of gas but actually seized up and tried hard to figure out which parts of me had done that. it was kind of a troubling dream.
I walk w/paul to a coff shop and get some in the biggest coffee cup ever, I thought to myself, "I'm shrinking!" there's a bi-weekly there called "black and white" and I read this gig preview for the show we did last night - pete and raul said something about this last night and man, is it heavy. why would they give me space to tell folks I was "self-indulgent" and had "a total disdain for anyone naive enough to spend their money expecting either depth, tunes, or entertainment," I'm wondering? well, maybe there's something I can learn from this. I mean the tone is pretty intense and the writer so disappointed in me, I must be fucking up somehow cuz the beginning part says it likes things I did w/the minutemen, fIREHOSE and the stooges. of course, the first reaction I get is to be defensive but you know what? I gotta get beyond shit like that. there's something to be learned here - life is about learning. me just writing about here points out it's made an impression on me. we go back to paul's pad and I get my guys - big thanks to paul and his kindness. we take the route we came in on, going right past the nick and south on I-65 but continuing down past montgomery until it ends in mobile. the whole time I'm thinking of that gig preview, I feel like all the knock-downed and uprooted trees along side the freeway, the toll from hurricane ivan several weeks ago. it is really intense how nature dealt such a blow, actually I feel more for the trees and what power got unleashed here than myself and it's petty concerns - it takes me kind of out of watt world for moments at a time but then I'd go back to thinking on that criticism. this put an impression on me, the way it came out like that and the right to bone frankness and what seems like disgust. in a way, it's 'pert-near an enlightenment cuz to yanked out w/a sensibility like that produce quite a shock. it made me look at myself and not from a dream or w/in one. we find a 'way and I stuff a tuna one w/the last of bill bryson's habaneros along w/hot pepper flavored potato chips me and raul share a bag on. I want to thank raul for ordering me these while I gas up the boat so we save on time. both him and pete have been so solid for me, righteous spirits and such good men. back on the road and back to my thoughts - this is a quiet ride and not just cuz of watt deep in his beat-himself-up thoughts but cuz pete's a bit down too w/the throat attack by some bugs. we got him hydrogen peroxide at the last stop and maybe that'll help. one good sign is that he's got no fever so maybe it's not too bad. man, I want so for pete not to hurt. the storm damage wasn't just on the trees, there's billboards and fence posts even totaled out, damn. humbling, just like that gig preview. maybe if I said "we" more in my songs rather than "you," "I" or better yet "watt" - I always see my spiel in terms of drama, and not trying to be condescending pretension but maybe that's how they come off. I know my stage manner can be pathetic and have been trying to fix that. I really feel the urge to write new stuff! this whole tour I've felt a positive challenge on myself to face what I can do next and why shouldn't this be even more motivation? hmm...
we get to mobile and raul guides me in well to the gig, sartori's. it's a coffee shop w/a big room in the back (big as in a giant living room), the gigmeister todd building a stage for it just yesterday. todd's a great cat and has made it possible me for to play this town now three times, much respect to him. it's like the old days w/the person-to-person contact you had to have to make things happen. jennifer has made us a salsa prepped up w/habaneros to bring both heat and flavor to the mouth, great! the weather's continued to be righteous, truly - no humidity and the temp really mild - what a blessing. we do a soundcheck w/the only thing going through the p.a. is the spiel and raul's kick drum - sounds great. we're the only act tonight and we're going on at 8:30. concerning that start time, what a relief from the last two gigs - all three of us are overjoyed, yes! the last couple of gigs, me and my bands have stayed at this nice cat named dennis' pad and he arrives w/a big pot of gumbo that's delicious - thank you, denis. todd's buddy joe - a cat from the 60s who's sixtytwo now comes by w/an old buddy and we talk about things. joe's got a great spirit and always opens up things in my head by his observations. he tells me about how he believes we can't get too bound up in the control games being foisted on us and sometimes just getting out in the delta near here helps him much. it's wide open and you can find ancient pottery from the indians that lived there, a good relief from the dilemmas weighing down on us as a species and how we're organizing ourselves in poisonous ways, even if some of the intentions seem what might be good ideas. joe is an enlightened man and generous w/his perspectives, much respect to him. he's also generous enough to flow me a sack of chilies he grew from a plant given to him by a chinese lady - they're not habaneros but look like the ones you see in asian chow... I try one and they got a great flavor and some kick in the heat department too - thank you, joe. we talk until it's gig time - that seems to go by like it was mere seconds...
we start the piece and it's trippy, having the folks right up close like they are. it's scary in a different way than most the gigs this tour but kind of in a good way cuz there's no gap barely between us three playing and those experiencing it. I can tell my guys dig it, they play really good. raul's a little fast w/"pluckin..." (he's gotten way smoother putting the tom fills into the verses) but settles down once he feels the groove. this is good gig for us in so many ways - thank you so much, todd. it kind of "cleared the pallet" in a way, like that ikura kind of soosh is supposed to do (the one that's like bait I used to fish w/as a boy - salmon roe). we finish up and they have us for more - I tell them one reason I'm playing a piece like I'm doing isn't all the way about watt - one intention I have is to show folks the scene is still pretty well open to try whatever you might get a mind to do - especially if some almost fortyseven punk rocker is playing a coffee house doing something like this - let your fread flag fly! I hope that made some kind of sense. we finish all we're to play and I talk w/the folks, one guy wants a picture of my pedal board for the talkbass.com forum I'm part of - sure. I'm glad people are excited about music, bass players? yes... even if it takes effects pedals to get you there! actually, more than a few want to talk bass - from the bass guitar to the amp to the preamp, compressor and speaker box perspective. this is one thing I've been happy to help out w/if someone's curious - even to let them hold my little bass and even try playing it so it demystifies the deal a little more, make it approachable in a way they can make fit the voice inside them, make it personable for them. I meet a cat named cheetah shine and he's got a fanzine named "ear damage" that I tell him I'd love to do an email interview w/cuz I'm way into that. I meet another man close to my age who tells me this cat who ran a club here in mobile the first time we played this town - it was called vincent van-go-go's and his name was bubba... well, he just died not to long ago. this was really sad to hear, I liked bubba though I hadn't seen him since that gig. he was wild though, in the pit and pogoing around - you don't meet too many gigbosses like that. rest in peace, bubba.
