mike watt and the jom & terry show
tom watson - guitar, singing
jerry trebotic - drums
watt - thud staff, spiel
(left to right)
steve kaul - the man outside the van
tuesday, september 18 - missoula, mt
the skies are clear and we head out of the hotel and make a stop at a percussion store to find a head for the bongos. jerry gets the stuff from the store and we make one more stop at the nearby guitar center and then get on the road. we drive along some mountain roads and follow the river to missoula. the show tonight is at a different location then originally planned, as it turns out the blue herron club where we are now playing only got booked three days ago so there is only the publicity that they could do in that amount of time. it's a tuesday so whatever happens is fine, we're just glad to play. we get our things together and soundcheck and I send some postcards and then jerry and I hunt for some food. we walk around downtown a bit and see that at another bar is a band that jerry knows. we go in to see if there is anyone there but no luck. we continue walking and find a thai place and sit down and order. the food is fine, nothing special but big portions. after eating we walk to the river and then back to the club. there is are a couple guys at the bar who are in a band that's also playing in town tonight and they ask if they can open our show since we don't have an opening band on the bill. after working out the details with the sound guy and club owner we say sure. they're called messiahmyass and they get up at about 9:30 and play a cool short set of songs, it turns out that it was a good thing to have them open up. they break down and head off to their other show as we get onstage and start. I break a string early and have to play my other guitar, dang. the show goes on and we pull it together and finish strong. a good night in missoula. we have a room at a motel in town and as we are walking up to the entrance we see a couple big guys throw a drunken fellow out of the doors of a bar that's next door. he flew several feet in the air and slid on the gravel outside. it sounded painful and it was a strange way to end our day. as we walked down the hallway of the motel towards our room the smell of fried chicken filled the air, very thick and we tried to air out the room but no way. I'm tired so I fall asleep fast.
early morning wake by mike and i'm feeling burnt. got in late last night, about 3, and had tough time falling asleep w/ my head still ringing. I shower up and walk down to the sattalite diner for some biscuts and gravy. use the time to catch up on world events in the paper. speculation abounds and theories fly as to the perps in the wtc nightmare. the most outlandish comments flowed out of jerry falwell and pat robertson. there twisted turds released statements blaming the attacks on weak stands withinn america on homosexuality. what? how could that correlation be made w/conviction. it's totally absurd. just bad timing to preach narrow minded views. even one of the flights hijacked which crashed into a field in penn. got thwarted by three passangers, one being a gay guy. how is he to blame pat & jerry? enough said. after breakfast I fast tracked back to the boat and took the bongos to a deadhead percussion shop nearby. could this be the end of my search? sure enough the solution to my mission is found. I purchase a flat calf skin and receive a quick instruction on installing the head. only 11 bucks, what a deaL. I"ll do the work in missoula before the show. tom won't be able to beat it until the next day as the head has to cure. we drive on to montana. I think of a song by frank zappa "moving to montana soon, gonna be a dental floss tycoon".
after sleeping for about half the drive I awake to find us in missoula. it feels like a frontier town w/a university. we pull up to the blue herring club and unload. it's payday and I take my skate down to the post office and staionary supply store. I write kel a short letter and mail off the weeks earnings. sound check goes quick so tom and I take a walk looking for din. a couple blocks away theres a place called jay's bar and on the marquee is 400 blows. an l..a. band fronted by christian wabashaw a friend from pedro. we decided to investigate and look for christion. upstairs I spot their gear, but no sign of the band. hunger pains press us on, we'll stop by again after a meal. back to jay's after a soso thai munch and still no sign of 400 blows, I'll try to see them tonight when were through as they got a later starting time than us. too bad we could'nt share the bill instead of working separate rooms.
gig time soon and I found out we have no opening act. not surprising since this gig was a last minute add. the other gig at the ritz got cancelled when the owner dedided to go hiking and not tell the bands booked the deal. what a fuckin' lamemo. were set up and ready to go on early when a couple guys from a portland band called messiah my ass come by and ask if the can open. seizing the opportunity we make and the cow w/the sound guy and move our gear for them. their opening for 400 blows at jay's, if only I found christian earlier, it might be his band instead. messiah hits the stage and in the first song nick the drummer breaks his kick pedal. it's jer to the rescue. back on track they huff into a good set of tasty indie tunes. our turn as we get an early start at 10:30. not ten minutes in my kick pedal loses the beater. glad it was at a song end. a quick fix and were off. we play a good set and come back for a couple extra for the 100 or so in attendance. an ok turnout considering the situation.
we get a ho for the night and its not close enough to town for me to see 400 blows play. maybe next time. arriving at tonights bedpost we start walking to the ho lobby. suddenly I notice from a bar next door this dude being escorted out by airmail. I mean a serious tossing, at least 15 feet in the air. the landing took it's toll as he skidded on the gravel like a tire braking. stunned a moment he rises to his feet, w/only one sandel on his foot staggering to the door he wails out "hey! you can't fucking do that to me"! and pr
oceeds to reenter the bar. this guy had a mullet to match his brain, a true 'toss nelson'. damn that was funny. back in the room we crack some one liners a listen for poss. gunplay revenge, glad not to hear any. some cat from the gig drops by w/mota and we rap a bit. never got his name. tired I crash out after he splits.
pop at seven and take my first bath instead of a shower in a while. tinyass tub though and can't really soak w/the knees bent up like mount fuji. oh well. head out to hoof. sun's out and brilliant - so much luck w/the weather so far. you worry about that shit w/hellrides and all. that's one reason I like touring in the fall and spring. down the street, I chow at some diner called "satellite." I get eggs w/german sausage. that's a trip. I'll probably fart like a motherfucker later. sorry tom and jer...
I get back to find my cats ready and we go across the street to some percussion/new age/jewelry/"deadhead stuff" (that's what it says on the sighn) shop for a head to the little drum on the bongos. jer gets a big piece of skin and will fabricate it tonight in missoula. we then hit a "shit hard" center (guitar center mersh crap) and I get two cords for the little bass to plug into my amp - one for backup just in case. I want to try an akg mic and get a d790. we then take the I-90 east and roll towards montana. I get my first subway sandwich of the tour, tuna. I spike it up big w/chilli. we see some giant osprey nests, damn. beautiful country up here - they call it "big sky." good name.
lots of grade but the boat handles it fine. thanks again, brad. how much more time is spent in the boat than on the stage?! gotta be grateful for a smooth running boat. only 199 miles and we make it there way early. this gig is funky. it was supposed to be at some place called the _ritz_ but the promoter flaked big time. I'm told that this guy knew months ago but didn't tell my booker man, steve kaul until just last week. prick. this pad, _the blue herron_ is helping me out and we're playing for the door w/only three days notice. the cat here, andre, has got a lot of class. nothing but respect from him - thank you, andre.
these cats from a portland band called _messiahmyass_ are playing w/l.a. friends of ours, _400 blows_ a few blocks away at _jay's_ and ask me if they can open our gig since there is no opener and then do theirs. I say sure. damn, we should be playing w/the blows ourselves (their guitarman, christian, is from pedro - great cat) along w/them! I hate when you have to compete against your buds. I am really beat though and I konk so hard I miss them. tom and jer said they were happening though. damn, wish I could've seen them.
