mike watt + the secondmen
pete mazich - organ, singing
jerry trebotic - drums
watt - thud staff, spiel
(left to right)
steve kaul - the man outside the van
monday, april 22, 2002 - houston, tx
Woke up at spot's pad and immediately decided that I needed to buy a sleeping bag ; this floor thing was not working out at all. Took a quick shower then put the stuff into the van. Me and Jer signed spot's kitchen cabinets(a tradition from the looks of them), then we took off . we had a medium hellride ahead of us so I chimped diary for most of the trip - as we neared Houston we stopped at the Super K and picked up a sleeping bag for me, two watches for me and Jer so new would be synced w/ the captain and a new cushion for the shotgun seat in the boat; the old one was pretty ratty and we decided that it would be disrespectful to simply throw it away as many an ass hath graced its velvety surface over the years, so we were going to perform a pagan-like ritual, douse it in lighter fluid and torch the fucker. The K' didn't sell any lighter fluid so it temporarily derailed our plans.
We pulled into the pad around 3:00 (a place called rudyard's - watt's first time at this particular pad) which is in the Montrose district of Houston; basically a musician's and artists enclave. The weather was majorly humid and we had to do the load-in up a flight of stairs which was tough considering the weather, but sometimes you gotta pull some regular duty on the road. we set up the tools and I went back to chimp more diary as sound check was not until 8:00. The pad made us some great chow and I ate happily even tho' it was a little salty (a normal texas thing watt tells me) I decided to go back to the boat and catch up on some reading; I had finished reading "Rose Madder" and found a bookshelf in the bottom of the pad and fished out "The Horse Whisperer" replacing it w/ Rose Madder. Pass it on I always say... Watt was in the boat doing diary and we rapped some about the music biz and the way a lot of the towns we passed thru paralleled Pedro in many ways- you don't realize this until ya see it for yourself.
The sound-man, a very cool cat named Joe miked us up real quick and the sound from the stage was awesome; no "money monitors" here, just a cat who is very good at his craft - a welcome change from the jive shit we had to put up w/ the night before. There were tables set up cabaret style and it looked like it was going to be a great gig. Frank Black and KRS-one were doing shows in town the same night too. I went to the boat for my pre-gig conk and had some bad sueno - one involved my old man and the other involved a gig. I woke up in a major sweat and not feeling too cool; the dreams put me in a very self-conscious state of mind and the cabaret -style seating trip didn't add to my stilted confidence. I was gonna try and pull thru. Two of watt's fans brought us a care package in a cooler filled w/ all kinds of goodies- a mucho kind gesture (thanks craig and jennifer) and Jeff (from the first show) god bless his soul, priority mailed us two big jars of chewable and crystallized Vitamin C. Much respect bro'.
Around 10:55 I woke up the captain and went into the pad as we were supposed to start at 11:00 but it was not to be. Spot hadn't gone on until 10:30 and didn't get off until 11:30- watt was a little peeved as this had happened before despite his warnings and I got more nervous because I should of said something but spot told me the promoter had told him to go on at 10:30. Communication breakdown. We started the set w/ the new tunes as always and I blew some clams out of terror (always smiling tho') but they're getting better. Having people directly in back of me watching my every move didn't help either, but the rest of the set went pretty well altho' I felt I played like shit. Watt shot me a couple of glances so I was walking on razors in rock salt and I just wanted to get thru the set. Me and jer walked off the stage after the set and I couldn't look one of those people in the audience in the eyes (which is not cool as then the crowd thinks you're trying to cop some kind of attitude) but in reality I felt extremely self-conscious and embarassed almost. The crowd was enthusiastic and watt really liked the gig but I had my doubts. We went up for the encore and again the crowd was very receptive. Much respect to you all . We packed up the tools and loaded everything into the boat and Joe the sound-guy burned me a cd of the show. Jer listened to it for a bit and said it sounded really cool but I wasn't convinced and I really felt down. Jer tried to cheer me up a bit, but to no avail.
We were crashing at this guy Mike's house in La Porte which is about a 40 min. drive from Houston. Watt talked and joked w/ us along the way and I started to feel a little better (he always has a way of making me feel good w/ just a couple of words) I really respect the captain and want to do right by him. We passed thru Pasadena, Texas which is seemingly miles and miles of oil refineries (30 -according to watt) It's totally unbelievable- all those stacks spewing crap into the air. I tried to take some snaps but w/ no light the pictures turned out as eerie flames and colors; very ironic. We got to mike's pad in La porte and it's a beautiful large white wooden dwelling; it was built in 1910 - totally out of cypress tree wood and is right on the water. Even has a pier going out to the gulf. It was his family's weekend/ summer home and they've had it for years. (his pop was one of the contractors that built the Houston Astrodome) Mike is slowly restoring the house to its former glory (it's a big job) I went and surveyed the bookshelf in the living room and pulled down a copy of an analyses of dreams based on Jungian theory. (mike studies psychology and has quite an impressive collection) We each had our own room and I conked on the very nice sofa in the living room(w/ my new sleeping bag!) mike turned on the AC real low and turned on some mellow music and I drifted off w/ the book laying on my chest
awoke at spots pad and shook off the sleep. mike's up and on the puter'. pete pops out of the back room and complains that his sleep was lame. no sleeping bag. the floor stuck to his arms when mixed w/his sweat. our first mission in houston is to find a bag for pete and watches for both of us. quickly we board the boat and escape. houston is about 3 hours southeast, but mike takes an alt. route so to make a stop at la grange. this town was made famous by zz top is the song of the same title. it had a whore house for the austin political yodells, far enough away as to not raise eyebrows. we stop at the post office to get the mail out. I send kel the pay for the week and a little note for her and rilei. its still early the tour and I'm already worrying about their well being. she's a smart girl w/handling the situation given her, and trust is full. I'll try a call at the club and check up on em'. back on the road we stop just inside town for a shopping excursion at super k. pete and I go in for a spree. we pick up a bag for pete and two watches to tell what time our nightly shameing begins, and the most important item is a new seat coshion for the shotgun chair. the pillow that previously occupied that space has become a new life form. a very foul sub-species that can only be dealt w/through incineration. we arrive at rudyard's pub for tonight's show. It's very hot and humid, like mosts days of the tour so far.
the stage is upstairs and we hump the gear up. much cooler inside and itís a welcome change. I get my set up going and go downstairs to look over the rest of the joint. I find a phone and try to call kel. after three or four numbers she's nowhere to be found. I meet scott one of the cats working here and he offers a drink. they have sierra nevada on tap, my favorite. the sound guy won't show til' later and pete takes the opp. to catch up on the diaries. I'll work my days in later. scott brings up a menu for dinner and I get the filet mignon w/sausy mushrooms and steamed veggies. excellent! I spend the rest of my time chimping and watching an nba playoff game in the bar. when soundguy joe shows we check and leave the gear set up. spot is the only opener tonight so no need to move. I try a couple more times to get kel on the horn but no luck. I lye in wait for the show.
spots nearly done so I jam out to wake the men. their already up and moving so back I go. spots off and we take the stage. mike's a little peeved at spot for going on late, but the promoter made the times and told spot the deal. mike decides to make clear before hand of the time so no question arise of when again. once we start the monitor's finally prove good for us. joe got em' humming smooth. the first three go very well and flow together w/o stumbling. the crowd as a kinda cabaret additude. everyone sitting cept' the cats shadowing pete on the side. still a good vibe's in the air. afterwards I dig into a cooler that craig and jennifer dropped off eariler and grab a beer. they also put some mota and cigars along w/a couple juicies. joe comes up and says that he burned a cd of the show and he'll copy it before we leave. I rap w/mike the dude were staying w/on galveston bay. very nice cat. he carries the mota so we don't have ta'. after packup we follow him along w/spot in tow to the pad that's south of town maybe 40 mins.. on the way we go through pasadena, tx. this town is all refineries as far as the eye can see. 40 or more. nothing like the pasadena back in cali. we make it to mike's and I grab a little bite in the kitchen. some eggs and toast. then upstairs to a room of my own. it's 4 am and I knock out.
pop and go to soak, spot said he gave the head a scrub-down before tour started. whoa, some friends crawling on the tub's deck, think I'll hose off instead. I had the weirdest dream last night. I was running around a neighborhood in underwear. I never wore underwear or socks my whole 20s or 30s and most of my teens. I hate fucking underwear and socks but after the sickness, I had to change, the doctor said. oh well. anyway, in the dream, I saw a friend of mine, kirsha, was driving the boat - I don't how she got it cuz the keys were in my hand the whole time (?!), maybe she hot-wired it, I kept trying to figure that out. I was chasing it, going through people's yards and porch/pantry things, it was so fucking strange. seems she was trying to get to where I had been (wherever the fuck that was) and I was trying to get her attention to stop before she had got too far away and let her know I wasn't there anymore. it disturbed me much during the shower, couldn't figure what it was about or where it was coming from except for maybe the usual hellride insecurities. these dreams do frequently come at the beginning of my tours. I shake it off and the's it out to hoof. l.a-type weather, all gray and almost misty - at least no rain. have some huevos rancheros at this chow pad. I know some folks love tex-mex, maybe it is good when you got someone good cooking it but this here is only so-so. so, down it goes! rather - down it slides! then a hoof back while I think about my konk last night. pete's up when I get there. says he's gotta get a bag cuz he felt like he was sleeping under a car last night. oh well. I did advise him on that on the tour's start but he thought one of the boat's blankies was enough. doing a tour is tour's best teacher, hard to convince w/only words - experience does the job much better. we both roust jer and soon we're saying bye to spot.
I steer us north, back through central austin. we're set to get on I-35 but the french road is way quicker - much plug on the freeway. we get to us-290 and head east. when we get to a town close by called manor (pronounced "may-ner" here), I pull the boat into the cafe 290 cuz I want my guys to try this chow. having already shoveled, I just have a little salad. the lady puts some cantaloup melon in it too, thank you! my guys dig this chow much. damn, we were supposed to shovel w/mike mcguire but I lost the card w/his walkie-talkie number on it. oh well, we'll see him tonight - I always konk at his pad in la porte when able to. back in the boat and back on the road, we continue east through the hills and pastures of central texas. it's a pretty ride, lots of green and not many towns. those we do come upon are tiny and we're through them in seconds. at giddens, I bring us about south on us-77 towards la grange, that town in the zz top song. we stop at the post office so I can send a document I had to sign back to man-outside-the-van steve kaul while my guys send money home, I paid them for the first week just now. while I wait for them, I have a look around. turns out this post office was built the same year as ours in pedro, 1935. what a trip. there's a plaque too saying that this was the first rural delivery route in texas, what amazing things you fing out from tour. finished w/this business, we continue on our backroad route to houston on tx-71 'til we hit interstate, the I-10 and take that east to houston. just before houston though, in a town called katy, we stop at a mall-located big k (thought they were bankrupt, right? figures - houston is the big enron town) and pete gets a sleeping bag plus both him and jer get watches. I pleaded w/them to get at least econo ones for the tour. they don't like stuff on their wrists so I tell them to get the ones that hook onto beltloops instead. they seem pretty comfortable w/the beltloop thing anyway, right? should feel natural for them. the thought of touring w/guys who don't know what the fuck time it is kind of rattles me. no room for babysitters on a watt tour. I need self-reliant folks. man, is it hot and muggy while I wait for my cats in the boat - a definite swelter. to live here would surely be a harsh sentence for watt, him being a pedro man and all. give me cool ocean air w/out this fucking humidity. well, a small price to pay for getting to play all these towns I do, I can bear it.
we get into the part of houston called montrose, a silve lake sort of part of l.a. - artists, musicians, etc. the pad for tonight is called rudyard's and it's my first time there. the boss lady is lelia and she's nice. the cat running the show is scott and he's very happening, mike mcguire got me together w/him and I'm very grateful cuz it's been hard for tons of years to get something together for houston that fits what I'm about. no disrespect to mitch but the engine room is not really for me. love that name though. charlie's playing there tonight and it would've been nice to play w/him but I want to get something going that I can come back to. we load in up some stairs, you play on the second floor here. after setting up, I chimp diary. scott has us order chow, I get salmon. it's good but a little salty and greasy (southern style). I have to say I love getting into a pad early cuz there's less traffic, time if there is traffic hell, no rushing to get stuff in, no making folks wait and just all around keeping things calm and relaxed. that's a good thing for watt w/gigs happening every day and an even flow so much better for the tour's rhythm. just my opinion. looks like the soundman joe's not coming 'til eight so I go to the boat to konk. fuck, is it a sweaty pit back here. I remain very still w/the shirt off. very still. I feel myself radiating rays of thermal energy - why don't I just call it heat? sometimes I have to think about the same thing w/different words. it keeps things from seeming only a rerun. like tour, you could get caught up in the sameness but you can bend the perspective however and find other meanings contained within, like slices in an onion. sometimes it's just like that too - the smaller the slice, the more to core. the big outside ones, beat up and coarser, the inner ones more tender. so, I lay still in the back of the boat and bake. ideas outlining conflicts chase down resolutions in my head. some part of me strives to reconcile these struggles by figuring out the greater good, the good I want really to prevail, to be the end result. all this crazyness in the meantime, it baffles me. if only I could get my wrestling w/the moment more focused and engaged w/all my best. I do not dream for nothing. I'm not talking about the unexplained insane nightmares that visit on me but rather the aspirations I have which are not really places I see myself wanting to be. I will be in my town - somehow, some way at the end of the day. the bike will be there to pedaled in the morning. the little bass waiting at the practice pad to be plucked w/my guys or at the pad for just me, both ways and means to realize what's inside me by being physical w/it, musically.
pete comes out to the boat w/a cooler filled w/tour support in the form of a major care package from cats, craig and jennifer. what sweethearts, they do this for me every year. there's pear juice (yes!!!!), cranberry juice, reed ginger beer (yes again! j turned me on to this great jamaican drink that has neither sugar or alcohol), 'gars, habaneros (precious orange jewels) and waters. plus the great cooler to keep things chilled in the boat. not much is chilled in the boat unless it's freezing outside - we have no air conditioning. I've never had a vehicle w/that - remember, I live in pedro so no need. the rest of the country, however... spot gets done late. I guess he went on late. I don't want to blame him but maybe that's the way it comes out of my mouth. sorry, spot. it's fucking monday night and people gotta work in the mornig. it's a good crowd but lots are sitting down and this makes things kind of scary. recital time. I am petrified, aahh... we start off... not too strong but gradually we get it together as I get it together. there is no blame for my guys, they are fantastic - what can they do w/a scardy cat at the rudder? even w/them trying their best, all they can do is try to overcome the insecurities they're mirroring from me. some folks come and stand, lots by pete. maybe it's cuz I don't really turn the mic forward - instead, I turn it toward pete so I can look right at him and turn to jer easily. I have pete set up stage left, looking straight at me so he's perpendicular to the front of the stage. we're close in and real tight. more maneuvers to help me cope w/cowardice. the crowd is very kind to us. I break a 'd' string. oh boy, time for spiel while I change this. I keep calm when I talk to folks now. I have little confidence and maybe that's good for this sort of thing, it would be truly a false image to project otherwise. it takes a little more time these days to change strings cuz I gotta remove some of the length due to the little bass' shorter neck scale. I have some pliers to do that - I don't actually cut the string but just bend it back and forth several times to break it off. we continue on. on "sister ray," I break the 'g' one, aaaaarrrrggggghhhhh - all the crazy soloing has to be done w/just three strings. oh well. for john coltrane and d. boon. and those I love. fuck technique. I've learned to move my hands to work this thing anyway. I just want to let go and let it take me elsewhere, beyond the familiar road map of licks. I try to whup it like a current and let it run through me - jolt me out and away. if not happy, at least launched in the direction of that planet ...or some kind of attempt at wholeness that doesn't cut short true feeling. you know, this might sound really corny reading back - one reason I don't read back these diary shit but what I'm trying to do is relate what's going through my head at the time. I want to toss out the filters and let these spiels pour from me. I do truncate them somewhat cuz I got lots to do on tour, I have no babysitters - just two good men and they got their hands full too. anyway, as usual, I digress. the kind folks give us an encore and it's the end of one of my favorite houston gigs in a long time, even w/the clams and scared shit at the start. I guess I did a loop on that crap I blew out in austin, where I wanted to do so good. well, I want to do good at every gig, of course - don't want to take any of them for granted. one of the many lessons I learned from d. boon is you never know when your last gig is so play it like it might be your last.
