out my kitchen window (across the backyard fence)
I call my ma cuz usually I chow breakfast w/her and my sister (or sisters if both come) on sunday mornings. when we were little, easter sunday meant eating out at what we considered a fancy restaurant (we never ate out hardly, she always cooked good chows for us - her people being from italy) and it's a trip cuz this pad we would go do the "fancy chow" at was called the "park pantry" over the bridges in long beach and when I got older to know it, it was plain it was just a simple little pad and me being a kid had just made it out to be all fancy... see what I mean about memories and shit like that? ha, I just gotta laugh at myself - believe me. another ohio buddy, uncle ray in cleveland has the new jonathan lethem book "you don't love me yet" and I wanna read this - I dug his "motherless brooklyn" one (about a cat w/tourette's that stumbles into becoming some sort of detective - ha!) from a few years ago... anyway, here's the quote from the book he flowed:
"bass players were a secret guild, each abiding with the ungainly, disrespected instrument for the thankless benefit of music itself. lucinda had read somewhere of the argument as to who derived the most pleasure from the sexual act, the male or the female. she felt certain the musical reply would be: the bass player."
now that's a total fucking riot, ha! good ol' uncle ray. shit, I discover I lost my digicamera, christ - ain't that par for bozo watt? after some kvetching on myself, I play the okinawa traditional songs for jimbo and cameron and they dig it much - jimbo says it sounds african. konk time (I try to konk w/friends when I'm able to so I can save the stooges monies) and before I hit sleepytown I think about that gradeschool writing shit and no wonder these tour spiels I chimp now days "read" like they do - I'm still afraid to proofread them even and just let them go as they do. I apologize to everyone who has ever tried to wade through my drivel, apparently it's a tradition of mine I have trouble letting go of.
gig day (monday) and I pop at five bells. I hoof it outside and whoa, still pretty cold despite not a cloud in the sky and sunny bright. I chow a liverwurst sandwich from a deli nearby and then go by the columbia boat house where there's inwood park and lots of redbreast robins and scurrying squirrels. of course it's kind of one-way but not too unlike the monologues I've foisted on human beings. I'm really pissed off at myself for losing that digicamera, aaarrrgggghhh... I try hard to remember where I could've of "donated" it... I call tina and she says the sureis shitty (circuit city) has the same model so I'll take a train after soundcheck to one and replace what is now nevermore. we're playing a pad that's new to gigs - I think they've had only one before, a few weeks ago. it's been the home for reverend ike ("pie in the sky") and is called the union palace theatre on 175th street so I'm actually closer to it than the 'tel where the rest of the guys are staying. it's near the washington bridge which goes over the hudson river to new jersey. this pad is really beautiful inside - a huge gilded interior which a towering ceiling and an amazing lobby - very old time, very ornate and hold 3500 (I'm told the gig is already sold out or like they said in the old days, "clean"). again I use the bypass switch on my bass but this time I plug into the passive inputs on my amps. we do our two songs w/helperman chris doing iggy. I search the bus like crazy for the digicamera. I go talk to tourboss henry - oh, I forgot in my last entry to say he flew into boston from where he lives in poland to join us on tour. he's in great spirits and cheers me up some. fuck it, I'll just get another - cameras like this ain't that expensive now days. I take the 'a' train to the '1' train and get the same camera (though the u.s. version, the dmc-lz4 cuz the one I had I got in riga back in december) on broadway and around 78th w/a one gig memory card for a hundred and fifty bucks. I'm so specific about what I'm getting that the sales cat asks if I'm getting it for someone else and I tell him "nope" and thank him for not trying to sell me anything else. I return whence I came and across the street from the venue is a chowpad called "malecon" - this is a dominican neighborhood and I'm hankering for something like that. I get which is pig foot stew (patica de cerde - my pop used to chow pickled pig's feet and I dug them too but it's the first time I had them cooked up like this... it's really good. the sistas in the pit ladies come on in - they just got here from wading through much plugged up traffic and barely made soundcheck, good to see them. I go back to the bus and get a visit from my old friend elizabeth and her husband eduardo. I just saw her when I was in texas - she's heavy w/a baby coming real soon now - beautiful in that way, you know? I think so. it's really good spieling w/them, really good. time for the sistas to hit the stage and I really want them to check it out so we go inside and I sit where they do and we watch the sistas' set. they're great, both elizabeth and eduardo are new fans of theirs too! I'm fired up to really go off now... before I leave, she has me touch her tummy and I feel the baby's foot kick - wow, I don't think I've ever experienced that... I'm pretty sure I haven't cuz it puts a huge impression on me. you could tell how the skin was real tight and then that tiny thud - felt though and not heard by me cuz the sistas jamming away was way too loud for that... little girl there is kickin' to the sistas! it's amazing this tiny one's first stooges gig is gonna be from the inside of her ma! hugs and byes - join the stooges team back stage. on the way in the hall I see my lawyer of seventeen years, rosemary. she's been iggy's lawyer the last couple of years too. she's also an old friend of jimbo's. I saw steve shelley and hug him - he's going w/sonic youth to japan and china for gigs in a few days. the boilersuit feels so baggy on me but everyone says I look skinny in it - I think cuz I got so belled out in my heavy bourbon days that relatively I look "skinny" - that's what I feel when I hear this. of course the pedaling and paddling helps but believe me, most of that is for my fucking head cuz I ain't no jock or athlete - believe me! what I'm trying to be is a bass player, one trying to get it together. here goes another lesson on me tonight...
tourboss henry leads us up the stairs after a half-hour. me watching the sistas play not only greatly motivates me, it reduces the time I need to be just waiting and going crazy w/the guys, waiting. when I got back and ig met me in the room next to his where I joined ron, scotty and steve, I use one sentence to explain this and he says understands but I know he wants my attention focused. everyone's different... even at different times I'm different - like on my own u.s. tours where I do all the driving, I spend time in my boat konked before playing... there's all kinds of ways I think I go about doing the gig thing. I do admit that the actual is maybe not so natural w/me but I have been through it maybe more than a couple of times and I do give it all I got - fuck, that 'pert-near is about what it takes cuz I get, I mean I am terrified. if these guys only knew how much I don't wanna let them down, maybe it'd be a little better to understand. I can't blame ig though for his concern cuz he's probably had tons of idiots skating on his trip and not giving their best. I let him know I'm a hundred percent devoted. I'm pretty much a social retard so it's not about hanging out but the fact watching the sistas work inspires me big time w/my work - some bands are like that, some composers/musicians/artists are like that for me - I can't exactly explain why but I know it's real cuz I feel it deep down. it gives me a prep talk in front of the others and I look him straight in the eye and LISTEN - listen careful, every single atom of attention w/in me is his - nothing but respect for him and selfless duty. he goes back to his self-pre and I let ron, scotty and steve know it's same for my brother bandmen. the stooges have a real weirdo on bass but they are very generous w/their love. I owe them everything, every best note I can muster. eric brings me my little bass, I work up the fingers and shake my body up loose as I can get it, stretch those leg muscles w/toe grabs w/out bending and kicking up to hit outstretched palms. FINALLY, up we go on ronnie's side of the stage... "let's go!" hollers iggy and we're on... run on over to stage starboard... plug the bass in, watt - get it together. "loose" comes forth and I'm on board, we're off... ig high-steps it wild, spinning/leaping/singing/emoting/exploding seeming all at once, my eyes wired on him in amazement. then "down on the street" - is he gonna jump on top and hump my amps? he seems to taunt at it, longer than usual but then finally up he goes and down to my knees goes me, a strange sort of symmetry. the transcending rock-out blast from scotty and ron is incredible, I am sure lucky to be grout, so lucky. into "...dog" and the hugeness of the stage, especially the wide-open frontal apron seems all at once occupied by iggy cuz he seems to travel every inch of at once, damn. is "tv eye" next? for some reason a doubt grabs me but ig's "lllllllllllllorrrrrrrrrrrrd" erases that quick. here comes the sex-act-in-the-head-through-sensation-and-not-through-thinking thing again... what is it about this riff and ig singing like he does before the chug? by the way, I miss scotty's roll into that part yet again w/my slow gliss and though I'm not out of time or key or anything like that, I like making the move w/his toms like I do when I get it right. time for the new-tune-early-in-the-set next w/"my idea of fun" and it's probably the best I've ever played it, finally getting a handle on this baby. I put the volume back a little for "dirt" so I can work it hard w/my plucks and still not bogart. my amps are sound really good and it's mime for me tonight but like I said, no bogart. I'd rather mime than bogart - this is not a reggae band. it's trippy, I've been thinking a lot about tony maimone's tone cuz I listed to pere ubu's "the modern dance" a bunch after doing a phone spiel w/him on my last radio show last week. I really dig his tone on that record, earlier bassist tim wright's too on the "final solution" single before but what's trippy is that tony said family man (bob marley's bass cat) had a huge impact on him. goes to show you that real respect to your influences includes not copying. anyway, the one percent of my attention that's not on iggy is thinking about tony and his bass as we launch the audience dance numbers "real cool time" and "no fun" - very inspired participation by the folks on stage w/us, the spirit that was poured on us by them from the first note of the gig just grows and grows, holy cow. so many come up to dance and do it so furiously, it feels 'pert-near like the deck is gonna give and we're all get to the dressing rooms downstairs the fast way! wow, what a trip - all the rapture and happy vibe up here w/us - I give as many hugs to as many I can when we finsih. one bunk thing is security getting not happening w/people - I even move in front of one of the baseball hat guys to keep him from trying to cow people but even worse is some manhandling I see, especially of women... I'm fucking not into that. at least there's no violence but there is over-reacting, I thinking. fucking cool out, cowboys. "thank you, new york dancers" goes ig and then introduces us - big bows from me for him and then my fist in the air for scotty and ron as the names get called out. very generous ig. "1970" rolls out and something's up w/ronnie's guitar - maybe his wahwah pedal is pressed down cuz the tone is really weird but we plow on despite that and in a few seconds he's back in "I feel alright!" mode w/his full-on sound. in "mindroom" (next), a chair comes flying up onto the stage on my side - some of the chairs aren't bolted to the deck and its one of these. ig calls for "fun house" and I'm careful not to rush the intro though I get wild some w/fills a little much and realizing this, calm it down and keep to the riff... like an idiot, I get carried away. these older songs have been in me for song, a part of my life and imagination that I sometimes lose the performance aspect - the fact that I gotta be a part of them being performed and not just getting hysterical over them cuz the way they get me lit (makes me think of that estel song "you racka disciprine"). fuck am I sometimes ridiculous, it's embarrassing. "l.a. blues" spins out insane w/us freaking out, myself blurting phrases of coltrane's "giant steps" and "a love supreme" in bits between spastic wrestling w/the bass, w/the strings, w/the amp and myself. I see ronnie point to scotty to bring in "skull ring" but scotty holds on to make a tension 'til he lets lose that tune's peter-power-gunnar-gun riff. up comes another chair on my stageside - it doesn't get too close but I wonder if someone's aiming for me? tonight I make sure I never once have my eyes leave ig and seem him give me that second verse acknowledgement - grazie mille, capo. lots this gig I've had mostly bridge (eq also bypassed) in the little basses pickup blend and I think this helps w/this pad's acoustics - speaking of which, man, do they accentuate steve's sax sound - wow... shards of his skronks, toodles and wails lash out big time like the hugest scimitar ever. the new yorkers are a very kind w/the energy they're giving us, much much enthusiasm - like the boston gig but w/their own style. these cats are really lit, I know all of us up on stage are most grateful. we end the set w/a huge stomping take of "trollin'" - I make sure I roll on the roots in the tune's coda and not syncopate it up too much w/intervals, even the simple ones I had been doing. we run off to the side we came in on. ig's given lots for this gig, crimony. at one point he asked for someone to open up some doors and let air in cuz it was pretty sweaty... just a little bit for some breath catching-up and then we're on w/"1969" - the band moving that riff really hard, starting strong and ending strong - same for everything in between. I space on the first bars of "she took my money" - right chords but what fucking rhythm? for the life I don't know but I get on board pretty quick after that clam. again, steve's sax soars like nobody's business - I mean, it's really a bruiser tonight but I'm lovin' it big time - whoa! we get out the steamroller for "not right" cuz all I can imagine is asphalt getting the workover w/what we're working here. "I'm fried" finds us pushing it right to the breaking point - I can't especially feel it w/scotty and ig but we hold on fry it up good and then off again stage port. even more breath-catching then the last time we were here - ig calls for "little electric chair" - just one more. all that pain I just saw on his face becomes total big time smiles as he gets the joy explosions translated to the folks. he hasn't done a lot of launches into the crowd but rather like he did in boston: lean-over-timber face plunges that are intense! I think I blew a couple of clams in my solo but I think I grooved the main stuff the best I have all tour. I have to come out in front of scotty's kick drum to watch ronnie cuz his guitar solo is the best. this gig ends w/a huge rush for me. I got my arm around scotty and walk w/him to the wings of the stage, big hugs for him.
whew, that was a gig! I mean they all are... the all seem like only five minutes long in the head though yeah, the body's feeling it some but I know I'll be feeling it way more when the adrenaline runs out. I thank my band compadres and then go out to the "meet and beat" room, say hi to old friend juan rosenfelder, big hugs for him. I then see jimbo and don fleming. both of them really got this whole ball rolling I think when they got ronnie to record w/steve shelley, thurston, mark arm and myself for that "velvet goldmine" movie thing maybe ten years ago now. ronnie himself says that when I bring them backstage to me him. I also bring back danny fields - all the stooges are very glad to see him. he talks w/me a while, I like him a lot. he tells me about the g.t.o.s, a great all-woman band from the 60s. I heard that band a lot on rodney bingenheimer's radio show cuz used to play them all the time. danny's got a ton of stories, great cat. jimbo says the gig sounded great and asked who mixed it? well, knobman rik is standing right there so I introduce them both. I see dictators singer handsome dick manitoba - big hugs for him, big ones. ok, starting to run on fumes so I ask jimbo and cameron if we can bail - we're staying overnight cuz the next gig in phily's only a hundred miles away. man, did I donate my gray flannel shirt cuz I can't find it anywhere... outside we go to the corner for a car ride up to their pad and I discover my shirt was on my lap somehow - baka watt! we get to their pad (love how the cross street is named "seaman") and spiel much. I put on the okinawa traditional music and they both start singing to it, alright! they wash up the boilersuit, my levis and the gray flannel shirt, thank you much. they got hardwood floors so I konk on the couch and cuz I'm so tuckered it happens like that.
