mike watt + the secondmen
pete mazich - organ, singing
watt - thud staff, spiel
jerry trebotic - drums
spot - special guest
(clockwise from upper left)
steve kaul - the man outside the van
monday, may 6, 2002 - washington dc
Woke up at Kyle's pad covered in dog hair and surrounded by his pooches who were doing a great job of licking my face clean. They are very loving puppies tho,' so no harm done. Kyle whips us up some bacon and eggs for breakfast and we chow down happilly. We load up the boat and set sail for Washington D.C. (Much respect to you Kyle for the cool gig and the hospitality; I definitely want to come back).
I chimped diary most of the ride as I was way behind ( and I was competing w/ an ongoing Solitaire game; ya know, more pertinent shit), and I was reading all three of my books at the same time (gotta keep the mind busy) watt pulled over right before we got to the gig as he wanted us to see the George Washington Masonic memorial (the memorial is also a Masonic lodge that is still in use today). The memorial hall is on the highest hill in town and stands at 333 ft. tall (The freemasons place a great significance on the number 33 and pyramids; all the streets in the town run parallel at 33 degree angles rather than on the grid system and are a nightmare to navigate. Another interesting anecdote is that when George died, the freemasons wanted to place his body in a crypt in the center of the D.C. Capitol building w/ his nose pointing upward towards the apex of the dome. Martha however, was not too cool w/ this idea so George was buried where he presently resides. The Hall is an awe-inspiring sight (a lot of marble and granite) and there is an immense brass statue of George standing in the main hall of the place. Throughout the hall are rooms w/ dioramas documenting various major events in George's life and the ancient origins of the freemasons. I was really glad that watt took us to see this.
We pulled in to the pad (The Black cat) around 3:00 but no one had arrived yet so we went across the street to do some much needed laundry duty (I had to get all the dog hairs off of my sleeping bag). I went and grabbed some chow (very kind chicken souvlaki), and watched my clothes tumble. The pad finally opened and we did the load in (they had a big cargo elevator that we put the tools in as the main stage was on the second floor (again, big room, big PA); they had some real cool old JBL concert series boxes for the mains and about 16k watts driving them and the monitors so we had headroom up the yang and the soundcat (Doug) was a real cool head and miked us up proper. Soundcheck went off well so we retired to the dressing room and chimped some diary and the boss of the pad (Bernie) hooked us up w/ some kind chow and beverages. Kate, another boss at the pad gave us some towels and we had an opportunity to clean up as they had a shower (a very welcome luxury).
Spot started on his set and I went up to watch; The crowd was very cool for a weeknite but we didn't fill up the club (another "character builder" gig). We went up and did the set, the people were into it very much and they applauded enthusiastically but they were a bit reserved (Much respect to them for coming out on a weeknite) I had gotten a second wind after the shower and I was really on; the bananas and water helped me out a lot w/ the cramps and there was no pain to speak of. I did however almost take a dive off the stage during"The Red and the Black" after tripping over a cable (typical on-the-job hazard), but everything was copacetic.
After the set, Jer and I had a couple of double Stoli drivers, rapped a little w/ some of the fans and signed some posters (It encourages me a lot and alleviates my fears when the people come up to me after the shows and tell me that they never knew organ could be used in this musical context; I guess I'm doing my job right and opening up a few minds in the process- which is a good thing. It was starting to sprinkle a little so we loaded up the boat and headed over to Alec Mackye's pad where we were crashing for the evening. Watt, Jer , and Spot immediately crashed but I was too wound up, so I read an article on Alec's brother Ian and chimped some diary til' about four in the morning after which I also hit the deck. Happily... Buona Notte nostri amici... (BTW- thanks very much to Bernie , Kate, and the crew at the Cat' for having us out and treating us right).
I'm awakened early by kyle's dogs looking for a pet and pat. I musta fell asleep at 3 am and now its 9 am. the vodka mixers haven't worn off and I feel the burn hard in my body. maybe a shower will shake the dog hair off. I scope the bath and find it's clogged. kyle is not be found. I opt for a face splash and head to the boat to get the chimp machine. kyle returns and has some fixings for chow. pete's still bundled in the sack and the dogs discover a friendly saltlick in his face. canine cologne. kyle starts describing his wrestling prowess as the american intergender champion (this title was originally held in the early 80's by andy kaufman). now he's the 13th dude to hold the belt. w/that he shoves in a video of a recent match. what can I say, but this is some sorry ass wrestling. lots of prancing and taunting though lacking any hard hitting moves. only 1 decent clothesline a something he calls the stinky poot were notable. good for a laugh and bagging. after chow we stop quick at the pub and mike snaps a poster behind the stage stating the phrase 'all you need is a tremendous sex drive and a great ego... brains don't mean shit!'
the immortal words of capt. tony. we bid adieu to kyle and hop the I95 towards washington d.c.. maybe no more than 1 1/2 hours drive to the black cat club. I was hoping to get an earlier start and have time after laundry to visit the smithsonian at the national mall, but the restraints of a late start will negate this option. mike chooses a stop at the george washington national mason memorial in alexandria va. instead. his interest in the history of the mason's and their practices gives credence to our visit. I wander the halls viewing the relics of our first president and associates connected w/the masonic tradition. arriving at the black cat around 3:30 I cross 14th st. and get the laundry going. its concluded that no national mall visit will be made this trip. my clothes get folded and I return to the club. the stage in this pad is upstairs and a freight elevator makes things much easier. I get set up and check w/soundguy doug at the helm. all sounds great. bernie the boss comes by to see if we have drinks and drops off a menu for din. very tasty veggie lasagna is served here. I chimp some and chow in the green room w/mike kicking on the couch. spot walks in and points his ass, point blank range, directly at mike's head and fires. rrrrip! "what was that for" mike gasps. spot retreats then returns to start a pants down, butt hugger waddle in the center of the room. the exhaust system in his corolla must feed directly to the brain. spot leaves and were perplexed. I chimp some more then head upstairs to watch spots set.
this place has a 900 cap. and we draw about 200. still good draw for a monday, but like athens it seems like less. I don't mind if only 2 show I still love to play no matter what the sitch. we get a rolling and the stage sound is together. the songs run along smooth and I can only recall a couple clams that were small at best. the crowds enthusiastic and urging us to bust out. we walk off after chinese firedrill and pete's still rushing the books ends of the tune. no matter, still a good show. on the encores I can't seem to loosen up for little johnny jewel enough to make it cruise. a little more time and it'll happen. we finish and I join pete for a cocktail while rapping w/some d.c. folk.
I get the loadout going downstairs and run into alec mackaye(the guy were staying with), he's brothers w/ian of fugazi/minor threat. ian's in new orleans for jazz fest so no visit for coffee this time round. after loading the boat and w/spot in tow we follow alec to his pad cross town. I find a good nook behind the couch on the floor and make camp. alec waits for spot to find parking. ain't no place to put the car in this hood. it takes spot about 1/2 hour to return and we point him to the bed in the basement out of reach of our ears. no call to kel, just lay down and I'm out.
pop and hose off upstairs. trippy shower, sporadic cycling of hot and cold streams - don't get too set w/any one way here to long. feels good to get that gig filth off though. I should really think about hosing off when I get to the pad where we're konking after the gig instead of waiting for morning. I'm just so tired though then. konk is the only thing I'm thinking of bathing in then. I take the boat to get some gas cuz the tanks are both at a quarter - the lowest I let them get so as not to suck shit through the lines into the engine. gotta be good to the boat, she's our ark in the tour flood. coming back in to kyle's pad when I'm done, I see the newspaper that was just delivered. I've been putting hardly any energy out to gather news on tour and kind of on purpose - I gotta "put into your (my) bass playing for extra strength on the road!!! : )" I do see something that catches my eye though. seems the thomas jefferson family has voted to keep the hemmings family out. this is pretty fucked, it was like a ninetysomething to five vote. there's dna proof it was some male jefferson but there's not enough of that technology to pin it down to the father of the declaration of independence ("...all men are created equal") himself. well well - so sorry to you, sally hemmings. maybe your day will come. those people who say it couldn't be thomas, say it was another jefferson who liked to "play fiddle and dance w/slaves." whatever. imagine the unimaginable, peckerwoods. we're all one big family anyway.
kyle makes us up some bacon and eggs - I chow it w/some of the sanity sauce and get the brain vapors going. kyle puts a tape of him wrestling a lady on the tv. he tells us about old timers still in the ring. he was wrestling this one fortynine year old lady who, after two minutes into the match said, "bring it on home!" too much. the match he's showing us was a benefit for a wrestler who was in an accident where some lady was yammering on a cellphone, all distracted. damn. still haven't activated my walkie-talkie yet. should do that but I'll only use that for emergency shit - no fucking yammering. thank you much, kyle - time for us now to get down the road. see you again. I sail us north once more on the I-95 for the federal capitol. mild sunny weather today though you can see rain coming in the sky.
I chow some more of those 'dines jumbones gave us. I chow a pear, mmm... love it. only a couple hours for this ride but we're gonna stop first and see something I've taken a lot of my bands to - the george washington masonic national monument in alexandria, virginia. it would've been a simple move but an premature offramp puts in a situation only a loop can remedy - like a half hour worth! stupid fucking watt! on the second try, we get there w/pete and jer pretty tripped out w/this pad. like most folks, they only know tiny rumors about freemasons. like w/most myth, it's good to physically have contact w/"the relics" and they got them here: the clock that got stopped when washington died in 1799, lafayette's apron that he used on his last trip to the u.s., a gavel made from stone out of the solomon temple quary, santa ana's spurs (masons supposedly worked together to keep him alive), the spittoon used in the lodge washington was master of, the strap w/all their little symbols (anchor, ark, beehive, square, ruler, all-seeing eye, etc.) that lowered washington's coffin into the ground, his penknife, the trowel used to set the capitol's cornerstone - stuff like that. it's a huge building, three hundred and thirtythree feet up. quite a view of everything from here also. too bad we don't have time for the tour, it's a trip riding the seven degree incline elevator up near the building's top to really get the sights. you get to see other stuff not open when you just walk around too. oh well. my guys dig what they see, it's a mindblow for them - like a peek at "that man behind the curtain" (remember, the one you weren't supposed to pay attention to?). on the way out, I stop at the gift shop to get a little knife that has tiny scissors for those fucking nose hairs that plague me. it's got a little scottish rite two-headed eagle emblem on it.
we gather at the boat and get up on I-395 and go by the pentagon. scaffolding where there's repairs going on due to last september. then over the potomac, past the jefferson memorial and into the center of town. jer doesn't know about the state-named streets. they're at thirtythree degree angels and impossible sometimes to make a left from so his navigation plans amount to confusion. much rat-in-maze action as we improvise but eventually we find the black cat, where we're playing tonight. great to have a laundromat across the street cuz it's time for chapter two for that part of the tour book. out of outfits. well, I had one more besides the one I had on left but I was coming down to the wire. I wonder why? seems I lasted two weeks w/the first batch. must've doubled up on some days - yeah, I think I did. anyway, time to get to it especially w/the opportunity right there. $3.75 a load - at least it's a big machine and I can get everything in. same w/the dryer and that's a quarter/five minutes. whoa, burn ward. spot got here before us and he's chimping diary out on the sidwalk. he says sometimes it's tough, like last night he tried after the gig, got one word chimped and then konked, right on the machine. damn - sorry, spot. while my stuff is getting machine-scrubbed, I go back across the street and get some pan-cooked pork chops and collared greens at a soul food chow pad called laval's. mmm... good chow. I chimp diary while the outfits dry and right when I get my stuff to the boat (you know I ain't folding flannels) the club is open so I pull the boat around the back.
great to see dante again, always love working for this man. his girlfriend won a case today in court, she's a lawyer but she's shopping for clothes on ebay - why pay three hundred dollars? I'm w/you on that - jam econo! I always get treated very nice here. they cook me a falafel to chow, I love these and wish so there was a place in pedro where I could get them - I only really get to chow them on tour or sometimes up in l.a. pedro needs a pad making chow from india too while I am it. that would be great. anyway, forgot to say we did a soundcheck w/doug, a very cool man to work w/but we did and then me and pete doctor up the salsa they gave us w/the chips. it's got a righteous tart (pete says vinegary) taste but needs some heat so we let the dave's go to work. very happening and a chest hair curler. I'm into it. bernie, dante's lieutenant, comes in to make sure everythign's ok. he played bass on henry rollins' first record and he's very happening people. so glad to see him again too. I chimp diary and then discuss ed wood's "glen and glenda" first w/spot and then w/my guys. none of them have seen it but I think I've perked their interest to. it's an intense movie. one of the most balls-out films made ever. talk about punk. it's a one of a kind movie w/a vision that has compromise nowhere to be found. a pure voice if ever I've been exposed to one. pretty insane to boot. I loved it. trippy that's where my mind's at today. maybe cuz of thoughts I had yesterday and just put in the diary now. funny how the chimping does that, you get a slapback from the day before - like a form of reverb.
one bad thing about tonight though is I don't do my regular pre-gig konk. the boat is locked behind a fence in the back and I can't get in it. damn. so, me and jer are talking in the dressing room, then me and pete are, then me and jer are. then - just before he has to go on the stage too - spot comes in, turns his backsides to us and grabs his ankles - hiking a fartball right out his ass and through the flimsy sweats/cutoffs at the calf short his using as his outfit today. damn, what a brazen blaster! he scoots out of the room, only to return again to pull down his pants and do a little dance for us. hmm... I'm perplexed. time for his gig - me and jer discuss this. we have no answer except we love spot. truly.