I sling and talk w/people. one cat is from a grass roots radio thing. all right, I support this much. he wants me on next time I'm in town. one guy tells me to write a book cuz when I broke that string and did a little spiel, he says he heard one. this makes me laugh much. I thought I was just muttering frightened little small talk to carry us over so things to didn't seem awkward. it was only a couple of minutes. I can't tell you all the good will these people give over so generously. the rudyard's folks too: soundman joe, owner celila, promoter scott - all righteous. thank you. I will play here again absolutely and be glad to.
we pack up and this sax player lady named katy talks w/me while I wait at the wheel for my guys. playing in mexico, amoebas almost killed her, titanium rod in her spine from scolliosis (sp? - curvature of the spine). she's breaking up w/her boyfriend, who likes to hear what I'm doing and there was a fight to see who was going to get to go to the watt gig plus he also now is after the door girl - she said fuck it and went anyway. I mention this cuz folks relate things like my sickness, the break up of my marriage, even just doing music - stuff like that to their own lives. like w/the opera - after putting that out and playing it live, how many people told me about dealing w/losing loved ones and how they had to deal w/that? it's alright and something I can feel ok about, I'm helping out someway and not being totally self-obsessed/absorbed. it's not calculated, I just relate personal things in my works and there's parallels out there, I guess. not too much beyond me to figure that might happen. it's like I'm shared by these cats, the way I'm in their life a little bit. it's better than being considered above them, that's for sure cuz that couldn't be further from the truth. I am lucky I get to work their towns and try to make some thoughts dance for them.
we follow mike to his pad in la porte. it's a little bit of a drive from houston. we go through pasadena (not the cali one!) and pete is quite amazed at the shitload of refineries pumping puke up into the air here, all lit up and belching skyward. it makes our harbor in so cal, which has about seven in the area, look like a little burg compared to all the plants churning it up in this place. it is quite a sight. we get to mike's pad, built in 1910 and right on the bay and it's konk immediately for watt in the room mike always makes ready for me, his ma's old one. he's a righteous man.
tuesday, april 23, 2002 - new orleans, la
watt woke us up early (only 4 hrs. conk) because he wanted to get into the bayou country before the heat and swelter set in and because parking in the french quarter is a bogart. I did a quick wash-up and we loaded up the boat. Mike gave me the copy of the book I had been reading the previous night and told me to pass it on when I finished it (which I will- thanks much mike)
we hoisted anchor and pulled out of La porte and made our way towards the bayou. Jer was conked in the back and I chimped more diary . The AC inverter that we have in the boat for the puter' and digital camera overheated and shut down, causing the puter' to go black and for some reason it didn't save any of my diary spiel for today- bummer.
We rolled into New Orleans early and watt was right , the parking in the french quarter is a nightmare , but we found a spot and dropped anchor. We were playing at a pad called the shim-sham; a small looking club from the outside w/ the stage in a separate room in a theatre-like setting. Load in wasn't until 5:45 so we had some time to walk around- I was looking to buy a mojo hand (a Haitian good luck charm also called a Viga) and I figured this would be the best place to find such an item. Watt sent me off w/ the digi-snap to document our excursion and me and Jer took off. He seemed to be in a hurry and we were veering away from the French quarter which I really wanted to see, but Jer had his sights set on going to the casino- I'm not a gambling man and casinos stifle me, so we parted ways and I ventured back into the French quarter to check out the sights. I walked down canal street and started snapping; I really love the architecture w/ all the ornamental grating and courtyards- very european. I was going to buy a t-shirt but most of the pads had the typical tourist crap; overpriced feather masks, little voodoo dolls, bags of gris-gris (for good luck, revenge, et al), gator heads, beads- real lame shit. I kept walking and snapping and got some really nice shots (even found an old junk shop w/ a large fiberglas Big-Boy and a Betty Boop. I put the camera away and plodded on , determined to find the elusive mojo hand. Stopped into a creole gift pad and asked the lady at the front if she had one, or where I could find one but she didn't even know what it was! (it was worth it just to hear her talk in that cool creole accent) I ventured on, eventually hitting Bourbon street which is basically a long stretch of bars next to more bars w/ hawkers standing outside touting their particular establishment (reminded me of tijuana in a way) Alcohol is legal to carry on the streets in New Orleans, so everyone is walking around w/ drinks in their hands (the bars are almost always open, too) I walked further down Bourbon street and went into a couple of interesting pads; one was a topless/bottomless strip pad where for about 40 bucks you can lather up the dancer of your choice in a shower stall set up in the joint (a new twist in the endless war on bad hygiene). I wanted to pick something up for Lil the kill, and being of a curious nature(and always wanting to get something different), I wandered into an S&M gift shop w/ all kinds of interesting probes, instruments and clothes for the pain lover (or giver) in all of us. I didn't think Lil the kill would see the humor in me bringing home an 8 inch stainless steel anal probe (and it would've been a barrel of monkeys bringing it thru security at LAX), so I opted to search on for a more sentimental gift. Venturing further down bourbon street I happened upon Marie Lavreaux's voodoo shop where I finally found the mysterious mojo hand. I paid for my newly found treasures( I bought two) and headed back to the pad as it was getting close to load in.
Got back to shim-sham and did the load in; sound check sounded great and watt and jer retired to the boat for the pre-gig conk; I had slept in the boat on the ride over, so I opted to go backstage and chimp some diary; I got a lot off my chest and it did good for my gig mojo. Had some chow from the hard rock cafe while writing , and wrote thru nearly all of spot's set. It was getting close to the witching hour so I slicked back the do' and went to wake up watt and jer. Watt was already up and at em' so I roused Jer and we went in.
The first three songs came off better than ever as did the rest of the set; I was really on tonite after the previous nite's slug-fest and played well. During "Sister Ray" we popped a breaker on the house AC and it shut all the tools down (we actually got a round of applause for that). Some joker made another keyboard comment but watt shut him down quickly (he always tells these guys to form their own band). We got the juice back on and hammered right back into "Sister Ray". We finished up the set and did our two encore tunes to a round of positive vibes from the audience. It felt really good, but there was a little bit of a jive attitude coming from one of the bouncers towards the crowd; he was giving people shit for no reason at all and planted himself at the side of the pad mad-dogging everyone (watt sang the "sucking on the ding-dong" part in "sister ray" especially for this dick and I think he was hip to the direction of the spiel). Me and Jer signed some posters and rapped w/ some people in the crowd and all in all the show was a good one. We were crashing at the pad of this guy named Rob (a real nice cat who is a musician also and into avant-gard music), so we loaded up the boat and pulled anchor. Watt handed me a raw habanero during the ride and I took a great big bite..(instant nasal decongestion). It was real tasty nevertheless, and after wiping the tears from my eyes (and the snot off the floor), we got to Rob's pad where I immediately conked on the deck. Suenos dulces....
I know I musta crashed at about 4am cuz mike woke me at 8am and I couldn't move. so fuckin' tired cold water had no effect. knowing we need to bail I start grabbing my things fast. when I pick up the computer bag I forgot it was open and dropped the bastard on the floor. klunk !?#$*&*%^+ bang it slams hard. I snap. I'm not a good morning person at all. so I gather my limp self and go to the boat where I go straight to the bench seat and knock out. 3 hours later I'm up and were in louisiana w/the hot and sticky shit following us like a fly on a turd. this weather gives me bad nightnmares. mike thanks me for in his words "not being a pussy about getting out early". no undue conflicts for me today. man does this southern humidity twist your brain up wrong. we pull into a truck stop to gas where I switch w/pete and check the map for bearing. the scenery is swampy and boggy. I snap away at the oddities, itís the easiest way to pass time on long hauls. as we near new orleans my plan is clear. w/about 3 hours before sound check I'll be heading to the sahara casino a few blocks from the club.
I grab pete and head for the casino. he's looking for a mojo hand of something? I don't know what it is but he's determined to find it. down the street we stop at a couple stores looking for it w/no luck. as I continue towards the sahara pete inquires as to where I'm going. "to the casino hole bro" I reply. "fuck that" pete states, and we go our separate ways. I get inside and grab a chicken sand. for fuel to take on the beast. after stalking the tables I settle and go for the gullet. like a pack of hyena's they shread my guts to bits. I drop a $175 in 1/2 hour. I back off and cower. should I run w/ my tail between my legs or stand my ground. stand like a man I shall. w/a $100 left in the bank of my pants I pull up on a $10 limit and plop down my benjamin. good karma comes my way and I start the comeback mode. soon I have it all back plus $130. no reason to hang any longer, I fly away. compared to last tours drop I'm now even for two tours. back at the boat mike and pete are chimping. I give em' one line "ring ring goes the trolley." mike gladly throws back "ding ding goes the bell."
we toss some gear and set up for the check. the old cat doing sound last time isn't working this one, but soundguy clint is up to the task. w/no other band opening cept' spot I don't have to move gear after the check. we get some chow from the hard rock cafť delivered and I chomp on the varanda. cool thing about new o. is the unique buildings in the city. all the houses have tall ceilings and daisy chained rooms. must be to vent the heat and humidity. but in the french quarter the buildings have very well ornamented balconies used during their party themed holidays to toss beads to the drunk masses below. I find an air conditioned eatery w/a pay phone to call kel. she tell me that her ticket to nyc is booked and I'll see em' at the philly gig. back at the shim sham I hop in the boat and pass out til pete wakes me for the show. when we start I'm still rubbing my eyes and half asleep. after the first three tunes I snap to. sounds better already and were getting the flow more together. near the end of the set spot steps on the ONE power cord and kills the amps. it was during sister ray and after the plug in mike jumps back on the same tune. I'm of course not ready and shat upon myself. mike yells and I get back on board. to the encore and I'm learning more of a path for little johnny jewel. still I need a couple more rounds w/this one. afterwards I rap a bit w/kirshia and her friends. she very nice and came to the last gig we did here. no time a wasteing we pack and head to rob's pad across town. I take the same futon as before and ask if its alright to take a bath. "no problem" says rob. I feel extreamly sore in the shoulder and this should help greatly. out of the bath I lie down and sleep soundly.
pop to a rooster crowing, it's like seven. whoa, only four hours of konk. oh well. float in the tub for a bit, it's one w/some good length to stretch out these legs and give the sore knees some soak. I then shave and cut the fuck out of my upper lip - damn, watt - you go too fast. fuck. blood everywhere, stick some toilet paper on the gash. I think of being a boy and seeing my pop in the morning before going to the duty, tiny pieces of toilet paper all over his face. funny thing about the pop and his son and what the things they share, huh? go out to see that rooster and say hi. there's two hens w/him in a little fenced in pen. "how do you do? I'm watt from pedro." only clucks for an answer. there's a bike here but damn, the front tire's flat. mike mcguire comes to say hi and I ask him to brew up some cof. I want us to bail early and beat the fucking heat that's gonna come pounding down. we got some miles of bayou to cover to get to new orleans. I wake my cats and we shove off pretty quick. thank you, mike mcguire, for all the kindness you're always showing me. bye, bay house. up northeast on tx-146 and on the new bridge that has taken forever to get done but done it is and it's a beauty - modern and europe-looking, yellow casings on it's cable sheaths. through baytown and then east on I-10, that same freeway that starts back in santa monica (cali). there's a good breeze and some cover to keep that sun at bay and it ain't 'til one when that swelter beat-down starts to come around. by then, we're over the border into lousiana. at baton rouge, it's pete's first time driving over the mississippi river. he's talking about all the politics in pedro on being croatian w/the yugoslav history - stupid shit that stupid motherfuckers have put him through to get him partisan to one or the other "sides" in dumbass feuds. lots of it over which hall to play (there's two in pedro, a dalmatia-american one which used to be called the yugoslav-american hall and the croatian hall) regarding his wedding bands. he's sick of the whole mess, twenty fucking years of it. just another example of humanity in retard mode. you pick the situation and it seems to always be showing it's idiot side. this is just one flavor of a pedro version. it's funny cuz as a kid just coming to pedro from virginia, I never understood this that much. I remember my first experience w/it was walking to work as a teenager and these slavs were playing soccer. up went some flags, then some singing and bam, a big fight on the field. end of soccer game. I didn't realize twenty years later there would be a war where they'd kill half a million of each other. sad. sad for all us humans cuz it's the depths to which we all can sink to, no matter what the tribe, what the geography, what the era. fucked-up thinking is an equal opportunity employer.
we get into the french quarter about 3:30, near bourbon street on toulouse and the venue is called shim sham, a pad I played last tour in the fall. the parking is a nightmare around here and it's one other reason I wanted to get in early. we luck out and find a meter near by but it's a little bit of an effort to fit the boat in, takes watt a few minutes. a parking meter's in the way and a very new jag parked behind. jer gets out to help me w/some direction. when I fit it, some dick comes out of a store and tells me I should "go to driving school" cuz "it took you five minutes to park it." I save the energy it would take to hell him where do get off for tonight's gig. an asshole like that deserves only himself for punishment, he doesn't need any help from me. my guys go off to do what they do when we get into a town. I get a po'boy sandwich made w/smoke sausage. at least no deep fry and there's lots of onions and tomato. I use the dave's sauce to prime it. good bread w/the thin crunch crust on the outside too. then I sit in the boat w/both windows open and the shirt off to chimp yesterday's watt world for the diary. six o'clock comes around and I can move the boat up closer. some lady talking on a walkie-talkie phone walks past and asks me "are you a plantation tour guide?" I say, "nope, just one of the slaves." she then says, "lucky you" and I say "no, lucky you." why are people giving me shit today? it's kind of funny cuz, huh? both these heroes have won coveted roles in the tour diary. it should make them proud.
