tuesday, october 26 - london, on, canada
call the office is in an old building with practice rooms upstairs and I sit writing and listening to their collective pounding through the walls. our time passes slowly and finally we soundcheck and then vince and I walk through the small downtown area and spend a little money in a local video arcade. when we get back to the club we watch the local band, raised by swans do their thing. it's another good night for us and another group of nice canadians. the people have been really great at all the canada gigs and I am glad I could meet them like this.
we packed up and stayed with an old minutemen fan named lana and after stopping at a funny little bar on the way back to her pad we our heads hit the living room floor and drift off.
we wake up, then tom, jeff, errin and I head over to a local coffee shop for some pretty good spuds, poached, toast ("brown", as they say over there), juice, and coffee. the service is very friendly. I'm digging toronto, and canada in general. then it's time to split to london.
the weather is bright and beautiful as we pull into canada and up to "call the office", where we're playing tonight. it's a large town/small city. there's time enough before load in/sound check for tom and I to hit the street plying our sidline trade of male prostitution, a pleasant tour diversion. we hit a belle air music that we pass by, and tom goes up to the guitar section while I try flutes downstairs. as I mentioned, mine was donated in new york, so I'm thinking about trying to pick up another one. there are a few good flutes, groovy open hole jobs with b-foots, but they're out of my $ range. I buy some key oil for my beleagured tenor sax, and ask about a neck screw, which worked it's way out and was lost a couple days ago. the friendly and polite fellows there recommend a repair guy a couple miles away, and call to see if he has the screw - he does!
now normally I take pretty good care of my horn - I swab it out after use, and clean the neck, mouthpiece, clean the reed with peroxide/water mix. but on the road, especially playing the drums mainly with some sax, and doing it pretty much on all consecutive nights, I don't get a chance to maintain it. so the pads are sticking, springs are rusting, theirs a crust on my ligature and the screw for that is so rusted it looks like it's a part of a 30 year old car on blocks in a detroit field. my reed, which is hard to find time to change, is growing a lush, verdant carpet of multicolored fungi and algae. so I need some help.
I walk to where the guys told me the sax repair shop, music aid, is, and it's quite a hike. I finally see the sign - it's located in what looks like a house, or duplex. I walk up to the door, a screen door, where a young woman is vacuuming. I open the door, sax in first, and say hello. she responds, cheerily, "hello, how are you?". "fine", I say, "is this music aid?" she replies no. "did I just walk into your house?", I ask. "yes", she replies, nodding. it turns out that she was waiting for the lock repair guy. I said I could try to fix the locks but didn't know how effective I'd be. man - that kind of thing doesn't go on in l.a. so I apologize and go next door and there rob monroe says he can deal with my horn, but it'll take an hour. I repair to a local mom 'n pop and get a great bowl of chowder and some ok fish and chips and read the local paper. when I get back, rob has unstuck my g#, d, e, and f keys and has replacement neck screws and some cork grease. and all of that costs me a scant $20 u.s. right on and thank you rob. you kept me going on the road and gave the bro price. god bless ye.
the opening band was good - their singer had a very high pleasant voice, they used a lot of harmony vocals and octaves (x did that a lot and I always like that sound). they had a lot of dynamics, cool guitar sounds and their drummer was one driving bad-ass adroit mo-fo. and the fellers were downright friendly. canada, you're doing something right. I understand that the education is somewhat superior to ours. maybe that's it. maybe it's the water. maybe it's just that these individuals are taking upon themeselves to be courteous, intellegent, friendly and light hearted. who knows. but that's the way it seems to be.
randy's there again for our set - it's a little sad because it's going to be his last gig with us. he says he'll be glad to be getting back to his normal life though. he took his vacation to follow us. our set is good - real good, I think. then after, we meet lana, who is inspired by watt's admonition to "start your own band; we need artists, painters, writers..." to open up an art gallery in a loft space she rents. she invites us to crash at her pad. but first we head to a bar down the street. watt and I have soda water, tom has a whiskey, I think, and lana a drink of some sort. it's a rough and tumble sort of bar and there's a loud folk singer with a quirky delivery - enjoyable, though - going through s few tunes, a dylan, a "the band" tune. a guy goes up and sings harmonies with him on a band song, and I'm singing a third part in the audience. mike points and says, "get up there, vince", but I chicken out. it would have been fun, though.
we head over to lana's, where whe puts on trane's africa brass. but soon, for some reason, it's replaced with a local rocker. bummer! but that's ok. lana shows us the gallery space downstairs. lot of potential...good luck lana! then it's crash on the floor...
the window at erinn's pad faces a brick wall but that doesn't stop the sun from blazing in and I am joyed - fine weather still. I hoof down the main road and notice how cosmopolitan canada is, all kinds of different folks from all parts of the world. I make it to this park that's on the shore of lake ontario and I let the water lap up on my chuck taylor covered toes and check out this big swan making it's way. he goes and gathers his mate and heads up the other way. I get a bunch of trippy feelings standing here at the end of land, just thinking. thinking of this journey in the scheme of my big journey. tom, vince, everyone aboard. just thinking, pondering. I see a sign that gets me scared. it says to watch for needles (rigs) in the sand. damn. I work my way slowly back over the sand and to the trail that leads to the bridge over the freeway and trains to the main road. I roust my crew, say thanks to erinn, and then we're off to our last canadian gig in london (not across the pond but here in canada between windsor and toronto).
it only takes a couple hours to make the drive and we pull into town early. we're playing _call the office_ (great name) and the last time I was here was eight years ago. I tell the boss tony I'm sorry for being away so long and then hoof around to check shit out. I find this outfitter store and buy a belt. a belt! I haven't need one of these in a while, I am losing more weight, damn. it's one of those web kind like my pop used when he was a sailor and damn, is it hard to get undone when you gotta piss bad but I'll remember by doing. got to be patient and pull the buckle one way and the belt the other. damn. we get soundcheck done and then it's to the boat to konk. the hoofing has got watt tired.
pop and it's gig time. unfortunately, I miss the openers who seem like very nice cats but I was out cold. andy, the soundman is great and way into helping us out. my guys play great. vince's headset mic goes out in "the blue mask" and I swing my mic over on it's stand so he can do his verse. in doing so, I break a string and change it right on the fly. pretty intense. the london cats got a lot of life and have us back and back. it's a good gig. talk w/a lot of them after the show. one lady named lana has an art gallery she's getting going and offers her upstairs for us to konk. we accept and bail w/her after packing up.
first, lana wants us to stop at a bar she worked at as a girl. we say ok and go into this place, it's kind of beat up and worn. some cat is singing and playing guitar all goofy and that's ok. tom's taking pics of some lady who can make her tongue come out real far like a lizard, it's a trip. time to go though cuz we're tired. we head up to lana's pad and I'm done but there's lots of talking still to do, tom has got some pointers for helping lana light her gallery and shit like that. I apply the mask that plugs the lights and though some words pass through my lips for a while, I'm sure the sense makes less and less as sleepytown finds me konked on one of it's sidewalks.