a lot of cats help us load out and then one more thanks to todd, once again truly righteous for me. I follow his buddy dennis to his pad and go to the room above the garage I've konked at a couple tours before. first he wants to give us some carrot cake his ma made and it's good. oh no - the little mummy doll raul found at sartori's, put in front of his kick drum for the bass and even named "little jamie" is here - dennis must've brought it back! oh boy. pete finds mel brooks and carl reiner's "the 2000 year old man" and plays some of that when we get back to our konk space (raul's konking in the house). almost always, I can't handle any sound after a gig but this is ok for a bit. pete sure gets charged up after a gig. me, I'm so happy I'm in the konk sack and it's only eleven and half bells - yes!
tuesday, november 9, 2004 - new orleans, la
Woke up to the smell of biscuits, it was rad to get a good nights sleep finally, it's been awhile, and even though i'd got some rest before the show the night before, i felt like i needed more. I think the tours is starting to catch up, i mean i feel totally fine, just a bit tired, it's not the toughest gig you could do, but it'll wear you out. Had some chow, got directions to the interstate, and were off. Only a three hour drive to new orleans. We're not going straight to the club, mike has a interview on the radio at two. After a blow by, on a scale of one to ten, i'd give it a three, we're there, then there's the fun on trying to locate the radio station on a campus that nobody's ever been to. I take that back, on the way here mike told me about the minutemen playing here, and how some jockos wanted to kick d. boons' ass for passing out some stickers, but that was a while ago, and the place has been tore down and rebuilt since then. Mike had a good talk on the radio, he had to go make a call, and i had to get on the mic, man those things are intimidating, especially knowing that it's going out live, i don't have trouble playing the radio, but talking on it is a whole different thing, just something that i'm not use to. After that's over, we make our way towards the show, new orleans is set up very circular, and on the map the streets sorta look like spider webs. I navigate us to the club, straight thru the french quarter, luckily it was early, and the streets weren't plugged up with drunken tourists... yet. Playing a big corporate rock club tonight, okay, not the big room, it's called the parish, and it's inside the rock club. When we get there, there's barriers with signs that say, reserved for the boat, how rad is that, every club in a city were parking is impossible should do that for the bands playing there. We're right by the side entrance, and we have to take the equipment right thru the employee lounge, up a flight in an elevator, through the corner of the kitchen, right to the back of the stage. We were an hour early, but i decided to set up ye kit to save some time later on in the game.
I needed to call greg, i got word in new york that he wanted to come to the gig. Greg's an old friend, who i've spent alot of time on the road with, i even filled filled his shoes in the grumpies when he was done. I thought i'd get in touch and let him know i was in town, i talked to his roommate, he was at work, but he'd for sure get the message, i had a bit of time, so i walked up canal to the old grave yard, a block up from the state theater, were i played with the grumpies and f.y.p, on the recess tour four years earlier, then back to the club for sound check. Sound check went quick, and i met the band we are playing with, black fire revelations, a two piece, guitar and drums... nice guys. After sound check the man gave me some meal tickets, ya know free food, it was all meat, so i had a salad, and for dessert a boston creme pie... i think that was my first. I had a bunch of time before the first band went on, so i went for another roam. Bummed around the french quarter, found a park, and caught up on some mail, i only sent post cards, but i can't write five letters in an hour, so that'll have to do. On the way to the park i had walked up bourbon st., and listened to all the bad bands do awful covers, an hour later, when i was done with mail i walked back down it. This st. is on an hour loop, only with the folks hangin' out a little bit drunker. The bad bands were doing the same awful covers... blah, i know there's more than an hour of shitty songs you could play, if i had to do play that funky music white boy one time, not ten times like these guys, i'd lay on the tracks for the big sleep, how lame, it can't be good for the soul, playin' covers all day long. Hung out with a dude playing old blues songs off canal. He was doing covers, but with much of his own flavor. He was sittin' in a wheel chair, and he had one of those drive thru micro phones, that people use when they need to sing and dance at the same time, i always think it'd be rad if they used the darby method, even a step further, instead of gluing to your hand, super glue it to their mouth. This guy was cool, and he played me a request... some jimmy reed, dude was a pretty badass guitar player. Five minutes after walking away, the place did a one eighty on me, it went completely sideways, and the seedy underbelly was exposed. Within a block i saw a drunken frat boy doubled over puking in a corner, a creepy business man with his hands all over a girl about half his age, and another lady beating up her man for heroin money, i didn't think twice about making way back to the club. I found pete just finishing his journal, he wanted to go for a walk... derp. Can't deny a man a walkin' companion, so we head back out. Bourbon st. wasn't nearly as desperate with someone to laugh at it with. We made fun of all the bar bands, and watched this guy do the a rad drum solo from the window of a bar facing the street. We didn't stay gone to long, the next band was up in forty five minutes.
Made it back just in time. Place was already packed, but no greg. Black fire revelation was badass, sabbath kinda durge, real good drummer filling the bassless void with double bass, the guitar would sample his main riff, and then solo over it, i don't think any body thought twice about the three sounds coming outta two dudes. Our turn, i thought the show sounded great, the dudes told me they couldn't hear their voices for shit, that sucks. The place was packed, and the people all smiles. I could hear it all fine, maybe i'm just getting used to having no monitors, because i was bitchin' at the beginning of tour, now i can pick out the sounds regardless, i mean both amps are right next to me, how could i not, the drums are just real loud sometimes, but if i concentrate i can hear it. Mike had some problems at the beginning too, when the first band was playing the vibrations knocked his pedal board off his amp, causing it all to unplug and the settings to get screwed. I thought it was kinda cool looking, the man with the bass sittin' indian style in front of the stage making all kinds of weird feed back sounds with this board, i'm more than sure he had a different view of the situation. A minute before we played, i had the pleasure of meeting a.p gonzalas, he use to play with joe baiza for a few years. He handed me a bottle of beam, maybe after the show i told him, after the show he yelled, i have an ass pocket of jim beam and way to many friends for you to sip this after the show. I wish we all could've been on the same page tonight, it wasn't a bad gig at all, but i could tell the guys had some of the problems weighing on them.
