raul morales - drums
pete mazich - organ, singing
watt - thud staff, spiel
(left to right)
steve kaul - the man outside the van
thursday, november 11, 2004 - austin, tx
Woke up to mr. sun shining on me, and to an awesome view of the bay. It's almost like my body subconsciously knows when mike's gonna wake me up, cuz i'm usually up five minutes before, and today is no different, i was just lounging around in bed when he called me down for breakfast. Mike mcguire had made us a mini feast for fast, all kinds of goodness. A couple days before dustin had given me a couple cans of black beans at tulane, so i cooked those up, and added em' to some badass breakfast tacos. After chow i had a quick shower, and we were out. We have to drive back through refinery row to get to houston which houses the interstate up to austin. I was in the back reading for awhile, and when pete took over driving, i took over as navigator. When we got to austin, i made one mistake, i had is take I 35 north, instead of I 35 south, the one we needed. Only blew it by a block, but in the middle of austin, that could be disastrous. Seems like everytime i'm in austin, there's traffic, last year, killer dreamer spent hours going only a few blocks on this same freeway, in the same spot, today it's not that bad, and we're back on track in no time.
When we show up to the club, we drive straight to the lot in back. Looks like the club is setting up for a big outdoor show. Pete and i hop out to see what's up, pete tells me ozo motli from l.a is playing, i'd never heard of em', pete can't believe it. I head in the green room to get some diary done. This is definitely not our room, five boxes of cereal, gourmet chocolate, six loafs of bread, all kinds of shit, boxes of gum? The stage manager comes in and tells us, this is for ozo motli, and that's that, you can hang out in the room across from here, on the other side of the stage. Fuck the other room, i'll just sit in the club like a normal boy, so i'm sittin' on the stage chimpin', and mike comes in, telling us he's been up and down the street looking for us, that him and a stage hand had to load the gear themselves, i was wondering how all the gear got inside, i felt bad and apologized, told him we were just in the back room, and we didn't even know that was going on. he didn't care, it was pretty easy he said, most of it has wheels, so i could just roll it in. This is a weird scene, we're the only band playin' inside, and there's this hugh fest outside. We set up our equipment, and wait... all the sound guys are being used for the show outside, i have no idea what's going on for the first hour, fuck it, i'm gonna go upstairs and grab something to eat. Playin' at stubbs', a bar b que place... i got a salad with a side of squash and zucchini, the waiter gave me the oddest look. Right before i ate, i met a couple of the motli guys, some of em' had known mike from touring with him before. Finally a sound check, it went well, and some more good news, i find out we're not playing till the show outside is over, for some reason i thought we'd be battling sounds, that would've sucked, cuz outside had a hugh system, and we would've been drowned out for sure.
I take a walk up the main drag, dodging the religious fanatics forcing pamphlets on people, and trying to shake the wingnut who's trying to sell me mushrooms, i've been trippin' for days straight he tells me. I'm headed to the pool hall where i know they have a bunch of pinball machines. It's too cold to be walking around outside, so what better way to spend my time. The two best machines' were dirty harry, and one i thought i'd hate, wwf wrestling, tilt was set super high, i could kick the thing, and it still wouldn't tilt, i hate it when a tilts to low, it takes all the fun out of it, just a frustrating waste if you ask me. I spent allot of time playing the machines, nothing else to do. I walked back to the club around ten o' clock, ozo motli were just starting their set. These dudes can play like fifteen different styles of music, i liked it the best when it was just a d.j and an m.c, it was pretty talented though, great percussion section. There show ended at eleven, and ours started a half an hour later. It was rad having our stuff already set up, we just walked up and started playing. Good crowd, real supportive, they seemed into what we were doing. Wendy wwad was up front dancing the whole time, this gig was like the complete opposite of the night before in houston, i was psyched on that fact alone, i didn't feel like i was on display, it was more like we were all there to enjoy music and each other. Spot came up and did a few of the encores with us, i was honored. If you don't know who spot is, well he's the legendary producer of the sst greats, black flag, husker du, meat puppets, minute men, descendents, so many awesome early eighties bands. It was pretty rad, looking over my shoulder, and spots' playing the fiddle to the red and the black. All in all, great gig, and it wasn't a clam bake.
After getting all loaded up, with the help of a few gig goers, thanks guys, we head over to spots' house. I was kinda hungry, so i popped open a can of dustins ' black beans, got a bag of tortilla chips, and went to town. There was graffiti all over spots' kitchen, all the bands and friends that have stayed at his place, so not to break a tradition, i got a spot at spots'. After the writing and grubbing, i decided to call it a night, i found a quite spot in the back of the house on the floor in the laundry room, and fell asleep listening to mike talk about wens. If don't know what a wen is, look it up, it's some sick shit... bye bye.
woke up by the picture window at mike's pad- it was a beautiful day and you could see clear across the bay- awesome sight. i threw on my duds and went into the living room area; mike had cooked us up a very kind breakfast which we proceeded to chow down w/ much fervor- it was very welcome lemme tell ya...
I asked watt if there is time for me to do a hose off- he says yes, so I hop into the shower for a good scrubdown and a shave. I get out and rollie and watt are already out in the boat and the motor's running; I scramble to get all of my shit together as I know there will be much chiding in the boat the longer I take. I run out side and mike mcguire is rapping w/ watt- "let's go, primpetariat"! says the chief to me. I climb into the navigatore seat and we're on the road once more. much thanks to mike and ruthy for having us over once again.
mike drives for a couple of hours then asks me to take the helm as he wants to work on getting the diaries ready for their weekly posting. we steam down US 290 w/ a low head wind blowing on our bow and raul works on guiding me into the city. we do a blow-by on our offramp (which of course is followed by a loop), but we're back on the right track soon enough. we find the appropriate exit on the freeway and within a few minutes I'm pulling up in the back of stubb's bbq (the pad we're playing at). I get out of the boat to stretch the legs a bit and do a peroxide gargle to get any bugs out of my throat. I take a walk to look around- looks like there will be a show going down in the outside amphitheatre (we're playing inside), and from what I gather it's ozomatli!- very cool as these cats are LA and I've been wanting to check them out. me and raul hoof it inside and we go into the band room to kick back. rollie chimps while I sprawl out on the couch and conk. I'm out pretty quick. I awaken later to one of the club guys setting up the room w/ snacks and stuff (he seems to be setting up for ozo' tho'). someone comes in and asks us what band we're with- we tell him we're with watt and he curtly informs us that this room is for ozo' only but that we can hang in his office (and there's a wi-fi cconnect that we can use). not wanting to rub any one wrong we got out of there and went into the club area. someone had already unloaded our gear as it was all in front of the stage area. watt comes in a little peeved and asks us where we had been; he had been looking for us as the stubb's cats wanted him to dock the boat outside and he had unloaded the gear himself (with the help of one of the stubb's cats). I told him that we had been in the band room the whole time (the only place he hadn't looked of course). he was cool about- he just wanted us to keep him informed of our whereabouts. feeling a little guilty still, me and rollie got the machines on stage and set up. we wouldn't have to break anything down as there were no opening bands; ozomatli's show was scheduled to finish outside right before we were to go on. as the soundman wasn't going to be around for at least a couple of hours, me and rollie decided to go upstairs to chow. we strapped on the feedbag and plowed thru our feast- towards the end I look down onto the stage (the restaurant overlooks the stage) and who do I see but spot! I yell out to him and he waves. spotto is such a nice cat. I dig on him much (we were also crashing at his pad tonite). spot was going to come up and lay some fidola tones down on some of the encore tunes - it would be cool to jam w/ him once again. two of the ozomatli dudes came in- uli and will-dog; they knew watt and we rapped w/ them for awhile. very down cats-no pretensions there.
the soundman, dave showed up and miked the machines- we ran thru the check' and it sounded good, so I went down to the boss's office w/ spot so I could chimp some diary. I rapped w/ spot for awhile before my chimpfest- he was still playing and he told me he might come to do a tour on the west coast. I told him he could crash at my pad if he was anywhere near pedro. I went into deep chimp mode while every once in a while I would raise my head to listen to the opening band outside- they were called "fantasma" and man, did they groove it! the crowd went yayas over them and they had everyone on ther feet dancing. a potent mixture of salsa, funk, and rock. I was way into them. I got back to my chimp and once again listened when ozo' came on. goddamn! tight fucking band. salsa, funk, hip-hop, cumbia, ranchera; these cats mixed all styles and had the crowd pumping. I was very impressed. only bad thing, no hammond organ! I finished up the chimp just as ozo' was going into their last tune and I got into the club right before the influx of humanity came out of the show. we still had a half hour before we were scheduled to go on but I went to get the tea ready and turned on the leslie to get it warmed up. I then sat on the edge of the stage and waited for rollie to show; I rapped w/ several nice peeps who came to see us, for some it was their first time seeing watt so I wanted to play good for them. all of a sudden out of the corner of my eye I see a woman going upstairs and she trips and takes a head over heels tumble down the stairs- woh! it was like she was going down in slow motion. I ran over along w/ a bunch of other people to see if she was hurt- she wasn't, but she was shaken up to say the least. the magic of alcohol had once again claimed a victim. this one was lucky. a couple of cats helped her to her feet and she stumbled outside seemingly oblivious to what had just happened. damn.
the time was nigh so I grabbed the tea and went to go rouse the chief, then came back in and sat stage-side to wait fo the chief w/n rollie. he soon came in and we launched into the piece- we played w/ much fire and the crowd was wild. they were way into it and it helped us pile on a good head of steam. I looked in the front and wendy wadd was front and center once again flashing us devil signs and egging us on (we had met wendy last tour- she's the owner and editor of a local music rag). she's very boisterous and a very sweet lady. we came back out and launched into the encore tunes- we were on fire once again but I still had to scream my balls off in the dylan tune as it sounded like there was once again much compression on my mic. what's up w/ this? I would have to discuss this point w/ any future knobsmen as I was really ripping up my pipes because of this and I didn't want to get any nodes. we signed many posters and the peeps were very complimentary of our playing- I was as happy as a clam. we loaded up the gear into the boat and were off towards spots pad right quick. once there I made up some tea and we rapped about the gig. we were all pretty beat so we climbed into our bags and the sueno came over us quick. sve ce to mila moja prekriti ruzmarin, snijegovi, i sas.....
pop at seven bells and hose off. mike's up not to much after that and makes me coff. I go out to find the sun shining through some broken-up clouds. heck, I only konked three hours but once I get up in the morning, it's hard to konk back. this pad is right on the water and there's a wooden pier that goes out to like five hundred feet to a little roofed porch deal. water and weather have battered this small pier, causing it to have a buckled wavey part half-way through and some boards are missing so I'm really careful and make my way slow. when I get out there, I sit and have a think. the spangles from the sun on the water are silver righteous and make me think of my pedro home. whoa - I see some huge white pelicans sitting on pilings from some now-torn-away peir nearby. pelicans always put a big joy in my heart, no matter what kind of hell that may be weighing on me, love them. it brings some calmness on me from this dream I had last night, kind of disturbing. I was w/the boat on the side of the road and a policeman had pulled me over. actually, I was standing next to the boat, by the port fore wheel and I was handcuffed. there was another car pulled over in front of me (not a police one - that was behind the boat w/it's lights going, making things like xmas) and there was a couple outside and the were being rousted. me, I was left alone and just watching all this happen. the man was kind of subdued and resigned to what was going on but the lady was manic - arms flying all over and hollering/raving like tourette's 'pert-near. I couldn't tell what it was about, why all the crazy shit but it looked like one of the cops was going to go off on this lady, a woman one while a man one was playing mister calm. everything would spin up all hectic and then slow way down like a video effect, not like that was really happening but in the way I was perceiving it all - like the way a flashback will weird out on you, bringing strange perceptions to your mind (I had one once during a meeting w/a boss and it would seem like he was just an inch away and all huge, like looking through a fisheye lense and then immediately after, tiny like he was a football field away). the lady was really upset and in an uproar but I couldn't understand any of her words - they were loud but blurry, maybe even in another language. I was puzzled at my situation, not knowing what had happened to get me where I was at now though it all seemed so secondary to the drama going on in front of me. there was an afraid part of me though, one that there was some kind of come-uppence I was going to have to take on - I didn't like that but I was even more afraid of what might spin out into nuttville here before me. I kept thinking about the cops breaking out their guns and just shooting wild and some stray bullets hitting me - what that would feel like, if they were gonna start swinging their nightsticks - what would that feel like to get all hit up on in the head and such. like I said, it was disturbing dream. thinking about this made me look once at the pelicans and they very much calmed me down. "the sea cures all" - the name of this tour. well, it sure cures me of that weird dream. it lets me let it go so it can sink right to the bottom. to let go of something gnawing on you, what a weight lifted... man. I let the auto-timer on the little digicamera take my portrait here w/water all around me on this tiny tiny island made of wood. trippy about this wood, it's all covered w/a light green moss - not thick but kind of like a textured varnish. my walk back is as deliberate as my walk was out here, very slow and careful. one more look at the pelicans...
mike's cooked up some great chow: eggs (migas style), sausage, potatoes and the best fresh green salsa - thank you much, mike. time to bail and pete's preening away in the head, gotta get him in there earlier to get our wheels rolling on time (no disrespect to pete). I take us west on tx-225 onto the inner loop of houston (I-610) and around the north until we come onto us-290, the "scenic" road to austin. the weather is really nice again, sunny but no humidity. I hand the wheel over to pete in ..., then konk on the back seat (the early pop has its toll on me). pete gets us into the lot downtown at stubb's around three - we're playing here inside tonight while before us on the outside stage is going to be ozomatli. I've known these cats for a long time, a great band. my guys disappear (to me they disappear, I find out later they just went into one of the rooms and konked. I gotta move the boat though cuz of the gig coming up so I unload it myself. gigboss chris helps me w/the organ but everything else I can get myself. it's trippy, once before at this pad I unloaded us myself too. anyway, I move the boat to a place chris tells me is for us - a meter w/a "reserved" bag over - alright, much respect! not to sound whiney but I wish more pads you play who have no thoughts about where an out of town band is gonna put their boat would kind of think about this. hope I don't sound like a princess about that. I do find wifi and get this in an email from ceej:
remain silent, and you sink into a realm of shadows;
speak, and you fall into a deep pit.
try, and you're as far away as sky from earth; give
up, and you'll never attain.
enormous waves go on and on, foaming breakers flood
the skies who's got the bright pearl that calms the
good to ponder on as is this, from a good friend of me and raymond's, bob stires:
> From: "Robert Julian"
> Subject: Fwd: washingtonpost.com: Latest Conspiracy
> Theory -- Kerry Won -- Hits the Ether
> Date: Thu, 11 Nov 2004 13:27:53 -0800
> R.J. Stires forwards a letter from a sage he met @
> Laguna Beach Toastmasters....
> This article was in the Washington Post this
> morning.....sort of washes out all the conspiracy
> theories we've been privy to on the internet. I think
> we should just live with the reality of this
> dictatorship and be a light onto ourselves...we are the
> light in this darkness, but if we get sucked up in all
> the justified rage we'll no longer shine but be one of
> "them". I firmly believe that this administration will
> implode one day ...you know how the universe is....when
> you get too cocky for too long, in time, the universe
> delivers a hard blow. The law of karma is very strict.
> Right now some lessons are being learned the hard way.
> Maybe we've been too cocky about our "superior"
> intelligence and evolved wisdom. Don't fret, pretty
> soon, it'll be THEIR turn! Our world has to turn upside
> down to let go of all the crap in our pockets we've been
> hanging on to. Like it or not....Bush is just a stark
> reflection of a part of ourselves...otherwise he and
> they would not be in office and would not be part of
> our reality.
> End of lecture.
> Have a wonderful day today and tomorrow and forever!
> Love, Yamini
if this didn't strike some kind of chord within me, then I wouldn't of put in this diary here especially w/all what's been happening outside of trying to work the piece as good as I can w/pete and raul. a cat who's been coming to my gigs for years, a good man named cary shows up w/a flannel for me - so trippy I was just chimping tour diary about what I like in a flannel, that's wild. I did forget one thing though - to have at least a little bit of white in the plaid so you can look righteous if there's a black light going in the room. well, cary's gift flannel has just that w/blue. I dig it much - thank you, cary. good catching up w/him too, I'll see him later at the gig. since it's stubb's, why not some q? I chow some pork ribs w/black eyed peas and collared greens. I rap w/uli and will-dog from the ozomatli crew, great to see them again - they've always been great hermanos to me and what a wild band too - much respect. they do an interview w/this cat named ron about a saint louis fixture named beatle bob, a cat who dances w/abandon at gigs - he goes to so many gigs, been to a lot of mine so after uli and will-dog are done, I get my turn to talk about him. I praise his courage to be who he is and not being afraid of being an individual. I missed him at my last saint louis gig but I think he was out of town. hell, I've had him introduce me to start the gig even. it was weird but for the first time I met what you might call "beatle bob haters" this tour and that tripped me out. not w/me, I dig him coming when I play and letting his freak flag fly - it's never given me any trouble and is in fact, inspiring. watching him shake the haircut he has (hence the name) and that dance that's all his (no matter what the music, it's always the same!), it ups my confidence level. alright, beatle bob! we do a soundcheck w/soundman dave and then I hit the boat for some much-needed konk. right before though, I call spot to let him know we want him on stage for the encores. he says he'll be there. right on!
I'm plunged into konk and awake when summoned by pete w/a cup of tea at the boat's hatch. the ozomatli outside gig now done, it's our turn. we had no one on our stage before us, that's trippy. the angle I'm playing at, I'm mostly looking at this painting on the wall of a pregnant lady w/the biggest curlers in her hair, intense... I try to keep my eyes on pete. we do good though once again a little bit of trouble w/"burstedman" - hmm... I wonder why? sometime you get caught up the same way w/something like this - it's not incompetence, more a focus thing. overall we do pretty good though the monitors were pretty piddly, damn - hard to know what you're doing or how you're doing. I did have some crisis stuff kind of w/the confidence part of what I do to make a gig, got self-conscious some. it was weird, like it'd come and go... I had to fight myself from shirking but ended up ok. the crowd's great, giving much support - much respect to them. we do every song we know, having spot come aboard for the b.o.c., dylan and minutemen ones. he worked is "fidola" like a champ. chris from thong gives me a drawing he made in the moment and titled it "watt emerging from purgatory" - really neat, thank you. my old friend doug rockett couldn't make it but his buddy gives me nick tosche's "the devil and sonny liston" book, yeah! lots of folks who work here at stubb's pay respects - much respect to them as w/all the folks w/their own words of kindness and support. people ask me how I tour like I do and that's a big reason, giving back to those who are so generous to give unto me and my guys. wendy wadd - this lady was fist-pumping the air the whole gig, what fire in her - last time I was here, she asked what's rock and roll's mission and I told her, "to blow minds" and she dug that. she said lux interior told her, "to not die" - I think that's a good one.
we pack the gear up and follow the directs spot gave us to his pad. he's waiting for us and has the pad ready. we see the celica he used w/us a few tours ago - it's retired cuz he has a corolla now he got econo... spot's way into working on his own cars and got a few projects going. me and pete lay our sack's out on his deck (spot has a very zen living room) and talk w/him some, great being w/an old buddy again. then it's time for konk so I do.
friday, november 12, 2004 - dallas, tx
Leave spots' with him groaning on the can, total paint peeler, mike said he knew the routine, and he'd be awhile. A little traffic getting out of austin, but nothing to bad, i've seen it so much worse. Spent the time in the van sleeping, and when i was awake, reading sand pebbles. Got us to the club without a problem. It wouldn't be open for another hour or two, so i went and grabbed some coffee, and took abunch of random photos around town. Playing in a part of town called deep ellum, supposed to be the cultured part of town, whatever that means, and at one point in time probably was, it just looks like a bunch of bars and tattoo shops to me. In all the windows, every fuckin' ten feet, there were these signs, the rules of deep elllum. Don't give panhandlers money, food, don't let the homeless wash your windows, only give money to the parking attendant watching your car, he's a professional, don't look em' in the eye, don't acknowledge their existence, pretend their not there, don't let the homeless bum out your night of drinking in deep ellum, i couldn't believe this shit, it's fucked. I'm sure at one point, like any other trendy place, this was the poor part of town, now folks are being shunned because they're not able to afford a over priced micro brew in your shitty dive bar, fuck you deep ellum, i made it a point to give some change to any person who asked... the rules of deep ellum... whatever.
After the sound check i decide to head for the downtown, the opposite direction of the deep. Had a good walk, reminded me of downtown l.a. It was nice to get out, and not be surrounded by people, just the city, i could sing real loud to myself, and no one was around to hear. My dumb ass walked right past the book depository building, and didn't realize it till after the fact, i'd seen it before, but only while getting on the interstate. I still had some time to kill, so on my walk back i passed the club, and went in the deep end. I found a good spot to sit, and people watch. I probably looked like one of the dreaded homeless, hooded sweatshirt, rollin' my own smokes, sittin' alone, on my way nowhere. I'm sitting around smokin', trying to look unapproachable, and two collage girls come up and ask me what i'm doing, havin' a smoke i tell em', kinda dry, i thought maybe they were christians trying to steer me away from the dark side. We started talking, about the small towns we're from, and what we do there, and it came out that i was playin' down the street, then we started talking about tour, they couldn't believe the idea of that, they asked me if i was famous, what do you mean by that i say, they couldn't give me a straight answer, so i assured them that i was by no means a celebrity. It's weird peoples different perceptions of fame, is there even such a thing? They wanted to know how i got my big break and was able to do this, suckin' off the right people i tell them, just kidding, there's no such thing as a big break, and your able to do anything thing you want, within the means ofcourse, ya know, but you can have a band and play gigs, hell it seems like everybody does, but i also put myself right in the middle of the mix, so i forget that alot of people don't. I asked them if they played music, by then another friend of theirs had come over, he played the bass, one girl played guitar, the other saxophone, there's your band right there, now all you need is a drummer... do you wanna play they asked. Before i got up to go back, i had to ask why they came up to me to talk, we were bored they said, and you looked lonely, so much for unapproachable.
