mike watt + the secondmen
pete mazich - organ, singing
jerry trebotic - drums (w/valdo)
watt - thud staff, spiel
(clockwise from top left)
mike watt + the jom & terry show
tom watson - guitar, singing
jerry trebotic - drums
watt - thud staff, spiel
(left to right)
steve kaul - the man outside the van
our special guests:
ed - bass
mark - drums
frank - guitar
derek - guitar
john - singing
(left to right)
monday, may 13, 2002 - providence, ri
woke up very well rested in vivek and tracey's pad in the sky. their turtle rex was staring at me out of his aquarium home, and I stared back at him wondering what he was really thinking. this was to be my last week of the tour so I was starting to feel a little melancholy (lights go down, violins play in background). as much as I miss lil the kill and the kids, I going to very much miss being in tour mode and playing w/watt and jer. at this point in the tour we've become a pretty well oiled machine and the shows have become much less scary and quite a bit tighter. hopefully things will fall into place when I get back and I'll be able to do the tour in the fall (it'll be a big step for me but I am forever the optimist).
vivek walks us back down to street level and we leg it on over to the lot where we parked the boat. watt pays the damage ($28.00!). we bid goodbye to and thank him and we're off towards providence. the sky is very dull and gray and the rainy weather hasn't let up yet (it's been with us since north carolina). we get out of manhattan relatively easy and I try to take some snaps as we go down FDR drive but there's too much rain and haziness to take anything remotely viewable. I am excited as I'm going to meet joe d. (aka joe depasquale) for the first time. mike's been telling us about him the whole trip and he sounds like an interesting cat. joe d. worked for the mayor, buddy ciani, who is being brought up on corruption charges and all kinds of other shit, it's front page news up here and it looks like they're going to put this cat away for a long time (they've got video of him and some of his crew accepting bribes. they called it "bringing the pizza and soda"). joe is also running for town council in providence (it's his fourth try).
we pull up to the pad around 3:00 (a place called the met cafe). parking is really scarce but we found a spot about a block away from the club, the only downside being that we would have to leg all the tools a good distance to the club in the rain (though it wasn't raining too hard at this point). nobody was at the club yet and we had about two hours til' loadin so me and jer went in search of some chow. we find a little deli right down the street from the pad called nick's, I order a tuna sandwich while jer orders some gluttenous item. the chow was very good. we finish eating and just then it starts to pour outside (buckets) so we dwcide to go back to the boat. as we near our spot we notice a big tourbus and trailer parked in front of this old theater that is a couple of doors down from the met, looks like there was another band playing right next to us so of course we had to go check it out. there were some cats that looked like crew members standing outside so jer asked them what band it was. "monster magnet" the cat replies. the guys name was ben and he was on the magnet crew. the place they were playing is called lupe's and is connected to the met and owned by the same cats only it's bigger. we watch as the cats load out all of the tools. those guys had so much equipment it was amazing! jer goes into the pad to ask if we can park behind the tour bus as there is a large space blocked off and our equipment will get drenched in the rain. the cat (I think he worked for lupo's) tells jer "no, I guess you're shit out of luck as we have another tourbus coming." well thanks for helping out the little guy you fucking putz, (fwiw, the cats on the monster magnet crew cool to us). watt goes to talk to someone inside and gets the same speil, only this guy tells him "well you know man, big band, big bus, little band, little bus, whatever. one of the crew cats says we can park the boat in back of the bus to unload, but we have to move it again. watt decides against this as we would probobly end up losing our coveted space and end up having to park much farther away. the downpour lets up a little but it's still coming down pretty good but we opt to do the load-in anyway. we get about half the tools into the pad when it starts coming down like niagara falls. me and watt make a run for it and jump in the back of the boat and shut the hatch. after about five minutes there is a slight respite in the downpour (it's still coming down but not so agro). we finish the loadin and set up the tools on stage after which the soundman (john) shows up. the monster magnet's lighting guy shows up to take a peek and rap w/watt and gives him a cd of his own band. the cat (tim is his name) is really cool and asks us what time we're going on. "11:00," watt replies. "well doesn't that eat a bag of dicks" he replies (monster magnet is going on at the same time). he said he and a bunch of his crew mant to come in an check it out if they can. watt says "sure, no problem." some of the crew come in to hear our soundcheck and applaud approvingly when we're done. me and jer are hungry so we go in search of some chow. jer wanted to go to this small sushi place but it was closed, so we find a little cuban joint next door. the chow is very kind and we munch happily. we head on back to the pad and once again it is pouring so we run in quickly. monster magnet is in the midst of their soundcheck and we check it out for a while. not really anything to pique our interest so we go back into the met. jer goes to chimp diary on his puter while I sit in the dressing room chimping in longhand. cobra does their soundcheck and they sound very good. I continue my chimping as I am way behind.
I hear cobra start the set and stop my chimping. I decide to lay my head back and give 'em a listen. they are raging as always and the crowd is extemely raging. I peek outside the door and the place is packed! I can't believe it. monday nite, pouring rain and these cats brave the elemants to see the show. much respect to all of you. the cobra's do their last song so I go to wake up the chief. I inforrm him (as jerry informed me) that there are twice as many people at our show as there is at monster magnets' (I felt bad for them and the road crew having to do all that work for naught but somebody on their crew definitely tossed some bad karma our way and it came back to 'em). the chief is incredulous but shares my feelings about the bad karma thing.
mike does the segueway into the first song and my rig takes a dump once again. shit! I yell for mike to stop and start to do a spiel while I try to get the machine going again. after about five minutes I am successful and we continue with the set. the crowd is very understanding about the glitch and they give us much love and enthusiasm during the set. to compound my nervousness about my rig, john the singer of cobra verde has issued us a challenge; we have to do a spiel about the tour in croatian (watt tells me to say something about what I learned on my first tour; sage advice he calls it). I am really nervous about it but watt tells me it'll be a great character builder so I can't possibly back down. after we do the "big bang theory" watt stops us and tells me to do the spiel. I'm furiously thinking about what to say so I calm myself down and give a little preface to the crowd in english and then continue in croatian, first thing I say I learned is not to drink any bottles of yellow liquid in the boat, second, never ake the captain before he's suppposed to be awakened, third, the answer my friend is not blowin in the wind, and fourth and more important (I said this in english also), is that all over the country, no matter where we've been, people are pretty much the same. there are the good, and there are the bad. I think the people dug on it very much and I'm glad I did it (mike liked it too). the remainder of the show went off without any glitches and I felt really good about the gig (accept for the rain). joe d. came up and introduced himself and introduced me to "mahk" (mark) whose pad we were crashing at. joe d. and his crew helped us load up the boat and we steam off to "mahk's." I'm a little wired up still so I read some of the tour diaries on the hoot page until the sandman hits, after which I konk. hard. laku noc sviraci...
I awake in the room vivek set up for us and hop in the shower. very nice pad he has. inherited from his parents a few years ago, now shared w/tracy. I enjoy the view of the city from the corner windows and pet murf the kitty a little. I grab my goods and vevek walks us down to the boat. I nap a hot cocoa from a street vender and catch up at the parking lot. we thank vevek and shove off towards conn.. good timing for a depart and no traffic problems getting out of the city. ny can be nightmare at any time. once clear of the metro area the country side changes to a more rural surrounding. I rest some as we pass into conn.. the state's get smaller in new england so crossing 'em becomes a shorter journey. in no time rhode island comes into view. I watch as pete has difficulties w/directs as usual. the downtown area fortunately is small and the met is found w/just a couple turns. parking here is lame and mike get lucky w/a spot on the same street. someone put up some barriers in front of the club not allowing anyone to park. it's now raining and I see the writing on the wall. gear soak! before loadin pete and myself grab a bite at the deli on the corner. cheap sands. and a dry place to kick for a while. we return to throw the gear and a tour bus is parked in front of the lupo (club next door). we go to examine the deal. monster magnet is playing the big room tonight and I watch as they discharge the piles of equipment. some guy named ben talks some and is bummed that he has to work the merch. for the magnet and can't see our show. a good 1/2 hour goes by and still the gear is being unloaded. I use the door to enter the met from the side. looks a little different from the show of last time. more space for the peoples. searching out an employee of the joint I inquire about parking the boat in front of the club. there's a couple dudes claiming the status and have no trouble telling me I'm "shit out of luck." the rain falls harder. we get the gear and huff it in the downpour. I'm soaked, pete soaked, mike soaked, gear soaked! after all the stuff is in the boss man arrives and informs us that we could have parked in front and the pions don't know their dick from their ass. I towel my drums and get the set up on. the cobras show and have the same soak issues. w/the check concluded I tell pete of a good sushi pad a block and we dash in the rain to chow. of course today's the only day of the week their closed and we opt for a cuban diner next door. it's cheaper and not bad so no complaints. I decide to chimp at the bar tonight and get inspiration from the rock.
I told by mike prior to our set that a local cat named ted will be jamming w/us on two wire songs from the jom and terry show set. pete doesn't know 'em so it's a three piece jam. I'm kinda scared playing 'cause the last time through I had a tough gig. kel was in town and I had some focus problems. this one I'm gonna be on the ball. things roll good and only a small hiccup on bursted man. the set ends and for the encore mike brings up ted. he starts the tune and its much slower than we ever did it. I try to adjust and end up speeding the tune along. mike yells and hisses to slow back to ted pace. I'm so used to doing it faster it's kinda autotron. w/the second tune I stay on the beat and it keeps together. thanks ted for doing a good job. pete returns and the shows finished. I kick and rap w/sean of prov. the kind fellow who put us up last time. he informs me we can't stay at his pad any more 'cause mike smoked so many cigs in the house the smell lingered for 4 days. the wife didn't dig that one t'all. joe depasquale comes to say hi and I meet his pal mark (were staying w/him). joe promises to take us to breakfast in the morning at some grease spoon.
w/mark in the boat we shove off to the crash pad of the night. on the road out of town the rain starts falling hard and visibility diminishes to near blinding levels. mike takes it slow and we navigate off the highway safely. mark's pad in sight we park and I grab my shit fast as not to get totally soaked loitering outside. I'm offered a couch in a separate room and mark hooks me up w/an electric blanket. warm and cozy I will be. I rap a few minutes w/kel and make sure all is well w/her return. her ma was a no show at the house for mothers day and she's feeling a bit lonely. I cheer her up and give her my best reassurance speech. a strong girl she is and it'll take a lot more than a flaky episode to knock my lady down. be good sweetie. I now lay me down to sleep.
pop and say hi to murphy the orange cat. he seems tongue-tied. he loves the fingers raking him soft on the back though. I look out the window - whoa, what a drop - straight down! watt's got vertigo and it spooks me, even w/the glass there. what a view though looking straight out, it's towards brooklyn and I'm transfixed for a while, just thinking and thinking - nothing on purpose but just letting things naturally come to me. my head gets warm, gets airy. I hose off and then roust my guys so we can bail early, easier to make the escape from new york city. while they ready, I see the ny times on the table and there's an article on hindu nationalists in india. vivek's family's from india though most live in guiana now. I ask him what he knows about this. he's not that informed, he's been back there only once. I tell him about our name, the minutemen and one reason we picked it in the old days. there was this group of rightwing militant types called the minutemen in the sixties who threatened those who they thought weren't "american enough." we thought if there was another group w/the same name, people would get confused (obviously, we had a much different message) and that would dilute their nonsense. d. boon said those minutemen were reactionary and using the quote, "all reactionaries are paper tigers," he thought it was funny for us to be called that. funnier even, the punk band we started more than a year before the minutemen was in fact, called the reactionaries. it was for the same reason: to get people to challenge labels, messages, slogans, ideologies - all that kind of conflict. d. boon had a knack w/that sort of thing. I had a list of all these band names and he picked both of those from it - god, were most of them the silliest in the world. I'm can be pretty silly even when I think I'm so serious. I lose perspective and the outside gets a big laugh on my insides. d. boon had a good sense at taking on conflict in the social sense. damn, I wish he could've helped me w/the ones raging in my head. in a way, he did by helping me learn to express myself and force me to make myself more clear. d. boon always wanted a clear-headed watt and couldn't fathom why I would get things all so tangled up inside. he said I was too stuffed w/stress, that's why it showed in my music, my words and my way of interacting. he said I had my own industry of it in me - it's own economy, politics and religion w/it. d. boon was always very honest w/me. I loved him so for that, among other things. I could always count on d. boon not to shit me or pull punches when it came to how he felt about me. at the same time, he put so much confidence in me. I could never be scared being next to d. boon. well, the fear me be there at the chamber door, knocking away but he helped give me the strength to fight it. aahhh, I go on and on about him - god, how I leaned on that man...
we hoof back to the lot where the boat is - whoa, twentyeight bucks to park over night! at least the boat was safe so it's worth it. this is an expensive town anyway so it shouldn't be that much a surprise. it used to be nineteen dollars in the lot behind jimbo's on canal but those days are over, he moved to the northeast corner of manhattan, washington heights. he's getting married in august. things change, that's the only thing constant it seems. we say bye to vivek and his partner jim (they run a site called http://www.starpolish.com) and we shove off towards fdr drive, the fastest way north or south on the east side of manhattan. gray, gray skies and soon rain causing big chops in the east river. we drive by the united nations building but can't see it cuz of the cement overhang above the freeway. we go by roosevelt island and see the abandoned insane asylum on the southern part. I have a good laugh inside likening it to the state of things inside my head. we hit the triborough bridge and leave manhattan. bye-bye. I ask pete to man the barbie purse (ibook) and use the mapping software to help keep me true to our course. I've plotted a route through the bruckner expressway to I-95 which will take us through connecticut and into rhode island. he can't find it. I get uptight and keep telling him to look for the gray - look for the gray, the hatches. this flusters him. what's actually up is I'm using fucked up language to try to communicate him something in my head. the route is delineated by a pattern of crosshatch marks superimposed upon the roads involved but my words offer little help cuz they're confusing. I have to keep my attention on the wheel and can't really physically point it out to him so I get more and more like a nut trying to explain something that he can't see corresponding to what's on the screen. aaaaarrrrrgggghhhhhh... jer finally saves the day by using his finger to show pete what I'm trying to mean. sorry, pete. what a fucking idiot, watt. aahh, I'm mad at myself for being such a bozo. right away, doors start to open and pete sees exactly what's going on. we're all together now. fuck, am I drama queen. surely not the stuff those born to lead are made of. I will say we do get quite a laugh out of it all when calm comes. I sure have a good crew. my mental state is for sure not so hidden to them. they are quite generous and forgiving gentlemen. no construction and relatively light traffic make for an easy glide into connecticut. I usually bypass this way for a northern bypass through the series of parkways where trucks aren't allowed by today we're in luck on the major corridor. not so lucky w/the weather, rain is coming down and gets heavier as we go east. we pass through stamford, new haven and new london - not able to see shit except the road ahead. pete gets a big bottle of gatorade out of the cooler. always, I write "no drink" on vessels used for holding piss but I must've spaced on this one - why else would've someone put it in the cooler. pete holds the jug up to the light. if this is gatorade, what flavor is this? sentiment at the bottom holds a clue. I tell pete to fuck that shit, I don't think it's gatorade. aahh, idiot watt - I can't space on the label thing again. jer finds a big bottle of hydrogen peroxide that has "contains piss" written on the label. I remembered writing on that one right away cuz the danger posed by it not being a clear bottle. jer just then finds another unlabled vessel, a one quart soup thing. there's a spoon in it and it's only half full. I know for sure that's piss cuz that it's probably the yat gaw soup from I chowed in asbury park, now kidney filtered. I grab my marker and write "no sips" on it. my guys laugh pretty hard at all this. we try to have a good time on tour. you can see how it brings out the little boy in one. like perry once told me, "mike, keep the child's eye." jer pops one of those tins of hot sauce 'dines that jumbones gave us and chows me w/them on some blue corn chips. thanks, jer. pete's busy catching up w/chimping. cuz of some bug in jer's 'puter, he's writing by hand in a composition book that danny's bro mike gave him. jer had to work hard to recover some days he lost. fucking machines. oh well, we're working hard to keep these tour spiels coming!
we pull into downtown providence and the rain's really coming down now and it's fucking cold. may thirteenth my ass - it's like november! another reason for coming early was so pete could check his shit out and try to find out what's going on and correct it. there's a big tour bus and trailers and shit bogarting most the curb. we're at the met cafe tonight and it's connected to lupo's heartbreak hotel, the place for I guess what you would call "the real rock bands." some dick tells us to park where we can, that's the way it is for acts who play the met cafe - in his words, "you're shit out of luck." ok, so we gotta load the gear through the fucking driving rain. so we do - no big deal, I guess. after years of shit like that, you get used to it. I've learned to laugh it off. the big rock band crew is quite nice though. the light man, tim, comes over to say hi and talk w/me - he's just read steve blush's "american hardcore" which has a bunch of quotes from me in it. he gives me a cd of his band, the ribeye brothers too. he wants to watch us play but the band he's working for (the big rock one) goes on at the same time. this bums him out and he tells me in a heavy jersey voice, "don't that eat a bag full of dicks?" totally, tim - you're a good man. the drum tech comes by and gives me his band's cd, lord sterling - he was gonna play w/me at the saint in asbury park but this tour came up (all these cats are from the jersey shore). the merchandise cat buys a shirt from me. I was gonna give tim a dos cd but he already had it so I give it to the merch man. they all take a picture w/me. all very cool peeps. so much different from a manager guy who confronts me and says "can I help you" in a very unfriendly tone - I was just trying to give these guys stickers of the boat. I tell him I'm playing next door and some nice man vouches for me. I've had trouble being the right looking person w/some of the big rock people. you know, "big band, big man - little band, little man" and that sort of thing. people who know who I am by what I do though get another perspective though, and much respect to them for the open hearts.
