mike watt and the crew of the flying saucer
july 26 - august 5, 1995
Tonight's gig will be at the State Theater in Detroit which Steve says is a nice old space not unlike the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee (where sweat oozed off of every surface). Today's weather is rain -- real rain, not just a passing thunderstorm. Watt's surprised. But it appears he still took his customary morning walk -- he was out the door at 7:00 am! Now he's on the Power Book. Everything's quiet and kind of low- energy. Wonder if I'll drive today...
Didn't drive, plus it stopped raining until we got closer to Detroit (while we were playing in Detroit it really came down for a minute, I guess).
We had a radio promotion in Lansing around 1:30 -- totally odd. Next to the station (I can NEVER remember call letters) was a sort of frat bar called Small Planet -- it was set up with a stage, P.A., etc and we were supposed to play a free half-hour set. Full set up)! No way. After this interview/jive sesh with Watt on the air/I was there next to him but said nothing : silent foil). We went next door and played an acoustic set (actually fake acoustic once everything was miked). Watt & I sat down to play! Vince and Michael on perc, drums lite (Michael's inclusion of bass drum sparked much controversy later -- another misunderstanding that gave Michael another set of gray hairs somewhere on his boo-starved head). Watt was so nervous! He later told me that afterward he was shaking and had to down a beer to try to calm down! A Columbia guy named Howard showed up: ponytail, briefcase, shorts, perfect 4-day beard -- a total Artie Fifkin (almost to the point where he knows he's a parody of himself). Hilarious.
Steve drove to Detroit while Watt kicked back and tried to recover from his acoustic ordeal. We munched pistachios. Cut it close time-wise coming into Detroit (thanks to the Lansing appearance). Got a bit lost but got to the State Theater in plenty of time. It turned out the Primus Boys bus had gone down, so they weren't even there yet (techs ran a sound check). The venue, though large, was splendid: A real old, ornate affair in downtown Detroit. Good sounding. Later on Michael and I cruised around during Primus' set and confirmed that this place rocks -- the sight lines are also excellent.
On stage that night my pedals went left -- some sort of gremlins. I was so bummed. The whole vibe on stage ended up possessed by a certain aggression that pleased Watt immensely. He was actually happy with the set! I was suicidal, I thought I had fucked it all up. Watt said the 'tude negated the clams.
As Michael and I listened/watched while Primus were on I dug the crowd. Especially a blond girl with pigtails who played superb air bass with all of Les' riffs -- she was literally leaping up and down out of sheer exuberance. I hope she has a bass. Outside the venue is pretty depressing/depressed, but what can you do? Gave some money to a guy in a wheelchair...
Primus: Continuing saga. These guys have a HUGE following. They're not POP in anyway -- virtually anti-melodic. Larry (our fave member) plays so really free, non-general chromatically tweaked stuff. He's cool! Watt thinks a lot of him -- says he reminds him of D. Boon in the way he stays in his sovereign sonic realm and is himself while he leaves all other space to Les' bass overwhelm (the man is undeniably amazing). Tim/Herb is the total straight man as he pounds out pattern after pattern -- even on the looser stuff. I guess it works. The most engaging moments (emotionally?) come on the darker instrumental stretchouts that Larry plays. It's mostly the sense of exploration/dynamics that tugs at one. Their visual designs remain entertaining and their audience adores them.
Afterwards in the parking lot we chatted with some strays. I talked for a while with super young punkoid kids (one with a mohawk and lip ring who must've been about 14) Joel, Kevin and Candace (sp?). Candace looked about 12 with braces and purple hair. Joel talked most -- a willowy blind boy with braces. He'd been bashed pretty solidly in the face in the pit. I gave them a bottle of water we had brought out of the dressing room. Michael and Vince were signing drumsticks. The little black-T punks really liked my playing. At one point Joel said, "Dude, you didn't look at us". I explained about my pedals screwing up. But this was a crucial moment -- must not think that it doesn't matter to the audience -- got to make some contact.
Got a bit of a boo haze going and hit the road with Watt at the helm. His friend Bob was in Seattle, so no home of glories (videos, washing machine, cool-outs) -- drag. On to Toledo to the Mo 6 "The Pilla". Got a bit turned around and looped it big time on all these turnpikes (at one point I had to practically leap out of the van to pee -- God, I was in pain...), but we made it. Called D.D. from a gas station and woke her up, but she sounded real good -- all wispy-voiced. Found out I had the wrong pin # for my AT&T card (her error), so now maybe I can successfully call around. Steve and I hoofed it back to the Mo (Michael and Vince were as usual going for late night eats). Had a puff with Watt as he went off to sleep. It turns out he wants the floor because he's a tosser and turner.
He just collapses in the corner and he's out. Then he's up like a shot around 7! I didn't hear him this morning, though -- I guess I was pretty tired. I think today we have an acoustic in-store at a record store in Cleveland. CBS local news is covering it for some reason so I'm sure Watt will be a total wreck. Ha! Watt's back. He just paid me! I'm really not used to this part -- this is a chunk! Got to figure out the money order thing again to send $ to darling wife, plus I must procure morning cuisine.
