nels cline's tour spiel

mike watt and the crew of the flying saucer

"clam blow" tour '95

august 18 - 31, 1995

8/18 (Last Lolla, - Mountain View today) @ Cassie - Tina - Gillian's

Spent last night on the couch hot and sleepless trying to hide from dive bombing skeeters (tenacious as hell). Cassie, Gillian, Tina, they rule. Woke up this a.m. to Cassie and her adorable son Ian talking /playing. Cassie is such a good mom. It was sweet and inspiring to hear their interaction (Ian being prompted to sing, an airplane song, which he did -- Cassie's going today to 29 Palms for Dad's birthday w/flying lessons as a gift!). Got a parking ticket last night...

Last night was so amazing: In my loopy state I drifted over to S.Y.'s quarters where everyone was happy and relaxed. Kim, Thurston, Lee, Steve, Suzanne, Terry, Coco, Maurice and the mythic figure of yester- year, Carlos. Thurston was blowing up Maurice by having me look at him every time he had a certain look (tap in the leg was one) to make him paranoid. These guys drank vodka martinis (very civilized). I laid new L.P. cassette and 45 w/new L.P. B from Psychic Ps on me (later Lee gave me promo CD). Coco was so sleepy-looking and nice. (In Irvine T. told D.D. that Coco loves touring). I had announced my inebriation upon arrival. ("at least you, unlike most people admit it straight out", said Kim). "Have a beer!", everyone chimed. On my way back to their abode I walked with Lee who told me that I sound great w/ Watt. How happy everyone is to have the musicianship w/Watt go up -- especially guitar. I told him of my fears, the "mantle", that I worried that the diehards hated me. He said "bullshit", forget it. Anyway, they all seemed happy to see me and to enable my euphoria.

At the last sec. before their set Kim put her laminate around me next and sad "Let's go". I walked w/them to the stage. I was on Lee's side this time. Asked Peter where I'd be out of the way and he showed me a chair way out on the stage and said "this chairs for you"...Wild! The set seemed to go by in 1/2 hour's time -- How long was it? lst time was "Cotton Crown". T. dedicated it to Watt. I was starting to get really choked up. Then the tunes sped by: 100%, Washing Machine, Tom Verlaine, Junkie's Promise (Rocked!), Skink, Wish Fulfillment, Diamond Sea (I stood next to the speakers and tripped out heavily). Encore: T. said, "This song's for Nels Cline because he's 39 years old. It's called "Teenage Riot!" Wow! I was pretty stoked!!!

Could see Kazu on the other side of the stage (other B.R.s probably there in the dark). What was she thinking. I know Kim and Thurston have some serious reservations.

After the set gave Kim back her laminate/on her photo. It's washed out, her hair's blowing in her face, she looks beautiful). She wanted to show off the trumpet T. Gave her for her b'day - Blowing beautiful sour notes. Carlos tried. Vince came in and hit some high notes on his first try! He's one of THOSE guys.

Kissed Kim goodnight, saw the Blonde Redheads - everyone (incl. Michael & Midori) was all stoked by the little dedication. Cloud 9...

Drove through traffic to S.F. on today to music store for Vince, then to Mountain View. Jasha & Joel H. are on the list. Jovi's coming too...

Amadeo & I talked yesterday about dueting in the future. Jazz tunes, etc. A new ally in NYC. We have a common bond in being jazz-types gone sonic.

Aside: I keep reflecting on a moment at Spaceland w/Kazu. After our exchange about her set, I told her that for the first time I could really hear her guitar loud enough & that it made a big difference, adding much to the music -- that her sound is important. I thought she was going to cry -- the look that came over her. Then she sped away. What's going on with this girl?

Today/tonight should be wild (last night). Linda's patting the cat -- sweetness.

Called D.D.-- she sounded good. Had dinner with Carole. They're fine. I'm happy. Lee told me after the S.Y. set last night that he felt rotten 'cause I was right there next to him & he felt "not into it" last night. Not inspired". Steve said I was his gauge -- he looked over at me for signs of life. I was totally unaware of any of this. I was in heaven... Watt had been basically pushed off the premises by semis & sheriffs & had to bail -- he was tired anyway. He'd driven up from Pedro @ 4 am, played. But this bum's rush totally sucks. Tonight he'll catch a set (finally).

8/19 Back @ Cassie, Lisa, Gillian's...

I've actually slept skeeter-free. A funny story. Last night @ gig, Sean de Lear showed up. Chatted & some- how my head full o' bites was mentioned. "Avon Skin-So-Soft", he said. Knew about this skin softener with some ingredients that repels the little bloodseekers. Lo, when I came back w/Steve to the Mo, a huge bottle of Skin So Soft in Lisa's hand, and she was talking about it, too. I slathered up @ about 2 a.m. and slept...

Yesterday: Got up, showered, hung w/Vince, Linda, Cassie & Ian (pre 29 Palms). Took Vince to Guitar Center for his hi-hat stand & drum heads. He took so long I had time to shave, (Ah, eventful!), put oil in the car and cue up a Goldie Cats tape, and still drum my fingers impatiently.