I get some corn chowder and a salad down the block. after a quick sound check w/john, it's to the boat to chimp diary and konk. god damn is it cold, I have two blankies on me to weather it. the drops pound the boat up good. it does calm some cuz the writing puts me in quite a state. a good stress relief though, I konk like that once I'm done. pete comes gets me when it's gig time.
I missed the verdes. I did get to talk w/john a bit when they got here. he's a newspaper writer too and wants to do a story on flannels some time. he likes what I know about them. he really wants me to record and record. I do too, it's been weird these last years - taking so long to make records. I'm going to get back to my minutemen roots and record every seven or eight months like we used to. can't believe I've gotten like I have. a weird phase in my musical life. I have bee touring like crazy though, that's a good thing. I just gotta make records like I used to. seems like I've fallen into a routine that involes us, me and the tour life, as a couple and not remembering to include each of us as individuals. this is a problem. we're so connected, there's no time for records! it's become quite overwhelming. I gotta get things back in the right perspective. shit, I've had enough experience w/it. this is something I'm gonna work really hard on. I've got such great teams to work w/in my life: the secondmen, the jom & terry show, the pair of pliers and the black gang. all mike watt bands that have cats I all very much love - all w/their own distinct voice and personality. I've got tons of music to do w/all of them. I love touring too - don't get me wrong. my love is always getting twisted up w/me, seems almost par. look at this, suddenly I'm questioning what I'm doing and where I'm going! first order of business: this gig, then this tour, then the sickness record... tonight's gig is where I must get to now.
the first part is kind of tough. for one thing, pete's organ fails right after I do my intro! oh no! he gets things going again quick though. whew... wonder what's up. I can tell he's very frustrated by this. hang on, pete. another thing is my guys keep jumping the gun on parts and that kind of cuts into the drama that sharpness accentuates. these parts are straight time anyway and they should wait for me, not to sound like a dictator or something but this will make things pop out better. this happens when material gets a little too familiar. I have to admit I fucked some words also, losing a little nerve too but nothing like brooklyn or manhattan. it's ok though cuz we start getting it much together by the third tune. after "the big bang theory," I have pete spiel to the folks. after sound check, I asked him to come up w/a spiel where he talks in serbo-croatian sage advice he's learned here on his first tour. I ask him about gettin from pedro to cleveland and dealing w/all the different people and towns. he speaks of watching what you drink from in the boat and that he's found people are people, no matter where you go and that's a righteous thing. great spiel, pete. the people really dig it. it's a good set, even w/the shaky start and these providence folks are very kind and good in spirit. very happening. encore time and we bring on ted, a local cat who asked me if he could bring his guitar and do a couple of wire songs. he starts off "ex-lion tamer" at the tempo it is on the original album but by the chorus, jer is speeding it way up. damn. I don't want to make it look like we're trying to steamroll ted. I'm kind of mad at jer - me and him are supposed to be a fucking rhythm section and listen to each other but I can tell it's more from him being scared and not confident about the tune. his hands kind of cramped up again too, it was a hard set for him. "three girl rhumba" is much better. thanks, ted. we bring pete back on and do what we usually do for the encore. I'm happy w/how the show went overall. much congrats to my men.
I sling much, the folks are quite kind. more thanks to me for chimping diary - wow, that's kind of a mindblow. you're very welcome. it seems all like so much self-therapy for me, hard to figure that folks can relate to what I'm rattling off. jer's and pete's are quite good though. joe d is here and gives me some flannel-lined jeans, like the ones his boy sonny has. thank you much, mister joe d! his bud mark is here too and invites us to konk at his pad. I go to settle the show and the lady tells me we had more people at our show than the big rock band - what?! damn. that's a trip. we have to load out in some real rain, what a nightmare. mark rides w/us and the sky is coming down in buckets - I gotta take it slow on the freeway and have the flashers on. I mean it's a fucking torrent. we make it to his pad in nearby warren safe though. it's that same pad I stayed in when I had the pliers w/me. what a time we had that night - the cat who just lived there was deported back to portugal and joe d was very driven to point out certain things in a video that got found there. it was hilarious. we have some good laughs remembering that night. it's a great way to konk.
tuesday, may 14, 2002 - albany, ny
The chief gave me my usual wake up call and I rolled out of the bag in my usual grogged out state. Did a quick wash up as we had to get a move on; Joe D. was on his way to take us out for some chow and a tour of his pad. Finished my wash up and went to load up the boat- Joe had already arrived w/ his 4 yr. old, Santino (named after the eldest son in the "Godfather"), so we steamed off towards Providence following Joe D. w/ Santino riding shotgun in the boat as our navigator. We pulled up to this cool little diner and ordered up some eggs and "churico"(The Italian equivalent of chorizo) and I brought out some Dave's "Hurtin' Habanero" sauce to kick the chow up a notch. It was real tasty and we chowed down greedily. Afterwards, Joe took us to go check out his pad which is rightacross the street froma huge old Samsonite factory (it is now non-operational except for a company store). We met Joe's gracious wife and I gave Sonny (Santino) a lesson in dredging operations w/ his toy tractors; he was duly fascinated (He reminded me alot of my little man Tony and I felt a tug on the heartstrings). Joe showed us some memorabilia from his previous campaign outings (pics of him w/ Bob Dole and Buddy Ciani) and gave us some campaign decals (I immediately stuck one on my keyboard case and on the ceiling in the boat (Joe's a real true and level cat and I just know he's going to win this time). We bid goodbye to everyone and followed Joe to the freeway entrance (Wewould see him and the Providence crew once again at our Cambridge show), then steamed back into New York State.
We got to the pad around 3:00(a joint called Valentine's) and immediately scored a killer parking slot right in front. There was a laundromat next door and we were short on clean clothes, so Me, Jer and the chief went in to tend to our stinky do-rags. Once we finished the wash cycle and loaded up the dryers, me and Jer began to feel some hunger pangs, so we went in search of some chow. We found a cool little diner right up the street from the club and went in and strapped on the feedbag; They had some real kind pasta w/ a secret sauce and I washed that down w/ a glass of some real good midnite-black Merlot. Afterwards we went back to Valentine's and elbowed up to the bar for some diary chimping. I knocked down a couple of days (and a couple of Bushmills) and then the sound guy showed up, so we did the load-in and soundcheck. We broke down the tools and stowed them on the backline right as the Cobras showed up. They had to set up and do their check so I went back to the bar to chimp somemore. I wrote for nearly 3 hrs. more (right thru the first band's set- sorry guys), but I heard the Cobra's start their set so I went in to the dressing room to close my eyes for a bit. Jer woke me up just before their last song and I went to go get the chief. He was already awake chimping away so I went to go walk around a little to shake off the grog. I talked w/ a really nice cat upstairs who had a Watt t-shirt on and recognized me from the pics on the web page, he wished me luck and then it was time to go on.
The gig went off really well; I blew a few clams but at least I had solved the problem of my keyboard taking a dump in the middle of the setso that took quite a bit of the pressure off. I felt really good about the gig and my croatian spiel in the middle was getting better and better. I could tell Watt was happy about the playing but one his speaker cabs had taken a dump and that was bothering him (it sounded great anyway g..). We got many positive comments after the show and signed many posters. I snagged a set list for this nice young lady and signed it, the cat w/ the watt t-shirt came up and gave me two small bottles of bushmills (he had read in the diary that It was my poison of choice), and I shared it w/ a couple of the fans. Very very nice people. We loaded up the tools in the boat and took offw/ Jason in tow (the cat whose pad we were crashing at), and arrived there shortly. Watt read some emails for awhile while me and jason rapped aboutEric Burdon and the Animals (Jason has a very cool CD collection) after whichI konked.Hard. Laku noc sviraci......
the blanket does it's job and I wake refreshed and alert. mike checks w/joe on the grub up and we shove off for the shoveling. we sit and start to listen to joe belch out some stories of his mason affiliation. he asks mike about considering the membership into the lodge. although his has a curious interest in their traditions, I don't believe joining is an option for him. joe asks his 4 year old sonny if he wants anything to drink. "what'cha want sonny? milk, juice, a cup of sand?" sonny replies "soda dad." "no way boy, not before noon" joe resends. we pay up and I jump into joe's ride for the trip to his rancho. his shows me the deck that's getting built and tells of the prep work needed before. "I stripped the siding off the house and it was made of asbestos. I just piled it up and covered it w/dogshit. the guy at the dump never knew different." joe proudly tells. that's such a major bust in cali if you get caught. I'm sure it ain't no different here. the others arrive and joe gives a tour of the 'war room' where he plotted all of the failed attempts at the town council seat up for grabs. he working on #5 now. soon it's time to bail again and we follow joe and mark to the interstate. the official escort gets us to the road leading north and over to the mass pike. I enjoy traveling this part of the country w/the wide sweeping hills covered w/a seasonal montage of greenery.
arriving in albany I make a sprint for the laundry mat and do up the duds. pete and I grab a bite next door at this old style diner w/the aluminum siding blastering the outside. great chow for the price and I just have to fold clothes and wait for the check. not much to do so I chimp some at the bar downstairs from valentines. boss guy howard is chilling and welcomes me back. we load everything upstairs and do our check fast. mike konks in the boat and pete rests upstairs. I go over to a chinese joint in the hood and grab some chow for after the show. I wake pete and the boss then get the agua's and set the kit up. we start and mike has lost the towel in the hole of the upper cabinet and he blows speaker totally out. this renders the cab useless. just turn the volume up bro and blast out my brains. I think our set flows great and not many clams to speak of. after were done I talk w/the kids that put us up the last time and give them many thanks. lots of nice people here, I'd love to return as often as possible.
mike introduces me to jason the cat were crashing w/tonight. his pad is only 5 mins. away and we make our selves comfortable. I heat up the chinese and listen to jason and mike talk about an old tv series called the prisoner. it's english and made in the 60's. not being familiar w/it I'm lost in the details they discuss. I opt to take the floor + sleeping pad and soon I'm out cold.
pop and hose off. thoughts in the shower... I think much in the shower w/the water streams doing the pound-pound upon my head. they massage and coax my brain into flowing it's feelings like steams themselves, just flooding on and over my thoughts. they mix and tangle up into torrents and eddies, the settle for a bit into a pools and I can reflect on them for a while 'til they're broken up and released to splash and run all over the newly formed meanderings. past, now, future - they all rush into each other and out of each other - their form, like liquids do, occupy whatever is there to hold them 'til the banks either overflow or wash away. I am left w/brief understandings, glimpses and mysterious mesmerizings - spellbound, enthralled and hypnotized. they make time into little chunks and I am aware fully (so it seems) inside the tiny resulting spaces/parts/segments. it is a weird part of the day for me. the dreams that usually scatter into fragments get their last breath here, the ones packing less drama to pound a hard enough dent into the memory book to make them hold fast in awake time. the dreams I've been have lately are less narrative and more a sensation of feelings, not too good ones for the most part. they're kind of freak outs built on foundation of inadequacy and trying to deal w/that, accept that. the hope I try to hold fast to is that I can cling to that mountain of purgatory and still find strength to climb and not to despair. find that inner strength watt, find that relationship within that drives you so and don't hurt it w/these crazy flailings. even w/it stressed, your spirit doesn't need to snap. gotta keep my determination limber.
don't want to bogart all the hot water and leave a good supply for my men so I cut short the mornings psych session. it's three thousand miles on the boat since last oil change and time for another one. routines can keep at bay the wallow. understand I have no boss to make me do things and cuz of that, no one to blame all (or lots of) my probs on so self-motivation is pretty up there on the list of what's important shit for watt. if I want to work the towns, I need the boat healthy. god, how I love the boat and what she provides me w/in navigating these hellrides. mark konked next door at his ma's so I do the pound-pound w/my fist on the door. I do it a couple of times but there's no response. what I need is to know where one of these oil change pads are at. well, warren's not that big so maybe I just go up to the highway and scout it out myself. we're only a few blocks off of it. we got some sun this morning but the heavy clouds still fill the sky, maybe rain again this afternoon. well, so it goes - what a run of the wet stuff this tour, huh? I'm granted at least a little peak at the sun and I see it as a yellow dress w/arms and legs for the rays. the legs stand tall over me and the arms bend down w/the most tender of hands to warm on the watt cheeks. I have to laugh, this is embarrassing. how long a little boy, watt? how long will you dream like a young boy w/his head always elsewher? I get in the boat and head to the main road. I get there and look down one way: a fuckin gonuts. I look straight ahead, right across: another fuckin gonuts. whoa. I'll go to the closer one. cof and poppy seed bagel. in cali, we got righteous orange poppies - beautiful. orange is yellow, all blushing red. lots of my thoughts make me blush, oh dear. well, we came in from the port and I saw nothing last night so let's go starboard and see what that brings. ah ha, one of the oil change pads not even a quarter mile away. lucky fucking watt. the cats there do the change and put the new juices in the boat. I ask them to use the specs on the label on the inside of the driver's hatch for filling the tires. the main guy there says that those are for tires that are 215 ones and I got 235s (that refers to the width, I dig the ones that put more rubber on the rubber but not too wide as to make turning a nightmare w/the wheelwells). so you're right, ok. he says he's got an "eye for detail" and seventy pounds will be fine. ok, there's no funky wear patterns though at the pressure I've been using (eighty pounds) but I'll submit to the man w/the "eye for detail." he also tries to sell me all kinds of shit I don't need but I hold fast there.
back to mark's and he's up now. we talk a bit about the tour spiels. mark says his friends are always asking him, "read about watt's latest breakdown." man, do my spiels read like "the diary of a madman" or what? they're just days in the life, believe me. I'm still carrying on, no one's holding my fucking hand or being a god damn babysitter for me. I mean, I owe my guys, pete and jer, much for bearing w/some freak outs but I'm not yanking enough hair out of my fuckning head to go bald over some bunched-up panty hose shit or anything like that. the way I look at it, if you're going to inhale then you gotta exhale. this is part how this cake gets baked. damn - have faith, bros. things get a little wiggy but I am a man w/a bass in his hand. this is certain. that is not just an idea. ok, I write about feelings and shit - they do seem pretty important to me. what else am I going to run on, gas? that's for the boat. I guess we both need love - man and machine, searching for the dharma. look, I'm going write about whatever posses me, don't mean to scare anybody. this whole things is supposed to give folks confidence somehow, let them see the things they can find in themselves to take heart in. I can't tell you all what, that wouldn't be right anyway. ok, so watch the fucking sailor freak out. his lungs aren't full of water yet. time to get chow, joe d is taking us all to shovel.
