j mascis and the fog
j mascis - guitar, singing
george berz - drums
watt - thud staff, spiel
(left to right)
eric fischer - tour boss
ray rupprecht - soundman
david scheid - helper man
steve kaul - the man outside the van
wednesday, april 18, 2001 - tallahassee, fl
pop and soak like fortyfive minutes early. come out of the head and zeke's up too. we go to get chow, thinking they got some free continental thing like the fairfield inns have. this is a holiday inn. the desk cat says to go around the corner for chow. me and zeke go there and find out it's a glorified denny's kind of pad and it ends up costing me ten bucks for some skillet-type eggs w/taters and bits of vegetables, all greased up. aaaarrrrrgggghhh. burn ward. zeke's last name is howard (sam's is jayne). I tell him all the three stooges except for larry fine had the last name howard (they were brothers, moe, shemp and curly joe). zeke's the real stooge on this tour! it's cool talking w/zeke, first time for him touring the south, young and unjaded - twenty years younger than watt - very much into music and seeing shit. he's a blast to be w/and so is sam. them being a two-piece makes it easy for them to mix in w/us. helps alleviate pressure too. we get done forcing down the barely-edible (good thing it cost a lot) and I say bye to do my morning hoof.
great luck being here in st. pete cuz it's right by the water and I sure dig that. I head towards the middle of town first. some museums but it's too early for them to be open. one's an aeronautics kind of one and they got in the window some big can that held a soviet sa-2 missile. that's a trip. some display about the cuban missile crisis in the early 60s. a little young for watt (I was born in '57) but I did live through it. the world did too, thank god. I turn toward the water and denem's landing. a marina here and lots of little boats. I walk past them and past the bayfront center arena. minutemen played here on our last tour, opening for rem in '85. I think of d. boon and start crying. just then, a huge pelican comes flying overhead. he soars easy w/out flapping his wings, maybe fifteen feet up. majestic beauty, a dive and then right into the drink on a fishing plunge. he comes up and shakes his bill and I see a little bulge move down the pouch in his lower jaw. damn, incredible. a little airport is right near and some 30s vintage plane w/corrugated metal skin - sort of like those old ford tri-motors but w/only one engine and it chug-chug-chugs as it climbs real slow-like. I make the turn and start back. there's signs on the hand rail that say "manatee zone." man, that would be a trip to see one of those! I look hared but no luck. a black bird w/porcupine-like head feathers lights on the rail near me and sings to me. I reply w/short little whistles and we have quite a conversation for a few minutes. thank you, bird! the weather is so mild for this part of the country. a little windy, I'm glad I got my coat on but no humidity at all. sun all shinning w/no clouds to hide it. cali weather. every town has cali weather at some point of the year - usually twice - in the spring and in the fall. that's why I tour then. a very sublime morning for watt, thank you.
back to the ho and into the van. five hours to tallahassee so we gotta leave now. we pick up j at the pier. he went to the aquarium ("lame, just a couple of tanks") and the holocaust museum there ("they had a cattle car used to transport folks on the one-way ride"). I have to be frank here, I do not feel comfortable w/all the constant, quick and crazy lane changing, following close and high speed driving. I don't dig it. I don't say anything to keep peace but inside it tears me up. j and george just lay horizontal in their bench seats and konk but I'm in the passenger seat to do 'puter and am terrified. can't wait 'til I'm in the truck w/ray tomorrow. different pokes for different folks, I guess. I'd rather go crazy on stage than on the freeway, just my opinion. I try to calm myself w/'dines and hot chili sauce - no 'gars allowed in here.
much to my relief, we finally get into town. terra firma at last. there's these two cats waiting for j. one's named dante and he spent eight months at amma's ashram in southern india. I don't get the other cat's name but he's got brand new levis and we talk about that for a while. it's a trip, there boot-cut kind w/a zipper but the tag on the back pocket is red. I'm used to that being orange. not wearing underwear ('til this year), I always stayed away from pants w/zippers and anything w/more than a straight leg always rubbed and swished when I walked cuz of my knock-knees. anyway, there both nice people and j goes off to hang w/them. we're playing the _cow haus_ and the owner brian is very cool people. in a couple of weeks, they're moving to a new building and he tells me he's so very proud to have us fog be the last big show there. I played here a couple years ago w/the opera and stayed at a bass player cat named ian's pad. ian's here and tells me he skirted death w/a bout of teticular cancer. he heard of my sickness last year too. I'm glad w/we're both still here to work the bass. I spaced and left my postcards, all filled out, stamped and shit, on a table at his pad and like a true brother, he mailed them the next day. thanks, ian.
for soundcheck, we do b.o.c's "the red and the balck" and a new tune from j about amma (I don't know it's name yet) but damn, if we don't have these in the set. we've done the b.o.c. one a couple of times but never the new amma one. j wants to hand out copies of the amma one's lyrics to the crowd and have us do a big sing-along. that would be cool. can't wait. I've said before why I dig the other one - I've been playing it w/the bands I've been in since I started playing w/d. boon and it's a common thread that's traveled down the years w/me. I dig j's take on it. all the cats who've played it w/me have their own way of doing it - not one stoops to cookie-cutter buck dharma (the guitarist on the original). I dig that.
the guys go to chow while I chimp in the dressing room. before he bails, j does the set list. I'm so relieved we get this done early. nothing like agonizing over getting that part done. w/it out of the way, I can relax and calm my mind to chimpin' on the 'puter. I have another tin of 'dines and crackers. that's good for me. at almost ten-thirty, the _love as laughter_ cats go on. great set from them but damn, if the crowd ain't even watching except for some righteous folk right up in front of them. what's up w/some poeple? just cuz it's acoustic and they can yap like a motherfucker over it, they won't check it out? sam and zeke do great and I dig it.
