"our oars became wings" tour 2002 diary - week 9

mike watt + the jom & terry show

shot of the jom & terry show in 202

watt - thud staff, spiel (holding half-gallon of piss)
jerry trebotic - drums (holding baby rilei)
tom watson - guitar, singing (holding 'pert near a half-gallon of piss)

(left to right)

steve kaul - the man outside the van

monday, june 10, 2002 - eugene, or

from watt:

   pop and hose off. I'm kind of worried about the boat cuz all the parking around here is residential and you need a permit for over two hours. eric says it's ok and no one ever gets towed but I'm still paranoid. remember, the boat is the center of my physical universe on tour. a lot of the spirit too. I bring my konk sack w/me and am back up the trail we came down last night to get here at eric's pad. looks so much different in the daylight, you can see all the green, there's giant trees everywhere, making a canopy. when I get to the street, I find a sky full of good weather, quite moderate w/the temp too. the boat's safe, good. I put the sack in the back. let's hoof and search for cof, watt. up to burnside, the main road we came in on - in fact, the same road the club's on, a few miles away. I find this chow pad called the kingston that's actually a sportsbar but not so much at this early time in the morning. I get some cornbeef hash and eggs. first sourdough toast I've had in a long time too. tastes good though I couldn't eat this every morning. back to eric's pad when I'm done. walking in this fine weather reminds me of a year ago when I finished a tour w/j (as one of the fog) - it was the rose festival that weekend too. weird time parallel. not done w/this tour yet but close. portland's got good fields of spirit for me to bathe in, lots of good people. some who've left like wiper greg sage and madonnabe dancer miranda, who graduated from reed college here last year. man, if they had weather like this everyday, maybe I... no - I can't leave my pedro town, don't flirt w/those thoughts, watt. eric's already bailed for work and left us directions to get there - I'm gonna do my first remote version of "the watt from pedro show" here at noon. see, eric and his partner bill have a webhosting company called sightworks from which my show is streamed (http://www.twfps.com). I find a special toy that I throw to tom - he throws it back immediately. I then park the toy in front of jer's face as he sleeps. I know it will help w/the sweet drams. a most bizarre toy it is too.

   when my guys ready themselves, we take the boat over to the sightworks office which is right next to portland state university. we luckily find parking only a block away. mucha suerte. eric and bill are there and show us around. neat workspace, lots of macs around. I use an ethernet connect for the first time on the barbie purse (ibook) - it takes only seconds to get that happeing. alright for macs. not much time to check, we go on the air soon. I just wanted to see how a fast connect flows on the barbie purse and it flies. still too expensive for watt to use at home though. we'll wait. no time to wait now, "the watt from pedro show" is coming from portland now! bill's hooked up a g4 powerbook and a portable cd player to a mackie mixing desk and that's going to a minidisk recorder. no vinyl and only one cd player means I have to play mp3s from the powerbook between cd selections. I gotta use stuff that bill has here cuz the boat has all the music folks have given me through the tour not organized in the least, all in this safe space behind the bench seat. I'm gonna have to wait 'til an actual "the watt from pedro show" instead of this "the watt from portland show" to play some of this just accquired tuneage. can't wait though. bill's got some good stuff here. I open every one of my shows w/some john coltrane and for this one, I pick "come back to me lover." I've got guests for my special portland show, oddly enough they're tom watson and jerry trebotic of the jom & terry show plus dimitri coats and jason kourkounis of the burning brides - guitarists and drumers for each of the two bands on the final leg of the "our oars became wings" tour 2002. what I do is spiel w/each of them and have them play songs they like in between my own spiel and the tunes I dig. the one question I ask all of them each, one at a time is "what's it like to tour w/watt?" tom says it's a trip (you know, like a journey), jer says it's playing every day (way too cerebral, jer - hold on, bro), dimitri recites advice he's gotten from me and jason dodges the whole question. man, I thought these guys would open up and let loose, oh well. the mic can get you choked up a bit. I do three songs at a time and then spiel. I have bill on too. turns out that bill know jer way before I did - jer did drums for bill's band the charms almost ten years ago. they called him friz then, a name jer truly hates and can't stand even now to hear repeated. there's a funny story of jer fighting the bass player nicki in the van while they were both in sleeping bags. jer couldn't free his arms from the bag and took many blows. precious memories. it's a trippy show that I probably never could have on at brother matt's in pedro (where I do it regularly) - not that I don't miss bro matt much and can't wait to see him again. a unique show. we finish up, say bye and thanks to bill and eric and head south on the I-5 towards eugene.

   there's a huge plug getting out of the south part of portland. after a slowgo for quite a while, we see what the trouble is: a flipped semi and flatbed trailer hauling giant hose. our side was block only cuz of looky-loo shit, what the fuck is that about? more faith in humanity is restored in all of us, beyond the point of wonder. lots of log mills and sheep/horse/cattle farms along the the way once we break clear of that mess. a couple of hours and we're in eugene, home to the university of oregon and many hippies though not as many as when I toured there in the 80s. you know how that goes. very nice people at the wow hall, where we're playing. this pad was built in the early 30s for the "woodmen of the world" organization. it's a community center now besides putting on gigs. it's very much an honor for me to play here. we do a soundcheck w/jason. a young man from croatia named saci and his girlfriend from chili named carolina bring us some chow they made: chopped up pieces of fruit, salad and these righteous organic burritos w/rice and stuff in them. really, really good chow. thank you, saci and carolina. they are a sweet couple. saci has a minutemen "paranoid time" t-shirt on and we a little about him seeing me in zabreb (w/fIREHOSE) and the folks in pedro from that land (they're more from the coast, dalmatia). maybe it's him coming from a helltorn situation that makes him skeptical of the "conventional wisdom" being touted. he's got quite an open and inquisitive mind in regards to affairs of state. him and carolina did live in the val for a while in so cal and they say there's groups of folks here in eugene that aren't afraid to ask what's up. he got the recipe for the burritos he made from an israeli family that lived on a kibbutz in israel but bailed for here when they couldn't take seeing what soldiers were doing in whoever's name - they didn't want it to be there's. we talk about intolerance and in-breeding, shit that's really funny and sad at the same time. oh dear. he was very curious w/pete's tour spiel cuz of the common slav culture they share. interesting cat, saci.

   I go to the boat and try to konk. I'm feeling a little down, like I'm missing words written on some celestial typewriter, where my mind is the machine's platen. like an engine in me running on a piezoelectric energy generated by those keys typing their heartfeltness, a physics teacher might say, "a generation of electricity or of electric polarity in dielectric crystals subjected to mechanical stress, or the generation of stress in such crystals subjected to an applied voltage." stress. so much of you runs on stress, watt. too much communication from you. then you feel it from a lack of communication or true communication. lots of times words miss their point w/you cuz they don't have that organic sense, that earthy motheryl born sense rather than words that feel like armbands, flags, window dressing and self-aggrandizement. some words can ring through me w/such a resonance, a natural poetry for me that speaks out my mouth when I read them even though they're not my thoughts, it's as though they've be born into me. it perplexes me so that by trying to get a grasp, I wear myself out and stumble into the konk I was struggling to reach in the first place. intense.