our turn next. whoa - lots of reverb. this is a big pad and monday's aren't the strong night in the capitol for watt. so what. I've been asked to "try and flow some insights through positive love vibe signals from your bass" and I announce that before we start. I'm sincere about that and try my best. I do get a little spaced though, maybe it took some energy or more likely, I'm suffering the effects of not konking before the gig. aaaaarrrrrggggghhhh. I blow some clams. not ones bad enough where my guys can't follow and cover for me but chokes where my mind goes kind of blank and I feel weak in my joints. it's weird. there's a cable on the ground that forces my footing bad and twice one knee goes back kind of hyper-extended a little and the really scares me. I stand very conservative and try to hold my ground. if I collapse and/or that knees pops out, this tour will be a real, real nightmare - w/pain to no end and probably gigs in a chair. I just can't let that happen. must keep it together. kind of hard gig for watt but my guys are cooking really good, makes me quite proud. the crowd too has great folks. I dedicate "little doll" to sally hemming. I think of a picture I've seen of her in the most unique frame, very singular. I think I'll never be able to ever forget it. or the room it was hanging in or the person who hung it. I think about that for a brief moment and then try sending out more of those signals I was asked to. I hope it does some good. I gotta learn to do it and not blow clams along w/it, get a better handle on parallel processing. there were lots of thoughts flowing through my head today and tonight. what a wringer. d. boon always liked playing this town for the fact that it was as close as we could get to telling the man himself what was on our minds. we were funny but you know, I still get that feeling when I play here. I meant what I said about sally hemming. I tell the little doll in that song to shake but it's me that I really mean - truly. we get done and I talk w/the folks. one lady said her ma talked to me at a show in ohio and dug that. glad to, truly. another guy remixed a madonna song and would like to try it w/something of mine. ok, here's my email. he thinks the madonnabes should tour. only if we can include our dancers! could they fit in the boat? damn, it's been so long since we've done a gig. I do have a hankering for it. another cat from the alternatives, an sst band from the later period - I saw one last night at the richmond gig too. sorry I can't remember either of their names, damn. aaron is here again though - he was at the richmond gig too. alec mackaye's here and offers us his pad to konk at. thank you, alec. him and his bro always come see me, much respect but ian's at the jazzfest in new orleans this year and sent his regrets. I more than understand - don't worry, bro!
pack up and get ready to bail - many thanks to bernie and dante for having me aboard. dante says bernie has these solo bass nights where four or five cats do all-by-themeselves bass, one at a time and maybe I could do that. dante dug the organ thing too which means a lot to me. say w/bernie. doing good for you friends and for the folks who might not know you as well is a very worthy goal and the eye should always be focused on that. important ethic for watt to remember. there's gonna be a ladyfest here in dc this summer and this woman has me sign a poster for it. I played the first one in seattle w/kira almost two years ago and was very proud to do that. I really dig what that's about. there's a cat outside while we're ready to leave who knows about the dante connects in the new stuff named strider. he just moved here from santa cruz. whoa - what a contrast. his questions are quite to the point, hmm... reminds of that guy in nashville who told me he built a web site dedicated to the "commedia." a lot more young people might know of this work than I thought - great. it had and still has quite an effect on me - quite the mindblow. thanks for picking up on this stuff, you folks w/the curious minds. you won't be disappointed.
we follow alec to the glover park part of town and I back the boat into a slot from the alley, in front of an old merc. into his pad and into my bag, alec relates this nightmare story of being almost beaten to death by nazi skins in warsaw around 1990. a horrible story. I'm so glad he made it out alive. what a bunch of shit to endure. sometimes the infections one has to deal w/aren't just from within the flesh - they're outside too. god, to hope some can get healed w/some tolerance. I'm talking about those handing out the beatings. that's some sick shit. it scares me us humans can go that low. lots of positive love insights needed to be bassed about, huh? I konk pondering this.
tuesday, may 7, 2002 - baltimore, md
Woke up at Alec's pad to the sound of Jer rapping w/ Alec's wife, Lely. I quickly did a wash-up and went back to more diary chimping ( the trip to Baltimore wasn't such a hellride so we had some free time). I had some dry toast and bananas for breakfast and rapped w/ Lely for a while; she and Alec are expecting their first baby and she is understandably feeling a little tired and nauseous). Jerry was rummaging thru Alec's bookcase in the living room and found a book called "A history of Sodomy in the pirate's tradition" (Lely has no idea how it got there), and was totally engulfed in it while I finished up my diary chimp; very interesting subject for a book and it will change my outlook on "Mutiny on the Bounty" forever (I also know now how "Long John Silver"acquired his moniker) The chief took a quick shower and we were off. The trip was a relatively short one but being that all the surface streets are at strange angles, we had a tough time manuevering out of town and we blew an extra hour getting out of D.C. (Thanks Alec and Lely for the good conversation and good vibes)
We pulled up to the pad around 2:00 ( a place called the Ottobar) and hung around rapping w/ one of the bartender's, a cat named Dave , who was also a musician. There was just cleanup going on so we had to vacate the pad til' 5:00, when the soundman would show up. Watt and Spot were busy chimping, so me and Jer legged it on down to a pad called the "Paper Moon" for some much needed chow. We wailed down some very kind salad (I had the sun-dried tomato pesto chicken), and having sated ourselves we headed out in search of a post office as I had to send some money to Lil the Kill. We had gotten some cryptic directions from one of the waitresses at the Moon' and we decided to cut across the John Hopkins U. campus which was close by. We ended up going to the on -campus post office and I sent my pay off. Jerry had fallen asleep waiting for me, so I woke him up and we headed on back to the pad.
We did the load in and the sound man ( a cat named Craig) miked us up and we did the check. Hours had passed since we'd last eaten and we were a little hungry, so Jerry got us our buyout and we headed back to the Moon' for some more chow. While we were eating and rapping, Spot shows up and orders some takeout; we decide to wait for him then leg it on back to the pad. Watt was already well into his konk when we got back and jerry was real tired so he opted to konk too. I went upstairs to read my newly acquired punk rock tome and I must have drifted off, for the next thing I knew Jer was waking me up (I was supposed to wake him and the chief up), and it was three minutes to showtime! I popped quick and shook the grog out and we went on. The crowd was really cool and gave us much love; I was on once again (the bananas and water have helped a lot). The only bogart was that watt's amp blew a breaker twice during"sister ray"(this brought the momentum down a bit, but we soldiered on). We rapped w/ some cats after the show and signed posters (took a few snaps too), then broke down the tools and packed em' into a corner of the stage area (we were crashing at the pad of one of the bartenders; a cat by the name of "baby leg"- don't ask) so we would load up the boat in the morning (He was also going to interview watt in the interim). We all hopped in the boat and steamed over to leg's pad (a cool artist's loft w/ 20 foot ceilings), and laid out the bags. I read a little, then pleasantly conked.
"Sleep tight and don't let the bedbugs bite; and if they do, hit em' w/ your shoe...
I awake startled by a strange dream of being in a lake full of alligators and airboats. I myself have a small airboat, but it wants to sink every time I slow down. w/so many gators I began to freak out! what a helpless feeling. I gotta call matt accetta to get an interpretation of this one. I get to my feet and walk into the kitchen where alec's wife laly is cooking breakie. she points me to the upstairs toilet for a morning shake. I sit in w/her for a short chat about home and kel and rilei and everything I miss. she tells me of her back problems and we compare experiences of doctors. their expecting a child soon and that obviously will be a concern. I do wish them the very best. w/some time and pete chimping on my machine I scan the library in the living room. I see this book titled 'sodomy and the pirate tradition' and take a closer look. it contains research of buggery cases and written testimony on well known practices among the bastards. guys like samuel organ, long ben, and the random cabin boy are shown in a different light. mike snaps a photo of me reading it. probably end up as my weekly head shot. I grab my stuff and we make road for baltimore. the rains staying away for now, but its expected later. we park next to the ottobar and go in to check it out. I find a dude somewhere in the dark and identify myself. I still can't see shit. finally the light come up and the boss is cleaning up. he says we can hang upstairs if we want. pete follows and we find one of the barbacks is cleaning up the top. he lets us in and offers a drink. he doesn't know how to make a screwdriver so I'm allowed to make my way back a do my own. after a quick drink the boss has to close the doors and suggest a diner called the paper moon down the street. I head out w/pete in tow. gotta get a post office and mail out pete's letters. getting to the diner I dig the décor of figures screwed to the fixtures and walls. I get a chix sand and chow fast. we a refueling we take stride to john hopkins university and search for a post office. a helpful student points us in the right direction. pete takes forever to get the mail out and I fall asleep at a desk. pete shakes me up and we make way to the club. I do some chimping in the boat waiting for the boss to return. just below us is a train undercrossing. I hear roar of the engines and pick up the dig cam for some shots. I set up and the trains jamming past. I get a huge blast of diesel exhaust and back off gagging. good shot though. the boss returns and we load up. we check and stay set up as spots the only opener again. only two more w/spot and cobra verde climb aboard for ten shows. after check we return to the paper moon for some din. I get a pasta dish and wish it was the lunch instead. better to have the carbs early and make use of the energy than later. I keep that in mind. show promo man todd shows me the apartment next door and I hook up the net to check the mail. w/an hour and a half I take a couch next to the boss to nap. pete will wake us when its time.
I hear mikes voice "were on in 5 minutes jer, get up!" what happened to pete I wonder and jam upstairs to take a leak. there's the bastard on the couch crashed! I wake the slug and bitch him out. "I was only asleep for 5 mins. man, really" he cried. whatever. we rush over and start right up. I wake by the second song and it feels good. near the end of the set on sister ray mike's power goes out. the soundguy helps out and we press on. a min. later the shit goes out again. this time they change the power strip. that's the trick. no more buzz or brown outs. I can tell mike has a blown speaker and its flapping good. he'll change them in minn. at the eden factory. a good set and afterwards I join pete for a beverage at the bar. a couple pretty girls thank us for the show then turn and walk away. no flirt or what? sausage fest again. baby leg the bartender gives us some props and says we'll crash at his loft tonight. the gear will stay in the pad for the night.
at baby leg's pad the stairs going up are steep fuckers. gotta watch the steps, or tumbleroni. I find some floor space and unfurl the bag. its all wood floors cept' the couch for crashing. it might be hard night's sleep. I zip up and close my eyes 'til the dawn comes.
pop and hose off. damn, the spout came right off. luckily, I'm able to screw back on and everything's ok. sorry, alec. he's up when I get back upstairs and makes me some cof. thanks, alec. my guys wake and jer's perussing the library. great to see the cats I play w/interested in books. pete's always reading in the boat, right now he's reading legs mcneil's "please kill me" that some gave him after a gig. jer finds a book called "sodomy and the pirate tradition" by b. r. burg and becomes quickly engrossed in it. alright! love to see a jer that's learning and loving it. alec has to bail for work and we thank him kindly, such a mench! his wife lely, comes downstairs and cooks up some eggs, toast and fake bacon. thank you. she's three months along now w/a baby coming - many congrats! she says the baby thing is a trip w/all the changes in the body, nausea and all but still a wonder. I agree and wish her and alec happiness. she's organizing photos from a photographer who took rock and hippie shots from the sixties up to 1971, when he just quit and put the negatives in a big bag. I see some of the proof sheets and it's amazing stuff. wow. I have a talk w/my guys about the new stuff, the piece on my sickness. I tell them that once we shake out the mechanical parts of being a band and finding our voice, I want us to get more into an interpretive way of delivering the music. what I'm trying to really do w/this piece is convey feelings and not so much execute certain notes and rhythms. this will come w/more confidence - not just from them but myself also. I want this music to speak truly to those emotions running through me during that hellride. right now, we're just doing the inferno but things will change w/the purgatory (healing) and paradise (getting well enough to pedal and pluck again) parts. pete knows exactly what I mean and jer has a pretty good idea. it's not a tradition explored a bunch w/a lot of people making music and so I can't blame them for feeling a little foreign this way but it's good to hear they're into it. I tell them this is no reprimand cuz they're doing really great. what I want though is to get past this stage and bring it to this other place - one where I think a lot more of their personalities will show too cuz it's gonna take that to move this where I want to steer it. I'm lucky to have good men like these cats - blessed. thanks, pete and jer.
after chimping diary 'til I got richmond done, we shove off and head through the maze of streets that make up dc. jer's using the map but we still find difficulties - it's hard to know where you can't make lefts and which streets are crowded like motherfuckers. it's almost like getting off the santa monica freeway in l.a. and taking western avenue all the way down to pedro! aaaaaarrrrrggggghhhhhh!! after an hour, we finally hit the beltway that circles the capitol and head for the baltimore-washington parkway. no trucks on that. pretty drive too. one scary offramp sign though - the nsa. this is one heavy security deal, they tap and spy on everything, lots of it domestic or coming in/out over the border. and then you wonder, "who guards the guards?" we take this road right into baltimore and the whole trip totals only two hours. we're in the midtown at a pad called the ottobar, somewhere new for watt. it's in the midtown. this is our last town south of the mason-dixon line for this tour. the weather is grayinsh but not ominous. there's a little humidity but not oppressive. funny using 'o' words to talk about the weather. I usually relate everything to cali weather anyway and this is 'pert near except a little sweatier. we drop anchor, pete and jer head for a post office on the johns hopkins campus. I get some veggies at a 7-11 and chow them while I chimp diary. I like to always write about the day before and I gotta do two day cuz that hellride from knoxville to raleigh put things a little out of sync. I peck away 'til memories of dc are chimped into bytes. it's sweaty in the boat so I got both windows open and my shirt off but sometimes I wonder if only such discipline is the only thing keeping me sane on this hellride. it's good medicine for watt. I can imagine that some might find it a little masochistic for me to take myself to task for clams and feelings of inferiority but this is therapy in a way for me to confront myself and effect some change or at least try to - not just beat up on myself. the first step to fighting sickness is diagnosing it. I am not wallowing in it though maybe the word count devote to such might get a little steep. it's what is running through my head and this is the record of it here. I had to park the boat here on the street and it's in a lane so folks have to come on over to the free one to get by and this makes me kind of nervous. it's a relief when spot pulls up behind to park his dinghy cuz it kind of serves as a concussion pad. I dearly hope that never has to happen though. he had driven to what used to be the ottobar, in another part of town. I guess it's moved to this bigger space since he last played it. he's a little bemused about that but happy he found the right one eventually.
the owner, michael, comes and opens the pad up for us to load in. I hit the women's head to shave and brush my teeth. they usually have a mirror and I can't tell you how much cleaner they are. us guys are pigs and like pissing in styes. I'm always forgetting to do this shit when I either soak or hose off after I pop in the morning, don't know why. sound man craig does a quick soundcheck w/us. I like quick soundchecks. booker man todd comes by and is very nice. he tells me about how this pad came about. I ask him about the marble bar, where the minutemen played in the early 80s but it was before his time. he says an article was in the paper about it recently though. I always wonder about pads you play. it's like they have lives you only get a peek at cuz you're from a different town and only get a glimpse of them when you work them on a hellride. you know though that they had folks and a whole orbit of life around them - w/or w/out you. it's great when they show appreciation for you making a stop though, they get a visit from an alien to break the routine. I try to be genuine w/the cats their and not take them for granted. it's righteous that they help cultivate a culture that allows me to bring sounds from pedro to their town. much respect from watt.
pete and jer finsih up their week's worth of chimping and jer hands me the floppy w/it on it. I could code it up and shoot it to the web but there's fatigue sinking heavy on watt and he's gotta head it off w/some konk. there's a couple of pears in the bowl todd brought for us and I chow those and then I hit the lights here in the room they got next door to the club. before I'm out though, this cat who's bartending and named baby leg, asks me to do this filmed interview for this ten year anniversary thing the thrill jockey people in chicago are doing and want me to be part of. I ask him if he's got konk space and a safe place for the boat so maybe we can do it tomorrow morning before we bail for phily, when I'm fresher. he's very cool people and agrees. thanks much, baby leg. I then konk.
we're to go on at 11:30 and I pop at 11:20 - whoa! jer's on the opposite couch, all twisted up in a konk - mouth agape and looking like a flytrap, pointing to the ceiling. I roust him. I guess pete's konked too cuz jer runs up and gets him. whoa, all three of us fresh out of konk, ready to do the gig! it's easy w/spot cuz all our stuff can stay setup after soundcheck. all we gotta do is move his chair and little amp. that's already done and we take our positions. funky stuff out of the monitors, lots of breaking up. oh well, soldier on. I know craig's trying his best, he's a good cat. we're getting the sickness stuff better - folks think it's more like one big song. in fact, we play the whole set like one big song, stopping only before "forever/one reporter's opinion" cuz I got get better back in tune. I dig that. keeps folks off-balanced and keen to listen to what's coming next - not lulled into familiar cycles. I dig dishing out the mindblows, it's an old minutemen tradition. pete holds the last chorus' chord on "puked to high heaven" too long - funny how there's so few clams now that you can point one out when at the beginning of this tour it was like that for shit that wasn't clams! it's still a rough thing w/me though, especially emotionally but I am inching along w/each gig. the bass solos in "sister ray" get a little out of hand. well, that's ok but what blows is the circuit breaker on the extension cord (one of those reel things) I'm using for the bass amp. damn. after the second time, craig comes up and just plugs it into a quad going to the wall and fuck that reel thing. much better. we get done and I have to say we did ok - great job to you both, pete and jer.
