mike watt + the secondmen
watt - thud staff, spiel
jerry trebotic - drums
pete mazich - organ, singing
(clockwise from the top)
steve kaul - the man outside the van
wednesday, october 8, 2003 - las vegas, nv
my first arena tour.... what a trip. the previous friday had been my last day at work after being w/ the company for nineteen-and-a-half years and I was a little bit saddened by the whole thing but it was definitely not my space anymore and I didn't belong there. I could only describe the feeling as "liberated anxiety" and I'm sure it will pass after a time. It's like being in an apartment that you've outgrown and moving up to a bigger one- only memories left. It was a long time coming tho'.
I woke up feeling not a little bit nervous as I still had a major toothache (like a dumbass I didn't fix my tooth after last tour and it was bugging me again), and I had caught a slight cold from my little man tony (this was not a good way to commence a tour). I showered and gathered my stuff up and woke up lil the kill so she could drive me over to jerry's pad where we would meet w/ the chief as usual. after saying our goodbyes (we would only be out of town for a couple of days as our third show was in LA), we were off once again in the boat. I had been looking forward to this tour for awhile and it was one of the reasons that I had elected to quit my job. mike had originally asked paul to sub for me again as he knew I couldn't get any more vacation from work and I had resigned myself to the fact that I was going to miss out on this one. I had originally planned to quit in March of 2004, but when I sat and really thought it out, the fact was that I really wanted to do this tour. I talked it over w/ lil and she said " well why don't you just quit"? "five months one way or the other is not going to make a big difference". she told me later that when she said that to me my whole face suddenly lit up and my attitude changed instantly. I'm very lucky to have lil the kill in my life; I wouldn't give her up for anything. I relayed the news to watt and wrote an apologetic email to paul (I'm very grateful to paul for helping out when we were in need); he was very cool about it and understood totally (thanks much paul).
the drive to vegas was a short one compared to our usual tour jaunts and me and jer took turns conking on the bench seat. jer had brought his movie camera this time and was intent on documenting the whole experience tho' watt had his doubts on how effective this endeavor was going to be. we pulled into vegas about one o' clock- we were playing a pad called the mandalay bay events center (looked to be about a nine thousand seater) and we unloaded all the gear. there were all kinds of peeps milling about w/ walkie-talkies and the like -the logistics of the thing were mind boggling; four tour buses and eight semi-trailers filled w/ equipment and lights- what a mind blow. we met bill the production manager, a really nice cat that watt knew from the old days and he treated us real nice from the get-go. we moved the gear to the back stage area and sat around and waited as the flaming lips did their sound check (their show looked to be really cool- spinning disco balls, people in bunny suits running around- all to a very symphonic soundtrack- almost shostakovich in its style and magnitude). we met wayne coyne from the lips' and he was a very nice cat to boot. the lips' finished up and we set up our tools for the soundcheck- it was funny to see our little three man outfit amidst all the stacks and racks of equipment, but I had a feeling we would seriously blow some minds. everyone on the crew was super nice to us and the monitor cats- kevin and pete, made sure we were satisfied w/ our mix. we did the "red and the black" as usual and the sound was fucking huge (albiet a little boomy as the pad was still empty). everything seemed to be cool so we went over to catering to grab some chow and munched heartily. I went back to our dressing room to relax, take a shower and mull over the coming show. funny, I didn't feel nervous about it at all; everything felt so totally normal. I laid back and I quietly thanked watt, lil, my mom and pop and my gramps for making this all possible (they always had faith in me), and even tho' my gramps died back in 85', I know he's still watching.
Ikicked it for a bit and then paced around the backstage area in nervous anticipation- I went back to the dressing room and watt and jer were there; arty the stage manager came in and gave us our fifteen minute warning- so we went up to stage side to wait. The house lights went down and you could hear the rumble in the crowd; it was nowhere near capacity at this point but it looked to me like there was at least a couple of thousand people out there. I took my position at the B3, watt said his customary "hi'' and we were off. we played really strong and w/ much intensity (it's a gas to play on a PA that size), as we steam-rolled thru our abbreviated set- the only glitch was that during "bedtime story", I did a large gliss on the keys and inadvertently shut the organ off which turned us into a singing duo for part of the song until I could get the organ back on (it was a real pants-shitter for a few moments there). The crowd was very cool and seemed to dig on it alot; flea came out to do "big-bang theory" and " forever/one reporter's opinion" on the trumpet w/ us but laid out a little as he was trying to feel out the arrangement- all in all it sounded great and I was happy w/ the gig. we quickly broke down the gear, got it off stage and right in to the boat- all within fifteen minutes!. I was drenched in sweat but happy and I went to go check out the Flaming lips set- very fellini-esque; I was way into it and the crowd was too. I milled around the backstage area while the Lips' gear was being hauled off and I went back to go sit by the monitor board to watch the chili peppers' set. It was very intense and the peppers' went off!! after a while I went back to the dressing room as my head felt like it was going to blow off from all the bass in the system. The peppers' finished their set and came offstage; watt had followed flea back to the dressing room and me and jer followed them- some girls had grabbed onto my arm in an attempt to glom themselves into the dressing room area (An act that I did not take kindly to at all-I absolutely hate that kind of shit)- I dumped this girl onto jerry's arm (he didn't dig on it too much either) and kept following watt and flea. me and jer were abruptly stopped by security and the peppers' crew and told that "now is not a good time" repeatedly (this is despite the fact that we had all access laminates). I really needed to take a piss badly so I held up my laminate once again and got thru. Later, the cat that wouldn't let us in, Louie, apologised to us as he didn't know who we were which was cool as he was just doing his job. we rapped w/ flea for awhile then piled into the boat for our trip to jaime's house where we were staying (jaime was the girlfriend of one of jerry's friends, jason who was from pedro). we followed them to the pad, pulled our bags out and settled in. we rapped for awhile then I went to go check my email and chimped a little diary, but the sandman cometh and I laid out in my bag ruminating over the gig. it was tough to go to sleep as my fucked-up molar was throbbing in my head but after awhile exhaustion took me... laku noc sviraci.......
pop early and pedal my bike on my usual route here in pedro, mainly by the sea. another tour coming up, the third one w/the secondmen and that means the boat all bogarted up w/the organ pete plays (a hammond b3) and me and jer's equipment so no room for the fold-up bike so no pedaling for watt this tour. it's ok cuz I love the sound of pete's organ - when we tried to use a synth w/a b3-like module, it was nothing like the real thing so better to be setting out this way. this is a different tour for us, most of the gigs are opening up for the red hot chili peppers w/the flaming lips in the middle slot (except for the last three, when they have to bail for a tour in england). we do have four gigs in clubs on our own - the peps play just two gigs max in a row so in the days off, flea told me I could get secondmen gigs. flea and anthony go way back w/me - it was maybe their second gig ever when they opened for the minutemen at club lingerie in hollywood. as far as the lips go, the first time the minutemen played oklahoma city, we stayed at wayne coyne's pad after our gig at the bowery. as you can see, these are some old pals of mine so it's a neat little tour here. I say "little" cuz it's only three weeks long - it's actually not "little" at all in other ways cuz the venues are either sports halls or "sheds" - big outdoor amphitheaters. we're not going to change much though besides cutting the set down to thirty minutes for the slot allotted to us. I think it's very generous of these cats to have us aboard.
I had oatmeal (the non-instant kind) before I pedaled - thurston got me this book called "the zone diet" by barry sears and I've been following it for the last six weeks. it's not for losing weight cuz I'm ok w/that now but rather for health, keeping hormone and sugar levels in a good place. the crux of it seems to be to limit the intake of "bad carbs" - stuff like grains, rice, potatoes and corn. it's not an anti-carbohydrate diet, just trying to keep them about equal w/proteins. to see how it works, you gotta try it so that's what I'm doing. thurston has taught me much so I always take his suggestions seriously. he wants me to cover roxy music's "in every dream house a heartache" so I gotta try that also. too bad we don't have enough time to get it ready for this tour but next one for sure. I don't have to pack the boat up w/much clothes cuz we're going to be back here on friday. this is the last leg of the chili pepper's seventeen month tour (they do it in three-week stretches) and it's mainly west coast - only going as far east as phoenix. it does go pretty north though, way up to edmonton in canada which is cool cuz I've never played that town. pete's waiting at jer's so I go get both of them at eight. first though, there's a big tangle of plug at the gas station so it's not until 8:30 when we finally get going north up the harbor freeway (I-110).
