sunday, april 12, 1998 - bonn, germany
from bob lee:
b.f.d. gig today, tv taping for rockpalast, the german equivalent of don kirshner's rock concert, in a 2500-capacity hall, with the following bands: catatonia (britpop), guano apes (rage atm rap rock), g love & special sauce (great, blend of rap, beat poetry, jazzy grooves and tasty licks), junkie xl (former urban dance squad singer and a bunch of skinny white guys twisting knobs and jumping around, also a live drummer and guitarist although I don't know if I heard either one in the mix, heavy techno ala prodigy, so much low end I literally almost shat), the hellacopters (raging punk rock from stockholm, really good, definitely the most rocking thing of the day), die sterne (missed 'em completely, mike thought they sounded like yo la tengo without the big choruses), smash mouth (nice guys but...), mighty mighty bosstones (louder & heavier than I expected, more punk than ska, almost up to the hellacopters' energy level, much more enjoyable live than on record), ben harper (lap steel-driven hefty blues rock jams, very good, but held back by a swampy mix out front, wish I had a tape of the tv broadcast) and anne clark (watched it from the hotel tv, dark poetry over 80s new wave soundtrack, accompanied by an interpretive dancer, tres european. "making it harder... it is cold in the night... keeping you inside me... making it harder... making it easier." kind of funny in spots but definitely not the kind of thing you see every day.) so not all great bands but a refreshingly diverse lineup. any fears about playing a big corporate rock festival were put to rest pretty quickly, everyone was very helpful & mellow, no rock star attitudes or rock star crew attitudes noted. our own set was quite well received, I was a little nervous going on with this relatively quiet, abstract piece right after junkie xl's low end jump-around assault, but we played well & got only one loud catcall of "go home!" some hecklers have a great sense of timing, they know exactly where the dramatic pauses will come so they can say their piece and be heard. spent hours hanging out with the hellacopters and learned many things over many beers. they have toured europe with the nomads and dictators (what a bill!), and did a stint with kiss last year in scandanavia, lots of funny groupie-related stories from that gig. they are also big fans of fearless leader! this is really a shock as the fearless lp from 1990, "#$;!," could not be sold in europe due to our logo, in which we stole the kiss logo lightning bolt "s"'s, which look like the "ss" logo. (even kiss can't use their own logo in germany, which is where the distributors we would have used were.) but they definitely got it,they start singing the chorus to "happy family" right in front of me. and they gave me info on their record label which they said would almost certainly put our (as yet unreleased) new lp out over there. the only other band on the label besides them is the reformed dictators, so if that happens we'll be in good company. quite a blessing to meet those dudes, as we didn't get to hang out with many of the other groups, it's always great to meet nice folks who play great music. they convinced me I must find some records by jerry's kids and the fu's. they are planning to come to the u.s. as soon as they get their record out there, keep your eyes open for them. I also got to see jan and tom from kaat one last time, although not for very long. good guys, it was great having them around for a few days, they and the 2 steves will be missed.
from steve reed:
tv show/festival. one week from now, part one of our adventure will end. this show here in bonn is run really well, very organized. I'm sitting backstage waiting for our turn. about 2000 people will view us at the show and maybe hundreds of thousands or even millions will see it on tv. (transcriber's note: since we weren't broadcast till 4am on sunday night/monday morning I think mr. reed is a little optimistic.) the food is pretty good, though not up to the stuff clubs have been cooking especially for us. I was nervous about the show but the audience loved mike & the crew, it was a great victory. stage crew worked hard for us, they were great! thank you!!! and the rest of the show is excellent also. ben harper was great!! bill withers, bob marley and hendrix influences mixed into his own style. he sits down while playing lap steel guitar, and sometimes acoustic. enjoyed him very much. bosstones were great also but the sound could have been better. I like the dancer in the band,this guy is awesome! he never stops, very entertaining. the hellacopters were a good, rocking band. I enjoyed their brand of hard rock. one of their guitarists looks like a cross between johnny thunders and pete townshend. man, they rocked out.