joe arrives w/his boy sonny and it's a great thing. this cat has distinct character and that's what I like in folks, true originals. everyone actually is one if they'd only give themselves a chance and throw off some straightjacket social conditioning shit. I'm not saying be someone by hurting someone but just be natural, which by nature, is truly unique. starts w/one's dna and then extends to the fingerprint. then they way they shape their mouth when they talk, move their eyes, gesture w/the hands. then the ideas, oh the possibilites if folks would just let that individual perspective lend itself to ideas and thoughts. such a fine blend, like the complex lines in some intense piece of marble - a fucking wonder. joe puts sonny in the boat in the next to me. I guide the boat behind his pop to the chow pad. the pad is cryptically called "the restaurant" and I have my first omelette of the tour, one w/chouricio - hmm... sort of like chorizo, huh? (that's good mexican spiced pork mexican sausage that I chow back in pedro). italian toast to shovel it w/and I have a good time putting this down. makes watt happy. thanks, joe. he tells us about the oldest diner still going, "the modern diner," near here. he's got a good story about the gasby, the first english ship that got burned in the revolutionary war. seems mayor buddy (who's on trial for loads of corruption now) gave a welcome to england's queen a bunch of years ago. it was on gasby day, when the folks here celebrate that boat's burning. he gives the queen a silver replica of the boat, not knowing much about what that might mean. some parties might have been offended. oh well. there was lots of revolution stuff in this area. lafayette was here, maybe a block from where we're chowing now. joe d's got so much good info, I could listen to him and listen him. you might not be able to imagine watt intensely listening to someone, huh? him hanging on every word. there are people like that, commanding an effect on me that's powerful stuff. it's true. I know it when I feel it. pettibon's one. there's others too - they have an incredible effect on me. they shine though my works.
we go to joe's pad (it's across from the old samsonite factory) and he shows us "the war room," where's he running his campaign for town council. he's run five times but is trying again. good luck, joe. you got my vote. he gives me a paper he did on adam weishaupt, I know some things about this cat but I'm curious to read joe's take on him. thanks, joe. he researched and wrote it in college. the professor said "no conspiracy theories." hmmm... joe belongs to washington lodge 3, one of the three first lodges in the country. we drove by the pad on the way here - it was painted yellow, like the sun. time for us to bail to albany, thanks so much joe, can't wait to see how you turn out, sonny, w/a pop like that. thank you too, mark.
joe and mark lead us to I-195 where we go back to providence to catch ri-146, northeast to massachussetts. rain is coming down again. we hit the mass pike (I-90, what I like to call the richie blackmoor freeway cuz the road's motif is a pilgrim hat and he used to wear that when I saw him w/deep purple) and go east, back towards new york. up the berkshires and I hear backfires. hmm... the check engine light comes on a couple times too. there's some elevation here - it's the highest point on the I-90 'til you go as far west as south dakota, whoa. over the hudson and then into the empire state's capitol. jer navigates us to valentine's, where we're playing tonight. it'll be my fourth time here and I dig the boss howard much, a pleasure to work for him. a laundromat next door so all us three secondmen scrub the stenched clothes here. I check the motor of the boat to see about those backfires. hmmm... a breather hose left unattached after that oil change - thank you, mister "eye for detail." damn. I reattach the hose where it goes. I then go do a phone spiel w/a cat named zack in grand rapids, mi. he wants me to talk political and that's easy for watt to do, no prob. howard then get's some hot wings for me. this is my dinner. good stuff, but it's the only time I ever eat these things. there's celery and carrots too. sound check w/soundman bill and then to the boat to chimp diary. I'm pretty driven tonight and go right past my konk time, right up to gig time. I miss both the local openers, the stars of rock and our tour mates, the verdes. sorry guys.
I do drift off into some konk for a few minutes though and am roused by pete when it's our turn. no monitors but it's still an ok gig. the crowd is great. what's not great is this speaker in my top box. it's totally gone now and I feel the air like from a fan against my back from the flapping of the ripped speaker cone. oh well. pete gives another spiel in serbo-croatian and it's a good one. thanks again, pete. we get done and this cat, who calls himself little john, wants a bass string so I hand him the little bass. he takes the 'd' string, my favorite. there's the cats we stayed w/last time through and one is kind of chagrined I wrote in the diary that he made the cof weak. lo siento, I'm very sorry - I didn't mean any disrespect. lots of good rap w/the folks, very nice peeps. big man vincenzo gives me the good word as does big john and nancy and their bud (fuck, I'm spacing on his name now - fucking alzheimers. this cat is cool, always has me sign a ton of stuff) as well as hefting the gear down the stairs we had to bring it up earlier. thank you, much.I get a bag of fresh habaneros from a cat and you know that's always great. some cds of shows I've done too. wish I could remember these folks names, damn.
we have jason pile in the ride w/us, he's invited us over to his apartment for the night. whoa, only one in the mornig when we get there - that's early for tour life. all three of us are major into that - tonight's gig marks the halfway mark for this "our oars became wings" trek. jason and pete talk old sixties records w/watt in his sack laid out on the couch. konk cuddles him close and he's out.
wednesday, may 15, 2002 - cambridge, ma
Woke up feeling pretty good but in dire need of a shower (it had been about four days since my last one). Got all my shaving stuff together and went in preparing for a reasonably long hot soak. Of course this was not to be as Jer began to bang loudly on the doorso I hurried it up a little (but not that much). Everybody needsto be a fancy-boy once in a while...gimme a fucking break! Made it out of the shower w/ a brand new lease on life; Jason had made some coffee and laid out some immense bagels so we back-hoed on the cream cheese and inhaled. They were real good. We piled into the boat and steamed off towards Cambridge. Much respect to you Jason for the good vibes and hospitality.
We pulled up to the pad early (around 1:00) but there was no parking, so we had to dock the boat around the block. Jer was going to meet his mom soon and they were going to take a trip to the aquarium, while watt had a spiel to do. I decided to hang back and chimp diary (I could never seem to catch up since Jer's puter' took a crap). I scribbled out about a half-day's worth but then started to feel hungry so I popped the hatch on the boat and went in search of some chow. Found a cool Middle-Eastern pad and had some very good skewered lamb. I noticed watt was in the back of the pad doing a phone spiel so I left to go walk some of the chow off and try and find some coffee (I had a major caffeine jones). I walked for about a mile and sure enough bright as day was a Barfucks (Starbucks). I walked in and gotmyself a venti quad cappuccino and a blondie, so I was happy as a clam. Walked back to the boat munching happily on the blondie and sucking down the coff, but I noticed that the boat was gone. Walked to the front of the club (a place called TT the bear's) and saw the boat docked right outside. Great luck Chief! I popped the hatch and went into the boat; Watt was already chimping away (he was entering my long-hand tour spiel into the barbie purse). Jer had left his puter' behindso Icould go in and clean up some entries that it had FUBAR'd previously. Major mess;shit repeated over 20 times, everything all chopped up, a fucking nightmare. Took me over two hours to get it all straightened up. Rapped w/ the chief in the interim; it was getting down to the wire for me now and as much as I missed being home,I really hated having to leaveJer andwatt-I almost felt like I was letting them down in a way and it was bumming me out. I've rarely been as close to two cats as I've been w/ them and itfeels like I'm leaving a whole other family behind. But...you've got to go w/ the flow sometimes and work hardto make things as you wish them to be, and I know I'll be doing this again. I just know.
The pad opened up soon enough and we loaded the tools in. Jer showed up w/ his mom, Ginny and she rapped w/ the bartender, Mel as we set up the tools and Brad the soundman miked us up. We did the check and everything was copacetic save for one of the speakers in watt's cabs- it was totally blown. Luckily, Ed from the Verdes' said he could use his cab so he saved the day. I also had to solderup a cable of watt'sthat hadshredded and was losing contact (so go the trials and tribulationsof the road).Me and Jer and Ginny went in searchof some chow and found this pretty cool rat-pack themed joint that had live jazz during the evening. We sat in a great big naughahydebooth (I wondered how many naugha's hadsenselessly diedin the making of this monstrosity),under a big picture of Frank, Dean, and Sammy and ordered a round of drinks. We all got carded and the waitress would not serve us (talk about covering your ass-Va fanculo!) so,feeling in a Sinatra-like mood ,I told her to send the manager out to meet us. The boss lady came out and apologized and we got our cocktails but Jeez! We ordered some chow and I have to saymine was the best chicken caesar I'd ever eaten, period. Fully sated we walked over to Barfucks for some coff' and then headed back to the pad.I rapped w/ Mel the bartender for awhile; she was moving to LA soon and I told her to look us up and she would get the full-on tour. Ray (whose pad we were crashing at that night) showed up and I rapped w/ him for awhile. He recently lost his mom to cancer but he had not lost his spirit and was glad that her suffering had ended. My condolences bro,any death in the family is hard ,especially when it comes so close.Hilken and Maura, our very ownpunk rock aerobicisers showed up and Hilken introduced me to her man Winston, who was a bass player so we talked music for awhile and then they went to check out the Cobras. I sat w/ Jer and his mom for awhile; his buddy Tim was there and we rapped and listened to the cobras set. They did their last tune ("Modified Frankenstein") to some major applause and it was time for us to hit the stage. Joe D, "Mahk", and the Providence crew showed up as promised and Joe was going to film the whole thing from start to finish. I showed him the sticker on my keyboard case andmade a vowto take his cause nation wide. Global even. Joe D. is the man.
The gig went over very well;we played a tight set and the people were really into it. I was getting into my croatian spiel more and more and the crowd was very much down w/ it too.A kid in the audience had brought his Mom and Pop w/ him and they loved the show, and a young woman came up and told me how much my spiel hadhit close to home w/ her. It's alwaysextremely heartening for me to hear these things but itdoes make me feel very self-conscious sometimes.. like I feel I'm notquite deserving of these accolades, but asan old timer once told me: "son, you can only eat one out of two things in your life, chicken-shit or chicken salad and the choice is yours which one it's gonna be".And I sincerely hope I'm doing all of youright because I still want to eat a whole lotmore of this salad before I leave the table.
We loaded up the tools and Jer took off w/ his mom to New Hampshire; me and watt (w/ Ray in tow)went towards Ray's pad and cruised around for nearly an hour looking for a parking spot. We finally found one,got our gear and started legging over to the pad, but Ray lost his bearings and after walking for an eternity he finally had to pay a cab twenty bucks to drive us a quarter mile to the address.(and this is after a whole bunch of other cabs had passed us by, the pricks!)I suggested to watt that we should mayberename the tour "Our oars became bloody stumps", but we were at the pad in no time and Ray to his credit, did feel really bad about the fuck-up. No love lost bro. We went inside and both me and watt floated into dreamland after only a few minutes. Buona Notte Nostri Amici....
I get up and try to infiltrate the toilet, but fancy boy is hoarding the fixtures. pete's got this beard thing that's takes 20 mins. to prune. I attempt to fire a dart in the door, but he's got it locked. jason offers a bagel and juice which I gulp down nearly whole. I do a quick wash up and grab the goods to get on the road. jason stops me and hands a piece of mike 'puter to me. an almost donate. walking back to the van I remember I forgot my manbag and return once more for my brain dead move. I stow up everything and we ride again for cambridge. I called my mom just before we left to make sure she meets me at the club around 1 pm. we'll be going to the boston aquarium after lunch and just hanging out all day. the drive goes smooth and in no time were across the state pulling up to t.t. the bears on brookline in cambridge. mom's nowhere to be found and mike starts dumping loads of small bills to count for the pay thing. mom finally shows and mike asks her to park while I finish the count. w/mom now kicking in the boat I complete the deal and take her round the corner for some middle eastern grub. it's great to tour on the east coast and see mom a couple times a year. I do wish we had more time, but seeing her is better than not. putting the plan into action I board the wagon and guide mom to the aqua house. no more than 4 mile away it takes a good 20 mins. to traverse the city. w/parking found ($5 every 1/2 hour) we scurry to get it and view the sealife. not a large facility, but accommodating for our needs. the first exhibit is a large penguin pool separated into 4 sections. each one holds a different species of bird. seems quite warm in here for this animals, but the water is kept very cold and the penguins are well feed by the keepers. in the center of the building is a large tank surrounded along the outside wall by many smaller tanks. the self guided tour spirals around the center and take the patron past all the exhibits. I find the large 200,000 gal. tank to have the most interesting fish. a few tuna, some grupper and a couple nurse sharks were notable. they use an artificial current to coax the fish into schooling round the tank. this is done to push oxygen into the gills and keep the little buggers perky. the aquarium closes at 5 and we rush back to try and beat the clock for the parking bill. 1 min late and it's another $5. I have to check at 6 so we return and wait by the boat for the doors to be unlocked.
as soon as were let in the check is under way. mom watches and talks to the bar girl mel while we do up the sound. knob guy brad helps much to harness the tones. I ask if its all right to place my ma in the booth for the show. brad ablidges and mom's ankles are spared undue stress. I gather pete and mom as we search for some dinner on the main strip. a cool place this pad was called and the food proved to be fair. they usually have jazz during dinner, but were somewhat early and miss the free show. I expect my pal tim owens to come out tonight and I place a call but just get the machine. he's on the list and hope he'll show. outside the club ma and myself talk up w/ray the cat mike stays w/in cambridge. he had just lost his ma to cancer about a week ago. a very sad life experience yet his spirit is strong. she encouraged his pursuit of music and his dreams. mom shows her caring side to him and we talk of the good things life holds. at that moment I feel someone rubbing my ass. I turn a see tim waddling his butt on mine. an old greeting from wence we was young. great to see the pals of many years ago. I roomed w/tim back in 93' at a house in anaheim, ca. called the plantation. it was the original orange grove farm house of the area now occupied by disneyland. many strange goings on occurred at that home. I don't miss the fireworks shows that went on nightly and set off the car alarms in the hood. in fact I don't miss anything about the place, but tim was a good roommate. we go in a yammer up a storm on our life shit. he's planning on returning to cali. in sept. for good. new girl carrie seems very cool and chats w/my ma over some beer. pete joins in and soon joe d. makes a triumphant entrance w/mark in tow. armed w/video he documents the night for possible future campaign purposes. I officially pledge my full endorsing powers towards his 6th attempt at the council seat. scroll the obituaries and send me an absentee ballot my friend, for I believe in the cause, if there is one. the verde's near the end of their set and I go to wake the boss.
already up I gather inside and set up the kit fast. mom takes her place in the booth and we rev up the turd engine for some treatment plant skimming. I'll do my best tonight to play good for mom. she's only seen me play three times ever, though I wish it were more. I put my all in this show and sweat about 8 lbs. off. the crowd is way into it and that pumps me up even more. it's a solid show all around. some clams on my part, yet nothing to painful. the end comes and I search the audience for tim. no sign. I know he had to catch a flight to cali. the next morning early and get to old pal marco's wedding on sat.. he was getting totally plastered before I went on and no telling how much more got ingested. mom approaches the stage and take a couple more snaps w/her cam.. I meet some nice folks from new hampshire who brought their son and daughter for the show. ben is the kids name and I give him some stick that broke during the show. great to see the support of the parents to the music. they truly enjoyed themselves. I'm gonna stay w/mom tonight at grandma's farm house so the pack up happens fast. I throw the shirts all boxed up into the wagon for mailage tomorrow. we can't take the merch to canada 'cause of the tariff's they charge. not worth it. she'll send the stuff forward to columbus, oh..
we say so long and hop the I93 for concord, nh.. mom drives insanely and I try not to show my fear. it's maybe only 1 hour 15 mins. back to the farm and I'm beat. mom has a bed ready for me upstairs and I first give kel a call. she answers and hands off the phone to a familiar voice. carolyn crawford of scotland. the girl that got me a kel together. I'm happy to hear her voice and she asks were I might be in the coming weeks. being tired I direct her to the hootpage for more info about the tour. me and kel have a short converse and I soon grow very sleepy. we say goodnight and I'm out in moments.