wednesday, october 27 - pontiac, mi
in the morning lana's daughter wakes us up wondering who these strange men are on her living room floor, very cute but we have to load out and roll again. when we get to the u.s. border we get the barrage of unnessesary customs questioning. it all seems so unefficient but we get to go once they realize that there isn't anything left for them to do to us. it's such a drag that it's so much more of a hassle to get enter back into our own country, I find something very wrong with that.
we return to the highway and drive through detroit to the suburbs of pontiac and find the center of town a couple hours before the club opened. we check out the pawn shop and vince goes through the used saxophones with the proprietor for a little while.
the 7th house is situated in a small office building that has been converted into a group of art galleries an espresso bar and the club which is a good sized venue and run pretty tightly. we get through our preliminary duties and I shack up in the backstage to write before the first band, the numbers. they are a local band who do the maximum r & b thing as good as anyone and their show is really fun to watch, which I do. we have a fun time playing too and I think everyone is into it. I've been having a little difficulty with my volume knob and it finally freezes up on one of the songs that I use it like crazy so I have to switch to my strat for the rest of our set and it's just not like the telecaster for me. vince is really good tonight, but he's good everynight and I think we are really learning how to play together now.
we have some friends at the gig and we all head back to bob's place where we hang out and check some cool old videos he shot and I finally have to hit the sack. It's good to see bob again he's such a great host, we really appreciate it.
wake up to lana's daughter wandering around these weird guys on the floor. I hear mike answering her questions: "that's tom...that's vince". she has a plastic bat in her hand. "hit them with it," he says, "help them wake". the tv/cartoons get switched on, and we head out to breakfast. it's good. mike says meet you at the van, and we finish up. when we get out there, he's moved the van because he was beseiged by loonies. I saw a couple of them walking through an alley, a couple of portly guys, one in overalls, dragging a childs wagon. we finally blast out.
we get to the canadian/u.s. border. at the u.s. immigration/customs part, we pull up to the booth. a steely-eyed youngish border patrol officer looks us over. let's call him rock strongjaw. tom, who is driving, says hello, then mike, who is in the passenger seat, starts to let him know what's up with us: "this is my band; we've been working in canada". strongjaw looks at tom: "do you speak?", he says. at some point, he asks mike, who is wearing the digital camera on a strap around his neck: "what's wrong with your neck?". Watt says, "do you mean this camera?". strongjaw says "that's what I asked you?". strongjaw tells us to go to the inspection bay. there, mike gets out of the van and goes into the office, where, after inspecting his papers, another officer tells him it's ok for us to go. we're pulling out when another officer (the third now) entirely stops us. he has us go into the office while he inspects our stuff. when he's finally satisfied that we're not smuggling anything, he comes into the office to let us go finally. he says "next time you go to canada, it's a good idea to register your equipment". watt always registers the gear and already had it registered, which would have been easy for this guy to check. in fact, if he would of conferred with the officer mike had talked to when he went into the office initially, he would have learned that. but instead, our stuff gets gone through and we have to put up with the condescending bit.
when we go through canadian immigration/customs, generally they're efficient, professional and courteous, even if they decide that they have to search the van. in fact, if they search the van, they allow you to be present, whereas on the u.s. side, they do it out of your sight. on the u.s. side, they're not coordinating info, they're wildcatting on bluster and suspicion. here we are, earning money in canada that we'll end up paying taxes on in the u.s., but we're treated like criminals trying to get away with something.
the gig, the 7th house, is in pontiac, michigan. it is on the second floor of a complex in which there is a deli/coffee place, a museum and some galleries. there's great glass sculpture everywhere. but we're here early, so theirs time to check things out. tom and I head across the street and I ask about sax repair as my c# key is still sticking. the sax repair man'll be in soon. I buy a fancy hi-hat clutch which ends up breaking the next night. we head across the street to a pawn shop. I'm checking out a conn sax and a sales guy comes up and starts opening sax cases. there are yamaha's, martins, various saxes, some seem like they're priced pretty low. he brings out a selmer mark VI that's in great shape. then he lets the pawn shop owner that I'm in the market for a beater flute to replace the one I had stolen in NYC, and the guy takes us into the back area where he's got haynes, emersons, gemeinharts - solid silver open hole b-foot jobs. he broke out a soprano mark VI even. I played all the flutes - it was great to play good flutes after losing my armstrong. I go back out front to try even more. a guy comes in and asks "do you have any heaters?" another salesman says, "we have these electric heaters over here", and the guys says, "no, you know, a gat, a gun". theyr'e not allowed to sell handguns there, however, just rifles, so the man goes without a heater. I end up not buying a flute - the cheapest one was a silver-headed gemeinhart b-foot french key job for $300 that maybe I should have bought. but I was sort of reluctant to spend the bread at that point - I figured I'd think about it. I went to the van, got my horn, and went back to the music store where the repair man was in. he went back and fixed my horn while I waited - $10, not bad.
I went to another music store/pawn-shop across the street and bought an artley flute for $135. in retrospect, I wish I'd bought the better $300 job at the first pawn shop - it was a much better flute - but at the time I didn't feel I could spare it, and, anyway, I'd of had to borrow the scratch from tom or mike, and by then, they were both sleeping in the van. that's the way it goes. somebody has my armstrong in new york, or maybe it's in some pawn shop being looked over by someone else whose axe was stolen...
I get a sandwich and coffee at the deli, tom walks in while I'm finishing and he orders the same. it's real good. then it's time to load in, so we walk over, and mike and someone from the theater have pretty much gotten it done, up the elevator. the theater is very modern, seats, good sightlines, balcony, big p.a. the sound man is very efficient and skilled, so things go quick. while I'm checking out the sax mic, I realize that the c# is still sticking. I run down the stairs and across the street back into the store and the repairman fixes it quickly and I run back and finish sound-check.
the gig is pretty good. chris the taper and crew is there in force, bob teagen too. I'm nervous because it's being taped for all posterity so I don't have my best night, although it's not too bad. I meet a lot of people including mike's pal the poet who leaves a book of poetry with us. there are many friendly people in the team new england camp, so it's like family. but we missed you randy.
after the gig we head over to bob's and as is traditional check out some videos. we view a great boredoms tape that I saw at bob's in '95. the boredoms are awesome. there's also pere ubu, skeleton crew, a band with don bolles in it that was great, tenko, the singer guitar-player that I was into in a major way and a band who's name I can't remember doing a song with the words "the girl with the freaky smile" that bob shot a video of on econo-budget. the drummer is playing oil cans and they're all standing around her in this vacant lot in a bleak abandoned industrial area with sparks flying all around from a fire. the guitar players are miming playing with funky pawn-shop guitars. it's great, and a crack-up, and I love it. then it's time to crash, after bob mixes up some walnuts and yogurt for us that hits the spot.