Make it back in time to see the first band, record hop. Original sounding tunes, with ted falconi style guitar riffage... flipper? Good stuff. The second band was called detachment kit, they're from brooklyn, via a few other places, seems like everyone is moving to brooklyn. They kinda sounded like they were from the northwest, five years ago, i liked em'. Singer was in the crowd causing havoc most the time, the guitar player wasn't wearing any shoes... what's up with that. Our turn, nice and hot on stage, that's a plus for me, i like the heat whan i'm playing, it seems to loosen me up, and i get a good sweat going. Played pretty good, the bass amp was blasting me the first song, it was intense, but made me play alot harder just to hear myself. The crowd was real receptive, nice folks. While we were playing, i spot this little kid watching me from the side of the stage, i flash him a smile, and he gives me a peace sign, after the gig he came up and talked to me. His name was elliot, and he was just starting to play the drums, he already was playing guitar and piano, his mammy brought him to the gig, she also brought us some homemade salsa. Kid was cool, i spent a while talking with him, before he left i gave him a drum key, said he didn't know what it was for, but he was gonna for sure find out, told him the next time i came thru he better have a band for us to play with, just as soon as he finds some other kids willing to do it he said. Met some other cool folks, cody from el paso, who now lives in dallas, good kid, and was just psyched to have the night off work, told me he missed the last two gigs cuz his boss wouldn't let him off. Talked lovecraft and peni with another kid, turned me onto a book about the germans asking lovecraft to re write mein kmopf for the states, true story, and supposedly he even got started on it. Then there was jake, a tattoo artist who worked around the corner, he was bad, an he even offered to give pete and i free tattoos. I went twenty six years without tattoos, so i don't think i'll ever have one. When i was young i wanted em', and it was a money thing, now i have no desire, thanks anyway jake. After the gig, we went to an old friends of mikes', john lamburt, after a little chips and salsa, and a bit of conversation, i head for the shower, and after that, straight to sleep, gotta long haul to litte rock tomorrow.
woke up at spotto's and immediately went to do a hose off; after completing the three s's I rolled up the bag- rollie ran into the head to do a quick washy- I turn around and see spot looking like he's about to foam over- he obviously had a major evacuation coming up and couldn't wait much longer- I yelled out to rollie to hurry up as spot's mule was kicking at the barn door. rollie comes out and spot sprints into the head (literally in two steps), and the next moment I hear oohs, aahs, and various guttural sounds emanating from within so I know he had won the race. I could hear watt start the boat up and I yell out a quick "bye spot"! before running out the door. I hated to leave him hanging, but when the chief gives the signal it is . I hopped in and we were off once again. much love out to spotto for having us over once again (I also signed his kitchen cabinet once more).
the trip to dallas wasn't too much of a long one but I knew I would have to take the helm again so I copped some z's in back until we stopped at a way' to chow. once again with the expert help of rollie we descended into the deep ellum section of dallas and scored a parking spot in front of th club (the gypsy tea room). I hoped this would be a better pad than the clearview (which we had played last tour), and was a fucking disco- very lame vibe in there. nobody was in the pad yet so I hoofed it down the street to do a little window shopping and hopefully score some coff' as I had a jones going. I walk down a few blocks and I notice a store called "condom sense", so naturally I had to walk in and check it out. woh, quite a selection of condoms, dildoes of every shape, girth, and length- leather s&m gear, edible thongs. nirvana for the perv in all of us. I smile at the lady at the counter who has a look on her face like she might be soon having a nervous breakdown. they also have a collection of glass pipes, water pipes and the like (for tobacco it says). not finding anything I was in urgent need of I continued on down the street until I found a coffee pad; rollie was just coming out and he continued onward on his own solo excursion (we pass by each other alot on our excursions). I went inside the coff' pad and scored myself a latte, then sat and read the local music rag to pass the time. It was getting close to load in time so I got up and started walking back to the club- I passed rollie once again as he took shots of the local graffitti and then went by the club to see if anyone was around. no-one in front but I went thru the back and found a cat to open up the front door. we loaded the stuff inside- the pad was really cool and i liked the vibe of it immediately- no disco bullshit. as we were loading in a cat named jake came over to say hi- he works at a tattoo shop around the corner and offered to buy us chow. hearing that he was a tattoo artist, I rapped ink w/ him for awhile and he offered to do a piece on me- I told him I would try to come by later and check out the place. very nice dude.
we set up the tools and the soundman showed up after a while- his name was tommy, a real nice cat he was and he got us set up quick after which we ran thru the check'. broke things down after and went to go kick back in the band room, a very nice band room, with a wi-fi connect! the club had set us up w/ some really nice fruit , chips, and salsa (choc. chips and oreo's too- woo hoo!). I hooked up the puter' and did some disc cleanup and read my email. didn't feel much like chimping so I just surfed the internet and rested my head (ate a boat-load of baby carrots too). jon lambert, a cat that we had stayed w/ last tour showed up w/ his brother and we rapped w/ him for awhile. such a nice man. the first band, record hop' started up[ and I listened to em' for a bit- great stuff, a little pop, a little hardcore. they finish up and one of them comes in and asks me how I've been. it's john mcintyre, a cat whose pad we had stayed at first tour. we talked for awhile then he went to go pack up his gear. he had gotten married since I last saw him and he looked very happy. the second band came in and we rapped w/ them for awhile- really a sweet bunch of guys and we downed some jack' shots w/ em'. I continued surfing the net till' they finished their set then went to do my duties. the chief however, was already awake and had come into the band room so I just handed him the tea (it was a little cold so I had to reheat it), and went to help rollie set up the machines. w/ everything in place we came out and waited for watt to get the baby bass going. he plugs everything in and no sound. stress rock for about ten minutes until he deduces that it's a bad cord causing the grief. we get another one from the soundman and we're back in business. we plow into the set w/ much fervor- the organ is wailing in the beginning but after three or four tunes, tommy gets a handle on things and it's smooth sailing thereafter. the crowd is very responsive and digs on us much- we get many nice compliments from the peeps and it makes me feel really good. I rap for awhile in the band room with jake, the tattoo artist (he also plays bass), and he offers to do a piece on me after the gig (at like two in the morning). I thank him for his kindness and assure him that I'll look him up next time we're in town. much respect jake.
we get the gear loaded into the boat and we're ready to follow jon back to his pad but no jon. I knock on the door of the club and it turns out he's inside and has been waiting for us. he comes out and leads us to his pad which is about a twenty minute drive down the interstate. we settle in and I make some tea for watt and myself and we rap w/ jon about music and politics until the eyelids start to get heavy. I roll out my bag on one of jon's couches and am out in a flash. laku noc sviraci.....
pop at eight bells and go get some coff at a little store cuz spot told me last night his coff machine hadn't been used or cleaned in a while so I figure I wouldn't chance it. hey, pumpkin pie kind again! I get back to hear the pad still silent except for the enormous sucking-the-paint-off-the-wall tiny little snores sports been generous to share w/us. I have no prob w/it, probably supplement it w/my own version though I know it would chew on jer when he was on drums and we were all touring together. maybe it's cuz I've done tons of tours and am just used to it. anyway, it's spot's pad - he can snore if he wants! doesn't seem to be bothering pete or raul either cuz they're still out cold. I dreamed I was watching the lower hold of a boat, it was rolling w/the sea and there were these huge rods, like three inch pipe but solid and they were rolling themselves w/the motion, from one bulkhead to the other. they started bumping into each other and they must've been of different length (oh yeah, must've been) cuz they were 'pert-near acting like wind chimes and making music. I swear I'd know the tunes (it'd change up to another one after a few minutes) but never could put my finger on it - damn, would that frustrate me. it was hard to tell where I was, how I was "experiencing" this all. it kind of seemed like a movie and I was disembodied. the sensory thing was strong on me though and not just w/sound cuz I could very much smell and even tast the sea water seeping some through the timbers. it was dark except for a lamp and it was way up near topsides w/light dumping down through a shaft, kind of scary shadows playing on the bulkheads from stuff swinging that was hanging. again, it was frustrating to know what it was cuz my mind wouldn't let it go and kept trying to guess at what it was. a long while of all of this and then suddenly - bam! - the rollers or whatever were me and pete in our sacks, doing the rolly-rolly on the deck! pete had a wild, even a scared look in his face and I realized why... we were both sealed up into our sacks up to our necks, like we were the carved tops of logs! even weirder were all these other "rollers" - they looked just like us but were obviously carved up cuz when my face would get near, I could see the cut lines and no change in the expressions - shit, I could see the coarse paintjobs only kind of approximating us. what was painful was us having our arms inside our sacks and w/the rolling around and striking the other "watt and pete totem poles" (this is kind of what they seemed like), there was nothing to guard the face and I took repeated blows. I could feel teeth chip and nose cartilage crunch, aaaarrggghhh - it was fucked. pete kept looking at me as to say, "what in THE FUCK is going on here?" but we were both wordless - why? I don't know. it was a bizarre dream. I lost track for a bit and then suddenly the whole boat world was gone and it's us in a bowling alley... us as pins being set up (no raul though, weird but then he konked in the back room where spot's got a bunch of auto parts) by the machines that do that and just waiting for the fucking ball to knock our shit out. mercifully I popped before that came around. it was good to see pete there in a quiet bliss, konking right through spot's sinus symphony.
like yesterday at mike mcguire's la porte pad, pete's primping for quite a bit in the head and man, spot has to dump bad. pete finally emerges (seemed like years past by) and spot bolts for the head and right away we hear him groan some intense ones, we could just imagine him gripping the walls for leverage. it might be some time and we gotta get to dallas and avoid the traffic plug so we take leave w/out giving him the big time thanks he so much deserves for being the righteous man that he is. sorry, spot - we wanted to leave you w/your work in peace and not rush you. you'll always have a sure spot in my heart, brother. we jump into the plug which has been I-35 in austin now for years and crawl north, not really breaking free until pflugerville (love the name of that town!). a bit more and we find a 'way to sandwich up on - yet another tuna w/habaneros (damn, last ones - we had lots go to a "pudding state" w/them going bad). the weather is a heavy gray and there's some wind blowing but at least no rain. maybe forty miles south of waco, I fuel the boat up again and hand the helm over to pete and konk on the back bench, waking up as raul's navigating us to the deep ellum part of dallas, in the east part of town. raul's getting really good at his navigatore role, much respect to him. we're playing at the gypsy tea room and the folks there let us in to load early after landing a parking spot right out in front, thank you. there's a plaque by their hatch telling about blind lemon jefferson, the blues singer. there's some lyrics to one of his songs:
just sittin' here wondering,
will a matchbox hold my clothes
I got so many matches, got so far to go
now that's inspirational - we owe the blues cats so much, truly. and this is a town where a president got killed, damn... weird, I just thought of that. anyway, here in the club, these peeps are very nice, bossman matt extends every courtesy... I have to say, 'pert-near this whole tour we've had such good treatment from the pads we've been working. in the boat after, we're always talking about how such and such were happening - so different than in the real old days when a rock club meant people working there didn't like punkers. I'm so grateful for the generousness, like w/the cats who come to see the gig. there can be wonderful things about being human, us treating each other kind. we do a soundcheck w/soundman tommy and then chow some salsa we've been given - it's kind of tame so we hike it up w/some of that "da bomb" chemical stuff... it's really the only way we can use it cuz it's got no flavor on it's own. john, a cat we stayed w/in denton (a little north of here) before drums for the opening band (they're called record hop) and it's good to see him again. he's an intense stickman, good unique style w/personality. I meet the cats in the other opening band too, a brooklyn one called the detachment kit. nice guys, they're working their way east as we go west. I then go to the boat and konk (lots of times I don't chow dinner).
pete comes w/the tea to get me just before midnight but I've been up for an hour and chimping diary. I did get a good three hours of konk in though. I talk to one of the detachment kit guitarists and he says it was a tough gig for him. I tell him I know what he means, I get those kind of gigs too and he asks me what I do about it so I tell him I just plow and the kvetch about it later - better than kvetching in the moment. him talking to about this though inspires me for tonight - lots of times us guys in bands don't spiel to each other about that, I don't know why. I'm talking about w/cats in other band cuz w/us secondmen, we talk about that lots cuz my men are very open w/me, no fronts or 'tudes - they're the best. anyway, I'm sure glad this young man gave me the unintentional pep talk cuz I needed it - right away before we start, the cable from my amp to the pedal board is ruined and that takes a few minutes to figure out. better then than half way through the piece so I should be grateful (I am). someone donates me a good cable and we're underway. wow, the organ is really loud and shrill on stage - oh my god. sometimes the acoustics of the situation will bring that out - it's not pete's doing. then my watch flies off in "puked to high heaven" and that shakes my confidence some - I always play w/a watch on, it's kind of a security blanket (along w/all kinds of totems I embrace). I don't want to stop the piece so I soldier on. sounds like a gate is on the mic pretty heavy but maybe that's cuz tommy has to deal w/mixing us and how the sounds are going - you gotta trust your knobman - we're just motor and he's the tranny, getting power to the wheels (the gig-goers). raul's kick drum is slipping and he keeps turning more and more towards the front of the stage, like the way you see most drummers set up. I like him on an intense angle, looking right at me, pete at his port elbow. that way I got both my guys right in my face so I can be more secure. I think we do the piece good and when the people have us back for more, pete does a great take on the dylan tune. it's funny, when we came back and I said, "I told you it was a weird, long song" some guy asks, "what's song number two, mike?" that was genius, I never thought of that - the b.o.c. tune is actually the second song of our set! thank you much, observant and astute intelligent man of dallas! no verde or roky tonight cuz it's really late but I liked the gig, even w/some little clams I blew (ooh, some sour ones in one of my "pissbags..." solos - ouch). much kindness from the folks while I sling - one man tells me it's the eighteenth time he's seen me, damn! there's a young man seeing me I think for the first time too - he's nine years old and is named elliot, what a righteous little guy. a trip to find out he plays lots of instruments too, whoa. we load up and I talk w/the bouncer men, a big cat named mike who's really into hank rollins. he's a nice man and has some interesting stories. these folks working these pads who dig you coming to work their pad, this is a blessing.
we're all packed up and waiting for john lambert, a dallas gig-goer who's had me aboard many time to konk but he's nowhere to be seen. I just can imagine him sitting in the club while we're out here sitting in the boat - I send raul out to check on that suspicion and yep, turns out I was right. who knows how long each of us would've been sitting where we were, waiting for the other one to show up? we follow john up to his pad in the north of dallas (his brother is w/him, I think it's his first watt gig) and it's good to dock the boat cuz I am way beat up w/wearyness. I'm in my skivvies, w/ear plugs and mask on my head but not yet down when I have some wine (a glass of this before I konk is good for my heart so I do that when it's available), we talk some about the current sitch cuz john's always on the awares about politicalness. he's got some good points. I suggest something though that I've been thinking of. we gotta find new ways about talking about these things. I think the old concepts and for fucking sure, the old labels hurt and cloud things up big time. I think people are actually getting manipulated by this shit and no wonder people feel like were splitting into two kinds, it's the language demanding that of us. like wittgenstein said: cuz of word games, you can't know anything, you can only believe. of course there's probably those who dig this, them fancying themselves puppetmasters or whatever. pricks. we gotta get creative and break new ground, find what's inside that's important. "a word war will set off the keg" I wrote in a minutemen tune long ago... time for konk, I'm weary and head for my sack, my little spiel finished.
saturday, november 13, 2004 - little rock, ar
Woke up to john and his wife making us a big ol' breakfast, biscuits and gravy, potatoes and eggs, and various meats for the carnivores, thanks john, good fuel to start off the day. We were planning on getting out by ten, but it was a bit closer to noon by the time we got done eating and were ready to go. Spent most the time up to little rock reading sand pebbles, and gettin' some diary done, pete took over the controls the last hour, and i navigated us to the club without a hitch. Playing at a place called vino's, i've been here before, on the first killer dreamer, we played down the street, at a place called blank generation, the lady who owned the store took us here for some pizza after the gig. It was kinda good that we didn't leave johns' to early, not an excessive amount of down time. Like i said, vino's is a pizza joint, and the clubs in back, so it's open and we can load right in. We're set up before the sound guy even gets there, a couple of the guys from the first two bands are hangin' around, so we shoot the shit with them, marcus and i even had some friends in common, while i'm waitin' for the dude to mic me up i get some chimpin' done. We get all done up, and blaze through our check, the sound guy asked us to play twenty seconds of a song, so of course we play the red and the black in it's entirety, smart asses. After sound check i roam, and go to blank generation, i wanted to see if it was still there, i remember the owner saying she was having trouble making rent. It was still open, and a punk show was about to go down, good, it would suck for the little rockers to lose this place, it's seems like the only place in town for the kids to do shows, vinos' is all ages, but it's seems more for the older crowd. I remember comin' here when i was seventeen, we played a show right on the Mississippi river, that was badass, total imagination on the punks part, my first illegal generator show, it was a trip to me, these people just plug in a generator and make a show were you'd never imagine. It was gettin' pretty chilly, and the zipper on my coat busted, so i decided to head back to the club.
Made it back in time to check out lochness, spent most the time playin' dr. dude pinball during their set with a girl named christina. The machine was kinda jacked up, but it was only a quarter a game, so what the hell. Il libertina was after them, another band from little rock, they were real poppy, reminded me of squeeze a little. Short songs that never seemed to go back to the beginning. Our turn to go up, i thought it was gonnna be a cave, but all the folks came to the front and it packed up real nice. People were real into the tunes. We played a decent, the only problem was mikes bass amp lost power a few times, luckily it was during breaks in the songs, it made it so no matter how long it took to fix it, we could come back to the next part with out a problem. While we were playing, there were these three kids up front totally into it, doin' the twitch, jumpin' around, it was awesome, cuz some of the songs are real danceable, there just different rhythms than people are used to dancing to at shows, so it kinda throws em' off, these three had no problem with it though, it was fun just to watch people enjoy it so much. It's cool to see open minded young punk rockers, it seems now a days, a lot of kids are into the genre rock, and they stick themselves in this hole were they only like bands who sound like all the other bands they listen to. Why not just listen to one record all the time, it'd save money, and make it easier to define yourself. I guess i kinda lucked out, i got into music from my folks and my sisters at a real young age. All sorts of different stuff too, my mom was real big on the pretenders, she even took me to see the go go's, i mean, she also liked journey, but i can't hold that against her, cuz it was with her that i first heard the clash. her boy friend was into neil young, and credence, total rock, looking at johnny winter on his album covers used to scare me. My sisters were totally into hip hop, and they'd bump k-day, the old l.a hip hop station all day long. Like all little dudes in the eighties not old enough to know punk yet, i loved metal, i used to have a long rat tail, and wear my cousins hand me down sleeveless tour shirts. It was him that got me into punk rock. When he wasn't at home, and i be at my aunts, i'd sneak in his room and play albums, and the one that stuck out the most, was a chaos u.k. record, short, sharp, shocks, the cover was a photo of a bobby with his hand jabbing some guy in the neck, and i think the first song was "kill your baby", just the guy screamin' it before the song even started was enough to grab me, man i was young, second grade, but that shit was intense, and hilarious. Maybe it was the violent imagery on the cover, and the words kill and baby in the same sentence that got me at first, i mean i was little, so any thing bad was good, i used to love the satanic stuff too, my first l.p was number of the beast, i used to stare at that cover forever. The first punk seven inch i ever heard was adrenaline o.d, but now that i think about it they were kinda cross over, i remember being into the speed of the songs, i'd never heard anything that fast, total mind melt for a little kid, just wish i would've got into making the music earlier, i didn't get my bass till seventh grade, and by then i was into all kinds of weird shit, started smokin' mota, and doing paper, so i was in my first psychedelic phase, my friends and i used to drive to china town in l.a to see punk gigs at the hong kong, and we'd be sittin' in a Volkswagen gettin' stoned listening to the dead syd barret and the pink floyd, what's that all about, we were punk rockers, we could like whatever we wanted, what we didn't like was the skinhead goons wanting to annihilate everyone, very closed minded, that wasn't what it was all about to me, ya know just liking one thing, and being such a specific person, i've never had a mohawk, i think i'm gonna wait till i'm forty. Anyway, these kids up front were cool, i met em' after the gig and we talked about all kinds of different music, we talked about alan vega and suicide, they were into mudhoney, dylan, one of the kids, ben, even had a richard hell t shirt on. These guys drove two hours to see the gig, they told me that they really didn't have shows in the town they lived in, they had fairs were dinosaurs like foghat played... so whoever says small town people are closed minded or backwards can stuff it, you can find those people everywhere, and i've met the most closed minded backwards folks in the biggest cities.