   jer gets me for the gig when the brides get done, sorry I missed them. I grab the sling sack and venture into the wow hall. touring this late into the spring sure is tough in a college town. this is a bigger crowd than morgantown was but you get the picture. character builder. it's ok. there's very enthusiastic folks here and it's very much quite worth it to play for them. saci's right in front and doing a rag doll dance, it's great. I'm doing ok for the first part of the set and then fatigue sets in - hard. I guess spieling for three hours during the radio show in portland has taken it's toll. it's very discouraging for me, really bad. I feel like I'm disappointing these cats here so, it makes me quite disappointed in myself. I want to go off and hide but pull deep down and hang on. shit, how inferior is this "performance" I got going here. tom and jer's doing real good though, they're champs. I'm leaning on them heavy tonight. we're done (I know "then flush the toilet") and I spiel while I sling. this girl gets a shirt and I can see her ma brought her - I can see her hanging back to wait for her. that's a trip. the rock and roll cliche is so much about kids against their parents and then you see this at your own gig and it touches me much. what could be weaker than a fucking flimsy cliche like that. I can tell what's going on a bit in the girl's head cuz she's happy to be here and see the gig but I wonder what's going through her ma's mind. this has always tripped me out and made me feel insecure but on the other hand, I have kids come up to me and say they were turned on to my sounds by their parents! it's a wild world, this age shit and who's grown, growing, whatever. the more mixed up and unpredictable I think, the better. natural is better than by the manual. fuck the rules. I just wish I had more gas in the tank tonight and more throat power. aaaaaarrrrrrgggggghhhhhh.

   this cat named mike invites us to konk at his pad. he's from around where j lives and has lived here just a short time, doing graduate school. we load out and this writer named joe wants a list of the songs we played cuz he's doing a review for this zine, "relics" - that's a trip, huh? he's quite a nice man. it's a mindblow that cats from that angle want to know what's up w/me, thank you. we load mike up w/us - he's got no car cuz it's easy to just get by w/pedaling in this town (wouldn't that be great for l.a.?). we get to his pad and I'm out on the couch like at sandy's pad, tommy jefferson style. I think I like that way. thank you, mister jefferson. it's only midnight, a righteous time to konk this late in the tour. grazie dio.

tuesday, june 11, 2002 - chico, ca

from watt:

   pop and hose off. looks like already bailed I think even though it's only seven bells. he's got a couple of neat bikes here, wish I could pedal one but I gotta get the oil in the boat changed. last one for the tour. I go outside to greet a sunny morning. thank you. I remember seeing an oil change pad only a few blocks from the club and we're not that far now. I take the boat and first get some cof and a bagel. I'm the first in at the pad and I get the boat worked on immediately. I do the rear end (differential) oil every fifteen k so that gets changed too. some cracks in the gasket on the radiator cap - I get a new one. all done real quick, back to get tom and jer. I roust them but have jer has us waiting a bit. my temper's a bit short and I give him a little bit of a chew - end of tour nuttiness from watt. sorry, jer. I get him a pack of beef jerkey at the gas station to show there's no hard feelings. I think again about how maybe this tour might be just a week too long. after a misstep getting out of town (somehow, we found ourselves north on old us-99!), I wheel us south on I-5 - our last real hellride for the tour.

   pretty drive, lots of forest and more than a couple lumber mills as we head towards cali. around roseburg, the grades begin and we go over like four summits to get through the klamath mountains and into the siskiyous. the boat handles them nicely. sure, the motor has over two hundred thousand miles on it and we don't "fly" over these passes but we do make them the best we can. at the siskiyous, we hit the border town of hilt and we're in cali - yes! no more weird license plates for us now, we're home. funny, the first offramp sign has an exit number. I read before tour that cali was finally gonna put exit numbers on the freeways. I think we're the last state in the country to do that. I think the article said it was gonna take two years. I guess they're starting here in the north. we're still like seven hundred miles from pedro but at last we're in cali. this means a bunch. through the siskiyous and past mount shasta. it's a clear day and the mountain is extremely picturesque so we get many snaps w/the digicamera. same for lake shasta and turntable bay. beautiful up here. jer says he's been invited to stay on a house boat up here and he says he'll endure the hellride to make that happen. I've never been on a houseboat. maybe someday... I wish jer would get the boat he's got in his shed happening. he taunted me w/that possibility at the end of last tour but still no cruises around the harbor. can't wait when it does happen. maybe a trip to catalina, huh? c'mon jer, let's get that happening!

   at redding, we pop into the sacramento valley. whew - hot here. all the fields are a dry yellow, I get memories when I was a boy and our family driving to red bluff to visit my pop's parents. red bluff is where we leave I-5 for state route 99 towards chico. every time I go through red bluff it's pretty much a trip for me - memories flood by and overwhelm me w/thoughts of my pop and that boy mind I had then. I remember the dry summer heat and the grasses dried out of their green and yellowed like the sun baking them. I knew my grandpa b.b. only as this old man, all crumpled up w/bad arthritis and mostly in a chair. I didn't know him as a younger man who gave my pop more than you could believe - he used to beat my pop w/a cat-of-nine he made just for him. you can understand my pop running away from this town at seventeen to join the navy. my ma said he used to wake up in the middle of the night w/dreams of killing his pop. a trippy thing is, when b.b. got older and more frail and my pop retired from the navy - it was in fact my pop who took care of him. a lot of the family was surprised cuz of the way my pop was treated as a kid but you have to understand that his ma had a lot of love in her and I think that had a pronounced affect on him, even w/the fucked experiences he had w/his pop when he was younger. that overcame the primitive revenge shit. it made me proud of my pop, to let love win out. a guy can learn good stuff from his ma.

   through red bluff and onward past orchard land and farms. pecans, cherries, avocados, peaches, apples - lots of good stuff grown out here. you have to remember that cali is first a farm state. I know that's hard to believe cuz of the images on tv but it's the truth. tons of shit is grown here, tons. even here, where the summers get hotter and the winters colder than where we are, crops grow year round where elsewhere in the u.s., that's not possible. the sacramento river goes down the middle of this valley, one reason why red bluff was founded cuz mule teams used to pull the barges up river from the shore. rivers and lakes were the roads before the time of the car, the truck and the van. it's in the high nineties and kind of hot here in the boat but at least it's dry heat and not that humid oppressive shit that you got east of the rockies, no matter if you're north or south.

   it's seven hours since we left eugene when I pull us into chico and pull up in front of the brick works, the venue for tonight. whew, the last hellride. the boss, justin, is there and welcomes me, he's very cool people and makes it a point to let me know he personally wants me here. late spring is the worst time for a college town like chico. another thing is the average age is like twenty and a half and a lot of kids that age are out of touch w/knowing about watt. that's why I gotta play this town more regular and let myself be known by playing. it's been almost four years since I've last been here, I gotta make it more regular. anyway, whatever - I'm here to play tonight to whatever situation happens and that's what I'm going to do. outside the boat, this younger punk rocker named dave talks to me about things, he's curious about the old days. he has a buddy who does gigs in his house, old school style. that's great. I wish them both luck. justin gives me a ticket to chow a salad a couple doors down. there's two ryans to do the sound, one is learning from the other. they're both cool young men, the senior ryan just got a gig doing monitors for merle haggard, alright. he might get to parlay that into a front-of-the-house job too. good luck, bro. we do a quick soundcheck w/them. acoustically, this is a hell room - actually it's a disco w/a balcony and the sound bouces around like we were in a roller rink. oh well. one lesson lots of touring has taught me is: you work the room. will do. joe, the teacher guy who had me talk to his class last time I played here (and who's pad we konked at last time) comes by to say hi and says we're invited to konk at his sister vanessa's pad. thank you, joe and thank you, vanessa. I give vanessa a little spiel on where I'm at and where I come from. joe knows me mainly cuz I had vince meghrouni in the crew of the flying saucer (as well as the pair of pliers - by the way, vince is now playing drums for the bell rays) and vince is an old friend of his. I spiel as much as my throat will allow and then go to chimp diary in the boat. a little bit of a swelter here, I gotta get 'pert near naked but like I said earlier, it's dry heat and I can handle it.