good to be w/pete and jer again - so great too I get to start and finish the tour w/the same cats. last week pete quit his job at the cat food lab on terminal island so now he's just gonna do music and longshoring, something he's wanted to do for a long time. I wheel the boat east at route 91 and into orange county, then north again on route 57 through the inland empire. at the foothills, it's east on I-210 and then north onto the freeway that'll take us into las vegas, I-15. I had phil at harbor city muffler (a cat who's been to my gigs - he's a huge fan of nels cline) check the boat over and he did the brakes, serviced the tranny and tightened up some looseness in the front end besides checking everything to make sure things were ship-shape for tour. there were four huge cracks in the windshield (funny how they "grow," huh?) - two of them 'pert-near connecting so I got that replaced too. the boat's running great for a thirteen-year old w/over 237,000 miles on her original engine. our weather's calm too, especially for a desert run - no broist at all. the pep's tour manager is bill rahmy, a cat I've known for lots of years and dig very, very much. he asked me to get in at one pm for this first gig and we there right around that - jer having his jones come down crossing the border into nevada and seeing immediately the first casino in this state, "whisky pete's" so as soon as we unload the boat, he heads for the casino they got as part of tonight's venue (called the "mandaly bay events centre") and promptly donates over a hundred and fifty dollars (he's reluctant to give us an exact figure - not that I'm dying to know, it's his bones).
first meeting the cats you're going to tour w/is always a trippy feeling. wayne's been to some of my last ok city gigs but to be on board w/him on a tour really makes me glad to see him again. he's very cool people - not afraid to take chances w/expression, he inspires me much. I remember when us minutemen konked at his pad almost twenty years ago - he had his artwork everywhere and it was quite interesting, very intense and personal - lots of detail. funny, he told us his name was "luigi" and that's what we thought it was for a few years. he gave me a cassette tape of his band then - his bro sang and there was another cat on drums besides cliff, who he's got now but michael was still on bass, though w/as tall of hair as back then. he's a great bass player, he has a righteous touch. there's some crew cats I know too - dave rat owns the p.a. and mixes the chilis and there's a guitar tech named dave who I met from touring w/the porno for pyro cats. a small world. the stage managers artie and peter are great cats and a joy to be along side - I have to say things are much different than in the days of the minutemen's last tour when we opened for r.e.m., who were righteous guys but some of the crew treated us like they wanted us gone, like were lame. we never did understand that but whatever, maybe we scared them - us big, mean minutemen! life is funny. I figure you should always treat somebody like you're going to be working w/them again cuz who knows? you just might. billy's set it up so this cat nick will mix us and kevin will do the monitors. both of these guys are straight up and righteous, a pleasure. much respect to everyone here.
the way I would like us to do things is to make it as easy for the flaming lips to go on right after us. that means them not having to move much of their gear so I find a place stage port, where michael sits to play his bass and keybaord for us to go. we set up tight, like we do at our own gigs and 'pert-near nothing has to get moved from the lips' setup. I can dig that. so what if we're not smack middle stage center and I like being right up on the lip of the stage anyway. we do blue oyster cult's "the red and the black" soundcheck and then we're done. I like them quick and can imagine the crew does too. doesn't make sense to use soundcheck for a session in your practice pad - what a fucking bogart on everyone else. we get done and then it's time for some chow. I shovel some asparagus, fish and salad - good tasting. there's a tv on and baseball world series playoffs are happening - funny the cubs and the red sox are still in it. I think it's a good thing.
wayne comes w/me to the boat so I can show him what it's like. he says it reminds him of their old one - they got over 400,000 miles on it, damn! he does trip on a piss bottle I got between the seats, guess they never used those. later in fact, jer tells me wayne had a big talk w/him about seeing that, wondering how crazy I've gotten over the years. it's ok w/me, we're all different in ways - I give him a john coltrane button I had made at craig ibarra's back in pedro. wayne has great thoughts about the stuff behind music and just expression in general. I love hearing him air his thoughts on the matter. he takes no narrow line and has quite an open mind to us all giving it a go, though he relates lots to cats like me and him who've got some miles under our belts. he says we're lucky men and I very much think he's right. besides his thoughts, I love his outfit too, a white suit w/a stripped shirt. the coltrane button looks good on it.
seven o'clock comes soon and it's time for the first gig for us this tour. this venue is a big inside pad that was used for a boxing match where holyfield lost a couple nights ago. the sound is boomy big time and not really suited for the music I write. easy to understand why acts like bon jovi and bruce springsteen us such simple arrangements w/their stuff - hell, the echoes are longer than most of the interplays and parts in my tunes! whatever, I'm here to both try to blow minds and yet give folks some kind of confidence for them to try their own hand at the arts - be it music, writing, painting, rasing kids, auto body work - whatever. the other weird thing is going on first at these kind of shows means you playing to a lot of empty seats - most folks do not want to see the opening band and are in the parking lot doing whatever. this makes the "reverb" even more intense. only a tiara-wearing princess would complain though - life is many gigs and this is just the kind we're getting dealt here. w/the way were set up, it kind of feels like the practice pad in a way so I'm not feeling too alien. the thing I'm thinking about mostly besides playing good w/pete and jer is making sure we go on when we're expected to and then likewise for getting done and off. I impressed this much on my guys cuz it's important to me for us to show we have respect for the rest of the team of this big tour unit by doing our part and not being a bunch of bogarting, self-centered assholes. we play pretty good, a tiny bit rushed on jer's part but not bad at all. flea comes up and plays trumpet on "the big bang theory" and "forever/one reporter's opinion" - a good job. the audience is a little tripped out by our performance but neither insults or objects are hurled and when we finish, one cat wants to know who I got w/me this time. it's been a while since I've played las vegas and both pete and jer have never been w/me here. I tell this man and then throw out some boat and anchor stickers.
we get the gear off the stage quick and then I get the boat so we can load up. boom-badda-binga, we're up like that - good job, I can dig it. an old friend, rick van santen, comes by to say hi. rick got the minutemen into the roxy and the whisky-a-go-go more than twenty years ago and he relates the story to my guys. rick says d. boon told him, "that was the first gig where I had real monitors" (it was opening for x at the roxy). I remember that well - I had to play sitting down cuz I just had knee surgery. what was even funnier was us rushing back to pedro right after we played cuz it was so hard to do gigs in our town in those days and there was something going on at the croatian hall on ninth street that somehow were allowed to get on. well, it lasted about three songs before the motherfuckers started throwing shit and finally yanking the power on us. just pathetic. you look back now and laugh - I remember just before going these dicks were dancing it up to "turning japanese" - guess we fucked that vibe up. oh well. good to see rick again.
jer's got a friend named jay he plays w/in pedro - they got a group called universal family and jay's girlfriend lives here in las vegas. we're gonna konk there, it's her ma's pad. first we see the flaming lips play and they are beautiful - both w/their tunes and w/the scene on stage - folks in animal suits w/flashlights and wayne w/lots of righteous devices to make things wild for the eyes and mind. he gives a good spiel about the stupid shit regarding war and I can dig it much. his band is great: michael on bass/keyboard, cliff on drums and stevn on guitar/keyboard. they play in animal suits too but wayne has on what I saw him earlier in. he's got a beard like me (I'm not shaving this tour - fuck it). it's got lots of gray in it like mine too!
I go to give john frusciante a john coltrane pin and he's warming up on guitar to the wipers' first album. wow, that's happening. I tell him about lots I know of them, even getting to stay at the pad of the cat who painted the album cover of that record, mike king. john's younger but he's got some intense knowledge of some older stuff, from the earlier punk days. he's good and healthy - all the peppers are and they get a good vibe going for the show amongst themselves. they let me in on their circle where the get the feeling channeled up for gig time. I got to do it at that coachella gig w/the stooges - I was so sick and that got my spirit way up. even though I'm well now, it still a good feeling to have those resonances pump through the hands into me. I spend so much time alone in this age I find myself these days that contact like this fits good w/me.
these guys are quite athletic on stage, like pete townshend!! I wish I had the knees to do it cuz in my mind, I sure would love to be like this. d. boon was always wild on stage and I loved that. anthony flies all about while he sings. man, can flea wail the bass, john cooks on guitar and chad does his drums. I know they're younger than me but they can't be lots younger... they sure are in good shape though! it's hard for me to even stand up and watch so I gotta sit and lean against the wall on the side. the deliver their set good and flea rubs my tummy like a buddha thing when he comes off.
so the cherry gig for this tour is done. a cherry gig too for pete and jer playing a big pad and they did good. we have to wait for jay and jamie to get their vehicle and lead us to the pad and when we get there, I immediately roll out the sleep sack and prepare for konk. I am sore! they give me a little mota first but I can't stay up and talk so I excuse myself and head for sleepytown. shit, I was in my underwear anyway and it was embarrassing a little. they're all very nice (some other folks came by too, sorry for being too tired to remember who). my first konk of the tour comes quicker than it takes to chimp it out here in the barbie purse.
thursday, october 9, 2003 - phoenix, az
the chief roused me out of bed by taking snaps of me laid out in the bag- we had to get going as the trip to phoenix was a hellride, so I rolled up my belongings and piled everything in to the boat. Jaime's two little girls were awake and they asked me if I was a daddy- I said yup and I thought about my girls for a few moments-what a trip, it seems that they were that size only a short time ago..... we piled into the boat and took some snaps w/ the girls and we were off once again. much respect to jaime and jason for putting us up. We followed Jaime thru the tract labyrinth where she lived to the freeway and went full steam ahead towards arizona.