After the gig we drove a half hour north to conway, it's on the way to o.k city,and right next to the interstate, so no back trackin'. Staying with a kid named david we met at the show. The roommates were getting ready for a vandalism mission when we showed up, one dude had made a life size stencil of two guys humping, they asked if i wanted to go, told em' thanks but no thanks, i got eight more gigs to do, and it'd be kinda tough to do em' from a jail cell in conway arkansas, maybe next time. I was feeling energized from the show for a while, but when that wore off i had no reserves, and i needed to get some sleep. They had an extra bed room with three beds in it, pete and i crashed in there, and mike took the couch.
woke up at jon's pad and went to do a quick face-splash; jon's wife was cooking us up some very kind chow- eggs, biscuits, sausage, gravy- a great way to start off the morning. we mowed into this huge feast w/ extreme prejudice and I felt much better afterwards. we got our stuff into the boat and off we were once again... much respect to john and Mrs. L for having us over once again. very kind peeps to say the least.
we had a bit of a hellride to little rock so i copped some z's in the back again as I would have to man the helm for the last part of the trip. after I awoke and a quick fuel stop I once again took the helm- it was smooth sailing the whole way and when we were about thirty miles out I was again guided in by il navigatore rollie who was gaining a great grasp on this navigational thing. I flipped a u-ey and we scored a spot right in front of the club(vino's) I immediately hopped out and pulled some basura duty; the boat was getting ripe from all the shit in there- I actually found a bag of fruit and chips from about six weeks ago! damn! pruno rock g...
having completed my unsavory but necessary task, I turned to the new shirt boxes we divvied the shirts up into separate bags and organized the back of the boat a little bit. after finishing this bit of business we loaded the gear up inside and set it all up on the stage. the soundman had not yet arrived so i kicked back while rollie got thru his chimp session. after about an hour the soundman, lee arrived and got us all set up. we then went thru the check' and everything sounded decent, so we went to the front of the club which was actually a pizza joint and ordered up some chow. after our feast watt retired to the confines of the boat while I kicked it and went into my own deep chimp mode.
finished up the chimp and watched rollie play pinball w/ a young lady but I couldn't really tell who was winning- maybe both? the first band, "loch ness monster" came on and I checked em out for awhile- hardcore, and the singer was trying his damndest to win the crowd over but they were having none of it. gotta admire his cojones tho'. the second band, "il libertina" caame up for their set and they seemed to be more popular w/ the crowd; they were a little more on the pop side but still had an intensity to them. the volume was ringing my ears so I went to the front of the restaurant to kick back until they were finished. this time came soon and I went to pull the pre-gig duties. went back inside and waited for the chief to show. me and rollie shared our customary pre-gig choke until the boss made his entrance- then we launched immediately into the piece. we played w/ much fire; the monitors were a little poco on the gain but we soldiered on thru. the crowd seemed to really dig on it- there were a lot of kids in the audience and it was cool to be able to blow their minds for an hour. or inspire them to create their own mind-blow.
we packed up the gear and got it all into the boat w/ the help of some of the cats we were crashing with- I only remember the name of one of them, dave, (no disrespect to the others), and we followed them to their pad which was in conway (about a half hour drive). we got in and rolled out the bags- watt and rollie rapped w/ dave and the other cats but I was feeling beat and rolled into my bag after drinking some tea and slowly drifted into suenoville. buona notte musicanti....
pop at seven bells and hose off. I had a dream where I was at a desk and folks were coming up to me for information. every single question though was stuff I had no idea how to answer, actually I couldn't parse their words to understand what was it they were asking and I was very befuddled. it was so confusing that I can't relate it back now even. all I know is there were angry and disappointed, like "why can't they put someone on the job here who knows what the fuck they're doing?" the face language they were giving me spoke volumes to that... aahh, I felt like the world's biggest idiot. there were all kinds of books stacked up next to me on the deck and I would go through them, trying to find stuff to help me for the next one in line. what'd happen though is that I'd get all caught up in some esoterica that had obviously no value except to feed my own curiosity - when I'd fail to make sense of what they were asking, I'd tell them what I was just reading - something on templars or whatever and they'd make an aboutface and storm right off. I could do nothing to make things right. after many of these failures, a boss came up to tell me right off. I felt like the lowliest of worms, I wanted to crawl right off and sink into a hole. I then found myself at the hugest telephone switchboard w/one of those headsets on me, like an operator would wear. I then was calling people up and trying to read from this script in front of me but I'd get hung up on every fucking time. the script was a recipe to make a pumpkin pie and it made me crazy to figure why wouldn't anyone want to know this "secret" (for some reason I thought this was an incredible pumpkin pie recipe that anyway would covet big time - I could even taste it in my mouth as I was trying to spiel it through to them). no one would yell or say anything to me, it'd just be a "click" - sometimes after just a word or two and other times I'd get 'pert-near the whole recipe out but never once did I get to finish. very VERY frustrated now, I got up and took the headset off and opened this hatch that led to the biggest pumpkin patch ever and one at a time, I'd bend down and rub my cheek on a pumpkin and feel it's smooth coolness. cuz of the bass, I don't have a lot of feeling in my fingertips due to calluses so when I want to feel things w/some sensitivity more than like feeling through a glove, I put it up to my face and rub it on either the top of my cheek or my upper lip. this was a very pleasant way to end what was a very fucked up thing. john gets up and makes me coff - he says he doesn't know how to make it right cuz he doesn't drink it but it's fine. he goes starts fixing things up for a morning chow, the rest of the household including my guys starting to wake up.
I go out to the boat to find those same gray skies that were hear when we came into town yesterday but still there's no rain. we chow up scrambled eggs, biscuits john made himself, bacon and sausage. big thank yous to both him and sandy. pete's tripping on how much sandy looks like his mother-in-law. john's now got a granddaughter but she's hustled off by her ma to chow in another room. I think the little one was tripping on the three weird men from pedro. we got some ground to cover so it's much respect and bye to our generous hosts.
I wheel the boat east onto I-30 after hitting it downtown. not much a route to get a look at dealy plaza but we get a quick view of a piece of the book depository building. that whole scene is so eerie, ugh. pete says all of it looks so small when you're actually walking around it - something joe baiza said when he was there. I try to take as many of my bands there as possible cuz there's something abstract in being actual w/the physical that is unique to experiencing it firsthand... a most real "surreal" or whatever. I always have a chord of sadness ring inside me, don't really know why cuz it's a feeling below words, like something from a dream I can't fathom. anyway, I haven't been on this freeway in a long time, through northeast texas. you know those things people put in their yards like pink flamingos or plastic deer? this one cat has stuff he's made for that purpose (for sale, most likely) but it's huge - like a giant marlin (fifteen feet hight), a giant sea horse, a giant baseball on a pedestal w/a bat - man, would this bogart up anyone's yard except maybe someone w/a farm or a ranch! there's blue giraffes and purple ostriches too. I have to say this is different, this cat must use giant molds or something. usually you see metal stuff that someone's welded up, like cowboy silhouettes and the like. I like looking out the window of the boat when we're driving and checking stuff out, keeps me alert. the closer we get to arkansas, the less gray the sky gets 'till at texarkana, it's all the way bright w/blue and sun. it's here where I hand pete the wheel for the last hundred and a half miles. while do the gas thing on the boat, I get a pimento and cheese sandwich - I get one of these every tour cuz they are so weird. I stuff them w/potato chips to texture them up. they don't have these in pedro. weird cheese too, like that velveeta shit that was around when I was a boy (maybe it's still around?) - definitely not a "real" cheese, more like an invented "food stuff" or whatever. trippy to taste once a tour though.
raul guides pete in good to downtown little rock and we pull up front to vino's, the pad we're playing tonight. up front's a pizzeria and in the back is where the gig is. this looks really familiar... the drummer of one of tonight's openers (il libertina), a cat named marcus refreshes my memory by saying this used to be called dmz and I played here fifteen years ago w/fIREHOSE... glad to know I'm not completely nuts. marcus is cool people, into blues, jazz and all kinds of music - an interesting cat. the other opening act is another local band called loch ness and one of it's members comes in wheeling an amp - he's from scotland but has been here for fourteen years now after meeting someone from little rock on the island of crete. life is trippy. soundman lee shows up in a top hat, he's older than me. he's cool though and talks keyboards w/pete - said he once owned an old mellotron, I asked him how much did that wiegh! they had all these tape recorders inside them, the first "sampler" - by analog means! we do a quick soundcheck and then go up front to chow. me, raul and pete get a table - I don't chow much w/my guys except in the boat w/stuff from the 'way and when someone chows us at their pad in the morning cuz it gives us some space. you spend so much time w/your guys on a watt tour, us three is all we got. pete gets a ham/cheese sandwich while me and raul have calzones, I get a spinach and broccoli one. it's good - the crust is light like I dig but it reminds me of a wen so I enlighten raul to what that is. you'd be surprised how many folks are lacking in that knowledge! according the dictionary on my 'puter:
noun: a common cyst of the skin; filled with fatty matter (sebum) that is secreted by a sebaceous gland that has been blocked.
I couldn't have put it better myself. I got turned on to this valuable info from my sister who ran into them at her job cutting hair - we were talking about things that stench and she said nothing cleared out a salon faster than a comb accidently ripping one of these open. I know, good chow talk but we like to have fun on tour. a young cat passes our table and he's wearing a t-shirt w/a picture of richard hell on it - whoa! I have to tell him I think that's righteous so I do. alright, little rock! w/that, I go to the boat and konk.
pete gets me and has some tea but it's been made w/water from here cuz our heater got donated last night in dallas, whoops. pete was bumming cuz he really digs the throatcoat too but I tell not to worry cuz they're only ten bucks almost anywhere. I put my bass in the back and that was a mistake cuz it's gotten cold. the wood contracts and everything goes sharp and then flat as it warms up. oh well, I should've remember that cuz ron always telling me that at stooges gigs. we do the piece and it's pretty good though pete has some volume challenges cuz of the shitty sweep on the cry baby volume pedal (not a wah-wah!). the string broke on his earnie ball one so he has to use his bravo. the montiors aren't the best but a least they're not woofy so it's very ok. there's a prob w/power to my amp a few times where it just stopped. each time, plugging it into another socket would bring it back to life... weird. what was great about my guys is that we'd pick up the piece just where we were forced to stop, that was some great focus - very in the moment. the little rock folks are a pleasure to play to - very receptive and attentive, thank you. like every gig, I say when we come back for an encore that the piece IS weird but if anything, it should give others confidence to try 'pert-near anything if a middle-aged punk rocker can fly his freak flag w/this. they get the point and agree. much kindness and good will when I sling and talk w/them. that drummer marcus from el libertina talks to me about his hero, drummer elvin jones and I hip him to this halfhour piece about him called "a different drummer" that's really great, letting him talk about his history and philosophy about music. lots of cats comment on how it was ok someone came to town and played different shit. I hope that doesn't sound like I'm patting myself on the back cuz it's more about them being righteous for being so open-minded and having us aboard. before we started, I called out for a pad that was safe for the boat and space for three cats w/sacks and this kind man named dave offers his. there's a guy here w/his buddy - they're from minneapolis (by the way, I heard the first avenue has re-opened and my main man steve mcclellan is at the helm - justice has been served!) and he last saw me twentyone years ago, whoa. lots of warm feelings and good words, thanks to everyone - truly.
we pack up and wait for dave to come back cuz he said he had to gas up. when he comes back and we follow him, we understand cuz he's like thirty miles west in a town called conway. it's on I-40 though and on our way for tomorrow so that's ok though I do hate driving on the freeway much at night - too risky. everyday, we see how many deers slaughtered on the road? that's just one of the dangers... dave says the house he's in here is haunted but it seems pretty ok. we talk about astronauts a little... he's got some buddies here and I talk to one young man about cave stuff - he's a geology student. he's also from what he calls a "dirt road town," a little one and so we get talking about that - big city vs. little town. I tell him it's trippy, as I get less younger, I get more like little town w/pedro - even though it's part of that huge so cal thing, I don't really hang out in the other reaches unless I really have to... I stick mostly to my little part of it. the big diff though between me and the other cats living in pedro is I sally forth - my work entails touring and so I am not just a provincial or whatever. I tell him what I've found about life is you roam and you roost - there's lots of roles to work in a life. whoa, there's an orange male cat here that's not fixed but he's nice... reading the "newspaper" of smells on my clothes. noches, gato.
sunday, november 14, 2004 - oklahoma city, ok
I have to piss right when i wake up, so i crawl outta bed and stumble to the bathroom, tripping over someone sleeping on the floor. It's a guy named dylan, he dosent live at the house, but was hangin' out last night, we both had some beers, it just looked like he kept it going after i crashed. He was laying on a hard wood floor, with no blanket or pillow, and he had a piss puddle around him. Looked totally uncomfortable, tried to wake him up, but he was having none of it. Sucked for him too, cuz there was a bed that no one used all night about ten feet away. Had a smoke with petey on the porch, hoped in the van and headed for o.k. city. On the way into town, i had told mike to take the I 235, he swore that i said to the I 35, pretty funny, we're both arguing about who's right and who's wrong, going up the wrong freeway. It's fun to me, arguing and laughing at the same time , it's not a big deal, i just have to reroute us and get us to the club a different way. Playing at a restaurant/club, and the restaurant isn't open on sundays, and yep, today is sunday. So we're stuck in the rain for a few hours. Luckily mike spots a laundry mat down the road, one last delousing before we hit pedro. After doing laundry, pete and i go next door to hang out and read on the patio of the closed coffee shop, sucks too, coffee would be a savior right now. It's starting to get flippin' cold, forty four degrees, that what the sign says. I hoof it back, and leave pete at the will of the elements. The clubs open, and mikes inside chimpin' away in a toasty room, what the fuck was i doing standing around in the rain. Someone that worked there had just been driving by, saw the boat, and opened up the door. He had just brewed up a pot of coffee... badass. We set up all the gear, and then the sound guy calls, tells us he's just gonna do right before we play, oh well, atleast we get to mark the equipment.
Alright, you know what sucks, when you see some one, and remember their face, but not the name, or how the fuck you met em' in the first place. This happened today, we're just sittin' around, and this guy walks in, and with out even thinking why, i wave and say hi, just automatic, cuz he looks so familiar. He looks real suprised to see me, and takes a seat right next to me and starts talking about pedro, he knows my name even, i feel like such a jackass, i can't remember how the hell i know this guy. I keep up the act for awhile longer, trying to buy some time, to figure out how it is that i met this person, and finally i gotta come clean and let him know that i can remember his face. but i got no name to go along with it. Stewart he says, i used to go to all the f.y.p or jag off shows that came through oklahoma. He even let me borrow some cymbals when all mine were busted. It starts to come back, totally embarrassing, when some one tells you shit you did five years ago, and you have no recollection of it. I was pretty twisted on some chemical or another, especially with the jag offs, young and dumb, and high all the time. Nice meeting you stewart.... again, i won't forget this time. He's in the first band, stellar chromatic, the music sorta sounds like dinosaur jr., good stuff. The second band is chop shop, the dedicated a song to boon, also called d. boon. their drummer looked like keith moon... sorta. While both these bands are playin', i'm the only jackass standing up front, everyone else is at tables, i hope it's not like this when we play, that'd be the third time. Northampton, houston, now o.k city.
It's not as bad as i thought it would be, most folks did come up, enough to make me not feel totally freaked out and on display. The folks who did come up were a blast, people were hootin' and hollarin', doing the barn stomp, ya know, when you stomp one foot on the floor, while your hand is smacking your hips, good ol' time. Out of the side of my eye, i could see justin, lips roadie, and wayne from the lips, they both had hugh smiles on there faces the whole time. I thought we played pretty good, energy was there, and no major clams to fess up to. After the ford loader all geared up, we head down to norman, we're gonna stay with the bass player from chop shop, adam. Along foir the ride was eric, the keith moon kinda look alike drummer, and his special lady friend kelli. Sat around and talked for awhile, i was just laying around noodling on the bass. It didn't seem as cold out as it was earlier, so i went out to the porch, drained a tall boy while listening to the sound of the rain, it was pouring. Adam had built a studio in the basement of this house, pete was way into it, he got some good tips. I was falling asleep while sitting on the porch, screw that, i'd freeze to death. I found a quite spot in the studios control, laid out the bag, and called it a night... bye bye.
popped at dave's pad; had that nasty burn in my throat again- this time it was on the opposite side and no habi's to remedy the situation- I would have to rely on the hydrogen peroxide alone to beat this fucker. I did a quick face splash in the head, made myself some tea and sat out on the porch to drink it while waiting for watt to finish his computer work. he finished up lickety split and we hopped into the boat to start the trip to ok city. much respect to dave and his crew for having us over.
the road to ok was not an extremely long one but watt had been poring over some weather sites and it looked like we were going to have a bit of rain (hopefully not a downpour). I read some and copped some z's in the back all the while ruminating about this last week of the tour- made me feel a little melancholy but I was missing home and I had alot of things to take care of once I got back (including some major work hustle on the docks).
we steamed into town after plowing thru grey skies and drizzle and parked right in front of the club (vzd's). I hadn't played here since first tour and I was excited about the prospect. Justin, one of the flaming lips' road cats had called watt and said he would be at the show as well as wayne (the singer/ ringmaster). it would be cool to see them again (haven't seen em since the chili peppers' tour last october). nobody was home yet at vzd's so we decided to take a ride down the street and pull our last laundry duty of the tour (the stink bags once again overfloweth). we went into the laundromat down the street and started the wash going- there was a coffee pad across the street that me and rollie went to go check out; it was closed but they did have free wi-fi that was unfortunately still on. I sat and read my email while waiting for the wash to finish. after about half an hour of this I started to freeze my balls off (we were sitting outside), it was about 46 degrees and my fingers felt like they were going to snap off. we headed back to the mat' to check out the status of our duds and sure enough, they were done. I threw them into the drier, then went back outside to call my bro tone. I got him on the line and we rapped for a bit- it was good to hear his voice. he says the docks are still busy so I knew I would have a shitload of work when we rolled back into pedro.
I folded up my duds and stuck my bag back into the boat and we headed back to the club. the boss man was there and let us in and got us some coffee going to warm us up. we loaded the gear in and set it up; the soundman called and said he would be in late, so no soundcheck tonite. we marked off the positions of the machines and broke everything down to the side. I went into the head to shave and wash up a bit, and having finished that I came into the restaurant area where the owner, chad had set us up w/ some chicken enchiladas and caesar salad. it was very welcome. after our feast, I sat down and went into chimp mode.
the first opening band came in and set up their gear- the soundman, marty showed soon after and got them going. They started their set and I grabbed my bag and went bak down the street to the closed coffee pad to surf the net a little and get my head together. I hoofed it back to the club after about forty minutes and the second band, chop shop', was just starting their set. I listened to them for awhile while nursing a shot of maker's mark- they were really cool, had a song that they dedicayed to d. boon called appropriately "d. boon". I dug on em. chop shop' finished up their set and I went and pulled the pre-gig duties and then to set up the machines. we had a pretty decent crowd for a sunday nite and i was excited about doing the gig. watt ambled in and we did a quick line check and launched into the piece; everything sounded good but once again my monitor sounded like I was singing thru dirty skivvies. fifth fucking time in a row! I kept waving at the soundman but to no avail; the cat was deep in conversation w/ a buddy of his. I finally got his attention and he's looking at me perplexed. I'm pointing to my mic and then at the monitors but this cats obviously needs me to draw him a picture. finally, I get a chance to stop at rollie's drum solo in piss bags' and I scream at the top of my lungs "HEY BRO! TURN UP MY FUCKING MONITOR"!!. he still doesn't understand and the gain stays the same. at this point I am livid and starting to lose focus- i try to calm down but this shit keeps mulling over in my head. Meanwhile, he's still down there oblivious to the whole sitch. I swear to god I was yay close to running back there w/ my mic in my hand and beating the living shit out of this incompetent fuck. man, if you're gonna be a soundman, and you're too fucking lazy to do a soundcheck, then for chrissakes pay attention at the fucking gig. we finish up the piece and I fly off the stage to the back of the room. I say to this cat " listen I'm really sorry to interrupt your conversation but I've been trying to get your attention for the last twenty fucking minutes because I am SINGING THRU A FUCKING PILLOW!, so please, please turn up my goddamn monitor OK? this guy looks at me like I am fucking insane (which I was), and says "Ok". I go outside to where watt and rollie are and they ask me where I had gone. I tell them the sitch and watt motions for us to go back up for the encore. we get on stage and I talk into the mic. perfect. every nuance heard. we rip thru the rest of the set w/o any problems and the sound guy apologizes. I tell him that's ok, but man he should've had his shit together from the get go. I want to get out of dodge quick, so I kick it for awhile then quickly break down the gear and get it intom the boat w/ the help of some nice peeps. watt settles w/ the boss and we sit in the front of the boat waiting fro eric and adam from chop shop' who we are crashing with. we follow them up the freeway to norman, a small town where they live and get settled into the pad quickly. adam is a diy cat like myself and I marvel over his handiwork in the pad. he also takes me downstairs into the studio that he has built and I am equally amazed. very talented cat. we go back upstairs as it's starting to pour, and we rap for awhile until the heaviness starts to hit the eyelids. I gargle w/ some peroxide, then climb into my bag and conk to the patter of the rain on the roof. laku noc sviraci....
pop at eight bells and man, am I cramping up big time in my calves and the arches of my feet. this happens to me sometimes, it was really bad when I was playing again after the illness, w/those j mascis + the fog tours. some potassium pills helped w/that and I've been pretty much free of that, just every now and then they come up on me. I've gotta rub like crazy to work the knots out, sometimes I gotta use all my bodyweight to stretch out a calf or arch one. my doctor friend doug says they can be from a build up of lactic acid in the muscle's center and cause it to spaz out, resulting in a cramp. I get up to piss and find a couple of the guys I was talking w/last night konked on the deck (and I mean a wood deck cuz there's no rug or carpet). one of them has no blankie and is just inches from a kerosene space heater going full blast, damn. can't remember where the head is so I piss in a cup and go outside to find grayness. dave gets up and takes me to a gas station to get coff. he's a nice cat who also does judo, saying he knows about the cramps I get cuz he gets them too. he asks me if there's weirder scenes when I'm touring in the south rather than other parts of the country and I tell him I've found weird stuff everywhere - that's my experience. I like playing everywhere though so it's ok... everywhere's got something to teach me, even if I go there again. I had a dream last night where I was a tire on a truck. yeah, it was weird. I knew it was a truck I was on cuz I was missing bad the boat and was wishing I was one of its tires. I could feel my face coming round and round, getting mashed up on each pass - oh boy. it was like I was around the wheel w/my spine against the rim and my toes touching the top of my head. it seems like some wild kind of torture machine but as it was happening, it seemed this is what is was to live my life - what I had always done. I was mad at the driver though cuz he was not avoiding pot holes and in fact was going for them - that and cans, boxes, animals hit and slaughtered - it was disgusting on me and hurt a lot too. it reminded me of the times in the old days when folks would spit on you at gigs and having to sing while working the bass made it impossible to guard my mouth and the spits would go right down the fucking hatch... same thing here. what was real tough too was the stopping cuz this prick would lean on the brakes hard and cause a skid - oh, was that some hurt. I wanted to somehow wiggle off but then I was afraid I might cause a wreck cuz what if this was a school bus instead of a truck or what if it was a truck but cuz of me making it go out of control, it would hit a school bus or a car w/a pregnant lady or anything terrible. I just had to take the blows, it was the right thing to do. of course, everything about this had a crazy logic but for some reason I found it essential I held to some kind of ethic, like the law of karma was impossible to turn my eyes or mind from. it was kind of like a promethius thing too cuz I didn't seem to wear or get pummeled away, it was like I'd regenerate 'pert-near as fast as I got tore up. another frustrating thing is I could never get a good look of what was forward or what was anywhere really cuz I was spinning around so fast. this pissed me off really hard. I kept trying and trying to think of a way to get free w/out causing a hell and couldn't do it. it was frustrating.
