mike watt + the secondmen
watt - thud staff, spiel
pete mazich - organ, singing
jerry trebotic - drums
(top, left to right)
top of the boat's windshield from the inside
steve kaul - the man outside the van
wednesday, october 22, 2003 - seattle, wa
I was awakened by the sounds of the chief hosing off in the shower; I laid out for a little while reading "motherless brooklyn"- sandy had also woken up by this time and her pooch dozer happily trotted around me and gave me a face wash w/his huge tongue; dozer's a pit bull and very intimidating looking but has a sweet disposition (me and him bonded well).
sandy made some coffee and I drank it heartily- I had a major caffeine jones and needed it to shake some of my grogginess; I checked my email then continued to read the book. we had plenty of time to blow as we were playing in town at the croc' cafe and it was only about fifteen minutes away; we had to take the boat in for an oil change and we were up for some chow so sandy drove with us into town, we dropped off the boat and went to a little local place and had some grub then went back to sandy's pad where we kicked it for awhile. sandy made us a killer dinner (broiled salmon w/ a bulgur wheat salad- very kind) we also met her mom who is a very cool lady. sandy also has a burgeoning business called "sin in linen"- she sells bedspreads and the like printed w/ real cool designs- I know she will do well.
we bailed from sandy's pad and headed on over to the croc'- on the way it started to rain, but by the time we pulled up in front of the place it had subsided somewhat so we quickly unloaded the gear and piled it into the croc and set it up on stage. JIm, the same soundman from last tour quickly miked us up and we had a lady named kirsten doing the monitors ("red and the black" never sounded so good). we broke down the tools to the side of the stage, then me and jer went to grab some chow.
we were going to be in vancouver the next day and all of my work permits and paperwork were supposed to be waiting for us when we arrived at the club (but of course they were not). it seems that fed-ex had showed up at ten that morning, but nobody had arrived yet but the cook (and the fed-ex cat saw him), but he didn't leave the package, only a return card. Fuck! jer got on the horn to the local fed-ex office and explained our dilemna, but due to some bullshit regulations and time constraints we couldn't pick the package up and would have to wait till the morning for it to be delivered- and the delivery window was between ten AM and three PM! this was not cool as we had to be on the road to vancouver by 1:30 the latest or we would be in a world of shit (we had to deal with border control also). jer finally convinced the guy to give us a window from ten AM to one PM and we would have to plant ourselves in front of the croc' in the morning and wait. somewhat of a relief but the heat was still on. mike decided that if I wasn't able to make the gig he and jer would have to do it as a duo and fly me in for the next one -what a fucking mess. needless to say, this shit bummed me out greatly but I decided to not let the negative thoughts poison the gig.
me and jer sat out in the bar area and rapped; a few people had begun to trickle in and it looked like it was going to be a decent show- at least we didn't have any cave shit to worry about. we sat and rapped in the bar and finally it was our time to go; we got up on stage and launched into the set, and I have to admit we played pretty intense- the crowd was very cool and dug us much. much respect to them and to jim and kirsten for the kind sound. we packed up the gear and quickly loaded it into the boat, then followed sandy back to her pad. I was really beat mentally and physically, but I was satisfied w/ how the show had turned out. now I only hoped that my paperwork would show up the next day. I read my book a little bit then let the sandman haul me off. laku noc sviraci.......
I pop at like seven am feeling filthy - I really should hose down before I conk, it might make my bones feel better too - especially if there was a tub to soak in for a bit (though sandy only has a shower, I bet that could help even). one thing though, I very much should bring a dry outfit in w/my konk sack when I come in after the gig cuz in the morning, the outfit from the night before is always totally filthed-out. I can this shit on after be cleaned up so I just wrap a towel around me and go out into the gray west seattle morning. kind of chilly but I move fast, straight to the boat and what's this I find right on the curb, near the sidehatch? someone's keys - I got to get these to sandy cuz I always feel bad for someone when finding these - I get empathy feelings about how it's been so fucking lame when it has happened to me. wait a minute, three keys here, two of them ford and one looking like it's for a club (steering wheel lock mechanism)... damn, it' for the boat! to check it for certain, I use these keys to open the boat and quickly get an outfit. I race back up to sandy's pad and call out for pete and jer, "who's are these?" jer answers in the affirmative and we don't have to say anything more - none of us cuz at one time or another, we've all pulled this goof. shit, I remember locking the driver's side hatch but leaving the fucking window down! another time I went to the post office and then had to call georgie for him to come and open up the boat cuz I had locked the keys in it w/the motor running! thank god he was home at that moment. I have no room to get too mad at anyone over this. we all have some laughs. anyway, it seems jer has a little trouble at home and I don't want to add to it - his wife kel was talking to him on her walkie-talkie leash, driving on terminal island when she was pulled over for speeding. jer is hollering. they both hang up on each other a few times but things calm down. these things happen, we can't go to insane when they do... let's get our mind in the moment where we can find calmness - it's only eight now but I want to go drop the boat off to get lubed and it's oil changed and while that's happening, we can go w/sandy to have some chow.
she takes us to some diner where me and pete get oatmeal. sandy's friend bill comes by to say hi and we all talk w/each other about things - a lot about kiss (the band) cuz sandy saw them w/bill last week. I haven't seen them play since I was eighteen (1976) but I have did meet gene simmons sometime in the early 90s and tell them about that. it was pretty funny. believe it or not, he was pretty humble when I told him I got some bass stuff from him like glisses - I told him I learned lots from john entwistle too and he said john was a "real" bass player... I told ok but I still was influenced by some of the bass in the first kiss songs I heard, stuff I recorded off of the tv, before they had a record - off of a show called "in concert" (when the did first record came out, I remember it sounding so slow compared to that tape of mine and seeing them live). of course, the punk movement had a huge effect on my playing when it came around but he said something I thought funny, he said, "real punk was from england" and then looking at kira (who was there w/me), "except for black flag." he said english punk was "really working class." I didn't want to argue, why? I was pretty amazed just to be talking w/gene simmons - his talking voice tripped me out cuz it was nothing like I had heard him sing like. it was a coincidence I had met him anyway cuz thurston had just foisted me on him at this dinosaur gig at the santa monica civic. he brought me into this room and shoved me right into gene simmons' face. I had just come from columbia w/one of the first cassettes of fIREHOSE's "live totem pole ep" and it was in my hand while I was talking w/gene. I wanted to go see j play so I thought I'd give gene this cassette to hear what I sounded like. he said, "who do I have to blow to get this?" and I said, "no one, just take it" and then he said, "no, who do I have blow?" and I just put it in his hand and laughed. he was a funny man w/me. I think he was serious though about having respect for the who and john entwistle. I think he seriously believed in his punk theory too. I did tell him I first read the term "punk rock" in creem magazine in a bit where I first saw them being described. he did a double take for a moment - just a moment. it was a trippy meeting in a way, I remember all these cats watching the both of us, thurst, kim, j, kira, the redd kross guys... it was bizarre, totally.
we finish and go back to get the boat but it's not finished yet so we go back and I chimp diary 'til it's ready and we go pick it up. sandy's ma iris comes by and they go to get stuff from the store to cook us up chow - sandy was showing me her garden and there were tomatoes coming on to be almost too ripe and I said it might be good to make some soup out of it so they wouldn't go to waste. sandy cooks them up w/chipotle and grills some fresh salmon. along w/that, she makes some cracked wheat called bulghar mixed w/walnuts and raisins - what an excellent chow we have later that afternoon! thank you so much, sandy. pete and jer dig it much too. I get week two of the diary coded up and post it up on the hoot page and then we leave for the crocodile cafe where we're having a gig of our own tonight.
it's raining now but not too heavy - nothing like what we heard was here monday which set a record for most rainfall in one day for seattle, five inches! I go up to the office and find pete's paper work for entering canada and I find a "sorry we missed you notice" from fedex - fuck! I get jer to call their office and they said we'd have to wait 'till tomorrow, between 11 and three! jer gets them to narrow it down to between eleven and one but that's the best they can do. they can't hold it at the office w/out permission from the sender but the man-outside-the-van, steve kaul, is in new york - three hours ahead of us and way gone long gone home. oh man... christine (the boss) says the fedex people never come 'till eleven and can't understand why the notice says he came at ten... she then finds out he did come by (at ten of ten) but when the cook came to the door to see who it was, he saw the delivery man through the window and this guy just waved as he drove away! what the fuck? nothing we can do now so we soundcheck w/soundman jim and monitorlady kirsten and then I chow a salad. after that, it's the boat for me and more like I do on my own tours, I konk before we play. I'm out for like three hours and miss both the opening bands, xxx audio and the lashes (both locals), that's too bad cuz I met them all after we checked and they were all nice cats.
we do the same set we did in s.f. and portland but encore w/roky erickson's "I have always been here before" besides the stooges' "little doll" like we usually do. I dedicated "bedtime story" to elliott smith after telling the folks that even if you get really down, there's still a chance you can heal up (this after five songs about my "illness"). I think of him a lot while we played, so sad. I talk to christine about it some when we get done, she's sad too. I have to say the folks were really nice to us and it was a pleasure to play for them but I know there was kind of a weird feeling cuz of elliott. this lady told me as I was leaving that she was glad I said what I did, that she needed to hear it. I never know how to react w/this things, it's always hard for me - probably why I've never been to a funeral too.