Got to Shoreline (met Vince's friend, Dan, outside and got his recording gear in) and it was about 1 -- Foley was about to begin his final singing contest (w/Watt on final tambourine). Went to seek cuisine -- found overpass guys, later, Steve, +Bill, Amadeo, & Simone -- found out they were on first, so I scarfed and bailed to catch one more B.R. set. Kazu was a sex bomb -- wearing only a thin shirt made by the woman who did those Girls with Machine Guns on Thurston's alb, and little shorts (underwear?) -- later Bill told me that earlier she had had only the shirt on! "Sometimes she just doesn't know", he said he suggested she put on some pants. Maki, in her straw hat & towel on her head. Lent my keys to Amadeo so he could get/tune my guitar (Hagstrom) for one last time -- Jetstar! Their set was weird -- Simone was really pushing the tempos (the hives?). Kazu seemed thrown and at one point said "we seem to be having a poor performance" to the crowd. (Later told her, "Kazu, you are so wrong!" & she giggled). (She said -- "I think "Jetstar" was good today," -- she had smiled at me after the song -- I was in my usual onstage huddle -- bliss).

We were all in a parking lot again, we the 2nd stagers. Versus were good, Fontaine rocking. I gave CD's to B.R.'s, + Si (monitor sound for the Jesus Lizard and a really cool gal).

It was quite a sight after B.R.'s set. A burnout-looking guy had a dog (named Sawbuck) that Kkazu & Maki were doting on -- first Kazu (I went over & got an inadvertent view of Kazu's breast as she bent over this dog -- yow!) -- but later Maki, with her towel and delicate little hands patting the dog -- actually communing. The sweetest sight...

Talked a lot with Maki -- she used to be a pianist. Classical. She's 27. What a band.. "I don't know what we'll do without you", Amadeo and Kazu kept saying. "This sucks!" Amadeo said. I'll miss them, too, dear overseer.

Jasha & Joel both showed up, + Lisa & Kenny + Gillian -- Lisa & Kenny had a backpack full of shrooms! They were frying! Plus Kenny & his death boo... Jeez. Jasha was ebullient. Met his buddies Will & Alex.

Our Set: I was psyched. Kazu & Amadeo on stage. Spotted Suzanne in the crowd. Joel & Jasha, Midori. I was slammin'. Watt's bass started to go out -- then really off. Grabbed overass Dan Electro -- denied! He refused! Then Fontaine brought out hers and it was screwing up (or Watt's amp) & Watt was pounding it - later said he broke it! Shit! Fontaine... I feel bad, Said "just bill me, here's my address".. shit!

Afterwards I had 2 puffs of death boo & got all self-conscious. Tom Watson didn't help -- I finally got tired of him avoiding me, & walked over to him. "Well?" "Great set". Yeah, sure. I felt so weird, -- me, Mr. Jazz New Music had just done my throw down rocker soilage -- I felt good at the time -- Now I was shrinking --- Tom's envious? Annoyed? Disappointed?.. Whatever.

Finally saw up close The Roots. They're so cool -- from Philly, I'm told. Their drummer (big bass drum, floor tom, snare/cymbal, tine Hi Hat) is a genius groovemaster + their one-man rapper/tracker is a miracle! Really a cool band. Joel was blown!

Richard from Versus walked up to me to say goodbye & said I had made their tenure easier, 'cause they didn't know anyone coming on & I made them feel more welcome. How unexpected (& sweet).

I bought little heart necklaces @ a stand and put them on Kristen & Nancy -- they were blown. I kissed Nancy's tattoo (back of her neck, a beautiful Kali symbol) & later apologized -- she didn't care. Nancy, in fact, was filming w/camcorder & while Watt was struggling w/basses & went over + put it on her while film rolled. Fun!

Overpass rocked to a tiny crowd -- Steve S., Terry... Watson pulls off serious cool shit while singing. Stinging sound. Cool. Dinner w/Watt & girl Kelley, Jovi, Steve, Baredra (from last trip). Maurice got us beer -- a rarity as everyone was partying. Saw Abby -- partying. Steve S "Why are you so mean to us?"
to Watt...

Swirl begins. Trying to get Watt to the stage, Watt all weirded out by security, stadium rock bullshit. But his knees were killing him -- had to get a chair. Bob Lawton got us into backstage -- Of course, Jasha had hustled his way in already! He has an intuitive feel for this..

Viewing spot for S.Y. sucked -- no sound! Had to bail -- went out to lightboard (Suzanne) and rocked till my knees hurt. I was tired, I just realized. "Brother James!" Sound was weird, w/guitar levels in the house shifting around. Good set, not great. 100%, Tom V., Washing Machine, Junkie's Promise, Mote, Skink, Self-obsessed & Sexy ("to Mike Watt" -- Thurston was handed the wrong guitar and they had to stop and start over!), Bull in the Heather .. Teenage Riot encore.

Saw: Julie Cafritz, Eric E., Sean de Lear, Terry, Suzanne, Bob Lawton, Peter, Luke, guitar & bass in J. Lizard -- totally nice! Talked a lot to Duane D. (who thinks that guy -- Page -- in Helmet steals ideas from me!) We're going to exchange CD's "You're an old guy like me aren't you?" He's 36, I think, hah! I beat everyone except Kim, who rocks so hard it makes me want to cry...

Bailed out (finally. Watt had left for Lisa's. Drove back w/Steve. Vince's friend Mario drove them ... Kenny was in full swing! We went to noisy, yuppie T.G.I.F. Scene across the street and had a scotch. Vince & Kenny were sounding 'em. Bartender -- John, a literal award winner. Had a scotch...

Shit. Just bought a '64 Jag!!

8/20: Barstow Mo' 6.

Rest of story: Vince bought me a scotch amidst a mjor din of shitty music. Kenny was there + Vince's friend Mario. Decided to drink & bail (din factor). At last call a near-fight erupted at the front door: "Fuck you, mother fucker!!" "Fuck you, I'll kill you, you fuckin' asshole!!".. etc, etc.