One thing: Last night driving away from the van I became (as I periodically do) overwhelmed with emotion -- abstract, yet real. I was quietly in tears, feeling odd, lucky, poignant. I think it was those kids and Watt, the enabler, and all the turmoil that surround this/these endeavor(s). Watt doesn't care (he probably thinks it's fine). Steve never knew...
We're outside of Cleveland Motel 6 in Berea. Laundry day. What a great thing. Laundromat was right next to a Cajun-y place called Bayou Cafe which was pretty damn good (though slow), with a real sweet waitress who turned out to be a Primus fan -- they're huge!
Later did an in-store at "Repeat the Beat" records. Everyone there was really nice. They were low-key but enthusiastic. One of the people there was named Beckett. CBS was there -- man, Watt hates these things but stays affable (and nervous -- says he thinks about Kira saying 'Don't be scared"). Everyone really reacts to my backpacker guitar. Watt signed two basses. The music was so dinky (especially my guitar...), but it's fun -- and fun for the fans, I think. Watt just writhes internally. The folks at the store gave me the 2 C.D.'s I was going to buy (Geraldine Fibbers & Helium)! Hanging now with all involved, Watt at the Mac. Hope to hear some music tonight.
Well we went to Peabody's to catch the Last Poets, only we caught a mere two pieces -- who'd have thought they'd be on schedule? to the minute?! poor Watt. He's a huge fan and had never seen them. He was pretty bummed, but the evening was one of almost non-stop hilarity. Watt and everyone else (especially Michael and Vince under Watt's spell) kept up this amazing Johnny Rocco rant going all evening: "When rollo gets lost he gets lost -- hard! see?" on and on. I was in pain. Rode into Cleveland in The Prayer - sheesh! But the flats in town (where we play tomorrow at Nautica) are really cool architecturally (at least at night) what with lit up old buildings, bridges, and the river. The blasto nightclub frat vibe is annoying, but I really liked the feel of the area at night.
More Rollo on the way back -- bought a beer, foisted a bit of helium on Michael and Vince's C.D. player (pretty cool-sounding) and now it's NIBES.
Only got choked up once this evening -- thinking about love ... pretty good.
I'm really disoriented about days of the week -- what day is this, Steve? "Friday" -- okay.
One of the weirdest and most frustrating things about last night (missing the Last Poets) was that instead of hearing them or driving to the club we were eating this dreadful meal at a 'fancy' restaurant called Perkins -- Gawd! Most humorous cuisine award: Watt's pasta -- since he's not eating flesh he ordered the linguine with chicken without the chicken, but it came ensconced in a bowl made out of bread! For real! My stirfried vegetable and rice had cheese on them (didn't see this on the menu) plus that deadly salted grease effect. Poor Watt, missing the Poets. Poor us!
Got to get a to a P.O. to get money orders. Tried to call Susan and Wendy in N .Y.C. but got no real humans. Have to get this BBQ happening Aug. 4.
Made phone calls, finally called D.D. She's fine, done with summer school. Called Greg. Series continues. Everyone sounds fine, Greg, Rincy and Kwansie did the mailing. So I called Knansie, too. She's fine -- the other Goldie Cats are moving this week (stress). Called Danielle in N.Y.C., left a message, called Wendy. She's having romance trouble and working hard at the sewing machine. Called Susan -- apparently she left a message on my machine saying that I could stay with her if I need to. D.D.'s all, "Who's Susan?" This woman's got to cool off! Anyway, she 's moving the BBQ to 8/4... starting to feel dread. She'll be at Maxwell's (got to get Wendy in).
Went to Nautica early (Watt has an interview). Super broister day, maximum swelter, outdoor venue. Checked strings, check amp tubes for looseness (think I fixed a subtle noise problem). Good grub (thank God). Girl named Chelsea doing catering was sweet and cute (she even listened to the set, she said and liked it).
The set was intense for me. After a serious rain threat we played rain -- free in maximum swelter. Lots of the kids up front were superenthusiastic. Watt was trying to rev up the bleacher bums sitting on their hands and got a bit belidge. I was into it -- major eye contact continued with a girl in the front who just kept smiling and egging me on. (and she was really cute, as was her raven-haired friend -- their boyfriends hid under caps...)
At first I was quite embarrassed by the overt demonstration/attention, but I kept thinking of those kids in Detroit and tried to make eye contact with the crowd. Every time I did this THERE SHE WAS, smiling at me. Then she threw her little thing/bead necklace on stage to me! Whoa.. well, the set ended with me trying to at least throw some picks to them, which wasn't working. So I gave her the bandanna I wrap my springs up in. Kids were shouting stuff: "Tell the drummers they rocked!" "Yeah". One kid yelled me name! I was getting real self-conscious, couldn't look at that girl, packed up in a sweat and left the stage -- but I did put on the necklace (which I will continue to wear), which I think she must have enjoyed. Watt was a bit miffed 'cause I had some pedal mishaps on the stops. -- Believe me, I knew about my self-soilage (term Michael has so appropriately introduced to the lingo).
Newsflash: We're just entering Buffalo, NY, birthplace of KRISTEN MCMENAMY!