debra, the lady running the mermaid when I played there last, is running the show tonight - great. she's happening. we talk about glam for a bit. the bartender, chris, is really into this movie "hedwig." I tell about my first "rock concert" being t-rex, marc bolan was my first rock and roll hero - right before john fogerty (who I fully got into after meeting d. boon). I'm gonna wear a plaid shirt I have w/silver strips stitched into it. kind of fancy. sometimes watt likes to play dress-up too. in fact, I'm always playing dress-up, only I use flannel and levis. that's special to me. my way of being glam. love it. the soundman is curt and we do a quick soundcheck for him. I dig this place - it's like like an old vaudeville theatre, the walls have facades of shuttered windows and doors - pretty neat. back out to the street and in the boat to chimp a little diary. after a bit, bam-bam-bam, kirsha is banging on the rear hatch. I say, "whoa, up front here, chimping." her, her boyfriend and a young man come to the window and say hi. she's a nice lady but in a way, I wish she wouldn't have come. I don't feel ready or able for some of these kinds things on this tour. they want me to go w/them to some bar and meet some people, one of them an old man who built a cabin in oregon where the boyfriend lived in for a while. I say I'm sorry but I have to decline cuz I'm not so good w/the social thing especially before gigs most the time. watt needs alone time even though that may entail much internal torture. better than running away from that, putting on the social face and be unprepared to play my brains out. I ask them to understand. to move things along and further make my point I get out and start for the aft. I apologize again and say I mean no disrespect but this is what I truly feel. I say bye, pop open the rear hatch and ready for konk. have to take the shirt off and remain very still cuz of the hot and humid air. damn, just a couple of blocks away is the river and cool breeze. not here though. in here is a shvitz. I've been in much worse though. I konk and have bizarre, swirling dreams - like I was naked in an insane wind, being took up and dropped, over and over but never reaching the ground. there were trees near and their branches tossing all about and I kept trying to grab them but kept failing. eventually, I got tossed right into the branches and I could feel all kinds of cuts and scratches all over me but couldn't move my hands to feel them and I had an insane hankering to do so. I wanted to wipe on the bleeding cuz the trickling and the resulting itching sensations were making me crazy. after a time, this made me come out of the konk, kind of in a semi-popped state and I thought about my current situation w/the gigs and what I'm trying to do w/the music. I felt very inferior and like I wasn't measuring up at all to how I should be playing or delivering it. I thought about being in the moment, something that's considered a good thing to aspire to. this made me think about the sickness and how chained to the moment I was. no future, no past - only constantly aware present, constantly aware of the fucking intense hurting going down on me. aahhh... the parallel was heavy on me and the paradox of what you might want and then that actual reality and it's consequences... good training for the conceptually diverted! I felt so bad for the folks who I was supposed to being my best for. well, I was trying my best but couldn't get it together. frustrating thoughts. chaotic. it made me think of politics, struggle w/that - like I was a young minuteman again. my sickness as political struggle, the war of factions inside the body. I find this a little funny and pretty accurate in a way. these fucking fascist bacteria trying to run my life, take it over! and to what good? their good. I had them to convince them to share this body, at least 'til my spirit leaves it. then they can have it. well, maybe the ashes. I want to get burned up and buried at sea, give my friends one last boat ride as they help dump me over. this is getting a little weird, I'm alive, I won that battle and lived and now I'm here to work my little bass. back to that moment mode! unfortunately, I konk into another crazy heat-induced swimming in sweat thing. damn, I was just get things reasoned out. after how long, I don't know - whoa, a banging on the door. it's kirsha again. I'm only half awake and sort of delirious. the words fall out of my mouth but aren't hooked up right. some of what I was thinking and then fears about what I soon have to face get tangled. I tell her about that dream she was in the other night and how bizarre it was. I hear her words try to explain what it might mean but I can't follow them close enough. there's a layer of greasy sweat on me so think, it's bogarted my attention and making me miserable. I want fucking cold air my lungs - I can't breathe. I talk incoherently for a while and finally she bails or maybe I asked her to... more time alone to make sense of things but of course, I am more perplexed. aaaaarrrrrggggghhhhhhh - one thing for sure, I have to do this gig and do my best. last night was a recovery from the trip-up in austin and I want to take that direction further tonight. I am determined if maybe also a little spaced too. I grab the little bass and shirts and go straight to the stage.
thank god spot is on time though he's scurrying to get things out of the way. I wipe my eyes and soundman curt's still putting mics on the drums. hurry up, man - I want to get this going! I narrow my eyes so much it feels like the eyeballs are touching and start the gig. kirsha stands right in front of me and is dancing. well. I turn the mic towards pete and stare at him. I don't want distractions, no disrespect to kirsha but jesus christ... my band is playing good, well - maybe I have a little more nerve, maybe I'm getting a little belief thing in myself on. maybe it's just an accident cuz I don't really understand how this is working. I just keep is revving through the set, trying to build momentum, on and on and not letting up, not letting myself have a chance to hiccup and doubt or wonder or anything of that - just plow. damn, does that cut on my lip I gave myself shaving hurt when it hits the mic. I have to be more careful. one comment from someone in the crowd bothers me. it's another keyboard one, like in albuquerque and I say to the guy, "you know what? you can start your own band." I chuckle after though and tell him it's ok, just having fun. I can tell he's very much a fan and sometimes things fly out of people's mouth w/out them realizing what they're saying or why. I know it does w/me! I just feel very protective of pete - the man is playing his heart out for me and deserves much respect. jer too. I get the little bass so stoked in "sister ray," the power pops off. I look back. why the fuck is the whole band plugged into one power strip? fucking retarded. I go reset the breaker and we pick it up at "whip it on me, jim!" but jer's got his fucking brushes. I guess he thought we were going to the next tune... not in the mood I'm in! it's an ok gig, somehow - maybe the best of the tour. the monitors were fucked but I'm learning to deal less and less w/that. I have so much more beating up on me anyway, most of that my fault! to get caught up in external shit would be only running away w/something I actually can do something about or if I can't, at least confront it or let it confront me. the crowd is quite special and gives up much claps to do an ecnore so we do "little doll" and "little johnny jewel." one thing bothers me. I've been watching this bouncer w/his arms folded, giving hard looks and attitude to the audience the whole show. it's welled up pretty much in me now so I sing our last tune, looking him in square in the eye as if to say, "where do you get off, big boy?" I mean, no one has been giving any trouble or causing hassles - this shit is not needed. it would be worse to escalate it by saying something so I let the tune let him know I feel. seems I've had to deal w/this shit at different times all my days of doing gigs, it's like an occupational hazard or something. some strange qualities of humanity.
we're done and many folks talk w/me, much appreciation from them. I feel quite blessed and not so bad inside, like I pulled something over them cuz I think I did ok. I mean, I gotta get much, much more together but at least I feel in my heart it wasn't a total self-soil, like in austin. no stanislav though, I wonder what happened w/him? he said he was going to come down from baton rouge. oh well, next time... I always enjoy visiting w/him. there's an old friend of joe baiza's, nancy, who invites us to konk w/her but I've already said yes to rob, an old friend who's big in the avant garde seen here in new orleans. we pack up and I settle w/debra who says next gig she'll wear silver pants (?!). we bring rob back to his car and then follow him to his pad on tchouptioulas. we pass tipitina's on the way, a pad I've played many times but not in quite a while - trippy, how things change. there's a lot of tradition there. the streets are so quiet here compared to where we just were. lots of signs up to protest the "sprawl-mart" (walmart) invasion. this folks want to keep the character of their town - you can't blame them. rob's got a righteous pad w/high, high ceilings. he shows me a picture his brother took of d. boon when we played here at jimmy's in 1985. god, I remember that gig - so sweaty, unbelievably. d. boon's playing his guitar and on his tippy-toes, it's a great shot. what a great image to konk w/and I do so w/out even getting into the sleeping bag. don't need to w/this weather.
wednesday, april 24, 2002 - mobile, al
Awoke after a good nite's rest; we only had about a two hour drive so we slept a little longer. Watt was posting the first week of the tour diary today, so he was busy formatting and loading. Jer wanted to get some chow at the local sprawl-mall and I needed a haircut badly so I washed up and we legged it on over to the place. Got to the joint but of course there was no snip-snip place, so me and jer went into the supermarket that was on the premises to buy some chow. Jer picked up a 1/2 pound of catfish nuggets and OJ and I got a couple of slim-fast bars(can't be a champion w/o eating like one). I tried some of the catfish; it was fried in cornmeal batter and was real greasy(another typical southern food aspect), but it was really good. We walked back to rob's pad and I called my bro Tone, my old man and my boss back home, then we loaded up the boat and took a few snaps of rob and we were off.
The road to Mobile was not too long; I slept most of the way while Jer chimped diary in the shotgun seat. we pulled into a Subway to get some sangwiches(this place is a real life-saver on the road) and some fuel for the boat. We pulled into Mobile around 3:30 and met up w/ Todd the promoter; a real nice cat and fellow musician. Todd had come to the previous nite's show and while rapping w/ him he had warned us that the sound man in Mobile was a real dick. Not wanting to have any preconceptions we decided to give the guy the benefit of the doubt. We had some time to blow before load-in so me, Jer and Todd went to this joint down the street called the Picklefish to have a few beers. Watt went off to venture around town for a little while. A couple of todd's buds met up w/ us at the picklefish and we also met his lady friend Jessica. We rapped a little while about the various bands we were in and the music scene in general, then headed back to the pad- a place called Monsoon's for the load in.
We brought the tools in, set up and waited for the infamous sound guy to show up. I chimped some diary and munched on some real kind hot salsa and chips that Todd had graciously brought us. The sound guy showed up and he seemed to be pretty cool (he wasn't being an asshole at least), and we did the sound check. The PA was around 8k watts and had headroom galore and the monitors were certainly loud enough but they were icepicks in the ear; definitely needed some eq-ing. I handed the sound guy (Gary) the Coltrane CD and told him to play it before and after our set, but he didn't have a CD player so he said he would give it to the bar-dude to play on the house system. Went to sit in a corner to chimp some diary (It's become very therapeutic for me), and wrote all the way up to spot's set after which I went to the boat for a pre-gig conk.
Jer woke me up right before spot's set ended and we headed in to the place. I met Dennis, whose pad we were crashing at that night; he plays guitar in a band w/ Todd and is a real down cat. I heard hip-hop out of the house sound system so I went to go tell the bartender to put in the Coltrane CD as requested (he complied) The set started out very well but Gary the pro sound-man evidently didn't write down his settings for our set and we couldn't hear shit out of the monitors-very fucking irritating and unprofessional ( the cat was already slipping a few notches- looked like todd was right abouut the dude so we immediately placed him in the "Hazmat" hall of shame). Todd also told us that this putz had charged him 250 bucks for this gig and it wasn't even his gear! Fucking bogus, but if you give these cats enough rope they eventually hang themselves. We played nearly all of the set well but Jer broke his kick pedal during "sister ray" and we came screeching to a halt. watt spieled to the audience while Jer set up his other pedal and we went right back into "sister ray". The crowd was digging on it and we did the rest of the set plus the encores; they were dancing out in front and carrying on- it was a cool show. The only negative rub was that they talked loudly during "chinese fire-drill" and Om-Om-Om , both songs w/ a very soft dynamic. kind of lame but it happens. After the set I was hearing hip-hop thru the system again so I went back to the bartender and he just handed me the CD back. whatever....
There was a lot of cool kids at the show and we rapped w/ them after the show; a lot of them were musicians too, so we talked music and instruments- I also met a friend of watt's named Joe, a former hippie who was a watt fan from way back and he offered me some real nice comments about the gig which made me feel real good(sometimes being an organ player playing punk after so many years of guitar players in watt's trio can be very unnerving) but the crowds have been very supportive and accepting. Much respect. We piled into the boat and followed Todd to Dennis's pad- a short drive away. We were crashing in Dennis's rumpus room above the garage, so we pulled the stuff out and went inside. watt chimped on the puter' while me and Jer did some laundry downstairs (in this heat you go thru a lot of clothes), and rapped w/ Dennis. Jer went to conk, so me and Dennis rapped about life in general, our families and music; he's a really nice cat and very articulate and made me feel like I was back home (thanks for the cool vibes bro, you're very welcome at my pad anytime) Dennis had a copy of Henry Rollin's "Get in the van" which I read until the wash was done. He bid me buenas noches and went to conk while I read til' about four in the morning then hit the deck myself. I was out real quick...
I wake up and coax pete into following me to the store down the street. I figure that itís a money saver to shop for grub here instead of getting crap food and some junk hole. inside I find some catfish nuggets and an avocado along w/a yogurt for breakie. pete needs to get a haircut so we cruise the strip mall w/no luck. I chomp the nugs on the way back washing it down w/some oj I got. me a pete talk about the mystery of the female form and their deadly ways. back at rob's we gather our things and make the road for mobile. after swinging by the superdome we head east on the I10. this is the same highway that starts in santa monica, ca. and ends in jacksonville, fl.. the long one. it's not to bad a drive today, but the humidity is relentless. yuck! I konk in the front seat for a while and awake just outside mobile. I give mike some directs to get downtown and no trouble t'all. todd the promoter is there to greet and joins pete and myself for a beer. a great guy and big fan of mike's. started as a kid coming to mike's shows and now throws em'. they're always good folks to work for. you know, the one's who grow up w/mike's music. todd tells us that the soundguy tonight is a lammo. when todd tried to bring in his own sounddude the club said no and told him only this guy could do it. well appearantly this 'batwing' said he wanted $200 to do sound. then todd said we had an opener. now he wanted $250! I mean spot is only one dude w/one amp. what an ass! todd couldn't afford to pay the guy more for his band to play so it's just the two of us.
batwinguss arrives and we sound up. no real trouble yet, but the night's not over. this club has very limited airflow and the steambake will be on again. I grab a slice of pizza down the street and watch an nba game at some sports bar. back at the club todd has the door going and heads start to arrive. spot does his set and we get our start time down to the minute. somehow the monitors turn to suck, I mean the suck knob got spun to 10. lammo! people dug it anyway. as we get to the last song my pedal decides to snap a screw and I grab the backup. as fate would have it that one breaks in half on the same song. that's some shit ass shit man! well at least I have a replacement for the main pedal piece. afterwards outside pete's rapping w/some drunk hippie chick while mike does an interview. I puff on a cigar and give a hippie some good advise on drumming. dennis from mobile puts us up in the same place as last time. the bunk house. I decide to run some laundry and go upstairs to crash.
pop and start the tub up. rob's fills real slow but that's ok. rob pops and makes me coffee. pete pops too. all three of us start talking about our pops, the dad kind. that's a trip. they ask me about mine, they can kind of tell he was navy but want to know how much a hardass he was, being a chief and all. he was intense about the duty (one of his favorite words) but he never knocked me out w/a closed fisted punch or anything like that. I got the back of the hand sometimes and a few paddles in the ass w/a cutting board a few times but nothing like he got from his pop, who was a fucking bastard w/violence on him. made a cat-of-nine-tails to beat him w/and my pop had scars on his back from it. a lot of time, my pop was away at sea. pete's pop was from croatia and never knew his pop so in a way to compensate, he was strict on pete. rob's pop was a dentist and to himself. all three pops had little to do w/music, knew hardly anything about it so none of us ever related musically to our pops, it was foreign to them - the culture of it, everything. they say the acorn never falls far from the tree... well, maybe in some ways but to be your own man, it might be good for a bird to eat that seed and shit somewhere far away and see how it grows there. nature hardly rewards inbreeding.
jer wakes and his shoulder's sore. he soaked it last night before konking and hopefully it'll get better. this fucking mosquito on my neck is hurting me. if I can just keep from clawing it open w/scratches, it'll heal up and be out of my fucking life. thank god it's only april. bugs east of the rockies are massively more abundant than where I live in pedro. I tell my guys this story about me konking at nanny's sister's lisa's when her and her buddy had this loft thing (nanny makes all the drawings on my tour shirts) and I had konked w/a blankie covering me up to the chin, leaving only my face exposed. even my hands were under the blankie. anyway, I remember waking up and seeing the ceiling, which was high up (sort of like rob's place here) and had every inch covered w/mosquitos, like it was a curly-hair perm toupee that william shatner would wear. this was strange, I thought. where were they last night. when I went to shave and looked in the mirror, it was pretty apparent. I looked like I had several cases of the measles, all at the same time, layer upon layer, bites on top of bites. that was kind of bad but what was worse was the realization that these fuckers were feeding on my face, like some living breathing mask, chowing themself to bloatsville. the horror. how did I keep konked through all that? I guess I konk hard.