the p.a. here is pretty toy so I'm gonna do the earplug thing so I won't have to rely on monitors and hear my voice through the resonating in my skull. the band sounds trippy thorugh them, especially the bass but it helps me find where I'm at key wise, sort of. george tells me to make lots of eye contact cuz we he has zero monitors. I look at him much anyway so it'll be business as usual for me. good to know he wants me on board though. sometimes it seems we're only doing that for me. thanks, george. we start w/"I'm not fine," what a charger to get things going tonight! right away, the folks up front complain about not hearing the vocals. j tells them "listen, how can you expect to hear the singing when you're standing right in front of the guitar amps (two full stacks of marshalls and a fender tone-master) and the singing is coming out of the p.a. speakers on the side?" excellent reasoning, j. I sure hope they can fathom that. I'm playing w/the ron asheton yellow shades on again - they stay on much better after I bent the frames in w/the leatherman-like tool pool man tony gave me in pedro for xmas. the list is packed w/slammin' tunes - no mellowness here. "same day," "the wagon," "back before you go," "I've had it" and "repulsion" light 'em up and blow 'em like candles (thanks, rakim). finally, some calmness w/"all the girls" but "budge" has us back blazing. I dig it, just a little tough on the corporal material but how does one get tougher if that challenge ain't met. thanks, j. more calm w/"waistin'" though the rhythm is feeling a little slosshy. it's been hard on geroge's hands as tour goes on. he needs bandaids and naproxin nightly. the last two nights he's started out so very strong, righteously but then towards the end, the gas gauge starts bumping the 'e' - I feel for him. I wish I could climb inside his arms and help. the drums are a very physical thing. the problem I'm having is not having enough room to stand where I don't have my left foot on the drum rug - the rug doesn't give me sure footing and I feel paranoid. you know, my fucked-up knees and all. we do the stooges' "not right" and I finally get all the words right. man, has that been a problem for me this tour. I feel happy about getting the shit right and really blow it out in the end jam - hootin' and hollerin' and shit like that off the mic. I feel invigorated. "amma ring" and I'm stumbling on the intro, damn. I can't tell sometimes if george wants me to hold off a few bars or come right in, we should work that out a little better. gotta remember to discuss that w/him before next gig. this is a smoker version w/the guitar but me and george are kind of slipping around and I'm guessing this due to the fucked-up monitor situation. I listen hard though and just try to keep w/him, wherever those drums happen to go. I just want us to play together and make it good for j. I know j wants to do this one good for dante. last tune is "tv eye" I blast off for the moon. a heart attack later, we're done and I barely get off the stage. whew, was that wild. I'm late getting my bass on for the encore, "more light" - damn, watt - get it together. I got an email while the guys were at chow and it was elizabeth telling me she fractured her elbow, doing a stunt w/her friend she used to do when she was twelve. damn. I was trying to sending healing energies out w/the bass thumps and guess I got carried away, not pacing the fortythree year old locomotive and throttling too hard. next is another stooges' tune, "I wanna be your dog" but I luck out and don't have to do the spiel cuz we're having sam from _love as laughter_ sing it for his birthday. this time he gets all the words right - not like he didn't do a great job the first time in orlando. he does it w/shoes on this time too. very versatile, this cat. we close things w/"freak scene."
the boss brian asks me to get j to do more tunes but he's gotta fly to boston for some awards show at five tomorrow morning. lots of cats again giving me the good word. lots of hand shaking and signing, very kind people - thank you. I have to go off for a bit and hide to gain composure, this gig has tapped me. let the energy leave me and go where it can do good. I'm done w/my job and can spare the loan. to the van for a dry shirt and to sit and rest. still more good words ccccdsw\from lots of kind faces. people who've seen me many times before and those who've never seen me before. I am most grateful but I wish I could translate it somehow into telepathic ways to help my friend and her elbow. that's how I'm feeling now.
we get to the ho, an econolodge, and have sam and zeke stay w/us. I upload week five of my tour diary. slow-ass line or maybe it's my isp cuz it's taking forever. david wants to check his email and I feel bad about telling him how fucked this connection is. oh well, tomorrow night will be better and he can do that. I know how email can get to be a big thing. even though he's got a walkie-talkie phone, I know he wants more links. tour can make you that way easy. sam's got the remote control and making everyone laugh doing the channel-flip. he goes between fishing infomercials, some documentary on certain surgery procedures (gross ones) and a bullshit bratpack western movie. I take my place by the hatch and don the mask but kind of take part by just reacting to their comments w/my own - even though I can't even see the screen. then him, zeke and ray break into english accents (a show from england joins the channelsurfing playlist) and things get really funny. the queen's english, torn to shreds. I konk giggling like a goof. happy birthday, sam.
thursday, april 19, 2001 - baton rouge, la
pop and to the head for some tub soak. whoa, david's on the deck here in front of the door. am I contagious? is he getting into deck konk? hope I'm not becoming a father figure to him. after the soak, I'm out the hatch and up the highway w/some hoof. there's a big hill so I get the heart pumping. great. I dig it. up a ways and then cross and come back, stop at a "village inn" diner and have eggs and porkchops. savor that. marines in their dress outfits checking me in my outfit. funny.
back to the ho and it's me and ray in the truck for the ride to baton rouge. great. we first stop at some mall thing and he gets powered speakers for his cd player. fuck that lame radio shit. west on I-10. we listen to johnny cash "from folsom prison" (live), waylon jennings "greatest hits," willie nelson "greatest hits" (got some tunes that are on the waylon cd), lucinda williams and graham parsons. not one commercial. the weather is so great. no need for air conditioning (which really kills my sinuses). smooth sailing. pass through pensacola then into alabama and through mobile. stop to call eric. he wanted us to call to see if he had to cancel the room he got for us in baton rouge. this causes us some consternation. why the pressure to get all the way there when it's a day off? they want to do it, that's why we're separate. as soon as ray's off the phone after telling eric we'll go for it, I have regrets. seems like this shit is nothing but piddling 'control' issues, not practical sense at all. you gotta put the time in no matter what. why get all beat up for whatever the fuck. a couple hours of driving the next morning is nothing. anyway, we want to keep the peace so we drive on.
through mississippi. a truck passes us w/a slogan painted on the rear window, "we kept our flag." see, they just had a vote here in this state on the question of changing the flag from the one they have now, which has the confederate battle flag as part of it to one where that part is replaced w/a blue field w/twenty white stars, representing mississippi as the twentieth state to come into the union. now, I don't want make too much of an issue out of this cuz it just gives people w/extreme views more ammo to push other items on their agenda. I don't live here and the folks that do can decide to fly whatever they want over their capitol and in their yards. but thinking about it a little, me and ray have a little talk about it, just to air views - not tell these people what to do. pro-confederate flag people say they want to preserve their heritage but it seems they're into preserving only a part of it. maybe the heroic (?) part where people fought and died for the confederacy. they can't be talking about the "great history" of institutions like slavery but that might not what black folks have on their mind when they see that flag or even other white folks. then there's the issue of racism in places that never had that flag (the northern ones) and the hypocrisy there, like changing a flag is all it takes. I know the war was fought over more issues than slavery but it's still hard to separate that and its legacy completely out in my mind. I have a real problem w/that war, our civil war. I think it was horrible. I don't think it was a "honorable war." it was us at our lowest. I don't think it was right for the south to bail - I wish they could've tried to change the laws they didn't like but I also don't think the union fought it right either. they made the southerners pay and pay, burned them out and broke them down, like they weren't their brothers and sisters. I think maybe cuz of that, there's a little over-compensating self-pride here. civil wars are the worst wars and the wounds have to be healed well by both sides in the name of peace and sanity - not the losers being stomped and stomped. it's crazy how it even got going, I wish cooler heads could've prevailed, thoughts about the consequences weighed much more. I know that's easy for me to say now but that's what I wish. I do not romanticize that war. I hate it, it was the worst thing that ever happened to this land. I hope we never ever even come close to that insanity again. I don't think a state flag issue will hurt the country though. they'll change when they think it's time or maybe they won't. I kind of like the idea of people moving around and living in all kinds of different areas of the country - not to make it the same but to check the different parts out and understand them. some years here, some years there. I really like the idea of differences, regionalism and cosmopolitan ways but not if it comes down to hating someone just cuz where they're from. if you travel around, you see that everywhere has something unique to offer and should be celebrated. makes the country stronger, I think. I don't want a homogeneous mersh blob to live in but I don't want a land shackled in a narrow, self-centered provincialism either. I guess I'm asking a lot. I'm a cat who tours and needs open minds and open borders. I need folks curious about other folks cuz that's where me and my music is at. I don't want people hurt cuz of where they're born or who they were born to. that's nuts in my thinking. there's not one place I do not like playing. everywhere has always had something to teach me and I'm grateful for those to share their little corner of wherever. we can take turns. I can show them pedro. but then, I'm not really from pedro, I was born in virginia. I might be somewhere else down the line. I believe in possibilities, not life sentences of eternal fear, xenophobia. I want to try to understand things, stay curious. for me, a flag is one thing and people's rights are another. we can't fuck w/our rights and the rights of others. if I lived here, and they asked me, I'd vote against flying a confederate flag over a government building - fly it in your own yard if you want. I guess it's a forever struggle to figure out what's reasonable and how we can get on w/each other.