get the pop not from the sun but from lana's little girl. she's a trip and very smart. won't keep the television off though. I go hoof and find the weather's still great, thank you! come back and me and tom chow downstairs at a little diner. when I'm done, I wait by the boat for vince to finish and tom to get back from looking at magazines. waiting there, these old folks come out of the chow pad and start hollering at each other, real lound and crazy. I guess they're wiggers. some older guy comes by pulling a small wagon and the whole place seems crazy. it's kind of sad. mental illness really ain't the funny shit people make it look like in movies. all the screaming is scaring me. I'm hoping tom and vince will show up soon so we can get the fuck out of dodge. all towns have this, it's not just london, ontario. we got a bunch in my town, san pedro. there's halfway houses and stuff like that by the post office on beacon. it is tragic and sad. I wish I could help.
only a couple of hours to the border and then time to go through that rigamaroo. you never know what's going to happen, even though you try to do everything they want of you. I present my 4455 registration form w/all the equipment listed and the officer says fine (this after another office gave us a pretty hard look and shake down) but another officer wants the van searched and tells me next time I need to register my stuff. I let him know I did in champlain (where we entered canada on saturday) and gave the form already to his colleague. aarrgghhhh! why bore you folks w/this shit, it's always tougher for me to get back into my own country than be a guest of others. that's a trip, huh?
I've always played in downtown detroit but this time decided to follow mr. kaul's advice and try something out in the burbs. pontiac is like thirty miles north. you can tell it was it's own town at one point and we're playing in the old main street area there at a place called the _7th house_. I go have some navy bean soup on the corner at some pad named _zef's_ and it's great. econo too. the workers speak polish. I come out and see my old friend from toledo, dan and it's a great site. he's brought his bud jay who gives me a tape of _the bumps_, a band he digs much. dan gives me one of his great comp tapes that he's always made for me on past tours. we'd call his tapes "dan's wac." he also gives me a hand bound book of poetry he did inspired by baudelere and poe. damn, thanks dan. I konk in the boat happy.
dan and jay come and roust me for the gig. this pad is like a school recital room w/a balcony and shit. pretty intimidating. old bud bob teagan comes w/his camera as does chris and his buds and recording stuff. well documented gig, that's for sure. the detroit cats always have a good spirit and I love playing for them. the pair of pliers kick up some serious dust and we do a bunch of encores and I give a few spiels about breaking the mold and fucking shit up on an art level, a political level, on a take-back-the-punk-movement level. thought for sure ron asheton would show up and do "funhouse" w/us (jimbo said he would) but no such luck. damn. everything else though was great even though the pliers and myself blew some clams and I thank the detroit cats big time. I missed the openers, _the numbers_ but talk w/them afterwards and they give me their cd. they look like they're into the old _who_ or the earliest form of _the jam_. what a trip. I thank the soundman matt, who did a great job. everything great, I dig playing for these detroit cats. next time, downtown though.
we head on over to bob teagan's pad in fraser, another burb. I always stay here and bob's the perfect host. he's got all these videos of bands and a giant television. he shows some great shit like _free kitten_, _the gories_, _pere ubu_ and stuff like that. there's one I dig much and see it every time I'm at bob's from a lady called _tenko_ who does solo guitar and singing that is kickass. chris the taper and his peeps are here too and I bet she blew their minds. one more play of the gories video and then I'm out, thanks bob for always being there for me.
thursday, october 28 - cincinnati, oh
we roll out of michigan at noon and make it to cincinatti by 5 and luckily the guitar shop across from the club. they are able to repair my tele for tonight and I also get some amp work done that I needed so I'm relieved a little bit. the club for tonight is sudsey malones and I've played here before with the red krayola a couple years ago. it's a great place cause it's basically a laundrymat with a full bar and a stage so we all get our wash going right away. that's very useful on tour.
I spend my first part of the evening in the van hearing the opening band through the walls. when our time comes I look around for mike and he's upstairs locked in the office so I am thinking I hope he realizes that it's our turn and soon he shows and we get into it. we dish it out and the people dig it. it's a good time.
our trip afterwards is sort of long but we successfully make it to kentucky to dawns house to sleep, I hit the couch and slip away.
in to town early again. we hit a guitar shop across from the club first off to repair a pot (volume nob assembly) on tom's telecaster, which crapped out last night. there are a lot of cool amps around - tweed champs, super-champs, deluxes, deluxe-verbs, princetons...I covet them all, but they're pretty high priced. I go down the street for a triple cappucino, then cross the street to go into sudsy malones, the club we're playing at, which is a club/laundramat combo. we all put our laundry in machines - it's that time; the stench bags runneth over. we load in and do sound check quickly. shaun, the engineer, is another efficient, easy going sound man. we've had great luck this tour with sound people, and, since we don't have the great steve reed with us doing sound, is lucky. miss you steve, wish you were here.
I go next door to eat at an italian place. it's weird - there's a college sports talk show going on where the coach of the local college team rambles on in a 10 minute collection of non-sequitors and sports cliche's. I get gnocchi, wish is pretty mediocre. an old timer fan of the team with a bow tie and sport coat starts talking to me - he's a friend of oscar robertson and wrote a book about him that didn't get published. he starts going on about ushering for the team in the 30's. he was in the coast guard in ww2 and worked for ford for 45 years. I tell him about our boat, mikes 250 econoline with well over 200,000 miles on it and the guy is proud: "well, I guess I earned my pension". he played drums when he was young, gigging at the local roller rink, and, of course, playing at the games. he says he still has his old drumsticks and playes along with the radio. right on, sir.
it's a good gig, feels real good. the audience is great, and we rock pretty hard. the drums are loud on stage. my sax reed is about as old and crusty as it can get - I need to find a new one. after the gig we follow dawn, an old friend of mikes, to her house, about 20 minutes away. there we meet seamus and sophie, dawns sister. dawn is hospitable and very friendly, as are sophie and shamus, but I'm burnt. there are bunk beds and while they are all hanging out with mike (tom went to bed upstairs), I crawl into the rack to crash.
let my guys sleep to 11:30 cuz they're beat but then we gotta get going. next stop is _sudsy malone's_ in cincinnati. drive south through toledo, dayton, past the jim beam still and then into cinci. trippy thing past toledo is a mosque that just pops out of nowhere next to the freeway. another one too closer to dayton. dig the domes. good weather's still w/us. get into town early and to the pad and what's happening across the street? some band who paints their face, try to do rap and squirt pop on the kids who come to see them has cancelled their gig so some young kids w/their faces painted up throw bottles of pop on the sidewalk and start screaming and running. the cops come and make them clean it all up. cinci cops are a trip w/their white shirts, I dig that a bunch more than the dark gestapo suits the l.a.p.d. wear (which is being copied by police forces all over the country now). you can tell there's a fire in the kids' bellies but it just gets diluted into corny marketing shticks by pekers who don't want to work for a living. why can't that fire get channeled into intense arts and humanities? they need to know it's ok to shake things up on the idea level and let in some fresh air in this stagnant institutionalized butt for hire dog and pony show. face paint, klan masks, what the fuck ever. if you just want to have fun, get on a skateboard and invent some moves. express yourself, don't just join a fucking herd or mob and help make just a couple of corporate pawns some bucks. man, this shit gets me thinking about the state of things.