pop and hose off. jason's up when I get out and makes me cof and a bagel. thank you, jason. I notice a framed poster of "number six" from "the prisoner" and one of portmeirion on his wall. "the prisoner" was a tv show made in england and first aired on october 1, 1967. it starred patrick mcgoohan (the show he had before was "secret agent man" or "danger man" as it was known in england) who also conceived it as well as wrote and directed many of it's seventeen episodes. portmeirion (in the town of penrhyndeudraeth on the coast of north wales) was the film location of "the village," the place where he was brought to after being kidnapped, he was a spy for england and then wanted to retire. the main plot of the show was the continuing saga of those who ran the village trying to extract the reasons from number six regarding his decision to quit the espionage business. every episode explored a different angle in which they would try and achieve this and him trying to get the fuck out. it was my favorite tv show as a kid. it recently was repackaged as a dvd box set and I got a few months ago, the first dvds I ever purchased. my ibook will play them and there's a cord I can use to hook it to the tv and watch it there. when I first got them in the mail, I immediately watched all ten disks. it was a trip to see them in color as when I was growing up, we never had a color tv. it was a trip also to see them now at age fortyfour and not as a young teenager (maybe even a little younger). like just reading "the divine comedy" again, things appear different as one has time make its marks. what seemed so confusing to me before (in both cases) now seems much clearer in a sense but in another, new questions arise that I never even thought of asking then. I remember when this tour started and we were staying at nicole's in albuquerque. after the gig, there was some talk of tv shit by others - "do you remember this, do you remember that?" and I was thinking why do certain things get noticed at all, let alone remembered. I brought up something that's always bugged me, regarding a certain tv show. it was called "all in the family" and one of the main characters, archie bunker, used to wear a ring on each hand, both of them wedding bands. now, this character (played by carroll o'connor) was supposed to be a squarejohn, conservative blue collar type and kind of (!) bigoted. he was always concerned what was "normal" and how being "not normal" was pretty fucked up. well, what was w/the wedding band he had on each hand being on the middle fingers and neither one being on the ring finger, something normally done to signify you were married? he was married to edith and she had her band in the right place. I've seen carroll o'connor in other roles and he wasn't wearing those rings like that so that must've meant the character, archie bunker, was the one wearing them that way - not the actor himself as a person. what was this about? no one I ask knows about this - in fact, no one notices he even did this but after I ask them about it, they watch the show and discover it and do notice it - for the first time. subtle shit. fnord. that always made me wonder what was up. I even search the web, hmm... back to "the prisoner," lots of the action is psychological and regards the notion of the self, identity, coercion of such things - the role of the individual in society - hell, the very notion of both "individual" and "society" - what do those words really mean. the means by which the individual and society relate, how they interact and what are the ethics and values (or maybe, lack of) involved. what is the true nature of what a human calls him/herself, even knows her/himself by - alone (still, a product of interaction w/other humans) or w/others? what is loyalty or integrity? the show always starts w/"I'm the new number two" (the voice of the new number two) and then number six asking, "who's number one?" which gets the response, "you're number six" and him defiantly answering back, "I'm not a number, I'm a free man!" which is followed by him being laughed at. you can take it from there. check this show out, it's a mindblow. I can't believe it was allowed to be made (hardly any spoonfeed involved). however, one episode wasn't allowed to be shown in the u.s. on it's first run over here. that's funny cuz all them are pretty subversive - they very much undermine the tenant of "follow blind" or "my side, right or wrong." the whole notion of "sides," "following" or "blind" is pretty much fair game for this show. so is betrayal. like the folks say in the village when they greet each other, "I'll be seeing you." jason has actually been to portmeirion, what a trip.
jer is banging on the hatch to the head, trying to pry pete from his preening. one reason for watt popping early and getting that business done before everyone else: much less nightmare. on tour, you try to find paths that'll smooth things through w/minimum hellishness. another reason is I just can't sleep in any way - even w/the konk mask. there's some automatic clock inside me that pops a pop switch no matter what it seems. I would be hell to live w/and you can ask kira to site you a litany of reasons besides that. it's a miracle she held out as long as she did (a year before being married and almost four after). me and my guys thank jason and say bye and we're off.
we get back on the I-90 and trace the road back whence we came yesterday. there's sun but much wind. the clouds look heavy and ready to renew the soak we've been having since atlanta. whoa, atlanta - I don't think I've had this wet a tour in a long time. over the hudson and into massachussetts, still on the I-90 but now it's called the mass pike or as we like to call it, the richie blackmoore freeway. we pass northampton/amherst home to thurst/j, respectively. I send out crazy bass vibes their way. j's going to play a gig in spain today and then do an acoustic solo u.s. tour. that new album is getting released soon in japan. he emailed me about and said he doesn't know when it'll come out in the rest of the world. I sure dig playing w/him and am curious about the righteous bass lines he's got on it - he's a great bassist besides being so formidable on guitar and drums too. we get into cambridge at like one - jer wanted to get here early cuz his ma is coming and they're going to go to the aquarium here together. his ma is cool people, lives on a farm w/her ma near concord in new hampshire. she raises sheep, rabbits and doves. jer's going there after the gig and we'll get him tomorrow on our way to canada. I go the middle east restaurant (it's also a club) and have some lamb shank and beans. good chow. I do a spiel on the pay phone there w/chris nelson for a "double nickels on the dime" piece he's doing for mojo magazine. that record still amazes me, the best one I ever played on and it's almost twenty years old. whoa. I just gotta get back to recording much more again like in those days. the more shots you give yourself, maybe the better the odds you can do a good one, huh? that record was so unplanned but at the same time, so inspired. I've been quite inspired in the last two years - I think it'll be two years near the end of this month - I'm bursting to turn some of that into some works. I've been using it much to heal my body from the sickness and do all these gigs. of course, it's made my head kind of crazy (crazier?) but that's the price w/those kinds of things. that sickness in a way let me unlock things in my heart I never had courage to do before. of course, that's so insular and almost totally watt-reference (inside the head wallpaper - mindpaper?) but it was very life-changing for me. a trip to think about it.
great! a parking spot opens up right in front of tt the bears, where we're playing tonight. so hard to get the good spot here - right in front of the hatch but that's another reason for getting in early. big hugs for randi, who is so great to see each time I get to work here. I do the $ w/my cats - last time for pete. damn, has he worked hard to deserve all of it. jer too. mike, j's bro, comes by to give me a four-pack of reed's ginger beer. what a righteous gift. he's gotta go back to western mass and can't see the gig but wanted to give his regards. I dearly dig him much. I'll think of him when I play tonight. robin, the brownie lady, comes by w/some brownies like she does 'pert near every time I stop here. thank you, robin. we do our sound check w/soundman brad. last night, my amp was sounding really bad and now it's easy to see why - one speaker in the smaller top box is torn to shreds, fuck. this baby's out of the race. ed from the verdes is so much the hero and says I can use his cab tonight to replace it, what a dear. these verde cats are so great - easy to see why this is the third time I've taken them around on a segment of my hellride. great band too. I say hi to the cats in the band that's going on before cobra, runner, who are from around here. a power trio, they're nice cats and have a great bassist. I then go to the boat to konk.
I try to konk but chimping diary is so much on my mind - I want to fly w/some words. chimping isn't just a chore to record events but a release for me too. helps w/all that stress which seems to be at the heart of a lot of my fire. I keep telling myself to lower the konk mask - I even have around my head, above my eyes but can't pry the fingers from the barbie purse keyboard. I hear runner and the verdes through the boat's bulkhead. when it's out turn, I grab the sling sack and go into the pad. hilken and maura are here from punk rock aerobics and give me a righteous thank you card w/wendy o. williams, one of the milli vanilli cats and on it. they give me a little toy spaceship too. thank you both so much, that was great to do. there's a good crowd, this town's always been nice to me - we do our gig and it's pretty ok, no major nightmares for me, even a little bit of nerve for a change. lots of good emotion from these cats, I should say - they're great. really spirited. mark and joe d is here from warren - in fact, joe d is filming this whole thing. after the gig, he tells me he was hiding by the boat and got me popping out the hatch, mounting the stage, strapping on the little bass and working the set - the whole bit. thank you, joe. mark asks me if I want a slice and his buddy brings a whole pie! damn, I can't even eat half a slice - this sure ain't the nyc kind and there's enough oil here to lube many truck chassis. I tell joe d he should come to pedro so I can't give him a tour of my town.
byes to everyone and jer leaves w/his ma, taking the shirts to get sent to columbus - we can't take them into canada. a big thanks to his ma for this. good bud ray's asked us over to the new place he's moving to, his band mate in beefy/dc, pete's, and he piles in the boat w/us. we head over to alston. damn, no parking anywhere - we finally find a spot on chestnut hill - blocks and blocks away. ray gets lost guiding us back and we hoof for quite a while. pete jokes about changing the name of the tour to "our legs became stumps" tour. ray finally gets frustrated and pays a cab guy twenty bucks to takes us to home. that's when he gets one to stop - these fuckers keep blowing by us. pricks. we finally make it to the pad and I'm laid out so quick and plopped that before I know it... konk.
thursday, may 16, 2002 - montreal, pq, canada
I was awaken by the chief's voice; he wasrapping w/ Ray and his roommate Pete. I rolled out of the bag and went to do a quick washup. Went into the kitchen and Pete was frying up some omelettes for us. He had this mustard/ habanero sauce on hand so we doused the eggs w/ it and chowed down. It was really good. (Thanx pete). Ray showed us some pics of his AC/DC tribute band, "Beefy/DC" (Ray is the singer and he's a big man), and watt told us about the time he was touring w/ Porno' and he met the cats in Oasis and the strangeness that ensued (funny story). We thanked Ray and Pete and bid them goodbye, then legged it on back to the boat (the trip was much shorter this time). We had a medium hellride to Montreal but we had to p/u Jer at his Mom's pad in New Hampshire and I had to get to a post office to send some pay back home. It was fucked getting out of the center of Boston (we had to stop and ask for directions a few times), but w/ the map and the Barbie purse helping out also, we made it out. Another Snafu is that they have this big dig going on in Central Boston (It's been ongoing for like 20 yrs.); they're trying to run all major traffic under the city so you can imagine what a nightmare it was navigating thru all of this. We picked up Jer from his Mom's pad; she lives in New Hampshire and it is absolutely gorgeous up there- rolling fields, a beautiful lake, just stunning. She also keeps lambs and other farm animals. Ginny is a very nice woman who still has the child's eye. I'm glad I met her.
We bid Ginny and her significant other goodbye and steamed off to find a post office; Ginny had given us somewhat precise directions but it's always easier to someone who lives there. We stopped for gas and were given yet another set of directions, but we finally found the post offfice and I took care of business. Off to Canada! Pulling into the border area mike was shitting a brick; all our documentation was in order but he was still afraid that we would get some 'tude and they would keep us there for an eternity. He told us that if asked, we wereto tellthe border catsthat we were a jazz fusion band and he also made sure we worerelatively nondescript clothes. The cobras came in after us (looking very Rock n' Roll), and when me and jerstarted rapping w/ them Mikethrew us the upraised eyebrow glance (we had almost blownour cover), but everything ended up copacetic and they let us thru w/ no hassle (The Cobras on the other hand had their van searched). Westeamed into Montreal and pulled up to the pad (a joint called "Le petite campus") w/ some time to spare. We quickly did the load in w/ help from the boss man Dan, set up the tools and did the soundcheck. The soundman, was a very nice cat and made things sound really solid. Mikehad beeninvited for dinner over this cat Clank's house so me and Jer went to go get some chow. Boss-man Dan had recommended a Polish pad just around the corner so we decided to hit there. Jer sprung for a bottle of red and we really went to town; the chow was really good (decent portions),and we munched happily. We could see the front of the club from where we were sitting and we didn't see too many people walk in so we thought it was going to be a cave.If it was going to be like that, so be it, we were still going to give 100%. We still had some time to blow so we decided to go for a walk and scope out the town. Montreal is a very beautiful city; it was my first time there and it reminded me very much of Europe; all the signs are in french and even the people have a european air about them (very attractive women too). I really liked it. Jer went to call Kel and in the course of his one conversation, I got thru three. Called my boss back home, Lil the kill, and my bro Tone. Everything was copacetic back home and they were all waiting for me. It made me feel real good albeit a little melancholy (the time had flown by for me way too fast). We went back to the club and walked in; the place was packed to the rafters so our fears were unfounded (how did these people get into the building w/o us seeing them we wondered). We had missed the first band's set (sorry guys), but the cobra's were gearing up. They were into the third song of the set and the crowd had formed a semi-circle around the stage; John, the singer berated them and told them it wasn't a boxing match, "come forward"! and forward they did come. The rest of the set the people were jumping around, screaming and dancing; by the last song they were not ready to let them go yet and they screamed for more. Me and Jer watched from the sidelines and it was a very cool thing to see. You tore the shit up Cobra Verde. We got up and hammered thru the set; the crowd was very on (having been beaten into submission by the Cobra's), and we garnered very enthusiastic applause. Mike yelled out "Tabernac!"(a curse word in french-canadian) and I yelled out "Sacre moi!" (another curse word in french-canadian) and the audience went wild. The set went very well and my croatian spiel was much appreciated. It was very much akin to playing for a crowd in Europe. I really want to come back here again.A cat named Jacques came up and did the "Red and the black" w/ us, it was a real fun gig for me and we were very much locked in to each other.
We packed up the tools w/ help from Jacques (he had also graciously offered us a place to crash for the night) and loaded them into the boat With Jacques in tow we steamed over to his pad which was not too far away. His lady, Lu and his pooch Valdo were waiting for us when we got there and Lu brought us some juice and I helped her clear out some room for the bags. Lu is a a gifted artist and her work is very prominent in her and Jacquesliving room (very Warhol influenced from what I saw; she even had a 3D tribute to his Campbell's soup trip on an end table). Valdo of course gave me the tongue wash and read his newspaper. Jacques had a PC and a Mac, so Jer and mike did some internet work while I gave Lil the Kill a call (we didn't talk long as she had just come home from work and was very groggy and sounded like she needed some konk; she works at Barfucks and does major hellshifts). We were all exhausted and a little sore so we climbed into our bags and drifted off after a few minutes of the customary spiel riffing. Bon noit mon amies.......
mom wakes me around 8:30 and draws a bath for me. probably wouldn't have gotten up if it weren't for the incentive. I have a calming soak and shake off the tired's. mike's supposed to arrive by 11 to fetch me and should call before hand. grandma's in the living room, working on a crossword and relaxing through the morning. we talk a little 'bout my tour and the baby and all. she's still doing great at 86. mom calls me and we hop the wagon for some breakfast. the next town over is loudon. best known for the new hampshire speedway and nascar sponsored events. we pull up to the egg shell for chow. her pal chuck is 'posed to meet us anytime. I have the 'puter on the table and show the owner some of it's features while waiting for the food. chuck arrives and we feast fast so I can go to the post office and send the pay home. chuck will meet us back at the farm. at the post office I greet the lady at the window and start counting the dough. after handing over the cash she counts it then puts the piles in the register. soon she loses her place and counts a $100 under. I inform her that she's miscounted and suggest a recount. w/many small billed included and all the cash in the register it turns into a nightmare. her boss walks in and scolds the woman for not counting out of the register first. I get the money orders and fill 'em out as they argue behind the counter. it's all settled and we vacate the premises. rolling back to the farm I enjoy the scenery and lushness of the country. I take a short walk around the farm and warehouse located just a hundred yards down the hill. mom has a old 69' chevy c/20 pick-up in the building that has a blown engine. we used it for our vacations when I was young. the cab over camper is still next to it. the suspension had a beef up done way back and is rated at 1 1/4 tons. I look it over and decide if time allows I'll return within a year and drop a 350 ci in, leaving the 307 ci to the boneyard. in the driveway mom and chuck are chatting while beau the dog spins circles around them. mom grabs him and sees a tick on his ear. I watch as she uses a tick pick to remove the nasty little bugs. yuck! mike finally arrives and only an hour late. "the place we stayed at had no phone" says mike. I toss my gear in the boat and hug mom. saying bye to grammy and mom is tough and I'll miss both of 'em much. mike gets a final snap and were off to canada.