ok, back to our "tour politics." when me and ray get to the ho in baton rouge, david's in the room and we have a little discussion over driving strategies. it escalates and gets a little loud and he bolts for the "other camp." crazy. I'm so glad when he comes back so I can say I'm sorry. he does too. I should talk a little about when we first got to here. ray went and got the key but it was for the room where eric and george were in. when we got gas in mississippi, I got a spicy dill pickle at the gas station. damn if that didn't want come blasting out quick. I'm waiting and waiting and finally, fuck it - I run all the way down the hall to their room and blow it out in their head. shit, I've that ain't what's have on my skivies and it's another damn scrub-a-dub w/the big white telephone (the one you call "ralph" on after too much liquor). I shower there too (fucking have to, people). never did tell eric or george - just had to burst in - didn't know it wasn't the key to our room and they weren't expecting me to come barging through. I just remember eric saying "hello" (they were both sitting on their beds, engaged in television) and my shutting the door and getting to it. I said sorry. even lit up a backwood after cleaning up to help w/the perfuming. they'll know when they read the diary, I ain't even gonna broach that subject in real time. time will heal.
some 'puter (I update the email client, eudora) and at ten I'm beat and ready for konk. fuck, I must've donated my mask cuz I can't find it anywhere. damn. I'm so tired it's easy to konk anyway and that I do, quick.
friday, april 20, 2001 - baton rouge, la
cuz of konking so early last night, I pop at like quarter of five! damn. do some 'puter here in the dark, then some tub, then out the hatch. great weather, mild and clear. after last night's blow-out, I decide to some chow some steak. my first of the tour. luckily, it's also gristley and good for chewing. and chewing. it's on a bone (t-bone) so I can't cut a lot off but actually don't really want to - I want to gnaw on it. I hide it in some napkins and carry it out in the paper I've been reading and then take a walk up the road. I dump the newspaper and start biting the steak off the bone. I gnaw them clean, not a bit left - nerve, cartilage, gristle, sinew - the works. takes a long time but I dig that, giving the jaw a workout. I don't do it that much anyway. I see a righteous woodpecker working away on a tree - black and whit body w/a bright red hed. I call out but no talking w/watt today for him (the boys are usually way more dandied up than the girls in the bird world). beautiful though. lots of spanish moss hanging on big oaks - so much green everywhere. so glad I'm here now and have the calm weather before the real sweatyness moves in for the summer. I walk past the catholic diocese and dump the greased-up napkins I used jawing on the chew-toy bones. no sidewalk so things are a little scary hoofing here, you're so close to the road.
my friend kirsha comes up from new orleans and wants to show me something. we go to the west side of town by the mississippi river near all these scrap yards and this giant exxon refinery out on a road called scenic. I mean this one is huge, like ten miles across. across. there's rail to bring shit to the barges for river transport and we go to this empty place by a switching yard. there's a giant geodesic dome designed by buckminister fuller out in this field fenced in w/keep out and no trespassing signs everywhere. kirsha says to come w/her and she's got a big envelope under her arm. we get to the fence and the gates all chained up and the poles greased. she takes these wire cutters out of the envelope and cuts a hole in the fence - damn! I don't know about this. that's all I need to do is get arrested and let j down. aaaaaarrrrgggghhhh. the building does look incredibly interesting though. we follow the tracks to it and there's another fence at the entrances w/razor wire. she cuts a hole in this too! this dome is huge, a football field across 'pert near and maybe eighty feet high. it's empty but for this big train turntable to switch cars plus pumps to fill them w/the refinery stuff. in the center is like an airport traffic control tower that was surround w/a sub dome of glass. the glass is gone now. the acoustics are incredible. kirsha sings some and notes echo and echo. I take shots w/the digicamera. we get done looking around and then back out through the fence. damn, I get some of the grease on me - bearing grease. we get nearer the outer fence and here comes a switching locomotive to get some cars out of a row of them. oh no, don't want him to get on the walkie-talkie and call the railroad cops. we wait 'til he passes and get out the fence. whew. back in the car and then we gotta wait while this cat goes back and forth doing his job, hooking and unhooking cars. we gotta wait quite a while for him to get clear of the road so we can bail. I am so, so relieved. great I got to see this structure though, pretty incredible. kirsha tells me some rich heir had bucky build it, not so much for practical reasons (though there was some) but for aesthetic ones too. he dug bucky's ideas. and tons of the ideas he did have, folks. you gotta read up on them. we head back whence we came and stop at this pad for a po' boy sandwich. this is the black part of town that's kind of economically depressed (ain't it funny how refineries and scrap yards never get built by the folks w/money?) and the folks there are pretty surprised to see us but very nice. some are playing pool. all they got are some hot link sandwiches so I get one of those. thick accents, kirsha can't understand what they're saying but I can. they just don't separate their words and hook them all together in a drawl. I can dig it.
we're playing the _varsity theatre_ by the big school here, l.s.u. I've played here a few times, before and after it changed incarnations. a block away is the _bayou_, where I've played a bunch too. the folks here are very nice and there's a big plate of veggies. j comes in from the airport, his journey successfully done. he must be beat. he told me after he did his song at this stupid awards thing, the only cats who talked to him were a couple of older black blues guys who told him they could dig what he was doing. he also said a lot of cats dressed down for their 'performance' but then later got into their trendy clothes. j's still got the outfit on he wore, a cord suit. he's gonna do the set in it - he looks great. alligator shoes too! he says it's easier to work the pedals w/them - more accurate. after soundcheck, I sit in the backroom and chimp diary on the 'puter. the _love as laughter_ cats are going to have j play on one of their songs and george on another. all right! this is like what I usually do when I tour w/bands, play on stage w/them. I think it's only natural and I think great, means a lot to me. music is about sharing not just all me, me, me but passing it around some.
well, I don't have to wait for george to guess what I was up to in their head yesterday. he tells everyone about my misadventure, how I scared him and eric and he was about to kick down the hatch to the head and everything. he's getting really pottymouth w/explaining shitting your pants, blowing it out and dumping heavy. very sophisticated conversation to share in front of kirsha. I think j's emabarrassed. she says it's ok cuz she knows boys are really into the two lower chakras. I just gotta laugh. george is a funny man.