I wake somehow right when it's time for the j & t show to hit the stage. that's trippy how that happens. it's a hard room to work: a big sheer-sided box and the sound is underwater. you can't see the folks, shadow everywhere. I play w/all I have however and my guys do likewise. tom breaks a string early and has to use that guitar he hates. I gotta get him to change strings before every show to head that shit off. he's got problems to w/the jack connecting his guitar w/his crybaby wah-wah and there's cut-out lameness. he plays great though, even if his throat is a little sore. jer plays good too though his kick drum pedal fails early and he has to reapair. both of my guys' probs cause two big lags in the momentum early in the set but besides that we got good flow. I kind of act like an idiot w/the frustration w/this - I want us to roll like a bowling ball and this is like coitus interruptus. I should manage my fretting better, definitely. it's not their fault. sorry, tom and jer. good set though, considering everything and we get a encore. at the show's end, this cat comes up to talk w/me, he's a school teacher and wants me to give him something to tell the kids. I tell him what I like about john coltrane's philosophy on music, how it's "all one big reservoir" and we all can contribute and make things richer. I dig teachers and have much respect for them and their efforts w/what is the future, the kids. we had a pretty good crowd show up for such short notice. what were we gonna do, just bail on this town and have a day off? "when you're not playing, you're playing" - so the vaudeville saying goes. I'm so glad andre came through. thanks bro. he even got us a room at a ho. thanks again.
we go to the "inn on broadway" and as we batten down the boat and head for the entrance, we see some guy w/cut-offs and a mullet literally fly through the door of a bar next door. I mean fly, like w/his arms to the side and landing head and shoulders first on the gravel about fifteen feet from the door. damn. like he was a dart shot out of a blowgun. he was lanched by what appeared to be two bouncers from inside the bar. it was incredible to see someone like six foot four get flung like that through the air. he gets back up and I hear him say "hey, hey, HEY!..." but get into the ho quick so I don't have to witness anymore. damn. the room we're staying in is saturated w/the smell of fried chicken, I mean soaking in it - pretty amazing, it's so strong. where's it coming from? we didn't see any place like that around coming in. some cat who saw the show comes by and shares mota and has a bunch of cds to listen. just too hard for me to hear stuff after a gig cuz my head rings so but he's a nice cat and understands my reasoning in saying please no to the listening party. however, he does talk about a peace rally he's trying to get going this weekend at a site on a hill over the town where a peace sign stood for many years before it got yanked in march. the fence that surrounded it is still there so he's gonna make that space a "peace shrine." great. never did get his name though. mask down, on the deck - I'm out. gotta wake early for a hellride tomorrow.
wednesday, september 19 - boise, id
we rise and get in the van for a long winding trip to boise. there is no direct interstate so we are taking a two lane mountain road that is very scenic but slow and there are many construction stops along the way as well. the views along the river are very beautiful though and we take a lot of pictures. our elevation is high and the road comes out of the mountains onto a valley with incredible views. mike pulls over for gas and I take over driving on the final leg of our trip into boise. I have played with mike here twice before and it has been a good place to play so I am looking forward to it again. the weather is clear and a little warm and dry but we load in and get into soundcheck right away. after we finish jerry and I go to find food, I remember the place I had eaten with vince last year and it's still there. it is a little vegeterian place that has some good food and it doesn't slow you down. the food again is satisfying.
when we get back to the neurolux the first band clock is playing. we played with them last yearand I remember liking them a lot. the club is pretty full and clock does a good job again, and then we get ready to play. my voice is a little rough from screaming so much but we plow through the songs and it turnss out to be a good set. ps: it's my brother will's birthday, happy birthday will.
another early rise for the long hellride, well longride but maybe not so hell. today were going through the bitterroot mnts. south to boise. mike lets us know of the picturesque views offered by our route. w/dig camara charged I'm ready for the snapping. I make my daily morning call to kel, checking in on her and the baby. I really do miss them so much, but her strength in handleing everything at home keeps me focused on the work at hand. and so off we go. the scenic ride takes our minds off the length and many good shots are taken of the rivers and mtns.. this drive reminds me of the days of traveling w/my family across america in our chevy cabover. my mom would always pick out of the way routes to drive so as we could enjoy the sights. many memories are flushed back to the surface today and I wear a contented grin throughout.
in boise our show's at the neurolux near downtown and within walking distance of welcome distractions. after soundcheck tom and I make our way to a eatery recommended by soundguy dale. we get there and order up quick, just like that our food arrives and the chowing proceeds. we enjoy a couple songs being played by an acoustic artist w/her own take on covers. I finish up my berry smoothie and we head out back to the neurolux.to await the nights jams. w/plenty of time to spare before the show I feel a good beer is in order. the tender kindly floats me their local pale ale and I relax for the opener. our set time is early, about 10:45, and we bust out w/a strong set. a few clams, but we keep it together. after the show I back up fast and hope to hang out a little in the bar. as usual I only get a ten minute reprive before the boat motor is turned over and were off to bart and stefs for the night. tom decides to get a ride w/one of their friends and says he'll be 20 mins. behind us, mike and I depart.
back at barts place I get a snack from the fridge and sit to watch a live video thin lizzy recorded from 1978 in australia. I secure my quarters for the night downstairs where I have my own bed and lounge room w/computer. back upstairs I return for a few to talk to bart and folks gathered, but the tiredness overwhelms me and I bid farewell. no sign of tom yet though. hope he's alright. In bed me and kel talk a little of our days, say i love yous, and I fall asleep happily.
pop to that smell of fried chicken early. shower and roust the guys - we got one hell of a hike coming up today. we get some subway chow across the street and then head out on us-12 through the lolo pass and out of montana. the interstate routes to boise are like six hundred miles so we take the direct route which is on what's "red" roads in the road atlas (interstate ones are blue) which means one lane each way undivided road. oh boy. lots of construction too. up and over the bitteroot and clearwater mountain ranges, the boat handles it great but boy, what concentration is needed from my head. curves and curves, slowing way down and the wailing down grades up to seven percent. gorgeous country though, what sights. old indian homeland, one sign says they've been here eleven thousand years. shoshonee and nez pearce. I made this run once before, going the other direction so when we have to bail on to state road 13 in idaho at new meadows, I make the decision not to do what I did last time and take us-95 all the way down to weiser and the interstate rather than cut the shorter route down idaho 55. that idaho 55 has upteen million switch backs and turns so sharp, the boat barely cleared them. very beautiful eye gifts w/the payette river and all - damn, if it doesn't run uphill and the road is so smothered w/trees, the branches rub you as you pass, like a forest tunnel but painfully slow. the way I choose today, we skirt that whole mountain mess and after getting out of hell's canyon (real name), it's like the rolling hills of cali's central coastal valley. not bad at all. still, after eight hours straight of driving, I have tom take the wheel for the last fifty miles of interstate. whew, am I worn.
we get into boise at six and pull up to the _nurolux_, where we're playing tonight. worked for alan here many a time now for the last four years. dale is the soundman and gives great attention care. soundcheck goes quick, the way I like it. I get some soup from the nearby chinese restaurant, wor wonton, and I chilli it up to the max w/that thick oily stuff they have. soup is good gig chow. I check the email, chimp some diary - still waiting on jerry so I can put the first week of the tour spiels up. he's trying to do it all from memory instead of writing each day. he'll learn that that's tough. I get to the back of the boat and konk hard. I miss _clock_, the openers - the supported last time too. nice cats, I'm sorry to miss their show. the piper must be paid and I'll play like shit if I don't get some serious konk. chances increase of getting sick too, just gotta do it.
