mike watt + the missingmen

"hyphenated-man in japan 2010"

mike watt's third opera 'hyphenated-man'   mike watt +the missingmen

   my third opera "hyphenated-man" has just come out in japan (october 6, 2010) so it's time to tour there for it's world debut performance there! along w/me will be my missingmen which is tom watson (on guitar) and raul morales (on drums) who were in fact the same two who are featured w/me on the recording. much respect to kazuto-san for releasing this piece in his land on the parabolica label and for orgainizing this tour which will have us sharing every stage (twentytwo gigs in twentytwo days) w/our good buddies lite from tokyo! we'll also both be joined by tera melos (oct 17 - 22), adebisi shank (oct 25 - nov 4) and lou barlow (nov 1 - 7). up to this point, I've only played on the island of honshu (my last japan tour w/lite here) but this time I get to work all of the major four (honshu, kyushu, shikoku and hokkaido)! the big thing though is getting to both play my third opera live w/my missingmen and do gigs w/our lite brothers... for this I feel most grateful and will jam my fucking brains out.

mike watt + the missingmen
"hyphenated-man in japan 2010"

sunday, october 17 in tokyo at superdeluxe

monday, october 18 in yamagata at sandinista

tuesday, october 19 in aomori at sublime

wednesday, october 20 in morioka at club change

thursday, october 21 in sendai at park square

friday, october 22 in toyama at club mairo

saturday, october 23 in kanazawa at double

sunday, october 24 in nara at zico studio

monday, october 25 in hiroshima at 4.14

tuesday, october 26 in fukuoka at vivre hall

wednesday, october 27 in kagoshima at sr hall

thursday, october 28 in kumamoto city at django

friday, october 29 in okayama at pepperland

saturday, october 30 in tokushima at crowbar

sunday, october 31 in matsuyama at salonkitty

monday, november 1 in osaka at club quattro

tuesday, november 2 in nagoya at club quattro

wednesday, november 3 in matsumoto at alecx

thursday, november 4 in tokyo at club quattro

friday, november 5 in asahikawa at casino drive

saturday, november 6 in sapporo at hall spiritual lounge

sunday, november 7 in sapporo at sound crue

watt's word-eyed view:

sunday, october 17, 2010 - tokyo

   friday morning bob stires takes me and raul to lax for our flight to narita, japan. me, raul and tom have been doing prac on my third opera "hypheanted-man" every day except for two since september nine my pedro prac pad and bob was at the last five - he came from his pad in placitas, nm - he's been out there since february, originally he's a sierra madre cat - in order to cull firsthand experience to aid and abet in his writing an essay on it (my buddy in cleveland uncle ray's already written one
here) which is fuckin' righteous of him. since me and raul are pedro, tom got a ride via his pop from their manhattan beach and we meet him at the airport. it's an eleven hour flight and tack on that the sixteen hour time difference and it's four pm the next day (saturday) when land in japan after leaving the u.s. around one. I got a smaller brace w/a hinge in it instead of that immobilizer I was using w/the stooges summer touring and even took it off in the plane so not that bad w/my fucked up port knee - using just one tsue now (in the language here - actually means "stick") but damn, it's been three months now since it blew out on the last note of the first song ("raw power") back at a stooges gig in istres, france. oh well, I ain't gonna bellyache. of course, landing safe and getting through the border ok is HUGE FUCKING RELIEF cuz like always, the couple days especially leading up to me leaving on a tour always has me fretting like madman about what could go wrong w/stress and anxiety piled up on me (by fucking me) up to high heaven. when we see kazuto-san waiting for us, I hug him more big time then you could ever believe! he's a great cat - putting this whole twentytwo-gigs-in-twentytwo-days tour together and also getting the third opera released here on his parabolic records label.

   kazuto-san's got sickness but drives us the two and half hours it takes us to get from narita airport to daikamyama where a live house called unit to see tera melos, a sacramento band we're gonna play the first seven gigs of the tour w/along w/our tokyo buddies lite (lite does all twentytwo w/us). we got to play w/tera melos once before, in their sacto town last march when we brought lite on a u.s. west coast mini-tour - they're wild and great cats - nick/guitar/singing, nathan/bass, john/drums and new-guy-to-us: evan/guitar/keyboard/singing. we get to see twenty minutes of them (they're great and totally wild!) before going to ebeisu liquid room not too far away to see ms yuko drums w/some cats she last played w/eight years ago called smorgas for a reunion gig. whoa, she's slammin' - holy cow! big respect. and everyone so kind - they give me a seat on the side of the stage up and angled so I can watch her throwing down like a thunderstorm. kazuto-san then brings us back to his folks pad in saitama, just outside of tokyo - this is where I stayed one night during the brother's sister's daughter tour in february of 2008 and his folks are just most happening people ever - his ma has some big time oishii (tasty) chow made up for us that's a shovel you can't believe - I won't try to describe it even! whoa. our first night in japan - the only day off - ends in a good konk on the deck upstairs - this pad is pretty amazing and beautiful.

   gig day and I pop w/the sun. yesterday at the airport had cali weather waiting for us and today does too - not too hot, not too cold and dry... yeah! kazuto-san's ma makes us a righteous breakfast of slaw-like salad, corn soup, eggs in folded omelette style like they do here and really thin but wide-sliced... she's got some yuzu-kosho too - she remembered how I loved this. kazuto-san's pop comes down to talk w/us and we spend a lot time w/him, he's a great guy truly and there's enough english he's got to talk about all kinds of stuff. me and my guys have a good time. we then go to a shinjuku tower records thing to rap about the albums we just got out (lite w/"illuminate," "patagonia rats" from tera melos and my third opera) and then we do a big jam w/the stooges "fun house" w/folks from all three bands, pretty fun even if I was nervous cuz I really like these cats we're w/and I don't know if I could have a bad time, actually - even scared!

   we then go over to roppongi part of tokyo for the first gig of the tour. so great to see gig boss mike again - originally from fresno, I have big respect for him, big. we soundcheck first - whoa it's been two days since we played these! we're using the lite gear - brother jun now has an eden wt-800 head to drive his two ampeg boxes (4x10 and 1x15) but cuz of the impedances involved, uses only one of the two four hundred watt amps on board. I got the dan bass (got to even bring aboard in a soft case - first time in years!) which I just put a schaller bridge on so I could get the intonation happening cuz lots of the third opera has me up on the neck. I also got rid of the bridge pickup since I was using the one where a p-bass of its. I put a d. boon sticker over the hole! raul's using john's rented tama kit and tom's using nobuyuki's fender bassman reissue (4x10 tweed) for the fender jazzmaster (j mascis model) I gave him. masa's doing the sound - yeah, he's from that 2008 tour, righteous cat - respect! after our quick check I shovel some very oishii chow lite bassman brother jun's girlfriend hiyori - katsu, ebi, onigiri, yakitori, etc. yum-fuckin-yum.

   tera melos' on first, just after six (gigs can be early here) and they sound great. I know this pad is kind of set up like an art space but it's good sound... respect to masa, big ones. man, what a band to have to follow but I think it's a good thing - like in the old days w/flag or huskers or pups! there's trippy video against all the walls from a project that were really good (white walls in this pad - not black like a lot of live houses) - low ceiling here cuz you go downstairs instead of upstairs like most pads here, it just looks great and the vj has great sense of what images to go w/the sound. tera melos tears it up!

   just after seven pm, our turn. the turn-around is super quick cuz that's how it is over hear, w/everyone working very together and no dawdling. I tell the folks this is the first time ever this piece has been done in front of folks (besides bob at prac) and then proceed to blow at least a hundred fucking clams. I ain't kidding - look, there's thirty parts (or thirty "men") and they each are made up of many parts and fucking MANY words for the spiels and fuck, I am scared out of my head, 'pert-near shitting a pecan log though at times I do get it together. tom and raul and really good consider the fucknut they got on bass and doing the spiel. there's some dynamics issue but I think tom was the best and raul right there. I have to say there's lots of chances to choke in this piece and I ended up doing that though I didn't get the keel al the way out the water - 'cept maybe once when I started the wrong fucking "man" - thank god at the last minute I decided to printed out the order of the thing even though all that fucking prac in the prac pad cuz when the scariness grabs you, it's as if everything you thought you learned has disappeared. damn. the crowd is very kind to us though - there's one cat w/a "slip it in" tshirt that is totally into it a row back in front of me w/arms in the air... I can't thank him enough, truly - ha! can you believe it? that's how pathetic insecure - blank spots cuz of the freakout shit in the head, the playing in the moment getting robbed cuz of trying to set shit up in advance or affirm what I think is supposed to come next is what I'm gonna do - oh fuck. like a baka I totally blow by "blowing-it-out-both-end-man" but thank god my men stopped me when I tried to start "mockery-robed-man" and well, I ain't gonna get into except say this is all part of a process of me learning to do the thing in front of folks w/my guys... you can call tonight step one but there were SOME parts together - MAYBE... I ain't really in a position to judge very good.

   such a relief when we're done though - fuck, we broke the water. nick from tera melos spends a good time talking w/me and he's big time helping me just being him and saying sensible stuff. I like him a lot. I talk w/mike - I meet murata-san from green flames, yeah - he has new music to give me, alright! kurukrew guitarman murata is there to give me great new "mirror ball grind" album. I go and blather more mea culpas regarding clams in the opera's debut (good thing about ten people at least were doing digicamera filming!) to gigboss mike - damn, did I wanna especially do good for him - but shit, anyway, enough about me - lite comes on and just wails on their set, playing so fucking great, an absolute mindblow - big time fucking respect, crimony! like w/tera melo, I'm just so happy for them.

   I meet andy and seamus, educators from ireland who married ladies from here - andy's where I'm staying the week after the last gig 'til I go to the nels cline/yuka honda wedding on november thirteen. I tell them about the book I got from my friend candice I read on the plane ride over called "tales from moominvalley" by tove jannson, a swede-finn lady that I'd never heard of and thought "this is for kids" at first but then you could feel all kinds of trippy shit seep in somehow - ha! I'm laughing now trying to explain the effect the quick read had on me... I can't wait to spend more time w/these guys when the tour's done - they give me my "tour reading" books I'll get to later.

   time to get to the boat, kazuto-san organized a great show (and what a happening crowd to play for) but he's sick w/fever and I know it's a hellride for him to get us back to saitima though he does get it done, his ma waiting to give us tempura from the veggies we saw on an outside table when we left this morning and some hot tea. she gives tom some yogurt (he had to puke out back of the club after we played) to calm his stomach and it works good. I konk around midnight, last one cuz I'm thinking about all those fucking clams I blew but also feeling a little more than big time grateful for this mission I'm on. hell, I gotta admit I'm blessed. big time.

monday, october 18, 2010 - yamagata

   popped at seven and hosed off, hand-held. kazuto-san's mother again makes us righteous chow - tampura veggies, eggs and hotdog-like sausage w/unground mustard - many seeds which I dig much. some nice cat named john made a map of our tour and so I flow that via the e through the net. kazuto-san is sick and has to go to doctor but still he pushes on, his spirit unstoppable. we bail around noon - great weather again, like seventy degrees and no clouds - like my pedro town lots of times so I'm digging it! we're going north, into the mountains. I've played this town yamagata during the 2008 tour I did w/lite but then it was up to your hip w/snow cuz it was february. this time it gets a little cooler as we climb but not much, just beautiful. nobuyuki's driving me and my missingmen cuz kazuto-san is not well enough but we're in his car, a nissan cube. the other cats are divided between to toyota hiace minivans - both also packed to the gills w/gear, the amount of shit we're moving around is incredible compared to what I'm used to but that's not to say what I'm used to is better, just tripping on it. I also feel a little guilty not being able to help load/unload cuz of my fucked up hiza (knee), damn. very pretty drive plus my guys are a total crack up, I can never get tired of how they make everything/anything that we see out the windows interesting. nobuyuki's english is really getting good so he helps us out w/explaining stuff we're seeing. at a piss stop I get a couple onigiri w/ume, a rice ball (though it's triangle shaped) w/plum in the middle and covered w/thin roasted seaweed.

   we get to the venue about five pm and it's a live house called sandinista, one floor down in one of the big buildings downtown. it's typical for one I've played - small but a great p.a. and very nice cats. the organizer is seigi who played in a band I really dug from this town called shift but unfortunately they're now broken up. good to see him again. we do soundcheck first and tonight raul's on the house kit, one made by pearl while me and tom are using what we did last night, amps from the lite guys. we do a quick one, the first three parts of the piece and then I watch tera melos and lite check - man, they got a lot to set up but they both sound so good. the house man matsui is doing the sound and does great work.

   the first band tonight is a local one called nameme and I watch them after chowing some great enomi soup cooked right up here in the pad by the merch stuff, full of fresh veggies and thin-shredded meat. this band is a trip, a powertrio w/the guitarist in nothing but high cut shorts (real high) and pulling some faces you wouldn't believe and prance/strut/pogo action to the max, singing only in between the songs, kind of opera style. he's wild. liteare next and wail a GREAT set, sounding so good! the new tunes they got are kicking it up too, kouzou playing two keyboards now sometimes and a sampler w/his guitar hanging down behind him while he does it. brother jun's sickness looks like it's getting conquered, very happening. tera melos do not choke on the smoke though, they do there own version of kicking up much dust, running the songs together tight w/only a couple of small breaks - they sound so good in this room, so good. things are running a little late which I've hardly ever seen in this land... not that late though - maybe kind of organized late for a work night? our turn and I do a little better, not as much a pants-shitter w/the nerves as last night so I think maybe I do a little better? it was scary some at first cuz there was no bass coming out of the amp right before we started but some wiggle w/the bass cord and some sparks resulting shows it's a cord prob - gotta talk to the fellow bass players about that tomorrow but I'm just glad I get underway ok and though there's clams from me, there's nowhere near the amount as last night. I'm getting a little of my nerve back but still gotta keep going. one thing difficult for sure is the stage sound w/raul's floor tom and kick drum really getting loud and making it a little tough for all three of us w/dynamics but I think we still did ok w/that and hang together good w/the playing. I got the feeling really I'll get it together more w/every gig I do of this piece, I think so, really. I do have the fucking set list in a place which is dangerous - under the foot of the leg w/the hurt knee, baka watt! luckily I don't slip, thank god. tom does real good and fuck, we both stay in tune w/each other even w/us both not using a tuner. the gig has a good flow, my guys do good - proud of them, truly I am. I feel real happy about doing better than last night so I go w/tera man evan to the convenience store a block away (first time I wear the big coat I brought) and we go halves on a bottle of japanese econo whisky (some no name brand). we go back to the club and w/the tera cats we talk about stuff - they're really interested in the old sst days and I really do feel a parallel vibe w/these and those times - ain't that a trip? btbb is playing and they got a latin kind of sound mixed w/a heavy driving rhythm (seigi kicking it up solid on bass) and whoa, soundman matsui is cooking real good on guitar! good job, good job! the artist who made the great poster on the wall welcoming us, keisuke saito gives it to me for a present - whoa, I wanna have this up on the bulkhead in my prac pad so bad! thank you much, keisuke.

   brother jun's got a buddy named gou about an hour away in yonezawa so after the load-up (kouzou is pack boss), we head over to there. it's called k-talow and is a snowboard season kind-of chow pad w/lots of deck space. more good spiel w/all of us - must be like three bells when konk arrives to put the cork in the word hole of mine. oh yeah, forgot to mention we stopped on the way over at a seven-eleven (yeah, they have them here w/a slightly different name) where I see what looks like a japanese version of a dung bag (microwave burrito) and wanna see what they're like. it's little but econo and what a surprise - it's got a skinny hot dog in it and curry wrapped in something like a tortilla - not that bad. trippy.

tuesday, october 19, 2010 - aomori

   pop at nine and gou makes us up some great rice w/konbo and veggies along w/miso soup, great. gou's, wife and their aka-chan eita come by - what a beautiful baby. such nice people - what a very kind, generous and righteous cat gou is, truly. we head north to aomori. man, kazuto-san is still really sick and bundled big time in one of the hiace minivan front seats. I sure hope konk helps him kick that shit out. man, I'm sending as much posi-wishes to him I can, I just love the guy to death and to see him suffer like this is killing me.

   it's a hike to aomori, my first time to this town - first time for lite and tera melos as well. the weather's great... a little cooler but nice. out the window it's kind of u.s. northwest, lots of forest and hills. nobuyuki's at the wheel here in the cube w/us missingmen and he tells us aomori means blue forest. this japan's hugest apple growing crop part. we have big spiel about stuff most the ride, of course! like philosophy of religion for some of it. nobuyuki's english is getting really good and he's a great driver. we laugh at the mannequin flag men the have at road construction spots, some of them in different outfits - there's usually live flag men also so tom wonders what the real guys self-esteem must be like...

   the live house we're at tonight is called sublime. very nice people here, two of them are in the band that's gonna open the show called malcheese. we play upstairs (the bar's downstairs) and it's got a pretty high cieling. it's not painted black like most live houses either. us three bass players are using the setup they got here - a 4x10 trace elliot cab powered by a yamaha amp (j100b) - I talk to brother jun about his amp cable at the banana plug end missing a screw and one wire not making solid connection - almost put me out of the race last night. convenience store chow before gig starts and I get onigiri w/trout eggs in the middle and a little breaded chicken cutlet. the walk's good for me and my lame knee. is it a walk if you use a crutch?

   malcheese is good band, I enjoy their set. we're next and I bumble some spiel, of course. there are parts though where I get it together w/raul and tom. the bass amp is a little weak in the sound but ok. number three try for this piece live, I wish I could get it together right away but I have to have gaman (how they say patience here) and fucking keep at it. the crowd are very focused and give much respect - it must be a trip to them, I'm thinking. it's ok, it's kind of what I want. what I want is to play the piece as good as tom and raul are, get the fucking words together. is that me asking too much of myself? NO! gaman, I guess but fuck, it's frustrating. my insecurity shows right after we're done and I give tom a debriefing right on stage. baka watt. actually it was the best we've done it in lots of parts. me and tom talk more while we watch lite from the tv feed on a little set behind the bar. they whup it up good. our jaws drop. I gave nathan a set of bass strings and he's using them to power the tera melos turn at wailing. both bands are just so happening, damn... I wanna bet that way! I mean not copying... hell, I wish I could dance too!

   there's a dj w/us named jin and we drive an hour to a small farm town called inagaki to konk there at his parents. whoa, the chow laid out for us is a mindblow: sushi, tabasaki, big ebifry, cartilage on skewers, fried fish, beers and sochu. it's incredible, his folks so kind - mad respect for them. wow. his pop's a rice farmer and is very cool people, so his ma. christ, why did I drink way too much like a fucking baka? I soil myself. I can't remember konking but I think it was on the deck where I was chowing.