wednesday, april 11, 2007 - philadelphia, pa
I pop at six bells and head for the deli a couple blocks away for coff and then head for inwood park to spiel w/the robins and squirrels, I get some snaps of them w/the new digicamera. I head back to jimbo's and chimp some diary and when jimbo pops, I offer to cook him chow. there was a package of salmon in the dressing room last night - half of it peppered - and I tell him I'll cook it up w/eggs. I get the salmon cooked up and then the first round of eggs when he tells me he's not a breakfast person and I should have all the fish so I stop w/what I got done and chow my own cooking by myself. him and his wife cameron offer to drive me to the 'tel where my stooges band guys are cuz that's where the bus is leaving from and also happens to be right next to where jimbo works as a guy who puts music to movies. the coldness has diminished some and the sun is out bright, beautiful. big hugs and byes to jimbo and I get on the bus. I see ig get into a car - he's taking the train to phily and making a fist, I tell him he did great work last night (cuz he did!). wheelman loren does the hundred miles or so and we're into the center of phily around two at the four seasons hotel. it's a little colder here - some wind's whuppin' up but I make the hoof to not too far away where the masonic temple grand lodge of pennsylvania is on broad street cuz I wanna take the tour and make sure I know when it is - I blew it when we here in february for that wedding for bam (the "jackass" show skater guy). the sign says eleven bells so this is where I'll be tomorrow morning. I go back to the 'tel and sit for what I think will be a few minutes just to rest my eyes and whoa, I konk for many hours. I pop to see darkness out the window so I go out to find beers for scotty cuz I hate the idea of him paying like seven bucks a beer. he however is way konked and so I visit steve and let him have some. he was out hoofing earlier himself and got paul trynka's "open up and bleed" book on iggy and I read some, the parts about suchi. me and steve spiel a while and then I go back to my room and notice that james dean in "rebel without a cause" is on so I watch that and konk right after. in the first pad I ever lived in by myself (I was eighteen and it was on gaffey, just north of 22nd street) I had a picture of james dean from this film over my door - one w/him in the red jacket though you couldn't tell cuz my shot of him was in black and white. man, he was great in that movie, sal mineo too. trippy flick. I konk right after.
I pop at seven bells and get some coff at the fuckin gonuts pad not too far away. I come back and chimp diary 'til it's time to make the masonic hall and leave a little early so I can get shots of the public art at the city building across the street. trippy, lots of it is giant representations of board game shit like bingo chips, monopoly markers, dominoes and chess pieces. ok, it's time and I enter this pad for the tour. lots of portraits of white old men on the walls, I guess they're past grand masters. now understand I'm here to trip on this shit - I'm not really a joiner of anything except for maybe punk and a couple of human/civil rights things... the tour guideman says I can take pictures when I ask him but he says I gotta stay w/the tour - me and five others. he takes us through the various halls they got here for lodges to meet in. they're all similar in layout but are set in different motifs. first we're brought into the "oriental room" which is based on the alhambra in granada, spain. symbolism is everything w/these cats - I first stumbled onto all this when I was working for a really old lawyer named mister hanley in my mid twenties, he used to have to walk w/two canes. he was one of "the craft" - that's what he told me when I asked him about some strange things I found in his office, masonic stuff. he never let on much but it made me wonder and I went to books to explore what I could. seemed like a strange old punk for bosses, kind of/sort of maybe - them wearing aprons in secret w/their rituals and metaphor/analogies, along w/an excuse to party and get borracho - a world unto themselves. I found out some were involved in the u.s. revolution, the big one here in philadelphia was benjamin franklin. the next hall was the "gothic room" and was used for knights templar - I found one of these uniforms in a thrift shop (still have it, a sword too!) and I guess it's the only mason part you have to be christian - for everything else you just gotta be a believer in the "great architect" to be in - that and be a man though there's figures of women everywhere. my favorites are the four "beauty," "wisdom," "faith" and "hope" ones out by the huge iron staircases. in the library they got first u.s. president george washington's apron - yeah, these guys fashion themselves as kind of a worker thing in a way, "building better men out of good ones" or something like that. "operative masonry" is actually building things where "speculative masonry" is what these guys do, using aspects of building things as symbols for learning morality. whatever, you can tell a lot of money went into this pad so maybe this is where a lot of connects were made. the "egyptian room" is amazing, hieroglyphs and all. actually, all the halls have something neat about them, the "renaissance," "nordic," "ionic" and "corinthian" - did I leave out any? their website is probably more together about this than I am but like mister handley once told me, "for everything revealed, something is concealed and for everything concealed, something's revealed" - he said that was one of their sayings when I once asked him to hip me to what they were about. some funny shit. on the way back to the 'tel I get a tuna sandwich and chow that.
we bail for sound check at four and a half bells cuz there's no loudness allowed at "the electric factory" (the venue's name) 'til five. helperman chris shows me the hurt he's got on the side of his head - I guess him and helperman jos had a slipup moving one of the bass cabinets, ouch. I also guess the plan to put the cabs on a giant skateboard thing is out cuz like the previous gigs, it's on the deck. no cases for the amps either but the board strapped on top of them so they'll secure between that and the cabs seem to protect them fine for when ig leaps on top. these eden amps and speakers are sure sounding good - never again have they peetered out some like they did in d.c. so maybe that just had to get a good fire-up to burn them in. none of that shit that usually gets rented for me at other gigs even comes close and this ain't smoke up in the ass but my honest word. me and chris take shots in front of the whole rig to send back to eden, that sure is great they loaned these out for the tour like they did, much respect to the davids there for making that happen and lane too - he's asked chris to even write a "tech blog" for the tour. this is our longest soundcheck ever, 'pert-near an hour cuz of the noise restrictions. the venue is like a big warehouse (2250 capacity) so there's some sound issues but we'll soldier through - "work the room" - right? the got a chow room and I have some flank strips and asparagus. out to the bus, I meet some people who want autographs and they're real ones, ones for them. I say that cuz sometimes there's obviously ebay auction action going when you see five copies of the same record or a brand new fifty dollar "crestwood" guitar that's never been played - yesterday when leaving nyc there was some shill w/a photographer in tow to "authenticate" the signings, holy smoke - who do they think they're fooling? pure jive - it doesn't happen to me but why don't they be straight and offer ron and scotty a percentage of what they hope to rake? I hope nobody lays out more than a few cents and their forced to sell what they got for that - that would be good justice, I think. another thing I personally don't think is a good idea to sign is stooges records where I didn't play on, like the first one or "fun house" - it's not to be smug but out of respect to dave alexander cuz he DID play on them... much respect to dave alexander. for the first time on tour I check out mywasteofspaceplace and damn, tons of messages and tons of "new friends" - man, it's impossible for me to answer all them even though I get the nicest thoughts from people, it's just all too much and I think I'd have to make it a full time job in itself to get that all responded to proper. I sure appreciate it all though, there's much genuine kindness towards me, much respect to all for being so generous. I get into my boilersuit and then konk for a bit.
I miss the sistas for the only time this tour - we're going on at 10:30, an hour later than the last two gigs and I don't know, I just konked probably cuz I was tired. I get to the dressing room right when the sistas finish. it's a real nice dressing room w/lots of couches and some room, even japanese-lke lanterns hanging from the a-frame like ceiling. the last two pads were old building and the dressing rooms tiny. it's no big deal to me but I can tell ron, steve and scotty are happy and if they're happy, I am too. right before we go on, skaterman bam comes into say hi and w/him his chuck treece, a great musician/skater I've had the honor to jam w/him and ray barbee, also a great musician/skater for a fuel tv thing last year (a clip of the prac for it here). big hugs for chuck. tourboss henry comes to get us and we come have to come up on my side of the stage so I let ron and scotty go ahead of me. ig asks if we're ready and then hollers "let's go!" and we're off, the gig is on. the pad is packed and hollering themselves as we blast out "loose" for them. the guitar is almost non-existent on stage, iggy's bumming on that and signals to jos to try and get more ron up here w/us. I can hear myself really well but am missing ronnie's guitar as well. I think the set list order is settling into something sold for the rest of tour - "down on the street" is number two and it roars out tough - despite the acoustics, the band is tight. for "I wanna be your dog," I gotta move in front of scotty's kick drum to make sure I come in right w/ronnie. ig's giving it his all, his work ethic incredible and inspiring. there's a low-mid feedback that's acting like a blankie on the guitar, making the tone muted/muffled. it's not from his amps, I know that cuz I get closer again for the "tv eye" intro... scotty's making up for it though w/making it very clear where the groove is - he's socking that gretch set he's playing really solid, amazing. onto "my idea of fun," ig's now in the trench between the barrier and the stage. he's all wet from pouring a bottle over his before the last tune - from that a sweating it cuz it's a little warm. I started feeling it early and noticed there was no fan on stage! lately there's a fan between my amps and scotty's riser but I had rik help me push the bass rig closer to scotty so only a half-foot space remained, I really dig being close on the drummer, close as I can and well, there's no fan back there blowing but a word to t-shirt bob (he helps us out on stage during the gig) has him getting it hooked up quick - many thanks to him from me. "dirt" up next - it looks like ig's cut up on the chest from stage climbing, I see blood - there was some on him in nyc too but much more tonight. I try some little things at the end of the bridge though nothing too "jaco" as it gets called (or like ronnie says: "ramen") but just something a little different but we cue together tight to bring ig back in, we work the tune solid. money mark sent me a quote from the ny times that said I "followed physical cues with half-crazed concentration, like a fisherman refusing to let go of a dangerous catch" and I think a lot of that's true. I do not wanna fuck up for these guys so concentration is my strongest tool. "real cool time" time, guitar solo at the end means, "come on up and dance w/us" and one by one, flood comes on. I see bam come up early but soon he's upended and blam, bam goes down right in front of scotty's drums. someone helps him back up quick though. "no fun" is dance-it-up part two and I got a whole crowd of folks in front of me, getting into the bass - alright, many thanks. hey, my old friend timmy's up here - wow. it takes a while to clear the stage, ig spiels about how "we're not cartoons, we're flesh and blood..." and then introduces the band before "1970" takes off - everything but the crunch of ron's guitar but he's playing really great despite that shit and his brother is thundering his skins much. "mindroom" is where steve gets his intro from ig and I can always hear the wails from the folks over the guitar, people giving him respect. iggy calls for "fun house" and the house churns and chugs, "uuuuummph" - whoa... funk funk funk splattering into a "l.a. blues" spinout, everything wild - ig hollering "I feel pain" and then "I am you... I am you... I am" - scotty hats us into "skull ring" and my bass is all there, no konk out. iggy works every inch of the stage, works hard and dances a frenzyman dance only like the igster himself can do it. we end it w/"trollin'" - ig asks for the all the lights in the house on so people can look friendly at each other. we're off for a minute or two and then back w/"1969" - I move to more back pickup after moving in a little more front one for the last tune cuz more definition seems the way to go. some wailing sax from steve for "she took my money" - hell, he's been wailing all night though the room does nothing for him like it did in nyc but I'm still digging it. "for the music!" yells ig and we go into "not right" and make it real tight. same w/"I'm fried" and then we're off stage again. one more time back out for "little electric chair" - I blow some clams in my solo, shit. I gotta prac it more, that's what I gotta do. it was a disaster, just some note flubs but damn, I gotta get it more together.
into the dressing room and I'm soaked, still in would've been way worse w/no fan. anyway "I feel alright" big time. like in nyc, there's no de-brief from ig - that's different. he does come in later - it's sistas in the pit's kofy brown's twentyseventh birthday and he gives her a big b-day hug, we all do. a young man and his wife come in to say hi and he's got his bass - I can tell it's HIS bass and not one for ebay, I'm honored to sign it. the cat who put out the "live in detroit" dvd, ed seaman comes into say hi, finally a face to the emails! alright, ed. two of steve's radon music buddies come and we all have some yuks. good vibes from the phily peeps, outside too on the way to the bus, I see timmy again and take pictures w/him and others. there was a mixup and it was assumed scotty was going to fly w/his brother to detroit tomorrow but he clears that up - he's riding w/us in the bus, alright! me, him and steve go into the back and listen to john coltrane's "a love supreme" and were all lit up much by that, it's beautiful. what a righteous way to go konk.
friday, april 13, 2007 - detroit, mi
that was a righteous way to start a konk (soon after hearing coltrane) but it turns out the konk itself ended up being a hellride cuz for some reason the thermostat for the bunk area was hiked all the way up and it was very much a shvitz in the bays, holy moses... there is nothing like a sweater (not the clothes but the action by the body) to make for tortured konk. it felt as if the lungs were dried out in the open sun w/the insides turned out, leaving two parched leathery bags, split and cracked like old beat-up baseball gloves. I somehow pop out of the swelter gasping and gasping for air. there's windows that open in the back room - I find scotty there curled on one of the seats w/air rushing in from such openings, his coat for a blankie. I don't wanna wake him but need to be resuscitated so I gulp while trying to keep mouse-like and quiet. I go up front, through the sweaty bay section and into the forward room and find the thermostat, seeing it's been cranked - damn. one by one, the team wakes and I ask each if it was swelter for them and yep, for each it was... aaaaarrrrrrrggggghhhhhh. so we learn, I think. just like scotty predicted, it's a turns out to be ten hours of rolling as we get into michigan - I popped thursday morning just as we made toledo and turned north, it's around noon when we pull into the first 'tel we're using in a town just west of detroit, dearborn cuz this ritz-carlton is no-cigarettes only ($250 cleaning fee if you puff in a room) so they smoking people (me, scotty, ron, steve and wheelman loren) go to a hyatt regency a mile away. it was raining most of our drive and it's cold gray drizzle here now. from my window I can see a mall and try to hoof it but am turned back when my "ford michigan truck plant - 3 crew operations" light jacket (that's the proper name of the coat ronnie gave me) w/two flannels under cannot keep the cold off my bones. I stay in and chimp diary to the okinawa traditional songs 'til non-sweaty konk takes hold and I'm laid out for hours 'til I wake hungry. a look out the window shows harder wind blowing now, tree limbs dancing and the flags out front vigorously (that word always makes me think of steve) flapping so it's a no-go in my mind about hoofing (can't get sick on tour, can't get sick) so I do something I never do, I order what's most econo on this fucking room service menu, a burger that comes w/fires that says eleven dollars but actually costs 'pert-near eighteen. what the fuck is that about? I thought it was a 'tel and not a burn ward. I get a call from scotty and go visit him, brother ronnie joining us and we spiel as slow but sure, I make it in stages down to his deck but pry myself loose from it as konk comes on cuz I should be konking on my deck and not snoring on scotty's (like I've never done that before!). I do just that, seeing the clock is still half-hour to go on midnight.