jer rousts me and I head to the pad and get on the stage. good crowd. I'm wearing a flannel a kid at last night's show in missoula gave me. it's an insulated one so I'm gonna swelter but at least it's got two pockets. just like them that way. can't imagine why a flannel would be made w/one pocket unless it was some sort of covert yuppie move. the set starts and right off the bat, tom's playing kind of not on. don't know what's up, he's missing cues and stuff. the monitors are feeding back but dale works on it quick and gets it right. even w/jer too a little, we're just not playing that sharp. good flow though, the songs run into each other like one big river. that's happening, just wish we were more locked in w/each other. these things go down on a tour, there's hills and valleys and you just got bear through the rough spots. no string breaks from either me or tom and I have to say I blow few clams, I'm finally getting my nerve up w/this tour's set. damn, you would think I could get to it quicker after all these years but every tour has to have watt go through his break-in period. still having trouble w/"down w/the bass," gotta get that together. jer's surgery on the bongos is successful and tom pounds away w/out the newborn skin getting tore. the spiel for "big train" is hard too. by the end of the gig, my voice is kind of tired to get them low notes up loud - don't know what to do about that. after encore, there's plenty of good word from the folks - thank you, boise. don't get to see alan, the boss, cuz he had to bail early but he left me a nice note.
bart and steff invite us over to their pad to konk last year. they have a band called _hotdog sandwich_ and the guitarist, pat, shows up a little later w/his friend heather. tom did not come w/us, instead, some lady said she was giving him a ride. they never show up though. my worries are about a show tomorrow night in salt lake city and being short a guitar player. I'm also worried about him being safe - I don't who this person he's w/is and don't have a way of getting a hold of her. neither does bart and steff. they tell me about their adventures at the latest _burning man_ this this last labor day but I can't chase out the worry thoughts in my head about tom. he's never done this to me before - it's odd. we see a '78 video of _thin lizzy_, bart's favorite band. they had a great frontman who played bass named phil lynott, a black irishman. he o.d. and died the same month d. boon died. I get weird memories watching this gig filmed in australia. phil's got a thing on his wrist like I got in austin last spring w/j. hmmm... finally I'm just too tired and have to turn in. all that driving today! at least tomorrow's all interstate. bart puts out a mattress on the deck (it's a hardwood floor) and I'm down to the ground. takes a little bit to konk though cuz the worry thoughts keep replaying on that in-the-head movie screen of mine. I'm hoping tom's safe.
thursday, september 20 - salt lake city, ut
I sleep in the van to salt lake city and the ride goes by smoothly. tonight we are playing with mike's buddy don's band. we have stayed with him the last couple times we were in salt lake and he's a real good guy. when we get to the club it's early but the club is open so we load right in. the sound man shows up soon and we do our check. Across from the club is a thrift store that I have always checked out on the last couple times through here, the fist time it's where vince and I got the orange vests that we wore on the searching the shed... tour. last year we got our holloween costumes here and so we go looking for more of the same. jerry gets a shirt and some weird mask and I find a rubber ape mask. we head back to club and jerry and I head over to the vege house chinese restaurant that I know from the last times through. the food is good, I get vege won ton soup and a spring roll and jerry has some chow mein. we get back to the club again and get some rest before the gig starts.
don's band shows up and they get set up to play. I watch their set and don sings real good and plays keyboards, acoustic and electric guitars and they have songs about local history and other strange stuff with their oun kind of idaho rock that I enjoy and I think the crowd does too. after the switch over of the bands we get up to play and it's a pretty crowded room. the set goes well and the people seem to get into it, and they crowd the stage afterward to get shirts and signatures. we get things loaded and head over to don's for the night.
mike wakes me about 8:30 asking if tom has called me. where could he be? never returning last night I worry a bit. I give a call on the cell but his phone is off. upstairs bart is slingin' some breakie and I'm a ready for a mauling. we give stef the job of trying to track down tom w/only answering machines being reached. I give the suggestion of returning to the neurolux and waiting. I leave stef my cell number and instructions for tom if he calls. mike and I drive to the club and wait. I go for some hot chocolate at the record store and browse a while. upon my return a get a call from stef, tom is on his way to the club. mike's concern is lessened and makes a point about how we have to always stick together to avoid this shit in the future. just then tom rounds the corner and hops in. no negative words are spoken, we just head out. apparently tom's ride had no ride at all, and he was stuck in downtown for the night. we stay toghther from now on. it's a 6 hour ride to salt lake and were an hour late already so no time wasted we grab some highway and start a pulling.
an uneventful ride to salt lake and arrive at liquid joe's about 5. I get a beer and rap a little w/charlie the boss. w/some time tom and I go across the street to the thrift store looking for deals. I find a show shirt and a halloween mask of a dracula w/batwing glasses built in. I don't care much for wearing masks but mike may want it. tom gets a mask too w/some quirkey dork hat to add some humor. back to soundcheck and off to eat. upon our return don dalton, mike's pal from pedro shows. his band will open tonight. he's a way cool cat and we'll be staying at his place tonight. taking my chance when poss. I hop in the boat for some nap time before the gig.this is usually mike's m.o., but a can't fight the burnout forever. sorry I missed your band don. next time for sure. we start at 11 or so and have a great crowd in house. I like the energy and give my all thourghtout. the lone girl up front took a smashing from the boys behind and enjoyed every minute. another good show w/few clams.
over at don's pad after the show I'm shown my own room again and take time to finish some leftover din. don's place is very spacious and i feel quite at home. I talk w/don some of pedro and the upcoming olympics is salt lake. I hope to attend some of the games w/kel and rilei in feb. I'm a big snowboarder/winter sports fan and this is a great oppertunity to watch world class athletes compete. w/ears ringing I retire to my nook and sleep.
pop and soak in the tub. damn, do I turn the water dingy dirty quick - filthy fucking watt. search the pad and find no tom. I'm worried. we find his walkie-talkie in the boat so now way to ring him. lots of phone calls by bart and steff to track that lady's phone number down. a call to kaul, the man outside the van in new york city. bart cooks up some chow for us and it's good. thanks, bart. after a while, me and jer just figure on parking in front of the club we played last night and maybe tom'll find us there. my stomach is in a knot. maybe 11:20 and my prayers are answered - tom shows up. he's sick from the magic of alcohol. no scholding - I'm just glad as hell he's safe and w/us now. we get on the freeway but gotta pull off quick - tom needs to puke. after he does some expelling, we're back on the road, heading east on I-84. tom konks in the back seat.
the wind is blowing pretty hard and there's some effort involved keeping the boat steady but it's doable so I get it done. we stop at one of those "flying j" gas stations (always think of mister mascis when we pass these pads) and I get a green flannel there for nine bucks. always dig green ones, especially when they got white mixed in the plaid. tom is really something w/the filling of piss bottles - he can flood a twenty ounce sobe job to the brim just like that! jer's playing big time catch-up w/his tour diary and is chimping like mad in the shotgun seat. I told him to keep up on it everyday and head that off. he'll learn. into utah and then south on the I-15. at one point, I go to make a lane change from behind a truck and there's this huge piece of a tire right in the road, appearing at the last minute as the truck clears it. I just straddle it between the wheels and keep the boat steady. damn, was that scary. I try to look as far down the highway I can so shit like that just doesn't come up on you but big trucks like that constrict your view. that was close. we continue on. much different than the last bunch of tours coming into salt lake city, the traffic is flowing smooth cuz they've finally got a bunch of the contruction done for the upcoming winter olympics to be held here. even w/rush hour on, we pull into _liquid joe's_, site of tonight's gig an hour early for load-in. blessed again w/great weather despite the gusts. it pays to get this part of the country done early in a fall tour.