wednesday, october 20, 2010 - morioka

   pop at ten bells! must've been late, must've. I feel shame but it's the kind where you can't stop laughing. my body doesn't hurt. the back of the tiny truck bed of father farmer, I soil the other way. fuck. great asagohan (breakfast "first rice") made w/the rice grown right here, incredible, so good. beautiful people, jin's folks, just beautiful. I thank them most sincerely.

   a stop for gas, I go over to the hiace carrying the tera melos cats and tell them "...just in case you thought punk was just a music style!" cuz I know now they know for sure I'm fucking completely out of my mind. we backtrack some of the drive we did yesterday. like aomori yesterday, we play tonight where none of us (inlcuding lite) have played before. also, this town's a prefecture capital but for iwate. we go by mount iwate, a huge volcanic mountain. much farmland. it's about a three hour drive. nobuyuki learns me some about kanjis, damn is that stuff complicated! actually these cats use three alphabets or actually four if you count romanji, the one using our letters... trippy, interesting.

   the club's called change we're playing tonight and very familiar style backstage (actually the floor below the gig room floor), bulkheads totally full of graffiti... hmm... but hardly any dicks drawn - what's that about? there's onigiris from jin's ma and I chow them for dinner after soundcheck, fucking great! nobuyuki brings me both the levis jin's ma washed (I only brought these two pair of pants for the tour) but put in a plastic sack right after - he went to a laundry pad and got them dried, what a total righteous brother. fucking thank god I can get out of these shitty adidas track suit pants or whatever was given to me this morning. I'm donating them here. even purple flannel got washed, wow... john coltrane washed but I got backup in the 'puter sack though it's rusted from so many gigs - it him from the year I was born, 1957... I am superstitious and hope I get good luck! of course he also total inspiration for me, so big love.

   lite is first tonight. I watch them fucking cook w/their, whoa - every fucking time, huh? they are a trip and amazing. brother jun's bass is a little muddy - he'll tell me the same thing after my turn... all us bassies are using his eden wt-800 head (only one side!) but through the house ampeg 8x10 cab here. anyway, they work a beautiful set here. akinori's slamming (no drums being carried w/us, every gig we use the house's - tonight again is pearl) - this cat would sound phenomenal on wet sandbags, I just love him. kouzou/nobuyuki, holy smoke! just so great. jin spins records during changeover, tera melos next. they move their sounds their way and whoa, they are truly scientist rock! it is beautiful, like lite but in their own way and that's the way to do it! my opinion. it's trippy how their stuff moves - I asked nick about composition and he said the tunes are like their own little worlds and damn right they are. so there's been two very happening sets and now our turn. the way the situation on stage is here at this pad, raul's gotta play behind us and for me, this makes things very difficult. I'm used to having him way up front and so I can look at both him and tom, even on the mic. I love having his kick drum on my leg so I have set at an angle too but that can't happen tonight. well, there's a little angle but he's way back. fuck. "number four" I tell the people and we launch into our fourth time doing the piece. right away I got some clams going but I do rally some as we go on though word clams pop up all the way through, I vow tomorrow to study the written spiel more. tom has a kind of rough gig, a good fistful of clams his way but I ain't angry about it in the least cuz maybe I still out-clammed him! I actually think the raul-behind-us thing really put a huge challenge on us, I know for sure it did for me. the morioka people are very kind. I fucking 'pert-near feel backwards at the end, losing my balance but somehow staying up and holding on to the amp. whoa, that scared the shit out of me. get the bass off and grab the fucking tsue, watt. no onstage debriefing, I tell tom he did great, raul too.

   the plan is to go konk at a 'tel but there's to be chow first. I ask nobuyuki if we can skip chow cuz I'd like the konk and fuck, kazuto-san still has a big fever and it's going on four days now for him. even nobuyuki has some coughs and I remember the february 2008 tour and him sick for lots of it. I want these guys well! I'm very glad he's into and leave the tera melos guys, brother jun, yanai and jin to go chow first. the 'tel is called prince and is up in hills, there's ski lifts up to the slopes for winter and a golf course next door for now. we make convenience store stop and I get some water and I think is soda water even though the the label says "cider 1000" but this shit is flavored like bazooka bubble gum and is fucking terrible, blecccccch. fuck. I was so tired I don't know why I didn't hit the deck but for some stupid reason just plopped on this tiny bed where my legs at the knee hug over the side. I'm out. no drinking either.

thursday, october 21, 2010 - sendai

   pop at like four and take hot bath - tub deep but not long. can't find towel so have to drip dry. slip on deck coming out of head - throw leg w/hurt hiza straight out so I don't twist it but that has me land w/nothing breaking fall, a huge plop on the deck... no hurts though, very lucky. man what a boom that deck plop made - I hope I didn't wake my guys (all three of us in the same chamber) and I'm very grateful for no big hurt, very grateful. I go back and konk on terrible tiny bed - it takes a while but happens. there's just no deck room w/out for sure my guys stepping on me and I can't risk hiza getting stomped on. I pop again and nine and shave - fucking forgot to yesterday. everyone's in good spirits... oh yeah, both me and raul heard tom talking his sleep and laughing, very trippy. he's always done that. I heard only mumbles but raul says heard actual words. tom makes us some green tea. out the window it's very hazy, kind of like gray mornings in pedro lots of times. temperature is mild. we hang outside the 'tel lobby hatch w/the tera melos cats for brother jun and yanai, who have overslept. we explain "hanzo the razor" to them. stick... training... rice sack... training...

   cuz kouzo, nobuyuki and kazuto-san left early for interview in sendai, yanai drives us three missingmen in the nissan cube - he's been doing merch but tonight's his last night w/us. nice cat. soon we stop for asagohan, it's mossburger - my first time to actually chow at one cuz why do I wanna have hamburgers in japan? it is there style though and trippy cuz of all the sauce. I would say better than crapdonalds or buger fling but I don't know about making a habit of chowing at these pads. tera melos wants to know how I "rate" the black flag singers... I like them all for different reasons, what each brought to that version of the band. nathan's into this kind of big time, I'm thinking... of course I love all the flags and have lots of good memories of them. they did so much for what I do now - I don't what things would be like for me now w/out what I learned from them then. there's pumpkins out front like jack-o-laterns cuz halloween's coming but what's trippy is the pumpkins here are green. they're sure great to chow though. nick tells me halloween's his favorite holiday - mine too! he said he worked at a costume store a long time. he tells me about this proj he wants to do: he wants to put together a comp piece made from different people making scary sounds w/their instrument - he asks me if I'd do some when I get home and send it to him and I say fuck yeah I will. I love halloween cuz it's the one day a year we admit we wear costumes.

   only a couple hours to the east and though sendai's not on the pacific ocean, it's real close - like forty minutes. also another prefecture capital, for miyagi. it's my second time to this town though a different venue, it's called park square and has a great boss, tom-san. it's one floor down and whoa, smoking's not allowed - much different for a japanese live house. very good sound system and soundman ke check us after the lite brothers. all us bassies use their bass head but the speakers a new model ampeg 4x10 on a table-like wheeled cube. drums here are yamaha, the drummies say it's the best set yet on the tour. there's a little sprinkle outside but not much.

   the promoter boss is yashushi and he's very cool people, also lived in canada (toronto) so great english. he recommends gyutan (ox tongue) for me to chow cuz it's sendai specialty and so akinori takes me to this pad that serves it. akinori is beautiful, I love him. his spirit is very special. also, he is crazy wild and accurate swinging drummer w/incredible skill w/not one iota of badge-buffin' ego bloat. this gyutan is sliced thin and is great chow, served w/pickled cucumber slices and a happening soup on the side, rice too. love it. his english is coming on too, we have great talk. we bail and he tries to read the old kanji this pad has for a sign... too old and difficult... but then this older gentleman comes up from nowhere and starts rappin' w/us, saying it means "happy helper" but he keeps going, saying he ran a huge 'puter company and also was a translator/novelist - he does half/half w/the language w/me, very ernestly (!) saying he's seventyfour, been to california, mississippi and strong as a jinja - he has me feel his bicep and damn, he is pretty good for that age. me and akinori trip on him... he's cool though and wishes me luck on my life journey.

   tera melos is on first, just after seven - kind of character builder but fuck it, they tear the shit up like no one's business, just great. nick breaks a string on his peavy guitar though halfway through but tom comes through w/the j mascis model jazzmaster I gave him. DAMN - you wouldn't believe the difference in the sound - both him and the whole band, crimony! trippy thing too is nick and tom were talking after soundcheck about guitars and I heard nick saying he always wanted a jazzmaster and look what happened! ain't that a trip?! we're next and I do a little better, maybe a little bit better than a little bit (fuck, does that sound stupid!) - I space on less words in some places but space on other parts... other parts I'd gotten before! I think I gotta study on some on these words more, just gotta. the nerve thing is maybe what's a little bit better - maybe that's just it. tom recovered a bunch from last night and raul did good - thank god for my guys! there's a gaijin who was at the yamagata named craig w/another called chris, very nice people. I've played music from chris on my radio show, he informs me!

   we have hellride ahead, like four hours west to niigata so we can konk at masa's (did sound at the first gig of this tour at super-deluxe) parents, same where I konked in february 2008. man, did his ma make me a righteous chow the next morning... so sad both jin and yanai have to leave back to tokyo so the crew's two more short. scary for me is kazuto-san is still w/fever, damn. I'm kind of worried about him getting run down, especially w/the hellride coming. I can't help but worry cuz I love him and express that to nobuyuki... I talk to tom and raul about it too cuz it's fucking worrying the hell out of me. bassman nathan rides w/us a la lucky pierre on the back bench cuz of me w/the fucked up knee having to be up front. sorry. of course I konk during the drive cuz of being so tired... we stop once I know of and I chow a tiny fried something in a roll then konk again... thank god we get there safe around three am - respect to nobuyuki's skill for this silver hiace and brother jun for the blue one. great to see masa again. he lays out the twelve mats for twelve dudes upstairs on the tatami mats and blankies... even though there was rain on the ride, it ain't that cold and pretty comfortable. bassman nathan wants to know about slovenly so me and tom tell him some before I konk. I think they were a little like the fall w/the joy division guy kind of singing - a little. me and d. boon put out the first three slovenly records... I think tom's getting them reissued w/the other ones they did...

friday, october 22, 2010 - toyama

   pop around eight bells and see eleven dudes bedecked and blankied around me... I maneuver carefully w/the tsue to avoid and am successful but sliding open the hatch makes sound causing raul to holler "alarm clock!" like a perfect gentleman. there's a japan style steel tub that's about three feet by four and three feet deep that takes 'pert-near an hour to fill but it's worth it - great soak and real hot one, even if I can't stretch my legs out. whoa, I'm grateful but my fucked-up knee even more. I'm in there 'til I start to prune, then get out and make our konk party an even dozen that are bedecked and blankied. we bail at one pm after masa makes up some coff (they say cohi here) and as we roll out, I see his ma and we both say matane at the same time (matane = "see you later") - man, did she make me a righteous breakfast back in february 2008 when I was the only one who popped early, a total traditional asagohan w/soft mochi in the miso and everything else. a stop at a convenience store gives me a chance for plum-in-the-riceball onigiri.

   bassman nathan from tera melos is riding w/us, again lucky pierre style between tom and raul but unlike last ride, he fills the couple of hours we gotta drive to toyama (another prefecture capital of the same name, a million people though - biggest town since we've played since tokyo) w/tales of how tera melos evolved and in particular, how john their drum arrived and some of his music past - for example, his tenure in harry and the potters. there's also a hella connection w/the tera cats - guitarman nick yesterday gave me a collab he did w/hella drummieman zack. it's a little hard for me to follow nathan's trail but then I'm also chimping diary at the same time. he's cool people. oh, tom asks him about bass players he likes, asks if he likes jaco and that stuff and he says it's hard for him to focus on what bass players as opposed to someone like john who could tell you all kinds of his drum heroes. of course we then talk about how great brother jun is on bass for lite. actually that bass talk got cut short to get into what I just chimped - see, now I'm confusing myself! I'll tell you one trippy thing: it's hard to believe he doesn't know about pere ubu! then you gotta realize he's only twentyeight! he wants to know though, wants to know about pop group too.

   mairo is the venue and it's on the fifth floor of a building w/a pachinko parlor on the first - damn, is that fucking place loud when its hatch slides open, crimony! pachinko is a gambling thing like slot machines. now this pad ain't really a live house, it's like a u.s. club, pretty big. we got a local band called interior palette toeshoes who are very nice cats, they're offering up the konk pad for after the gig. we're informed only thirtyfive minute sets so maybe a brief second of though and I decide it's crazy to play the third opera in any other form than the whole thing so tonight we'll be songs we played before we did my piece. now I think the last time we played those tune was four and a half months ago. so be it. like tom was saying as we arrived here, "truth be told" and then proceeded to enlighten me to the actual origins of lou barlow + the missingmen... it wasn't just lou barlow asking me like I had thought this past year and told everyone who asked me what was up w/that - tom explains it was first him letting lou barlow know he was available and then later suggesting raul on drums. it was after this solicitation lou barlow had asked me. now I got it right! anyway, we're going on second. I go find a package of squid at the convenience store and chow that for dinner. it's good and I feel stronger. katzuto-san says it's a specialty for this area which makes sense cuz we're near the sea of japan. it's been a big medicine-making town since the 1600s. I'm sure glad he's feeling better, so glad - he's not perfect but feeling better.

   the interior palette toeshoe cats go at eight and play maybe two long tunes, kind of moody instrumentals w/sometimes one of them hollering off-mic. I like them, watching their gig while sitting next to brother jun at the merch table - yeah, there's a lot of merch we're slinging - like thirty different kinds of items from shirts to cds to buttons. anyway, our turn next and we open w/the urinals' "surfin' w/the shah" - our version... I remember doing that tune w/the actual urinals (two of the three original members still left) last year at harold's place in my pedro town and telling bassman john, "sorry for our way" but he told me, "hey, that's what it's for" - much respect to him. actually, it's a tune d. boon would play at minutemen gigs by himself if I broke a string and need to string on a new one. we're doing pretty good for a few tunes 'til "one reporter's opinion" and the bass amp just cuts out, maybe overheating and thermal protection shutting it down? I switch the speaker cable to the other side (these eden amps have two amps - oh we're using brother jun's wt-800 through the house svt 8x10 cab) and am back in the race (tom was spacing on this one anyway - he warned me might happen... it's why we cut "the big bang theory" from the set) but time and time again it keeps going out, aaaarrrrgggghhhh. there's a direct box so the folks keep getting bass but it's a little tough for raul though he's doing really good (the set the drummies are using tonight a white ludwig kit). you know tom has the most consistent sound every gig cuz he's always using nobuyuki's fender bassman tweed reissue but you know what? I don't think it's a big deal at all - as long as we can play these gigs over, using anything is VERY OK w/me, truly. I have to admit what's kind of sad is tera melos leaving us after tonight and I call nick and nathan out when I see them watching us stage port in the "ex-lion tamer" chorus. I'm gonna really miss these guys. I get very sweaty going off tonight (nick had played me the hardcore duet he's got w/hella's drummieman zack right before w/went on and I got lit). understand I wanna get the third opera to the point where I know these tunes and I can deliver it so much fucking better. this is what I'm aiming at. clams are clams but having a certain verve that comes from knowing what you're playing in the muscle memory and not having to scramble for brain search/retrieve fucking shit is so much where I wanna be w/this "hyphenated-man" piece. after five times and then going back these tunes we did tonight makes that so much fucking the real deal to me, I swear. we do thirtyfive minutes 'pert-near on the nose cuz I watched the watch strapped on my fucking wrist. tera melos has a six hour hellride to get to a eight am flight out of narita for south korea right when they get done. we talk while the lite brothers set up and deliver they're amazing way of making music, righteous set from them tonight. I flow over some elvin jones and john coltrane to melos-men nick, men and helperman evan - evan says he might have a proj for me to fit in, yeah! he flows me music from his worker bee band. thank you so much, brother evan. there last set in front of us for this trip and whoa, do they knock it out w/a blast. brother jun blew up his amp (it wasn't just the speaker cord which was a far-off guess I gave him) so bassman nathan's on the house svt-III but that's ok cuz that's what he uses at home. it's the most physical I've seen nick go and man, does he GO GO GO!!! they do really really wild, what a send-off for us.

   we pack up as quick as we can which is kind of tough cuz one minivan has to take kazuto-san, tera melos and all there gear (mostly tons of pedals in cymbal-case sized wooden boxes) which ain't too bad but the other minivan has to take everything else plus us and the lite brothers. akinori is the packboss this time and does a great job though - fuck, we fit in everything somehow, incredible! big hugs and "safe seas" to our departing buddies after taking one last shot together...

lite + tera melos + kazuto + missingmen + watt in toyama - oct 23, 2010

   the konk pad is only a little ways away, at koichi (one of the opener's guitarists) and sachi's - such VERY kind cats, really. the rest of their bandmates come by w/beers and some boiled beef and rice chow and we have a good time, it keeps my mind off of worrying about our compadre's hellride. the other guitarist for interior palette toeshoe, brother hirosawa is very intense to know "what's iggy-san like?" and I try my best what a righteous and intense thing it is to be on stage and work a gig w/him. I say it feels like bottom line is "let's do this!" and go all the way, nothing less. it is a feeling I love and respect. I try my hardest cuz I am most inspired.

   and w/that, I am tuckered and it is time for konk. that I do.

saturday, october 23, 2010 - kanazawa

   pop at eight and there's kind of steep grade cement stairs to benjo (their word for the head) that I figure I'll both piss and shower. I remember from last night though kind of small shower so difficult for me to get into shitagi (their word for chonies) so fuck it, they're coming off now, go on after. well, I go and take care of that business but passing through the room w/the lite brothers, they are weirded out a little - wondering "why?" about the no shitagi. hell, wasn't trying to be weird, had purple flannel on and even blankie over shoulder kind of toga-style. these guys are the best but sometimes I confuse and surprise them, lots of laughs trying to figure mike-san out. this situation w/the fucked-up knee has got many challenges. I ain't letting it keep me all the way down though, nope.

