watt's "more light" tour 2001 diary, second leg - week 7

j mascis and the fog

shot of the fog w/ron asheton in 2001

watt - thud staff, spiel
ron asheton- guest guitarist for o.c., l.a. and s.f. shows
george berz - drums
j mascis - guitar, singing
(left to right)

eric fischer - tour boss
ray rupprecht - soundman (up to april 26)
tim "dancer" herzog - soundman (starting w/april 28)
david scheid - helper man

steve kaul - the man outside the van

wednesday, april 25, 2001 - anaheim, ca

   pop, shower and shovel down some english muffin, we're bailing at nine bells to beat the traffic into so cal. one more desert run. george driving again. george driving good again, great. thank you, george. we have some happening spiel together too. I really dig the warmness on my. hardly any moisture at all in the air and though I have the purple flannel on that j gave me, I haven't even broken a sweat. west on I-10 and through towns like buckeye and quartzite before we hit the colorado river and once over - back to cali for me. this is a great feeling. however, when we stop to gas in indio, j and eric are totally blasted. these northeast cats are clearly in a state of torture. j looks like we've dragged up by the bumper through the desert the whole way here. they are from "the land of the ice and snow" and this desert paradise is surely make them suffer. see, the thing about air conditioning for watt is a real nightmare. I just am never around it and it does intense stuff w/my sinuses and eyes and shit. when I'm back east and it's really humid, yeah, I can trade those discomforts for the salvation from the dreaded "soaked air" but when it's just heat and dry heat at that, I can hang w/out it. well, not these guys - they're dying in here. so I tell them to not worry and for the common good, I will suffer the air conditioning hell to make things easier for everyone else. all they gotta do is ask. I was no put on this tour to torture anyone, even though sometimes my stupid behavior can cause such a situation and must be remedied quickly (mainly by me getting it fucking together).

   air conditioning on, j springs to life and becomes talkative in the van. color comes back to his face. even though my eyes swell and whatever, I'm much happier knowing he's feeling better. through palm springs and then riverside, we go from cal 60 to cal 91. in corona, we hit our first traffic plug. seventy miles to the water and the's parking lot on the freeways. damn. this is one part about coming home I do not like. you look around and it's one head per car - what's that about? all the tailpipes enriching the air, what a deal. even better, we're in valleys w/inversion layers - yes. what an ingenious way we humans have to organize ourselves, huh? another plug later and we're finally off on surface streets and heading for the venue, yet another _house of blues_ and this one is part of disneyland. yep, disneyland. they have a new "land" here called "downtown" and this pad is part of it. the elevator is broke so it's a manhandler of a load-in. the people are nice though and we work together to get the stuff in. then george sets off the fire alarm w/mota hits. the speaker is right above the little desk I'm doing 'puter on and I gotta hear this voice go "this is an alert, please get out and use the stairs" over and over.

   richard "fuckin'" bonney shows and it's great to see him. an old pedro buddy, I first met him when we both scrubbed pots and pans and the san pedro and peninsula hospital in the middle 70s. he says our buddy jovi called and left this message:

   "I'm going to check out the deal-i-o and then get a reality going."

   whoa, some heavy shit from the jov. I wonder if that means he's coming to the gig or what? o (short for otis) comes by. he's a san diego cat who has a band called _fluff_ and it's always good to see him. after soudcheck, I walk around the clowntown outside in front. cornball pop is getting blasted into the air. I take refuge in some kind of candle shop. some smells distract me for a bit but soon the horror of the reality of the psuedo-reality hits home and makes me loopy. it's like flying from the front of cereal box after cereal box. I see john, the cat who books this place and say hi quick and then it's back into the club for sanity. jen davis and elena are here and they spend some time talking w/me. then who comes over? joe boon (d. boon's bro) and his new wife kathy - haven't seen him in about three years. great. we talk and talk, catching up and stuff. he was the first drummer I really ever "jammed" w/and I ask him to come on down to pedro (he lives in pico rivera now) and jam when I'm done w/tour. he keeps telling me about this great bootleg he's got from alice cooper's "billion dollar baby" tour. I tell him he can burn me a cd of it but let's jam too, ok? we talk about his pop. so sad for him to have to go but he was hurting so bad too. peace w/release. thinking of all those times w/him.

   there's a band opening before _love as laughter_ and they're like something off of mtv. too much noise to hear joe boon over. I go back downstairs to the backroom. ron asheton comes in. alright! he gives me one of those little oiled 'gars he has and that's a good smoke. he's gonna do the next three shows w/us. they got some big batches of chow here but a taste of it makes me stay clear. the lady jana here is very nice and brings a vegetable plate w/some squash, peppers and broccoli. now I can that sttuff all night. that other crap, hoo-ee - richard bonney seems to be very happy shoveling it. for him, not for me. marty lyon comes by. damn if he ain't solid like a rock. that out-rigger rowing is building him some bonus tone.

   sam and zeke's turn and the lay _l.a.l_ on the o.c. crowd. they do great and then have me and j do their "on the run" w/them. pretty smoking. a lot of shoutouts from the crowd. I think it's good the kids know we support sam and zeke by playing w/them - it's great of them having us on w/them and a good show of team support.