I sling and this lady named katey trades me a sticker for her book of poems, thank you. timmy from delaware's here and it's good to see him too. he's the cat w/the ferrets and he's wearing his yellow ron asheton shades. strider showed again and has a compass his girlfriend modified for me to show the layout of dante's world relative to it. three worlds, three forms of measurement too. very happening. you tell her thanks, strider. since baby leg has a key, we're gonna leave the equipment here and get it in the morning. I thank todd much for all the niceness he's shown us, what a great cat. we take baby leg into the boat and head over to the hampden part of town where is studio. man, is there some steep stairs up to the door here - whoa! like two flights at maybe seventy degrees! it's manageable though, just gotta be careful and not take it too fast. down is probably worse, I'll find out about that tomorrow morning. baby leg's pad is righteous, maybe twenty feet high ceilings, whoa! it was just a big loft and baby leg built all the rooms and stuff out of wood. he said the building used to be used for men's therapy groups, to play basketball and shit like that. he's got it done up neat. there's a painting of two kitties in an open mailbox - love it. there's a couch w/watt's name on it and I park there. spot follows us up and pete and jer insist he takes baby leg's bunk cuz baby leg is gonna go sleep in his office down the street. no matter cuz spot is soon sounding like a nascar ride starting, letting those snores float down after first getting a ceiling bounce, soon fortified w/a methane blanket. spot is a generous soul. my guys are out quick despite the anointing - maybe it helped? me, it's another story. this is the first night of this tour where watt's mind is stuck on "on" and doing the whirl world. why am I wound like this. my body is pretty wrung but what is going on upstairs? feels like a thousand lights are on. I got the mask on but it seems I can stare right through them - I think my eyes are peeled open. this is sure a weird feeling, something's bubbling up from under but I can't figure it. whoa. I can't remember how I was relieved by this but somehow - someway - I did in fact konk. grazie dio.
wednesday, may 8, 2002 - philadelphia, pa
The first sound I hear in the morning is the chief's voice: "Wake up sailor, it' 10 bells - we gotta go... I groggily roll out of the bag and roll it up, after which I do the wore's washdown and pack the gear in the boat. baby leg wants to do a spiel w/watt, but he has do it quick as the 'leg is meeting up w/his Pop who he hasn't seen in a while. Jer is in absentia so I assume he went to go get some chow. We go down to the boat to wait for Jer and twenty later he shows up; (seems he had a lisght service problem at the greasy spoon he was chowing at (this means they took their sweet-ass time).
After a partial dressing down from the chief, we all consumed our insanity pills (this is what we calll our cheable vitamin c tabs; a tour necessity). We head on back to the pad w/baby leg in tow to load up the tools as we had left them in the pad the night before.
With the tools loaded, we bid baby leg goodbye and thanked him for his gracious hospitality, then we were off again to the next town (the trip was uneventful for me as I was exhausted and conked for most of it). I was awoken a few times by Watt yelling at the drivers on the road; he has pet peeves w/people who don't know how to merge onto the freeway (they zin in front of you and cut off). The chief is a very safe driver at all times and gets very pissed at the dickheads of the road.
We pull up in front of the pad (a place called the Khyber) around 2:00 and secure a very kind parking spot. Kelly and Rilei are waiting for us when we get there and Jer is very enthused about this (it's all he's been talking about for the last week). the soundman has not yet arrived so we have some time to blow. Watt bails off on his own and fer, Kelly and Relei go off to their hotel room so I decide to get some chimp time in. I sit at the bar and nurse a Guiness, light up an upmann 'gar that I kyped from Watt's stash and settle in to chimp mode.
The soundman shows up (a cat named Doug) and we do the load in and soundcheck. The first band shows up; they are called "Pennsylvania Muzzle Loaader" and the soundguy mikes them off after we move our tools. Watt is in the green room next door still chimping away and Spot is in conk mode so me, Jer, Kelly and Rilei leg it on down the street in seach of some chow. Kelly has found a cool econo joint called "nick's Roast Beef," right down the street so we go in and strap on the feed bag. I decide to go easy and order my customary chix Caesar salad and it was really good. We leg it on back to the pad and the fist band is just starting. We go in and I have a shot of Bushmills for rickety soul. I'm feeling really nervous tonight as the stage is small and I'm a bit confined on my side of the stage; I can't really move around and my left foot would be wedged up against a monitor all evening. I listen to the Muzzle Loader for a while then go upstairs for a short conk. I close my eyes and I'm inundated by all sorts of thoughts; I had some minor problems w/my rig earlier on - midi shit mostly, I solved the problem but I couldn't figure out why it was happening and it was bugging me (it's hard to play when your tools aren't 100%). I tried to mantra myself into a better place but to no avail; I was also really scared that I was going to cramp up again and I would make an ass of myself in front of the crowd (I'm also stressed out by the fact that I'm Watt's first organ player; an intimidating deal for me considering the 20 year guitar legacy in previous trios). I try to bury all the nasty shit but it's really weighing down on me.I hear Spot launch into his last song and the sound of Jerry coming up the steps to wake me and the chief. I shake off the grog and head on down. The place is packed and the people are bunched in like 'dines. my rickety soul is affecting me and the feelings of doubt are like a heavy wool blanket.
We start out the set and I immediately blow some clams but soldier it through (my confidence is waning though). I make it through most of the set when my hand starts to hurt and the cramping fear sets in. My foot also starts to cramp as it has been wedged against the monitor for most of the show (at this point I'm a total fucking wreck and am praying for the set to finish). Thank god Watt and Jer are on (though Jer probably has some cramp fears of his own) as they keep the machine running. The crowd is very enthusiastic in their response but I can't help wonder in the back of my mind whether or not they know I'm in a bad way. We finish the set and go outside. I apologize to Watt for not being up to snuff but he assures me I did okay (thanks for the support, g). We go back in and do the encores; the crowd gives us a lot of love. After the show, I speak w/two cats and they tell me the show was awesome; this makes me feel a little better but I am still in a funk. I pack up the tools quickly and we load them in the boat. Watt talks to a few fans outside the boat while I sit in the front, just wanting to forget this gig happened. Watt finally hops inside along w/Jer and Andrew, the cat whose pad we're crashing at. We bid farewell to Spot; this was his last gig on the tour w/us and I was gonna miss him a lot. Spot is very cool people and a great musician. Hopefully, I'll see him again on the fall tour. We drop Jer off at his hotel and head out to ANdrew's pad. We lay out the bags and Watt lights a candle to chimp by. He knows I'm hurting so he raps w/me for awhile and shows me cool review of one our shows in the Washington Post. I feel a little better and decide to bury the bad thoughts. I read "Please Kill Me" (the book on the history of NY punk that I'm currently into), by the light of the candle until my lids start to get heavy, then I blow it out and Konk hard. Hills & Valleys...
before I get into the goings on of the next five days I have to inform all that my labtop took a big crap in the big apple. I was spending all my chimp time trying to work out the problems and hating it. w/some help from mark of cobra verde I was able to recover some of the lost data. a couple days of diary got eaten up and I'm just going to do some short entries to catch up this week. we can all thank the fuckers at the empire state building for having me send the computer through the x-ray machine. bullshit!
I wake and walk down the scary stairs to look for grub. pete and spot were still sleeping and mike is not about. I find a diner across the street and order some simple eggs and toast. the cook had to take my order since the waitress had not paid attention to me. I musta taken 40 mins. to get the food. bogus. I return to the pad and their waiting for me to go get the gear. I should'da told someone where I was going, but I didn't think I'd take so damn long. we head back to the bar to get the gear loaded and right back to baby legs for mike's interview. soon were on the road for philly. I'm meeting kel and rilei today(they got to the city yesterday) so I'll call em' when we arrive. we get some good parking in front of the khyber and as I'm guiding mike in kel and the baby show. I'm very happy to see em' and sit a while outside just enjoying it. I spend the rest of the day hanging w/the family. the check gets done late and we step upstairs to chill before the show. kel's back at the hotel waiting for me to return.
this is spot's last show and there's another opener tonight, so we set up our gear before spot starts and I watch his set. he's a great player and a loud snorer, but still will be sorely missed. were up and the sound on stage is retched. the men will always press on no matter the stage grind. I get the gear broke down and loaded in no time. then talk some w/dimetri from the burning brides. they'll be on the tour for the last 15 shows. I can't wait. I have mike drop me off at the hotel for the night. it'll be nice to spend a few nights w/the girls.
pop and hose off in the handmade head here. then out the hatch and down those steep stairs. whoa - take it slow, watt - don't need a neckbreak at this point in the tour. I hoof down and get some chow at a diner. some eggs and bacon but then I see they got crab soup so I get some of that too. good stuff. at a store, I get a money order for my surgery bill (the surgery that saved my life from that sickness), I should have this paid off in only about thirty years now. I get back to the homestead and baby leg arrives. we get in the boat to go load up the equipment from the club but where's jer? we wait and wait 'til he strolls up, saying the place where he ate took too long. damn jer, I told everyone we had to get this stuff so baby leg could do this spiel w/me. it was jer who wanted to bail early for phily so he could see his wife and baby. what's w/his priorities? it was just a fuckup though, he's been great on tour. these things happen. baby leg tells about when he toured managed for will oldham and the bassist was always late and the last in the van. after a while of this and during yet another waiting session, baby leg said him and the band took off and just left directions for the next gig at the hotel desk. whoa, that's intense - don't think I could do that to jer. we get over and load the boat up and then return to do the spiel for thrill jockey. on the way back, we see a statue in a park w/a confederate and union soldier, each on a horse, riding together - guess they had been friends before the war. when we get back into hampden, baby leg tells us this town was on some list for most inbred town at number four. hmm...
up those stairs again and he sets up his camera. the question I'm to answer is what was inspirational to me regarding what I do in music. of course, I discuss d. boon and how his ma got me to play bass so we could have a band (just one to play in the bedroom) w/his brother joe. we were thirteen. I talk about my first rock concert (t-rex) and john fogerty's shirts (flannels) and then the punk movement. I tell them about getting richard hell and the voidoids "blank generation" and being blown away w/that. the sounds were amazing but was wild too was he was the bass player but led the band, singing and writing the songs. this was at a time when I figured out that in a rock band, bass was kind of like right field in baseball - where you put the lame dude. this kind of thinking was turned all around in my head after getting turned on to this. it had an incredible effect on me and I taped a picture he had put on the record sleeve (the one that holds the record inside the cover) on my bass. I always love to have things that inspire me much taped on the machine I'm trying to coax spirit out of (john coltrane, for example, is one of the things taped on the little bass I'm working now). this turned out to be like a line in the sand, where a lot of local "rockers" would accuse me of "fucking w/rock and roll" cuz of it. after a while, I said, "ok - yeah, I'm fucking w/rock and roll then." what they couldn't understand was that I was trying to make music real for myself, make it mean something to me, something I could breathe my own life into and not just play out cardboard character bit parts. it was very important for me. this is what I took as a major inspiration and was glad to relate it to baby leg and his camera for those thrill jockey folks. one question from baby leg: what lesson have you learned in this latest tour? I tell him I've learned I must get my pre-gig konks in or it sure is a rough go come gig time. ok, it's a wrap - we're done.
we thank and say bye to baby leg and I tell him I hope to see him again down the road. good peeps. we take the belt out of the city and north on I-95. mild weather w/not too much sun and thank god, no humidity. we get into phily in a couple of hours. we get to see a couple of ports on our way: wilmington (the namesake of the town next to pedro) and the one in phily, which also has a big navy yard. lots of boats in mothballs there. the gig tonight is at the kyber, I've played here bunches. it's in the old downtown, by the water and a couple of blocks by the liberty bell. the parking is hell but we're lucky and find one close. after a flounder sandwich, we luck out even more and find a spot right in front. I parallel park the boat in a couple smooth moves, quick. take that, mister new orleans shop owner (that fuckhead w/the mouth when I was trying to park at the shim sham near this tour's beginning). kel and baby rilei are here - so good to see them and I'm very happy for jer. I go upstairs and meet bryan, who's the boss here. he lets me use the phone for some interview spiels howard's (my publicity man at columbia) set up for me. I get to talk about the new stuff so that's good. I got a chance to check email too which can be hard on the road. aaron in dc flowed me a review of the black cat gig from the washington post and the writer, patrick foster, wrote some good things. he picked up on lots about the sickness stuff and even knew about "genius or lunatic" being a pop group tune - whoa! pete got his first words about his playing and they were good ones: "...the prominence of mazich's furiously scurrying organ fills gave the tunes a feverish swell" - I'm very proud for pete, he deserves it. I go to chimp diary and spot comes upstairs to join me. it's his last gig w/us tonight so it's kind of sad for me. he's also going to try to drive to chalottesville tonight which scares me - always scary driving late at night after a gig and I try to talk spot out of it. he says hell think it over. hope so, I tell him d. boon was killed late at night when the person driving fell asleep w/him sick w/fever in the back of the van. spot says he understands. it's been great having him aboard these three weeks. man, can he play and his insights invaluable and wonderful - a link w/my old days so much here in the now. so proud to serve w/him. I'll miss the ol' spotsky much.
we do sound check w/paul and then I go out on the sidewalk to talk w/this cat dan-dan from radio volta (http://www.radiovolta.org) in west philadelphia, a low power fm station. I've been very much behind grass roots community-based radio and groups trying to get it happening like promethius (http://www.promethiusradio.org). I tell them that I think the radio waves would've been protected under the first amendment of the u.s. constitution, just like the press was if they knew about the technology and it wouldn't just be a fiefdom of big money and mersh shit. here we are, a few blocks from the liberty bell, talking about how can the airwaves be freed for the unheard voices. it's a fucking shame. now clamps are coming down on internet radio w/that carp crap. these assholes will not let up. fifty years of cold war where the big beef w/those people was they were too closed up and what's going on here now w/radio, w/all kinds of forms of popular expression? makes me really mad. I try to make my point the best I can.
