sunday, april 5, 1998 - fribourg, switzerland
from bob lee:
a good sign: checking out wall graffiti by the boo-yaa tribe (a digtal photo is somewhere on the web site!), the cooks who are making our dinner tell me, "they were happy here that night, only place they get enough to eat... like ten kilograms of meat." I am staring at a huge plate of asparagus as I type this and getting excited.
(after gig) man, that was the best meal I have ever had a club cook for me. four courses, all fresh and homemade. my own playing tonight may have been weakened by overindulgence but mike & joe thought the set was okay. great, very diverse opening set tonight by les maniacs from lausanne. I realized that alain, their singer/ guitarist is the guy that flew to l.a. to join lazy cowgirls after allen & keith (former bandmates of mine in hot damn/ fearless leader, and crawlspace respectively) quit in 1990. says he lived in the cowgirls' non-working van on the streets of van nuys for a year, but never got to play any gigs with them, just made a single. hard luck. the new version of cowgirls is here in switzerland later in the week, I told alain to ask pat todd about their cover of "in every dream home a heartache" (I am probably the only person who ever heard them do this, once, during a practice in my old living room. coming from a band whose usual choice of covers was like the ramones and the misfits, it was pretty funny. no offense to pat, one of the coolest lead singers I ever saw, intended).
from steve reed:
getting excited about my new musical project. when I get home I'm going to record four or five songs, the themes will deal with people, culture, relationships, peace of mind and hope. kind of a concept. en route to fribourg- frison.
talked to katherine today, had to wake her up at 7:30 l.a. time. said things are okay. kat & I have a landscaping business, one of our clients, cleo, fired up but I knew she would, she was too picky anyway. sometimes you lose one and gain two. show at fri-son was good and the kights were very good. food was great, and I also enjoyed les maniacs who opened the show.
I realize I left an envelope locked up in the office of last night's gig. it's sunday morning and they're not open. I get philosophical and get in the van. we drive to fribourg, the town that's the laguage border between french speaking and german speaking swiss. the pad's called "fri-son" and I've played here once before. we pull up to this warehouse that on the right street but a couple blocks away. we just figure this is the place (can't read the street number) and wait there about for a half hour when these two guys coming wailing over w/a truck and cart this little 'fridge away. they look at us trippy. I start to wonder then start to wander a little down the road. damn! it's down here! I run back to the van and get us to the right pad before any sick shit starts happening. there's graffiti outside the pad (an old factory building, long a high-roofed) that steve thought was jimi hendrix but it was really a painting of some punker looking out of a hole cracked in a wall.
these cats cook us some chow. later one of them told me that him and the other guy who cooked the chow both had seen me in the u.s. but on seperate coasts. they served pumpkin soup, artichokes w/this cream sauce, sauteed chicken chunks, salad w/trippy stuff in it (raisins, nuts) etc... this after these bitchin' cheeses w/intensed figurined dark hard bread that was fucking incredible along w/poppyseed roll, baugettes super soft middle and thin cruchy crust. this shit was way out. fucking greek olives! big green ones, damn. this had to be the fucking chow-out day of tour. we got there at 2:30 pm and chowed for like ten hours straight. I couldn't believe how much shit I packed away damn. I'm not the bulged out on this tour, I've been eating like a bird to keep an edge but on this day, I was using a pitchfork and snowshovel. damn.
the opening band was _les maniacs_ from geneva. they were great. alain, the man who brought us to switzerland manages them. their front man is also named alain. he's a writer too. he lived in a van for a year in the valley (van nuys) trying out for the lazy cowgirls. that band could not get it together at the time so he came back to switerland. what a trip for bob lee, huh? les maniacs have been around for like twelve years and were a trio who had just added an accordian player. they did an errie version of grant husker's "green eyes" and I dug it. just soft and shit. they had some good stuff but kind of a muddy mix which was understandable w/the big roof and all. our gig was strange. good crowd but every one scared to come close. funny thing. maybe the opera scares some folks. they gave us many encores, they were very nice. big grand canyon between us and them though - it was funny. when we got done the two bands rapped a long time backstage about all kinds of shit. it was one fun night. they lead us in there van to the ho (you can't believe navigating the old europe towns w/the coily little streets). and we say adios. they had just recorded w/egyptian cats too which would be bad to some day do. very inspiring. some funny stuff when we get a drink at the ho bar (ask steve) but that whiskey costing twelve swiss franks ($10) was not. damn. you gotta laugh at some of the burn wards of this world.