I konk for most of the drive 'til we near the border and mike gets turned around after looking for a gas station. a friendly local gives directs back to the interstate and the border comes to view. mike has me change into my jazz fusion getup so we look square joe some. it's better not to look like a cast character and draw unwanted attention. the verde's enter soon after and look the rock part. they try joking w/us but mike gives a eye back and we clam up. sorry verde's, that's the way it is. our walking papers come through and we depart leaving the verde's to their own. I take the nav seat and snap up the canadian country side. soon montreal comes into view. the city's on an island in the middle of the st. lawrence seaway. being a french province all signs are in french. we cross over the water and into the city. great buildings and architecture abound. I guide mike to the club and exit to search for someone w/knowledge of the lay out for loadin. boss guy dan come down to help and we discharge the gear. it's a hip nightlife/restaurant area that lends to people watching. the check is done in short order and I join pete in some fine dining across the street in a polish pad. I have some left over canadian dollars from the last tour so we order a bottle of wine w/din. I have the flounder and veggies w/potatoes. delectable. there's a phone bank near the pad and I call kel to check in on her and the baby. all are doing well and they plan on going to yosemite tomorrow. kel's dad rocky will be the guide. I wish them good luck on the journey and head back to the club. only three more shows w/pete and I can tell he doesn't want to leave the tour. the bumming begins.
as the verde's finish pete speeds off to wake the chief. the stage is cleared and I get the setup together. the crowd in hyped and hosed up. we take the stage and the show goes very well. I put my all into the performance as does mike and pete. when the red and the black comes mike invites a local kid named jacques to sing on the choruses. he does a great job and pumps us all up. the show finishes and I kick back stage w/wolf and peter of the openers. they offer some mota and I induldge. I notice a funny taste w/it though. after about 4 tokes it becomes clear. tobacco! ah shit! I haven't smoked a cig in 8 years and the grossness of it repulses me. I feel sick to my stomach and drink mas agua to combat the ills. on the loadout dan helps w/the gear, but stands my hardware bag up on end in the elevator. these promptly rips the end open. the bag is shredded. nothing seems to survive tour. oh well, I'll duct tape it and move on.
jacques offers his pad for the night's crash and we have him along for the ride. not to far from the club. I haul up some fresh clothes and the sleeper bag to the second story loft. I get a glass of water and listen to my ears ring while using his computer to e-mail some friends back home. not much room for our bodies in the apartment so pete and I share the futon while mike sleeps on the kitchen floor. girlfriend lue greets us and heads for bed to sleep off the sickness she's fighting. I'm soon a dreaming lump.
pop and hose off. ray's up and makes me some cof. thanks, ray. I code up week four of the diaries - gotta get them up cuz I can't dial up in canada and that's where our next two gigs are at. ray tries to make some omelettes but says the stove is tilted and he get foiled time after time. sorry about that, ray. pete (not my pete but the cat who owns this pad) wakes and knows his stove - the omelettes come easy for him. they're real good and he's got some flavorful scotch bonnet sauce (made w/mustard!) to go on top. good stuff. room mate bill lets me use his phone line and I get the tour spiel up. we can't spend much time here cuz we gotta get jer at his ma's in new hampshire and then there's a border. much thanks to all the cats here - ray, pete and bill - then me and pete (my pete) are off. whoa, the hoof back to the boat is much shorter when the way is known. still a bit of a hike but nothing last night. still, what's wrong w/a little hoof? good for the heart - gets it pumping. four and half weeks now w/no pedaling and I'm missing that big time, both the pedaling and the heart pumping. I get some of that w/the gigs but the lack of nerve I've had this tour is kind of preventing me from throwing my whole body into it like I usually do.
the sun is out bright but me and pete both know that's a taunt - there's big clouds looming and there's plenty to the north where we're going. a little scramble on the roads - you have to understand about boston streets being laid out over old cow paths - lots of curvy shit and not much grid. we find the richie blackmoore freeway though and make our way into downtown boston via the big dig (a construction project that's been going on ad nauseum) and go northeast on the I-93 and join in w/it's accompanying plug. we break free of that by lowell and then it's over the border to hew hampshire. funny to see the "new hampshire state liquor store" - probably the only liquor stores in the country (there's one on the I-95 too) w/their own named offramps. jer's ma lives on a farm just outside concord. beautiful country up here, trees and granite everywhere. spring green instead of the brilliant red, yellow and orange of fall but still just as gorgeous. we pick jer up and say bye to his ma. she had a good time at the show last night and took pictures. I always feel weird in front of the parents of cats I play w/but it seems w/jer's ma, maybe I don't seem as much as nut. she's very kind and not that judgemental. she's got a good son too. we hit the downtown to get to a post office for pete and then we go further northeast but along the I-89. beautiful mountains here too. righteous, these two little states. not crawling w/people either, nice. lots of construction makes for kind of a slow go and then the rain comes - not too hard but still it comes. when will spring come?! at winooski, I pull off the freeway for gas but the sign saying "services" is quite the taunt - nothing in site so I turn around. aaarrrrgggghhh, there's no northern onramp so we follow this one sign for a detour. we continue though there's no more signs and the road is getting smaller and smaller - stop signs too - what is this? after a few miles (maybe more), there's a sign that says colchester and I see some folks out in their field/garden and ask them for help (this is one man not afraid to ask for directions at any time - the hell w/that bizarre sense of pride that prevents those that are from doing that) and their voices are like that old at from the pepperidge farm commercial verbatum: "you guys are sure lost." we get directed right and are back on the path to the freeway. thank you. I ask jer and pete to wear as squarejohn as clothes as they got, no logos or anything. jer is a little bummed but I tell him it's nothing personal, just a lot things get judged on appearances. I tell them to say "jazz-fusion" if they get asked what kind of music we do. that's the most sissy and non-threating stuff I can think of, they might even get sympathy for it. at the border, it takes a little time to process but the canadian border people are quite nice - no searches even. thank you.
onward into canada and province quebec. the land flattens much when you cross the border and there's lots of farms. not lots of english though, everything's in french. that's cool though - maybe the most european-like of north america. montreal is on an island in the saint laurence and the main, southern route is so plugged, I opt for the cartier bridge crossing in the north. a much easier go and we get into the center of town. pete and jer are tripping on the sights, their first time here. it is a beautiful city, even w/the heavy clouds and drizzle making things gray. we get to the venue, campus le petit cafe and I say hi to dan webster, an old friend who's done my gigs for years. we do a quick sound check w/mark and a ewan, a bassist who's lost his sight says hi. he's been coming to my gigs for years. I love his analysis of my bass sound cuz he has such a different perspective than most folks - his take is wholly from what he hears and feels. he invites me to his pad for chow.
we hoof there and he takes my arm for some guidance. it's a trip how he he knows the streets we pass by and how far are we've gone. he's very perceptive and let's me know how aware he really is. we get to his pad and he's got a big bowl of salad he's made. he puts a quiche in the oven and makes up a salad dressing of mustard, vinegar and juice from pickled beets his uncle made. his girlfriend roxanne comes home from work and tells him he used yellow mustard instead of honey mustard. he knows this stuff in the refrigerator by both the shape of the bottle and the way it feels/sounds when he shakes it. pretty amazing. we sit down to chow and I have lots of the salad - big spinach leaves and avocado chunks, mmm. the dressing is great too. I begin to spiel. I tell them both about how a lot of my inspiration to do what I do comes from people who touch my life in intense ways. some of them, I've never met - like john coltrane, where all I know of him is mainly his music, those pictures of him w/those beautiful eyes and things folks have written about. oh, but what a wellspring of inspiration for me. he encourages me to take things beyond and not get caught in re-runs, to dare and make my expression even more personal and not be so afraid. I've been really thinking of him when I'm doing my freakout in "sister ray," I even holler his name on the mic (as well as constantly in my head or under my breath) while I'm whupping it up. at the end, I say lou reeds words: "whip it on me, jim!" out of respect to lou, sterling, john and mo but I'm actually thinking "whip it on me, trane - whip me up!" there's writers too, cats I've never heard music from except in their words but what a huge part of my musical universe they are. cats like dante and joyce - cats I only know through their streams of story-thought but they're so much songs singing throughout me. I see them like architects in some bizarre way, creators of amazing building that are dynamic somehow, changing as life changes me but still, in that moment, a bedrock. speaking of bedrock, a giant inspiration for me is d. boon, someone I knew very well personally, grew up and learned how to make music alongside - though like trane, he's not here as well. even still, I think of him everyday and especially when I'm trying to rally up the nerve to deliver a gig or do a take for a recording. I still feel all that momentum we built up during those intense minutemen days - it carries me through still. raymond inspires me much, so much and here's still in my life - I'm so very lucky, very lucky. I can actually ask him things and he's always patient w/me and gives me thoughtful answers and insights. I can't even begin to say how much he's taught me. sometimes I think of myself as a collection of the personalities that touch my life. I still my own watt self but it's like I am a like a big flannel made of so many threads, those from others weave in and out of mine - close-up so distinct but a little back and there you see the real shirt. of course, it being a watt shirt, there's gonna be lots of chow spilled on it so there's goes some more layers of connect. I guess you could call those symbols for the experiences life's journeys bring. like that fucking sickness. I tell clank and roxanne about the next record and what it's all about. clank says, "maybe life is about getting strong enough to face down you fears." good words cuz lots of times I feel I dangle from mine. I mean, I do get up on stage and try to get over the little boy shit trying to ruin everything and have me run away but I wonder if I ever stand them down or rather, I skirt and dodge them just enough to avoid a total collapse? I never feel I have complete victory of them. I am quite tempered in these years of mine in thinking I got anything by the balls. one of the few things I feel I got kind of together is touring econo - that is getting too and from the gig. the gig itself is quite a dice roll. I count much on my guys on stage, the cats in the crowd and especially, those who have left impressions inside me, deep ones. to think about it makes my eyes open so wide, I sometimes feel I can fall right into them, into my self. a self-inclusive paradox trying to get some bearing on landfall while in a emotional floatbob. the sun blinds me sometimes. it seems fitting since lots of moments I can only offer stress. such shit too since I absorb such warmness. so what I'm trying to tell this couple here who's being so kind to me is that music for watt isn't just about rhythm and notes, although the science of rhythm and notes is quite a special and holy one, it's more the bicycle and not exactly where I'm pedaling to.
clank takes me to his room and shows me the bass he's had built. it plays beautifully, you can work it gentle. much different than the little bass though I do have desires to work that one gentle. I just get so wrapped up w/the wrestling when I'm in front of people. clank points out all the things he's done to make it special for him. I like that - it's truly his. he plays me some pretty lines. time to go back to the venue. us three walk back. I'm pretty drained - I must've spieled for an hour and a half plus w/the driving (maybe seven hours), oh watt. less than a hour to go before it's our time so I just go to the boat and lay still. laying there on the bench w/the eyes of the boats roof, looking through the roof and catching those cold rain drops coming down. maybe they can drown the drops coming up from mine?
pete comes and gets me. I've missed both the local cats, spangler, and our buds the verdes. there's lots of folks out front of the pad and the have things for me. jesse has some ginger beer (j got me into this - it's non-alcoholic), bagels and a picture of me when there was color in my hair. oh my, what a trippy thing - huh, watt? nature's colored my hair even more gray now and I can live w/that. the color itself was kind of wild but the putting of the color in was even more of a trip. oh, those fingers! the first time I did it myself and fucked up royal (of course). the second time was a dream, quite. there's a cat here who plays bass too and he gives me some converse chuck taylors - whoa! orange ones (!!!) and the right size too, ten and a half. that's interesting how he knew that. I wish him much luck on the bass. I sign lots of things and then I just gotta get up these stairs and do the gig. a good crowd, the montrealers are always so great to play for cuz of their emotion, maybe cuz I can't understand their wonderful language and they're trying to get beyond words and connect w/me. of course, I have to say the cuss words chapu taught me last time and before we start, I holler "tabernac!" the gig though goes weird in some ways. there's a midrange on the stage that makes my bass quite strange and makes it honk like a duck. weird. it's ringing through my head like an icepick. it makes me quite unconfident (or more so since I'm pretty much already that way). aahh, I do the gig mostly w/my closed, I'm so embarrassed. this midrange howling must be only on stage cuz it doesn't appear to affect the crowd - I wish I could dismiss this shit as piddly but it 'pert near overwhelms me. this is a difficult gig for me. one part that does bring me joy and helps me get out of myself is when this cat, jacques, gets up on stage and sings "the red and the black" w/us. he's great and so naturally filled w/enthusiasm - it's quite infectious on me for a bit. merci, jacques. we finish and even though I feel I soiled myself, the folks are quite kind and many talk w/me. I talk w/a bass player named sebastian, he's very sweet. I like the idea of folks who see me play or write or paint too so that distinction between on-stage person and in-the-crowd person gets smaller and smaller. like john coltrane said, "music is a big reservoir." that goes for people as well as ideas.
jacques invites us to his pad up the road a bit and helps us load up and travels in the boat w/us. his pad is neat, lots of paintings on the walls from his girl, lu. they're quite good. love to see couples use their art to share their world as well as their love. inspiring. last night, the couch at ray's bud pete's pad was a little too soft and as a result, some back twist. good to be on the deck here and it's boards to make even better. lu spreads out a blankie and I put the sack on that. I take some ibuprophin cuz the wet cold really attacks watt in the joints. god, I feel ten thousand years old and find myself begging for that mythic giant mortar and pestle to powder my bones and leave me a free of them as a body bag. such a weird hankering, huh? my mind is surely a rube goldberg of a contraption. crazy ideas like that bring no relief like the reality of tender konk. merci.
friday, may 17, 2002 - toronto, on, canada
I was awaken by the sound of the chief taking a shower and I laid out a little while thinking about the tour and all the things I had seen and learned; I truly looked at things a little differently now, maybe not so critically and w/ more of an open mind (music included). It's a hard thing to fully describe in words;the closest I would say is that it's likewatching a movie in black and white and having it switch to color in mid-reel; not an exacting metaphor but it gives you an idea of thedepth of my feelings.I learned a lot about the history of our country, the amazing and beautiful differences in the people and the fact that we're all pretty much the samewherever you go. There's good and there's bad.I also realized that I really lovethe tour life and I have much more thatI want to learn.
Jacques went out and bought us some eggs and bacon for breakfast; we all sat in the living room and ate and rapped about music and life in general andI helped Lu put the living room back together again. I went and did a quick wash up and we gathered our stuff and Jacques walked us down to the boat and gave us directions to the freeway. We took some snaps w/ Jacques whileLu filmed us from their balcony and we thanked and bid them farewell (you truly meet some nice people on tour). We had a hellride to Toronto (6hrs.) and I wasstill groggy from the early pop so I mademy neston the bench seat (tried to chimp some diary), but I was soon out like a light. Woke up about halfway thru the trip and switched seats w/ Jer who was pretty grogged out at this point and needed some konk. Me and the chief talked about a lotof stuffduring the ride; I told himabout the epiphanies I had had on the tour, my frustration w/ my job and my feelings that Iwas finally validating this music trip I'd been on for so long. Watt as always, offeredmuch encouragement and I felt less melancholy than before but still saddened that I was leaving very soon. We pulled into Toronto around2:30 and the sky was a little gray but it looked like we might get a let-up in the rainy weather that had been following us since North Carolina. We pulled into a parking slot in the back of the pad (a place called the Legendary Horseshoe Tavern) and went inside to take a look. Jer went to go give Kel a call while I scoped out the room. This pad has been and went inside to take a look. Jer went to go give Kel a call while I scoped out the room. This pad has been around since 1947 and was originally a country-western bar and it looked it (kind of reminded me of the old Foothill in Long Beach, but bigger.) We chimped diary for awhile and then me and jer went in search of some chowand to check out the town. I had played Toronto about ten years before but not in this area so it was all new to me; the part that we were in was very much like Melrose Ave. in Hollywood w/ alot of clothes shops, restaurants, and clubs interspersed. They even had their own Canadian version of MTV w/ the studio facing the street (altho' watt tells me that MTV kyped that idea from these cats). We found a little place and chowed down on some saladthen headed back. On the way we stopped at a bookstore as I was looking for a copy of RichardMcKenna's "The Sand Pebbles"(recommended reading from watt), but alas they did not have it so we continued on back to the club. The sound guy had showed up, so we did the load inand set up the tools. There was likethree bands before us including the Cobra's so we probably weren't going on till late. I was feeling a little weak and it felt like I was coming down w/ a cold so I downed someinsanity pills and about a gallon of water and I felt much better. We did the soundcheck (actually got a resounding applause from the opening band cats),then struck the tools to the backline. I wentbelly up to the bar and chimped some diary and drank another gallon of water. I felt way better. There were already people starting to trickle in and the first band started andI was hungry but Jer was nowhere to be found. Ed, the Cobra's bass player was ravenous too so we legged it back on down to the same place that me and Jer had eaten and had more salad (It was really good). Fully sated, we walked back to the club and made our way to the back bar where we indulged in a few after dinner cocktails. Some cat must have recognized me as he leaned over and passed me a CD of his band to give to watt (his name was Jay and his band is called the Sons). I promised to pass it to the chief (and I did). I went down to the dressing room for a little shut-eye just as the cobra's were starting their set. Jer came to get me as always right at the beginning of their last tune and I walked around briskly to shake off the grog. We hit the stage at about 12:30 and the crowd was on fire. They held onto every note and solo and were even moshing to someof the tunes. I felt real good about the gig and afterwards me and Jer celebrated by having some of the customary double screwdrivers.There were many watt first timers there that evening that I spoke to (had never been to a watt show) , and had told me that they had thoroughly enjoyed it and would definitely come back to see us when we passed thru again.I felt honoredto have been a part of their experience.