Went back to the loft & our Kenny, upon returning, just gabbed until Steve & I were asleep on the couches. I imagine that we just kept on while we slept...

Next day I went w/Steve & Watt to Guitar Center (Watt needed foam & I needed a spare short chord). They took his pic w/polaroid & had him sign it.

Went to Black Market after Watt drove us by an Oddfellow Temple w/remarkable relief work - arcane!

Black Market is amazing. Ended up buying a Frankenstein-y 1964 Jaguar w/psych print job for $550 -- as a spare for the gig. After some nut work & stickering it'll be a totally cool beater. Plays better now than my Blue '66. Watt got a tweaked reverse T-bird bass for $550 -- massive potential. I drove to Barstow. (after a massive foam cooler explosion in my car courtesy of Vince!) & in Watt's room we hung out while I helped finish peeling off some weird protectant "Flecto" that was all over it. Michael dutifully removed and replaced hardware (had to seek serial # under electronics, too). Had some food @ Coco's. (veg-platter) that was good, actually (no grease!) + some fine banter w/our young waitress, Heather. Changed strings on the Jag -- it's going to be cool. Actually stays in tune w/tremolo on!

On to wherever, near Albuquerque somewhere. Yesterday was oven-esque, but so far today some high raw clouds have kept things a little cooler. More stories about Lolla will certainly surface later. On to Primus.


Watt is peppered w/about 20-30 mosquito bites on his face (mostly forehead). He says they don't itch. He's sleeping on the floor again.

Drove about 600 miles yesterday to Albuquerque Mo 6. A couple of driving snafus -- one w/Vince's panic pee moment & the other w/Michael at the wheel of my car, darting around in the downpour in New Mexico (near Gallup!) & frustrating Steve's attempts to keep up -- a dangerous thing in that boat, fully loaded. All else okay. Michael's too tweaked by other drivers' moves on the road. Next time he'll be okay. I took 2 shifts - a total of about 9 hours, I guess, but I napped while Michael went rogue. Trying to get window latch on my car fixed today. Gotta find Mark Weber's # & invite him to the big rock show.

Fave sign yesterday (pointed out by Vince, the wordsmith):

"Music with a Message"


(A Christian station w/no awareness of gutter minds/lingo).

8/22: Gallup N.M. Mo 6.

Yesterday was D.D.'s mom's birthday. D.D. was down in Carson, then she was going to the Alligator to hear Phast 'N Bulbous (Fred!) w/Carey Fosse, Unique Cheerful Events, & Bradley Dutz! She's on an emotional edge, but I think that's okay. Greg might be nutting out -- existential angst? Frustration?

Anyway, we were in Albuquerque yesterday. It was sunny and hot, but not total oven. Our drive there was cloudy & partially rainy - another weather blessing, considering it could have been a major broist.

We arrived early at the Convention Center (!) & got reacquainted w/Primus crew. They seemed genuinely glad to see us, esp. Ron, Cheruki, Matt, Chris, Chris & even Jill, who hugged me -- weird, since she was sort of cold to Michael & Vince. Whatever.. Derek was his usual eye-avoiding, non-humane self. All wrapped up in his biz, never reaching out. Hmmm...

Decided to go to a local Mexican place within walking distance. Really cool. Michael, Vince & I bought T-shirts from there - Garcia's - that say "Help! Stamp out Gringo Food", with a dancing, grinning chili pepper.

Saw Larry talking to Michael by the buses on the loading dock, nut no other Primus member. Larry's so nice -- what an imp! It seems that he told Michael that they put on the Trio C.D., heard a couple of songs, left it on as they walked outside for a minute, & when they came back in the bus was on fire!

The gig -- weird. After a fairly painful soundcheck (starting all over w/mixing monitor boards after Helmet) we hit. The crowd seemed a bit sparse, but pretty vociferous. They moshed straight away to "Big Train", then kind of just stood there. Lots of beef boys, who hated us. I got nailed in the arm w/ a flying water bottle (the sports sipping variety) & threw it back (while mouthing "fuck you" to no-one in particular). Watt's bass, only a moment ago considerably fixed, started issuing popping sounds. We ploughed ahead. Shirts, pennies, and another water bottle that almost nailed Vince, flew. What a struggle, but Watt through we were victorious. Tim came out & we reprised "My Secret Garden", then began to extricate ourselves for the drive to Gallup. Mark Weber was there (my guest). I also invited Tom Gyralmick (of Outpost fame) and his wife & daughter, but never saw them. Watt & Steve's buddy, Tony was there. Seems like a great guy. Onward to Mesa.

I'm a passenger en route to Mesa. The weather, cloudy & drizzly earlier, has finally given way to full Arizona oven. But the car is running cool (Michael at the wheel), and the beautiful cacti appraise us as we speed by.

Last night at a gas station Watt went off because Michael had to pee. After too much Piss Bottle talk things are again back on an even keel. Michael's got his beloved Duke blaring (endlessly -- revenge on my Fibbers set?). We're about 40 minutes from Mesa.

I hope D.D.'s okay. I hope last night's N.M.M. was a smashing musical and financial lovefest. Hope people bought Brad's new disc; hope Greg's black cloud lifted momentarily for music/basking. What's going on w/him? Dry cleaning bills too high? Friends dying again? I'm getting anxiety. It bugs me when he's so fucking honest & grim. (like when I said "sorry, about going away -- not much A Thousand Other Names Work", and he said "I'll just get something else going -- I've already got some ideas about...". Whatever. Eminently practical, yet unflinchingly lacking in sentiment - even tact. Yes, life is a whirling wheel of change, but people -- fools like me -- do tend to cling a bit. It all seems a bit heartless in a slightly exaggerated way. There's got to be something else going on... maybe he should have an affair or something ... move to France ... become a hermit...