I put the first week of tour diary up on the web. it's a trip how folks can see some of our tour world through our eyes. funny about that. pete and jer are way into it - pete has me email it to the people at his work, jer emails it to his dad. both of them have their wives read it. is that rock and roll or what? my ma gets into it. for me, they're so embarrassing that I never read them once I chimp them out - I just twist it off and let it fly. fuck, it's like a gig.
I chow the salad kirsha gave me last night and then we thank rob much and shove off in the boat. the sun's out bright and early today. we screw rob's directions up (how? it was left on saint charles and on right carrollton or was that right on saint charles and left on carrollton?) and have to break out the ibook and salvage a way out. we do and head east on I-10, on the causeway over lake pontchartrain toward slidell. this is one big lake - and this is the little causeway! I've been on the big one before, intense - you don't want to leave the road there! into a little of mississppi, through biloxi - tons of casino billboards - and into alabama. only about a hundred and fifty miles this trip, we get into mobile around three. we're in the downtown, right by the water. this pad is called monsoons and I've played here once before. it was supposed to be at splash, which had moved since I played this last october but permits weren't secured in time so the gig had to be moved to this place. when I dock the boat and get out, this cat comes up to me and asks if I remember a guy named pat shea. whoa, I recognize his face right away though I haven't seen him in twenty years! he was in the old punk scene and I used to see him at harbor college when I went there. he's a librarian now for the feds and here on a conference. we spend time talking about what happened to everyone we knew then - I've lost track of all of them. he's into pedaling and we talk about that for a while. he does rides that are over three hundred miles! damn, I've never been further than thirty at a time. much respect, pat. w/the stifling humidity, I want to go to the water and get some cool air on me. pat walks w/me almost all the way but then has to bail. I got my ibook, maybe I can chimp by the shore of the mobile river. there's boats across the water in dry docks - one giant paddle wheel. there's an old fireboat on this side and I check that out. there's no shade anywhere at to sit and attempt chimping would surely bring on a bad burn which I do not need. fuck, I don't have the digicamera so I hoof back to drop the 'puter to get that. not a nightmare, the exercise is good. I come back to snap and find this place w/benches and grass, cooper riverside park. one bench has a lifesize sculpture of what appears to be mister cooper and I sit next to him. he has one arm on the back of the bench so it seems I'm getting the friendly hug. alright. I watch some pelicans do their fishing, great! they're more gray than the ones we got in pedro but otherwise very similar. we were just in louisiana and I love the way they got a pelican on their state flag, feed three of her babies. there's gulls here too but they got black hoods and very red insides of the mouth - I can tell cuz they're singing much. feels so, so good to have that breeze off the water on me, I can't find the words to express that enough. in this moment, I'm in a parallel world to my town and I dig the synchronicity of it. a blessed moment. I cherish it. the cooper man statue is kind of quiet, quite kind of him. nothing to hear except the voices in my head. I snap and few more and whoops, the battery is running out, I've got to remember to charge this thing when I'm konking out night, damn.
I hoof back to the pad. there's a small park on the way and the squirrels do some bits for me. I talk w/the soundman. todd, tonight's boss, came to the show last night in new orleans and told me about this guy being an asshole so I try my best to finesse the situation and put him at ease. todd and his girl, jess, show up and jess gives me some salsa she made w/some chips. it's real good - flavor and some heat. we set up and do our soundcheck. afterwards, I get some black bean soup next door. it's real good. I then go to the boat to chimp. I get done and then try to konk. what a fucking swelter. I get naked in the back and remain very still. very still, it's the only way I can cope. my mind can't stay still though. it swims and swims, up and under. the fever outside cooks me up. I'll take this over a fever on the inside anyday so I shouldn't complain. my dreams are confused and unconnected, tiny fogotten events that all end up w/me in a panic and fleeing. finally, thank god, it's time for the gig and I get dressed. outside the boat I look up at the sky and see the clouds jam across the moon which is a trip cuz those currents must be way up high - there is no breeze down here whatsover.
into the pad to start the gig. I missed spots gig - sorry, bro. we begin. I have trouble getting the right lyrics out in the new tunes, par for this tour so far. there is no fucking air and I'm dying. like an idiot, I forgot to set my fan up before we started. after the madonna tunes, I have to get that going or I am going to pass out. the blast coming out of it is sweet mercy. I think of the things that help me when I'm at this point and it helps much... we gather momentum and the set gets going better. lots of yammering from some of the crowd though, tons of it. I guess some folks came just cuz there's a band in town. I live w/it, whatever. I definitely don't want to come off as a cop and start telling people what I think they should do. I'm playing for the folks who came to see me. if I pollute some of the others and they come over to my side, then great. it's their choice, it's in their hands - not mine. all I can do is not blow it for me and my guys. spot comes on and joins us for some tunes. there's real weird sounds coming out of the peavy amp so I shut it off. we do alright and the crowd gives us an encore. jer breaks one kick drum pedal and then the backup one he brought. damn, bad luck. he breaks the kick drum head too - whoa! sorry, jer.show done, I sling and people give me the kindest words and handshakes. this has been happening a lot this tour and sort of amazes me, especially when I feel I've choked so bad. I'm very grateful to them, I wish I could express that enough. some cats say that it's the first time they heard me and it was a mindblow. that's a good thing, even I do feel embarrassed and wish I could've done better do deserve such niceness. there's a lady here who ran a club in pensacola called sluggo's. she tells me she still has the answering machine message I left when I had to bail on a gig at her club cuz I couldn't get to her pad cuz of hurricane georges, about four and half years ago w/the black gang (nels and bob lee version). she repeats what I said on it, "life deals you a hand and you just have to play it out." I remember saying that. I did make up that gig later in the tour. joe, the cat I always dig to see when I come here, comes up to say a few words before he has to bail so he get some konk for work in the morning. he says, "mike, it was like the sound was like the sun and it got closer and closer 'til it merged and became whole w/everything and you held it there for a time." thank you, joe. I love listening to this man and learn from him every time I meet him. he tells me a little bit about "last meal consciousness," doing something w/everything you have, knowing maybe it could be your last throw cuz you know, it just might be. good words, joe. some guys from a public radio station in southern mississippi, hattiesburg (steve reed's ma is from hattiesburg), do an interview. they ask me really good stuff, I tell them about the piece I'm doing about the sickness and at the end, one of them tells me I helped him get through some hard times he's just had. I tell him I'm glad for that. I know what he means cuz the same has happened w/me and it's a trip how some folks can do that for you. I never can figure that out but am so glad for it. a big hug for him from watt. so fucked up though that I can't remember his name. watt, you're a fucking space cadet. thanks to both these cats to let me air some thoughts out though.
we follow todd and dennis to dennis' pad. we stayed there last tour. dennis is a real good cat. todd settles the gig w/me and tells me that soundman took $250 from him. what a ripoff, the system was already part of the house. he said he wanted more money cuz he had to set up spot. spot only sings through one mic and there's another one on his tiny amp. what fucking robbery. I was real nice to this cat too. shows to go you. I'm still going to be nice to soundmen, he's not changing me. he just lived up to his reputation when he had the chance to redeem himself. his call. extort a little money now but you say nothing when the karma wails. up into the room above the garage and we set up for konk. I don't even pull the bag out of the sack and just use this little blankie on the couch I sprawl out on. I am so very beat, that was a tough gig on both the physical and mental parts. konk comes swift.
thursday, april 25, 2002 - tallahassee, fl
watt woke me up about 10:30: he had gotten up earlier to change the oil in the boat as we had already logged over 3000 miles and she was thirsty (gotta take care of her so she can take care of us). Dennis graciously made us some chow for breakfast (eggs, pancakes and some real kind sausage) and I munched happily. We piled into the freshly oiled boat and went about navigating our way out of Mobile. It's a very cool little town and kind of reminds me of Pedro in a way; close to the water but there's a lot of old money in the infrastructure due to the town being run by a handful of families.
I rode shotgun this time while Jer conked in the back and I got many snaps of the Florida swamps, the mid-bay highway and the area's indigenous flora. The heat wasn't too bad but the humidity was pretty hardcore and we were broisting in the boat. We got to the pad (The Cow Haus) around 5:00 and load in was around 6:45 so me and Jer went for a stroll around the area (we were close to Tallahasee U.) to scope out the sights and try and find a haircut place, but we found none and ended up going into a local coffee bar and having some chai and water. We headed on back to the pad and did the load in and sound check; the sound guy was a real nice cat named Calvin and he set up our monitors very well and was very accomodating-(again a refreshing change from the jive attitude of some so-called "pro" cats; he told me he had learned the craft from an old timer and the guy had told him " I can show you how to do sound, but I can't teach you attitude"- you're definitely on the right track my brother; mucho respeto). The check sounded real good so we all retired to the dressing room to chimp some diary. Again, I wrote right up to the opening band's set and was feeling mentally drained so I decided to go to the boat for a pre-gig conk. I had rapped w/ watt about the gig and he was understandably uneasy as the last show here had gone off real bad and he was feeling the bad vibes creep up on him. I, on the other hand was getting much more comfy w/ the material and felt a good gig coming on and I was determined to keep the ball rolling for the sake of the captain. As I lay in the back of the boat thinking about all of this I hear the first band start wailing; they are some really nice cats called "warlords of the underworld"; they had TWO drummers, a DJ, a couple of horn players, guitar and bass. Can't describe the music, it has to be heard to be believed; extremely different sounding and not one of their tunes was in any way trite or boring. Great players and the DJ had some real kind samples (Satchmo, Queen). I have to say I was blown away; I am personally heartened when I hear a band like this- it shows me that there is a light at the end of the musical tunnel and not all the kids are swallowing what MTV and VH1 keeps forcing down their gullets. I told the cats later on that they should come out to LA; they said they were planning on it. When you do come out bros, you're welcome at my pad. Much respect.
we came out on stage to a round of applause and launched into the trio of new songs; the sound on stage was awesome and we could hear all the vocals but I saw the shake start in the captain's leg as he undoubtedly had the image of the bad gig playing over in his head. Me and Jer held up our end and soldiered on, blowing only a few clams here and there. The crowd went absolutely apeshit; I knew that they were w/ us and they held on to every note and lyric and showed us a lot of love. We finished the set and they screamed for more, so we came back out and did the encore tunes. Absolutely the best show of the tour yet, much respect to Tallahasee- I definitely want to come back. The only letdown was that the head on Jer's kick drum took a shit and he had no spare so he had to duct tape it, AND the poor Peavey amp that we were using as Watt's organ monitor had the preamp section blow as a result of the AC shutdown in New Orleans. Time for another trip to the music store. At least we had plenty of ballast for the trip.
We didn't have a confirmed place to crash yet so watt asked on the mic if anybody would put us up. A couple of very gracious locals (Heather and John) offered us up their pad and we headed on over. Piled out of the boat and went in; it was a small house, neat as a pin in a cool, woodsy area of Tallahasee. We downed a few beers and rapped a little, but we were all exhausted (and relieved) so we hit the deck. I said goodnite to the captain and Jer (a favorite ritual) and I conked very happy...La comedia e' finita.
in the bunk house pete is still asleep and mike has gone to change the oil in the boat. I take the opportunity to do some laundry and grab breakfast inside the main house. there I meet dennis's grandma jesse. she was very sweet and had made some pancake batter from scratch. delicious! after thanking them for a great meal I jumped in the shower and finished my clothes then woke up pete. mike got back and said he'd wait in the boat for us. pete lolly gagged for some 20 mins. and I went to fetch him. since he thought mike just went to do the oil he took his time. "let's go man!" I yelled, and we suddenly left. this haul takes nearly 5 hours and the heat is on again. I can't take much more of this junk. w/no ac we swelter and shrink w/every passing hour. finally were in the outskirts of tallahasse and mike scopes out a lowe's home inprovement center. I need some machine screws for the dw pedal and their cheap. I get the goods and we traverse the city to the cow haus for the gig. it's a wherehouse type pad near the university we played last time. nobody's around so pete and I take a little walk around the area. I find a afro-american odds and ends shop round the corner and take a window peek. some very cool wood carvings and painting inside along w/a vw bug sculpted like a butterfly hanging outside.
back at the cow the house crew has arrived and calvin our sound guy is already sweeping the stage off. we throw and set up for the check. kinda hot inside, but they got a industrial strength fan for just this occation. I open up my bass drum to tune it and line it up for the check and notice a 5" shread straight through the head. damn! I don't have a backup and mike snaps on me for my lack of foresight. luckily the drummer cat from the opener, whose name I can't recall, floats me spare head from his pad. thank you much bro, that was a gig saver. after we check I talk some w/the openers warlords of the underworld. nice gents who use the room next to the gig to prac.. I'm very burnt from the weather and go to the boat to snooze. lying on the bench I go through a series of very disturbing dreams involving my wife and mike in a dress. somebody has a breast pump on kel and the colosturm is draining into a cup that's given to me to comsume. what mike's doing in the dress is beyond me, but the drinking of fluid is familiar. I did try it when kel first started breast feeding, and I recall the sour face very clearly. pete wakes me and I stagger into the club getting a drink of water to wash down the flavor of the dream. on stage on time and we set off. mike it seems has some reseverations about playing this town that might be related to the show last fall. it wasn't the best show of the tour. mike's leg is twitching wildly and his isn't looking at me much t'all. I got to say though the crowd was way into the show and that keeps me pumped up. we still pull off a lively jam and redemtion is achieved.
after I get off stage a friendly girl named heather invites us to stay w/her and boyfriend john in town. I graciously accept and we follow em' to their pad. after a glass of water and some small chatter I play a little w/heather's kitty and unflurel my bag. I have no energy for any chugging or yammering so I slip away and wish kel and rilei a good night from my heart.
pop and hose off downstairs in the shower. so good to get that layer of sweaty, greasy, filthy film off the skin. liberating, so very much. then I wake dennis. he makes me some cof and then I take the boat to get oiled and lubed. the tour's logged three thousand miles already. I take it to the same pad I did last time I was in town - is that a coincidence or what? I was coming around the other way too, from doing a clockwise loop of the country. this being a weekday, there's nobody in line so I get the boat right in a bay and it's serviced quick. the man there gets a little freaked from the dead snake tied to the front bumper (the one I got in boise last tour) but I let him know it's ok - he thought I didn't know it was there. I tell him of course I knew it was there - I tied it on for luck! back to dennis' and he cooks me up some eggs, pancakes and conecuh sausage. his grandma cuts me some cantaloup slices and asks why I don't want syrup w/the pancakes. I tell her I use the yolk from the eggs. she asks if I want salt on the melon and I pass. her eyes get big and I say it's alright, I like to stay close to the source w/most chow. the only thing I ever add to chow if I do is chilies, hot ones. I'm like that. that sausage is really happening, good snap when you chomp on it. I dig that. dennis' grandma is from oklahoma so I'm telling her about just playing out there and my take on that state but I think she's kind of hard of hearing cuz nothing much registers. dennis also talks pretty loud when he's talking to her but I just can't get the nerve to start hollering myself. hard to believe, huh? I'm getting more self-conscious of my loud fucking self these days, though I know that's not how it's always been. jer's up and it's his turn so I go to roust pete. he pops up startled. welcome to tour. he's ok, you can tell he's much into the swing of the insane watt method to this working of the towns. I go to the boat and chimp diary there. the sun's out early and it's beaming. jer comes in a little bit and we're waiting the longest time for pete. finally, jer goes to get him and it turns out he was upstairs, waiting for us, reading henry rollins' "get in the van." whoops, everyone was in waiting mode! we thank dennis much and shove off.
