mike watt + the secondmen
watt - thud staff, spiel
pete mazich - organ, singing
jerry trebotic - drums
(top, left to right)
(bottom, left to right)
steve kaul - the man outside the van
wednesday, october 15, 2003 - san pedro, ca
woke up around eight and immediately got to work on the boat; the dashboard console had fallen off, the mats on the floor were ripped up and the wicking underneath had been soaked w/ kidney filter due to the piss-bottle mishap from last tour. also, the shotgun side chair was getting precariously rickety. I had quite a job ahead of me but I dove in and finished everything by five-o'clock and returned the boat back to the chief. I was proud to have helped make part of the boat new again- we had to treat her well (I even did some cleanup; found over eighty guitar picks and about a hundred bucks in change). I had to swab the deck w/ fucking OVEN CLEANER! (but it shined it up nice). good day's work.......tomorrow we were headed to our first club gig on the tour in san francisco.....I couldn't wait.
pop and do my morning ritual, I'm off to pedal before the sun's up - it's the last one before re-engaging out-of-town tour mode again. man, do I miss it. playing for folks is neat too so I'm not totally lame for righteousness. hopefully, pedro will still be here when we're done and so will my bike... and kayak - can't wait to paddle again. it's kind of still in my town, a little more than usual which is ok w/me cuz the less of car and truck craziness, the better. down by royal palms, the tide was a little more out so I could sit on the rocks and get lots of the sea spray w/out the soak. tons of pelicans were out fishing, the kelp beds were in kind of close so maybe that's why. lots of falling from the sky from them, they plummet so intense - not so much like diving but coming down feet first w/their wings out but not fully stretched - trippy. someone told me all the plummets give them cataracts and some actually go blind as they get older so there's a society to help them chow. that's nice. I got a shot of two of them flying and by accident, got a boat in the shot too - one of them big container kind from asia. speaking of asia, I read china just put a man up in space - fourteen orbits worth. I was big into space when I was a boy and followed every mission I could. it was intense on me. sometimes I think I'm always in either a space suit or a spacecraft, just a little bit alien enough to be apart from anyone else. or maybe not alien but definitely in a suit. I think that's why I wear similar outfits a lot - more that than it being a uniform or something, more like a space suit. is that crazy? what better metaphor for the boat too than a spaceship? funny, my nickname in the old sst days was spaceman so when I called stations to play sst records, they wouldn't know it was one of the guys in one of the bands.
I have lots of watt stuff that can't be done by me in the boat on tour once I bail so I try to do as much as I can. of course, this tires me out big time and as darkness falls, strength. I also get so worried before I sally forth that in a way, this is a good thing cuz it clobbers my frettin' w/fatigue, subduing it somewhat so I can konk.
thursday, october 16, 2003 - san francisco, ca
woke up early and hosed off- I had to be at jer's by 8:45 AM as we had about a 6 hour hellride to san francisco. LIl gave me a ride to jer's and we waited outside for the chief to show- like clockwork the boat appeared at 9:15 and we said our goodbyes; me and lil wouldn't be seeing each other for a couple of weeks as the next part of the tour was the major out of town stretches- I would miss her and my little man tony much. Me and jer hopped into the boat and we were off once again.
the gig in san fran was highly anticipated as it was our first club gig of the tour and playing a small venue would be a nice change from the large arena shows. the only glitch was that the baby bass was temporarily out of the game as watt had stripped one of the adjustment screws on the bridge and would have to get a new one; the purple plower was brought along as the sub. I chimped diary and conked most of the trip and we arrived in front of the pad, the cafe du nord at around 5:00 give or take. It was a cool little place, lots of character that was in a building that had been built years before by the S.F. swedish society. the only fucked part was that you had to go down a steep flight of stairs to get to the club and the prospect of schlepping the gear down was not a pretty one but ya gotta do what ya gotta do. we unloaded everything and hauled it downstairs- the other bands' gear was already down there and we set up all our stuff on stage so we could do the soundcheck first. I bellied up to the bar to grab some chow and chimp som ,e diary until the arrival of the soundman- I was once again about three days behind on the diary (I always seem to be three days behind). the soundman, a nice cat named jim showed up and miked all our stuff up and we launched into "the red and the black"; the sound was ok, but we were missing something w/o the baby bass (I figured everything would equalize once people got into the pad). once again I retired to the dressing room to chimp diary.
having caught up w/ the diaries I suddenly got a coffee jones and decided to hoof it up market street for a small search; I looked around for jer but he was nowhere to be found and watt was asleep in the boat so I decided to go the solo route. I walked a couple of blocks and found a pad that had coffee; it was just getting ready to close for the night so I walked in and scored a double shot of espresso then walked back to the club. people were beginning to arrive and the place was packing up. I listened to part of the first band's (breathless) set- very new wavey, almost doors-ian. they sounded cool. I went back upstairs and found jer; he was rapping w/ geoff and andrea, and evan was there w/ his lady along w/ jer's wife kel and kristin. we all rapped for awhile then went back downstairs to hear the second band, scenic (composed of members of savage republic); they were very cool too (sounded a lot like savage republic) and the crowd dug on em'. scenic finished up w/ much applause from the audience and began breaking down their gear- I went to go wake up the chief then back down into the club to put our tools into place while jim miked everything up. The crowd was heating up and it looked like we were going to have a good show. I was excited, but also a little nervous as we hadn't played our full set in almost two weeks and it might have some rough edges; little did I know...
watt said his customary "hi we're from pedro" and we launched into the set; right from the get-go something didn't feel right- I looked at watt and he didn't seem to be having too much fun w/ the purple bass and I could see the anger welling up in him- this was not going to be a good set by any means. I clammed it up real good on the new tunes and things were starting to fall apart- the purple bass doesn't have the sustain the baby does and it was leaving big holes in the sound and disorienting all of us. I felt my nerve slip away and I started rushing in to the parts- it was gettiing very uncomfortable up on that stage. we stumbled thru the rest of the set and it got progressively worse as we went on; the highlight of our clambake was the bastardization of the roky erickson tune "I have always been here before"- what a fucking mess... we played like we'd just met each other and were in different rooms. we finished the set and came out for the encore thinking that we would somehow redeem orselves but the damage had been done. no hope tonite. we quickly whipped thru the encore songs and got off of stage ASAP; I wanted to crawl into a fucking hole. the crowd were very nice people and very forgiving but I couldn't help feel that they'd gotten the shaft. a real character builder this gig was.......
we loaded up all the gear into the boat once again and took off towards kenny and lisa's pad, getting there within a half hour. we settled in at their pad and rapped about the shaming that had transpired; we all felt really down but I knew we would make it up for the next show. I watched TV for awhile until the sandman made his appearance...and conked immediately. laku noc sviraci..........
pop at like five and though I really want to pedal, I just can't - not enough time. I have to make these cds for george hurley - he has no minutemen cds and we gotta come up w/a thirty minute set for the all tomorrow's parties thing on november 8th (on board the queen mary!). I'm not sure what georgie is comfortable playing w/and since it's been so long since we've done these songs, I thought it would be neat for him to get a list going that I know we'd have common ground on. I gave him everything but "project mersh," "three-way tie" and "ballot result." hopefully, georgie can thrity minutes of stuff out of a hundred-thirty-something songs. it's gonna be intense for us to work it out together cuz I got a hellride coming back (1600 miles from calgary to pedro) and then some stooges gigs on november first and fifth which means some flying. I think we can get four good nights in though. we did do this once before - almost two years ago for a filpside magazine benefit. he was fantastic at that and I imagine he'll rise to the occasion for this too. only a seven mile drive to the gig from pedro to boot! I cook up some non-instant oatmeal - I got two cylinders at the store yesterday, one to bring w/us. I went to a little one by jer's cuz there's a big supermarket strike on now (actually, a lot of it is lock-out from the owners) and san pedro being a heavy union town (the longshoreman's union, the i.l.w.u. being the big daddy), you can't see one car in the parking lots. you won't see my bike there either cuz I won't patronize them either. it's pretty neat how our town can hold together like that. as for the oatmeal, I'm really into that now. I loved it as a kid and now as a substitute for those fatty and greasy breakfast chows I've been cooking for myself. I back up all my 'puter shit to a firewire drive and bring it to nanny's, just in case. she also gets my mail when I'm gone and will water my flowers. at the beginning of this last summer, she helped me set up a little flower box and I planted chinese lanterns, pansies, statice, johnny jump ups, coreopsis, texas bluebonnets, celosia and violas. well, the celosia is what really came in fast and strong, I have three blooms from them already. I just got some johnny jump up ones too. looks like the chinese lanterns got all ate up by bugs - nanny showed me an organic pesticide you can make yourself, putting tons of cigarette butts in a water bottle and letting that soak for a few weeks and then spreading the resulting solution on the soil so the plants soak it up by the roots. the bugs don't like the way they taste after. unfortunately, I didn't find out about this in time to save the lanterns. I'm learning though! I love the idea of watt being able to get something to grow besides head lice.