across the street is also _mike's music_, which is a great music store w/lots of old instruments and amps. there's a great fender p-bass there that was the house bass in some blues pad that even has one cat's inmate number carved in it but my hands are getting older and the wider nut of a p-bass is getting tough on watt. damn. back across the street to sudsy's. this pad is great cuz it's not just a bar and a place to play but it's also a laundramat. very key for me now cuz I have very few outfits left. I do the wash and scrub the stench. sean, the soundman, after soundcheck gives me the key for upstairs and I go up there to work on the 'puter and after a couple of hours, I konk. dan, tonight's boss, must've not had his key and kicks the fucking door in. I almost have a god damn heart attack when his foot comes through. damn. he says he's sorry. I dig playing for him. we both laugh big time. time to play, gotta go get shirts.
the opening band was _let's crash_ and one of the cats give me their seven inch. damn, sorry to miss them. just gotta have the konk to play at my best. sorry. we hit the stage and boy, are the monitors screeching w/high end. it's ripping our heads off. the wedges are mounted from the ceiling and I think there's probs w/this. anyway, it's killing both me and tom but we soldier through. the cats in the crowd are great and urge us on w/every throw. we finish up on a great note despite the tech things which is the way it should be. you can't get caught up in the little minutia when your real resposnibility is to the folks, you gotta get beyond and over your petty fucking self. even if you're fighting a hell of a prob, you gotta at least learn to laugh and find the fun in it. maybe that's what my ma meant by "acting professional" when she once saw me play and get caught up in a hissy fit.
dawn, who I know through teej from l.a., has drove all the way from lexington, where she lives w/her sisters now and invites us to stay there. now I hate driving at night but my guys are into it and we roll for ninety minutes south to the middle of kentucky. we get there late and I'm tired but they want to talk so I spiel for a while but have to eventually pull the plug on watt and let the konk bring me down, down into sueno.
friday, october 29 - nashville, tn
we awake and dawn and sophia are in the kitchen and we talk and eat before heading out of the town of lexington. the trip to nashville is through some of the nicest countryside you could ever see, all horse stables and tobacco farms.
we get into town and to the exit/in early but it's open and we load in and begin our soundcheck shortly after. the weather continues to be great and I sit out in the patio to write. soon an old friend from the sst days, kara shows up and we sit and talk a while and wait for the first band to play. it's a long wait and I keep busy while vince and mike take naps.
400 plays a cool set to some fans and we get ready to play. our set goes smoothly and dixie and frank keep it all very comfortable. after the show I see an old friend named joy and she and I catch up with some chatting before we load out and hit it to the mo' 6 for some shut eye. mike realizes that he left his computer in the club but we get ahold of kara and make an arrangement to meet at the club in the morning.
so this is nashville. we load into the exit/in and load in. frank, our sound man, introduces himself and we get to work. we sound check, have a problem with mike's monitor and frank gets to work fixing it. the exit/in is a pretty big club with a big stage. there's a list of people who've played there and it's a great honor to be on the stage where they've played. I call jan, who I've stayed friends with since we were together in high school. she lives in nashville now with her husband keith. they're both excellent musicians - great singers - and I want them check out what we're doing. I get in touch and they're gonna show up. I'm excited. I haven't seen jan in years. she recommends a place to eat down the street which I end up going to, the calypso cafe. it's good, and it's cheap.
after eating I get back to the club and holly, mikes old friend, is there. she lives nearby and nashville is her old stomping ground. there's a krispy kreme donut place on the corner and I ask her if the hype is justified. she takes me over there to show me that it is. I'm a believer now. holly is a wonderful person, way sharp and cheerful, the opposite of cynical. she makes you feel comfortable right off the bat. I met her in '95 when mw and the crew...saucer was in new orleans. great to run into you again holly!
dixie is our hospitality person and she loads up the band room with chips, habanero salsa, fruit, water, newcastles for tom and that kind of stuff. so far everybody is hospitable as hell. we meet two of the guys in four hundred, our band colleagues for the night. rob is the drummer and eric is the guitarist. they call eric squirrel, he tells me, because he gets so squirrelly before the gig. he says he shakes nervously before the gigs - I know the feeling, eric. rob's got a lakers shirt on, so I'm down with him already.
jan and keith show up and I hang out with them, catching up on what they're doing. they've got an r and b band there in nashville and will be doing a record with an english producer soon. jan teaches voice there in town also. keith goes out on the road on the weekends singing on the road. they own a house outside of town and have critters. it's great to see jan again and it's great to hang with keith. he's a great guy and I'm so glad they're together. I love you two, hope to see you soon.
four hundred goes on and plays a good set. rob rocks the drums - he's a great technicial and really grooves. eric blazes, really good singing and guitar playing. and bassman, I've alzheimered your name, but I enjoyed you too - all of yez. really good set. we go on, and our set finishes better than it starts. I want to impress my friends and I guess I'm a little uptight because my first little solo in get gettin' down down is a little stumbly and lacking in continuity. but we bounce back and the set gets stronger. by the encore we're hitting a good stride. jan and keith have to go right after the set, so I don't get to talk to them about it. I've always greatly valued jan's honest criticism and appreciated her encouragement. after the set, when mike is selling t-shirts, singles and getting people to sign the mailing list, some guy takes off with the mailing list. I get a description from mike and take off across the street where someone said he probably was. it's a bar and I go through, feeling like a detective in a movie. kara comes over to help out as does holly, but to no avail. what kind of clown steals somebodies mailing list? well, it's gone, and we have to go, so goodbye holly - great hanging with you, goodbye kara, see you theo! thanks for the encouraging words about the drumming, kara, you don't know how much I appreciate it. jan and keith, I loved being able to see you two, and hope you enjoyed it!
pop and what's this? more sun? arriba! thank you. thanks too to dawn and her sisters and we're down the road, headed south for nashville. we take a small state road to get to the blue grass parkway and pass many thouroghbred horse farms. we see some tobacco curing in some barns. big, brown and veiny leaves - first time tom or vince has ever seen them. they trip too on the blue grass, it kind of really looks that way. we're behind this hay tractor and when we pass them, we see a hispanic cat driving. all right, the rest of the country's finally catching on. we'll be stronger for it. at elizabethtown we cross a time zone, then through bowling green w/the corvette factory (I think of steve reed back home and miss him) and into tennessee.