   chimping done, I go see what's up. justin asks me if a band from texas called spaceghost can open up cuz they were supposed to play at some club tonight that had nothing but locked doors when they got there. what a bunch of shit that is, it's happened to me a few times in the old days and I really thought people who do that are real pricks - why not tell the band you're bailing out in advance instead of making them come to town and find it out the worst way, finding the doors locked? assholes. these are some good young men, of course I say yes - c'mon aboard. like john coltrane said, "music's a big reservoir." yes sir. I go to the boat and konk. I can hear the first tune of the texas cats through the bulkhead and it sounds good. however, all the driving has forced watt into a state of a konk and he must submit. jer gets me up when the brides finish their set.

   whoa, this crowd is smaller than the jacksonville one and wins tiniest audience of the tour. no matter, I'm playing my brains out and try to make up for that sputtering end game that came on me at last night's show. add to that this stupid balcony that divides things up pretty dramatically. the lights make them only silhouettes when you try to look at them. there is one cat very much into the gig and is right up front, doing an interpretive dance to each tune. no fear on inhibitions in this man. the crowd is very much responsive and really fun to play for - no dead weight here cuz it feels as if everyone who's here, wants to be here - very little jive. sure, this gig is a character builder but at the same time, something the folks tell me when we're done, is something they're really glad happened. this is why you always play your brains out and not call any gig a "throwaway" or whatever. you give it your all and be fucking for real. what better test, huh? my guys play really good. me, I'm struggling w/this voice thing. I don't even think the monitors are on the first part of the set. oh well - that's showbiz, huh? I do have some confidence, a little bit cuz I really balled up some determination to give this a good go and not cower like I'm so many times prone to do. I look folks in the face even, right in the eye. that's pretty hard for me usally. whoa, what's got into watt? so many times I've wanted to be a stronger man, sometimes - for an instant - it kind of happens. one weird thing though. in the last tune, "chinese firedrill" - I gotta piss bad. I mean, really bad. I figure I can make it through the tune and go for it but by the last chorus, I feel piss going down my leg a little, I can't keep holding it. luckily, I can see the hatch to head right here from the stage, maybe at one o'clock. I put my hand up to my guys, unsling the little bass and bolt for the head. while I'm pissing, I hear my guys sort of finishing the tune, in pieces and dribbles. damn it. I wanted them to stop so I could run back when I'm done pissing here and finish the tune, like nothing had happened - as if time had been stopped. I'm really mad at my gigs and yell a little something but immediately go into "tv eye" to wrap up this gig. it's when we finish that and go out on the street that I really holler at them for this, I know this might sound stupid but I thought that was very "unprofessional" - I know, I'm the one that made things fucked by having to piss but we could made a funny, trippy thing out of it if they had just taken my direction. it's the only blemish though by them - they did play fantastic tonight. thanks, tom and jer. next time though...

   justin thanks me much, his wife is too young to know of my earlier work but he said she tripped when she came down to see the last part of the set. he says that's what's gotta happen w/these younger folks - a lot of them don't know me cuz of the old days being out of touch w/them and I think that's fine. I'd rather prove myself by what I'm doing these days then forever use my past as a crutch. the only thing about the old days in my mind is trying to live up to the high standards d. boon set down for me. I just gotta take that further down the road and make it relate to what's up today. not wrap in the flavor of the day but play it in the moment, using the feelings I've got right now, in this time. thanks to everyone here, we load up, take joe in the boat w/us and follow his sister to her pad. the brides follow us.

   we get there and there's a righteous tabby cat that reminds me a little of my old one, the man. I strip down to my skivvies cuz of wetness on the flannel and levis and the little one goes crazy rolling around in the watt pheromones imbedded in my clothes. much more than just "reading the newspaper" going on here. pretty intense little frenzy, whoa. everyone's talking and having a good time but I can hold out only a few minutes. joe's talking to me about henry rollins and john doe and I try to say what I can but konk is descending on me quick. soon, the konk mask itself descends and I'm out.

wednesday, june 12, 2002 - sacramento, ca

from watt:

   pop and soak, first one of these in a while, huh? mostly this tour I've been hosing off but the soak opportunity is here and my bones are just so sore. no rush today at all - only a two hour drive to sacramento. whoa, it's the twelfth - kira's birthday, she's now fortyone. a great fortyone too, in the looks, in the head and in the spirit. she is quite an inspiration for me even though she's a few years younger. she's strong w/this age thing, I want to learn from her. back into the living room to bundle my konk sack and look at this little one go! a tabby like the man, makes me think of him some. this kitty must be young though cuz the energy output is pretty intense. up on the hindquarters and then paws all the way up on the door - stretch, stretch, stretch. I head out for cof, vanessa directed me down the street. a nice sunny hoof here in chico - the sky, cloudless. I get the cof and then stop at a gas station on the way back to look for some clear tape. none of that but there are some cherry sours - alright. back at the pad, I chimp some diary. every starts wake now. vanessa's brother joe is gonna come by but first his wife chrisy comes w/the new baby, jack. joe wants a shot of me and the baby in front of the boat since he already has one w/me and his daughter haley taken when she was a baby (last time I was here). of course I oblige, I love babies.

   we say thanks to everyone and head south on cal-99. whoa, starting to heat up now. only a two hour hike though so not too bad. north of sacramento are tons of rice patties, bright green and real wet. I'm wearing the same flannel as last night - fuck it. I figured there'd be so much sweating, why mess another one? not enough days left to get another wash in anyway and I don't want to be caught short. we head for the middle of town and to old ironsides, the pad we're playing tonight. this bar's been around a long time, same owners since the 30s. everyone's watching the tv, the lakers might get their thrid ring. me, I'm gonna stay in the boat. I'm been so out of touch w/hoop, w/everything current on the tv level cuz of tour. my days are so full of tour, I haven't much time for anything else. sitting at the bar, watching tv and smelling liquor is not for me today. I think about it, playing all these bars and smelling alcohol is quite a test for my no drinking days but I have to say I've been getting through it w/out taking down a drop. sometimes I have to say that I'd like to chug my brains out and let the whisky river take my mind but I have to think of the big picture and liquor no longer fits into that these days. I was getting to the point of wallowing lots w/that "therapy" and not digging it. nope.