the drive was relatively uneventful- jer was conked in the back and we stopped at a way' along the way. I flipped w/ him for the second part and conked out hard until we pulled in to phoenix. we were playing a pad called the cricket pavilion and we pulled up near the loading docks in the back and unloaded all of our gear. the lips were in the midst of setting up so we went over to catering to grab some chow. The lips' finished their check and we went up to do ours. things sounded much better this time around as this was an open arena and there was none of the bounce rock of an enclosed one. having finished that, me and jer hoofed it around the arena grounds to check things out. It was getting close to our start time and the place began to fill up- it looked like there were going to be more people than the first night. Arty came backstage and gave us a ten-minute warning and we stretched and paced backstage until the house lights went down and then we were ready to go. we came out and somebody yelled out "is this the soundcheck", but we started the set plow. we assaulted that audience and after a few minutes in, there was no question that soundcheck was over. Flea came out to do "big bang" and "one reporter's opinion" again and he wailed this time. The soundman had us cranking in the mains and I could see a few people in front of the stage holding their ears; good, there's a soundcheck for ya.... the crowd was very nice but a little square-john I think; they didn't know what to make of this little three-man band w/ no guitar. I could tell we blew some minds tho' and for that I am grateful. I thought we did a great set and some of the crew guys confirmed this to me. I was happy as a clam. we broke down all the gear and w/ the help of the very nice cats in the crew we had it in the boat within fifteen minutes. I sat backstage and caught the lips' set once again and once again I was impressed. very cool show. Later, me and jer walked to the front of house and listened to the peppers' set but were scurried away by the security cats, so we went backstage and hung out for a little while talking to the cats in the lips'. we were all exhausted, so we piled into the boat and made our way to Donny's house, a friend of jer's that we were crashing at. we found the pad w/ no problems and settled in. I wanted to go take a dip in the pool so I jumped in w/ my skivvies on and did a few laps. the water wasn't heated but it felt great. I toweled off and changed and watched letterman for awhile but I was tired and my tooth ached so I climbed into the bag and drifted away after awhile.. buona notte musicanti.....
I pop to see two little ones tell me there's in a daddy in one of the rooms. they ask if I'm a daddy too. I tell them all I have helped give birth to are crazy notions in my head. they're jamie's little ones and she comes out to help clue them in cuz they probably had no idea where these band men came from.
we roll early cuz it's kind of a hike from las vegas to phoenix - no interstate, just us-93 southeast through kingman is the most direct way. we stop to get gas for the boat and there's a subway chow pad built in to the place - we very much dig these kinds of setups - so I have pete get me one of those chicken breast salads which is basically their sandwich stuffings dumped on top of lettuce inside of a plastic bowl-like container thing. I do that cuz I'm trying to cut out bread - too bad it's iceberg lettuce though cuz that shit is weak, nothing but water, 'pert-near. I have a friend in pedro that has pet lizards and there's no way they can live on it, you need something like the romaine or arugula kind - probably the same goes for us. anyway, I use some of this hot sauce I was given last tour - the cat who gave it to me made a custom label for the bottle that had a picture of my stupid face on it - "watt sauce" and "well aged" printed above and below it. pretty funny. before we get to the arizona border, we pass over boulder dam (or hoover dam, whatever your politics urges you to call it) - I'm talking right across it, the way over the colorado river (or lake mead, the reservoir behind the dam) is not a bridge but right on the top of the dam. first there's an inspection of the boat and the policeman is very nice w/just a quick checkthrough of what we got in the back. he's a young guy so I give him a boat sticker which he is glad to accept. alright. it's been a number of years since I last did this but I dig the view much, so intense what they built here, way back in the 30s! even has dynamos tesla himself designed plus lots of neat art-deco work all about - there's these two giant bronze statues of angles (jer says they're the largest single-cast bronzes in the world) that have the toes all shiny from all the rubbing for good luck. wish we could stop to do that and take in the righteous views but we must roll. pete gets some good shots w/the little digicamera of mine though (a nikon coolpix 775). still trying to get him to use two hands though cuz the one hand shit gets mostly blurry shit. oh well, he's trying. there's lots of those little white crosses along this road, they usually mark where someone's been killed in a wreck. I constantly keep my eyes open for three things on the road to keep me humble while driving: those white crosses, skid marks on the highway at interesting angles (like 'pert-near perpendicular to the direction of travel!) and burnspots the size of vehicles branded into the asphalt. trippy how you see so many right by the call boxes - my advice to anyone w/a car fire is to pull over immediately and get the thing put out. every second of driving only feeds the fire more and more... what are you going to say on the call box phone anyway, "send marshmellows?" for that matter, I think it's smart that everyone carries a fire extinguisher - how my heart goes out every time I see one of those burn scars. rolling on the road is definitely like rolling dice, I believe keep yourself humble about the whole deal keeps you aware and vigilant... I'm always telling myself I got two pops w/me (pete and jer) and I'm getting them back home to their families safe. jer's got a video camera so he's doing tour diary I guess that way. he gets good shots of pete konked in the back - for a prop he places this plastic lobster someone gave me some tour (I keep it on the boat's dash) on pete where he hankers, creating a tour scene to his liking. pete unwittingly obliges the role, konk keeping him to subdued to protest or even be aware. I guess he'll be able to judge his performance when jer premier's his movie at tour's end. maybe this is an easier route for jer cuz he was so bad at keeping up w/the tour spiel when he did try to do it. maybe some aren't born so much to chimp but rather are to point a camera and push a button. I'm just glad jer can play his drums and he's a righteous guy as a person to have on tour. anything else is just an added benefit - I don't really bring cats out to chimp tour diary - that's my gig! pretty cool pete's into it though. paul roessler was pretty good too though he did it by long hand and never did type it up for me - gotta ask him about that cuz his perspective was trippy.
we stop to get gas again - after kingman, there's really only two towns before phoenix and we gas up at the first one we come to, wickieup (the other one's further south, wickenburg). I get this weird pop, some kind of "blueberry" soda - trippy. reminds me of that curacao shit you make blue hawaiis w/if you're into that. tastes ok but I wouldn't make a career out of drinking them. the road turns into a "scenic drive" (that's what the road signs say) and it is really pretty - I thought joshua trees were only in the mojave part of cali but here we are, rolling through the "arizona joshua forest" and they look righteous, almost people like. same goes for the saguaro cactuses we see further down the road. man, it's sure has been a while since I've been on this road cuz I remember it all tore to hell but it's been recently re-done and the ride is smooth and quick - 'pert-near a freeway. I was figuring on almost seven hours of drive-time and we make it easy in five and half. ok.
the gig is at this outdoor amphitheater called the cricket pavilion in the west part of phoenix. not too hot for these parts, pretty ok and our soundcheck goes easy and quick - peter helping us set up w/kevin and nick on the knobs are happening folks to be working alongside, much respect. soundcheck done, I go shovel some chow - lots of asparagus and salad w/roast beef this time (or is it prime rib?) - I pile on the horseradish. a different kind of burn than w/the chilies - more of an aromatic thing but I can still dig it. me and wayne coyne rap - wayne is quite a wise man and I love listening to him. will rogers was from oklahoma too and both these cats had a way of impressing essential truths w/out beating you over the head, quite a talent. wayne tells me he thinks when one is younger, one knows themselves more from how they reflect off of others, hence the more social aspect of folks when they're in their twenties - room mates, parties - that kind of thing. he says when you get - well, let's say "less younger," you define yourself more by reflecting on what's inside you maybe more than the outward ways of the earlier days. this makes good sense to me. he wants to know about the hellride I had w/the illness that almost killed me a few years ago so I tell him. then he wants me to tell him about my days awash w/bourbon and I tell him about that - wayne's not just a good talker but also a good listener... he's righteous people. this is a man I truly dig. good stuff to fuel a good gig and when we go on, I'm ready to go. someone in the crowd says "is this a soundcheck?" as we're about to get started and it makes me laugh. I send out a special birthday greeting to my friend elizabeth and that gets cheers - alright! again, it's maybe ten percent full right now but there's good reaction from most of those folks. pete and jer play great and I do ok. flea's got the arrangement for our tunes way more down and does real good. ok, gig number for this tour done.