I bring the mail over from my desk mac to the barbie purse one and I find this poem by edgar allan poe:
take this kiss upon your brow!
and, in parting from you now,
thus much let me avow-
you are not wrong, who deem
that my days have been a dream;
yet if hope has flown away
in a night, or in a day,
in a vision, or in none,
is it therefore the less gone?
all that we see or seem
is but a dream within a dream.
I stand amid the roar
of a surf tormented shore,
and I hold within my hand
grains of the golden sand-
how few! yet how they creep
through my fingers to the deep,
while I weep- while I weep!
o god! can I not grasp
them with a tighter clasp?
o god! can I not save
one from the pitiless wave?
is all that we see or seem
but a dream within a dream?
that's intense! a good one to start a tour w/then, huh? it was in an email I had nobody in the to: spot, who was I going to send it too? it was from before last tour - in fact, right before... well, here I come about to leave on another one so maybe I was meant to find it. everything taken care of, I make one more check and then bail for george's pad. I drop the minutemen cds in his mail slot and then call him on the walkie-talkie leash - he's already at work. he sounds good and very up to do this gig, great! can't wait to see him when I get back.
pete's already at jer's so I gather both of them, saying bye to ljil, who brought pete over. I make a vow to myself to get my two guys back to their families safe. we head up the harbor freeway (I-110) and then the golden state freeway (I-5), over the grapevine and into the san jacquine valley. pete and jer are excited to continue the tour and we're all in good spirits. kel was going to come up w/us but she's going to fly up and meet her husband jer at the gig in the city tonight. we're playing a gig in san francisco tonight at a club I've never been to before, cafe du nord. it was something we got at the last minute when flea told me to get some gigs of my own to fill in the days off cuz the play usually just two days in a row max. that's very kind of him. it's about four hundred miles from pedro to s.f. and at about buttonwillow, I take the boat in for some gas and have jer drive 'till we get into the east bay area. I take the wheel again after gassing up again there. gorgeous weather as we cross the bay bridge, the top of the golden gate one peeking through clouds covering up most of it. jer always gets excited to see loading dock cranes (him and pete are longshoremen) and he foams up pretty hardy as we see them at work, big can boats getting up steam and making for the open sea.
this club is just south of the mission area, by market and 15th. some big stairs going down so it'll be a haul w/the hammond - aaaaaarrrrggggghhhhhh. metal mike saunders, the singer w/the angry samoans comes by and gives me four angry samoans shirts and a stooges one - great. this cat can really spiel and he let's it loose and boy, can it fly! a common thread is highjacked and again highjacked by tangent after tangent, pretty slick dancing to keep up w/these steps... the main reason mike is here though is to connect me w/this lady who's writing a book on the dickies, a band from the old days in the l.a. punk scene. her name is arica and she's very nice but kind of young to be writing about stuff that happened so long ago. she's nice though and let's me tell he about us pedro punks (what, all ten of us maybe?) and how related to the crazy happenings in hollywood. we dug all those early punk bands including the dickies and it's great that their core (leonard and stan) have been able to keep going all these years. the way the l.a. scene was, it was groups of people from all over, getting together in hollywood mainly to see these shows - you have to understand so cal is a huge place, maybe 150 towns or whatever and we were spread out all over and not being able to know each other outside of seeing familiar faces at the punk shows. the dickies were from "the val" (san fernando valley) which was like forty miles and many universes removed from our pedro world. I did see them gig lots though and could tell arica about that but I couldn't tell her much personal stuff. she asked me about partisan things, like did I think they were "new wave" or something to that effect. in those days, that was a heavy thing to label a band cuz we all hated "new wave" - sort of like the same industry marketing monkier "alternative" was used as ten or more years later. the dickies were the first l.a. band to go to england, get signed to a major label - shit like that but I never saw them as new wave. then again, I wasn't so intimate w/the hollywood scene politics (thank god) - I was just a corndog from pedro, we'd "get drunk and pogo" as the lyrics to the song go. always dug the dickis - they weren't the germs and they weren't the dils but I still dug them. I dug all those bands in those days, screamers, nervous gender, black randy, bags, x, alley cats, weirdos... they all blew my mind and helped made me what I am today. as I'm spieling, this lady tricia from the club here brings me "seared ahi" - some tuna cooked up good. I'm chowing while spieling which isn't as tough as trying to answer arica's questions through shards of metal mike's verbal froth. he's obviously excited about all this and I'm happy for him. I think the samoans (I liked their band too) got on the raw side of some of the hollywood politic stuff and definitely had a different experience from us pedro folk. as we started to play our own gigs, the hollywood scene sputtered and we got close w/the black flag cats in hermosa beach. a historical point in our history. I tell arica as much as I can and as we finish, metal mike starts to outline me this plan for a gig he's got figured out. he runs by me these tunes he hopes to cover w/two guys who are actually playing in the latest version of the dickies, describing the outfit in detail his singer will wear, someone he keeps referring to this picture of one of the spice girls on a samoan t-shirt he's got. finally, he hands me this cd box of a movie soundtrack to something called "freaky friday" and he sets up the scene where this girl singer lays out this version of brittany shields tune that he blasts on a boom box in my face at just the RIGHT MOMENT! whoa, mike - hold on! a little loud, huh? it appears he's been thinking about this for a while... damn, I wish I could get up to the gig. hope it goes good for you, metal mike. I have to do the soundcheck and excuse myself. I thought metal mike would dig it for sure since it was the blue oyster cult's "the red and the black" but he's nowhere to be seen after we kick that out. damn, wanted to thank him for the vom single too - it's a re-print of the record by the band richard meltzer had w/gregg turner in the 70s. oh well, it was good seeing him again - I think the last time w/as iguana's in tijuana about twelve years ago.
the opening bands are scenic and breathless, two bands sharing equipment but it looks like they're a bass amp short so I let them use mine. there's bruce and michael from savage republic w/these guys so that's neat. we played the savage republic reunion last year in hollywood. I see ethan from that band too but don't know if he's playing w/these cats tonight. I go to the boat and konk. kristin drove up here yesterday to visit friends (she lived here for a while) and she picked up kel from the airport so she might come w/her to the gig. I'm tired though and sleeptown is there for me quick. I miss the opening bands. damn but just too worn. I have such nerves before a tour, even though it was underway for more than a week - being in pedro these days kind of suspended the tour effect I usually get so when it was time to sally forth again, the stress came up on me just like I was about to leave for the first time. I pop in time for the gig and actually talk to kristin on the leash but never do see or speak to her in person. I get caught up in myself w/these things and tonight, it turns out to be not such a beneficial thing.
not such a good night for a gig? maybe one of our worst ever!!! I couldn't believe it. let me say this though. I didn't get to play my little gibson bass. tuesday, I snapped the screw that holds down the saddle for the 'e' string - I was trying to adjust the intonation and the crud from my bodily fluids seized that fucker up and it was done. I couldn't find a replacement screw anywhere so I decided to use this "purple plower" bass darrin huff from spokane made me. it plays good, a little low but I could adjust that - the one thing though I can't adust is the sound... for our band here, it's the worst. all deep down and brittle highs w/none of the throat and growl/snarl of the old little gibson. I even put pictures of john coltrane and elizabeth's compass like I have on that one to this purple one but alas, no fucking way. my guys were really lost - I only played this bass w/them once before, in spokane last tour when I got it from darrin and they very strongly asked me never to use it again - nothing against darrin but this bass doesn't bring forth what my guys want in me. along w/that and feeling so by myself at this gig (I couldn't hear us "three" as "one" in the slightest), I played so horrible - crumbled up in a lump of lameness. the one good thing I remember was seeing eric drew feldman just before I went on. damn, I wanted to do so good for him and jesus, what a mess. I don't think I opened my eyes once. the soundman jim was very nice but honestly, we sucked shit through soda straws. at least it was a character builder, I can say that. hoo boy, was I glad when it finally got over. kristin did tap me on the shoulder while I was putting things away but I was so ashamed, I never did talk to her in person... kenny and lisa came too, lisa's is a friend from twentyfive years ago in pedro, nanny's sister and very dear to me. we're konking at her and kenny's pad. the way I look at it, we got no where but up to look at after this soiling. I know we can rebound and also important, I know it's imperative I get that little gibson bass fixed tomorrow.
the climb up the stairs is nothing, our heads alternate between screwed to the deck in sadness and then throwing them back, high into the air w/hugh ridiculous laughs falling out of them. we have been humbled. maybe it's good. I just wanted to do better for everyone who came. oh boy. we get to kenny and lisa's pad and listen to kenny to like four in the morning. oh yea, there was something on the tv at the same time but kenny told us all about what was going on there anyway so who had to watch? the beat down from the gig together w/all these brownies lisa keeps chowing me makes me pliable putty for kenny's word-hands. I konk w/out remembering how, such are kenny's powers.