Anyway, tonight after the gig we bail for L.A. and an early morning hop into my own bed. I'll be glad to see D.D., give her some love, some nocturnal spooning -- Lord knows, I need it too!

It's 105 degrees. We own Interest 40.

"Pin the Tail on the Vortex" -- Vince.

Outdoors tonight.

Our next tour (the Shinebox tour) is taking new shapes each day, but it looks like we have 6 or 7 dates w/Sonic Youth! Praise be!

-- It's so weird that when I started this tour, that I'd be able to read/write while on the move. "Right", I said. But he was right -- just reading ish of V.H.F. they sent me free (Nebsonic PO Box Ad beg) & Wendy's in it, so cool, plus writing. Before this would turn me green instantly. Now.. okay!

It's 8/24.

In L.A. about to leave for San Diego gig @ outdoor amphitheater - much has happened. Gig in Mesa was weird, intense, hilarious. It was hot as hell even after the sun went down (we were asked to play an hour to let it get dark, but it seemed dark to me, even before we started. Crowd was quite vociferously belidge. We played pretty well, even though Watt's bass still crapped out, periodically. By the time we go to "Coincidence" .. the crowd was shouting us down (or trying to), yelling "Primus", etc. Water bottles flew.

For some reason I thought it was all too funny (as opposed to how angry I got in Albuquerque). Before "My Secret Garden" Watt told the crowd that we were there because Primus had asked us to be there, that he was an old punk & could/would see them after & kick their fucking asses. While he was yelling a bottle of dirt landed in front of me. I just picked it up and dumped it all over my head. Then Larry (on clarinet!), Cris Kirkwood (on banjo) & Tim came out. (Heard Les had flu) -- but Les even came out & played Herb's drums (wearing a Viking helmet!). The crowd didn't know what to think, it was wild, hilarious.

Hung briefly w/Cris & Michelle. Good reaction from the local crew (who. like the security guys in front of the stage, tend to like us), -- one guy was stoked & amazed 'cause we played B.O.C. "and then, they left" -- a fave Watt-ism. On to L.A., a 6-hour plus ride. Vince & Michael were hilarious -- Vince does a great Goulet! They arrived at a duet of "The Impossible Dream" between Goulet singing & Burt Lancaster speaking. I was in tears. Then Vince & I did a baroque-ish choiry version of "Piss Bottle Man". "You guys are sick." said Michael.

I burnt out after 3 hours -- Michael drive the rest of the way (Steve in front in the Watt van must have been tired & drove inexplicably slow). Got into L.A. just after 4 a.m. Vince took The Prayer out of the driveway (once it started, that is) & went home. I washed the Mesa dirt off me & crashed -- home!

Got up pretty late, had sex (!!), did a bit o' phone. Went to Universal Amphitheater. What a scene. Forgot my nail polish. Strolled around the tour/stores. Had never been there! Summer tourism in full swing (beautiful Asian girl tourists). Michael & Midori walked around while Vince & I looked for a way back. No polish.

Serious union hall -- guys like yr dad unloading the gear, serious rules. Watt arrived tired -- but he really fixed his bass, had had lunch w/Thurston. Steve & Cat arrived.

Had a 3-minute line check. (love these laborious soundchecks!). Alex & D.D. arrived. (D.D. brought real "Vamp"). We hit @ 8:20. The audience seemed so far away, it was weird. Vince was scared, I guess, 'cause he kept dropping sticks. A little stiffness. My amp sounded raging, so I went for it. D.D. later said that it was cutting in and out, but it must have been the board -- for once I had no pedal trauma. Watt was shredding, esp. on his coda wail on "the 15th".

Afterwards, it was so L.A. -- people outside on the social patio, hanging out. We never have after-gig soirees (except @ Roseland, NY, which I avoided), so it was kind of fun for me. Lee K. was there & we had a nice time hanging out and catching up.

At one point, Tim dragged me + Vince & a bunch of the Primus staff (incl. Jill & Marion) to the side of the stage, put Anchor Steam (the Primus beer) in our hands & told us to wait for "Larry's Beer Party": During "My Name is Mud" Larry comes off stage 2 or 3 times to tune, at which time we all yelled and trashed him (he's got his beer right there) -- it was really funny in a sweet, good-natured way).

Bailed out just after 11. Watt & Michael (w/Midori) & Steve (w/Cat) had left. Called D.D. and she was on the porch w/Christine drinking wine. Came home & there they were. Had a beer & crashed in front of the TV. For some reason we're still getting free movie channels, & the dreck on them is staggeringly bad.

Now it's Thursday. I must get gas & go to San Diego. Want to hit the Mag stand. (Sept. issues) & get a weekly (Ground Review?).

Talked for a while with Wendy, Jeff G. Wendy may come out in Nov. (Better). New strap next week?

Incredible News: Talked to Knansie yesterday -- the Goldie Cats are going on tour for 2 weeks at the end of Sept. on the West Coast w/the Geraldine Fibbers! Carla! What a world -- a micro-utopia rolling up & down the coast. If only I weren't on tour then I could drive up & catch them together - God!!