   I think of my guys. tom watson: what a great tour w/and share both the boat and stage. on guitar, he's really gotten good, got his nerve up and his confidence lets him shine. not a swagger but robust pallet of colors he swirls from his machine. his way of playing is a very personal style and his sound is stuffed w/tom watson signatures. it's great. also, he's singing well and his on-stage pogoing is infectious, helps much w/me getting over my inhibitions and fears when we're playing. jerry trebotic: he's come along way since I first played w/him in the madonnabes. he's really starting to get a style of his own and learning to play w/a bass player. he's getting better w/dynamics and learning to establish moods and textures. he's become even sensitive w/his playing although he's also pounding and playing harder than he's ever done. he's a good guy to have in the boat too. only his second tour but he's learning the watt ways and is pretty good w/them. we have little tiffs time to time but nothing last longer than a few moments. he didn't come from the same traditions as me and tom (the old sst days) but he's learning good. both my guys are very solid behind me, both on and off stage, none more loyal and trustworthy. they are both blessings. thinking back to the first five weeks w/pete and I'm sure glad to know and get to play w/him too. really good peeps. my compadres, these three cats who really give a bunch to roll on the hellride w/watt.

   it's pretty much swelter here in the boat so I take off everything but the levis (and that fascist shit under them). sometimes a shvitz is good! geoff, a cat from the watt list, comes by and gives me some 'dines, ones from portugal. thanks, geoff. he offers to get some chow and brings me some thai soup w/cabbage and pork in it - whoa, it's pretty spicy too - maybe the hottest thai I've ever had. it's good to have spicy chow when you're hot cuz it makes you sweat even more. the sweat evaporating off you actually cools you off in sort of air conditioner effect. I like the way it makes the brain fire up too, no matter what the temperature is outside. it makes you nose run too if it's good, another good flushing. it's fun to get stung! concepcion and her husband felix are here and say hi. she's an old friend from the minutemen days in pedro. so sad to tell her about what happened to the cushion she gave us last tour. at a show I did at 14 below in santa monica, jer went w/me and put it on the roof while I loaded up the boat after playing. he forgot it was up there and we drove away - I saw it fly off and hit the street. as I made a u-turn in an intersection to go retrieve it, a homeless man ran and grabbed it, heading down the sidewalk w/it. so be it, at least it went to a good cause. sorry, concepcion. it did serve us well.

   load in time and we do a quick soundcheck w/soundman larry, nice cat. there's the weekly entertainment guide and the cover story is called "the meth makers" - describes a methamphetamine cook session. I read it and it puts weird feelings in me. I used this drug when I was younger and it was a heavy thing on me, a bad scene. I always knew what was in it and how insane it was to put it inside one's self but reading about it all these years later puts creepy feelings in me but at the same time it's almost hilarious too. to be faraway enough from it now so I can laugh at how insane that scene is, how I was so insane myself to get into it and how it was such a revelation to me to discover how getting tired was actually a gift and not something to dread. a horrible little relationship, me and that shit. look back upon your love affairs and you either laugh or cry, huh? I can only laugh at the stupid shit I put myself though to walk hand in hand w/that crap. one good thing - quitting was easy once I faced up to myself. that shit had no grip on my body, it was all in my head. in fact, I think my body was ever so grateful. I should of listened to her years before. well, I'm a slow learner. to hell w/that shit (the swill).

   I go back to the boat to konk, a pretty sweaty one. the heat gives me trippy dreams, scary ones. I dream of a horrible taste in my mouth, like drano or lye or something like that. it consumes me, seems to radiate right out my mouth and through my head and in doing so, my head seems to dissolve. I see my head as droplets, dissipating into the air. each droplet appears to contain a part of me, an idea or thought I feel I hold as my own. you can imagine how disturbed this makes me, like I'm losing myself into the very air. I try to pull the drops in using my will - it feels like my arms are leaded-down and unable to do what I want w/them - they have feeling but it's the kind you get when a limb falls asleep, that prickly sensation. my legs feel that way too. funny, the rest of my body stayed solid - only my head was doing this vaporing shit. the droplets begin to look more and more like colorful beads from a bizarre necklace, seems like the colors of my insides are manifesting this effect. my eyes are beginning to feel like an insects where there's tons of images - I gather that's cuz they're dissolving into beads as well. I feel like my thoughts are narrowing down to one thin stream - all that's left for thinking is this incredible awareness of this nightmare going on. I try to think of love ones, to yell out to them for help but they've become nameless to me now, their faces dissolved but more like paint running. I smell solvent, quite foul. I'm afraid to holler cuz that might blow the (my) particles further from me so instead, I inhale as hard as I can. the taste in the back of my throat is horrible. I gag and gag but inhale again, this time using all I have in my lungs. the droplets fly right into my neck like being sucked up by a vacuum cleaner - thhoompp! whoa, this is a trip. everything's dark and I feel my body brick kiln hot, like the sidewalks in new york city during summer. I then seem to deflate, like someone opened a valve in my body and all the pressure has been lost. I feel it melt or dissolve - more like liquify. I realize I've become a big puddle of tears and I'm soaking the back bench of the boat big time. I feel myself evaporating and am looking down what was the tear pool from the boats top bulkhead. the tears have dried and there's a salt film on the bench. it's this that pops me out of the konk and I feel my flannel soaked, along w/hair and eyes. I've been crying w/the mask on. so weird.

   I did pop right in time for the gig though. I missed the brides but I'm read for the jom & terry show. boss brian helps me w/the sling sack. I notice jer's drums are set kind of far back and tom's amp (well, actually dimitri's amp) is aimed right at me. the p.a. system here is pretty toy - especially the monitors and tom's blowing me away, I can't hear a word coming out of my mouth. the shakes my confidence for some reason and I lose my nerve. it turns out to be a horrible gig for me. I do most of it w/my eyes closed, I feel like such an idiot. my guys do good but I'm terrible. the bottom box of my amp wasn't even plugged in for the first few songs but I felt too paralyzed to do anything. such a shame too cuz these sacto folks are great. well, there's one cat that's had too much to drink and is bother people. you can tell he knows my music and he's right up front but a little out of line w/respect for others. he gets tossed near the end of the set. I feel kind of bad for him, he had a nice suit on and was very enthusiastic but in my state, I felt powerless. a weird gig for me, embarrassing. aaaaarrrrrggggghhhh - I blame myself. why does this shit happen? I feel like the biggest jerk. afterwords, I keep my eyes to the ground as I sling and pack my shit up quick when done. yas says some nice things to me, she's always great that way. I feel like I very much don't deserve any of it.

   I go to the boat quick, keep the sidehatch open and sit there to collect my mind. boss brian comes by w/the friendly talk he always is generous to share w/me, I dig him much. he's been doing my shows for years and always lets me know he's on my side. this lady named kelly comes and grabs my hands between the thumb and forefinger. it's a very intense pressure point there and makes white light flash in front of my eyes - quite intense. she does this for a while. us and the brides are staying w/geoff and his wife so we gotta go. kelly wants to come too. bye brian. geoff's pad is right off a street called watt in the east part of town. he says watt crosses a street called hurley - ain't that a trip. we get there and I lay out quick in my konk sack on a couch in the living room. mel tries to talk w/me but I'm out of gas. sorry, mel. geoff makes my guys and the brides some chili! before they get to it though, I've got the mask down and konk takes me swiftly. grazie dio.

thursday, june 13, 2002 - san francisco, ca

from watt:

   I pop and hose off. I remember popping here back in january and boy, was it cold - maybe thirty degrees! nothing like that today. the sun is bold in the sky and greets me w/warmness on the face as I head out to get some cof up on watt (the street). there's a minimart there and I get some cof and throw it down. I'm thinking about last night's gig and how I don't want to repeat that tonight in san francisco. I'm filled w/weird feelings, like maybe this tour is a week too long. my voice is so worn, that's the one thing almost impossible to recover - it just doesn't get stronger the more you do it, like w/your hands or stuff like that. makes me mad and frustrated. the thing is, if I'm gonna do a hellride, I want to play as many towns as I can. that means a lot of gigs close together, timewise. it's a big country (canada too) and you just gotta make the commitment to get as much in as you can. I just wish I was stronger. being able to fight off all the physical ailments (the finger, the ear, the toes, the shoulder, the throat, the sinuses, etc) means I'm not a total weakling but I wish I could have my voice where I can project it w/confidence, make it count. it flusters me much and I hate it. what a fucking bozo. makes me feel like a front. aaaarrrrgggggghhhh. I think about d. boon and how strong he'd be in the face of this. he would definitely not cower. he's such an inspiration for me. I can see him in my mind, doing that bunny-hop thing he always did when playing, red in the face and very ernest. quite ernest. d. boon did not back down. he played w/all the heart he had. I hear his singing and his guitar twanging now. even if he broke a string - or two - or three - he kept right on charging. he was incredible. at the same time, he was quite sensitive too, an artist. he was an amazing man. this gives me some nerve. I buck myself back up. I am a minuteman, I can do this tour thing. I will continue to.