gig day - friday the thirteenth (ron says these are his favorite days) - big gig cuz it's d-town. I put the latest-chimped diary up on the hoot page via the bus - the internet connect is slow (maybe by satellite?) but it works - I find out that wednesday night writer kurt vonnegut died at age eightfour. he was a good man of the written word - kind of mark twain-crusty in his world-look, I think but for this land I wish there was a little more of that cuz I think it would be healthy. sad we lose him, sad. at least he kept chimping all the way along, inspirational. I wanna roll 'til the wheels fall of too - no pasture for watt, just push 'til done and then buried at sea. we bail for four bells soundcheck... downtown detroit, across from the tiger baseball stadium, the beautiful fox theatre. I played here once before w/fIREHOSE, opening for the beastie boys maybe fifteen years ago. this is the biggest pad on the tour, holding 4757 folks. the ceiling here is sky high and there's a huge balcony that overhangs w/seats on it sloping up. pretty amazing looking up at all this and the intricate decoration, must be artdeco era - righteous. the stage is gigantic, very wide and deep. we set up like we usually do, right in the center - ig'll have plenty of room to work it tonight. there's chairs in the orchestra pit (not bolted in like the rest) up to the barrier but they're tethered together in three so it'll be very hard to toss them. we do our two soundcheck tunes and then ron and scotty go back to the 'tel while me and steve stay. they got some real good chow in catering. they're small portions but good, I get blackened white fish, prime rib, asparagus and a salad - I make the salad big. helperman chris' parents are here (this is his hometown) and I'm honored to meet them cuz I dig chris much. his pop is big, whoa! I apologize to his ma for puking in her car last summer. the funny thing is she never knew cuz chris had it cleaned w/out her knowing. well, she knows now. I was embarrassed but I just had to get off my chest. what happened was I was in ann arbor (thirtyfive miles west of detroit, this is where ronnie lives and where the stooges are actually from) last summer for a week w/the the guys praciticing up songs for "the weirdness" after three days of just me and iggy together at his little haiti pad in florida. it was kind of a pressure cooker for me cuz I really wanted to do good for them, didn't wanna fuck anything up. all the tension built up inside 'til near the last prac day came a saturday night where the flaming lips, sonic youth and the go! team at the state theatre a block away from here. chris brought me into detroit to see that gig and I guess it was like a pressure relief valve for me and I just let go some... I ended up guzzling 'pert-near a quart of jim beam, I got real happy seeing my old friends and didn't realize all that bourbon going down. I don't drink like I used to cuz it's healthier for me. man, even though I said some foolish things, it was much a release for me and I think everyone understood - they're very kind people and I didn't really cause any trouble, just kind of going off some. anyway, about a block from ronnie's pad - I almost made it - I puked up for some reason (yeah, right) and though I kept most of it in my lap, some got on the car seat and deck. ronnie ended up pulling off my puke pants and getting me cleaned up, very kind of him. it was a weird trip for watt. I apologized again to chris' ma and then retreated red face. they're nice people.
we're on at 8:45 and opening up is powertrain, scott morgan's band (no sistas in the pit tonight or on the next one in chicago). before they go on, I talk w/denis tek cuz who's gonna play most of their set w/them. he's a nice cat, much respect to him. he's a navy surgeon in australia. powertrain goes on and I watch them, scott morgan's a great singer. denis comes on after three songs and sings a few besides playing some chugging guitar, he's good. before they finish, roadboss eric comes and gets me to come up stairs to be w/scotty, ronnie and steve. we wait it out w/pacing, me w/lots of stretching too. I get my bass and warm up. trippy, ronnie warms up w/out a guitar - just doing air guitar kind of but just fingering w/his left hand. scotty taps up some pounds w/his drum sticks on a chair. steve fires up some licks on his sax. five minutes to go, we're brought downstairs to the dressing room ig's in. there's pictures of frank sinatra, sammy davis and elvis presley on the wall - there's probably a lot of ghosts in here. showtime and we're led to ronnie's side of the stage. "let's go!" goes ig and I run across to plug in the bass. earlier at soundcheck chris told me the output jack was funky but it worked good for me then and it's working now. the gig's on and we bust out "loose" like nobody's business. I'm coming through pretty good through my monitor but maybe too good cuz helperman jos keeps putting his head down by it. the crowd is turned on and up all the way, I keep my eyes on ig - glued right to him. iggy's all over, back and forth across the huge wideness of the stage. this is no smolder, this is full-on blaze. rumble roll roars out "down on the streets" and I look over to starboard a second cuz there's jos again and I see t-shirt bob in a kid rock hat though I could swear it was a bowler cuz of darkness in the wings. no time for a second look, I'm keeping the focus on ig. comes ronnie's guitar solo (he was a little shy in the sidefills but jos got that better quick) and ig does his dance and charge for my bass amps. I make the dodge and hit the deck w/my knees as he gets on top of the amps for some hump and thump. it's sounding real good on stage and the playing from these stoogemen feeling even better, just grabbing hold and throttling me. I swear it feels like I'm 'pert-near one of the crowd and witnessing it every gig we do. I love this band, always have. unblievable to me I'm somehow part of it, trying my hardest to help. animal song time w/"I wanna be your dog" and this time it's total javelin hurl w/ig and his body over ron's solo - woosh, he's flying into the crowd. he comes back up on stage w/blood on his chest and does a rain dance - right before "tv eye" he pours a water bottle all out to deluge himself like in fact that dance did bring fourth a thunderstorm. I'm a foot from him and splashed too but I'm starting to rain sweat out the pores from w/in me myself - no bottle necessary. I am shaking my body vigorously (thank you, steve). just before, while ig was thanking the people for coming, I asked jos what happened to bass in the monitor cuz it seemed to shrinkup big time and he gets that happening for me. a beer or two has flown up on the stage in plastic cups but I feel the folks so much behind us. I lean up w/my back on the amps and stir it up as much as I can from my bones - this song, w/that push from the low on me plus ig's howls almost totally blows my mind and I 'pert-near keel over but hang on. ig gets out into the lip of stage and then into the folks for "my idea of fun" - letting some of them either sing along or take a line themselves, he's determined to get everyone involved and I know if it was possible, he'd work it for everyone here personally. this is not a detached man! I back down the volume for "dirt" (I ask jos to put me a little lower in the monitor too, a little bit cuz then I can dig in deeper) and ig first tells about getting called everything but still you can have your ground. he slams himself hard on the deck (he rolls around too - I see one of ronnie's picks stuck to his back!), then springs up and swipes at the air real intense w/outstretched fingers towards ronnie and his wailing guitar. he puts more moves in a song than you can imagine, a whole landscape of emotion being worked out w/much heart. it inspires me to know end. in a way it's all in flash though, almost everything happening at once... I gotta find my ground and hold it together. someone's got "real cool time" figured out and gets on stage way before he calls anyone up and tries singin w/iggy - ig lets him but he's singing the wrong words... ig's cool about it but turns the mic away from him though others are taking this guy's cue and the stage gets filled w/dancer the earliest I've even seen it for us. people are coming up to me and yelling "san pedro!" - hey, isn't this detroit? and what's this, a real tall cat comes close - it's dan mcguire, the poet who put together the unknown instructors project, wow - I didn't expect that! he's dancing wild, all these folks up here are dancing wild and going off, it's a trip. they're mobbing ig pretty big time but still he endures like he does. "no fun" means round two for the crowd dancers and I got a choir singing me the words in my face, ecstatic faces all lit up. we finish and all these cats hug me up and tell me "minutemen!" - I tell them "d. boon!" and they all holler "d. boon!" back - much respect to them. it takes a little time to clear the stage and then ig introduces us - I'm so happy for ron and scotty getting the roars they do... my fist high up in the air for them. even though I just tuned, my 'd' string seems a little sharp in the first verse so I switch from doing the song's riff on the 'a' and 'd' strings to the 'e' and 'a' ones, five frets up - sounds better, hey maybe I should play this one here. I've always wondered how dave alexander fingered these songs - I've asked ronnie if there's footage of him where you can see his hands working the neck but he said there's only some super 8 and not much of that. man, it makes me curious. steve comes on to blow sax w/us in the intro - I'm hollering "I feel alright!" as much as I can cuz that's in fact how I'm feeling, no shit. my boilersuit is sweatsoaked all the way now. I get some deep breaths in as "mindroom" gives me and scotty a little bit space - you gotta understand a modern day stooge set runs really close together, it's very much a workingman's set. ig calls for "fun house" and bam, steve hits it hard w/his sax, let's it wail. when ig calls to let him in, we have him fight for it some and build up a little musical tension - ronnie looks over and smiles big time. he rides it good, he turns this tune in on itself, letting the beat propel his dancing up and up and up 'til we split the clouds w/"l.a. blues" bursting forth - my turn to fuck my amp, bass in between us (poor little bass but she holds on tight). it won't feedback after the love supreme licks and as we start up "skull ring," I see I pulled the cord out of one of the amps - that got me back when I pushed it back in, a tuning peg must've hooked it when I was pulling a high 'd' w/my teeth - baka watt. we finish w/what iggy calls a "friendly song" and I get even more back pickup going and play w/lots of definition cuz before the gig he asked me if I blew a clam in this one lately (I don't think I have but now I'm thinking about "my idea of fun" tonight - did I reverse chords in one part? I can't be thinking about that now, watt - get back in real time). I think we play real strong and finish tough. we're off whence we came and I sit at ig's feet, my glasses back on - I'm always scared of losing these. he gathers some wind and tells us "1969, etc." and we're back w/a frantic "1969" - frantic in tempo but solid in tightness. ig comes and dances in front of me but facing the crowd, yeah, I can feel his magnetic field blasting away... it fires up my fingers. r and b groove time w/"she took my money" and I get in front of scotty lots to reach his ojos, he smiles that scotty smile. "not right" charges hard, I do all up strokes w/both my index finger and middle finger together - no gallop. a deep groove for "I'm fried" and we're off to the side again. iggy gets some moisture and says one more... I ask "chair" and he says yep - tonight I do my best yet w/the solo, he comes on over to watch so I wanna do real good for him - hell, I always but I'm dedicated to doing up the best I'm capable of - how many times have I kissed this bass for luck tonight? hey, I forgot to mention that... the gig is done and I go behind the drums to wait for scotty so we can go off together - big hugs for the stick man w/the beat in his hand.
whew, that seemed like it went by in like five minutes - I run up the stairs to the dressing room and when ronnie gets up there, I ask him and he says it felt like that for him too, he said it was really fun. it was righteous for me. scotty says he dug it much too. denis tek and then scott morgan come up and we talk w/them - good cats, much respect to them. there's a great vibe all around. downstairs I talk w/bob matheu and richard riley, good cats. I talk some w/lots, very grateful for all the kind words. of course these michigan guys in the band (all of them but me!) have lots of old friends and do the catch-up thing w/them. I'm really happy for everyone, that's the silly man in the boilersuit now. going home time and I ride w/ronnie, scotty and their sister kathy in the back of the bus. it's a good time being w/all three asheton's here, a real cool time. back at the 'tel in dearborn, we have a drink together too and laugh laugh laugh - loren the bus wheelman joins us. this was a blast for me, I go and konk real happy.