We loaded up the boat and headed toward this cat Justin's pad where we were crashing for the night; he lived only a few blocks away and this was a welcome thing. We went into his pad and laid out the bags, but me and Jer were on a mission for more chow, so we walked about 200 ft. to this pizza joint that must havehad over thirty varieties of pies. We settled on chicken pesto and split a slice. Just what the doctor ordered. We walked back to the pad and into the arms of the sandman. Buona Notte nostri amici......
I'm befriended by Jacques dog Valdo in the morning and make a new acquaintance. jacques gets some chow take out style and we shovel it up. saying so long we make road for toronto early. the ride is 6 1/2 hours and I konk for nearly the whole thing. when I wake were in the 'burbs and I glance a view of the outskirts. the sky needle of the city is easily seen kilometers away. we find the club in the trendy area of queen st.. a parking spot in the rear is saved and the boat is tied up to the dock. pete and myself take a stroll and check out the street scene. we stop at an irish pub and grab a bite. I scourer the rags for a write up on the show. it appears a sadness overcomes pete for thinking tomorrow is the last show for him. he's done a great job and I can't wait to tour again w/mr. organ. there's not much to do and I walk some around the hood. pete's occupied w/the cobras and I lounge out in front people watching. I wonder how far the sky needle is? do I have time to take a ride? think I'll just sit and ponder. I look for pete to grab din and he's not there. I decide to make a run across the street to a sushi pad and do solo meal. good chow for the price ($11.50 canadian). I stop at the bar and chat w/some fans from ottawa. they did the long haul from montreal to see us again tonight. mighty dedication. pete returns and wants to eat. already been there, done that. he leaves w/mark of verde and I hang w/the canadian cats.
the openers start, first of four bands, and I listen from downstairs w/a couple verde's in the green room. the grooves pierce the floor boards and I walk up to watch some. good jams. the next band is kinda dead like and I sit in the bar area w/pete rapping w/some trippy guy w/a nose bleed. the verde's crank up and I make my way to the stage to watch. tonight I'll sit in on modified frankenstein for backing vocals. I'm more nervous to stand and sing w/'em than I ever am playing drums. it's not really my thing. when the song comes up I jump on a grab a tambourine, bounding around like a kook. it goes well and the guys had some good fun w/it. tomorrow I'll get tom and pete involved in detroit. the boss gets awaken and we go for the rock. great folks urge us on to give a good show and their not disappointed. I really feel were coming together as a unit and just when pete has to bail. we do get to have two shows after the return to l.a. in hollywood and san diego. a recapturing of the magic. after the show a perky fan is yelling w/vigor at me saying "I didn't know if anyone could do it as good as george hurley and you did man you kicked ass!" thank you friend and mr. hurley as well.
a local kid w/a pad three blocks away offers the konk place of the night. mike's tired and crashes soon after arriving while pete and myself find a pizza place next door and nibble some pie. w/something in my stomach I'm ready for some good napping. we creep upstairs into the room w/the futon and couch and I pass out immediately.
pop and hose off in maybe the trippiest head of the tour. quite petit (tiny) w/the can right there when you crack the hatch. straight to port is the tub and it's behind this maybe two and half feet retaining wall one must vault. very trippy but still quite functional. I'm gonna wear the flannel I wore last night again, it's so thick cuz it's brand new (usually I hate brand new flannels) - it's the one that young man's ma gave me after the gig in cambridge. jacques and lu are already up and lu makes french press cof while jacques goes and gets breakfast from some close-by chow pad. it's english style, kind of w/the beans and bangers thing along side eggs, each chow in it's own styrofoam chow-holder. very nice of this kind couple. I can't express enough thanks to the righteous folks I meet on tour. all I can do is try to get it more together and deliver a better watt show. it's imperative for me - I owe all these folks so much, even the ones I don't konk w/but have the open minds/hearts to let me go for it w/the little bass and my guys. merci, merci, merci...
it's a hellride to toronto, like six hours so we gotta bail. west on the 20 road here which turns into the 401 once we're in ontario. the signs change from french to english too. I've had real wind on this road before - we're right alongside lake ontario but it's calmer today. gray skies and some sprinkles but no nightmare pours so I'm grateful. pete konks in the back for like three hours and then trades places w/jer for his turn. I drive on. I've only had to hand the wheel off once so far on this tour and that was to pete to get us the last couple of hours to 'burque. I like driving cuz the gigs kind of beat up my hands and the vibrations on the steering wheel are like tons of good little rubs on them. pete talks w/me about the tour, his last gig is tomorrow night and he's gonna miss this life. that's great to hear cuz so many cats aren't really cut out for this life and it wears them down much. they might not say anything for a while but their mood and 'tude show it big time. it's a real drag to have to tour w/cats like that. as in the immortal words of buddy rich, "if you don't enjoy what you're doing, get off my band!" no, I don't mean to sound like him but this shouldn't be like a prison sentence on a penal colony. it must might not be the right life for some people (like maybe most!) but you never 'til you're actually doing it - words can't really describe this adventure even though we're trying to do w/these here written spiels. I have to say that pete's been quite a champ throughout his term here and has never faltered once, I'm so very proud of him. he's played great and has been always in the best spirits - a cat who's showed interest in everything and not just hung up doing a "musician's pose" who couldn't be bothered w/shit. it's quite a life adventure for him, I can tell and from his words, I gather he's got a taste for it in his blood. I think he's a rare breed and I'm very lucky to know him. it'll be very hard for me to say, "I'll see you back in pedro, pete" day after tomorrow. however, it's very easy for me to say he's probably the best first-timer I've ever had on tour, he's amazing. he's gotta go back to his job at the pet food testing lab monday and I know he's dreading that. it's been eighteen years there and it's wearing on him. he's gonna try to get more hours on the docks so he can get his longshoreman thing going, like jer - that gig is a lot more flexible and kind of perfect for a cat who likes to tour and do music. me and pete have a similar mind about a lot of things (well, when I'm in mind and not fucking out of it), so we get on good. I really feel bad for him cuz he totally wants to keep on rolling. in his spiel from the stage, one of the things he's been telling folks is, "the answer, my friend, is not blowing in the wind" and by that he means that one has to search and go find things out. another he tells them (this is all in serbo-croatian, by the way) is, "do not drink out of any bottles in the boat where the liquid appears to be yellow in color." that needs no explanation. I'm gonna really miss pete, really am. thank god there's as good as of a cat as tom watson to take his place. he's a treasure to tour w/too. I've been so blessed to meet such righteous cats in this life and share a stage w/them, share some songs. luck motherfucker, watt.
we see lake ontario and then some suburbs - nothing like the so cal thing but still they're burbs. there's a funny sign on the side of the road: "nuclear power information." w/all the power lines and all, there must be a reactor near. what kind of information? probably factual or stuff that might be critical, huh? give me a break. we get into toronto about three and take the don valley expressway into downtown, onto queen street. the pad we're playing is the legendary horseshoe tavern and has had music since the forties. I work w/two great cats there, craig and jeff - very cool peeps. I say hi to craig and then go across the street to a japanese place for some chow. I get a rainbow roll and some miso soup that has steamed clams. I empty all the clamshell contents into the soup and put the shells on a plate - I want to eat the soup w/the clams. they're good. the rainbow roll is kind of skimpy w/the fish but that's ok cuz the whole thing's econo. I go back to the venue and much music, the canadian music channel, has a cat named darby come and talk w/me. he's rapped w/me before and is own camera man today. that's great and more on my level. he wants to know about the sickness record I'm gonna do ("the secondman's middle stand") and he wants me to spiel about konking at people's pads after the gigs. that's a trip cuz just last night, john (the cobra verde singer) told me last night, "watt, I know you konk at people's pads to be econo but I know there's another reason - you're out to plant seeds." I tell darby this cuz it's quite a coincidence and explain the tradition of touring I come from (learning from black flag and punk ways) and then my idea of what's going on besides the econo thing. john's right cuz in a way, going over to the pads and being w/the folks there (or sometimes, just one cat) is like a little gig - a real personal one. I don't work bass for them but I do rap w/them and also listen to what they have to say. in a big, it's just folks being folks but I do have insights maybe some don't have as much of cuz of my travels w/touring and such. in a trippy way, people kind of share me, I'm a weird kind of thing stuff gets communicated through. it's not so much a "deliver the propaganda" thing as much as it is them seeing how much people who play for people and get on stage and all that aren't really that much different except for maybe those who travel to work the towns might have a little bit more sailor in them. but how do they get the interesting stuff that's worth sharing? it's by meeting those cats in the towns and I'm not talking on a level like "I yelled at him on stage" or "I signed this guys ticket" but actually going to their pads and konking at them. there's all kinds of pads too, let me tell you - they're stories in themselves. not only am I kind of shared but folks share a part of themselves for a bit. it's a trippy exchange and very good content for making a life like I'm trying to live. of course, you're rolling the dice but lots of times it's quite interesting. I find it much a righteous dimension to what I'm doing out here in the first place. I guess it's a personal thing, but I dig it. I've also made great friendships. it seems very real to me, just as real as plucking a string on the little bass. music is not just what tour's about for me. that might sound strange but that's the way it is. in fact, I think it helps my music and my sanity. I sometimes get some great shit to think about, shit to learn. if folks gain stuff from having me over, that's cool too. I try to be as real as I can w/them. you do get beat after gigs but I try to give them all I can as long as I can hold out 'til konk takes me. you get some great laughs sometimes too - it can good fun and a trip. I like the experiences - most of them. sometimes there's some bizarre shit but that's rare. I almost always meet very kind, interesting and righteous people. it's quite a gift, their niceness, that they share w/me.
I get done w/that and then talk w/john. there seems to be some problem. there was some funky shit at the end of last night's show too, like the cobras not going to get paid or something - like no one knew they were playing. this is not right, they're on the contract and everything. I talk w/craig and jeff and we figure a way to work things out. there's already two openers, local cats mercury men (who give me a copy of their album where the cover a song I wrote for the minutemen, "anxious mo-fo" and do a song of their own called "d. boon's 115th dream" - obvious reference to the dylan song w/the similar name) and wayne omaha. we'll just make it a four band bill. john said he got weird stuff from the soundman, kip, who's always been nice w/me so I have a talk w/him too. just gotta finesse the situation a little. I want things to work, we don't need friction or whatever making things lame. there was a fuckup somewhere (gotta talk to my man outside the van, steve kaul, about this on monday) but like that old lawyer I worked for in the early 80s, mister handley, used to optimistically have on his envelope in latin: "for every judgement, there's a remedy." we can make this work. I dig everyone I'm w/tonight and there's no sides to take anywhere. there's a stand selling dogs outside the pad and I get a veggie one. the condiments are a trip - I put corn and mustard on mind and it's a good little chow. I then go to the boat to konk. first, erinn and paul from the watt list say hi and erinn gives me some cds for ryan, who I'll see tomorrow in detroit. great to see both these cats. erinn hips me to where the ottawa senators are at and the money sitch the nhl is in. hockey has a dollar bottom line just like hoops, football or baseball. skewed a little different but still, what an effect on the whole thing we call "sport." I'm not just talking about players but owners too. sometimes the expected gets defied though and that's what makes erinn happy about his senators.
I'm out like four hours - jer gets me at like well after midnight. sorry, but I missed everyone who opened. just too beat. we start and ed once again is a happening cat and lets me use his cab to supplement the one I got working - the other one, which is blown, is serving as ballast for the boat. however for the first three songs, I don't have my cabinet plugged in! idiot watt. I want to play that first stuff all in a row so I don't stop to correct the problem 'til the new tunes are done. there's a great crowd here and they have great spirit - similar to the montreal thing in lots of ways. I've always had a good time playing for our northern neighbors. the sound on stage is much better than last night and I have some more nerve though I'm still kind of scared to look at people. they're so very nice and at the end, there's lot of warmness. one cat gives me a little james worthy doll cuz he first saw me during fIREHOSE's "james worthy tour" in 1987. damn. another cat gives me a copy of "musician" magazine from the same year that has john coltrane on the cover and there's a review of the second dos record in it too - whoa. thank you much. I sign a bass too. I spiel a little w/the cats from the opening acts to, they're all good cats.
I then settle and rap w/jeff and craig, who are great to work for. we talk about things. looks like old friend elliot, who did gigs w/me starting in the late 80s just had a son, jacob vida blue. congrats, elliot! everything came out fine for the cobras too. great. there's a friend of rob from saint augustine here named tyler and she's introduces me to justin, who's pad we've been invited to konk at tonight. boy is it late so it's such great news to hear it's just around the corner, a couple blocks away. not much spiel from watt tonight - lateness has claimed him and I'm out in the bag w/the mask down quick. i hear jer and pete leave for chow, so easy to give into that hankering but I've been pretty good about that the last few years. konk is better food for a body hungry for rest.
saturday, may 18, 2002 - detroit, mi
I wake up in my own bed in hermosa beach at 9:00 am, my friend alexis is taking me to the airport to hook up up with watt and jerry and I make my last minute adjustments to my packing and lock up my place. alexis comes into lax with me to check in my bag and then I say goodbye for a month. they frisk me twice before letting me on the plane and then I find my seat and set off to detroit. the flight is smooth but the kids behind me are playing cards and bang their shuffles on the fold down table which keeps me from any rest but we arrive on time and chris and his friend dre are there to pick me up. thanks chris. we go straight to the the shelter club and with the three hour time difference we get there in just enough time to see cobra verde play the last gig with watt and the secondmen. it's great to see the cobra's again, I've been on three tours with them and love them very much so I'm very glad to see their show. I get a chance to rap with pete and sense his saddness a little to have this be his last show of the tour. I'm sure it was a good time for him though.
the cobra's pound it out and I pogo to their set and especially dig their new songs, I tell them to please come out west to spred their sound to our people too. jerry, pete and I get up and do some back up vocals on modified frankenstein and then they finish. I go out to wake up mike and to say hello and they get set up to play. I haven't heard any of this new organ, bass, drum stuff yet. they kick into it and I try to follow the twists and turns of these heavy new tunes and really enjoy it. they play some older tunes too and pete does some vocals so it's it a really different thing and I so glad I got a chance to see it. for the encore I get up with the cobra's too and do the red and the black and then they close with little johnny jewel. it was a blast and we start packing it up to head over to bob teagan's for the night. chris and mel brought over food and I pig out with much gratitude since all I had to eat today was two bread sticks on the plane and a couple vegie's backstage. I get my fill and then hit the sack.