And Watt was bugged by the bleacher bums. Later, hung out a bit with Joyce from Columbia (College rep) - sweetheart, who we'd met at the in-store, plus her boyfriend/future husband, Scott (very quiet) and Mark, a Cincinnati rep. They're so fascinated by Watt. I ended up telling stories, holding forth. Joyce gave me a little flower ring she was wearing -- "I think this will go with your thing" , and her friends agreed. It's too small to wear, but I told her I'd put it on a chain (which I will). Watt tells me that most of the reps tell him that he's the only artist who really talks to them. Others either ignore them or talk through them..
Joyce, as well as other women I talk to seem surprised when I answer that yes I do my own nail polish.
Met a Columbia rep named Rae Cline (no relation to Patsy, who she adores. She was a brunette who looked a lot like D.D.'s friend, Lisa Mojsen).
Aside: Our esteemed and hilarious on-stage soundman Cheruki told me as I was packing up that a kid yelled to him: "Tell Mike Watt that his guitar player's a fucking fag!!!" I said, "Go back and tell him he's right!" "I think he was speaking from experience", was Cheruki's reply. I must say I liked this episode.
After Primus' set, the bookstore area turned into one of those creep fests. Lewis Largent from MTV, bimbos, even one underdressed blond in micro cut-offs asking bandmembers to sign her ass! Larry (who looked more uncomfortable than Les, even) politely declined. We were talking to a kid, real young, with a freshly-bandaged head who's a big Minutemen fan -- into all the "old music". He'd apparently been bashed to the floor by a 200 pound security thug. It didn't seem to bother him all that much. Watt was floating, taking care of T-shirts -- the nightly ritual -- and later expressed relief that he had missed the social hour. Tim/Herb was hitting on a willowy blond also in cut-offs, who seemed blase/disgusted in an almost dignified way for a beach bunny type.
(We're at the Canadian Border, some nervousness...)
We tried to keep the kid around to meet Watt (God knows how he got backstage) but he found him later.
(Just passed thru Immigration in a mere half hour!)
Watt was in a funky mood. Found out that tour boss Derek tapped Watt's shoulder and told him "we need to talk about some money for Cheruki". Seems like Derek's playing funny -- Cheruki seems standup to us (and not so wimpy that he wouldn't come straight to Watt). Derek can't even look me in the eye (Watt found this revelation very interesting/telling).
We actually kind of had a band meeting on this. We all think Derek's a nervous nellie, cold fish-type. Cheruki, in addition to being one of the funniest men ever, is A-okay with us. As Watt noted, he eats with us, for chrissakes (along with our other assist., Ron, a real sweetheart). So today Watt goes direct to Cheruki. He'll pay him -- direct. No Derek. If it turns out Derek's playing it wrong, God help him. Watt'll tear him a new asshole -- probably in front of Les (who is the real boss). Les already told Watt that if anyone gives us grief to come to him. (He'd already had to fire a crew for jerking around an opening act). He loves Watt. He's practically begging him to go to Europe with him. (get our own tour). Hmmm.... lots to learn. Watt says this shit is like the old days -- scheistergrism. Says Derek's old school. It's probably no coincidence that this came up on a night (8 gigs into the tour??) when we tore it up.
Another point: Watt and Steve before retiring were again discussing the absence of blacks, Latins, Asians on the crew. Seems to be an alarming trend in "alternative rock". The Primus crew is practically all blond, for God's sake! "and they all have the same voice", says Steve. This contrasts with the Beastie Boys tour, fIREHOSE. Even most of the local crews are lilywhite...
Now on our way to Toronto -- Varsity Arena. Just found out Watt's got an MTV thing to do and he want me to come along. oh oh ...
(More later) (I'm really hungry)
Michael and Vince are in front of us. Driving to Toronto. Michael's smoking a cigar. (Maybe Vince is too) - a new Vince-inspired wrinkle. Boy does he look like a relative of Schwarzenegger, or what? Austrians!
We're listening to my Polvo tape that Mike Hogan made me. This morning we heard "Secret Garden" by Madonna about 15 times -- I'm going to sing it! Maximum self-soilage!! Whoa... I just had memory of about 5 dreams from the last month or so bombard me all at once .. sheesh ....
My first trip to Canada. Knansie's from Peace Valley in Northern Alberta. She loves Polvo ("Ash rules!").
Toronto: Ed Bickert, Don Thompson, Sonny Greenwich, Terry Clarke. Monsters of non-generic trad- based jazz...
After the gig: Jeez. It was a hockey stadium. By far the most nightmarish acoustic environment of the tour. During "Coincidence is Either Hit or Miss" my rhythm guitar stabs rang out for about 30 seconds! Watt couldn't stop laughing, it was so absurd! At one point, he announced a song and made his own echo. Couldn't hear Watt's bass distinctly. I blew some serous clams (esp. on "Walking The Cow"). But it was fun in an odd way. The set concluded with the splendid soilage of the Madonna tune "Secret Garden" with me in my fresh nail polish crooning and Tim from Primus' crew on drums and Vince on alto and Michael on tasty neo-fusoid coloration. It was hilarious and set us overtime 5 minutes. Sweat up a storm.