look at the sign out front and see money mark's playing here in a few days - happening. he's an old friend. I go in and say hi to charlie, the cat having us aboard here. he's having a hoot reading this new book on _motley crue_ and their story, told by them. I code up the first week of tour spiel and load it onto the hoot page. charlie orders me some hot wings from a buddy of his. the sauce is pretty hot but man, does it give me gas - bad. I think it might've just been the chicken itself. luckily, there's this store right by and I get some tums. I chomp them down right in line before paying for them, I got gut pain so pad. the clerk laughs. back to the club and I blow it out bad. damn. this pad is kind of a sports bar w/a bunch of tv sets going. bush is giving a speech but I tune it out. what a way to make hay w/the current situation. I just want us all safe (everyone on this globe) and take this seriously, not like a football game w/lots of rah-rah and flag-waving. we can make things better w/out that, I believe. it'll take a lot of love and good thinkining though, not just macho emotion. god bless this world and help us heal the sickness hurting it. anyways (like I have all the answers)...
tom and jer show up w/some halloween mask stuff. funny shit. jer got me a mask w/batwings. alright. it was a good idea to get those things early cuz usually when I go looking for it, it's like the day before and nothing's left. I always dig dressing up for halloween and always have a gig that night - it's one of my favorite holidays. don, a cat from pedro liveing here now and a frequent host to me and my touring units is opening up for us tonight w/his band _new house_. that's a trip - I never knew he played. I head to the back of the boat for some heavy konk. I hear jer get in the side door and konk on the bench seat. funny, parallel konk. we both miss don's band but tom caught them and dug it. sorry, don.
our time is now. happening crowd. we play much better than last night, mucho. the sound on the stage though is really bad. the monitors make it sound like I'm singing out of my butt, through the levis and underwear - maybe w/a couple of miles of country road to boot. I carry on regardless. jer's right-side crash cymbal has lost its retainer and keeps flying off. once, it flies across and lands of tom's pedals. we gotta get that fixed. the folks have a happening spirit. I fuck the "got a whip" line in "the red and the black" - how did I do that? I 've been playing it since I was a young teenager. there's an air conditioner chute blowing and I like air from a fan but this shit is freezing and your pores are open from sweating. you can just feel yourself starting to sick standing under it so I dodge it much. before the last tune, I repeat "a love supreme" three times and some kid in the front says "fuck that." what's up w/him? guess he's just speaking his mind or just reacting mindlessly (maybe both simultaneously, huh?). I sometimes wonder how I'm perceived and what kind of folks I attract. sometimes it seems I don't have a clue.
we get and encore and the monitors are so bad, I decide not to do "big train" after "...tweeter" and go right into the last two fIREHOSE tunes. the folks want us to do one more so we oblige w/the stooges song we're doing this tour. I say "here's a song from the 60s." then it's time to sling and I spend long time cuz lots of cats want to rap w/me. so much good vibe, you'd be surprised to know there was a big hell going on outside. music has such power. thank you, john coltrane. such positiveness here w/their feelings. makes me happy I come to play for people. they're very open minded to give me a shot at working the little bass for them. I'm very grateful to them and both tom and jerry too. lucky watt. meet a guy named spock who plays bass. he's blonde and looks like a surfer though. so what - I'm glad he's into bass. sign an autograph for a guy named "hippy jeff." he does look like a hippy. takes all kinds. I must look like the biggest weirdo. people keep telling me I look slimmed down - what's w/that? maybe it's the no beard look this tour.
we pack up and follow don to his pad. I am ready right away for the deck plunge. he gives me two blankies - one wool (love that scratchiness) and I hit a throw rug on top of a righteous wall to wall carpet - thick pile. my favorite kind of bedding place. mask down, ready, konk.
friday, september 21 - fort collins, co
we awake at don's house, I slept on a waterbed so I had a deep sleep, maybe too deep. don has some food going for us and I sit down and talk with him a while. after we get our stuff in the van and hit the road again. this time we head east out of the mountains through wyoming towards colorado. we pass the continental divide and a lot of open land that must get pretty snowy in the winter from the looks of all the snow breaks along the highway. it's a pretty long drive but we get into fort collins by 4 or so. the club is open during the day as a bar and the locals are there cranking the juke box tunes. journey, sabbath, journey, journey, sabbath....for hours. it's a warm day in colorado and I am still feeling a little run down so I try to get some rest before soundcheck.
tonight we are playing with bill stevenson and karl alvarez, they're both from the band all. I went to school with bill back in hermosa beach when he had the descendents in the early days. I'm looking forward to hearing their band. berore they show up jerry and I go out and to find some food. we walk around the downtown area near the club and most of the cafes are crowded because it's friday night. we end up in a stylish place and order small stuff, I get a ceaser salad and jerry gets some kind of sandwich. it's okay but I'm not so hungry after all the walking so we get back to the club soon. people are starting to show up and I see bill and say hi. bill and karl get up onstage with two others and do a show of improvised rock and spoken word vocals. they're great and bill wails on the drums like usual. the other band on the show is a local band called someday I, and they play punk pop rock with a lot of energy and they have a lot of fans gotting into them. my strength is kind of low tonight but I got a little rest so I pull it together before we have to play. we get set up and push into the show and it goes well. after the gig we go over to bill's to stay for the night and we hang out there and talk for a while before we fall asleep on the livingroom floor.
in the morning I wake after some vivid dreams and sit up in bed rubbing my eyes. mike charges in puffing a cig and yammering about something. being half awake I don't pay much attendtion to it. I hear don from the kitchen sounding the chow bell and I spring up to shower and eat. the food is great, ranchero style eggs and tortillas w/fresh squeezed o.j., excellent! we get some direction out of town from don and suddenly their gone. I-80 east towards wyoming and over the rocky mountains. the first part of the ride is very scenic and we pass some sights of the olympics. park city I think. the big ski flying hill w/it's 70 and 90 meter jumps is visible from the interstate. those dudes doing the jumps have some balls of steel for taking that shit on. the drive is almost 8 hours so I take naps at times and watch the world go by while awake.
I take the last leg behind the wheel, my first time driving this tour. feels odd not driving since I always drive when traveling anywhere w/kel or other bands, but my confidence soon returns and the boat becomes an extension of my body. across the colorado border the landscape makes a quick change from prarie to mnt. foothill. so far the weather's been on our side, sunny and mild w/little if any cloud up. many times cold mornings greet us for the exits, but we soon reach warmer pastures at the next town. I bring the boat into ft. collins and get a space right in front of the starlight room. inside I notice a distinct sound only heard in the company of mulletoids, a shrieking gut turning aural bending known as journey. as witnessed at the bar the mullets have full control and I dare not approach for fear of reprisal. the wheel in my head kept pounding, they must have played 20 shitass tunes from the hasbeens. I coundn't escape it because of soundcheck duties. at one point a black sabbath song came on and a breif moment of false hope arose, then back to the pain. the mullets would eventually leave, but the scars will linger for days to come. tom and I take a walk out for chow and end up at a wine bar w/a snack menu. not the best choice for a meal. I get an overpriced sandwich w/a miseally portion of cucumber for a side. 11 bucks, fuckin' lame deal and bland to boot. back at the starlight I camp out on the backstage couch and tuck in for a pregig nap. awakened two hours later by the presidents' wives cranking improv spoken word w/embellishment jam tones. billy and carl from All and the Decendents covered the rhythm section. being burnt I listen only from the couch in a half daze. next is Someday I from ft. collins. one of billy's bands on his label. good punchy power pop w/strong drumming and bass wrangling. on after 11 we get off a good set w/little if no clams. tom's amp is a tad bit wimpy by the end. I think the tubes have had it or it just ain't got the gonads to keep up. in any case playing was proficient.
billy offers his pad for sleeping and we kindly accept. he has a couple kids, 3 and 3 1/2 months, but their staying w/a sitter. I'll get to see'em tomorrow after breakfast. I'm tired now and the couch absorbs me fast.