friday, october 17, 2003 - oakland, ca
woke up at lisa and kenny's totally disoriented but w/ much memory left of the fiasco the night before- I was determined to make it up. Kel and jer had already left earlier in the morning as kel had a flight back to LA. watt had an interview/photo session for bass player magazine so we washed up quick and got on the road. we had to drive down to san mateo for the interview, then directly to the gig from there; we made it w/o any problems and the cats at the magazine were very cool- guitar player and keyboard magazine were in the same building so we got the full on tour. I actually got to take part in the interview and it was a blast- they took my number down and hinted at a possible future interview w/ keyboard (that would be a dream come true). they also gave me a free subscription to keyboard mag! very very nice and down-to-earth cats. we finished the spiel and took off towards the oakland coliseum where jer was already waiting for us. the lips were just finishing up their check so we moved the gear in place and went at it. mike had stopped at a guitar repair shop before the interview and bought a new bridge for the baby bass and the technical editor at bass player graciously installed it for him.... the EB3 was back in the game again.
having finished up the check' we retired to the dressing room and chimped away diary. I walked around the colisseum grounds and scoped things out a little; there was some people already on the floor and it looked like we would have a pretty decent crowd. I went to catering and had a little chow, then back to the dressing room for a shower. Jer couldn't overcome his powerful homo-erotic hankerings and decided to snap pics of me in the shower ( I expect to see them on ebay soon). Arty came in and gave us the fifteen-minute warning and I started the stretching and pacing- we moved our way towards the stage and arty asked us if we were ready to go....we were. the house lights came down, the crowd roared and we moved to our places behind our machines and launched into the set. we were definitely on and played w/ much intensity; I was really glad the baby bass was back in watt's hands (I'm sure he was too) and our performance reflected our relief as well as our determination to make up for the shaming of the previous night. The crowd was way into it and by the time we did "red and the black" w/ the lips' cats and john from the peppers', the crowd was way heated (way unfortunate that our set was only a half hour). we finished up and we all felt much better than the previous night. we quickly moved the gear offstage w/ the gracious help of the crew and had it loaded in the boat in no time at all. once again, happy as a clam.......
I watched the flaming lips' set from the side and was pleasantly blown away once again; they have truly made a fan out of me and they are very nice cats to boot- It's always a pleasure to work w/ someone who has no ego problems or airs about them- I have definitely experienced enough of that shit. after watching the rest of the lips' set and the first couple of songs of the peppers' set, we decided to bail back to lisa and kenny's; we were all pretty happy at how the gig turned out and we let loose and enjoyed ourselves. I watched some of the excellent documentary "the blues" until my eyelids began to get heavy as I drifted towards maximum conk.... buona notte musicanti.......
I pop at like eight to move the boat. it's down below us, in the embroidery factory where lisa used to work but I gotta get it on the street to make room. no prob, I find a place right in front. I go to coff too, what the fuck - I'm up now and shit, eight am is almost sleeping in like a bear in hibernation for someone like me anyway. me and kenny get to work on the phone book, looking for pads who might have my part - a saddle screw for a leo quan badass bridge ("badass" is the name of the model, not my word). I find the leo quan web site and actually talk to their marketing man - turns out "leo" quan lives here in s.f. (his name is actually glen), I even get a call from the man himself which is wild but we do find a guitar shop close by that sells the bridge and I get one on our way to san mateo - I got an interview w/greg at bass player magazine there. this is great fortune, we don't have to endure another attempt at trying to play together w/the "purple plower" - man, I wish it was different.
jer stayed in town w/his wife along w/kenny and lisa - just pete is w/me which is neat for him cuz this publishing company also puts out keyboard player, which greg gives pete a bunch of issues. we take a tour of the place and then greg does the spiel w/me while one of the staff guys, jonathan, cuts a notch in the saddle for the 'e' string using a coping saw (whoa - thank you big time, brother jonathan!). greg asks me lots about how I see bass in the context of the big picture and write my parts, how am I doing it in context to a bass-organ-drums power trio and then when I'm a soundmouse w/folks like rickie lee jones and the stooges. I talk about my first impressions of bass and then how much d. boon had an effect on me developing a "style" or whatever. I discuss being strongly influenced by both writers and people in my life too - it's not only music stuff that puts influence on my working of the bass.
after some hefty amount of spiel time, it's time for us to get on for the gig. we cross over the bay at the san mateo bridge - wow, it's like ten miles long! some traffic I-880 and we get to the oakland coliseum around four which is almost late for these kinds of gigs. I apologize to the stage manager arty who's a great cat - he's way into pedaling too and we've discussed that a few times. anyway, we're quick at getting up so we're ready to do the dance w/nick, kevin and peter quick. I wrote the words down for the middle section of "the red and the black" (the "hornswoop me bungo baby..." part) so wayne can join us tonight. I've always wanted him on board w/us but he's been reluctant, calling us "musicians" and all that, saying he's not good enough. bullshit, he's great. I can't think of a greater honor than of sharing a stage w/brother wayne coyne. after soundcheck, I go eat some fish, asparagus and salad. it's good.
there's some trouble w/the guest list - they spelled lisa's last name wrong so I go up and remedy that. she's brought kenny w/her friend from ireland, louise and her s.f. friend danielle. my cousin david's coming too but I can't find him anywhere. he's the only part of my family besides my ma and sisters that have seen me from the minutemen days to the present. I'm the oldest of the cousins and he's the next one, maybe that's why. I'm really trying to focus so I can make up for last night - things sound a thousand times better at soundcheck using my old bass though so I think we're in good shape. I see flea and john both in flannels, great. they're righteous too for coming up and playing w/us, it gives me kind a feeling of the old days.
our gig goes much much much better than last night, in fact it's one of our best gigs on this tour. flea does great on trumpet, really strong. john does really good w/us at the end too though it looks like tomorrow night for wayne to join us. he does watch though, like he does every night. wayne is very much engaged in being a real human being, not one bit of aloof rock star shit in this cat. I can dig it, always seeing him on the side of the stage like that. when we finish, I go up to where lisa and is sitting and sit w/her and her people. still no trace of my cousin dave but I do see carrie brownstein! she just moved her from portland and I asked her to come. there was some fuck up and she didn't get here in time to see me and my secondmen but I'm just glad to see her anyway. she has fiery chemisty and it's quite contagious, big time. I wish I could play my bass half as wild as she works her guitar. she is a "musician" that can inspire me and is quite interesting to talk to. chris from the hawnay troof is here too, great. he's wild. there's a cat here who wants me to sign his ticket, he says I taught him everything he knows about skateboarding which is pretty wild seeing I can't even comtemplate standing up on one though I very much try to work my bass like I was on one. he says he's doing bass now so he's gonna take what he's gotten from the skateboard and move it to bass. alright!
I go back stage to see the house boss here and take care of "bobby deniro" matters ($). the lips are on and I watch them, they're such a great band, beautiful - epecially this song, "then you realize." after they're done, we have a little talk - there's a bottle of jim beam on the table and I tell wayne about my bouts w/mister beam. he's glad I'm healthier and so am I. he's got such a righteous take on life, I really dig his spirit - it's invigorating on me. I go to talk w/the pepps and they're fired up to play. they're still excited about meeting raymond and saw his show at the regen projects gallery yesterday. anthony told me about this one piece he dug, one of raymond's wave series and I tell him about the one I got. it's got a guy surfing this huge one and the caption reads "he surfs the way I tell him to surf" and I've always taken this as mother nature saying it, like if you went out into the ocean w/your sail boat and tried to tell the wind which way to blow and how ridiculous would that be? we do the circle thing and they're on and they blast.
to beat the traffic, we get out before the deluge of folks hits the parking lot. we get back over to s.f. from brooklyn quicker than it takes lisa and her party to get the b.a.r.t. back and soon we're all around kenny and his tv altar which is mere backdrop for his orations. lisa brings out tons of these brownines, damn. I usuallay don't chow much after gigs but I do have some of these. while me and pete were at the bass player magazine place, lisa hipped jer's wife kel to all these old stories about me. oh boy. pretty funny, people who know me from the old days educating more recent acquaintances to the watt of days past. lisa gave me these socks and I wore them for the gig, they're thin ones that cling onto you and have chili peppers sewn in on them. when I take them off, you can see how they held me so tight that there's marks pressed into me, whoa. I could listen to kenny rap forever but tiredness has a grip on me. only 11:30 pm but when lisa goes to konk cuz of work tomorrow and danielle bails, I find myself konking. maybe pete helped take up the slack cuz I do see him listening attentatively as konk very much has it's way w/me. sorry kenny.