sandy introduces me to her friend, allison wonderland - what a fabulous name! we follow sandy back to her pad and we ready ourselves for konk. man, am I sore - maybe it's the wet air w/the cold, that always reaches way down into my bones. the light's on for pete to read so I pull down my mask and read the konk writing written on the wall.
thursday, october 23, 2003 - vancouver, bc, canada
watt again woke me by way of his hosing off sounds but I had had a really good sleep and I felt good; sandy had woken up too, and dozer came out and licked my entire head thoroughly then brought me his toy so I could play w/ him (I happily obliged) sandy made some coffee which me and watt eagerly consumed while we listened to jer yelling on his cell phone (quite a show that jer is). we rolled up the bags, bid sandy goodbye and got on the road to the border. thank you much sandy and dozer for graciously sharing your pad w/ us.
we headed on over to the croc' and docked the boat out in front- the chief would wait for the fed ex cat while me and jer went to go buy halloween costumes for him and the boss (they had a hellride gig on halloween when we got back), and grab some quick chow. we went to this little costume place about five blocks from the croc' and jer got a tinkerbell outfit (yup, tinkerbell) while we got watt a mask appropriately called "leather licker". we headed on back and watt informed us that fed ex hadn't made an appearance yet and it was nearing noon! (the chief was visibly agitated). me and jer went in to the croc and sat down for the wait. I was again real nervous and I ran several possible scenarios thru my mind on what I would do if the shit didn't show up on time (much agitation, but I tried to remain calm) I see christine, the boss lady approaching us and her look is kind of grim; but she's holding the package in her hands! relief.......
we get on the road and hit the border around two thirty; we made it thru customs in about forty-five minutes and were back on the road to the vancouver colisseum where we arrived at about five-thirty. needless to say, the crew was relieved to see us and we unloaded all the gear and ran it up on stage. we were going to be the only opening band on the canada dates, so now are starting time would be at 7:30 and we would have a forty-minute set. I was in a real good mood after the stress of the day and I was itching to play. we did the check' and everything sounded cool so me and jer went over to catering to grab some chow. afterwards, we went back to our dressing room and kicked back. john, from the peppers came in and rapped w/ us about "sister ray" which all the peppers' were gonna join us on up on stage on (along w/ "the red and the black") we were going to have a blast on this show.
we hung out a little longer in the dressing room and then arty came in to give us our ten-minute warning; we made our way towards the stage and I looked out at the crowd-it was a sell-out! we went out on the stage and there was an incredible roar- the feeling when you hear that is indescribeable - we launched into the set with a vengeance and we were totally on... flea came out on "big-bang theory" and "one reporter's opinion" and it sounded fucking awesome, he really went off on the solo sections. we were moving like a freight train by the time we got to "sister ray" and the peppers' came out and turned us into a cannonball; it was a total fucking freakout and we really heated the crowd up. the canadians really showed us some love, it was our best gig of the tour so far. we went off to a roar of applause and I was completely spent. The "station a" cats (now "the doers") from vancouver showed up (they were playing w/ us in calgary) and helped us load the gear into the boat. I was glad to see them (I had met them the last tour in vancouver and they were such nice cats). we stuck around for part of the peppers' show then bailed as we wanted to beat the after-show traffic. barry and shawn hopped in the boat w/ us, and after a beer run led us to their pad where we sat around rapping w/ them until the sandman descended. I was once again happy as a clam and conked very solidly. buona notte musicanti.......
I pop and hose off last night's gig filth - damn, I promised myself I'd do that before I'd konk but the whole thing slipped my mind. crummy fucking habit - I have to break it. we gotta get to the club soon and dock there so that damn delivery guy doesn't do to us what happened yesterday. my worst fear is letting the pepps and their crew down, they've been so good to us. I also learned that the third band that was going to be on the bill has been now scissored and so it's just us two bands playing so it'd be really fucked to screw it up... sandy makes us coff (except for jer, he's been weened from that particular chemical) and we play a little w/her pit bull, dozer. he's such a sweety, nothing like the stereotype this breed is mostly known for. I found this about dogs a long time ago when I read meters for so cal edison in long beach, lakewood, artesia and hawaiian gardens - the person element in a human/canine relationship is big time significant in how their character (the dog's) expresses itself - it's not totally the breed cuz I've seen mean little toy dogs and then total lovers from breeds known for killing and maiming. that was a trippy gig, I'd have to make four hundred "reads" a day which meant I saw at least a hundred dogs each time I went to work... the whole idea of going into so many yards, so many pads, so many domains... it kind of scares me now to think about all the fucking chances I had to take. it was in the late 70s and the whole fighting dog fad hadn't caught on yet but really it was the people who were the most spooky - I had many, many bizarre situations - quite an adventure where you never quite knew what kind of hand you were going to be dealt and this was constantly. maybe it got me ready for tour and keeping on the awares cuz in a way I see many similarities - some big differences though cuz there wasn't much of a chance to work some bass when I was on that gig. I'd have to wait 'till I clocked out and got back to pedro and be w/d. boon. life has certain parts of it overlap though, that's for sure. you'd have to be really stupid not to recognize that and try to learn from it. ok, I'm a slow learner.
bye to dozer, bye to sandy - big, big hugs and thank you thank you thank you to sandy for all the righteousness and hospitality she's shown us. good - no keys outside the boat as we board her. I wheel us over the west seattle bridge (love the name of the road that gets you there, "fauntleroy") back to the club in the belltown part of seattle and I find a parking space right in front. jer knows his priorities and heads straight to the club for chow while I play sentry in the boat, eyes peeled for that fucking fedex guy. actually, I'm having a little fun w/jer cuz first he went and hiked to a costume store to get us some costumes for a halloween gig - I've played every halloween for many, many years in some sort of a costume (besides the one I usually wear!) and almost blew it this year cuz I didn't really think of it, maybe cuz I'm almost always on tour this time of year and don't have to worry about having one... when I realized I had nothing for october 31st, I had jer check some pads but of course by then everything was booked. peter from porno for pyros came through and me and jer are going to join him for a weird version of hellride (perk can't be there cuz he's in europe w/jane's addiction) doing stooges songs. jer is quite generous and actually thinks much about me. he brings back this full-headed rubber mask called "leather licker" - he wanted to get me this costume that was a hospital gown w/this reservoir that held fake diarrhea that could be pumped out of you w/this hand-held squeeze-pump shaped like a turd. it cost too much and anyway, who could see it if all that shit was behind you on stage? it's the thought that counts though, I love jer. him and pete go to chow while I sit in the boat and feed the meter quarters... I read while the barbie purse gets fully backed up on this tiny firewire drive I have for such a job. I call the man-outside-the-van, steve kaul and vent some frustrations - not w/him (I dearly love steve kaul) but w/the situation - what a fucking stomach-knotter. my eyes are constantly darting to the rearview mirrors as I try to read and I must see dozens of delivery trucks - some even are fedex ones but none of them are the right one. noon comes and low and behold, jer comes out of the croc holding a fedex envelope - yes! pete's papers are inside and we're very much happening now. thank heaven for small mercies - north on I-5 towards canada! in bellingham, I stop for gas and right next store is an auto parts place. my mind has been weighing heavy on the gigs after vancouver - they're in the prairie part of canada and there's three mountain ranges we gotta cross to get there, add to that the hellride home which has more of the same and the time of year which is right on the cusp of winter for these parts cinches the decision I've been trying to make regarding having tire chains for the boat, just in case. shit, all these tours I've done and I've never carried them - this is kind of stupid. I mean, I try to tour when the conditions don't call for that but nature can deal out what she wants whenever. as I fuel the boat, I send jer over and he gets some tire cables which are actually easier to get on than chains and we luck out - it's the last set they got for a vehicle like ours. whew. I feel a little better now and so do my guys. I can't for the life of me think why I even had to hesitate on an issue like this - what a dope.
the weather is fine today though, lots of sun and the evergreens are beautiful. light traffic too which is happening. scotty had called just as we were underway after getting the important papers and I let him know that we were go. however, the number he gave me to call him back is constantly busy so we have no way of letting him know we're at the border - that process goes really smooth though. I first register the gear on the u.s. side. new folks at the border (customs is now part of "homeland security") and the guys I deal w/are new to the 4455 form. it's ok, anything from me to help things along. what's kind of funny maybe is the guy next to me at the counter complaining to the customs agent that the canadian border guys took his gun and "clips of ammo" plus gave him a fine. the officer patiently explains that canada is their own country and has laws to protect it's folks like we do. the guy is still baffled why we aren't yet running canada and the officer calmly suggests that if had been coming across the border from mexico doing what he did that he'd be in a prison there and it would take an act of congress to try and get him out. when you're a guest in other people's lands, you have to respect their laws, isn't that what we'd like of folks visiting us? it kind of trips me out how people get oblivous to something to me that's pretty obvious but that's maybe cuz I actually cross borders w/my person and not via tv or the movies w/fantasy gun battles and such. I consider it pretty much a generous privilege to be allowed into the many lands I've gotten to play - canada being the most numerous of my foreign forays. it takes only forty minutes on their side for immigration, thank you very much. scotty's line is still busy so we have now way to him and billy know we're across and making headway. damn. ambiguous markings on the road signs and the limitations of the mapping software on my barbie purse being strictly u.s. causes jer to err in naviating us the easiest route we could take to the venue (the pacific coliseum) so we end up going right through the middle of downtown vancouver to get there (it's where I usually play so I know that way), taking more time than we needed to take. this pad is in the east part of town but we're still ok though, getting to loading dock at 4:30. boy, is scotty and billy glad to see us - artie too. artie tells me the truck border crossing was "waiting" for us but when I saw the line of trucks lined up on the offramp for blaine (the last u.s. town before the border), I went for the peace bridge crossing I usually take, where the tourists and commuters cross. everyone's relieved and when I ask scotty why the line was always busy, he said someone was online w/their 'puter - what a bogart! we all laugh the whole thing off - damn, we're here and together. billy gives me this righteous wrestling sticker for the boat, one of the "peculiar fellows" series called "luchalibre" that has a masked wrestler flying through the air like he was coming off of the ropes. - I'm so glad we didn't let these dear ones down.