monday, april 6, 1998 - munich, germany
from bob lee:
finally- a club with a pinball machine! a simpsons machine no less, but unfortunately set to high difficulty so I wasted twelve marks in twenty minutes. a very cool audience tonight, kept applauding for ten minutes after we finished. five friendly folks followed us to the hotel for fiesta grande afterwards. apologies to jon wahl, I cracked up the party by showing up in the hotel bathrobe & shower cap. cheers to fll, kurt, sonia "and the rest" (I have a hard time w/names after passing the hash can a few times.)
from steve reed:
mike just told me that english frank and rozz williams (christian death) just passed away. I didn't know rozz personally but I've known frank for many years and he will be missed. the audience here was great! the response was trememendous. had a little party in our room after, met some nice people. good vibe. I think this tour has been going very well, rebuilding. the team gets along well and everyone has been very supportive of each other. the team!!! it's been hard for me because of the senseless murder of my dog bunney, and the pain that my katherine is suffering. t's really tough on our loved ones when we leave on tour. I love to tour with mike but I miss my home life also. I've finally settled into a nice place and kat & I are finally getting our lives on track together. so it's hard for me to leave her & the dogs. but I'll work out the stress and emotional problems I'm having with it and I'll be fine. I must stop smoking! It's stupid but relaxing.
over the border into a little bit of austria and then back on to germany. we play munich, the big town in bavaria at a place called "incognito" which is in some big complex that has gambling, pool dance and skate pads. our place, incoginito is built like a big box. it's funny. before the gig I get scared and walk and walk all through the complex, going through all the fears and horrors I seem to get wailed on from time to time. insecurites, scaryness and little boy fears all racing round my head. I see john rosenfelder's pop, ernest, who has come back to live in germany where he had to leave as a kid (you figure it out). he's a great guy, full of smart things and funny shit too. I get up on stage (no opening act - just go for it at 8:30 pm!) and we start the piece. the team is great and I dig the gig. I forgot john's pop was watching, I probably looked like an idiot. I probably look like that to anyone's pop. it's a trip when I meet them. anyway, we pack up the stuff a wail to ho and I'm sueno quick cuz damn if I ain't tired.
tuesday, april 7, 1998 - frankfurt, germany
from bob lee:
tonight's show will be recorded for the internet (watch this space for details!) kool aid acid test will be with us for the next week, including former universal congress of members steve moss and steve gayeda. their soundcheck sounds cool, same vein as congress, jazzy/ funky. looking forward to hearing the real thing.
(later) fun, crowded gig tonight, kool aid acid test are real good, and swell guys to boot. Iam shocked to find out this is their first gig! lots of record industry folks tonight, one of them comes up to me and says "hi, tina something, mca universal." "hi, bob lee, granada hills, california." ha ha. she was escorting the guitarist from smash mouth who was a big watt fan, very nice guy. also met gordon from hazelwood records, who is putting out kaat's new record as well as (joe baiza's) mecolodiacs. ended up partying all night at the hazelwood recording studio, wow! these guys have built up a state of the art studio in the top floor of a building which was apparantly deserted before they showed up. the recording room is big enough to have live bands play party/ gigs in. met two guys who were big claw hammer fans! nice to know our records have made it over here & some people are hearing them. too wasted to drive to the hotel, we crash on the floor.
from steve reed:
rainy, rainy, cold weather. the kool aid acid test are opening for us on four shows here in germany. two of the members played with joe baiza in universal congress of years ago. the show was packed! mike's monitors were bad, he couldn't hear himself. so I have to work on monitors more with the club techs. after the show we went to hazelwood studios where joe recorded with the mecolodiacs earlier this year. the studio is great, very high tech. I would like to bring kat here to record, she would love it.
in the morning I meet ernest in the frustuck (breakfast) room and we talk. he tells me about freud, mahler, austrian wehrmacht, folks he knew who got nose jobs when they came to the u.s. and stuff like that. he says soon he's getting his german passport. he can't wait. he likes coming home. he is feisty, funny and I dig him. I wish I had way more time to spend w/him but frankfurt awaits.