the lips put on a real good show and the crowd, which is filling up the place now, enjoy it. much respect to all concerned. their music moves me ways that's different than w/most bands. it's very uplifting in almost a spiritual way, the chords elevate me and wayne's way his words puts sparkle in my eye - it's a neat thing. when they get done, I go to talk w/john frusciante again and tonight he's warming up to t-rex. wow. my first concert was seeing t-rex, I know all about marc bolan's music. he's the first guy I had a poster of and up on the wall of my bedroom in park western. last year, I even met marc's son, roland bolan, who lives in l.a. roland was pretty amazed to hear me talking about seeing his pop, he was only a baby when marc was killed in a car wreck. I met roland after seeing him play at spaceland in silver lake. though he was taller than his pop, he had lots of him running through his ways, it was trippy for me cuz I was only a teenager when I saw t-rex. I'm not saying he was a clone - he had much of his own style but you could see the father-son connect big time, it was quite organic in that way. back to john, it makes sense now when they do a bit of "cosmic dancer" in their set. john was surprised when I told him about folks who actually met marc bolan saying he had this fixation about being better than jimi hendrix and doing these long-ass guitar solos at his gigs. I also told him my friend harvey kubernik met him at a party and when he asked him what his favorite album was, he said the beach boys' "pet sounds." I can tell john likes hearing weird stuff from a weird older guy, music arcana and all... hell, I'm the same way cuz it adds dimension and makes things more personal even if you find out later how much is myth/legend or whatever. john tells anthony about marc bolan doing all those solos live and anthony says to me, "don't give john any ideas" and we all laugh. john does whup it up on the guitar pretty good but I think it's great - same w/flea and his solos, which jam pretty hard. he's amazed at how high the action on my little bass is but then I play like a thug and the shit would just bottom out on the frets and be just a bunch of noise if I had the strings lower. he's got much more finesse going on his touch, I'm much more of a wrestler though I'm not half as physical as him as far as leaping and stuff like that - same w/anthony and john, these guys go off. I would surely have a heart attack trying that and as for my knees, oh dear. it's neat seeing cats who can do that though - I love it. I remember the guy who writes the songs in the english band oasis telling me it's stupid to move around but I just don't agree - I even asked him if he liked pete townshend and he said yes. I mean, everyone's gotta find their own way but playing for people is different than hearing them on a record - you're watching them too. man, look at iggy - he blows my mind. don't want him on a stool like robert fripp though no disrespect to him either. marc bolan on his knees and wailing on lead guitar was a neat thing for me as a boy and I like seeing that still. it's funny and it's trippy.
the pep's have a good set but we bail before it's done cuz we're staying at a friend of jer's we stayed at the last night of our last tour together, this cat named donny who has a house in chandler, just southwest of downtown phoenix. it takes about a halfhour to get there and once we're there, I immediately get in konk mode. I just so happened to donate the konk mask that tasha in minneapolis made me here so jer goes to where donny put it and returns it to me. great. not as good as that righteous one jimbo gave me years ago (I donated that one last tour like a fuckhead) but it's better than those lame airplane ones. donny returns home as I begin my sleepytown journey and I hear jer yammering to him as I drift off. I do awake a little later when you would think everyone would be konked but apparently not - I'm weirded out though and force myself down under the waves of sueno and away from anything (anyone?) maybe upset.
friday, october 10, 2003 - san pedro, ca
I was pleasantly jarred out of sleep by the chief at 6:30 AM; we wanted to get home early and avoid the afternoon rush hour, so I quickly grabbed all my belongings, hopped into the boat and we were off once again (thanks much donny for letting us crash at your pad). a little ways out of phoenix we ran into a downpour and of course the wipers on the boat were halfway inoperable (due no less to the heavy hands of the cats that had changed out the windshield on the boat), and one of them was scratching across the glass. the chief was understandably peeved at this development so we pulled into the nearest truck stop to get some replacements. no sooner had watt come out w/ replacements in hand when the rain of course stopped and we had clear skies ( this is usually how this shit goes down). we got back on the road and watt pointed out to me the approximate area where d. boon had suffered his tragic accident; very heavy vibe for me and I said a silent prayer for him (I really wish I had gotten an opportunity to meet the man- I felt a kinship).
The rest of the trip was uneventful and we were home by around 1:30- I called up tone and rapped w/ him for awhile, then retired to my couch where I conked soundly while watching "the iron chef". I needed some conk as we had a big day tomorrow and I wanted to be in good form. I couldn't wait.
I pop at quarter of six and immediately hit the shower and hose off. nothing but shampoo in here but that'll work for soap - anything to clear away the crud from last night's gig and ready myself for caking on some hellride kind w/this upcoming roll back home to pedro. so trippy in a way - only two gigs into a tour and I'm already coming back home! not like tour's done or anything like that - just this particular routing. I can dig it. I got roust both pete and jer and politely ask them to act like shepherds so we can GET THE FLOCK OUT OF HERE! I write a thank you note to donny for being so kind to let us konk here, he's really a nice cat - I'm sorry I couldn't stay up and spiel w/him but I was well-worn and all the way tired... seems like gigs do that to me more and more as time moves me down the track... like a fucking freight train!
we're early out early enough to beat any major rush-hour plug, very happening. a little rain starts coming up as we get onto I-10 west and start heading out of phoenix - what's not so happening is that I discover that maybe when the windshield was replaced, some retainer clips for the wiper blades got the donate and now the port side one (mine, the driver's side) is sliding off it's runner. fuck! the drops get bigger and the vision gets blurrier - I have to pull over a couple of times and fix things up but it won't permanently stay cuz the wiper motion causes the blade to travel. holy mother of... luckily, we finally hit a gas station in tonopah where I can get a replacemnet. sure, we weren't too far past "411th avenue" (man, do they have expansion plans for these parts or what?) but the track housing and strip malls haven't made it out this far yet - it's miles and miles of minus that still. I will say though that the worrying over this windshield wiper business did take my mind off of the fact we were travelling on the same road d. boon was killed on almost eighteen years ago though we're going the opposite direction. I thought about it a bunch last night at the gig and it weirded me out. I told the pepper cats about the night it happened: I was driving in hollywood after a radwaste show at the roxy (a band w/urinals members john and kevin), giving a ride home to a friend of paul roesller's when I passed this street called willoughby. I got the weirdest chill and thought about that old 50s show, "twilight zone" and this one episode where this guy who's getting hell at his job and at home w/his wife and he discovers this stop on the train he commutes from connecticut to new york city every morning. he starts digging this town, "willoughby" - some version of "the good ol' days" where time stays still, like around the 1890s and everything is just righteous (in his mind). finally, he decides to ditch the world he's been living in and wants to stay in willoughby. the scene switches to police and accident people trying to make sense of why some guy just walked off the train why it was running - on the hearse it says, "willoughby funeral home" or something like that. hearing that train conductor saying "willoughby - next stop, willoughby" kept going through my head and when I got back to pedro, I must've only been konked for an hour or two when I got the call from d. boon's pop that d. boon had been killed in a van wreck a couple of hours ago. it's probably a making of my own head but I still get the willies when I cross that street up in hollywood. weird. anyway, I think of d. boon every day but it's always harder when I'm on this road here, either coming or going. I sure do miss him. anthony said something very nice about him last night when we're talking before they went on, he said, "he burned bright when he was here" and then told me his recollections of d. boon when we played w/them - how he danced and played w/such intensity and full of life. john said in the last couple days he'd been plaing to "double nickels on the dime," a side at a time. wayne was talking to me about d. boon earlier in the day too. sure nice of those guys - I really start to appreciate here on the next day w/the boat's steering wheel in my hand, w/lots of time to think. I sure miss that beautiful man.
cuz of the wiper stuff, I have enough gas to get us across the border and into cali and don't have to stop 'till we're in the coachella valley, which is where the first stooges reunion was last april. man, was I sick at that gig but boy, what a mindblow still! loved it. we're low on gas - both me and the boat so in rancho mirage, I do what I did at the end of last tour (the final gig was mesa, az) - drop jer off at the agua caliente casino while me and pete fuel up the boat. we give him enough time to donate another fifty dollars (usually he does ok but not this tour so far) and then I let him take over the helm, the frist time I let go of the wheel this tour. I have to say, for a desert run this was pretty calm - not much sweatiness at all and wouldn't you know it, the rain stopped 'pert-near the minute I put on the new wiper (no prob though, at least we're ready for the next wetness)! I go into a semi-konked state as jer rolls through the inland empire on route 91 and then down the harbor freeway to pedro. we get in about two in the afternoon, dodging most the plug except for that clusterfuck shit they always got for a bit (if you're lucky) in riverside. good driving, jer.