peter, kevin and nick set us up quick - kind of trippy w/no flaming lips stuff on stage so they set us up center but I keep us still tight and tiny. we do our check things are set for show time. jer said he heard some radio (there's two stations broadcasting from the parking lot) that we're going on an hour later than we actually are (which is 7:30 pm) so I run out to the parking lot and these two tents where they're at and enlighten the djs there to when showtime for us really starts. both of them say they said the right times but I'm into trusting jer's hearing so I kindly let them know. they're nice back as is some cat from a tv station who talks to me a bit. I am really hungry though cuz of nothing to eat all day and shovel some at the trough. it's a good wail, I have these england-styled stewed mushrooms (big round ones, like golden brown golfballs), steamed broccoli and spinaich plus some marinated artichoke hearts (one of my favorite chow delicacies!). I also have a big salad and some of this roast beef - the outside part cuz I got the first piece (I try to put as much time in be tween chowing and playing so I won't puke during the gig). the cat in charge of outfitting the dressing rooms (very minimal for us cuz that's what I ask for) asks what kind of chili sauce for the salsa and from the choice he presents me, I choose "acid rain," a habanero one from here in canada. it's got heat and flavor, the best combination. pete digs it too. I go out to the parking lot and meet w/this cat named tom who's interested in checking out how I do my music world - touring and recording, that kind of thing. he's a nice man and has even got a ticket, he's not there to put the touch on me or do the dick-leech thing. I think he was a fIREHOSE fan cuz he asks me much about ed fROMOHIO. I'm always happy to tell folks about what I know of what ed's doing now days, living in chapel hill (in north carolina), helping the folks in that band southern culture on the skids and doing his own music w/grand national.
I go back to dressing room where pete and jer are john frusciante comes by to explain to me about the music he made for that vincent gallo film. half the cd he gave me was for that film and some of it was shot to those tunes but they ended not being in the movie cuz of the dynamics between what resulted up on the screen and what was going in the ears. I understand how that can happen, it is trippy but such things don't end up working out, despite the intentions (like a lot of things in life, huh?). john's got a deep understanding of music, it fascinates me. time for us to go on now though.
our set runs through well and we include the other madonna song we do ("burnin' up" from my ciccone youth days) besides a blow-out version of "sister ray" w/flea and john on board. they're surprised when I do some of my bass solos on my knees (I'm always surprised when I'm able to stand up again after doing that!) and bite on the strings w/my teeth. this song always whups me up good. chad gets joins us all for "the red and the black" and this time he does it w/out my glasses on (he grabbed them from on top of my amp last gig)! I play mainly to him so I can help him cue him, flea and john have the tune down cold. it's a fun time and the vancouver folks receive us probably the best of all these arena gigs this tour. gracias/merci/thanks.
we load up the boat and I'm met by sean and barry, who are letting us konk at their pad tonight. they've opened for me a couple of times w/their old band station a but now have a new one called the doers that will play w/us in calgary for our last club of this tour. flea was sure nice to let me book this gigs on our own while still getting to do the big gigs w/them. good to see sean and barry again, the last time was when they flew me up here to record bass cuz barry was still recovering from a fall that almost killed him. they're truly good cats. I go to tell the pepps thanks for the wild time we had playing together tonight and john's listening to the first new york dolls album. it's a great record, I've always loved it. we do the spirit circle and I'm get that uplift I always do w/this. they go on and I watch from the side of the rear side of the stage, sitting on the deck cuz my knees hurt. billy gives me a drum stick of chad's that gets away from him. that's nice - kira wanted me to have something to get signed for her best friend's daughter so this'll more than work for that. pretty wild watching john play tonight, he does a few solos on his knees. I watch flea work the bass too and notice how much chording he does, it's a trip. I get to watch almost their whole set up close and non-stop this gig. I like chad when he cuts loose and rolls alway at his toms and cymbals - I do air drums to it! at ten though, pete gets me and helps me down the stairs - fucking knees and we take barry on board to let him lead us to him and sean's pad.
they have some friends come over like their neighbor brett (he works w/nofx - eric melvin is a cat in that band I very much dig) plus some others like their drummer jeff, a young writer named john and a room mate named cathy who's a teamster (there's some others too but I can't remember their names, shit now) and we talk but I do most of that from my sack cuz I get into that 'pert-near after I get inside. these cats are pretty acclimatized to this weather (duh - they fucking live here, idiot watt) so they don't realize the front hatch is open but fuck if I don't! it's pretty funny. barry puts on one of those fake logs but I shouldn't complain anyway cuz I have my minus twenty sack to konk and keep warm in. barry takes his skateboard and gets some of these ketchup-flavored potato chips. trippy tasting but like an idiot, I eat more than a handful. I hate chowing after gigs really and especially this kind of "nourishment" (not that they're ketchup-flavored but cuz they're chips period!). it's almost automatic that people want to chow after a gig but I very much fight that "desire" cuz I think it's crazy on a body level. smarter to konk and wait for morning chow which should be happening cuz barry's gonna make some for us but the strong vancouver mota plus the lure of such a crazy chow concept got the better of any common sense in me. my share consumed, the mask coming down is a sure sign where watt's heading so the party moves to the kitchen and my consciousness moves on to sleepytown.
friday, october 24, 2003 - revelstoke, bc, canada
woke up on the deck a little groggy but feeling good; watt wanted us to bail by nine o' clock so we could get in as much travel as we could before the sun went down- the chief is very conscious of our safety (he always says he has two daddies in the boat that he wants to bring back in one piece) as well as his own so we don't do any hellrides at night. we had close to six-hundred miles to go to calgary but we had two days to do it in so we would stop and conk somewhereat the halfway point- the doers crew was caravaning along w/ us too. I went to do a hose-off and now, fully awakened I went in search of some coffee. barry whipped up a very kind breakfast of huevos rancheros for us which we chowed down w/ fervor and then rolled up the bags and loaded them into the boat.
seven people are hard to get moving at once so the dawdle was in full swing, but we finally got rolling around eleven-thirty (much to the chief's consternation), but we did get moving. barry was riding shotgun in the boat while jer was riding in the doers vehicle and he provided us w/ a lot of info on the countryside as we passed thru it- he even showed us a forest area that his grandfather had replanted after it had been clearcut. what a trip.
we stopped twice for some piss-breaks for the ladies in the doers crew- jer tried to talk them into using a piss bottle w/ a paper cone, but to no avail. we blew about a half hour at each stop (again much to the chief's consternation- dawdlin'! he would yell), but we made it to a small ski town called revelstoke by dark and decided to conk there for the night. the doers crew went to go find a mo' on their own and we went into our room and kicked back. I watched a bbc program called "the missing postman" and then me and jer decided to hunt for chow. we found a little pad called zala's and ordered a shrimp and veggie pizza and strapped on the feedbag. it was very kind. afterwards we went to the local denny's (you can't get away from these pads), to grab some chow for the chief and headed back to the mo'. I watched the simpsons' while jer went to go for a dip in the jacuzzi- watt went to go get some hot water for his tea and brought me back some and told me to get the camera as jer was lounging in the spa w/ about seven 13-14 yr. old girls- it was quite a scene he said. I rushed over, camera in hand and started snapping away- jer was a little embarassed so I went back to the room to get the video camera. by the time I got back he had already exited the pool and proceeded to explain the sitch to me. apparently there was a busload of young girls and boys passing thru town (a sports team or something), and they had comandeered the entire pool area (including the jacuzzi) and were screaming and giggling at the top of their lungs (much to jer's consternation). poor jer, much the innocent victim in this pre-pubescent onslaught (I did get some funny snaps tho').
the doers' crew called us over to hang out w/ them so me and jer hoofed it over to their mo' and kicked it w/ em' for awhile. they are such nice cats. we hung for a couple of hours and then came back to our mo' and conked immediately.... laku noc sviraci.