I go back in the pad and upstairs - the cook asks if he can make me a salad w/fried oysters in it. whoa, good stuff. three seafood chows today - all of them not too big but tasty. none of it planned either, tour just brings to places where good chow can find it's way to you. I've found you've just gotta be selective and patient, just don't act on being hungry or you'll ending up filling the gullet w/a sack of shit. good chow can come to those who wait. there's a local opener called pa muzzle loader and I can hear them through this upstairs deck. they got some sharp rhythm stuff going w/the bass and drum parts even if the hard rock guitar is a little trad. tiredness is so heavy on me though, I just gotta konk so the mask comes down and I go out.
jer shakes me up for gig time. luckily, there's a hatch right at the stage, which is in front of the main window but gold curtains are closed to stop a free show to the street. I grab the shirts and hop up to the bassist's position, stage starboard. all those years w/the minutemen and fIREHOSE I was port side but the snare drum was killing me so I switched. I sling the little bass and start us off. spot's at the stage's lip taking snaps for this last secondmen gig he's gonna witness this tour. I can tell pete's having some trouble but he soldiers on. he's got great spirit. jer too is having probs a little bit but he keeps it driving. no catastrophes, just some bumpy road. there's some breaking up in my amp and some ugly sounds - I wonder what's up? maybe some speakers going or the amp breaking down? I am pretty hard on the rig w/the pummeling solos and such. oh well, such is the rigors of tour on machines. near the end, the burning brides people show up and stand right up front. bryan manages them and told me they did their last gig opening for some cock rock band here in town (the end of a tour swing w/them) and might come down if they could get their shit packed up quick. guess they did, cuz there's dimitri w/his fist in the air. it's so hard for me to play for friends, I get so self-conscious - aahh. I want to do good for them though. I kind of go off hitting jer's cymbals while he's going around his kit and knock a crash cymbal clean off the stand. idiot watt - sorry, jer. we finish up and I rap w/the folks while slinggin' - nice stuff from them. one cat, who's seen me lots of times but not recently comes to talk w/me. his name is dylan and he's been in jail a bit. he relates me terrible helltales - being shot twice, stabbed in the lung, head split open, thrown out of a third story window, lit on fire - all kinds of fucked shit, a miracle he's alive. damn.
it's drizzling some rain as we load up. this young man, andrew, offers him and his girl's pad for us to konk in. now jer's gonna stay w/kel and rilei in a ho (comfort inn) so it's just me and pete. andrew rides w/us - he doesn't drive, like a lot of cats in the big northeast cities. we're staying south of town, by the airport and cuz of construction and detours, we're going down these tiny old streets of phily. as we drive, andrew talks about my last tour diaries and stuff relating to the world trade center nightmare. he lost a buddy on the eightieth floor but says adding more hate to the pile just wouldn't help. he said he dug that poem brother matt sent me about the native american grandfather telling that story about which wolf to feed. it takes a while to get where we need to but we get there safe and that's what counts. his girl's a teacher and has to pop at four but we all share the same room, it's a studio apartment. she even lets pete have her pillow. nice couple, thank you both so much. pete's reading by candlelight when I put the tired watt bones/brains to rest. try to rest easy, watt - purge your stress.
thursday, may 9, 2002 - asbury park, nj
I wake up to the sound of Watt chimping on the ibook. I'm feeling much better after the conk and am looking forward to the next gig. Watt throws me the dough for the last week and I count it up and stow it in my bag. Andrew fires up some eggs for breakfast and we chow happily. We thank Andrew for the crash and the great chow and we are off once again. We stop at the hotel to pick up Jer, Kelly and Rilei and then steam off towards Jersey. I've always wondered what Asbury Park is like because of the Springsteen connection and Southside Johnny, so my anticipation and curiosity level was high. We made one pit stop along the road as both me and Kel had to piss really bad and the piss-bottle route was out of the question for obvious logistical reasons. I jam into the bathroom and close the door, do my duty and wash my hands. I reach for the doorknob but it's no there! I bang on the door and pull on it but nothing's happening. Isn't this a fucking Sunday Surprise! I immediately see video in my head of the boat pulling away as I scream my yang off in the toilet. I yell out the window and luckily Kel hears me and pops the hatch. I am very grateful to be released from my porcelain cage and I go in the store to get some coffee and chocolate chip cookies (I love 'em!). We hop in the boat and Jer asks: "Where's Kel?" All of a sudden I muffled shouts of help and I remember the toilet trap. I rush to the rescue and Kel is also very grateful to be let out. We pile in the boat and we're off once again.
We get to the pad early (a place called the saint) and there's no one around yet. We have about 3-4 hours to soundcheck, so me, Jer, Kel and Rilei decide for leg it around for awhile and try and dig up some chow. We find a little Mexican place and strap on the feedbag and the chow is very kind (and much needed). I take my vitamins and Kel goes next door to buy some Mexican candy.
We decide to do a little looking around to try and find a hotel where Jer & Kel can crash for the night. We walk about 2 miles up and down the strip from the club but we find nothing. We decide to go closer to the ocean by the old boardwalk and scope it out. The weather is dull and gray and very windy and there's a few homeless out on the boardwalk. THey ask me for some change and I give them what I have. The boardwalk and Asbury Park in general is an extremely blighted area and it's very obvious that its heyday has passed. There's a huge old Theater at the end of the walk called the Paramount and they have shows there still (albeit concerts). The great big Art Deco skeletons of the old Casinos line the walk and look very foreboding and ominous, lending a very lonely quality to the place. It made me feel like I was walking through bombed-out ruins; the last person on earth. I imagined what it was like when the place was rolling; tourists buying slat water taffy and riding the rides, The Palace fun-house filled up w/children and their parents and couples walking along the boardwalk. We got to the end of the walk where the once great carousel stood and looked across this huge concrete wash that emptied out into the ocean; on the other side was a great number of beautiful Victorian houses and being of curious mind, we decide to investigate (we also really need to find a room for Jer, Kel and the baby). There's a concrete footbridge that goes over the wash and we go over it to gain entrance to this apparent haven. We get to the other side and it's like a different world' beautiful Victorian houses and beach cottages and in the center of town, a great old wooden auditorium (built in 1890). We stop an older man for directions and introduce ourselves. His name is Rich and he fives us a tour of the town, which is called Ocean Grove. He explains that the town was originally conceived as a large Methodist enclave and campground (hence the he hall and beach cottages). The Methodists are still part of the city proper and the town is a dry on (no alcohol sold) but there are many coffee shops, so we stop in one for a caffeine fix. We find some brochures in the pad and Jer picks out a pad to crash in; it's a quaint little bed & breakfast near the shore. It's getting late so we go stow Jer & Kel's gear at the pad and head on back to the club. We need to get across the footbridges before 5:00, as after that time they are fenced off on the Asbury Park side (keeps the scary monsters out, I guess) - We make it over before the monster curfew is enforced and get to the club in time for load in and souncheck. Bill, the soundman mikes us up real quick as he's an old-school cat; and he makes the Leslie and organ sound very good. Cobra Verde comes in (this is their first gig on the tour w/us); they have done a hellride from cleveland and look a little tired. I'm meeting them for the first time and they are all real nice cats. As a sidenote, I happened to be wearing my Kukljica, Croatia t-shirt (as that's where my pop is from) and John, the singer in C.V. was I believe a bit off-put by the shirt and the fact that I started asking him questions (he's Serbian), but that was not my intention and I figured he must of heard and seen some nasty shit in Cleveland during the entire war/bullshit time. Anybody who reads these tour diaries knows my feeling about that whole lame scenario and that bottom line, all that happened is many innocent people were killed for naught. I caught a lot of shit in Pedro for making my views known but I think more than a few people now share my position. The only cats that benefitted from that fucked up war were the heads at the top; they pillaged the country and its industries and filled their own pockets while the got shit. Blind faith in false phrophets... (anyway, I hope I didn't offend John, he's a nice cat).
The Cobras hit the stage to a relatively packed house and they tore the shit up (even if they were tired). The crowd was very subdued though and John tried to peck at 'em a little by picking on Springsteen; John says, "What's up w/this cat calling himself The Boss, when he supposedly represents the working man?' This little spiel was met by dead silence. You could hear a pin drop in that room. The Cobras (god bless 'em) paid no mind and steamrolled through the set. Very cool band.
We got up and id our set. We were looking in w/each other very well and played strong. We garnered applause after every song but the crowd overall seemed a little withdrawn. We got a lot of positive comments after the show so I felt real good about it. I asked the cat at the door what he thought (he was also a keyboard player) and he says to me, "Oh, it was pretty good" (I'm not sure he quite got it or he liked it but there's never a shortage of wedding gigs and tribute bands for those cats). WHat I really wish is that he would've told me what he really thought of the show and not been so blase about it.
We loaded up the tools in the boat and took off toward Ocean Grove to drop off Jer at his hotel. We then followed Bill and Chewie to their pad where we were crashing for the night. We laid out the bags and Bill popped in a documentary about marijuana (about its origins and social ramifications) called "Weed." (it's narrated Woody Harrelson. Pretty interesting flick. Bill's cat Miles was reading the newspaper (sniffing me out), then apparently satisfied, he plops down on my bag. We conk on the deck together.
I have a night of many bad dreams and feel very unrested. kel is up and rilei too. I start to rally the troops to be ready for the boss to pick us up. he's supposed to call, but I don't receive any. luckily were ready and down in the lobby when they arrive. we load up our bags and baby and off to the jersey coast. only 1 1/2 hours to the saint club. mike parks and we go exploring the town. it looks somewhat harsh and rundown. I plot a course for the water and we end up discovering an old waterfront boardwalk. much is derelict and abandoned, but a few places survive. after an hour we walk back and w/nothing to do we turn towards the water again. this time we cross a small bridge to the town on the other side. a sleepy place called ocean grove. there we meet an old timer named rich. he shows us around the area and I'm surprised to find it to be the polar opposite of Asbury park. there a huge a wooden auditorium in the center of town built by the methodist's in the turn of the century. we continue on to coffee shop and chat a bit over a hot cocoa. a very nice man for sharing his knowledge of the town w/us. we return for the check. afterwards I get a ride to a bed and breakfast in ocean grove from taper guy fred. I thank fred and we go to eat at a local chow pad. I have some great salmon and potatoes then call a cab and head back for the show.
inside the club I'm surprised to see rich sitting at the bar. great to see a senior coming out to support the band. I hope he brought ear plugs. the cobras are on for the first of 10 shows and they have a kind tired set. must be from the long drive. after a couple well placed springsteen jokes the crowd is completely silent. making new friends. we take the stage and our set goes well though the people seem sedated. I can see rich enjoying himself and getting tossed on whiskey to boot. after the set I talk w/rich and he's so loaded that he doesn't recognize me. I shake his memory and we have a drink together. I offer to take him fishing in cali whenever he decides to drive out(he doesn't fly). I pack up quick and mike takes me to the b & b for the night. kel's waiting and I get another night of my favorite friends by my side.
pop and hose off. andrew's up when I get out and offers me some tea but it's herbal - no caffeine, not happening for watt on tour. I know that chemical is for shit but it's one of the vices I use on the road. I take it only in the morning to get my shit started. I go outside to the boat, rainy and gray out - I drive down to where they got bagels and cof. only small cofs for sale so I get two little ones. I drive back and andrew's made me a egg and sausage patty sandwich plus he gives me a book, "the house on mango street" by sandra cisneros - thanks for both, andrew. pete pops and andrew makes him one too. such nice folks you meet on the way, we're lucky sailors. a fare thee well to andrew and we shove off. jer, kel and rilei are up by the ben franklin bridge so we deja vu it and return the whence we came yesterday, up the I-95. we gather the trebotic family up and I steer us further north on the I-95 towards trenton. doing 'pert near a rerun on the george washington thing, we cross the delaware though via a bridge and maneuver the little roads you gotta do to make the transition here. it's always been fucked up here due to some rivalry between pennsylvania and new jersey. whatever, we get on the I-195 spur and head east across the entire state of new jersey. it takes less than an hour. trippy about new jersey: the outline of the state makes it look like a little cali, flipped over. we make towards the jersey shore and turn north on nj-71, pulling into asbury park about one in the afternoon. good, I can relax.