pete and raul konked in another room and I get them up so we can bail. there's supposed to be rain in oklahoma city and that's where we're headed. much gratitude to dave and we say bye, we get up to I-40 and take it west. even w/the gray, the ozarks are still pretty. sunday morning so I call my ma and she's doing good, her right foot hurts a little still from the surgery but it's coming along. my sister melinda's doing good w/the school stuff too - good to hear happening things from both of them. you get so out of touch on tour, so unto your own little world. I wonder about those I hold dear - kristin told me my plumber friend richard "fuckin'" bonney sounded down and I should call him but his walkie-talkie number is out of service when I try to call. damn. george hurley's pad phone is that way and his walkie-talkie mailbox all filled up - trippy w/all this stuff to communicate w/that there's still unavailableness. I mean, there's gotta be some buffer so you can have a life but at the same time, I worry when I can't get someone just to relieve my anxieties about how they are - maybe it's tour that exasperates that cuz if I was in pedro, I'd just pedal or take the boat over and physically try to see what's up. I let pete and raul talk w/my ma too, it's good she hears what's up from others than me, what better than the guys w/me? I know she worries and her knowing I got the best cats w/me is a good thing - you know how a ma can hear that in son's voice, even not her own. I then call my pool man friend tony and am really glad to hear his hip is getting better, that's great news. he's curious about the tour - he's done three of them w/me cuz I wanted him to see the rest of the country and he had barely been out of pedro his whole life. he dug it and I dug having him w/me. next I call nanny, her and all her animals are doing good. I've told everyone I should be back one week from today, back to my pedro town w/my pedro peeps. man, do I miss them. sure glad I got two pedro men on board w/me. we stop to get sandwiches at a 'way and we're want for chilies so we gotta go sauce - pete uses a little too much of the east of armageddon kind (that chemical crap but it does have the heat) and has quite a ride. his throat started hurting again but on the other side so that'll help some. you don't know the health powers of these chilies but we got the tour experience to prove it. we cross into oklahoma also through several nations, the cherokee, seminole, sac and fox, muskogee, shawnee and patawatome ones. me and raul talk a little about that sadness, just is... what could've been done? maybe honor our word... stuff done now in the name of today might look similar down the road - does it sound like hand-wringing? my fault then cuz I got a stir way below the word part of my insides when I'm through parts like this. we pass okemah, where woody guthrie was born - he was something else, I owe him much in so many ways.
about forty miles from ok city, rain starts coming down but not too hard, sure is getting cold - you can understand why watt likes his fall tours ending w/halloween! I know, "weak mister so cal" but it's not just my joints aching w/the wet cold, it's also safeness for the boat and my guys too (more about that really). the pad we're playing is in the north part of town and I misread a direct from raul that puts us a little east but surface streets get us there easy enough and we're at vzd around through three. it's a restaurant too but closed on sundays so we can't get in yet. I spy a laundromat a block away and we go on over there for the last wash of the tour, a lucky find. it's not like I'm out of outfits but the longer fouled clothes sit in the bag, the more "fur" that grows on them. happens there's a coff pad next door in the will rogers theatre (I played here once some years ago but now it's been turned into a couple different places) and though it's closed, it's got wifi going. I get this email from spot:
> I'm still groanin'. been layin'
> a transatlantic cable. thanks
> for helpin' me forge it.
that's the way we left him, felt bad about that but knew he needed a good while and it didn't need to get rushed. I love spot much. my wash gets done and dried so I bring the boat to the club and back it up near the hatch so if rain comes down (it's stopped now but man, is it getting cold), it'll be less of a nightmare on the loading. bill, a cat who works at vzd opens up the pad for me so I can chimp diary while waiting for the bossman, chad. I get a call from justin, helperman for the flaming lips. he's gonna come down tonight and says wayne is too. brother wayne coyne, much a hero for watt - I better do good as I can. I also get a call from soundman marty who says he'll just get us on the fly so no soundcheck. we set up our stuff so we'll know where it'll go and then move things so the opening cats can get on. they're both local bands and called stellar chromatic and chop shop - really nice guys. weariness weighs on me and I gotta fight that w/some konk so I go to the boat and bundle up like chief joseph w/three blankies.
gig time and pete shakes me awake and hands me tea, I go in and set up my pedal board. we do the piece and I am very driven, hoping to do good for brother wayne if he's here. it's almost like I see him but am not sure, I get a little distracted thinking about that and clam up some w/a few song lines, aahh - idiot watt cuz they're some I think are summation ones and even say them correctly when we're done to explain where I fucked up. I know it was a tough gig for pete cuz of lame-ass monitors - mine we're squealing a bunch but at least not drowning in low muffed-out mud. I think we did ok overall though I wish of course I could get it more together when I'm conscious w/self-awareness. is that a retarded statement? this tour, like all of mine, drives this home on me intensely. I am indebted so to people being generous w/their good will, w/the efforts of the guys on stage w/me and w/what seems to be chance after chance to have another go and do better - I so dearly need those chances, I have so far to go w/this struggle to get over myself. sometimes I think it's a boundary thing, I've always had troubles w/that. it seems like it 'pert-near borders on contempt and I hate these parts of myself that appear to have sense of respect, whatever that might be. only getting myself more humble and open to learn can save me from drowning in such shit, I'm convinced.
kind words from folks after - thank you much. flaming lips helper man justin (he quoted back some essential buddy rich-isms when I admitted to the chokes I committed during the set) tells me brother wayne coyne and michelle were here to see us, whoa... that was him I saw. I wish in a big way I could've talked w/him or rather listen to his words cuz he's wise beyond whatever and enlightens me much. I think he has what scotty says is a "buddha-like nature," truly. I don't mean to sound like blowing smoke up anybody's ass, it's just what I feel sincerely. I get this from all kinds of folks, not just cats in bands but wayne does happen to be someone doing music and he's an influence on me for years. I like the way he pushes walls around him to make way for ideas, powerful in a creative way. I talk w/bossman chad and thank him for everything. adam, a cat from chop shop, invites us to konk at his pad in norman, where ok university is. it's only twenty or so miles south so we follow him down. he's got a great pad and shows pete around to his recording stuff and also brings me out some righteous basses and parts of basses he's got. eric (from his band) is here too, along w/his girlfriend kelli and it's 'pert-near like he channeled something from a.p. in new orleans cuz of his love for the minutemen, bringing up infos and song quotes and the like. they're both quite kind on me - what a legacy I have to live up to... I gotta work harder at being worthy of that in the moment - much respect to d. boon and george hurley. thinking of them are humbling thoughts but it's what I think I need to help get it together. mask down and ear plugs in, this is what's in my mind as konk takes me.
monday, november 15, 2004 - amarillo, tx
Woke up, and i had to use the pisser so bad, not happening, the water was all the way to the top, on account of the rain the water wouldn't drain, and it wasn't a piss i had to take, and i didn't wanna leave a floater, that would've just sucked. I had to wait for the first stop off the highway, close call. I haven't shit my pants for a real long time, and i wanted to keep it that way. It poured all the way to amarillo, nasty weather. The nat, the club we're playing at was on georgia st., but both pete and i couldn't find it on the map, luckily we saw signs off the highway, so all is good, and we find the place without a hitch. The nat is an old club, dating back to the thirties, everyone's been there, duke ellington to johnny cash. Mike told me a story about little richard getting arrested for taking his shirt off on stage. We get there pretty early, and i don't wanna stand around in the rain, so i head across the street, to one of the many antique stores on this street, i swear there's like thirty of em'. I found a stack of good records, all for a buck, first jam l.p, live gang of four, roger miler vinyl that i've never seen, rank and file, the band the brothers did after the dils broke, all sorts of good stuff. I spend my time looking, there's no reason to be outside, and the club's probably not gonna be open for a while... wrong. When i get back, the van is gone, i walk around the block and find it parked in the back of the nat, the equipment has already been loaded in... doh, i fucked up. I bang on the door for fifteen minutes, finally someone's answers. It's the boss, what do you want he says, well, to come in i say, it's raining, and i'm supposed to be playing here later, sorry he says, i thought you were just some dude, i am just some dude... whatever, he turned out to be a good guy.
I find pete up stairs, i apologize about not being there to load the gear, he's not bent about it. Told me he looked for me though, i was on the floor going thru records, so maybe he just walked in and couldn't see me. The nats is a trippy place, real big, and real old looking. All the tables and chairs gotta be from the sixties, the tables look even older, the whole place was a throw back to another time, i liked it. It had to be haunted too, it just had the feeling of alot of years, and alot seen by the walls. There's a big balcony going across the back and one side of the building, that's were the owner lived. There's also a used book store connected to the building that the guys father runs, but it was closed monday, so i didn't get to check it out. Set up my drums, then we went to ryan and angela's place to chow. She made some beef/vegetable stew, and she fixed up some homemade falafel for yours truly, a couple of sweet hearts, thanks. Back at the club i spent awhile exploring, then i went out to explore amarillo, it doesn't seem as cold as it was earlier, i'm probably getting used to it, it had to be freezing, there was still snow on the ground from the week before. I found a little skate shop/ record store and went inside to stay outta the rain. When i walked in, there was a little kid asking the person behind the counter what kinda punk mike watt played. While i was on the floor looking thru records, he came up and started talkin' to me. What kinda music to you like, then he starts drilling me with all these bands he's into, slayer was his favorite. Then he starts saying raps from straight outta compton, see he says, i'm multi cultural. He told me he wanted to go to the nat, but had no money, i'll put you on the guest list i told him, he just about shit his pants. After we kept talking, i figured that his mom was comin' to pick him up soon, and wouldn't be the best idea to let this kid into to the show. When i left the store, he followed me out, if i can't come, maybe i can go see what the inside looks like... persistent. I don't think your ma would like the idea of her boy walking to a punk gig with some guy from california, plus you don't even know me, i could be a total creep, i know you he said, your the drummer of the secondmen... you got me dude, but that's besides the point, i think we need to part. As i'm walking away he starts to drill me on my slayer knowledge. Who does south of heaven... slayer i yell back, reign in blood... slayer, war ensemble... slayer, running with the devil he screams... van halen... little shit tried to trick me. I'm walking away backwards staring at this weird little dude standing in the middle of the road with both hands in the air doing devil horns, screaming slayer in this really deep monster voice, all i could think about was gummo.
The first band is sound checking when i get back, if they had a name, i'd tell ya, but i don't think they do. It's a total improve band put together just for the show. You see, about two weeks ago we had no amarillo gig, it had fell thru, us not wanting a day off had friends in amarillo set up a gig, i think it was mainly skits that got the job done, a friend of petes and mikes, i had just met him. His band was a trip, it was like the pink floyd or something, it felt like i'd been dosed. This improve psychedelic band playing on the stage of this hugh tripped out theater, hanging christmas lights lighting the whole place, was i at an acid test. They did an awesome job playing that long without any breaks in the songs, it kept going. Our turn, we did not do an awesome job, well i feel that i didn't do too hot. Everything sounded so weird, the toms comin' thru the monitor sounded like i was playin' metal drums, i's hard to do fills, and keep time, with only half the kit sounding right, i was only using the kick and snare. I thought it was a bad gig, i felt like hiding, but who knows, maybe it sounded great out there, i just felt like i couldn't get it together, i just couldn't catch the groove, it was a rough one, i had no fire... there's always tomorrow. The gig was over pretty early, that's good. We all head back over to the same place we went for dinner earlier, a few other people came along too... Good times. I went out to go have a smoke in the back yard, and made a joke kinda under my breath about an electric fence, and kicked the fence, lucky for me it was off... it was an electric fence, remember the board game, from ren and stimpy, don't wiz on the electric fence. Out back of the house ryan had a garage converted to a prac pad/ art studio. He did alot of stencil stuff, i found one piece i really liked, it was just a face scratched into a toot and totum soda cup, but he was making stamp prints outta the carving, so it has a cool multi colored paint job, something about it just caught me, so he let me have it, in fact i could take the whole bag. He had a grocery bag full of this stuff, and he'd been meaning to throw it away for a while, and just hadn't gotten around to it yet, i rummaged through and found a bunch of home made stickers i wanted. He had a group to, they're called electric black bird, totally trippy, and kinda improve too, like pavement meets beef heart. He was telling me about how they recorded it, one thing at a time, and any musician was free to do what ever they felt like, it resulted in some trippy tunes that's for sure. It was getting flippin' cold, i could see my breath, and we were inside. Some of these dudes had short sleeves on, what's up with that, i was wearing two shirts, a hoodie, and a jacket, and was still shaking. I knew if i stayed out there any longer, i'd wake up sick for sure, plus it was like three in the mourning, i thought to myself, i really should get some sleep.
pop at adam's on the floor and I am so looking forward to a long hose-off when adam tells us that because of the rain the sewer line is backed up and so no go on the shower. damn! I wipe my face down w/ the life-saving baby wipes and I'm good to go. we load up and hop into the boat and we're on the road once more. much respect to adam for letting us crash at his pad.
we get on the freeway and are met w/ some light drizzle, nothing too bad but we're hoping the sitch doesn't turn to bad once we hit amarillo as supposedly they had gotten some snowfall earlier in the week. the ride was relatively uneventful and soon we find the pad we're looking for (the nat). it has a bit of history; it was built in 1922 and originally called the "amarillo natatorium". it was basically a building with an open center courtyard w/ a swimming pool in the center. the courtyard was later covered w/ a roof and the swimming pool was filled in and covered by a 10,000 sq. foot maple dance floor. many of the great acts of the 40's, and 50's played there including the dorsey big bands, johnny cash, elvis- little richard was even arrested there for taking off his shirt during a performance!. it's on the natural register of historic places. the way we got this gig is that the original pad that we were supposed to play at had some shenanigans go down and the gig was cancelled, but talking about it we didn't want to break up the momentum of the tour and we really wanted to play for the amarillo peeps so watt calls up this cat skitz that we had met last tour(he had opened up for us at the last gig in amarillo), and asks him if he can maybe set something up for us. he agrees and gets this gig at the nat going. anyways, we park in front of the nat' and it doesn't seem like anyone's home so watt calls up skitz and tells him what's up. he calls back up and tells us the boss man should be there. we then notice that boss man has opened the doors up for us. rollie had gone on a solo excursion and I couldn't find him; I searched thru a couple of places where he might have gone but I was getting rained on so I gave up the ghost. me and watt pulled the boat out in the back and got everything loaded out and near the stage; it was a bigger do' than we expected- they had rented out a big PA and lights- the full shebang. woh. we get everything set up on stage up and the soundman shows up; turns out it's larry, the same cat who had done sound for us last time in amarillo. he still had much set up time to go, so we drove down the freeway to angela and ryan's pad (we had crashed w/ them last tour), to grab some chow. angela had made some very kind stew and we juiced it up w/ some of our habi salsa. smokin' burn g. we had some tea and then hightailed it back to the nat' where larry and the monitor cat, j, had gotten us going w/ the mics. we went thru the check' and everything seemed to be copacetic so I went upstairs to chimp and read my email as brandon, the boss man and owner of the pad had graciously let me use his puter'. he had two sweet doggies too, and they both gave me a major tongue lashing while I chimped.
skitz showed up w/ his band in tow; they were basically a bunch of musician friends of his who were going to do some improv on the fly. I was excited about hearing them. I finished up the chimp and went downstairs to hang w/ rollie for awhile and check out skitz's musical cooperative. they were pretty intense; they never stopped playing and had a movie playing in back of them as they were jamming (psycho killers). I was way into it. they finished up their set and I went to pull duty and set up the machines w/ rollie. the chief ambled in and we launched into the piece- there wasn't a hell of alot of peeps there as the gig had only been flyered for a week prior but I was determined to give them thir money's worth. I blew a major clam on pissbags' but we soldiered thru and I don't think anyone noticed- the rest of the set went well w/o any major clams. the peeps to their credit were way into it and I was glad that we had played this gig. they were very complimentary after and it gave me much confidence. much respect.
we got the gear packed up quick and loaded into the boat then headed on over to angela and ryan's house where we rapped until the sandman broke up the party. I laid my bag down on a bed in one of the spare bedrooms and I was out right quick. and I conked happy. buona notte musicanti....
pop at eight bells and hit the head. wow, an old fashioned tub w/those claw feet kind of stands, I wanna soak in this so I do. it's real deep so I can sit up in an angle easy and stretch my legs out, relaxing my sore-ass knees cuz this wet cold really gets to them. last night I dreamed I was running on them - fuck, I don't know how but actually it seemed I got going on some kind of a stumbled and then to keep from falling, I kept moving on and this caused me to make like a run, a fucked-up watt kind of jog. it seemed like for sure I was gonna tumble but somehow I kept on w/this, yard after yard. felt like it was all downhill cuz I can't imagine what was keeping me moving, I felt so rubber-legged. eventually though, I did meet the ground and went into this tuck move so I'd land on my shoulder and ended up a ball - a fucking human bowling ball and I really started careening, having no idea direction I was headed in but fearful as the biggest scardy-cat ever of slamming into something hard which of course, I finally did - a big ol' tree w/a trunk as big around as the boat. damn, I was now laying in a pile, so completely fucking hurt that my mind started taking an inventory of the pain and it was nothing but - it would've been better to count the spots that weren't hurt cuz that would've added up to a big goose egg! to feel hurt in a dream is so weird - like you can look around it, underneath and inside, like it was a physical thing all unto itself - like an object. then the fucking promethius thing like the night before w/all my shattered self coming back to where this dream began and the stumblebum scenario repeating itself all over again, oh boy. don't know where these things get their makings from, crimony. last night, that chop shop cat eric said he's been reading the diaries and says my dreams read like a fucking hellride but I think tour brings out insecurities in me maybe a little more than pedro life. I have so much apprehension - I think the stuff w/physical pain might be somewhat about my knees cuz of the weather making them more aching maybe and that translates into me being fearful of them getting really hurt, cuz of the pain I've learned from when they've been in massive trauma - a crazy mix of both the known (what has happened) and unknown (what might happen). I have to say that in the tub there's no safer feeling for me, I'm 'pert-near like a total womb-child. I hope that doesn't sound too pathetic.
well, it looks like I get the only use of the head cuz the night's rain has put back-pressure on adam's drainage system and draining it is not doing now. pete said he was hearing some gurgling as he was starting to konk last night and that must've been what it was. adam makes up some coff and gives me a cd of his band - I like playing music from cats who come to my shows on the watt from pedro show cuz it makes the whole thudster and gig-goer situation a lot more reciprocal - I mean if playing is their form of expression too. maybe poems or prose spoken into a recorder and then put on a cd might be neat too - I play charles bukowski, lenny bruce, richard meltzer and william s. burroughs spoken word stuff and love it much. I've had a lot of cats come up and thank me for playing their music on my show - I tell them they are very quite welcome... "it's all a big reservoir," to paraphrase mister john coltrane. we give our thanks and bid farewell to adam and then roll north on I-35 to catch I-40 west, lots of this road here on out was part of the old route 66, the main way west by car in the old days. it's gray and rainy but at least not a pounding torrent one, thank god. I gas the boat up and we get 'way-wiches, again w/no habaneros to put in them but luckily we got hotness from the bottle - pete has quite a ride w/a lava flow he didn't expect to exit the bottle so quickly, whoa. a little of western oklahoma left and heavy fog rolls in but not too much to make it a total nightmare. I've been in those fucked-up sitches before, a total pants-shitter. we get into the panhandle part of texas and the rain stops for a bit until we're almost in amarillo and then we get some drizzles but not bad. we pass that cornball "big texan" pad where you get a seventytwo ounce steak for free if you can eat that and everything else on the plate in an hour. crimony - d. boon tried it and failed - the piece of meat was a fucking chew-toy. I had "prairie oysters" (some kind of balls off of something) but they were so deep fried, I couldn't tell what the fuck it was. the route 66 map software (I know, we're on the old route 66 road but that's a coincidence cuz it just happens to be the name they picked for it, they're a dutch company) has a fucked up database for the amarillo street names and none of them are right, giving pete and raul no end of confusion. luckily though, we're looking for georgia street and there's an offramp off of I-40 for it. we pull up to the venue about three. raul goes to check what's up while I chow on some of that great enchilada-like casserole chad donated w/what was left from our initial shoveling last night - so good, man... can't help it. no one appears at the pad so raul goes gets lost w/antique stores - there's a buttload of them on this block. me and pete are there when the owner man appears at the hatch and we load in via the alley.
tonight's gig is the only one this tour not booked by the-man-outside-the-van steve kaul. he'd got us a gig here for amarillo on this night but the gig got scissored during like the second week we were on the road. this made me upset cuz fuck, if I'm gonna be out there working the towns, why not hit as many pads as I can, right? about a week and a half ago, I was so bugged about losing this gig that I emailed this cat who opened for us last time we were in town - he had a band called thick and his name is skitz, cool people. anyway, just like that - bam! he comes to the rescue w/a pad called the nat, a place w/some real history. it was built in the 20s and was an enclosed swimming pool (they were popular then - natatoriums, hence the name) but that covered up and it turned into a ballroom. jimmy dorsey, duke ellington, count basie... even little richard played there and was arrested for taking his shirt off! I learned this all from skitz and when I got there, from the cat who has it now, brandon. he's got a couple of very nice dogs - one is just a sweetheart. soundman larry is at the soundhelm... of the four amarillo gigs I've done in my life, he's done three of them, whoa! he's got a young man named jason helping him and wow, it sure is a lot of setup for such a short notice pickup gig, much respect. while they're setting up, we head on over to angela and ryan's cuz they've cooked us up some chow. it's a really good stew - we prep it up some w/the salsa we got from vzd chad last night in ok city. these folks are very nice to us, they've invited us to konk at their pad later after the gig. we finish shoveling and then head on over to the nat for soundcheck. man, there's a cold rain out tonight - not tons of water but it sure is cold. after the check, I head for the boat and do the chief joseph thing w/all three blankies plus the yellow jacket zipped all up. I konk quick cuz I'm wore - rainy weather driving puts a load on me cuz of the concentration needed to stay safe.
pete yanks me out of konk and hands me tea - pete's a rock and there for me always, dearly I love him. he said skitz opened up the gig w/an improvised thing w/several local musicians and it was very cool. damn, wish I could've seen it. I get up on the stage and get my bass thing together - it's a smallish crowd which might be expected for such short notice but whatever, I'm glad I got an amarillo gig on the "el mar cura todo" tour so I'm gonna play my heart out. raul's out of the gate a little ahead of us, hmm... probably end of tour focus difficulties - these happen to everyone and you gotta push hard to get a handle on them. it's a good gig though, I'm proud of both my guys. the lights are pretty close, maybe four feet or so away from head and they're like lazer cannons (sort of) - whoa, kind of hot. jason's got the monitors good so that's happening, thank you. the folks have us back for an encore and we wail it up, much gratitude I have for their support, truly. afterwards, we get kind words, cats saying their glad we play their town - in return I promise I'll play west texas more regular. hell, I wish I could play every town every tour... I wish I was that strong. it's an honor to get the opportunity to try your best for anyone who'll give you an ear. I'm very intent on getting the next batch of tunes together, not just to see how they go w/pete and raul but to run them past the listeners and gig-goers too. people say very kind things to me about "legacy" and all that but inside I feel I'm only as relevant as I am in the moment and I want to make good on that. I thank the ownerman brandon for coming through on this and of course, mister skitz too - big hugs for skitz. we load up and head on over to angela and ryan's.
some folks come on over too and there's a little gathering. there's some young people named lacy and tippi (don't know I've spelled that right - sorry if I fucked up) who are curious about the old punk days. not just cursory but tippi's even writing down names of bands I mention like the stooges, new york dolls, velvet underground and stuff like that. I tell them to read "please kill me" by leggs mcneil cuz that's got great oral histories of a period I think was real important for punk, for me being able to do what I do today. they want to know about me and the bass and I relate to them d. boon and his ma, how important they were to getting me on that machine. one of the cats in skitz's band tonight (sorry I didn't catch his name but he was a nice cat) wants to know about the old days too - about how we got on touring and punk bands in l.a. that got us going we saw them like the germs. I relate how black flag virtually built the circuit we all use now to play gigs - things some people know for sure but for a lot of young people, this hasn't been really handed down through the mersh channels. he wants to know about me and the bass too - who influenced me (besides of course, d. boon) and I tell him james jamerson, john entwistle, jack bruce, geezer butler and larry graham. this is all pre-punk cuz when punk did come around, I was influenced probably by every single punk bass player I saw or heard, boy or girl - I tell them that it was a girl on bass who was the first one I saw rockin' out and not just playing tambourine or singing backups - suzy quatro and she was intense. w/punk, there were lots of ladies on bass and their take on it was inspiring for someone like me. I know I might seem like a loner weirdo unto myself but I try and pickup on anything that helps me work the bass better, I'm always listening or better yet, trying to feel what folks are doing w/it. I've always been learning from others that way - not trying to copy or clone but take it in as some kind of knowledge that hopefully can make more of a grounding for me to find my own inner voice on it. it's trippy.