sunday, april 15, 2007 - chicago, il
it's the day before (saturday) and I pop at six bells, then do a tub soak right away... damn it, I wanted to do that before I konked last night cuz I've been thinking it's probably way better to konk clean and not do it fouled by gig sweating but once getting stretched out on that deck - even though the spirit was pretty willing - it was too much for the body to comply and like I chimped last - being w/the ashetons sure made me happy and konk came on me just like that. there was tiny cans of tuna in the dressing room last night and I chow one of those. actually there was a few fish things I got from there and stuffed in my backwacksack - some smoked white fish and canned kippered herring too. outside the window it's gray like the day we got here so that probably means cold... I don't know if I said what the weather for yesterday (gig day) was like but I will here: ok, a little cool but skies cloudless bright w/sunlight - it was beautiful. well, we're rolling west to chicago so maybe it's clearer there. I heard back east where we just were is about to getting whupped on w/some major storm rock so we gotta clear of there just in time. even w/some cold (cold for so cal watt), I think we've lucked out real good this tour. noon time and loren's wheeling us across michigan and then indiana where we leave eastern time for central and gain a hour. it's me, steve and scotty and the far aft chamber - I finish up chimping diary just as we get to the park hyatt 'tel just off the magnificent mile part of the north shore downtown chicago place and get it up on the hoot page. I found out that the bus here can get internet through some system like what the cell phone leashes use - not satellite which for some stupid reason my baka brain went and grabbed up on. this is a fancy pad and scotty knows it cuz of staying here back in october while "the weirdness" was being recorded. he points out things nearby like chow pads, some chain book store and a little blues club near and I thank him much but I've already accepted an invite from steve to go chow w/his brothers tonight. me and him first meet his bros john and wade (both younger than him, just a little younger than me) w/friends of theirs and spiel w/beers here at this 'tel's bar, continuing the spiel w/chow at a pad called shaw's. I like his brothers a bunch, first meeting them at the stooges pine knob (dte) gig three and half years ago, the one where the "live in detroit" dvd came from. I thank steve much for letting me be part of such a warm spirit, it actually kind of helps when I have a huge crisis inside me when I try to konk. of course it's a personal thing and it brought on a nightmare, one w/backhand after backhand on me but one part I can kind of recount was a find a fire in the rug, somehow I was walking around in the room and I guess something from a cigarette fell of the cherry and into the carpet where it burned through and was under the deck into some space between that and the room below's ceiling - some kind of insulation there that I could see through the little burn hole igniting up and getting all yellow-orange in there. I would go to the head and fill a glass of water and then pour down this hole, dousing most of it but something on the edge would still be lit and ignite up dryer part, burning up to make a trench-line (like in the first world war) so I could follow what was happening - worry making me crazy I was gonna burn everybody up so I'd keep going back to the head to fill a glass, repeating this over and over 'til the trench-line had wormed it's way all around my entire deck, my nose filled w/burnt carpet and plastic smell, me in a total panic but somehow also in slow motion, having to absorb every second-turned-to-an-hour moment, completely powerless - a total hell rerun w/out end. I only got out of it by somehow popping - three bells (yeah, it's gig day now - sunday) but I wasn't about to risk that experience again so I stayed up and fretted awake instead. diary done up to date, nothing to chimp and mind to insane to read so I don't how the time passed but it did and I got the window open to catch the sun coming - it's coming so I get down the 'vator and hoof towards lake michigan, it's not too far away and the morning not too cold though yeah, I gotta have the knit gloves and orange cap on. it's beautiful for me and an older man walking by says, "yeah, pictures now are great cuz the sun is like a, like a fireball" and I agree w/him. the lake water is huge and makes me think of my sailor pop - I miss him so much... he met my here in this town, I wrote about my start w/this world when I was helping the stooges w/bass for "the weirdness" back in october, here's the entry:
so that's what I wrote then and it's a trip to read about now. man, I write like a fuckin' 'tard though, huh? embarrassing the way I leave out words, stumblebum it up or just don't think it our right in the first place. I guess one way to fig leaf it would be to use "stream of conscious" as an alibi. I just want readers to know that I'm aware of my shortcomings regarding these chimpings. anyway, back to now: I hoof around to try and work off some nerves but don't wanna hurt up the ankles to weak out the gig. this pad has a shvitz and I go for that... maybe purging some physical foulent will help w/the mental ones, huh? I'm hoping so. I go to the seventh floor and find the shvitz - good, it's not a sauna (well, that'd be better than nothing) but a full-on steam bath. I sit up on the top row of tiles cuz that's where it gets hottest but though there's some steam in there, it ain't hardly hot in here at all - one jet of steam every couple of minutes - what the fuck is this about? I go look outside the hatch and see the dial that controls the heat and damn, it's set for zero! I turn it up and get back inside... now a constant cloud of steam blasts out 'til I can't even see my hand in front of me. it starts getting hot, alright. then the lights go out and the steam stops... what?! I go back out and find the light switch has been flipped and the heat dial again set to zero - god damn it. I set the controls for the heart of the sun and get back in... everything's ok, my heart starts to pound as it's sending blood faster and faster through me to try and cool the body off, soilents start to sweat out and then "blink" - the light's out again, along w/the steam. aaaarrrrrgggghhhh, I'm getting pissed... this next time though, whoever was doing what they were doing doesn't do it again and I get to boil away. I hold on 'til I 'pert-near can't take any more and then quick get out and get to a shower... the plan is to drench in ice cold water so the body gets a wailer of a shock and the pours go from wide open to slam shut but I can't get the fucker to get me anything but warm water - again, aaaaarrrrrgggghhhhhh. I get back into the shvitz and steam up again. now the heat really conducts through me and my mind starts to see things in the cloud steam - it's like I'm on the surface of the planet venus. my head starts to swim and I start to see things. now understand I can't actually see anything, not my feet and my hand only if it's inches from my face but in the blankie of steam bearhugging me up I see it form into dimensions of layers, at least I imagine it so... then though the thick clouds I see sakura branches, cherry blossoms open wide and surreal, petals making escher-like patterns that dissolve and then re-form into infinite combinations, the branches disappearing so I see nothing but blossoms, vapor-hot steam blossoms moving onto and soaking me in their petals. you have to be disciplined w/the breathing and keep it really calm so you don't freak, it's like I'm swallowing nothing but sakura flowers very slowly, I can taste them, I can smell them and now they're being sweated out of my pours. this trips me out and somehow I snap out of the spell, my heart thumping 'pert-near right through my chest. I hit the shower again... shit, still not cold. I keep repeating 'til on the fifth try, somehow ice-cube water dumps out of the shower on me after my longest-yet stay in the shvitz. whoa, total cardiac and then it's really hard to stand but I stay on my feet somehow and get the robe on, making it slowly to elevator and up to my room. damn, that was intense. good thing I was alone in that shvitz or someone would've noticed a total nutcase. I am grateful for that private hour-plus wring-out of both my mind and body, not having to pay mind to "appearances" or bullshit like that (fuck, I wish all life could be like that). I listen to that okinawa traditional songs stuff and keep real still on the deck for a couple of hours...
whoa, then remember I gotta do a chow w/some of the people who helped me get the eden amps going for this tour. whoa, hurry up and get dressed. they're late anyway so I don't blow it. david and jody from us music take me to a vietnamese chow pad and I shovel spring rolls and then a plate of eggplant. I tell them the vt-300 amps are working out great and perfect for the stooges... hell, I've used eden bass sound since the early 90s (I tell them my first 2x10 cab had the white label - way before the gold ones ever were) and even had a vt-40, their first amp. they say they'll get eden stuff for euro stooges this summer where they can and I thank them much for that. two bells is coming though and I got soundcheck to do so we hoof back and I tell them bye and once more thanks. they're good cats. there's a couple more from eden at the venue, lane and mike and they film me some playing and then doing spiel w/helperman chris cuz he's got good perspective on their stuff too. lane being a bass player also know exactly where I'm coming from, how these amps let you translate what you got going instead of being narrow and you trying to fit to what they're gonna filter it to on their own thing. we also talk about how you gotta play could cuz there's not gonna be half the notes missing - if you clam, folks are gonna hear it! this pad we're playing is good and beat up some cuz that's what time has done to it and it hasn't had fancy money put into but I think it's very happening. it's called the congress theatre and it holds 3800. it's in a latin part of chicago, lots of the signs of the stores are in spanish and it reminds me lots of los angeles - yeah, this far north and east. the roof is really high and even has like a dome-like indention so the soundcheck is boomin' some but since the gig is clean, folks will soak some of that boom right into their bodies and that'll tighten things up. the catering folks cook up a steak for me w/a big salad. I chow w/the opening band which is shellac w/bob, todd and steve - steve albini engineered "the weirdness" and it's great we get to share the stage w/them. I really liked working w/steve - hey, he's got a boilersuit on - that's what he always wore in the studio and maybe that's where ig got the idea to have me wear one. mine has pockets and zippers though! I gotta go get into mine, I bail after I chow to do so and on the way to the bus, meet the cat who sold me my larry graham moon bass, I love that machine (see me work it here). they made it in japan but I bought over the phone from dan (who's here w/his son in line to see the gig) after reading a small ad in the back of bass player magazine in 1996. hey that reminds me, those folks were very nice to have me on the april 2007 cover and hear me spiel about bass but I must mumble, stutter, or just generally fuck things up cuz there was some spiel clams there, especially w/the funanori stuff. the writer brain was very cool people though - I should write him and help fix those clams, huh? anyway, it's funny to hear dan say how he's gotten more open-minded w/music and will even listen to punk now. he seems a little older than me but not much. he says some luthier in new hampshire wants to build me a bass. people are very kind to offer this, it's happened a bunch. there's something I like about this little red one though for gigs and the moon for recording. of course I love that blue thunderbird too... hmm... I go put the boilersuit on and then had some private freakouts again, I am visited from the ghosts of last night. I hear shellac though and head for the venue, through the front hatch and damn if it ain't packed in here tonight, whoa! I watch them work their songs and it's great. I go up to the dressing room and am charged up, my stooge-brothers already there. man, the worst thing 'pert-near that can happen in my life right now is to fall apart and let these guys down... I gather up my focus. I feel lose from the shvitz. chris brings me the bass... I whisper crazyman prayers inside...
quarter of nine, henry leads us down the stairs to ronnie's stage side so I run out to mine when ig gives the signal to get this gig on. same set, we're settled into this for the tour but still - no one a stooges gig is ever a re-run, no fucking way! "loose" gets let loose, woosh! "down on the streets" heats where it meets the beats. this chicago crowd is fully live, fully blown. "I wanna be your dog" throws out the cogs, ig cannonballs straight from the invisible barrel into the people sea. he tells them "we're glad to be here w/YOU, w/YOU! - we're glad to be anywhere!" I tune for "tv eye" and forget to stomp off the mute so I miss half of my first opening bar - fucking baka watt but this turns out to be my only unfocused whatever all night - it is just a tiny part of time and the song throttles aiyiyiyiyi insane. tons of spuns from "my idea of fun" then living the hurt w/"dirt" before a real high climb to "real cool time" - the dancers have some difficulty getting up w/us, one by one but then it's a flood and we're in a sea of them in full dance, another one w/"no fun" - it ends up w/some tiny lady somehow jumping up on me in a hug w/her legs wrapped 'pert-near around my chest and my face in her tummy, whoa - hermana mustang sally. bows after ig's bassman intro, fists in the air from watt for scotty's and ron - for steve too after crazy a plenty inside "1970," some breathing room w/in the "mindroom" then total douse w/the "fun house" 'pert-near out the shoes for "l.a. blues" - I hear steve put a lick of "a love supreme" part II theme just before rolling out the "skull ring" thing. still rollin', only stoppin' when we're ending "trollin'" - we're off. after being so much in mental pieces, I amazed how I came together, came to play... encore time w/"1969" next all together honey as "she took my money" flows tight into "not right" and won't subside 'til we quit "I'm fried" - off once more, has scotty bailed? no he's still there so we fire up the "little electric chair" and I really get the solo I'm allowed together this time, ig urging me on, "c'mon mike!" - yes sir! we're done really now - I raise the bass as I high as I can get it w/one hand, up on my toes. up the stairs now and huffing and puffing, I find it remarkable I did get it on and not let a messed up mind be a messed up bass. maybe all the years, all the momentum - I don't know but I'm grateful, very grateful. all of us playing dug and talk about it, those guys say it was better than the last one in detroit even... whoa. ig comes and does a de-briefing, first one in a few shows and he's lit w/happy from inside big time. he loved it. man, I thought he worked it righteous - w/his ethic and it's hard for me to know a time he never has but to hear him say he was loving it is the greatest thing in the world, the greatest. he sits next to me and gives my starboard knee a little rub, it's the best! man, how I just wanna make him happy, make scotty happy, make ron happy, make steve happy - do good for these guys, not be a fuckup - not be a mess but deliver.
after gig time, hugs for steve's bros, john and wade. hugs for bob matheu, he's here at yet another gig - his card reads "matheu - friend of the stooges" alright! I tell him I saw him in that trynka "open up and bleed" book. big hugs for the shellac guys. man, the boilersuit I got on is as soaked as if I would've had it on in that shvitz earlier. I gotta get changed or I'll get sick. the bus is leaving soon... I go back in for one more good bye round, I see the electrical audio helperman and thank them so much for being there and just being them - they helped me much back when we were recording back in october. it's just me and steve in the bus back w/coltrane in the speakers as the bus wheels begin their denver-bound spin. I spiel w/steve as much as I can and can't for the life of me recollect which sentence was half-finished when I fell into a konk but I'm sure it was gentle as it was grateful.
tuesday, april 17, 2007 - denver, co
I popped yesteray around nine bells and make my way out the bunkbay to piss - this bus has a window in the head (not just head high either, goes pretty far down) and lifting the blind, I see a sign for state road six. by the look of the sign I know what state it is too cuz it's a pairie schooner so that must mean we're in nebraska - d. boon's pop was from a little town in nebraska. it was d. boon's birthday on the first of this month. I did a radio show w/tony maimone that day over the phone (he lives in brooklyn and has studio g where he records bands and does his own projects) and thought much about the first time me and d. boon saw pere ubu and what a trip that was. unfortunately there was a shitload of noise on the line and I had to do the spiel w/him again two days later but he was very nice about that. he's a righteous cat. wheelman loren digs the flying j gas stations so we stop just outside of omaha for bus fuel and man dump - on these buses you can only piss or you'll stink the whole thing up. there's even a screen in the commode to catch turds in case anyone fucks up. there is a technique though called "the bag of shame" where you line the toilet bowl w/a plastic bag, shit in that, bundle it up tight and wait to toss it in the trash next stop there's a stop. we're about half-way on this thousand mile haul, having past through the rest of illinois and iowa while I was konked. steve brought a cassette of music he's done since the 70s and I transfer that to the 'puter (macs have built-in soundcards) but when we check out what ended up, we hear a high-mid howl through the whole thing - this back room we're in is right over the motor and there must've been interference generated by it cuz I can hear it through the earphones plugged into the 'puter w/nothing even being recorded. oh well, we'll do it again at the 'tel in denver. just before getting into colorado, we cross into mountain time and gain an hour - only one hour ahead of my pedro town now. we've been gaining altitude slowly as we cross the plains, denver's a mile up. we get into town around five pm - good driving from loren, that was like a fifteen hour hellride. we're staying downtown at a 'tel called the brown palace... yeah, I know everyone 'pert-near builds "brown palaces" probably daily but this one's from like a hundred years ago. it has old-style wallpaper every where and a huge atrium in it's center, the rooms ringing that (though it's square shaped) w/old-style railing. me and steve's got rooms next to each other so we digitize his cassette (we title it "steve mackay's songs of yore") and the tunes sound good, free of any noise or howl. then we go hoof down a public mall street and find chow, the first I've had for the day which is some chili and a roastbeef/horseradish sandwich. we get back and scotty joins us - him, ronnie and ig flew in just as we were getting here ourselves. it's roadboss eric's birthday and there's a big chow for him but all three of us miss it though I call his room and leave a happy b-day message. steve retires and then scotty brings me to the bar and gets me a whisky, a real good bourbon called booker's. we spiel a bunch 'til I'm too tuckered to go and retire myself. I konk on the deck, they got a real old rug here.