I got stuff to catch up on big time so I get to it right away and do as much as I can before konk takes me out like just after nine. I don't stay up much at all when I'm in my parts - really, I only stay up for gigs I play or when I go out to see something w/raymond - I usually get up around 4:30 or five. tour is a much different life for me that way it's a big reason I have so much have to konk before I play, after soundcheck and then popping right before I play. well, I can't wait for tomorrow and be able to pedal my bike again - even though it's been just two days! weird how that is. I think there's parts of me that are definitely going back to little boy world cuz I seem to find joy these days in things I did as a little one! is that senile? seems to be healthy for me body-wise and believe it or not, in my head too. I'm not trying to pretend I'm less older than I am but I do have these hankerings to get at simple things that like an asshole, I thought I was supposed to grow out of. fuck that, what's wrong w/pedaling, paddling and plucking? I'm not asking anyone else that except the fucked-up part of myself I so much want to get over. noches.
saturday, october 11, 2003 - inglewood, ca
I was much anticipating the LA show as my whole family was going to be there and my youngest girl cindy as well as my best bro Tone were going to be hanging backstage w/ us and I wanted to play good for them. Lil the kill was also going to wail backups for us on "bedtime story", and I was really glad she was going to be there too; . I showered up quick and just like clockwork cindy shows up and we were off to p/u Tone and Lil (who was still at work). We got backstage at the forum quick enough as the traffic was still light and we walked in and scoped out the pad; the lips' were still in the midst of their check' so me and tone and cindy walked around the arena floor checking things out. I had last been to the forum back in 91' to see guns and roses and now I was doing a gig here- what a trip how things come full circle.
the lips' finished their check' so we moved all of our gear into place and wailed thru "the red and the black" , and Lil did a short mic check; she sang "ribar plete mrizu svoju", an old dalmatian folk song and the sound guys were tripping on it...a little bit of croatia descending over the forum...... the doors opened shortly and we tried to scope out where my family would be sitting but they were way up in the colonnade section and it was impossible to see up there. we went back into our dressing room and rapped a little while- lil had conked out full on as she had been up since four am and was understandably bushed - I would rouse her before we went on. I peeked out of the dressing room and I could see the crowd of beautiful people getting thicker; an indication that showtime was nigh. As if on cue, arty came in and gave us our fifteen minutes and I started w/ my stretching exercises and pacing around the room. watt was deep in conversation w/ his columbia a&r guy and I listened intently; I love to listen to the chief's stories. time was up soon and we all made our way towards the stage- the house lights went down and the crowd roared; tone wished me luck and I could see he was beaming- it's a very powerful sight to see the forum filled w/ a lot of people. watt gave his customary "hi" and we launched into "boiling blazes". some of the crowd looked a little blank but they seemed to be digging on it - watt munched the intro to "bedtime story" but jer started the groove going and we slid into it w/o much fuss but I lost my nerve and my damn right foot started to quake (the one on my volume pedal of course), so I had to floor it, take my foot off the gas and control the volume w/ my left hand. I got my nerve back after we finished the tune but my fucking leg wouldn't stop shaking so I just left it planted on the deck- the PA was wailing and I could finally hear lil do the backups on the song- I was really proud of her. the rest of the set went very well and flea really wailed on "big bang" and "one reporter's opinion". the crowd dug on it and showed us much love. we finished the set and quickly dragged our gear off; I was a sweaty mess but I was happy- I had finally gotten to play the forum.
I went to go bring the boat around and we quickly loaded in all the gear but by the time I had gotten back somebody had snagged our spot and I had to cruise around looking for another. I finally gave up and docked the boat next to one of the tour buses. The lips' were just starting their set so we all kicked back and watched them from the sidelines; they sounded very cool but in the middle of their set wayne made some comments about gov. ahhnold ( nothing bad-just an opinion), so the backward baseball cap-wearing contingent responded w/ resounding boos throughout the rest of their set. This shit really pissed me off and disappointed me much- somebody getting pounded for expressing their thoughts (and mild ones at that). very fucking sad.
we caught most of the chili peppers set and once again they wailed- but we decided to get the hell out of dodge before the mass of humanity descended upon the parking lot. we made it just in time and were home and in bed by midnight. I was very happy and I was out quick. laku noc sviraci........
pop at the crack of dawn and do my usual pedro thing - immediately start boiling my water for the oatmeal and get the coff on. when that stuff gets fixed up and down the gullet, I don my bright orange helmet, padded shorts, yellow jacket and hop on my bike to start pedaling my route. now most saturdays I paddle my kayak either in the harbor or the open sea (usually, a little of both) but since the boat's full of our gear for tour, I got the kayak in the practice pad cuz I got no garage for stowage (her name "zaby" is painted on her stern). therefore, I got no way to get her down to the water so I'll have to wait to paddle when tour's done. that's ok though I miss it much - love it as much as pedaling. there's a real heavy fog this early in the morning but I dig it when it's like that cuz it's like cool, whispy fingers all along my face as I'm riding. we got a part in pedro called royal palms that's right on the shore, down from the cliffs. I love to sit on the rocks, 'pert-near close enough to the ocean to get full of mist from the waves breaking right in front of me - the ocean's roar soothes me like nothing else. it's here that I have some real good thinks. I love getting the heart going too when it's time to pedal up the cardiac hill that takes me down there - my whole ride in fact is full of eye and ear gifts galore, I dearly dig it much. I get back and do wash and other shit 'till it's time to get up to the forum in inglewood (just south of the lax airport), where we're playing tonight.
I haven't seen music since a kiss gig in 1976, my last year of high school. I remember it being so boomy. it's kind of a scary gig for me tonight but not just cuz of that - both pete and jer's pops are coming to see their boys play w/the weird older-punk bass guy (me). this kind of thing always makes me nervous, I don't know why - it was that way w/george's ma and the same w/ed fROMOHIO's parents too. hope I don't choke. of course this place is weird for sound - it was built for the lakers and kings to play in, basketball and hockey - not bass, organ and drums but we're going to give it our best. I hope it's coherent enough for them to get a some kind of idea what their sons are trying to do w/this nut and his tunes. when the lips get done w/their check, it's our turn and wayne volunteers his camera which is mounted on his mic stand to have pointed at me so huge screen behind us will be full of watt face. oh boy - at least it should get some laughs. that's very nice of wayne. I chow some salmon, asparagus and salad when we're done, it's good. pete's wife and daughter cindy came up w/him as well as his best friend tony. jer's all nervous cuz his wife kel is still due - he's on his walkie-talkie leash every five minutes. I sure hope she comes soon to relieve his nerves. jon, my latest a and r man at columbia, comes by to say hi and talk about things. we talk about me getting ready to record the album in december. kel shows up and joins jer so that's a relief, whew. we're on a little later tonight, - eight instead of the usual seven but the place is still far from full. it's the nature of these kind of things - most people are doing whatever out in the parking lot. no matter - "that's showbiz!" (sometimes you're on frist, sometimes you're on last) and we start our set. man, am I shook up though - some little clams but when we get to "bedtime story" (a madonna song), I really stink it up... I just can't get the syncopation to the opening lick - what a nightmare! this has never happened to me in this song and I can't understand it. luckily, pete and jer are playing great and carry me through. we also have ljil on board to sing back-ups w/pete on this one - she's using the mic flea uses for his trumpet. she does good, she used to be a big pop singer in the former yugoslavia w/this band called magazine (not the english one though that had the first singer of the buzzcocks but a slav one). after a few tunes, I calm down some and play much better - thank god. fuck, I don't what gets into me sometimes. flea does really good and we finish are set pretty strong, considering the bozo on bass. whew, glad that that's over. I pack up my stuff quick and we load up the boat like that. I go to see the bossman concerning the bobby deniro (dig that euphemism for money?) and in the meantime, pete parked the boat in a different place where I had put cuz some prick bumrushed that spot. I almost have a heart attack, roaming the forum parking lot, thinking we just had a major donate when pete spots me and hips me to the boat's new locale. whew for the third time!
I get back and the flaming lips are already on. wayne gives a spiel about war being lame and there's assholes booing him. what's that about? I don't dig it but that's what's on their minds so let them let everyone else know. it doesn't phase wayne cuz he's not the kind to demand you think like him anyway, he's just relating what's on his mind. he's an artist, not an enforcer. his band's music is beautiful and trippy - the images too on the screen and the props he works - all good stuff woven nice around each other. the are quite a band and make a wonderful show. before the gig, the guitar/keyboard guy steve gave me a cd he made of songs, like a mix tape - tunes from different folks he think I'd dig. many thanks to him. he's got the john coltrane button on I gave wayne so I give wayne another one. I ask both steven and the drummer cliff if they would play "the read and the black" w/us, that would be great. wayne sees himself as more of an idea man or a director and is reluctant to play his guitar w/us - sure wish he would though cuz he's righteous. maybe we'll get something out of him before they have to leave england, that's what I'm hoping.
I go see flea and john in their room as they ready for their gig. the forum is packed w/people now. both john and flea warm up on their instruments and seem really relaxed. me and john talk more about t-rex and he plays some of "the slider" cuz I'm trying to remember the song on that record that had no drums. damn my memory! I must've heard this record like two million times too. turns out it was "spaceball ricochet" and not "main man" like I had thought. why do all the thoughts inside me tangle like they do?!? I tell him that d. boon's brother joe boon (he was three years younger than us) wants to come to tomorrow's gig in irvine and he's got some live t-rex for us. that'll be a trip! they all want to meet joe boon, seeing how much they loved his brother. me too cuz it's been a while - a really long while as far as me playing in front of joe. I like this cirlce thing these chilies do before they play, it puts a good feel inside me. they're very generous to have me aboard. they go out on the stage and the sound is great - nothing like I remember seeing rock in here as a teenager. they do a great set but the security is heavy on me, I've had enough of getting man-handled so it's time to get back to pedro. kristin came to the show but I haven't seen her much except in our room where all our people gave us a rundown of what they saw when we got done. jer's sister teresa liked it and I find out both pete and jer's pop did too. just before we went on, ljil told me, "pete's dad likes polka" so I was surprised when I heard the only thing tough for him was "drums too loud." usually, I don't ask people what they think, I don't have the nerve really to ask. I just try to do my best and what they think is what they think. shit, that's the way it is w/me, no matter what other people are telling me and I'm up there doing the playing!
only about a half hour ride to pedro and it's home - ready to konk like that. and I do.
sunday, october 12, 2003 - irvine, ca
woke up a little groggy w/ the ache from my thrashed wisdom tooth pounding in my skull; I had to get this thing fixed (and quick) before we resumed the out-of-town part of the tour or I would be in a bad way. The pain is very intense and relentless and quickly becomes the focus of your whole being- I tried the old navy seal trick of pinching your thigh to refocus the pain and it helped somewhat but I promised myself that on monday I would pay a visit to the dentist.