well... during the drive, kel saw something on tv and wanted to talk about hitler and stalin. hitler and stalin, hitler and stalin. oh yes, the madmen. them, them, them... it's evil men like that who make us do what we do. we're never responsible for what power we hand over to these fuckers. we're never looking for the easy answers, the final solutions, the way it just is and has to be... nope. it's these fuckers and there way w/us. we're just mass, gray and shapeless, waiting for charismatic hands to shape us, make us into urns. blame them, blame media - absolve us. wait for the cheers if we win, the tears if we lose. hmm... now kel wants us to know why she hates the political incorrect show, the one hosted by bill maher, cuz he has famous people on there who spout opinions people will listen to just cuz the ones saying them are famous. I think it's good to hear how stupid people who are famous so you'll never get blinded by their fame. otherwise, you'll know them only through a publicists manicured image. critical think applies to listening to anyone in my opinion - famous people, dictators, whoever the fuck... how do you choose which pricks have the right thing to say. fight the hitler an stalin right inside you cuz that spirit is what these fuckers are enabled w/in the first place. same w/anyone who looks like they're gonna "solve" things by taking out or putting a boot on another part of the human family except obviously, those who are out to do the same thing. the words though need to be heard cuz this is our first warning of what might be up. listen and be vigilant, not slobber right when you hear ding ding from the pavlov bell. be skeptical of free speech but not cynical of it. it is not a band-aid to save the world from it's problems but there is no way to have any kind of world I want to live in w/out it, just no way, in my opinion. to hear my voice speak these words and the tone I'm using kind of takes me aback. kel is a sweet, sincere and intelligent woman and she knows already what I'm saying. it's like someone hit "play" and I'm making a speech like some kind of fucking machine. that fucking navy housing military shit making itself shown, shouting fucking orders and all. I'm in a weird state of mind. out the window is the pretty new jersey countryside, a poignant reminder why this called the garden state and shouldn't be just known for the factory crap near new york city and such. drizzle makes the green really lush and cooling to a hot head - hot on the inside w/friction and stress. some assholes make some dangerous moves on the freeway near us - that stupid unsafe merging thing and risky as fuck lane changes - jer gives me a dose of the vitamin c insanity pills after each event. such tension in me. soft sounds from baby rilei remind of important things in life. her cries too, they're not that bad at all. in fact, they keep my mind focused much on the road and being safe. I will not match those assholes on a tit for tat basis in driving like a dick. I maintain a huge buffer in front of the boat, clear of anything. I do not do sharp maneuvers. I keep both hands on the wheel and do not speed. I might blurt out some uptight, self-absorbed shit for bizarre and maybe even complicated reasons but I will be responsible in my actions. this is paramount in my priorities.
we park outside the saint, the name of the pad we're playing here tonight. the rain has let up for a bit but it's still gray. there's lot of fumbling by everyone trying to get things together w/the stroller and such. jer's gonna find a hotel for him, kel and rilei. pete's gonna walk w/them, nearer to the water. like an idiot, I get impatient and I say, "this is the part where watt gets left alone." aahh... didn't mean for it to sound like that. a stressful man has little to offer but stress, huh? these folks, the closest ones w/me on this hellride are not giving me stress, they are my dearest allies. the stress is boiling up from within, it's strange and it scares me. in a way, it's an energy I used to do these tours. alone time seems the best antidote for me. I notice I plain wear myself out w/the brain going like it does and this makes konk come easy. it exhausts me mostly and then I seem I can get back to a calm place. the rub though is the cycle starts itself up again like a ball coming down from a big throw 'til it gets caught. the konk is that catcher's mit. when my people leave I spot the boss, scott, and go in the club to use the phone to upload week three of the diaries. a bunch of mersh music video shit on the tv drives me out. scott's very cool peeps though, much respect. I then get some roast pork yat gaw mein soup (lots of it for just three dollars!) at a chinese place a block away. it's made w/tons of real fresh vegetables and some pork in a clear broth. I said spicy and saw the lady put the chilli sauce in but can't taste it. no matter, there's good flavor and these veggies crunch, you can tell they were just cut. it's good. when I'm done, I piss in the quart container it came in. is that weird to put in the diary? fuck it, the club is closed and it's raining now and turning cold and anyway, the lid to this container holds on real good. I wonder if it was the soup I pissed out or the coffee I drank this morning? how fast do things run through you? there was this bob evan's I chowed at once. I had some chicken soup and damn, if I didn't have to blow that shit out before I left that place. it only took a few minutes to eat and I know it was the soup that was purged cuz there were some noodles in the dumper when I was finished. now if your small intestine is like a mile or so long, that shit must've been flying, huh? anyway, my cats return and we do a quick check w/soundman bill. of course, the bass is too loud for him so I turn down, which is really good idea cuz a speaker in the top box of my rig is definitely rattled. damn. jer is pounding so hard this tour though, I can barely hear myself. also, I have him set up close cuz I dig the security it brings me, same w/pete. learning to deal w/cowadice is watt's primary narrative. don't get me wrong though cuz jer is playing better than ever. it's just bass can throw so much further than where I'm standing. I like standing close cuz I like the push of the low on me, I like the physicalness. gotta make the soundman happy though - he's the tranny for our engine and they also got a 'suck' knob they can turn all the way up if they want. you gotta make the soundman your friend and ally. jer asks to use the boat to take kel and rilei to the ho but I tell him I'll get a cab for them cuz we have the perfect parking place. it feels like that came out of my mouth sounding mean and I feel like a shithead. luckily, a good bud, fred, who tapes a few gigs every tour is here and offers to give them a lift. much respect, fred. he's a great cat. man, though, am I in a weird mood.
I walk to a little latin store (yup, even here on the jersey shore) and get one of these lollipops called "chupa coloardo." it's a sucker that's covered w/chili power, what a trip. I then go to the boat. the rain starts coming down harder and it's kind of cold rain. I cover up in my coat a little. I chimp yesterday's stuff into the diary. thinking back to yesterday, I get sad. I don't know, this whole sadness comes on me, like I'm raining from the center of my inside and outward toward my skin - I can feel the hard needle like drops poking on me from underneath. it makes my writing come in bursts, where I'm seized for moments in a paralysis while I think hard, really hard. I reconcile things, find how I can accept them and do what I know will be the right thing but then freeze like I've frosted w/a cold glaze. tears in my eyes seem think and will not fall but seemed to hold my eyes like they were suspended in a jelly jar. it's a trippy way for me. I never konk but continually go through these cycles of chimping and stiffening. I hear the openers, a local band called tokyo, through the bulkhead. then I hear cobra verde - their first gig w/us for this tour is tonight. didn't get to say much to them but hi. I can't hear either of them well but I can feel the muffled signs of a band playing, enough that when jer comes to tell me they're done, I can tell him, "I know."
we start our set. another confidence crisis. fuck. almost like I'm starting the tour again, I've lost my nerve. not too many clams blown though but I'm not brave enough to look at the folks - I play the gig mainly w/my eyes closed. pete's playing real good and jer's better than last night. the lack of a pre-gig konk is making things even worse. fuck. I'm feeling like I might blow the whole show and maybe lose it when I think of something. turns out that someone I know has parents who live nearby. the ma is fighting breast cancer and I think of sending out good flow from the little bass her way to help heal, help be a prayer. I try to think of my bass lines as healing threads, stitching up holes and tears. this gives me focus and takes my mind off of me and my fear. by the middle of the set, I'm much more together. this is a trip and makes me laugh. I ask which direction long branch is from the stage here? whoa, I thought it was there - that's a trip. I ask which town has all the money, the folks tell me, "deal" - that's a funny name for a town. time to exhale and let that stress out now, watt - this was a hard gig, a real hard gig for me but turned out ok.
we're done. this cat who draws cartoons dealing w/pork gives me a sticker for the little bass case. it's for his web site (http://porktomic.com). I dig the way the net can host cats' personal galleries - fuck the gatekeepers! I sling the shit. chris, who was at the phily show last night, brings me a couple packs of strings. his pop was sick a little bit back and I said some prayers for him then. sickness/healing, these things weigh heavy on me these days especially since that sickness shit that was on me and almost won two years ago. sometimes though, I get the feeling if maybe that sickness never left by just changed from physical and into mental, moving from the taint to my fucking mind. I wonder... lots of thoughts/feelings got released after that ordeal, stuff I thought would never come out. hmm...
this nice couple, bill and chewie, offer me and pete their pad to konk at down the road in avon-by-the-sea. we follow them after dropping jer off at his ho in ocean grove. all this is real close by - the jersey shore stuff is lots of little towns, knitted together. bill and chewie got a nice pad and two righteous cats. I tell them both about in l.a., w/latin cats, if you're named "jesus" at birth, folks us the nickname "chuy" for you. turns out bill's chwie is named after the "star wars" character. whoa. bill puts on this film about mota called "grass" and pete is enthralled. I can watch a little but I am really, really spent. a righteous couch here and I'm fully swallowed up in the arms of konk.
friday, may 10, 2002 - brooklyn, ny
The chief wakes me and I slither out of the bag, still a little groggy. Bill makes us some fried eggs on some huge bagels. I take a much needed shower and feel like a new Pete. Afterwards, I found a zine that Bill has called "N.J. Weird." It's really trippy, basically people write in and tell about weird, ghostly places or experiences that they encountered in the Garden State. It comes out two times a year and I ask Bill where I can purchase one. He graciously gives me his copy along w/some care packages that he and Chewie have put together for us. Very nice gesture and really nice people. I remember to pass on the kindness. We bid Bill goodbye; we will see him again at our Hoboken show. Much Respect.
We pick up Jer, Kel and Rilei and head over to Brooklyn. We pull up in front of the pad (called the North-Six) but there's no one there yet. I hop out of the boat w/the dig-cam and proceed to take many snaps of the front of the club and the surrounding area. The pad is near some old docks next to the water and I go down there and get some real cool snaps of the old waterfront, the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan in the distance. Jer and Kel have hone in search of chow and me and Watt kick it on the old docks, rapping about touring and my desire to change things in my life as a result of the tour thing (I've got a lot of thinking to do when I get back home). We head back to the pad and sit out in the boat for awhile rapping (Watt is always supportive of me and gives me much encouragement; he's unbelievably in tune w/what I am thinking all the time and I think we have a great mental bond w/each other and he's taught me a lot over the past few weeks, changed my life in fact (thank you, bro - I hope you never leave my life).
Bob, a cat that works at the North-Six shows up and opens the hatch and we do the load in. I walk in and immediately notice that they have a Hammond C3 on stage; I hop up and open the back of it to assess the sitch. The old machine can be fixed but unfortunately I don't have my tools and I can't help. I give Bob the number of a cat in Buffalo who can help him out. He assures me the next time we come through I'll be able to use it. Kevin the sound guy mikes us up and we do the check. Everything is copacetic so we kick back in front of the stage to chimp some diary and wait for some chow (we ordered up some Italian from Bob). The chow arrives soon and we munch w/much happiness. Cobra starts the set and the people are raging. The Cobra machine has gotten some rest and it shows - they are much more on and the crowd digs it. We hit the stage and wail through our set. It feels really good and I get all my aggressions out (this shit is very theraputic for me). the gig goes off very well and I am very happy. A girl comes up and asks Watt if he sleeps w/men. He laughs and tells me, I laugh and throw the young woman a glance; she comes up and tells me that she hopes that Watt is not offended. I tell her that no, he's not and not to worry about it (Watt tells me later that girls ask him this all the time - he finds it comical). We pack up the tools and leave them (we are crashing at Bob's pad and will pick them up in the morning). Jer and Kel call a car and zip off to their friend Laurie's house where they are crashing. Bob calls a car and me and Watt hop in and we motor over to Bob's Pad. We Bob's wife Gwen (who, incidentally sings opera) and we lay out the bags at the pad. I rap w/Gwen and Bob for awhile and then crash. All in all a very cool evening.
finally a good nights sleep and I feel revived. rilei is up and giggling endlessly. I let kel get the shower first since she takes longer to get ready. I make sure the pack up is done first which gives us time to grab a coffee and enjoy the nice sunny day on the balcony. kel takes rilei for a little stroll down and I wait for the call from mike. soon they arrive and we depart for the big apple. the first of three shows in the city is in brooklyn so the route takes us through staten island and up into the old dodgers hometown. rilei is a perfect young lady and sleeps for half the ride. pete works out a path to the club that's in the williamsberg section of brooklyn. 66 n. 6th st. and they call it north six. the numbers don't mean a thing to me. mike parks round the corner and next to a fire hydrant. after a heed of concern from kel and pete, mike angrily dismisses both w/a brash comment. I take the hint and grab the stroller immediately. we load the baby goodies and go venturing out. a few blocks away theres a friendly pizza place that look tasty. inside the guys behind the counter take a liking to rilei and she gets all the attention from all folks hanging out. we thank the kind people and go for some more strolling. kel finds a used clothing store and shops for about an hour. I plop on a seat and nap a bit w/rilei next to me. soon I'm inpatient and search out kel to bail. I sometimes have a hard time holding back my anger about silly little things she does like dragging me along on shopping trips or stopping for junk food (I don't care for fast food joints much), but I'm working on it. just a stubborn slav I guess, much like my dad. we return to the club and the doors are open. mike says we can load in any time. kel watches rilei and we load up. soon soundguy kevin is here and we get the check done. bar guy bob gives us a menu and we order up some din.. he suggests we go up to the roof for the view. being only a block from the east river the skyline of manhattan is in full view. rilei loves the rooftop playground and I watch her w/a father's eye. after din., which we eat downstairs cause' of the wind, I call for a car and take myself, kel and rilei to cobble hill where lori lives. she's the girl of tomato 11 of the urchins who toured w/us the last time. were there in 10 mins. and lori greets us at the door. the girls decide to go for a walk and I rest up on the couch. a couple hours later they return and wake me w/some ice cream to nibble. times up and I call for a car to get me back. it's 15 bucks a trip over so I'm in it for 30 already. one more time tonight when the shows over, but it's cheaper than a hotel room.