saturday, october 18, 2003 - sacramento, ca
popped at kenny and lisa's and lounged around all morning; we had a short drive to sacto and we were in no rush so me and watt did the obvious thing.. we consumed a rather large quantity of mota brownies and let it fly. jer, sympathetic to our situation, opted to drive to the arco arena. we said our goodbyes to kenny and lisa (lisa gave us socks as presents- god bless her heart) and we were off once again. on the way we mysteriously developed a barbecue jones and had to stop at brother-in-laws #2 (absolutely the kindest barbecue in existence) and wolfed down a few half orders of baby backs w/ hot bbq sauce. after the feast we wailed on over to the arco arena as we were running a little late but we just made it in time- we explained to the crew why and where we had been and they were very understanding (albeit a little disappointed that we hadn't brought any ribs back). we unloaded all the gear and quickly did our check- then retired to our dressing room as both me and the man had to lay out for awhile (those brownies stay w/ you a long time). I woke up about twenty minutes before we were to go on and scoped out the crowd; I was pleasantly surprised as there were actually quite a few people there (no playing to a sea of plastic). I went and stood ready near the stage - arty showed up and gave us our ten -minute warning and we waited for watt to show up. after a few minutes the chief came ambling up, arty gave the word and the house lights went down- we went up and launched into the set. we were a little more mellow this nite (due in no small part to our brownie consumption), but we still wailed w/ intensity. The production boss, bill said that we sounded very cool but then again we gifted him w/ some brownies earlier on (thanks for the kudos bill). I was real happy and the crowd showed us much love. Flea and john didn't join us on stage due to some spiel that they were busy with, but wayne from the lips' joined us on "the red and the black" along w/ steve and cliff and we jammed it up right. we disassembled and loaded up the boat, then kicked back to listen to the lips' set. concepcion and mario, some friends from sacto showed up (we were staying at their pad that nite) and we rapped w/ them for awhile. we wanted to bail when the peppers' got on stage as we were really beat but concepcion and mario wanted to stay to see the peppers' so they gave us their llaves and we steamed on over to their pad. Jer went to bed immediately but me and mike commandeered the couches (me the remote too) and watched the tube for awhile but mike drifted off quickly while I watched "the usual suspects" (a movie filmed in pedro' which they nauseatingly call "pay-dro" in the flick). Concepcion and mario soon showed from the show and I smoked a cigarette and rapped w/ concepcion for awhile but I was beat and my eyelids were getting heavy so I retired to bed (and what a nice bed it was) and was out before I could blink. laku noc sviraci........
I pop early but read quietly so as to wake no one - I was given express orders by lisa. I love this lethem book anyway, almost done. at ten (the hour I was told was the all clear), I go to get coff. man, these brownies are still strong all through me, like they were some kind of peculiar essence radiating from within and through me. it's kind of like the early morning feel that I get when I pop and then the coff washes off but w/this coff, there's none of that happening - I can't even tell I just drank some. I walk around pac bell park baseball stadium and say hi to the birds I see. I call my ma up cuz usually I have chow w/her on sunday mornings. she's doing good though it kind of pisses me off that my two sisters didn't come see her. not right. I know people are busy but they can make some time (even a little) for their ma. I don't think I would've ever said that as a younger guy but I do think that now that I'm almost fortysix. I just want her to know I'm ok - god, all the tours my pop did w/the navy - it's like the men in her world were always sallying forth, huh? my pop was right, I am like a sailor.
I get back and round up my people, lisa's gotta go to work and we should bail now - especially if we're going to hit up brother in law's #2, my favorite q pad ever. jer earlier got kel to the airport. cuz of the brownies stuff, I have jer drive us and I get a half-order of pork ribs. man o' man, are they good! jer takes us the hundred miles or so to sacramento and we get to the arco arena around three. they let us park right inside the place after loading, whoa - that's how big these pads are. the brownies still have me feeling a little weird - lisa gave us the rest in the bag but I gave them to the tour boss billy when I got here and he's chowed some... we're on a "brownie" level tonight!
show tme and we go on. so good to be playing my little one again. you get to taking those kinds of things for granted 'till your w/out and then - aaaaaaarrrrrrrggggggghhhhh, you're hankerin' hard for what once was. the way we've been doing the big pad gigs is like this since we have thirty minutes to deliver what we got: the set starts w/"boilin' blazes," which is the first tune from my next record. we do it good though maybe I cut one run through of the chorus the first time we get to it. that happens sometimes, don't ask me why. what is very happening is that my guys are in the moment and can adjust quick and we all stay on board - that's both essential and righteous cuz it means we're really engaged as a team, my primary goal as part of this ensemble. it's not just all about watt - it's about us as a band and I'm just the bass player and spieler. if there's anything more to it, then it's me maybe being kind of a conductor but that's it - my cats aren't just here to "back me up" but rather share the stage w/me and let me help them play as good as they can cuz that's how I think I can come out looking my best. after this first tune, I have pete sing our version of madonna's "bedtime story." believe it or not, I start to fuck up the intro yet again (like at the inglewood and irvine gigs) but only for a couple of bars and then I get it right. this is strange for me cuz I've played this for so many years and have never done that - must be something weird inside my head, huh? don't answer that! I think I hit a semi-clammy note at the end but overall it's pretty good. w/theses tunes where pete sings, it's must appear strange on the big screen behind us cuz the camera is attached to the mic stand and looking right over the mic. I stand back from it during the "pete tunes" so the screen probably shows this weirdo standing in the background, trying to get it together on bass. funny. sure wish pete's face could be up there for his turns - especially w/the fisheye lens doing all it's crazy stuff. next is "she don't know why I'm here" and that's always a rush - one of the fastest tunes we do. I know there's a risk of doing up-tempo stuff in a big pad cuz the acoustics can really play havoc w/what you're trying to convey. I figure it's the same thing w/the stuff where we do kind of complicated interplay too so what they hey... what I'm basically trying to do anyway is blow some minds w/something that might they might no be so used to - clear out some cobwebs. hopefully, what we're doing up here doesn't sound so much like a lot of stuff in the "regular" channels that folks get their tuneage from so maybe it'll help open up some minds a little, even some hearts. then comes roky erickson's "sweet honey pie" which is a song I just love so much - I get to do a bass solo, I like having fun changing up the tunes I cover to help give them some watt flavor. flea usually comes up and plays trumpet w/us for the next two but we start "the big bang theory" w/out him tonight. I'm trying to pack the half-hour allotted to us w/as much music as possible so there's hardly any spiel and 'pert-no silence in between songs, it's wam-bam-boom-ba-da-binga into each one, making the whole set sound sort of like one song which is ok w/me - like a river made from little streams. "forever - one reporter's opinion" comes after (it's actually one song made from an old dos song attached to an old minutemen song) and I have to say, I like the sound coming from the little gibson bass more than I ever had. totally an accident too cuz I'm pretty much using the eq setting on the amp that I was trying to coax some kind of decent sound out of the purple plower bass. I didn't think about changing back last night to my old regular one cuz I was just so happy to be w/her again but hey, I can dig this! now pete gets to sing two more songs, ones by the pop group called "genius or lunatic" and "amnesty report." he always does so good w/these, great expression. we finish up w/the blue oyster cult's "the red and the black." no john w/us tonight but wayne joins us on megaphone, singing and doing sound effects - he's great and we're so glad to have him. I am so glad I bounced back from that shitty s.f. gig (please know it wasn't any of the people who came to see us' fault cuz they were great) and I know my guys are too. much respect to the little bass.
wayne brings his cats on next and they do their set. it's great but I'm searching all over for someone - my little brother justin. yep, my little brother justin. my pop remarried and had two children way after me and my sisters were grown - they grew up in clovis, just north of fresno. he found me on the internet a few months ago and we started writing to each other. I hadn't seen him since he was a little baby, just before our pop died of cancer in 1991. justin's 'pert-near thirty years younger than me and I really want to see him again. he was all excited about this too, he's never been on a guest list before. tour boss billy had a laminate for him to so he could get anywhere... I wonder where he is. if anything, I just hope he got to see his big brother play. so trippy - a little brother - I never thought of it much 'till he reached out and wrote to me... I'm so glad he did. I don't know why I never thought of coming up from pedro to see him in his town, maybe too heavy feelings about missing my pop cuz I never did go back to the town though there was something trippy that happened the day they put him in the ground. it was the same day I last played in fresno, at some place called "the wild blue yonder." now I didn't go to his funeral - I didn't go to d. boon's either cuz I don't know, they're just too hard for me especially in that time of intense sadness for both of those guys who were such huge men in my life. what a wild pad to play the day they plant your pop... I thought about that all during the gig, it was during the fIREHOSE days. my pop saw us a little over a year before playing a spaghetti factory in fresno - it was the only time he saw me play and I was so sick w/a fever, damn. he was glad though to have us konk over - I wanted to do good for him, I know he knew music something I always did w/d. boon but the idea of me doing that for a living must've been trippy on him, seeing he didn't really have music people in his family except for his boy. well, it seems there's another punk rocker in the family now - my little brother, justin. he told me he plays a little guitar and is active in a little local scene there in clovis - alright, he's not just not aware of the mersh tv shit but the real deal, down on the grass root level. I really can't wait to hang w/him and do the spiel, listening to his too. he sent me a picture and damn if he don't have my pop's eyes.