we have to leave the ho in mook early (8:30 am) and cross back over into germany to play the the _rockpalast_ tv show at the _biskuithalle_ in bonn, germany. funny thing on the way out of holland - the freeway just ends in the dutch border town of venlo. it picks up again on the other side of town but luckily I caught on to what was happening and had us loop after a critical unrealized blow-by had happened. steve's a great navigator but we all can get it a little more happenin', huh? luckily, gunter, a sidemouse of carlos who picked us up at the airport when we first arrived at the beginnig of the tour gave me a "stratten" book for all the big and medium towns in the nederlands, sort of their "thomas bros." for their whole country. this proved invaluble and we found our way cruising out of dutch land and into deutchland. we travled down the area they call the ruhr valley which is a heavily industrialized area of germany along the ruhr river. very dense population w/one town butted up against the other, sort of l.a. style (you have to realize that the so cal area is like 140 towns all pressed together w/no space between them - it only looks like one big town. the folks there only know the few blocks around their pads). bonn was the west german capital but now there is no west and east, just plain germany and so the capital is soon moving berlin. it's a small and simple town and the venue is right off the autobahn and a few blocks away. it's great the way henry blindfish provided us w/sometimes up to four maps per gig to find these places. when we tour in american we never even get one. then again, most u.s. towns have their streets built on a grid (the forefathers were logical freemasons) and so navigating back home in nothing compare to the tiny and curled-up streets you find here in europe. these towns were built based on the roman wheel idea. one hub (zentrum) and then spokes leading out. it's fun time especailly w/tiny street signs put right on the buildings w/many lettered spellings. this trip to the venue however was what we call a cakewalk.
there's like eleven bands on the bill and I go on seventh which is like 6:40 pm. I'm all for the early show. the first band goes on at 3 pm! at soundcheck the stage crew gets a mindblow seeing how together we can get our stage thing up and then do a one tune soundcheck and that's it. I like seeing the look on their faces and the joy in them not having to agonize and suffer under some drawn-out bullshit like thing. you get respect from the stage dudes and that's a big help all ready for the gig. all the years I've been doing this and you know we want to be there, right on the money. they're glad too, amen.
of the bands that get to see, there's an oasis type band w/a girl singer, great pipes, I think they're welsh. the next band is like a rage against the machine band w/a girl singer - I'm starting to see a pattern but next is _g love_ who despite the sound, is great w/his blues and his rap. he's a trip to watch and I dig it. he's from phily, I wonder what he'd sound like doing john coltrane (another phily cat), maybe something like "accension." after their gig I tell his drummer his snare sounded like a hungry seal waiting to get fed. he's a nice cat. last time I saw him was in stone mountain, georgia playing an earth day benefit. the cat on bass (standup) was bad too. the next band was a dutch band doing intense rave stuff. huge bass sound w/no bass player on stage. a lot of the sounds were on tape and one cat had a big ol' mixing desk on stage mixing the stuff. it was very frenzied. these are the new days.
we're next and I did an abbreviated version of the piece cuz there was only thirty-five minutes available. no prob, I just cut out "red bluff," "black gang coffee," "topsiders," "crossing the equator," and "breaking the choke hold." first time ever I've had to this but it's ok. the audience is pretty tripped out but I put everything I got into it and try not to let it get weak, especially the end. I'm proud of our team, I think we deliver it. they do a big interview w/me and I try to explain what just went down. they're interested and I wait every other sentence to let them translate it to german. I have an insane place in this universe, yes I know but I just want to be understood. I want my voice to be genuine and have cats understand where I'm coming from. god, mostly I feel like such an idiot. gotta to double-up and find my backbone. damn, what a trip. I wonder if anyone hears the story in the piece.
I meet some americans in the crowd after doing some online spiel (I find out the germans have different keyboads than us - the y and z keys are reversed for one thing) and we have fun talking about europe. they're living here now, working auslanders (foreigners). we talk for a while and then I watch the _bosstones_ and dig the way they can deal w/more than three pieces on stage. then I check _ben harper_ who has a pretty awsome sound. he's got some cat on bass too, this guy was a fucking rush, damn! big ol' cat workig a six string bass and thumping to a james brown type of theme. after that I gotta bail cuz all the standing is killing my fucking lame-ass knees and the konking comes easy as I slump to the deck and pass.