I take the boat east again on the I-10. pete's got lots of questions regarding hank's book, he's tripping on how we toured in those days and how things were. he wants to know why hank put stuff about him and spot being belig w/each other. I tell him he better ask spot himself. he's amazed at all the belig flag got in england, how all those audiences spit and threw so much shit at them. "trendy herd behavior," I tell him. all humans are capable of this and we must always stand vigilant against it cuz it stinks and is mindless. for being such a good musician, pete is very curious about the social implications of the old punk days - he's always asking me about it. that's cool about him, he doesn't make harsh judgements about things he don't know much about. it strikes me as very admirable. a lot of cats would dismiss the whole thing as a bunch of fuckups but he's not like that, he's always interested in those days. maybe it gives him a better handle on understanding what makes me the way I am. he's a very cool cat. we come over the border shortly and are in florida. the air's getting really sticky - remember, this boat has no air conditioning. my flannel comes off. not many towns but lots of fir forest as we roll on. past pensacola, we pass into another time zone, we're three hours ahead of pedro time now. there's lots of construction on this road. it makes for a slow go sometimes but in the long run, it's gonna be ways better. this freeway was way bumpy before, much smoother now. sometimes you need short-term hells to make long-term gains. pete trips on the kudzu-like ivy and vines growing on every plant on the side of the road, like green drapes on everything. we don't have that in cali. it is a trip. we make it to tallahassee and I pull us into a lowe's home improvement place. jer needs a screw for one of the kick drum pedals that failed last night. he gets some backups too. smart move, jer. I tell him how tour is hell on the equipment scene - he should've had a backup kick drum head too. we'll try to get that tomorrow in tampa. it's better to come w/that stuff before tour so you're not up against the wall, getting gouged for whatever they're telling you it's gonna cost while on the road. you can be a penny smart but a dollar foolish easy on the road.
onward into town and many blessings for the road atlas software cuz this next venue is on a tiny road that's pretty hard to find otherwise. we're at the new location for the cow haus and it's my first time at this one. it's near the florida state university stadium. it's a yellow-painted cinder block building w/a dirt lot naked of any trees or shade. what a blazer, the sun is beating down relentlessly. almost comical, this heat. incredible. everything locked up but you can hear someone practicing in an adjacent building. a peep in the window and it's a drummer and guitarist working out some math rock, a giant, red stuffed slipper near them. I mean giant, it's almost as big as a person. that's a trip. there's a store selling bizarre stuff around the corner and I take a picture of a this old vw bug body that someone welded wings to - a real bug. across the road and some cherry sours at a gas station for watt. I like these. I return to the pad and meet calvin, the soundman - he's just opening the cow haus up. he's a nice young man and a pleasure to work w/and you couldn't have more of a contrast than w/that dick we had to endure last night. tour shows you all kinds of folks. I check email and get some good advice about this thing someone wants me to do while I'm in nyc in a couple of weeks. there's this thing called punk rock aerobics and they want me to dj it, playing tunes for people to grind aerobics to. that might be a trip. funny how someone would think of me to do that. though I have no records w/me, maybe they have some I can pick from. I must think seriously about this, something to work the heart up - that's what's aeorobics is about, right? punk seems pretty appropriate, it's always worked my heart up! what an excellent idea. yeah, I think it would be good to part of this.
we unload the boat and make a soundcheck. I say hi to bryan, tonight's boss. he's glad to have me and me likewise - the last two gigs I've had here have been at the school, something I don't too much of anymore. used to play a lot more college gigs w/fIREHOSE but those are kind of limiting to non-school folks so I do them less frequently now. like over-twentyone age limit gigs, I hate cutting someone out from seeing me just cuz of arbitrary shit. the more open, the better is what I think. there's a little room on the side of the stage and I go in there to chimp diary. sure is hot. I go get my fan off the stage and set it up there. off goes the flannel. off goes the shoes and socks. pete comes in to chimp his diary on jer's machine. spot comes in to chimp diary (guess he's doing one also, check http://www.noauditions.com) on his too. there's three of us in this little room, all chimping diary. the heat from our machines makes the little room all the more comfortable. after a bit, I'm the only one left in the little room and I'm all done w/the 'puter. I turn the lights off and lay still on the couch. the heat/humidity is oppressive. the opening band, overlords of the underworld, which has ian, a cat I've stayed w/in town here a few times before goes on. they're really, really good - trippy combinations of all kinds of sounds and rhythms. I can hear them easily through the walls. spot is next and man, can this cat pick! his songs w/singing are funny too. pete comes into the room and sits w/me in the dark. soon it's our turn to play. good, cuz it's pretty late.
this is a heavy gig for me in ways. the last time I played this town, I had a pretty major freak out. in fact, probably the worst one ever on stage. I played this one song really badly and then stormed off like a nut. it still brings me much shame to even think of it. I can't believe I behaved the way I did. anyway, I really want to make up for that tonight w/this gig. I'm thinking about that freak-out a lot, sitting here in the dark. I'm trying to figure out what makes me the way I am, why do I do the things I do? I know I'm capable of change and can get better. I'm always hoping to get well and not be so sick, sick in the fucking head. you have people who want to see you work your little bass and tell your stories, not weird out and go bizarre on them. I feel I cheated everyone at the gig even though I did muster enough courage to go back out there, say I'm sorry and finish up. I am quite determined in my mind when we start on set. whoa, but what's this? as soon as the set begins, all the determination flies out the window and I'm scared out of wits, 'pert near paralyzed. it takes everything I have to keep myself going. I'm forgetting everything and internally, am in much of a panic. pete holds strong. jer too, though I can tell it's kind of a hard gig for him but who can put blame his way w/such a fucking space cadet in command? I am not much of an example to follow here. my leg is shaking real bad and I'm forgetting the words. I fuck up the bass solo in the roky tune something awful. I'm a half-step down on the whole thing! how? I've never done that before. I think that freak out from the last tour is playing too much on my mind, like a ghost haunting me right here in the moment. instead of something to rally up against, it's got me playing hand puppet to it's whims. aaaaarrrrrggggghhhh, I wish I had more self-control and command over my emotions. this is so frustrating. I am not running off stage though and will face this shit head on, even if it means fucking clams. no where to run and nowhere to hide, watt. the folks in the crowd are such sweeethearts to play to. there's no yammering whatsoever and they're listening to each note. you couldn't ask for a nicer bunch of people. I'm such a lucky man for this, that and both my guys, who make very proud to be up here w/them - proud of them, not myself. I'm sucking all over this joint. well, that's where I am tonight. I'm trying and trying though to get through it and actually recover a bit. we finish and I apologize much to the crowd but even more, I thank them for the open hearts and kindness. I tell them I can't understand why these things overtake me sometimes but I will not make excuses and promise to do better next time when I come back next tour. it's hard for me to make great leaps, always seems to be baby steps. there was some funny stuff during the gig though I should mention. when spot came up to join us w/some fidola jamming, this lady wanted him louder, said he was stevie wonder. "stevie wonder," said spot. I said he was olatunji. I then said "I'm jane wiedlin and here's my favorite go-gos tune" and we went into "sister ray." I mean, if spot's stevie wonder cuz he's black then I'm jane wiedlin cuz I'm white. this lady meant nothing mean, it just spilled out of her mouth. funny about that. guess everyone's vulnerable to shit going on w/them they don't always understand. standing up there, slinging after the gig, many people talk w/me and say such encouraging things. I'm trembling so and feel so tiny. I want give them all the biggest thank yous I could ever muster. I want them to know they deserve so much better out of me. I will face this shit down and do better next gig, I swear.
we load the boat. we've been invited to konk and john and heather's and heather rides w/us as john follows. a few wrong turns and we're actually going through the stadium's parking lot! we make it to their pad though and there's some righteous cats there. big, siamese-like ones that are quite friendly. I am so drained though that the couch I laid on after first coming in, embraces me in arms of konk, hugging me quickly off to sleepytown.
friday, april 26, 2002 - ybor city, fl
I woke up to the sound of watt chimping on the puter' and rolled out of my bag. Heather and John have a righteous siamese cat and he seemed to love laying on top of my bag and pillow- very cool cat. I took a shower and Heather had made us some bacon and eggs so we strapped on the feedbag and chowed w/ fervor then loaded up the boat and headed towards Florida gig #2 (our most southerly destination). Thank you Heather and John for the good conversation and good vibes.
Didn't chimp any diary on the road to Tampa; Jer was supposed to be doing his so of course he played solitaire. I got myself some real good read and conk time and alternated between "the Horse Whisperer"and the Jungian dream analysis tome. The humidity and heat in the boat was pretty bad but as soon as we got near Tampa it started pouring rain for a good 1/2 hour- this was a welcome let up to the swelter but was short-lived and actually made the humidity worse! we got to the pad around 5:00 (a place called the Orpheum) and waited for the boss man to show up and open the doors (we just parked in front and kept feeding quarters into the meter) Since load in was not until seven and Jer had to get to a music store to load up on spares for his kit, he called up Gabe whose pad we were crashing at that evening. Gabe shows up at the club to give Jerry a lift to the local music store and I decide to tag along. On a whim I ask him if he knows a place where I can get a haircut- He happens to know a cat named Zack who has a shop down the street, so we leg it on down there and sure enough Zack says that he can squeeze me in. We rap while he chops my mop and I notice that he has a lot of nice ink work (I was planning to get some more ink done to commemorate the tour but I'll wait til' I get home so the tat may heal properly) He's done in a flash and does a very kind job to say the least. I invite him to the show but he says he's just going to kick it at home tonite but he'll be w/ us in spirit. I pay him and bid him goodbye. Very sweet man..
The bartender, a sweet young woman named Dawn arrives at 7:00- and pops the hatch of the pad for us. I run in because I really have to go to the head badly, I get inside and the goddamn toilet has only a half of a seat, but in these sitches you just have to roll w/ the punches so I align myself sideways and hope I don't fall in. After I was done w/ the toilet of the Inquisition I walk out to the stage area and start setting up. The sound guy is a young dude named Tsinji and he does a great job on the sound check. Everything sounds good so I grab Jer's puter' and sit at the bar to chimp some diary while Jer does the bam-bam tweaking. I rap w/ Dawn about movies and touring and have a few beers after which Jer bogarts the puter' from me (ownership laws) because he was too busy playing Solitarus masturbatum earlier in the day instead of wasting his time on something as trivial as diary. after a while Tony, the boss of the pad comes and gives us our dinner dough. Me and Jer go down to this joint called the Tampa brewing Co. and jerry gets some chow while I get a dark Hefeweissen. goes to the boat for his customary conk. We get back to the pad around 11:15 and Spot is doing his last few songs. watt comes in w/ thunderbroom in hand and we hit the stage. The set is intense as there is no AC in the pad and very soon it turns into a big fucking schvitz- we are sweating gallons but the set is very tight and we all play our asses off. I open up a cut on the back of my hand doing a gliss and it leaves a nice trail of blood across the keys. The crowd shows us much love and we finish up the set and do the encores. After the show we hung around rapping w/ the fans and we took many pictures and signed many posters. I rapped w/ two cats who were into gospel and I told them about one of the bands I play in back home- Bourbon Jones (we do gospel-blues, Louisiana soul) and I said I'd send them a CD- really nice cats. We packed the tools into the boat and headed on over to Gabe's pad and laid out the bags; Jer and watt conked immediately. Some of Gabe's buds came over (most were musicians), and we drank beers and rapped til' the early morning-(very cool and down-to-earth peeps) I also met gabe's lady jenny, a sweet woman w/ a Betty page do' and style (nice look cheri..)