I say hi to the pepper guys, almost time for them to go on. flea and john apologize for not playing w/us tonight but I totally understand - they would've been there if they could've but tour can throw up some road blocks in the way cuz that's the nature of that beast. we do the circle thing and john ends it by thanking me for being there w/them, that's quite kind of him. these cats are very generous w/me. much respect to them. they go and rip a blasting set. we find concepcion, an old friend of mine who used to live in pedro during the minutemen days - she help run the free clinic there in town and get the keys to her pad cuz we're konking there tonight. her and her husband mario don't live too far away so we get there in a few minutes. pretty quick I'm on the couch and konk takes me in a matter of moments - tired watt.
sunday, october 19, 2003 - portland, ca
the chief woke us up early as we had quite a hellride to portland- many thanks to concepcion and mario for sharing their pad w/ us (my bed was very kind-best conk of the tour so far). we hopped into the boat and were off once again; we were all anticipating the gig much as it was our second club gig and we wanted to play good to make up for the nightmare in san francisco. the ride was pretty uneventful with me and jer taking our usual turns in the bench seat (jer even took the helm of the boat for awhile). jer of course enveloped us w/ his foul odor several times during the trip as he slept and even w/ a full rolldown of the windows it took several minutes for the noxious cloud to clear (it was burning our eyes). I, of course was three days behind on the chimp action and took advantage of some of the free time by baring the thoughts out - otherwise I read an excellent book that watt had called "motherless brooklyn".
we finally pull up to the pad (a place called the ash street saloon) at about 5:30 , a little groggy and crampy from the long ride. The weather in portland this time around was much nicer than last tour; a little overcast but very warm w/ the sun shining thru part of the day (it reminded me of pedro a little bit)- the weather gods have actually been smiling on us the whole tour. we unloaded all the gear and moved everything in place while the sound engineer (a very nice lady named heather) miked us up quickly. we ran thru "the red and the black" and everything sounded cool so we broke the stuff down and moved it to the side as we had two bands going on before us; "The high and the mighty" (we stayed at the drummer eric's pad last tour), and the "heavy johnson trio." jer went to go scope out some chow and I went upstairs and sat w/ watt in the green room (actually a very small compartment behind the sound booth only big enough for a couch), and we both chimped diary. sachi, a real nice cat that we met in eugene last tour came by w/ some pears and we rapped w/ him for awhile (it gave me a chance to rap in croatian too). I finished up the chimping and went to go walk around a little; the place was beginning to fill w/ people and it looked like it was going to be a good night (at least for a sunday). the "high and the mighty" began their set and I watched intently from near the sound booth and rapped gear talk w/ heather (she really had her shit together- she had learned the craft from her old man). I gotta say I really dug on this band; all were very good musicians and the hooks were monster-they made a fan out of me. I continued walking the room and petra haden showed up w/ a couple of friends- I didn't quite recognize her at first ( I hadn't seen her since we recorded the first bargain music album four or five years ago), but I went up to her and asked and sure enough it was her. I took her up to see mike then went back down to see the rest of THATM's set. great fucking band. after their set I went outside for a walk as my ears needed a rest from the volume (I've been experiencing some intermittent ringing in my left one so I've got to watch it).
I came back in after the second band's set and waited until they got their gear moved off - then me and jer moved our tools into place. watt came down, strapped on the baby bass and we launched into the set. we played w/ major intensity and the crowd showed us much love. heather had the sound going beautifully except for a persistent resonant note coming off the stage(especially noticeable during chinese firedrill). heather dealt w/ it like a pro. all in all it was a great show and we got many kudos after. watt sold some of his "spiels of a minuteman" book off the stage while me and jer broke down the tools and rolled everything out and into the boat. another cat eric, whose pad we were staying at hopped in the shotgun seat to navigate and we were off. we got to eric's pad and unrolled the bags and all of us conked out on the deck in a flash. forza musicanti.....
pop at seven to find some stupid circus movie w/charlton heston blasting from the tv all over me. pete must've had it on before he konked and just left it that way. damn, I hate that cuz I sometimes do that too - konk w/the fucking tv on. in my pad, I have a tv w/a turn-off timer and always set that to thirty minutes if for some stupid reason I'm on the deck w/my blankie and have the boob tube on. no telling what psychological effects one must endure to have retarded tv shit plowing through a sleeping mind. concepcion was going to chow us w/a big mexican-style breakfast but we gotta bail early cuz it's a ten hour ride to portland. it's a day off for the pepps and lips but we're going to do our second secondmen-headlining gig of this tour at some pad called ash street which is near dante's and berbatis pan, two pads I've played in portland a few times before, in the old downtown.
we say our good byes and thanks to concepcion and mario and then we're on our way. the weather is great for rolling, very calm w/light wind and clear skies. I wheel us north on the I-5, seems this tour has taken us on 'pert-near every mile of it, from chula vista near mexico to the border of oregon. it's a good road and well maintained. I take us all through the sacramento valley and at red bluff (the town where my pop was a boy), we stop for gas. I tell the lady at the counter that my pop grew up here and she says, "that's too bad." whoa, didn't expect that, maybe it's a joke. the sign says it's thirteen thousand people now but it must've been way smaller in my pop's day. I know he joined the navy early (actually the guard at seventeen and then the navy a year later) so maybe he had some similiar thoughts. I do remember as a little one coming here to visit his parents. it was a hot, hot summer and plenty more empty then it is now. the sacramento river runs right through and it's that's pretty nice though. back to these moments, in the now - me and pete get nuts to chow, while jer gets one of those breakfast burritos you nuke in the microwave and within minutes of him gulping it down, he commences w/drowning/gagging us w/his odor and gasses. holy moses! this cat has some bad internal chemistry, one might think. me and pete roll down our windows yet still do our eyes tear and the face involuntary winces, then twists and contorts - the color of our skin goes to green and then blue. this sleeping jer has no mercy.
into the lake shasta area and there's some clouds clogging up the sun, covering the summit of mount shasta. not too gray though and all the water and evergreens look righteous. man, I remember coming up this way last tour - the beginning of april and we just dodged a storm, snow furies coming all on us. it's much more serene this time. we pass a couple of semis from the tour, ones w/the stage lighting. we get up through shasta - I think of bob lee's ma (bob lee drummed for me w/the black gang) who's a buddhist monk up here - and then we're on to the siskiyous and into oregon w/the highest pass on the I-5, 4310 feet. man, was that scary last time thorough but this going is a breeze, taking the big descent into ashland. a little further up the road I go to gas up in medford (well, I let the service station cat do it cuz like new jersey, you can't pump your own gas) and hand the wheel to jer who somehow has had enough of fumigating us - I don't know, maybe he ran out of fuel? maybe he did but we make sure the boat's not and he wheels us north while I konk on the back bench. that's saying something for me trusting jer driving cuz it's pretty hard for me to konk in a scary situation where I don't know the wheel man. we get gas once more and I take the wheel back - was trying to chimp diary but unwittingly konked w/the barbie purse in my lap. we pull into the lot across the street and the gig boss trevor meets me there and pays for the parking, alright. he used to work w/the man outside the van steve kaul so he has some good old stories to tell me, says both me and j were his favorite cats who would call the kaulster. we meet the soundlady heather and she does a quick soundcheck w/us - she does great work. I get a "bleu cheese burger," probably the only puck I'll chow on this tour and it goes down ok. they have a trippy little backstage area up the stairs behind the soundboard and you have to climb under this little opening - it's like you're sitting in a fireplace or something - pretty neat. I chimp diary there. opening up for us tonight are locas the high and the mighty who have eric haines (THE eric haines) on drums and the heavy johnson trio (who are actually a quartet) who have this happening bass player, eli. this is very happening. the cat who cooked us up a righteous india-style chow last tour in eugene, saci, comes by and gives me some wonderful bosch pears, right off the tree. very good eats and great to see saci again. he's from croatia and pete talks slav w/him. petra haden comes by - wow! she's in town to record w/her friend alicia (they have a band called miss murgatroid). so good to see pet.
the gig starts and I hear both openers from the little fireplace place. I watch them some too and like both bands. our turn and what we're playing on these gigs of our own is basically what we did last tour w/pete - we start w/the first five songs from the next album, then the two madonna tunes, then "walkin' the cow," "she don't know why I'm here," "sweet honey pie," "the big bang theory," "one reporter's opinion," "genius or lunatic," "amnesty report," "chinese firedrill" and finish w/"the red and the black." the portland cats are so nice to play for, them giving back as much energy as we can put out and that's a bunch cuz pete and jer are playing great. the folks have us back and as I pick up my little bass, the 'd' string just snaps - whoa, I didn't even touch it. I don't want to break the flow so I go right into the stooges "little doll" and it's kind of tough do some soloing w/that string gone but what the fuck, huh? I have to get pete and jer get real tiny w/their sound cuz this stage really resonates at where the 'e' note is and guess what key this tune is in... yep. this a problem of a stage being built out of just one kind of material - you gotta mix it up so there's not one strong frequency that'll jump out. we go into the velvet's "sister ray" which has even more bass soloing - I'm really out of tune now but it's still pretty wild to play - "whip it on me, jim/whip it on me, jim/whip it on me, jimbo!" when we get done I want to one more for saci cuz he told me about hearing it on a new television cd so I put on a new 'd' string and we do "little johnny jewel." oh, boy - what a gig, a pretty good one. I sling the rest of my books - damn, I should've brought more but w/only three u.s. gigs of my own, who'd of known? I hate to disappoint anyone though. jeanne, the chiropractor lady who helped me last time I was here and sent me enzymes to help rebuild my immune system comes by to say hi. she's a bass player too. she wants to see me tomorrow for an "adjustment." it was the first time ever for me when she saw me last time and I felt way better - scary in a way though cuz you gotta have a lot of trust. she was very nice to me though.