   it's bright and sunny out and we don't have much to drive at all, maybe an hour. yet another prefecture capital town tonight, kanazawa (prefecture: ishikawa) I played here once before, during the february 2008 w/my lite brothers. lots of window time in the boat during the drive yesterday, we saw the sea of japan and though we're still on the west side and very close, we see none today. I've been told fish from the west side is better than fish on the west cuz the sea is much more strong and wild. there's a famous garden in this town called kenroku-en but w/my fucked-up knee, I can't even see the modern museum art where tom and raul go after soundcheck - an easy ten minute walk for them but I would've dragged them down so much, it would've been closed. oh, the venue is not a live house but what they call a "sound bar" and where you jam is in a small black room in the back - on the deck. it's called o.n.p.a. and the pad boss is kin, a great cat. after soundcheck (raul on a ludwig kit from one of the openers, me and brother jun on their svt-III through a trace-elliot 4x10), kin takes us to a nearby chow pad (no chain!) and I have tonkatsu - I love tonkatsu! yeah, small owner/operator chow pads are great - they cook right in the middle, we can see everything being prepared, sitting at an all-around counter. it is oishii shovel. six hundred thirty yen (dollar real weak now so almost eight bucks u.s.). I had asked brother jun earlier to call kazuto-san to see if his mission w/tera melos went ok but then realize man, did he the konk and bugging him would be real bullshit... brother jun go the word though - and an email from bassman nathan in seoul confirming they made it to south korea safe. brother jun asks me to help him w/some spelling cuz brother nathan sent shot of him doing that peace sing pose he told me you do if you're in asia next to a young woman - brother jun replies "please masterbate" - I am glad I helped w/that spelling. actually I am just so fucking RELIEVED everyone's safe, so relieved. I was fucking sick to death w/worry.

   seven pm, first band on is ningen ok (meaning "humor is ok"), just guitar and drums though drummie cooks w/some keyboard + vocal synth. I like them a lot. mostly instrumental - all these bands tonight are and also all are kanazawa. emi is next and paint big textures w/the two guitar/drum/bass line up the third band mani use also though both have their own thing. I will have to say all three of these bands have influence from our lite brothers - I don't know for sure but it's my opinion. only two chairs in this little band room but the people are kind to let me sit it in it. I was feeling a little tired so that's why I wanted to really experience all the music cuz going on last can be tough if you're tired and I wanted the inspiration. I couldn't really see so it was 'pert-near a total music trip for me for these bands - no visual component. I could see a little of the mani bass player though, he was great w/a big rumbling sound, using his fingers. lite blisters out their set, running their tunes tight together but not rushing them - fuck, is it capable for these cats to blow clams? it's very emotional though, even w/all the precision. it is a wonderful set from them, truly - they made that whole room alive from what seemed the other side! I tell brother jun his bass sound was great, no matter what the equipment - I tell him I think it's so much from his hands, maybe ninety percent and only ten percent equipment? I don't know, but that's what I think cuz I've seen him play now on so much stuff. this time he was in the center too, instead of kouzou - first time I've see that. and akinori - he never complains of equipment cuz I think equipment doesn't matter cuz he puts so much heart into it, so much spirit and that transcends fucking uptight "gear issure" shit. this is a very righteous thing I THINK EVERYONE DOING MUSIC CAN LEARN FROM, big fucking time. ok, our turn and we set up quick - hell, it's 'pert-near eleven so blam! we're off - I told the folks this would've been the seventh time for the third opera cuz tom told me it's bad luck to say the number six. I was kind of afraid cuz a gig away from the opera cuz of the toyama situation but we do it up ok... I like lots of what we're doing but I realize I'm clamming up now the same words (or lack of the right words) in the same parts of the same tune so I'm gonna start focusing on these clams - maybe "imbedded problems" is a term for it so I focus on this shit for next time. I have to make progress. we all three play pretty good together considering me still getting this fucking piece together - big respect to raul and tom. the folks even keep clapping for encore but I am a little embarrassed and just happy they're so kind to us.

   kin gives us some beers w/some fried potato wedge kinds of things... he is so SO kind and beautiful. all the staff here are very happy - one man (I think his name is motoki) is incredible w/his manipulation of a clear plastic solid sphere the size of a softball... incredible, amazing - what a fucking trip, what he can do w/this sphere - gravity defying cuz of illusion skills he works like a motherfucker - he's blowing my fucking mind! he gives me a small lampshade he made out of a gourd, drilling tiny little holes to make pretty patterns, much respect to him. I'll get this happening w/a little bulb in pedro. the staff have me sign the bulkhead in front of the bar and I write I love this pad. what kind beautiful folks... kin saying "I love you, I love you" as we drive off.

   less than an hour and we're in kaga city at buddy of lite's named satoru. it's a big traditional older building next to what was probably just recently a chow pad and out come the pads and blankies, onto the huge tatami matted deck - one big room divided into three via sliding doors. konk takes me w/in moments cuz I am fucking beat. great night though, great night.

sunday, october 24, 2010 - nara

   pop at nine bells, this is so great. you know it's hard for me to konk late but my body needs konk bad to stay healthy on tour. it is gray out though and not much sun came through windows. satoru makes shower ready for me - remember, this pad hasn't been used for a while - so very kind of him. his ma makes us coff. I ask him if he's a musician and he tells me matter-of-factly "no, I'm a dancer" - fucking right on, I'm thinking... first time I've heard that! BIG respect to him, deep bow. ten bells now, time to pull anchor...

   we must travel east, across honshu to pacific ocean side. this means many tunnels. I mean, we've been already through many tunnels but this is lots more. w/out these tunnels the go would be a MUCH slower go, believe you me! instead of up and down the mountains and all around it's straight right them. these roads are expensive toll-wise though, crimony. cheaper on the weekends and I've heard they've just even made some free. anyway, somehow these tunnels gotta get paid for, right? and there's a butt load... I'm just imagining how forever it'd be w/out them. there's rain but not real heavy. I've been mostly chimping diary during the drives - I do that now w/brohter jun at the wheel. it's all of us in one boat so a little cramped for all us guys - me, my missingmen and lite but we make the best of the four hours we have to do to get to nara. lots of farmland and burning of peat. if there's an open space anywhere, it gets planted up w/wheat or whatever, the folks try to use every inch available. we shovel chow at rest stop and I have curry katsu which is very good. folks here use a spoon for curry but I use hashi cuz I love using them. we also all share some masushushi that satoru's lady gave us which is a pie-like layer of salmon on a layer of rice wrapped in big leaves. all very oishii.

   about four hours for our drive. nara is a very old city and was japan's capital for like seventy years in the seven hundreds. it's the capital of the prefecture of the same name now days. damn I wish I had time cuz nearby is horyu temple, the oldest surviving japanese temple. also in nara is the great buddha (like fifty feet tall) in one of the biggest wooden houses in the world at todai temple. plus there's the shoso respository w/all kinds of old old arts stuff but we arrive right in time to begin soundcheck and so all those things I can't do. I think a twentytwo gigs in twentytwo days tour is more about the gigs and seeing stuff in a land right needs either a tour of it's own or many days off.

   the pad we're play is called zico studio and it appears they're both a sound company and do recording and prac pad accommodating. the gig part is a room on the third floor and it's got a pretty high ceiling, good padding on the bulkheads to keep down the soundbounce - sounds good. for bass we got sunn coliseum amp (but not an old one) w/two swr 4x10 cabs. this makes for sort of like john entwistle's "live at leeds" sound. after asking raul, we're all unsure what kind of drums but it was a different set than akinori used cuz that set was kind of permanently in the back and I'm so glad raul can be where I'm used to him being... I guess we could've moved stuff around but this minimized having to futz up shit more than had to be. I'm all about us having a smooth go w/our buddies. after soundcheck, we do laundry - whoa! eight guys get all their shit in a one thousand yen machine but fuck, I just have the purple flannel, levi, kutzushi, shitagi - one whole outfit so I change into the other whole outfit I have... that's right, I brought only two whole outfits for this tour - I didn't wanna bloat the yellow sack. folks leave their shit while it's washing! we enlighten our lite brother how this is not done back where we're from. we all go to the supermarket close by before dryer time and get chow from the deli part - I get some chicken livers on a stick and some ume onigiri (rice balls w/plum in the middle) and it's a good econo chow, prices much better than convenience store and the livers were just skewered and cooked up. I tell brother jun "you know what's a trip? all the english words used by stores in japan now - look at the names of the different sections of the store, they're all in english: fresh farm produce, meats, deli, information, et cetera." it's not only that but many store have it for their storefronts too... and if not in english than romaji, which is using roman alphabet. he says at first it's cuz of who won the war - he's only twentyfive but he's one real smart cat. it makes me wonder, what he said cuz I didn't expect that. he says it's ok, accepting u.s. culture. I think about it... this is still japan, so much japan - these other things are just "outside things" I think maybe. we get our shit out the dryer and return to the venue...

   kazuto-san's here, yatta! he looks great and his health is back - I'm so fucking happy and glad, thank god! I give him HUGE hugs. looks like we're on last and everyone w/just thirty minute sets so no third opera tonight. it's ok - "work the room" as they say. first band is local band called cinema staff. bass player and one of the guitarist going off! we learn our gig will be video-streamed on the internet so I ask tom to do some of that! next is our lite brothers and I let them throw their compacted-for-tonight music world right on me, they're slammin' and driving it home hard. nobuyuki usually gives a spiel somewhere in their set but tonight he's helped some off-mic by kouzou and brother jun and they're laughing much - a little different for them. damn, I wish I could understand what they're saying but I do feel they're having a good time. it shows in the joy of their playing too. I meet a cat from columbus, ohio living in japan now who took a two hour train for the gig, he's very nice - actually he asks me why am I nice guy cuz that's what he's heard. that's a trippy thing, I wonder if I've ever been asked that? I kind don't know how to answer except to thank him and say I try to more willing to learn from others - I tell him I think everyone has something to teach me. aahh, I'm a little embarrassed. I tell you this, I sure am grateful when I meet nice people, grateful big time. third up is lostage, a nara band that's been around for ten years - two brothers up front on bass and guitar w/a wild drummer behind them. I'm digging on their set when eye and yoshimi from the boredoms come up to me to say hi - wow! BIG respect to them! I have to play good now, have to... want to! we blast thirty minutes of what we used to before we became engulfed in third opera world - tom breaking a string in the fourth tune but nobuyuki coming to the rescue w/his schecter tele. I try to go off as hard as I can this gig and 'pert-near fall over a few times - thank god I didn't though. it's as hog-wild as I can get it, tom and raul do good. we have a good time, much respect to the folks. they want an encore but I tell them our turn is over and now "paint your own picture, write your own poem... your own book" and give three bows.

   I get to meet yoshimi's two young daughters - I ask which will be bass, which will be drums... we decide they can take turns! so great to talk w/eye too... damn, I'm baka I didn't take picture w/them, fucking forgot. so many nice folks here to who came, I flow "man in the van" stickers their way, much as I can. I thank the lostage cats for helping this gig come together, much respect - their bassman w/the bosch study festooned "hyphenated-man in japan" tour shirt on. we pack up and pull anchor (I'm learning our lite brothers!), miss yo w/us cuz we're konking at her pad in kakogawa, about a ninety minutes ride away. of course there's a convenience store stop and I get a tiny bottle of suntory whisky (half pint, three hundred yen) to share w/tom when we drop anchor cuz he's looking a little down. miss yo's pad is incredible, the mats laid out on tatami... after some good spiel, I lay myself down for konk but tonight I go back to an old practice of mine: donning the konk mask. konk comes in moments.

monday, october 25, 2010 - hiroshima

   pop at ten and a half, yeah - the konk mask worked and I got important rest. ok, it gets applied as much as possible now - back to the old way! this one I got is econo and doesn't get everything blacked out as I'd like it but it fucking work some to keep more konked as the sun comes up. I need my health! what a righteous pad to konk in too, like I wrote about last night. I get to do shower and shave... and don't space out and remember to! this might sound retarded but it's so happening being w/my guys and the lite brothers, I get caught up in the spiel and then damn - it's already time to pull anchor! miss yo takes time to come from her acupuncture work to come to the pad and fix us the most righteous asagohan (morning chow) - miso soup w/tofu, broccoli plus green beans w/octopus, riceballs w/sesame seeds, boiled quail eggs fried in light batter, potato wedges good w/tiny fish eggs on them, pumpkin all whipped up w/raisins in them and battered fried chicken chunks - so tasty, so healthy! big respect to her, truly BIG respect. she wants to see my fucked-up knee... she had helped tom w/his wrist and she shows me places where to apply these kyu (spelling?) which is some kind of chinese medicine stuff you light... I can tell where she's feeling that it's right where the ligament connects are. she uses sharpee to mark the places. big thanks yous, big thank yous...

   we shove off and head west to hiroshima, on the inland sea in southern honshu. it is capital of prefecture of same name. of course maybe everyone knows of this town cuz it's the first one ever bombed w/an atomic weapon. that has me kind of down. I also think of john coltrane playing here a year and four days before he died. different things from the u.s. that came here... the drive has rainy parts but clears the more west we go. brother jun makes one risky move, pulling off on an onramp from the fast land w/a big truck (big for here) inconveniently making things a little scary to thread the fucking needle. he's been driving good but that move was rolling the dice for sure. good thing kazuto-san was playing trailer-hitch in the minivan right behind us or else only us would've been slaughtered if the dice came up lame. I ask brother jun what he thought of that move and he said it was a mistake. I hate to worry but christ, the road was slick w/rain and everything... we pile everyone in our boat and the rest stop and kazuto-san heads for the hiroshima airport to get adebisi shank, cats from ireland who are taking the place of our tera melos bros. I've played them on my radio show but haven't see them live - can't wait.

   the venue's called 4.14 and such kind folks working here - lite offers to give them tour shirts but they all buy one. keiji's doing sound and he's great. there a hugh lowend come off the stage but he gets that under control. it's a nice pad, more like a club than a live house and a giant jbl system. seven-thirty and first band on are the irish cats... wow, they are intense! bassist vinnie wears a red scarf-like mask-hood and he's leaping around all crazy like. lar leaps about almost as wild - both of them use pedals to get insane sounds and I think drummer mick has his drums trigger sample for one tune - yeah, there kind of tiny tunes but packed w/lots and lots of stuff. the dynamic is exploding exploding exploding!!! I really dig them, good stuff, good stuff and highly original - in the instrumental vein but like I said, exploding! good groves also, I'm into it. next on is us and we get to do the opera. oh, I'm using brother jun's albit b-280 head that kazuto-san brought to replace the blown-up eden of his. it's ok, lots of knobs and stuff but it works alright for me here. we have a great start in fact but in part six of the thirty total, tom breaks an 'a' string (he broke a high 'e' last night and so only changed that one)... again, nobuyuki to the rescue w/his schecter tele and whoa, the first time the third opera's been not played straight through but the pause ain't that big - and we're back on the track. the audience so focused and respectful (they were very emotional and locked to the irish cats, very wild - like them), much respect back to them. I know it is insane piece but so glad to get to do it again, seventh time. our lite brothers next and I watch them next to shanksters mick and vinnie... I'm pounding my tsue to beat and am sure glad it can take it cuz fuck, what would I do if it crumbled? whoa, they're on fire - yet again! yeah. you know, I was telling the adebisi cats after they got done how I got so lit by their gig and some of what I was feeling was kind of parallel vibe to the old days where the spirit was big time and not kyping on each other - anyway, real good for me - both these groups of brothers.

   the gig boss brings us all to an izakaiya walking (or stumbling - for me) distance. it's a good time there, I have like eight snails from the shells cuz folks are tripping on them and won't chow them. there's tako (octopus) salad, oil/vinegar italian-style mixed w/it - these plates of small stuffs being brought up so it ain't no shovel trough but it's like some chow to go w/the beers. we go back to the venue and load up the stuff and then we go to the parents of a friend of the lite brothers who lives up on a hill via a little road. it's a righteous pad and the mom/pop so kind to us, so kind. it's an old style pad but combined w/modern, amazing - mats on the tatami pads and after some good pets on the little dog tira I tell folks I'm out and then yeah, I'm out.

tuesday, october 26, 2010 - fukuoka

   nine bell pop but irish bassman vinnie is bogarting shower so no hosedown for watt. just before he began bogart though he told me he was amazed by me saying "out" and then one second later oki ibiki (how they say "snore like a motherfucker" here) but I just explained many years of many tours have taught me such things. okaasan soon brings on the chow: a big bowl of brownshell hardboiled eggs, onigiri - both salmon and seaweed in the middle ones, fresh nimono - so much good stuff, I don't know names but only taste and it's fucking happening! such kind folks, big respect to them from me.

   now I don't know how we got up the hill to this pad last night but coming down is fucking scarier than shit - the "sidewalk" (road) is just barely as wide as the hiace minivans... kazuto-san in the sliver one in front of us - we see him just make it (there is zero-big-time shoulder, just straight ninety degree angle fucking drop) and add to that it ain't straight but has motherfucking hairpins having us to back up - oh, the portside (hillside) has like a foot-wide gutter that would totally get the tire stuck in and ground us... damn, this part is so fucking scary but kazuto-san and brother jun both navigate our shit through this hell and we make it down the hill. whew... that was a nightmare (their word "kowai" - I heard akinori say it many times, kouzou too). it's gray w/a little drizzle as we head into town to get to the big road south. I had gotten an email from my dear friend mr shimmy back in nara saying:

"the atom bomb museum of hiroshima is heavy very terribly, but wants you to go once."

I respect him so much and wanna do as he asks but brother jun apologizes much cuz we have no time cuz of early soundcheck/gig tonight. fuck... very frustrating for me but I understand situation... in my heart I try to visit - I've see picture of atomic bomb dome (genbaku domu) so I imagine it in my mind... I have kind of daydream where many many paper cranes (suru) flood out from crazy insane wind of huge white light - or are they flooding in? I am confused... but never-stops-growing flock consumes my view - consumes the white light and makes it colored, colors but never one for that long - only moment and the sound - finally I recognize... it was blowing all the time, it was trane blowin' - trane blowin' "peace on earth" crazy cuz I thought for sure it was "om" but even more confused cuz I thought at first I had to search w/in the voices of the cranes... like how I could believe it would be in my head, to find an honest hope w/out trying - fuck, I so much wanted to, now trying to realize (not actually make sense of it)... yeah, now reduced to parenthetical thinking? oh, mr shimmy... I think of raymond.

   brother jun wheels us down the "asia highway" - that's what one sign said (tons of english/romaji on highway signs in japan) - chugoku expressway others, chugoku their word for china. of course many tunnels like all the highways in japan but today's a wild fucking wind making the drive tough and giving brother jun some stress but he handles like a champ. a huge suspension bridge takes us from the island of honshu to the island of kyushu. already the trees and stuff (mountains, hills) were starting to look different and now ever more they are. also, the trees are getting blown at some pretty intense angles. we get to fukuoka about two pm. of course my first time in this town cuz it's my first time in kyushu. easy guess: capital of prefecture of same name! the venue is called vivre hall and is on the eighth floor of a mall downtown. trippy. the kaze (wind) got wilder and the load-in is pretty intense. maybe even trippier: late twelve hundreds had a mongul fleet try to invade japan from here but it got sunk by a huge wind, later called kamikaze ("divine wind")... anyway, a few 'vator trips though and we build a soundcheck. kouzou's marshall amp head which fell to the gravel when the minivan backhatch it was riding in got opened (bad pack scheme) is working, yatta! even better kouzou didn't have his foot broke when it plopped. the drummies tonight use a canopus set which is unfamiliar to me but what do I know? same huge jbl p.a. system as last night in hiroshima but the room more like kind of school cafeteria w/out any windows. I chow a couple of onigiri I brought from the hiroshima konkpad plus yukako made us some happening chow, inari and hunks of omellete, so very kind of her. this is the lady who gave me the rilakkuma pillow a couple of years ago at a brother's sister's daughter gig.