8/25 In S.M. - (home)

Drove solo to San Diego -- actually rather pleasant. Blasting new cassette of B.R. & S.Y. albs. Got to S.D. State at about 4:10 & was the first to arrive (of the Watt crew). As I wandered on stage I noticed a familiar woman stagehand & asked her if she had been there when we played this venue (the open air amphitheater) in June (on before Duran, Duran!). She said no, she had been on the local crew in Toronto. She's the girl who I had put flowers in front of & ran away!! I was kind of embarrassed, & I blew it by saying, "my god, you're the girl I set flowers at the feet of!". "If you'd stuck around I would have thanked you" she said. A co- worker told her it was me. Chagrined, I explained that I had been inspired by watching her work so hard - she a very slight woman, kicking ass, as it were. We introduced ourselves. Her name is Heather. She happened to be in San Diego on a little holiday to meet her brother's new wife & came down to hang w/the crew. We chatted about Toronto (she confirmed my feeling that Toronto represented a successful multi- cultural city) & talked about L.A. 7 its many shortcomings both culturally and racially. She's pretty cool.

After a good meal we set up. Watt had to go play solo bass on the big F.M. station (an old buddy D.J.) His cute friend, Holly was there w/her friend, Laura. Holly's really sweet - young & from Tennessee - and she's really sweet to Watt. Cat, Midori & Linda also came down.

As we sound checked I descended inexplicably into a funk. The fact Michael kept bashing his drums didn't help. Then I plugged in my new Jag and its fucked up -- no level, forward pickup not happening. Bummed out to the max.

Waited an eternity to play. When we finally hit, it was one of our best sets. Vince & Michael were hitting together (mostly), & things sounded pretty rocking -- good set list, too. Oddly it was the first time we didn't play "Big Train", but we did do "Piss Bottle Man" (which is often not on the set list, probably because the drums are usually a mess on it) with Watt's D.J. friend (Michael something??) on Strat (direct box -- he didn't bring an amp). He seemed totally lost. He later said he couldn't hear a thing, all he could do was watch my nails!

On "My Secret Garden" Les played bass. Tim was back. The audience seemed totally docile except for a few "you suck's". Seating. The seated. I really had fun singing this time & made grinning eye contact with some girls in front who seemed highly amused by the whole thing. Ended the tune by swinging my guitar around in front of my arms for feedback drones. As we ended, Larry came out w/the clarinet. "I'm ready!". We were bummed -- he'd spaced and missed the tune. Actually, he was late & didn't want to come in while we were mid-wail. We told him to just jump in. Too late. In Berkeley we'll all go wild. (Primus turf).

Afterwards, I hung for a while. Tim's girlfriend Nancy of Lollapalooza 2nd Stage fame was there again (she was wild in L.A., too & will be in Berkeley) -- she raves! They told me that Vince & I can stay w/them if we need to (in Petaluma).

Drove back to L.A. Got spaced listening to the latest Trio tape & missed the 405 freeway turnoff. Ended up in Tustin before I noticed. I was tired & really angry with myself. Looped it & got home exhausted around 12:45. Today, I'm tired. Got up & took my car in for an oil change, headlight. Nothing in the PO Box. Called Jasha, talked to him & Nikki -- maybe we'll stay there (San Rafael). Got to call Black Market about this Jag (shit, Watt has the receipt). Also going to call Kim/Thurston @ Kim's folks.

Review of Ground came out in the L.A. Weekly yesterday (by Greg Burk) -- ok photo of me & a glowing review. Now can anyone find the disc? (no Krown Pocket address). The review says that I get more extreme with age. That makes me feel good. Can't wait to get the Trio back in the groove...


Left with Vince around 4:30 -- right before we hit the road, Barbara Monderine (the ex-Mrs. Waller) came to visit D.D. Hadn't seen her in about 2 years & she looked great. We bailed & it was I5 drive number ?? for this year -- # 5, 6?? It was cool. I drove the whole way to San Rafael (we had to keep calling Jasha &/or D.D. to get directions which turned out to be really easy). Stashed our stuff at Jasha/Nina's (his roommate) and went to visit him at his maitre 'd job at the Marin County Brewing Co. in Larkspur. Dominique (aka Nikki) was there -- a pleasant surprise -- & we hung out & had little foods and good stouts until Jasha's quitting time. Jasha & Dominique are simply two of the coolest & sweetest people alive. Dominique has really short hair now & looks adorable.

I slept in roommate Nina's room as she was out in S.F. staying w/friends. Vince took the couch. It was great. Very comfy. Jasha, regrettably, had to get up at 7 or so for his gym job, 8 - 4, but I slept in.

Vince & I followed Dominique's Nissan into S.F. (the Golden Gate Bridge route) - Interstate 101, and it was breathtakingly beautiful as only the Bay Area can be on a clear sunny day. Went to Black Market Music with the ill Jaguar. Ate at the Laundromat -- a restaurant-cum-laudromat, which turned out to be ultra-pleasant.

Back at Black Market the guitar was not to be fixed (Mark: "I'll have to look at this when I'm awake - all the readings are coming out wrong"). Dominique had to drop a resume off at a vegan place across town (when Spitboy came back from their tour of Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the place she worked at had gone belly up) so Vince & I went to the East Bay to get his Alto fixed -- but on the way back to Black Market we stopped in to a record store - Neurotic (Watt said it was cool & he was right) and I bought Dominique (& Jasha) the Geraldine Fibbers C.D. Told her to catch them w/Polar Goldie Cats in Sept.