I run out of gas after a bit and ready myself for konk. everyone's been so nice to us, it's a trip to they want to hear something about where I come from and kind of how I got here, why I work the towns. much respect to everyone. time for me to konk though and so less words come as I get my routine going for that. I think people moved to other room or whatever, I know some had to go - it's monday night! good folks of amarillo, thank you. I'm out.
tuesday, november 16, 2004 - lubbock, tx
Woke up no blanket on laying in a chair, really no need for the bag anyway, the heat was cranked and i was wearing a hoodie, must of threw it off in my sleep. I was feeling pretty grubby so i combated that with a shower, ya know, when you wake up and feel kinda gross, like you were a sweat hog all night, well that's how i felt, water on the body is the only solution. I took along a longie, probably using up all the hot water, mean while mike's banging on the door trying to get in, you been getting your primp on for an hour, what's up with that. Mike took the van in to get an oil change, i stayed back and drank coffee with ryan, and pete slept in for a few minutes longer. Not a long drive to lubbock, but we gotta go to the radio station at the university. On the way to lubbock i chill in back reading, listening to jimi at a whisper level. Playing a place called jake's tonight, a touring bands nightmare, total sports bar. Pete heads in first, i go in second looking for him, and i can't find him, maybe he's in the can i thought. Ten minutes pass, and still no pete, fuck i have a feeling it's a repeat of yesterday, and sure enough i walk around the back, and the boys are just finishing the load in... doh, sorry guys, i felt real bad. Pete went in, and left out the back door to the boat. After we get set up and sound check we head over to the collage, after a bunch of wrong turns we make it. I'm kinda bumming from missing the load in, and i'm pissed at myself for donating a cymbal stand the night before, i don't feel to hot, and on top of that, i'm intimidated by the radio, so im not looking forward to it, i'm kinda in a shitty mood. You know just some days you feel crappy for no reason that you can pin point, nothings wrong, but nothings right, today is turning out to be one of those. On the radio, i can't keep attention long enough to even answer the guys question, sorry marcus, no disrespect, you either mike, my mind was just somewhere else.
When we get back to club pete makes to eating sign with his hand, so i know it's on, some chow is in order. We find a decent chinese spot a block away from the club and commence shoveling. After dinner pete ordered some coffee that looked like dirty water, and we both got the same fortune, everything will come to you, what's up with that, i can't figure it out, but it doesn't sound promising, i don't think i want everything, that's a bit much. After dinner, pete goes back to club, and i hole up at a corner table at a book store for a couple hours. When i go back to club i meet mike dixon, he's been reading the diaries, and he has the guts to challenge me to a game of pinball, i couldn't find a machine earlier, but maybe he knows something i don't. Well he definitely knows alot more than me, cuz while we're talking i find out he's a teacher, but i know one thing he dosn't, no pinball machine, we settle for galaga. Played a couple of good games, then he had to step for a minute, but me being a total neurotic, i won't quit till i get high score, my name's on all the other scores, but that's zilch when someone else has the highest. I beat it on my second try, way over the previous high score, damn i'm a weirdo, this is a twenty year old arcade game i'm talking about.
Playing with a guy who calls himself southerly, he and his girl have been driving around the country playing shows for the last fifteen months, damn, that's intense. He had a really good song about breaking down on a new york express way, he called white line fever. Also playing are a band of punk kids from amarillo who call themselves the revolt, they have home made t-shirts with big green grenades stenciled on them. Here's some words i'd never imagined myself to write, are you ready, okay, here they go...they did a good billy joel cover, what's that all about, i fuckin' hate billy joel. The drummer saved the day, he let me borrow a stand, in exchange for my stool, and he needed the throne too. It was kinda refreshing to play with a highschool punk band, they even did a descendents cover. Lot's of songs about all the pro war hillbillies in their town. I didn't think we played the best that we could, a couple stinky clams, but i thought it was much better than the night before. At one point mike lost power, and when we came back in to it, we left out most the song, and just went to the end, it was fucked, we all came back in different parts, really awkward, i was at a loss of were to go with pete and mike both playing different parts, keep this under your hat, but i came in at the right spot, don't worry though, cuz i royally fucked up in the next song, and everybody knew, someone in the audience yelled out clam bake... i think it was mr. dixon... hilarious. This guy is awesome, he indulges my love in old games by walking up and challenging me without ever meeting me, and get this he offers to give me an old slingerland kit he has, he'll even send it to me, that's gotta be one of the nicest things to offer to do for somebody, all he wants is a show in pedro when his band comes thru l.a.
After the gig we go back to marcus' place, the guy who did does the radio show at the collage. It's been raining all day and all of the night, and his driveway is dirt, well it was dirt, now it's a big muddy moat, we practically had to swim to get our sleeping bags, we took turns using an intertube to get to the front porch, one person would go, and when they made it, we'd pull it back with the rope that was tied on, pete had on those little kid arm floaties, he was scared of falling in. Everyone went to sleep pretty soon after we got there, i stayed awake awhile longer reading a zine about a girl moving to portland, and how all her friends fucked her over, it read like a trashy novel, sex, drugs, and rock and roll, yeah i know, all pretty boring things when you think about it, but something made me want to keep reading, guess i wasn't ready to sleep yet.
woke up at ryan and angela's and immediately rolled up the bag; watt had gone to get the oil changed on the boat and I had to get going if I wanted to do a hose off. got into the head, shaved and showered and was in my duds by the time the chief got back. we loaded the stuff into the boat as watt wanted to get on the road- we had gotten some extra conk time as the trip to lubbock was a short one, but we had to get into town earlier as we were doing a spiel on the local college radio station, WTXT. I planned a route into town but was foiled at the last minute by road construction so we did a loop until we found out where the club was- only problem was, the address didn't exist! watt gets on the horn to steve kaul's office and we find out that the promoter had given the wrong address. he calls up the number for the club (jake's), and it turns out it's the promoters home phone and he gives us the right address (which turns out to be only a little ways down the road). we pull up in front of the pad and it's...arghhh!.. a sports bar! the horrah! the humanity! visions of cargo shorts and backward baseball caps flood my mind. still, we decide to give the place the benefit of the doubt and I go in to scope it out. sure enough, TV screens and pool tables galore, but at least the stage is in an isolated area of the club. the bartender is also a really nice lady and opens the side door for me so we can load in. rollie is again off somewheres so me and watt lug the gear in. The soundman, andrew is there and he's a nice cat alsoand gets us going w/ the mics pretty quick. we run thru the check and everything sounds awesome; the monitors are at a very good level so it looks like things will be titty for the show. we break down and head over to the radio station. andrew has given us directs' but we somehow manage to do a blowby on one of the streets he has told us to turn on and we end up clear across town. we check the rand mc'nally and get back on the freeway- from there we get to the radio station with directs' that watt was given and we are successful in our search this time. we park inside texas tech and this cat named marcus is waiting for us outside the student media building where the station is located. we get upstairs and after some announcements we start the spiel. marcus asked us what it's like to tour w/ watt and I tell him it's like a camping trip w/ your two best friends. watt adds "an intense one", and we all laugh. rollie doesn't hear the question and it stumps him somewhat. marcus finishes up the spiel by playing "bursted man" and gives us some t-shirts and stickers. really nice cats at WTXT. we head on back to the club and now being familiar w/ the whole layout of lubbock, we get back to the club in twenty minutes.
back at Jake's, I change into some fresh duds and me and rollie hoof it down to a little chinese buffet we spotted on the way in for some chow. I load up on several different kinds of chicken while rollie goes back for a fillup three times! (not including the dessert). I marvel at where all this food is going. heavily sated, we head back to jake's. outside we rapp w/ a couple of watt fans named mike and steve- they're really cool peeps and they ask us about the tour and the recording of the album. i head inside as I have to chimp and I sequester myself backstage and go deep into the mode. the opening act, a cat named krist who's doing a solo acoustic thing starts up and I listen for awhile. great vocals and heavy angst-ridden lyrics. he finishes up and I go barside and rap w/ mike and steve some more while the second band, the revolt' is setting up. the crowd looked pretty decent. the revolt' started their set and I listened to them. very much like rancid'. the peeps were polite and clapped but they didn't seem to be getting into it much. Steve bought me a shot of beam' and it warmed me up a little (it was cold in there). the revolt' finished up their set and I went to pull duty and helped rollie set up the tools. we did some stretching until watt showed up, then launched into the piece. everything sounded really goo and this helped the performance alot. we all played w/ much intensity except on pissbags' where the electricity suddenly went out on watt's amp and he got a little flustered. we waited until he got everything going and then he starts up the song..at the wrong spot! he yells at me "why you playing the wrong chords bro"? and I answer with "what the fuck you want me to play bro?". we finish up w/ no major clams and we make good on the encore. the lubbock peeps are very cool and dig on it much. much respect.
we break down the gear and get everything loaded into the boat and head on over to marcus's pad where we're staying. once settled in I make some tea for me and watt, then I climb into my bag on the deck and I'm out quick. laku noc sviraci....
I pop at eight bells. I hear what sound like some of an alarm clock go off put it's only for a little bit of time and then comes on again every few minutes after that. I can't tell where it's coming from but it did roust me in the least cuz I was wearing ear plugs. I really like using those, can't believe I hadn't stumbled on to them for konking before. always learning something new, huh? it's ok, I think it's healthy even - especially for me. I do get set in my ways about some stuff but to be stuck in self-satisfied cement is kind of stupid if you think about it unless it's really working towards something that helps you get open to learn in other ways, that's what I'm coming to find. one thing I find when I pop is raul konked in the chair right next to me - no blankie even, wonder how he did that? must've been that tired. tour can get you that way, for sure. I hose off and think about this dream I just popped up from. it was another one of those suffocating ones, one where I have to crawl through a torturously tiny and convoluted way to get to some tiny chamber where it's really hot and 'pert-near no air. I always am never just staying put there but have to back out and then back, over and over until I'm just too scared to do it any more. this time I'm sure it was a submarine I was on and my place was way in the back cuz I could hear the shaft that drove the screw turning once I got where I had to be. a big prob for me though was I couldn't hear right - I never could twist myself up right to reach the earphones and would have to fucking physically put myself where I had to be where I could hear what I had to do. I'd get told my orders and then by the time I'd get back, the stress of getting there would put so in the moment w/having to concentrate that I'd fucking forget what infos I was just relayed. not only did I feel like an idiot but the man telling me so obviously did to. it was weird cuz I knew who this guy was but couldn't put my finger (sorry, joe d) on exactly who it was, his name and whatever. I was too embarrassed to ask, especially after all the fucking forgetting shit w/the orders. I would 'pert-near cry in my apartment, no know what next to do and dreading having to make the twist-and-crawl trek back so I'd stay very still until the darkness I was in seemed to be orange-fire-lit cuz of the heat making things so hot - like pressing your eyelids really intense on your eyes until you see colors like that. aahh, I felt like such and idiot, such a dork. even worse was getting more and more scared about having to make the move fore and aft (I'm sure I was supposed to be aft and the man give me the orders up foreward, I think so...), aahh - it was another one of those "gald I woke up, glad I COULD wake up" kind of dreams. whew.
angela gets up for school and makes me some coff. I couldn't find it myself but that's cuz it was put away, maybe they don't drink it. sorry I got such a jones for it but it's better than when I was younger and had worse kinds of joneses. she has to bail but lets me use her 'puter to find a jiffy lube so I can do one last job on the boat for this tour, thank you - thanks too for the good chow and then niceness both her and ryan have shown me and my guys. I look at the weather too cuz that's weighing on me some. it looks like rain for the gig in lubbock but albuquerque has a good chance of being clear - hell, it was snowing there a few days ago! don't need that now. the three gigs after that should be sunny as should cali for sunday. I got the fingers crossed. I take the boat over for the oil change/lube and the workermen there are tripping on my boat, "what kind of work do you do?" I tell them about the bass and the touring stuff and they think it's wild, going to different towns and such. they trip on the bullet hole on the back hatch too, most people do - always a laugh too (me included). I take the boat back and get my guys going for our departure. damn, raul's 'pert-near camped out in the head but I guess he's into the hot water running all over him - I don't think he's had a shower recently. pete accidently got his face near raul's shirt that was draped over the seat and it almost had him pass out... that's how tour life can get one, raul is not unique! no princesses on this crew though and we can hang w/it. ryan's up now and we thank him much, truly. we're off for lubbock.
south on I-27 and the rain's coming down but not too much of a pound. we get 'way-wiches and a little too much of that east of armageddon sauce gets on mine to give me a heat vapor ride. kind of nice though w/the cold out to have your hair sweaty from something you chow! I can dig it. we see the hugest set of grain elevators - damn, it's like twenty stories high and maybe thrity of them together. farm stuff is amazing. there's lots of cotton fields and the way machines do so much of the work where it took loads of people breaking their back to do that. makes you wonder. real flat land out here, like amarillo too - it's only 120 miles between there and lubbock. I hear people say that's "boring" but I think it has its own beauty, trippy how a huge flatness is. we get into town, right near the old part, seeing buddy holly avenue (both him and waylon jennings were from here) but the gig's in the southwest part, the new stuff where it looks like stripmall land in cali - like del amo in torrance, in fact. the town's built on a simple grid but for some reason, we do some blowbys and wanders to finally get where we need to, a pad called jakes. well, there was a road closed for construction and the address we had for the venue was sort of wrong too... we kind of cringe cuz this pad looks like a sports bar and it is but where we're playing is the "back room" and it's separated from the television and pool tables part. the soundman andrew is very cool peeps and we quickly setup and do a soundcheck w/him - he's got us going w/some great sound, much respect. we then get in the boat and head for texas tech cuz the station there wants a spiel. we do some blowbys getting there too! life is funny. we're only a couple of minutes late and hey, the rain's stopped anyway. at the school's gate, there's a bail of cotton that says 329 pairs of jeans can come from just one of these, damn. marcus the dj brings us upstairs and this station, ktxt has thrityfive thousand watts - whoa. he does a good spiel w/us, college radio is like that mostly cuz the cats really know their music and know what to ask you that makes sense to what you do. much respect to marcus and he brethren. we then go back to the venue (finally, no blowbys - I think we're getting to know this town's roads!) and I get into my konk mode - tired watt.
I was woke up for a bit... wish folks would let me konk - not to sound like a crank - I was just drifting off anyway cuz when I'm really out, I can't wake for shit except from legs shakes by pete which he does when gig time comes. I was out for three hours and I'm sure I needed it. he said this guy from a band called southern played solo and then an amarillo band called the revolt played as openers. I didn't even get to meet these guys, I'm sorry. we do the piece and I like the gig. andrew's got the monitors probably the best I've had them all tour - no boomy low end and w/an eq where I can hear it through the band. there's a powerout on my amp for just a brief moment but it resets my pedals in "pissbags..." and I get lost, skipping the whole solo trade-off part and third verse... aahh, how did that happen?!? I think I screwed up the beginning of "beltsandedman" too but even w/these clams and little ones pete and raul did, I really dug the gig, it was fun to play. I really gave it my all even though I couldn't see anyone cuz of the lights in my eyes. I was inspired. I really like that when the gig's done and I can tell my guys I really liked being there w/them and them being there w/me. the owner of jake's - not the guy who put on the show (who bailed before we even played!) - talks to me and said he really liked it. wow, sure shows to learn you how you can't judge a sitch just by appearances. he's very nice to me, his name is scott. I tell him next time I'll do the show straight w/him - you know, the guy who left also left us hanging in amarillo (or maybe someone left him hanging, maybe it was that) and it was skitz who came through. in mobile, it's my buddy todd - a cat I met just from him coming to my gigs who put that on. that stuff is just like the old days where you have people-to-people connects that get things happening cuz the regular ways are just too mersh, too whatever to make it real. I hope I'm making sense here. stuff getting to up in the hype and bogus sphere (or whatever you call it) just don't really cut it w/me, never has. I'll work any sitch but it really seems genuine when you got the person thing involved and not just the gladhand. that's the way I got started in all this and why should I feel I have to outgrow it cuz I haven't and I don't want to. what does "outgrow" mean anyway pertaining to that? nice words to some folks who come up to the stage. one guy brings up spot and how he dug seeing him open for me last time I was here. good to hear people talking up spot cuz he sure is good peeps.
we gotta load out kind of quick cuz of rain coming down. marcus has invited us to his pad so we follow him over to what he calls a "pepperbox" house where he lives on the bottom floor. whoa, a little bit of a moat in the driveway for us to ford but at least the boat's safe cuz that's very important. it's a very personalized pad and he's very generous. I'm pretty beat and don't talk much, getting into the konk sack pretty quick. I'm just out of gas. thanks much though to marcus here, what a brother.
wednesday, november 17, 2004 - albuquerque, nm
Woke up all curled up fetal style, damn my body hurts. Marcus' directed to coffee, dirty water, and we hit the highway back to amarillo then west to new mexico. We're all happy about the sun finally showing it's face, but that didn't last to long, more grey skies, more rain. Once we got a little into the new mexico we finally beat the storm. All thru new mexico there were this fucked up signs, one was for a novelty gas station, and the logo was a little indian running for his life, how very american, the other was to join the security at a correctional facility, it was total bizarro. Guys in full riot gear, clubs and shields, german shepard dogs, what their attacking mental patients with clubs and dogs, and what the fuck are the shields for, underneath was a caption that said; we make house calls, that right over my pea brain, i have no idea what their trying to say with that. We'll come to house to beat up your crazy cousin choncy with our clubs, then we'll let the dogs eat him. It's a cinch finding the club, it's just a little south of the freeway. As soon as we get to the club e load in, might as well get done sooner than later, i also decide to get some of the stuff set up, ya know, why not. After that i go walking around down town burke, hit up a used book store, and after that got some coffee then some chow with pete. Back at the club i get friendly with the monster bash machine, the tilt's kinda high, not as bad as i've seen on some though, and it's only a quarter, can't beat that. During the sound check i got a message that corey from vena cava called, they must be in town, i made it in to a mission, i won't call them, just walk around till i find em'. I had a good walk around down town, but no luck finding em' when i got back to club i decided to call, as soon as i pick up the phone corey comes walking out, perfect timing. It's awesome to see friends away from from home in different state. They don't have a gig tonight, so they decided to come to check out the show.