The chief roused us early as he had to move the boat from it's nighttime dock and because we were passing thru the US border and he was wary about the 'tude we were going to get from the US Border gaurds. I konked for most of the drive but the chief woke me as we were passing over the bridge into Michigan. As we passed into the border control area,he reminded us to say that we were jazz fusion cats if asked. Well, his worries were not totally unfounded; we got some serious 'tude from the border cats and they ended up searching the boat. It took us about an hour to get thru but the club was right near the border in aplace called Greektown and we arrived w/ time to spare. The place we were playing at was called the Shelter and it was the same joint where The Jom and Terry show had suffered the trip w/ Megadeath on the previous tour. It was of course raining but we had some time to blow before load in so me and Jer hoofed it over to the Greektown Casino so Jer could cure his gambling jones. I don't really like casinos but it was my last show of the tour and I wanted to hang. I kicked it in one of the casino lounges w/ a double driver courtesy of Mr. Trebotic and waited while said bam-bam scratched his itch. There was a big hockey game going down so there was plenty of people watching to keep me busy. Jer returned quickly and he was ahead so he bought another round of drinks and we legged it back to the pad. It was raining harder now and the boat was parked about 300 yards from the club so it looked like we were going to have to once again schlep the tools in the rain. A couple of cats that worked at the club came out and assisted in the load in so it wasn't that bad. The Cobra's showed up and did their load in while we set up our tools on the stage. The sound guy Kip, miked us up and we did the check but we had some feedback issues due to the fact that the club was all brick on the inside but he alleviated the problem expertly. I met Chris Rees and his lady Mel for the first time also; Chris would be recording the show (and he was also my ride to the airport in the morning). Really nice people. This was going to be an early show so we only had a couple of hours til' we went on. There was also a hip-hop show going down upstairs soit looked like it would make our softer songs and dynamic breaks a whole lot of fun. The pad had put out a decent spread for us so we didn't need to go on a chow search and we sat around rapping w/ the Cobra cats until their downbeat. Tom Watson showed up around 8:30 and I passed him the Coltrane CD and the keys to the boat. It was a kind ofconfirmation for me that I was leaving and it bummed me out major.Much respect to Tom for flying out to finish up the tour; he made it possible for me to do my part of the gig. I then informed him that it was his job to go wake up the chief on this particular nite. He-He. We didn't have too big of a crowd but the cobra's went on and ripped the shit up as usual (it was their last gig of the tour too). Me, Jer , and Tom came out and did some back vocs on"Modified Frankenstein" and the crowd dug it. I set up my tools for the last time andthe chief dedicated this show to me (much respect g...). We did well on the tunes but the thump-thump from the hip-hoporium upstairs made it extremely difficult to play andall three of us got confused by the ghost notes. Mike stopped a little early on "Amnesty Report" but me and Jer plowed on thru. "Chinese Firedrill" was nearly impossible to play and one of the water pipes above the stagebent a littleand it rained down on the backline a little. I was feeling extremely self-conscious the whole time (and not a little bummed), but John from the Cobra's said it was the strongest show he's seen me play (Thanks john). We did The"Red and the Black" w/ Tom and all of Cobra Verde up on stage and the crowd got into it very much.Afterwards, we packed up the tools and hung-out outside the pad taking snaps and saying our goodbyes to the Cobras. They're a real talented bunch of musicians and very righteous cats. I'm looking forward to doing shows w/ them again. We followed Bob Teagan to his pad where we were all crashing along w/ Chris and Mel(Bob had videotaped the performance and watt always stays at his pad when he's in town). Made it to Bob's pad and we laid out the bags; Chris and Mel had brought a wonderful spread for us (many thanks),so we strapped on the feedbag and chowed down. Bob put on a videotape of an artist called Tenko; she sings in Japanese and plays really intense guitar (watt wants to do an album w/ her) and a trippyvideo of a band called the"The Gorries". I dug on it. We also saw some footage of Television at the "All Tomorrows Parties"gig and watt playing w/ the Asheton bros. and J. Mascis at the same gig. I really dug on it. I asked mike to wake me at 8:00 and rapped w/him for awhile but I started to feel the sandman creep up so I crawled into my bag one last time and was out. Laku noc Nostromo....
were arisen by the boss and scurry out to hit the road for our u.s. return. w/possible delays at the border an early start is smart. I put on my best fusion suit and dump the sunglasses for the crossing. detroit comes into view as we close on the bridge that crosses the water. the line is slow going and as soon as were across the span the traffic guy directs us to a special lane neat the customs building. the questioning is directed at mike and is reason enough to have a friendly little search of the boat done. their straight talk w/no humor has us worried. it's good we carry no illegal items w/us. they have us sit in the office as officers tear through the van. I know they're watching us on camara to see any reactions to the tests given. I fall asleep for a few and mike deals w/the officers. soon were allowed to move along and I'm glad no strip searches are required. we round the downtown area and park next to the shelter at st. andrew's right in the greektown section. I eye the casino a block that on the last turn took $140 from me in a 1/2 hour. I convince pete to be my culprit and venture into the darkness of the tables within. pete doesn't gamble so I place him in the bar area and find a blackjack table nearby. w/some steady play and clever betting I'm able to get up $50 in about 1/2 hour. taking my earnings I bid farewell to the other players and grab pete for a drink at the bar, my treat. soundcheck is soon so we head back to the shelter. it's raining again and we hump the gear across the lot to the stairway leading down to the club. chris and mel arrive to help. he'll be taping while mel takes snaps of the show. bob teagan is here as well and will be videotaping the gala. gonna stay w/bob as well tonight. a quick check and verde's have shown for their last gig w/us. I find some munchies backstage and opt for 'em instead of din. chris returns from the airport w/mr. tom watson in tow. our fab guitarist has arrived and all greet him w/glee. he meets pete for the first time and they hit it off well. I think tonight we'll be having a big jam out on the red and the black.
time flies and the verde's take the stage one more time. we watch and cheer as their set wails. for the last tune frankenstein pete, tom and myself join the verde's for a big backup on vocals. tons o fun. thank you very much john, frank, ed, mark and dirk rickels for all the good times this tour. I get the set up thing done and we attack the set for the final time out. our energy is up and the set rocks. for the encore we switch to have the red and the black near the end. all the verde's and tom join in. the guitar amps are right behind my head and mark has a floor tom to my side. when the tune starts I get fully blasted from all angles. damn that's fuckin loud! lots of ear ring tonight for sure. last secondmen show for the spring tour and 34 straight w/o a day off. I feel great, but will miss mr. mazich much.
the pack up is done and many folk help w/the carry out. I meet a girl from chicago named deb who grabs the water and a couple drums for me. she drove all the way to check out the show w/pete. very cool. we all gathered outside we take photo w/the verde's and tom for the 5th week diary snap. so long verde's, see ya next tour. all sailors aboard and bob leading the way were off to mr. teagen's neighborhood. upon arrival I commandeer a bed upstairs and ingest some of the food chris and mel brought. a short call to kel is made and I grow quickly tired. I wish her goodnight and give my love to wife and baby. the bed swallows me whole and dreamland is found.
pop and head up the stairs to hose off. no towel so I do the dog shake/drip dry thing. it's seven in the morning, I have to get the boat out of the lot and onto a streetside slot before the attendant gets there, we do not need a tow-away w/the boat. I go get a cof right after. bright sun is out but how many times since atlanta has that panned out for the rest of the day? answer: twice (brooklyn and hoboken and actually, both those days started out as gray ones). I let the rays come down and bless me. there's a chilly wind blowing but still, there's sun to bathe the face and I dig it much. I get a bagel w/an egg on it at a chow pad and put that down the in-hole. a little bit of a hoof and then back to justin's to chimp diary. I let my men konk 'til eleven cuz they were up so late. when I do roust them, we move quick cuz you never know how long a border crossing can take and we got one today to get back to our home land. we thank justin much and head west along lakeshore drive which skirts lake ontario and all this gaudy kind of stuff built for some visits by england royalty in years past. what's really pretty is all the little sail boats out on the lake. we rejoin the road we took to get here yesteday, the 401 and head towards london (the canada one). a little more wind than yesterday and true to the form of the last couple of weeks, as the day moves on, so do the clouds grow heavier and darker. by the time we're in windsor, there's drizzle. a big line spanning the entire expanse of the ambassador bridge makes it an hour to get over the detroit river to the u.s. side. at the border crossing, I'm given an orange piece of paper by the officer in the booth and told to go the customs area. oh boy...
once in the area, this inspector talks pretty mean to me, very intimidating. he asks where I've been and I tell him. he asks where we stayed in montreal. I ask if he means what hotel and he gets mad and says, "I already know you stayed in montreal." I respectfully tell him I stayed at a guy name jacques' place. he asks what's his last name and I tell him I don't know. he asks if we all stayed there (he's getting angrier). I say yes. I tell him that's the way I tour. I stay calm and try not to escalate anything, I just want to cooperate fully. they have you dangling from their whim and they know it but what can I do? I have nothing to hide. just a lot of things to make you feel tiny. his mood changes a little though we he asks me to get out. he starts laughing at me. I guess I forgot to button up my levis when I last pissed. he has to take care of that before I go inside cuz he "don't want any johnson hanging out." we go into the customs office and they start to thoroughly search the boat. once inside, another officer confronts me. I give him my equipment list I had registered at the u.s. border crossing in vermont before coming into canada. he asks me why I was in canada and I say I'm on tour and played two gigs in canada. he asks me what are pete and jer for, do they just watch (more w/the condescending tone) and I say, "no sir, pete plays organ and jer does drums." he asks me what kind of music do I do and I tell him, "jazz-fusion" - end of questions, he asks for our driver's licenses and disappears. it's quite a while, almost an hour. then a lady comes out and gives us our licenses and we're allowed to leave. a heavy time in an emotional way. I hear a lot of u.s. bands complain about the canadian border people but I have never been treated by them w/the disrespect I've gotten trying to get back into my own land. they seem to always return the respect I offer them (and all people wearing guns/badges and w/me in their power) where lots of u.s. border people (not all but some) show nothing but contempt for you. I never try to make waves w/any of these people. I never try to get away w/anything, I always try to make sure everything is in order but sometimes you would not believe the 'tude that get dumped on you. maybe it's a test or something they're trained to do to see if you react in a weird way, I don't know. maybe that's why they make you sit there so long too, they might be watching on a tv camera at your reactions as you sit there... whatever, I'm just glad it's over. not the calmest of crossings this time.
we get to the greek town part of detroit and in the parking lot behind the shelter, a downstairs part of saint andrew's hall where we're playing tonight. a cold rain starts to come down. jer takes pete to the nearby casino. I go to this bar nearby called the sweetwater and chow a pulled pork sandwich. it's good. the redwings are on the tv beating colorado and the locals inside are all happy. chris and mel, a couple that come to my shows in the area - taping and photographing them (I let folks tape and trade stuff like this, it's quite an honor they're that interested in what I'm doing), see me in the window and come in and say hi. these two are the best, always helping me anyway they can, chris is gonna get tom from the airport later on. when I'm done chowing, I go back to the boat and chimp more diary. I'm a little behind cuz I got none done the day of the montreal gig cuz of the long drive, border and the chow w/clank. the verdes arrive and I get a shot of them in front of their rented van. it's our last gig w/them and I'm gonna miss them much. folks from the shelter help us load the gear in cuz we gotta hoof from a far part of the lot - it's packed cuz of the hockey game. we do a sound check w/chris, a cool cat - I have to say, most all these soundfolks have been very happening people and you have to know I think this is very important. they're like the transmission and we're the engine - the power just won't get to the wheels w/out them being inspired and willing to do their best. in a way, they're the fourth guy in our band. they also each have a big "suck" knob they can turn up to ten if you treat them like an asshole, which is what you deserve if you come on like one. I feel very fortunate to have be able to work w/such decent folks. I always have a talk w/them so they can get to know me and understand that I have much respect for what they do and what they can do for my gig. they usually return that. the only dick this tour was that guy in mobile who put on a good face for me but fucked up the monitors bad and then extorted money out of the promoter, todd. crimony. I like chris' flannel too, it's a happening blue one. he works hard to get some feedbacks out. this room is very live w/lots of brick and echoing stuff. man, is my 'e' string deadsi I change it. the sweat from me that gets on the little bass does that. we get done and then I go to the boat to konk.
I konk hard and get woke by pete, kind of early - we're on just after ten. it's sad I missed the verdes but I just have to try and make good on the sleep debt I incur otherwise I'll get sick or play shitty. this is part of being a middle-aged punk rocker. tom comes and wakes me out of the deep konk. great, tom made it safe. I ready myself w/some head and hand shakes and then leave the boat for the pad. time to take my position, stage starboard. I look across the stage and start the last set I'll do w/pete this tour. it's emotional for me and I want to play good for him but of course, I start blowing clams. now I know mister bukowski put "don't try" on his gravestone. I don't think he was talking about being lazy. I try to compensate by being very intense, quite. I want to shake myself silly. I'm so embarrassed I almost never open my eyes the whole gig. not cuz of the shaking but cuz of the clams. I blow right through a part of "amnesty report" and finish the tune but jer and pete are still going - doh! what an idiot! aaaaarrrrrrgggggghhhhhh!!! in "sister ray," I fuck my amp hard and bust the 'd' string. I do not stop but plow on. there's a hip-hop show going on upstairs and though it's not as bad as when megabogart played above us last time I was here, the rumble is distracting. I'm not going to use that as an excuse though, the clams are wholly mine. at least people didn't come down and tell us to turn down like those clowns did. the crowd is so very kind though, what a thing to cherish. all the verdes and tom get up to play "the red and the black" w/us - wow, what a blast! I think john just pretty much played 'a' note, sort of lee ranaldo style. jer took it pretty heavy w/many guitar amps blasting him in the head, he kept it going but his sound was so piddly to the massive whup up mark was giving the floor tom - he was louder than all of us on the stage together - oh my god! a good time w/them, funny this is the only time we did this song w/them all tour. when we finish, I talk much w/them. lots of hugs and kind words from them. much respect from watt to you all. truly. when I get done, look who's here? whoa, deb came all the way from chicago to see my organ trio. that's something. thank you, deb. bob teagan's here too. I always konk at his pad when in detroit - good, ol' bob. I go to settle and the cat who pays me played drums in the laughing hyenas when the minutemen played w/them. we talk some about that and I tell him to tell john hi. fuck, wish I could remember his name - fucking alzheimer-head watt. I love seeing folks from the old days who are still around.
it's hell to get the boat around to the hatch to load up the gear cuz of all the traffic but I eventually get it back there. some pictures w/the verdes and big hugs all around. we'll see these cats day after tomorrow in their native cleveland but I'm gonna miss playing w/them much. you know I'll take them on another leg of my next tour. they're very dear to me. great band too. all of you: john, mark, frank, ed and derek - thank you so much for sailing these seas w/me and my guys. the cops appear in the alley and 'pert near box me in - guess they're getting ready for something cuz they start grouping up. great time to get out of dodge. we barely squeeze the boat by and follow bob to his pad in fraser, a burb of detroit to the north. following bob is funny, kind of like doing the mexican hat dance or being connected to him via a bungie cord - fast, slow, fast, slow - it's hilarious. he's the best though, a huge heart and always there w/a hand to help. chris and mel are following us and we when get to bob's, they break out all this chow they brought. some pears for watt - thank you! there's nuts and sandwich stuff, all kinds of chowables. thank you so much, chris and me! I have three pears!
bob begins the ritual we have every time I stay here after a gig: play his videos of tenko and the gories, I love both of these much. what I would do to make a record w/tenko, she's an incredible guitarist - I would write her some crazy shit to go off on. the gories were led by a cat named mick and he's got a band now called the dirtbombs. bob then puts on some videos he shot at the "all tomorrow's parties" thing a couple of months ago at ucla. first is television doing "marquee moon" - whoa, roller coaster version. then there "fun house" w/ron and scott asheston playing alongside j and myself. god, I look like such a bozo - I can't watch. I did cherish the opportunity to play w/those cats though - all three - I have so much respect for them all. very, very lucky watt. I tried to shake myself crazy that night too. pretty scary for me. here, listening to this though, I don't even last for that one tune. laid out on the couch I always use here - even w/the same blankie bob has for me (I don't even need the konk sack) - I'm so at home that I konk maskless before the tune ends (did it?).
sunday, may 19, 2002 - grand rapids, mi
The chief woke me up at 8:00 as promised and I hopped in the shower. (My flight was at 12:20). Feeling a little better , I gathered all my gear and went to get the boat keys from watt. I pulled my stuff out and loaded it into Chris's ride. My Leslie Speaker was staying behind so I said goodbye and patted it on the side(it served me well). I opened the side door and did a personal dumb-ass check to make sure I didn't leave anything ,took one long last look at my home on the road and shut the hatch. "Bye Boat" I said, "keep the crew and the chief safe". I went back into the house and went upstairs to say goodbye to tom and jer; they were understandably groggy and both mumbled out "byes". I went downstairs to give the chief his keys back and that was the toughest goodbye of all. I gave him a quick hug and he said "I'll see ya back in Pedro". "Yeah I'll see you too" I said,and walked out to Chris's car. We took off and my journey back to pedro started.