I pop on gig day at five bells and do a soak. they got a tiny head here so the door goes right up against the old-style tub but it's a deep one and though I can't stretch out my legs all the way, it's still ok. it's raining outside. yesterday we came into sun, heavy clouds were coming in fast. maybe it'll clear out later today. I hoof in the wet to get some coff and see the headlines of the newspapers in the stands. thirtytwo people were killed yesterday at a college in blacksburg (virginia tech), some student went postal and then killed himself. very sad. it's terrible. I feel hurt way inside me over this on first reaction, then numbness. I'm cut off a lot from the news on tour, I kind of like that so I can focus more but you do hear about the "big" things. I go back to the 'tel and chimp diary, getting what I've done posted up on the hoot page. I also send out a flow to e-peeps telling them about this huge e-birthday card that's being put together for iggy's 60th birthday on a german website (thestooges.de), people can post their own greetings to ig, making up a long list on the site. it's amazing how he goes how he does, huh? inspiring and righteous. I'll never measure up but I give it everything I got, try to, keep trying...
internal struggles become hard me again. I did logic talk w/scotty last night and w/that built nerve for further logic talks w/out him and konked w/some hope I had things together but like most theoretical versus real world applications, I am short by at least a mile and a half. I have to confront the "racka disaprin" tendency but the awareness to enable that on the other hand piles up it's own mountain of anxiety. no wonder most humans use distraction to help w/this shit - the obsessive/complusive personality is preserved and not confronted/tempered but rather just siced on another target. fucking sick. I grapple w/this problem but keep coming to the same bottom line. you know, philosophy is not a strong style for me though I can have big respect for it. ha, I'm fucking baka - fiction helps, faulkner's "light in august" - the whole thing w/joe christmas... I don't why but it somehow in someway makes some kind of crazy sense of where I can't find any w/in myself. it's pathetic but w/man alone you really wrestle these things and it's not reduced to parlor chess for the sake of conversation like w/me and dialog (meaning at least one listener/prisoner, more like monologue) where it's lip service in the name of lip service using "feet on the ground" veneer. christ, what else - countless mantras of the serenity prayer?! "love your obstacles as they define you" (susan sontag?) - alright, word magic.
alright the momentum through regimen to force-feed time through the waiting game... what a con job - life is not a rehearsal or is it? middle years bring the wisdom of doubt! soundcheck and 'tel checkout come three and half bells. minivan ride not too far away to the fillmore auditorium where we're to play tonight. steve said he had the "hotel security" acting as smoking police and almost knocking down his hatch so he gives some words to the front desk and he says they acknowledged a complaint has been registered. alright, orgainized humanity and all its gilding. I find that where the strap for my little bass is secured near where the neck joins the body has had the washer I put to relieve stress corroded out (due no doubt to my own fluids) so jos says he'll get me one to replace it at a hardware store. in the meantime, we do our two soundcheck tunes w/helperman chris singing after I eat my first chow of the day, a sandwich made w/salmon and trout from a deli platter w/purple onions and capers (are these from england?). ron and scotty return to the 'tel like usual while I camp in the back of the bus cuz we're using that as a dressing room anyway tonight. at six I check out catering and have green beans and asapragus spears and little bit of sea bass (love how they spell that!) - the sistas in the pit sistas are here, they were stuck at la guardia airport in nyc for sixteen hours cuz of weather but what's really sad is that kofy's grandma pass away. they're gonna miss one of the s.f. gigs so she can do the funeral. so good to see them though. back to the bus w/me and w/about an hour to go, ron and scott return - ronnie goes "what's w/the lights out and it all dark, windows closed..." and just kidding, I go "oh boy, no more free life" and ronnie replies, "that's right, walkin' boss is here" - we all laugh (soctty too) cuz that's the first time I believe ronnie's acknowledged that endearment. I go get the boilersuit on. gig time looms and I'm thinking about things though the asheton brothers do good keeping me in real time by engaging me in their always interesting spiel. eric brings me my bass and it looks like someone (maybe jos?) but the washer on but the prob is (and it's not his fault, he couldn't of known) that is layered up much w/all kind of tape and now the strap's not free to swivel w/the bass' angle of dangle. I try to get as much tape off as I can but it's gig time and we gotta move. aaarrrgggghhh. that's a piddly problem though compared w/the state of my head. now I was amazed in chicago at how the gig itself, the playing of it, engaged me so totally that I was right there and fired up w/all I had but for some reason tonight I can't keep the bullshit out though it doesn't overwhelm me, it's fucked up. in fact, it's hard for me to write about the show like I have been... the set's like it's been w/out a change since the boston show:
I can't write about it like I wrote the other gigs not cuz ig and the asheton's weren't playing on fire (even though both ig and scotty said they much felt the altitude when we got done) and I even did pretty competent w/my focus so much on ig, a most essential tether as I have ever had, I hardly got my body shook up like I like it in order to stave off the self-conscious shit and I just plain like it too, makes more of a rush on me. I pretty much know if I write about it song by song then it's gonna come out like that and I don't wanna do a rerun of that even if it would be a fitting metaphor (maybe that's what it's for?). I can give some overviews though and feel ok about that. I think I was a little too midrangey in "dirt" but then I can't really judge house was taking it but maybe I was feeding too much back pickup. I mean there was some real fun stuff, like when the dancers hit it w/us on "real cool time" (one funny thing was this guy starts asking me about some gig he went and saw me at one time and another guy tried to help me thump where my right hand works... there was lots of "pedro!" "minutemen!" and "d. boon" hollers for me too) and "fun house" was amazing despite myself - I actually got outside myself and shit, I did the solo good in "little electric chair" - yeah, the best ever for me and ig actually came right up, gives the most righteous grin and says on the mic, "walk it, mike!" w/a affirming headnod following. yeah (again), even though I worked this baby out back in piestany, slovakia (august 2006) the night after the sitdown w/iggy and ronnie upstairs, straight from our trip from hungary, it's taken this many gigs for me to put punch and swing in these same fucking notes though I still got a long way (put buddy rich voice here: "you got a long way to go, a long way to go"), I'm finally coming along and not spewing spray across sixteen bars. I'm really trying, even if emotional hell is on me, it's no excuse ever to let these guys who I love so much down. my ma once said "michael watt, act professional" after witnessing a bullshit gig I did w/dos right after my divorce. aaarrrrgggggghhhh, talk about regrets. you know, I did ok and even pretty good but it's these feelings that's having me write it today this way I am, non-gig feelings. there was one weird thing though. that washer on the little bass' strap ended up causing trouble, not letting the strap rotate free cuz it worked the screw out and when we left after "trollin'" and came back on, t-shirt bob had the bass in one hand and the screw w/the strap free at the end in the other - he knew nothing about what had happened so I have to sit on the riser to steady the bass while I screw into her. ig looks back, ready to go w/"1969" and sees me there behind the amp but on the riser like I said and hollers "miiiiiike!! miiiiiike!!!" real mad like and feeling like a total baka fucking idiot, I just got it in as far as it was and luckily it held while I ran up in front of the amps and we got the tune going. ig took one boot off for the last song - man, I tell you this guys works harder than you can ever EVER imagine. he just gives and gives - puts out! damn. the folks were happeing to play to, in chicago ig said "neil cassady was from denver" and though it was the only gig so far not sold out (holds 3600), people gave us much respect and good energy. right after we're done for good, I run up to tell him what happened w/the strap and he "you weren't just gossiping then?" and I tell him no but am sorry it looked that way. I so wanna get things right for him.
I go to the back of the bus where ronnie and scotty are and have to get out of the wet boilersuit in front of them (no skivvies under this thing) but it's ok cuz they ain't princesses. I hear my name called out the window and it's my old friend doug kauffman who's done my denver and boulder gigs for years and who's a bass player himself. I go right out to see him, big hugs, I love doug. he said the bass was punching in places but cuz of the room it was different in different places. he said I did good and doug always tells me straight so that felt a little good. I say bye and go back and get some final spiel in w/the asheton's - eric brings in a sack from j mascis' manager brian w/some habanero sauce and salsa - alright, grazie mille, fratello brian! wish I could've thanked him in person cuz that was sure nice of him. he gave me a copy of the new dinosaur jr cd "beyond" too, yeah again, thank you! bus rolls at midnight, we got 1270 miles to do to get from here to s.f. - l.a.'s 2800 miles to nyc to give you some kind of idea. big hugs and byes for the asheton bros and we're off. I have a beer, me and steve here in the back over the motor, hearing its churn... I try and spiel w/him but this day w/my mind like a wrung-out washcloth is tuckered and konk grabs me mercifully quick - no disrespect to steve intended cuz his spiels are quite interesting to me even if he thought what were my replies were actually snores. love you steve.
thursday, april 19, 2007 - san francisco, ca
not one fill on the bass the entire set. not-one-fill diary entry just chimped to reflect that.
saturday, april 21, 2007 - san francisco, ca
fuck it, sometimes I can't help but remember - but woes for those poor little memories, drifting in the ether and helpless to twisted mangled axiomatic absolutely apparently self-evident head-retrievals... yeah, more of that estel tune - ok... tuesday I popped in the back of that bus to see what my ma saw as a little girl. wyoming, we're pass rock springs, wyoming and dines was the name of one the nearby coal towns that dried up once the coal did. I guessed right in wheelman loren taking the I-80 through wyoming and not further west into colorado on I-70. this leg is part of every u.s. tour I do. the sun rises behind us, no way to get a shot of it rising. loren drives sixteen straight hours to get us five miles from the cali border after plowing us through some snow in utah and the first part of nevada, we're in the outskirts of reno at some mersh stripmall version of casino-hotel unit (complete w/pioneer days olde tyme building facade kitsch) called "boomtown" where he's gonna hit the hay some before getting us across the state (the donner pass first) for last four hours. I had the okinawa traditional songs going since I popped and when steve joined me once again, we heard it together for like ten straight hours - he got into it, I didn't force it on him. now at "boomtown" we did get forced on cuz that's all there was - their fucking slop posing as something edible. I couldn't choke even a fifth of this shit down and then w/gut pains back in the bus, I took down much psyllium husks to get a end rush going on those soilents fouling me and shove them the fuck out. I used the boomtown boom boom room to facilitate it even, hopefully someway maybe getting lucky to make it somehow fouler. loren wheels us to the fiarmont 'tel about four in the morning. alright, twentynine hours since we left denver, I think I'm out of my mind. no, it's ok cuz I'm grateful just to be here safe so I can play my bass and anyway, steve mackay helped much to keep my mind healthy and away from the agony of pondering dread. my old plumber friend richard fuckin' bonney comes w/kenny to their pad - richard just moved here from pedro. I finally get to hose off and then spiel w/kenny and lisa - she moved up here from pedro 'pert-near ten years ago now. soundcheck time and richard got me to the warfield - I think the last time I played here it was w/fIREHOSE opening for the feelies. it's an oldtime theatre that's way higher than it's deep, it holds 2250 and both tonight (it's thursday now) and saturday are sold out. I make the check w/my blue gibson cuz the crew along w/loren has reasoned out a solution for the strap screw on my little red gibson - screw in a metal threaded insert and have a machine screw go into that. hey, that's neat - the whole team getting behind me to help - I'm much honored. I do a spiel right after w/charles from hobo magazine and he's brought me a vietnamese chicken sandwich - first time I ever had one of those. I like his questions cuz they're different... ha, I can tell he's been writing the diary I've been chimping, silly watt. I left my boilersuit at kenny and lisa's so I hoof back to get that. it some blocks but it feels good to push blood through a body that hardly moved in that longhaul bus state. back to the venue w/my host/guests (yeah, both at the same time!) - the clouds that have been hanging heavy are now letting loose some rain so they drop me off by the stage door. I get the boilersuit on and then watch sistas in the pit do it up - kofy's got a new bass, a modern version of a fender jazz. she's very musical - great at bass, great at singing - she can probably play all kinds of stuff. I go downstairs to prep w/the stooges guys. steve's got his girl patty cuz they make home in pacifica and that's not that far, maybe a twenty miles. yeah, steve sure made it better for me - hey, I already said that but he really did and seeing him again only makes me like thanking him more. that estel song is in my head - funny maybe cuz they usually don't have words in their tunes but I've got that title, "you racka disciprine" going over and over in my head so w/a few minutes to go before downbeat I decide to act on what I've been thinking might be somehow kind of therapeutic - I decide I'm not going to do one fill, stick straight to the riffs tonight. it's the same set as far as the songs and their order but for me, it's a whole other thing it takes my whole concentration to keep it together and not backslide. I want my head full of the gig I'm working happening w/out distraction, w/out silly shit competing for the focal point - feeling my grip fade and attention blur some like in denver is not what I want here tonight so by keeping my "hands" (mind) full w/struggles against auto-pilot mode by getting resolute about no fills, this might work out good. this is not a military discipline but a character one - I would like it to be a character one, I do not romanticize a military one. I do it. not one fill the entire gig. I could go song by song and say what I left out - probably something in every one but I won't cuz then I'll be searching for ways to get over myself on that... playing only the one lick "fun house" or "skull ring" for as long as those went on was cathartic. to keep my attention on ig like that... constant attention on someone in a healthy way - what do you think about something like that? putting someone in your life like that where it's ok they're a lighthouse among scary rocks and a raging sea. that's where iggy is for me now, a weird parallel to be the musical conductor for tonight's piece role he's also working (or it that the principle one?). I always key much on him but really dig in tight so as not to waffle - no panic attack. there was one point where I blew a clam though, a little one - just a screwup of a lick when I laughed at a little kickup dancemove he pulled out and laid on everyone that was too much - yeah, maybe too much of me tethered to every gesture - always gotta have some kind of perspective somehow somewhere... it's my mission to do this. ig riffs on something in "l.a. blues" that strikes home, he says "it should be so easy" a few times and I might think that in a way but then I think of so many reactive behaviors I've "develped" - kneejerk reactions that just fly out of me like a button was pushed, a lever pulled on or a string yanked. I am determined to have "disciprine" in this sitch here, maybe then I can move it to other watt parts of life. or make a start... anyway, it's a trip - I had been doing this w/"not right' and so I just bring that on over, getting some back bone up especially come the fourth bar around any of these figures cuz that's when I get the fillsville compulsion bad. the band is amazing - scotty seems to be improvising all over w/the drums, changing all kinds of stuff up - maybe he was reading me from the other end? iggy does a stage dive between songs - that's a little different, just tipping over and doing a face plant in the crowd expecting some more beats to go w/that maybe, huh? anyway, I do keep my head free of distraction by filling it so w/the task of the mission. I was kind of surprised I could do it and right after we played asked the stooges if they noticed - ig asked if I cut out the fill I do before he starts the second verse in "loose" and I tell him, yeah - that one too and he goes "good cuz I never liked that one" but mostly said all he noticed was good playing - same w/ronnie and even soundman rik. so maybe this is mike watt bellybutton lint gazing but I man, it absorbed me so much, the blow-by-blow tunewise memories was skewed by the mission of fill-less-ness but you know what? you also gotta know I was writing this the next day and maybe me telling about what happened later might tell you something about that. I got to talk to jello biafra a little bit and photoman peter whitfield who's snapped some great ones but mainly I wanted to clear out quick cuz of having to get the bass to kenny and lisa's cuz I'll need it for the missingmen gig coming up. I can't find kenny and richard already bailed but luckily I find a cab and when I get to where I'm konking (the adrenaline has run out and soreness is flooding in), I get first brownies and then some parts of cookies that have all be made w/mota. I konk in a little bit just from being wore out.