monday, april 13, 1998 - goes, holland
from bob lee:
goes (pron. "hoos"), holland. back in coffee shop land, not a moment too soon. found one immediately and picked up some after-gig treats. wonderful home cooked meal from the jazzbo house chef, and a very interesting opening set from perverted. (they must have an interesting time crossing borders, like the italian band big crack rock.) we play with them again thursday in belgium, which is good because I am updating this diary during the bulk of their show, though I still hear it pretty well. lean audience tonight, but mike uses the opportunity to try some intense dynamic changes, kind of wrenching us out of auto-pilot mode and directing with a very heavy hand, flexing tempos and stretching out parts, this guy really keeps you on your toes. but it works and we play a good set. a huge joint in the hotel room leaves me hallucinating as I attempt to fall asleep, really vivid waking dreams with trippy hawkwind-like soundtracks, accompanied by full psychedelic lightshow under my eyelids. wow! I am wondering if I didn't order the wrong thing again. oh well, I have since woken up and the hallucinations have stopped, which is a good sign. we'll see what happens after tomorrow's gig, heh heh.
from steve reed:
this is a hard day for me to write about. I liked the house crew. the band played the opera more loosely than usual. still as always there were great moments throughout the show. the group sounded great and the system had plenty of headroom. a lot of people complimented me on the sound and my vocals with the group.
this is a very hard gig cuz this town has some ghosts for me. who'd a thought, huh? I walk and walk for hours and hours trying to shake it off. a belgian band called _perverted_ plays first and they're quite good. I find out later that they played one entire concept piece which is about sailing on a boat. what a trip, huh? I play w/my shoes off to try and get some kind of grounding w/the earth of this town. maybe I can funnel some of these bad feelings down into the earth. god, the regrets are killing me - even the fucking snoring. I'm hopeless. damn. everyone must get like this time to time, I know it. watt is not special, he's just on bass.
tuesday, april 14, 1998 - eindhoven, holland
from bob lee:
today has been dull/ relaxing, besides that eindhoven & the effenaar club are pretty nice, not much to report. so here is a list of what I've been listening to on this trip, in case you were wondering. mike & joe hate playing music in the van so I am very glad I had the foresight to pack my little $10 walkman or this tape box would be more deadweight: big boys- "the skinny elvis," a cd comp of their 1980-82 recordings, just discovered them last year and am totally in love, although I slightly prefer their later lps, also compiled on "the fat elvis" cd; flipper - "sex bomb baby" comp lp of their singles & comp cuts from 1979-82, one of the most truly insane lps I am privileged to own; charles ives - "string quartets no.1&2," alternately serene & incredibly tense, capable of putting me to sleep and then waking me up very abruptly; archie shepp - "fire music," some of the most fascinating, razor sharp harmonies in jazz; fearless leader's 2nd lp, for vanity purposes (have not gotten to play it for any label honchos yet); funkadelic- "standing on the verge of getting it on," "free your mind," and "america eats its young," which I just acquired on vinyl shortly before leaving, great music for walking around these towns, think I like "standing..." the best of the three; neil young - "zuma" and "tonight's the night," track for track his two best records, and thus two of the finest records ever made in my opinion; albert ayler - "witches and devils," more abstract/less melodic than some of his stuff (my favorite being "live in greenwich village"), but very fine indeed; "cool beans fanzine compilation," taped for me by my pal karrin for the trip, all punk, some quite good, some quite ordinary but a good listen on a boring day; can - "soundtracks," excellent for zoning out on long drives, not their best lp but the only one I have on cassette; capt. beefheart - "live in amsterdam 80," a good bootleg from his last tour; comp tape of various mission of burma tracks; and some comp tapes made by friends: a jazz one containing roland kirk, lester bowie's brass fantasy, sonny simmons and eric dolphy, and a punk/noise one containing die kruezen, butthole surfers, dicks, d.r.i., raw power and really red. and several copies of backbiter's 2nd lp, for giveaway purposes, brought for shameless opportunism. also punched bra's tape, and some tapes of our own gigs which have proved very educational. some things I thought I had right sound awkward while others that always feel awkward sound good.
from steve reed:
I have to say that the chow on this trip has been incredible, cooks have been preparing food just for us. it's been an amazing adventure in european style chow. I've eaten well every day and had nice accomodations nightly.
short drive from goes to eindhoven, a factory town for phillips, the big dutch electronics firm. the pad's called the "effanar." I've played here many times before, one incredible gig w/the _bad brains_ who were at the top of their form then (1988). good memories.