There is one possibility for them to play, there's a punk gig going on down the block, we all take a walk down to see if they can jump on, no luck, too many bands already. The show seemed to get started real quick, the first band was already playing when we came back, i guess i walked around alot longer than i thought, it was almost time to play. I go in to back to check out the group, real mellow guitar pop. Man, i'm gonna be screwed, i need to borrow a stand, and this guys kit has em' all connected to the drums, what to do. Duh, ask pat from vena cava, they have a whole van full of gear, he totally saved the day. Gill the sound guy was hilarious, he was already drinkin' during sound check, some one told me he was the best, now that i think about it, they never said what he was the best at, it certainly wasn't doing sound, the bass drum sounded like i was kicking cardboard, something about it was funny though. He told us a joke, wanna hear it, alright here it goes, why did the blond girl do it to the mexican gangster, ready, cuz her teacher told her to do an essay. When we started playing the sound was ten times worse, i don't know what it was like for the crowd, but i couldn't hear dick, while i'm playing, gill jumps on stage to plug in the drum mics, totally laughable, i couldn't believe it. It wasn't necessarily a hard one, except the first song, i start playing to fast, and dig myself into a hole, and i have a hard time gettin' back in time, mike smiles at me and says slow down brother, that helps. He must of had a rough one, no monitor, it was bad, cuz usually i just use the front ones to hear the vocals, i don't think they were on, i could just see him screaming, and no sound was comin' out. The whole time people were talking to him, drunk dudes too, no concept of what's going on around them, their own little world. During the quitest parts, you could hear people up front, do you think he's gonna play red and the black, hey mike, are you gonna do red and the black. Another fucked thing was his power went out again, it was an awkward moment, it jacked up the flow proper. Gill warned me that he'd yell my name from time to time in the monitor, just for shits, i thought he was joking, nope, i'm the fool. This guy yells my name hella loud right in the middle of a song, me and mike just start busting up, all this should piss us off, but it's just so damn funny. I auctually liked the gig alot, the crowd was pretty off the hook, it was so much better than people just doing the stare thing, i'll take excited drunks anyday. I find from gill that as of midnight it's his birthday, no wonder he was knocking em' back.
We stayed with a girl named nicole, vena cava was also staying. Good times, lots of talkin' and lots of drinkin', i was one of the last ones up, i didn't even realize until i had a look around, and everyones snug in their bags. Well, guess it would be good idea to get some sleep, so i find a spot on the shag and pass out as soon as i hit the floor.
popped at marcus's pad and went into the head to splash some cold water on my face; mr. sun was shining it up big outside- way cool, no more gray matter to deal with! I haven't been so happy to see the sun in awhile and it made my mood brighter. marcus was unfortunately out of coffee but he did give us directs' to a coffee pad down the street. we hopped in the boat w/ our stuff and sallied forth once again. much respect to marcus for having us over and for letting us spiel on the radio.
the coffee pad is literally a few blocks away so we pull the boat over and venture inside to satisfy our jones. the young lady at the register informs us that their espresso machine is not operable but that they do have regular coffee. we pour ourselves some out of the hotpot marked "dark" and pay for it and return to the boat. we all sample our coffee greedily and let out a collective spit; this is the worst swill ever- coffee filtered thru a dirty dish rag fer chrissakes! bleccchhh!! feeling cheated and still w/ coffee jones in full bloom, we continue towards our next destination.
the trip to "berkie"(as it is commonly referred to in new mexico parlance), is about 6 or 7 hours so I cop some z's once again in the back and read a little more of the "gulag archipelago" (I have once again returned to it). we stop at a way' to grab some chow and continue on- mike wakes me about sixty miles out of berkie' and I man the helm for the trip in. rollie guides me in expertly once again and we park in a lot in back of the club (the launchpad), right next to the loading door. we load all the gear in and do a general set up but the sound check is not until 7:30 PM so we have several hours to blow. me and rollie do a little hoof in search of some shoe-goo as rollie's vans have sustained some damage and he needs to repair them. our search is futile as both of the shoe pads we find don't have the stuff so we decide to check out a used bookstore. rollie flies thru it and continues on to a record store, but I remain and bury myself in tomes galore. I buy a copy of kenneth anger's "hollywood babylon II" and a great book on the genesis of country music by nick tosches (ten bucks cash for both, g!). I walk out and rollie spots me, we decide to go find a coffee pad; we find one a few blocks down and this time the hot liquid is very decent. we sit outside, smoke and drink and I peruse "hollywood babylon"; very interesting book- it goes thru all of the scandals and weirdness in early hollywood- those cats were an interesting bunch -lot of skeletons in their closets. we head back to the boat to get some bones and then hoof it up the street to score some chow. we find a thai place and order up; I get some spicy chicken and rice but the heat is not enough. I ask the waiter to bring us some hot sauce and he does but warns us that it's hot and to be careful. me and rollie throw each other identical shit-eating grins and proceed to pile the stuff on our chow. it gave it a decent bite- we could tell it was this cali-made vietnamese chili-garlic sauce that we use at home; not a helluva lot of heat, but good flavor. we mow our feast down and head on back to the launchpad, fully sated.
back at the club, the soundman has not yet arrived and the PA is being worked on as the monitors have some problems, so rollie does some chimp while I read the local music rag and "hollywood babylon" (I actually finish the book-so deep am I into this dirt). rollie finishes up his chimp so I man the ti book to complete my daily prose. the soundman, a nice cat named gil shows up and he tells us that it'll still be a while before he can get us going as the PA problem is a little more extensive than originally thought. I continue w/ my chimp. around 8:30, gil has finished the tweaking of the PA and he gets us all miked up. we run thru the check' and it sounds OK but we figure it'll be better when the pad fills up w/ peeps (the walls are all brick so I understand the mixing dilemna). I continue the chimp.
about an hour later I finish up the writing and look around; the pad is beginning to fill up w/ peeps so it looks like it's going to be a decent turnout. the opening band, october people' starts out their set and I listen for a little while- kind of emo, w/a bit of pop thrown in. cool band. I go out into the bar and rollie is rapping w/ some peeps; turns out it's a band he knows called "vena cava"- they are on tour also and have come to check us out- they are really nice cats and the drummer lets rollie borrow a cymbal stand as he did a donate back in lubbock. a cat named dave kindly buys us a round of beam shots and beer and we down them w/ extreme prejudice. vena cava is based out of san diego so they are homies as far as I'm concerned. nicole and laura show up (we stay at nicole's every time we are in berkie'), and it's good to see them. we rap for awhile but I realize that the october people' have finished their set and I must leave them to pull duty. I make the tea, then go to help rollie set up the tools- meanwhile, watt had already woken up and was ready to go. we launch into the set and play intensely, but right at the beginning of "bursted man", watt's amp loses power and we come to a grinding halt. we get it going again and me and rollie push up the momentum, but I can tell watt is a little flustered (it's also not helping that there are these four or five borracho cats out front yelling "BOC" and "play red and the black mike"!) we soldier on thru and despite the minute setback I think the gig is a great success (it was a trip to watch these cats slamming to the dylan tune and stopping w/ all the stops- hilarious shit). we finish up the gig to much applause and the folks are very kind and generous w/ their comments to us. we break down the tools while watt does merch and find the time to have another shot w/ the vena cava crew. they are also staying at nicole's and will follow us back. I also meet richard bonney's cousin tony who lays on me some very nice comments on my playing. very nice cat. we get the boat loaded up and follow nicole back to her pad. once settled in we rap for awhile w/ everyone until the eyelids start to feel weighted and the crawl into the bag commences. I conk happy. buona notte musicanti....
pop at eight bells after a pretty torturous konk - I kept falling in and out of it over the course of the night, maybe the lamest one I had all tour. dreams kept getting interrupted and cut off - start and sputter, damn. I got into sleepytown mode 'pert-near immediately after getting here to marcus' and not talking much cuz I was just so warn but deep sueno eluded me much, taunting me w/it coming on but never delivering and that was starting at like just after one bell! I think I finally went under in the early morning hours but that was the dark hole kind that beats you down into a passout state, not what I consider my best kind of rest. it was troubled anyway, fretting away w/this syndrome I sometimes get in pedro when for some fucked-up reason, a part of me is trying to be aware of how the other parts sink under into konk. this is an impossible mission and leads only to not getting any headway on snoresville. it is coming on the end of the tour though - just four gigs left and this is much light on whatever dreariness this shit brought on me. more good news is when I go to the boat to get the outfit for the next three days, I find a hugely bright sun w/out a cloud in the sky - so fucking right on! after three days of dark dreary rain-same, this is liberation hailing. I go back and hose off, then roust my guys for take-off. marcus has a class soon and something to write before that so I don't want him bothered further by the three sailors from pedro. we thank him much, what a true brother. we're about to set off and I think out loud, "is that rear hatch battened?" sure enough, it ain't and it was probably my stupid ass that fucking forgot about it. well, at least I didn't forget to remember if there was something I forgot (did I just chimp what I though I did?)... I seal that hatch and we're underway to a coff pad marcus hipped us too. the bad news is the actual swill they sold us that was in the cups - maybe it was a coff a few generations ago but I don't how many times of being diarrheaed out someone's yang led to what we're trying to force down our gullets, damn. don't mean to sound like a tiara-wearing whiney but crimony - I got some coff jones and I ain't talking about taste! we all laugh about this, guess it's all relative cuz pete said he had worse last night! you know a tour's long in the tooth when you devote more than a few seconds to something like this. sorry.
we get north on I-27 and back from whence we came yesterday except we got sun coming down on the boat instead of rain. that is, until about thirty miles south of amarillo when the sky darkens up big time and comes down in buckets. trippy, we chow at the same 'way we did yesterday - "deja va all over again" as senor berra would say. on my tuna, I heat it up w/east of armageddon along w/flavor from the smokin' habs sauces. west on I-40 in downtown amarillo and soon we're passing the cadillac ranch art on the port while I point out to my guys the few trees you see out here in the panhandle and how they got a bend to them sort of like george hurley's unit - that fountain of hair he had coming out the top front of his head (he liked to whip it around when he whuppin' it up on his drums). that's how intense the wind can be though we're getting kind of calm treatment, especially considering all the rain. the drops are small though and so it's not wall-of-water time, thank god. we get into new mexico and gain an hour cuz of moving into mountain time. the rain calms but doesn't quit. the sky however keeps lightening up as mister sun seems to be trying his hardest to get back into our life. the rain finally gives up around this little town named cuervo. I've always wondered about this town, it's tiny and lots of the buildings have been abandoned and are all crumbled up into ruins - adobe brick ones. I wonder what happened here, too much cuervo? that's a brand of tequila... makes me think of myself and what a heap of crumple I would've ended up if I didn't get and handle on the jim beam and get a plug stuffed into the jug. one day I'd like to pull the boat over and walk around these beatdown pads, it'd probably give me a trippy think. stuff like that puts things on an intense perspective for me and I get to look inside myself from other angles, helps me. it can get so strong on me to yank tears even but in the end, I get a humbled and grounded understanding that I might not have otherwise been able to stumble on to. you can't imagine how small I get to feeling, how foolish I realize I am. I've learned though that this is not failure, at least not in my case. it's all essential in what I see is a struggle to fight the perpetration of a fraud - intentional or not... man, I get confused w/the ways thing seem to go so I try and 'fess up to what I can wrap my head around, or believe I can. a beat up piece of anything is as good as mirror for me w/that. can dwell too long in the head though cuz I'm at the wheel and I gotta keep the boat steady. we pass santa rosa and I think of my old friend, plumber richard "fuckin'" bonney cuz I miss him much and have not been able to get a hold of him now in weeks cuz his number's down. not only that but santa rosa is where lots of his people are from... hopefully his cousin tony will be at the gig - I love him much too. at moriarity, I get off the interstate to show pete and raul part of the old route 66 before gassing up the boat and handing the wheel over to peter for the last hour of driving (I've already done six). the towns that got bypassed by the interstate that thrived on route 66 just died on the vine when that went down, you can see some of those remains. so different from the off-ramp world of the "chaindrive," it was very indie mom and pop type of pads that made up this now gone world. eerie. back on the road, I explain to raul about my "debriefings" or whatever immediately after gigs cuz he's a little puzzled by me saying I really dug the way the band's done these last few gigs. I tell him that these are just little things to hone in and overall, I think it's happening how we're delivering it. if anything, it's the piece itself and not so much the execution (except mostly for my part at times, I have to confess) that probably weirds people out. it's not like everyone needs to hear it but it's definitely something I have to do at this point in my life. actually, it's weird to try to talk about it - in this moment, it has to be more "do" than "think' as far as wondering what everything's all about or whatever. what I want him to know is that I believe in him and to please not take these attentions to little things as a measure of the big picture cuz I'm really proud of both him and pete, much respect.
we get into downtown albuquerque at about three and a half bells and the pad we're playing (like my tenth time now or what? love it!), the launchpad, is being cleaned but open so we can load in. as soon as that's done, I head up the street a block to this place that sells stuff navajo, zuni and hopi indians make like I do every chance I get playing here and check out the kachina dolls. I get an ogre one w/righteous bright orange feathers and a yellow-faced coyote one for myself. I have lots of these now and the really put a life in my pad in pedro. I talk to them... sometimes they seem like a jury but at other times, they're very supportive and seem to laugh along w/me. they like to dance during earthquakes too. I get back to the club and soundman gil says there's some trouble w/the sound system so he's gotta work on that. at midnight is his thirtythird birthday so he gets to celebrate it w/us. he's a latin guy but has some fun w/raul's name - a.p. was like that too, kind of (he joked w/me at rob's pad in new orleans, "look out for mexico - he can play like a motherfucker!"). gil says, "what's w/that name, raul?" and I just know he's gonna come over the montior system w/that! identity stuff is trippy and people have their own take on it to try and make some sense of it. god, just think if punk rockers didn't have it in them to make fun of themselves! we finally do a soundcheck and then it's off to the boat w/me. I eat some 'dines in mustard sauce w/spiced up w/heat sauce and on crackers, then drop deep into a konk, kind of needing it big time cuz of last night's tosses and thrashes.
I miss the opening cats, october people but meet them coming on stage. somehow, I popped right at the time (seeing cousin tony a moment and asking about richard but he says he's hasn't been able to get through to him either, damn - what's up?) I needed to and made my way to the stage from the back (this club has a door right in the alley where we're parked across from in a lot to make it oh-so-easy... do you notice how parking has really sunk as an issue for us now that we're in the west and there's so much more space or the pads we're playing have it more together that way? this is much, much a relief to us). I meet the guys in the band as they're picking up and tell them thanks much for sharing the stage w/us, something I try to do every gig. we get the piece going and right away these folks up front are hollering my name, hollering for "the red and the black" - hollering for anything that comes into their head. it makes things just a little tough to keep focus but I hang on. what makes thing even harder is this huge feedback that develops right in the first tune but gil gets that worked out. the price though is only sporadic monitors for me, mostly there's nothing. not his fault though, they gotta get a little more work on the system going here. it's kind of the acoustics too cuz some bass notes jump way WAY out. also, I got some of the knobs on these pedal effects turned wrong - damn, I hate really dealing w/these things. I'm so much more used to using just my hand on strings to get sounds but I guess the piece needs these maybe to evoke certain things about the journey it's telling about. hard for watt though. I see tony, richard's cousin - all right! I sure wish the sound wasn't so much a din though I'm impressed my guys are playing good despite the probs, these are some great sailors I got w/me. I keep getting hit w/the mic cuz of some energy w/the enthusiastic crew up front (I hear one of them ask another, "who gave you some beer?") but old friend leonard, a motorcycle man I've spent much time spieling w/over many gigs in this town helps guard the stand for me. I love leonard much, he puts a good feeling in me always and I want to do good - same w/cousin tony. even people I have to imagine cuz I can't hear them speak w/me or see their eyes - it means so much they're generous enough to let me into their lives. my amp once again cuts out and then turns on again - hmm... something is up on my end cuz it couldn't be three different pads in three different towns! I will check it out tomorrow. before the encores, I give my take on "pogo vs. slamming," what I know of their histories and try to pass this on to the up-front cats. they mean well, I know - the yammer really does have them good though. wow, do they go for it while pete does the dylan tune but pete does great despite what sounds 'pert-near like total competition or whatever! I just hope everyone had fun. it kind of seems like it from all the niceness I get told by people after. sunny, a guitarist w/the porno for pyros band on its antipodes tour back in 1996 says hi - been a while since I've seen him and he gets a big watt hug. he's tripping on me using pedal effects too! I'm very grateful for the kind words, truly - I swear I couldn't tell how we were coming across and just hoping for the best. happy birthday for gil. one of the cats who was vocal up front said I tried phoning him a b-day greeting years ago - I do remember that, getting asked by either a buddy of his or maybe even a brother? my memory's not that good but the good will folks are willing to share w/me is very touching, truly.
we pack up and I settle w/the boss, the launchpad folks have always been very super happening w/me. the last few times in town I've stayed w/nicole and she invites us to her pad again along w/her bud laura who's great people too and friend's of raul's, vena cava. actually, I played w/them once in san diego, where they're from. they're cool folks and I talk to them as much as I can at the pad. I have a good talk w/nicole too cuz she was in canada when me and kira we're doing those canadian jazz festival gigs last summer and I got to hear of her adventures - also w/charlie of the uk subs, they just played here the night before us and that made me think of them. I get to hear about nicole's two little ones, especially the younger one who's playing guitar, wow. raul's working the room, pete feels the need to help him out and so I'm on the couch I came through the front door and parked myself on, never to move but now laid out in my sack and trying to make sense to the vena cava folks as much as I can but I'm on fumes. they're are nice folks - damn, I wish I could keep up. I relent and tell them I have this routine... mask down, earplugs in... I'm out. so ends week nine - only three gigs to go... this tour, nine weeks and three days - I said the piece is all about threes but am realizing this weirdness just now!
thursday, november 18, 2004 - el paso, tx
Damn, to much old crow for me last night, i woke up stiil feeling it. Everybody is up before me. Had a blast hangin' with vena cava last night. I crash as soon as we start driving away, not feeling to hot, wiskey gut. I wake up to mike telling pete to wake up the child, i have no idea where we're at, for some reason i feel like something's wrong, it's not, we're just stopping to eat, good, maybe eating something will make me feel better, wrong i feel ten times worse, and i can feel the hang over comin' on...blahhhh. After chow i trade seats with pete, and me and mike talk about brothers and sisters and latin people in punk rock bands, and how one sided self proclaimed liberals can be, somehow that conversation gets us talkin' about the cival war, he gives a good history lesson. We shoe up to the club pretty earlier, downtown el paso reminds me of down town l.a. I need some water bad, so i start walking backs towards downtown. There's nothing for blocks and blocks, i'm in an industrial no mans land, finally, i found a fast food place. I order up a small drink, and start pounding water after water, i need to shake this, and it seems to be getting worse. Walking back to the club seemed like days. Find a sunny spot out front and do some reading, i think willing the nausua works cuz i'm startin' to feel better. It not to much longer before someone shows up and let's us in, this is good, i had a thought of us being stuck outside all day.
While we're setting up the lady who booked the show brings us some chips and salsa and some fruit, what a sweet lady. After the sound check i'm feeling back to normal, real sore, but not sick feeling, hang over gone. We're are not on for hours, and since i'm feeling better i take a long walk around downtown. Total downtown l.a, most the folks around are from mexico, here in el paso to shop, the border is only blocks away. I walk right up to it, and have thoughts of crossing just to say i was in a diffrent country, but that feeling goes away quick, when i start thinking of endless scenerious of what bad things could happen to me on the other side, i'm not parinoid of being in a diffrent place, but strange things happen all the time, and it'd be lame of me to jeparodise the tour, so i turn around and make way back, stoping at various places to read a few pages, and then move on. This town shuts down super early, and everything is closed by seven, it turned into a ghost town real fast. It was kind of neat actually, nobody around, i kept on walkin' for another hour or so.
The club's getting pretty crowded, and the show still dosn't start for a few more hours, since getting out and walking around i'm feeling even better, but not very social, so i grab pete's puter and find a dark corner and get to chimpin'. It's impossible to concentrate at first, loud music, people all around me, well i'm the one trying to find peace at a public place, so i can't really complain, but i will anyway. Someone put most of the beatles revolver on the juke box, that made me happy, and i was able to mellow out a little and finally concentrate. The first band goes on, they sound like at the drive in, i think el paso is where at the grive was originally from. Years ago when i first met those guys, they were in a scrappy punk/ thrash band called marcellis wallus, they played a back yard party in pedro with f.y.p. I liked them alot better than drive in... but not thousands of other people. While siva is playing, i go in the back room and try to get some rest, i feel myself falling asleep, so i get up, i can't be groggy before i play. Place was packed, and i didn't play well at all. I just couldn't feel it, i don't know what my problem was, but what ever it was it was bringing me down big time, and applause made it that much worse. I know that's a shitty thing to say, i'm grateful for all the kind words and gestures of the folks who come to the gigs, i really am, but i didn't think it was deserved... whatever, sometimes i can be a little self depreciating. I had one or two real good fuck ups that threw everybody off, it was hard for to get the groove, and i couldn't see mikes hands, which is a big cue for the changes with me, he had his back toward me, he was only a foot away, but it might as well have been a mile, i had the feeling of being stranded, it was weird. We got thru it though, i still felt a bit embarrassed by my playing, even while doing the encores. Everyone seemed to love though, i guess what we hear and what the others hear are two diffrent things, it's hard to notice mistakes, if you don't know the song, but some of mine were totally obvious.
After the gig tons of people offer us their homes for the night, we decide to go with oliver and jenifer, super sweet couple. They live fifty miles outta town in the direction we're going, it'll be good to get a jump on the drive, plus el paso can be a crazy city, and we're all a little worried about the gear gettin' stolen. When we get to the pad i make the guys some tea, and myself a peanut butter sandwhich, i still bummin' about the gig, and i wanna get to sleep and put it behind me. I take a back bedroom that's dedicated to hendrix and the simpsons. Oliver is a horror movie buff, and he has a box of old videos, he gave me dawn of the dead directors cut, this man rules. We hang out for a while talking about movies and music, and soon after i'm out.
pop at nicole's pad and immediately go to hose off- nicole, laura and watt are in the kitchen rapping and drinking coffee. I make another pot to nurse my aching head and eat a couple of bananas to boot. the vena cava' cats slowly come out of hibernation and join us in the kitchen. we have a bit of a ride to texas so we throw our stuff in the boat and gather for some group shots w/ everyone. the vena cava's are truly homies and we will see them again when we play in san diego. much love to you april, cory and patrick. and much love to nicole and laura for making us feel at home once again.