I pop friday and feel those mota brownies and cookies much, making for slow head working. I go down the street to victor's cuz they got real mexican food and believe or not, I still got that taste form the boomtown swill in my mouth and maybe this can help wash it out. I then gotta try and wash the head out and hoof up to the sfmoma and check out the picasso thing they got going there now, it shows how his work would influence u.s. artists, showing something of his and then something of pollack or johns or lichtenstein. actually, I started getting kind of down by seeing all the women forms in their works - I know, insane (I was wishing so hard lichtenstein's "girl w/a tear" wouldn't keep being the "man w/a tear" I kept seeing) but then I don't know how I get like that and yeah, if it wasn't as thick and slow as it is in my head right now to relate and reflect on all this now maybe I'd have better ideas to express it but all I know is I was 'pert-near ready to bolt from there at full speed when my eyes came down on the painting called "second thoughts" (arrieres-pensees) by yves tanguy. I've always loved this guy's works but I don't know why. even weirder is why this piece should calm me but the tiny intensities on the bleak landscapes that are almost always present in his stuff does something that makes me forget everything but it, my attention put there and out of the hands of fret. now I could stand here for hours it seems. it's the trippiest thing, I guess I have a new-found appreciation for mister tanguy - the situation here w/me. I go back to write about this but everything comes out all fucked up, I am all messed up for trying to put thoughts clear. I did get a book of raymond pettibon's they had in their museumstore called "the pages which contain truth are blank" and back at kenny and lisa's, try and remember where I was when I saw each for the first time - in his pad, in those little books he used to staple up. it's really bugging me about that chow w/the mota in it cuz he doesn't really wear off, it feels like glue in my head, glue in my joints, glue everywhere. richard brings tom and raul (my missingmen guys) from the airport and we go do soundcheck at this club six place which ain't too far from the warfield. ray barbee, chuck treece and tommy guerro are there - great skaters and musicians. they're got a proj called blacktop and are going to play before us. there's rented stuff for amps and drums and the check w/soundman gadget goes easy. toy monitors but hey, work the room. I ate some squid a little earlier when there was some chinese ordered earlier in the day (was that kenny who did that?) but I also chow a little of what they got here, tastes kind of vietnam... hmm... I am not that sharp now w/the thinking and I have a forever tiredness in the bones - I want this chowed mota effect gone out of me! I'm 'pert-near paralytic on the couch they got in a backroom here. I try and try to shake off what feels like a fucking malaise on me but it's clingging really hard. the blacktop band sounds great - I like tony's bass playing, first time I get to check him out like this. him w/both ray and chuck plus these other two cats (horn and percussion) make for a great groove, wow. we come up and it's been a couple weeks since we last did prac cuz of me on tour but tom and raul do really good - the real weak link is me, it's hard for me to rally. I even start getting self-conscious which is the absolute worst... every few minutes I have to shake my head some to keep me from spacing - good damn me for eating that shit, I'm just strong enough - I'm not used to it either. the folks in the audience are very kind to us and we have a blowout jam on "fun house" cuz tony, ray and chuck all join us on that one and make it really special. man, I love those cats. I think I did more the ninety percent of the gig w/my eyes closed which is terrible - if I could I'd break my own leg off in my ass by kicking it up there far enough to do that, I almost think that I surely would. richard fuckin' bonney comes right when we're done to pluck us up and back to kenny and lisa's. tom and raul are the best to be around w/for me but I have no quick wit to match their's or richard's either, I'm thick in the head watt now and it's very frustrating. freaking out w/an overactive mind versus cement suspended brain seize, I don't know - both pretty lame for me. I konk w/what feels like a soaking wet bail of cotton between my ears and oh yeah, molten lead for blood but in now way do I feel any warmness, rather only heavy-feeling lethargic-heaving bob forever weaving fuckedupness.
pop on gig day at six bells and everyone's still konked so I hose off (damn, I should do this after I play if I can, shouldn't I? baka watt) and sneak out the pad and to a pad w/coff. I still feel that fucking shit in my bones, muscles and head. god damn it. it's hard to chimp diary even - fuck, what drivel came out of my "reporting" of the last two days. a raving man hollers at me and even comes across the street towards me but stops halfway though the hollering doesn't. I'm feel fragile right now and this is intense on me but I feel bad for him. all the folks not feeling well in the head, it's a sad thing. I go back and chimp out the best I can some diary w/the fucking sandbagged head I've got on the sandbagged shoulders 'til richard fuckin' bonney wakes and I ask him to take me to the apple store cuz the early morning gray is now rain. kenny and lisa's 'puter is decrepit and can't hang w/the stupid eye-candy on the web now and well, it's just tired so I wanna get them happening w/someting up to date. I get a macmini for five hundred bucks and that's all I need cuz the old keyboard/mouse/monitor will work fine w/it. right out of the box it's up on the net and under way. it's the least I can do for old friends who have helped me much, time after time. no soundcheck today cuz everything should be the same as thursday so when it's time for richard to bring kenny to work, he brings me too. lis is feeling down so she can't come. I'm there before any of the other stooge guys, I wander a little around and the cooking lady says I should have a steak so I chow that. sistas in the pit aren't on tonight cuz kofy's going to her grandma's funeral but they got some friends of theirs opening - when roadboss eric asked me in denver, I suggested gary floyd cuz I know ig loves blues and gary sings blues like something else, I love it. shit, I love anything he sings - I love just love his voice and always have. the stooge guys come and I get into the boilersuit. the dressing room is done up really fancy like it was thursday w/packs of cigarettes, each w/their own lighter (not marlboro 100 red ones like watt does but the american spirit kind the other guys do) and food from england like "jammy dodgers, scones, and those trippy flavored potato chips they got there like "steak and onions,"savory bacon" and "broasted chikcen." eric's bud pete took a shot of us thursday after the gig, saying it was for pollstar but actually it's a gig for ig and we're to sign it. now iggy thought it was for business and arranged us for the shot - he actually me right w/him and the guys, I'm blushing now thinking of that. I want so bad to do good for him. the guys asked me to learn "happy birthday" so I can play it right before we do "1969" cuz that's when a bunch of balloons are coming down. I'll tell you this: ig's in a great mood, really up. I don't think this man is much concerned w/turning sixty at all. I love him. I'm gonna try what I did thursday night w/no fills in the tunes. I do just that w/"loose" as we hit the stage following iggy hollering "alright!" same w/"down on the street" but man, it sounds like the bass out of the monitors and what's coming out of my amp is out of phase or something - really weird sound. for "I wanna be your dog" I add more front and less back pickup and don't play the lower 'e' octave and higher 'b' (the chord I usually make) for the anchor part of the riff. sixty year old stage dive - no sixty year young stage dive from the igster and like when a man loves a man: "he's right on target!" ig's sweating hard and douses himself w/water before he "llllllllllllloooooooooord!" us in "tv eye" and weirdness in my bones trying to fight the natural tendency I always have to shake insanely in this tune so a struggle's on which is fucked up some cuz for me the stooges is organic and just comes up and grabs - nothing to be grappled w/on the stinking/thinking plane, damn it. I so wish I could stick my head into ronnie's speakers now - I wish I could stick it through them and let those shimmer/slammer notes be like wirebrush test tube cleaners to scrub my mindpipes but for good. ig's in the crowd a lot for "my idea of fun" - comes crawling up after one plunge w/blood on the chest. he tells the folks after "thank you much for being here" and then "if you feel like dirt, at least your feet are on the ground" and well, I think I got my feet on the ground and "dirt" always makes sensations for me upstairs, downstairs and in the chest. I keep to the no fills thing for the dancers' time (like iggy says, "they twirl, the whirl, they slip, they trip!") but I do go on that lick I got for under ronnie at the end of "...time" and then for some reason, I put some on the end of "no fun" too. I mean they're little ones but I'm wondering why I did it and I'm at a lost. I "racka disciprine" obviously. fucking idiot baka watt. there are a lot of nice cats up here dancing w/me, doing up air bass to accompany me - very kind of them. big hugs after, shouts of "d. boon!" too. ig does intros - someone throws up an econo digital watch. I go to throw it back and some young man shakes his head "no" and points at me so I keep it, thank you there. iggy says "this is for the music" and we tear "1970" wide open. no fills but I do hit an octave in the end part where dave alexander never had one - damn, how'd that slip out? I mean many of them... it snowballs some into "fun house" where I clam the intro (later scotty said I was dragging the tempo too) and then don't go hogwild on the fills but I put them in there, the lower octave thing in the "take it down" part also. oh yeah - "mindroom" was before that but all I got is a fist in the air for that one when iggy calls steve's name (I do that for the asheton brothers too when it's their turn earlier). I get kind of notey w/"l.a. blues" some - not as much as before but way less near to the lean thing I had going thursday - that was just a few glisses. speaking of glisses, that's the only thing I add (and just only some) to "skull ring" and keep out those every-other descenders I used to play. I'm kind of tripping on myself, kind of freaking out a bit so I hunker down for "trollin'" - what iggy now always says is the "friendly song." w/the lights on - "like a gymnasium" he explains. we're done and I run off w/my bass and sit on the deck at ig's knee while he re-hydrates. we go back out when he makes his move for round II and scotty hihats me in for "happy birthday" - ig looks back at us and the biggest grin comes on his face. someone hands him a "happy birthday iggy" shirt and he shows us - I laugh and look down at the pin stageboss morgan gave me (I remember morgan from the fillmore - really good cat), it says the same thing that shirt did. we go into "1969" as black and silver balloons fall from the ceiling. something's up w/ronnie's guitar and I try a little improvising but not much - I don't know why I even did that but sure am glad ig starts improvising some singing to me and scotty 'til ron's guitar is bad but damn, it sounds really weird now, chirpy and weak. well, my bass ain't sounding that good either but it's nothing like this - I feel for him, I can see the look on his face like "what?" anyway, no pause to freak and lose momentum - iggy takes us right into "she took my money" and it's slamming, him working the room big time - from the deck to way up in the balc. there's one fill I play in this tune, a little pickup I do twice, one that ain't on the album but it dovetails on the drum fill good. now "not right" has never had me playing anything but the straight part on the one string ('e') always w/these and it's like that tonight. I do the eighth notes w/all up-plucks w/my index and middle fingers thick and fast together to make like a flesh-spade, hoeing up earthstring. ig asks the folks if they're fried cuz he says he's deep fried and scotty puts us into "I'm fried" for this encore closer. during steve's sax solo, iggy' out in the crowd yet again - maybe five, six, seven stagedives tonight on his 60th b-day? amazing. we're off to the side of the stage for a bit 'til ig tells us "one more" and we're back out w/"little electric chair" to finish the night. ig is really into it, having the time of his life and still working it hard as a motherfucker, it's amazing... what a sensei. I ain't even gonna talk about my bass solo except he was right there w/me and I felt w/him and that was intense, it was a feeling deep inside me like something magnetic pulling stuff together to make a whole only brief but yet overwhelming singular... 'pert-near my whole fucking life adding up to this instant. we end the tune and I put my glasses on for some reason before I put my bass over my head as high as I can, on my toes even and for the first time really look into the crowd... here comes my fist in the air to them, thank you.
man, my boilersuit is really soaked up w/sweat, scotty tells me I'm drenched - yep. I get into the regular watt levis and flannel outfit (no plaid though - this is a stooges tour!) and go give thanks to ig for being such an inspiration to work behind, what a great job he put forth but then again, he amazes me how he does this every gig. there is no one like him on the planet. I see saxman steve w/his girl patty - she's a great lady and steve loves her so - I'm very happy for them. in the catering room a cake is brought out for ig - it's got a drawing of what's supposed to look like him holding him and nina's dog lucky and though the representation of lucky looks pretty close (a maltese), there's not a whole lot of resemblance to the igster but maybe that's just me and anyway, it's the thoughts behind it that really matter... ig has a blast blowing out all them candles, wow! there's a three stooges look-alike act down here w/us playing up the moe, larry and curly pretty big time - I wonder who set that up? everyone's laughing like crazy and having a good time. I go to get a shot of ig wailing on his candles when I drop my fucking digicamera (I didn't have the lanyard around my wrist like the idiot baka I am) onto the cake - not hurting it much but totally covering the digicamera w/icing and ruining it... I can't fucking believe it. shit, I got too foamed up and wasn't careful. yet another life lesson for watt the dumbfuck slow learner. it's pretty funny in a way, especially now when I look back on it - how long did this camera last, two fucking weeks? a better comedy script couldn't been better written for it. lots of yuks w/the real stooges and the fake three stooges, I'm digging it. I'm so very happy for ig and his old band brothers - for me they are beautiful and I love them.