we start loading out and I see eric dayton - we're staying at his pad tonight and the next. he's really excited about getting to dance during the flaming lips' set tomorrow night in an animal suit - I'm really happy I can help make that happen cuz he's really good people. him and bill at their company, sightworks, stream my radio thing, "the watt from pedro show" (http://twfps.com). it's been tough to do it lately cuz of things yanking me each and way and that so there's only been like one show a month for the last three but I'll get more regular when this tour's done. I really dig doing that. we load up and say our byes - we tell eric (THE eric hianes) that he can be part of our crew (actually our only crew guy!) for tomorrow's gig at the coliseum here. eric dayton (yes, THE eric dayton) hops in the boat w/us and we drive to his pad in the northeast part of town, where are the artistically bent are moving after getting chased out of downtown by the yuppies (does this have to happen in every city?). eric's just bought this pad is fixing it up as he goes. all three of us layout in his living room and man, this is a late one for this tour... 'per-near 2:30 am! it's also the sweatiest gig for me - my entire outfit is awash w/the fluids of watt. good to get out of them, whoa. the mask comes down and that train comes up and out the tunnel to take me express (no local stops) to sleepytown.
monday, october 20, 2003 - portland, ca
I was awaken from my slumber by the sound of the chiefs footsteps on the deck and the jangling of his keys- I rolled out of my bag and went to go take a much needed shower- it woke me up and I felt much better. eric's roommate, clayton came down and me and him hoofed it over to a local coffee place to satisfy our caffeine jones and enjoy the fresh air a bit. the weather was again very beautiful and the walk was welcome. we got back to the pad and I sat around reading for awhile; clayton was reading a book called "fast food nation" (about how the fast food industry is inextricably linked to our culture and the long range effects of it), I picked it up and I couldn't put it down- fascinating and frightening tome- I recommend that everybody reads it. watt decided that we should get to the gig early- we were only about twenty minutes away so we all piled into the boat and we took off. jer needed some parts for his kit so we stopped off at the pad where clayton worked (a vintage music equipment store) and he hooked him up. we thanked clayton and bid him goodbye; we would see him later on as him and some of his buddies were going to suit up for the flaming lips set.
having solved jer's equipment problem we headed on over to the portland colisseum for soundcheck; the lips hadn't yet started theirs so we headed over to catering to grab some chow- no sooner had me and jer sat down to eat then watt comes in and he's fuming as he had just gotten the riot act read to him by Bill the production manager; jer had invited an acquaintance named ben to the oakland show-he had come w/ a friend and he seemed like a relatively nice guy (none of us actually knew him too well, but jer had played w/ him before in mystery meat). anyways, these cats hung out w/ us during the show and everything was cool; ben said he would come to our sacramento show too as that's his home town and we said our goodbyes and left to go conk. flash forward to the sacramento show- ben brings in another friend w/ him backstage, a cat named lou. the guys are pretty cool-they rap w/ us in the dressing room and ben talks to me about his burgeoning career as a promoter- all the while these cats are drinking the beers and wine that are in our dressing room. I go out to listen to the lips' set and these guys (ben and lou) are in back of me and I could hear some slightly bellige comments being slung around but I figure they're caught up in the moment of being at an arena show and the alcohol has happied them up some. I go back to our dressing room and notice that all the beers and the two bottles of wine were empty; I know for a fact that jer only downed one beer and a small glass of wine- me and mike weren't indulging so I knew these cats had polished things off. whatever, I didn't think too much of it. the peppers' had started their set- mike had settled w/ the boss and we were ready to take off-we quickly gathered our stuff and went out to the boat. jer tells me that before he left he saw that the two guys had gotten into the colisseum vip room and were tapping a keg-not very cool, but he didn't have time to babysit and we had to leave. now comes the really fucked part. apparently after we had left, these cats had gotten themselves into a way advanced state of inebriation and decided they were going to make some phone calls (from the fucking production office phones no less). they also took it upon themselves to harass about twenty-five of the crew members, all the time slinging watt's name around and claiming they were his "friends" (watt did not know either of these cats). Just as these dickheads were about to get pummeled by the crew guys, bill steps in and tries to defuse the whole situation and asks them to leave. for whatever insane reason (more than likely the magic of alcohol bringing the true self to the surface), they do not leave and proceed to verbally assault bill w/ racial slurs and all kinds of petty shit (me and jer are sitting there listening to this, fucking horrified). anyways, ben is laid out on the floor flipping everybody off within sight and bill grabs lou by the nape of the neck and flings him off the loading dock (keep in mind bill is a big guy and could've inflicted much more serious damage but didnt want them hurt- he had actually saved them from being killed by the crew). anyways, watt lays all this on us and we're devastated; jer is feeling way down and decides to go talk to bill and the crew guys to apologize- they take it in stride (I think they realized that these guys were no friends of watt's), but we were very embarassed by the whole sitch'. the crew guys have been extremely nice to us the whole tour and we've been working hard to gain their respect and then this shit goes down- and bill is absolutely the sweetest man and to have to be subjected to racial slurs- it was a very nasty scene. jer got on the horn w/ zippy (also from mystery meat) and relayed the scene to him- he was really pissed about it too and said he would call ben to ask him what the fuck they were thinking. jer calls up ben himself and ben makes it seem like it was no big deal but the damage had already been done. both of these cats have upgraded themselves to persona non grata status and it is doubtful that they will work easily in the business again (I wonder how it felt for ben to watch his promoting career fly out the window). what these cats failed to realize in their drunken stupidity is that all the guys that work these shows have been doing it for years and everybody pretty much knows everyone else, so when some shit like this goes down, they remember. and spread the word. jer says that he will never speak to, or play w/ ben again. and rightfully so. It made us look really bad and created some very negative shit for some real nice people.
I went out to the boat w/ watt to get my puter' and I hear somebody calling my name. I turn around and it's Rob Tesulov, a friend from pedro' who moved up to portland when he got married. I had put him on the guest list so he could hang w/ us and see the show. I told him to head on over to will call and p/u his pass and we would meet him by the stage later on. I was glad to see him and I really wanted him to see us play as he had only seen me play in the wedding band previously. Eric (from the high and the mighty) showed up and he helped us lug the gear onstage for the sound check (very nice cat- and a great drummer too). we rolled thru "the red and the black" (petra showed up w/ some friends-she was going to do "the red and the black w/ us) and everything sounded great- the monitor guys, kevin and peter and the FOH engineer nick are total pros and have been very accomodating the entire tour (nick even came to see us at the cafe du nord). they get better at every show. much respect to all of them, they are truly a pleasure to work with. I walked around the arena scoping everything out and found jer and eric walking around on the other side- we decided to head out to the front to meet up w/ jer's guests and rob. all showed up soon and we took them inside to the backstage area. me, jer, eric and rob went up to catering to grab some chow and we rapped for awhile, ate, and then went back to the dressing room for the show countdown.
Arty came in and gave us the ten-minute warning so we made our way towards the stage and waited for the lights to go down (this is my favorite part-right before we go on stage). watt shows up and we hit the stage; "we're from pedro" he says and we plow into the set. The crowd was very into it and we garnered much applause- "the red and the black" turned out to be a wailing jam - the lips joined us along w/ petra, flea and john (jer said he would talk to chad about playing w/ us at the next couple of shows too). I really enjoyed playing the show and I thought we did really well. we pulled all the gear off stage and w/ the crew's help, had it packed and loaded in the boat within 15 minutes. Rob said we sounded awesome and I thanked him much- I had wanted to play good for him. we stuck around and watched the lips' set- rob tripped on it and he dug them much. we went back to the dressing room and rapped w/ all the lips' after and w/ petra and her friends. One of them alicia, plays accordian in a duo w/ petra called "miss mergatroide" and she graciously gave me a copy of their cd. I also play accordian and we rapped about the parallels between it and the hammond. very nice lady.
watt settled w/ the boss and we were beat so we decided to head over to eric dayton's pad to crash out - I read my email then called lil the kill and rapped w/ her and my little man tony for awhile; I miss them both very much. Eric has a jacuzzi on the side of his pad and we were all pretty sore so we hopped in and became the "soakingmen" for a while. it was totally welcome and afterwards we slipped into our bags and conked immediately.... laku noc sviraci.
pop at just before eight - whoa, late for watt. I need to hose-off immediately - should've done that last night before konking but I was just too beat. I get my non-instant oatmeal out of the boat and boil up some water. once it gets there, I stir in the oats, let them cook for five minutes and shovel them down. wait, I did put some milk on them to cool them down a little and that's a little trippy cuz eric's got just soy milk but it tastes good - alright, something new for watt. the head's so big that there's room even for a bike so I take that outside - the weather's a little gray but still it's dry and that's good enough for pedaling. I bike down to some pad called the dahlia cafe and get a coffee there. I gulp it down and think, shit - I'll get another and gulp that too. I pedal towards eric's again but fuck it, I wanna keep going so I pedal all over the place. I find a park and sit there for a while and think... there's no landline for the phone so I can't use the 'puter - man, do I have a lot of thoughts I love to spill in an email - that "brownie therapy" the other day put some trippy shit in my head, idea-wise. oh well, I'll just have to transmit them w/thought waves - that's always good to engage in anyway, helps me focus. "discipline conquers hesitation," I once heard (maybe from mayo thompson?) and think that can be useful cuz I find myself repeating that all the time, in my head (sometimes out loud too). the squirrels out in this park must be the tiniest ones I've ever seen, damn. I love to see them do their thing so intense, do they got a nervous way or what? makes me look sedate - maybe that's why I like watching them!