   our end of the team to take it on the stage and we start w/"blowin' it" tonight. man, I wish I could get the monitors up but I just keep seeing the top of the guy's head. the first part of a set is like that, while the cats are looking down and getting things together on their desks. we're kind of high up and the guitar amps are probably nailing ray right in the chest. he was saying they had the most recent and best stuff here though after soundcheck. night and day over what he had last night to work w/in tempe so I can imagine him being in a better frame of mind, hopefully. we continue on w/"I'm not fine," "waistin'," "little fury things" and "same day." seems like we've lost some variety in our set lists and are kind of getting into a pattern. it won't toatlly be like that tonight though cuz ron's w/us and that means lots of stooges tunes at the end. first, a couple of fog songs and an old dino one, "back before you go," "budge" and "amma ring." then we bring ron out for "down on the street" - whoa, that's sure a blister, mister. I turn ron's amp up. he starts up "real cool time" and it's crazy time. the dueling leads are cooking this place up hot. then we do the 'hard' one, the one where ron has to look at my hand, "not right." he says he has trouble remembering this one sometimes. he lays out more in this one during the solos and lets j pretty much take flight while he has these sustained out powerchord moves he does w/a semi-townshend half-windmill. he's leaning over a bit too like a leaning water tower of pisa. some great technique. he likes to use the rise and the fall of his feedback to buttress his chording. very cool. we got him in the middle w/his amp next to george so I can hear everything. we finish the set w/"loose." funny how I like playing that one w/the pick where I like to play most all the other stooge ones w/my fingers. we come back and have sam sing "I wanna be your dog" and "no fun." he jumps out into the crowd and gets a pit going, that was intense. we end w/"tv eye." ron's hit w/a few beer cans, one of them full. he's a pro and deflects them w/his guitar. what's that about, anyway? folks are cheering him on and shit but maybe there's some peckers who are voting w/their cans instead. pretty cowardly. david wants to go off and I don't blame him but what can you do? there was a jerk I saw getting yanked out earlier. maybe it was for some of that stupid shit. ron don't seem upset though and in fact is in great spirits due to the kicking gig we just did. alright.

   I talk w/ray and yep, the guitars were blasting him. he said it was more "california loud" than "texas loud" which I translate into meaning it was a little too blaring, maybe too much shrill or something. look who's here - brother matt w/steve evans. whoa. after some goodbyes and stuff, I go home w/brother matt, back to pedro. richard bonney will take me up to the el rey tomorrow. trippy rolling into pedro this late at night, lights coming off of the harbor cranes and container terminals. hello pedro, I'm home. thanks, brother matt. I don't even turn the lights on, just grab the blankie off of the couch, wrap myself in it and crumple right to the deck. notthing like a konk on your own deck.

thursday, april 26, 2001 - los angeles, ca

   wow, to pop on my own deck - that's something. still early, the clock set wrong cuz of daylight savings time, I peep out the curtain: everything hid white from the early morining fog - no harbor, no sun, no sky. put on some flannel and this funny knit sweater my ma gave me. time to pedal. whoa, wobbly here on these pedals - it's been a while. remember quick though cuz we're coming right down the hill here on twentythird street, damn! careful, watt. trippy to be on this seat, pedalling but I dig it too. down pacific, past old fort mcarthur and then I stop at pacific diner. let's have some pedro chow. I get the 'acapulco,' an omlette made w/ortega chilies and chow that w/sourdough toast and guacamole. that was good, now let's pedal it off. all the way down paseo del mar 'til it ends at the trailer park and then down to royal palms. no trace of catalina island, though she's sitting right of the coast from here - the fog is quite a shroud this morning but there are some pelicans and gulls to say hi to and I do. the same w/the stray cats that live down here too.

   I ride back and go to nanny's pad, nanny does the designs on my tour shirts. she has a little dog we call bear and he's all excited and rooting in his blankets. nanny's ma, gordy, comes by and we talk a bunch about things. she wants to know how much longer I'll be playing bass (she's asked the same thing now for the last twenty years) and I tell her about tour. she immigrated from the dalmatia part of the old yugoslavia as a girl and travels much herself now days w/nanny's pop. they just got back from the great pyramids in egypt. wow, I would like to go there some day. then the conversation goes the way it always does w/gordy: her getting really mad at some group of people but then her having some hope for things to get better even w/all the signs saying everything is going to shit. it's always that way w/her, no matter what the particular subject. I'll stay w/her other daughter lisa tomorrow in san francisco.

   I pedal back to my pad and soak in my own tub. now that feels good. nothing like a soak in your own tub. there's a puddle in the middle of the kitchen - where's that coming from, the light fixture? mop it up and see what's up when I get back next week. big bag of mail too. lots waiting. I try to do what I can in the little time I got then richard bonney comes to get me. north up from the harbor to the miracle mile part of wilshire boulevard, near the la brea tar pits and the l.a. county musuem of art. the _el rey_ is an art deco theatre from the 30s and is quite an attractive pad though the acoustics were made for horn and string bands from the pre-electric era. one of my first gigs after the sickness last year was seeing _wire_ here and man, did it sound bad. no bass at all. hope it's better for us. I go to the desk to say hi to ray and he tells me he's flying home tomorrow. what?! he says any monkey could plug in the stuff he is (while he's telling me this, he's plugging the d88 and d38 tape recorders into the board) and he's paid his dues. I don't understand but this is at least the third time he's threatened leaving the tour so maybe it's for real. I ask j and he says it's for real. man, I would like an answer from ray - I've been riding in the truck w/him and there's been nothing to indicate this. I won't press him now cuz we don't need the gig compromised. I would like to know after if he wants to tell me. j has me call steve reed and leave a message to see if he's available. noel is back in new york taking his driving test today (that's what killed his chance to tour w/us this time - he hasn't driven for years, living in nyc all that time). there's dancer in chapel hill. he always wanted to work the knobs instead of helping w/the guitars ever since he had that taste in amsterdam. just too short notice for steve reed but dancer can fly out for saturday and we'll use the house person tomorrow night in san francisco. what's up w/ray? he wouldn't look me in the eye either when he told me those lame reasons for bailing out on us. sure, some of the equipment in these pads is kind of beat up but only nine more days. I don't understand...

   back to now, my ma and both my sisters, melinda and marilyn come by. I don't think they all have seen me in quite a while. my ma is laughing and laughing. she likes talking w/the people who know me. j takes a shot of us four watts w/the digicamera. it's pretty funny when all four of us are together. then this cat from tokyo comes by, toshi. such a nice man, he's read the diary and brought me some things I dug in his land like that white grape drink, "qoo" and pickled octopus, tako. some pickled squid too and little pastries that are like tiny pancakes w/brown sugar sauce-type stuffing. thank you, toshi. jen davis and elena come tonight too. so does bob stires but raymond's not w/him - damn. I wanted so for raymond to come but I guess it's not in the cards. shit.