_love as laughter_ go on and I go out in front of them to take shots w/the digicamera. sam and zeke are doing a great job but sam is singing like two feet from the mic. what's that about? he's got a great voice and I think folks should hear it. great sound system at this pad. george does his song w/them and j's on the final tune. they both do great. funny to see j play in the fancy outfit. I think it makes him sound better somehow. I say hi to some cats who drove in from hattiesburg, mississippi. that's where main man steve reed's ma is from. these guys always drive to come see me here or in new orleans. I got make a point of playing their town in an upcoming tour. only did hattiesburg once and that was at _tal's dart bar_.
our turn - such easy changeover w/these l.a.l. guys cuz they just got a little yamaha keyboard w/it's little amp that's also used for a drum machine and then two small amps for their eclectrified acoustic guitars. econo. we begin w/"I've had it" which has me singing it. being right next to l.s.u. (where shaq went), I salute that way (middle finger up high) for the "I ain't got time for that school" - just symbolic, they got a great radio station there and I've had lots of friends go there. you get out of school what you put into it, I believe. funny how songs can get you riled up for crazy reasons. then "repulsion," "same day," and "blowin' it" - damn, if my tone is fucking sounding weak. I wonder what's up? was kind of like this at soundcheck too but this really bad, like the signal going down and down. have to check this out tomrrow. right now, it's time to play. we do "all the girls" and then someone asks j to do "get me" instead of "back before you go" so j makes the substitution. I dig that - keeping things fluid. "little fury things" follows and after that "I'm not fine," "waistin'," "budge" and "amma ring." I open the gig w/my voice and I close it w/"tv eye." this baton rouge cats are very nice and have us back for "just like heaven" and "loose." david's getting better and better w/his backup singing in "...heaven" - good job. he told me it's like when he finally felt comfortable dancing on stage w/_le tigre_. I think deep down he is a performer at heart. slowly, the butterfly emerges from the caterpillar. good job, david. "loose" is fully wild. "all the way," like the words in it say.
we're done and I ask j how was the gig, like I do after each one. I'm always curious what's in his mind. he says this pad had the best stage sound of any gig in all the tours. he did sound good - looked great too in that outfit. I go back out front to bring back my friend stanislav and his girlfriend sarah to meet j. he goes to school at the university here for mathematics and has a radio show too. he's having me over to konk and have some chow sarah cooked up, a bosnia recipe for a chicken and potato stew.
at his apartment, we talk about what's going on in his homeland or what used to be of it. he shows me pictures of his ma and pop, first time I've seen them. they're back in their home of vukovar (in the former yugoslavia) w/his sister snez. she's been all over europe and stanislav says she has now run out of schools so why not go back home if you have to be unemployed anyway. that's such fucked-up shit, being educated and all and still not having work. he shows me pictures of his old apartment beat up bad from the war. this is where he used to write me from when he was a teenager. he tells me he thinks maybe not as one country but the folks there will come together somehow - they share just too many things in common. he has hope. we talk about tesla, who was a serb who lived in croatia and how that fact was said in the days before the crazyness to show "different" could work and be ok. the chow is really good, I wish I could remember what the name of it is. thank you, sarah. stanislav tells me about these little towns up in the hills in serbia where he's got a buddy who just gets laid out w/the liquor. intelligent man but weak w/the drink. that shit is strong, I can attest to that.
I'm out of gas, the adrenaline from the gig has worn off and I'm feeling the fatigue. kirsha is already konked. stanislav wants me on the fold-out couch bed but I dig the deck. he brings in a mattress! well, at least I'm close to the earth. I forgot to bring a dry shirt so it's just a sheet over me. the air conditioning at that club was jamming so hard, I didn't even sweat my levis as much as I usually do so they're dry enough to konk in. don't want nightmares like that night in orlando. ok, good night prijatelju (friend in serbo-croatian).
saturday, april 21, 2001 - dallas, tx
pop and sarah makes buckwheat flapjacks. good. stanislav has his radio show, "the little lighthouse," early and bails. we hear him on the stereo play some dinosaur, minutemen and ramones plus lots of other neat stuff. quite a dj, much respect to you, stanislav. you too, sarah. she gives me a shirt of her brother to wear since mine is still drenched from the gig last night. he's six foot nine so the shirts pretty huge on me. still, it's got two pockets, even if they don't have flaps on them. thanks sarah. they're getting married in january, congratulations! she draws a map to get back to my team and one street is mislabeled so it's a blow-by. get to see the other side of town though - this eastside is so much different from what I saw yesterday. quaint estates, some even w/ponds in the yards. what contrast. we some help from a soccer ma who's nice enough to give directions, I meet w/my guys right on the money. bye kirsha, thanks for the crazy adaventure w/the bucky fuller dome.
west a little bit on the I-10 'til lafayette. then j drives for a while, my favorite. I can finally relax. he's got the funniest hat on, he got in st. petersburg. it's kind of australian-looking w/a wide brim all around and a chinstrap. lots of things in this world could use a chinstrap, huh? we go north all the way on I-49 'til shreveport. george takes over and it's straight west to dallas on the I-20. such a difference from the last time we took this route, on the jfk-got-shot day, last november. it was also thanksgiving and the traffic was so much plug, took forever. this time it's a breeze. you might be wondering why watt isn't driving a bit when he does almost all the driving on his tours? well, that's just it, it's not my tour and I'm but a sidemouse so to try and keep in that frame of mind, I'm purposely not driving to thwart my controlling tendencies and just stay in aid and abet mode.
we get into dallas and pull in tonight's venue, _the gypsy ballroom_ in deep ellum. on the way, we pass the book depository building and dealy plaza, where jfk was killed. the new theory is that maybe the shooter who got him wasn't behind that fence on the grassy knoll but rather a sewer slit in the curb below it, on the street. I show this to the guys. weird feelings... onward to the gig. this is the same building as last time we played in this town but the bigger room w/a real p.a. the last gig (in _the gypsy tea room_) had us blowing that tiny system up, causing the breakers to blow and blow - finally had the drum monitor shooting flames out at george (no bullshit). it was a fiasco. this system looks great and the folks working are very nice too. ray's girlfriend, m.t., has come to make the next hellride w/him (from dallas to albuquerque). good to meet her. she knows somewhat of the tour from reading my diary on the web. she probably thinks I'm insane. part right. at soundcheck I investigate the little bass. damn, if the sound wasn't for shit at last night's gig for me. in fact, all week it seems to be getting crummier and crummier. for a while, it was starting out ok at the beginning of the set and then laming out as the night went on. I wonder what's up. I put a bartolini preamp in when I began playing her so she'd get some punch and I could have some tone control (bass-midrange-trebble w/an adjustable mid: 250, 400 or 800 hz. there's also a blend control for the pickups). the only drawback is that it uses a battery. I open her up and put my tongue on the battery after disconnecting it. nothing, no tingle at all. damn, that's why shit was lame - the battery was biffed, damn. a fresh on into her and she's sounding great again. damn watt, gotta keep up on that shit. for soundcheck, we do "the red and the black" again. are we ever gonna do it in the set though?