After getting the gear downstairs, we load up, and sit in the boat, and wait for rob to pull around. While were waitin' a.p, comes up to the boat to see where we are headed... robs, im there he says, then he goes in to this story about how a minutemen song changed his life, tin roof, he went into this crazy rant about it, and about him being sixteen and writing a song called mike watt for president, usually it's the bass players that love mike, this guy plays the drums. At robs' place, just hangin' out relaxing, and a.p comes in like a tornado, still on the subject of watt and tin roof, i don't think he's stopped since he left the club, this guys relentless, also hilarious. You know what i'm talking about mike watt, yeah brother, i'm talking about you... mike watt. He was doing the barn stomp, getting way to excited about tin roof, his face was maybe an inch away from mikes, you getting tired of this mike watt he kept saying, it was pretty funny. At one point he was facing mike, but looking at me, he wouldn't move his head, just his eyes, mike said it looked like two que balls in his sockets, watch out for mexico, he's crazy. Good fun, but i was tired, rob cracked the whip, a.p, and his quite buddy left, that was another thing, these two were perfect for each other, they were like yin and yang, anyway, they bail, i pulled down the mattress and crash.
popped on the deck at dennis's pad and I felt absolutely great; the pain in my throat was just about gone and this improved my mood much. I threw on my duds and went downstairs into the house to splash a little water on my face; dennis's mom was cooking us up some kind breakfast- biscuits, eggs and some conecuh sausage (indigenous to the area), what a feast! I didn't pound down too hard as I was trying to get rid of the booze gut that I had cultivated on the first part of the tour; I've lost about ten pounds so far and the sweating and laying off the sauce for the last couple of days has done wonders. (lil the kill would be proud).
we finished up the chow and loaded up the bags in the boat- off we went once again..much respect to dennis and his ma for the true southern hospitality and to todd for putting together a memorable gig. also to jessica for the habi's and salsa. I truly love mobile.
the road to the big easy wasn't that bad at all, a few horas of highway and we were there- we had to go to tulane university first as we were doing an on-air spiel at their radio station. we pulled in the parking lot and found the pad w/o too much trouble; thecats there were very cool and watt did some talk time after which me and rollie did a little q&a- it was a lot of fun. we hopped back in the boat and got on the road again- the new orleans house of blues was our destination and when we got there they had kindly saved us a space for the boat (there was even a flyer that said "reserved for the boat"). why can't more clubs do this kind of thing? we parked right in front and me and rollie started piling the gear out. had everything in the elevator and up in the parrish room (where we were playing), within a half hour. there was still a couple of hours to go before the check' so I hoofed it down the street to find an appropiate eating establishment- I soon found a pad called "mena's", I sat down, ordered and I was soon eating the best roast chicken I had eaten in a long time (I even complimented the cook). it was real econo too. I headed back to the HOB and went upstairs; the soundman, brent was there and he had miked things up- we ran thru the soundcheck and it all sounded pretty good. we broke down and i went down to the band room to chimp and take a shower. I chimped for awhile, then read the local music rag after which I went to do a much needed hose off. after I was done I came out and rollie had come back from his excursion; he wanted to go for a little walk and I wouldn't of minded either but I had to finish my chimping. rollie opted to conk a little while I finished.
having completed the chimp I put the puter' away and we hoofed it on down the road a ways to bourbon street. the place was the ususal tourist cluster-fuck so I figured we'd check out a few bands- there was one playing in almost every other bar and we glanced in every one that looked somewhat promising. what a goddamn disappointment! I have never seen a bigger collection of mediocre bands in my life. the cheese factor was in full force let me tell ya. In all fairness I didn't think that bourbon street was the place to catch any decent music-these cats were catering mostly to the turista crowd so it was either disco or "mustang sally", but come on people- jeez! we walked a little further until we were completely disgusted then headed back to the HOB. the opening band, "blackfire revelation" had started up and we went to go check them out. as I was walking thru the place who do I see but stanislav zabic! (brother of snez from chapel hill). it was good to see him and his wife again. we checked out the band for awhile , but i soon went downstairs as the volume was starting to make my ears ring and i figured I should lay my head down for awhile before our own noise-fest. rollie came down soon after and did the same. as soon as we heard the opening band finish up rollie jammed upstairs and i went to take care of my pre-gig duties; I came back upstairs and the place was packed! woh. rollie told me that the other band had accidentally knocked over mike's pedal board (which was sitting on top of his amp), so I already began to fear the worst. watt came up and I explained the sitch to him- I had tried to plug some of the cables back in but I figured I'd better let watt do this. he struggled w/ all this shit as the crowd looked on- it definitely was a lame way to start a show but fuck it, you gotta roll w/ the punches. watt finally got the electronic dachau together and we started the piece; from the get go the sound was off- the organ sounded funny to me and the monitors were non-existent. I began to get worried as I didn't even hear mine thru the front of house! made some major clams on "bursted man" but we came back all right and the rest of the piece we pulled off w/o any problems. the monitors however, never did come back and I had to scream my fucking balls off and still no volume. didn't the sound guy hear this? or notice my fucking eyeballs popping out of my head? damn! forty-grand of sound system that sounded like transistor radio. very frustrating. we finfished up the encore set and the crowd was very kind to us - totally nice folks to come out and check us out on a work night. much respect. I rapped w/ stanislav for awhile and he suggested that when we're in serbia and croatia next year on the european tour we should take lil the kill to sing w/ us; it would really blow her fan's minds over there (lil was in a very popular band there called "magazin"). to say the least. I think that would be a cool idea. definitely a mind-blow.
we got all the gear downstairs w/ the help of an HOB cat named randy and kiersha, a friend of watt's and after loading everything in the boat we followed rob cambre over to his pad; this would be my third time staying at his place- he's very cool peeps. after we got there we settled in and rapped for a while. an old friend of watt's, A.P. gonzales came over w/ a friend of his and we rapped for awhile. he's quite an interesting cat to say the least- full of energy I must say. we were all pretty beat so everyone else slowly trickled out and we got into thebags and were out very quickly. buona notte musicanti...