we're playing the "batchkapp," right by the railroad tracks. this'll be my fourth time playing here. in the old days, this is the town where you'd get the most g.i.'s at your gig. the first thing they'd say to you is the amount of time they have left in the army, like "three months, five days, twelve hours and fifty-seven minute" or something like that. now days, they're not as many soldiers left in germany. I'm sure the germans dig it although I've met german cats who said they met some cool soldiers. it's different now though. I do some interviews and ole from columbia germany comes by to record the gig for a web cast later. both ole and his brother kai have really helped me out - they've gotten the german columbia (or sony) to work the closest w/my tour than all the other branches in their respective lands. I really dig them as people and their work ethic too. a lot of the time, you know how it is, you just get a little talk after soundcheck from some rep and of course watt lets loose w/what's on his mind and then that's it. w/kai and ole however, they come to many of my gigs and really try w/all the resources they're allowed to use. I really appreciate them and their work. frank calls from basel and tells me he found the envelope. this is good news, carlos will soon be on the case. I was philosophical about it though and ready to take it on the chin myself if it was hopeless. many thanks to the gods of chaos for taking a breather on this one.
opening for the next four gigs in _kool aid acid test_, a band led by steve gaeta, who used to be the bass player for joe baiza's _universal congree of..._ and also has another former member, steve moss on the sax. two germans round out the band, jan on guitar and tom on drums. the germans are young and enthusiastic. the americans (who now live in germany) seem pretty up too. I guess they haven't played much since joe baiza pulled the plug in 1991. they've been together only a week and a half when they join us. they kind of sound like the congress when they start and the crowd digs them. I'm happy for them.
our gig is a trip w/lots of curves thrown at us. joe baiza has lots of problems w/his peddles. the green one especially has a funky switch that is totally unpredictable and brutal. he breaks a string and we extend out "liberty calls!" then I break two strings at once right at a very dramatic place in the piece ("wrapped around the screw" and "shore duty") and I cannot stop to fix them so I improvise. w/only the 'e' and the 'a' string left, I try to maintain the emotions of the tunes while somehow gluing the band together w/a cobbled effort. it takes a lot of focus and concentration but I manage to do it. the crowd is very nice to us and has us back again and again. very nice folks. what a test. I also meet the guitar/songwriter for _samshmouth_, a cat named greg (from san jose, nor cal) and it's great to rap w/him. we'll play w/him sunday in bonn for that t.v. taping festival.
after the gig we head for hazelwood studios, run by gordon, the cat putting out the kool aid acid test cd and helping them tour. there's a big party that goes on and on - too late to drive to the ho so we just konk there on the floor. dirk, the man henry blindfish has sent to be w/us at the gigs (I've always had this in germany) even is socking down the whiskey. he's a trip, a very nice man and so efficent. good to see him have the whiskey river take his mind.
wednesday, april 8, 1998 - berlin, germany
from bob lee:
yawn! about four hours sleep on a couch as wide as my body, and we split for berlin. long drive, I had several strange dreams sleeping the van, many of which are about driving in the van, but weirder. I found a record by inner city unit! (nik turner of hawkwind's solo band from the late 70s, have been searching for any of these records so I am stoked.) however all the "spiel halles" (game rooms) are devoid of pinball, god damn it. just vegas-style gambling games and driving games that you sit inside, and lots of strange looking dudes. jan from kaat explains that these spiel-halles are gathering spots for shady characters, "little criminals" as he described them. oh well, having spent my dinner money on the record I shouldn't be so anxious to find another way to blow dough. another good gig! maybe the best yet.
from steve reed:
six hour drive from frankfurt to berlin. jan, guitarist from kaat, rode with us. gordon, president of hazelwood, is very interested in checking out my musical projects so I will have to send him material when I get home. tonight's show was very emotional for me because it was a victory! the band played great, monitors good and sound very good. when we do great shows I get very emotional and very satisfied that the job was done well. I even start to tear up during parts of the show. with my life back home and working for the group I go through many changes before, during and after the show. it's just too much for me to bear sometimes. I've worked with mike for years and every show is like the first show, you never know what's going to happen. it can be very stressful and nerve racking. I feel that I'm on stage with the group, singing and mxing all the parts like a movie script, and hoping that it will be perfect. this is the best and worst gig in the world, if you can't handle it it will kill you. but if you deal with it right it could be paradise. I've been both places and maybe it will always be this way for me, only god knows!