I catch some of the first band's set and find their stage show interesting. hola hooping and sermons w/a shop light as a mic. the cobras have it next and I kick at the bar to watch the set. every show they're picking it up a notch, though john's voice is already showing signs of wear. as they finish I see dez cadena. as usual he doesn't recognize me. same ol' dezzo. he musta been to at least 20 of the shows I've played w/mike. aha… no matter. a good crowd tonight and we blast into the set. I have decent stage sound and get into the jams early. it's a fine show all around and we get the encores together better. I scoot to the bar afterwards and bob hooks me and pete up w/some screwdrivers. they always help me calm down when all the playing is done. I rap some w/door guy paulie and call a car to take me back to lori's and my family. I get there at 3 am and take kel to the bed to crash soon after.
pop and hose off. sun out bright today. bill's up when I'm done and tells me to hoof south, to the drawbridge and over so I do and cross into belmar, a small resort town. on some pilings out in the water I see cormorants flapping their wings and sunning. beautiful sight and I take snaps w/the digicamera. I am in an insightful mood and do much self-analyzing, mind looking inside as the eyeballs take in the outside - trippy parallel. I set up elements of my current state in algebraic terms, creating equations to look where I am. it produces weird perspectives. helpful though, maybe some stress relieved. I get some stationary stuff at a store and get back to bill and chewies. bill makes up some eggs and I chow them w/these huge, fresh and fluffy bagels. incredible. nothing like these in pedro. I have some w/this beach plum jam bill offers me too. mmm... pete pops and chows up the same good eats. bill gives us a care package in a bag to take w/us, we say thanks and shove off for the ho that jer and his family are in.
away from the shore and north on the garden state parkway. short ride today. at perth amboy, we hop on ny-440 and over the outerbridge (six dollar toll!) into staten island (bye for now, new jersey). whoa, what a vista - miles and miles of garbage landfill, some still uncovered. the smell is not so much like fields of flowers. damn, what a scene. surreal. onto I-278 and over the verrazano bridge - a beautifully blue double-decker suspension one and into brooklyn. great view of the brooklyn bridge. the traffic starts to slow cuz of freeway plugs. thank god it's only noon! the ports giving us memories of home are nice but not these virtual parking lot ones! aaaarrrrgggghhhh! the freeway is elevated and you get intense views of people's backyards. yes, tiny ones but still yards - brooklyn has these compared w/the cement-cloistered person-on-person way of living that goes on in manhattan. uncommon view of that rock for watt from this perspective, I'm rarely on this route. the pad we're playing is called the north six and it's right next to the east river, between williamsburg and greenpoint. I'm parked like a block away. jer, kel and rilei disembark and roam to sightsee. after a bit, I spot a great parking spot right out front of the venue and head for that, nothing like a spot right in front. looks like it's gonna be a shoehorn fit but this nice latin cat moves his van up some and it's easy getting the boat in. gracias, hermano. pete returns from his little wander and me and him go to the rivers edge, by a busted up pier only a block away. across the water, you can see the cars snake up fdr drive, in front of east rive park. perfect cali-like weather, not one trace of humidity and lots of sun. pete tells me of a nightmare he had last night where his boss would give him no more time for tour. pete loves this sailor's life, this being his first tour, he wants more. I'd be thrilled to serve w/him further, he's righteous to both play and sail w/through these towns and gigs. we talk a little about john from cobra verde. our first gig w/them this tour was last night and pete wore his croatia shirt. john had kind of cautious look about him, thinking pete might be a nationalist type or something. couldn't be further from the truth but how could john know. john's folks are from serbia. well, I'll make a point to explain to john tonight. as we were bailing from the gig last to follow bill and chewie to their pad and saying bye to the verdes, pete told me he thinks john has lost his (serbo-croatian) accent. I told that to john out my window of the boat and he says, "what? that's my first language." oh oh, maybe more anxiety over this stuff? we will relieve john tonight for sure of all nightmare shit regarding this. you couldn't find a man more full of love than pete.
back to the boat and bob, a cat from the club, shows up. he's a nice man and has a minutemen "what makes a man start fires?" shirt on. it makes me think of raymond and how much I miss him. I have a postcard I got in virginia I have to send him. I hoof inland a few blocks to this deli called "bacik" that has hungarian chow. no english spoke here so I point at something in the coldcase that looks like liverwurst. I love to have liverwurst when I'm in nyc. you can't get one of those sandwiches in pedro. no lettuce, tomato or onions here - only mustard. that's ok, the bread's really fresh w/a crunch crust and soft center and it turns out that the meat is actually some kind of spiced chicken thing. that's a trip. back to the pad and we unload the gear. after a quick soundcheck w/kevin, I go to the boat to chimp diary. come dinner time, bob orders me some linguini and flounder. on my way up to the roof, where I'm gonna chow it w/bob and jeff, I talk w/the cats going on before the verdes, local folks called mink lungs. they got a lady bass player who sings one tune doing a hulla-hoop, whoa. she's got one of those b.c. rich bitch basses from the early 80s, funny machines. I ask one of the guys in the band where their name comes from and he says it's for either a smooth voice or their bass players "lungs" - hmm, embarrassed watt. I always wondered what it was like for kira to play w/black flag and be the only women among all those guys. a different kind of tension, huh? up on the roof, I chow w/my hosts plus paulie, who works the door. all good peeps and I like this brooklyn. when I was walking about early, I noticed stuff - a little bohemia kind of thing w/young people in pairs - some old manhattan and then hoboken kinds of ways before what those scene turned into now. the yuppies covet the hippness and then sterilize it as they buy the real estate up. same old cycle. well, now's a good part of the cycle for brooklyn, I think. I want to play here now every tour. can you believe it was nineteen years since I last played on this side of the east river? it was a place called the brooklyn zoo disco and was w/the minutemen opening for black flag. weird, werid gig. when it was done, these bouncer guys w/shiny black baseball jackets and gold chains around their necks we're hollering "get the fuck outta here," one dick was slapping a baseball bat into his palm and laughing. we got the fuck out quick. thank you. anyway, these are different days - definitely. dezo comes to say hi! here lives here now, dezo is a brooklyn man. he was playing w/black flag and was w/me when we last played this town. on the europe part of the tour, he was the cat I was w/when the rooms were divied up. I love dezo and would love to spend much time w/him but I gotta go out to the boat to konk. and I do, hard.
I miss both the openers. sorry. just have to get the strength up for the gig. this is gonna be a hard one, I've been thinking about it for weeks. good crowd though, I have to get it together for them. we start the set and my leg is doing the trembles, big time. I look at my cats much and not really at the folks cuz inside, I'm terrified. not many clams but also not much nerve, I wish I could impart some kind of confidence instead of the insecurity I feel is flooding out of me. an incredibly emotional gig for me, I sense an unshakable presence. fuck, the state of my mind - what a sorry state. the stress within me must surely reflect in my works and foul up those connections I'm trying to be sincere w/in the moment. I have little ability to mask these frailties. it makes me feel pathetic. I guess there's ways to compensate this w/an inflated view of the self, a swagger or whatever. I can't find that in me, even in this line of work where that's very much the norm. when I do get the gander up to speak w/the crowd, I stutter and by the end I'm even crying - the emotions are a downpour in me and some of them are leaking out. this is not professional. I extend out the final part of "little doll" and make it like I was the little doll, being tender and intimate. I make it long and soft, intense but kind of relaxed - I mean, relaxed for watt. I escape my mind a little bit and am feel like a pelican, easy over the water w/out having to flap the wings. ain't that a trip? make the bass real little. my guys make their sounds little too. "little doll, little doll, c'mon - shake... shake!" not a command but a plea, not an order but a prayer. a weird space you're in, watt. these folks are so quiet for this part, like it's in a church. I don't think they expected this out of me. shit, I didn't. it taps a strange energy in me, maybe something out of those stress forces - it can't be all nightmare inside. maybe it's the way I read those tea leaves, I don't know how to act right on my impulses -I always end up getting ashamed mostly about my feelings. thank god I can get some works out, these can last and embody shit beyond the pathetic drama queen role I've cast for myself, even if it isn't intentional. performance is a tough hustle for me, I got into this to be w/d. boon. w/out him - sometimes, I don't know, I just don't know... losing people has been the hardest lesson for me. aahh, forget all this now, the gig is done. I'm shaking though. ok, ok - stop stuttering, talk w/these people and try and calm down. calm down, watt. I talk to my publicity man howard's son. he's playing bass - yeah, go for it! this other man has me sign his brand-new rickenbacker bass - whoa, just like kira's natural finish one, the one she sold to kim sonic. I truly wish I can give cats confidence w/the bass. maybe there's some inverse law that might prevail through my weakness. this lady asks me if I sleep w/men. oh boy, this again. she said she didn't mean anything by it, just that I looked sexy. what? this makes me laugh, oh man... some joy laugh tears now. in a way, this was a great thing to hear. I mean, I get it asked all the time - mostly by girls - I guess the guys take it for granted! what the fuck, who cares? coming off a little girly doesn't mean you're sleeping w/guys - ever see ed wood's "glen or glenda?" see it, you'll bust a gut. as far as me, I have nothing to prove except w/my works. my "image" is theirs to sculpt, form their theories. it's ok w/me, I'm not offended. I haven't been w/guys that way though if you're really obsessed and curious about that.
ok, we're leaving the stuff here and konking w/bob and his wife gwen but I gotta put the shirts away. charlie, a bass player cat who saved my butt in chicago when the little bass got left in iowa city by lending me his, comes to say hi but I'm kind of distracted cuz I can't get the rear hatch open. fuck, what's up. I have to climb from the front over the shelf and still I can't get it open. oh my god, I'm thinking of a plan b, a bravo - what the fuck am I gonna do. I jiggle and jiggle - charlie's trying to conduct a coversation at the same time and finally... whoa - a penny comes out between the latch's button and the surrounding frame. what the fuck? why would someone fuck w/us like that? son of a bitch, motherfucker. anyway, we're blessed that this didn't blossom into anymore of a nightmare. I am so relieved. pricks, leave my boat the fuck alone! like there ain't bad enough shit to deal w/regarding theses hellrides, huh? it's like almost three now, I'm so tired. guys talk w/me but I don't have that much in me, I'm sorry. my ear's fealing a little thick and filled up too. infection or what? no pain, just a feeling of stuffed-up. I settle w/jeff and tell him he's got a great thing going here and I will play his pad again. this is a good time for brooklyn I think. as long as people are working and trying to be creative. the lameness will come when the poser herd gathers to work hard at looking cool and doing jack shit - all appearance and shallow hollow veneer. happens all the time, part of they cycle. right now though, brooklyn seems fertile.
bob gets a car to take me and pete - jer's goes to stay w/his family at a friend of their's house. bob and gwen live in the greenpoint part of brooklyn and they have a nice little pad. the couch is a little short but I curl up. pete, as usual, can jaw like a champ after playing his ass off. I am pulled off the bone though and have nothing in the tank, barely any fumes. a little lamp in the head but it's dimming fast. I hear the other three talking about opera or something - or are they? I submit to the relief of konk.
saturday, may 11, 2002 - hoboken, nj
We wale at Bob's pad and have a little coffee, then leg it back to the North_Six to pick up the tools (Jer's going to meet us in Hoboken). With the tools loaded, we snap a pic of Bob and take off. We are on our way to CBGB's as Watt has been invited to be a guest DJ for this trip called "Punk Rock Aerobics." We pull up to CB's and the clambake is actually next door at CB's art gallery. I take the digi-cam w/me for some snaps and immediately start documenting everything. I go next door into CB's and snap everything. In the gallery I get some flack from one of the bartenders in the gallery for taking snaps of the "art" and this irritates me. I go to get a drink so I can get the over zealous bartender's name and dedicate a nice diary entry to her (I was actually going to have Watt post the pictures on the hoot page and say that they were courtesy of this particular bartender). I order my customary BUshmills and I go to pay and she tells me it's like eight dollars. I shoot her an incredulous look and she says, "I know, I know but this is New York." I tell her I have to go get some cash to pay for this sudden luxury and I go to the boat to get a twenty. I go back in and pay the bartender and introduce myself. She tells me her name is Sheena and apologizes that she can't make the drink any cheaper but can give me more for my money; she proceeds to pour in the equivalent of a double shot! The young lady has redeemed herself in my eyes and I make another mental note about random acts of human kindness; just pass it on. Much respect Sheena and I know you were just doing your job.
I stood by Watt as Hilken and Maura (the punk rock aerobics bosses) give directions to the crowd. The set list for the gig is pre-determined but the song choices are very cool (Stooges, Jonathan Richman, Ramones, et al). I walk around the pad taking snaps of everything and everybody. Some cats get irritated and I enjoy it very much (it's all about the reaction, man). A good time is had by all and all the exercises work up a nice sweat. We finish up the session, thank Hilken and Maura and we are off to Hoboken. I navigate the trip and we make it to the pad w/a minimum of irritation. Jer is waiting for us and we do the load in. The soundman does the mike up efficiently and makes us sound real cool. We strike the tools as the Cobras show up and they do their load in. Me and Jer go into the restaurant part of the pad (Maxwell's is the name of the joint) for some chow and we welcome the food. After the meal, we take our drinks into the next room and sit w/the Cobras who we rap w/for the next couple of hours (I especially formed a kinship w/their bass player Ed, who is a real cool cat and sees things as I see them in many ways). The Cobras hit the stage for their set and the crowd is really on. Me and Jer are sitting by the FOH mixer and the band is raging; they are really on tonight and the crowd responds in kind. The Cobras finish their set and we hit the stage. I feel really on and the set goes off very well. The audience is really getting into the new stuff and it feeds into me, Watt and Jer. We finish up the set and go into the encore and the crowd really loves it. We sign many posters and autographs and I feel really good about the gig. We load up the boat and take off w/a cat named Danny in tow (we're crashing at his pad). He leads us through Jersey and to his house where we immediately lay out the bags and conk. Hard. Buona notte nostri ainici.
a much better sleep in tomato and lori's place last night. thank you lori for offering your bed to us, that was very generous of you. it's later than I'd liked to pop, but the rest will do me good. kel's a little mad for not waking her earlier. she wants to sightsee in manhattan some and I've only got 'til four for wandering. can't do the empire state and statue of liberty on the same day anyway. the lines are to fuckin' long. we decide on the empire and bath up first. lori is up and we get directs to the city and sights. I say bye and kel will return at the end of the day to chow din w/her. thanks much lori! after a stop at the local deli for lunch we hop the subway for manhattan and the big apple. everywhere I go people comment on how beautiful and alert rilei is. I'm very proud of her and the great work kel's does w/her while I'm gone working the sticks. at the 47/50th st. station we depart an make our way to street level. rockefeller center is right above us and we take a gander at the rink area. no ice this time of year, just a outdoor café. two blocks away is sam ass music and I stop to get a new china cymbal and sticks. only 12 blocks to the empire state and we enjoy a gorgeous day in ny. I have about 2 1/2 hours to get to the top so I think plenty of time… ya. NO! after asking how long to the top(I'm told 25 min.)were in line over an hour and still not to the elevator. JERKS! once in the vator it stops on the 80th floor and low and behold ANOTHER LINE! fuck! I got no time left to wait so we join the line going down. 18 bucks for nothing. only a view from the windows which rilei digs greatly. I curse and moan all the way down. kel takes it well, though she will write a letter to the bastards telling of our experience. we hurry to penn station just a block away and I say a very quick goodbye to my family. see them again in a month. the path train will take me to hoboken and I'll walk to rest of the way to maxwell's. of course I board the train that doesn't go to hoboken and am forced to change trains. no problem only an extra ten mins. of travel time. once out of the station I ask for directs to washington st. and it's just 1 block down. I don't realize the walk is two miles and my shoulders tire from the load of shit I'm carrying.