pop at seven bells and have to use a can to piss in cuz there's no head up here where me and pete konked. I'm not complaining cuz this was a great konk location and I was out very soundly - can't believe I actually went under before midnight on a tour - that's a total trip! I dreamt I was under blankie after blankie, more like layered up w/them but w/always some tiny little place that was missing so I'd feel some draft and then every time I'd adjust, that place would move to somewhere else on me. it was weird, the blankies were somehow clear and I could see right through them so it gave me the appearance I was suspended in air kind of cuz like I said, there were layers of them around me and supporting me off the deck. I figured I'd twirl the blankies on me by twisting and when I started doing this, I found I couldn't stop! I felt the blankies twist up on me and tighten into grooves, causing me to flute like an auger bit. my toes got caught in the deck's rug and I up-ended and started burrowing straight down and through the deck, oh no... I kept descending right through and into the earth, it seemed like an eternity but finally I popped out at the other side of the planet! I started really fretting how I was going to get back to my guys and at the least, how was I going to get to the next gig in new orleans. first though, I had to get out of these blankies but no luck - they were bound on me too tight. I had come up near a seashore and after a while, the tide came up and I was soon bobbing in the sea, like a buoy w/my feet straight down. w/no shade on my head, I soon got sunburned and my lips felt blistered - ouch. I started fretting how they would hurt if I touched them on the mic. I saw a pelican and somehow made eye contact (!) so it decided to circle round me. it flew so close to the water, like I've seen them do so many times and each orbit about me, it got closer until it came right up and pulled me up w/it's feet (obviously it was a strong pelican!) and I went to the air. through the clouds we went and though I should've been panicking, instead I felt really calm. we finally came down in pedro and I had the blankies snipped off me by the pelican's beak, then it flew off after giving me one more circle, dipping it's wings when I waved in thanks. I was right at my pad but had no llaves (keys) to get in! I wanted so bad to phone my guys and tell them I was ok and not cancel the gig - I ran down to nanny's (the lady who draws for my tshirts) to use her phone but first explained to her this crazy journey I had. she thought I was nuts but was wondering why I was just in my skivvies and why wasn't I on tour cuz I had just called on sunday. I felt like the biggest idiot and so short of words to convince her, it was embarrassing. finally, she agreed to drive me to new orleans and it seemed like only a few minutes in her car before she got me there and then turned around to return to pedro. I said thanks and bye... standing there on a corner in the french quarter, I felt ridiculous. I go down stairs and go to the boat, emptying the can on some lawn. I change the bottom half of my outfit cuz last night soiling myself before the gig, missing the fucking bottle but at least saving our boat's deck from any fouling. should've done this last night but it was mostly on the levis and I konked in my skivvies. after getting dressed, I hoof in the crisp morning air - such amazing weather. I haven't really hoofed much this tour but my port ankle is kind of stiff cuz of that hurt there and if I'm careful, I can free it up some w/out putting stres on it. I go and find some coff - wow, they still have some pumpkin kind - usually they only have this around halloween time and then stop until the next year. I love pumpkin. I have a good think w/my thoughts as I hoof, moving the body goes good w/that. at home I do it w/the pedaling and the paddling - damn, do I miss that much.
I get back from 'pert-near an hour's worth and dennis is up and he let's me use the head to hose off. he gets the outside q going and starts cooking up the conecuh sausage he's gotten for us. that is some good stuff, had it last time. his ma cooks up in the kitchen some chipped beef to go on some biscuits she's made. there's scrambled eggs and cut up melon too, they've both made up some righteous chow for us - wow, many thanks! me and my guys shovel it up. his ma is from tulsa so she tells me about that some and also the upper peninsula of michigan (the u.p. - I've heard about these parts from stooge drummer scotty too) cuz living there too. being a tour-meister, I can relate to things folks tell me cuz I've been to so many parts myself though probably not in as much detail cuz of the tour life but still, I can somewhat relate. I think it makes me maybe a little less of a weirdo/alien/whatever when I can share things w/people like knowing common stuff, puts them a little more at ease. it is a righteous thing about touring that gives me such a resource and I why I try to notice and learn about as much as I can when sallying forth as I do. as we're loading up the boat, I tell her about that young man in tallahassee who told me he wanted to bail to canada cuz of the election. I don't know, I thought of it cuz of a joke she'd made earlier, "what do you call ten thousand liberals going to canada? a good start." well, a joke's one thing but this cat was serious so I mentioned to her. when it's a reality and not such a abstract "us and them" thing, I think people listen to what they really want to mean more. she said she hope folks don't get too caught up in the drama of things - joe was saying this too yesterday from another perspective yet there's a common ground here that I feel... principles should not be compromised but get yanked out so emotionally is the best way to keep your footing either. there's creative ways maybe - that's why I suggested to that man to do his art (since he told me he's an artist), even w/the mersh stuff competing to stomp your voice out that way (he told me this troubled him too). canada's a good land but someone once told me, "wherever you go, there you are." life's a journey and going places - living in different pads - can be part of it but I think there's a lot of things to weigh but really, I think it's a sad state of OUR land if folks want to bail cuz the rest of us are making them feel unwelcome or they don't belong. people who might be gloating cuz how this beauty contest between two rich men turned out should maybe think about that. to lose creative people just cuz "your side" won means we might all lose some. I personally think the other parts of the world might need people staying here to have their say so things might work out w/a better deal for everyone. I think d. boon would stay and make sure folks heard what was on his mind! I can tell that dennis' ma here doesn't want folks feeling they have to bail... you know, if we could get one-on-one about some of this stuff instead of just so lumped in w/one side or the other - I swear that maybe... there was news pete told me yesterday of a young man killing himself in nyc over this election. me, being kind of an outsider find it kind of hard to preach unity - feels weird it coming out of me but maybe it's more of a compassion I feel. I have no business telling anybody how to react and really don't want to. I just put these things before me and run thoughts by them, kind of cuz of they're foisted up my way. it was good talking to her though - so many times I'm the older one that it feels good to have someone w/more experience hip me, like w/joe yesterday. all kinds of people can be your teacher. we thank dennis and his ma and they roll for louisiana.
west on I-10, we go along the gulf through a little more alabama, then mississippi and it's only about three hours to new orleans. we stopped just after the state line for gas and pete got carded for cigarettes - he was so upset, he said fuck it. both him and raul keep their i.d.'s in their bags which I tell them is crazy, especially for being on tour. you gotta keep that shit on you - jerry would do that too... what's w/these younger guys? too much time in pedro where things are casual for them... I had to ask them to get watches even! they're great guys though - god, I'm way more fucked-up in some ways, I cannot complain. I get us to tulane via directions that didn't take in account a sign not being visible - it's another reason I impart on raul why we gotta keep the map going, paralleling all our resources. he's learning though. navigating is a trip. wtul has moved to this building where the rotc is (military recruiting) - we pass that stuff on our way to the station which is at the end of the hall. the building where it was has been torn down and along w/it, the kendall kram (spelling?) room where both the minutemen, dos and fIREHOSE and played. the cats at the station are very happening and we do like a two hour spiel w/them, talking about all kinds of stuff - not just the same ol' same ol', much respect to them. on next to the french quarter and where tonight's gig is, the parish room of the house of blues. it is one of the most glorious sights of the tour to see a place put for us to park w/a sign that reads "RESERVED FOR THE BOAT" - wow! some of the club workers come out to take pictures of the boat and find me chimping diary and this one cat, a native american one I wish I could've got his name, brings me coff. much niceness very appreciated by me, truly.