up off of the hazelwood studio floors and off to berlin. going across the east w/no more border, wall or check point charlie shit. they used to have the first russian tank that entered berlin at the end of world war two up on a podium by the entrance to the city but now the tank is gone a gravel conveyor belt truck that's painted pink sits where it used to. the old ddr (east germany) emblem is gone from the arch that marked the border, just a hole now. lots of lights and guard towers but all that's coming down. we're playing the "loft" - my third time but the crazy lady who ran it is now gone. damn. I never got the name of the boss who runs it now. he asks for dirk anyway and I let them deal it out together. whatever. jan (from the opening band) traded w/joe baiza and rode w/us to berlin. now joe baiza is late. of course I have to be nervous as all hell 'till I hear word from him. he called and said there was heavy traffic and finally three hours later he comes. of course it's the guy who's driving's fault but I let joe baiza know it's ok. I tell him he leads a band (he has one right now called _the mecolodiacs_) and he knows what it's like when something like this happens. he agrees and reassures me. good man, joe baiza. these are the risks when we travel split up. the man who drove him, gerhardt, apologizes big time and I tell him it's all right, just not any more, please.
mark, a berlin dude who has a band called _electrosushi_ comes by the venue and asks me to record on a couple of songs on their record. as soon as joe baiza appears, we quickly do soundcheck and I'm off w/him to a studio in the kruezburg part of town and I record on two of their songs. kind of swampy, bluesy kinds of stuff. my mind is somewhere else and it's kind of difficult - my first time ever hearing these songs. damn. I give it my best though and they're happy. good cats. I wish them lots of luck and get back just in time for the show.
the kool aid acid trip have kind of a bad gig, the berliners are not very receptive. oh well, one life is made of many gigs, I know that. I tell them to buckle up and not to worry.
the stage of the loft is a trip. it's like they cut a box out of a solid wall, like you're in a little bread cupboard or something. the top of this box is like only two or three feet above your head so it's like a chamber w/one wall removed. this makes the drums incredibly loud so after the first tune, "in the engine room," I ask bob lee to play lighter. this is intense for him, I now a lot of the stuff we're doing in the piece are but he tries his best. bob lee is a trooper and I really respect his attitude w/working w/me. he said he couldn't hear what he was doing but in the end, it was bob lee who saved the show. berliners can be a little cold but they showered us w/warmness and kept bringing us back for more and more. joe baiza played like a champ too and steve reed brought it all together. I got a great team on this boat. much respect from watt.
thursday, april 9, 1998 - bielefeld, germany
from bob lee:
finally, the first laundromat we have seen all tour, right next to our dressing room!!! thank you, hechelei club for saving me from "sink or stench" (ie/launder in the hotel bathroom or face the consequences). tonight is difficult for me, possibly because I have one whiskey drink before the gig, barely enough to notice, but it seems to work on me from the bottom up. but we survive. I wore my "eat poo" t-shirt tonight and I overheard two girls discussing it, "vas ist 'poo'?" "ist...er... scheisse." "ooh." they would barely talk to me after that, obviously something's lost in the translation. but I had a great talk with tom from kaat's girlfriend dominica, who also gave me some calendula cream to soothe my ailing hands, many thanks.
from steve reed:
we finally found a washer and dryer at the venue. clean clothes again! very hard to find laundromats here in europe. so this is a very special day for us. only nine more days left and back home for four days off. next tour begins april 24 and ends june 13. on june 14 a new life begins! tough show tonight, high ceilings, band had a little trouble hearing & joe baiza had mechanical problems. it's only been a handful of shows that were rough. the good ones outweigh the four or five rough ones, and even the tough shows have been really good. kool aid acid test always want to start later - no can do! their band is lucky because they always have a crowd no matter when they go on so be grateful, sailors!
we're off to bielefeld. tom (the drum man w/a beat in his hand) rides w/us and joe baiza rides w/the hazelwood posse (w/gordon). I've played bielefeld before but at a venue called "pc 69." this place we're playing tonight is called the "hechelei" and it's on an old garment factory ground. it used to be the building where they dried the linen hence the name hechelei which means to pant in german. a big man named mark is the boss here and he's very cool. he helps me get my machine hooked up and we rap about things now and then. the folks at the venue home cook us a meal which is a knock-out, it's the first hot meal I've eaten in the last three days cuz the sandwhich spreads you find at the pad when you come for soundcheck have been so massive and good, where's the room for dinner? tonight they got a great tomato soup and some penne pasta. the shit cooks. damn. the venue has a washer and dryer for their towels and rags so watt gets his first levis washed in over three weeks. damn. very grateful to the folks at the hechelei.