I hop in the bench seat and read thru the tosches' book but soon drift off to suenoville; watt wakes me when we make a fuel stop and me and rollie get some chow from the way' at the gas station. we munch happily in the van and enjoy the kind burn from the habi' sauce that we liberally douse our sandwiches with. I then fall back asleep.
I awaken when we get into el paso and we pull up in front of the club (the t lounge). I'm feeling a little shitty from the previous night's festivities so I stay in the bench seat to read while watt chimps up front (rollie has gone on another solo excursion). we kick back for an hour or two until a bouncer form the club (josh), shows up and watt raps w/ him for awhile until the boss shows up and lets us in. we load the gear into the pad and get everything set up on stage; the soundman has yet to show so I pull up a chair barside and continue reading the tosches country' book. One of the other bosses (bobbi) shows up w/ a friend of hers named marina and they have graciously brought us a tray of veggies, fruit, chips and salsa, and tea. they're very nice ladies and I rap ink w/ marina who has some astounding work on her calves and arms. the soundman, harold, soon shows and gets us all miked up after which we rip thru the soundcheck'. I then move back to barside to start my chimp.
I finish up the chimp and rollie takes over; I'm still feeling beat from the night before and I'm feeling iffy about the gig- I don't think that many people will show and this weighs heavy on my mind. I'm also feeling very home sick and this adds to my stress. I go to the band room and read the tosches' book to mellow myself out a little. around 8:30 the place starts to fill up and I come out of the band room to scope things out. tomy surprise there are people slowly drifting in and I'm heartened by this somewhat- I go to the bar and shoot down a beam' shot and then sit by rollie to people watch a little. a lady next to me is complaining loudly for the music to start and I listen to her rap to two guys she's sitting with. I turn and say hi and she asks me if I'm here to see watt; I reply "yes" and she raps w/ me for awhile. her name is jennifer, she's from las cruces and has come w/ her hubby (who's a musician), to check out the show. she asks where I'm from and I tell her "california", and she deduces that I'm playing w/ watt. she then introduces me to her husband oliver, he's a nice cat and compliments me on my playing on the "middle stand" which he tells me that they were listening to on the way to the gig. the first band, "siva", starts out and we listen to them for awhile but my head is starting to hurt from the volume and I go into the band room to lay down for a bit. I rest my head for a bit until siva finishes their set, then set forth to pull duty and help rollie set up the gear. watt ambles in and we launch into the set- we play ok but both me and rollie are tired and not playing too together. rollie blows a clam on one of the songs and watt gets really pissed but I try and push forward. the crowd is very cool and showers us w/ much love. we go thru the encore set and once again the peeps dig on it. we break down the tools while watt does merch and many peeps offer us up many nice compliments on the gig. I feel good about it but I felt we could've done much better. jennifer and oliver (her hubby) have offered us their pad to stay at- it's about forty minutes away but we're going in that direction for the next gig anyway. we load up the boat and follow them to their pad and settle in; rollie makes me and watt some tea- I drink it down and immediately the adrenalin starts to wear and my eyelids start to get heavy. I conk in my bag quickly. laku noc sviraci....
pop at eight bells and nicole's two little ones are getting ready for school. the older one leaves quick w/her buddy after seeing me pull my mask up to see what's up ("who's that lunatic getting out of his sack," she must be thinking) but her younger sister talks to me. nicole told me about her playing guitar and already writing her first song, one about prime numbers. alright! I ask her about coff and she looks around for filters but can't find any. a quick consultation w/her ma and she improvises w/paper towels and makes up a good pot of it. thank you! I talk to her about music, how I got into it and what I like about it regarding be creative as far as expression and the experiences being able to tour has brought me. I tell her maybe cuz my pop was a sailor, I got some of that in my blood and why touring has never been a burden but always an opportunity. by "in my blood," I explain about him telling me what my ma called "sea stories" when he'd come home from his navy tours and then after some tours of my own, I got to reciprocate w/the same. it was from that I got some of the inspiration for my "...engine room" opera cuz when he started getting postcards from me while I was on the road, he told me I was "kind of like a sailor" in my own way. I tell her too about my little brother justin and how he's playing guitar. I dig it that folks are getting into playing younger and doing it cuz they want to and not cuz it's just forced on them. she tells me about her best friend jonathan playing bass and I told her that's how I got going w/a band, playing w/my best friend (d. boon). I think the personal connect w/music is a strong one, especially for a band and especially when you're young - what better reason to be in a band than to just be w/your best friend? yeah! it's one way you never have to doubt why you're doing what you're doing cuz the connect is real. I take her out to the boat and let her sit behind the wheel. taped to the upper deck is a list of this tour's gigs and I show her the last one not crossed off - it's the launchpad one from last night so I hand her a sharpie and ask her to put a line through it cuz that's what I do when the next day starts. I show her where raul usually sits (in the starboard seat) and then pull back the de-scrolled curtain to show her the back bench where pete usually is. I then bring her around the boat's aft and open up the hatches so she can see how the gear is stowed, getting her a tour shirt while I'm at it. I get my bass out and let her wear it - wow, it goes down to her knees! "this is all there is to it," I tell her - I want to make it as accessible as I can to her and not a mystery so when her turn to decide about maybe touring herself comes, she can see how this older weirdo did it, how it can be just to the point. I then gotta move the boat cuz her ma has to take her to school. she sure was a blast to visit w/and I hope she has fun w/music. of course, no one has to tour like me or even tour at all but I just wanted to clear up any mystery and make it plain. she seemed really into it. just the look in her eyes made me feel that maybe I might be passing something on. I'm not around little ones much but there are things about them that amaze me. when pete talks about his son tony, I kind of get that too.
everyone at nicole's starts their wake up thing and I wait my turn to hose off. the vena cava folks are going to tucson while we've got el paso tonight. good byes and safe seas to them - much, much thanks to our righteous host nicole... hugs for her and laura. then we're off south on I-25. the weather is so happening, truly. looks like the storm days are very much behind us. no panhandle terrain here, this is the desert - I think if I didn't live close to the water in my pedro town, I'd like to be in the desert. god, it goes from here through 'zona to the mojave in our cali - it's quite a stretch. there's something about that rings a chord inside me, don't know what it is. of course it's kind of fantasy cuz I never have lived in the desert but man, have I driven maybe more than a couple of miles through them. at a town called truth or consequences, we pull off for gas and get 'way-wiches. I break out the bottle of dave's insanity sauce we were given some time back and go for a blast w/that on my tuna. whoa, some vapor coming off of my manifold w/that! I don't know why but it makes me think of this billboard we saw yesterday, a little past tucumcari. it was for an opportunity to "join the team" - be a correctional officer and it had a picture of a bunch of prison guards w/shields and dogs. underneath them was a caption that read "we make house calls!" strange. I like the team I got w/me right here in this boat fine, thank you. at los cruces, we turn east for the last time this tour, forty miles worth on I-10 for el paso. this'll be the sixth gig this tour in texas, more than any other state. I haven't played this town in thirteen years, last time was the 101 club w/fIREHOSE. we're at a pad called the t-lounge in an industrial part near downtown. we park out front (easy parking - yes!) and I chimp diary until the doorman josh arrives to let us in. I check out the ac plug for my amp and it's in some sad shape - melted up and the prongs loose. a look inside shows one of the wires is all singed, damn... don't know why I didn't notice this before, what an idiot. the soundman harold arrives and lends me a powerstrip to use for tonight, very kind of him. we do a souncheck w/them and then I chow on the raw broccolis and cucumbers the promoterlady bobbie has brought us. she's very cool people. I then go to the boat and konk hard.
it must be near the end of tour cuz again I pop just in time for the gig - no need to be woke by pete but he's got tea for me. I get only one swallow though before spilling it on the ground, aaaarrrrrgggghhh. I missed the openers, a local band called siva but I got to meet a couple of them - they're nice and even offer their pad for us to konk at. I give the small spiel I do about the piece before we start it and thank people for coming to see me even after all these years since I've last been here. we start playing and I have to now confess I didn't play that well a role of a band leader tonight. I kind of freaked out, feeling somehow we weren't playing that much together but I think maybe it was me not doing my job and pulling us in taunt and instead getting self-conscious. this wasn't a total cower scene like I've crumbled into before but it makes me mad I wasn't there more for my guys and in turn, for the folks who came to see us cuz it's a band - it's not just a mike watt thing (god, would that be a nightmare - I did not make this piece to play by myself) and if I'm not meshed in good w/pete and raul then I'm failing, period. the crowd is very vocal, sort of last night w/lots of hollering for me - one big man up front is even "conducting" things w/his hands. I don't know though, I feel in a way I'm driving folks out - either my performance or the material itself. aahh, I can get so insecure about all this. we get done and I give my guys a weird post-gig spiel backstage, kind of saying WE weren't together when the fact is it was ME. they're straight ahead cats though and when we go back out for the encore, they play their asses off and it inspires me much. pete does a great job w/the dylan tune and holds his focus good, even w/all kinds of yammering - much like last night. we finish up and I'm quite surprised at all the nice words about the gig. there's one guy who remembers the minutemen playing here twenty years ago at a place called the coke house (I know, bad name - I told the boss that even) but he was only twelve and couldn't go. I remember that gig, it was so sweaty. the opening band was the rhythm pigs and I've seen the bass player who's moved up to s.f., a nice cat named ed. he was playing w/gary floyd, a big hero of mine. even though this town is right on the border w/mexico (you can see juarez right across the rio grande), I'm surprised by all the latin cats. they're really into what we did and give me much respect - much respect back to them, truly. the big man who conducted us asks me a lot of questions about george hurley's drum set, the one he used on "double nickels..." - he's very inspired by his playing. I am too, can't wait to play w/him next month in england. I sort of forget a little about how bad I felt I soiled myself tonight w/my performance but not totally though I gotta remember there's gonna be nights like this and I just gotta push myself through it and try to rally back. this cat trades me for a necklace w/a crystal on it - no, he's not a hippie but some young latin guy who also shows me some beads he has around his wrist... there's something to totems I very much dig, 'pert-near like getting a good word or something to make you think. I don't know why but I always feel just a little bit safer somehow. gracias. one man has me sign his baseball hat and about three other places on his shirt, arm, etc... he's quite motivated to talk to me but inserts, "I know I'm drunk" every few moments and I want to assure him it's ok, I understand the good will he's generous to show me... this happens a bunch but it doesn't mean I'm upset or think the worst - hell, I've had my times of being full-on borracho, big time. I wish I could convince them I don't think they're full of shit just cuz they're being nice while there's ethanol in them - stuff happens, it's ok. I say silly stuff even not on it though I'm trying to make myself plain spoken, communication is not the simplest of acts for humans, I think though we'd like to maybe convince ourselves of it. how many times am I telling myself, "if only I would've said this instead of that" and "why didn't I think of saying it this way..." aahh - and this is sober so if stuff like that happens w/someone a little (or even a lot) liquored, it's ok and I'm not insulted... I still think the sentiments genuine and appreciate them much - crimony, I just want live up to such kindness, truly. bosslady bobbie talks w/me, what a great lady to work for - I think she's great for this scene here, el paso has really come around - for sure I'm gonna play here again soon.
we load up and this cat I said hi to after being told last night to do so to "a guy w/dreads named oliver" by one of the more vocal young men at the front of the stage (he was really nice after though - the hollering thing just seems to be part of a gig... maybe I gotta write more songs to support that) - he offers his pad in los cruces, actually his wife jennifer has been adamant w/pete about so we accept - it's only forty miles and the boat will be safe. the siva guys offered like I said but they said maybe it was good the boat didn't have windows (actually it does but not as much as a passenger van) so that was a little shaky though they were happening cats, really. keeping the boat safe is such the priority for us on the road - again let me say it's the center of our touring universe, she's both anchor and ark. we make the trek west ok, oliver's a safe driver and I get in my sack soon as we dock. jennifer says these pressure points getting pressed on me will help if only I'd relax but damn, it's hard. they're on my forearms but they caused cramps on the arches of my feet! maybe my body's wired weird, like my brain. oliver and her though are such a sweet couple and though their four year old is w/the in-laws so they could make the gig, pictures of her are adorable. isn't that a trip how all pictures of little ones are like that? maybe that's hard-wired in us to see that, hmm... time for watt to head off for sleepytown.
friday, november 19, 2004 - tucson, az
Woke up to mike shaking marachas in my face doing some freaky chant, i remember them creeping into my dream and thinkin' what the hell is that sound, i open my eyes and i see this big grin and two marachas, i woke up smiling. I can't remember the drive too well, just reading and sleeping, and mike wakin' me up taking pictures. Show up to club pretty early, but that's cool with me, i like tucson. Some one is there, and they tell us that the club won't be ready for another couple hours. I wanna see if travis still works over at toxic ranch, pete and i walk over there to find out he hasn't worked there in a few months. We decide to head over to chicago music and looked at all the old busted equipment. This place is hugh for a used gear store, the first time i was here i snuck up to the off limit third floor. It was a drum grave yard, hundreds of old drums stacked as tall as me, piles and piles of em' any kind you could imagine, pretty neat, hundreds of old guitars too, heaps of diffrent kinds of stands, i'd imagine you'd be able to frankinstein a pretty econo kit with all the diffrent stuff laying around. Chicago gets overwhelming pretty quick, plus i know i'm not gonna buy anything, so we bail, in search of coffee.
There's a jazz trio playing in the small room, and these guys want us to sound check while they're playing, we do it all the time they say, we're not into it, it would completely suck of us to do that to them while they're playing, we wanna wait till they take a break... so we do. After the check we go to the house next door to grab some chow. It's pretty badass, the club has a little apartment next door for the bands, and they tell me a women named kate, the personal cook for the club is gonna bring us a home cooked meal. After eatin' i layed down in the backroom and did some reading, i ended up falling asleep. I crashed hard, and woke up to the sound of the first band. As i'm going in to check em' out i see jared and michelle, some good friends from tucson. It's awesome to see em', i love these two people. I've known jared for years, he was in the blacks from tucson. The jag offs were playing a show with them at al's bar, and the blacks were supposed to give me a lift to vegas that night, i'd never met em' before, but i needed to get to practice, i was playing drums in civic minded five, the band they were going on tour with, and i had one day to learn the set, after the gig i got in their van, and the rest is history, and we've been friends ever since. Jarod reminded me of something i had forgotten, remember the first day i met you and we left on tour, you had twelve dollars in your pocket and a clean pair of socks. Alot of the folks i know from tucson started showing up, made me real happy, also real nerveous. I don't know why this happens, it kills my nerves, and i end up biting all of what's left of my finger nails off, it's not as bad as when tour first started, but it still pretty bad. I think being a little nerveous makes it fun though, it also makes it hard to concentrate, and i have trouble holding a conversation, the gig is always at the front of my mind, i need to learn how to relax a little bit, or maybe not...whatever.
Abunch more people that i knew started to show, even as far as vegas, thanks jay and lazer, you guys are some of the sweetest, it really meant alot to me that all these folks came out to support me, i was totally suprised. The first two bands flew by, and before i knew it, it was time to hit the stage. Pretty packed house, and i really wanna to good to make it up the guys for my playing the night before in el paso, i think worrying about that is also adding to my nervesnous. We start of pretty tight right off the bat, i played the first chorus a bit to fast, but was able to recover and not fuck us up. It was so much better than el paso, we were playing together, we all had a good positive energy, totally feelin' it. Nice and hot on stage too, so i got to break a good sweat. Seeing all the folks i knew up front worked out real positive for me, it put me at ease, which is rare, because usually it's the oppisite. Some folks were even singin' and dancing, it was great, i had a blast. Some people did leave, but whatever, some get it, others don't, i can't let something like that bother me.
Michelle and jarod decided to have some people over, so after getting the gear in the econo loader, pete lets mike know what's up, gets directions and jumps in the van with the necronauts, and we all head over to the house. Michelle had a bike, and jarod let me use his, rad. My second ride of the tour, it was nice to be cruising down the streets of tucson late at night with a friend, good way to leave a good show. Back at the house it was in full swing, they had a small place, so it packed up real quick, and all the sudden it was a party. Y'all know what happens at those so i won't bore you, but it was great to be with all these awesome people that i love. Pete and i were the last two to leave, it was about four in the morning, and it would be stupid to fuck up our last gig by not resting up. We had a little walk back to club, when we got back i was still full of adreniline, i had to do something i couldn't just sleep, i read till my vision blured, pete cooked up some food, and i think he was already asleep while he was chowing it... sixty four down, and one to go.
pop at jennifer and oliver's pad; we have about a four hour drive so I quickly splash some water on my face and get my things together. watt writes a thank you note and we hop in the boat and bail. much respect to jennifer and oliver for having us over.
I once again alternate between conking and reading the gulag', but truthfully I spend more time in suenoville than w/ solzhenitsyn. we make one pitstop and I grab myself a "chicken pizziola" sandwich at the way'. what a foul, piece of shit of a sandwich...I promise myself never to get this particular item again- what a total waste of five bucks. the only redeemable quality of the whole sitch was the fact that the way' has particularly tasty chocolate chip cookies, but a man can't live on cookie dough alone. we make one more stop at a home depot as watt has to purchase some new AC plugs for his amp; I had traced the loss-of-power problem to a faulty plug on his power strip. having completed this bit of business, we continue on to our destination.
we pull in back of the pad we're playing at (plush) at about 2:30 and we go inside to see if anyone's home; there are two cats in there but they weren't expecting us so early and haven't done any clean-up so me and rollie hoof it up the street to check out the town. we check out a huge thrift store but they have nothing of interest and we continue onward. we find this huge old music store called chicago's and I spend about an hour in there digging thru old stacks of amplifiers and equipment- they had some shit that I haven't seen in years, and other stuff that I've never seen before (a little bit on the pricey side tho'), we head back towards the club and stop off at a little coffee pad to fix our caffeine jones. we sit outside smoking, drinking, and people watching. after our little break we hoof it back to the club and do the load in. after setting up, I grab the tool bag and do the repair on watt's cable and shorten his pedal board AC cable. no more loss of power! a cat comes in and introduces himself as ed; he writes a column for bass player magazine and he has just come to say hi to watt. he is also playing in a little jazz combo in the front of the bar and I decide to go check them out. meanwhile, the soundman (a cat named joe) arrives and starts to miking up the machines. I go into the front bar to check out the jazz combo- they wail and I listen to em' for about a half hour; the guitarist is an 84 yr. old cat that's played w/ a who's who of jazz greats and he absolutely shreds! all finger technique too, no pick present here. I am mesmerized as well as inspired- it's heartening to see these old school cats up there still wailing away- that's the way I want to go out... on stage jamming.
joe has everyhing ready to go for the check but we decide to hold off until the jazz combo takes a break- it would be extremely lame and bad karma to wail over these cats. we eventually do the check and everything sounds kosher so I retire to the band apartment to chimp some diary. yes, this particular club has a little pad next to it- an actual apartment w/ kitchen and all for the bands that play there. very cool. watt is already in the living room chimping and he tells me that a lady is coming over in a few to make us some chow. sure enough, a few minutes later she comes in and starts cooking it up right there for us. I go into the head for a quick hose off and by the time I'm finished, dinner is served. how very cool. I chow down w/ much fervor and do all the dishes after (it's the least I could do after such a wonderful feast), then I go into chimp mode. I finish up in about an hour and I go into the bedroom of the pad to lay my head down. I conk hard and am awakened by rollie about a half hour before we're to go on. I get the teapot going, then head over to the bar for an eye-opener- the second opening band, delude'- is just finishing up their set and I sit stage side until they get their gear off. very cool sounding band. me and rollie then spring into action and move all the machines into place- afterwards, I go to rouse the chief and bring him his tea.
having pulled duty, me and rollie wait stage side for watt to show up; he soon ambles in and not seeing my organ cart next to the stage he inadvertently steps on it and trips and falls. shit!, I feel fucking stupid for not moving this thing out of the way- mike could've easily have popped his knee out and the gig would have been over. he did smack it pretty hard as it were and was in some pain. I quickly moved the cart out of the way and flipped it over to avoid any more accidents. damn!
we launch into the piece and we play really good- we're much more together this time around and we steamroll thru the sections w/ much intensity. the crowd is appreciative but I think there is quite a few square johns present and I hear them snicker and yammer in the background. fuck that, I get a nice head of steam going and play even harder resulting in the breaking of a key on the keyboard. I play around the key for the rest of the set and the encore, but it does throw me a bit nonetheless. we finish up the show and several people offer us kind compliments on the performance. much respect. we load the gear into the boat and watt goes to conk in the apartment, but me and rollie head on over to a pad of a friend of his (angela) where we rap and pound beers. michael, a cat who second engineered "the middle stand" during its recording(and who was also at the gig) is there and we rap for a couple of hours- he's such a nice cat and a gearhead like myself (has great recording chops also). around four, I round up rollie and we hoof it back to the apartment where we immediately conk upon entering. me vale madre!...
pop at eight bells and hose off. had a boat dream, I was at the bow and the wind was blowing hard in my face. dusk was coming on and it seemed like this day had taken forever to get done, every second going by like it took an hour. it felt like I'd been standing here the whole time, looking - praying - for land. I squinted and squinted, had to take my glasses of cuz of all the spray continually hitting me in the face. I kind of dug that though, it made me feel alive, the way you get when every sense is ignited. I'd open my mouth to take in a swallow of air and it'd be moist and wet my throat up good. such a long voyage, the third day of the third month of the third year now. trippy, how the end game to such a sally forth plays out. you wonder to yourself how you got here, now adding it all up cuz as you're in the midst of it, you focus mainly on the day at hand, too overwhelmed to take on much more. there, I see it - not the land but a pelican and I'm looking out it's eyes. it's flying really close to the water, close enough to taste the spray in its nostrils. I feel what it's like to have wings, not to fly but how it feels to have wings - the stretched-outness and the air buoying you up, floating sideways. I'm wondering when will I have to flap cuz it seems impossible I could go so long w/out sinking down. am I caught on a forever draft? back on the boat's deck, attention centers on every creak the timbers make, every groan of the hull. she's a good boat, I hear her heart beat alongside mine. it's a weird dream, not so much action but more of a mood thing, a look inside at how I'm feeling. I'm aware of the pitching of the boat through the waves, the heave and the ho coming up through my legs but in my head there's a strange calm balancing this hankering I have for the land - again, I spot the pelican and within it once more, the fear of falling into the sea is tempered by the gentle loft keeping me just inches from a sure tumble. the sun seems only a glint now on the horizon and it finally sinks, firing up a orange-red canopy over the sky. it captivates me and I wonder... why would it spread from the east and not west, towards my pedro town?