Around 3:00 AM the sandman started to creep under the eyelids so I bid everyone goodnite and went to hit the deck. Laku noc' sviraci.....
the voices of our hosts stir me to rise and rub my eyes. they're in an in depth w/mike on european art and its links to social awareness. I'm not familiar w/the subject matter and hop in the shower instead of trying to mix. john and heather cook up some break chow and we all feast up. heather tries to convince me to take a kitten from the litter that's scurring in the yard. sorry. no room for felines in the boat though I hope they get a good home. I dig kitty cats. I have two myself, orrie and rufus. those two are enough to handle already and I don't need to add to the kaos. so long and thanks are exchanged and the boat shoves off for tampa. another beauiful day(really)and not too hot of humid yet. I'd say maybe about 5 1/2 hours to tampa and plenty of time for some good snaps of about 10 billion billboards that litter the roadside. this state must have no restrictions on advertising w/bills. overkill. on the way we pass big daddy don garlett's drag race museum that lies between gainsville and tampa. too bad theres no time to check it out. mike mentions that he's stopped there many times and a highlight other than the dragsters is a film of big daddy having a trans blow-up between his legs that loops over and over. ouch! sounds like a quick vasectomy to me. we soon near town and some thunderstorms erupt w/huge drops the size of vw bugs. I guide mike to the area called ybor city where the orpheum stands. this is the oldest part of tampa where the first cigars in america were rolled.
after parking outside the club I go searching for a phone to call gabe from tampa. I need a ride to get some drum stuff at the local corp. music outlet. I leave a message w/gabe and call kel for some update on the home life. she went out last night w/jamie to see the sound of urchin play w/cracker at the house of blues in orange county. got drunk and had a great time she told me. she also ran into zippy from bragain music and he tried his best to scam on jamie. she's a hottie that knows how to handle zippy's kind. denile. we firm up our plans for meeting in philly and I say I'll call tonight after the show. back at the boat gabe shows and we roll out for mars music. I pick up a new set of hi-hats, a ride cymbal and some heads. only $400 total, not bad. were back in time for the check and mike has already thrown the gear w/the boss tony. pete was getting a haircut. I do some chimping at the bar and convince pete to join me for din at some yuppie brewery round the corner. I tell ya' all these towns have the little brew meister bistros going. it's like an infection. I only go cause' they serve quesadilla's and that's good after gig food. back at the orpheum dawn the bartender and owner tony raps up some w/us. I played at tony's other pad in st. petersberg, the state theater, on the last tour. he's a very cool boss to play for.
spot's done and I wake mike for the set. it's broiling inside and I'm told the ac system has been broken for two years. uhggggg! well its sauna time again. shinji the sound guy has a good balance on monitors and I hear everything cutting thourgh. man I'm just emersed in sweat head to toe. these are tough gigs for me. if I can't breath well fatigue sets in quicker. good thing this gig wasn't in the first week of the tour, I'd be too out of shape. playing everynight puts me in a condition I don't obtain at home because of cronic laziness. after the show I guzzle a gal of water and try to oxygenate me blood. some kind folk come over to talk to pete and myself for a bit. we sign some poster and take a few snaps w/em'. one girl tells of not usually coming here cause' the air gets so heavy w/o the ac, but she wanted to see mike and the band. thank you for bearing w/the conditions folks. we pack up and head for gabe's pad. I call kel from the porch and wish her love and sweet dreams and talk a little w/rilei. she almost hangs up the phone again. I hear her say bye bye and kel then says the same to me. I go back inside and konk on an air mattress in the living room.
pop and say hi to the righteous cats combing the living room. hose of in the shower, so good to be free of that shit plugging the pours. maybe I should hose off before I konk but I'm so beat by the time we arrive for konksville, I can't make it. anyway, I feel much better. ever since the sickness, although not as much as right after then, when I wake up I feel like there's cardboard or balled up wads of dried up newspaper all in my middle and there's no blood in me - like I'm all dry inside. it's a weird feeling. I start chimping on the 'puter to get over it. heather gets up and makes me coffee. she's young and going to college for art. she talks to me about art and a paper she's writing on the futurist movement. she's surprised I know about that stuff - and dada, and surrealism - marionetti, tzara and breton - the cats that started those movements. I know some stuff about art - raymond pettibon's my best friend and taught me lots about it and even more, inspired me to read all I could when I was a younger man. it was very interesting to me, being a sailors son and a punk rocker - I mean, in the 70s sense - where there was lots of crazy traditions from those days being embraced by the scene. it was just a new form of rock and roll in ways. it was a trip so I learned all I could about wild folks from fifty to eighty years before cuz of the weird parallels. we talk about the job of the artist and how it's changed - who and what it serves. I guess only a way though, funny how things change - the more they kind of stay the same. obviously, the renaissance had a big impact so I tell her to check out the autobiography of benvenuto cellini cuz it's a trip. raymond gave me a copy to read years ago. it's wild. the self-reliant man, sort of like what's called d.i.y. these days. heather's boyfriend john wrote a paper in school about the balkans so pete can and does tell about that. intense. we stayed w/some aware people this time. spot and jer don't have much to say, that's ok. some eggs, toast and bacon and we're off. john first has me talk to his friend j.p., who's very surprised to hear me on the other end of the horn. I'm told to tell him to come to the gig tonight in tampa. ok, thanks john and heather, we're off.
I wheel us in the boat down I-75. it's kind of calm weather-wise as we make through the florida green. some hills around gainesville though I think the highest part of florida is in the three hundred foot range. it's pretty flat and that makes it easy on the boat. the heat and humidity start to climb though and that's no to easy on us humans. we stop for some subway sandwich and it's turkey breast for me. I get gas at a pad next door and on the other side of the pump island, this guy is jump starting a car w/jumper cables - aahhh! hope it don't spark w/the gas and all - how fucking insane! I guess I've done a lot of stupid shit in my life too. back in the boat and onward south into florida. tonight will be me our most south gig of the tour and you can fucking feel it, it's sweltering in here and so fucking sticky. aaahh! we pass ocala, home of the big daddy don garlits drag racing museum. I've been there on several occasions but wish I had the time to take my guys here. closer to tampa, I think I smell rain and sure enough, drops come down on us. big, big drops and then a torrent but it's still fucking sweaty - what's that about? then, as we turn east a bit on I-4 for the first exit to get off - rain gone. bizarre. we pull into the old part of tampa, called ybor city. I haven't played this part of town in about seven years. it's been gentrified into pretty yuppieville now but the pad we're playing at, the orpheum, is pretty happening. the boss here is tony, a cat w/english origins who I dig much. he helps me load in while pete gets a haircut and a friend of mine here, gabe, helps jer get some drum stuff in his truck. we talk about english 60s rock music and how most of it was so u.s. influenced. I tell him I thought the most "english" of the english 60s rock people was syd barrett. I really liked him and thought he seemed very "english" though I liked the cream and the who too but they seemed very steeped in u.s. blues and r & b traditions. tony has some funny syd pink floyd stories. he's brought lots of pears, bananas, peaches and grapes. he says it would be trippy that I'd like pears cuz he figures they're not that popular in this country. he says in england, it's about fifty-fifty between apples and pears in popularity. I just love the fuck out of pears and chow three of them. I have a couple of bananas too. in fact, I don't chow any dinner again - didn't last night either. just don't feel like it, the fruit seems enough. am healthy though. a quick soundcheck w/the soundman, shenji, who's from osaka, and we're done w/that. he's a nice cat.
I go back to the boat. I chimp some diary but the warmness from the 'puter is making things even more stifling. damn, I want to get some thoughts out. you know, I put feelings out in the tour spiels but I have to say I feel kind of ashamed of my feelings - lots of time, I don't know why I get them or where they come from. even I can make a good guess, I'm not sure what assumptions are being made from that perspective. the relativeness is a slippery, moving rug I'm trying to let my thoughts dance on. there is a part of me that is aware that I have stay on course and not sink knee deep in the shit and get stuck. I have to plow and plow. I have learned to tell myself that things that come to me are crazy and inappropriate. just cuz they're my feelings and maybe even coming from deep down, it doesn't mean they're proper. the goal, I think, is to channel the energy that's going in to thinking such thoughts into my music, into the little bass - composing on it, operating it, making it sing. this is the way I can climb my purgatory and make something out of it. I can't sink into the pit my mind may have dug for myself, self-absorbed shit that's self-deluded, strangled and stifled. I realize the wrong ways and keep them in check w/this constant awareness and criticism. however, this is not enough. I need good works. true, I'm very concerned about causing nightmare to others and trying to be responsible. I feel I've disappointed folks that are very important to me. they had such great expectations for me and then the crazyness and insane ways just make them run for the hills. there's not a total rotten feeling about cuz I feel good about not fooling someone or pulling the wool over their eyes. I want them to know the truth, no matter what the personal cost to me. life has taught me this is the only fair way one can live w/themselves. you can't live a lie - well, I can't. I am what I am. thinking about that then, maybe there's things I can try to change - things I want to change about me, maybe. I don't know, that's where the laughing medicine can help. I will not sell myself as a bill of bullshit though, won't do it. what really is gained by that, what are the ends of those means? possessions regarding this mean nothing, this is stuff that's shared and not took or foisted. maybe I would rather drive someone away than have the bullshitted or fooled/tricked into some hypnotized, glossed-over trance sleepwalk. especially if they were desperate and/or weak enough at the time to let that happen. that would be truly pathetic and the worst of all worlds. bass, spiel, art, expression, feelings, needs - all this such potent components for the big mixture, let alone the physical side to things though I have to say, at this point, things have weighed in more on the mental stuff. shit, the blows I've taken physically, I'm just grateful, I'm still in the ring and really kind of look upon them as gifts and maybe not so much to feel sorry for. there's feelings I want to have that lead to things I can be happy about but I truly want them to be genuine and not stoop to stupid shit like trying to fool myself. events in my life these past recent years have produced feelings and emotions and all that up to here in me - no short supply of that. what I want now are works and translations of those things into shit I can live w/and stand tall about. god, one of things I really loved about being a minuteman w/d. boon was being a doer and not just a spieler. the paralysis I feel these days, the indecisive and tentativeness is a fucking nightmare and doesn't sit natural w/me but I know these days some of that's call for, where I am at life and all that. I have to bail myself of stupid shit and behavior - just cuz you think some shit doesn't make it right but you gotta forgive yourself some - shit, it's all about growing up and learning the hard way - hopefully, not to hard or too deep a hole (or pit, like I said before) to dig yourself out of but you gotta go through that shit. aahh, I'm not a fucking self-pummeler for the sport of it! I put these thoughts out, believe it or not, in hopes in might inspire confidence in others trying to inspire themselves. it helps me to get occupied constructively too so I won't go totally insane or self-destructive. the middle years for watt are about keeping himself busy! now that less time is left makes it all the more vital and not just make-work, if you get the drift. this is a big reason for concerns I have regarding what I'm getting done and why I want to get more sure-footed about but at the same time, I want to wake myself up w/breaking more ground for me. I am curious to see what I become! that's funny cuz I know I work the bass, that's what I do but I want to know what I can do w/this little bass, what journeys I can take it w/and shit like that. in ways, I don't feel prepared enough for this tour - emotionally especially. but it's fire I have to walk through, I cannot cower. to write this might seem pretty pointless but you would have to be stewing in this head to understand why I have to yank these thoughts out. this is where I'm at. I have to confront it. you folks reading this can witness that, such is a watt tour spiel. this is not something in a meantime for sure. funny, but I think of some poem parts. these things come at weird times. little life perservers.
so goes the swelter mental session in the back of the boat. jer comes to the back hatch and tells me spot's done. I get dressed cuz it was impossible to lay in this fucking kiln w/clothes on. chris grier, a friend who lives in sarasota greets me and gives me a little amp that's been built into a altoids tin for tom watson. he's got some dave's insanity sauce for me too, both the regular and the limited edition. I've just been through the brain-towel ringer and not too talkative so I apologize for not measuring up to his round of twenty questions. sorry, chris. onto the stage. damn, the mic is really loose on this stand, twirling like it is so. oh well. it's funny about little things and trying to get it together. I do some spaceouts but nothing last night - I have more nerve for sure, it was good to pound those thoughts out in the boat-shvitz just before. also, having something like that choke the night before in tallahassee really gives me reason to try hard and rally back. oh these crazy cycles! not a lot of air in the pad w/the folks up close, I can tell jer's choking to death. pete like it that way. thank god I got the fan blowing on me. we do an alright set, much a recovery from last night's pants-pisser on my behalf. I sling am very grateful for the sincere niceness - do you understand why I want so hard to do well w/this music thing? it's not all about watt, believe me. I owe these folks, owe them big time. they want challenges out of me too but they deserve my best and what my traditions stand for. they don't slouch, the don't need slump nor strut or swagger. they shouldn't have to deal w/the weak in the knees emotional shit either but unfortunately I can't get that too together right now. tony's right at the side of the stage - what a boss, he's tripping on what we're doing. that means a lot to me. thanks, tony. thank you good tampa folks.
we pack up and gabe gets in the boat to take us to his pad. I am really beat - all that thinking bogarted out the konking so when I get on the couch, it's toot-toot philadelphia and quick. I do let the intense dog of the house "read the newspaper" the way they do. some news from pedro for her. then sueno for watt.
saturday, april 27, 2002 - jacksonville, fl
Had some trippy, but not disturbing sueno during the night (I think the heat makes it worse) but I was still feeling good and healthy (I've dropped about 7 or 8 pounds so far). Gabe woke up and toasted up some bagels while I made the coffee and we all munched while watt loaded up the pics from the digi-snap into the puter' and chimped some diary. We loaded up the boat and sailed out towards Tampa. Thanks for the good vibes Gabe and Jenny.
The heat and humidity was pretty bad and we were broisting it up like a trio of Thansgiving turkeys in the boat when we hit a plug in the freeway around Orlando; it was a major parking lot (we would have three more as the trip progressed) because of the traffic going into Disney World and the Epcrotch center. Very lame; we lost over an hour of travel time but we soldiered on towards Jacksonville. We made it to the pad around 3:00 and we had laundry to do(there was a laundromat right around the corner of the club) so we loaded up the machines and sat around while the clothes steeped and dried. Jer chimped diary, watt chimped diary and rapped w/ me about the early futurist movement and dadaism; how it was exemplified in the early UK punk scene by Maclaren and others, its shift to the east coast and its origins and effect on the mainstream at the time. Very compelling stuff.
Our cleanup mission completed, we pulled the boat into the back of the pad (a place called "Jack Rabbit's"), and did the load in and set up. Spot showed up and we did the soundcheck; the soundman, a cat named Keith did a really good job on the monitors and FOH and everything sounded great. Muchos kudos to you bro. The boss of the pad, Tim showed up and lined me and Jer up w/ some beers and we rapped for awhile; Tim is originally from San Diego in Cali and had a pad down there called "brick by brick' which he ran til' he moved to Jacksonville and opened up Jack Rabbits w/ his lovely (and very business shrewd) wife Annie. Me and Jerry were getting hungry so we walked a few blocks down the street to the fufu part of town to hunt down some chow. We found a joint called "Rock n' Roll Sushi" and went in to munch; the pad was way hype (guitars and bubbly multi-colored neon on the walls) , but the chow was decent and the sake was kind. Feeling well sated, we headed on back to the pad to see what was happening. The doorman slapped some wristbands on us( Jer put his in his beltloop, binga style) and we went in. Watt had already conked in the boat so me, Jer and Spot kicked it in Tim's office rapping about the music biz and munching on chips and habanero salsa. I called up Lil the kill and we talked then she put baby Tony on the line; I really miss him and the girls(Pickle and Cindy) a whole lot, so it really made me feel good to hear his
little voice. I told him to take care of mom and the girls and to be a brave little sailor and tata (pop in croatian) would be home soon. He said "OK tata, I wuv you ba-bye". He's my little man..
The first band, some cats called EMA, started up and they were pretty head twisting; reminded me of the velvet underground- too bad the place was a graveyard w/ only a couple of people watching. Support your local musicians I always say. I went to go conk in the boat as the heat really saps you and I desperately needed some shut-eye.
Jer wakes me up as Spot's doing his last tune and I was feeling extremely disoriented, so I splashed some cold water on my face to snap me out of it. We started setting up the tools and me and Jer are immediately accosted by an obviously very borracho dude who was pulling cans of beer out of his pants and wailing em' down. He was being majorly bellige, commenting on the keyboards while yelling for watt to come out; he was also following women on their way to the bathroom and banging loudly on the door, beating his hands on the first band's drum kit at the side of the stage- just being a fucking putz. We finally went on and when I stepped up on stage, sideburns (this is the moniker we annointed him with), shoots me a red-eye watery glance and tells me "I've got my eye on you". This dumbass obviously had an agenda.