I pop at eight (pretty late, huh?) and hose off, then roust pete and jer. a knock on the door to let barry know I think we should bail at nine so maybe he should get on that chow he was suggesting last night. the officer on the canadian side said it was like fourteen hours from vancouver to calgary and these guys here said it's like eleven or twelve... I'd err on the longer time, what the fuck? we got some grade and there's a hammond b3 in that boat of ours... not too good a chance for some big daddy don garlitts drag racer speeds for us today except maybe on the way down and I'm not about taking any risks like that. speaking of which, I'm not into driving once dark comes down - why? we got the next day to get there too. lots of this road has no divider running down it and it is the "transcanda highway" - lots of big semis on it besides all kind of other scary stuff (elk, ice, wind, etc...). ok, call me a fucking old man. for me, it's just trying to lower the odds of major hell coming our way.
barry makes us all up some righteous heuvos ranchero and I use the bottle of "acid rain" I got from the gig last night to heat it up good. barry did a great job on fixing this fine breakfast for us - gracias, barry. the doers are going to rent a minivan to get them to calgary and we decide to caravan up. I don't why but that takes a bit of time to get together and then there's the shirts they made for them to sell after they play. we've got to get them but there's a bank across the street so I change over some u.s. dollars for canadian ones to use gas-wise for the boat. we'll probably have to get a motel room cuz no way are we gonna do the six hundred miles in one day, especially w/it coming on 11:30 now. I go up w/sean to meet the folks who made their shirts, tyler and - they're nice people. time to go though - now! I really don't like the idea of driving through the mountains at night so all the driving we're gonna do today will be the sunlit kind. we trade barry for jer so I can learn about the route we're taking. I'm usually very reluctant to do this cuz I feel strongly about us staying together since we're out on tour playing together. I make an exception in this case, knowing sean is driving makes me feel a little safer. whew, finally we're on our way! we head east out of vancouver on highway one (the trans canada road) and towards a town called hope which is wear the first "rambo" movie was filmed. before we get there, we pass through chilliwack before we get there, the town barry and sean are from before they moved to vancouver. gas for our boat (they got 94 octane and I use that) is about ninety cents a liter (canadian monies) which for us is about $2.66 a gallon (in u.s. monies). last night cuz we were tripping about the ketchup-chips, our canadian hosts were tripping on candies we don't have south of them and one of those were fat licorice 'gars so I get one of them. jer takes a snap of pete in a board w/a rambo character painted on it - a hole cut out where the face is. now both their lives are complete. here at hope, we take bc-5 which is called "yellowhead." barry shows us a patch of the mountain where there was a clearcut by lumber bogarts and then replanted by his grandpa, it's huge - much respect. he shows us the peaks he's hiked up to also, pretty impressive. the view along the drive is righteous, the weather so clear w/lots of sun making for mount baker to be easily seen - barry says usually it's shrouded. there's grade to do but the boat pulls along ok, maybe not the fastest but ok and I'm grateful. after only two hours, we have to pull over again cuz these guys have to piss. not only are there two girls aboard their vehicle but there's beers getting drank... man, what kind of dawdling bunch of moseying panty-waists is this? I ask jer to get back in the boat w/us. I don't know about this caravan thing though I dig these folks a lot, we're on a tour not a vacation - we need to get down the road! anyway, it sure is a gorgeous road to get down, beautiful canada surrounding us. we get to kanloops and start following these big long lakes and then their fingers which are called arms. we go through salmon arm - that's where the name comes from. the big lake is call shunswap and it's incredibly pretty, righteous. back the trans canada highway now we're through the cascades. kind of a slow go cuz the speed limit is down mostly to sixty clicks (60 km/hr = about 38 mph) cuz of the tiny towns around here. whatever, so many eyegifts to engulf one - like norm crosby would say, "the view is perspiring." much sun bathing everything bright.
dark descends as we come up on revelstoke so I decide we should konk here for the night - about five hours of driving left so what's the need to do risky rolling in the boat? no view either when you have to plow through darkness. I pull up to a super eight pad - our first hotel konk of this tour (acutally, the first one in the last few tours of mine). it's about sixty bucks u.s. which is doable since we use these hardly ever. too much for sean and the six folks w/them so they move on to a pad called the r hotel, across the train tracks. I would've went to this pad too but I didn't see it as I got off the road. jer digs the super eight though cuz it's got a hot tub. him and pete got to get chow while I chimp diary, I'm beat - driving can wear on you 'pert-near like a gig. they come back w/some soup and a salad for me - very kind gentlemen they both are. truly, pete and jer are a both a joy and a blessing to me to be w/on tour and making music. I treasure them dearly even if sometimes you might hear me hollering at them cuz of the screwball ways I'm trying to get better on.
I witness a weird scene when I go to get some hot water for some throatcoat tea. it's right by the glass door to the jacuzzi/pool area and I see jer in it w/his eyes closed, water up to the chin. around him are like five girls, maybe thriteen at the oldest. it's not like he's being a lech or anything like that but it does look weird. I guess there's a girl's volleyball team staying here and the sight of a tall bald man in his mid-thrities stewing in the jacuzzi was too much for some of them. what plenty of ammunition for some easy teasing on jer when he gets back - pete goes and gets pictures even. believe me, it looked sicker than it actually was, none of it was jer's fault.
I'm on the deck w/mask down and blankie bundled when the phone rings - it's sean so pete and jer go over to hang w/them. I'm just too tired though and want to let konk take me and take me it does... bink.
saturday, october 25, 2003 - calgary, alberta, canada
I was awakened by watt around four AM (actually I had already opened my eyes and the chief always seems to know when I am conscious), and we talked about jer's little teen escapade from the nite before- we inadvertently woke up jer with our laughter and he was really grumpy- "why do you guys do this to me all the time"? arrrrrrrrr!!!! (I don't think ol' jer is much of a morning person). I went back to sleep for a little while longer then woke up anyways, we had to get rolling as we still had a hellride to calgary so we hopped in the boat and got moving. just as we were pulling out of the parking lot we see shawn from the doers' flagging us down; he says the rest of the crew is still dragging themselves out of bed (a situation we foresaw), so we opted to go on ahead solo. a decision was made to get some chow before take-off so we went farther into town in search of a chow pad and ended up circling thru the whole town and ending up where we started (we did see a really cool railroad museum as we passed thru-they had this huge old snowplow mounted on a modified caboose chassis- it must've been 15 feet tall and the same wide). all the restaurants seemed to be closed so we begrudgingly decided to go to the local denny's where we chowed down some oatmeal which watt says flushes the cholesterol from the body (a zone diet recommendation). after our healthy breakfast (tho' jer chowed down one of the denny's slams), we finally got under way and I must say that the sights passing thru the canadian rockies were some of the most beautiful I've ever seen; the mountains had snowcaps on them and there were waterfalls streaming down the rock faces-truly a majestic sight. jer was riding shotgun so I laid out in the back and alternated between conking and reading; I had just finished "motherless brooklyn" and started another tome called "tonight at noon", a book about charles mingus written by his last wife, sue graham mingus.
we arrived in town about three o'clock and parked the boat near the club, a pad called the night gallery cabaret. the doors were still closed so mike sat in the boat while me and jer went in search of chow. after mowing down some pasta we hoofed it down about seven blocks to a club called the warehouse; jer had noticed in one of the local rags that his ex-roommate's band, death by stereo had a gig at this particular pad and he wanted to say hey. we went in and found his buddy along w/ his band doing their soundcheck, so we rapped w/ them for awhile then headed back to the night gallery. there was still no-one at the pad so we went and sat in the boat and waited (the doers' crew hadn't shown up either). finally around 6:00, the doors were opened and we loaded all the gear in and onto the stage; it was a real wailer as there were some metal stairs to navigate to get to the stage (the pad was on the second floor), and me and jer really had a fine time getting the hammond up there. damn!
having finished that exercise, we set up the gear on stage and tyler the soundman miked us up and we ran thru "the red and the black"; the doers' cats had shown up by this time and we were really glad to see them- we had thought something might have happened to them. turns out they had arrived around the same time we had and had gone straight to a friend's pad and had prac! (now that's dedication)
the boss of the pad dave, brought us some falafel and we sat in the dressing room chowing, reading our email, and chimping diary. I had gotten thru about two days of the diary when I heard the doers' start their set; I wanted to hear these guys so I went out and listened to a few of their songs; they were very down and I dug on them much- they're going on their first extended tour soon and they might come down to pedro'- I have a feeling that they will be very successful, as they don't sound like some of the regular clear channel radio sludge. much respect to them.
the doers' finished their set and broke down and the second band the daggers, came up to play. tight band, but every song seemed to sound like the last and there was nothing really too new about it. I finished the chimping and just kicked back until it was time for us to go on.
we hit the stage and launched into "she don't know why I'm here" (watt changed up the set list for this show) and we were off. we then went into "sweet honey pie" and had to stop it as there was a bad mid-range feedback coming off the PA; tyler managed to alleviate the problem for awhile but it kept cropping up during the remainder of the set and it was a little fucked to hold the dynamic but we soldiered it thru and finished up the set. the crowd showed us much love and I was glad we had played for the calgarians (it was watt's first gig there too). we quickly broke down the gear and loaded up the boat w/ the help of the doers' crew and bailed to this cat clinton's house (a friend of the doers') where we were crashing for the night. we rapped and partied till the wee hours of the morning, and finally I crawled into my bag and let the conk come. and it did.....quickly. beauty eh?