we get into town early and get a good parking space right in front of tonight's pad, the _exit/in_, which I've played once before. bruce is there, he used to own it but now runs the pad across the street, _elliston square_. he's happening, I first played for him as a minuteman. good to see cats from the old days still in the ring. the boss for tonight is dixie and she's nice though you can tell she's new at this gig. it must be funny for a young person doing "young" music w/an maybe not so young fuck like me. hey, that's how old punk is now, if it was a kid it'd be old enough to drink. anyway, I hoof around and check out this old used book store across the street. lots of good shit here. I get this book by robert ruark called "the old man and the boy." it's about this cat who grew up listening to stories of his grandpa and his "step-uncles, both black and white." it's a good balance to the stuff I'm reading in the umberto eco tome. still is philosophy too. just another angle. lucky find. see, this is what tour can bring you, the physicality of being.
the folks at the pad are real nice and soundcheck's a breeze. my monitors are sounding like shit so the soundman frank takes hours to get them happening. he's great, what a happening attitude. much respect, frank. holly comes by, she's all healed from a horrible wreck she had last year where she was thrown from her car and then it landed on top of her. damn. she's in great spirits though she had to shoot a dog that was attacking her kitties the other day. she lives on a farm an hour south. it was fucked but the dog had already killed one and had another in its mouth. damn. she's waiting for her buddy theo, who's a great cat from her town that saw me for the first time last year and dug it. when he comes, it's great to see him again - he's a one of a kind, very natural. kara come by too, she used to work at sst records and even lived in pedro and she's got good news: she stopped drinking. last few times I've played here, she's come totally blasted and it's good to see her focused. she's got sixty one days straight. great, kara!
I'm invited to speak at another gig about the low power fm issue so all four of us pile into theo's ride and go over to _the sutler_ where it's gonna be held. it scares the shit out of me to talk in front of folks but this is an issue I really am into and I just gather up the cojones and do it. I try not to stutter, make my point and let the folks there know why I think it's important that they know about this shit. the air waves belong to all of us, not just those w/big money. I tell them about riding into town and seeing mc_____d's sharing a billboard w/the x-treme power rock 102 or whatever the fuck the rubber stamp shit being imprinted on this town. I ask for some plurality and community voices that actually have some attachment to the neighborhoods and people. LOW POWER FM to provide some fabric. not just disposalble shit to pad inbetween the commercials, commercials and more commercials. folks seem to pick up on what I'm saying. the lady kim there thanks me for coming and passes around a petition to ask the government (fcc) to license these alternatives (love that fucking 'a' word) to what's dominating our public air waves now. trippy thing is that most people don't know we all actually own these airwaves. check http://www.lowpowerradio.org if you want to read more and make up your own mind about this.
get back and then it's time to konk. the openers are _the 400_ but can you believe this? I miss them cuz of the konk (no shit, watt). tom rousts me when it's our turn. I like heading right from the boat to the stage and just kicking the shit out, just like that. great crowd that's full of energy and spirit, a great joy to play for them. for us it's a weird sound on stage cuz tom and vince can only hear themselves but despite this, we do good and the team holds solid. bunch of encores and then sling boque shirts - damn, thank you good folks of nashville. there's one idiot though who steals my fucking mailing list. who would do something like that, steal a fucking mailing list? first he folded it up and then I took it from him, saying why would you do something like that. he grabbed it again and ran out the front door. it only had some names from the last gig in cincinnati but damn, what a fucking nut.
we pack up and bail for a mo-six by the airport and follow holly and theo down the beltway. holly's gotta help her pop the next day bulldoze a road on their farm. she's intense, quite a woman. as we drive, I check for the 'puter and damn, I left in w/jason, the bartender who put it behind the bar for safekeeping. I am one fucking idiot. total donate mode. when we get to the mo-six, I call kara who calls dixie and we arrange for a pick-up the next morning. what a dumbfuck I am. damn. I konk happy though knowing there's folks who can help me out when I stumble and I ain't in this wrastlin ring totally alone. when I answered the phone and hit the lights I see roaches running about. I wonder if they run all crazy over my face while I lie there konked? another good reason to konk w/the mouth shut, huh?
saturday, october 30 - atlanta, ga
we get up and head back to the club to pick up the computer and head to the echo lounge. the doors are still locked but soon a group of locals assemble in the clubs parking lot. it turns out there is a wedding practice for some friends of the owners who will be getting married the next day (halloween) in the club. so we chill before loading in and recline in some groovy hanging bubble chairs. vinces friend dan is there and he is going to follow us for a few shows and record us, but before too long vince dan and I head over to a local italian place for a good meal.
tonight we play with a couple local bands that are getting primed for the halloween festivities. since it's saturday most people are celebrating a day early. we are holding out on our costumes til the real date to come but the night moves along and we get up and play hard for over an hour. after our show we go to a warehouse with marlon to crash for the night but there is a huge halloween party going on next door and it takes a little while to get to sleep.
we get to the echo lounge early, but there's a wedding rehearsal going on in there, of all things, so we wait to load in. hey, what do you know, it's my old friend dan ranalli there in the parking lot! he's flown in to hang with us and tape some shows. great to have you, dan. dan is a founding member of el grupo sexo, a band I was in and loved very dearly "back in the day". we used to open up for the minutemen in the legendary safari sams in huntington beach. those were great days and dan is my brother. dan and I walk down street so I can grab some stuff for my halloween costume. I buy a bright orange shirt, and a loud wide tie. I am unable to find the perm wig and mustache I covet, but at least I'm a little closer, having already purchased a pair of teal sansabelts where tom and I got our orange hunters vests (plier garb) in the salt lake city thrift store.
the young antiques open the show with a rockin' set. good playing, good drumming, good singing. the x-impossibles follow with a sort of theatrical set, very entertaining. the bass player is a big guy, dressed as a pimp with several bullet wounds in the thorax. morgan from the x-impossibles is from long beach and was hip to the doug hart's beneath broadway scene, which was a great scene indeed. I might add at this point that the x-impossibles have dressed up for halloween a day early, as have at least 50% of the audience. in fact, there were trick or treaters stopping by during sound check. our set is pretty rocking, and mike says to the audience, "don't you know it's not halloween until tomorrow? don't fuck with the gods!"