A young singer named Matt sang "Formal Introduction" at soundcheck -- he's a friend of Watt's friends Cassie, etc. and a total Watt fan. An amazing, articulate guy. Gave him a C.D. (Ground, of course). Did 3 interviews with Watt: 2 newspaper/mag guys, Peter & Chris, plus the "Ticket Booth" thing for City T.V.(!) Watt and I posed in adjacent ticket booths and were interviewed from inside them! It was pretty funny.
Toronto is a very interesting city -- very ethnically diverse (with lots of beautiful girls!). It's Saturday night and we had to park the van far away and walk down Bloor St. West (weird street names here) and check out the street scene. Glad I'm not here in winter, though. We're down the street from the venue at a rather deluxe hotel (for us) doing the miracle of smoking hash! We must be in another country!
Internet: Beck in N.Y. Lollapolooza. Pelted: Beck and band with tons of mud by Frat boys. Dickheads -- Die! H.R. insane and in jail ...
The people in Toronto are really nice to us. Great food. Really nice crew -- most of them worked Watt's last show and were happy to see Watt and Steve. Dressing room was loaded with fresh fruit and vegetables and alstromeria bouquet. I surreptitiously left at the feet of this really nice skinny crewwoman ( probably gay, but who cares?) -- so thin yet buff and doing her job. Hope she likes them. I'll look forward to coming back to this city.
Cheruki: It turns out that Watt talked to Cheruki and he'd love a little extra dough, but he never talked to Derek ... hmmm. I guess Watt had to apologize to Derek for going overtime (well, wanted to), but I'm sure he'll have his eye on him, waiting for an appropriate moment... Lots of Primus dates still to come.
Les thinks he's coming down with flu. Larry's tired. Must be all that sitting in the bus. Actually, Larry's quite the little partier, I think.
Must try to call D.D. tomorrow...
On to Montreal (Veroun Aud.) -- another 5 or 6 hour drive -- Frenchies!
At a gas station/McDonald's -- The Prayer's overheating -- coolant leak. Poor Michael (and Vince, too). Michael does not dig inheriting all this grief and I don't blame him. It's gonna be super tight now getting to Montreal. Soundcheck?
Already ran into a carload of guys and one in a Mule shirt who saw the show. The Mule guy (older) dug it.
So did the interviewer, Peter, from yesterday (come to think of it). He said I'm "an incredible guitar player" and that two guys last tour had less sound than I (didn't he hear those CLAMS??) Liked the show better than the Ringspiel show at Opera House.
It's a spectacular day in Canada. Sunny, clear, around 80 degrees and our weather karma holds -- only a few real broisters and (I hate to harp on this) so many pretty women! Spoke with an Asian girl outside the Quality Hotel in Toronto this morning. She had on all black (a Misfits T). She asked if I was Mike Watt -- she works at the hotel and had just gotten off the night shift. She has never heard Watt and asked what kind of sound we have. That's a tough question! I tried to explain the diversity/history, but it's almost an impossibility. Watt said to say "glam metal", or "dissonant pop", or any damn thing. Her names is Patty and she's little and cute with dark berry lipstick....
I know this girl rant is sad ass, but these tend to be resonant little islands that take a bit of the boot camp aspect off a bit. It's hard to be the girl in this band (any self-proclaimed designation) in an inner sense, but it's not like anyone wants me to be different. It's really always my own dilemma.
Time to burn rubber -- across this beautiful countryside, watching all the vacationing families. The Prayer's timing is redone (Watt steps into the breach). Van's running better. Gotta speed.
We made it -- barely. The Prayer was running hot so we crawled along. Then Steve and I laned out and we got off at the wrong exit - took a very scenic route. Got to Veroun Aud. (another hockey arena) at about 6:15. Apparently Watt took some berating, but we set up, scarfed some cuisine, and then a few moments in our completely isolated dressing/locker room (by a separate ice rink) to memorize "My Secret Garden". Les is also (.... with Tim) going to do the tune with us.
The set was flammy in the drum dept, but Watt was wailing -- smashing the hell out of the bass, mugging with us and the crowd. Laughing a lot. These echo-y stadiums really get him laughing. Broke a string mid-way thru the set and finally had to play the Hagstrom. On "The 15th", where I switched (Watt didn't even notice the change, I don't think, and I was swift). I had a big blankout and forgot to sing on the frat boy section ...sheesh! Total self-soilage. But I felt good about my playing. Sweat buckets. Les came up for the Madonna tune and the crowd was hyped. I remembered the words. It was kind of a mess, but really fun. My role as chanteuse is of questionable taste, but who cares -- all such considerations about my "image" or art seem overwhelmed by the moment. I'm caught up in a whirl. Just want to play my best and have fun with things, play hard.
Found out that this excursion may extend ... and EXTEND. Like to maybe 6 months!! (with breaks). The Chili Peppers really want Watt for November, our own tour of Australia, New Zealand and Japan(!), then probably our own spring tour .. oh God. I hope Watt can take it physically. He was really hurting last night. All that smashing. He needs to workout, warm up and get massaged (too Bouge, I know).