   I gotta take a dump though and damn, this is a dilemma... the heads here in japan really cover the spectrum from shitters w/heated seats and built-water works firing up into the yang to these porcelin troughs like three foot by six inche wide (about two inch or so deep) w/kind of small hood on one end - maybe your supposed to piss towards that direction when you're squatting? fuck, it's hard to tell what way you face but anyway, the real prob for me is my knees fucked up and I can't crouch down all that easy and have to dop this from a few feet up. I'm successful there but fuck, I got get a wrap-around going to piss and can't get my levis all that far down so I end up pissing on one of my pockets, damn it. fuck. just did was a couple days ago too. I'll change at the konk pad tonight but for now I'm gonna ride it out.

   we're on second, after locals family who are real nice cats. only twentyfive minutes for the set so no third opera. we charge hard - no "...shah" even to open our bonzai charge. I didn't find out 'til after we're done but tom broke another string after three songs (an high 'e') - three nights now in a row for him breaking a string which is really weird cuz we done tons of gigs where he's never broke even one. tonight he just rode it out and borrowed no one's guitar or did guitar change and like I said, I didn't even know 'til he told me when we finished! I think that's a pretty good job of him improvising. I have confidence w/these older tunes, yeah, no prob when compared to the third opera ones... I wanna get the third opera where these are! it's an emotional gig for me - well, fuck, there was 'pert-near no bass... we're using brother jun's albit head through his two ampeg boxes (first time we'ev had them out of the minivan in a while!) but at soundcheck I was hearing bad sounds so went real gentle on his stuff so I was 'pert-near miming it which is ok. I just wanna be there for raul cuz he really works his drums to the bass. I've never played w/a drummer who is so into hearing the bassist and being right there w/it - lots of drummers don't even have the bass guitar in their monitor... and they call us the fucking RYTHYM SECTION - what's up w/that? I love raul for his commitment to being right there w/me - it's no man-alone w/him, no "hey, I'll see you at the finish line" kind of shit. big respect. locals autumnleaves (sic) are next, again real nice cats - so kind these fukuoka folks - yeah, baka watt forgot to give big thank yous a few sentences ago when talking about our set. they were beautiful people to play for. they got a little tripped out when I said it was ok to something back at the bozos on stage but one cat did holler. anyway, the lite brothers get up after light the pad up intense. just before they went on I asked kouzou if he blew a clam in one tune the night before. I asked that cuz I was wondering whether I was going crazy cuz these cats NEVER blow clams... well, first I gotta explain blowing a clam... they say machi-gai and yes, kouzou he blew one - fuck, it was a tiny one but it tripped me out that I did catch it... damn. anyway, they fucking steameroller my fucking mind into emotion bomb-blowup w/their compact one-two to the headbox. crimony! no let up right after w/the adebisi shank cats - vinnie now supplementing his bass from the backside w/some hentai pad. my second live dose of them ever and have to use a bumper jack to get the jaw back up off the deck. the crowd wants an encore - I want one but there's no time - everything's gotta be out mall-land by ten bells. so be it.

   the autumnleaves cats (I see the soundman too) take everyone to some trough called "jollyfull" which is on what's a "crapperbarrel," "lenny's" or "crapapplebes" side of things back in the u.s. so hell if I'm gonna stuff that down the word-hole. maybe they though we were homesick for that - not me! anyway, they're really cool people and I talk w/two of them about john coltrane playing fukuoka right after his hiroshima gig and like richard meltzer told me, one big trip was him getting off of heroin and playing better which was a mindblow to musicians in that scene cuz after cats were doing (or trying to do) or being where bird was at cuz he was full-blown chemically fucked up and still playing like he was (and dying young like he did), it didn't sink in to get shit together that way. I mean anyway, it's trippy about that and these young people were telling me about musicians being fucked up like that, I said trane had another way. he was also way into prac. I also tell them about trying to work my bass like it was a skateboard most the time I do gigs. it's a confusing spiel, I can imagine but they're very kind to me.

   the minivans go to two different pads - I don't know about silver but our blue one follow haru to his ma's pad and there's the mats and blankies laid out for us. on the way up the driveway though, I got off-balanced carrying the yellow sack and took a tumble - no drop, more a tuck and roll w/no big hurt. it was funny, I make jokes w/the guys about it but they're konked I think. I wanna shower and get out of the rear-pocket-soaked levi so his ma cleans takes a cleaning to it first - damn, looked fine to me. a quick one and I join my team bedecked and blankied.

wednesday, october 27, 2010 - kagoshima

   pop at nine bells which is great cuz I had a troubled konk - troubled by dream or maybe dream brought wannabe-invading-bugs or maybe just blankie being too thin and last night probably coldest konk night of the tour yet (my men had quilted one but mine wasn't - luck of the draw). I had the weirdest fucking dream but I've had this one at least once before. I'm at some pad and going through papers of someone just passed away (why? fuck if I know) and trying to figure out what they were like. in the corner of my head I think I know who they are and am finding out shit I didn't know but then again I'm thinking I didn't know them at all and should go by just what I'm looking through. weird kind of shit too, like receipts, bank statements, love letters, holiday cards both to and from... my attention getting diverted to all the grains of the wood in the pad and on the furniture - the way it's running in all directions and making patterns cuz of different tones of varnishing - very weird. I worked for an old lawyer in the early 80s as a helperman, his name was mr handley and 'pert-near all his clients were dead so lots of the stuff was probate. it was trippy helping him sometimes downtown - he had to use two canes and we moved so slow. I really dug him though - he called me "mr watt" and would relate to me stories for all kinds of times before me. he was the first person I knew who was a free mason. "ubi jus, ibi remidum" it used to say on his postage meter stamp - or was it "ibi jus, ubi remidum" or... damn, my fucking memory...

   haru's ma makes up a righteous breakfast - all "handmade" as brother jun tells me and it tastes it. great miso soup w/mochi, rice w/goma (sesame seeds), narazuke, pickled spinach and bread stuffed sausage (they called bread here pan like in espanol) - all so fucking good and she's very happy to have us all there and talking through translating... trippy thing I found out later was the silver hiace guys (nobuyuki, kazuto-san and the adebisi shank cats) had a similar situation, right down to the big garden outside! haru's ma had a great one here and we could see where she grew her vegetables. inside was a huge shrine for his pop that was amazing. much respect, much.

   I got an email from uncle ray my cleveland buddy) regarding somehow I think a stance I was making by relating thoughts I had in hiroshima. hmm... I should wonder if I realize what happened in china, korea - all kinds of places w/imperial army of this place and young men w/helmets on doing the most fucked up shit ever - I look into the faces of my lite brothers and try to see helmets on them... I can't see that shit - don't wanna see that shit? you're right. I have no insights here... and 'pert-near any about my own land, probably - it's ok cuz I'd rather doubt myself then reduce shit down to a gruel I could sling to make myself feel better that way. like I saw a big statue of this takamori saigo cat as we came to his home town (where we're playing tonight) and asked brother jun about him which got me curious and I started reading on his story... fuck, if I can get any of that figured out where I'd consider me having it together on how to assess stuff w/enough of anything to hitch it to a wagon worth a shit - 'cept from the gut to blurt out first "fuckin' crazy" instead of foamin' on "duty" versus "sentiment" (or is it compassion) soap schmaltz. bushido... fuck - kafka, kierkegaard attract me more and the shit yesterday about the bomb and me writing in diary about it - the connection? coltrane? and what about last night's god damn dream? I am not together person and am emotional. I have trouble w/the bass too. so get out the shopping list for inconvenient truths... I appreciate the provocation, uncle ray. hmm... maybe chug a bottle of man-pills?

   kagoshima is japan's deep south as far as the map goes, ok?

   we shove off at noon and meet the other hiace minivan at rest area not too far down the road. beautiful weather, not a cloud in the sky. brother jun said a typhoon blew through and that was the reason for the wild wind and the big coldness last night. I find a kamakiri (praying mantis in u.s.) slowly walking around near a group of young cadets - it's my first time to see one in the wild... I get some shots... the young cadets ask where I'm from so I show them my driver's license and they say "california, kakoii" (cool) - I thank them and I hear the smallest one say "see you" as I go to rejoin my cats. we pull anchor (teaching brother jun pull anchor/drop anchor), many tunnels to get there, kyushu is big time mountains like the rest of japan. I can imagine the summers here cuz it's subtropical area and we can see sakurajima, an active volcano which I can see smoke plume out from the side, whoa. I can smell the sea though, I know we're close... yes, yet another prefecture capital of the same name - kind of simpler here, not so fancy. we're up on the seventh floor of a building in a live house called sr hall, great sound lady named kaori here. we do soundcheck first cuz we're clean-up in the set order. we get to play third opera, I'm surprised cuz I was told a couple days ago all kyushu would be tiny sets. our buddies have the short sets, hmm... I'm glad we get third opera but feel weird we're not the same tonight. oh well, "work the room" as they say. I go across the street to the grocery store and get these two big onigiris w/thick slices of okinawa ham edge to edge in the center (these aren't triangle ones like what I usually get). these are fucking good, mmm!

   six bands tonight, first up at six-thirty is locals pictures mode staff - 'pert-near like cinema staff band name in fukuoka, huh? the drummer's eighteen but he looks eleven and he's playing his ass off, much respect to him! bassman keisuke introduced himself to me earlier, nice cat. I like this band. lite's up next and I stand right up in front, holding the rail. they're slammin' - akinori even more on fire than he is, rocking a beat up pearl kit (beat up for this land!) big time. brother jun through the ampeg 4x10 cab w/what looks like a svt-III head but says b2 has toy sound but soundlady kaori has him kicking through the p.a. and sounding great. guitarmen nobuyuki/kouzou are lit up - this is the halfway mark of the tour but you wouldn't know by the life they're putting into their short-style set here. so fucking happening! I thank them big time after for getting me lit cuz I felt a little low on the inside-me-battery charge level cuz of strange konk last night and like I chimped earlier, we're last and it was great to have. another local, use this anyway - raul says "warped tour" and I that resonates some in my head. nice guys, I met them earlier. our irish buddies adebisi shank wrangle their leap-about both physical and musically - lar and vinnie can leap like motherfuckers all across the stage which is amazing for vinnie cuz he's got a brace under his pants for his portside knee - fuck, I would be paranoid as hell to do the moves he's pulling but they are young men (six foot two or three, both of them)... I notice mick plays w/out a rack tom - well, I notice he's shorter than his comrades but then he's also sitting down. I'm standing right in front of lar and man, can he cook on guitar. he works a trippy fender I've never seen, called a cyclone - kind of like a duo-sonic or a mustang. they're gig is very happening. again toy bass amp sound but out front it's great. locals lubic cave house next. I found out the first name is from rubic as in "rubic's cube" but in the language here the letters r and l get transposed all the time cuz asia language folks don't have these sounds much. tiny bass player w/huge sound! nice folks. we're next and serve up the third opera for the eighth time... tom breaks the jinx and doesn't break a string, yatta! we have some miscues and I space out some on words (gotta study more!) - the bass amp has a weird midrange thing happening, hmm... whatever, I soldier through. the people we play for a very nice, truly. I talk w/many kind folks after - one cat is gonna take bullet train to tokyo to see the gig there. a lady name yuki tells me it's her thirtyfirst birthday and gives me sack of snacks - I should've been the one giving her the presents! such true kindness, really.

   we're konking at hostel called little asia guest house five minutes away - I like tiny drives! this town is know for sochu so I get a get a carton (I shit you not, like for milk, less than quart size, eight hundred yen) made by kurokirishima which was recommended and so do they irish cats - us and them are joined by akinori and brother jun in the blue hiace and drink where it's parked near the hostel. brother jun said it was first kind of situation for him but for the irish cats, they say it's like their ten millionth time. of course I don't that kind of shit in the u.s., no fucking way - afraid to! we have a good time, the adebisi guys telling me about ireland and us going on tangents about being real about shit and all the fucking weird shit the world and its history lays on that kind of way, trying to be intense and decent. twentyfive-twentysix-twentyseven, whoa pretty sharp young men, I dig what they're saying, good cats... wise cats! can you believe? I can. much respect. I stayed calm w/the drinking, I wanted to have to mind to hear them out. three bells brings konk time. very cool people. I join already-out tom and raul in the triple bunk chamber.

thursday, october 28, 2010 - kumamoto city

   pop at ten bells, good konk... the mask is working even if it ain't the stylin' one tom flaunts. he got his from korean airlines but in the old days cuz mine is also one of theirs, from last year - it's way more flimsy but like I said, working. I am working to get the lite brothers on 2011's sxsw festival, I'll do my third opera there too - along w/a spring u.s. tour, so some emails are needed for me to chimp. pull anchor is eleven so I go hobble real quick and hose off once I get that shit out of the way cuz I don't wanna hold up the team. on tour it ain't cool to think just about yourself... maybe off tour too.

   I'm thinking about some of the stuff I've been chimping that ain't about chow or music... I'm thinking about harold bloom saying walt whitman wrote the first edition of "leaves of grass" to try stop the civil war, the war we had w/ouselves. try to stop a war w/some poems! I love that 1855 first edition though, love it the better than of all the ones after even. he didn't even put his name on it, just a picture. had it printed himself. "I sing the body electric" - damn right.

   can't drive any more south, we must go north... back whence we came. weather like my pedro town most times, mild temp and no humidity, I love it. I chimp diary as brother jun wheels us a couple hours to kumamoto city - hey, another prefecture capital w/the same name we're playing - are you noticing a pattern?! this is one is different though cuz it's home town of funanori boss miss kaori. this town has live house called django (the gig's here tonight) where she told me she had her early music days - omoide which means "good memories." she's not just gig-goer though, she can play everything and is great singer.

   the manhole covers in japan are amazing! I've never seen anywhere so much art put into them - this is one is right out front of the club...

manhole cover in front of django live house in kumamoto city

   there's six bands tonight, three of them kumamoto. they helped organize this gig, respect to them - all real nice cats. I tell soundman kosuke he's our fourth member tonight, huge honor for us. I try to let all the soundfolks know they are HUGE part of our gig and we don't take them for granted. cuz of six bands, we get thirty minutes so no third opera but that's ok - the bands here organized the gig and I'm most grateful. each band's bassist introduces himself to me. two of them try the dan bass out. this pad's one floor down (b1) and called a live house but actually it's longer and a ceiling higher - more like a small club we'd have back home. the staff is great. it's on a small street off of this big outside mall and nobuyuki takes me to get a couple of ume onigiri and convenience store. on the drive at a stop I had some little balls of fish stuff in batter fried but need a little energy... I feel a little weakness, kind of. I know watching the other bands will help too.

   first up is kumamoto band kudoanova at 6:30 pm. it's their first gig ever, I taught them the phrase "cherry gig" used for that. they do really good, an instrumental trio. I could tell they were a little nervous but I was very proud of them and grooving to them big time. up after them were another band from here, doit science who are probably the most original of all the japan opening bands on this tour (tour's at halfway mark now, by the way). they have a little bit of captain beefheart to them but only an influence - definitely not in the vocal which is kind of ping-ponging spiel between the members. bassman is on fretless fender jazz and has one of the trippiest plucking styles I've ever seen, incorporating both thumb and first two fingers. they use much space in their music, not keeping the sound full of notes but using space between the hits and trading off between who plays what were. for me it is very intriguing band, a fucking mindblow. too bad raul had to miss them but he tried to see kumamoto castle (shit, I wish I could've seen the castle but too far for my crippled self - actually, it was closed so he only saw some outside), same w/akinori (though he had to do laundry) cuz I wanted them both to see this drummer. someone who did was the drummer's baby daughter who I got to meet after their set! adebisi shank, our irish buds blow the lid off shit next, wow - a real cooker of a gig AGAIN from them. the kumamoto folks too really connect w/them to make shit even more intense, it's a real good crowd - very engaged and not just for the foreign acts. mick, vinnie and lars really do it up fine, I love it. final local band tonight is trial error and they are four piece like doit science but instrumental like kudoanova. they have their own style, a little more rock. they're very good and play w/much passion. ok, so grateful to these bands all playing great sets cuz now I feel good and lit for our half hour. "she don't know why I'm here" right up front and then "sweet honey pie" - this amp setup I'm using (brother jun's albit head and two acoustic cabs: one 4x10, one 1x18) is 'pert-near mime on stage. fuck it, I'm having a good time and raul/tom are kicking up much dust. the kumamoto folks too are getting way into - I hear gaijin (foreigner) voices! alright. mime or whatever, the gig's really and then w/about four tunes to go, tom's guitar gets incredibly loud and I can't hear anything except that - not tom's fault... it's guitar that's suddenly in the monitors (we use monitors only for spiel and that's why the amps are pointed the way they are in our stage setup) and man, am I go crazy or what cuz when I ask for them to be pulled out, they actually get bigger and bigger! aahhhh!!! (later I found out nobuyuki was confused w/what I was trying to convey to kosuke, getting it backwards). it's still a blast of a gig even w/this little stuff put in perspective of the big picture. the folks want more but it's lite's turn and I will not allow a bogart to happen. they come on and turn the pad out, whoa! it's like all the momentum of the night has rolled up and expressed itself in one fucking hell of asskicking of a show, crimony! this is real blast they are putting on the kumamoto folks and they're giving it right back in giant vibe and enthusiasm. of course they get encore but actually the folks wanted yet another. much respect to the kumamoto gig-goers.