it turns out that the chicago band _tortoise_ is in town on the same night. I'm wondering why we couldn't have played together? damn. there's not that many u.s. bands touring europe right now and the combo might've great. oh well. we get a great crowd anyway and the gig goes good. I think the roof is a little too high but I hold the focus and the cats in the crowd are very enthusiastic. because of the physical situation, I think joe baiza had trouble hearing me but I thought the gig went real good. encore after encore. very grateful to the good folks of bielefeld for hearing us do the piece for them.
friday, april 10, 1998 - hamburg, germany
from bob lee:
good friday and everything's closed! thankfully I am able to borrow some dental floss to string up my chimes. I have a shitty sandwich and soggy curly fries at a "texas bbq" place where they charge me 1 1/2 marks for bbq sauce, bad idea, shoulda held out for a bratwurst. the gig is packed, probably goes ok but I am thrown off by the low ceiling and mike's repeated calls to play softer. bad mood after the show, just want to get to the hotel & crash. however our hotel is in the reeperbahn (germany's times square), hopping with people, and I go off by myself to get a drink. thus begins a very humilating episode: I wind up in a normal- looking bar (virtually the entire strip is peep shows, video parlors & burger joints so I go the first place with a beck's sign over the door), get a beer, start chatting with a cute russian girl, who asks if I will buy her a drink. idiot that I am, I nod ok. suddenly I am presented with a giant bottle of champagne and a bill for 350 marks (about $210) - whoa! I call over the waitress and say, "I cannot pay for this, I have only 50 marks on me, I thought she was getting a beer." she gives me a very long look and whispers, "ziss ees how you pay for ze sex." whoa-ho-ho, hang on! I begin stuttering that I am a stupid american, I only wanted a beer, I definitely did not order any sex, we don't have clubs like this in my country, I have never heard of this kind of thing, and I have obviously come to the wrong place. "oh no, ziss the right place, is very nice here. you have dollars? you american? you must have credeet card. or we can take your passport and you bring ze money tomorrow. you borrow money from your friend. but you must pay your bill. you pay wis visa, is okay." large dude in the doorway is looking on to drive the point home. they show me the menu, and the only english words on the whole thing are, "your order is by common law a binding contract which must be paid immediately." oh shit, not even the law is on my side. after much flustered negotiation, they take 80 of my last 100 marks, presumably for opening the champagne bottle, and release me without a beating. so tourists in the reeperbahn- beware! I am almost too embarrassed to relate this story, but mike convinced me it is my civic duty to spread the warning. (in the last few days, I have told this story to several other dudes who "know someone" that this same thing has happenned to.) after this little scene, I slip and nearly fall on a huge turd. "maybe I should just go to bed now", methinks, but I run into mike & steve and we attempt to actually find a beer for a bit less than 350 marks. we spot a bar called "pimps place", ha ha, and with some trepidation, I go in, remembering not to nod yes to anyone. however the bar contains absolutely no women, but about twelve skinheads, one of whom comes straight up to us and says "you cannot drink here, my friend is having his birthday party. you must leave, alles klaar (is that clear)?" clear enough, asshole. finally we find a cool bar with beers for 4 marks, the who, clash, motorhead and ac/dc on the jukebox, and a poster of a big fist smashing a swastika on the wall. so we have some drinks and some laughs, mike air-basses to "my generation", we all sing along to "ace of spades", and this difficult evening ends well.
from steve reed:
good friday at club logo. mike & I were taken out for a steak dinner by hans from the booking agency. drove around town, went to the harbor, and I asked hans to drive by rota flora, a squat where I played with legal weapon four years ago. brought back memories. show was good, very packed. our hotel was in the red light district known as the reeperbahn. mike, bob & I walked into a skinhead club and were asked to leave, they said it was a birthday party. but they were skins!!! walked around, had a couple of drinks and then went back to the hotel.
the church bells are really ringing this morning. it's good friday and I'm up early to walk around the town. I head for zentrum (the center), every town here in europe has one unlike los angeles. I don't think even pedro has one. oh well, bielefeld is a smaller town so it's really easy to get around. I follow the bells to this old, old church (lutheren - you can tell by the rooster on it's weathervane) and I can hear singing coming out of it. quite a trip. right up from this old church is a hill w/a castle on it. a fucking castle! it's called spaarburg and I climbing up the hill's footpath to check it out. it's got a massive wall around w/giant castlements at each of four corners. there's a drawbridge and then inside there's another wall w/an inner court. in the middle of this is a tower, going up like six or seven stories. I climb the winding staircase up it and look out upon the whole town - what a vista! damn. I climb down and get some postcard. I quickly fill them out and put them in the mail box. I try to send some from every land. missing a lot of addresses though cuz my wallet got stolen right before the tour and I didn't have time to refill the little book I carry in my wallet w/all the addresses. oh well.