   I get back to geoff's and he makes me some chorizo and eggs. he makes me some oatmeal too and I chow w/walnuts he's put on the table. thanks, geoff. after shoveling, I code up the last week of diaries to put up on the web (I finally got jer's - he's always so late w/them. I have to admit though, he's doing better than his first tour last fall - he fell off after five weeks then) and geoff tries talking to me about things. unfortunately, I don't have the strength in the voice to really carry on my side of the conversation. I have to tell him I'm sorry but I have to save my throat for tonight. this makes me sad cuz he's such a nice guy but tour has wrung lots of strength from me. he's got two dogs that are very friendly. I can communicate w/them using pets, wish I could do the same w/geoff but that would be kind of weird. my guys pop and get chowed like I did. thanks again to you, geoff. the stereo is playing some coltrane which I dig much but then when some king crimson comes on, it gets really loud for me. after all the gigs in a row, my ears are getting weird. I apologize again to geoff after asking him to turn it down. what a terrible guest, I'm like some little old lady, huh? geoff gives me a cd of the show I did w/j and the asheton brothers at that "all tomorrow's parties" thing back in march at ucla. nice art from evan - both him and geoff are on the watt list. I'm afraid to hear it cuz I remember getting on the other side of the beat in "I wanna be your dog" and "no fun" - fuck, what an idiot. I thank geoff, get my guys, and shove off.

   west on I-80, through davis, vacaville, valejo - the hills yellow w/dried grass. as we get closer to the bay area, the temperatures drops much and the wind picks up. by the time we're in the east bay and ready to cross on the bay bridge, the sky is very gray and it's a whole other world than the one we left in the sacramento valley. almost looks like rain. we come into "the city" (people around here don't call it "frisco") and head for lis' work. she's an old friend of mine from pedro, her sister nanny draws the designs on my shirts. I just say hi and tell her what the plan is and then we hit the shithard center. jer wants to try and replace the defective drum head he got at the one in seattle. I get a new mic, mine is pretty beat up. I get some knobs for the little bass too - these ones I have on her are pretty stripped. instead of the black like I have, the only ones here are gold. well, it'll match the plate I used to repair the output jack w/in chicago. so it goes. kind of like the little bass is playing dress-up, huh? jer's out of luck, the guy in the drum department is an asshole. we head over to slim's, where we're playing tonight. bosslady dawn left on her vacation today so she's a no-show. her dog buster is here though and he guards me as I check email. the folks here are very nice. I'm playing here cuz dawn wanted me to, I usually play for ramona at the bottom of the hill. I go across the street and get a falafel, pretty good. I go back and we load in. brian, the brides' manager has come to catch these last three cali gigs. good to see him. he's done my phily gigs the last few tours. the cook here, jose, has cooked up some great chow: some stirfried veggies mexican style, enchiladas, rice and salad. all really good. gracias, jose. we do a soundcheck w/duke and sue. good peeps. the manager toni too.

   I then get a cab and head over to lis' pad - she's lives right above where she works on townsend, by the giant's stadium. her bud danielle is here but no kenny - his bro just died and he's back w/his parents in south carolina. very sad. I go back more than twenty years w/lis and it's very easy for her and I to talk, we use a lot of pedro shorthand - pedrospeak. it leaves danielle a little confused, sorry danielle. there's three cats that live here and they're pretty paranoid, always hiding and spying. I get the older one named gizmo to come out and chow some treats from my hand. this is much progress for the years I've known him. sometimes I feel animals are kind of a personality barometer and it can either make me feel good or bad about myself, depending on their reaction. it's like they maybe aren't fooled by the appearances humans can put on and see under through all that and know what's really going on. it probably isn't quite that way but that's what I feel about them or rather, what I want to feel about them: an impartial judge. it's quite a dice roll to ask of something like that. they have histories and personalities themselves and that probably enters the picture somewhat. anyway, gizmo taking the chow from my hands after being so scared most the time is reaffirming on me and I dig it. the other two younger ones, stanley and shelley kept pretty well clear but do watch.

   gig time is coming so we take a cab over to slim's. the brides have just got done. I'm feeling pretty calm for watt before a gig for some reason. old pedro friends go a long way to relax me, I think. thanks, lis. we get up on stage and we're off. third song and I break an 'e' string. damn it. knew I should've changed this set, you can kinda tell when they're gonna go. I rap w/the folks while I'm changing it over - like I said, I'm feeling unusually relaxed and not so self-conscious this gig, that's a trip. what I would give to have more gigs like this! always seems like a roll at craps to see what's gonna happen when I get in front of people. tom and jer are playing great. I can hear a lot coming out of jer's monitor, I can just imagine how much he's getting blasted. sorry, jer. there's these girls up front and they're pretty vocal about what they're feeling. seems like they're together and are encouraging each other. this makes me nervous cuz I want to do good enough to deserve such nice sentiments. same w/the guys - it's not just cuz they're girls - there's many shout-outs for tunes they want to hear. I've done the same thing at gigs, I think it's part of feeling validated, you want the cat you came to see to know you care enough to know the tunes and even more than that, you have favorites. of course, being up on the stage, you appreciate the kindness and are very grateful for it but yet, you don't want end playing the role of johnny jukebox, right? you want to try to blow some minds w/stuff they might not expect. it's crazy though to come on like a cop and shout how you want people to behave at a gig - it's not like there's any violence or something like that. even w/the yammering (though there's not much tonight except for these girls up front w/them saying whatever comes to their mind - almost like they think we're having a conversation over chow or something - funny!), I'm finding I gotta get more confidence to plow through and not let things like that shake me up. what I do tonight is try to remain as calm as I can in a way. I do want to shake my body hard and translate some of that into the little bass but I don't want a freak out to go on inside my head over controlling how everyone should act. the result is me maybe being a little mellower than I usually am. I want some emotionalism in the way I operate the machinery and interpret the material but I don't want to make my mind a police state. it's trippy how unaware you can be of you're being perceived by others. I've come to realize it's better to be a little more humble than sure-shot about it. give it your best throw and see how folks can handle it. letting go of trying to control everything is a hard lesson of life. that doesn't mean you shouldn't try to do you best work and think everythings for nothing but feeling around for the boundaries can help let one find some kind of emotional discipline that doesn't put you down the road to cardboardville. it's kind of a channeled going off which is, believe me - truly an art. I'm still working on it. the same w/your cats on stage - gotta keep connected while you're sort of getting lost in the process, quite a teeter-totter act! especially if you're trying to be the grout setting your guys' tile and at the same time, trying for some transcendental frezy to get caught up in. confidence is part of the formula but again, not too much or the edge will get dulled to a mere walk-though. don't want that - a gig's too vital. when does one know when their last one is? who wants that last one to be a sleepwalk? maybe it's the stage of the tour we're in - the last three gigs - I don't know, things have a little more air up in the brain case and feeling maybe not so tightly packed. I can't say this situation is a result of a conscious decision totally. it's not disappointing to me though, I kind of like the balance we got going regarding all this. trippy.