   I meet w/the three gaijin - blake saw me play in the old days at the ranch bowl in omaha (nebraska), chris is from virginia (saw me in richmond) and jerry's from so cal's inland empire. they've been here in kumamoto for years - jerry for like twenty! they told me the summers here are no-mercy sweaty-ass oven-bakes w/humidity up the yang w/never-a-pause beatdowns - like at least virginia has some calm days (chris points out) but this place is relentless. I can imagine, I imagine sub-tropical! now is just one of the tiny cali-like weather windows they probably have in autumn and spring. they're so surprised about the kumamoto bands tonight, didn't know a scene existed cuz they said no one goes south of fukuoka and even that's drying up so they haven't been to gigs - but they wanna go now, wanna check out what's happening in their own parts. trippy too cuz they're all three musicians! I drink whisky from the tea bottles, terrible stuff like what me evan (from tera melos) they really dug the gig and they're very cool people. we invite them over to this pad we're going to have some raw horse. first it's a sochu toast from the django staff, much respect to them cuz like I said, great GREAT folks and same for the bands from here. miss kaori would be very proud.

   jun from trial error leads us on foot not too far away to a pad called days, up a few floors... whoa, the cats from the other bands are here! and out come beers and chow, lots of oishii (tasty) stuff like salad w/sesame oil, small soft slices of tofu, edemame beans, fried potato wedges, kara agi and then finally... basashi, which is the raw horse meat! lite drummieman akinori told me yesterday this is the specialty of kumamoto so that's why I asked for it. it's sliced very thin and is in thin pieces - some of it has no meat, just thin fat slices. there's ground diakon radish in a pile on the plate w/it. it's a righteous vibe, everyone having a good time, lots of music from everyone's bands being played up here (the whole was is full of cds like a fucking music library, great!). it's just a really REALLY good time. I can't tell you the fucking bitchin' vibes filling the air an buoying everyone up. the irish cats are digging, the lite brothers are digging it - all the kumamoto cats - damn, I don't want it to end but we gotta a hellride tomorrow and tom's in the blue boat konked cuz he's feeling a little weak. we all bail w/trial error's jun and then split into blue and silver hiace teams we're used to: missingmen, brother jun, kouzou and akinori in one, adebisi shank, kazuto-san and nobuyuki in the the other... our blue hiace crew konk at trial error jun's pad - five floors up but no prob (except for a little slow) for hobbled watt - hey, a little more whisky's he's got and one more swallow before the deck swallows me - oh, they wanted me where the bed was but I don't dig beds for one thing and also, it was the furthest from the benjo (head) so I deferred and everyone relented (saw the light?)... much respect to everyone tonight, much respect!   I'm out and konk like that - most happy watt!

watt konked on jun kawamoto's deck in kumamoto city on october 29, 2010

tom watson konked on jun kawamoto's deck in kumamoto city on october 29, 2010

raul morales konked on jun kawamoto's deck in kumamoto city on october 29, 2010

friday, october 29, 2010 - okayama

   pop for real at seven bells - glad I konked close to benjo cuz fucking sure enough, there was a point in the night where I had to piss like race horse. kumamoto trial error guitarman jun is beautiful host, makes me up some coff. very cool people. I hose off and dripdry. we got hellride and must pull anchor at eight and a half. big hug for jun - play your guitar! I'm last out and... BOOM - down I go... didn't see the like two inch up part where you put your shoes at the hatch entrance and take the tumble, bad hiza bending all the way but not twisting and everythings ok. it was a tumble but I rolled w/it but still give thanks everywhere at once I didn't get hurt. fucking baka watt.

   north we head, how we came a couple of days ago. matane kumomoto city! a little gray but no rain. I learn brother jun (at the wheel now but plan is for akinori to relieve him later) about "prune" the verb and "prune" the noun - one is to trim trees, one's a plum that gets sundried. he learns me about some of the kanjis we see on the highway signs. some kanjis are so complicated but some are kind of mike-san style, like only a couple lines to make them, I'm starting to recognize though... man, these cats gotta real learn a bunch when they're kids in school - much respect! we pass fukuoka and I get a good look at the harbor, some hammerheads and the cans they lift on and off the boats - I think of my pedro town. we stop for chow at a rest stop and I get an egg and some small sausage pieces I put over a bowl of rice along w/some miso soup, very econo and good. I also get a little rilakkuma holding on to a mentaiko (trout roe) to put around one of my bass tuners for good luck. back over the kanmon bridge and it's sayonara to kyushu and konichiwa to honshu again. up along the coast of the inland sea and past hiroshima... we pull over to change ponies, brother jun moves to a back bench to konk while I go piss... damn if I don't see another kamakiti! I take pictures... damn, two of them in two days - I'd never seen any in the wild ever in my life! wild.

   okayama is okayama prefecture capital,.. and home of momotaro, the peach guy! close to inland sea. it is home to pepperland, where we're playing tonight - one of the oldest live house still going in japan, since 1974. I shave in tiny head using cold water, no prob cuz I let the shaving cream stay on a while 'til I use the razor. tiny backstage though I hear there's a room upstairs or something (this pad is ground level), I wanna be close enough to see the bands. we go down the street a block to do laundry - trippy how the same machine does both wash and dry! then me and brother jun chow gyudon (beef bowl) at one of the sukiya chain which is a block the other way. everything very convenient!

   first band up is a solo act: one man w/one guitar and singing. he's kei ishihara and I dig it though I can't understand a word. I talked to him after, he tells me the "we jam econo" doc was shown here a little while back - much respect! next up is some young local cats w/a trio called mizu no nakano shinrin doing instrumentals that are really good. yolz in the sky in the sky right after and their set is one tune that's amazing, wow, great. six bands tonight so all the sets are short... we're next and there's enough time for third opera and I think we do a gig w/the least probs of the tour of old pre-hyphenated-man stuff. raul worked the house pearl set, I worked the genz-benz 1200 head through a marshall 8x10 cab and tom's does what always does: nobuyuki's tweed bassman reissue. I think what was really happening was soundman yuji's work, he did a FANTASTIC job, much respect. I think he's the first cat on this tour I've met close to my age too! well, maybe that boss in nara could've been... and maybe professor andy in tokyo - anyway, yuji was very happening! the okayama gig-goers too, one lady w/was there w/her kids and man, did she have a scottish accent! I think she lived there for years. lite brings their sound to town, burning the place down - great fucking job, great! adebisi shank don't choke on the smoke though, they bring their own fire and it's intense. man, they give me kick after kick in the gut w/their wail, a great thing. both these bands never fail to knock my shit out, never! respect!

   lots of good spiel and good byes to the okayama folks, then we drive about an hour to miss yo's pad in kakogawa for konk - acutally I konked the whole ride! we get there a little after one and someone breaks out a bottle of sochu given to us in kumamoto - it's kind of red, kind of orange - maybe some kind of flavoring? hard to tell what though. me and vinnie have a good long talk about bass, he's got knowledge... knows about james jamerson - much respect, mad respect! and here I thought I was gonna go right to the deck... finally I do - about three - thank you, vinnie!

saturday, october 30, 2010 - tokushima

   konk mask working good, pop at ten and hose off. I got good rested feelings... the weakness and impending sickness assault I was kind of feeling the last couple of days (they would come and gog) are gone. miss yo has again whupped an incredible chow for us, crimony! hijiki,, okonomiyaki, sake nanban (great sour taste! sake means salmon here, different kanji), sukiyaki, ebimayo, coleslaw, kind of japanese potato salad w/soft-boiled egg, potato strings blanched perfect w/curry and garlic flavors and of course rice. oh, fried tofu balls also. I mean this was a motherfuck of an asogohan, again I holler crimony! so kind, miss yo, so kind. she must've spent the whole morning getting this all made up. remember, there's eleven of us! everyone is blown away and shovels like motherfuckers. big BIG thanks from all to her... she's coming to tonight's gig too. oh, one of us missed out on the righteous trough - adebisi shank guitarman lar cuz he konked right up to pull anchor time. maybe that sochu broke it off up in him last night? oh, I found from nobuyuki out that that stuff (I think the name was "ax" or something) was made from potato and that strange color was only color and no flavoring. anyway, later we find it's good miss yo came to gig cuz she had to bring like half his clothes, his wallet, et cetera cuz he spaced and donated it at her pad.

   we shove off and head east and when we get to the inland sea it's matane to honshu and over the akashi kaikyo bridge to awaji island (home of bunraku, old art of puppetry), then onto the onaruto bridge - it's here where we see the famous whirlpools in the sea below us, whoa. hello shikoku! it's been gray skies the whole drive but it's better than having the typhoon we heard about coming on us - maybe it hits tokyo? again a prefecture capital w/the same name as the ken (prefecture), tokushima. it's home of awa odori dance. my first time here (first time on shikoku, the smallest island of the big four). we're playing a live house called crowbar. a real nice cat name ism got this together and his band namida will open, we'll konk later at his pad - just like in the old days back home! people maybe don't realize a lot of the old days was about people. anyway, only four bands so we can do the "hyphenated-man" opera - we'll go on last. everyone uses the pearl house kit for drums, I'm on a swr workingman 400 head through a svt 8x10 cab. this pad has neat red and white check deck. the sound joji is cool people - everyone here is. so great about no 'tude w/all the pad people on this tour of this land, I really am grateful to them all. trippy thing: last night for some reason there talk of pokemon... vinnie just heard its creator takeshi shudo died today... damn, we better be careful about what we talk about, huh? fuck, I don't 'pert-near anything even about pokemon (brother jun says it's short for "pocket monster"), just something about some whole gang of creatures that young people in the u.s. were into a good while ago. oh - I remember what brought it up now: "pikachu" - the name miss pika from afriampo would go by... heard they just broke up... she has band now called moon mother or something? I once got to do a gig w/her, jim o'rourke and akira sakata - she is incredible! anyway, my fucking memory is terrible! after check, right across from here is a chinese noodle pad called ichihfuku where I have a tasty bowl of ramen, good pours of la-yu hot oil in it from me.

   I go chimp diary at the merch table and I don't why but I bring up searchlight on my 'puter (it's 13" macbook pro) and plug "dick watt" in it - my pop's name. fuck, I don't why I did it put there's a scan I made of a shot of my pop in 1957 in chicago where he did boot camp at naval station great lakes. my ma took it, soon after they first met...

dick watt in chicago, 1957

I was born in virginia but conceived in chicago - my ma in fact told me the address of her apartment there and I pedaled a bike and found it in october 2006 when I was recording bass for "the weirdness" stooges album. I start telling brother jun about my pop - he died of cancer at the same age I am now: fiftytwo, that was nineteen years ago - he was just nineteen in that shot... young sailor man training for engine room work. it's trippy on this gets on my mind - it makes me think of that shrine I saw and the picture I got at my pedro pad of my pop next to one of me where we both got mustaches and have same kind of expression... when I think of my pop I always think of him hugging me when I was a boy and saying "my son, my son, my son" - it still makes feel like even w/all the fuck-ups I've done in my life, all the fuckin' clams I've blown - I was still always his son.

   namida goes on first, their name means tears. they're a trip, I have a good time seeing their set. a man who went to school w/missingmen tom introduces himself. he introduces himself to adebisi shank, our irish brothers - he introduces himself to the tokushima gig-goers... it's weird set for our buddies but I wanna try hard to be oblivious and be so much into them cuz I am, you know? it is true feeling. external whatever, the feelings ignited by this rocket sled fuel tank embedded by the irish brothers in my head? yeah, it is trippy form of echo - I told them the first time I saw them in hiroshima... BIG FUCKING UPS, you know? parallel fucking universes. I am not distracted but they felt some hell - they relate others and I empathize big time. lite brothers next, bring it on. of course, lite does! of course! it is strong, strong, strong but it is team too but not sports, it is dance. yeah, dance - beautiful conversation dance they work w/their tunes, not afraid of moment but in it. so yeah, too beautiful teams of brothers and now my men to help me w/ninth time of third opera... and for the first time working this piece thinking of my pop - maybe I'm tripping on tripping on that? I space and blow some clams but feel very close to raul and tom which is good. the piece is very emotional for me. hell, I wanted to do it for jose but... I end up reaching way down to deliver it. what can this mean to others? I am locked into personal sometimes, huh? do I understand the politics of my machine cuz it ain't it about nurturing or whatever? I tell you this - halfway through this "workingman" bass fails and I'm only going direct which is hell for raul I know cuz he's counting on a bass machine to put it to him - he says no when soundman wants to provide monitor. I told you raul has MOST GENUINE relationship to the easily-thrown-around term RHYTHM SECTION - I believe raul is true believe and not word-only so it's difficult when "workingman" amp ain't working worth a shit - but a poor carpenter blames his tools, right? tom asks at one point for a change-out but I tell him "it's one piece" and he knows - we only scissored the continuity once cuz of that string break, how many gigs ago? anyway, I dig what we did... I am trembling but I am glad I got brave some... even w/the clams... it was what a pecker like me would call a pants-shitter. number nine time for the third opera was most emotional one for me yet.

   we load out and head for ism's pad in naruto (yeah, it's a bit of backtrack but way ok), stopping first at convenience store and while lots of the team are studying important info at the library section, I find a half-pint of jim beam for 380 yen (around $4.75 u.s.) before we drop anchor. it's raining but not too much. at ism's apartment, me and nobuyuki do interview spiel w/him for his "plus" magazine. I think it's good insight (arigato nobuyuki for translation help) about philosophy of some of why what gets done on the bass by watt in his own tangled spiel but in comprehendible form for ism - I can tell cuz of the feedback from him that's translated back from nobuyuki - he's great and fills in the blanks going both ways... I sense him truly having fundamental understanding of where I'm at on these issues, HUGE respect to him. we finish w/everyone else konked and damn if the closest spot I had scoped and planted w/my wacksack and coat ain't been appropriated by vinnie so ism offers me the couch. I go w/out face mask cuz I don't wanna risk tumbling on vinnie. I think I use the slip cover for blankie... hell, I'm all tuckered from spieling anyway and am in moments out.

sunday, october 31, 2010 - matsuyama

   pop at eight bells in VERY strange state... this "couch" is actually in three pieces that butted-up against each other but w/no real connection and of course it was too short - not really problem except for armrests that would let my legs hang over and as a result I had pushed the three "couch pieces" apart and there was like a foot of space between each end and the middle section. it's incredible for me to believe I somehow kept my body board-stiff enough to keep it from sagging into the gaps... how the fuck? I though for sure my spine was twisted and I was in for some big time fucking back itai (pain) but nope - incredibly I'm ok. I am truly amazed. and big time grateful! ism's apartment's right on the coast, incredible view out the window of the onaruto bridge and awaji island's south side. many boats at sea - big, small... floats in lines marking crab pots? I heard the fishing is now done lots of farms here cuz of yep, overfishing. there is much much marine traffic though. gray skies but dry - I go across the small coast road to the beach - my first time w/my feet on japanese beach sand! I went to inubosaki when I was in japan on new year's day 2010 which was cliffs w/rocks where it met the sea and got wet from the umi there (trippy, there's a lighthouse there built the same year as our point fermin one back in my pedro town, 1874) but this is the first time I touch beach sand. of course I want a shot of my foot get some wave on it but I go out too far and trying not to get soaked I try and leap back (right, "leap" w/my fucking knee like it is) and totally take the tumble. the sand is soft though and no hurt suffered by me... of course the tsue couldn't help - cuz the sand to soft for it. fuck, am I gonna take tumbles every fucking day? I am baka.

   back to the team and we pull anchor, ism's aboard and he takes us to a little udon chow pad called tamura w/three older ladies and an old guy doing everything handmade. just one room w/the cooking done over a counter, three huge tables everyone chows at. I have kamatama udon, some tampura fish and ume onigiri - so fucking good, crimony! you mix raw egg w/the big thick udon and there's no broth. only 380 yen for everything - econo! big hugs to ism, gotta say bye - he's a great cat. we head back whence we came yesterday and then westward to shikoku's biggest town, matsuyama, capital of ehime prefecture which is like half a million so you see this island's a little more "country" even there's still industry too. one of the biggest and oldest of japan's onsens (hot-springs) is here and called dogo... damn, I wish I could go there so bad! one day I go to some onsen in japan, 'pert-near anyone of them - I wanna so bad! my fucking camera starts to fail... I'm wondering if sand's gotten into the fucking thing when I took the tumble? the rain starts coming on - not super heavy but it's coming down and the sky big time gray. it's about three hours driving, we're learning brother jun about the importance of cus words in english to help express oneself... bitch as verb, as a noun... fuck as an adverb, as an adjective... et cetera. he is interested.

   the pad we're playing is called salonkitty and is big for a live house. rainy load-in. funny band posters in the lobby - fuck, I almost trippy over a mech container! I gotta be fucking careful... there's a band called who the bitch so I gotta search that out and see what that's about cuz it's looking they got one hell of a front man, an imposing figure dominating his bandmates who on their backs look up at him wearing only what looks like red boxing shorts stuffed w/a bowling ball on the frontside. the other posters are only slightly less interesting, mainly guys dressed up as women (way more cosplay than glam) though one poster has what might actually be women - might be - but they're in school uniforms... of course. we got stupid looking music people back home too, look at me. I ain't trying to put anyone down here. trippy the club uses "jurassic park" movie logo for their salonkitty one, must be beyond me. nice people here working, kazo's doing our sound. our drummies on a pearl kit tonight that's a little different than the other ones on tour, raul says it said "coated maple" on a plate. I got the usual svt 8x10 w/some weird yamaha bass amp I ain't seen before, maybe early/mid 80s? it's like a four space but sounds ok. there's seven bands tonight (start time 6:30 pm) so a twentyfive minute set of pre-third-opera-for-the-missingmen type of gig, we're on second to last. I'm excited - it's a halloween gig, how many now in a row I've done w/a costume on?! yeah, bring it!

   big backstage at this pad. I get an email from bob stires in regards to performing the piece... he advises:

   "only western man believe chugging bottle of man-pills works; the real man-pill is not consumed; chinese lady show me it lies in your gut"

   you go bob, keep kickin' like kato!