tom rides w/us again in place of joe baiza and has lots to tell us about the new germany. he's from bochum in the ruhr valley part of germany - the western part near holland and belgium. he tells us about the difficulties of the coal mines shutting down there and the resulting unemployment plus the problems w/absorbing the folks from the former eastern germany (ddr). he says the rest of germany is doing well so why not germany? he says kohl (the country's head) has been in too long (sixteen years) and has to go. it's interesting to hear a music dude talk about his own land.
we play at the "logo" where I've played once before in hamburg. I like hamburg, it's a big port and reminds me of pedro. dirk has left us and hans has been sent by henry blindfish to help us. after soundcheck, hans takes me and steve reed to chow. I eat my first steak for the tour at some pad run by folks from denmark and it's good. when that's done, hans takes us to the waterfront and we check out the fishmarket, docks and the boats. it's great down here by water. the elbe is a huge river that flows through hamburg and even the most giant of boats can go down her. it's a trip.
the last gig w/kool aid acid test and they have a good gig. their girlfriends/wives are there to see them play too. I'm happy for them. kind of fusiony but they'll find their sound, I know it. I ask them to do "the red and the black" (the old blue oyster cult song) w/us if the crowd wants us to do an encore. they accept. the stage is similar to the loft w/the roof very low over the band and so again, I ask bob lee to tone it down a little. I just can't hear any guitar or my spiel. he's a great guy for trying, I know he was probably thinking "damn." such a soldier, this bob lee. glad for his good nature. the gig goes great w/lots of encores and then we bring on the kool aid cats and do the big b.o.c. number (I started playing this tune w/d. boon when we were fifteen - 25 years!). it's remarkably tight except for the very ending which steve moss blows over w/his sax. we all bust out loud w/belly laughs. best of luck to you, acid testers!
hans leads us to the ho which is st. pauli - the reeperbahn. this is the famous red light part of hamburg and we're in the middle of it. I ask steve reed to go and find a place to have a whiskey (backstage dick leeches having gulped it all - I won't drink 'till after we've played) and we head outside. the deskman says gene krupa (his name for bob lee) has already left so me and steve reed (charles mingus and nat king cole, according to this guy, a sweet man - big fan of jazz) head out into the neon. who do we bump into? bob fuckin' lee! what an adventure he has to relate to us. almost rolled in a shit game of highway robbery, damn. we go to this place called the "pimp pub" cuz it looks econo and guess what? skinheads all over, behind the bar, everywhere. one comes up to me and says "closed for birthday party." yeah, right. I'm thinking, "hey motherfucker, let us spank the birthday boy then" but say nothing. I look over at steve, we could take a few of them, I know it but we just let this guy go on. "alles klar?" (everything clear?) he says. yeah, like bulletproof plexiglass, buttsuck. we bail and find the punk bar in this hood and have some non-ripoff priced liquor. they even got an anti-nazi poster on the wall saying "nie wieder" (never again) and we dig it here. turns out it's just two doors from the ho. damn.