after the gig we repair to an industrial zone where there are several lofts where artists and musicians live, and where there is a big halloween party in progress. I drive the van through this apocolyptic party vibe down narrow driveways between buildings where cars are parked and people in costume walk by, kicking empty beer bottles which are strewn everywhere. we are to crash at a loft where one of mike's buds lives, with marlo, a bass player who dressed as watt for his costume. we get to the loft, drop our sleeping bags, packs, etc., and head out to join the throng of costumed revelers. there's a band playing in one of the lofts next door. tom is ahead of us as ranalli and I head in. dan and I head to the kegs for danny boy thirsts for brew. two of the young antiques guys are there trying to coax beer from the kegs but its down to the foam. a guy who was at the show comes up full of welcome praise. got any beer, we ask? he leads us down this labyrinthine path under sheets hung up creating makeshift hallwas and rooms. the pathways get smaller until we head into some dungeon, some canto from dante's inferno where a thin ghoulish lounge-singer-dressed guy nervously holds court in the claustrophibic den. he hands me a package of candy, saying something like "there's two hits in there", then dispenses beer to dan and the fan and asks how I felt about the show. I tell him and ask him what he thought. he wasn't there, because, as he said, there wasn't anyone in the band besides mike he'd heard of. well how in the hell, I wondered, do you find out about the people you haven't heard of? and what, then, do you care about what I thought about the show? oh well. he is talking non-stop like dennis hopper in apocolypse now. there's a guy sitting in a car seat on the floor grinning at all this. the manic-lounge-guy shows me a drum set in the corner and asks if I'll play it. he refers to his standard 22" kick as "oversized". he's got a rack tom mounted like a floor tom. I sit down at the kit and the kick is tuned like a piccolo snare - cranked very tight. he runs over to fetch sticks, which are actually mallets, and hands them to me. I do a mallet thing, and the guy sits on the floor by the kit and rocks back and forth, head between his knees, hands clasped around his shins. I am enjoying the mallets, and somehow feel obligated to keep entertaining. a dog wanders in and sits next to my drum stool, looking up, mouth open in doggy smile. he looks over at the undulating lounge-guy and back at me as if to say: "master's on the shit". I am thankful that I hadn't taken the candy and therefore whatever homeboy had, or I would have drawn some new age signifigance from the whole scene I was involved in. ranalli gives me a look like "let's blow this hot-dog stand" and we split to the outer room. watt's heading in just then. we eventually go in to check out the band - marlo's in it - and they're having a good time, but it's time to crash. dan heads to his rental infiniti to crash and I head to the loft.
the band has stopped next door. marlo comes in and offers his room, a small, two-story loft sub-place within the big loft. tom is already in the bed, so I spread my sleeping bag on the floor. marlo has told us not to let the kitty out - the kitty is bug, an all grey kitten about four months old. the loft is real hot, but it's a place to crash, and bug the kitty is there, so it's great. bug has six-toes on each paw and is a very friendly, playful little guy who knows not to use his claws when he grabs you. I lay down and the little guy climbs on my chest, purring himself loudly to sleep. I shift around and he gets tired of it, so he perches higher up on a shelf. I wake up a couple times during the night and as soon as I wake up each time he comes down to say hello and purr on my chest for awhile. he's a great kitty and I miss my cats (and I miss my linda who is there in our house with our cats), so it's beautiful to have made friends with the little fella.
pop and head back to club to pick up the 'puter. stupid watt. see jason the bartender outside the pad and rick, the booker, comes by and let's us in. fortunate watt, the 'puter's where jason left it. we express much thanks and get ready to bail when dixie drives up. damn, she came for nothing. I apologize and we're out. next stop: atlanta.
through the hills of tennessee and over the chickamauga and we're into georgia. down the I-75 through marietta, smyrna (where I got my les paul signature bass years ago) and then into a new part of town for watt: south east atlanta. I used to play _the point_ in little five points but that's now gone. tonight is at the _echo lounge_, which is in an area just coming on. it's in a good phase, just before the yuppies come pouncing in and kype it. funny to see the same old cycles play out. when we learn? are we doomed? no way, only slow learners. we'll get a handle on that shit yet. this pad is real neat w/a couple of hanging chairs made of clear lucite that you can sit in and get private. these are like spheres w/a hole cut out and a pad put in to sit on. like dangling bubbles. when both chairs are facing each other, you hear just them who's sitting in it while the rest of the room is muted. great idea. morgan, the cat there who is also in one of the opening bands, says they're from the 60s and some danish company has re-issued them. see, some of those hippie ideas were and are still happening. nothing more dangerous than a good idea.
a friend who's job it is to write about old buildings comes by to chow w/me. grace says she's from what gets called generation x but she's no slacker. she doesn't like conforming to corporate culture so why should she get marginalized by being lumped in w/some target market cuz of her age? who would? you're either a predator or a victim - fuck that shit! you co-exist w/all kinds of cats from all kinds of age groups. the idea of generation is fucked up anyway as far as I'm concerned. sure, there's events that happen that effect a certain group of people of a certain era like world war one, the depression, world war two, the viet nam war - shit like that. events that shaped whole groups of people, mainly wars or dramatic economic crisis. what age you were was just circumstance, the enormity of those events called on all the people, no matter what the age. the distinctions being made now are so flimsy and so phony. fake lines to draw us into fake battles. everything has not been invented or explored, you fucking jaded boomers! we need creative folks now just as much we did then, in fact maybe more cuz of the cynicism and negative shit that keeps getting dumped on these younger folks. the pressure to keep art just a shill to sell you shit you really don't need so you can feel you belong. what happened to real connections? there was a time for looking inside w/stuff like "death of a salesman," huh? we grew out of that? play _little richard_ to fuck w/the idea of order? back in line kids, pay at the counter, learn to ask "how much" not "why?" I feel a lot of energy w/cats like grace and they _are_ movers but dig autonomy, what's wrong w/that? does it make your marketing job harder? good! fuck all you assholes looking for a neck to wear on your leash. give these younger cats a chance cuz they're the future and you'll be counting on them soon. one of them working for every two of you "retired" soon. like you ever "retire" from real life anyway except when your number's up. stop dividing to get us conquered cuz there's some crochity motherfuckers who ain't going along w/that bullshit! me and gracie have a good chow.
time to konk. hatch slams to the boat and I'm out. the _young antiques_ play. I miss them. the _x-imposters_ play. I miss them. this whole tour I miss the openers but I gotta konk or I'll play like shit, I hope folks understand. I go to gigs in my town and check out new bands but tour is such fullness it requires me to manage my energies. I apologize to any and all who got up on stage before me, swung for the fence, tried their hardest and was gracious enough to share the stage w/me. keep you fires lit. I pop, grab the shirts and find the pad full of folks wearing costumes - isn't tomorrow halloween? everybody working for the weekend, why not keep the day sacred. holidays are to fuck w/the natural man-made order (!) and celebrate inspite of what fucking day of the week it is. time to bust out. I don't dig centering everything around two days a week, it's lopsided, it's too regular. halloween's an old tradition - don't fix something that ain't broke for christ's sake! damn.
anyway, I'm waiting for tomorrow so I'm wearing my usual costume: flannel and levi. dan ranalli, vince's bud has joined us for three days and set up recording stuff to capture the audio part of the gigs. me and the pliers hit the stage hard and play like motherfuckers. we're lit up intense. I dig my team big time. the crowd too is w/us, we're one big team. great gig. much respect, good people of atlanta. get done, start slinging shirts and I see dave simpson, an old bud from the minutemen days, a former member of the _econo dudes_, I wonder what's happened w/his old team: stylee, morgan and big dave? see todd from mobile, he made the hell-ride for the gig, thank you todd. mitchell, the floor boss, has never seen me before and digs it. much respect, mitchell. I like turning folks on w/a mindblow. the only thing new is you, finding out about it! we pack up and paul, from c-11 (a punk practice pad where folks also live) invites us there to konk.