Last night was melameta and hash before border crossing today (courtesy of Primus crew pals). Plus the beer here is stronger. Tried to go out with Michael and Vince on one of their nightly treks, but I felt like the street scene wasn't happening -- plus I wasn't going to eat or drink. Came back and called D.D. She sounded great. Lots about her writing, "Mylanta" -- her e-world playwright pal. She was drinking wine, on- line, happy. Leaving today for her brother's up north. Said she saw Nikki today! She had to fill time in L.A. for 10 hours and hung with D.D. She is so wonderful, we all love her.
On to the States ... gotta remove the nail polish.
All the Primus guys are getting sick. We've got to stay alert and not get their bugs -- got to stay healthy.
I really hope I'm ready for all this....
Personal note: Nikki (Dominique) and Jasha are back together for sure. D.D. thinks Nikki is thinking of marriage! It would be so cool to see that and to have one of the world's bossest women as a relative. The tattooed, punk rock bass-playing, unbelievably sweet and attractive wife of one of the world's bossest guys! I hope to see the two of them in Vancouver of S.F.-area gigs.
Another beautiful day: sunny, breezy, clear, around 80 degrees. Said goodbye to Montreal (on his morning walk Watt said people on the street recognized him and chatted). Now it's goodbye Canada. A painless and swift border crossing on to Worcester so that early tomorrow The Prayer can go into the shop.
Vince's hearing (or lack of it) concerns me deeply. He's got form-fitting plugs but feels musically insecure with them on, so he's playing plug-free -- bad! He'll never recover this way. I've been lucky. After crushing myself on the first 3 gigs I have positioned my amp away from me. If wedges get too hot I'll stuff, but so far it's been pretty painless. Michael always stuffs with cotton or little gunshot earplugs.
New York City is getting closer!... There's where I go A.W.O.L.
Yesterday's in-van selections:
Watt Olatunji (with Airto, Mackay, Haf...)
Steve Sebadoh (Brbbk & Whaton)
Me Stooges (Fun House)
Steve The Wipers
Me tape of me with Woody Aplanalp (for Watt)
The Net -- wow! I'm really impressed by Watt's on-line thing. Must become au courant.
We stayed last night in a town north of Worcester about 18 miles (way farther than we expected) called Leominster. In a brand new Mo 6 (The Pilla) -- in fact, they were still working on it. I drove a couple of hours. The evening was pretty hilarious. Watt and Steve decided it was time to drink the cache of Heineken that Missy Worth & Co. (Columbia) has sent with care package of crackers, cheeses, etc. -- way back in Denver. I didn't even know it, but there were about 12 or more beers back there! We iced them down in the sink and two wastebaskets. A whole evening to kill in Leominster. Steve decided to go see "Waterworld". We took a pass. The theater was showing 12 different films. Somehow when Steve mentioned it, I chimed in that "First Knight" was about King Arthur, so there might be grail legend involved, and Watt said "Let's go". We hiked over there and got tickets (8:50- 100 minutes to kill). Had heinous Mex Chow (ran into Michael and Vince at restaurant), then hiked over to "Strawberries", CDs and videos, to cop B.O.C. Secret Treaties to learn "Dominance & Submission" for N.Y.C. (Albert Bouchard is going to sit in!)
Read about Sonic Youth (well, Thurston) and Primus and Watt (Jazz/Rock!) in the local free paper. Then
Watt and I saw this film -- oh my God! For one thing, they didn't even turn down the lights until I went out and asked them to. Then Watt and I (plus about 12 other folks) were treated to one of the biggest turkeys in modern cinema history. We were sullied, raped, ripped, insulted, revolted -- Christ!! Watt kept a hilarious "Mystery Science" commentary running while I tried not to laugh out loud. Richard Gere should be banned from any further film appearances. Sean Connery was "paying for a boat". Sludge Central. Gere smirks, smarms, swaggers like a Malibu dickhead through almost the entire film. Horridly lit. Jerry Goldsmith phoned in the score. No Merlin, No lore, No spirit. Just a fake Zefferelli romance attempts and retro lame-ass fight after fight. Julie Ormond is merely pretty. Soon, she'll sully "Sabrina" -- "Burn, Hollywood, Burn..." (Ben Cross was hilarious).
Then it was back to the room for much-deserved beer. Watt actually turned on the T.V. when he saw that Vince and Michael had "Star Trek" on (I think he was trying to use it as a brain rinse). He was so upset. The violence really freaks him out, but so does idiocy. He's still mad and feeling sullied!
Now we're in Worcester early. Had some tasty Primus catered fruit, juice, and coffee. It's hot, probably around 90 degrees (as we came south yesterday, it really heated up!) I've got to change strings...
Met (officially) one of Primus' semi-drivers, the "Cracker" (Steve's term) named Rich. Turns out his father's name is Nels Nelson! Swedish (southerly tip). Said if he ever has a son he'll be named Nels. A good bond, seeing as how Steve's exchanges with him were friendly disagreements -- he's a racist trucker. But now he loves me -- just brought me a pillow to sit on (I'm outside on stone steps at the Memorial Aud.) and offered me a soda. It's good to get on with the crew.