we get done and I got to a vietnam chow pad for chow on j's recommendation. he's gonna go see an astrologer that knows amma. I get some hot and sour soup and it's good. it's iggy's birthday, he's fiftythree. j does list before bailing and puts on a bunch of stooges songs. alright. I feel alright. mike hurley, george hurley's youger brother comes by w/his wife ro and her daughter ashley and a couple friends. great to see all of them. mike moved from cali eight years ago to here cuz of the standard of living is much cheaper. he looks good though he's sporting a kind of "anti-unit" (as j put it) hairdo. they tell me gregory, the third brother (middle one), is in jail again. damn. I hope the best for him.
these kids who drove from shreveport give me a balloon, well, there's two of them. they've been twisted up to make a figure. an orange one that's done up as a man and and a purple one that's made to be a giant wang for him. damn, it's weird - like a viagra poster boy. thank you for that. I take some shots of it w/the digicamera. the _love as laughter_ cats are going on and want me to do the _velvet underground_ tune "what goes on" w/them. of course, like that - great tune and they're happenig cats. the audience is kind of spacey towards them so sam fires some well-deserved irony at them. my tune is last but when I try to hook the little bass up, there's problems so I just plug into the svt-II. damn. it's ok though, we do good w/the tune - sam's such a great singer and zeke is doing the pounderoni on george's drum kit. at the end we start to jam good but zeke cuts it short for some reason. next gig, we'll take it out longer, they both tell me. alright, I dug doing that w/them. david figured out the tech prob I was having resulted from the little cord to the direct box being not all the way inserted. damn though I'm glad it was just a little thing.
then it's on for us fog. "thumb," "waistin'" and "the lung" start us off. no vocals for me on those so I can puff a backwood the whole time. w/"I'm not fine," however, I have to put it up on my amp. the little bass is sounding great w/it's new battery and the bass solo in "back before you go" sounds strong. then it's time for watt voice w/"I've had it." j's already asked the light man to keep this bright white light out of his face (the rider calls for only purple, blues and green stage lights). when we go into "repulsion," j can't handle it and has to move his mic and pedals to a place where the light can't bake and interrogate him. me and george just stay in the opening chords 'til he's ready to join us w/the singing. took me a little bit to get my nereve - I blew some clams not knowing what was up but picked up on was going on and hunkered down. we do the tune and finish it strong. I get on the mic and ask ray to get that light cat on board w/shit that will make sense for us. j's much closeer to the drums now and I kind of dig that. I like when bands play close together, looks righteous and connected. we do "same day," "all the girls" and then the peel medley. there's some guy in front of me, who digs me and even hands me up a 'gar but rolls a beer bottle up on the stage near me. doesn't he realize if I slip on that there's a good chance I can pop my knee out? I think he's frustrated I won't pay attention to him - he's shaking the mic stand too. damn, bro - get it together. why do cats think they have to wig to get your attention? it just makes me want to flee. I don't want to confront wiggers, even if they say they "like" you. usually it's too much liquor in their blood and not really a conscious, mean thing but still, the end result can be quite the same. I smoke that big 'gar for "amma ring," tough to stay lit but I puff like a sump pump and keep it stoked. trippy playing such an intense jam w/that thing hanging out my jaw like that. like a fucking billy club, damn! the cherry must be the size of a briquettte (bar-b-q charcoal). next is "the wagon" and I do the backup vocal w/the 'gar in my word hole, pretty intense. for the igg's b-day, we have sam from _love as laughter_ come sing "I wanna be your dog." he does fantastic. we finish up w/"not right," another stooge tune. bam bam bam, blistering - bonus beats for the birtday boy. thanks for everything, iggy. for the encore it's "just like heaven" (david doing great in his role) and one more for mr. pop, "loose," where I shake myself quite insane - all shook up hard.
we're done and I ask j how the gig was. he said he kind of had a freakout w/those lights and then memories of the last time we played in town but then got it together for the rest of the gig and ended up liking it. that's great to hear. I think it's important to rally and re-group when shit's falling apart and just don't get swept up w/the entropy. I go out into the crowd to talk w/ken, a cat I met at sxsw at the beginning of this tour, he's from fort worth. he wrote some great reviews of us playing w/ron asheton at the I-94 bar site, which comes out of australia. we talk a little about another famous fort worth cat, ornette coleman. much respect. thanks, ken. lots of nice texas kindness and then into the van for the ho. just me and david in here tonight, ray is w/m.t. I'm alone soon though cuz david goes to do a chow at the i.h.o.p. nearby. I go out as quick as I was shaking at the gig - hard.
sunday, april 22, 2001 - amarillo, tx
pop and soak then check to see about maybe free chow. if the pads bourg (pronounced "boosh" sort of as in bourgeois) to charge fifty cents for local calls (what a bunch of shit) then maybe there's a continental thing happening. wrong. they want almost eight dollars. I'm out and down the road. wow, is the wind blowing strong, really strong. I go have pork chops and eggs then call my ma (it's sunday). she's gonna come w/my two sisters, melinda and marilyn, to the _el rey_ gig in los angeles. good, I want her to see me play w/j, a much different thing for me. she reads the diary too so she can see what all those crazy words add up to.
back at the ho, I get online and find this comic book representation of the those buddy rich tapes we've been playing before and during our gigs called "buddy's habits." I burned a cd from a site that had them represented as shakespearian-type epic, "my buddy, my buddy" but this brings hannd-drawn imagery to the unfolding passion play. great stuff. there's twelve pages so it takes me a little time to get them all on the ibook. it's gonna be just three of us in the van: me, david and eric. j and george are going to miss out on the hellride cuz they have to fly to albuquerque. no gig tonight, we'll cut the drive almost in two and konk in amarillo tonight. the time zone is seventy miles west of there at the border so we'll get an hour.