I go to get coff in the boat, finding the freeway onramp we need at the same time. that's good cuz I don't want to wake our kind hosts so when I wake pete and raul (using a pair of maracas I find), I just leave a thank you note and we take leave silently. south for a tiny bit on I-25 and the west on I-10, the road the next two gigs are on and will then take us home to cali. the weather is gorgeous once more - intense to travel through the desert w/out blazing heat, driving rain or freezing cold - this so cal weather totally, we are truly blessed. last night bobbie gave us these trippy hybrids of a fruit - round like a big apple or a small grapefruit but the color and taste of a pear. they're really good... I wonder what they're called? the only thing kind of weak about the trip is the ten thousand billboards for "the thing" or kitsch from the "running indian" trading posts. all these pads on the freeway now in new mexico and arizona have this "bowlin's" name on it, like the clear channel of crap stands. some of these thing are like a few hundred yards apart, tons of them. like we don't get the picture - you really want us to stop and buy this crap. it's so incessant and such an eyesore on the natural beauty that on that principle alone, I won't go there. when we do have to get gas, raul gets the 'way-wiches while I service the boat. at the counter the got these bottom half of a .45 colt shell casings made into a hat pin. kind of weird though, how can you get shot w/a shell casing? I guess it's the thought. anyway, I get one and put it in the svetko hat. I think about it a moment and seeing they got one more left, I decide to get one for svetko himself so he can put it in one of his hats (pete says he has many). I write on the card it comes on, "for svetko from mike watt" - it's for much thanks in him raising the righteous man pete mazich is. I hope he knows how much I'm indebted to him for that. pete's ma too, much respect. I haven't met raul's folks yet but hopefully I'll get to. I got two great shipmates w/me. I owe this good men so much, they are truly the real deal. I'm so honored to serve w/them, I wish I could find words fit to serve the gratitude I most truly feel for them. I can't wait to write new music for them to play w/me... not an opeara next time but thirtysix little songs - I got a hankering to do little songs again... I've been thinking about it this whole tour. kind of balances out the weirdness I feel about some of what's in this piece we're doing, you don't how grateful I am to have made it through that hellride and to rework some of those thoughts every night for nine weeks - well, this is what's in the mind of watt who'll be fortyseven a month from tomorrow... it's a weird time for him. it's really fueling my fire to write new things w/pete and raul in mind.
we get to tucson and it's important we get this ac plug for my amp rack thing going so I search out for a home depot along the freeway cuz that's where they usually are. hmm... can't find one though so a stop on a surface street and then to a pay phone's phone book yields one on the other freeway that comes out of town, I-19. it's only a couple of miles away and we get three sockets - two male and one female. the male is for the melted up wasted one but the male/female pair is for the extension cord that powers my pedal box cuz this one's too long so cutting it in half will make things much more manageable and I'll get another one to boot (two from one). we head on over to where we're playing, by the downtown where that hippie stuff is on fourth at a pad called plush. bossman kris says we can konk at a little apartment nextdoor, alright - it'd be so happening if all gig pads had these but really, I'd settle for just easy parking and they got that here too, righteous. pete helps me big time by doing the plugs on the ac cords - I do that stuff all the time but pete is a great fabricator, rebuilds organs (like the one he's got here on tour) and amps too. this cat named ed who has a column in bass player magazine comes by to say hi, he does a lounge thing on the other side of this club w/an eightyfour-year-old guitarist named dicky thompson who's really amazing, wow. I watch him play - he plays his guitar upsidedown and is all self-styled/self-taught, really incredible. ed plays good w/him too. I wait for their break so we can soundcheck w/soundman joe (out of respect these cats), he just moved here from nashville. the system's kind of tiny, a plastic mackey thing but he'll work it good. me and my guys meet one of the opening bands, a phoenix one called the neconauts and they're nice folks. there's another band, local ones called the deludeds but I don't get to meet them, damn. cuz I'm always konked and miss the openers sets, I at least like to say hi to them and give thanks for sharing the stage w/us. we then go to the little apartment and this lady kate comes by and cooks us chow, damn! it's salad, sausage and onions, macaroni and cheese and brownies. she does a really good job, nice folks here at this pad! much respect. I then go to the boat and konk. I know, I could've konked here but I'm used to the boat.
pete gets at me when it's gig time and this time I get the tea he gives me down my throat. I then go into the pad and as I go up on the stage, pete's organ cart (sort of like a huge skateboard) is where I think there's something to step on (I can't use the stairs cuz pete and raul are sitting there) and of course it does the banana peel thing and slides, causing me to hit the deck, right on my fucking port knee. aaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrgggggghhhhhh! at least it didn't pop out, thank god. it is hurting though but it's showtime. we do the piece and even w/that hurt throbing out from my knee I rally hard to get over how I feel I blew it last night and keep taunt. my guys do good too and support me much but maybe it's cuz I'm supporting them and not get flung out on some stupid freak-out shit. of course, I'm not totally self-satisfied w/myself, I always find problems, clams, idiot movese, clumsy whatever w/everything I do in front of people (and not!) but this was ok after feeling I lamed-up pretty big time last night. the folks are really nice to us - to have people tell me they're glad I didn't die and I can still come around and do gigs is so very kind of them and means much to me. I haven't played tucson in a five or six years and that's not happening - I'll play it more regular. one guy gives me a cd of the minutemen playing foolkillers in kansas city (1984), something he taped when he was a kid. he gives me copies of some old black flag flyers too including one w/the ramones, black flag and the minutemen at the palladium. damn! of course raymond's art's on it - it makes me think of raymond and how I miss him so much. helperman mike, the cat who helped me make the "...middle stand" record w/mike rich in pedro is here and says hi. it's so great to see him, wow - what a surprise, big hugs for him. brian mock's here too and we talks some... he asks me what I think about the democrats and the left - I tell him I don't think labels like left help anything much these days and neither do party stuff, we gotta get beyond that stuff, get to issues and worry less about identity and labels - that's marketing shit. that doesn't mean I'm any different than when I was a minutemen - when we used labels, it was definitely like they were cuss words - expressing our frustration, letting people trying to define our dilemmas in weirded-out isms, us having to throw it back up and see what kind of sense it was all making. we were trying to think more, not less. I'm still way into that.
I say thanks to the necornauts guys and they give me their cd, I tell them I'll play it on my twfps radio show. I'll have a lot of music to play when I get back from this tour. no after gig driving tonight, we're staying next door so I go to the little apartment while pete and raul go w/friend's of raul's to hang out. it's just for me to konk so I can be strong for the next gig. on to the deck - whoops, almost screwed up the zipper on the konk sack but after some struggle, I get it free of where it got caught up on. have to work things soft and feel out its dharma. ok, out w/watt - one more gig tomorrow...
saturday, november 20, 2004 - tempe, az
We only had a two and a half hour drive to tucson, so i slept in a little, which is good, cuz my dumb ass didn't get in till after four in the mourning. I layed around and read for an hour, then pete got up and made us all some coffee. We hit the road a bit passed noon. I spent the drive in the back seat trying to finish the sand pebbles, i'd like to get it done while i'm still in the boat, it just makes sense. We showed up a bit on the early side, and it was total strip mall, and suburban blocks a mile long. There was a out of print record store, way over priced, obnoxious. Dollar bin records for as much as forty bucks, totally outrageous. Screw this place, wait, didn't they let me use their bathroom, i should take that back, i could've been shittin' my pants in a parking lot. The night before pete had busted a key on his hammond, so we unloaded the gear onto the sidewalk to get access, that left some room in the back of the boat for me to stretch out with sand pebbles, i fell asleep in five minutes. I was awake in another five, donnie, the boss of the club showed up and let us in. I was nerveous at first, from the looks of this place on the outside, you'd get the impression that there was gonna be a hundred televisions inside, a bunch of bud light flags, stupid shit like that. Not what i expected, dark and dingy bar, looked like a good club, i was suprised.
After sound check we order up some food, and i get yesterdays diary out of the way. When i'm done with that i step outside to have a smoke, and some friends from pedro are hangin' out in the parking lot. No way, it takes a second for me to register, it just seemed out of place for the moment. After the couple seconds of initaial shock hugs all around, wow , i haven't seen someone from home in months, it's nice, i miss it. It worked out perfect, they had plans of picking someone up in tempe, so they just coincided it with the gig. It's getting pretty boring sittin' around the club, you can only play so many games of cut throat. When that gets old, bree and i decide to go for a walk insearch of some coffee. The blocks feel real oppressive to me, and it's not the best walking on rock side walks, i suggest a drive. We skip out on the coffee, and just cruise around town talking about what's been going on in pedro the past couple months, some good most bad... sucks. I got some bad news of my own today, we've all been evicted from 673. It's more of a shock, it sucks to not be home yet, and to find out i can't live there anymore... what's up with that. I really don't know how to feel about it, i'm not upset, just a bit bummed. I'm all ready racking my brain trying to figure where to move, i wanna stay in pedro, i want my roommates, but most of all i want a house, and pedro can be expensive. I was lucky with my rent, it was hella cheap, made it possible to leave on tour with out to much worry, i'll miss that. Plus we run the band outta there, so we gotta find a place that we can practice in. And the shows, no more, which now that i think about might not be the worst thing, it'll give us more incentive to find new places to do gigs at. Maybe we can rent a warehouse, we've always wanted more space, we'll see, i'll miss middle fourth, but things gotta change sometime.
We made it back to see the last couple songs of the first band, after this gig these guys are driving back to brooklyn... nuts if ya ask me. The second band was great, they're called viz fiz, mostly instumental songs, all kinds of diffrent styles going on all at the same time, very interesting listen. The place is pretty packed, so i'm a little nerveous, plus it's the last gig of the tour, and i don't wanna botch the show, that'd just be emmbarassing. About fifteen minutes before we go on the sound guy asks me were mike is, he wants to get him stoned before the gig, wake and bake he says, and goes around to the alley, great, the sound guy's gonna be lit. Sure enough, he's fumbleing behind the board, and all sound check is lost, pointless. He has us do a line check again, i hate that, another sound check right before you play, i feel silly... thanks stone bag, after that his new name was wake and bake. The show went very well, good last gig, it felt good, to play good and complete the tour with nothing but good luck, i still can't believe it almost over, it's been a trip. Wilco was playing down the street, and nils plays with them now. He came to the gig after their show, and when we were done i got to meet mr. nils cline, he's super sweet, he enjoyed the gig too, he didn't even have to say it, he's super tall, and i could see his head bobbin' with a big smile on his face. He used to be in the black gang with mike, so he knows what it's all about, he commended me for finishing a watt tour, thanks nils. After the last song we all hugged on stage, lot's of love for these two guys, i had such a good time traveling and playing around the states with the two of them, i learned alot, more than i can put into words right now. It was a very unique expierience, and i feel very lucky to have been apart of it. Thanks mike and pete, your both some of the best people, and i can't wait till next time we hop in the van and hit the road.
I wake up from a wonderful conk and get my things together. I make some tea for myself and the chief and we rap about last nite's gig; we all felt it went very well but we would try to do better in tempe- the last gig of the tour. I walk out on the porch to smoke a cigarette and I see a lady pull up in a pickup truck that has a couch in the back. she is obviously delivering the piece to the cat next door. she asks me if I would give her a hand- I quickly grab the end of the couch and we get the sucker out of the truck and into the apartment. the lady was very grateful and offered to get me a bottle of vino for my trouble but I assure her that it was no trouble at all. I had done my good deed for the day.
we hop in the boat and off we are once again- this time one burg before pedro. we get into town relatively early and there is no one at the club (the big fish pub) as of yet. we park the boat out in front and me and rollie go into a used record store next door and happily spend a few hours digging thru old platters and cd's, then head back to the club. still no one present so what to do? mike suggests that I pull the B3 out of the back and fix the broken key. this sounds like a good idea so that's just what we do. I get the whole sitch wrapped up in a few minutes and by this time donny the boss shows up and let's us in (he even helps us carry the machines in- what a nice man). we set up the tools on stage and wait for the soundman to show- he soon does and gets us miked up quick after which we ram thru "the red and the black". it sounds pretty decent and the monitors are good too (they had brought in some big ones especially for mike). we broke down and moved the gear to the side and I went to the back of the bar and conked on a very comfy couch that was there. I was awakened by rollie as he had finished his chimping and I was free to start my own. some friends of his had showed up; one of them, bree, I knew as she had worked w/ lil the kill at barfucks'. we rapped for a little while then I sequestered myself at a back table and went into deep chimp mode.
when I came out of it I was a little drained so I went into the back of the boat to conk for a little while. I awoke after a while and climbed out of the back of the boat- the soundman was out there and offered me some mota (or "wake and bake" as he called it). I declined as I didn't want to fall apart on the last gig of the tour. I went inside and watched the last band a bit. they were really cool and the bass player really went off. they finished up their set and we got up on stage to set up the tools. once everything was in place, I went to go wake the chief and he soon ambled in and we were off. we played very intensely and the crowd was very into the piece. it was a great way to end a tour. nels kline was in attendance and he offered us up some very nice compliments about the gig. it made me feel very good and I was very happy about the gig. I also felt a tremendous sense of relief. I rapped w/ bree for a little while then we loaded up the gear into the boat and followed jeff and his lady back to their pad (jeff was an old school chum of dandy don dalton's), where we sipped on red wine, rapped, and burned a few midnite nugs. the sandman soon cometh and I rolled into the bag and conked out right quick. jos malo pa doma....
pop at seven bells and hose off. my guys are out cold here in the back room and I'm gonna let them konk as long as they want to cuz its only two hours to tempe. I hoof around the pads nearby, very quiet here cuz it's sunday. I got the tipurse w/me though cuz I saw a lot of coffee places and maybe there's wifi w/some of them and I can update the hoot page. I in fact find just such a place but actually it's closed so I have coff next door and then go on the sidewalk where I can get better reception and do my upload thing there, out on the street. I must look like a kook but I get it done. going back to the konk apt, I think about today... to make it this far on a tour - to the last gig - is surely a blessing. all the crazy things that can happen, go wrong - all that shit. the last gig of a tour can't be a bad one, no matter what happens cuz damn, we made it this far! the tenth weekend of the tour, good to end a tour on a saturday. the sun's out bright but clouds are gathering. I chimp diary 'til my guys wake around eleven. I talk w/them while pete makes coff. I tell them of my dream last night, a weird one. in the dream, all three of us are at some chow pad and I'm saying belig stuff to raul. it's mean and ridiculing shit, really lame. I even know it is but it's like I can't stop. I'm being such the jerk, such the asshole. raul's doing nothing to deserve this, it's an unprovoked foist on my part. I can't believe I'm even doing it. suddenly, there's a commotion - all this running around and chaos. I find myself on the deck and realize my 'puter's missing (it was on the table in front of me) and this pisses me off much. a waitress comes up to us and apologizes for someone one shooting us. shooting us?! I do feel a pain upside my head, like a bullet had grazed me but that's not my main concern - it's losing my 'puter! very bizarre. I ask my guys to help interpret this and their guess is I was scared for the boat. I did sleep right by the window where it was and didn't wear my earplugs (which was pretty much useless cuz there were trains coming by really loud all night and anyway, I was out like a rock). I remember playing a gig w/the divine horsemen in new orleans (fIREHOSE days), it was their last gig of the tour and when they went to chow at a diner, their van and everything in it (I mean everything) got the major donate... the big chik-ching. that's always stuck in my head as a big time tour dilemma and it's one reason I always ask if the boat'll be safe when someone's kind enough to offer up a konk pad. here, we weren't at someone's pad and in the downtown w/little security. I was quite paranoid. I don't know why I was being mean to raul though, he's the nicest cat ever. reminds me of that poe story, "the black cat." I sure can be weird. I tell him very much I'm sorry, there's nothing he's done to warrant such crazy shit. I did want to tell him though cuz it disturbed me much. oh there was another thing about the dream. it wasn't just me, raul at the table but raymond was there too and it was looking pretty disappointed at me, like "what the fuck are you doing?" I was very glad to find out it was a dream cuz damn, it seemed so real and I felt like such an idiot. fuck.
here I-10 goes mainly north and we take it up to phoenix where tempe's a part where arizona state university is. we stop for our last subway sandwich of the tour. I load mine up good w/the dave's insanity sauce, what the fuck. it vaporizes any traces left of that fucked up gig, much vapors coming up from my brain. pete guides me in - whoops, wrong way for a bit but then we're back on track and find the last venue for the tour in a small strip mall in the east part of town, the big fish pub. it's trippy cuz I know the boss here, a cat named donny that's a friend of original secondman drummer jerry trebotic. we've stayed at his pad twice on the last two tours. he's a nice man and I'm happy to be working his club. we're here early so I tell pete why not get going on fixing that key on his organ that broke last night. he brought from pedro a whole octave worth of keys for back up, just in case something like this happened - smart pete. a few doors down is a used record store so while he did this, I went and checked that pad out. wow, tons of vinyl - damn! I get the first three volumes of "rare/unissued recordings from her transitional years, 1933-50" by billie holiday (from a german label) and "the heliocentric worlds of sun ra - volume one" by sun ra (from an italian label). when I get these, I get back to find pete successful w/his repair and ownerman donny here to open the club up. the gig's actually being put on by longtime watt gigmaker for phoenix/tempe, charlie and he shows a short time later. great to see him again - he sees me either at a beginning or an end of a tour. nita's hideaway soundman john's been brought aboard to mix tonight along w/some monitors to bonus up what donny's got here. we do soundcheck and then I chow a burrito charlie goes and gets for me. I meet one of the opening bands, some brooklyn cats named honorary title. whoa, we've played w/a few brooklyn bands this tour, huh? seems like some fertile territory! an old friend named mike chapman comes by to spiel some so I do that until it's time for me to konk - even for the last gig, I need to do that cuz I wanna do my best.
pete comes w/the throatcoat tea to roust me one last time for this tour. there was another opener I missed, locals called vin fiz - damn... a whole tour of missing 'pert-near every opening band we had - aahh, this is one of the only reasons I wish I was in my twenties cuz in those years I had the strength to watch every group the minutemen and fIREHOSE played w/and that's what I always did - even into my early thirties but these days it's different for me. I hope the people in those bands don't get the wrong idea, like I'm some aloof asshole who couldn't give a shit about who's on before him cuz that's not the way it is. the truth is I'm not strong enough. believe it or not, after every show I ask both pete and raul about the bands that shared the stage w/us, I want to know. w/pete, it's hard for him to describe the sounds but he can at least tell me if he liked it or not. I'm happy to say he dug lots of the acts who joined us in sharing the stage. raul's better at describing and he's usually up front while they're playing - something I used to always do (then again, raul's twentysix!).
up on the stage, I look over at my guys for one last shove-off and the piece is under way. there's no monitors - something must've got unplugged (I feel bad charlie brought these in for nothing - life is funny) but hey, it's the last gig of a tour and NOTHING CAN BE WRONG! I just laugh at the irony of the universe, laugh at watt. we do pretty good, I'm so proud of pete and raul giving it their all this whole tour, never shirking or taking any gig for granted - much respect to them. we finish up and THE TOUR IS OVER! skater robert locker comes running up to the stage to say hi - he's the cat who designed the d. boon "punk is whatever we made it to be" sticker, much respect to him. I talk w/folks a long time from the stage, grateful to have gotten yet another tour under my belt. such a relief - it's cuz of gig-goers and listeners being so generous that I get to keep doing this. I wish I could thank them all each a million times personally, truly.
we do our load up one more time and follow jeff (a friend of my bud big daddy dandy don dalton's) to his pad not too far away. it's a happy time for us three - jeff says we seem punchdrunk but we're just so glad to be safe after doing sixtyfive gigs in sixtysix days. I spiel as much as I can 'til I can't anymore and then it's konk time for me. whoa... one more tour sueno...
sunday, november 21, 2004 - san pedro, ca
I pop at six and a half bells and hose off quick. time to move... I get pete and raul and when quickly board the boat - too early to politely wake jeff so I leave a thank you note - and we're off. the clouds that gathered yesterday are now heavy and sprinkles are coming down. I take us west on I-10. weird feeling getting out of phoenix, it's out this way where d. boon was killed almost nineteen years ago in that van wreck. I think of him much, not dying but him talking w/me, playing w/me - just being w/me. I miss you tons, d. boon and am wondering what you what've thought of this "weird long song" - this sickness opera that've I've done across canada and the u.s. this fall... weird too is the weather - it's getting heavier as we get closer to cali. we cross the colorado river which is the border - bye arizona - we pull over in blythe for a 'way-wich. yep, I thought yesterday was the last one of the tour but here's another gas station w/a built in 'way - you don't see these much in cali. I only get a couple of gallons of gas here cuz the pump takes like ten minutes a gallon... fuck that, we gotta move! the sandwich is horrible too, everything rotten-ass in my mouth and I can choke down only a couple bites. the only lame tuna 'way-wich I've had all tour and it's on the last day. trippy.
hmm... all this tour we've been pretty fucking lucky w/the weather - only some rain and no snow - 'til now! we start across the mojave desert to find there must've been some fallen not long ago cuz it's on the side of the road and frosted on signs. trippy. not too heavy to stop us though, the road's clear - an hour or two later though... who knows? I'm glad we're coming through now! after some mildness in the coachella valley there's even more snow in riverside - freaky. the plan was for me to hand the wheel over to pete in indio but fuck it - he's konked and I'm feeling alert... I take us all the way in, from the I-10 to ca-60 to ca-91 and finally south on the harbor freeway to our pedro town. we get in about two pm. I drop pete and raul off at pete's (the weather's calmer than the snowy desert in our town and raul wants to walk home), congratulating and thanking them both much - what true brothers to me they've been. I love them big time.
back to my pad and what's first for watt? a soak in his own tub... now tour's really done!
read week 8 of the tour diary
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