   we get done and one of those girls jumps up on stage and kisses me then starts telling me everything about her sister knowing my stuff and all. I'm pretty embarrassed but I understand their enthusiasm - it's ok. just like w/guys who shake your hands so intense, they almost pull you off the stage. I do admit I find it strange in my case cuz I couldn't ever see me coming off as someone even remotely near a "rock" archetype. my honest reaction would be to expect all these cats to laugh their asses off. I mean, this is something that goes way back to the minutemen and we were surely not upset if this indeed was the result - in fact, we'd consider that a success. we always wanted to mock the fascist stupid shit that's kind of woven around this hustle. I think people still get it, even if they've got space between the laughs to tell you they can appreciate some of the tunes, the way you played them or stuff like that. aaarrggghhh, it's kind of embarrassing to even go over these things in my head later (worse, on the spot) - I'm truly not that comfortable telling anyone about this. I can imagine people wondering why I do tell about this or other thoughts that seem to just blurt out of me. this might sound crazy but it's trust. this is my tour spiel and I should let the freak flag fly. I mean, what kind of point am I trying to make anyway and if I can't express myself w/shit that's kicking the barn door in the back of my brain wide open for everyone to see? I wonder...

   we pack up and toni settles w/me for the gig. I can tell she's never seen me play before but dawn has given word in advance. it's funny when reputation gets caught up w/reality and the effect it has on folks. I'd rather have them surprised than to be let down though, for sure. however, it's not in your hands to control such actions and thank god it's not. as much as the ego might crave it - it's not a good thing in the long run. the first look on their face always makes me laugh and that's good enough. what can I say? I'm d. boon's bass player and trying to get better at what I do. in some ways, people's opinions might be progress reports or even better - it says actually more about them than you. too much, watt. I'm sure in the analyzing mode - usually, that makes me pretty uncomfortable. toni says some nice things - thank you, toni. we pack up and head for lis' pad but it's only me and tom - jer's gone out to drink w/a friend. byes to all the slim's folks, they've been so very nice and then we're out. a friend of the brides wants us to go where they're staying and join a massive party but me and tom bow out. "a man's gotta know his limitations." so true.

   only about a mile to drive and lis let's us dock the boat inside her work's warehouse so we can konk easy knowing things are safe. we talk and have some mota brownies lis has. knowing tour now is heading towards the final weekend has me kind of calm. I always get to thinking that, damn - if we made it this far, nothing can go wrong now - it's the home stretch. always amazes me how you can get this far on the these hellrides. if I stopped to really think about what can go wrong I'd be paralyzed. there's a lot of faith that goes into one of these. I say my big thank yous - silent ones - to everyone and everything and konk quick.

friday, june 14, 2002 - san luis obispo, ca

from watt:

   I pop and play w/the cats as much as I can, seeing how skittish they are. they do seem quite interested in the strange smells of my shoes and dig that much - they "read the newspaper." lis wakes and we talk while she gets ready for work. guess jer got back late last night and stumbled all over tom, coming in. good going, jer. last time we were here, lis kind of freaked to hear tom talking so much in his sleep. freaked tom a little too and he asked us very adamantly to wake him if we ever heard him doing this cuz he says it means he's kind of in this semi-state of consciousness and is unable to actually pop or konk deeper - a sort of a netherworld and quite hellish. d. boon used to talk in his sleep - hell, sometimes he used to even walk around! it was quite a trip and very strange. I could go turn him about and get him back laying down and he'd continue w/konking w/out ever being aware of what happened when he did wake - so strange. I've often thought about myself talking in my sleep cuz sometimes it seems I can be looking at myself from like ceiling level while I'm konked and seeing my mouth move. a bizarre kind of out-of-body experience to be sure. I can never tell if this too is part of a dream or is it actually going down in reality. the konk world holds many mysteries. I hose off and go to the corner pad that sells cof and get some of that w/a bagel. I get back and jer's slow to get it together cuz of his late night thing last night. no prob - me and tom get in the boat and then rev the motor under the window of lis' pad to "inspire" him to make w/the haste and "get in the van."

   all together now, we jump right on the freeway, us-101. usually we'd stop at brother in-laws #2 on divisidero for some great ribs but it's too early for that and it'd be cutting it close to wait for them to open. oh well. the weather's pretty mild, not as gray as yesterday but not hot and sweaty either. very pleasant. south through the bay area and then into the central coastal valley. around salinas, strange things w/the boat. her motor sputters and the "check engine" light comes on so I head for an off-ramp. damn, what's up? a few restarts fails to get her going. on the side of the road, I shut her down completely and then re-start cuz sometimes that'll re-set the onboard 'puter that runs the fuel injection and smog. either a bad sensor or the 'puter itself could be the problem. she comes back to life and we're back down the road. I start to worry now, not knowing what's up. it is a pretty drive through the farm land here but my mind's distracted. "c'mon boat, let's make this last leg" is what I keep whispering to myself.

   my prayers are answered (or at least not ignored) and we make it to san luis obispo. man, it's been almost ten years maybe since I last played here. this is the home of cal poly and it's graduation time, all kinds of parents are here to see their kids get their paper so the streets are pretty crowded. we luck out and I find parking right in front of the pad we're playing tonight, the slo brewing company, sort of a college bar trip. how many generic pads like this does one see around the country wherever there's students? pretty much rubber stamp, not much distinctive. I hoof around the blocks nearby but w/all these people around, it feels like the insides of a mall put outside. I wonder if I'm getting a little anti-social? just rubs on me lame. I see tom w/the digicamera and he's got some look on his face. he asks me to follow him and he takes me to this alley w/about ten million wads of gum stuck to it. damn. I remember this from years ago but man, has it "flourished." a little bit disgusting, both sides of this narrow alley's brick wall are covered from the deck to all the way up. there's words spelled out even. the creative drive of the human creature. boy, now am I hungry! I go back to the pad and go upstairs to use the phone line for the 'puter. the manager guy says I can have some chow - you can imagine what the menu is so I have what I think is my only burger of the tour. I feel like the boat getting it's oil changed though it feels more like I've been changed by getting oiled! back down to the boat to sleep this off or at least remain still for a while. before I seal myself in, I see sal, a cat who moved here from pedro years ago. he's offered us a place to konk - thank you, sal. I end up chimping diary.