I pop at like three after the most scary nightmare. damn, did it shake me up - it had me crying and sweating from fear. fortythree years old too. somehow, I konk again. wake again at seven and shower while don rustles up some eggs and habanero. not too much cuz tom and jer are eating too but he has a fresh one whole for me to chomp on. thanks, don. we gotta get over these rocky mountains and into colorado so bail early we must. we hit the boat at nine.
east on the I-80 through these deep canyons and into wyoming. beautiful weather though there's some heavy clouds south of us. pretty certain we'll skirt them. not too much wind so it's easy on the boat. thank you. my ma was born in wyoming and I think of her. she took a trip w/her brother a little while back to the town where she was born, dines. it was a coal town and is now gone. they found some remnants of what used to be there. that must've been a trip. ghosts from a ghost town. they rented a van to get there and it was her first time in one on a hellride. she told me she could kind of relate to what I do for a living. it's not just working the little bass but also the hellrides in between! get to learn a lot about the country though, that's neat.
at rawlings, we get gas and I ask tom to take the wheel. I'm not in a good mental state and that makes for a poor driving state. parts of that nightmare keep flooding my mind. tom's got contact lenses and it's hard for him to focus down the road and he's tiring big time. I ask jer to take over, his first opportunity of the tour. he does great. through laramie and down the shortcut into colorado, us-287. we get into where we're playing tonight, fort collins, at about four. it's only my second time playing this town and we're at _the starlight_, right on the main street. this is kind of a college town, colorado state is here.
nice guys, nathan and alan, help us w/the soundcheck - they'll be out front and monitors, respectively. I'm going back to the sure beta 58 mic after last night. this place has a juke box that's playing nothing but _journey_ REAL LOUD. damn. I down the street a few doors and get a greek salad and find a little patch of green right in front of mason street. there's a tree there and I chow, watching the sunset. it's amazing. the clouds have turned dark but there's much blue between them and they're highlighted brilliantly. I see a small jet stream grow longer 'til the the tip reaches a cloud and disappears in it. the sets my mind easy for a little time. to get lost in wonder and calm a hurtin' brain is quite a gift. thank you.
on the way to the club, a young man gives me a pack of "backwoods" 'gars. I thank him and say I'll puff one tonight during the show for him. back over to the boat and I put myself in the back for some konk. it's a long one, over three hours. I wake to sounds of billy and karl's sideband, _the president's wives_ coming through the boat's bulkhead. it's an improvisation deal w/some cat reciting his thoughts over the top of it. I hear lots of stuff about beating off. I'm in a state that feels like lead in the bloodstream, all immobilized. I hear it though, billy's a great drummer. we go way back, his first gig w/the _descendents_ was w/the first gig of the _reactionaries_ (predecessors of the _minutemen_) and the second gig for _black flag_ in pedro way back when. he was only fifteen then. all these years later...
a band called _someday I_ plays next and then it's time for the jom & terry show. I'm kind of shaken up. those nightmare thoughts are coming back and my confidence is pretty shaken. I wish I had much more of a grip on these kinds of things but I have to admit I'm weak w/this. I start ok but start blowing clams - shit like fucking up the "...stop sign!" part at the end of "one reporter's opinion." damn. the monitors are mud again. aaarrrgghhh - it's all piling up. gotta keep w/it and hold on. fortunately, my guys are doing good and helping me keep the shit above water. I need some nerve. I feel three hundred years old and barely capable of standing. I dedicate "chinese firedrill" to joe carducci - he wrote the words but I don't think he's here. oh well, in your spirit, joe. I feel very self-conscious. luckily, billy yells funny things up at the stage to make me laugh. this helps. I play all out of key at the end of "...tweeter" and apologize to the crowd. we cut "big train" again in the encore - I don't even want to try that. my spirits get a little lifted from all the nice things the folks say at the end of the show but then I start getting unworthy thoughts in response creeping in. one cat has been drinking and keeps wanting to talk about us doing the minutemen song, "jesus and tequila," says he went to religious school or something but I try not to get dragged into that morass. the magic of alcohol.
we pack up and I thank the boss, then we follow billy over to his pad. we're konking there tonight. he's got a dog named granny that's very nice and cuddles up w/me as I fix my bedding and hit the deck. mask on, I pray not have a revisiting of those terrible dreams of last night. even if I did conjure them somehow myself, I beg to be spared. so scary not being able to defend yourself from yourself. there's terror even in letting myself go to let konk take me. please god...
saturday, september 22 - denver, co
we get up and bill makes some food for us. he just had a little boy with his wife stacy and they also have a little girl too. they have a nice house set up and after breakfast bill takes us by his recording studio where we hang out for a while and do some laundry next door. it's great to see bill again and it makes me a little homesick but we say goodbye and get back to the road for a little trip into denver.
I spend the trip on the back seat in the heat trying to get more rest. when get into denver it's still early and we pull up to the blurebird theater at around 2 o'clock. it's still hot and dry which is much better than cold and wet but it tires me out too. I get some food and try to make a couple phone calls and then walk over to a guitar shop across the street. they have a nice little telecaster there and we talk about a trade for my other one and work out a deal. it's a much better guitar for me and finally resolves somes problems I've had when I break strings on my good tele. thanks to scott at colfax guitar shop.
when we return to the van the side door to the club is open and we go in and meet the lighting guy there. we have played here a couple other times together and it's a nice old theater that has been re-fitted to have rock bands play, a nice place. after loading we do a check and then wait to play. we play with two other bands tonight and as the people start to come in jerry and I meet up with jerry's soon to be cousin-in-law, jackie and her friend mike for food across the street at a thai place. the food is good and cheap and I order a tofu pad thai noodle dish and we share with each other. when we get back to the bluebird theater the first band, local 33 is playing. they are kind of folky rock, and then the geds play and they are loud rock with a front woman singer/bass player and they pound through their set. after that we get on to pound through our set and the crowd is really into it, it's always been a good town for watt to play and especially on a saturday. the set is good and we finish up and then do some more songs and everyone wants more so we do one more tune and then thats it. then mike sells shirts from the stage and we pack up our stuff and have to load out through the front door which is a little pain but in no time we're off to stay at jackies place for the night. I fall asleep quickly.
billy's dog grandma gives me a good morning greeting and mike stomps about the rooms w/reveley churning from his mouthpiece. billy cooks up a great breakfast and we engorge ourselves. today is laundry day and next to All's studio is a mat.their studio is a nice 24 track place w/an ssl auto fader board and a roomy tracking room. I go back to the mat to call kel and check up on the wedding plans. she almost got all the invites together for the mailing. I hope people aren't discouraged in going by the terrible events on the east coast. the airline industries are laying off around 100,000 workers because of the lack of passengers. you can't blame them for being scared. sooner or later we have to return to the skies or they'll win another round w/the fear instilled upon us. I fold laundry and we head out for denver. kel's cousin jackie lives near and she'll meet us for din before the show. we also had kel send our jackets both mike and I forgot to her so hopefully the package arrives in time.