I took a quick shower and waited for my older girl nicole to show up w/ her friend so we could go p/u lil at work and meet at jer's house by 12:30; we were all going to caravan down together. we showed up at jer's and waited for the chief's arrival- lil sat in jer's yard smoking while his puppy rex gave her a little face wash. The chief showed and we took off towards long beach as we had to p/u richard pettibon; we waited in front of his pad and the cars were starting to pile up behind me so I zipped ahead in front of the boat to do a flip around the block and when I came back the boat was gone...fuck!. I went up a few blocks but to no avail- I figured they were already on their way down so I zipped down cherry avenue to the 405 south and we made our way towards irvine solo.
the drive was pretty quick as the traffic was relatively light and we were at the venue in just under an hour- we got to the backstage area and the boat was already there w/ the gear unloaded so we went over to the production office and got the passes for lil and the girls. The lips' were doing their check so we had some time to kill- we walked around and checked out the grounds, lots of people milling about doing the walkie-talkie rock. The lips finished their check' so we moved our gear in place on the stage- Kev and Pete miked us up real quick and we were ready to go. The lips' drummer cliff and guitarist/keyboardist steve were going to do "the red and the black" w/ us up on stage tonite so they checked along w/ us; it sounded really cool and it looked like we were going to have a blast tonite. we headed on over to catering for some much welcome chow and I loaded up on fish and veggies (I was determined to stay healthy on this tour- no saucing either). we headed back towards the dressing room and lil and mike had a somewhat heated discussion about our new governor and the booing that the lips' had been subjected to the night before; Lil felt that the stage was not a forum for political comment and mike took her to the floor on it- she came from a little bit different music scene than mike and wayne but some of her comments were valid nonetheless. I didn't feel that wayne said anything controversial or politically motivated at all, just a commentary on our times- to be booed for that was ridiculous, but better a reaction than not.
I looked around for the girls and I saw they were shmoozing w/some of the venue merch guys- trippy to see one of your daughters working it, but she's a smart girl and I told her about how guys work a long time ago and she can very much hold her own. both of my girls are growing into cool people- I'm very proud of them (I hope they feel the same about dad). me and the kill walked around the backstage area for a little while checking out the crowd- it looked like it was going to be a little barren for us but as always we would come out swingin'. Arty gave us our ten-minute warning and I started my hand stretches and floor pacing. The house lights went down and the three men stepped out of the cake- we plowed thru boiling blazes fine but mike had a reprise of his brain fart on "bedtime story"; almost dropped our tranny but we prevailed in the end and made it thru w/o a scratch. lil as always, did a bang up job on the back vocs-I was beaming w/ pride ( I did however have to stiffen my leg on the volume pedal as I could feel the shakes coming on). The rest of the set went well and the kids seemed to dig on it- the lips' cats came out and did "the red and the black" w/ us and a good time was had by all. we finished up and quickly broke the gear down and stowed it in the boat. I was once again happy as a clam.
we stayed around for the lips' set; they were totally on tonite and we sang along w/ "yoshimi". the peppers' set was great too and they switched around their set list a little- they went off and the crowd responded in kind. I rounded up lil and the girls and we got out of dodge just as the peppers' were starting their encore; we made it home and were in bed by 12:30. I conked straight out...
I ate breakfast w/my ma near the end of my pedal. it's columbus day coming up and her people were from italy so we talk about that some. so funny maybe to fit in that you would hide some ugliness, we all seemed to have done, I mean as peoples - I couldn't honestly say how as individuals cuz I guess that's in the behaviors they choose to have in the moment. I found stuff from ellisisland.org on my nono and nona and have passed it on to my ma, my sister too. funny.
I get back and do as much as I can do before I have to get jer. pete's gonna ride behind us w/ljil and his other daughter, nicole, who's got her buddy niko. nciole's going today cuz her sister cindy went last night and they don't like being around each other, a sibling thing. we stop in long beach to get my best friend raymond pettibon at where he does his art, this apartment near cherry park. good to see raymond again, he was in frankfurt last week to play w/these german guys who have a band called blank. these are the cats who played w/him when he received the hahn prize in cologne a couple of years ago. raymond likes being involved w/music, he's not just interested in his own painting and drawing. right before he left for germany, he gave me a cd he recorded w/the blues guys from around l.a. and the project was called "twinkle-twang" - I dug it and played a tune on my radio show (the watt from pedro show, http://twfps.com) last week. I guess someone behind pete was making him nervous so he roars around us and down seventh street. oh well, I wanted us to both caravan cuz it makes it easier at these big gigs. raymond gets in and we roll south on the I-405 for irvine, down in orange coutny. besides us three, there's a friend of jer's named tim who I forgot to say got in the boat when I got jer (what's really funny is that he's dressed almost like jer and w/their match "hairless" haircuts, you could almost call them twins! I rib them a little for this, just kidding around). tim's a middle school teacher and soon him and raymond start having a spiel about education (raymond taught for a time in the 80s). raymond is a brilliant man and I always try to absorb every word he utters cuz even if they don't impact me immediately (which most times they do), they stay w/me and sit on my mind, ripening as they do 'till I get bursts of revelation from them. there's only one other person I can think of that inspires me as much. it's not like he comes like some pontificator or know-it-all, he just says his piece and usually that's pretty understated. I could never ever get bored listening to raymond, maybe one other has had such an effect on me - not to say most people bore me (maybe it's more the other way around!) but the spell I fall under is quite singular in my life's experience. I should say my pop was like this to me too, especially when he'd come back from being a sea a long time but that was my pop... and I was his boy. raymond just came into my life, at a punk show a long time ago in the late 70s. he turned me on to john coltrane - I never grew up w/jazz and when I first heard him, I kind of thought he was playing punk too, him just being a little older. I didn't know he had died in 1967. raymond also taught me more about politics than anyone else in my life, including d. boon. everything, from hoop to art to ponies to wrastlin' - raymond's mind is the kind that just wraps around and embraces a subject, absorbing beaucoup about it. again though, since he understates these understandings w/a heartfelt humility, you never feel you're being talked down to, it's more like doors are somehow opening as your mind does, following his spiel. he's really funny too, you can't ever forget that. raymond has taught me to laugh (and that means at myself too) harder and deeper - and trippier than anyone ever in my world. that's the way he gets you to think about things from a perspective you might not be used to, I love it. I love him.
we get to where we're playing tonight, the verizon wireless amphitheater - it used to be called irvine meadows and lion country safari used to be right next door. now it's track homes and strip malls. we unload the gear and wayne comes to greet us - I told him raymond was coming yesterday and he really wanted to meet him, he's a huge fan of his work. it's neat to see them shake hands, two cats I find very inspiring. I go to see tour boss billy and introduce him to raymond. billy's amazed how thorough raymond's knowledge of wrastlin' is - it's a dream of billy's to one day start his own wrastlin' league or federation. tonight we're gonna have steven and cliff from the lips play "the red and the black" w/us so we all do it together during soundcheck. I hit it off good w/steven when I gave him a cd of a 1958 interview john coltrane did (I gave them to the pepper cats too who also dug it much). they both do good w/us so I think we're ready to give it a try at tonight's show. we chow and I have tons of asparagus along w/salad and a little roast beef. me and raymond chow at a table w/pete and ljil. raymond's ma is from estonia so I ask ljil if she ever played there cuz she played a lot of pads in the east parts of europe. her band did but not her. later, we're in the dressing room and ljil asked why wayne had to say that stuff about war like he did cuz it bothered her, bringing something "political" to music or whatever. I said I liked what he said and it wasn't too over the top anyway, just something on his mind he wanted to get out. she obviously never saw the minutemen to ask me something like that! it's ok, though - I like ljil.
it's a little bit before we have to play and look who's here - joe boon! it's been a few years and I'm glad to see him again. he's got his wife cathy and his stepdaughter rachel. everyone's glad to meet joe, they've only heard about him through me and he's the brother of the man that got me into music. joe actually was our drummer when we first started, playing in him and d. boon's bedroom to creendence records. when we became punk rockers, he went into the airforce and we never really played that much together again. it's good joe's here too cuz he hasn't seen my play in more than ten years. I have to say, I always get nervous playing in front of raymond and now I think it's gonna be a double-whammy doing it for joe too. oh boy, this is what life brings you. it's ok though cuz I want joe to see where I am now w/the music - I'm really glad he's here.