   _love as laughter_ go on and do a great set. I do the last tune, the velvet's "what goes on" w/them and marvel at zeke's ability w/the drum set. I can hear my sister hollering at me. my ma too, just like little league when I was a kid. time for changeover and just before the buddy rich pep talk goes on, thalia comes w/cerah. her and petra just put singing on our _li'l pit_ project. I want to mix that when I get done w/this tour. petra had a harry smith benefit to play at ucla tonight but it's great thalia could come. her and cerah are both in red and black, that's funny. they said it was a coincidence. the fourth _li'l pit_ member, steve perkins, is out of town playing w/a re-formed _jane's addiction_ (w/martyn instead of eric) so he won't be here either. jovi left messages saying he was gonna come tonight. richard's ready to go down and get him from union station but the messages to his machine have stopped. last we heard, jovi was still "contemplating." ron's here though. mr. asheton says he's a little bit groggy. he said him and ray were up to like six this morning, drinking from a big bottle of vodka. he said he got no indication either from ray that he wanted to give the tour scissors. quite the mystery. ok, whatever - we gotta go on. j's talking w/this cat named tim from a late night comedy television show and then steve reed shows up. I give him big hugs right before hitting the stage. love that steve reed.

   we start w/"I'm not fine" and then go straight into "the wagon," "same day" and "the lung." this being my town, I get a lot of hollering at but keep my eyes on j cuz he's who I'm working for. I like to be right up for the next tune so he ain't gotta wait on me. "waistin'," "budge" and then "back before you go," I let out some bass solo on the last one there and then on "get me," I kind of clam and blow into a solo a little early but catch myself and save the tune from clamdom, if you get what I mean. pays to stay on the toes. the real hell ain't just blowing the clam but not being able to recover from it. then you're clammy davis junior. we're doing a bunch of covers w/the stooge stuff so j cut "I've had it" and we just do "repulsion" by itself. then, to finish the fog stuff, "amma ring." now it's ron's turn and we kick "down on the street" and "1969," then I tear off the stage and go backstage upstairs. I couldn't see the rest of the set list cuz ron's foot was on it. david comes running up to me yelling some gibberish about "two more." I keep asking him "which two?" and he won't answer me, he just keeps repeating "two more" like I'm deaf and can't understand him. I finally tell him to answer my question and cut the stupid bullshit. of course, he didn't know which two, he justed wanted to yell and act like he's right. what's this guy's problem? why couldn't he just say "I don't know but there's a couple of more still to go." no, just more of the stupid little game shit that goes on here. maybe ray was right to bail. then on the other hand, that was not a very honorable thing to do. just cuz some people start acting like assholes doesn't mean one has to stoop to that level. you gotta stand tall and do the right thing which means not to renege on your word and fullfill your commitments. time will make sure everything will pass and if you got the skin (tough skin), you can weather it. you can't change others, you can only change yourself. when david finally relents and tells me he doesn't know what two songs are next. I say, "ok, I'll go find out" and join my guys on stage for "not right" and "loose," just like that. that's all it took, just a little honesty. the whole mood of the gig changes pretty big time. I say sorry to my ma for singing a song like "loose" to her. well, it wasn't really to her but she just happens to be in the room I'm singing it. I just ain't used to that. we go off stage and then come back on w/texas terri to do "no fun." she does a great take and I even help out some on my mic near the end there - we do some treade offs. my ma was pretty much totally tripping on all of texas terri's tattoos. my ma ain't that used to seeing them on women and texas terri's got all kinds of wild ones too. it's funny seeing my ma trip on folks like that. then sam from the laughter guys comes out to do "1970" and boy, do we get lost here. I think I stated the whole lametrain going when I missed the first "I feel alright" part and the band never really recovered again after that. ron said he couldn't hear the singing but I think it was way more my fault than sam's. sam did great. he does "I wanna be your dog" next and the place blows up. I feel a tug on the back of my leg. it's george hurley! great. what a happening surprise - so righteous to see georgie! we close up w/"tv eye" and then we're done. ray comes up on stage to put things away and I go to talk w/him when eric pulls him to the side. damn, no chance to get his thoughts on the whole bail-out thing. just another piece of drama for the tour, an unexplained kind.

   richard bonney gives us a ride home. jen davis is coming on the next few gigs. back down the harbor freeway to pedro in richard's new vw bus. well, new to him - it's a '74 but has a brand-new rebuilt motor just put in it. sitting in the passenger seat, I can't keep my head up, I'm so tired. this gig tore me up. I just want to go for it so w/ron onboard - hell, everytime I'm on stage w/j too. my clothes bag was w/the van and I ain't seen that for a couple of days so what the fuck, I'm just gonna go up to s.f. w/the only outfit I got left and hopefully do wash near kenny and lisa's pad up there saturday. all a matter of timing. now, however, is time for konk. cuz I'm beat. out.

friday, april 27, 2001 - san francisco, ca

   pop and call next door neighbor tony for a ride to meet my team up in west hollywood. tone starts that whining shit so I have to scissor him quick. my ma took the day off cuz of her going to see the show so she's available. my ma only travels out of pedro for her work so an excursion like this is kind of scary for her. even though we're taking only three roads, the harbor and san diego freeways plus la cienaga boulevard, it's still hairy through her eyes. I try to reassure her. it's funny about l.a. people this way. even though you live w/all this city, you really only know your own little area and the well traveled routes you usually take. l.a. is really more than a 140 towns, all squeezed together yet still very much apart and the people isolated. we get up to the ramamda on santa monica and I say bye to my ma. it should be easy for her to retrace the steps but who knows... thanks anyway, ma.

   we go west through beverly hills and then north up through the mullholland pass on the I-405. in the valley, we connect w/the I-5 there and go through grapevine on our way to san francisco. only one tin of 'dines left and I want to save them, just in case... I don't know - just in case. I open up the passenger window a little and unintentionaly create this huge venturi in the van - whoa! ron hollers up front to correct this and quickly I do. we don't need that kind of crisis in here. I konk from time to time on the ride up, I completely miss that puck factory near tracy where the steers are just parked in their own turd, waiting to be whittled into pucks. george gets us up the four hundred miles pretty much safe. eric left directions from his road atlas 'puter program but it has us going through the east bay suburubs so I ditch that plan in favor of the way I always take when I'm up here, all the way on the I-580 'til the bay bridge and then over that baby into town. I direct us right in and we're in luck, a parking place right in front, alright. we're playing at the _great american music hall_ and it's a beautiful building inside w/lots of ornate detail and relief on the stage and around it. very nice folks here too. and look who's gonna do sound, deanna, last saw her in tokyo, doing sonic youth's sound. great. dancer should be coming aboard tomorrow for the santa cruz gig. great, we don't miss a beat, even w/the drama.