We played the first three songs better than ever, but we had a trio of hecklers(sideburns, some other drunk fuck named Zack, and some woman) who decided that they wanted to run the show and started w/ the taunts on watt. We're all on stage and sideburns keeps yelling "where's watt"?, "wake up mike"! and other similar incoherent babble. Watt tell's the putz to give him a break- he doesn't want to tell him what do like a cop, but to just let us do the job and not ruin it for eveybody else (this show was being simulcast on the net so it was all caught in its full glory). Somebody else yells out "welcome to Jacksonville" and we all had a little laugh. Sideburns however would not let up and he starts grabbing Mike's leg and watt flips him the bird. "what's wrong mike?", you don't like me mike?". Watt tells him to start his own band... "you want me in your band Mike"?, "do you play guitar mike"? This fucking twit was like a bad case of the shits you get after eating spoiled sushi. "Too slow mike, play faster mike"!, "why you flipping me off mike?- Mike purposely starts up w/ a slow version of "om-om-om" to not placate this kretin; sideburns responds by trying to start a solo mosh pit. The crowd backs away feeling a little intimidated and somebody yells out "shut up" ! asshole finally gets the picture and fades away to the back of the room (one down, one to go). Without losing a beat, another moron by the name of Zack starts piping in on watt's right. (this cat has a cell phone and he's rapping w/ someone in a loud voice during parts of a tune.) "I wanna get in the diary mike", ("keep talkin' bro" watt replies) - Someone else yells to the cat- "don't be a fascist"- Zack says, "I'm a fascist mike". We get thru the set but the guy has sapped ours and the crowd's energy. Zack just doesn't want to let go and he continues making comments; Watt breaks a string and in the interim tells Zack that he will have a very special spot in the diary; I comment "yeah, a big spot". Zack says "fuck you man"! and I decide not to fuel peg boy's fire anymore. ":yeah you better be scared" he says. Ya know Zack, you'll make somebody a fine binga in prison because that's where you're going to end up one day my beer-marinated friend.( maybe you and sideburns should get together) I sincerely hope you don't take anybody else out on your way down. You did win tho' Zack, you got your spot in the diary.
We did the encore tunes and the crowd was appreciative. Some came up and apologized for the behavior of the two morons and a bunch of cats offered us a place to stay. We opted to crash at the pad of EMA's bass player, Kevin. Gina, Kev 's lady told us it was about a 20 minute drive to the pad so....an hour later we got to the pad and laid out the bags(nice house). Gina made us some pasta and we rapped w/ the rest of the EMA cats til' about four in the morning after which I conked....hard.
I wake and jump in the shower fast knowing we have to jam soon. gabe makes me some bagels and I'm out the door. another muggy day ahead and we have to traverse the state by way of the middle. this route takes us straight through orlando on a saturday. not only is disneyworld/epcot center making plug, but the orland magic nba squad has a playoff game at the exact time were passing by. major plug hell. the road slows and the heat grabs hold. it takes over an hour to go 15 miles. I need a cold drink badly. we stop at a gas station and I get in line for the toilet. there's a man in front of me pacing inpatiently and I assume someone else is in the can. the lady at the counter is yapping on the phone while helping customers and after about 8 min of this she finally says your gonna need the key. what! that sucked. the guy in front of me turns and tells me he asked the lady if a key was needed. I guess she was to fuckin' busy w/her call to care. I'm about to burst. post-tinkle I feel enlightened and board the boat for the last leg. we get to jax early and stop at the laundry next to the club. my clothes got done at dennis's in mobile and I just wash my sleeping bag. the magic game is still going so I catch the second half and chimp some. load in is at 5 so I call my dad and wish him a happy b-day. he's 72 today and I'm so glad he's still around. back on christmas eve he had a heart attack and was hospitalized for a week and a half. the end result was a quadruple bypass and complete dietary rework. now I can say he's doing great. lost I think about 25 lbs. and walks two miles a day. my dad's a trooper. also talked w/my sis t who was helping dad w/a new lathe she bought him. now he can make me some drumsticks custom to my taste.
at jackrabbits the boss arrives and I slip into find the floor plan has been changed from the oct. show. much more space and p.a. headroom. after check I get pete to go w/me to a sushi joint two blocks down. a california roll and 3 pieces of fish along w/some miso is plenty for me. we return to the club and head into tim the bosses office so I can get interneted and check e-mails. the conversation hindges on music and I find that tim used to own a club in san diego called brick by brick. I played this pad once, but that was after he sold it. he goes through the history of how he came to be in jax and what almost ended it before it began. I guess some drunk guys got into it the first month the club opened and the end result was a knifeing outside. appearently they were both told to leave and one guy decided to finish it right there. the bigger of the two had left then returned to confront the smaller dude. small guy was on his motorcycle w/girlfriend on the back ready to leave. big guy starts acting big and little guy porks him w/a blade in the leg. it seems the slice was right on target and cut the main artery in the leg. it turned out the big guy lost his leg and tried to sue. in court 2 years later after all the fuss w/the lawyers and insurance co. the case got thrown out when big guy admitted to being drunk, asked to leave, and returning to start a fight. good thing for tim since he still has the club and he didn't get raked over the coals. well spots done and we hit the stage. now before the show this sloshed rebel is lurking near pete and myself trying to get attendtion the wrong way. his says something about his ass and I tell him to "park it in your ass!" he walks over to the women's toilet and starts banging on the door. they should have tossed him right there, but no. when we start this guy we'll call sideburns has lost all self control and begins to says f-you to mike while grabbing his leg. I can tell mike is pissed when he flips the jerk off. this goes on for a couple songs then sideburns starts his own pit. nobody joins in and he soon becomes detested. thatís when the other heckler hops aboard. "play something fast mike, can you play 6 string mike, lets go take gravity bong loads mike" this guy plowed on and on. I give mike credit for not snapping on him. it just added fuel to their moment of glee. we play on and finish w/our encores.
off stage a girl named gina invites us to stay w/her and boyfriend kevin. I ask how far to her pad, she says 15 min.. ok talk to mike I tell her. they're part of the first band. I talk w/mike's friend rob from st. augustine for a couple and regret we can't stay this time. it's to far to drive south then backtrack in the morning. so we load up and start to follow em' when I realize I forget my computer in tim's office. shit! we go around the block and already lose our hosts for the night. luckily they come back and I get the puter'. on the drive I keep worrying that something else got left, but itís just in my head. soon we notice that this drive is way over 15 min.. now more like 45 min. and climbing. some people can't judge time and distance at all. we arrive at the pad and it's been an hour. at this rate we could'da went to rob's (only 45 min. from the club)quicker. I get out of the van and say "that wasn't 15 min.!" to gina. kevin replys "you told them 15 min.?" ack. I go inside and find a mattress in a room far from spot who joined us on the trek. after some late night pasta I go and crash.
pop and hose off, such a relief to get that crud off me. I feel a bump under my ear, behind my jaw. maybe a swollen gland? jer said he got a swollen gland on his neck after smoking two backwoods 'gars but then it went away when he didn't smoke any more. I'm stopping the cigarettes then. I can't get sick just two weeks into the tour, just can't. this has me a little scared. more stress for me. what would tour be like w/out stress? there's coffee out that gabe told me to make when I popped so I make that, swallow it down and start chimping diary. nothing like that to get my mind from exploring all the nightmares the stress brings on by writing about shit that actually happened and think less about shit that could happen. I pack a bunch of feelings in the tour spiel, not like I'm not always trying to but I feel really inspired to stuff it up now.
we thank gabe and I pull the boat away and down the road. easat on I-4. we hit some fucking plug on the freeway. aaarrrggghhh. saturday and lots of lemming behavior towards disneyworld. our great fortune. you think coming from l.a., you'd get to use to it but you never get use to this shit, never. you just learn calmer ways to try and deal w/it. jer feeds me chewable vitamin c - we call these insanity pills. when I start getting a little insane from this plug shit, I chew on one of those. works! I think it gives me time to think about the anger and vent it, not let it well up in me. huge plugs around orlando, aaaaarrrrggggghhhhhh. we get off the freeway for gas and get some subway sandwich chow for the gullet. I use some of that limited editon dave's insanity sauce for my turkey breast one and the visions come up on me righteously... in my head, fireworks across the windshield! wow, big rushes on the brainski. we stop for gas and jer's behind this cat for the longest time, waiting to piss in the head. jer's doing the stomp dance. after a while, the lady behind the counter goes, "you need the key here." aahhh, they were waiting on no one! poor jer. we're back down the road. more plug. damn, almost all the way to daytona, where we turn north on I-95. we pass saint augustine, the town w/the oldest house in north america, also home of rob, the poster and sticker man. off the freeway as we approach jacksonville and into the san marcos part where jack rabbits is. that's the name of the pad we're playing tonight. I've been there many times. there's a laundromat a block away and I do stench, a tour-spiel term for laundry. first one of the tour for me and we're almost two weeks in - pretty good. fortuitous too cuz I am out of outfits. several levis left but no flannels, zip. I'm wearing the wool one I cover the radio in the boat w/and believe you me - this is not the weather to be wearing a wool flannel! the laundromat is happening though for coolness which I don't remember it ever being like this. usually the dryers make it a living hell but I find a duct pouring cold air down from the ceiling and place a chair there to chimp diary while my stuff gets washed. good deal. next door is a sandwich shop that is always closed when we get here but this time it's still ten of three and I get a chance to taste what they make. I get a liverwurst sandwich w/mustard, lettuce, onion and tomato on rye - something I usually only get in new york city. it's ok, not like the ones from that town but still ok.
wash done - I only fold the levis cuz what's up w/folding cotton flannels? and fuck underwear, I hate them as they are anyway and only tolerate them cuz I don't want to get sick - they earn no respect from me. same w/socks - hate all that binding, fascist shit and just barely tolerate it. I never wore either of them my entire 20s and 30s and most of my teen years. I live in cali so what the fuck? however, after the sickness, the doctor told me, "mister watt, you have to change" and so I did. aaaaarrrrrggggghhhhh... I go over to the club and the bossman, tim, is there. whoa, the pad has changed - they knocked down a wall and it's more than twice as big. tim's a nice man and we talk about things. his wife comes w/some stuff for us - some righteous pears, wow a couple of them are red, that's a trip. must be a hybrid, huh? she had trouble at the store. seems the lady in front of her in line was the owner's ex-wife and a huge war burst out between them. yikes. she got some good plums too. I love pears, peaches and plums. we load in, sound check w/soundman keith and I chimp further diary in tim's office. he's gone to another gig he's doing. his answering keeps going off, people are calling and I gotta keep hearing "the one and only legendary mike watt returns..." and so on at it makes me very self-conscious. I think this makes me write some heavy spiel about being honest w/myself in the diary. I have to say that despite my intentions and aspirations, I'm sort of a sentimentalist, someone nostalgic and that makes me kind of sick. I don't like being that. it seems the only thing that can really force me into the moment is hurting, cuz then I have no choice but to be aware - so intensely aware and living it - that there is no choice. I'm always thinking of moments that were so incredible for me, impressions so deep that I want just keep returning and returning to them even though who knows what part of that memory has any accuracy left in it at all. my mind seems bend up and twist everything like a sideshow mirror. I'm terrified of the future so I stay as far as possible from that. chimping the diary and dealing w/the day before kind of keeps me from romanticizing what just happened cuz it's so fresh and kind of branded into the end for a bit. I have less time for warping it before it gets spit out. I am aware of this problem but like other compulsions I have, they are to get a handle on. at least I'm not so deluded I can't confront myself on it. it seems when I'm less vigilant, they creep in and I catch myself wallowing in them 'till I get fierce on me and holler "what's up?" this is a constant struggle for me. singular events that appear to be radioactive-like, emitting ghosts images that hypnotize and captivate me - hold me hostage even. I feel so helpless at times. it's fucking pathetic. that's why the struggle w/the works and dealing w/the now is so very important for me. I have no other ground to really stand on. it seems more and more like quicksand every day. I am aware of this, I believe this, I want to do something about this.
this chimping wrings me out and I go to the back of the boat to konk. what a relief, the weather is a tiny bit calmer. I konk quick and deep. I can't remember if I dreamed or what. I know I was really tired. jer wakes me right in time for the gig. I missed spot. I missed the opening band, ema, too. sorry, it was much needed konk. can you cry when you're konked cuz my glasses are totaly blurred w/liquid whatever. maybe it was sweat. I don't why I had them on anyway except maybe that's how quick the konk came on me. whatever, time to play. right away, there's some guy hollering at me. he's obviously drunk. that's great cuz there's this cat named scott from http://www.radioio.net who's gonna record and then netcast tonight's gig, the first for the secondmen. this guy will not let up on me and I ignore him pretty much. we do the first three tunes (the ones from the sickness piece) probably the best of the whole tour. I am focused as much as I can, that chimping purged many thoughts that can contaminate a gig - that's a good thing. the heckling from this guy gets more and more weird, him talking to me, using my name, like we're have a one-on-one conversation but real loud so it's bogarting on everyone - oh boy. he wants stuff faster. so intsead of "bedtime story," I go into "om om om" which is even slower. mabye this cat will leave. he's unrelentless, it's a nightmare. he grabs on the leg and I accidentally give him a little middle finger cuz I am way weak in the knees - they can pop at any second if I take a blow there - and was scared. I really didn't mean to do that to him. he might really be nice but the ethanol is doing it's magic on him. I keep focus though, you know - through it all. I maybe even play more intense cuz I can tell the audience is kind of intimidated and feeling weird about this. kind of like the gig is getting hijacked. I break an 'e' string in amnesty report. I start to tell a story, after someone asks me to but of course, this outspoken cat has to hijack that too. funny. I have to laugh - I will not make eye contact though, I can tell that's what he really wants. I tell him I don't want to come on like a cop and tell him what to do but maybe he should start a band or something. that's enough for him. people are getting belig on this guy and finally he leaves. then another guy starts piping up and this guy I've seen at gigs before and talked w/so I know he's not a bad guy but he's wailing on it too! this is too much. I just ignore him pretty much and we go to the b.o.c. song but spot's fidola (his word for a viola) is wailing really hard out the monitors into my face - aahh!!! I ask keith the soundman to turn them down, it takes several tries so I don't know how much of the song's actual lyrics got sung. good thing it's going on the web! sorry blue oyster cats. more heckling, stuff like "do you play guitar, mike?" what's a trip is that this second cat sounds almost just like the first cat but not as mean maybe but the same kind of borracho voice. it's like was a tag team - one guy quit and walked out and the other cat took up the slack. some of the audience is getting quite pissed and I ask the cat to please think about what he's doing cuz he's making it hard for some folks. I go off in "sister ray" and break a 'd' string. I don't stop in this one either or the next one which is the last, "chinese firedrill." what a trippy gig. we get an enocre and that's kind of fun, pete and jer are getting a handle on this stuff and the helps my sad ass out much. thanks, pete and jer. I give it to "little doll" pretty good, kind of.
nice spiel from folks makes all the heckling shit water under the bridge. I even sign a set list for that second heckler who wanted us to stay at his pad and "do gravity hits." these folks from that ema band offer us their pad to konk at - this lady gina says "it's fifteen minutes away." after more than hour of following their truck, I'm laughing my head off! you don't how many times people underestimate times to get where. they're really nice though, I'm just so fucking tired and when we finally get to their pad, I am down for the count. it's 2:30 in the morning and they start cooking pasta! good luck, folks - watt is out and done. they offer me a bedroom to konk in but it's ok right there in the corner of the living room on the deck. thank you good folks and good night. out.
sunday, april 28, 2002 - charleston, sc
Gina made us some pancakes for breakfast and we chowed down. We had a hellride ahead so we popped anchor and bailed. Thanks Kevin and Gina .