Many thanks and much respectto everyone who came out to see the shows and opened up their homes to usthis time around;Everyone was very cool andencouraging to thisorgan player and it made me feelvery fortunatetohave beena part of it. I will never forget this.See you all the next time around.Thanks to Jer for being a bro to me on my first time out, putting up w/ my primping,and doing the best bam-bam in the world. Thanks to Tom for coming out and finishing up the tour; it was one of the things that made my participation possible, and thanks to Watt for the teaching ,the listening, the encouragement, and the patience. You've changed my life and opened my eyes. See ya back in pedro.
in the morning I wake up at about 7:30 and say goodbye to pete and then fall back to sleep for a couple hours and when I really get up bob has has some breakfast for us and we load up and shove off for grand rapids. this is my fist day of the tour but it's jerry and mike's 35th so I start to adjust my brain into tour mode and try to do some mental preparring for my first show with no practice, it has been two months since we've played together. I'm not scared though, I know we can do it if we focus. the drive is short, about three hours and we arrive at the load-in door early and I spend some time transferring pete's last diary entry that he had left in a notebook into the computer till it's time to load in. tonight is also the first night of a twelve night tour with the band grandpa's ghost, and when they show up we greet each other and ben and bill tell us it's just the two of them until columbus when their drummer will join up. we load and I borrow bill's fender twin to play through since I don't have an amp and we do our soundcheck. the intersection is a big boxy club in the south east side of grand rapids and the stage is really high and we run through one song and then that's it, no prac. after this jerry and I get some falafels near the club and even though it's still light outside it's after 8 and the fisrt group, voda goes on and I watch them play their songs. kind of hard to describe, kind of grand rapids rock with some high harmony vocals and a good vibe. after them granpa's ghost start to set up up their collection of vintage fender amps (my favorite) and organs and guitars during the between band music plays through the p.a. and I'm not quite sure if they have started their performance or not, which I actually really get into, the lines are blured. apparently they were just checking and finally the show begins and it is a wall of organ and guitar that cuts across the grain of the drone with words that are more poetry than rock lyrics. it's really intense and I understand why some of the locals get pushed away by it but I am submerged in the dense overtones I never get tired of a good drone, I just wonder what it will be like with a drummer! well they finish and we get our stuff together and then I get a little bit nervous witch is strange for me, I just hope I remember the words to some of the songs. also mike has little johnnny jewel on the set and I haven't played that in two and half years. what the hell we wait a few minutes for the club to give us the go ahead and we get onstage to a small but enthusiastic crowd and do out thing. we only have to stop once in the red and the black and do a re-start, whatever, we are humans not machines. I have to admit though that I get a little winded about halfway through and pray to myself not to pass out durring my screaming in amnesty report. I make it through and we humbly play the tunes with as much feeling as we can and the people are very kind to us so it was fun. after the encores we break down and mike sells some shirts and and we load out and head a mear block and a half to jeff's house where there are a couple couches and a bed, perfect! some nice people are there too that we spend time talking with, especially me cause I'm all wound up from this being my first show and all, and duh!, I'm still on california time. jeff has four cats and I just lost my cat (really diana's cat) five days ago and she was twenty years old so it is still very heavy on my mind. I finally realize that I should get some sleep so I find my place on a couch and dream of cats running all over me, and I loved it. (in fact they probobly were).
I have a vague recollection of pete entering the room I'm crashed in and saying so long. it had to be about 9 am 'cause his plane left round 11 am. I fall back to sleep and arise at noon. downstairs bob has breakfast sitting on the counter. I inhale the foods and hop in the shower. the drive is a little over 2 hours and we can make a late start. thanks much again bob for the hospitality. we shove off and seems a bit strange w/o pete, but tom picks up on the boat humor and a smooth transition is made. as we pull into grand rapids and the intersection club I jump out of the boat and search for a toilet to dump. mike makes a comment as I begin to walk about grabbing his computer from the back seat before I leave. "don't be so selfish jer, just thinking about yourself and not others" he says w/some spite. where did that come from? he could'da asked me before I left the van and maybe a little nicer. I turn and open the door and hand him the machine w/o a word. better just to walk away and not get into it. a small tavern round the corner has what I need and I take time to use the phone to call kel. she had another good photo shoot w/friend jamie and can't wait to e-mail some shots to me. I give all the good wishes I usually do and search out a news stand for a paper. back to the boat and I read some in the back seat. mike asks were I went and told him I had to go #2. "you could'da told me jer before you left" he commented. I felt after the abrasive shot that I didn't need to explain myself, but after a few words were back on normal ground. the clubs not open so we wait. I get caught up on the world according to usa today (a generic bland news source) and look at the long range forecast for our next few days. not good, a rainy future in store. the guys of grandpa's ghost show and introduce themselves. ben and bill are the only two for now. both play guitar and keyboards and their drummer will be joining in cincinnati. they have an explorer w/trailer for the road. trailers are scary, almost jack knifed a couple times on tour w/one before. just drive safe and stay out of trouble. show promo guy jason arrives and we discharge the gear. mike tells us this pad is a brick ex-supermarket, total verb out. the stage inside is about 6' up, and the ceiling is round 22' w/no baffling on the walls. it's gonna be a sonic evening. I set up and check. don't need any pa to cut this room. I guess w/people it'll change a little. we ask about a place to chow and they recommend the falafel joint next door. I'm joined for the first time on tour by tom for a meal. we get the falafel plate and dig in. somewhat dry, but has a flavor I find appetizing. tom gets a free mango shake for being the kind sir he is. we thank the cook and mosey on.
I take a seat near the front of the club and read up on the local rag. find a page w/odd and ends stories. they got a pic w/an elephant taking a turd and this lady catching the lumps w/a burlap bag. the caption reads 'that's some serious shit!'. good forearm developing move. I cut it out for the boat hall of silly. grandpa's ghost begins and what a wall of tonal spirals to be hit with. they spread out 4 fender amps stage wide and a couple keyboards w/keys taped down. a 40 min. assault. I wake the boss and they have us wait a few 'til our set time. just a little nervous for not practicing this set in two months. doesn't help that the room is a giant slap box. for the most part it's not bad, we can feel out way through the tunes much like before. that is 'til the red and the black. I blow a fuckin huge clam and get the beat turned around. mike stops the song and gives me the look. I shrug and we start over. can't believe I shitted myself on a tune we've been doing all tour. I think I got thrown when tom sang on top of mike' part instead of call and answer. I thought I was off the beat for a second and that's all it takes to shame thyself. the horror. off stage at the end I shake my head in futility and take full blame. mike's alright about the overall performance and we do our encore to the accepting patrons. there were some problems w/the monitors for mike and tom, but I got some decent sound minus the high end filter. well the ice breaker is over, and I feel much better w/1 down.
big guy matt is kind enough to help out w/the gear and I thank him. jason says so long and we ride a couple blocks away to local cat jeff's pad. a very nice house w/tons of art on the walls and a large music collection. some folk from the show mingle and I get a beer in the kitchen. three curious kitties run about and I make some feline friends. I ask jeff to use the phone and talk to kel a while. missing them more than ever now and their voices help keep me sane. I say good night to rilei and reassure kel that she's doing a great job at home. I grab the bed upstairs and bed down for the night.
pop and hose off. it's eight (whoa! late for watt), so I wake pete as per his request. he's gotta get to the airport for his flight home. I go down the street to get some cof cuz all the tea bob's got is decaf - tour finds me for want of the real thing in the morning. mel and chris are up when I get back and they're helping pete get his stuff ready for departure. a heavy time for me - I'm gonna really miss pete so I busy myself w/diary chimpin' to keep my mind occupied. it's time for him to bail and we say our bye. fare thee well, sailor - you were a champ to have on board and I learned much. you were a solid mate to serve w/and I look forward to the troubador gig in west hollywood, when we're to play together again. safe seas to you. love to your boy tony and wife ljil. chris and mel take pete to the airport, they'll see us again in cleveland.
bob goes gets us remaining jom & terry cats some breakfast at a fast food place. like w/the chow jacques got us in montreal, it's in styrofoam containers and you need no utensils - it slides right out and down the throat. whoa. probably will do the same on the way out - that's why I don't eat too many of these kind of chows. thanks though, bob - you're the greatest and have always been there for me w/out waiver. it's sunday, so I call my ma. all is ok in pedro, w/her and my sisters. my ma unpacked some books and cds of mine and put them in shelves at my new pad. that was nice of her. she made some room so my sister melinda could konk there friday. what a nightmare when I get back to get things situated but at least they both helped to put a dent in it. my ma is happy to hear that my ear is no longer bleeding, I can't express how much I am also. shit, that's all I needed on top of everything else - I feel quite lucky and blessed. so much shit can go wrong and get fucked up on a tour, it's a miracle I've survived so many of them. well, it's what I do and I have to keep on and not waiver. am grateful for the luck though, very much. tom, jer and I say our byes and thanks to bob and pile in the boat for grand rapids. we'll see him again in cleveland too. once more bob: thanks.
through the detroit suburbs on I-696 and then west on I-96 through lansing and on to grand rapids. the morning taunt of the bright sun is gone and gray prevails. some drops but no showers. it is pretty cold though. what the fuck is the middle of may like this for? me and jer spiel much w/tom, hipping him to the new camera, adventures w/pete, new phrases, notes, bendings - all that kind of stuff one needs for a hellride like this. tom is great to have tour, a righteous sailor who has an indomitable spirit - this will by my fourth time taking him out. he really saved the day when pete found out his boss would only let him have five weeks off - the tour was already booked and would've been a shame to scissor the last four weeks. thanks again, tom.
we get to the intersection, which is the pad we're playing tonight. I've only played this town twice before - once last year w/j (at this same venue) and once w/the crew of the flying saucer (nels on guitar, michael preussner and vince meghrouni both on drums) in 1995 at the reptile house. that pad no longer exists but I remember it being a fun gig. we're waiting outside the load in door, me chimping diary, when a policeman drives up. he asks if we set off an alarm. I tell him we're just waiting to load in, the door was open but we only looked inside and went back into the boat - we heard no alarm. he's nice and checks the pad out and then drives away. no 'tude - a great relief. the grandpa's ghost cats arrive in their minivan w/a trailer in tow from saint louis. they're w/us the next twelve gigs. they record for joe carducci's label, o & o. great cats. they couldn't get either their bassist or drummer to do this tour so they're a duo 'til columbus when someone will join them on drums to make it a trio. the cat running tonight's show, jason, shows up and let's us get things going.
a tall-ass stage here and the room has a pretty high ceiling too - not too prone to sounding good. whatever, you learn that tour's about working the room. I only have the one 4x10 eden bass cab now - ed is gone now that the verde's leg has ended. oh boy. I'll play the first three songs w/a pick so that'll be a little different too. we soundcheck w/brandon and chris doing the monitors. a heavy metal band blew up shit the night before so there's only one good mix for me and tom. no prob, we can handle that. we soundcheck w/"all sexed up" and it's the first time I've used a pick in two months. this will be interesting. first time me and jer's played w/tom in two months too! well, as a great man once said, "twist it off and let it fly!" since the peavy is burned up, bill from the ghosters lends tom his fender twin amp. things check out - ok, we're ready for our first jom & terry gig of this tour.
I go get a roll w/a little gyro meat on it (strange, huh? it had a little pizza sauce on it too) but at least it was from a mom and pop pad named "gino's" and not some mersh shit just put in across the street from it to drive it out of business, the "cop a pose" swillery. starbucks/walmart eliminate grass roots enterprise strategy in effect. pricks. why can't people see through that and think of the long term effects of bowing to this kind of shit? same w/record shops or whatever. people have much more power than they think, voting w/their monies. this bumrush does not have to be inevitable. I go to boat and konk.
I miss the openers who are from around here, voda. I'm just too tired but they seemed like really nice guys and the bass cat wanted to talk bass - wish I could've spieled more w/him. I miss the ghost too - bot jer and tom said they were like sonic youth w/out drums or stops between the songs, pretty much an aural assault. hmm... it's our turn and here goes the first gig w/tom... whoa, pretty much a trip to remember these parts but my basic belief is that a lot of the memory for working tunes is in the muscles, not the brain - muscle memory. therefore, the best way to retrieve it is to do it w/out thinking so much. sure, the first times are kind of (or pretty much) clammed up but then it comes to you. ooh, what a number I do on "conspirator's oath" but at least I stay in the beat, that's a very important thing. it's one way us three can stay together even through some rough road. words can be tough - fuck if I don't blow some of richard hell's "liars beware" out of the water - many apologies to you, richard. tom's having a rough time w/his wah-wah pedal. seems during the border search, they went through his pedal box and screwed things up. a static noise keeps coming up when we're trying to do something quiet and it's pretty lame. not tom's fault and just something we try to weather w/the best face. the only really bad stumboli is when we're trying to do "the red and the black" and jer gets confused from tom singing the "it's alright" parts out of order w/me and falls off the beat. it's so bad, I have to start us over. it's alright, we do it much better the second time. I gotta hip tom to how things will work better w/this part. these grand rapids people are very nice to us and very forgiving. much respect to them. I have to say that in a way, though I'm scared and blowing the clams, it is funnier and in some ways easier than w/pete and the secondmen - maybe cuz I'm just so much more used to the guitar. I'm laughing almost the whole set instead of closing my eyes and staring inward, terrified to death. also, I'm not doing the sickness stuff that the secondmen do and that might have something to do w/it too as far as the emotional impact. my "...middle stand" material really hits close to home and brings some heavy memories and sensations on me. 'pert near knocks me down, I don't have that much distance to it. whatever, I am also much further down the road of this tour and am quite familiar playing w/tom and jer and this much surely be some kind of a factor. I am sweating like a motherfucker and shaking a little. I think it's the laughs that help. I'm not out to just execute musical maneuvers in front of people. I would genuinely like to make some personable connection w/these cats who come to see me. damn, does the bass sound band on stage w/this setup I got. I'm counting on brandon to get it out there where it counts. it's a trip, he's never heard of my music before this and here he is, probably the most critical link in some ways of the whole process. a cat who's not judgemental though can handle it like it was part his and make it the best he can do. I try to discuss this a little bit w/them when we do soundcheck. what I hope we can do is inspire these soundmen to give it their all by us giving our all and showing them no 'tude, that we're grateful for the good work they hopefully will try to do. this is where an understanding of people not being above other people is a critical point. it's here to be put into practice and not just leaving them as words or platitudes. same for the cats who've paid to come see you. this is my belief anyway.
these folks have us back and we do "funkier than a mosquito's tweeter" and "little johnny jewel" - a trip for tom cuz there's no bongos so he's gotta use jer's floor tom w/out giving jer the eye-poke w/his stick. also, he hasn't done the tv one since the pair of pliers days! whoa. he does ok though, a little rough but still ok. lots of niceness when we're done and many peeps want to talk w/me. there's one weird incident though. these guys are talking to me while I'm slinging when this girl, who's been driking, keeps saying, "mike watt, mike watt, I came from south carolina, listen to me, listen to me." she won't wait for a turn, she keeps trying to talk over these other cats, whom I'm talking w/one at a time from the stage. she's persistent so finally I ask her what town in south carolina, so she feels acknowledged and she says, "south carolina." hmm... "south carolina, south carolina." well, I go on to the next person and the she takes my hand and licks it. christ. I ignore that and continue w/who I'm talking w/and then she hollers, really belligerently, "why are you talking w/them, they're guys?" I tell her, "don't be sexist." she wants attention bad, maybe some daddy issues or something though I've seen men act the same way. maybe the magic of alcohol. anyway, I will give her no more attention, she's out of hand. I go back to listening to what this guy was telling me and she goes, "you're going to listen to me, right after I get done kicking this guy's ass." luckily, her embarrassed friends step in and carry her away. oh boy. this is a rare thing though. most of the people who come to my gigs are nothing like this. she might not even be like that all the time. just a strange thing. maybe it's the stage being up so high and making people look up the way they do at you. it kind of bothers me even. I don't like looking down on people.
I thank jason, chris (who, by the way, gave henry rollins a happy birthday note I gave to henry last time I was here w/j. he was doing his spoken word thing a chris said he said "how did you get this?!" and christ told him I gave it to him and hank said, "well, ok." that was funny) and brandon. they treated us all nice. there's a cat named jeff who invites us to his pad to konk. we pack up the stuff and it's only half a block away - great! a righteous house, full of his paintings, I stake out the couch in the living room right away and layout my sack. there's this great little egyptian hairless cat (though he does have a little hair - must be west michigan weather as opposed to the kind in egypt!) that is super friendly - a little lover. several people have come over from the gig and talk w/me. we talk about all kinds of things. they're very nice folks. really. one cat tells me about an author I should read, erich fromm. I will have to check him out. only one little bit of provincial annoyance. someone keeps telling me "california, california... blah blah blah..." and finally I say, "you know, there's a bunch of california people probably ready to say 'michigan, michigan... blah blah blah...' maybe you folks should get together and have a rock fight or better yet, find out how much in common you actually do have. me, I'm all for being a citizen of the world and I'm curious about everywhere. I just happen to konk and pedal in cali, it's my home." that's a tiny thing though, these folks are great and so kind to have us into their world. miles davis' "bitch's brew" is playing in the background. me and this one cat have both read the autobiography of his and talk bunches about that. my mask comes down (I'm beat) and they filter in the kitchen where I can hear tom (he's three hours behind and full of energy cuz of coming from cali time) and jer in full yammer mode. interesting mix of the music and spiel, I konk easy under their spiel w/the little hairless one nuzzled on me in a warm ball. thank you to all.
read week 4 of the tour diary
read week 6 of the tour diary
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