the bluebird theater will host the gale tonight. load in is at 6 and its only 2 so I decide to take a walk to the central park of denver down the street. I find an add for the imax theater located in the museum of nature and science. playing is a film about the sun called solor max. a 4 showtime gives me plenty of muesum walking beforehand. the gems collection and wildlife exhibits are gamefully explored. all the stuffed animals seems so lifelike other than being dead. diorama is what their called. more like stufforama. time for the movie and no dissapointment at all. a visual feast to behold within a 45 min. span. spectaular imagery from satallite platforms planted in gravital space a million miles from earth. the walk takes me back through the park and I stop to look at the ducks and fishermen on the lake. wish I had time to cast a line myself, but duty calls. back to the theater and my gears already been unloaded by the fancy boys. this place is bigger than other venues so far and we expect to have near cap. for tonight.
soundcheck goes smooth and our soundguys big g and chris are well placed to do us good. I give jackie a call and wait for her arrival w/her man mike. w/tom the four of us go down a block to this great thai place that looks like an arby's roast beef. we return for the show and the openers. local 33 is first and play sort of generic melloncamp rock thing. next the Geds come up and have more of a power pop guitar driven rock raump. shannon the lead singer and bassist carries over the wall of sound edge. maybe they could use a little less thrusters in some songs, not to much in the dynamics dept. our turn and a full house brings good energy to the trio. I can say everypart of the show flowed but the end of big bang theory. that one I clamed big time. watching mike didn't help much, but at least we ended together. fun show anyhow.
jackie offered her place to crash and we take her up. its maybe a 20 min. drive from the show to the apartment. her roommate is out of town so I take the empty room. I give kel a call and wish she was next to me right there. it feels so good to talk though and I pass out with the phone in my hand. the package never arrives. it'll have to be sent foward to detroit. shit!
pop to find granny gone and replaced by a black dog, who belongs to a friend of billy's. what a trip. still was warm. I feel so glad that nightmare stuff didn't make a return, so glad. maybe those dogs helped w/some natural good feelings - that had such a good temperament and maybe that chased the bad shit away. I shower and find billy up. we go to get his kids who were at a sitter last night so he and his wife could go to show, a little girl name maddy and a baby boy named miles. they're both great. billy talks to me about sst stuff - we were both on that label in the 80s. when we get back, he makes "migas," scrambled eggs w/tortilla chips in them w/guacamole on top. real good. I ask him about the other _descendents_ now. tony's still a mailman in long beach, milo's in delaware w/research and frank's in oregon.
we follow him in the boat and he brings us to his studio, "the blasting room." it's right next to a laundromat so we can do our wash at the same time. great, our first wash of the tour. I got stuff that's been ripening in the bag cuz I sweat so hard w/the gigs. billy talks to me about improvised music and how he wants to get more into that. I tell him about nels, who I think is the best I've ever done that kind of thing w/ever. he asks me to write a list of ornette and coltrane records I like. we did a record called "minuteflag," where both _black flag_ and _minutemen_ improvised four songs in the middle of flag's "loose nut" and "in my head" sessions. he said he was embarrassed by what he did there. I tell him we did good, I liked it. anyway, he wants to do something sometime regarding this kind of thing. I tell him I'm up for it whenever he's ready. he's going to spend time w/his family. bye billy. we bail for denver.
only an hour or so away, we get to the venue, the _bluebird theatre_ early. me and tom get some chow at somewhere called "good friends." it should've also said "bad food." I get a portabello mushroom sandwich that had only one strip of shroom in it and was mostly bread. aaaarrrrggghhh. then we go to a guitar shop run by scott, who's the dad of a friend from here, laura and tom scores a happening replacement for the shitty backup guitar he's been having to rely on. it's a white telecaster and he gets it econo w/the bunk one as a trade-in. all right! we find the door to the venue open on our return and load the gear in ourselves. a band who's scheduled to do the next eighteen gigs w/us, _the sound of urchin_ has canceled and is replace by a band from town here, _local 33_. we know nothing of the urchins but are sure curious. they were supposed to play w/us in fort collins too. hope they're ok. the band in the middle tonight is _the geds_ who has some people from _spell_, a band I played w/at in this town six years ago. rev jim, the cat running tonight's show, gets us lots of fresh stuff: a coconut, pears, grapes, strawberries, bananas, a jar of salsa called "fiery hot" (not) - so very nice of him. all the people at this pad are great. big g on the monitors (he does bass too and says he wants to watch me), chris on the front of the house and rich on the lights. I can't tell you how happening it is to have cats that are really down to be working along side w/for a gig. no bullshit 'tude or fucked up front shit. I really dig it and feel very lucky and grateful to be here. it means a lot, almost like having the cats in the boat w/you, rolling through the land. I get my email from the phone line in office and some guy w/a poster for a peace rally comes in and thinks I work there. he asks if he can the poster in the window. I say sure.
I go to the back of the boat to konk, I feel worn. don't know exactly know why but when I get this feeling, I just have to submit and revitalize. I really want to make up for choking last night. I grab the sack o' stuff and head out the boat and for the pad. boy, three hours of konk - good. I missed both openers though, sorry. jer gives me a plastic dinosaur he got at the museum. we'll put it on the dash of the boat. we start the gig and I got some nerve tonight. we do good, my guys are ripping it up. the pad is packed and a wonderful spirit from the folks. this is a good gig. we got some hiccups though. in "the big bang theory," jer gets off in the second time we do the rocket ship lift-off part and he just won't turn his head to look at me so we can get back on. we do the whole section fucked up. I apologize to the crowd when we're done w/the tune but still thank both jer and tom. jer's got a band habit about getting lost in himself, probably from the other bands he's played in that were mainly autopilot but in this combo, we play together. we need eye contact and good listening. the dynamics I'm looking for just need that unless I guess we get some kind of e.s.p. thing going. jer's cool about it and is going to keep trying. it's not a lack of willingness, more about getting used to this way. this ain't to say I'm perfect - shit no! on the very next tune, "walking the cow," I hit a wrong note so big everyone's asshole must of puckered. damn, I just had to laugh. karma wails! it's a tough thing keeping it together for me. I got respect for jer and tom too. I'm a lucky man to have these guys w/me. the gig goes really good. the monitors are great, thanks big g - we even do "big train" in the encore and are asked back for another. I say a tiny word about the rally that cat had the poster for and say here's a song from the 60s - we do "down on the streets." very, very kind crowd.
I start slinging and some guy keeps yelling at me "chemical wire, chemical wire - I drove twenty miles to hear chemical wire." more magic of alcohol. I'll learn the song for another tour, I tell him. lots of good words from others though. like I said, kind folks. one cat even made shirts for us of the flyers I put on the hoot page for cats to put up if they wanted to. I go see rev jim when I'm done to settle and he tells me about fucked-up laws getting rammed through cuz of what went down the day the tour started. I guess re-running that tragedy over and over on the tv is having a mind-numbing robot flag-waving effect on civil rights. I think about seeing something on the net about a congressman saying "anyone w/a diaper on their head should be expected to be interrogated." what's up? me and rev jim look at each other w/disbelief. is this how it all starts? how did this all start? boxcutters? why isn't there more talk about that? somebody who's got fingerprints all over something embarrassing is afraid of what might get exposed? sorry to confuse this w/the total sadness about all those people killed in those buildings and those planes cuz I don't mean to. that was really, really bad and not right - no matter what. but something else is going on now. scary thoughts for the diary, huh? sorry to burden it w/them but this is what's going on in my head. things too complicated to ever make simple or easy. somehow, I want love to win out. I'm not trying to come on like a know-it all, I'm just afraid. I like what richard meltzer wrote me an email regarding all the whuppin' it up on the war train, he said "...don't just try to make an art game out of it... the object is to resist the program."