Dropped off horn - met Dominique (Nikki) at Moe's Books & we hung there while saxophone was in repair mode. I found 3 photog. books I'd been looking for -- one forever: Herbert List Photographs, Jean Dieuzaide Major Monograph & a cheap remainder of Richard Misrach's Desert Cantos. -- Beautiful! Went back & got horn. Traffic was horrible -- I hate Berkeley anyway! Got to Greek Theater (U.C. Berkeley) at 4:40 & we were LATE! Who was there but Woody Aplanalp & Claudia saying "Watt's really mad" and soundchecks already started". This is my worst nightmare -- I hate being late. I had no idea it was an early check. (Early doors). Indeed, Watt was pissed, but he calmed down quickly ("you got off easy" everyone later told me -- whatever). It seems that Derek & Jill are really tightening the screws on Watt. Fuck them! We ended soundcheck on time & all was okay. My nerves were shot. Then snafus with guest tickets. Couldn't find Dominique. I was flipping out. But it all worked out -- everyone got in. I changed strings, made set lists.

Set seemed good. I went for it. Lots of moshing. Kids were throwing nickels at me. An upscale crowd, I guess. They're usually pennies. Kids in front were really getting squeezed, but they looked happy. A bunch of guys knew the words to Watt's songs. A dark-haired teenager -- small & sweet -- kept smiling at me so I worked off that. On "My Secret Garden", Les, Tim & Larry came out and it seemed actually tight. I played up the crooner pose & the mike stand ended up all over my pedals & fucked everything up. Plus my strap button fell off (so far it's lost). Jasha & Dominique said it was hilarious, but they seemed really into it -- the whole set, actually. There's still some residual tension floating around, but I'm in the dressing room w/Steve, Vince, his friend, Dan, & Dominique just walked in. (Too loud out there in Primus land for her). Cassie, Lisa & Kenny are here. Mario, Dan, Midori, a bunch of good folks. More later.


Vince & I in the car following the Econoline for 12 hours (about 800 miles). Partied a bit last eve. After S.F. I'm wiped. -- More later.

(Note: Battery in my car is probably too small -- must replace -- reeks.)

Lunch today in Red Bluff -- where Watt's dad grew up. Stories about him, his asshole sadist grandfather - B.B. Watt (one of those B's is Baird) -- more later.

Remember: Peter - At Greek concessions -congregation. Must also recount Larry's Beer Party in Berkeley.

During Primus' set it became time for Larry's Beer Party -- always after "Pork Soda", during "My Name is Mud". It's the one time I see Trouz, Jill, everyone on the Primus staff happy and relaxed. We all cheered Larry, toasted him. At one point, after he was all tuned, I said to him (amidst the din) "Larry, you're badass!" - "Yeah, I know, sorry", he replied. "You're badass!", I yelled -- "Oh, I thought you said I'm a bad host!" -- What a funny guy. I really think he's one of the under rated guys out there.

After our set, as I was walking to my car for my windbreaker, a large African-American man in his mid-50s, in official attire, flagged me down. "Hold it! You're the guy! You were playing guitar just now, right? I have to talk to you -- you are one of the best! You are great! Hang on, hey, this is the guys (to his friends). Hey! (they couldn't care less). My name's Peter & my congregation here works at these concession stands. I run them, I've got the congregation -- man, I'm goin' to be talking about you tomorrow (Sunday)." Man, I was so blown. "You've made my whole day, Peter". It had been an insane day -- the relaxed trip into S.F., the tension of being late, the gig. "Peace to you & your church. Have a great Sunday". Praise be.

Yesterday was a hellride. Rich, (the trucker) Nelson gave us an alternate route, through the beauty of the Willamette forest. It turns out that Interstate 5 was closed where we would have been driving, so we lucked out. Into Tacoma @ 10:45, Mo 6. Wiped. Called D.D., could barely talk.

Got 8 1/2 hours sleep. Drove to Watt's fave guitar store, "Guitarmaniacs". He's been telling me about this place forever -- it's where he bought the Jazz Master that I'm still playing. These guys (Rick, the owner, & Joe) are supremely righteous -- they fixed my/Watt's Jazzmaster up with new bridge, strap buttons, switch knob, all for $32!, plus they had a 1966 seafoam green custom paint Jazzmaster for $995 -- that tortured me' "800 dollars", said Rick. "Buy it", said Watt. "I'll float you the bones" -- a little devil on my shoulder, this Mike Watt. The next thing I knew my last installment of tour $$ was in my hand. I played it & the neck pick up was not happening.. They pulled it apart, put in a '66 pick up that they had in back (!) -- a perfect match, did their bridge replacement (they cannabalized a mustang off the wall for the last bridge) and it was there.

This neck & action is a dream! So now I'd better sell a guitar .. oh my.

I'm also very excited because I think Eddie Vedder's coming down tonight to play. We had so much fun playing together on the few Ringspiel tour gigs I did. Also coming Beth, Ryan (Hovercraft), Troy Grugett (superb saxophone pal), my cousin Rick (called Aunt Shirley & Uncle Ray for his # -- they're fine. Wish I could see them but on Whidby Island. I'm psyched!

8/30: Everett, WA - MO 6

Well, Eddie only jammed at the end on "My Secret Garden", (Tim & Larry, too) but it was a good set. Drums together (the closer together we set up the better -- Watt was smart to get us squished center stage), my new guitar sounds great..Eddie watched from stage left. He said he got shy & wanted to just listen to the band. I understood. It was great seeing him, very warm. Beth came too (w/her cool shorter haircut) + Ryan, Brian & Co from booking company (saw them in Sacramento), the mythic Robert from Detroit (the arch- ivist), Andrea, Kris Novicelic (who I said hello to but didn't officially meet -- he seems really nice & tall as hell), Troy Grugett (who worked n Vice's horn later, armed with only a Swiss army knife & some screwdrivers) -- never spotted my cousin Rick -- Guess he never made it, or he got nonplussed by the rampant security inconsistencies.