we have a decision to make. there's the more direct route, u.s.-287 through wichita falls to amarillo or interstate all the way by going to oklahoma city on the I-35 and then west on I-40. it's actually quicker on the interstate even though there's much more miles. you have to slow down in the main streets of the little towns on the u.s.-287 way but w/this high wind, it might be crazy to keep a high speed up. a tornado last night killed someone and caused damage in oklahoma. why fuck w/that - we choose u.s.-287. david's driving and does good. even w/the ban get jostled and buffeted about, he holds the course true. the landscape goes from trees and hills to flat and open. david's got his cd purse w/stuff of his. lots of bands I haven't heard before so I'm curious. there's _e.s.g._ which of course, I heard when they came out years ago but he says they're back now w/their teenage kids in the band (they were a band of three sisters and their cousin tito). but these otheres, _huggy bear_, _elctrolane_, the _makeup_, _stereototale_, _peaches_, _slumberparty_ and _cat power_ (well I played w/that last one at "ladyfest" w/kira and _dos_) are new to me. it all sounds good though. I eat some 'dines in mustard w/the hotsauce from hell chili. good brain bake. I drink some trippy teas too, like "zen blend" and "green tea" by sobe and "memory" by the arizona brand tea people. shit in it like ginko biloba, ginseng and echinacea. at least no loogies like what you get from sodas and shit like that. we pass lots of ranches and cotton farms, trailer homes and tiny towns like bowie, henrietta, quanah, goodlett and newlin. at clarendon, we turn north on texas-70 and go up to the interstate. on the way we pass a little place called howardwick where there's a sign that says "country living near friends." west on I-40 to amarillo. we pull into an econolodge.
I was last in amarillo last august to play a benefit for the parents of young man killed in senseless violence named brian deneke. it was the classic story of jocks verses punks, the accepted against the unaccepted - even after twenty five years since the _ramones_ started flying the freak flag high. I felt very good about coming all the way out here from pedro to show support for tolerance. I am a fortythree year old punk rocker and will stand up against bullshit motherfuckers trying to lay down some kind of fascist trip and want you to bow down to them. that also goes for idiots wearing so-called "punk clothes" and acting just the same. brian was just nineteen. such a heartbreak.
I'm in my own room cuz eric and david can't stand the backwoods but then I can't handle the television going full blast w/the channels switch-switdh-switching. we give each other some space and respect and tranquility gets preserved. a good strategy. I got this trippy purple wrangler cowboy shirt w/white snap buttons at a gas station and want to wash it. the machine here is all full of water and won't drain so I'll have to wait for pedro. maybe I can wear it at the _el rey_ show w/ron asheton. that would be neat.
those guys bail in the van for chow. I stay put and call my machine at home in pedro. warren haynes wants me to record a song w/him. he asked me last leg of the tour. maybe I can do it after this leg and before the europe one in nyc. that would be quite an opportunity, he's a monster of a guitarist. I do some chimpin' on the 'puter for a while but then my eyes weary. those big drives can wear you out like a gig, I'll tell you. ten bells and I'm ready for konk. just a little more and I'll hit the deck. however, konk comes too quick and I collapse right over the 'puter and slump over it. damn, I was tired, huh?
monday, april 23, 2001 - albuquerque, nm
pop in a sweat, damn I had an insane dream. pretty crazy right now - for one I'm sitting on the bed, leaning up against the headboard w/my 'puter in my lap. the lights are on. I must've konked right in the middle of chimpin' and never made it to the deck. in that nightmare I had, there was that fxxx dxxxx guy but w/out the backward baseball hat. he had real short hair and like three inch diameter spots worn down to the scalp all over his head. he was actually quite nice and trying to help me understand this confusion I had found myself in. I couldn't think of the right thing to say to anybody and all these folks wanted so badly for me to make sense and explain what I was trying to do w/music and where does the road I'm on take me. he was trying to help me find the right words and make myself clear by asking me stuff to refine my statements. he was like coaching me in real time while I was trying to deal w/it. my head was spinning, so many right in my face. it was truly scary and it was I think I had like an anxiety attack. I had read up on the web about those a few weeks ago and they seemed heavy. I've never even met this guy or know much about him so I don't know why he was in the dream. very bizarre.
I soak in the tub. using the leatherman-like tool, I turn this knobless switch and jets in the tub shoot out water. I soak and bubble in that for about ten minutes. I walk to a gas station and get some coffee. happening weather, the wind died down. I write some postcards. I get online and update the appleworks program on my ibook so I can translate the bullshit microsoft word documents people send me. when will they learn about the clipboard and pasting shit into emails or sending straight text? fuck having to use that asshole's shit for anything, aaaarrrrrgggggghhhhh. the download for the software update is so big I gotta ask the lady at the desk to let me have ten more minutes in the room. after much consternation, she relents. I go for a walk by the nearby national guard armory and there's a tiny stream. a boy and girl pair of ducks are cruising about. they head the other way I'm coming - not like lake eola in orlando, huh? that's ok, I understand, she might be w/babies coming.
finally done, I get in the van w/eric and david. we look for a mailbox so I can get the texas postmark on the cards, the border is only seventy miles away. we pass the "cadillac ranch" just west of town, ten cadillacs buried front-first half way down in a line at maybe thirty degrees angle. into new mexico, past tucumcari, past santa rosa (home of richard "fuckin'" bonney's people) and it's about three more hours to albuquerque. ray and m.t. pass us in the truck but do a blow-by and miss the exit they had to take. we end up going the wrong way on central but after a loop are on the right track. I've played this place many times and could've helped eric but he wants to use his 'puter and g.p.s. gadget (well, I in fact do volunteer some information). still needs a human component, though. sometimes, the addresses we're provided w/by the man outside the van, mr. steve kaul, is missing little things such as 'north,' 'east,' 'south' or 'west' after the street number and 'street,' 'avenue,' 'lane,' 'court,' etc. affter the street name. sometimes the name of the town is even wrong, like 'tampa' for 'st. petersburg' a few days ago. oh my, the mysteries of finding fucking where you are on tour.
we're playing the _launchpad_, a place I've played many times and dig much. very nice folks here. delano, the man behind the delanorock posters meets me after I help the guys load the equipment out and set my bass stuff up. he's got a new poster for the gig, based on a rasputin theme. it's great and he gives us (the fog team) ten of them. we do soundcheck and the monitors are failing. oh well. maybe bad connections. the soundcat here will look at them. we do "the red and the black" for soundcheck and j doesn't seem that into it. when we finish, I ask him what's up about it and he says it makes him depressed. I tell him it's about dodging the draft and it's a happy tune. maybe he misunderstands it. I tell him what albert bouchard told me was its first tile, "I'm peeping through your files." I continue by saying the blue oyster cult used tons of irony (hell, richard meltzer wrote some of their lyrics), like them using nazi imagery (a song called "me-262," about a nazi jet fighter) when all of them but al lanier were jewish. twisted irony. maybe something else is bothering him. I don't want to bring him down. I just like that tune, it makes me think of d. boon cuz we did it since we were boys and that makes me happy. it's a good one to check my voice and lots of drums too since george starts it off w/a four bar solo. I wish it could make j happy too. maybe it's the lyric "you'll kill, you'll maim - you'll kill, you'll maim." I think they're talking about what might of happened if they didn't run from the draft and have to do the army thing, I don't know.