   I do an interview w/mike dean, who's got some documentary going on do-it-yourself music and expression. it's a good spiel and he asks me some good things however, I'm very glad he didn't insist on me wearing makeup even if he felt compelled to. next is soundcheck and I get to meet steve mackay, the cat who played the sax on the stooges album, "fun house." what an honor, I'm totally in awe - he even still has the same tenor sax, wow. incredible enough I get to play w/mr. ron asheton, now mr. steve mackay - well god damn, yes! steve gives me a homemade cd he's made and there's a song on it called "lomita" - that couldn't be the lomita next to pedro, down where I live? steve tells me in fact it it is. damn! he tells me about wild times at the troc, a hotel in west hollywood that sounded insane. black flag had an office near there during the "damage" album era and the fights w/unicorn and mca. that's where I first started getting on w/joe carducci. steve was talking about ten years before that (early 70s) and having to deal w/l.a. cops and county sheriffs. the cook comes in and gives me a piece of chicken pounded out w/ginger and galic. some roasted vegetables too. the shit is great! I'm gonna wear that red plaid shirt w/the gold running through it that kirsha gave me. I got the feeling it's gonna be a wild show tonight. too bad jello couldn't make it, he had a last-minute spoken word tour to do and he's in canada tonight. he was so foamin' to go when I saw him last in austin and really wanted to play w/us. oh well.

   no smoking in clubs in cali but there is smoking downstairs here. I'm puffing tons of backwoods. pete, eric's friend from apple comes by w/a real fancy camera and starts taking shots. nice man w/news about the new ibooks coming. I guess they're ditching the old barbie purse toilet seat clam shell design. I think they got cd burners in the them to for an option. I ask him to look for a refurbished g4 duely for my desk and then I'll pass the hopped-up 8500 I use now down to my ma. maybe next year or something. richard riley comes by to still apologize for that stupid fight shit him and his brother did at a san jose gig of mine years ago. I tell him it's ok if he's learned and grown from that. he said it cost his bro a c.h.p. job. mike chapin is right behind him. cats showing up at the last minute for guest list. oh well, some things in this ever-changing world are pretty damn-near consistent. ron's talking about how he used to never hang at the pad before the gig. he'd always like to get from the ho about a half-hour before showtime. he said sometimes it'd be miles of driving just to take a piss and then turn around and come back. for watt, it's fuck that - I'd rather stay put to make things calm for gigplay. no hurryin', no worryin' - just sittin' and frettin'. funny how I still get nervous for these things. kenny and lisa show up - yes! I'm konking at their pad tonight near the new baseball stadium by the bay bridge. no ross though. damn, that's lame. an old friend, katie, does come and she's getting better from back surgery she just had. she does dj work (besides graduate school). she does "trance" at about "140 to 142 beats a minute." whoa, that's what makes it "trance" and not "house." I was wondering about that. I'm pretty ignorant to most of the current dance/dj stuff but I guess the tempo would be an important thing. I remember thinking the _damned_ were so fast ("new rose") and then there was the _germs_, the _middle class_ and all that ridiculous stuff w/hardcore. j was telling me _deep wound_ (he was on drums and lou was on guitar) was like that too. us minutemen got going pretty fast too sometimes. I remember doing like fifty songs at a gig in under an hour.

   sam and zeke do the _love as laughter_ show and have me and j do "on the run" at the end. I really blast a bass solo on this one and use the "full drive 2" box even to really push it out there. thing is they keep going and going and I bring the solo up to a point to where there's not much more to go so I just stop, having them have to stumble on their own to an ending. sorry, cats - you gotta play in real time and listen - if you couldn't hear that solo winding up then you were just like being in the head w/the door locked, having quite a tug-of-war w/a you-on-you set up. that ain't proper and it ain't ensemble. couldn't even get them to look over even. j too. all lost in their own foam. that's ok, less is more - I had to stop. thanks for having me aboard.

   a few more minutes and dancer gets the buddy rich on the system. that means five minutes for us. here's the last time w/ron. it'll be the ninth one. we'll do like usual and do j songs first and then have ron on for the last part. steve will come on for the encore. get sam to sing some too but not "1970" - that's a direct request from ron who had nothing to follow w/things got spacey last night in that tune at the l.a. show. instead, I'll help him w/"fun house" and then do "1970" myself along w/steve mackay. ok, gig time. we start w/"I'm not fine" and things are pretty thumpin quick like. the pad is sold out and packed. "the wagon" is next and things are even more lively, a semi-pit breaking out. the monitors are so tiny and I know monitorman chris is trying his best but the honk of j's amps is just too much. I call out over the mic to ask deanna to get the vocals up after I hear some complaints from folks up front. I tell her to get that midrange in the singing out. monitors are one thing - a luxury if you have to choose between either you or the listeners hearing the words. I think the cats who paid the money come first. we go on to "same day," "waistin'" and "back before you go" for some new songs, then "get me," "budge," "blowin' it" and "little fury things" for old ones. the band is playing great - george really stepping up and not kinking up the flow w/petty bullshit between tunes, like towel-wipes on a still unsweaty face or lazy beer swigs when the other two cats are primed to go. no recitals either, he saves his drumming for the songs and not inbetween racket done in that look-at-me spirit we all go through in the primitivie stages of trying to get it together and learning how to play together in a band. I'm very grateful to george for this. him keeping focus and playing good does nothing but help and motivate the musical whole of what we're trying to do up here. helping j w/some good drums and bass work is a fine thing to be a part of, I have to let you know my opinion that everything else on this tour is secondary to me. what can I say, j inspires me and I don't think we should give anything but our best, it's that simple. anything else seems a bogart on the main mission. just the way I feel. "amma ring" is next and it's quite a wind-up. j pretty much takes it up there and I try my best to help him along the way. he's incredible. we finish and I call out for mr. ron asheton. I roll my sleeves up. time for some crazy-ass now. we go into "down on the street" and the pit boils hard, there's some kid w/blond hair pogoing wildly right in front of me. slamming is one thing and kind of a paniced and aggressive but you gotta admit there's quite an art to a good pogo. wild to watch too, like a sublime piece of choreography - very personal and to the point. I keep the song going and after j and ron each take a turn and the wailing, they both engage in a massive twofer and the lead blast goes out in stereo. I go to ron's amp and turn it up. I can dig it. j too but he's good and loud already. we next go to "loose" and I'm shaking my fucking brains out. the place is going insane. good energies going all ways, damn. we go off and come back for an ecore w/steve mackay. I'm standing right in between him and ron asheton. wow, I would've never believed this as a kid - playing along side this two cats - whoa! I pull sam up stage (there's kind of a low stage here which I dig) for "I wanna be your dog." great igg moves from sam and he gets pulled into the crowd. great energy and spirit. we go into "no fun" next then twist it up to go really, really fast for the ending. then "fun house" and I can hear steve blowing his brains out. how long have I waited in my life to yell "steve, blow!!!!" where it actually made sense? incredible, me hearing myself holler that - damn. and blow, steve does. his head looks like it's gonna pop off and fly around the room like a balloon just being released from ones fingers. I couldn't hear what sam was singing so I would just chime in w/the verses I know. we take the song down to a lower dynamic so I can go "we've been seperated - far too long" a few times. such a dizzying bump we got going here. funky stomp. I dig it. we get real quiet and end it soft. then ron hits those first chords to "1970" and we're off - what an insane bus ride. steve doesn't wait 'til the end but comes blasting right in at the beginning and I'm "out of my mind" (just like the words in the song says). I holler "I feel alright" so many times, so hard I almost keel over. somehow, I stay righted but play very, very wild. the music's making me this way. we finish up w/"tv eye" and my heart's ready to come out of the chest. what a set. thank you, steve and ron. thank you, j and george. thanks you, good folks of san francisco.