show time and we go on. as I'm plugging in, some cat hollers "fuck you, bring on the chili peppers" and I say, "what was that?" and laugh a little bit. I see the security start to hassle him and want to tell them to leave him alone but we've already started the first tune. even though he said something kind of negative (!), I still think he shouldn't get shit or threatened w/getting kicked out. my mind is really more freaked out about raymond and joe watching me and fucking once again, I bungle the fuck out of the madonna song - I can't believe it! jer gets confused by my stumblebum shit and comes in on the wrong side of the beat but pete is perceptive and compensates. I finally get it together, to mine and probably everyone else's releif. oh man. I get playing much better by the time flea joins us except for getting out of tune a little but still, it's an ok gig. flea missed the first tune he does w/us and I thought he was going to pass on all of it cuz he said he had a sore on his lip. he did great though, much respect. steven and cliff do real good when the play w/us for the last tune. I spaced and forgot to bring up stickers to throw at the end but still have enough focus to say "fuck war!" (I guess ljil inspired me) when we're done and to tell everyone "start your own band," "paint your own picture" and "write your own story."
wayne had asked me and joe boon to wear the sun suits (inflatable suits that make you look like a sun!) but the peppers guitar tech guy dave had already been promised them for him and his stepson yesterday - wayne had space when he asked us. no problem though cuz joe chickened out anyway! I do want to wear one of those things one of these shows if I can get a chance, it'd be a trip. the lips do a great show and there's cheers instead of boos when wayne says his piece. orange county too - just shows to go you! you gotta say what you feel in your heart and not pander, that's what I think. I respect wayne much and know he thinks it's very fortunate for any of us to be making music period. he told me it's weird how it seems it's much the other way, even like that's what people want - like the people on stage should feel the gig-goer folks are the lucky ones. I agree.
the chilies come out for their gig. flea's got on this righteous skeleton suit, like the one john entwistle wore at the isle of wright gig. they do really good, john is quite on fire and blazing all about the place. actually all three of them who aren't on a drum throne (that's chad) are quite active, amazing how they still play great too. on the encore, flea's daughter clare joins him on drums and they do a duet. though she's still new to drums, she does good! then gets back on for some more songs. after their done, I bring raymond along w/joe boon and his family to come see them. all the peppers are very glad to meet them. flea talks w/me and raymond about books we've read while john talks to joe about t-rex. we then all get into talking about philosophy (!) - joe's been going to college for a degree and obviously has a class right now in the subject. after a bit though we're all feeling our tiredness and have to say adios.
inspired by the philosophy talk, me and raymond talk about on the way home in the boat. it's just us cuz jer went home w/his wife kel and tim is w/them. I'm so glad raymond dug the show, he liked all the bands. god, has he turned me onto such righteous music in my life... about ideas - I could talk w/raymond for time and eternity, about anything really - he always makes me feel comfortable when I'm in spiel mode which usually (believe it or not) is not the case. he very much makes me enjoy listening mode too, I hang on his every word. his generosity in letting me explore the art of inquiry w/him has always been so special for me. I am such a more full person to have raymond in my life, I can't hardly imagine things w/out him. he is truly my virgil. we get to long beach and I drop him off at his studio, then take the gerald desmond bridge over to terminal island and then the vincent thomas one into my pedro town, all the harbor lights matching all the lit up ones inside me. inside my pad, a tired konk but a happy one.
monday, october 13, 2003 - san pedro, ca
woke up in my own bed on monday and I still had the nagging ache in my head. I had vowed to go to the dentist today, so after some coffee I made an appointment and cruised on over. I was informed that the tooth was definitely going to have to come out(along w/ my other wisdom teeth), but I had no intention of spending two weeks on tour w/ my head the size of a basketball, so the doc popped in a temporary filling, wrote me out a scrip' for some antibiotics and painkillers and I was good to go (the fun of oral surgery would have to wait until I got back). well, at least I didn't have that shit to worry about anymore......
I pop and pedal right quick. it's not as foggy as yesterday but still pretty gray. the most righteous of sights comes to me as I approach royal palms when first three pelicans rise from below the cliffs, like they took some invisible elevator up cuz there's hardly a flap in their wings. then, as I'm coming back up the cardiac hill that brings you down to the water, I see three dolphins way in close and going sideways along the waves, up and down like they were somehow part of a loch ness monster kind of creature making it's way parallel to the shore. whoa. in between these two sightings of three, I parked my bike near the remains of some old dance club - the tide is in close and way up high, not allowing me to sit on the rocks like I usually do so instead I stand behind this wall (it comes up to my chest) and holler my brains out - the sound being drown out by ocean roar and the pounding she's doing w/her waves. I holler thrice to me three things squared. down by cabrillo beach, the dredging gear is still going to town on the harbor - these big can boats need some draft for their big heavy hulls. stirs up the silt though, kind of messy when I'm paddling my kayak but man, I still miss getting to do that. at least I can pedal and I give thanks for that, like I do every morning when I'm out here doing what I love.
so - I do my pedaling, get back but am out of oatmeal so I cook up trout. in olive oil. good. there's so much to do here and I'm at it. mundane shit, unworthy of having it chimped into these diaries! I should admit I'm being a little inconsiste nt. there's hardly any romance in this day except for that pedaling kind I got right at first. maybe some in some chimped-in words, some in flow even. when my day has me tuckered and is about to quit for night, I get further w/the jonathan lethem "motherless brooklyn" and I really like that, I get some of that feel of this morning back for a bit. as the sun's comes done, I soon have the earliest konk yet this tour, like seven maybe. I have this weird dream about being in some great hall commemorating people as statues and I find it frustrating they're only in effigy and I can't interact w/them... in a way I'm in awe but in another I'm somehow wary of such weirdness, like I can see through the dream and find it brittle and flimsy. kind of sick, there was smells of burps (belching) all through it. made me think of hollow though, or hollowness - surface things, like plating but more organic like a stomach (an empty stomach) or a stomach being pulled, being ripped out - this w/the grabbing around what's empty, sort of a "handful of empty," a trippy sensation I couldn't let go of. it was a disturbing dream! it caused two pops, this one coming before the actual "waking" one so that's why I'm writing about it now.
tuesday, october 14, 2003 - chula vista, california
woke up around ten and hosed off in the shower, had my coffee and a smoke and perused my email- my pops came over and we rapped for awhile about the forum show; I told him it was a milestone of sorts- his first rock concert and first taste of mota (by way of secondhand smoke), all at the twilight age of seventy-five! he digested this for a moment, then grinned.
I left for jer's pad around 12:15 and the chief showed up around 12:30 and we took off. we had been scheduled to play for a tv thing on the local fox affiliate in san diego but the gig had been postponed to a later date. we got to chula vista around 3:00; we were playing a pad called the coors amphitheaterand we pulled backstage and de-loaded the tools. we waited for the lips' to finish their check' and then we moved the gear in place and rolled thru "the red and the black" w/ the lips' cats once again joining us ( I love playing w/ those guys, they're a barrel of monkies).
having completed our run thru we jammed over to catering and munched down on some very kind mahi-mahi and veggies. I ate and chimped diary while jer went to go get a rubdown from the in-house chiro' as he was having some back muscle issues. I spent the next few hours on the floor in our dressing room chimping diary, sucking down perrier and smoking cigarettes- jer came in later w/ tom watson and his brother- they were to take snaps and video of us while we did our set. I hadn't seen tom in a while and was truly glad to see him-he looked good and was in good spirits.
watt had been doing a radio spiel w/ the local rock station and came in after he was done- we all rapped for awhile until arty came in and gave us the ten-minute warning. It was decided that along w/ the lips', tom would play guitar on "the red and the black" and john frusciante had also expressed a desire to jam w/ us on that tune also. It looked like we were going to have a blast!
the house lights went down and we walked out on the stage to a great rumble- this was going to be our best crowd yet no doubt. we slammed thru the set and the crowd really dug on it. flea was getting better each day on his trumpet wail and we were really on (no flubs on "bedtime story" either). "the red and the black" sounded awesome w/ all the cats playing along w/ us save for jer who got an earful of john's marshall (to his credit, john was holding back on the volume). The crowd was way into it and it made us feel really good- we finished up and quickly moved the gear offstage and into the boat. afterwards, we watched the lips' set again and they were awesome. Tom and his bro bid us goodbye and we hopped into the boat before the peppers' set as we wanted to get back to pedro early. we made it near midnite and I drove the boat home as I had some repair work to do on the old girl in the morning and we had the day off. I conked quickly.....
buona notte musicanti.........
it's dark early these days so I pop much before the crack of dawn has come, like at five. I brew the coff, chow the oatmeal and then I'm off on my bike. I know it might be silly for someone almost fortysix to be into pedaling like this - I mean, it's no sport for me but more a way for my body to work my mind up in a way. it's not like I'm not getting my heart all worked up and my body all sweaty cuz that's happening too but I get a release pedaling that's singular to other stuff in my life. there's also all the stuff going on in my town along my journey - a special kind at this time in the morning, a more private one. in a way it's a weird mix of private and public since I am there in the open - sometimes folks who know me honk their horns as they pass and I can imagine the lunatic figure I cut for them but hey, if I can make them smile or laugh by just being me then it's a good thing I think. no dolphins today but tons of pelicans, all diving in pretty close, just where the waves start to form. I love it when the glide oh so close to the curls, just skimming w/out a beat of their wings - it's amazing. all the other birds are so noisy but they are quiet ones, I hear they lose their songs when they turn adult. they sure do captivate me, I could watch them forever I think.