my buddy kirsha comes by and we talk some until soundcheck, then we go eat sushi next door. I don't eat this that much but it makes me intense for playing when I do - maybe it's all the protein. kirsha is in her twenties but really wise, her pop knew 60s people like timothy leary and she was around them lots - she lived in japan and guam too. cuz of the talk I had earlier this morning about the election, she weighs in too about some disappointment but the need to let it go some so you don't end up a yo-you on the drama game of surreal tv phonylife - a not too healthy trendiness getting yanked around by that chain. I hope this don't read like I'm forever repeating myself. inside the house of blues there's something called "the foundation room" and she wants me to see that. there's rules posted saying you have to be all fancy but the floorboss there says I can be excepted from that cuz I'm playing - he says there's lots of minutemen people working here. wow, that's a trip. it is a pretty laid-out place, w/big couches and trippy decoration - even a fireplace (though it doesn't seem like the one log ever burns up... maybe it's a gas fire?). we talk some but I'm worn - sorry, kirsha but I have to konk... watt's spieled a lot today. I go to the boat.
pete gets me for the gig - I was out for like three hours plus. some gulps of the tea pete brought and I go up to the parish room to find my pedal board got knocked over accidentally. the opening band, locals called the blackfire revelation were rocking out that hard. no big thing, I just gotta hook it back together which I do as quick as I can. I do that but find there's no monitors. brent wiggles the cord around and I got them but man, the sound is woofed-out. oh boy. it's one of those gigs in that way - the monitor situation sort of like the albany gig but not as bad as the merc or tt's though what really made it a lame sitch was there was no monitor man! we're told later the guy that was supposed to do that never showed up. life is funny. there was a man standing there that I was trying to communicate some about the situation (brent was back at the front-of-house desk), a nice man named randy was a helperman and didn't know the montior stuff workings. I could tell pete was really in a fix cuz the arteries on his neck were bulging out big time as he was trying to power the room from the stage w/just his voice! the organ was really loud like the pittsburgh gig at the 31st street pub due to the low ceiling at the stage - I tried to communicate that to pete but did such a poor job at it that it did nothing but make up nervous, something very much not happening for me to do (idiot watt). the crowd has such a good spirit though that it's very much supportive of us even w/these hurdles for us and the gig goes ok and in fact many people say it sounded good out front which I have to admit is so much more important to how it is for us on stage. after all, we're the ones getting in for free - there's gotta be priorities. it was kind of tough hearing nothing coming out of your throat, I got a little self-conscious again. when we come back after being asked for encores, I explain a little like I do every gig this tour that I said it was a weird song at the beginning of the gig - this time though someone hollers "you're weird too, watt" and it makes me laugh... of course, that's it! pete sings his brains out for the dylan tune, wow - I can hear his actual voice louder than through the system! we soldier through though and then I talk w/the folks as I sling - one man handing me a bag from nancy (we last saw her back in denver), a care package w/lots of good stuff including more anjar, pete's favorite (I did it too) - thank you, nancy. a lot of the wtul radio station people are here, I say hi to dustin among the rest of them - that was great we were brought on board for that spiel cuz a lot of folks here tell me they heard it. stanislav (snez' bro - she came to the chapel hill gig) comes up to talk some, so great to see him so it's big hugs for me. he drove from baton rouge. he's been through a lot in his life. back in the former yugoslavia he went through a crazy time and saw how fear and nationalism (that's the bad word version of patriotism? hmm...) got going on people, turning their handles. kirsha says (she's come up to the stage now too) we did ok w/the cold war but stanislav says communism was far away (except for cuba but they were small) where now things have come down right on this soil so it's different than that w/the fear. I don't think he's trying to preach, he's just thinking out loud anyway and like I said, he has SEEN w/his own eyes - it's not "he said she said" kind of stuff so I think it's worth thinking about. maybe he has much reason to be afraid as kirsha has to be hopeful... of course I'd like to the hope side but being prudent would also mean hearing about scary things some cats have had to go through. oh boy. I'll probably see him in another part of the country next time cuz he's putting out feelers to move somewhere new. good luck, brother stanislav. he says something pretty funny be fore he bails, he says I should take pete's wife ljil w/us when we tour europe (hopefully in the spring) w/this piece, he says we should play in the balkans cuz it would blow people's minds (ljil was a pop star in the former yugoslavia) and in his words, "she's not a jerk." alright! helperman randy felt bad about the monitor sitch, he coils all my cables and said he's sorry but I have no problem w/anyone, especially w/him cuz I understand: there was no one there to run the montior board! he did great and so did brent (from all the good sound comments I was told), much respect to everyone - man, all the cats who work here who so much support me, even interns like jess who helped out. very nice of everyone here to help the man in the van and his band, truly.
we load up and follow rob to his pad, not too far from tipitina's. good to finally come to a halt - this was even w/the hard technical things probably my best new orleans gig in a while. rob brought his buddy kirah here - she knows george berz (j mascis + the fog drummer) and tony maimone (pere ubu) plus other music people we have in common. always great to hear about my friends, brings good thoughts to me of them. speaking of old friends, a.p., a drummer man from this town that actually first started seeing me as a very young man in houston comes over w/his friend from mississippi - damn, I can't remember his name but he too has been to gigs I've played for years. fuck, I hate when I can't recollect something as important as the name of someone happening who's supported you for years... aaaaarrrrrrrggggghhhhhh, my fucking memory. it's a blast for pete and raul to meet a.p. cuz this man is intense and very expressive w/his feelings. he's a dear, truly. he loved the minutemen - he keeps referring me to a song I wrote for the "...fires?" album called "the tin roof" - I can georgie's drumming had a huge influence on him - hell, j mascis told me he used to play his drums to that record too... before he got on guitar. I wish I had the energy to keep w/a.p. but I'm running on fumes now and the sueno piper must be paid. I pull out the konk sack and a.p. says, "paratroop?" well, kind of but of the konking way. noches, a.p. and so good to see you again.