I again chimped diary for most of the ride so it was relatively uneventful. We got to the pad (a place called the Cumberland grill) around 3:30 and the boss man was there, so we did the load in. I rapped w/ the boss for a while (A very nice Iraqi gentleman named Sinan) about Italian popular music and art and how there was kind of renaissance of all things Italian in certain parts of the middle east in the mid and late sixties(knowledgeable man) Sound check wasn't until 7:00, so me and Jer went to scope out the town and grab some chow. We ate at a joint called the "smokehouse brewery"; the chow was very kind and we felt well sated afterwards. We walked back to the cumberland and took the scenic route; we legged on past the waterfront and saw the carrier USS Yorktown permanently moored across the bay.(Unfortunately we didn't have time to check it out up close) Charleston is one of the more beautiful towns we have passed thru on the tour(I really wouldn't mind living there)
We got back to the pad around 6:30 and waited for the sound man to arrive. Spot had already gotten there as had the first opening band " Damned Ole Opry". Ryan, the sound man arrived and miked up the tools and we did the "Red & the Black" everything sounded good and I gave Ryan the Coltrane CD for later. I was really beat and my throat felt a little scratchy, so I went to the boat for a conk. I was just starting to nod out when "Damned ole opry" started so I listened for awhile. The cats had a real rockabilly vibe going but they said they were country; it reminded me of being back at the Blue Cafe in Long Beach. I finally conked after awhile.
Woke up at the beginning of Spot's set and had a couple of drivers' w/ Jer and rapped w/ some fans. I also met a cat named "Rockin' Robney", a minutemen fan from way back who introduced me to a local radio dude. We hit the stage and plowed thru the set; the crowd was very gracious and showed us a lot of love and respect (I love Charleston). They sceamed for more so we went up and did the encore; once again they gave us many good vibes. We packed up the tools and went back to the pad to rap w/ some of the fans while Mike took care of business w/ the promoter. I also thanked Ryan for the great sound altho' mike was getting shocked by his microphone and getting some strange hiss out of the bass amp that was very unnerving during the soft parts of some of the songs; Ryan changed the mic but could never figure out what the noise was (hills and valleys). I personally felt real good about the gig altho' I once again opened up the cut on my hand and bloodied up the keyboard; still tho' it very much made up for the fiasco in Jacksonville. We hopped in the boat and followed these two cats Kevin and eric to their pad where we were crashing while a bud of Jerry's (Hart) sat shotgun in the boat for backup. We got to the pad and had a few beers and rapped about the gig, then we all hit the deck and conked happily. I got to sleep on a bed!!
laku noc sviraci...
getting up when mike comes into our room me and pete are treated to a sideshow by the boss. whips, baseball bats, knives, swords and a very gay hat adorn mr. laughs. breakfast is cooking and I get a cup of tea to start the day. gina has made three kinds of pancakes and their all great. I thank them for the hospitality and we resume the road. looks like a 5 hour drive to charleston. this is the town where the civil war started. fort sumner in the bay across from the town, though it didn't get burned like many other cities during the war. on the way I get shotgun and snap away at many rivers that dot the landscape. the features all of the land are flat and boggy. good mosquito breeding grounds. something I dread. I guide mike in and we park next to the club. we get loaded in and set up early so pete and I go for a walk around town. it's a beautiful place w/many old building and a great walkway along the water. you can see the aircraft carrier yorktown on the other side of the bay. I find a brewery place and we sit to dine. some dixieland band is playing oldies inside and I enjoy the change of style. I get some pasta veggie dish and it's great. pete hangs w/a salad. he's on the slimfast diet. back at cumberland's I chimp up in a booth between mike and spot. were all chimping like a troop of circus chimps. soon soundguy brian shows and we check up. afterwards pete and mike konk and I decide to take a walk round the neighborhood. there's an old market place that used to be a slave trade depot in the old days. strange to think people were sold like daily fruit. near the market is a antique store w/natical garb for the theme. lots of little sea captain figurine, boats, boat house wheels, and one engine telegraph in the front window. they're closed and I would have loved to see how much the telegraph was. it look good in the home. I walk back to the club and wait for our set.
pete wakes and we kick and watch the openers. there a rockabilly band from nashvegas. all in hawaiian shirts w/tunes that run into eachother, you know all sounding the same. someone next to me asked if I know barbara ann. I look and its this cat hartwell. we jammed together in l.a. w/barbara last year and he now lives back in s. carolina. I rap some w/him and give my e-mail for when he returns to l.a. this summer. the crowd was late arriving and what seems to be a cave eariler is packed up good. we get a good groove going and the folks are behind us. I feel were playing much more solid than last week. off stage I see hart and he mentions a pad close by we might be able to crash at. kevin's the cat w/the house and mike has already hooked up w/him.
I grab my stuff and stroll inside to the couch. some girl from the gig is lounging and I start talking about tattoos. she's got a few and I convince her to lift her dress to see the back art. nice ass! I soon figure that she's w/kevin and try not to push the flirt much further. mike's already konked next to us and I ask joy(nice ass)if I can use her cell. kev's doesn't have a phone. w/free long distance I have a long chat w/kel about home stuff and rilei, ya know, whatever. joy comes in and has to go so I wish kel my very best love and go upstairs to crash in my own room.
pop and hose off. 'pert near just recently built pad. baby toys and stuff everywhere, must be a little one w/gina and kevin here. I think I heard her say something about someone watching a baby so the pad was free last night. I was just so tired. usually I shake hard and drip dry like a dog when I hose off at most people's pads but I find a clean wash cloth folded up on a rack. I imagine myself tiny and using this for a towel. ha! back out to gather my bag and stowe it in the boat. it's sunday so I call my ma. she sounds good, says she'll even try and put some of the books I got in boxes on the shelves. that's nice but christ, ma - I'm fortyfour. my little sister marilyn's there and I talk w/her. she's thritynine. she's promised me so long she wants to go on one of my daily pedalings w/the bike, to "share" w/her brother and I'm holding her to it. it's been like three months! well, she'll have to wait 'til I'm done w/this hellride in the boat. it's good to hear both of them though. too bad melinda isn't there too. she's busy w/papers for school, she's at ucla for writing. at fortythree (didn't she just have a birthday?), the using the scissors for hair styling is killing her hand. her feet too so she wants to change career. that's pretty much all there is, we're a small family - me, my ma and both my sisters - no one married, me and my ma the only ones to try that for a bit.
kevin and gina make up some pancakes and talk about the music scene in jacksonville - "rapcore," what they call the limp bizcut scene. after tons of cloning that boilerblate, kevin says it's dying and he's glad. he's got a lot of real neat talk regarding people trying to get their own sound and voice, trying to keep integrity despite all the assaults. great stuff to hear out of a young person. after listening to them intently for a while, it's time for me to roust my men. funny, the room they're in has a bullwhip, a sword, a giant wide-blade super serrated knife and nun-chucks (sp?). bizarre tools. we all three have much fun joking w/this stuff. so glad my cats aren't the cranky kind that are a nightmare to wake up and need coddling. watt is not good at either coddling or adjusting tiaras. no babysitters on a watt tour - rather, young men w/watches.
we thank our kind hosts and wish them much luck w/music and the baby. oh, the baby's name is tripp - a great name, wish I could've met him. maybe next time. we're near jacksonville's loop for I-95 and I take us around the town on that and head north once we do hit the interstate. more swelter in the boat, flannel comes off, even though it's a thin one. shit, I'm using last night's gig one! tour removes all sense of smell after a bit and you can pretty much wear anything and not know and/or care what shape it's in. you kind of have to force yourself to put on shit that's clean. I had that fan blowing so hard on me and tim had the air conditioner going pretty good so by some miracle, I didn't slaughter the outfit. weird. anyway, one more day of outfits to head off the inevitable stench-scrub ritual. I take advantage of that. you never know when you can find a place to do that. I know there's one next door to the pad in albany... hmm, can I hold out that long? we get gas for the boat and I buy a bag of trail mix. whoa, how long has this been on the rack? everything's shrunk to the tiniest of sizes. oh well, down the hatch. have to stay healthy w/this gland under the ear and behind the jaw a little swelled. seems a little smaller today. just can't get sick this near the beginning of tour. I feel good. we pass out of florida and into georgia. they freeway goes over lots of marsh, swamps and slougs here. we're near the atlantic ocean but you can't see it. very effused w/the water ways here, nothing hardly solid. thank god it's early spring cuz the bug scene is a nightmare starting a few weeks later. we go through savannah and across the border into south carolina. only one tank down but I get gas again and buy some 'dines w/crackers, one tin w/them in mustard and one w/them in louisiana hot sauce - anything but oil, that's too heavy. I get us a new atlas too, this one on the dash we got is out of date, the roads changes that much. I get us on the road again and consume the mustard 'dines w/pete infusing them w/the dave's - the little digicamera can take movies too (though no sound) and jer captures some of my chomping w/that. funny. brain is pretty much in the hot vapors w/this fuel - I dig it! not fireworks across the windshield but a pretty good rush. soon after passing coosawhatchie, I steer us northeast on us-17 towards charleston. a good sixty mph road, we pass a lot of drives leading to plantations, must be some weird karma there. I guess they're kind of set up for tours, preservations or whatever - maybe as memorials (?) or something. maybe for tourists but I can't see the folks living around here (mostly black) celebrating the "good old days." damn. lots of selective memory w/the historical inventory, pretty par - like most places. I think the physical aspect of going to check out stuff is important but one should try to get the whole picture, that's where the maximum learning to is, even if it's uncomfortable. like most remembering of things, sentimentalism is right there to bloat things out w/bullshit - not just w/history but w/personal experience too, something I tend to be vulnerable from. confused rememberences, psychological distortions or some weird mix of the two. maybe what one would like to think had been thrown in too. aahh, joyce said "history is a nightmare I'm trying to wake up from."
I bring us into charleston via jer's directions. he's looking for an offramp that doesn't exist so I take the last one we can before hitting these giant bridges that would've taken us to drum island and beyond. luckily, this last exit is east bay and that road goes right through to the old part of charleston. this town didn't get burned in the civil war and there's lot of old new england era buildings and everything. the preservation movement is really strong. we pass the old market and the pad we're playing is right near. it's called cumberland's (maybe cuz it's on cumberland) and the man to let us load in has a strange southern accent. turns out he's the owner and his accent is southern iraq, his name is sinan. he's a middle aged cat and very cool to talk w/and learn from. his club is a neat pad. I chow the other tin of 'dines. that's my chow for the day. this cat, steve and his fiancee drive up and visit w/me. he's wearing a heart monitor and can't make it to the gig, I understand. he's had to radically change his life. he played in the band that opened for me when I was last in this town and has been seeing my gigs for years. a very nice cat. I hope he gets better. I take the digicamera and hoof to the tip of the town's peninsula, the battery. along the way, I snap lots of old pads, the water, the old custom house, pickney fort on shutes folly island. at the battery, they got guns regarding fort sumter here: guns the confederates used on it, guns used by federals to take it back - guns, guns, guns... aahhh. fort sumter itself is kind of far to see from here. that's where the first shots of the civil war went down, by the way. the beginning of one stupid fucking nightmare. all the idiocy should not be forgotten or romanticized, so it's good to have the reality of it shoved in your face and nothing less. there's a beautiful three masted schooner going through the channel and w/it, a breeze so gentle and cool that it brings a righteous calm on me. I daydream on the rail over the water for a bit. then north, back up to the pad. some neat old churches - first baptist, st. john's lutheran, huguenot, saint michael's episcopal and saint mary's. the pads too, big mansions some of them, restored really fine - pretty amazing. I even get lost a bit, caught up in all this but get back right in time for soundcheck w/brian. it's a quick like usual (I hate long ones) and we meet the band playing first, damned ole opry, from nashville. one cat knows duane dennison, who lives there now - that's cool, I dig his guitar playing much. these are some nice guys here. standup bass playing kind of traditional stuff but in hawaiian shirts (!). the lead guitarist talks w/me much about blue oyster cult. that's funny. the singer used to be in a hardcore band called shurnken head and opened up for fIREHOSE years ago in pensacola. what a trip.
I go out to the boat to konk. the weather's calmed way down and I don't even have to take my shirt off to konk. I do hit my fucking knee on the bumper and man, is it hurting. this nice young man who saw me last year but was too young to see the show volunteers to get me some ben gay. damn, does that stuff stink but it helps me. I konk deep. I miss those nashville guys and spot. sorry. I get worn out. I can't sleep in and do all the driving besides spiel and the bass parts. no excuses but I'm not superman - very much quite the opposite of that. god, do I get jealous when I think of the qualities of some men, what makes them attractive. that's pretty sick of me, I know. I then think of the penance delivered to the envious in dante's purgatory: their eyelids laced shut w/wire so they can't see what will make them covet. anyway, the konk shuts my eyes up and gratefully, my head too and I'm out 'til it's showtime for us. no dreams remebered, like I just had the eyes wired shut and w/it, the brain. this concept as been playing on me, a trip how powerful the dante words are on me. we start the gig and it's going pretty good, my best attended charleston show in a while and it's a sunday too - go figure. my guys are playing and you can tell the material is tripping folks out, most of them can't tell what I'm gonna do next. I like that. just wish I had more confidence about it. rockin' rodney's here, a friend from the old days. he's dancing like crazy in the front. he gave me a great 'gar right before the gig. well alright. we have a pretty good gig, the vibe so much different from last night. I spend much time talking w/the folks after, this cat named kevin invites us to konk at his pad. this young man named billy offered too but he's got work in the morning. much respect of him to offer anyway. sure is nice of people to offer kindness and hospitality like that, truly.
we put kevin's bud, hart, in the boat w/us and go to kevin's. I lay my bag out immediately on the couch after arriving and assume the position. folks and talking and such but I can't take much part in it - too fucking zonked. wish I had my mask. forgot to ask tim for it in jacksonville. mike mcguire wrote and said he found it at the bay house and sent it ahead to jack rabbits. shit. oh well. my heavy lids are like little masks anyone. after a bit, that train bound for sleepytown arrives for watt and chugs him away.
read week 1 of the tour diary
read week 3 of the tour diary
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