the opening act is called _donkey_ and they're great. a england dude, a scottish dude and a dutch dude. good power troika. kind of psychedelic, I dig them. I'm much inspired to take the stage after them and deliver the piece. the pad is way big for the crowd assembled. I care not and launch into the intro. "dreaming as I'm steaming..." and so on. the team comes in behind me and we're off. I think it's a good gig and am happy. we gotta search and search for the ho cuz the map if for fucking shit. we find it though and I join joe baiza at the little bar for a drink. the ho boss says we can have one. I love talking to joe baiza and we discuss strategies regarding the piece. he seems kind of beat and I think he's a little ill w/some lung thing. soldier on, joe baiza, soldier on.
wednesday, april 15, 1998 - driving to brussels, belgium
from bob lee:
last night's show was ok, featured a wonderful opening set by donkey, from scotland. booted from our hotel in eindhoven this morning, we head to brussels a day early. the only ho we can find is near the airport, expensive, so we get only one room. it is raining, cold, the neighborhood looks deserted and the bank won't change francs for my US dollars! so I spend four hours watching watt type on this laptop, then head out w/mr. reed to find chow. to our surprise, we find a whole little neighborhood of bars & restaurants right nearby. wanting out of the room for a few hours, we decide to eat cheap & save our few francs for the bars. end up eating the worst hamburger of my life at bicky's, a gray, flavorless patty thrown in the deep-frier, smothered in this awful ketchup like substance, yuck. but the evening improves as we hit the pubs and start sampling trappist ales and such, 8 to 12 percent alcohol, compared to budweiser's 3.8 or something, each one a meal in itself. miraculously, several thousand calories later, we find the hotel again.
from steve reed:
the show in eindhoven was weak just like goes, rotterdam and groningen. hopefully amsterdam will change my opinion about holland. the gigs iin holland were shitty turnouts! I guess people aren't into guitar music anymore. I hope we van go out on a high note with brussels, amsterdam and london left to go. donkey opened the show in eindhoven and they were good! (but bad sound mix.) kind of psych-punk. off day before brussels.
damn, the folks at the ho in eindhoven won't let us stay there another night (they say it's booked) so we have to bail. it's raining and gray. we get out on the road and drive to belgium. we drive by nato as we come into town. what a trip. brussels is the capitol of the e.u. (european community). the only ho we find available is near the airport on the northeast part of town. it's far and away from anywhere. joe baiza is off w/a friend so it's just us other three. steve reed and bob lee take a walk to explore (and chow) so I just sit in the room and continue reading "mason & dixon," the new book by thomas pynchon. it's really good, I like it. it's a trip about me reading books on tour cuz it's freaky how things going on in the story will start mirroring things that are happening on tour, at least in my mind. when I start getting sad and shit like that and things seem w/out an answer, I'll start reading my tour book (some tome I'll bring to read on tour, last tour it was bockris' "transformer" bio on lou reed) and get lost in that world and voila! I'll see some kind of connect and that'll liberate my doomed ass. anyway, at least in the mind - I start to imagine the convolutions and permeations of the fiction and my fact (as I perceive it, of course) and start to get lost, like walking in a labyrinth to feel spiritual, you know? getting lost to find peace. damn. the book's a hoot though and fucking interesting. here's to getting drunk on a someone's words!
thursday, april 16, 1998 - brussels, belgium
from bob lee:
brussels' city center is fascinating. overflowing with chocolate and handmade dolls, and all sorts of little geegaws featuring the image of mannekin-pis, a statue of a young naked boy with weenie in hand, urinating. apparently this little guy peed on the flames lit by invaders back in the old days and became a national hero. well the image of this statue is everywhere, even imprinted on chocolate coins and available on little corkscrews, dinner bells, etc. I saw the real thing during my walk through the grote-markt, right behind the club. ancienne belgique is gorgeous, one of the most spectacular clubs I've seen, so state of the art, the dance floor rises up on hydraulic lifts to meet the stage for easy load-in. amazing! very enjoyable gig tonight, another good set from perverted, and our first chance to play with a band I am already a fan of : come. they are quite brilliant tonight, certainly the highlight of this tour for me as a spectator. after the gig I run into hildy, former al's bartender, and her husband. she sends her love to devin sarno, popdefect, and anyone else who remembers her. come are in the same hotel, and come over for a drink, watt manages to score a bottle of four roses just as we are leaving the gig. as the night goes on and the bottle disappears, watt becomes more and more animated in his spiel, until their drummer daniel is led to say, "dude you are fucking crazy, I understand half of everything you say. you're just out of your mind, huh?" watt stands up, shirt off, pants unbuttoned, whiskey dripping from his beard, pumps his fist in the air and hollers, "soy un veterano!!!" come look rather surprised, like "boy, I sure wasn't expecting him to say that!" then watt grabs the blankets off one of the beds and conks out on the floor, signalling party's over. a truly fine evening.
from steve reed:
three more to go then home for our ball-bust tour of the u.s. ancienne belgique- this place is spectacular! it's like an entertainment center, set up for concerts, movies, just about any form of indoor activities. the sound system is state of the art, yamaha board for front & monitors. the room acoustics are excellent & sound should be amazing.