I stayed here last tour, it's an industrial park populated w/artists. not what you find everywhere. c-11 has a d. boon shrine, tom and vince trip on it, much respect for the big man. tommy, a singer for a band called _the rent boys_ asks us to come watch them play. it's a huge halloween party. I see them play and they're great. I'm tired though and get back to the couch I first flopped on when we arrived. same couch I konked on last tour. folks want to talk so I talk, puff some mota but then I have to konk cuz I just ain't got any more in me. I still hear voices as demos' mask brings me darkness. have they taken the hint? sueno takes me before I can learn that answer.
sunday, october 31 - carborro, nc
we find our way out of the warehouse complex and start off towards south carolina and the cats cradle club. we arrive and load and start assembling our costumes for our halloween gig. mike has a cool paper mache head that is one of the south park charecters and I have a dog face mask that covers my whole head and vince is putting together a strange outfit that looks something like a professor/jester guy.
the night moves slowly and two other bands try to warm up a slightly burned out audience. by the time we start to play we have about a half filled club and only about a quarter of them are in costume. well that's not a problem and we play as well as we can with masks on and by the end of the first few songs my head is completely sweating under the rubber dog face. mike also seems to have trouble seeing his bass and singing through the little mouth hole in his mask. we get through it and mike tears of his paper head for the encores. it all ends well and we ship off to mike's friend mike's place in the neighborhood of raliegh. I am pretty beat by this time and I fall asleep on a couch before too long.
I hear tom shifting in his sleeping bag, and wake up in the little loft room. I find the shower chamber and wash up. we load up our bags, packs, etc., and dan walks up. he says he slept well. dan follows as mike drives to an einstein bagel place outside of town where we grab a bite. then we head to carrboro, dan our kite tale behind in his rental. on the way tom plays a mournful tune on the cho-cho pipe. we change drivers, and tom is still able to serenade as he drives, using his old french horn embouchure. we mix up some bottled salsa and "doc's special jamaian hell-fire sauce" we've been given by the club the night before and eat it with tortilla chips. we don't let any of our rider food, water, fruit go to waste. it's a long drive, but we get there.
we pull into carrboro, and drive in. I run across the street to a army surplus store to try to get more costume stuff, but it's closed. I run back over to help finish load in, tired, hungry, anxious about the costume, irritable and full of smart-aleck potential. the sound guys suggest a party after the set featuring their friends ac/dc cover band and I say, "hey, great idea - party all night, then get up and drive all day". we finish check, and I walk to try to get a perm wig and mustache, but end up scoring only a jester hat and make up to draw a mustache. ok, it'll do, along with tom's fake eyeglasses. then ranalli go out and get some dinner around the corner.
halifax starts out the show cool and quirky. the guitar and bass are a half step off, and it sounds good. it wasn't intentional, though, tom and I find out as they tune up once they discover the difference. the guy playing guitar has great nerd appeal in his oxford shirt and circumspect manner. the girl playing bass enjoys herself and has a lot of charisma. the drummer looks like gilligan, and he plays well. I put on my costume while the bad checks are on, so I don't get to check their hot rockin'. ranalli reports that they were "fun lovin'". we hit the stage in our costumes, tom in a weird rubber doggy mask with patches of hair all over it. I'm in my multicolored mad scientist/jester garb. out comes watt, teetering with a large spherical south-park kid paper-mache head on. he can't see, so he feels his way to his microphone. it sounds like he's singing from inside a chamber, which he is, and it's hilarious. everytime I look at him, which is a lot since I face him when I play, I crack up. in johnny jewel mike joins me in hitting the cymbals in the froth up section, using his hands. this time, he can't see the cymbals, so he's lashing out at them, making contact at random. then he heads back to his mic, feeling around for the stand. I can't stop cracking up. I look over at tom's ragged doggy mask and keep laughing. I find that I'm able to use the jester hat to emulate georgies hair unit, so I flip it around as best I can. during the encore the sax mic doesn't come over the monitors until about two thirds of the way through. afterwards, the monitor guy apologises, then says something about the angle of the mic and the cowbells on the stand being responsible. it's the same angle as every other gig we've played so far, so what's the difference?
after the gig, we drive to mike's, a friend of watts, who is an engineering student who made mike's balcony chair back in pedro. we meet mr. lunch, his dog and his roomates goldfish. we make more salsa/hot-sauce mix and mike breaks out some old el paso beans. there's a hardwood floor and enough couch space for two, so I head out to the van to crash. the van bench seat is comfortable and I have no problem falling to sleep.
whoa, I feel somebody on my legs. it must be a dream. no, what I think is some kids got stranded and konked in the big front room of c-11 where I'm planted. I don't pull up the mask and just konk back out. whatever, I hope I kept somebody warm. when I do pop, it's time to roust my cats quick cuz we got a hell-ride. it's halloween and I'm gonna celebrate w/something I've done for twenty years on this day: play a gig w/a costume on.
beautiful weather finds us on northeast trajectory, through the rest of georgia, south carolina (we pass the new bmw plant in spartanburg) and into north carolina, heading for carborro, the home of _cat's craddle_. I've played all three versions of this pad, the other two being next door in chapel hill and dig it and the boss there, frank heath, much. another one of those essential folks for me out there putting on gigs. ed fROMOHIO lives in this town and was going to be on the bill but instead had to go out and sling shirts for _southern culture on the skids_, a great band I played w/last tour in nebraska. heard edward was excited to do some sort of solo thing since jon, his drummer in his new band, _grand national_, had to go out w/his main band _superchunk_ but duty called and edward's no shirker. see you next time.
right after soundcheck, me and vince have a talk cuz I had sort of an explosion on him. it's not about music either, I don't know what it's about. maybe pressures of tour or something like that. we have a good talk and I apologize to him. whew, I'm grateful he forgives me. this stuff sometimes goes down on tours, it's not all smoothness. like w/clams, the recovery is the key. sometimes the wind is going to try and bowl you over (my wind in this case) and as a team, you gotta pull together. I'm lucky to have both tom and vince on my side to weather such weather. some of that navy housing in me seems like it'll never go away, it seems to come out like up-chucks. I gotta bring this up and mention it cuz I don't want anyone to get the impression I'm perfect and never fuck up. that would be bullshit.