bizarre, I pop at four in the morning. damn. I go to take a good soak in the tub. cold is hard on watt's bones and though it was comfortable in the room during my konk, yesterday's mountain trek put some chill in the bones and for some reason it lingers as soreness. I had the weirdest dream. somehow, I found myself w/this live barracuda and was tripping on it's wild teeth, mouth all full of them and twisted up and kind of mean looking. it was there on a table and I thought I should get it back in the sea. I found some clear plastic bag and was trying to get it in - seemed to take forever cuz I wanted to avoid getting all bit up. for some reason it wasn't wriggling all about or flipping around, just snapping w/the jaws. I started heading towards the ocean and it kept slipping out of the bag and onto the deck. it was tough getting it back in cuz I didn't want to grab but rather was trying to get inside by pulling the bag around it. each time it would get about half way and the fall out. after a bunch of times, pieces of it started falling off and it made me kind of bummed, I kept looking at those teeth and it's unblinking eye staring at me. by the time I got to the water, it was dead and when I pulled it out of the bag by its tail, the spine came right out of it and the head flew off as I tossed it into the drink, teeth snarling back at me one last time. totally weird. I tell pete about cuz he's awake for some reason. I also wish him happy birthday cuz he turns thirtynine today. he then konks and I go to the lobby of the ho and no one's there so I make coffee and tea (in respect to the english part of canada). I go back to the room and then begin to chimp diary. at about eight, I roust him and jer - jer is totally out and I have to pull the blankies off of him... so sorry but he can konk in the boat while I'm driving. we see sean in the parking lot and tell him we'll see him in calgary... sorry to break up the caravan but if they went to the bar like they told pete and jer then they won't be getting up 'till way later.
if I have my druthers, I want to drive during the day and not at night. we go to get chow and get on a road that takes us through town and right back where we started! way to go, watt. one righteous thing though was getting to see this railroad museum that had this huge snowplow and I mean huge - it was made out of a caboose and must've been more than ten feet high! what a trip. we stop at this denny's (lenny's) cuz nothing else is open - I hate these pads - and wait forever to be waited on and served. I mean there were only like four groups of patrons in the whole place, the help almost outnumbering everyone else. you want to talk about some sour faces too? these cats we're milk curdled over w/their fucking scowls. damn. it's like this a lot too in the u.s. still, we try to be happy and not let it infect us. I wish folks would believe niceness can be contagious! oatmeal and coffee for seven dollars (u.s. $), alright! you could tell it was the instant kind too. I don't mean to sound like some complainer - I should've known better anyway. we head east again on the trans canada highway. either the snow line is getting lower and lower or we're climbing up and up - the trees next to the road are all powdered white but the road is clear cuz of salting. lots of the road has signs saying "do not stop, avalanche zone" and that's kind of scary. there's sheds built to go through where the sides of the valleys are really steep, these intense chutes come down from the mountain tops and are filled w/all kinds of tumbled debris. winter here must be scarier than shit - I'm sure glad we're coming through now.
we stop for gas in golden, where the summit for the selkirks is, whoa - curtains on the mountain sides to hem in falling boulders and sheer drops on the other sides. the weather is good though - not as sunny as yesterday but clear enough for calm driving. mostly, the speed limit is ninety clicks (about fiftyfive mph) and we get into the rockies by noon. wow, the canadian rockies are pretty righteous, gorgeous. we cross into alberta and lose an hour - we'll get it back tomorrow though cuz of daylights savings time changing. out of the rockies and through a town called banff (love saying that name, "banff") and then into the prairie, we leave the mountains behind us for land not too different from west texas crossed w/nebraska - flat but w/lots of wheat. we get into calgary about three and park in front of the club we're playing tonight by ourselves, the night gallery, just south of central downtown. I chimp diary while pete and jer forge for chow to fill their gullets. I stop for a bit to reflect on these last two days - what a spectacular drive the whole six hundred miles - wheeling the boat every foot of it was way more a pleasure than joy, a great treat for watt. my guys dug it too. jer says he actually did it as a boy but can't remember any of it. the same w/me when my ma tells about driving through yellowstone when I was two. sure am glad I'm old enough now to retain something (though that can be a fucking battle for other reasons) and am even more glad I'm chimping diary about it and snapping shots.
anyway - man, where's these club folk cuz it's like coming on six, hmm... pete and jer get back and I ask pete to check the door of the pad - open, great! seems the cats here didn't know we were out here - maybe they were waiting for a tour bus or something? these things happen but ok now, we can get a gig on! oh no though, some huge stairs and narrow. better to go up the back ones. what a ballbust to get the organ up these, whew. we get everything up though and meet soundman tyler and boss dave. the room is rectangular w/us throwing the sound out the long way. the stage has a semi-circle bow so we set up tight up-front on it and do a check w/tyler. I had him john coltrane's "a love supreme" to play before and after we go on and he says, "could be worse" - me and pete both almost gag on a laugh, gotta treat the knob man good though cuz your sound is in their hands. like I tell everyone one of them when I first meet them, "we're just the motor, you're the tranny." the boss dave is very, very cool people - kind of looks like a taller version of bob mould. he has a record store called sloth too. he gets us all falafels and man are they good. there's fresh strawberries and plums too, great! he's got hockey on in the office, it's the "battle of alberta" w/calgary playing at edmonton. there's a fight in the first three seconds, then two more before a few more minutes go by - hoo boy. I go to the boat to konk cuz damn, I'm beat. I meet sean and barry, they made it. good cuz we were getting worried about them. I was right about them getting out late... glad we left when we did. glad they're here and safe too though.
I konk for over four hours which is kind of fucked cuz I miss the doers set, aaaaarrrrrrgggggghhhhh. I also had the worst nightmare. here I am, writing about the very next day and shit, I can't remember anything but it scared the fuck out of me and boy was I relieved when jer shakes me up for the gig. in fact, he startles me so much it scares him too! I even tried to remember after the gig and couldn't but I do know it had something to do w/me being in a super-lame situation, some dilemma where I was either getting really hurt or just about to... I was relieved to no end when jer came and got me out of it cuz it was so fucking real I thought I was very much up shit creek. I changed up the set list, same tunes as our other club gigs but a different order. I have to admit I was not in the best shape in the head and lost my nerve, resulting in me playing not so good. that in turn translates into not so great leadership skills w/pete and jer to be inspired by. man, am I fucking this gig up. the calgary folks are great - sure, there's some yammering (like a gig in the u.s.) but there's good spirit from them. here I am at my first calgary gig ever and I'm blowing clams and scared to look anyone in the eye. fuck, I hate when this happens and especially tonight (though I'd hope it would never happen). I know there's folks who've waited a long time to see me too. double god damn it! they give us an encore and I double up my efforts and do better for that though jer's hands are hurting him and it's really tough for him to go all out like I dig him doing in "little johnny jewel." I ask him about this after the gig and it probably sounds like I'm hollering at him to folks who don't know us (like dave). I think part of my harangue had to do w/my own insecurities about my performance so when jer tells me about his hands and it being hard to hold his sticks, I'm relieved a bit and confess to my poor performance. it was good dave said that, I respect pete and jer so much that it's good to get reminded about what the fuck is coming out of my word hole, especially when some of it is coming from frustrations w/my own self - I have to keep that shit in check. yelling at people is so much lazier and non-creative than finding a way to inspire people, it's fucking stupid of me. it wasn't really clams I was telling jer about but more about playing passionately and really, it was only that one tune where almost the whole set I have to admit my shit was kind of short. jer did good, especially for having hurt hands. pete did good and me and jer both should've taken the lead from him. watt was weak this time around. I promise I'll do better not only tomorrow night but the next time I come to play calgary - I owe it to these cats big time. I ask tyler if it was tough cuz of all the feedback in the beginning of the set (we even had to restart "sweet honey pie" cuz it was so overwhelming) and he said it was "quite a challenge" and maybe his toughest gig yet cuz of the dynamics we use (getting loud and soft so much). he said he dug the challenge much though. that's good, I'm glad he could bear w/us. I still can't blame my lameness on the sound though cuz that would be shirking on trying to be responsible and do better next time up. aahhh, to kvetch like this... it must be a trial to read, I know but it's what's filling me right now.
first I pack up my stuff on stage and whitey, who plays guitar in iggy's trolls band comes up to say hi. great to see him, he's very kind to me, especially how I'm feeling about my scaredy cat clamfest, and my guys. he says he digs organ and though jer tore it up on drums - thank you, whitey. this lady then comes up to me and asks if I'm from nova scotia - no, I tell her. she says she was wondering cuz (in her words), "no offense but you look like my dad, especially how you shake all over when you play." that makes me laugh and I tell her that's quite ok. actually, I get a lots of compliments but still lame inside about how much better I wish I could've did. when I get all done there, I go get the boat and bring it back around and we start loading it up. as I was getting there though, an altercation takes place in the middle of the street, right outside the driveway I gotta take to get in the alley (I have to back it in so I take it slow). a club a few doors down must've had some live music too cuz there's these two guys chest up against chest, 'pert-near right in front of the boat (but I'm going back so I'm seeing all this directly ahead). one cat is saying "man, I put a lot of energy into this" - I mean, he's not just saying it, he's hollering it - over and over. a third cat comes up and says, "man, we gotta talk this out" and that's when the chingasos fly. whoa. my little fit was nothing compared to this! still, I get myself better.
we take clint (a friend of sean and barry's) in the boat and he guides us to the pad where were staying. the doers are konking there too. there's some folks there but it's hard for me to remember names and I'm sorry about that. I do remember this cat named jeff who had stories to tell me (and lots of questions to ask) and nan, who made me throatcoat tea. there was a man who told me about his friend ivan who'd just past alway and he liked what I was doing, he was a big fan of thurston's music too. that was nice of him to tell me that. I wish I would've played this town before when I could've meant him. lots of times I don't what my music and spiel means to folks but when you get told something like this it makes you grateful that people are so generous w/their niceness. it's yet another reason I try my hardest and not take anything for granted.