wednesday, november 10, 2004 - houston, tx
Woke up at robs' the sound of the rain, i love the rain, but it's not the greatest thing to travel in, with so much driving, we put our selves at a higher risk of accident each day, knock on wood, so the rain doesn't help the situation. Rob made us some oatmeal, and we were out... got a sizable drive to houston. It was good, we left the rain behind us, and had smooth sailing, and a straight route right to the club... except for that wrong turn that we won't talk about. The club's open... great, so i grab a beer and a table and get to chimpin'. It's three, and the sound guy won't be here till seven, so i got plenty of time to catch up. In the back of the bar there's a mini arcade, and three of my favorite pinball machines, bad cat, monster bash, and fish tales. I put a couple quarters in bad cat, and i can't be stopped, win three free games, and get high score which is rewarded with another free game, the english guy playing the crappy tennis game next to me is not happy about this, that thing sure makes alot of noise... whatever dude, i was here first, plus ya know, there just games... relax. I wasn't trying to listen in on his conversation, he was just yelling it. He was telling his buddy about how he's sick of his wife, i cook, do the dishes, the laundry, and she just sits around and cries about how fat she is, i'm gonna leave her he says. This guy sounds like a grade a dick head, maybe if her husband wasn't out drinkin' at three in the afternoon with his dumb friend, she wouldn't be sittin' around crying... whatever, it's none of my business, but this dude is lame, and i'm more than happy to irritate him with the victorious sounds of pinball. When the four games are up, i go to the next one, monster bash, the tilt is set way to high, and i lose my game pretty quick. After the game, i order up some fish tacos, with a side of black beans, and chow down...mmmmm. Time for the sound check, sound guy joe is totally hilarious, like a spicoli. I'm still new to the whole sound check thing, but wouldn't it make sense to turn off the stero while your doing it, not to joe... spend most of the time yelling back and forth over the music, it was pretty comical. Pete can't hang with the comedy, and has him shut it off, how could it not dawn on the sound guy that maybe it might be in his best interest to be able to actually hear the sounds he's supposedly checking... the room sounds weird, everything is real quite and muted sounding.
We didn't actually do the sound check until around nine, so there's not that much time before the starts. It was weird, the doors were already open when we checked, so people were already inside watching us... kinda bizarre. Playing with a band called the jonx tonight. While they're setting up, i hang with craig and his lady friend Jeanine. Craig is a hugh fan of watts, and he always brings the bands a cooler full of stuff, sardines, habbies, juice and fruit, real sweet guy, thanks craig. The jonx start, so i go up front to check it out. It's the northampton syndrome, everyone is glued to their chairs, and i'm the only one standing in front. The jonx are pretty badass, they sound like old minutemen, real angular guitar, tight jazz style drums, lots of starts and stops and weird timing and tempo changes, the drummer sings, and he sounds like boon... weird, the bass player is on pint too, he's playing the same bass i used to have, the ibanez roadster, that things bad, it a little bit longer than standard, and has a few more frets. These guys need to go on tour, and come play pedro, i think they'd be a bit more appreciated other places, no one here seemed to care, they had some awesome grooves, and nobody was groovin', houston on a wednesday i guess. I was hoping the people would get up when we played, nope, with the exception of about ten people, everybody stayed put, pete said it felt like what playin' a jazz gig might be like, everybody super attentive, watching every move. The sound was ultra weird, i could hear the drums the most, everything sounded so far away, and even though i could hear the drums the most, they even sounded far away, i was beatin' the shit outta em' and barely any sound was coming out... bizarre. This was a rough one for me, under the microscope, and i thought i played awful. The people that did come up to front, stood on the side behind pete, so they weren't really in the front, i guess they didn't wanna block the view for the other folks... the feeling kept getting stranger and stranger as the show progressed, i felt like hiding behind my drums. The response was good, maybe this is just what houston is about, i find that hard to believe, who wants to make people feel uncomfortable... anyways, i'll stop bitching.
Staying with a friend of the bands, mike mcguire, the guys always stay at his place, mile told me that mcguires' dad designed the astrodome, you know, the stadium the bad news bears play in their second movie. He lives about a half hour outta houston, in a small town right off the interstate. On the way their, we pass through a place called pasadena, texas, the most oil refineries i've ever seen, makes wilmington look toy. They went on for miles and miles, and just when you thought it might end, nope, more refineries... total pollution. I heard mike had a pier at his house, and i wanted to jump off it, and do a little night swimmin', the guys told me to think twice about that, i'd probably jump in and come out with a tail or something. Mike had a super cool house, with all kinds of neat stuff inside, a pack rat kinda feel, but it looked like a work of art in progress. He showed me upstairs, to a room i could sleep in, i drop my things down, and head back down stairs. That's when i met ruthie, mikes' lady friend, she cutting up pineapple, and offers me some. We all hang out for a bit, i'm getting super tired, so i sneak away upstairs, and get some rest, it's a rad bedroom on the second floor, with a creepy view of the foggy harbor, i can dig it.
popped at rob's pad, rolled up the bag and went to go splash some cold water on my face to get rid of the grogginess and eye boogers; rob was busy in the kitchen making us some oatmeal w/ homemade apple sauce that his old man had made. very kind. we loaded the stuff into the boat and off we went once again. much respect to rob for having us over once again and for the very kind breakfast.
the trip to houston was a relative hellride- seven hours, and I would have to help the chief out by taking the helm for the last couple. i snuggled up on the bench again and read a little of "blinded by the right"(I had finished "the jungle" by this time- very intense tome), until I drifted into suenoville. watt woke me up when we were about a hundred miles out of houston and I took the helm while rollie assumed the navigatore' position. we cruised into houston under the steady guiding hand of rollie and we missed a couple of streets due to their "one-wayness", but I brought the boat around and we got back on track (all of this w/o even raising a whisper between us). unfortunately, watt felt us making a couple of turns and immediately went into chief mode: "where the fuck are you guys going"? "we're on course chief", I replied and he started giving us verbal directs' to the pad- we were on the right track but the chief was making sure as the parking sitch around the club was lame and he didn't want us to end up in a tow away zone. we parked in our usual spot and then went inside to kick it for awhile; we were playing rudyard's (my third time there), and the only thing I never look forward to is carying the gear up the very long flight of stairs to the stage (it's a pretty steep flight lemme tell ya). we read the local music rags and I rapped up w/ a cat named dan about the tour and music in general. he's a watt fan from way back and a super nice cat to boot. I gave him my address as he offered to send me some copies of old black flag fliers. much respect dan. mike mc guire from la porte showed up to see if we needed anything; I was glad too see him and In asked him about his lady ruthie and his little man boo. he then had to bail as he had some errands to run but he would be back later for the show (we were also staying at his pad after the show). we decided to load the gear out; it actually wasn't too bad - w/ a little teamwork we got everything up and in place in under a half hour. the check' wasn't for a few hours so me and watt sequestered ourselves upstairs and chimped while rollie went off on a solo excursion. tiffany,a lady that we had met last tour brought us some tea and fruit while craig (another watt fan from way back), brought us a great care package w/ an ice chest (he does this every year). much respect craig and tiffany. such sweet people.