   (he still keeps threating to send me an essay he's written on the third opera)

   one of the local bands is called soma and I asked them where their name comes from and it's I guess something the bass player learned at university but it clear where from - india? I ask about the huxley "brave new worlds" connect and they're like "what?" so the great thing about wikipedia and the other language links for the same thing - just for reference and not wholly coming like authority but it's helped me a lot here getting folks to know something what the fuck I'm trying to get across. of course there's the burroughs connect and one w/some cube game I played w/in grade school (not in the wikipedia but web search found it)... brother jun brings me two onigiri w/seaweed in it. first up are locals sunmarine, I really like the bass player - the lead guitarist too but they're all good. those soma cats are next and they are wild. I'm way into them, just wish I knew what the words were a little but their sound is a trip - bass/drums: wow! guitarist (leader?) kind of like missingman tom in a way. the singer had a little kit guitar too for a song, I mean a LITTLE GUITAR - four strings, lou barlow would've dug it maybe! the only band I've seen then like on this tour is doit science in kumamoto but different big time - man, I hate making comparisons. maybe it was their spirit or something, not the music part. I was in the front for them and again hanging on the the rail (barrier?) for our adebisi shank buddies who deliver the face full of earful - it's halloween so I wonder if folks know this usual vinnie and not a costumed one?! lar uses a trip synth pedal for a tune that's connected to a mic, whoa! see they're instrumental and except for some between tune banter (which can be as tiny as one word), they let the machines talk which is fine w/me, amazing band. it is great halloween spirit! missingman tom helps lar out w/a cable switch-out, quick thinking from him! onomatope follows, local cats who bring it - such a nice bass player... nice everyone in their band - have I met a dick over here doing music yet? nope, don't think so. forget me not is after them and I can again go out up front cuz I got my tanuki mask done - I've bigged up holes where the eyes are cut out around the nose so it'll rest on the arch. forget me not is very happening, all three cats playing real tight together, landscapes of swirl and blaze. ok, mike watt + the tanukimen next. tanukis are "raccoon dogs" and I am amazed when I look over at my guys - especially tom cuz fuck, it don't look like a mask on him! it's very difficult for me at first cuz I didn't make the eye-holes big enough, they're not lined up right w/my actual one but fuck it, we're having a good time. the mouth is not covered so no trouble there - sometimes that's a huge nightmare, especially w/a real pumpkin on the head (I've done that like six times). the amp starts konking out in one of the songs tom sings though so I go over after about the sixth or seventh failure and turn down the master on it and things are fine. whoops, pushed it too hard! backing of solves the cutting out prob. so much sweat from prevents the tanuki mask for staying on in our last tune - I even try holding it on but I need both hands to play, damn. halloween is my favorite holiday too... but it's great gig, good spirit and I'm ready for lite big time. yes, the matsuyama gig-goers got to see that the crazy old punk rocker from pedro loves halloween, same w/the music people who shared the stage w/us. I go up front to experience yet another mindblow from my lite brothers. everybody's got compact sets tonight but it's great wail me still and stirs me up good from down deep. trippy when nobuyuki tells me he was in wrong tuning or something for one tune cuz I thought I was hearing everything and it all seemed very together... I'm still thinking about that now! in one quiet part they had I hollered - hollered only once... it was HARU which is lite drummerman akinori's son's name.

   a good time for everyone tonight, many many thank yous and good lucks exchanged. the one lame thing is my camera failed again, this time for good and damn it - no pictures of me/tom/raul as tanukis for halloween! what a baka I am. we load up the hiaces in the rain and follow akinori to his late grandma's pad in kawataki about an hour away - that's akinori, drummer of forget me not and not drummer of lite akinori. of course there is convenience store stop. I've been wondering what the hot dogs here taste like and get a 140 yen one. maybe it's two or thee times fatter than a pencil?! I don't know exactly but it was small but still had some snap and trippy kind of sauce/relish/whatever on it. when we drop anchor, some spiel in old style pad for here but lots of nature, kind of sticks. it's big, maybe three floors but still traditional. I talk some w/mick about dischord records which he knows a bunch about but get frustrated w/my lame fucking memory when trying to remember one of their trippy bands... about to konk around two and suddenly my head accidently stumbles on it, buoyant w/the liberation from 'tard heaviness for one brief moment - "it's shudder to think!" I holler to him and then immediately konk.

monday, november 1, 2010 - osaka

   pop about nine and hose off - two flights of stairs but there's hand rails. this is a big pad, lots of open space - the middle of the second floor is open and just beam to let it more light and give bigger sense of air, great idea. still there's the tatami mats and to (not pronounced like "two") doors which are japanese style sliding ones. I really like this pad. there's tea from kenya so I make some of that. akinori (this pad's man, not lite drummer) so kind, I give him huge hug when we bail. the rain has stopped and it's beautiful but fuck, camera has had it. funny too is that pack of cigarettes I bought last night but couldn't find... I find it now by the blue hiace hatch, on the deck and completely soaked! I think about it, someone telling me something? hey, at least they weren't the shinsei ones (they were like the ones I get at home but shorter) cuz those babies were nails and half - no filters!

   we head back to honshu the way we got here to shikoku, exact route in reverse and I'm bumming the camera's kaput - fuck! someone like watt can't be in japan w/out a camera - he needs the images to go w/the memories! also, the rain and poor light made lots of shots yesterday ready for the dumper but now today, very beautiful - aaaaahhhhhhhhh... I make up my mind to look for a camera when we get to osaka. we stop for chow at a rest area and at a sukiya (chowed at one before okayama gig) I get gyudon, salad and tonjiru. off of shikoku and onto awaji, we see a keisatsu (cop) giving a red porsche driver a ticket as we're just about to finish crossing the akashi kaikyo bridge to honshu. even though he's driving a patrol car, he's got a helmet on! man, the thing about wearing helmets on the job here - it ain't just about construction work! was he driving w/it on? we pass through kobe and then onto osaka, prefecture capital but also japan's number two town, rival of tokyo. nobuyuki says they have strong accent here and even kind of dialect w/some different words. this area where the club (shinsaibashi quattro) is in area w/many fashion pads like fendi, chanel, armani, et cetera - but maybe there's a camera shop? the club's on the eighth floor of this clothes mall - hey, there's goichi! he did lites' sound when I had them aboard w/my missingmen for nine gig westside u.s. gigs in march earlier this year. he's from here. yanai is here to, kazuto-san's partner in stuff. great to see them both - goichi will work the knobs for our gig. someone else is here too - it's lou barlow, he made it safe!!! so very good to see him, very good!

   very happening news - nobuyuki's found a camera shop and though it's not in hobbling distance, it is a five minute cab ride away. he takes me to go look and sure enough, I find not my exact model (canon sx110) but one a little more down the road, the sx130 so x12 opitcal zoom instead of x10. about two hundred u.s. but if I had my passport (in my sack at the gig cuz the pockets on this purple flannel j gave me can't hold shit safely - I almost always away from u.s. have passport ALWAYS w/me in shirt w/button flap pocket that can keep it safe) I would've saved five percent, aaarrrgggghhh. that's ok. at least this uses standard aa size batteries and same sd memory card so that's all I got spend and I'm back in the race. usually a tour camera lasts me only a couple years cuz of the hell they go through so that last one served me well - it was about that long now. so, it's a good trade up and I can continue getting shots. I'm very grateful to nobuyuki to make this happen for me, he's the best.

   we do soundcheck last cuz we're on first. linoleum floor! brother jun's setup for me, raul on pearl drums, tom on nobuyuki's amp. tonight they play last too: lou barlow + the missingmen, yeah! it'll be my first time seeing them live. we do check w/goichi and then mick from the shanks gets me a freshness burger - like a hamburger w/the fixings but but patty made of beans instead of meat. it's good. respect to mick for this too: he also flows me a shot he took w/his leash of us playing last night - great, we have a shot of us in matsuyama on halloween wearing tanuki masks!

mike watt + the missingmen at salonkitty in matsuyama, japan on halloween 2010

   tonight we're on at 6:40 pm, I put my glasses on kouzou's amp instead of the bass cuz I forgot to mention but last night they fell and a lens popped out - I didn't even realize 'till after watching lite's set, brother jun handed it to me - he'd found it on the deck - what a fucking baka I am! we start the "hyphenated-man" opera, I tell the folks this is our tenth time performing it. something's kind of weird but I can't tell what it is and anyway, the clams I blow are from more about spacing out but despite this, after getting some momentum, I do kind of ok - tom and raul are really good, though - I am so grateful to them. singing some of the tunes seem a little strange. I will say that all three of us find it a little strange to day one night one kind of set (pre-third opera) and then the next night another (third opera) but it's ok, kind of interesting challenge. the gig-goers are so very polite in letting us playing the fucking tiniest ever, no worry about yoparai (drunken) yammering. the are so kind, much respect. whew... got through it - tom asks what was up w/our tuning... kouzou's guitar was on a stand up on stage and I tuned to his 'g' string. it turns out he tunes a half-step down! tom said he thought his strings were gonna fly off the nut! damn, I'm so sorry but I still think we did pretty ok and I'm still the weak link. lite is on next and it's trippy at this venue (which is a pretty big club) they sound kind of far away and I don't feel I'm surrounded and swimming in their sound like usual. for me they're still smokin' even w/the kind of trippy perspective of this pad. there's a cat 'pert-near my age (maybe even older?) w/a shopping sack sitting a table alone and watch them. trippy. later I ask them all each about their gig and they say it was so-so, kind of tough for them. the irish crew brings their shank party - vinnie doing on-the-knee slides across the linoleum deck, crimony! so much fire in lar too, you can't believe the dancing these cats can bring on. to avoid the weird perspective thing, I'm stage port and stick my head right in p.a., I got earplugs on but I wanna really feel it. the gig-goers are fully engaged too... some gaijin were talking w/me right right before (some from canada, some u.s. - having a big laugh about folks who say they're experts about lands they've never been to or folks they've never met) and I told them, you watch out for these guys and sure enough, aldebisi shank got them lit - amen! hard for mick right after though, he's got asthma and the shit came up on him - he's gotta bail for downstairs and some outside air... I'm very relieved when he comes back feeling better and w/a chest full of air. lou barlow + the missingmen for cleanup tonight, they go on next. they haven't played together in two months but I really like their gig, tom and raul do good for lou and fuck, lou's just the best singer - I'm a huge fan of his voice, I love it. for a little bit instead of working bass pedals, he works bass and that really happening, rockin' it - rockin' the bass! there a baritone guitar involved too... he comes on by himself for his last song.

   man, I'm real tired. we're gonna split into two groups for two different pads - blue hiace goes to very kind miss aska but first of course convenience store stop. I get potato chips w/some kind meat flavor - like what you mind find in england! all the other guys konk except for kouzou and nobuyuki who have a big discussion w/me about composition, writing songs. they're surprised by my process: I 'pert-near always start w/the title, then music and then the words. I also explain to them some of the purpose of the third opera... even though it's about middle-years-man it's actually a strategy to help me be kind of young by it being so challenging for me, like very much making me the leraner, the student - of my fucking piece! they're surprised too I wrote it on the guitar and not the bass. I explain to them the idea of "re-run" and these weird-outs are strategies to keep out of re-run land. these are very brothers very interested in music, I love them. the stairs up are so steep a grade, miss aska is very kind to put me on the floor level, not too far from the benjo, so very kind. I konk tuckered out - I arrived tuckered as all hell but good spiel 'pert-near always puts something in me that gets me going. it's a trippy thing. maji yabai.

tuesday, november 2, 2010 - nagoya

   pop at eight bells kind of disturbed cuz of dream - or kind of dream cuz it seemed more of weird type of awareness - like I was looking through my eyelids, looking through konk mask. so I'm seeing myself curled and wanna be straight, want my legs straight out and knee not bent, especially hurt one. there is weird voltage-like sensation behind my eyes. I straighten my legs our (or seemed to seeing myself doing it) only to "see" them slowly curl up 'tlll the knees are fully bent up again. I keep questioning myself, both inside the head and out (in this dream), wondering WHY? it seems an eternity... then it's more like WHAT THE FUCK?! I'm so relieved though I didn't have to take them steep stairs for head call though, that would've been the real nightmare. miss aska makes coff and a little nimono. I listen to lou barlow talk some about him growing up in jackson, michigan and some stooges connects - like his bday being on ronnie's and his pop working where ig's ma did. we pull anchor and on our way out of town, first hit up a takoyaki pad. these are balls made of batter w/pieces of octopus, cooked on these griddles w/hemisphere "cups" a little bigger than golfballs - we get to see the who process and they're the freshest ones I've ever chowed. some fishflakes and a mustard/mayonaise sauce on them when their done - so, so good! we pass a building w/a giant "cup-of-noodles" on the top, nobuyuki says that stuff started in osaka. it's good weather and only a couple of hours to get to nagoya, going through kyoto on the way but like a lot of the highway, many walls on the road don't give you the best view except way far away. and of course there's the tunnels too, plowing right through the many mountains. nobuyuki's at the wheel, brother jun in the other boat, it was his buddy the other half of crew konked at.

   next stop: nagoya, number three for japan's big towns. it is aichi prefecture's capital and big transpo/manufacturing hub for country. tonight's in another parco mall, even on the eighth floor like last night - this is nagoya's club quattro. it's laid out different though where the osaka one is wider than deep, this one's deeper than wide. goichi at the knobs again. it's us four parabolica bands so I can do the "hyphenated-man" opera two nights in a row for the first time since the tour's first week. all the drummies are on a yamaha kit tonight, bassies on brother jun's albit/ampeg rig. guitars are what they usually are except lar uses a marshall the house has. eiko-san is here, her town near tajimi, forty minutes away. kenji too, I haven't seen in such a long time. I met both him and eiko-san during my first trip to japan, working bass for j mascis + the fog in february of 2001. after soundcheck I chow some nagoya specialty, misonikomi udon which is very very good. oh, kenji gave me about twenty different rilakkuma, korilakkuma and kiiroi tori figures - amazing! I hang one from my pocket for the gig. big BIG hugs for kenji.

   lou barlow and my missingmen are next and though I was really digging there first gig of the tour last night when the songs were going, tonight's even better as a whole set. I'll say it again: lou's such a great singer! he does the last tune by himself. I get to meet eiko-san's brother, my second time. I tell him how I'm not very good at this third opera I've written, still very new and not so together at doing it live - tonight will be my eleventh time but eiko-san is confused, saying I've done more than eleven... yes, I've done more GIGS than ten "hyphenated-man" performances, actually tonight will be my sixteenth gig of the tour but five were sets that had to be shorter cuz of the number of bands on the bill and me not having the fortyseven minutes to do the whole piece - remember, I decided not do it if it wasn't possible to the entire dealio. so anyway, I'm not being very good at being clear and relating this when a very kind cat named carlos (actually he's from sao paulo, brazil) uses his nihon-go (japanese language) to help me out - thank you big time, carlos! now not much stage had to be changed between me and lou barlow cuz we both share the missingmen but the gig got pushed back ten minutes and I could've made up for the difference by going right on instead being all bumble-fucked w/trying to make myself understood... actually, I was just very glad to see eiko-san's brother again, so great he came. I think it was fear of doing lame in front and like make w/some kind of "preemptive excuse" or something out of insecurity... I get the fuck up the stairs and get our gig on, apologizing for being so fucking baka. I put us right into the piece and it's full on for fortyfive minutes - yeah, somehow it's a little quick. I fuck up some spiel, of course! some real bad like "hell-building-man" which I don't know but I gotta say lots of other stuff I'm getting more of a handle on. I have to thank the nagoya gig-goers so much for being the most attentive and respectful people to have ever played for in my life - actually 'pert-near everyone over here I've done the piece for are just so so wonderful and kind to me and my men... yeah, as for my men - a great job from them, good dynamics and communication - thank you big time tom and raul - raul... I hear carlos holler "raul! I'm watching you!" - turns out he's a drummer too and wants to get his two year on bass so they can go get a rhythm section happening, respect! I go out and thank eiko-san's brother, so glad he came - maybe he's confused by insane piece but I'm glad he was here... and get to talk w/carlos! lite next. a friend of missingmen tom's who went to high school, name's john and he's VERY cool people. saw the first fIREHOSE gig (slovenly also on the bill - tom played in that band, short name version) and been living in japan long long time now - he's first got some harper's and then beam, very generous. lite is beautiful and I watch akinori from the side, he switches out a busted snare on the fly - he's flying out of his seat as plays, throws his ENTIRE body w/zero pose, just total effort/focus. nobuyuki gives a spiel about what aI related to him about the third opera last night, eiko-san tell me. very kind man. brother jun, brother kouzou - everything in them, here, now... adebisi shank working clean up next... I talked about their dancing but fuck, they can work their machines like motherfuckers w/an entire universe of purpose - to fucking DO IT, aye aye aye!!!! they bring akinori on to replace mick for the encore, rather mick cedes the throne to him. vinnie and lar just launch right off the pad w/big man akinori, the comet-ride arcs across the sky - I can see it through the fucking mall roof.

   I don't see I fucking forgot the god damn beautiful kenji gift of rilakkuma/korilakkuma/kiiroi tori bundled bunches of mindblow and epiphany. what a fucking baka I am.

wednesday, november 3, 2010 - matsumoto

   very very deep and safe rest for me. and the quattro people will mail me my family of rilakkuma/korilakkum/kiiroi tori gifts from kenji. so very kind of them. the weather is what I call cali weather when it's bright blue sky and mild w/the temp. happy to see brother jun at the wheel, only a little wait during which I chowed a couple of plum-filled riceballs (ume onigiri) w/a can of coff - yeah, the convenience stores don't have pots of coff where you pour a cup. what they sell is the same cans you see in vending machines, some are hot in the can (just like in some of the vending machines). there are many kinds but I get black. speaking of black, there's a gum called black black which brother jun chews, he says it helps w/being awake. I haven't tried it.

   we pull anchor and shove off, stop at a rest area close to tajimi, this is where eiko-san's town is part of. I get a rilakkuma holding a sarubobo so I can have stuff hanging from both the 'g' and 'd' string tuners on my bass. it's three hours of driving north through the mountains to a basin where matsumoto is and guess what? it's the first place we're playing on this tour that's not a prefecture capital! in nagano prefecture, it's a pretty town surrounded by mountains where there's lots of skiing... cooler here but not too much - the only snow we see is on mountain tops. alps is the name of one of the ranges, ain't that a trip. mulberry trees are grown around here for silkworms to chow for silk tradition from their old days. national holiday today: bunka no hi - on our arrival into town, we see a parade of young people dressed up like samurais w/some on horses and princess being carried on a... a... a thing you carried princesses on. it's around two pm, the time we usually arrive at a gig and right next door to tonight's venue are two guys dressed as cowboys - maybe one for sure gaijin (foreigner) and along w/a lady who's probably native and anyway, they're doing country music from an outside patio using canned backup while two are on guitar so that and the singing are live (brother jun says "kind of karaoke"). this club is alecx and I played here back in february 2008. I meet the gig boss, shin - very nice man. soundcheck... for bass: brother jun's albit head along w/warmouth 6x10 cab (speakers beat to fuck, sounds terrible), drummers on a pearl kit. this pad's typical japan live house w/great sounding p.a. plus goichi again on the knobs - I don't care if the amp sounds like shit cuz he'll make it righteous in the house, I know it. he makes sure I get good voice in the monitors too, he's got big time skill. me and my guys do "fun house" for adebisi shank's lar cuz he asked if we'd play w/them for a tune at tomorrow's tokyo gig (our last one together) and we decide on that stooges song so we show him our take on it. I'm sad about them leaving, they're just the best guys. I wish I could say "guys" the way they do, their accent makes it trippy. I didn't mention this yesterday but I took another fucking tumble in nagoya at the venue. the only thing hurt was the right hand's ring finger and it's a little swelled-up now. I can work the bass easy w/out though I am trying to get to a place where I work it plus the middle and index fingers together, like a flipper. I do the first two fingers now that way lots - not one after each other but together to spread out the attack. anyway, I gotta be more careful... no more fucking tumbles for watt.