Michael and Vince are somewhere in Worcester. They had to get up early and find a place to get The Prayer fully serviced (gas tank, timing, oil change, cooling system back flush...) . Pray, Pray.
Got to call Byron.
Talked to Jules S. last night -- Danielle was already asleep. He sounds so nice. Must try Danielle tonight, before we zoom to digs in Hartfield Conn.
More lunatic dreams last night -- 2 that were inter-related: one with Linda Evangelista and one with Christy Turlington. Oddly, both seemed amazingly realistic, both involved party-like atmospheres, in both I was introduced to them by an unknown, unshaven individual (Watt?) and in both they were delighted to meet me and instantly began chatting. Linda wanted to know if I recognized her. She has her current dark hair/bob look and was a bit neurotically forward, but smiling affably. I replied sheepishly, "of course, Linda," and she sped away. I was left with the feeling that I liked her more than I thought I would. (Matt in Montreal like her beaucoup, but I've never been a big fan). Christy was amazing -- beautiful, fresh-faced, super-friendly. She latched on to me, began to tell me that she's thinking of changing her name to her "real" name (was it Lauren in this sick dream?) Wanted to know if I liked it. Her voice was exactly the way I've heard it on T.V. No eros, just warmth. And I was devastated by Christy's skin. Someone get my head shrunk.
Outside of Hartford, Conn. Leaving for N.Y.C.
Oops -- tons of stuff has happened and, since I left, my bag with journal within at Jim Dunbar's (and massive insanity timesoak), I haven't been able to scrawl.
Vince and Michael left behind in Worcester with the stock car racer guys (down cats, according to them. Very funny). Steve, Watt and I blew into N.Y.C., Chez Dunbar. Thurston and Kim were home briefly, prior to their Washington, D.C. Lollapalooza departure, so we went to their pad and hung, then went with Thurston for burritos and a visit to Adult Crash, a fave record store (and lone bastion of N.C.T. support). Good burritos! Thurston in fine fettle, buying a pile of aural obscurity chez A-Crash. I copped a CD/E.P. of early Polvo. Kim and Julie Cafritz went elsewhere with Coco (who's walking now and large, cute and Thurstonian in appearance). Everyone seemed fine. Dropped Thurston off in front of Bob Lawton's and zoomed to Hoboken. Watt and I left from Maxwell's for Newark's video studios: "Power Play" interview with Watt and a bit with me (the foil), then back to Hoboken with Columbia guy (Gary) and driver. Hung at club, talked to Alyssa, a waitress who could have been Camille Henry's larger sister. A N.J. gal, very cool. No word from drummers.
Susan Havenstein and her friend Laurie showed up. I hung with them (Susan's pretty strong but cool with her attention to yours truly) and she informed me that the esteemed Wendy had a bad headache and wouldn't be coming -- bummer! I called her, and t'was true. She sounded wan.
By the time LEICA (a Brit off shoot of Moonshake) hit, no drummers -- Watt and I were starting to worry.
Leica played in a definite neo-Moonshake style, with samplers, deep bass, girl singer, and an uninvolving show - but pleasant. It was decided that we'd go on with Steve on drums. Old Firehouse folks (like Barry with the orange bass) were in attendance.
We actually started "Tuff Gnarl" with Steve, who wailed. Then into "Walking The Cow" at which time Vince and Michael bolted on stage, set up a floor tom and cymbal, and Vince was perc/vocal/sax man. Set was weird. Michael sounded tired; Vince was jumping around like a maniac. People were really into it -- 2 encores, autographs for the kids, etc. A guy with mega-pierced face and mohawk (multi-colored, no less) sat right on the stage in front of me - so close that on the "Red and the Black" I kicked him as I was leaping around. (No harm done -- he probably dug it, despite my repeated apologies). Watt personally sold 85 shirts right from the stage! (Almost half the audience).
Post gig, Susan, Laurie and their friend Brett set us up with drinks (I went for the Cognac). A woman named Karen Schoeler, who wrote a Newsweek article on Watt (with her boyfriend, Dave) started buying Watt bourbons -- always perilous! I knew Watt would get lit post-stress. Boy, did he ever! I ended up going with them and Watt to their pad 5 blocks away. Vince and Michael went with Barry with the orange bass (Durya?). Steve, ever wise, stayed alone upstairs at the club.
At Karen and Dave's, Watt drank even more Wild Turkey, beer, had boo, and became increasingly stream-of-consciousness, with emotional content regarding his Dad and D. Boon foremost. I didn't realize that these three had been hoisting them big time and finally Watt spewed vom (while Calvinistically trying to suck it back up) all over himself while our enabling hosts looked on helplessly. They are really sweet folks, (Karen quite obviously idolizes Watt), but they sure got more than they bargained for! Their apartment was very cool, east coast smart and hip, from Steinbeck to Thompson, antique radios, and glowing electric portrait of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis (!), plus a selection of sounds from Tricky and Laughing Hyenas to Steve Lacy and Art Ensemble of Chicago. They even had Silencer!