I pedal back to eric's and I guess he's gone off to work but his room mate clayton is here to greet me. he's a drummer and works at a music shop so maybe he can help jer w/his floor tom leg stand mounts - two of them are cracked. he's a nice guy and very "enthusiastic" as jer would say. he's tells me he's gotta stay for the broadband guy to come and hook up eric's internet thing here before he goes in to work. clayton's worried he'll be late but the guy shows up at the last minute. he says he doesn't know macs though so I help him get that going - it's like the old days when most guys working on cars didn't know volkswagons but guess who went through five of them? vw cars are easy and man, were they econo to own and that might've not been the case in the old days w/macs ($-wise), they've always been simple as pie... when will folks realize that windows is just a kludge of the mac os anyway? w/that done, we can give clayton a ride to his work and he gets jer happening not only w/the mounts but w/a new snare head too - I really don't care for the lame sound jer's snare has (jer doesn't like it either) and I ask him to try anything to get it more together. soon we're off to the gig at the coliseum, by the williamette river.
when I get into the production office, I'm hit w/two intense pieces of news. first, I check my email and find my little brother justin is ok and in fact did go to the sacramento gig but he didn't find his name on the list and used part of his birthday money to get in, damn. he had to sit so far on the side that he couldn't see me, double damn. the worst thing is that I didn't even get to see or talk to him and that really bums me out... three times damn it! my guess is he must've gotten there too early - before the stuff got to will call cuz scotty promised me there was a laminate for him there and most dearly believe in him... shit, I wish justin would've called on the walkie-talkie leash so I could've known what was up and helped him out. he told me it was the first time he was ever on a guest list so maybe he didn't know what to do. man, this is lame for me. I have to make it up to him somehow. the next thing I'm told by scotty and bill is not just disappointing, it's fucking disgusting. at that same gig saturday night, jer put two guys on the guest list, one is a guy he's played w/before in a band of a friend of ours - a cat named zippy who also plays in bargain music. the other guy was someone in a cowboy hat (nothing against folks who wear cowboy hats though - I just say that cuz I had no other way to distinguish him). I don't really know what they looked like cuz I never really met them - well, maybe I met the bandmate guy in oakland the night before but it was just "hi" or something like that. anyway, billy and scotty tell me about how these guys turned out to be some sick assholes, totally out of line. on my guest list too, even using my name to further the bullshit they were foisting on everyone. now understand, we had a ten hour drive ahead of us, up here to portland so we bailed early so we could get a good konk at concepcion's that night. believe me, if I were there and caught even the slightest wind of any of this shit, I would drop-kicked these motherfuckers into next week, toot-toot philadelphia. turns out they caused hell everywhere, even working the phones in production besides picking fights w/the house staff, the chili pepper crew, the truck drivers - whoever... total fuckheads full of their own arrogance and conceit - even bigoted and racist shit (and this is in "liberal" california at an "alternative" rock show - shows to go you about stereotypes). you know, I'll find it somehow in my heart to forgive them down the road but right now this shit makes me so pissed. I apologize to billy, scotty, louie, gage, lisa - everyone who had to deal w/this fucking bullshit and even though I knew nothing of them of what was going on, I still feel I'm responsible cuz it was people on my guest list. I convey this to jer and he understands, he feels very bad about the whole things too and I know it wasn't his fault. it just helps us to learn how to be better prepared in the future - we can always use these clowns as a lesson to be learned on others we have as guests, a lesson on how definitely not to be. I hate to spend so much space here in the tour spiel on something as idiotic as this but it really was intense on me.
our dressing room is right across the hall from the one the flaming lips are using and I get more righteous words from brother wayne. man, do I dig this guy. I like steven, cliff and michael a lot too - I have chow w/michael later and he tells me about studio work he's doing now, being an assistant engineer and all. I can see him going a lot further and having an interesting time at that - he's quite methodical and has tons of patience. I love his touch on the bass guitar too and he picks good notes to play, two things I look for in a cat on bass. I go out to get a fresh battery for the digicamera and lightman scott comes up w/his ma. she says she wants to touch the boat, she's heard so much about it and me. these folks on this tour are so nice, it really is a joy to be around all of them - the stage guys like scott here and artie, peter, nick, kevin, dave and tim (the carpenter cat who watches everyone of our sets)... all the others my seemingly alzheimered brain forgets right now but in my heart I love dearly. nothing but respect for all of them cuz it's in return for the respect and care they show me and my guys. some of them of are from some really mersh tours and I know I'm weird and play weird music but I've never felt judged and only supported by all of them.
petra comes w/her friend alicia and her friend marney - pet's gonna play violin on "the red and the black" so we do that w/her at soundcheck and then I play it w/her in the dressing room cuz she asked me to. she gives wayne a cd of her a cappella version of the who's "sell out." this came about when I gave her this old tascam eight-track cassette recorder and put the whole record on track eight and asked her to fill up the other seven w/her voice translations of what she heard on the original. I told her it was me and d. boon's favorite who record and it had massive influence on us as boys. she was unfamiliar w/it but did so great in making this record - it's quite a trip. it might be coming out this january, she's had interest from labels. she is a quite talented woman. we're gonna do some more li'l pit (my standup bass band) w/thalia and perkins when I get some time coming up.
our set tonight goes good, I think the secondmen have adusted well to these big pads. one thing I think that helps is that we set up really tight so it's almost like what we're used to in the smaller pads we usually play. kevin too helps out big time w/making our monitors sound great. I've been told by lots of folks that out front it's happening considering the physics involved so that's great of nick. peter too helps big time by making sure we get the full-on soundcheck which means what I'm used to when I'm headlining, quick w/the instruments and voice and the one run-through of the old b.o.c. song I've been playing since a boy w/d. boon - I hate long soundchecks, just hate them. you should prac at your prac pad and not bogart everyone's time at the gig - that's what I think anyway. besides, the sound changes so much w/the folks come in. flea plays great w/us. I get a little out of tune cuz of hitting the little bass on the cymbals and just wailing too hard period. oh well, I wish I could get that more together but we have no time in between songs cuz I want us to freight train in as much as I can. it's pretty wild for our last tune - nine people on stage for "the red and the black." everyone does really good - first time flea's done trumpet on that tune. petra did great too, playing under my bass solo even. a big thank you to all who helped us w/out finish tonight!
the lips do a great show and eric dayton (the cat who has the pad we're staying at) plus some of his buddies got to dress up in the animal suits and dance the whole set on stage w/them. this stoked him much! I go and visit w/the pepps before they go on and flea tells me about paddling in alaska, he's done it a couple of times before and asks me about next summer. I think I would dig very much paddling in alaska! well, I've never really done a kayak trip, I just do it for two hours on tuesdays, thursdays and saturdays in the harbor where my town is. I think it would be a trip to that and it interests me much. that's nice of him to invite me and it's great to do this circle thing they do as a band w/them and channel up the spirit cuz it's inspiring for me.
I settle w/the boss, a cat named dave who tells me about seeing santana open for the jefferson airplane at the filmore east way back. I'm glad I'm not the only one w/old stories - it's great to hear about stuff even before my time! we head back to eric dayton's pad and on the way, I hear some crunching sounds - metal on metal. I'm always listening close to boat and her ways and anything weird gets my attention quick. I get the flashlight out, me and jer check out under the front end on the driver's side and sure enough, the top mount of the shock absorber has lost it's nut, washer and grommet. damn, I'm gonna get right to that in the morning. there's a hot tub right outside so we all three get in that. jer gets a little weirded out that I get in naked but fuck if I'm gonna soak up some underwear for just a few minutes in the bubbly-bath. the jets of water heated all up feel good on the soreness of my bones and joints. an easy konk results quickly.
tuesday, october 21, 2003 - seattle, wa
I awakened once again to the sounds of the chief walking around and clinking the keys- I rolled out of the bag and lumbered towards the bathroom to splash some cold water on my face and slowly re-enter the world ; mike had to take the boat in to a muffler shop as it had a problem w/ the shock on the driver's side and we had to get it fixed before we travelled any longer distances. me and jer hoofed it down the street to the coffee shop and he grabbed some chow while I just had coffee and a choc. chip cookie. we headed back and I read a little more of "fast-food nation" (I am totally into this book), and decided I must get my own copy asap. watt returned after awhile and the boat was good to go- the muffler guy had to cut thru a section of the undercarriage to fix the shock but it was taken care of and safe to drive again. clayton had woken up by this time, so we thanked him and we were off to the other side of town. much respect to eric and clayton for sharing their pad w/ us.
we kind of lost our bearings and had to backtrack a little, but we made it to the key arena in about a half hour. we unloaded the gear; the peppers' check was still in full swing and there was still the lips' ahead of us so we went over to catering to score some chow. I was ravenous as I was keeping my chowing down to a minimum (mike turned me on to this "zone diet" and I feel better already), but the food was very kind (chicken cacciatore) and I had two helpings (no bread, only chix and veggies). feeling a little better I went down to the dressing room to chimp and take a shower).