   I am totally soaked, levis down to the socks. I do have my bag here though cuz I'm going to bring it to kenny and lisa's so I can do wash tomorrow morning. changing into dry clothes is such a relief. folks want to talk w/me but it's really hard - that gig drained me big time. I mean really drained, whew! just trying to stay calm has me trembling. lots of babbling about but I gotta bail. lynn perko volunteers to give a ride, she's w/"imperial teen" and they're opening up for us monday in sacramento. thanks, lynn. at kenny and lisa's, they feed me all these cookies their buddy quapo made. they're all filled w/mota. I'm so beat from the gig though, I'm on the deck right there by the couch quick. maybe those things work that fast or maybe I'm just so sapped of strength, I am tapped and cashed out. done. out. konked.

saturday, april 28, 2001 - santa cruz, ca

   pop w/sun in the eye, coming through the window and washing my face. never did find my mask. I thought either ray or david told me they found it in the truck. oh well. haven't found a replacement at a truck stop either. one more week to go, watt - don't sweat it. man, is there a grog factor going on, maybe on account of those mota cookies and brownies, huh? damn, slept like I was on a cloud though.

   ok, out the hatch w/the dirty clothes. I'm down to my last outfit and I'm wearing that. around the corner on third street is a laundromat. great. last wash for the tour. what happening weather, the sun out bright and the temp so mild. thank you, weather forces that be. down the block at a pad called victor's, I get a pork burrito. tastes good. put the clothes now in the dryer and walk down the street by the new ball park (pac bell park, new home of the giants). there's a game this afternoon and folks are gathering. over the lefty o'doule bridge and look at some boats and docks. reminds me of pedro and home. just love boats and water. bring the clothes back to kenny and lisa's and talk w/them a bit. I've known lisa since the late 70s, when we worked at the catalina terminal parking lot under the vincent thomas bridge in pedro. she had never really been out of pedro and now it's been six years since she's moved here. trippy about time. the day before I was w/her ma and sister in pedro. I am blessed in having good people for friends for such a long time. the cat here, gizmo, is getting friendlier too. he lets me feed him from my hand where he used to only run and hide.

   george and j come w/the van, we gotta leave for santa cruz, about two hours south of here on the coast. we're playing the _catalyst_, a pad I've played many, many times. we take the I-280 south, which has the sign "the most beautiful freeway." well, it is a pretty one, cutting through pacifica, los altos and san bruno. very lush forested valleys and hills, tons of wonderful shades of green against a remarkably blue sky. golden poppy signs, signifying this as a 'scenic route' are under each interstate sign. we leave this prettyness at san jose and take route 17 the rest of the way. it's a divided four way now but there still some intense curves. it used to be the most dangerous drive in the old days, especially when the fog would come down and hug close the road. we pull into the lot of the pad to do soundcheck. damn, if my veins don't feel like there's lead floating in them. that was an intense gig last night. I could barely talk after it and must've sweated like a gallon. I think I better take it a little calmer tonight.

   it's dancer's first gig at mixing us. great to see him again and I'm so grateful to him for coming to the rescue for us like he's doing. still wondering about ray but I just gotta put that behind me. whyever, whatever he did what he did, he's done did it and it's a done deal. I did try to get in one thing from the stage, I remember now. I was thanking everyone and when it came to ray, I said "ray, thanks for helping us out. I know you gotta fly away now but thanks anyway." another thing I remember now is yesterday, tour boss eric asking me if I was mad at him. I was kind of shocked cuz usually it's very easy to know when watt is mad at you - he fucking tells you so! anyway, I was wondering why I gave him that impression and last night, after soundcheck, he told me I didn't thank him in l.a. when I was thanking everyone else (my main purpose was to address ray but still...) - fuck, what an idiot, watt! what a god dman idiot move. I get nervous in front of folks, believe it or not and I always end up spacing on something or making things haywire in some way. I felt really bad. eric's worked very hard for the tour and has treated me more than fair and then I do that kind of shit to him. aaaarrrrgggghhhh, I feel like the biggest asshole. hang your head low, watt. sometimes I miss the most obvious shit, standing there w/my head up my ass. so sorry, eric. I konk in the back room for like four or something hours. damn.