we follow jer's girl's cousin jackie to her pad to konk there in south part of town. under the blankies, I get naked cuz I'm drenched in gig sweat. not much talk except for me thinking out loud a little bit and then I'm out, like that.
sunday, september 23 - hastings, ne
we awake and get our stuff together to start our long drive towards omaha. we have the night off because it's a long drive so we'll just get as far as we feel like it and stay in a motel tonight. I don't like not playing, it takes the wind out of the sails for me and makes me anxious. we hit the nebraska border and roll through ogallala towards kearney. the skies are staying clear for us and road is smooth so we just keep going all day long till we just want to stop in a town called hastings, about 150 miles west of omaha and get a room at a little motel. the weather is getting kind of chilly and jerry and I get some food a diner there and then head back to our room to wait for sleep to come. jerry hits the sack early and mike is on the computer so I take a shower and then walk around outside and try to make a couple calls. time moves very slowly when there's nothing to do, and I get back to the room and watch a biography on jackie gleason on t.v. then a profile on ac/dc and one on judas priest until finally getting to sleep by 10:30. finally.
early up and I'm feeling like crap. cold weather and being soaked w/sweat after last nights show did a job on me. I immediately start w/a vitamin and ecanacia onslaught. fast action can hault the further development of bugs into something really draining on the body. the long drive gives me plenty of sleep time. mike wakes me for the last leg of today's push. I take the wheel for the second time this tour and go a good three hours til' I say no more. we stop near grand junction, nebraska and get a ho. after a bite at some shithole next to the ho I crawl under the covers at 7 and reenergize for 13 hours.
pop and find my levis still all wet on an ironing board besides me. damn, gotta remember to get a dry pair and bring them in w/me when we come in to konk. skivvies too. I put on the wet jeans to get to the boat and get some dry ones. I change inside her. I get out and find the sky a brilliant blue - not one cloud. it's john coltrane's birthday and the sun beaming bright from the east. I stand at the aft of the boat and soak it up. I put my finger on the bullet hole that's in the back hatch and look up at the firey yellow. I'm thinking "heal us w/your love, john coltrane, heal us." the rays come down blazing and light us as me and the boat become one. it's a special day - I'll write a special letter later. I hoof across the road and get some pork chops and eggs. good tastes in my mouth. then I hoof up and down the road just thinking. I get back to the pad and shower.
jer pops and I use his walkie-talkie to call my ma. I do that on sundays. if I'm in pedro, I chow w/her - sometimes my sister melinda comes by and joins us. tom pops. today is our first night w/out a gig for the tour. the next one comes in thirtyeight days. we got a big drive to omaha. we'll go most of it but not all, maybe leave a hundred and fifty miles for tomorrow. jer's cousin has already bailed for work and her boyfriend mike sees us off. thanks, folks. I check email before we bail and get this that's got me thinking:
a quote from from martin luther king, jr. something to keep in our conciousness:
"the ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. in fact, violence merely increases hate. so it goes. returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."
I also get an email from joe carducci saying he missed the gig cuz he thought it was cancelled - oh, joe! there's one from rickie lee jones too saying how heavy the war dance has her feeling now.
so anyway, we begin to roll, northeast up the I-76. no more mountains but there's some wind. I keep the helm steady. just inside nebraska, this road drains off into the I-80 and we head east, passing another time zone line. two hours ahead of pedro time now. I keep humming "a love supreme" to myself. at brule, we get gas and I hand the wheel to jer. lots of corn and wheat fields, such a contrast to where we've been. easier on the boat's motor though. I don't mind it so much - I like all kinds of terrain. pass signs for the pony express and buffalo bill's ranch. the wind picks up but jer handles the sailing good. I chimp diary. we continue on 'til about six and pull off in hastings. there's a usa inn there. we get a room where the boat can dock right out front the window and we can keep an eye on it. tom and jer eat next door at some chow pad. I soak in the tub. a shower's good for hosing off stench but there's nothing like a good soak, especially if you got sore joints, like me.
they get back and tell me the slop there was crap. I am not surprised, somehow. jer konks, he's a little sick. tom puts on some jackie gleason bio that's on the tv. it ends w/them saying jackie's last days in the hospital ended when he turned off the oxygen tank and started smoking again. tom goes out to stroll a couple of times but keeps coming back - it's cold and things are pretty bleak. finally, at ten, he's in for good. lights out - it's an early konk.
monday, september 24 - omaha, ne
we get up and out on the road to find food. we stop at a little place on the highway and get some breakfast. it's greasy. we get back on the road to omaha and soon pull into town and find the sokol underground and park and wait. it's still kind of chilly outside and jerry and I decide to walk to a post office and then further into town to check it out since we have some time on our hands. when we get back there's still some time to kill before loading into the downstairs area of the sokol community building that has been turned into a live music venue. tonight we will start our sub-tour with the new york band called sound of urchin. we're doing 16 shows together and I look forward to hearing what they do.
we get inside and onstage to do a soundcheck and it takes a little while for the p.a. to get set up and then the urchins show up and we meet and do our check. a local band called the monroes are also playing tonight and before the show starts jerry and I and a few of the urchins walk to get some food and find that the place we were alking to is closed. we head across the street to get some tex-mex food that turns out to be pretty good and then we hope into a taxi to get back to the club before the urchins have to set up and play. they do a set of their hard rocking songs and it's a fun show and they are really great guys so it looks like the time with them will be a good one. we get on and do our thing and the smallish crowd is into it and we wrap it up and pack it up and then head over to the door guy, roger's place to stay the night.
sleep does me well, though I still have low energy. the drive to omaha is only 2 hours and we bail at 10. in town mike parks the van at the sokol underground tonight's venue. tom and I decide to walk to the post office about a mile away. time to mail home the weeks earnings again. smarter than holding on to it and taking a chance of losing all I've worked for. kel's good for the finances cause she won't spend it. downtown is just another 5 blocks away and we proceed on. I spot a underground bar off the sidewalk, down for a drink. I know I'm sick, but one shot of cuervo 1800 won't hurt. soon were heading back to the club. I'm doing a bit better from walking off some of the sickies and decide to continue w/a search for the missouri river. I guess it's almost a mile east as far as I can tell. signs on the interstate mentioned casino riverboats, but their on the oppisite side and I'd have to take a taxi. besides, why take a chance in losing what little I kept for my needs. eastward and the hood's very lush w/classic american homesteads full of flowerbeds and barking dogs. I find a street in what seems a straight shot to the river until I hit a construction site on the river edge. unable to continue I search for a trail or service road but to no avail. standing for a moment overlooking the scene an older lady approaches and stricks up a conversation. cheryl lets me in on the goings on below. a new addition to the botanical gardens already located a bit north she informs me. she speaks of her grandson and his interest in guitar's and music. a very friendly individual indeed. I'm given easy directions to the entrance to the gardens and we say farewell. after being chased back by a not so friendly dog I return to the sokol and some reading. the gardens will have to wait til' next tour.