forgot to say that just before soundcheck, I went a block down the street to this wholesale store that has tons of hopi, zuni and navajo stuff, a pad where I get kachina dolls every time I pass through town. I get three dolls: an eagle one, a mudhead, and a kind of a mudhead-like dancer but painted blue instead of brown. I have a bunch of these and dig them much. the lady there packs them in a box w/styrofoam peanuts to protect them. I'll bring them back in the van to so cal - were there in two days, god willing.
at the venue, leonard, a cat who always comes see me in this town rides up on a motorcycle he just built, a big harley. leonard's a great guy a big lover of music. he talks to me much about his bikes and the projects he's got going regarding them. he just came from a baby shower and we get chow and talk about family. I eat a turkey burger w/salad, the only chow I've had besides a great batch of 'dines in the van this morning. leonard's from northern iowa and tells me about his gardening. he made a garden from getting a load of horseshit and straw from a stable and then plowing it like sixteen inches into the earth. he then planted radishes ("round and perfect red, w/white at the tip), tomatoes ("big as softballs"), string beans ("three feet long"), carrots ("one was ten inches in diameter at the top - no one would believe it so my ma took to the bank and had on display there") and zucchini ("just the right size, not all pulpy"). he's fiftythree and lost his pop who had a heart attack at fifty - leonard's had one too so he's thinking healthy. sounds like he's been around it all his life w/that green thumb. just gotta put it in practice now. he tells ma about the biker clubs he's been in, the _grim reapers_ in iowa and had association w/the _red reapers_ too - had a patch that had both logos. he got tired of all the political infighting and stuff, went to san antonio and was invited to join the _banditos_ and also the minneapolis branch of the _hell's angels_ where the president there was a prospect of his in earlier days. leonard's a good people person. funny how he takes the time to explain all the construction w/his bike projects and what kind of parts are being used and the history of the deals to acquire them. same w/these clubs, he takes the time to explain the connections and particulars. he's very proud of his kids too, one's a son who got a biology degree and draws really well and one's a daughter who writes poetry that he said he cultivated by having her hear captain beefheart all the time when she was young. he really digs captain beefheart a bunch. his favorite. he saw him only once, in 1971, where buddy holly last played in iowa before that plane crash. he knows all about current music too and knows the _mule_ guys and even just saw ed fROMOHIO helping out the _southern culture on the skids_ people. very interesting man, this leonard. people might just think he rides a motorbike and whatever that means (he hasn't shaved in thirty years and kind of looks like k. marx) but if they would stop to take the time to talk w/him... thanks, leonard - for being you. I love a world filled w/individuals.
we go back to the pad and _love as laughter_ goes on. me and j jam on a song of theirs w/them called "on the run." it turns into a great jam at the end w/j on the drums, sam and zeke on guitar plus watt on bass. very generous of sam and zeke to have us on. the jam cut things close but because they got such a little and easy setup, it's a quick change-over and we're easily able to get going on time. trouble is, something's wrong w/georges' snare. j used his set in the jam w/sam and zeke but maybe chaged the angle - whatever, george is having a hard time getting things underway. I tell him "a poor carpenter blames his tools." that was a stupid thing to say, why did I do that? I think it's cuz I feel awkward just standing on the stage w/out playing. my own insecurity resulting in ridiculous shit coming out of my mouth. sorry, george. finally, we start w/"the lung." at soundcheck, j said he was going to have trouble here w/the low frequencies cuz of the bass bins in the bottom of the stage causing resonances and making it hard for him to hear guitar. I know, you're thinking "hard to hear the guitar - what?" but he's talking about a muffled kind of thing. next comes "same day" and "I'm not fine" and you can tell george is having a little trouble but he soldiers on. "little fury things" is next but david gives j the guitar for "all the girls" - eric wrote his set list wrong. whoops. another guitar switch and we're back in the race. then "freak scene" - weird playing that one in the set instead of an encore. "waistin'," "back before you go" and "budge" follow and then I get to sing "I've had it" before j sings its partner, "repulsion." we end the set w/"amma ring," come back and do "I wanna be your dog" (w/sam), "the wagon" and "tv eye." the door to the alley behind the club is right by the stage and I run out it and almost puke. that "tv eye" really took it out of me. there's some kids out in the alley (this is how they heard the gig for econo) and they kind of trip on the little dance I do coughing up and gaggin. luckily, everything stayed down so their show was more of a dry run than witnessing watt as a fount (is that how they spell it england?).
we're finished and I go up to the dressing room. sam has a bottle of "early times" - whoa, quality bourbon (!) and wants me to drink from it really bad. ok, sam - one for you. I go downstairs and there's many nice people to say thanks and get things signed. there's one cat who's the spitting immage of j but maybe ten years older. he also has john lennon glasses on. that's a trip. the good word from everyone and to everyone from me. ok, done. the ho, one called "hotel blue" is just across the street so I hoof there alone and slowly. the time after all the bustle on a quiet street w/calm night and there w/your thoughts. the roar of j's guitars is a faint echo now and the waves that pound my mind-shore now are from my thinking. I let go of the tethers and feel the hot air balloon thoughts float up, up and out. to my chamber and onto the deck. much more secure than last night cuz I'm on terra firma. konk takes me, like that.
tuesday, april 24, 2001 - tempe, az
pop and look outside the hatch. I had konked and pulled the blankie over my head later when david came in. I think I either heard him or dreamt I heard cuss at me for snoring or something. I didn't know where the van was so just wore my levi jacket w/no shirt on here. I konked shirtless. david's gone now w/ray on to tempe in arizona. I guess m.t. flew back to houston. this is all guessing cuz I'm alone now. like I said, I go out the hatch to see the bright sun-lit day and the hatch closes behind me. damn. a nice maid opens it back up for me and I send out a flow on the 'puter containing an interview w/my buddy igor and his punk history in the former yugoslavia. hopefully, I'll get to see him in a couple of months if we get it together to have the fog play there. him and russell (england equivalent of the man outside the van steve kaul) are talking now.
we gotta bail early. even though we get an hour cuz arizona doesn't like daylight savings time, it's still 460 miles. west on the I-40 through grants, across the continental divide through gallup and over the border into 'zona. bye new mexico. I eat some 'dines in louisana hot sauce. right across the border is this "chief yellowhorse" souvenir place. man, is there an amonia piss-smell at the head there. it will surely knock you down. appropriate name. I wish I could see more of the reservations than just the roadside tourist pads. this navajo one here is the biggest in the country. I wish I could do gigs there and maybe learn stuff from their musicians, share w/them. on through winslow and then out of the desert comes this big mountain, flagstaff. george is doing great driving - first time I've felt safe w/him yet on tour. thank you, george. south on I-17 for the big descent into phoenix. we get gas and I try a sack of a swisher sweets version of backwoods. they look close but taste like shit. oh well. like george says, "what do you expect from a knockoff?" I notice something in the head. these western mass guys don't wash their hands after taking a piss, what's that about - hmm? back in the ride and we see lots of saguaro cactus of each side of the road, such an impressive and beautiful plant. the pricly pears too. I love the desert. I dig the dry heat. good on my joints. wet cold kills them. anyway, we're not in too much heat today though, it's very moderate. we luck out too w/the traffic. sometimes the plug coming into phoenix from the north is horrible but we have no trouble on this day.