I'm pretty beat down by the gig (physically too) but this time I force myself to shower before getting in the konk sack. most the menfolk here are drinking big amounts of beer along w/some gin and jagermeister - christ, what a combo. they're all nice but I'm in the room w/the couch and laid out - not much to do but kind "hold court" to the q and a session 'till my gas just runs out and konk come and smothers me in a bear hug.
sunday, october 26, 2003 - edmonton, alberta, canada
I was awakened after several shakes by the chief and a "we gotta go sailor"; I groggily slithered out of my bag, quickly threw my clothes on (almost falling on my ass in the process), got my things together and ran to the boat and hopped in - I felt like complete shit and I looked worse; no hose off for two days and the cold, dry air was wreaking havoc on my skin. I laid out on the bench seat for awhile but I actually wasn't that tired and jer was, so I flipped w/ him and rode shotgun. The trip was only a few hours but watt figured it would be prudent to get there early so we could chow and kick back (I also needed to chimp diary). I took a few snaps of the trip along the way and read a little of the mingus book-he was a really trippy cat and a musical genius; there's a mingus album that was recorded live at ucla where he fires his entire band onstage, then rehires them (hows that for balls out?). watt recommends that I read his autobiography which I definitely will.
we steamed into edmonton around 1:30 PM (we were playing at the skyreach arena) and unloaded the gear into the backstage area; the crew had not finished putting up the entire sound system yet, so we had some time to blow. we were all famished so we headed over to catering to grab some chow- afterwards we went to our dressing room and I took a much-needed shower and chimped the previous day's diary along w/ the chief while jer was out exploring the arena (this was the same pad that gretzky played at when he was w/ the edmonton oilers and there are many reminders of him around the place (including a big statue of him holding a stanley cup out in front).
me and the chief were still chimping when jer came in and accused us of dawdling as the local crew had already moved our gear onstage and we were not there. Unmoved by jer's abrasive wail, we went over and set the machines in place while kevin, peter, and nick got everything sounding right. we were also informed that we were now getting a forty-five minute set so we added on "this ain't no picnic" and "walking the cow" (very cool- I was much excited about doing the show). we ran thru "the red and the black" and all was copacetic so went back to the dressing room to chimp more diary. around five o'clock jer came to inform us that dinner was being served, so we headed on over to catering and loaded up on some salmon and veggies (very kind chow indeed), and walked back to the dressing room to continue the chimp.
right around 7:20, arty comes in and gives us our usual heads up- I asked him to radio peter on his walkie-talkie to turn on my leslie so it would have a chance to warm up (I had done it myself before and peter had offered to do it a couple of times for me before, so I didn't think it was a big deal). Immediately I was accused by mike and jer of being a princess; their razzing usually doesn't bother me (we fuck with each other all the time), but I took offense to this comment and it brought down my mood a bit (I guess I was a little hurt by the fact that they would even accuse me of being this way- I really try hard to pull my own weight). anyways, I took off towards the stage and they continued the cat calls as I walked down the hall, to which I responded "whatever, I'll just go turn on the fucking thing by myself". At this point louie (who is the peppers' tour manager), heard our loud rumblings and told me shhh!!! (the peppers' were doing some tour spiel and it needed to be quiet)- there were signs posted around but in my haste I didn't notice them. I went to the stage but found that peter had already turned the leslie on; this bummed me out as I felt that we had worked hard to gain the crew's respect and I didn't want anyone to think that I was this tiara-wearing asshole. I walked back to the dressing room in the midst of louie asking us to be quiet while the spiels were going down- watt reiterates to me by saying "caya te" (spanish for shut your fucking pie hole), so I clammed up. Louie was real nice about the whole thing but I couldn't help feeling ashamed (sorry louie). I headed back to the stage w/ all this shit brewing in my mind and tried to suppress the guilt but I could feel my nerve trickling away. the house lights went down and we hit the stage and launched into the set. right around the middle of the first song "boiling blazes", I suddenly felt the nerve shakes coming on; and I don't mean just the usual trembling of my right foot- I mean a full on body tremble with the hands and all. I tried calming myself but the quake would not leave. I tightened up every muscle in my body and the trembling went down a little but it was still coming on to me. I planted both of my feet on the deck in another attempt to stop it but it just wouldn't go away. we did "bedtime story", "burning up" and "this ain't no picnic" and I was quaking it up the whole time- my confidence was almost totally blown- it felt like every person in that pad just knew that I was shitting my pants up there. I started the intro to "walking the cow" but watt shook his head; I stopped and he started into "funhouse", flea came out to blow some trumpet and I calmed down somewhat, but the storm hadn't passed just yet. after "funhouse" I once again started the intro to "walking the cow" , but watt once again shook his head no. what the fuck? I thought- what I hadn't realized (or had completely flaked on) was the fact that during a spiel that he had been doing earlier on in the dressing room, the interviewer had mentioned the stooges' and watt decided to take out "walking the cow" and substitute it w/ "funhouse". now he glared at me to go into the next song but I wasn't sure what it was - exasperated, he came and pointed to a song on my set list which I thought was "sweet honey pie", but it apparently wasn't. so I'm standing there waiting for jer to do the kick off and he's staring at me, yelling out what I understood as "I don't know" but was actually "she don't know why I'm here" (which I start the intro on). so there we are, in front of fifteen-thousand people- mike's yelling "let's go"!, jerry's yelling "she don't know why I'm here", and I'm yelling "sweet honey pie". I suddenly felt very alone and small, like a child lost in a huge department store wondering where mom is. mike finally yells "she don't know why I'm here" into his mic, my brain kicks in and I start the intro and we plow thru the tune; we do a good version, but I'm still thrown for a loop a little. the rest of the set went very well w/ no fuck-ups and the jam w/ the peppers' on "sister ray" and "red and the black" was awesome. much love to the good people of edmonton that came to the show.
we broke down the gear quickly after the set and moved it to the backstage area; I was still reeling from my stupid fuckups on stage and I alternately felt like crying or destroying something (I did neither). I just really wanted to be alone and I didn't feel like talking much; mike clued in on this and tried to cheer me up god bless him (now that I think about it, had been a real good gig), but I was just too deep in the hole at the time. We listened to the peppers' set for awhile but my ears were still ringing from our set, so I went back to our dressing room to kick back. mike and jer were there already (there ears were ringing too) but I didn't feel like talking. Bill the production boss came in and told us it was the best show we had done yet (many thanks for the kind words bill). mike went to go settle w/ the boss while jer went out on the floor to go find barry's (from the doers) brother russ whose pad we were crashing at. jer showed up soon enough w/ the peeps in tow and we rapped for awhile in the dressing room after which they went to go check out the peppers' set. meanwhile, me and jer loaded up the gear into the boat, then jer went back to go find russ and his wife tara as we were ready to bail (I waited in the boat w/ watt and it was real quiet in there). jer showed up after a few minutes w/ russ's brother-in-law warren and he navigated us back to russ's pad. after we had rolled out our bags and settled in, I went upstairs to read my email on russ's puter' (again I just wanted to be by myself), but of course jer went off on a long, loud and yammering conversation w/ russ on a broad variety of subjects (none of which I wanted to listen to). I love jer much but sometimes I'm really surprised that his larnyx doesn't fall out. I continued to surf the internet for a bit then went downstairs and chimped some diary till about 1:30 am. I put the ti book away and crawled into my bag to conk. sueno did not come easily........
I pop at eight and bundle up my sack in its sack. I go out to put it in the boat and am surprised to find jer already out there stowing his konkware - he had it kind of cold where he was and woke early. I go get pete so we can bail early and shovel for free at the gig trough. almost a straight shot north here to edmonton, about two hundred miles. the weather is calm, like yesterday - clint says it's from a chinook which is like our santa anna winds, warm ones. we stop at a pad called the kafa house and get coff on our way out of town. as I wheel us closer to edmonton, it gets grayer and darker and by the look of the road, it rained here not too much before. we're playing the skydome, where wayne gretzky got the oilers (the hockey team here) five stanley cups. we get in about one in the afternoon and after unloading the boat, head immediately to the trough and begin shoveling. I have a big salad w/tuna.
I go talk w/scotty and he tells me this great story about putting on a johnny thunders gig in louisville. he paid him in the afternoon before the gig and johnny used it for drogas to put inside himself. after the gig, johnny and this creepy sidemouse try to hit scotty up to get paid again. they get in his face, the weasel gives him the kiss of death - the works. scotty tells them he knows he got the money cuz johnny did the shit w/someone scotty knows. johnny lays on scotty his favorite quote ever, looking scotty straight in the face - serious like someone's pop just died and says, "you know you can't split an eightball two ways." too much. he made some great music though.