I was set up in the tiny, but sublimely air-conditioned music room (man, it's a major swelter here). Watt passed out on the couch.
a.m. - Woke Watt up. He seemed fine. Didn't seem to remember a thing. Was surprised he had slept so late. I left him to the shower and met Steve at Maxwell's to load up. Michael & Vince joined us and we all dropped gear off at Roseland (2 nights back with Primus). Now Watt's van had a flat tire (pumped it up and it's cool). Dropped me off at Dunbar's. Michael nabbed a carburetor for The Prayer. I got to stay and shower. Called Larry Condon, Danielle, Wendy. Met Wendy and I, had a great time. Saw her little workroom where her marvels are created. Grabbed some coffee and sandwich at Limbo (her pal gave me the food!) We talked about relationships, marriage, crushes, commitment, her boyfriend Matt, my wife D.D., my little story. We're sweet on each other in a sublime platonic way. Wendy rules!
Cabbed it back to Roseland. Got here by 4:10. Steve has to drive Vince and Michael to Connecticut where they were going to try to revive The Prayer -- it didn't revive, but they made it back for soundcheck. About to hit. Albert Bouchard's going to sit in on "The Red & The Black". Tim and Les back for "Secret Garden", and Mark Dresser's coming! More on this and the Vince and Michael Prayer drive later....!!
Watt was all bummed about the set. Albert sat in on guitar, which was really cool (even though I could barely hear him). He and his wife are such wonderful people. Watt played Barry's orange bass, which was a complete mistake. It went way out of tune and sounded a bit clattery. I thought the set was pretty good - not great. If the drum thing ever hits on all cylinders there will be potential for a great set. Someone threw a quarter at Watt - that, plus some nervousness I think, colored his view of things. Some Columbia V.P. also told him it was "ragged" -- fuck him, anyway.
Hung around waiting to leave and go over to Sears Sound to hang, goof off, etc. Since Watt got snared into a bar. Hung with Les. Dunbar and Don Fleming came looking for us. We ended up piling about 8 or 9 people into Watt's van and going to some party for teenage fanclub/Details mag. Trendoid "beautiful" types with bad disco playing . Really annoying, despite the presence of many stunning (in a more conventional sense) women. Voyeurism! Had a cognac and bailed out. Vince's friend Eileen (hung with her last trip for the MTV taping) was along. She's really great - sweet - down to earth, smart, left-wing - a lot like Vince! I think everyone but Jimbo bailed out within half an hour - Michael and Steve made the immediate U-turn.
I walked through the East Village/SoHo en route back to Canal & West Broadway (Jimbo's). As at the party, the streets had many instances of P.D.A. (public displays of affection) -- very tacky, it seems to me. But the steamy night stench of downtown N.Y.C. never ceases to intoxicate me -- I'm really stupid, I guess.
The crowd at the gig was sort of like a big energy-sucking vortex. Nothing much coming back, just all of our energy flowing in. That's really hard to feel good about no matter how one plays. I broke an E-string on "Intense Song" ... Cheruki was right there with the spare guitar (my femme Hagstrom with the "built by Wendy" stickers all over it) -- what a guy! He said the last time I broke a string he tried to change it, for me but "that peg's all fucked up so I didn't want to fuck it up more". He's right -- there's a trick to getting the E & B strings strung). This guy and Ron, our other Primus crew assist -- fabulous guys. We're so lucky to have them helping us. When the Primus tour ends I must get something cool for them. They rule!
It's 10:35 am and I've talked to Danielle, Fred and Susan (no BBQ). Can't visit Danielle at work, so I'll only see her tonight (drag). Fred and Tim Berne are both coming to the show tonight. (Madonna jam tonight should be quite charged, as it's our last Primus gig for 2 weeks). Think I'll call Tim. I'm going to visit Susan at work (32nd and Park Avenue) en route to Roseland, where I've got to turn in our guest list. Mark Dresser and 2 pals came last night -- Mark looked a bit chagrined, maybe just the scene, maybe my rock staristic performance, both? It was great to see him. Watt was all freaked out that he had played badly in front of my virtuoso bass player friend - so they didn't meet. Too bad. I think they have a common muscularity/virility to their touch. Plus intensity.
Albert's going to come back and jam tonight. Pals in attendance. I hope I can party with everyone and have a good time. We need to play well...
Vince was supposed to call/come by here to meet Steve and Michael for another van repair attempt in Connecticut, but that was 9:00 am and now it's almost 11 and no Vince. Just as well, since they actually left earlier to avoid his well-intended, but slow and overly-concerned demeanour. Wonder if he's still asleep....
For the record: Albert played on "The Red and The Black", "Big Train" and "Piss Bottle Man".
So damn much has happened!
I'm blessed - my NYC stays are so fruitful, pleasant, while all the band world toils.