   soundcheck time comes around and we do a check w/soundman kip. what a trip, he did the sound for the last gig I did here w/fIREHOSE at the loco ranchero all those years ago. I think walt mink opened up, they were a hot band. anyway, we get done and I'm back in the boat to konk for sure this time. I have a weird dream. it's a kind of sweaty in hear and this for sure adds to the bizarreness. here's how it goes: it's like I'm at some party and people want me to play this acoustic guitar that's propped against the wall. in the dream, I keep looking over at it - well, one reason is that I'm feeling very uncomfortable w/all these people around that I don't know but they know something about me. the other thing is that I keep getting worry thoughts that this guitar is going to fall over cuz it's not resting against anything except its headstock on the wall. I'm thinking for sure someone's gonna knock it down. finally, I give in and grab it and that's when everyone's telling me to play it. the strings seem so tiny, like the wire on a cheese cutter. I keep thinking I'm gonna slice my fingers if I try playing this thing. "what the fuck," I think and then suddenly I'm like bob dylan in that "don't look back" movie. it's crazy but I see myself acting out what I saw him doing at the end of that movie when he's at that party and sings "it's all over now, baby blue" right into donovan's face only I'm not just doing that tune but I'm doing "it's alright ma, I'm only bleeding" and "visions of johana," "positively fourth street" and "the gates of eden." it's like I'm really belligerent and pronouncing the words really exaggerated right up close, each person one at a time, even spraying them w/spit and chow. it's a very cruel dream. it's as though I had written each line to hurt whoever I was facing down and delivering it to. it was arrogant and very weird. this might seem strange but I felt like I was in the room as another entity too, like a disembodied sort looking down on this whole scene and feeling very embarrassed for this mean/contemptuous folk singer, mike watt. I could tell his words were hurting the people and making them feel small. finally, this one cat is hurt so much he strikes out to punch me but I catch his arm and knock him down w/some hits of my own. I throw the guitar at him and walk out of the place, hearing a girl helping this guy on the deck call me an asshole. the watt looking from above completely agrees and even the watt/dylan clown realizes he's lost much more than he's gained. over and over I hear the words "all your seasick sailors, they are rowing home." this dream puts a bad feeling in me. I feel like a total asshole. those words cut those people so deep, it was so mean - and the sneer I could see on my face, disgusting. it was a scary dream. I did listen to bob dyaln a lot as a teenager in the 70s. why would I twist that up into some fucked-up power trip like that? I don't understand my mind. maybe it was that "don't look back" movie. I remember seeing it in my twenties and it did put some dents in my awe for bob dylan. then again, he's just a man and shouldn't be held up to ridiculous expectations. some of it was funny too, the donovan thread through the whole movie (donovan was the big deal in england w/their folk/pop scene and this movie was a documentary of dylan's first tour there). I don't know why my mind zeroed in on all that. I did talk to someone on this tour about that film a little bit - I can't remember where but maybe it buried something in my head to make itself revealed later down the road. I just wish it could've really been dylan and not me - I felt so ashamed of my behavior, it didn't seem funny or cute or anything like that. I was an asshole and someone should've knocked my shit out, no matter how good I might've thought the words were. weird dream.

   I stumble out of the boat in a big sweat. I missed the brides. there was an opening band too and I met some of them after soundcheck and they seemed like nice cats. I feel like a dick for missing them both. I miss so many opening acts these days cuz of having to konk before I play. this is what the years will do to some of us. back to the gig, it's weird - though it's a pretty full house, it's graduation time and most of these college kids are drunk and oblivious - pretty much completely self-involved. these leaves me and my men to function for them as background ambiance. however, there's lots of cats that are focused on what we're doing and that's most appreciated, thank you. my men play very well despite the pretty terrible sound up here on stage, I commend them much. thank you, tom and jer. kind of a weird scene but we do the best that can be expected by the situation. life deals you a hand and it's up to you to play it w/all you got. anything short of that is either stooping or shirking and life itself is just too short for that kind of shit. I'm so glad I don't have to carry any princesses w/me on these hellrides cuz I don't know if I could really handle that. sure lucky to have who I have. that goes for a lot of listeners at my gigs too. thank you all.

   we finish and hurry to get the fuck out of dodge. it's late. I see sal and he says he'll be back w/his buddy but when we're all loaded, he's nowhere to be found - I wonder what happened? damn. this lady named crystal extends an invite to tom for us to stay at her bud heather's pad and we follow them. it's some miles north of town on the pacific coast highway in a place called cayucos and after a bit, we make it there safe. last konk at someone's pad for the tour cuz tomorrow's gig in goleta leaves home only a hundred miles away so we'll roll after the gig, which should be an early one. there's some folks here from the gig including heather's boyfriend who plays bass so he wants to talk about that and amps. they're all very nice folks. I'm laid out on the couch and try to spiel as much as I can but I'm kind of on fumes so finally my talkbox tanks out. it's konksville for the wattster.

saturday, june 15, 2002 - goleta, ca

from watt:

   last pop of the tour and I do it early. there's this huge and I mean huge cat about - made even huger by some massive fur. very friendly though. hi there, friend. I brew up some tea cuz I find no cof. then it's out to the open air - I smell sea salt. down the road a bit, I can the roar of the sea cuz the beach is right here, just a block away. down the stairs and I'm in the sand, heading towards the water. the waves are really loud w/their shore pounds, damn. morro rock looms huge down the coast to the left - we're just north of morro bay. there's a few rocks out here: black rock, mouse rock and whale rock but none are the size of the morro one. it's also connected to the land, jer's told me there's a trail where you can climb up it - almost six hundred feet - whoa. these other rocks are much smaller and by themselves, surrounded by water here in estero bay. finally, the pacific ocean - after all these miles of hellride, I'm back to the water which also hugs my town - only about two hundred miles away now.

   after getting lost in thoughts by the surf for a while, I go back and wait for my guys to pop and get ready. heather's a psychologist and tells me about the folks she helps, people who've had severe head injuries and had their minds affected. she must be very patient and kind for that work and I can tell by her manner she is. quite pleasant. her pad here is nice, a little tiny but I'm very much tripped out to hear it's costing her half of a million dollars! damn. she says all the property around here is skyhigh like that. holy fucking cow. it is gorgeous here though. right near are the encroaching track homes. I can imagine what the future holds for this area. I hope people fight to preserve some of the wonder here. what a shame to have it all fucked up w/asphalt and cookie-cutter barracks along w/the ever so essential stripmall installations. I've just seen so much of that shit all over this land of ours, every fucking corner of the country almost. an insight that doing a tour in a van can truly bring. I wish more folks could see what's happeing. there must be better ways to use the land and make a fucking life - ideas, anybody? please!

   south on pch, past morro bay and then further on us-101, through slo-town (san luis obispo). the hills that are usually all green are a dried-out yellow, ripe for fire scariness. hope this summer misses that action, there's been so much of that in the west lately - terrible. all the way from colorado to utah, oregon and washington. damn. onward south we go, past pismo beach and then right outside of santa maria, the boat's motor starts choking up again. damn. there's lots of up and down w/the hills and all - the boat catches her breath on one big downhill run. I'm convinced it's an electrical prob - either the 'puter itself or the sensors that feed it info, like the oxygen or the math one. maybe both. hard to isolate these things, especially in hellride mode. well, I have to say the boat's been very good all tour, this is just coming up in the home stretch where she's coughing up. I have had this "check engine" light winking at me from time to time all tour but never really felt a hit in performance. these last two days of driving though show it's not an "idiot light" problem only, feels like we could be out of the race at any time. for that reason, I ask tom to ride w/jer after the gig tonight. jer's wife kel is bringing up their motorhome from pedro to the gig tonight along w/baby rilei. I don't want tom to have to wait it out w/me if the boat konks on the way home, not after he's given me four weeks of hard work - he doesn't deserve that.

   at gaviota, the highway skirts the coast and there's the beautiful pacific ocean for the rest of the ride. makes me homesick to be pedaling on my own town's roads and smelling that sea air, getting splashed w/some surf. can't wait, hopefully tomorrow morning. we make it to goleta w/out further incident. thank god. the last trip for my guys in the boat. you could call goleta a part of santa barbara but technically, it's its own town. it's in between the university town (isla vista) and santa barbara proper. man, we're in early - like two in the afternoon and we find the venue close to airport, near the water. it's in some industrial park area, behind some groups of other units and it's called the living room. it's an all-ages non-profit pad and we find two bands inside recording together cuz it turns out it's wired to be used as a studio also. it's kind of warm out but not oppressive, the sun bright but the air dry. the sea breeze is nice too. we find out one of the bands is from san diego. nice cats. I go hoofing a little into town and find this little mexican chow pad and have a carnitas burrito. really good carnitas (barbecued pork), just the best. haven't had much of this chow that my town is so full of this tour. I can now really taste pedro and am getting quite a hankering to get back! funny how chow can accentuate feelings like that. I go to a 7-11 and have some of that green stuff food drink. what a trip - the brides are here too and dimitri's having the same thing, a funny coincidence. they're going to the beach to get cali sun on their phily-bleached skin. I pass to chimp diary in the boat.