I chimp diary 'till time to do our soundcheck. I put on new strings cuz man, are these ones corroded. my ma's people are italian so I sweat pretty intense and that plays hell w/anything that can rust. I also want to really go off tonight and not be afraid of strings breaking - a new set usually won't have a string snap in the first gig or two. billy asks us to play fortyfive minutes so I add "this ain't picnic" and "walkin' the cow" to the list. billy brings us into his room and plays us some tunes from randy "macho man" savage's new cd - it's pretty good and what's wild too is billy's stereo set up. his chair has a driver mounted under it so you can't get the thumps from the bass shaking right through you. dinner's ready at five and I get the first plate ready - I like chowing early and not so close to showtime so I don't puke it up while I'm playing or even worse, play all lethargic cuz energy's being diverted to digest what's in the gullet. they got roast pork so I get the end piece w/lots of outside skin, mmm!!! I get some broccolis and cauliflowers too, along w/a good-sized salad. they got great peach yogurt too (my favorite) that's way better than the kind I get back in pedro... this is more like the kind in europe and I even get jer to chow some. always hard to get him to try things I lke, maybe he figures it somehow like a control issue and resists my suggestions almost always. he gives in this time though and actually digs the yogurt. he let's me use his walkie-talkie leash to call my ma - it's sunday and I spaced on calling her this morning and besides, my own leash won't work up here in canada cuz of the system it uses (virgin mobile phone). my ma's doing ok but so cal is in rough shape - pedro is covered in ashes from loads of fires burning all about in the inland empire, near simi valley and even outside of san diego. terrible. my ma said the air was "foul" (her words). my guys laugh when they hear me tell them this but I explain to them that living in navy housing gives to such expressions, even w/the women. foul air, fouled screws (propellers), lines fouled up on deck are things bunk for a sailors life, just as an example of a few things. my pop constantly used that word. I guess it sounds trippy to civilians. a young man named chris comes back stage to do an interview w/me for the radio station he has a show on. he asks me lots of good stuff including things about the stooges - he first heard them when he was sixteen and I tell him I did too... but it was almost thirty years ago! I tell him I'll do my version of "fun house" for him.
it's 7:30 and time to go on. so trippy to play big pads but like I learned a long time ago, "you work the room" - something from the vaudeville days, way before my time but still very much relevant and I think it always will be. man, I'm trying my best to make up for last night and woke the little bass hard - great to do it on new strings too cuz the got such life in them just "being born." pete must've misuderstood me when I said to replace "walkin' the cow" w/"fun house" cuz he starts up that tune but I cut him off and go into it full throttle - "uuhhh!" flea joins us on trumpet - "blow, flea... blow!" it's a wild ride. again pete tries to start us on "...cow" so jer tries to hip him but pete can't understand him - I holler into my mic, "SHE DON'T KNOW WHY I'M HERE" and he gets the picture. our set goes really good, I think it's our best yet this tour. on "sister ray," I go all out and even stick my head in jer's kick drum - I go off and wrestle as much as I can from the little bass - somehow she stays pretty much in tune even. chad comes out w/john to do our final number, the b.o.c. one and I play much towards him, then getting behind my amp so I can jam w/both him and john and miss my cue for the vocal that comes when we all stop. everyone waits 'till I get back to the mic and we all jump back in, everyone connected tight on the tune. chad's playing on the side of his tom, the rims - even the side of my amp! on the last note, he rocks the drum right over on it's side keith moon style. great.
I go rap w/the peppers and john's got fear on to warm up his strumming hand. we talk about how great stix is on drums and how I think fear always was a kind of punk-beethoven band. he then puts on gary glitter. anthony tells me about how they played at the north pole - all ice and northern lights, what a trip. chad tells me about his session w/johnny cash and what an honor that was. I thank flea much for the happening playing on "fun house" and all of us talk a bit on why the stooges of these days don't do "raw power" songs. it's all understood why - not cuz they're not great songs (cuz they are) but cuz the "real" stooges were about the first two records. we do the spirit circle and I've make myself breathe in really deep and let the breath back out slow so I can tap into this reservoir here these cats pool together - when we break, anthony asks for the freak flags to fly. I reply w/a single "om." they go on and do a stormin' set, whoa.
barry's brother russ and his wife tara are putting us up tonight and they've brought tara's brother warren. after a good talk w/billy, who lays such kind and inspiring words on us, we put warren in the boat and roll to the pad. warren's a little confused and we head south for a bit - the wrong way cuz we have to go to the north part of town but a quick "larry" (or "loop it" in our lingo) and we're on the right track. when we get "home," I immediately lay out the konk sack cuz tonight's gig wore me out good and now I'm starting to feel it. laying in the sack w/the konk mask on my head and ready to be deployed, I ramble on to warren and tara about my life - how I got here and what my life these days is like, some impressions of my land and the movement (punk) I've been part of for so long. I even try to relate my perspective of tour and how it's taught me so much - the things I've seen and the folks I've met. I can imagine them being curious about such a weird man - russ has liked my stuff for some years I've learned so now they can see for themselves what it's all about. upstairs is russ giving jer a learning on weather. I try to make as much sense as I can but I start to sputter as fatigue overwhelms me. obviously sleepytown time for oldman punk. I have no choice but to give in.
monday, october 27, 2003 - calgary, alberta, canada
back down al-2, the highway that got us here yesterday. neat how they call these roads trails out here even though they're so similar to our freeways. man, is the wind kicking up big time here - whew! we stope for gas and I ask the cat behind the counter about it and he says, "it's a bit breezy" - holy cow, keeping a hold on the helm is 'pert-near a full-on trial for me now, it must be really blowing when the locals consider it strong. he asks where I'm from and when I tell him, he says he's been in cali, "I took the oj simpson freeway to disneyland." (!!!) when I tell him I live in l.a.'s harbor, where the boats are, he says, "I been there too - tijuana." he's great, makes me laugh - a nice man. I can tell he likes his parts but likes travelling too - that makes sense to me.
the big reason we bailed so quick (not much time to talk w/russ and tara but I did thank them much) was so we could chow lunch for the last gig of the tour at the venue cuz it's good trough and the shovelling pleasant. the last gig of a tour - it's always a good time for me cuz getting that far is such a success when you think about all the things that can go wrong. funny getting to this hockey arena we're playing (the pengrove saddledome, where the flames play), jer always waits for the last minute to help me when he's in the navigator's chair and this time his method has put us in a maze of neighborhood roads. whoops. lucky us though, we run right into it by accident. I guess it's supposed to look like a saddle but like whitey told me saturday night, "it looks like a maxi-pad from the air."
we unload our gear and I park the boat by the busses. the skies have turned gray-white and the temperature drops plus some rain. man, I hope things hold for us long enough to get south. this tour ends pretty far from pedro, like sixteen hundred miles worth. lunch is brought on and I chow a big salad w/tuna - I sit at a table w/tour boss billy and we watch this lumberjack competition on tv called "springboarding." now back in pedro, springboarding is what it's called when someone's mooching of you, like you're a "springboard" for them. this sport though has cats swinging axes, first cutting a plank and then cutting a slot on a limbless tree and using that plank to stand on to cut the next one up, finally chopping the top few feet off the top. intense! it's been a great tour and so righteous to work w/billy, as always for me. I dig him so much. scotty too, who's been such a brother (like billy) to me. billy's picked such good folks to make this team great - all these cats, from the sound, to the lights, to the back of the stage and in the offices, to getting everyone and everything around in the busses and the trucks. everyone is an important part of workings this big - everyone. much respect to each one from watt. understand I usually only tour w/the two cats I'm playing w/and don't do these kind of tours mostly but I do recognize and good team and a spirit that never has made me felt like anyone who shouldn't feel so lucky to be working w/and part of such a "family" - trippy, but that's a good word for it. of course, big hugs to the pepper cats themselves... they've been nothing but gentlemen to me and my guys and it shows how the vibe is resonated throughout everyone involved. their man louie too, much respect to him. I know it's different for me to write so about tour and music organized like this but that's cuz my own tours are just so much different in that way but really, for all the differences, there's lots in common too - how folks treat each other and work towards making something like this happen. it was really a neat experience to see this kind of way be happening and make me proud to part of. much respect to pete and jer too for being there so for me this whole time - in the boat and on the stage, true brothers. this is what's going on in my head now, I got a list of all the people part of this tour - like forty folks and sign "thanks much" on boat stickers of mine, personal to each cat plus have pete and jer sign them too... a little thing maybe but something to let them know we're grateful to everyone and the respect they've shown us.