Shopped yesterday, traipsing around Soho and E.Village. Tried to find D.D. a trinket, maybe a little heart for Wendy, but nada. Bought a Tapies T and fashion mags at Rizzoli (1 Kristen, 4 Rosemary Ferguson pix to cherish) and copped a page of Kristen from an incomplete Egoiste 154. (I'm sick, okay...). Went back to Adult Crash, shopped, hung with Tim -- great quiet guy who turns out to be big on Kristen, too! Unite!! Very cool, bought Painkiller 2 CD and Slint E of instr. Spiderland outtakes. Bought a Killer Slice @ Two Boots. Bought a sunflower for Wendy. Left it at Adult Crash with note -- "Have a great Chi-town trip. L.A. beckons.. (Always) N."
Cabbed it to Susan's place of work -- Betegueise Video, 32nd & Park Ave. Got the grand tour, met everyone (amazingly friendly with each other for a massive visual factory). She split for hair appointment. I went to venue to turn in list (big snafu on this topic night previous) At 4 -- Watt had turned it in at 3. My guests: Danielle (1), Tim Berne w/Jim Black (on his b'day!), Fred Patterson (who came w/guy from Silvertone Records, Mike, a big fan of mine it turns out!).
Gig was pretty fucking good. Both Albert and Joe Bouchard played - they're so cool! Albert played drums on 'The Red & The Black' & 'E-Ticket Ride' (!), guitar on 'Big Train' & '70's'. Watt threw down. Michael was fried (had to deal with getting new distributor for the Prayer, with Steve in the Bronx, PLUS having had to go to Conn. again to get it going with "new" (old & trashed) carb! He was toast. Apparently he & Vince really had it out -- oh shit. But on gig, everything was pretty hot. More boys in NYC than anywhere -- too damn many boys! Boys, Boys -- sheesh! That sucks. Anyway, at the end of the set, Watt almost took a header after the big Madonna jam, (frenzy always when Les appears) backing up into Albert's amp & the Boss went down hard. 2 cracks, one on headstock & on the tailpiece, and smashed EQ switch -- frozen and bent (now say's he'll nurse it & it'll play).
Met Danielle, Tim, Jim, Fred, Mike, + Susan & all her friends (Alexis, Laurie, who was in Hoboken, Katie, guy whose name I forgot, Bigi (!), all really sweet, cool, at the side bar. Guys were passed out & barfing, not crowded while Primus wailed to the boypit. Fun hang -- Tim & Jim were cracking up (esp. Tim, of course). Now he really knows I'm nuts. But he digs Watt. (Watt: Send Dos stuff to him).
On the road now to Dewey Beach, Delaware. More later....
We're in Dewey Beach. Omigod -- it's like 102 degrees humidity. The streets are flooded with yahoos - beach goer summer hell. This club, Cork 'N' Bottle, is filled with yahoo partners in tanks, shorts, and they're blasting GoGos, Toni Basil, Dexys, ... then they announce "Now the ads..." and play songs with names like "She can't come unless she's on top.." Perkywave, and half these people are singing along. The club is about 100 degrees inside -- no air conditioning, no hyperbole. I'm gonna fucking die. -- All I've done is unload & I'm drenched. Watt & I are the only guys not in shorts .. wet 'n' wild death.
After gig in NYC, joined Danielle, Fred. Went to where Danielle's staying to wash up & join Susan & Co. @ the Radio Bar on Hudson near 11th. Called Wendy but she was leaving at 5 am for Chicago. I was invited to stay at Susan's (A.C. & a pillow & couch, unlike Jimbo's). I was so scared to accept, but it sounded great, too. I told Wendy -- she said I'm vulnerable, to be careful. (She was sleepy and sounded so sweet). Went to the bar and hung out -- it was great! Susan's friend Katie, an ex-Elite model (yes, beautiful - brunette in grey tank & white jeans) was amazing -- we got right into an intense dialogue about men, marriage, self-confidence, and ... Kristen, whom she knows... I needed to explain my fixation. She seemed concerned, yet maybe accepting. She told me about how modelling erodes one's self-confidence. 10 "No's" a day. Bad men. Now she's into photography (an assistant) and she speaks her mind now and we talked photographers (she likes Lartigue, Nick Knight, Pablo Roversi, Steven Klein).
Reminisced with Fred and Danielle -- it was great...
Got up and showered, went across the street with Susan for coffees. Watched The Tick (molemen episode), read magazines. Sweet & simple. Back to Dunbar's to wait for Vince/The Prayer. Finally left (late) and now it's total swelter, drunk beach bunnies. The opening band is in awe of Watt.. I'm soaked.
I'm so blessed. NYC is so good to me. I'm so grateful to Watt for another great trek; to Susan, Wendy, Jimbo (what a great guy with his killer bong, Ryman & Pettibone Art, Jim Marshall Photos, cool old guitars, Astor CD's...), Danielle. I get emotional leaving. Last trip (Spring for MTV/Tramps). I was weepy for 3 days after. PMS? I feel post-partum emotions. I'll miss Wendy. I miss Danielle. Fred. Tim. I love New York -- even the 90 degree + summer stench. My heart sort of breaks .. can't quite explain. I left my heart in ... A blessed life. All thanks, all praises.
These guys can't believe Mike Watt's here. Neither can he! I'm already signing autographs..
Up at the crack tomorrow for Day #1 for us @ Lollapolooza & SONIC YOUTH!!
this page created 22 jul 97
this page created 22 jul 97