   I ask what's a special chow for matsumoto and am first told uma (horse) and laugh - been there! soba, I'm then told. across the street is a chow pad w/it and I have sansai soba which has no meat but soba noodles in a soup w/moutain vegetables. it's really good, fuck yeah. we're in the mountains so mountain taste instead of sea. also, I get some pickled vegetables this area is famous for - oishii!

   the first band is on mant and I recognize the bass player... he played drums last time I played this pad in a band called the anks! I'm digging their sound even though I can't understand a word. backstage to chimp a little diary before next band, chifumi arrives w/some iniri from her ma. last time her ma cooked great chow for us - she's lady sushi chef which is not that common in japan. good to see chifumi again. go back out to see slums and they have same lineup as mant (two guitars/bass/drums) but different approach, even some country bending/licks in the guitar leads, both guitarists going wild - I like it. adebisi shank follows w/sounds so good in the room, the goichi has got them going and I got the fucking tsue (stick) in the air - my fucking crutch but when they're done, brother mick says the two pints of that crap "black" whiskey and the stage temperature made it very tough for him. vinnie said he couldn't get "the buzz" (that's what he calls it) which he explains is a vibe or emotion that helps push him beyond just executing parts... I know exactly what he means, truly. HOWEVER, I dug the shit out of it! lou barlow brings it next - short sets from everyone cuz of six bands so lou-rock is concentrated and right to the point. really REALLY good - brother lou! I go right to the crux of getting the next pack peckers right up on - us! only need mic change and move kouzou's amp back, move brother jun's up and at an angle... raul and tom ready to go except for maybe a pedal change. ok, blast off - I'm cutting some songs off and shortening others, I want it right for lite and anyway, it's blitz-feel blitz-blast wham-slam! big time kinetic, tom and raul are right on it - just after doing so good for brother lou, damn! big respect to them. our brothers lite next for the closer... they bring it! big time wild. big time beauty. wonderful gig!

   konk pad is at the slum folks' for my guys (lou's guys!) and lou plus nobuyuki and goichi. everyone else goes back to tokyo on three hour hellride. I'm praying they're safe - yanai (he joined us in osaka) on a fucking scooter - maybe a motorcycle but damn if it don't look like steroided-out scooter! we go to the pad and my guys/lou konk (raul held on for a little) but yet again I hold court w/a half-pint of jim beam about my "relationship" w/the bass, trying to wrestle my feelings out via it and really making it like, like, like a fucking skateboard... like a huge tube of toothpaste tube under my arm and me trying to squeeze some sense out of it - out of me! there's some other weird talk about other lands and where there at - especially in terms of getting to play there (we wanna play everywhere!) but it ended up w/bass spiel. then konk lowers its boom... I'm out.

thursday, november 4, 2010 - tokyo

   pop at nine bells, hose off and lay back down in ridiculously gig-stenched outfit. I still think hosing off is important and I can barely stand the levis and flannel but the fucking chonies (shitagi) gotta go in a sack so I'm free-balling, fuck it. actually I was this way most of my pedro time since I move there from virginia 'til that illness tried to kill me ten years and the doctor told me "mr watt, you're gonna have to change" and so I submitted to the fascist tyranny of bearing the burden of undergarments. one prob is the kiiroi (yellow) sack... I'm too weak w/the fucking tsue in one hand to carry and shit, for the longest time it wasn't traveling in the same boat as me, it was in the silver hiace! same goes for shaving and having to do it at the venue w/cold water - every other day, 'pert-near! this is all little shit though, I hope it don't sound like I'm whining or bellyachin' - just little stuff and it don't mean shit in the picture - sorry to think out loud. our hosts never wake to see us off or maybe some of them already left for school... maybe one got up? I can't be sure now but bright sun and nice weather greeted us as we bailed from their pad and pulled anchor, goichi at the wheel. we can see mount fuji very clearly as we head for tokyo. beautiful. it's a trip brother jun climbed - mostly at night! I saw the walking stick he used when I konked at his pad in february 2008, carved up real nice. sonkei (respect) to him. we stop to piss and chow. I get this trippy thing that tom does: an "indokku" kind of spiced hotdog wrapped in nan bread w/lettuce and kind of an india tasting sauce. I like it. there's some self-defense (they don't say army) here, the helmets look kind of small. all military outfits look weird to me... I remember how huge the russia officers looked when I went there. I remember the tassels on the feet and the skirts the greek guard soldiers had in athens. wheelmen switch out, now nobuyuki at the helm. I notice the fake flagmen used to warn of highway construction are no longer three-d but flat two-d econo ones. we also are reminded tonight's are our last gig w/adebisi shank, they gotta get back home to ireland.

   we get to the shubuya part of tokyo around two and a half. of course tokyo is the big town for japan - it even has it's own trip that's like a ken but ain't. it's at least three times the population of number two osaka. it's where I first played my third opera, this tour's first gig but that part was in roppongi (at super-deluxe). tokyo is japan's capital and well shit, I don't have to explain how lots happens here. I'm so glad to play the other towns too though cuz for me it's a balance in the whole learning thing then just to say it all happens here. shubuya is a ku (neighborhood?) that's kind of high-endy - big surprise that tonight's club quattro gig is in a parco mall (they gotta have something to do w/being part of this club chain, no?) but on the fifth floor which is still the top one. nice club, good cats working here. goichi is at the knobs and we soundcheck first cuz we're on last. I'm through brother jun's amp/cab... I was gonna change my strings but fuck it, I don't want any tuning probs cuz of strings stretching. all the drummers on the house pearl kit, tom on nobuyuki's rig. when it's third opera night, we check w/the piece's first three parts and so we do that and are done - I like checks short! I go to the convenience store on the corner and get an econo curry w/rice plate, three hundred yen. I hear ichirio chows curry for every breakfast and he's great baseball hero! the adebisi brothers enlighten me w/a tour spiel of their own: they had hellride back to tokyo from matsumoto last night and lar had to piss bad and used piss bottle - a man after my own heart, a good man! kind of problem though w/mick getting a little thirsty and not know what that bottle was use for and chugging from it. now I've drunk of my own waters twice and so have learned to always write PISS on the cap to clear up any doubts. I share this wisdom w/the adebisi shank brothers. and look at this: akinori brings his family, wife nami and their son haru. I first saw haru when he was just a tiny aka-chan (baby), now he's three and another shipmate is on the way, nami is showing and it's beautiful - I'm so happy for akinori and his family, so happy for them! kyoka (originally from kanazawa, now lives in berlin) comes by and gives me her new cd, I'm on some of the tracks cuz she's sent me stuff to try and work my bass to. maybe she organizes a session next week, she tells me? bring it, I tell her. I think the wah qi neh might wanna too. I find out both mr shimmy and mr jim o'rourke can't make tonight - former cuz of sickness and later cuz of stuck w/studio mixing work, damn... I understand though, this shit happens. I play for them both tonight so they'll be there in spirit.

   lite goes on first and these are their hometown people. so happening, they dig in and deliver the good time - many bodies caught up in the beats. I watch w/my friends andy and seamus - same cats from ireland living here now that were at the october seventeen super-deluxe gig. I'm so glad they came cuz I really want them to see their fellow irishmen adebisi shank. I meet miss yuki - wow, what a surprise! she's just the greatest singer, I am huge fan and listener. I meet andy's wife yoko and they show me their four year old son I'll being seeing at their pad - they say he's great dancer! the shank next deliver their last blows for the tour - incredible again, all these I feel I'm so fucking lucky to have witnessed and none of them re-run connect the dot sleepwalk, none! masayuki's on the knobs and I can really focus on the trippy stuff lar's got going - I don't know how many layers he's got going but he really does pile stuff up and play alongside, over and under, braiding together some wild wild whirlwind of a mindblow, just beautiful and righteous. what a great goodbye gift to the tour, their gig. brother lou barlow w/the missingmen after and in just four gigs have really cemented a great set - though I've dug them all - this is a wailer, lou closing it w/a soft one on his own. man, he really rocked on the bass earlier too, BIG respect! quick changeover next cuz I wanna have time to play w/the whole crew after finishing my "hyphenated-man" piece. I wanna show andy and seamus I've made some headway at getting the whole enchilada together but of course I still blow some clams. my guys are great though, even w/starting one part ("head-and-feet-only-man") over which has never happened before - I'm so very proud of them, so proud. there are some moments when I feel my nerve slip but luckily I keep the keel in the water. number thirteen (I think) and it was a trippy one, whew. I thank the gig-goers big time for their kindness and then all eleven of us (lite-adebisi shank-lou barlow-missingmen-watt) converge for stooges "fun house" blowout - lar doing the "BLOW" part, mick on floor tom solo and vinnie "takin' it down!" cuz it's our last throw w/them. righteous way to end the gig.

l to r: watt, kouzou, jun, mick, raul, nobuyuki, lou, tom + lar

   I bring andy/yoko and seamus w/their buddies dave and merrick backstage to meet the shanksters, they brought us bottle of jameson whisky we all share. good time for all. miss satomi's here - another surprise! speaking of deerhoof, I got to record an album w/john dieterich back in august w/tim barnes and thollem mcdonas in austin - can't wait to hear how they work it up into a finished trip, can't wait! we have to take leave now of our dublin shank brothers, kind of sad but I know somehow I'm gonna get them to play w/me in the u.s. - some day. I showed them my whole kayak thing last night in matsumoto w/stills and little mp4 movies and they were tripping on that so maybe I can show them pedro town in person too. I surely hope so. big hugs all around. kazuto-san takes us in the blue van to saitama and his parents pad, his ma ONCE AGAIN having a great chow of udonyaki and maki rolls for us, great! we gotta konk early cuz pull anchor time is real early to get to the airport for hokkaido so into the room just got done w/brand new tatami mats and quick as shit I'm out and konked.

friday, november 5, 2010 - asahikawa

   pop at six and a half cuz I knew I had to (pull anchor's in one hour) but how? difficult cuz this tour I've been popping so late compared to how I do back in my pedro town - six and a half would be nothing cuz usual is four and a half or something but then again I ain't konkin' late back there either except when I'm doing gigs. first hose-off, then shovel very happening chow from kazuto-san's ma which is a salad w/salmon, skinny hotdog-like sausage w/yuzakosho, egg fried omelette style w/out cheese and then folded into like sushi pieces, some rice filled rolls cut into slices (kind of iniri) and - I can't stop cracking up when I taste this - clam chowder, new england style! was she at last night's gig - how did she know? I explain about clams being slang for music machi-gai, everyone laughing big time. most grateful thank you's to kazuto-san's ma, most grateful and sincere. we only got to see his pop a little this time but got to list lots of the towns we'd done and how much respect his son's work in making all this happen.

   we shove of for hanede airport to fly to hokkaido. the counter lady says my bass can't go in the overhead and must be checked in - in a soft case! fuck. well, they do wrap on the spot there in bubble-pack! the trip is though I get to the gate and can tell easy by the motor nacelles it's a boeing 737 and they got room in the overhead - and anyway, what about my fucking crutch? it's way longer than my bass. well, I don't wanna but burden on my lite brothers or kazuto-san so I just ride w/it... actually, it was given to me by a generous man in san diego named dan last january (hence why I call it the dan bass) so I just gotta let go and whatever happens, happens. only about seventy minutes to fly to sapporo (the ride from saitama to the airport took over two - for fortytwo fucking klicks!) and then we leave and board again twenty minutes later (same plane!) to go another half hour to asahikawa, where we're playing which is the most north town of the tour, the most north I've ever been in japan. no snow but it's cold, however I have this "mountain hard wear" coat I got a camping store and it's warm as all hell - in fact, I never wear it my pedro town, it's for cold parts I have to go to. understand that cold is hard on my joints, real hard, I stiffen up and can barely move. so we get a rental van - the plan was to get two but fuck it, we can all fit (all nine of us) and it's more econo. only ten miles to the venue. flying here, you could see it's lots of farm land. trippy how the plots are exact rectangles, many many of them! nothing like european patchwork style w/no right angles. more open plains here too which is much different the mountainous japan more south. it reminds me some of northern u.s. plains states.

   not a huge town but spread out, asahikawa has very straight and wide roads. the venue is called casino drive and again, very nice folks here. soundman's name is ken. bass amp is the house's b5r through a cab I don't know who made but had two 15" speakers w/top and bottom ports - it sounded really good. tom had to use a marshall jcm 2000 but some kind of different speakers in the cab and it sounds pretty ok - tom usually hates playing through marshalls. raul and akinori will work a tama kit. trippy not being w/adebisi shank after so many gigs... after we all check, we hoof (I hobble) around the corner to a simple chow pad named sugawara and get something not very common (so says brother jun), tonaktsu ramen. yum fuckin' yum, this is great! oishii. there's a michellin chow guide and damn if this pad ain't been voted number two! no fanciness at all but many MANY signatures of famous cats who've chowed here over the years - one of them the actor (kiyoshi atsumi) who did taro-san, holy cow!

   first band on are locals cloudy r tone and the guitars are doing a wild voidoids/first soft boys kind of trip (to my ears) and I'm digging it. second on are fellow locals miscorner/c+ llooqtortion (is that a band name or what?) and they're a trip: just two drummers playing to pre-recorded keyboards - might sound like lame situation but it's really happening and I'm way into it. lite up next and whup it up real good, never missing on any cylinders ever from these cats - so inspiring for me. I bring the third opera up w/my guys for its fourteenth delivery and it's an emotional one for me - not just heavy but in the comic area too at times... all kinds of feelings flowing through me. tom and raul are really good and there for me always. I space on some words, clam some bass but maybe a little less - I'm making progress? the "wheel-bound-man" solos are probably my best yet. I told the folks before hand it was "one fortyseven minute song" but like w/all the other times, you can tell people are tripping on it - especially as it goes on and on. they are very respectful but I think something like this is a trip for folks which actually is/was part of my intention. I talk w/nobuyuki after and tell him another intention is confronting myself and that both them (lite) and the japanese audiences help w/me w/this... as I learn more about japan I learn more about myself, I believe. I can't thank everyone enough - same w/fellow gaijin lou, adebisi shank and tera melos - everyone helping me helping myself to get it more together. I know I built the third opera to work that too but this tour is really important to me on a deep-down level. lou barlow's + the missingmen are the gig's closers and do a killer set - lou's voice so good... he comes back for two encores even, well deserved ones by himself. much respect to brother lou.

   late gig for this land, all done at midnight. we're konking at a 'tel two blocks away so we have some beers (and one whisky w/to learn brother jun what a "boilermaker" is!) to celebrate - surprise for us, we had no idea - lite's kouzou's twentyninth bday - yatta! what a great cat he is. tomorrow I work the third opera for the last time on this tour in his honor. funny thing: after I got done playing I was talking to him and asking him if he's tried doing bass before, "no" he said so I told him to please try one day cuz I think it might be a trippy way he'd do it. much respect for brother kouzou. over to the 'tel and it's just me and tom in chamber. there's nightware on the beds so we get in them, just to do it - he says he feels like "star trek" cuz being familiar kind of w/those first shows' uniforms - ha! I am so fucking tired I konk right after hearing that. he beamed me up and out.

saturday, november 6, 2010 - sapporo

   pop at nine bells and do a soak in the cubular tub. knees gotta get folded up but it's deep. get tom up for shove off and then next door at convenience store get a can of coff and three plum onigiri for around four hundred yen - my chow for the day cuz I hear there'll be some izakaya shovel after the gig. I 'pert-near tumble out the hatch but brother jun catches me, whoa, fuck - that was close. that would've not been a soft blow. we do the couple of hours drive south to sapporo which is hokkaido's big town. it's nice weather and not as cold as probably it is this time of usually. a pause at a rest stop and there's a sculpture of a boy riding a trout - must be some kind of local folk tale cuz none of the brothers in lite know what it is. same w/the two little people under a mushroom or this one kind of fat kid take huge bites out of a more huge apple! we pass by lots of farmland, much of it potatoes though and not rice like in the south. I'm thinking now about outside the convenience store where I almost tumbled... tom pointed out a huge circling bird - I'm thinking now for sure that was an eagle... fuck, why didn't I take a picture of it - baka! huge fucking baka. sapporo of course is the name of famous japanese beer (asahikawa has nothing to do w/asahi beer - "asahi" means rising sun) but it's also prefecture capital and hokkaido region capital... oh yeah, last night was the only other town besides matsumoto that wasn't a prefecture capital and by the way, it was right near the ainu reservation of chikabuni, I'm curious about their culture and wanna know more. but anyway, back to sapporo: big broad streets that intersect at right angles, it's explained to me hokkaido is like "last frontier" for japan and much of the history here much newer.

   last night I was telling nobuyuki during our little kouzou bday celebration about my music journey as far as folks I have and am playing w/and on what a trip that it's been off and on w/tom for eleven years now as far as gigs. I also tell him about my secondmen cuz he knows nothing about them but wants to learn. I told him about the album about work I wanna do w/them and tom helps me explain how the secondmen are different than the missingmen even though they're both trios. maybe I bring them to japan to really show him, by touring w/lite, I'm thinking - maybe in 2012 cuz the album I wanna make w/pete and jer about work (d. boon would really dig that: an album w/two pedro longshoremen about work!) should be done.

   we're playing a live house called hall spiritual lounge that's on b1 (one floor down) of a multi-story building, much like of pads like this, they hardly ever are their own structure. the folks here are very cool people, the staff different than the usual u.s. pad in that usually there's always women involved - I'm talking about on stage and not just money takers working the door. my old buddy nez shows up

patrick 'nez' nesbitt in sapporo on nov 6, 2010

and I swarm him w/lots of BIG hugs cuz both I miss him much and also cuz you can't know how crucial he is to this whole way of touring japan I've been doing since february of 2008. me and him go back to him seeing fIREHOSE in scotland (though he's from ireland) around the early 90s but it was him inviting funanori aboard a split cd called "a tiny twofer" that got me introduced to this part of japanese underground music I've really taken a hankering to. all of us involved in any of this owe buttloads to nez for making the essential connects. he's truly a bitchin' dude and just loves music. he lives here now in sapporo - we'll konk at his pad after the gig. beautiful man: brother nez, truly. it was him that organized my 2004 stay in his buddy anto's pad in the skerries so I could spend three days in dublin for bloomsday to celebrate the centennial of james joyce's "ulysses" w/kristin. him and anto guided us through the town, pointing out the real stuff that's in the book that had such a profound effect on me... it's so good to see him again, really! raul and akinori using yamaha, me and brother jun on a ampeg stv-450 which is a mediocre transistor amp housed in a svt box (faked you out!) going through a cab we're guessing is 4x10 + 1x15 but one of the 10s are missing - whoops, don't put the mic there! it's ok, hope it don't sound like I'm bellyaching cuz this is my first sapporo gig ever and as I said, very cool people working here - just like every pad this tour. tom's working a marshall jcm 900 guitar amp - fuck if any of us know what that means.

   after soundcheck, we do an interview across the street at a chowpad that serves italian-style but I chow nothing and only spiel. actually, lou barlow does a lot of the spieling and I agree w/everything he says. lou is quite eloquent and quite to the point. the cat who spiels w/us has been to a few of my gigs and asks very good questions, really good. he also gave me a rilakkuma (one w/towel on the head, like in onsen) so now I got three stuffed in my front starboard pocket. man, I wish I could get the spiel in english, I think it was for cd review. I'll ask nobuyuki later.