(later) show came out great, joe baiza not well but working it for the past three shows. joe's an amzing artist, guitarist & person and I have nothing but respect & friendship for him. he's been working real hard from tour to tour to still another tour. may god be with you joe baiza. we also hung out with come after the show in our room, I think they thought we were crazy. maybe just my imagination? the stage crew were great, thank you brussels.
we rise and head for the venue, a pad called "ancienne belgique." it's a trip about brussels, they speak french in the city here mainly but it's in the flanders part of belgium and outside in the small towns they speak flemish. there's a lot of belig between the walloon (french dialect) and flemish (dutch dialect) speaking folks of belgium. it gets pretty heavy. damn, cuz it's a good land that's produced a lot of trippy artists (magrite, sax, etc.). folks everywhere in this world will find some fucking thing to fight over, huh? damn.
the boss here is kurt and he's a very happening cat. much respect to him. also on the bill w/us tonight is _perverted_ (who played w/us in goes) and _come_, a band from boston. both give some kick ass sets. I really, really dig it. I watch come from stage starboard and swirl in the dream weave they got going. the singer thalia is really down, a big salute to her. I'm primed for the opera. I really dig it when there's great band playing alongside, helping up the ante and raise up a good feeling for all of us to dance on.
before hand, I must've done like six spiels (interviews) but feel now wear for it. the sony rep here is really great and I even get to meet her boss later, which is incredible. he even know's the _wire_ cover we play for an encore ("the 15th" off of "154," their third album) and I dig it! finally, a company cat w/cred! he didn't just shake my hand before soundcheck and bail - he saw the whole enchilada. much repsect for him from watt.
back to set, let me tell you about the belgium cats. the pad is pert-near full but you can hear a pin drop, they're listening that hard. I feel proud to play for them, the respect they show in giving me a shot to flow the piece their way. it almost makes me cry. damn. we come back and deliver the encores. joe baiza looks real hurting, I'm feeling for him, damn. he tells me later he can hear fluid in his lung when he sleeps. shit, I hope he heals up. tour can be a hell.
when the gig is done, I keep asking the boss kurt for the whiskey thinking it was him who said it had it when when loaded in at 11 am that morning. my fucking alzheimers! it was a cat who looked like kurt but not him. I think I'm fucking crazy but then finally figure it out and feel so relieved cuz I thought for sure it was kurt. there's no way he could be bullshiting (this man is a good cat) so for my sanity I'm glad at finding out what's really up. who care's about the whiskey anyway - it's the keeping your marbles together, right?
we get to the ho up the street and the cats from come are staying there too. they come to me and steve reed's room and watt goes into heavy spiel mode, fueled by the whiskey. damn, I'm so tired I konk in mid hand gesture and everything goes dark. I do remember meeting my old friend, joe from venlo and it was so good to see him. he's a dutch dude who did a europe fIREHOSE tour in 1988 and then we brought him to america to do a u.s. tour and mix the fROMOHIO album. his studio in venlo is doing great and he's the soundman for come on this tour. man, it was so good to see him again. he had a real heavy fucking hack cough in those days but now he says his been done w/cigarettes for three years and the shit's gone. damn good, joe from venlo!
friday, april 17, 1998 - amsterdam, holland
from bob lee:
final chance to hit the coffee shops! fortunately the town square near paradiso is packed with em, as well as restaurants & touristy places. as dinner is over hours before the gig, and we have already returned the rental van, I decide to drop off my suitcases at the hotel, which is a short walk from the club. "I'm with mike watt, we're playing at paradiso tonight." no problem, they check me right in. well as soon as the gig is over, someone from the club is having a fit about the room. turns out, they never booked us a room like they were supposed to, and I have dropped my bags in the room of some other motherfucker who is also playing at paradiso that night. thank god carlos, our booking agent, is there to rectify this and he gets us another hotel, also a short walk away. so after taking two more short walks, which seem much longer when carrying multiple bags, I am finally able to finish my coffee shop wares and crash out. "you are going to bed at 1am?," the desk clerk asks me warily. but I am too stoned to tell the reeperbahn story so I just say, "yeah."
from steve reed:
the final show and then flight to london, then home on the 19th. hoping for another great show, performance, sound, lights audience.