   _love as laughter_ do another great set - this band is the greatest. for the last tune, they have me on to do something I've been requesting them to do since they joined us on tour: "sister ray" by the _velvet underground_, an incredible tune. j's playing weird sounds on the synth, that's a trip. george is on the drums - all three of us fog w/them. they blend in johnathan richman's "roadrunner" w/it. great! zeke does his keyboard part trippy, he misses the "dah dot dee dot duh" part so I just start doing it on my bass (for those w/the musical bend, it's b-d-e-b, g-g-g, g-g-g and so on). percolating jam, it is - I dig it. thank you sam and zeke for having us fog aboard.

   we're up and we start w/"alone," first time in a while for this one. I play it pretty conservative for the singing but when j takes the solos out, I'm right there w/him and cut the shit kind of aggressive. I don't know why, he just inspired me w/his playing and I wanted to intertwine and cable it up w/him. pretty outer space, that's for sure. I stayed responsible and kept in the key but did get the shit out there, that's a fact. he listens and plays in real time so that was pretty much a trip to see what he would do w/what I was throwing him. much respect to you, mr. mascis. we do a long version too, real far casts w/the pole here, not just hanging them over the pier. can't tell you how much I admire this man, j mascis. what a big heart to let a stooge like watt play along side of him. even if he is ten times louder. tim (dancer) will help me out though. he plays bass himself (among many other instruments) in his band _cursor_ and does a great job at it. got a rickenbacker like kira's a few months ago in australia. glad to know he's on my side. I dig him much too. we tear in "I'm not fine" and I gotta say I'm kind of horse for the back up singing. how many "I feel alright!" refrains did I do last night? tons of hollering in "fun house" too - "steve! blow!!!" not that much left tonight, I went off. next is another stranger to the latest set lists, "keep the glove." I do one crazy ass bass solo at the end, boy are my fingers limber. same w/the solos for "back before you go" which is next. then "same day," "waistin'" and "budge." I'm clearly in a less shaking state though, only my shirt is wet and not even that drenched. subdued watt, huh? "blowin' it" then some lead singing w/"I've had it" which dovetails nice into j singing "repulsion." "all the girls," a way out "amma ring" and then we put a stopper in the set w/"little fury things." we come back and some cat keeps yelling for "badges" (the minutemen song). instead, we do "the wagon" and I hope he ain't upset. this is j's gig, g. j starts the stooges' "I got a right" w/out the intro and man -oh man, what a train wreck. I don't think I ever got a bass note in between the drums there on time and the singing barely kept pace. the guitar was barreling away though and kept the needle threaded. thanks, j.

   that was a strange gig, I feel strange in the head. guess some of them are just going to come out that way sometimes. talk to some nice cats out in the crowd and pack up. the ho is right by the wharf and cuz I got all that konk before playing, I feel a little restless. I walk to some chow pad that's open still at three in the morning called "saturn" or something and chow a greek salad. it's good. then I walk slow back to the ho, watch the moon give some fingernail light to sprinkle the surf w/and let those wave pounds lull me into a mindcalmness that can help me w/hitting the off switch on tonight. I get back to the econolodge (that's where we're at) and after a backwoods, find konk coming gentle and easy. thanks, konk.

sunday, april 29, 2001 - san francisco, ca

   pop and get some huevos rancheros close by. they're good and done in a personal style - I like that. chow from a pad that ain't mersh is great when it's a work of art. jen davis is taking a greyhound bus to l.a. and then an amtrack train down to san diego. no gig for us tonight (last day off of the tour). go up to george's room and knock on his door, tells me he's gonna "brunch" w/friends and tells me to come back at one to bail. we're going back up to san francisco. that is j, george and myself to see iggy at the fillmore tonight. for some reason, the rest of the team don't want to come, they want to see some movie called "joe dirt." me, I'd rather see iggy any day but like lots of things on this tour, there is not unanimity on this issue. it's ok though cuz there's no stifling of the individual by the mob/herd due to us having more than one vehicle. this is happening.

   I go down to the wharf and take in some sights. there's sailboats cruising all about and tons of kayaks too. what beautiful weather. great way to get the last week of a tour going. this time next week, I should be waiting for a plane to take me to l.a.x. where brother matt should be waiting to take me home to pedro. same water here, we're just a few miles north of where it touches the land down there. wow, look at that - the tamest pelican I've ever seen is chowing minnows that folks are throwing him. such huge feet, they're as big as my hands. pretty eyes too. I take many shots of him. there's holes cut in the wharf so you can look down at the sea lions that have climbed up and are konked on the piers below the deck. I get lots of shots here too w/the digicamera. some are swimming and playing w/each other. there's some calling out w/their distinctive voices. down in my town, the seals are so much smaller than these cats, so much! lots of pelicans are flying over now in their interesting formations. I wonder how they know which order to go in? some kind of pecking line? nature always amazes me and makes me curious and want to form questions. it's always been this way w/me. there's a shop w/candles and I stop to smell them. great smells, I love it. it's sunday so I call my ma from a phone here. things are good w/her at home, she dug that show at the el rey last thursday. she said j seemed a little laid-back. I told her she was right but he's a hard-charger w/the guitar. his mind is always going too, even if it might seem a little hard to tell. he sure ain't laid-back stupid.

   a fun time at the wharf, one p.m. and time to get back to the ride and make for s.f. stupid watt, don't you know george only bullshitted you and you're going to sit in that van for two hours, waiting? not wasted though cuz I chip diary the whole time. I ain't mad either cuz the selfish act is getting pretty predictable, it's now pretty comical. he comes back after three and of course says I misunderstood him cuz he was talking through both the front door and bathroom door but then I remind him I said "12:30?" and he answered back "no, one o'clock." whatever, I tell him I ain't mad at him - it's just par for the course. all I want is for him to safely drive us to san francisco. and that he does. back up the 17 and then I-280 again, there's some plug inside the city but I get us off at portero hill and we get to kenny and lisa's from that route. good to see them again. I bring the kachina dolls I forgot to take to pedro when we were in so cal. stupid fucking watt. lisa will mail them down to me when tour finishes.

   they got webtv and I check that out. hmmm, pretty slow and not much on the screen - however, the screen is as the tv you're watching it on and there's a good size one they got here. you can put a picture inside a picture on it too so there's some nba playoff stuff going on too. I show them some funny stuff at the obsure store, a web site w/insane news of the day. good shit on the smoking gun too like stupid fucking rock star riders (lists of items requested by bands to satisfy their extraordinary and special needs). they give me more mota cookies, even crumbs. damn, some of them are pretty hard but still taste good. peanut butter in some of them.