time for our last set of the tour and I have my "bass = love" shirt on. my guys play on fire and it helps me try and do the same. the last gig of a tour is always intense for me and I really give it my all cuz you don't have to worry about having nothing left for the next one. after starting out the way we have been at these big shows this tour, we do a really fast take on madonna's "burnin' up" (my spelling), the minutemen's "this ain't no picnic" and then flea joins us for "fun house" on trumpet again (like last night) and blows wild. great! must be trippy for an arena rock audience - maybe even too crazy and chaotic but we're too busy caught up in the moment to think about that much. I kind of figured that would happen anyway - even before we left pedro and headed for the first one in las vegas. those who dig it hopefully will use some of it to fuel their own explorations w/expression. those who don't will at least accept the fact we're not half-assing it and just going through the motions. like john coltrane said, "trying to uplift people" - that's the main mission. of course it would be great too if that could happen w/their minds getting a little opened up. all the peppers join us for "sister ray" - chad on not just a tom but his whole kit this time and anthony trading lines w/me for the singing. it's big release time, for a moment I even have my head inside jer's kick drum! the two drummers along w/john makes such a heavy freight train thing out of the tune that I can really leave my "rhythm responsibility" for a big and try to go for some of the "sheets of sound" thing trane got going w/the later part of his music. it's a lot of fun and I feel pretty much like a geyser blowing it's fucking top. our last song of the tour is "the red and the black" (so fitting in front of canadian brothers and sisters and chad goes to his floor tom next to me and beats out some crazy stuff, even pulling my bass cord out of it's amp on one wild wail on it. no harm, no foul though (or like chick used to say: "no blood, no ambulance) and I get it back together, missing only a couple lines of the second verse. pretty much a freakout for such digs but I think in a way it's pretty healthy to sud some decks down.
well, I'm soaked to the skin w/sweat but join the chilies for one last pre-gig pow-wow. I can't stop laughing for a few minutes cuz our gig was kind of an emotional blowout on me. john's got "tanx" from t-rex on, sounds great. they ask me to do the last song they're doing for this tour w/them, "search and destroy" and I say sure, of course. flea tells me they'll turn the end into a jam - "c sharp minor - a true minor" ok, sure. we do the circle one more time, them thanking me for coming aboard and me giving them "much respect" back... I really mean it. they go out and play on fire. this hockey arena is all the way filled and hollering much - now that the crazy man is off the stage, most are done w/drinking beers in the concourses and are at their seats, on their feet and making quite a roar - the loudest I've heard this tour. encore time and they do "under the bridge" and then flea waves to bring me on. well, this is a stooges I haven't played in a bit - w/iggy and the asheton brothers, we do only the first two stooges albums (for good reasons) and wouldn't you know it, I'm pretty freaked out and kind of (kind of?) scared. not that these cats are doing everything to make me feel at ease but I don't know, these things happen. I get it together more as the tune goes on, in fact I start laughing much cuz I can't believe my nerve would have to start failing now, the ridiculousness of my sillyass ways. the jam part comes and wrangle it out pretty good but flea does something really smart by smalling it up, getting things quiet while anthony sings some good improv over it - john punctuating it w/little figures and chad peppering it gently w/some fills. flea then brings it to a really pretty place, playing way up on the neck and leaving space for me to get modal and trade some little melodies w/him. the jam goes out in a gentle way, like tiny surf on the calmest of beaches, smaller and softer 'till it's done and so is the tour. es todo. a big sweaty watt bear hug for flea. where's my jacket? hope it wasn't a donate. I'm told gail took it cuz I was spacing and went off the wrong side of the stage. much respect to gail.
backstage now, deep bows and warm ebraces for john, anthony and chad - much, much thanks. then for the crew - all hugs and big good byes - we don't have to load up our amps, organ and drums cuz billy's taking it on the equipment semi for back home so the load on our boat is at least eight hundred pounds lighter. the boss who did these three canadian arena gigs, dave, is much righteous peeps for giving us two big coolers worth of stuff for the ride home - we donate the beer to the crew cats but there's chowables, drinkables, readables (good books and zines) - even some tukes (canadian beanies) for us, very nice. billy got us rooms at the ho even. we had planned to konk where we did saturday, w/clint, but sent him a note (we gave him tickets to get in) saying thank you anyway so we could be nice for being shown such graciousness. one last hug for scotty ("forehead to the knee and spoons forever") and lyssa then fist to fist w/billy (the pedro way, hard) and we're off.
we get to the ho and I let pete and jer out for their rooms while I dock the boat. it's kind of a tight squeeze for the inside parking but I get it done - man, do I have to piss like a race horse though. I'm not used to fancy hos and end up taking an elevator to the wrong "tower." damn, I can't hold it anymore and fucking piss my pants. I got fresh skivvies and levis in my arms though cuz I sweated hard at the gig so I don't really mind and get out of the fouled outfit, bag it up and shower quick when I finally do find my room. I am beat good and moments after yanking the big comforter of the bed and wrapping myself in it on the deck, I am soundly out.
tuesday, october 28, 2003 - dillon, mt
seven bells and I pop, quickly dress and call my guys. snow's coming and I want to get the fuck out of dodge. I bring the boat around and get pete and jer, then head south out of town and pickup al-2. in the rearview mirror I see white skies and a storm brewing, we gotta beat it. at lethbridge, we turn to al-4 and heads towards the u.s. border where I-15 starts. never been at this border crossing before. the last canadian town is coutts and I thought I could get gas here and my guys could get into their straight "jazz-fusion" outfits but this town is w/out a gas station and bam! there's the crossing. we're in line and I hurry pete and jer up and square they square themselves up quik. me, I got that going at the ho, before we left. anyway, the border guard is just coming on shift but quite a gentlemen though and is very nice to us - we show him our passports and he welcomes us home, thank you very much!
big sky country - montana. very beautifu, as was alberta but different - mountains now instead of prairie. I roll us through the big belt mountains. the wind is picking up and it's a slow go for the boat up some grades, like forty mph but she pushes on and doesn't quit. I get gas in helena, the capitol. then the elk horn mountains. on to butte and we're up well over six thousand feet, whoa. the later it's getting, the stronger the winds and when we get to dillon, I tell the guys we're konking here for the night. we got more mountains and it'd be better to tackle them w/early morning light. that was a good eleven hours of driving anyway, hard climbing for the boat and it'd be kind to let her rest for the night. pete and jer go out to chow while I stay in this room we got at a pad called the sundowner. feels good to soak in the tub first and then work the fingers w/some chimping for the diary. they don't get back for a while and when they do, they find me on the deck and blankied-up. the tv goes on but I'm right under it and can't see what they're watching. like I'd want to anyway, right? I'm tired like nobody's business and konk comes and gets me 'pert-near soon as I make a prayer for good weather (or just safe-driving weather) for us and the boat come tomorrow.
wenesday october 29, 2003 - san pedro, ca
I pop at like four - this pad is full of hunters and w/their big boots and stuff, they mad a hell of noise getting their shit together for their forays. usually nothing can get me up easy but I did konk around eight and the squeaking of the building is outrageous, whoa. I go to gas up the boat and then figure, "shit - I should just the guys and get going so we don't get caught in the impending storm. when I get back, jer must've read my mind cuz he's ready to go. I yank the covers off of pete and we're soon off. over the tendoy mountains and there's snow on the ground but not too heavy - the roads are still clear. we see a snowplow make a turn around and there's the border, we're into idaho.
not a lot of jawing in the boat - yesterday there was more, us reviewing the tour and talking about all the good times. right now, pete is konked in the back so me and jer chow in idaho falls real quick - I have oatmeal while he has cream of wheat and then we're back on the freeway. lots of idaho prairie here so the boat makes good time (we also have a big tail wind) and soon we're into utah, where the winds change up and we get buffeted big time and then smothered in some dust storms as we skirt the wasatch mountains to our east but not bad enough to put us out of the race. at ogden, I stop for gas and let jer have the wheel, first time I've let go in quite a while. I get a "zesto pesto salad" at the blimpie inside the gas station and this takes an intense amount of time. a new guy's on duty and kind of confused - he asks if I want lettuce w/it (what?!?!?!). jer handles the boat good w/some heavy headwinds on us - the "check engine" light came on a few times coming down some grade yesterday and it does for him once - must be a sensor going maybe. at beaver, we gas again and I get the wheel back. the air is totally filled w/ash now, actually it has been for a little while but jer was convinced it was dust but I had a feeling it wasn't cuz the sun was getting redder and redder. now it's a big red meatball, like on the japanese flag. this has gotta be fallout from all those cali fires.
by dark, I get us to las vegas. whew, enough driving for watt. trippy how we looped back to where we started (the tour's frist gig was here). jer's got his gorilla gambling jones coming on him heavy so I agree to one hour here in town to rest the boat and let him get his money throw on. we go to the orleans casion (one of jer's favorites - hey, at least it's not on the strip) andI get a new york cut steak and some tomato slices... something to sort of celebrate the end of yet another tour. this time jer doesn't come out behind - he got about eight bucks on top, the first time out of five gambling forays for him this tour. I call my ma and tell her we're just three hundred miles away now and jer takes the wheel to barstow while I konk in the back, waking just in time to hear pete say we've crossed into cali. it's here in barstow were pete takes the helm for the first time this tour and drives us in to pedro, going west on the I-210 when it meets the I-15, then to I-605 south, then to cal-91 west and finally south on the harbor freeway 'till it ends in our town.
pete rolls us to jer's pad and we drop him off, then heads for his. I get back in the driver's seat after giving pete the most heartfelt hug I can muster and get the boat back to my pad. I give huge thanks and gratefulness out loud up to the stars for my guys getting back safe to the families - this weighs on me every day of every tour I do. trippy looking up at those stars, they seemed to swallow up as far as I can see up into them as I almost can 'pert-near comprehend... or so I think (for just a moment) cuz it's much too big a task for me to understand - I just have to plead "no contest" and again, give thanks and let out the biggest of sighs that's welled way up inside me. a life of tour, man... another one done. whoa.
read week 2 of the tour diary
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