I ordered up some chow for me and watt- some spinach salads, and I brought some dines' and habi's from the boat which we threw into the salads. very kind burn. around 8:00, the soundman, joe showed up and miked us up proper after which we ran thru the check'. I then retired to the band room to chimp some and get my head together. watt went to conk in the boat.
I chimped until I heard the opening band (jonx) announce their last tune, got the tea going and went to go rouse the chief and grab the merch box. went back upstairs and helped rollie set up the machines and then waited for the man to show. the crowd was mostly sitting down and I hoped they would come up closer but from experience I knew they would mostly listen. watt ambles in and we launch into the piece; everything sounded good to me from the get go but I could see watt motioning to joe to turn up my vocs in his monitor. joe misunderstood and turned up the organ in his monitor instead which I could see was an icepik in his ears. joe finally caught the drift by the fourth tune and everything was cool. it was a little trippy playing for a crowd of sitting peeps (kind of like a jazz gig or recital), but as I speculated , they were just listening intently and were very kind to us. we finished up the encore to much applause and then began to pack the tools up while watt slung the merch. we signed a few posters for some kind peeps and they all offered us many nice compliments. I felt real good about the gig. fortunately for us, we were allowed to use the elevator in the pad to take the gear down and it made things alot easier. we loaded up the boat and then followed mike mc guire down to his pad in la porte. we arrived there in about a half hour's time (I actually conked out on the bench during this time), then went in and got settled. ruthie was busy in the kitchen cutting up pineapple and we munched on some while we rapped w/ her and mike. I made some tea for me and watt and we rapped w/ mike and ruthie for a while longer until I felt the weight hit my eyelids, then I climbed into my bag and fell fast asleep to the sound of holly golightly on the college radio. nice way to conk (had a great view of he gulf too). buona notte musicanti...
pop at seven bells and contemplate a soak in rob's tub but we gotta leave early for new orleans and his tub takes like two hours to fill. I just look at when I dump instead. then I go make coff and drink it out of an empty jelly jar cuz I can't find any cups. I had a dream where I was in one of those tubes that big buildings use to move messages around, some kind of vacuum system. the little vessels that carry the stuff have rubber bumpers on each end and in this dream I got one around my ankles and one around my forehead so it's not hurting me to fly through these tubes. I am wailing all over the place - up and down, side to side and all over the place. I'm feeling the chow in my gut getting really squished down in the bottom of my gut and that's making me kind of queasy and in fact, I puke - the force of my travelling pushing it all over my flannel (I'm naked in this dream except for a flannel, a good one - it's got two pockets w/fortyfive degree angle bias on them and flaps, pearloid snaps, and a yoke - I can't see the colors though cuz I can't put my head down to look at cuz of the tubes I'm travelling in. man, nothing like a dream where you're puking in it, the smell is fucking overwhelming me. the horror. it makes me think of a story my plumber friend (richard "fuckin'" bonney) told me about having to replace the plumbing in this college girl's dorm cuz the occupants had blew the pipes out w/all the bulimia puke purging. here I was, travelling through these tubes and "lubing" them w/what just came up from my gut. eventually, I would pass through some parts where I'd already been and them getting another "layering" made them all the more weak until eventually the walls of one section give way via corrosion and I went flying out as it failed... I fell and fell, finally landing in the hugest pile of autumn leaves (each leaf as big as me or maybe I'd shrunken up?). I thought of these colors and those of the hell parts of heironymous bosch paintings - the red, yellows and oranges though they weren't colors of pain or punishment but rather of wonder and good tastes in mouth - tempering that fucking sourass bile shit. leaves, bosch, puke... trippy weird thoughts in watt's head. I felt myself all the way soaked, then dissolved and finally evaporated to become colors off the sun like at some of the righteous sunrises I get in my town in december... december - next month - I turn fortyseven on the twentieth... damn. I drink up my coff and rob rises and makes me up what seems like cream of wheat - he adds some applesauce his pop made which is new for me - tastes good though. my guys rise and are pretty lit up about their first experience w/a.p. last night, they were pretty blown away. I love a.p. and it was so good to see him. rob's got a cd of a 1984 minutemen show in miami beach so I put that on my hard disk, wow... stuff from the old days. thank you much, rob.
we bid him farewell and make our way under the tree-canopied streets... I point out to my guys the old street cars they use in this town that work just fine. both of them comment on the sad state of so cal transpo - us at one time having over a thousand miles of light rail and it all getting sold for busses in the early 60s, a tragedy. we get up onto I-10 and head west. the weather's a little gray and it even rained a little by the looks of the boat this morning. we pass the boneyard - they got them in crypts here seeing they're below sea level, trippy. maybe not a lot of sun but not a lot of humidity either - something very happening for our run over the bayous and swamps which can be major swelter when the weather comes down like that. we stop at a 'way and I have yet another tuna stuffed w/habaneros. over the border into texas and at beaumont, I hand the wheel over to pete. he's guided into the montrose part of houston by raul, who does some good improvising when a plug threatens to stick up big time in its slowness... I was konked lots of pete's shift though cuz of getting tired w/my five hours of wheeling first. we get a good parking spot on the sidestreet next to the venue, a pad called rudyard's where you play on the second floor and our spot is by the hatch that has stairs going up. why not get the stuff in the pad now, so we do the shlep upwards. I get shown some nice stuff written up in the weekly and the big daily about the gig. still, that birimingham pummeling still weighs some on my head. I even wrote that writer (j.r. taylor) an email trying to maybe let him get to know me a little by trying to explain things a little regarding what I'm trying (third "try") to do w/my bass and my songs. oh well, I guess you're gonna rub some folks the wrong way whatever - I still think it's important to let everyone have a shot at trying to teach you something, even w/the hurts that might come w/it. my old buddy mike mcguire comes by to see if I need anything as I start chimping some diary - we'll be konking at the la porte pad he always has happening for me and whatever unit I've got w/me - he's the best... been like a fifteen or something year tradition now. pete says the pad here will chow us so I say I want what he's getting and he orders a spinaich salad w/chicken in it so that's what I have coming too. the chicken never arrives though so pete goes to the boat and gets us a tin of 'dines each to put in w/our salad - good call, pete. I meet the opening act, a local band called the jonx who are very nice young men. it's quite a while until soundman joe shows - like after eight and we quickly do a check w/him. he's good peeps, always w/a smile. I then go downstairs to konk in the boat.