saturday, april 11, 1998 - nijmegen, holland
from bob lee:
on the way to the doornroojse club we spot two leather studded punkers on bikes, dude with a shaved head and girl with a green/ yellow mohawk, and chuckle "hey, they're coming to see the punk rock opera!" imagine our surprise when they, in fact, come up to us after the gig (a real good one for me) and invite us downstairs to their band (love kills) rehearsal space in the cellar of the club. these folks are into johnny thunders! and richard hell, pistols, etc... jozzy, the singer/ guitarist even has thunders' face tattooed on his arm, and the bass player, barbie, has sid vicious on hers. watt straps on a bass, I grab the mike and next thing you know we're ripping through "born to lose" and "search and destroy"! steve is rather offended when jozzy comes up to him and says, "so you are the groupie for this band". "hey man, I ain't no groupie, I work hard man, singing, doing sound, man you don't know, shit...." "aaah. you want to see our coffin?" they show us a huge dracula-worthy coffin in the hallway. "you see, if you die tonight we can put you in the coffin, ha ha ha." then he points to barbie and says, "see she is our groupie on bass." so I think maybe he meant to call steve a "band member". but then he points to another girl who is hanging out, a tall knockout blonde, and says "see usually you want a groupie like this one, but steve will be ok for tonight. ha ha ha." steve really didn't know what to make of that. they play a few love kills originals for us ("we are the reason punk not dead"), then say, "ok, last song, this one for you mike watt. 'chinese rocks'. somebody call me on the phone/ hey hey hey/ is mikey home?..." I ask the drummer, a bearded longhair wearing a scarf, his name, he says "my name is chaos. is not my real name." wow. "they kicked out the other drummer cause he was a hippie," says the scarf wearing bearded longhair, whatever. "always stoned so he slow the song down." ah! the punk/ hippie animosity suddenly makes sense, though I wonder what they must think of me and mike and steve, passing that tin can around like the americans we are. jozzy gives me his address on the back of a flyer featuring many photos of barbie posing naked with her girlfriend. they give mike a spray can and he paints the blue oyster cult symbol, or sign of chronos or whatever, on the door. what a righteous bunch of punkers.
from steve reed:
seems like we do more riding in the van and sitting around the clubs more than anything else on tour. and eating! I've done a lot of sightseeing through the years but it's gotten old to me now. seeing roma and bologna blew my mind, I thought they were spectacular cities. also the bombed out church (WW2) in hamburg was cool to see. our set up and sound checks don't take all day, more like 30-45 minutes tops, which leaves a lot of time on our hands. it's a good thing we're not drug addicts. and the show with encores is 90 minutes or less. so there you have it, a day in the life of steve reed on tour. I would love to bring my pit bull bruno on tour, at least I could run around town with him. I miss him a lot, and katherine says he's always looking out the window waiting for me to come home. I guess by now you're tired of hearing about me missing home so much, it must be my age. you must understand that I'm very grateful to have seen a lot of the world. if it wasn't for mike watt I might never have gotten out of california. so I'm grateful to him for trusting me to work with him through the years, ok, I'll stop complaining.
the show was very econo as far as the sound system, but I thought the sound was good for such a small system. band played great. after the show mike played bass in a jam session with some punk band downstairs from the club. love kills! was their name. I heard mike play "no fun" with them, then they played "chinese rocks". it was great, mike played really great with those young people, very inspiring, so thank you mr. watt! the guitarist of the band called me a groupie! what kind of shit is that? fuck you! what did you say? and then he just said it again. I just laughed! he later told me he didn't know what he was saying. I know if he was american he would have gotten a mouthful! but because of (most likely) not understanding each other, I let it go.
we travel back to holland and it's the third time for me at the "doornroosje" in nijmegen. we play the kleine hall which is a smaller room in the back. we set up on the floor - no stage, I dig this! we do sound check and then I walk to the center of town by myself, doing the thinking thing again. all the moments that make up one's life all the grains that have passed down the narrow way of the hourglass. I wonder about my speck of dust in the great whirlwind. what madness to try and make sense of it? what harshness the regrets. the self-inflicted hammer blows again and again on a hurtin' mind. the need to make clear, to get the grip, to face up. through the tiny town streets of this dutch land I wonder and wonder, internal spiels making it so and then tearing it up, fluries and furies, then like gentle snow I hear my breaths through the brain walls. I am hiding in this beard.
I like the gig, being on the floor w/the folks is something else. I wonder if they're scared. scared of this opera of this man? my men dig in and help me glue it all up and make a piece for them. I stop for a while and think "this is real." I finally found words for d. boon, georgie and myself. it must seem insane, I cannot speak for them. I can only do this piece for them.
after the gig is a blast playing w/these cats who have a band called _love kills_ in the cellar of the doornroosje. we do stooges and thunders stuff. great bass sound w/this old acoustic 370 amp. it's a mind-blow finding folks who dig shit the same as you sometimes. in the trippiest places too. bob lee even ends up singing. all of them: jozzy, barbie and chaos (the one w/the long hair and scarf around his neck who plays just like robo) are the best. may the greatest of luck and stuff like that come to them. they helped watt get out of his corkscrew mindspin big time tonight. thank you.
the ho is down the road in a town called mook. we blow-by, make the loop and fianlly arrive. I konk, wondering.
read week 3 of the tour diary
read week 5 of the tour diary
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