finally tonight the Sound of Urchin joins the tour. having been booked for ft. collins and denver and not showing we wondered what could be up. they're from n.y. and problems might have arisen from the attacks on the wtc. maybe? but all is well as they join up for 16 shows into new england. nice guys and we make quick friends. I invite three of em' for dinner at a place near the post office. agreeing we walk briskly towards the eatery. I joke that the cafe will probably be closed right as we arrive. little do I know I'm right. shit, shoulda known. across the street is a tex mex bar and it'll do just fine. we order up and realize times short for the bands set at 10:15. a quick chow and everyone hops in a taxi back. no time to spare they're out of the cab and on stage. a fun band w/regular r&r style plus silly content and goofy pant/shirt combos matching it all up. rev. b ill plays lead git. w/scott on rhythm, pooboy (really doodoo brown, but to me he's pooboy)on bass, & tomato on the drums and lead vocals rounds them out. the turn for tonight is light due to some lame promo. by the promoter. didn't live up to the job title dude. go on we do. some rust from the day off and me feeling yucky. still a together set and we cut one tune to fit the late start and monday showing.
roger the door guy lets us stay at his place he shares w/another band thats on tour for 6 weeks. plenty of couches and beds to choose from. I clean up fast and jump into my sleeping bag and pass out only have strangely dream filled visions all night long. thoughts of kel settle me down. i think of playing w/my little girl rilei like she's right here. we laugh at each other and rub noses. I do miss her so. soon my little one soon.
pop at six - whoa, eight hours of konk for watt. soak yet again in the tub. I am a lily pad. go and chow some eggs and toast - hmm, second breakfast in a row. come back and chimp diary. jer wakes after thirteen hour konk. tom rises also and were up and out. good bye, hastings. down the I-80 east to omaha. before lincoln, we pull off for my guys to shovel at an iron gullet (skillet). the shit comes spooned into little frying pans. twee (to borrow some language from england). I do just salad but even that gives me a gut ache, damn. good thing I got them tums. jer says he wants to get caught up on his diary chimpin' - he gets one day done. oh jer. we get to the pad we're playing tonight way early - like one. after years at the raunch bowl, I'm playing a pad new for me, _sokol hall underground_, a czech polka hall from the 20s. we're in the bottom room. load-in is at seven so we got tons of time.
tom and jer go roaming. I'm reading bukowski's "women" still behind the wheel even though the boat's docked. after a bit I want to hoof. these damn shoes are so worn, it's like walking in moccasins and that kind of hurts on sidewalk. good on soft ground though. however, there's no soft ground to be found. it's a an old style neighborhood w/lots of tiny shops and I walk up and down the street a couple of times, both ways from the club. I get some "red devil" cayenne hot (not) sauce for a base to refill my little belt-held bottle holster w/some blend of that and a few other things (pure capsicum, habanero, etc.). it's gotta be thin enough to pour through the bottle's little hole and this'll do fine. I do receipts in the 'puter and read some more. funny book, I like the writing. he lived in my town in his end years, is now buried in the same graveyard as d. boon there. some kid gave me this last tour and it's been on the dash. I've read it for a couple of days and it's almost done.
I like getting into town early and not being rushed. it might seem boring for some - jer comes back saying he tried to "walk his sickness off" (what?) and kind of complaining w/"what an exciting town." I snap at him and say "no nebraska - no d. boon's pop. no d. boon's pop - no d. boon. no d. boon - no watt doing bass. no watt doing bass - no float for your drum ride." that was mean. sorry, jer. I'm just sensitive to shit like that. these town are lives of their own, not amusement parks built for precious ones to be attended to. make your own life interesting. don't blame the town - we've come to work them. there's lots someone could call boring where we live too. things are funny like that. better than a million pounds of stress, that's for sure. there's plenty of that to go around, especially these days. jer's ok though, I just hope he can kick that sickness. there's nothing worse than having to tour w/that shit.
tom konks on the back bench. I go get half a turkey sandwich at a pad called "pogo's" down the way. the sign says "subs w/an attitude." funny. it does taste good though - purple onions. I add some of my chili blend too. I get some gatorade also, they make good piss bottles when the need arises. we bring the gear in at six. the p.a. looks toy but we only see half. I still ask for it to get put on the stage instead of the floor cuz the throw is so fucking wide. the boss, roger, and soundman, keven are very cool people and are happy to help. I go back to the boat to read the buk book.
damn, it's like 8:30 and we're not soundchecking yet - what's up? well, the p.a. was all the way screwed up and kevin needed all the time to sort it out (again, thanks england). finally, we get to do our typical one song soundcheck - that's the way I like them and I'm back to the boat to konk. fuck, if it ain't colder than a witche's tit in a brass bra (to quote my pop), I gotta use jer's bag to keep from ended up like one of those pepperage farm's frozen chows you nuke in the microwave to eat. sorry, jer - I'll get a bag tomorrow in lawrence. there's some outdoors place down from the pad we're playing where I got my little folder bike's tire fixed last year (sure wish I had that this tour). only september but the night's this side of rockies are in the thirties (farenheit for you cats across the pond). all that konk last night though prevents me, try and try as I might, from passing out and I read from a light in the parking light coming through the bulkhead porthole. I hear the openers through the walls of the venue, a local, _the monroes_ and the band w/us for a bunch of gigs, _the sound of urchin_ (they've finally joined us). both have fast oompah beats under their sound and are guitar driven.
11:30 and it's our turn. whoa, only half or a third of the crowd I usually get in this town - my fears are confirmed. I didn't tell tom and jer this (to spare their morale) but I got emails from kids last week saying there was no word out about this gig at all. I guess it's just like at pearl harbor, complete surprise has been achieved. that is not happening. oh well, if I'm helping to build a new scene, ok. I like the folks putting the gig on and am willing to make that investment. anything to break things open.
there's a problem though just before we go on. some guy is hollering for us to get it going, hurry it up. shit, it's only a few minutes - we're really quick but this dude is drunk. I over-react like an idiot and tell him to get his money back and that I've never got this in nebraska before. he yells "nebraska rules" and I tell him it doesn't. I really dig it, d. boon's pop comes from here but no one place "rules" - not even pedro. someone else in the audience yells out that this guy doesn't represent nebraska. he then starts yelling "rock and roll, rock and roll." man, what a dick. this is a weird situation, I've never had many of these before. I tell everyone thanks for having us and start the show. it's hard to a gig after a day off, you're out of rhythm but we start ok. after four songs, I tell the folks I'm sorry for the way I acted at the beginning. by this time, that goof has been thrown out - he was drunk and assaulting people. I still feel bad about the way I handled it - all wrong - fuck whatever that guy did, I have to be responsible for my actions. sometimes I let myself down when being tested in the moment. shit, am I angry w/myself. we play pretty ok except jer gets on the other side of the beat of "the red and the black" but we do recover and I dig that. he's sick and it's hard to play when you're that way. the omaha cats are very nice to us and have us back. I give them that same spiel I gave jer about "no nebraska... no watt" and how grateful I am to get to play here. I apologize again about how lame I handled that drunk in the beginning. damn, do I get guilty for stupid shit on stage. it just plays into the fascist shit I hate about rock music when it's used that way. anyway, one guy at the end is so happy we did a richard hell song. wow, that was a nice surprise! all and all, it was happening and I learned about being better w/challenges like at the front of the set. I will take those lessons to heart, truly.
we pack up and there's the cat who was at the pad we stayed at last year, he says thanks for the diary mention. well, thank you - great to see you again! we follow roger, the boss, to his pad cuz he's letting us konk there tonight. very nice man. it's a band pad but they're on tour now and there's plenty of room. I'm wet from sweat and space and bring only one of my blankies but there's two tiny ones on the couch I guess get used for sitting in front of the tv. I strip down and get under these and take the next train to sleepytown. week two of tour is done.
read week 1 of the tour diary
read week 3 of the tour diary
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