the bus is leaving for the 380 mile trip south to los angeles as soon as we load up. me, steve and scotty get in the aft cigarette gas chamber and not long after we start rolling at one bell, I start snoring. I tried talking as much as could w/my buddies but I was tuckered and my nerves spent.
monday, april 23, 2007 - los angeles, ca
it's sunday morning and I wake up alone in that aft chamber - scotty and steve must've hit their bunks. I look out under the blinds and I recognize us just coming onto the grapevine, it's seven bells so I call my sister melinda to come and get me in a couple of hours at where these guys are staying - the bel age in west hollywood, catty-corner from the whiskey-a-go-go 'pert-near. it's a gray morning but marine layer and not like the rain wheelman loren said we drove through lots of last night, he said it was "nasty" and I thank him much for all the good driving and ride the thirty miles south to my pedro town w/my sister, telling her of my tour adventures. melinda's always been there to help when she can that's been much, she's just a year and a half younger than me so we've mostly always been pretty close - I can't express enough how grateful I am for her being there for me like she has, she's the best. we go to my ma's for breakfast chow like we do every sunday we can and it's good to see my ma again. she wants to hear of what I can tell her of tour talk too so I try my best though I'm a little dinged out still (fuck, can you believe it?), it's good to be w/my family. I've got another sister too named marilyn who's five years younger than me (so that makes four of us, my ma and her three unmarried kids) but she doesn't live in pedro - she's up in silver lake and that makes sunday morning chows hard. I do miss her though and ask my ma to tell me how she's doing. she's been a highschool teacher a long time (melinda just became a grade school teacher after cutting hair for many years) and it looks like she's gonna get to finally teach drama maybe - she was always into theatre as a girl so I'm very happy for her. I catch up as much as I can and then do something I've been waiting to do since I left my pedro town - go to my pad in soak in my own tub, yeah! the rest of the day I play catch-up which is what's always awaiting me when I come back from tour, all that mail and stuff like that. yeah, and to konk on my own deck w/my own blankies - righteous!
monday is gig day and I begin it by popping at five bells and getting into my pedaling outfit: lowtop converse chucks, socks (yes, have had to wear them since the illness - seven years now), kneepads w/plastic guards, black shorts, gloves, bright yellow jacket (yellow sweatshirt underneath) and bright orange helmet. man, to pedal again is so righteous on me - I've been jonesing just a couple of days w/out and the same w/paddling my kayak (I do that on tuesday, thursday and saturdays - the mornings I'm not pedaling my bike). I have to be careful and not go to hard and long when right back cuz then I hurt my knees, I gotta slowly get back in the swing so I only go ten miles but I'm loving it - the feeling of blood getting pushed through me and my heart pumping plus on the things I get to see and hear - I love my pedro town. I go to the shore at royal palms and get as much of the ocean air in my lungs as I can, breath after deep breath. I say hello to as many bird and animal friends as I can - been missing them. I get back and play as much catch-up as I can plus washing all the tour clothes I had which it ain't much cuz I didn't bring much 'til it's time to get up to k-town so I can prac w/petra and our pelicanman twofer band for our may sixth gig. it's gonna be scary cuz w/only two folks, there ain't much of a net but fuck it, it's worth it even if we tumble - we tumble for music and that's sacred. I'm having trouble remembering all the chords for the migu tune ("floating") but I'll get it. we do all we can do before I have to get to where the stooges gig is tonight, not too faraway at an art-deco era theatre (built in 1931) called the wiltern at the corner of wilshire boulevard and western avenue, hence the name. it's a beautiful building made w/green terra-cotta tiles and used to be one of the tallest buildings in town cuz before the 60s, no building in l.a. could be taller than city hall (I think the wiltern's eleven stories high). to think they were gonna tear this bilding down too, like all the others on what use to be called "the miracle mile" here on wilshire. glad it got preserved. me and raymond saw james brown here in the late 80s, it was a incredible gig. this place holds 2290 and the gig sold out like that when it went on sale. I get to park right near in some coned-off reserved spot right near where the stage door is so I'll be able to make a get away in the boat (I got to drive my ford econoline van up, always trippy first time driving w/doing w/out for a bit) when it's going home time. the soundcheck goes ok except for some lowend feedback that keeps creeping up... is this gonna be a prob tonight? hope not. the sistas are back w/us - their last gig though and I'm gonna miss them much. I go down to catering and have some salad and a shrimp/salmon shiskabob, pretty good. I go to get some cigs at store across the street and there's my old friend dean dean the prancing machine, big hugs for him. he heard some tickets might be made available so he's a line w/a lot of other folks to have a try. damn, I wish so I could get him in - I wish I could get a lot of friends in... yuka left a message saying she was in town for a gig w/sean (she's the music director and keyboard player for his band) but I can't do anything... the list was closed up weeks ago, aaaaaarrrrrrrrgggghhhh. damn, not even my ma or sisters can come but I feel so bad about telling yuka's machine the lame message, I have to fight tears.
there's a band going on before the sistas, it's iggy's troll band (the guys he toured and recorded w/before the stooges reuninon) guitar man whitey kirst and he's got philthy from motorhead on drums plus I'm told a bass cat from the cult (not the blue oyster cult). I watch them play, ig comes by too - he must've just came from the 'tel so I guess the other guys are here also. I like whitey's band and the bassist is real good, I also like the way whitey sings. I go up to get the boilersuit on and check out the sistas... man, I love that new tune they got that goes "I hate the way you love me, baby" - it's the best. our turn comes at nine and a half bells. henry leads us down the stairs and to ig's room for the last five minutes before liftoff. I am quiet like I am around them at this time, stretching as much as I can and working my fingers on my bass to loosen them up. again henry leads us out, this time to ronnie's side of the stage and I hear jane's "mountain song" just before the lights go out and ig holler's "alright, let's go!" and the gig is on, I run out and put my glasses on the drum riser (I'm just starboard of scotty, as close as I can be and use the corner of his riser as a table for both my tuner and my glasses) and the plug the little bass in. the crowd is all on their feet and hollering as scotty hihats in "loose" and we're off. all of the sudden a weird sadness wave breaks over me but I focus and shake it off - damn. that was a trip, so much like a "wave" that I feel wet from it in a way but I know that was just some kind of freakout trying to get it's hands around my throat. I glue my eyes to ig and keep them there. I think I do some fills somewhere - maybe in ron's solo - damn, time to focus and get a handle on what I'm doing. that low end feedback from soundcheck is there and even worse for me, there's not enough of iggy's voice in the monitors. time to soldier on, I bend my knees and hunch forward for "down on the streets" but another fills slips out again in the guitar solo, while ig's up on my amps - he has every right to kick my brains out... I'm on my knees and my head's pretty much at the right height for him to make that happen. a feeling runs through me like I gotta take my come-uppence, 'pert-near an acceptance thing and automatically my mind goes thinks of joe christmas in faulkner's "light of august" but I rally and get my focus back in the gig - that kick in the head did not come but my own kick to my own ass inside my head gets it together and I decide to shake myself silly, shake myself sane to work this right and close this tune out right. just what I usually do for "I wanna be your dog" and iggy's got the crowd good and whupped up, he sings his heart out and then sails into the folks once, then right back again come ronnie's solo slaughter, I look down at my john coltrane button and connect the ecstatic relaiton, now THIS makes sense by transcending it. I let my backsides pound the frontsides of my amp for "tv eye" - the deck in front of scotty's drums wet from ig doing a his first bottles water over the head so I watch it careful (watt's fucked-up knees are vulnerable) when I cue the asheton's for "ram it!" - they ask me to do that, scotty calls it the "pop tart" thing. I blow a clam in "my idea of fun" w/the first chorus by going four instead of six but I caught it hopefully quick enough. it was another micromoment of unfocus again that let that happen. I'm very determined now. I lay into "dirt" as tight as I can, letting scotty lead me by his rhythm tether and feeling every syllable iggy sings in the moment he sings it so I will stay just there - in the moment and not behind or ahead. him and the ashetons make such a beauty of what's already a righteous tune. for then, nothing else is exists in my attention - nothing - and that's a mindblow for me, truly transcendent. no time to wonder on that though cuz ronnie's revving up "real cool time" and finally my pours are opening up to let the sweat flood - lots of eighth notes here and I up-pluck w/much definition to help drive the riff. iggy calls up for dancers when he's done singing and their a little slow to come but suddenly the stage is full and there's lots of cats from the wings up w/us too - kofy from the sistas keeps slapping me on the shoulders and dancing right in my face, she's way lit and it's infectious - I'm loving it, much confidence for watt from this. "no fun" next and more sharing the celebrating w/these dancers (like ig laughs "they spaz!" when he thanks them) and I'm even singing along w/them, getting carried away a little - whoops, another bass fill or two again, hmm... damn, I even left the riff for a couple of bars - WATT!!! ok, calm it down and play it straight for "1970" - real straight, right after ig's band intro's and then I step back to swirl in ronnie's guitar harmonics for "mindroom" - damn, that lowend feedback is all over the place... it's even there when no one's playing anything! what's up? "fun house" is up when ig calls for it and we smack it hard, the whole theatre seems to jerk and twist for me as groove cranks it up and then tumble down it's building collapsing "l.a. blues" - perfect tune for this tune - "I am you" says ig to the folks and does the frankenstien walk of to the wings of the stage for more head soak w/the water. bam, he runs right back out for "skull ring" the chaos channels into the giant riff that drives that tune, ig way at the bow of the stage-boat, singing right into the gale blowing hard. "forever! forever! forever! forever!" he wails. we wind it up w/"trollin'" which always puts the hugest smile on me - not cuz it's last but cuz I love this tune and it's different cuz it's not an old one which I grew up w/but one that came w/me on board so that's a trip, I don't know how to explain it right but there's something about it. the older ones I grew up w/put a rush on my mind, like something beyond music cuz it mixes an emotional past w/me but "trollin'" coming from another place - I love all these songs but they do push different buttons, work different levers in me. I just wanna do good for them on the bass, make the stooges guys glad they have me on board. we go from where we entered and I kneel at ig's feet while he readies himself for the encore assault. he's usually focused on that but tonight he relents for a sec, looks at me and says "nice job" - then he's back to rallying himself for the next round and we're back w/"1969" - bad stage sound and all but no fits thrown in retaliation except to play the music that much more intense. same w/"she took my money" and "not right" - ig's on fire and it catches us up in the flames. "I'm fried" puts me where I can 'pert-near feel the groove touch me on the most sensitive spot on my cheek, right by my upper lip. I lay the bass right back where it forces nothing, like a sail getting filled w/scotty backbeat. ig shoves over one of the sidefills - the fucking horrible stage sound... we're off one more time w/just "little electric chair" to go - he implores someone to help kill that god damn howl that's bogarting everything. he gives me the go for my solo and draws right out of me, it's like ig's playing the bass right through me - whoa! when it's finished I turn towards scotty and just howl howl howl at what just happened, that was a trip... crimony! we're done and as I race up the stairs myself, I can hear the crowd holler and holler, thank you - a good gig! of course there was lots of parts I could've done better and I promise myself I will but I got through it ok, I was fretting so much about blowing it... shit, I'm always doing that but something missing made it even more intense, it was hard.
I'm laughing pretty hard cuz of the overwhelming relief on me now on what I learned - what I learned? I'll never cipher it all and vital lessons will be spaced, even moments later. I get out of myself and ask scotty what he thought - the monitors were a nightmare for him. roadboss eric even says it was probably the worse stage sound ever but still, the gig was a blast, those technical things aside. I wanna get more restraint, racka ress disciprine - more than me thinking I'm happy, I want the guys happy. jack black comes up to say hi (he's married to tanya, petra's sister), I asked him to come cuz ron and scotty are such big fans of his and he's always been beautiful to me - he wants to do an art show of my "sunrise in pedro" photos I take at the crack of dawn and I blush much when he tells me that. petra says she really loved the gig, didn't know what to expect cuz she grew up w/jazz in the house and doesn't know much rock, even still w/her in her thirties. my dos partner kira's here too and said raymond watch the show w/her but was too shy and left right went it was done so he's not here now. damn. I love raymond. kira said she really dug the sistas, we're in their room now and everyone's all happy on each other. my li'l pit colleague thalia's here too - her first time seeing both the sistas and the stooges and digging it much. kira's a total ball of energy and you can tell everyone loves her, she's amazing. we'll do some dos gigs w/sistas in the pit this fall. there is lots of joy here - ig bailed quick though so we didn't get to do the debrief but it's understandable. steve perkins comes up to visit - a most beautiful soul and I really wanted him to talk w/scotty, I love perk.
well, the adrenaline is soon running out and I gotta get the boat home so I get my basses and one of the vt-300 amps, kira helps me. a safe seas handshake to loren. thalia needs a ride home so we make sure k gets to her ride and she drives by to show us the little seat she has up front so her little bichon friese hombrito can ride in and then we bail ourselves. it's good thalia's here to help me cuz the soreness is coming on me strong and it's good to talk w/her, she's an old friend and I'm so insecure. I drop her off and then get to my pad, have to park 'pert-near two blocks away but it's a trip to have all those sounds of the gigs in a weird kind of background to the quiet of the night here in my pedro town. on the deck, the blood rushing through my head is like a river carrying my open eyes over a waterfall where only mist and spray show where maybe where it all ends up.