the lips' had finished their check' so we set up our gear onstage while Kevin and peter mike us up. we plowed thru "the red and the black", then headed back to the dressing room and I chimped some more. darren from spokane showed up a while later (darren had created the "purple plower" for watt), and we rapped for awhile- arty then came in and gave us our heads up and we moved towards the stage. the lights went down and we were on. the set went off w/o a hitch and the crowd showed us much love. "the red and the black" was an extravaganza; all of the lips' and all of the peppers' (except for anthony) came out and we wailed on it. It was a helluva lot of fun. mike thanked all the band guys and the crowd then we broke down and moved everything off stage and into the boat. we watched the lips' set and then went to hang out in their dressing room; this was their last show of the tour and they were heading to england for their own tour the next day. The lips' and their crew are totally nice, down-to-earth cats and I would miss playing and hanging w/ them much. the only damper in the evening came when we found out that the singer-songwriter Elliot Smith had committed suicide the night before- very sad.
we watched part of the pepper's set then decided to bail as mike had settled w/ the boss and we were tired. sandy, a friend of mike's whose pad we were crashing at piled into the boat w/ us and we gave her a ride to her car, then followed her back to her place. once there we lookeed at some snaps of the shows and I read a cool book on tattooes that sandy had. The eyelids however, had a totally separate agenda, so we crawled into our bags and let the conk envelope us..... buenas noches hombres segundos..
I pop early and immediately hose-off and then pedal off for coff. I want to get on this boat repair thing quick. I use eric's 'puter to find pads within his zip code using yellowpages.com and find some close. I call up a place named barker's muffler and brake and bring the boat on over. it looks like a father and son place and the card on the desk says "old time solutions for these day's problems" - alright. I know this might sound crazy but all the potholes in downtown portland might've just helped us out cuz I actually did start hearing a little of the noise the day before but when I asked my guys, they said heard nothing. I knew different though cuz I know the sound of the boat healthy. trouble was, I couldn't find anything by checking out underneath cuz of the way ford built this econoline. the space between the chassis and the body where the driver's (port) side front shock mounts on top is incredibly tiny w/no clearance hardly for your fingers, let alone a regular wrench. you can't even see if the nut's on there. my guess is the nut had just came off (probably working itself off over time cuz it never did get cranked down right cuz of this "design" situation - these shocks are a little over a year old) but the shock was still in it's mounting place and impossible to know it was loose where it was supposed to be screwed down on top. what must've happened is that those beat-up downtown portland streets hand hit the suspension so hard that it popped the shock out and its arm was up against the frame instead though the mounting hole. to make this repair, the older gentleman here had to cut a little bit (not much) w/a welding torch to make some room to reattach the shock right, using a new grommet, washers and tow nuts - one butted up on the other to lock them. he did a good job and only thirty bucks too. I ask them why would ford do something like this cuz the passenger side has no problem w/access and he says it was probably one department not talking to other department over such "minor details" (one of the many wonders of corporate organization). I thank them much and then get the boat back to eric's. no time to pedal or even my oatmeal but that's small potatoes compared to having the boat safe - big time.
we say bye to clayton and shove off for seattle - 172 miles. back up north on the I-5 and we cross over the columbia river into washington, that's some mighty water down there. so pretty in these parts w/all the evergreen and all. past mount saint helens, we see wet road - it's been raining here but no drops on the windshield now. we get up to the venue, the key arena which is near the space needle about one. kind of a sad gig coming up cuz the flaming lips have to leave after this show and do a tour of england - I'm going to miss them so much. great playing w/the peppers though so it won't be too bad. I'm just going to miss wayne's great spiels and the band's wonder sets. I talk w/wayne and he tells me how this has been such an easy and fun tour to do. he says he's been on other "big" tours and there's just so much ego and bullshit things to deal w/that he's so glad that he's found none of that on this tour. we both are! he's got nothing but kind words for everyone and says our paths will cross again which I am definitely into cuz he is a great cat.
I go to production and check my email and find out that the wrestler known as hawk passed away from an enlarged heart. damn. he was part of the road warriors tag team who bob mould told me were his favorite wrestlers back in the 80s. I tell billy and scotty and they're sad. these wrestler cats take some major blows, folks don't know - thinking everything is everything is fake but a heavy man flying through the air and falling to the deck is very much real, even if some of the kicks and bitch slaps aren't. I go to shovel some chow at the trough upstairs. I have some turkey, halibut, broccoli, asparagus and salad but not a ton of it. it's good. we do soundcheck and I see darrin huff, builder of the purple plower bass. he's gonna put new pickups in it and try to get a sound I can use out of it. I go to the boat to chimp diary and after a while, sandy glaze comes by. we're gonna stay at her pad the next two nights. I know her from the old sst days. she's starting up own business now, "sin in linen" (http://www.sininlinen.com) w/stuff for beds. maybe she'll make stuff for those who konk on decks too - I'm gonna suggest that to her.
I run into garrett, a cat from the bands spell and the fluid. the last time we saw each other was outside this bar in manhattan called "max fish" where me and evan dando we're letting the whisky river take our minds about five or six years ago. I put the stooges on the juke box so many times in a row w/me and evan singing along so loud (and probably fucking stupid) that we got kicked out for bogarting it. so somebody didn't like "I wanna be your dog" ten times in a row or what? it has just snowed and to show my appreciation for getting the boot, I puked big time in that soft whiteness right outside the pad. damn, what a bozo... that was a highly embarrassing moment in my life, glad garrett here helped me re-live it. actually, it was kind of funny, kind of... he's interested in how I am since then and I fill him in. good to see him again.
I see chad and heard from jer he wants to do "the red and the black" w/us, alright. he's gonna play floor tom. he tells me about this session he did w/john fogerty since I tell him I was way into creedence and that's why I wear flannel. he said they did this one song like almost a hundred times over three days which is a trip cuz ccr would record tunes in just a couple takes. he said john was great though.
we go on and my guys play good though later pete tells me he blew some clams. I gotta a little out of tune again - gotta watch that cymbal-to-bass action. like an idiot, I started the set w/my glasses on and have to take them off part way through the first tune so they won't fly off (pretty big drop off the stage at these pads). flea misses one tune and part of the next one he does w/us cuz his trumpet got left at the hotel. those things happen. he did great though when he did get his horn and even gave the folks a little dance. I tell the crowd it's been quite an honor for the lips to be w/both us other bands. for the b.o.c. tune, all the lips join us - even michael, who plays a tambourine stick and wears a zebra head. chad plays his tom right next to me - I look back at him and he's got my glasses on! john's on board too - his best solos yet w/us (great tone too), damn if we don't have ten people on stage!
the flaming lips do their final set w/us and I love it much. so much for the ears, so much for the eyes, so much for the mind... it's a wonderful thing. big hugs to wayne, steven, cliff and michael - roadie justin and soundman chris too. I get some sad news from chris - elliott smith killed himself last night. damn. I didn't know him personally but that's so sad to hear.
I talk w/mister frusciante and tell him that billy told me there's only two bands on the bill in canada now so I've been asked to play longer. I ask him if he'd do "sister ray" w/us and it's a trip cuz the album that's on is what he's been listening to in the dressing room. is that a coincidence or what? he tells me about some soundtrack music he did for a new vincent gallo movie that's just been made. I've met vincent a couple times and he's always been very nice to me. john gives me a cd that has five of the songs he did for it, can't wait to hear them. we talk about t-rex, those cds joe boon gave him and he digs them much. somehow we get onto the record "tanx" and I'm trying to remember some song that has this line, "in a jeep that's cheap" but I can't think of the title. anthony tells me about alaska and paddling, how he dug it and I'm even more into doing that. we talk about pedaling too - I asked him about his calves cuz mine got like his after pedaling a while but he says he thinks his came more from dancing. I wish I could do that but these fuckedup knees I have - I shouldn't complain though cuz I can still walk and pedal. we do the spirit circle and as we finish, the chorus of that t-rex tune comes to me - "take me down to they counrty, honey" - great, cuz I hate to let go of something I can't remember... I want to fight this alzheimeresque shit every chance I have. I say it out loud just as we finish - I let go of my thoughts so I can share w/this guys' vibes and bam - it just came to me like that. whoa! they then go and do a great set.
the tour accountant, liam, who is such a nice cat and helps me out a bunch has me come up to meet this gig's boss to settle w/the "bobby deniro." it's this room w/people at laptops, doing the bean-count thing. the boss after a bit and when I tell him who I am, he's kind of blown away cuz he said he hasn't directly paid the "artist" directly in a very long time. I tell him it's ok, it's great he had all aboard and it was nice to meet him too.
we bail and follow sandy to her pad in west seattle. her dog dozer is very happy to have visitors, he's intense! tonight my aches are a little more on me (I went off during our set - last show w/lips) so I get some ibuprofen from sandy. we're konking at 11:30 pm - so different than most my tours. I have weird thoughts run through my head before I konk - so weird I can't remember them now but I know they were weird. hmmm...
read week 1 of the tour diary
read week 3 of the tour diary
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