I arrive a little after 5 which is load in time and mike and pete have yet to show. I order a beer and open the labtop just as the guys enter. we load and set up for the check. I set aside my kit on stage and retrieve my beverage. as I open the lab top I notice my file for the diaries is corrupted. that damn x-ray machine at the empire state bldg. musta crapped it out. I get mark from the cobra's to look at it and he's able recover some data, but two days are lost. what can I do but catch up whenever possible. I run into fred the taper and he offers to give me a ride back to brooklyn. I didn't plan on seeing kel off, but why not? I call kel and she's stoked on seeing me again. I return to check out washdown. cool band w/good energy. I kick w/fred and notice he doesn't look so hot. his friend steve raps w/pete and myself a while about old punk and days past. soon were on and the set goes well w/few clams. I do cramp up some and apologize to the guys. after the encore steve tells me fred's hurting real bad and their taking him to the hospital. hope he's well. get better fred were thinking of ya. call and tell kel the bad news. she takes it good and I wish her a goodnight.
some cat named danny offers his pad to crash and we take him in the boat. on the way we make about 5 wrong turns. all the while danny's bashing himself for the blunders. we laugh it off. some time later we arrive at tonight's konk zone. I'm beat and head straight to bed.
pop and find my ear feeling really plugged up. go to the head to hose off but when I look in the mirror, I see all this blood! oh boy - it was bleeding from the inside, no wonder it felt clogged. damn. there's some q-tips here so I clean out this custard shit and blood. oh man. there's no pain and I can hear out of that ear ok - maybe it's a blood vessel or something. twentyfive years of punk and finally it's too loud. isn't the turn of events that come up on you on tour righteous? love it. of course, I'm scared shitless - it's not even half-way through the tour yet (that'll be tuesday). soldier on, watt. I hose off and then hoof outside. very polish in this neighborhood and I chow at a little polska restaurant, eggs and kielbasa sausage. really good and four dollars too, econo for nyc. the tall, polish waitress has those eyes and accent that make me think of some of the slavs in my town. a little bit of pedro everywhere, huh? that's what pete told me as we were starting this tour and he was hitting all these towns for the first time. there's a drug store on the way back and I get some q-tips and hydrogen peroxide. nice cali-like weather again. I can sure dig that.
back at the pad, I chimp diary 'til pete, bob and gwen pop. I ask them if they were talking about opera last night and yep, watt wasn't just dreaming that. talk of that leads to mozart and his piece, "the golden flute" and the masonic imagery in it. well, that brings out the old masonic lecture from watt which winds up w/recommendations to get some good laughs from umberto eco's "foucault's pendulum" and the robert shea/robert anton wilson collaboration, "the illuminatus trilogy." I tell them to check out the copy of "the principia discordia" on my hoot page too. the hippies who had fun cooking up that sure knew how to get some arcana yuks. seriously absurd. bob hoofs w/me and pete back to the north six where the gear is inside and the boat's docked out front. bob helps us load up and we bid him farewell and much thanks. cool thing they're building here.
we take the williamsburg bridge over to the lower east side of manhattan to the cbgb gallery. I've been invited to be a guest dj for something two friends of j's, maura and hilken, have called "punk rock aerobics." while we're waiting for things to get set up, I go across the street and it a pastrami sandwich - there is nothing like one from new york city. back to where I'm gonna spin, I see some old friends - tif (who's gonna move back to l.a.) and craig (from shutter to think). before the workout begins, I play the buzzcocks' "I believe" and "you say you don't love me," sid vicious' version of "my way," black flag's "my war" and the germs' "strange notes." when maura and hilken start the routines, there's a setlist involved. I guess they didn't want me playing any old bad brains or minor threat to give people cardiacs. it's a lot of mid-tempo stuff but these ladies really go for it worked up quite a sweat. they got the crowd going too. it was quite a sight to see this. there were a lot of photographers from the papers to shoot this, bizarre. I'm glad I did it though, it was pretty funny. I ended it all w/husker du's "divide and conquer." then me and pete took the boat through the holland tunnel to new jersey. pete was equally amazed at the balls-out nerve of the pedestrians and the assholiness of the drivers, especially the cabs. he dug the sense of life the town has though. he's been here w/his pop before, but he was walking and taking subways. this for him was a trip. he's getting better at the map too cuz he gets us to where we're playing tonight, maxwell's in hoboken. right near where it's at, there's an old elks' lodge. pete's an elk - his pop got him in seven years ago. this one's fancy w/a huge bronze of an elk out front and lots of ornate facade. pete tells me, "I can get you in." thanks, pete but not today.
man, are we lucky - a parking space only about six or seven slots from the pad (they park at thirty degree angles here). even though it's a small trek for the gear to get to where the stage is (this pad is half a restaurant), it's worth the little bit of effort to hump the shit from there. I've had to drive around for an hour before, just to find any spot and sometimes that's blocks away. we load in and I quickly hoof down to tudino's to get a righteous slice of pizza. for less than two dollars, this hunk is like half of the front page of a newspaper, sliced diagonally. thin, amazing crust, perfect sauce and cheese (I don't get anything else on my slices) - you gotta fold these babies to get them down. mmm... a quick stop for some cotton balls - I'm gonna wear cotton in this hurt ear for the rest of the tour. it's the ear that faces the drums and bass amp, hmm...
I start a spiel w/jim from "jersey beat" and the maxwell's people give me a salad and cup of manhattan clam chowder (the red kind). a lot of tasty chow today for watt. not a quantity but sure enough quality. taste bud gifts. in the middle of the spiel, me and my guys do a quick soundcheck w/sound man adam who's cool peeps. then back to the spiel w/jim. he just put out his twentieth anniversary issue and wants to know how I feel about new versus old days. I tell him the only thing I really have a problem w/these days is the whole genre mentality fucking w/music. like what I wrote in that minutemen song, "definitions," twentytwo years ago: "tear up your dictionaries!" sounds are sounds, let's tear up the berlin walls in our heads. easier to say than do cuz of all the conditioning/marketing but it's the most free way to be. this way, you can give everything a chance and not pre-judge so easy - you never know what you might be missing out on. maybe this was a problem in the old days too but I seem to notice it more now. jim wants to know about the sickness piece so I tell him about it. he wants to know how it is to be on a major label for eleven years ago and I tell him it's very similar to the eleven years I was on sst records cuz I made sure I kept it that way. the columbia folks have given me much respect in doing what I do. in return, I try to give them music that have nowhere else on their roster or anyone else's roster for that matter. I also jam econo, something I learned from the old days.
ok, to the boat to konk. on my way, the verdes get here and john stops me to tell me about his frustration w/labels. he was on a small one but still it took nineteen months to get off and a lot of hassle. he wants to do different projects: one w/keyboards and clarinet (he plays both) and another guitar one where he's strumming instead of doing only the jagger part. his voice is raw from drinking too much tequila last night. he thinks my ear bleeding was from him spieling so hard on me. he was trying to convince me to go booj (bourgeois) and wear a tuxedo - he thinks every tour these days, I'm getter more and more dapper. he's funny.
I konk deep and heavy, like three hours. jer comes gets me and says I missed both the verdes and openers, the washdowns. damn. I was just so exhausted though. I can't sleep past seven or eight in the morning, even w/the konk mask. the pre-gig konks are a must or I'm in for trouble. I grab the sling sack and head inside. good crowd and I shoulder the little bass. gonna be trippy w/the cotton in the ear that bled but it's what I gotta do. feeling better emotionally than last night, maybe being two rivers over helps. I still feel aura stuff though, like the invisible footprints someone might have left, someone who's made quite an impression on you, irrevocable. sometimes that can actually help - I feel it lots when I think of d. boon or been where he was. that helps every time. maybe that's what it is: time and the distance it brings, the chance to better the perspective. not like the memories themselves bring on the stress, more like memories of you outside those or those that were there but fucked things up so. maybe the guilt or shame of having caused such stress, to be nothing more than stress and the realization of how twisted one might've ended up making things - even if that was the furthest from what was intended. who wants to sit on the end of an equation who's final sum is stress? I think of my music, the way I interact and in fact, act on things as an individual and have to admit one constant factor is stress. maybe cuz I've had lots of crisis that's conditioned me that way. physical pain for one, believe me. nothing like hurting like a motherfucker to have a long, successful marriage to stress - such an excellent life partner. I don't want to make it sound like I'm making excuses or shirking responsibility for blame. just trying to figure something out so I can somehow get better. anyway, this is me writing today about last night and you know what? I was spared this thinking as far as the gig went. what I did I feel was some good stuff, I don't how or where but it was sure nice. pete was such a champ tonight but I could tell jer had real trouble. his hands cramped really bad. he even knocked a cymbal off this time - the same one I did but this time I was nowhere near. it was hard for him to have his eyes on me. I even had to say "will the drummer please look at me" in "sister ray" for the "...on a ding-dong part." he can't whup it up to before we get tiny for the last part of "little johnny jewel." tough gig for jer but I have love really there for him. I holler his name loud into the mic when we're finished. the crowd was super righteous w/big, open hearts and warmness. as far as me hearing, it wasn't so bad w/the cotton stopper, a little funky sounding but at least no blood at the end of the gig. we get done and the bartender lady gives me a fifth of bourbon from danny clinch, an old photographer friend of mine. someone comes up to me and says hi and I ask if they want this bottle and hand it over. I just can't shirk the no drinking thing, my health, both in the head and body, just aren't strong enough.
I settle w/todd, the boss here and an old friend. always great to see him. john agnello's here too - he just mixed the new record j did. can't wait to hear it. john says, "emerson, watt and pedro" and we both laugh. a cat who lives upstairs offers us his pad - he's been seeing me the last four years, ever since he heard me thumping through the couch he was sitting on! I say thanks but danny (gabbercha) from the watt list has already done the invite and I've accepted. thank you, though. jer's w/us again - kel and rilei are flying back to cali. we load up the gear, say our goodbyes and take danny and his skateboard along w/us. some blow-bys and loops along the way but after persevering we make it to arlington (nj) where he lives w/his bro mike. danny says he was pretty uptight the whole gig and it was hard for him to kind of get into cuz his bro just came back from amsterdam and had shrooms in balloons that he swallowed. he thought they might burst and he'd trip too hard. he's relieved to see his bro ok. damn, why roll the dice w/that shit? I stake out the couch quick and get out of my out fit and into my sack. I'm tuckered. my last memories of the night are hearing pete chomp some chow he's really digging. pete, you take the trough while I take the train to sleepytown.
sunday, may 12, 2002 - manhattan, ny
I wake up at Danny's pad still a little groggy so I go take a much needed shower. Feeling much better after the hot water soak, I remember that it's Mother's Day so I get on the horn to call my Mom, Lil the Kill and the girls. My Mom and Pop are going on their yearly trek to Croatia so I won't see them for a while after I get back home. Lil doesn't pick up so I lean an appropriate message. The girls pick up and I rap w/them for awhile. I miss them very much but they'll be waiting for me at the airport when I get back. We have a short drive to Manhattan so we have some time to kick back at the pad. danny lives w/his brother Mike who he'd just gotten back from a trip to Holland to visit their Pop. Mike didn't come to the show because jet lag but was waiting for us after at his pad. We rapped for a while and watched a trippy video of a cat name Denny Denton who paints pictures of rock stars w/his hands while listening to their music. In between painting he spouts some very well prepared jive raps on individualism and spiritual energy, then proceeds to do this whole Vegas-like shtick while painting (should be a great hit at Circus Circus). The paintings themselves are very good but it's the mode d' emploi that's lame. Danny and Mike have a pet iguana name Chubb-Chubb that has a tail that was accidentally lopped off by the lizard's previous owner. Chubb spends most of his time starring out the window and eating, and Mike tells that he takes craps the size of Buicks. Danny makes us some coffee and turns us on tho these little cakes from Holland called "Stroopwaffles." They're a layer of caramel between two thin waffle biscuits. Very habit forming. Danny and Mike are very gracious hosts and two of the coolest and trippiest cats we have met as of yet (they're like two characters from a Coen brothers movie). I need some visine badly and Danny gives me a bottle. Very cool of him. We load up the boat and bid them goodbye (they say they'll be coming to the show tonight).
We are off once again. We're playing a pad called the Mercury Lounge and it's a pretty cool place. The soundman's name is Mark and he mikes us up proper and we do the soundcheck. Everything sounds cool so I decide to chimp some diary (I am writing it in longhand now as Jer's 'puter developed a nasty glitch and FUBARD'd some of our diaries from the beginning of the week). I get very tired from the writing and sneak a conk in a club booth. I am awaken by the sound of Cobra's soundcheck and decide to make a move to the dressing room. The first band moves on their souncheck so I stick around to listen; they are called The Washdown and are very cool, very animated and intense performance and music. I chimp some more diary and then Washdown goes on. I stay for their set then go down to the dressing room for a little shut-eye (Jer is already conking down there).
The Cobras are down there too, so we rap a little while 'til The Washdown finishes their set and then the Cobra's are up. I drift off a little and wake up as they are doing their last two tunes. George, J Mascis' drummer, shows up looking for Watt (I tell him Watt is still in conk mode) and I rap w/him for a bit while I wake Jer. We go upstairs as Cobra does their last song and Jer goes to wake up the chief. Cobra finishes, breaks down and we set up our tools. We hit the stage and the crowd is very raging;; they respond very well to all the songs and the gig goes well until my keyboard takes a dump right at the end of "Amnesty Report." Everything comes to a grinding halt as I furiously try to get the dead machine up again. Watt spiels nervously and the crowd is very understanding;. In frustration, I pull up a patch on my synth that is not even a reasonable approximation of an organ but we soldier on (another character builder). We make it through the gig and the crowd shows us much love (they very much dug on the fact that even though we were plagued by technical bullshit, we soldiered on).