j tells us the story of how in the old dinosaur days, murph was driving and him and j had an argument where j thought murph was going to fall asleep at the wheel. murph said "no way." it went on for like an hour. the next day, murph fell asleep at the wheel! on this road. but when j said "told you so," murph said he "chose to fall asleep" and that was different than just falling asleep. whoa. back on the I-10 for a little way west into tempe, the college town where arizona state university is. right past the sun devil stadium and we get to the site of tonight's gig, _nita's hideaway_. the boss, charlie, comes out to say hi. good man, dig working for him. diane, a lady from fender comes to get me to take a picture for their fiftieth anniversary of the fender precision bass. for respect to leo fender for inventing the machine I work to make my living. sure wish I had my tele bass that is used in the minutemen and fIREHOSE. unfortunately, that got stolen when I was out on tour w/the _crew of the flying saucer_ in charlottesville, va. well, I hope somebody's playing it, wherever it is. just don't want it hanging on some pawn shop wall. funny thing is that this little bass I'm playing now, the gibson eb-3, was stole at the same time but I got it back a few years later. this is how: I was at "tommy's yacht club" in pedro down on sixth street when this younger guys ask me to come watch them prac at their pad on eighth. we get up there and look what bass the bass guy has on - the little one! I ask him where he got that and see where my name's been filed doen on the back, at the heel of the neck. yep, it's watt's. he said he got it from someone who got it from someone who got it from someone who got it from a druggie, etc... anyway, just glad to get it back. I never played it much cuz of the sound but later, when my hand started hurting a lot from the long scale basses, it came to the rescue and saved my from pain. trippy how things work out, huh? like I was meant to play this little bass.
robert, the cat who did that d. boon sticker ("punk is whatever we made it to be") I got up on my hoot page, comes by w/some great puerco verde. it's pork and green chilies cooked for a day and a half making the most tasty stew. he's got some tortillas and frijoles to go w/it and you can't believe the taste - it is so fucking good. george comes by to shovel some down too, robert made a bunch. zeke starts gobbling too, yes! damn, if I ain't putting it away - gotta stop before I pop. thank you, robert. after the soundcheck I go to the back office to chimp on the 'puter. gotta digest the tummy full of good comidas.
_love as laughter_ starts their set when charlie comes gets me to meet someone. whoa! it's greg sage! now that's something else! he had this band named the _wipers_, out of portland, that was so great. the first three records he did in the late 70s and early 80s had an incredible influence on me and d. boon, I can't tell you. I'm pretty dumbfounded and can't speak much. there's a million things I wanted to ask him but just couldn't get out. I get that way around folks I really admire, kind of foam it up. bad. gotta go, sam and zeke want me to do the _velvet underground_ tune "what goes on" w/them. zeke's pop is here and we do good for him. zeke plays drums on this w/and rolls out the pouderoni hard. the bass does ok w/the volume these cats play w/and as I'm to find out later, it's probably the last it got heard tonight. ex-pedroid don dalton comes by and brings me the greatest wrestling mask, one of those kind used by our neighbors to the south mainly but alas, it's too small to fit on watt's big head. or maybe it's just too big cuz of the fire hair. thanks anyway, don.
I go out into the parking lot and just lay on the blacktop, looking up. the stars all seem to be in pairs, that's a trip. there's some whispy clouds and they're beaming through them, mate w/mate - like sets of eyes, giving me the look see. so still out here for a moment. I meld into this scene and let the star eyes look through me, through this fire hair and crazyman beard. what are you really, watt? how do we, w/our start sight, perceive you? internally, I'm carrying on this conversation in their behalf. I'm trying to put myself in their shoes, their twinkling light. their voices are too faint to understand but I do feel them. thin, faint, ray hands to hold me. the blacktop is warm on the back of my head. I unfocus my eyes and let the lightpoints blur against the black...
the fog is next and we start w/"all the girls." j's amps immediately blow the breakers. seems they're tied into the system the lights are on - what?! me and george have to do most of it ourselves and I take the cue to improvise a little a boy do I stink it up w/some way out of key playing - what's that about? there was no guitar or singing to go against so maybe folks weren't wrenched by any relative sour-ass but what the fuck, watt? get some grip and a focus thing going already - damn. next is "out there" and I break an 'a' string - ahhh! this song has tons of e flats and I need that string, aaaaaarrrrrrgggghhhh. somehow I get through the song - it seems to go on forever. "mike's house" follows and I blow out a giant bass wallop for the coda but am guessing I'm pretty much miming it cuz the guitar is l-o-u-d and I don't think this p.a. can help me out. in fact, in "budge," the next tune, it does go out again. my amp's plugged into some tiny extension cord that just ain't getting me the amps my machines need. I can tell on the fuhrman's voltage meter how sad the situation is. david does some swaps and I'm back up to snuff. the house gets their breakers going and we continue w/"same day," "waistin'" and "blowin' it." the amps go again. they swap j's power w/the one the lights are using. nita's is in for some upgrading. everything, it seems, is in the same circuit - even the hot dog cart in the back patio. we go into the stooges' "not right" and I do some vocal mime to go along w/the bass variety. then "back before you go," "I'm not fine," "amma ring" and "tv eye" to finish. at the of "...eye," I get j's mic and try using that. still nada. that's the way it goes. we do an encore of "freak scene" and "I got a right," where I do a final mime. finally, we're done. lots of kids giving me support even though acknowledging the nonexistent sound of my bass or voice. very nice folks. I feel like such a chump and start to sink but then I think of those dark green chilies in that puerco of roberts and see dark green eyes, staring up at me and telling me not to worry, life is like this: hills and valleys. even if I wasn't heard, maybe I was felt. I have to giggle at myself for getting all self-important and particular. some days (or nights) are gonna hand you challenges like this and you gotta learn from them. dark-green-chilies-eyes-words fill me positive and yank the corners of my mouth up into a smile. exchanging kind words w/all these cats tugs the lame feelings out and stuffs back in good ones. thank you, chili-eyes. I go up to ray and reassure him, none of it was any of his fault - he did all he could do. I tell him there's gonna be nights like this but one life is made up of many gigs so just ride it out, it's ok.
into the van, me and j talk a little before eric and finally george get on board. we talk a bunch about greg sage and I sing wipers tunes all the way back to the ho. in the room, "alien boy" is going through my head as konk takes me, there prone on the deck.
read week 5 of the tour diary
read week 7 of the tour diary
loop back to mike watt's hoot page