   well, a cook at the fillmore, keith, asked me to come to the show but lisa, using her mind, thinks to call in advance and it's good too cuz that fell through. however, kenny knows the head of security, steve-o and there's no problem at all. I tell george on the walkie-talkie to meet us outside the fillmore at quarter of nine. I take a cab w/kenny and lisa and we get over there right on time. gotta wait a while for j and george and then where in. lynn perko's here too. perfect timing cuz iggy's coming on stage now. he's got a guitarist, bassist and drummer w/him but I don't know their names. sorry. it's kind of southern boogie mixed w/a motohead kind of hard rocking sound. pretty good. iggy seems to be playing it a little calm - gesturing but not really moving around much. he'll do some kicks and dance moves at the beginning of a tune but then stiffens up to more of just a stance, shirt off and looking fit but not so kinetic and crazy. looks like he might have facial hair too. I'm in the back, in a corner as I watch. lisa is shaking and getting into it all crazy. she loves the igg, so do I. kenny used to work w/these bill graham presents people so he goes off w/steve-o to do tequila shots. iggy kicks into "raw power" and this is the first song I really, really can dig. great. another tune and george comes up to me and starts really ragging on the drummer, saying he's terrible and his playing is for shit. hmmm, I don't seem to think he's that bad. the whole thing is kind of by the numbers and not crazy enough for me but I wouldn't say he was sucking shit through a soda straw - but then neither did george - I just said that. idiot watt. j's bumming on it too and then I see those cats just spieling w/people in the hall at the back, they are not interested. I am though and am digging it. what can I say, I'm into the iggster. I didn't dig those lame things ron said he said about him but I do like his performance. I wish for more of the stooges stuff and a little more wilder of a delivery. lisa has a playlist from someone who works here and there's some songs I don't know by the titles, they're probably new ones. I can dig it though, igg did just turn fiftythree and maybe he's feeling it. great shape though, I have to say again. gig done, we get a ride back. quite a fun gig. thank you, steve-o.

   even more of the baked goods and I'm baked good. kenny is talking really loud from the alcohol but then all is quiet as he passes out swiftly. me and lisa talk about pedro and how I should bring nanny up sometime when I'm playing here. that would be a great idea. they don't see each other much since lisa moved. the cat is being nice to me, taking the chow treats from my hand. thank you, gizmo. I am fading fast though and go to the room where I usually konk when I'm here. and konk I do, quick. so goes the last day off of this tour.

monday, april 30, 2001 - sacramento, ca

   pop and find the sun out bright again. yes. the cat gizmo is prowling all about. great shower they got here, the spout faces the door instead of being perpendicular to it. this means you get total spray when you turn it on - you can't be to the side of it. funny. I hose off and hoof outside. damn if I ain't slow to go though. seems like there's cement in the joints. what's that about? I go chow a turkey burger. j and george come get me and I say bye to lisa, kenny's still konked from his liquored-up time last night.

   short ride on the I-80, back over the bay bridge, through vallejo (lived in the navy housing there as a little kid for a bit) and hercules - george is driving and digs saying that word "hercules" over and over - on past vacaville, davis and finally into sacramento. I've played this town many times and many times for the boss, brian mckenna, but never at this pad, _harlow's_. I konked almost the whole ride here, so fatigued and beat (seemingly). what has put me in this state?

   brian gives me this great john coltrane t-shirt. sure, there's no buttons (I like shirts w/buttons) but it's a great shirt that has the image of a great man on it. how I look up to john coltrane. he is really something to me. his music speaks to me in such a way, I've never experienced anything like it before. it fills me w/so much possibility, I just have to feel and think when I'm hearing him work that horn. thank you much, brian. tonight, besides _love as laughter_, we have _imperial teen_ opening up for us too. this band has lynn perko on drums. she was in the last phase of the _dicks_ and _sister double happiness_, both gary floyd bands. this is kind of a trippy pad, like a sit-down supper place w/a low stage and tables all around. hmmm. we'll see how this works out. before soundcheck, I hoof around and try to get my bones working right. seems like someone put me in a big sack and beat it w/a pipe, I feel such a malaise about me. can't even chimp in the 'puter either cuz I keep konking over the keyboard. damn.

   the dressing room is upstairs in the back and I lie down there on the deck for a bit. for a bit? I konk for both openers, what a dick. I do make it for "sister ray" and do the bass up for sam and zeke. then back upstairs and put the nose back in the rug and pass. I take my yellow ron asheton shades off and put them under one of the padded chairs. I'll space on this later and fucking donate them. a call to steve kaul the next morning will have a dire plea to ask brian to search for stupid shit that stupid watt lost. anyway, back to the moment: the fog is to go on. what is wrong w/me? even the sound is funny. I'm thinking now that those 'baked goods' have left paralytic residues inside me and slowed my shit up good. damn, I can't even shake myself a bit barely. all the instruments sound strange, like out of place, distant and separate. really weird. I'm still hoarse from the s.f. gig w/ron and steve and my voice sounds alien and totally unnatural to me. whoa. my own voice? we start things off w/"I'm not fine" and that's pretty much how I'm feeling. so strange. "the wagon" is next and I break an 'a' string. damn, I get through the tune and do the change while j goes into "severed lips" - I rejoin them about a verse into it. then it's a brace of real familiar stuff for this tour from the new record: "back before you go," "waistin'," "same day" and "all the girls." man, is my singing shitty and I'm still feeling like me head is not attached to my body but rather under a pile of banana peels. speaking of peels, we do the peel session medley next, been a while since we've done that. I almost keel over for the _ruts_ part where I holler pretty much non-stop, my head is spinning. the most bizarre feeling I ever had doing a fog gig tonight. it's as though I've slipped in between dimensions and I'm not wholly here. more from the supper club stage w/"get me," "budge" and "amma ring." I try to shake myself out of this funk in the jam for amma. almost worked but I'm still spacing. I gather all the focus I got to belt out "I've had it" and then we end the set w/"repulsion." for an encore, we come back w/sam singing "I wanna be your dog" and the david's favorite, "(just like) heaven." he does good.