I spoke w/some very cool people after the show and even took some snaps w/a woman who was there from Australia. There was a very nice couple from Oakland who spoke w/me and kindly bought me some cocktails. Very nice people. I felt very relieved that the people enjoyed the show but I was still a little nervous about my synthesizer glitch (I would have to sleep on it). We load the tools into the boat and hop in along w/a cat named Vivek and his lady Tracy (we are crashing at their pad this evening). He leads us close to his pad but since parking is tight in Manhattan (real tight), we anchor the boat in a public parking lot a few blocks from Vivek's. We leg it on over to his pad on Astor Place and go up. It is a very beautiful apartment w/a commanding view of the city (Vivek inherited it from his Pop) and I spend a little time gazing at the busy metropolis below. We lay out the bags and Watt lets me read a review of our Baltimore gig; it is a very positive one and I conk w/happy thoughts. Buona notte...
up I rise and another good night's sleep. I hear voices of the guys in the living room. danny and his brother mike are on the couch playing w/their iguana chubb chubb. got his tail chopped off by accident, but still a lively gent. mike tells the story of his muleing of hash and shrooms out of amsterdam (he just returned). "I rapped the stuff in cellophane and twisted them up in condoms. then threw em' in pudding and huffed em' down" crazy bastard states. he still had three of 'em in his bowels. nuts! I'm offered a sample of the hash and find it potent. then I try to chimp and realize it's true power. brain fart and I can't type. doesn't matter anyway were leaving for the city. it's only 10 miles to manhattan, but time wise more like an hour. I take a few snaps of manhattan and soon were at the mercury lounge. mike parks the boat 1 block down and I lead pete to katz's deli just right there. this place has the best kosher grub in ny. I order a bowl of matzo ball soup and a spinach knish while pete goes for the corn beef sand.. the best! I gobble up the goods and make a call to kel. she tells me that her pal jamie got em' a meeting w/some playboy agent in l.a.. their also going to hef's mansion on next sunday. I'm always concerned about what choices she makes in doing modeling work, but I'm accepting of the playboy and their tact. good luck baby! pete soon finds me at the phone and I cut the call short. we load in and get the gear together. soundguy mark who did the knobs last time is w/us again. thought he worked it great last time and no doubt on getting positive results again. checks done and I go to chimp again. no hiccup on the labtop today yet so I continue w/my backed up entries. three days behind and catch up gets harder everyday. I decide to take a break and grab a soda at the bar. pete uses the time to chimp up (he's behind even longer cause' I took the labtop w/me in ny), and as I return he shows me his file got corrupted as well. damn! I go to check mine and once again it's fucked. I spend the next hour correcting the fault. this time I'll back it up w/the floppy. you learn lessons the hard way sometimes. I stow the puter' and dash across the street to get a quiche' for din.. this ny stores all have great food. after the snacking I feel a tad burnt and lie down in the basement green room.
a good two hour nap and a refreshed jer is ready for the show. pete been chimping next to me in the notebook (he's gotta keep up) and john of the cobras is resting beside us. george of dinosaur jr. pops in and talks for a couple. earlier I told him of my heavy expenses on the tour for sticks and cymbals. he offers to help me on getting some endorsements. thanks much bro! I hope it'll alleviate the painful parting of my funds. washdown has already played and the verdes are nearly done. I'm just on my way to the boat to wake the boss when he strolls in. I ask the tender' for some bottles of water for the show. they was supposed 'ta have 'em downstairs, as I was told, but none ever made it down. the rider was all for not. we set up and I'm concerned about my hand. I slightly injured it lifting gear the other day. cramping is a major problem I've had to deal w/on many occasions. playing so much gives no time to recover. only one day off on this tour and I must be wary of my health. maybe half way into the set it starts. w/shear will power I hold on 'til the end. whew! nothing more scarier than losing control in a show. I make a dash for the bar and get a cocktail to calm down. meet some cool cats and talk about cali some. andrew has seen me play in l.a. a few times and tries never to miss a watt show. thanks much and keep the faith bro.
I nice ny cat named vivek offers his manhattan pad for the night. along w/lady tracy we track for his building. it's only 10 blocks from the gig. parking, of course, is another story in this town. lots are full and expensive. six streets down we get the boat tied up and hump it to the tower. his pad is a condo on the 28th floor of a nice skyscraper in astor place. great view of the city as I enjoy a glass of wine before bedtime. I still have some energy and chimp a tad while also scopeing my e-mail. it's 3 am and my sleepy eyes get the better of me. tomorrow is providence and my chance to rap w/mr. joe depasquale. a legend of the ocean state. goodnight kel and rilei.
whoa, a trippy thing makes me pop this morning. I feel a scaley coolness on my arm. I open my eyes to see this giant iguana bellying up on me. whoa. I don't freak out though, I stay still. his eye meets mine and he crawls up more, on to my chest. whoa. his head is the size of a baseball and he's tan brown w/some darker stripes like two inches apart. looks like he missing a lot of tail though, there's just a stub here. he's got bone-like bumps and a spine row of spike that's probably more like stuff fingernails are made of. huge, kind of hard jowls puff up and down slightly. a big flap of skin connects from his chest to his chin like a reversed crest. he (or it a she) is quite a sight. no panic though, infact this creature brings me a strange sense of calm. there's peace in the eyes when I look in them, like the body heat I'm donating is fine. glad I can help. after about fortyfive minutes, I say I'm sorry but I gotta go hose off. no belig though, the iguana is very accepting of a gentle hand down to the couch.
mike's up and he makes me some cof and gives me this cookie-like thing w/syrup in it called a stroopwaffle. it's from holland and luckily it don't have to be ate and then shat out later. it's just a cookie. tastes good in the cof though. mike then cooks me eggs, bacon and toast. thanks, mike. it's mother's day and I call my ma - it's sunday and that's what I do anyway but I also want to wish her a happy holiday. thank god for mas. when I get done, mike tells me about the iguana, the name is chubb-chubb and it was given to him, the original was a prick and abused it - that's how it lost most of tail. he's got good people now cuz danny and mike are happening peeps. I find out it was their pop's idea for mike to bring those shrooms over in the balloons! he married a dutch woman and lives there now. trippy way for a father and son to bond, huh? danny's working w/boilers now and I can relate to it cuz my pop was 'b' division in the engine rooms of the nuke boats he worked on - the uss enterprise and uss long beach. my pop even ended up teaching that stuff (pretty good for a cat who joined at seventeen and never finished high school). I relate how holman taught po-han about the theory of steam power in richard mckenna's "the sand pepples" - he didn't dig the way the coolies were just being taught how to do things "monkey-see" and wanted them to know the ideas behind what they were doing. school isn't just classrooms and vomiting back answers to get by exams - there's the school of life and that's the most important one to earn a degree. funny how that school gets so little respect. danny gets out a shoebox of photos and shows us some. one is quite interesting. seems like both him and his bro lived in a cellar that was floors away from a the head so they used piss bottles to spare themselves the hike. the picture shows like a ten by eight foot area - maybe a couple feet high too, w/nothing but piss bottles - lots of them the two liter jobs. damn. us cats are pretty blown away, pretty impressive. danny said there was quite an ammonia smell in the air when they had to move and dump all the bottles. took hours and hours. whoa. these cats are precious. we thank them both much and then board the boat.
it's gray and raining again, you would never guess it was the middle of may. east on nj-3 and under the hudson river via the lincoln tunnel and we're in manhattan. we head down to houston and essex and dock the boat near the mercury lounge, where we're playing tonight. we're here early so it's a block over to katz' deli and I get a big chopped liver sandwich and some cream soda - homemade pickles too. great chow. we load in and do a soundcheck w/mark when the shoveling ceases. I then go to the boat.
the boat's in the same place it was last october, the southeast corner of houston and essex and facing east. ghosts. time for watt to konk and be visited by ghosts. they are strange things, ghosts. so much of them are you what maybe your mind makes of them, maybe not though. I try to listen to what I think they're trying to tell me. sometimes I think them some sort of head doctor and maybe they can help mend my hurt mind. I have logical debates w/them find where my position, where I am. I mean, as it was, I was - right? it's now, then? isn't that funny - you can use "then" for what's next when most the time it stand for what used to be. the real scary things about ghosts are the true things they carry, the stuff your mind keeps from you - kept from you. real power in a ghost is you knowing you can't "keep" anything - you're helpless and must submit to the true past and confront it, no fashioned memories where you're hiding in the now. this is why the shit gets scared out of you, the terror hold on your attention - nailed onto the swinging door of the moment. you can retrace your steps - those very steps and move your hands just so, so as to grab at what was at the periphery, what was outside where all your attention was focused but in fact, held the clues to what that attention meant, where it was coming from, where it was bound. and there you find yourself, bound to a re-run and not bound for the next page. ghosts thrive on that and chow it like pulled pork. so you spin the scene around, you try for "pespective." you're too close to it, you think - "too much up in it." you've lost yourself. the ghost's touch is cold and you want something soft, something to rest your cheek against and support your heavy head. the cold annoys you like finding yourself konked w/the blankie hiked up too high. oh dear, and you won't assert enough to pop and get that blankie right but instead tread water in that semi-konked state where there's no reward - no healing konk, no alert pop... rather the hellride just such a stress can deliver. your wish to let the ghost mesmerize you, your hope to get lost in that frenzy is narrowed and narrowed 'til it's one foot in front of the other, inching along that narrow beam - your sights set high from where you scraped away the silver behind the mirror and dared to shine it through, your stutter shaking your leg, fucking up your move... whoa - there's a knock on the hatch... the old sst one, what? no, WHAT?! ...now in a tiny voice, one that never made it out: who? the hatch pops and it's george and gimili, holy cow. I 'pert near faint. man, did I get carried away. they want to get an assistant of gim's in. and yes, they were at the gig on friday - I just wasn't aware. I asked gim if I said hi to her... I know I asked folks if george was there. george said they had to bail and I was too caught up in slinging. sorry guys - you know how caught up I get, no offense. I know how it feels when eyes I crave seem to look right through me as I was window pane. I'm not all the way awake and it's hard to talk w/them. they understand and shut the hatch and I pull down the mask. it's kind of cold but I'm all in a sweat, especially on the back of my neck. I've been through a wringer though so this and this next konk has me out like how it is mostly after a gig - total.
I pop somehow at eleven. whoa, this is supposed to be set time. I grab my sling bag and wait for the light to cross essex. now in new york city, people cross when they're able too and don't constrain themselves to lights. I want to linger at this spot a bit though. I want something to travel up from the sidewalk - maybe from some footstep from before, not mine (christ, how many times have I retraced my own footsteps?) but to have that energy, however little it appears (righteous things come in small packages) and work a number on watt, what a gift! why should those things always rattle and spook the shit out of me? seems like I'm doomed but I am not one to be taken in by despair - I swing my fist wildly at it, you could say a roundhouse or even a flail. I do leave this spot eventually (I waited another cycle of the light like the lunatic I am - you fucked up sentimental fool, watt) and get to the merc's hatch. vivek and his girl tracy are there - vivek is having us konk at his pad after the gig. he offers to heft the bag but you know, there's some loads that watt just has to bear.
ok, gig time. scary haunted house for watt. I really dig play this club and am ready to have a good try at it but comes the first note of the first tune - I'm shitting a pecan log. fuck. confidence, please... confidence. I can't remember if we're doing the second chorus four times - it should be three - all this new stuff is w/threes... or sick mockery w/six. maybe pete stopped on accident after two? maybe jer stopped w/him? maybe jer didn't stop and I just think he did. fuck.. whatever, I just plow. all that momentum I built up w/d. boon is carrying me now cuz in the moment, I fucking not there - I'm eyeball peeled w/the bright white light blinding me... no, wait a minute - my eyes are closed, I'm too scared to look at anyone. fuck, I'm fumbling the words, I'm confusing folks w/what I want to say - I mean, what I want to mean by what it is I'm saying. aahhh. this in some ways so much like the brooklyn gig, weird... maybe not so weird, huh? not 'til "she don't know why I'm here" do I gather myself up decent. "sweet honey pie" finds that place where I feel it true, "no combination or combinations of atoms that don't agree..." this rings through me real, genuine. we start to get some momentum up. my men must think me insane. they're good men though and hold fast. then comes the curve balls life likes to hurl. at the beginning of "amnesty report," pete's organ quits. nothing. he sings a capellla but he's all in the wrong places, his nerve is shook. poor pete. I give him smiles to show support, I know he's trying his hardest. maybe ten minutes after the song are spent trying to chase down what's wrong - luckily he just went to one of the keyboard sounds and bypassed the module that makes it an organ. in the meantime, I just spieled, telling folks about playing brooklyn and how it was so long since I was last there. I tell them about that gig way back then, how allen ginsbergh was foaming all over hank after the gig. you know, now that I think about it, I think that was the next night at great gildersleeves - here in manhattan. whoops. I was a nervous mook. better than at the beginning of the set though, thank god. we play the next tune w/the toy sounds... ok, but for "sister ray," I want to go off and need pete to help. I stop the tune after a few bars and ask mark to put pete more in my monitors so I can wail alongside him. during the first go at the little bass, I break a 'd' string. ah fuck... I don't stop though, I just let the dervish in me whup it up. all out of tune, we finish our last song. at least I play little enough in that one not to make it too obvious. we do the encore and then I thank the crowd for being such good folks - you could hear a pin drop in the quiet stuff and there was lots of shaking for the loud songs. what a great spirit they brought to this gig. I spiel w/them as I sling. some australian cats, whoa - great! no jimbo though, this is kind of lame for me. no juan or albert (from b.o.c.) either. damn. maybe it's better my friends didn't come and see me clam so much. well, maybe they might've dug seeing me pull it out though after starting off so weak and then overcoming those technical kinks. I hope they're ok - I think dearly of all my nyc friends. barre's here though he comes into the boat to see the picture he took of him at alcatraz and gave me like eleven years ago. he's thrilled to see it still there. I'm thrilled you're here too, barre.
vivek helps us load up and him and his girl ride up to where he lives by, north of astor place. the lot he had scoped out for the boat is full, fuck. a few blocks down though has a lot we can get into and that means a little bit to hoof but it's no trouble. I've walked late much in this town, almost everytime I've been here. I think about the nights I've had in this town - some of them are the most unforgettable of my life. we get to vivek's building and go way up to the 28th floor. he's got a white couch that I immediately seize upon and put out the bag. there's a righteous orange cat named murphy. he "reads my newspaper" w/sniffs all about. pretty quick I'm laid out w/the konk mask down, very much spent. quite an emotional night for watt but it seems that stuff has subsided, some kind of stress valve popped and calm has filled me. I've reconciled things for the time being and that brings a peace that calms the stormy mind seas that had churned me so earlier. I bob now easy in the soft current of konk. grazie dio.
read week 3 of the tour diary
read week 5 of the tour diary
loop back to mike watt's hoot page