hot tea arrives via pete along w/a wake-up shake. there's a good crowd for us though this pad has tables sort of like the iron horse did in northampton, it's got a much lower upper deck and the tables go much more up to the stage. this gives for a similar "recital" feel as that gig. I'm smart enough not to be such and idiot and tell folks they're part of a "college crowd" like I did back there (what an idiot I am, I mean even if it was one - I didn't say that at oberlin and we were even playing on campus! sometimes I just can't believe what spills out of my mouth). I'm better together about that tonight and am committed to delivering the piece and not manifested insecurites (verbal ones, anyways). it's kind of a hard go at first - no pete in my monitiors and when I signal to joe, he mistakes my gestures as wanting more organ and I get a face-full of that, whoa. I ask dan, a man standing right starboard of me (he came by earlier to say hi and talk in his work clothes) to go back and tell joe what I really meant cuz I don't want to break the wholeness of the piece's integrity by talking to him over the mic cuz I think that would yank the listeners away from it's drama some - like looking at the camera in a movie and talking right at it, like you were addressing who was watching directly. for this here, I'd like not to do that - it really lamed me out when I did it at the mercury lounge in nyc but the ring on the floor tom was insane! I've vowed to myself to live w/whatever though after that. there's a low-mid ring too on my voice that eventually gets rid of and that makes my very grateful cuz it was a motherfucker of problem, horrible. there's things about the room that makes things kind of quiter than most clubs, bringing on the recital-like aura sort of but it's ok. these gigs have lots to teach the ones working it, the ones on stage. I think we all get to thinking it's the other way around too much. we've been having a little trouble w/"burstedman" and maybe it's me. we recover quick when I do it find it crumpled and that's a sign of a good band - thank you, pete and raul. some of it is self-consciousness, I know it. there's a way of letting go, sort of, so you can "roll into it," like I've be told before. god, for the gift of having some "abandon" - like d. boon or iggy, such a righteous thing. one thing that'd probably help is keeping my fucking eyes open, give people a human contact or at least a chance to see what craziness they might find in my eyes. sometimes I do better at this but it continues to be a fucking problem w/me even though I want so bad to get over on it. we finish and the folks have us back for more, they're very nice to us. earlier, craig had brought the ice chest he usually has for me - reed's ginger beer, 'gars, coff - all kinds of good stuff... he's brought someone new to see me for the first time too, much respect. there's been a lot of that this tour, cats telling me they've got someone w/them who's never seen/heard or maybe just barely heard of me and now they can decide about me using a gig to help them. this is something pretty special to me and shows how indeed generous folks have been for helping me out by taking out of their time, their integrity to take a chance on suggestion a look-see at this thudstaff worker and his crew of fellow pedromen. I've also had some cats by themselves say it's their first gig - they came on their own so much respect from me too for them to roll the dice like that to see if I'm worth the effort. at this point of my life, the way I see it is if I want respect, I gotta earn it. maybe some might think I should be beyond that cuz of dues paid or whatever but I want to get beyond that cuz maybe that can leave you a little soft, stuffed w/a bit too much self-importance and how can would grow saddled w/that? anyway, much respect to craig. I get a button from a lady of a spraycan nozzle w/a note ("there's nothing sexual written there" she tells everyone) about a houston-based art collective called iloveyoubaby.org - she says that was her favorite button, thank you! I get a lot of nice wishes and words from people, thanks much to everyone of them. I sign the jonx's bass player trey's bass - it makes me think of a cat named trey that I met at a j mascis + the fog gig I was playing at (ron asheton was w/us too!) who told me and a dear friend about seeing me after a fIREHOSE set here in houston (we were opening for the butthole surfers) and I had hit a car while moving out the boat, causing a little bump and I had gotten out and was stomping all around, making like the lunatic I fucking am. I ended up leaving a note on the windshield. this young man trey had not made himself known so I was totally unaware of my performance until that night. actually, he'd already told my friend and it was her who acted it out to help me remember, trey affirming each frame of the scene w/a nod. this trey was a bass player like this young man who shared the stage w/me tonight. man, I haven't thought of that in a while. it makes me think of something I forgot to mention about finding parking in phily a couple of weeks ago - I had backed into a car and put a couple of hundred dollars in an envelope to put on their windshield but the bumper was one of these new ones that pop back out if you were soft and there wasn't even a mark left. I know I could've taken off but the guilt on me to something like that weighs too much. I've lost three vehicles myself to people who have done the "bash and dash" on me. justin, this cat who played drums in the causey way comes up to say hi and says he'd been reading the diaries - he tells me not to be too hard on myself or apologize for foisting this opera on people. I think what I think, get weirded out by what I do - anything to take me down a peg might be good though it might hard for generous cats like justin to see that cuz they're not in my skin. it is really kind of him to care about me like that though - much love to him.
the folks at rudyard's here are great w/us - I settle w/bossman scott and they let us use the handicap elevator to get our equipment down, a relief after playing hard. a goodbye and thank you to all. we load up and follow mike east to la porte, on the water. once again we run the refinery gauntlet of pasadena here - first time for raul and he's amazed by all the foul plants belching what they do into the night. we get to mike's pad and ruthie is up to say hi but baby's asleep. some melon, pineapple, mota and spiel and it's a late one - four bells before I'm down in the quarters here mike always has ready for me. grazie, fratello. week eight now finished.
read week 7 of the tour diary
read week 9 of the tour diary
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