I pedal back and wash all my dishes and clean up a bit - domestic watt. at noon I go to get per and jer for our drive down to chula vista. when taking our fucked up and all-plugged freeways, it's good to have folks w/you cuz then you can take the car pool lanes. man, how many cars w/just one head in each... they crawl along as we do the speed limit in the oh so hardly used h.o.v. (government designation) part. this isn't good enough for some and this fucker honks his horn at me but I'm not going to get aggressive back - nope, not worth it. you go compensate for some other hell in your life buddy cuz I'm not doing anything wrong. driving too slow is just as dangerous as driving too fast so I'm not into that, I just cruise along at what's proper. I retraced the route I took from raymond's last night and take the I-405 to the I-5. the urbanization goes further south each time I do this ride. if it wasn't for camp pendleton, we'd surely have one l.a.-s.d. metro blob. in san diego, we get the I-805 through that town and almost to the border w/mexico, we come up on chula vista and the coors amphitheatre. I played here in august w/banyan, that was a trip. the day before that in irvine (almost like a rerun in routing, huh?) was better but we still did ok. I think the problem was perkins setting up too much behind us - like a traditional band. w/banyan, you gotta have perk up front and leading the charge. so great w/him there and nels right next to me. I dig that much. we're almost done w/a third album - we gotta get to that when perk gets time off from jane's. I wrote a lot of the tunes on this next one. another thing about this record is that it's actually the unit that plays most of the live gigs w/perk - much different than the one before it. can't wait.
we unload the gear and watch the lips do their check. spiv, from butler's old bands unstoppable and superkeltic works here and he says hi. he's an incredible bass player, he has this technique of palming a pick so he can play w/his fingers and then bring the pick out when he needs it w/out losing a beat - pretty wild! sondmeister dave rat has this tiny electric kart he built that he lets me try out. you have to bend your knees all up but it's wild! even though its wheelbase is so short, you don't have to worry about flipping it cuz of being so low to the ground. there's a handle on each side and this is what you pull to do the steering. I whip all around the parking lot 'till I'm 'pert-near dizzy out of my head - whoa! I go and chow some chicken and salad and then it's time for our check. steven and cliff again join us but later in the set we're going to have another guest - john frusciante got a cd of us secondmen playing "the red and the black" in may during last tour (thank you john from albany!) from me and he wants to give it a go w/us. john's got a great ear and picks up stuff super quick, I'm sure he'll do fine. I'm having some trouble w/my 'e' string being sharp so I borrow jer's screwdriver to adjust the intonation and fuck if all the crud from me sweating it up hasn't corroded the screw big time and it snaps off. fuck. luckily, the tension of the string keeps the saddle on but it's moved up forward so now it's even more sharp. aaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggggggghhhhhhh - this irritates me! well, a poor carpenter blames his tools so I'm going to make do.
I see scotty (billy's assistant) and say hi. last gig he said he had to "come clean" and he told me this story I remember a bunch of tours back, though I didn't realize he was one of the main cats in it. what happened was I was w/fIREHOSE in 1987 and playing louisville, ky at a place called tulligan's along w/the screaming trees, who I had on tour w/us. after the gig, I got all bourboned up on jim beam (real bourbon is from kentucky, right?) and the gig boss challenged me to this game called "spoons." what it entailed was one guy bowing his head down while the other guy would hold a spoon in his teeth by the handle and try and knot him on the back of the head. well shit, you can't get any kind of leverage trying to do that and try as I might, I couldn't do shit besides tap him barely. then when it was his turn he fucking thump me up good and I couldn't figure for the life of me how he was doing it. turns out he was just using the spoon in his hand to whack me good each time I bent my head down. when he told me, I laughed so hard that this shitty fake-mexican food I ate earlier (ah-go hell) came all up into my beard when I puked it up. everyone there laughed their brains out. I wondered what happened to that guy, I heard he moved to s.f. and indeed he did. he said at least twentfive people told him I was really angry at him but that wasn't true cuz I thought it was hilarious and didn't mind playing the idiot cuz it was good fun. he said he was relieved. scotty's a good guy, he always gets a good laugh w/me. when I gave him a guest list name of "phil from harbor muffler and smog," he 'pert-near was rolling on the floor. I just couldn't remember the guy's last name but wanted him on the list cuz he does such good work w/the boat.
there's a radio station doing a live broadcast at the gig and my old friend mike halloran is running it. he talks to me for almost an hour about all kinds of stuff, like the old days w/d. boon and how the stooges getting back together happened... it's always good talking w/mike. I go get wayne and on air he tells the story of he got the name luigi - the name he have us when we first met him as minutemen doing our first oklahoma city gig. turns out he worked at a long john silver's fast food joint for eleven years and folks working there though he was some kind of mafioso or something by his looks and gave him that name. he then put it on his tag and since the turnover at those kinds of pads is so rapid, new cats coming on the job figured that was his name. after all these years, I finally find out - he wasn't just fucking w/us like we thought when we learned he was really called wayne. that figures cuz wayne is a pretty straight-up cat.
tom watson, the guitarist w/my pair of pliers and jom & terry trios shows up w/his brother will. good to see tom again and he's looking healthy and fit. time for us to go on and damn if I ain't gonna fuck up the madonna song again - I focus really hard and it get it right. someone in the crowd yells "pedro" in the way a person from a latin country would say it, which is the correct way but not for people who live san pedro, ca. there, we say "pee-dro" in the same way call our beach "ca-brill-o" (instead of the proper "cabree-o" way of saying cabrillo - funny, they have a cabrillo beach here in san diego too but they use the proper spanish to say it - us pedro folks are just weird in a way, huh?). I correct the man but not out of anger, we just talk a little funny where we live. maybe it's a test to see if you've really been there? it's a hard set for jer, he clams some but not really bad. I play ok but get a little out of tune cuz of the intonation shit w/the little bass. damn. flea plays his best trumpet w/us yet. tom is really funny acting out "amnesty report" w/us - he's got no instrument but mimes the moves he did when I did this song w/the jom & terry show. he's great and it makes me laugh much. he puts on a guitar and along w/john, steven and cliff we have a seven man version of "the red and the black." all those cats do really good and it's a great way to end a set. that was a lot of fun. I see my old friend jovi out in the crowd - hey jov!
the lips do great once again and then I go visit w/the pepps some. tonight, john's listening to jonathan richmond and the modern lovers. I've done gigs w/jonathan and dig him much, quite an individual. anthony talks to me about yoga - I tell him, "bad knees - I'm paranoid." he says it's a lot about breathing and if I could get my hips open, less pressure would be on my knees. that might be an idea but I've learned a lot of deep-buried pain w/these fucked up knees of mine. I had major surgery on them in my early twenties. pedaling helps, it's made them stronger but I'm still pretty weak there. I have what a doctor told me was "involuntary apprehension" around them - can't let go of the fear cuz of the god-awful extreme and intense pain I've received when they've been hurt - "popped-out." I give all the chili guys cds of "buddy rich pep talks" - recordings made by a guy in one of buddy rich's towards the end bands that has buddy going off like a maniac on them for playing shitty and even wearing beards. it is so intense. louie is their manager guy and he tells me of this book he's reading called "the da vinci codex" which sounds interesting. I know of it cuz of being at the airport coming back from france and so many people were buying it, I thought it might be mersh. I kind of have an automatic aversion to things that appear mersh and maybe that's not that fair. I want to check it out. the guys have me in the spirit circle again and I get good vibes up going through me. happening.
we're all beat and it's 130 miles back to pedro so unfortunately, we gotta miss the chilies play. it's kind of a quiet ride cuz we're all so tired but I get us home before midnight. I let pete have the boat and he drops me off at my pad - he's gonna fix this dashboard console thing and re-do the mat where the piss spilled last tour (when jer was trying to make a photo gallery of some of our piss jars and a peanut one w/just a pop top dumped all over) cuz there was corrosion on the deck there plus remount the passenger seat cuz it was wobbling. very kind of pete to help the boat like this. he's a good man. jer too. I konk within moments of hitting the deck in my pad which was right after coming through my hatch, getting naked and grabbing my blankie.
read week 2 of the tour diary
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