(later) no more smoking cigarettes! I've been smoking cigs for two months and then very regularly on this tour. no more! I quit! in london we'll be using whatever gear is provided for us, amps & drums, don't know if it will be good or bad. I also met joe, mike's ex-soundman from venlo, holland. it was an honor to meet him, I heard a lot about him through the years. I don't remember if I told you that mike's digital camera shut down on us. but we've had lots of fantastic shots throughout europe. my favorite day of shooting pictures was in bologna, italy. train station, central downtown, old statues all over town, very unique. even the look of the women, very fashionable & sexy, dark, attractive women young & old. also some shots of roma. tonight's show was packed, couple of problems with the band on stage but otherwise the show was very good.
tonight's gig is at the "paradiso" in amsterdam, the place of my first dutch gig ever, back in 1983, playing w/the minutemen, opening for black flag. I remember the first band, _nig heist_ getting booed off the stage by a bunch of skinheads who were zieg heiling them and yelling all kinds of shit. we were next to go on. I said to d. boon, "you scared?" and he said "no way" and we went on and didn't bat an eye giving it to those fuckers right in their god damn faces. sure, they yelled and they heiled but we dug in and didn't budge - went through them like water, ended up being a good gig for us and now here I am, walking around in the same under-the-stage rooms I did fifteen years before, thinking about things. I do this long interview w/this cat from a big dutch newspaper and he's very insightful. he mainly wants to talk to me about my pop and how he figures into the piece. he wants to know how much the piece is about him. I tell him about the parallels and we discuss all kinds of things. he's an older cat and has talked to lots of folks through the years. he tells me about how jerry lee lewis almost threw him out of window over some discussion on viet nam. we talk about my pop doing the tours in the engine room during that war. he also tells me a bunch about the spanish civil war. he's an interesting cat. I dig rapping w/him.
the gig is a very hard one for me to do. the communication between me and joe baiza on stage has some real problems and I get very frustrated. the crowd are real good folks though and I try to center on that. this is a very hard gig to do. I wish this was not the case but sometimes life just deals you this kind of hand. the real thing I'm trying to get at w/this piece is communication between us three up there on stage and tonight was very, very tough. I love joe baiza much but we are having problems. we must find a way to work this out. I become very mute. thank god for steve reed and his understanding way. we discuss things. he tells me I'll find the words. he says he wishes I could speak w/his ma. so do I.
saturday, april 18, 1998 - london, england
from bob lee:
last night! fly into london & cab it to the gig. our rented gear is mostly ok, but both the crash and ride cymbals are cracked and sound like shit. oh well. reading the graffiti on the dressing room wall I have discovered my new favorite idiom for a stupid asshole, "tosspot." as the promotor explained, tossing means jacking off so the tosspot is your little cup into which you spew. (never tried this myself, but that's the beauty of travel, getting a glimpse into how people live on the other side, right?) nervous about this one, as watt's lp isn't out in the uk yet and the label has done nothing to push the show, but about 300 punters show up, singing along real loud to the new songs. we seem to play well. some drunk guys come back to the dressing room, presumably to say "good show" or whatever, and I get into an argument about jazz with one of them, which prompts him to start saying stuff like "ah fuck you then, yer a stupid bastard. that's a load of toss!" heh heh, ok guy. but I also met some fans who were downright starry eyed, amazed that they were finally able to see mike play. it wasn't easy, or cheap, even making this gig but I have to believe it was worthwhile. tomorrow we get to take the tube to the airport & then back to my own bed for a while.
from steve reed:
so far everybody has been really nice to us here. we've heard stories about this place so we didn't know what to expect. but so far so good. rainy & cold but I hear it always is. show time 9:30, early night for our last one in europe. the kids were great & kept wanting more. you know, london is like texas. both places have their own vibe. it's like they don't belong to any country at all. both very independent of their own country. london was also the only town where the kids would come back stage and get drunk, and I mean drunk! just like texas. well they were fun. well anyway part one is over and part two starts on friday. bye bye europe, see you again!