   seems like time is moving slow today but in ways it's so relaxed. nothing elses matters now except to play this gig good and get home safe. you wonder about this last day all tour, it's a trip when it finally comes up on you. those two bands get done recording their song together and we load in. the bass player from one of those bands has me sign his bass, he saw me play as a younger cat. there's gonna be a local opener before the brides and it appears that the cats playing in that band are also running the gig. kel shows up w/baby rilei and jer's very happy - we all are - that's a big ride for kel to handle but she did good even if she's late - there was huge traffic coming out of l.a. kel takes shots of us for the last week of the diary web page. jer's holding baby rilei while me and tom each hold half-gallon jugs of tour piss in front of the boat. it's a disgusting but joyful moment that we've come this far and stayed this safe. we do soundcheck w/john and then I do an interview for these young cats from a cable tv show. a very sincere couple, they ask me some great things that light me up much to spiel, even w/the tiredness kind of setting in on me. of course we do it in the boat, I very much dig that setting. then it's time to chow dinner that's ordered out for us. I talk to this cat named chris who's sent me pictures of the minutemen playing santa barbara w/black flag nineteen years ago. his here to take shots again. thanks, chris. I have a greek salad and then go back out to konk. it's a bit sweaty so I dream kind of weird stuff but luckily, nothing last yesterday's shit. this dream has me pedaling but somehow, my bike is right along the sea on the beach in pedro and I'm able to pedal through the sand. can't understand it but that's how it's working in the dream. all my friends (the crabs, pelicans, seals and wild parrots) are updating me on what's happened while I was gone. strange how they can speak to me, huh? it's so matter of fact that I don't even pause to ponder this but take in all their news. the bike feels like parts of my body I haven't used in ages, like it's an extension of my limbs. me and the bike seem like one, a virtual pedalman. I also seem to never run out of beach - I just pedal and listen, listen and pedal. it's a trippy dream but pleasant. I sort of come out of it, hearing the opening band start up but then konk right back after a bit and rejoin the ride in my mind. I pop when jer comes to get me after the brides finish. it's the last time to take our turn on this tour.

   whoa, a tiny crowd - maybe like chico. looks like this tour is going out w/a whisper. well, that might be attendance-wise but not regarding what's up here on stage. my guys play ferocious and I am happy to join in w/them. even though it's a saturday night, gigs in shool towns when summer comes can be like this. no matter - what can be fucked on the last gig of a tour? nothing! I have my favorite flannel on - I saved it for tonight. I play my heart out too and laugh much between the tunes - even during them. it always amazes me that I come through these tours somehow. even though I'm very careful, there's just so much that can go wrong - so many varibles in the mix. even tonight, when we get done I'll be crossing my fingers much as I creep the sick boat home but for right now, here on stage, I'm just so glad we made it this far. jer's done the whole nine weeks w/me and he did good. thank you, jer. tom came to the rescue when pete had to bail and for the fourth time, was a very key cat to have on tour w/and count on. pete's first tour was great. he did thirtyfive gigs in a row and never bitched once - in fact, he was so much very into it. all three of these cats were very much blessings for watt. next week I have two gigs, one in west hollywood and one in san diego and I'm gonna have all three of them join me on stage, "mike watt + the second jom & terry man show" is what I'll call it. it's to celebrate these cats doing so much for me on this hellride. a four-man watt band is a strange thing and something I'm not really all that used to but it'll be fun to whirl around w/it for a couple of gigs. ok, I'm getting a head of myself here - back to tonight's gig. it's strange on a last gig of a tour, lots of thoughts come while you're playing - moments of gigs you've done these last weeks. embarrassing ones, awkward ones, pant-shitters, clams - all that. at this point though, it all seems hysterical. it makes me laugh for no apparent reason. this must look bizarre from where the audience is concerned but I just can't contain myself. even though my throat is shot, it's still the last gig and we made it. damn. I'm sweating pretty big time and feel very much red in the face, like it's flushed crimson and radiating as much as it can give. blazing red sun face lamp. I can tell steam is coming off of me even. these folks are very nice to play for, really focused and all. thank you. one more time w/dimitri on "the red and the black" - jason joins in on jer's floor tom. these cats have been sure great to tour w/these last two weeks.

   so glad we got to go on at ten cuz that means I can shove off at before midnight and that in fact I do. however, I almost spaced and donated the barbie purse (ibook)! fucking idiot watt! soundman john came to the rescue, thank you boss. I say my byes and do my hugs w/everyone, much respect to all who sailed w/me. safe seas for you guys back - I only have my amp and little bass to carry so it's a quick load for me. I start the motor and am off. now it's just me and the boat, bound for pedro. she's running great and we take the us-101 south easy, even when we leave the coast at ventura and start up the santa monica mountains. no shirt on and sweaty levis from the gig, I keep things calm though my heart is racing, will her motor hold on and let us get back home tonight? my ma's supposed to have chow for me tomorrow morning after I pedal. damn, my own tub - though it'll be a trip coming back to a pad full of boxes that won't really feel like my pad cuz I haven't had much time to live in it - moving in right before bailing on tour like I did. at least it'll be my town. I come down the mountains and into the val, I pass the offramp I take to go to perk's - that means I'm thrityeight miles away. hang on, baby. I'm very gentle w/the gas and use the downhill parts to our advantage. south now on the I-405. first up the mulholland pass and then down it, past the getty museum. one day I gotta go visit that. my buddy richard "fuckin'" bonney helped put the toilets in there when it was being built. it makes me think of richard and it'll be great to see him again. all my pedro peeps. now me and the boat pass the I-10, the same freeway we were on in jacksonville, florida. one big road for one big country. into what's called "the southbay curve" (man, is the a major plug during the daytime) and onto the freeway that ends in pedro, the harbor freeway (I-110). the final go and the boat's still strong w/the chugs. damn, is there some fireballs in the night sky. the union 76 refinery in our town is burning off some crap very intensely into the air, lighting everything up really yellow and red, huge. foul and dirty too, why do you think they're doing it at two in the morning? finally, the freeway winds up and here's the stoplight for gaffey street, one of our two main drags (the other's pacific avenue, which parallels gaffey but is a couple blocks closer to the harbor). they've painted a "welcome to san pedro" message on the pedestrian overpass where you turn south onto gaffey and I take a couple of snaps of that w/the digicamera, my last snaps of the tour. damn - to think about it, we got over six thousands snaps this tour! west on seventh street and I go past the big catholic church, mary star. ora pro nobis. there's a fresco of mary over the door w/her feet on the waves. there's a statue of her too on the bell tower w/her arms spread wide, showing her palms - I think, "welcome back, watt." a few more blocks to my pad. I park the boat and get the 'puter and the little bass. if the boat gets donated (god forbid) at least these two tools won't. I give the boat many, many thanks for seeing us through and getting me back this last hitch. thank you, boat - truly. I pop the hatch and enter my pad - you made it, watt. my town, my pad and now, my deck. I get my blankie and hug the deck close, boxes surrounding the narrow channel I'm nestled in. konk easy, watt - you're home now and another hellride done. grazie dio. I tell the kachina dolls on my shelf that I'm glad to see them again. I'm sure I hear their feet dance softly, some kind of "homecoming dance." thank you. their patter gently eases me into sueno.

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this page created 19 july 02