The Primus folks were all a twitter 'cause of Mr. Vedder -- kept trying to hang & gawk a bit. Good natured except for Derek, who was so transparent & so oddly petty, as though this was a slap or something. But he got blown up repeatedly (Watt nailed him when he introduced him to Eddie: "Hey, Derek, here's an old friend of yours ..." Long story).

Herb & Les watched the whole set. I think we rocked. Thurston's guitar tech Jim Vincent was there, too. Another Seattle resident, like Terry. He's really nice (friend of Larry's tech, Chris). Showed him my guitars -- he had nice things, observations, to say.

At the end of our set, Watt took his bass & starting swashbuckling w/Eddie. I guess to draw him out, break the bubble. Eddie told me later that he got nervous about it 'cause he was playing my guitar & thought it would get damaged. Eddie & I talked about the set, the band. He's into it and dispelled my fears that I'm too dorky on stage. Very warm & supportive -- he loves Watt so much, as does Beth.

Ryan's still wearing 'Vamp' -- nice to see the tradition living on. He & Andrea (his girlfriend?) are great folks.

So now we wait to go to Vancouver -- another border crossing for the Jazzfusion combo. The nail polish is off, the totem necklaces hidden. Midori & Michael followed us to the Mo last eve -- they're having so much fun together, it's beautiful to see their easy happiness. Michael's so relaxed. Last Primus gig ahead, then Portland.

Michael & Midori w/Mike Hogan & Paula 2 nights ago in Eugene! We'll see them in Portland -- also my dear friend Bill & Mary Spiers-Floyd, whom I've not seen for two years. Their son Rowan, must be big now ... can't wait. These 4 are some of my favorite folks.

Got a micro taste of Seattle. A real visit is now a must. Impossible to believe that I'd never been there before. Talked to (cousin) Rick's wife, Leanna, on the phone. They like it here, but miss Santa Barbara. They may move back to Cali, if they can save up enough $$ (they've got their own house-painting Co.)

Les was hanging w/us last night more than usual. Steve had kindly admonished me to not sing flat on "My Secret Garden". I said to Les that I would try to sing in tune & he said "You've heard my singing, you think I care?? I remember that one night I played a half step off on that song & you turned around and gave me a funny look!" He's funny.

Jill, Derek, Marion & Co. gave Watt a cake last night. Chocolate-covered, it said "To Mike for 25 years of touring". Michael, Eddie, Les chimed in, "25 years?!. It's 25 tours!" Jill looked annoyed/crushed. It was pretty damn funny. Watt almost left it in the dressing room.

We're off.

In Bellingham now, waiting for rooms @ Mo 6 to be available. Here we leave stuff not needed/accepted in Canada.

Fragments to remember:

* The black-haired girl with her finger in her mouth (full ingenue) @ last Lollapolooza gig during "Overpass" set. A show for me ? Meltdown.

* Vince's adroit verbal manipulations -- he can really make me laugh w/his word choices. He's an amazing guy. His self esteem is lower than mine by a long shot. I'm pep talking him a bit. He's a valuable soul on this planet & should relax & accept that fact.

* Every gig at the end of "The 15th", I watch Watt go for it on bass & I'm inspired. It, along w/his micro- bass break on "The Red & The Black", is his only real blowing moment and i value it highly.

* As a sentimentalist, it'll be weird taking leave of the Primus Boys & their crew (the ones who seem to be nice and/or like us, anyway): Les, Larry, Herb + Trouz, OK, Jill, Marion, Chris, Cheruki, Ron, Jerry, Ron, Chris, Chris, Matt, Pork Chop, Spike, Tim (of course!), etc etc. I think we'll cross paths w/Larry again. (Michael got his # for future jamming) & probably Tim & Nancy, too.

* Watt when he gets out of the van after a long night drive to the Mo often does a great limp-wrist lisp voice: "Hi, Sailor". It kills me because the sweetness of it actually seems to exist, not just as a fagoid sweetness. Too funny.

It's blustery & drizzly -- must be the Northwest.

Topics I'm sick of:  Beer
               Guest lists
               Production Personnel probs.

Preoccupations w/these topics seem rampant & endless. Enough. I'm getting testy, I know ...sorry.

There were actually girls in some numbers at last night's gig in Seattle. Mysterious how unpredictable these aspects of gigging are. Quite a contrast to the boy glut in NYC, for example. Seattle: lots of nose rings.

Got all lost & turned around going into Vancouver gig. Lots of traffic thru the seedy part of town, China- town, etc. Got me antsy to be in so much traffic, but now we're here. Watt seems grumpy. Don't know what's up. Maybe too much vacationer energy in some quarters. This could be an odd night -- lots of awkward goodbyes, etc.

Another hockey rink. Canadians are serious about their hockey -- one look at this old stentorian edifice tells the tale. Deep. Big Signs: BEER. Oh, Canada...

Tried to get Derek to look at me -- maybe the last time I attempt this. No success. Primus' crew guys are feeling a little sentimental themselves. Ron, Pork Chop, Matt (so far). Michael & Watt are tussling over people helping w/gear. It should be over, but it goes on & on. Enough! Now beer, the specter returns...
Midori bought us beer (she's really a sweetheart) -- and soon all will be smiles. It's been great that her presence is no foist. It's really nice. OK.

(Just met Patrick from Sony).