   we get off stage and I put the john coltrane shirt on. love that man. he brings me a little peace. john coltrane, I wish those big, kind eyes of yours could swallow watt up right now and drop him down, down into that deep, deep reservoir of emotion and spirit. baptize me, wash me w/notes and float me easy/wild on a comet trail of star-dream. john coltrane, hear this pathetic bass wrestler as puts his hand up to try and yank on the night sky. somehow, someway - get a hold to steady these wobbly sea legs. help him learn.

   into the van and wait for the guys. my head feels like it's stuff w/a giant rubber pencil eraser. to the deck w/the blankie and I vow to make up for the shit I blew tonight. I so dearly want to overcome. even bozos get the blues.

tuesday, may 1, 2001 - eugene, or

   may day morning and I realize I donated my yellow lensed ron asheton aviator peter fonda easy rider shades. fucking idiot watt. I grab those insane little round orange john lennon ones I got the morning after the houston show. they orange lenses flip up to expose clear ones. what's that about? not much time to hoof cuz we got the last hellride of the tour today, seven hours to eugene. we stop for some gas and I get some pork cracklins and that arizona brand 'memory' tonic. what's that about? I am feeling better though as far as the lead in the blood thing goes. damn was that a weird couple of days I just had. glad I'm snapping out of it.

   it's all the way on the I-5 north through the sacramento valley and up to shasta. this is where I wake up. I konked the whole time through up 'til we hit turntable lake. even missed red bluff, where my pop grew up. damn. the shasta area is very nice. bob lee's ma is a buddhist monk up here. eric's done driving and j takes over. secure w/him at the wheel, I konk again 'til we're over the border into oregon and rolling through grant's pass, where the last dinosaur bassist, mike johnson, is from. lots of evergreen up here, you can imagine. an hour left to get to eugene and j hands off to george. we're playing the _wow hall_ (woodmen of the world) tonight, a pad I've played many times before and I guide us in directly. I think these guys are finally starting to believe I can help them get around to these pads.

   zoot horn rollo works at a record store called "face the music" here, maybe I'll go visit him. I hear he hates to hear anything about the beefheart days or getting bugged w/questions about it. I wonder though cuz I think he put out a book recently on his journeys through those days. whatever. maybe I should leave well enough alone. I'm such a nut over that beefheart music. I tell j about rollo and he surprises me by telling me he just got 180 gram vinyl (thick stuff) of "trout mask replica." wow - who would've thought. that j sure has a head full of music and ideas, let me tell you. his mind is always going. I don't think I've met many others who have so much music going through them. anyway, I chimp some diary in the front seat of the van. some guy walks by and then a little while later, walks by again but comes up to the van window. he gives me some nice compliments and then gives me a little bag of mota. he says it's from humboldt. whoa. that's a trip. I'll save it for a konk aid tonight. for sure I ain't going to eat it. thanks, bro.

   I go take a walk and find a little cafe. they got some soup so I get that. it's really good, black bean. it's open mic here and this older cat gets up and sings "return to sender," the one elvis did. he accompanies himself on guitar and he has a trippy way w/that too. he starts a song pete seeger used to do about may day but I gotta bail for soundcheck. lately we've been doing "I'm not fine" for soundcheck. no more "the red and the black" and no more "help me amma." damn, I wish we could at least do those for a check seeing how they probably are never gonna make it into the set. oh well. at least I got some hustle in my bones now. I'm gonna make it a lively may day gig for watt. no slow-mo rusted man act from the wattster tonight. back to the van and another cat comes and gives me three jalapeno peppers and a tabasco brand habanero sauce. it's got tamarind in it which makes it trippy and caribian. thank you too.

   I go back in the club and make some tea. weird kind, mango-passion fruit. at least no caffeine - can't drink it that late or I'll never konk after the gig. the folks are so nice here, they got fresh bananas and apples here so I chow one of each. sam and zeke go on and do some great _love as laughter_ songs and then have me on their "on the run." I dig playing bass to j's drums, he's a great drummer. quick changeover and here comes our set. so glad for the early show. thanks, wow hall. I think this is the first time j and george have ever played this town.

   "mike's house" launches us. the cat who gave me the jalapenos is right up front, he's taking j's amps full-on in the face. damn. "same day" follows and man, are there some nice things being said up to me on stage. thank you, kind eugene folks. "waistin'," "I've had it"/"repulsion," "I'm not fine" and "all the girls" are next - I can't see the monitor mixer so it's hard to let him know I can't hear a single word coming out of my mouth. oh well. should've worn the earplugs and heard it through my skull like j does. it's worked for me but I have to admit it's hard to get used to that feeling of everything muffled. "blowin' it" and then two w/bass solos, "back before you go" and "little fury things." I wonder if they ever get heard over the roar of everything else? a slow intro for "amma ring," I like the way j just pokes around now at the front of this tune, sensing out the right tempo or whatever - it's hard to tell. I know this song means a lot to him. does to me, too. we have a rouser of a jam at the end. I wish george could join in on the dance a little more, seems like he's just marking time here. maybe that's what happens after playing w/each other a while. for me, it's still very exciting to do this music, it's both a challenge and fun. I love walking the high wire! that's what a power-trio jam is about - that and listening. we close the set w/the stooges "tv eye." I run off the stage and out the back door for some air. kind of cool out here and there's steam coming off of me, damn. get back inside, watt. for encore we do "the wagon," and the cure's "just like heaven" (still can't believe I'm playing a cure song). david does good w/the part dancer did in his helper days. good set.

   we pack up and I thank the nice wow hall people for having us. I get a can of root beer so I can use this as a tool for the mota. sometimes a little after the gig before konk can help tame the adrenaline rush you get from playing and let sleepytime come a little easier. sometimes I'm just laying there on the deck w/my eyes wide open in the dark just begging, praying for sueneo to descend. your mind gets so fired up and you review the whole performance you just did, especially the clams and all the stupid shit you never meant to do. arrrggghh, the recriminations. maybe it's important to think about that stuff but I have such a desire to shutdown and make good on the sleep debt. my last words tonight? "ees workeeng!"

read week 6 of the tour diary

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this page created 11 may 01