we leave the continent and fly to england. it's hard to say goodbye to carlos cuz I love him so. he's just the best. we leave from the schipol oustside of amsterdam. I'm saying nothing, just losing myself in the pynchon book. I know this is no way to work out a problem but at this point, I just need some cooling off time. I will say things that won't help the situation out right now, I know it. I think joe baiza can feel where I'm at anyway.
the deal w/the english branch of my label is ridiculous. they are the only country of all the ones we've played on this tour who have not released my record. they don't even show up or make an attempt to reach me, what a bunch of dicks. the international department has been very nice to me and a cat in their office named hebron has been helping me the whole tour. he comes to the venue and brings a cat he calls a "stringer" and we do a long interview. he's originally from yugoslavia and we talk at length and in depth about the piece. he knows a lot about me. the spiel helps open me up. hebron takes to chow across the street and tells us a lot about himself. he was in the music business in the 80s and then quit it to teach tai chi for a while and now is trying music again. he's a great cat, very open and warm. we sit around the table, talking and talking about all kinds of stuff. we come back to the club and watch the opening act, a london band called _convoy_. I like them, they kind of sound like steppenwolf, they have some cat on organ and a great girl bassist. the singer is great too, w/lots of personality. he chews gum while he sings even! the drummer is real down also. I just dig them, hard to say why but they win me over. after the yugo cat, hebron and this band I'm in a much better mood than when I came to england this morning. the pad is called "the garage" and it's kind of like an american sports bar, smells like one too. no matter. the crew there is great and are very helpful. the boss is a guy named barry who brings shows into the venue, he's great and knows lots about where I'm from and what I'm trying to do. I have a lot of respect for him. good cats from england cheer watt up. we get on the stage and the piece goes great. joe baiza plays really good and is totally keyed in on me and I thank him much after the set. maybe he has less distractions now, I don't know but he's very impressive. I talk at length w/barry after the gig about all kinds of shit, drink some whiskey and have some laughs. hebron even gets us car (that's great cuz the cab ride from heathrow to the gig cost like $90 u.s.!) to the ho. the fucking ho costs like 180 pounds (almost $300) - what a fucking rip! so we end up playing that english gig for free but it's no matter, I dug it anyway. we played great as a team and the kids were so happening - they were singing the words to the piece and the fucking record wasn't even out there! they had to be the most animated and loud crowds of the whole tour. I wish I could've done more than one gig there, some scottish gigs too (where my pop's pop's folks are from). I konk w/a much different mood from last night. damn, ain't life trippy.
sunday, april 19, 1998 - flying to los angeles, usa
from bob lee:
buenas dias, america!
from steve reed:
I wake up early and start to walk. I walk all over and over for hours, thinking. I write my last postcards on some bench. I find the tube station and plot a route on the trains so we can get to heathrow much more econo. it'll cost 12 pounds total for the four of us ($21). I roust my crew and we get on the train. bob lee w/that big old suitcase we call the blue whale. damn, I know he'll never bring that thing again. it'll still give him trouble cuz the locker he left at when we arrived from holland to here is at a different terminal from where our flight back to the u.s. is and he spends hours riding a bus to go a fish the fucker out. poor bob lee.
the flight is non-stop to l.a. so it's like eleven hours on the plane - and w/my fucking knees! ahhhhh! no matter, I drown myself in the pynchon book. it's so fucking good. I could write hundreds of paragraphs on it but won't cuz this diary is a tour spiel, not the fucking new york times book review. finally we make it back and blessed be to god, flow easily through customs and wait for my sister out on the curb. I say good bye to my team: steve reed, bob lee and joe baiza. much love and respect to all of them.
my sister arrives and we drive down to pedro. I watch the harbor as we roll in. my sister drops me off. man, my cat is waiting at the door, boy am I happy to see him! little girl, the kitten my sister gave me last fall is there too. she doesn't recognize me too well. she's helped man, he's seventeen years old and her young energy has revitalized him. she's only six months old. it's great to be w/both of him.
I'm done. the "hola marinaro" tour is finished and I'm back in pedro. it's time for me to take a bath in my own tub! no time to reflect now, just a soft, long time to slowly soak.
read week 4 of the tour diary
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this page created 30 apr 98