Gig seemed okay -- I felt a little awkward, low energy. Hard to hear vocals on stage. Vince thought he played at his highest intensity level. The crowd was quite active, moshing, slamming, surfing. It was us in a hockey rink -- half-used space, us in the middle -- bidding Primus adieu. Les & Tim came out for "My Secret Garden". Larry spaced (hungover, I heard from Seattle soiree -- it seemed that Primus treated Seattle as their last gig & partied down. Looked for us but we had waited & bailed). He arrived w/Vince's clarinet after the set.

Caught Larry's last beer party. But before that saw the absurdly amazing sight of Jill coming in to hug Watt goodbye & then saying nothing to the rest of us. I, ever pathetic (& thinking she liked me) tried to say goodbye in a hand-wave mumbly way, but she said "I'll see you later". Vince was blown. Watt said it was "Par", to which we had to agree.

While I was watching Primus, the management sent a bottle of '88 Dom P. champagne to our dressing room. Vince was thrilled, but I don't drink champagne, if A: I'm already drinking beer, & B: I'm driving across the border.

In spite of my sobriety, Vince & I got totally lost leaving Vancouver, We lost a good hour driving all over the place, getting pissed, laughing. 'Just get me out of the damn country!", I kept saying. Vince was pretty tipsy (the only champagne guy, I guess) & he got militant & we got out (after some wrong directions, it should be noted). Vince, all alcohol candor, told me kindly that he thinks I'm a little uptight and nordic at times (because I don't want to hang/party/eat/flow, but also because I was tweaked that he'd spaced and left his 5 T-shirts for the ClamBlow Tour in my car. No Merch into Canada, we all know).

I apologized and told him that I just thought I had a job to do & I don't like snags/distractions. It's true. It bugs me when I get the vibe that each restaurant we pass on tour is a golden opportunity missed, or that every beer left in the dressing room is a discarded soul left to drift, in a sad wasteland. Beer & Food are everywhere. Burning gigs are not. I guess I'm just a psycho Calvinist wet blanket.

I'm back at the Mo 6 in Bellingham. Vince has gone to Denny's to eat (again). I've sunk to turning on some dreadful HBO crap movie (God, these movie channels suck). My new Jazzmaster is here. My books are here. It's quiet. All is well. Farewell, Primus. You are cool people. I'll miss Larry & Ron the most. Matt's really cool too. Les is distant but very nice. Herb is serious, a control freak, but also a good guy. Cheruki was funny -- deflected my sentimental goodbye (just a sincere "thank you", really), by saying "Yeh, fuck yu, too". Total East Village street kid.

What I won't miss:
               * Derek's knobhead avoiding my eyes - (last tries today a failure)
               * Kids chanting "Primus sucks"

8/30 Portland @ La Luna

Vince came in last night at around 2 am, having discovered a tavern/restaurant where he consumed ribs + lasagna + drinks. He was all hyper, watched TV. Hence I'm tired today. Drove to Portland, but first lost Watt & Steve as they made a stupid blind (to me) freeway exit. My car was emanating sulphur fumes any- way, so we pulled off just north of Fife, WA. Tommy told me my battery is overcharging. Bad regulator or a short.

At breakfast/lunch at the Sit 'N Bull, (a basic diner scene where Vince had (typically) made friends -- but my nail polish drew stares. (they at least knew we were musicians). Vince called Watt's leash, got address of venue ("yeah, chump..."). No more fumes.

Drove around, asked questions, found venue. It's cool. Waiting for Watt (on equip. run). Bill & Mary, Mike & Paula, Meltzer?? Tonight on the bill w/Apegrove and Richmond Fontaine.

8/31 Thursday Portland Mo 6.

Ate at a splendid Thai place pre-gig w/Vince & Steve. Promoters gave us pin money. We were the only customers and the food was really delicious. Unfortunately, I almost hurled it on the gig -- no more scrumptious meals pre-thrash.

Gig was pretty good. Had minor pedal trauma in major spots, at one point in "Forever" kicking all pedals out completely. Watt kept ranking them/me on mike, but I played OK. La Luna was full of people who really listened. Good crowd. Saw Bill & Mary & friend (sorry). Meltzer's # is unpublished. Forgot to call Rob Blakeslee. Sean from Apegrave is a big fan of mine, thanks to Mike Hogan. Gave him a CD (he's former Crackerbush Hellcows). Got a shirt - they're kind of trying. For a soul/punk review vibe w/horns & hats, they've a long way to go, but Sean is a great performer.

Went pre-gig w/Watt to a quick taping of "Bohemia After Dark" -- a long-running underground video show (Suzy & Jeff + her son + Phil the cameraman). Good, funky office. By-the-Seat-Of-Our-Pants ethic. Suzy's son kept walking in front of the camera!

Also did a radio interview w/Scott from the Eugene station (another Trio fan who heard us at Icky's). Great, sincere guy. (serious young man - age). The famous Robert "Bob" Teagan & Jared were there, too. He can't leave Seattle.

We ended our encore w/"Sang for Igor", which stank. The Clam Blow Tour '95 concluded w/some major clamations. How apt!

Afterwards Watt, Steve, Vince & I had a boo sesh much like any other Mo 6 hang. Watt told great D. Boon stories, laughed about my "Pedal Dachau" (I came back w/imprisoned by wire bars"). Michael & Midori are at Mike Hogan's, where Vince & I are going in about 15 minutes en route to San Raphael (Jasha & Nina's). Some time in Eugene, a lot of driving.

So concludes "Clamblow '95".

Nels Cline

last tour spiel

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this page created 22 jul 97