I go to konk and miss both openers but had some good spiel w/some folks in _halifax_ earlier, nice people from raleigh. I pop totally bleary-eyed and put on my costume. a paper mache head of one of those _south park_ kids that kevin in lawrence gave me a month ago. in fact, an envelope was given to me when I got to the gig here containing the tassel for the painted-on hat. I attach that, grab the shirts and head inside. this head is about three inches larger inside than my head so it's like a space helmet. the eyes are two pinholes where the pupils are painted on the outside. this makes seeing almost impossible since the holes are too far from my eyeballs to get a big picture, I can only see a tiny area. I cut a hole for the mouth but it's almost impossible to find where the mic is, I can't see shit. I can't see any of the frets either so I'm gonna have to play totally from feel. oh well, I've done this before and it is a tradition so here goes. I blow a bunch of clams cuz I can't find the right note sometimes on the first try. the mic getting kind of stuck in the hole for a mouth causes this big standing wave inside the head so it's like woo, woo, woo. hard to hear the drums and guitar, they sound like little prickly sounds. I can imagine what it kind of sounds like but there's only one halloween a year, right? damn, let's celebrate! at the end I rip the head off and stomp it up big time, crushing it to pieces. the paper mache had started to melt on my head so it's all sticky. I can't believe I didn't pass out from lack of air. I look around and only see about a fourth of the cats in costume and over-react and yell at everyone for wearing shit yesterday and not tonight. I'm kind of out of my mind. they're kind of taken aback but then have us back for encores. I can imagine what's going through their heads. I play much better w/the head off, huh?
get a care package from todd, who I know from email, w/habaneros peppers and sardines. thanks so much. what kindness. I sign a piece of the smahed up head for him. pack up and say bye to frank, giving him big hugs. we follow mike salmon to his pad in raleigh cuz he invited us over to konk. we get to his pad and talk for a while, mike's an engineering student at north carolina state so the talk gets bent that way. we talk about chaos theory and underlying truths that might be at the root of cognitive knowing and scientific truth (funny idea, "scientific truth"). he's made some scans of atoms and shows us them. interesting. gets back to how are we living in this world and what are we really doing w/this "truth?" we talk about his car that we were following into town. I guessed right, it's an oldsmobile 88 from the early sixties. I was right too about the entire rear end being bondo, mike said he did himself so we didn't have to pull out the magnet to prove anything. ah, science.
mike's got this righteous dog he got from the pound and saved from ten million ticks. good puppy has watt all warm on the couch and soon plunged into that black hole of konk, through the barrier between brain and mind (imagined barrier?) and into sueno.
monday, november 1 - columbia, sc
we head out to south carolina and get to the club and load in before the rain starts. we have a little time and I hang out and do some writing in my diary. the first band is called skillit and they are really entertaining and seem to be playing for their own sake which I always like to see. I get into their set and then get ready for ours. we head up to play and it feels pretty good. I think we are holding up well considering we've been playing every night for so long. we are well received and we end up and load out in the wet night.
we roll out of town and find a motel 6 for the night and that's all I remember right now.
I wake up well rested - the van is comfortable. we drive, tom taking first shift, me taking second. it's raining when we hit columbia. dan walks up. we walk down the street to get something to eat, but the jamaican place I spotted driving in is not open. there is a drumshop on the way, however, "danny's drum shop" that we stop into. danny, the owner, is a great guy, affable and helpful. he doesn't have the heads I'm looking for, but he's got this stuff called moon-gel, that is made from the silicone they used to use for breast implants. you use it to stick on drum heads to deaden them when they ring - they adhere to the heads on contact, even bottom heads, and you can just peel them off and re-use them. danny says "bring by your picture and I'll put it on wall", but I don't know if we have any or not.
we get back and tom and mike have loaded in. herbie is our sound man and sound check goes quickly. I use the moon gel and it works. my drums are perched right over the bass bin and it's a bass-mid resonance nightmare, but it's solved quickly through herbie's skill and the moon gel. skillet opens up for us - they're a unique band that we dig, and the dudes are very nice people. we play a good gig with lots of energy, dan snapping photo's with the digital camera. I can hear the vocals in my monitors, so I have a lot of fun singing. I do fuck up the red and the black, however. but all in all, I think it's a good gig.
we head to the mo-6. tom and dan get the beds, mike and I floor it. sleep comes quickly. night night.
all saints' day. probably get an email from joe boon regarding it. clouds are heavy, maybe rain? we bid mike fare thee well and head south into the other carolina and get into columbia early. much luck again, parking right in front of the pad. not so lucky, rain is coming down like a motherfucker. at least we don't have to drive in it. the pad tonight is called the _elbow room_ and it's new for me, hell, I haven't played this town for like six years. glad I'm getting back to these places I've been cutting out on the last tours. every pad deserves a good throw.
the boss here is named trey and he plays sax himself in an avant band. right off, I'm into that. the opening band is called _skillit_ and they're real nice folks, a trio from this town. the soundman, herbie, is real cool also. dig this kind of scene all ready. funny about south carolina, you gotta sell the liquor in one ounce sizes so behind the bar are all these little bottles. makes you feel giant. I have glass after glass of soda water, however.
can't really hoof cuz of all the rain but I find this pad that's serving mahi-mahi for cheap and chow on that. corny kitch shit all over the walls. why do you have to try to look like a southern place when you're already in the south? cornball. like those "crapper barrel" (our name) pads on the side of the freeway. why not spend the money on the chow and not on the jed clamppet shit. lucky for me though, the fish is ok but isn't columbia in the middle of the state? aint' mahi-mahi a pacific fish? I play good on fish though and if it ain't foul, I'm ok. run back to the boat and konk when I'm done.
hear the last of skillit through the bulkhead of the boat (sound like they're on a primus tip) and then it's our turn. good crowd for the situation. vince's friend dan is taping w/these two adat machines. kind of an expensive hobby he's got, damn. herbie's doing his best but there's some serious low-mids bogarting the monitors big time. he cleans them up pretty quick. I gotta stop a little bit before the roky tune to give him a chance. we're playing in front of a window and there's a lot of sheer surfaces that they had covered w/foam but the fire marshall made them take down. it'll be back up cuz they proved the stuff was fire proof. it'll sound better when they get that up. anyway, we persevere through it all and the pliers do good. the folks on the other side of the stage are in great spirits and have us back for more and more. I sling a butt-load of shirts when we get done. many thanks to the good folks of columbia and thanks for having me back after all these years. I talk much w/the cats after the show and I'm all aglow. a good rap w/trey and I wish him luck w/his music too and then we're out.
we get to a mo-six right outside of town and it seems the rain has calmed. all of us laying in the dark, cracking jokes and reviewing the gig, then talking about the next leg: five gigs in florida, the most towns in any one state of the tour. good job, pliers. your bass wrastler is happy, done and out.
read week 5 of the tour diary
read week 7 of the tour diary
loop back to mike watt's hoot page
this page created 11 nov 99