   I go back to the gig and the boss there let's me plop on a couch right against the back bulkhead which is till like thirty feet from the stage, this being traditional live house style but it's pretty up there so everyone has good view and the sound is really amazing. first up is local cats fluke which are rockin' and blastin' - I mean really good. wild singing from the bass lady, whoa - respect. this band is cookin' and what a way to get started. I was almost konked on that couch too but their sound cut right though the room packed of gig-goers and augured right into me! next up is miscorner/c+ llooqtortion - baka watt, I thought they were from where we played w/them last night (asahikawa) but actually from here. again I get to trip on their trippy way of working a gig: two drummers going at it to pre-recorded keyboard parts. I know that might sound like whatever but the way they're doing it is very happening. lou barlow + those two-a-night missingmen then play - man, I'm wondering if lou's voice ever gets beat up cuz he's as strong w/it as he was when he first joined us. nez has been playing all kinds of great music before and between all the bands (dj style, up in a booth) and one tune he played was neil young doing "don't cry no tears for me" and midway through lou's set, lou does what he calls a straight-edge version of the song and modifies the lyrics appropriately. it's a real good set by them, the sapporo people really digging it. now it's time for me to do my third opera for the last time of this tour - that'll make fifteen times total. I tell the folks I'm doing for kozou cuz I want this final third opera performance of this tour in honor of his birthday. what an inspiration for me. now logically, I should have it the most together, right? I mean just reasoning it's had the most prac in front of it, right? combine that w/it being the big twentynine for kozuo... we'll, I start clamming right away. I will say it's better than that first one three weeks ago maybe but... the clams are like memory fails - memory fails where I shouldn't have to actually go inside my head to get them cuz I figured they were stomped (stamped) into the muscles, into the muscle memory and not in the brain pile. tom and raul play really well w/me though, never to be shook no matter how I stumbled, so strong of them. all tour they did so good w/this piece, so good. I think nez being here and me wanting bad to do good for him is what got me clamming - not him the man but me the bozo, getting too self-conscious and all - I really blew most of the spiel for "hell-building-man" which is really a crux part of the piece and now I'm kicking myself so fucking hard thinking about I bumbled/stumbled/fumbled - fuck! aahhhh, the shame - the shame! but still there's something I feel good about - through the embarrassing shit even, I know I got self-consconscioused cuz I was thinking of what he was thinking instead of just keeping it simple and doing the do but hell, I did fucking do it, I got the fucker out there w/me doing it... there was no way w/out tom or raul and it would've been real hell if either of them was even half as lame as me, the whole boat of a third opera most surely turn turtle, it would - it's what I think and I am forever indebted to them - both for implementing my direction for creating the album and then for these fifteen performances - damn, I'm a lucky man to have them in my life... HUGE RESPECT TO TOM WATSON AND RAUL MORALES! man, we finish and I hobble as quick as I can after apologizing to the crowd for the clams - even pointing up at nez and saying it was his fault (what a bozo I am) but also laughing like a crazy man cuz I'm so embarrassed... I hobble up to nez and hug his feet as hard as I can (he's up in the dj booth - I can't climb that fucking ladder) and tell him how and how I should've done better, aaarrgggghhhhh - I'm sweaty. nez gives me the "it's ok" look... the bossman brings me a beer and I go to the couch. there's some gaijin there and they start giving me the good word. one in particular, a cat named jeff is really going off about the gig, saying it was very happening for him and he's glad he came... he thought I was just some konked guy on the couch against the bulkhead and couldn't believe I got up there and did that. he's a very kind man, he married a lady from here (he's from phily) and they both came to see lite. they got a buddy from australia who makes films w/them, he's very kind too. jeff doesn't come from punk, he's know nothing about my past but got into the gig - so genuine his feelings. a trippy way to end the third opera part of this tour, very trippy...

   lite's turn, they play last and I think about the trippy way the third opera part of this tour of this tour ended for me, trying to put it all together as the lite sound swirls spins about, their sound weaving all around me - I see jeff really getting into it, having a great time - he'd told me lite's the only band he'd heard about but was so surprised w/the rest. big respect to him, truly. lite does a great gig - nobuyuki telling the folks it's in kouzou's honor, for his birthday. the get done playing and nobuyuki brings out a cake w/strawberries on it and we all chow it. brother kouzou!

   the live house boss takes us to chow at an izakaya not too far and we have a great time, a little soosh on some boats even! very kind of the sapporo cats, very kind! we go to nez and aya's pad to konk - many rilakkumas there, even a huge one. I don't konk w/it but I do konk on a rilakkuma pillow (just his head, all stuffed and soft) for my head. maybe not as good as one made of stone but still pretty happening.

sunday, november 7, 2010 - sapporo

   last day of the tour but we ain't gotta drive. we'll we do but only to a live house not really that far from the one we played last night. I think about this when I pop around ten - no nightware, just shitagi and just the tiniest of blankie, right on the rugged deck in nez's and aya's apt - very comfortable. the weather's even nicer than yesterday, much sun coming in and the view from their balc of sapporo and the mountains behind it is really nice. they both whup up some great breakfast for us: long thin sausage, thick toast half-slices, lettuce/red onion/tomato salad and scrambled eggs. a good shovel. you wouldn't believe it but we gotta leave around noon - there's eleven bands playing tonight and I soundcheck first cuz I'm clean up - for this gig and the tour!

   the pad is called sound crue and is about double the size from last night's. it's one floor up but I think it's all its own building, they do recording here or something too. the gig boss for last night was shinbo (he was in that band fluke) and he's a great cat - him and nez both put the bill together. the soundman's jaki and we do check - drummers on a red pearl kit and us bassies on galien-kruger rb-400 going through an svt 8x10 cab. yeah, not enough power but like I said back in tokushima (actually I quoted it from somewhere), "a poor carpenter blames his tools" and also I believe the last gig of a tour can't go wrong cuz damn, if you made it this far then it's a victory unto itself, right? yeah, that's what I believe. fuck, tom's gotta work another crummy marshall (last night's was a piece-o also). it's ok though, it's all very much ok. I do a spiel w/a cat from ireland who's lived here for years named cornelius who wants me to just "spout wisdom" so it's kind of uncomfortable but I let the freak flag fly. he's a good cat. I guess the spiel is for a radio show here. he's tripping on the history and where I am now - that's good!

   all the tours I've done - twentytwo gigs in twentytwo days ain't that intense but in this time of mine and in this their land of theirs - well, it's the greatest thing for me, tom and raul to share w/my lite brothers and kazuto-san, this great GREAT thing. I think about our tera melos and adebisi shank brothers as well... and all those bands from this land: each in their towns, sharing the gig w/us - damn! righteous brother lou is here w/us for these last ones.

   ok, eleven bands tonight so the first one going on at four pm doesn't sound too insane. these folks are called 4points and are the first of eight sapporo bands playing before our three travelling units. most of these local bands playing tonight are configured like 4points which is two guitars, bass and drums. these guys here (one guitarist is a lady) are kind of anthemic, great singing. everyone's getting short sets... I'm making sure I see everyone play, like I did for "we jam econo '08" and "'09" - I just feel I owe everyone cuz of all the heart they bring to make it happen. well, that means up and down back up the stairs - the bands change over so fast, I 'pert-near have to get right back up soon as I get down! trippy. it's worth it though, well worth it. band two is amusica and their two guitar attack has more of crashing thing between them, also very happening but different. the bassie has like a long scale solid body version of a beatle bass, trippy. he likes to play facing the drummer - like me but their drummer's in the back so I can't see what his fingers are doing! two good sets from two good bands so far - I go to get some moisture. soon as I make my way down, tom missingman comes and grabs my shoulder, saying "you gotta see these guys!" - what, already another band? ok, here I go - tom helps me up. it's a trio called the lumdees and they got no bass. they got a wild-ass guitar/hamonica/singer man though - wow! he's walking the rail in front of the stage! these cats are bluesy and kind of in cramps sort of way, the drummer has sort of a nick knox thing going - they sing in trippy english, heavy accents but sound authentic - you know I mean japanese accents, right? I'm digging it, what a lead guitar style! even the rhythm guitar lady gets to sing a song, right after the drummer sings her's. great set. hell, I figure I might as well stay up here for the next band and talk w/nez, he's playing music between the bands, all kinds of good stuff like he did last night at hall spiritual lounge. boom, next band on: it's aeroscream and they're a quartet like the first two tonight but their guitarists have a unique 'pert-near "anti-lead" guitar dynamic between them both. an intense wild rhythm section for the trippy guitar duo (one's got a natural hairdo, sort of like when I was a teenager!). the drummer is straight out of the pounderosa, whoa. great bass right w/him, the sister working it like a pile driver. like last night w/fluke, these ladies remind of k w/the flag in the old days. I'm all run over, smokin' tire tracks across the face! material right after, another rick bass but w/a dude and like me in my very first punk days, he's spray paint stenciled something on his shirt - fuck, I can't read what it says but it looks like english. I feel a little sentimental! the sound is today though and it's theirs, great job. damn, everybody here kicking up much dust! much respect to shinbo for getting all these cats together, truly! back down the stairs... there's a strong cat who's helping up and down if he sees me, letting me grab on to his shoulder. in the lobby there's a cat cooking up trippy kind of chow, kind of a take on mexican? it's a skinny got dog in what's sort of a pita crossed w/a tortilla and some trippy sauce (not that mexican tasting but some spice), lettuce and shredded daikon. there's a bottle of habanero sauce (I can't believe it!) so I soak it w/that too, good eats and for five hundred yen too. I don't think I've discussed yet but gigs here are expensive - like 2500 to 3500 yen at the door (thirtyone to fortyfour u.s. dollars), ching qwon dough as georgie would say! back up the stairs for the next band, cigarette case. I think three of the members live in tokyo now but they came back here for the gig. some heavy and some pyschedelic, I dig it - pretty sure it's in the mother language but even if a band does do english, it's pretty hard for me to tell but you know what, it don't really matter to me. you know how many times I saw the germs? it was a mindblow when I got the "gi" album and read those lyrics darby wrote cuz most of the was undecipherable at the gigs. still loved though and love this. bassie has a clear bass strap - does that get slippery? I sweat my so bad - but I like the way the bass 'pert-near looks like nothing's holding it up! desert, this band w/two sax players comes on next. they got a guitarist real tight w/funk rhythms locked right in w/a groovin' high rev drummer and w/a bassman who sometimes uses effects (he's playing an old tele bass like my later minutemen days but w/what looks like a bartolini pickup) making for a churning underbelly to the sax men tearing it up on top. instrumental and mental! love it. discotortion on soon as they get another drum set up on stage - two trap kits for this band which makes me think a tiny bit of the boredoms but these cats are their own thing. singerman flails while at the same time seems to be conducting. he's many times to the deck! the bassman has a mean fuzz to his bass, very wild and bitchin' - these guys cook. only band w/a front man, now that I think of it - a cat w/no machine in his hands except a mic. so goes the sapporo bros - and sisters, what a MOST HAPPENING showing of this town's full-on music scene. I am in awe. our lite brothers are next and do their last-gig-of-the-tour set not as whatever but as fuck-yeah-we're-got-a-chance-to-play! they charge hard w/no sign of weak finish. it's righteous and I bathe in the light (sic) and dig it much. brother lou w/tom and raul, beautiful singing again - seventh gig in a row! don't this cat get hoarse? and my missingmen do real good by him, real good. can't tell you how proud I am, I am motherfucking beaming. eleven bells and we're the last act. last set of the tour, a short one and there's times when I clam - even w/old songs! fuck, there's one point in "forever" where I didn't even know where the fuck I was at - this is one I wrote for dos twentyfive years ago! I'm having a good time but I do knuckle down after that brain-kerrangggg. I go as wild as my cripple self will let me - thank god that kind cat was giving me a shoulder up and down those stairs cuz I'm feeling it now but I don't care - I got to see everyone, fuck I got to shake everyone of their hands. me and my guys are for a little time here ONE w/the underground sapporo music scene and it's a righteous feeling. we just finished this ass-whup tour w/our lite brothers. I thank kazuto-san for getting it all together, making it all happen. we finish but ain't finished cuz we bring on lite and lou barlow to do big "fun house" blow out, all together. lou-man raps! his way, not typical but it's a rap! maybe kind of more like a spiritual but I'm digging it and stretch it our some. one last time we get to play together on this tour, it's a great fucking time.

   not much to pack - remember we brought nothing but instruments and I have a good time talking w/folks who were at last night's gig as well as the two cats in the band that got scissored (they were called thee dosanko jones) cuz of their mainman jon getting deported a couple of weeks ago... he's back in montana after living here fifteen years, damn. well, I'm gonna get a gig someday in his parts so we CAN share a gig together. I think w/could windbag forever here so I go out to the rented boat to make like an example of someone in "pull anchor" mode. brother jun understands and circles the wagons, we saddle up and push off - big hugs and good bye to everyone but wait...

   some folks from the bands who played are here at a "genghis khan" chow pad (we call them mongolian bbq) we're directed to and like korean bbq pads, the tables have hibachi grills so you're supplied w/raw stuff to cook yourself. it's really really good chow - nobuyuki's across from me and doing the honors to closest shit I can shovel and he does it up great. big mugs of beers, lots of laughs and good times - we made it, the tour is done. these sapporo cats are so beautiful, truly. I'm so glad "we jam econo '10" mini-fest got to be here, fuckin' damn sure. big respect to this town's music folks, big respect!

   we go back to brother nez's pad and I think I'm the last cripple hobblin' about. I will konk in chonies and use the rilakkuma pillow for my head, forget the blankie. end of another tour, can you believe it? I've live through at least sixtyfour of them - is that right? this was beautiful one though, so much about the spirit. oh, watt - so glad you're student for life!


   the next morning tom, raul, brother jun and akinori bailed for home - first two in cali, second two in tokyo. us that were left were supposed to have righteous sightseeing of sapporo town but the VERY HAPPENING WEATHER of the last two days turned into rain and very dangerous for hobbling person watt and so after a lame attempt at finding a happening sapporo flannel (fucking pad was at a mall!), we had some righteous curry soup which is special to this town. it was at a pad called cancun (that's right!) and it's was fucking happening. the "hotness" scale was zero to fifteen so I picked thirteen so I do look like a macho dick and it was a good spice w/heat soup w/yeah, curry and a big chunk of pork along w/some happening vegetables. that night we flew out and at the haneda airport, I had to say bye to kouzou, nobuyuki and kazuto-san but we had one last chow, lots of good sea food w/gohan in a bowl - best fucking airport chow I ever shoveled and it was emotional for me also cuz I had to say bye to my dear friends.

   they took me to the mitaka-chi part of tokyo where the plan was to stay w/my friend professor andy and his family 'til the day before the nels cline/yuka honda wedding and then go to mr shimmy's pad the night before so he'd take me on the train down to fujishisawashi where the ceremony was gonna happen. I had no plans but wouldn't you know it, the next night masa - a cat I met at the tokyo quattro gig - invited me and andy to korean bbq and then to a bar in shubuya where katoman works - katoman! great cat. and there was some young u.s. people there... from brooklyn bands the woods and real estate - young people but damn did they know a lot of shit. the next night I was invited to jam w/a a band I really dig wah qi neh

wah qi neh after jam w/watt - nov 11, 2010

yeah, me and thirteen young japanese musicians (only eight shown in the above shot, sorry) in this room and fuck, I didn't speak much but just started working the bass and we went for it 'pert-near three hours worth! they were beautiful. huge respect to kat-san and brother ken - he came to professor andy's pad early and did healing on my fucked-up hiza, it was beautiful. BIG respect to these cats. the next day I did the recording w/kyoka she wanted me to do - that was a trip! she is much an individual! respect. the pad I recorded at was way happening and you would never think it a recording pad - that's the way this land is. however, him and his wife started jamming w/us - him w/brushes on a box and her on a violin - great! the wedding was on the thirteenth and it was beautiful. mrs yuka and brother nels had a shinto ceremony - I shared the matchmaker role w/sean lennon! miss peak was there. ms satomi was there. it was beautiful and the chow after was incredible sea chow at this pad where we all celebrated the wedding - I gave short speech... I called them both our teachers in the classroom of love - I thought of the ceremony and the lady playing both sho and the nohkan - most beautiful sounds ever... I wanted so bad to learn how to compose bass to go w/those instruments, wakarimaskua ("do you understand" in jap)? it was very emotional for me... I cried and said "mrs yuka" and held her hand strong. brother nels then hugged me and said "witness" - wakarimasuka? his twin brother alex was there and I never herd him before talk so much like his brother? yes, indeed. and mrs yuka... I got to meet her pop. mr keigo and mr hori were there too, big respect! it was great celebration and when mr shimmy and ms yuko said it was time to go, I went w/them - mr shimmy that morning had totally re-wired the dan bass and made it more righteous. mr shimmy is beautiful - I wish I could find the words to tell you all why but believe me, he is. ms yuko knows. he is HUGE person in my life. he is brother.

   mr shimmy took me to the train station and I took the express train to narita to get on the plane... almost got on the wrong one but I had protection... it was nine hours to lax and I actually landed before I took off (at this time, sixteen hour time difference) and my sister melinda was there to get me... she got my cripple ass home, she is saint melinda. I did the tour - cuz my brothers were on board w/me! that's why!

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