friday, april 27, 2007 - seattle, wa
the day after the wiltern gig - tuesday, which is a paddling day but I cannot stop sneezing and my eyes are puffed like I've been crying my head off... maybe I have been? there is a sickness on me, trying to took root and coming in through the face. there's fever too but no sore throat and shit in the lungs. even still, I'm gonna play it safe and not paddle though I'm jonesing like fuck on it. I play the catch-up game 'til time to get the boat up to k-town so I can get petra and take her to hollywood where the stooges are do a taping for the jimmy kimmel show tonight and we can prac our pelicanman stuff in the down time. there's a lot behind the studio a block southwest of hollywood boulevard and highland where an outdoor stage has been erected for our performance. we're gonna do "she took my money" after jimmy kimmel interviews ig and then do "I wanna be your dog" that'll play while they're rolling the end credits. we do a check of those two tunes w/helperman chris singing while the sun's still up, around five. man, do I love the cali weather, even up in the smog town parts here though the air's so much better in pedro. then me and petra go it a small room off of the main dressing room to prac. on the way, I run into iggy's son eric - good to see him again - I met him in philadelphia a few years ago when he was tour managing the burning brides. he looks just like his pop but taller. time comes for the interview and I hear some over the tv going in the room where the stooges guys are though I'm pretty occupied doing the songs w/petra, I hear iggy give out ron's home phone number and address! ha, that's a trip. jimmy kimmel is very nice to ig and gives him much respect which is righteous. I get into the boilersuit and it's soon time for us to go play. ig apologizes to ron w/big laughs about the phone/address thing, saying he can put his (ig's) phone number on his answering machine in atonement (I was told by ronnie later though that both the phone number and address were bleeped out when the show was broadcasted). everyone's cracking up. it's been decided we should do "tv eye," "fun house," a little bit of "l.a. blues" and then "skull ring" for the outside audience - it won't be on filmed. there's a giant lex lugor guy revving the crowd up w/total shtick but the folks seem really into it anyway. I'm kind of scared, I always get this way w/cameras or recording. we do "she took my money" pretty good, maybe me the most shaky but hopefully not too bad - I don't know cuz I never saw it broadcasted, not realizing it was going over the air later at midnight but it's probably on youtube.com if it hasn't already been yanked for copyright shit. for sure I felt a little stiff, I should've shook up and spazed more, damn it. I just hope I did good music-wise for the guys actually. anyway, there's like a minute or two and then jimmy and his guests watch us from a couch on my side do "I wanna be your dog" and then those tunes I already mentioned for the folks. ig really sings great and the asheton brothers along w/steve mackay are smoking. I'm a little more relaxed and think I play better/wilder here but again, I don't really know. I do know the sickness has me in fever and I'm sneezing much, eyes really swollen up but fuck it, me and petra are going to go see yuka play w/sean at the roxy now. on our way out, I say bye to ig and see him and his granddaughter erin, wow. it's beautiful, big love. we get up to the roxy in the boat and luckily find somewhere to park not far (total miracle) and get to say a few words w/yuka but my head is deliriumed up pretty much now and I can't find the words I want, space on giving her the kierkegaard book - shit, I can't even get through like the fifth song before I have to tell petra I gotta get back to pedro before I completely fall apart. luckily we found seven earlier and she said she'd take petra home cuz she lives near her anyway and seven's just good people period. so I barely make it home cuz the adrenaline of playing had really run out and I was feeling at least 180 years old and feeble. now I keep a konksack in the boat I got in kansas that'll good to thirty below so if things ever get so bad I really got sueno coming on, I pull over and just crawl into that. I do get back to my pad and konk hard.
wednesday I played catch-up from tour at home as much as I could but mainly kept pretty still to whup up on this fucking sickness and chase the shit out. no pedaling even which bummed me but I had to let it go for the greater good. the tears from my swollen swollen eyes were so thick it was like they were 'pert-near olive oil. it was almost like an allergy but I know it was bugs cuz of the fever. I did go prac w/petra but that was really really hard and probably seemed very insane to her cuz the fever made my thoughts tangled. only soup chowed for the day. I konked at like seven on my dear deck. fuck being sick.
thursday morning and I pop to find those bugs out of me and my health back, alright - mighty grateful watt. I'm fucking paddling this morning. I got prac w/my missingmen tom and raul at ten so I'll go there right after. parking up on bluff street, overlooking our cabrillo beach (parking in the lot is like seven bucks so I park up on the street and there's a little wheeled caddy I pull the kayak on to the water). it seems the open ocean is kind of calm so I decide to set off from there, the beach facing south, towards catalina instead of the east facing beach inside the breakwater where it's calmer but right now a huge construction team is replacing the sand cuz I heard forty years of a turd piper under it leaking has fouled it for good. none of the sand on either beach is actually original - it was brought from catalina when they built the breakwater. during this renewal of the beach sand, I have to set off way past where they're working, by the pier so it is a shorter hoof to the open sea part. the thing is though, I misjudged the ocean and once I set off I found her a little rough. a kayak sitting low is vulnerable to surf and my 'yak is not a sit-on-top but rather a sit-inside though it's a big-hole one and not not a small-hole where there's a skirt. what that means is if you don't have breakers busting over your bow, you're gonna be way more dryer in a sit-inside. the real scary shit though is if you do take on a bunch of water, a sit-inside will swamp whereas a sit-on-top will just keep floating - even upside down. well, I got out taking on a little bit of water from some crashers coming over the bow but not too much - I feel a little more assured seeing the wall of water in front of me rather than it coming from behind. I went out to the one mile buoy off point fermin (the lighthouse there is our town's oldest building - 1874) and man, was it doing the bob-bob and a few little baby seals had to hang on tight to stay on board. you could really feel the power of the sea, even this far out beyond the wave breaks, I'd be just lifted by the sea and then brought down - not violently, hell the sun was out bright and there was no wind but you could just feel the immense torque from underneath. now getting into the shore was another deal. the tide was way out so the breaks were far from the beach and a very disconcerting feeling is that of the stern of your 'yak coming up, as if to pearl like a surfboard. the other thing is getting sideways and having the waves roll you on your beam. now I got a life jacket on always and I can swim pretty good but I've never had the 'yak all full of water and don't know what would happen to it if it did but I love little "zaby" much (she's only nine and half feet long, short for most mondern kayaks but she fits in the boat that way... I named her after a character in thomas pynchon's "mason & dixon" novel). I came not straight in but across the beach, going from the land's end point over to the jetty and then angled in again towards the shore where I could angle against the line of wave breaks and the shore and then on a little higher piece of beach, I dumped out in about knee high water cuz the time between calm and less-calm wave sets wasn't so big. I got her in, whew. I have to admit I 'pert-near almost lost my nerve - the worse thing that can happen at sea cuz when things go bad on the ocean, they go bad really fast... you gotta keep your nerve. I ran pushing her up the hills back to my boat and the right over to prac w/tom and raul (it's not too far from cabrillo at all) and made it just in time but hell, I'm just glad I made it. you gotta really REALLY have respect for the sea, she is intense even w/her being so beautiful and righteous. after running through the set we're gonna do saturday here in town at harold's place (it still trips me out how there's gigs there, it's an old-timer bar from the early fifties), I say bye to tom and raul and get to my pad to get ready to bail for seattle.
damn, I space on the flight info and though I'm coming into long beach airport (lgb) saturday, I'm leaving out of los angeles (lax) so I screwed up travel plans and have to take a taxi. I've never taken a taxi to the airport and have only taken on from the airport like twice. it's sixty dollars - that's why! I get there and see the rest of the guys, me and steve find the smoking patio they got for united terminal six here and out there he tells me scotty said my playing w/"fun house" tuesday was hard for him to follow so when we see him a little later, I apologize much and say I'll make it up to him tomorrow night. damn me. I look up to scotty so much - all the gentlemen in this band... I wanna break my foot off in my own ass (maybe I've related this exact sentiment before but that's how I'm feeling) w/I even think of letting them down in any way. shit, fuckikng baka watt. I have many thoughts on getting it together in the back of my head while I spiel w/steve and scotty. it's the last gig of the tour... well, memphis is a week later - hell, what does anything mean? I just want me together for these guys - the only reason I think any of myself is how maybe that can help somehow and for no other reason. this makes the only sense to me, anything else would be self-important and bottom-line no real value to me or anybody, this is my conviction. after a hour and half flight delay, we're put on an airbus 319 for the two and half hour flight to sea-tac airport up in washington state. same time zone, alright! still dark coming on when we get there and it's a little bit of a ride, passing the boeing factory and of course everyone's gotta yell out "cans, hammerheads" and even "cali weather" (what? it's dark!) to mock the stupid shit I spout when I see things that remind me of pedro. we're staying at the fairmont olympic downtown, not too far from the fish market by the water. cuz of the flight delays it's nine pm and dark w/nothing much open around so I visit scotty in his room. sandy, an old friend from the sst days (I usually konk at her pad when I'm touring in my own boat) comes to visit and soon so does stooges ronnie and steve - it's a full house at scotty's. sandy's got a company that makes bedding stuff called sin in linen and she's got some samples cuz she just got back from india. ronnie buys five hundred bucks worth, whoa. it's really happening though, sandy sells good quality. I've been trying to get her to get some "deck linen" going though cuz I don't use beds, I use the deck. I think I konk w/everyone spieling cuz I wake up at four bells and I'm still in scotty's room, on his deck. whoops. I go down the hall to my own deck and konk there.
I pop at five bells on gig day. I hoof out in the wet gray - damn, if it was sunny, ed would've taken me paddling cuz he's gotten into that... in fact, he also does stand-up paddling, whoa! well, I get some coff and hoof around as much as I can w/out getting wet and then go back to get the last gig entry up on the hoot page cuz I spaced on that, baka watt. at three bells we go do the soundcheck at where we're playing tonight, wamu hall which is between the seahawks and mariners stadiums. it's a big cement box but there's curtains hung to help lessen the boom and din. we do our two soundcheck songs w/helperman chris singing and I make sure I dig in hard cuz at the end of jimmy kimmel tv thing, knobman rik said I got way louder on air then when I did soundcheck and I think the fact of playing up on stage w/iggy verses not having him up there and doing a soundcheck had me laying back a bit on the thump and that ain't proper. me and ronnie get sandwiches before bailing back, first chow of the day and probably the last except for some nuts in the bowl they sometimes have in the dressing rooms. back to the 'tel and I get the hoot page and wasteofspaceplace as caught up as I can (free internet at this 'tel - that's a trip!) 'til time to bail for show time around eight pm. outside the 'tel is the same ebay merchandisers that were at the airport, that were here at soundcheck - guitar bodies, pickguards, multiple copies of the same album... everyone in the band knows the score. hell, why waste space in this crazyman spiel on trite shit like this? I did discuss what they do w/one of them when we arrived and he told me it was "greed... capitalist greed" and those his words, describing what this stuff is about. enough from me about it.
we get to the venue as the opening band - local cats called the boss martians are playing, I first met them when we played w/them at randall's island in nyc a couple years ago and dig their trip. evan's a good wailer. the dressing for us is the room where the referees get it together before games - it's pretty huge and lots of comfortable seats. there's a easel w/things to remember written on it, the last being "be professional - wear your mustache" and it makes me think of that stupid one I was wearing last year. eric brings me my bass and I start warming up, thinking of dave alexander... I ask ronnie about where dave would finger the songs, was there any film showing that - I think I've mentioned it before but it makes me curious. I ask him is "loose" was played on just the 'a' string and try doing that some - hey, I'm gonna play it this way tonight. it really is different, not just a matter of the same notes played in different places but your fingers staying on the same string, the gliss (kind of), the same diameter of string - all kind of stuff. ig comes in for the last five minutes and says he's got some sickness, some green came up from infection in los angeles - ronnie's getting over a sinus infection and scotty's got sickness too. I think steve has something also or just did - my sickness (the stuff on me at the jimmy kimmel show and later made me bail when I tried to see yuka after) is all the way gone so I'm ready. I don't have my bracelet though - the one I got all those years ago in texas. damn. I forgot it in pedro. I got my john coltrane pin though and feel good about that. tourboss henry leads us the long way to the stage - not a lot of corridors but some distance involved... good thing there's tape shaped in arrows stuck on the deck... up the stairs and we're on ronnie's side of the stage, just out of sight - the way we usually like it and when ig gives the "let's go!" holler, I run out first to my amp, quickly take my glasses off and put it on the drum riser by the tuner (I like this drum riser, only a foot and a half high instead of the usual two - for me, the closer the drums are to the deck, the better cuz then it's easier to connect w/scotty) and then plug my bass in - the gig's underway w/the asheton's revving up "loose" - I see iggy come running out... here we go! damn, it's hard to play this on one string - my fingers don't automatically know where to be. ha! it should be so simple, huh? life is a difficult classroom! there's the idea and then there's the actual, what a conflict! I stick to it though... maybe it's not the smoothest groove I've ever laid out, damn it. I gotta work on this later, sometimes I wish this band had more prac - for my sake! into "down on the streets" and I'm back into watt mode - I don't play this like dave alexander at all, I let the 'e' string ring out as I riff alongside ronnie. ig's longtime manager art collins said I brought the bass in "real heavy" though so maybe it's ok. like iggy says, "if it doesn't bother me, it's alright" - well, alright. animal song time w/"I wanna be your dog" and ig does hi first launch out into the crowd when it comes time for ronnie's solo. holy cow, how does he do it? amazing! done w/that tune, he pours water over his head, tosses the bottle and "llllllooooooorrrddd!" - we're onto "tv eye" and a full-on charge. I'm caught up in the emotion but hold down my part, how? maybe many years working the bass and drawing on that momentum, hmm... no time to contemplate it now, cuz here's "my idea of fun" and we blast that w/all we got, ig down in the ravine between stage and crowd barrier, getting the folks to help sing it. I see a young man w/a chairman mao t-shirt get the mic thrust into his face by iggy and sing-yells "...is killing everyone" - I find the moment trippy for some reason, maji yabai. "dirt" cools us down w/tempo but not intent, the tune seethes - ig making every syllable very much felt. dancer action w/"real cool time" and "no fun" - folks are gently encouraged (!) by ig to "get up here and join the fucking stooges" and four on stage becomes many, the line between altar and pews is fucked up. everyone laughing and much hugs on me by excited folks when it's over. band intros and steve's sax entry w/"1970" blowing up all over, pieces of what's left of it melting into "mindroom" and then re-birthed/morphed into "fun house" - I play only the riff and not one fill or go-off to show scotty I can be there for him how he wants me and not let him down. restraint is not a burden but what I owe him cuz I respect him so much, big BIG love for him. bust up/freak out for "l.a. blues" - of course I knock the fucking 'd' string out of tune but that's better than it happening to the 'e' and 'a' cuz I really need those to anchor "skull ring" - a big long feedback from my bass w/it's headstock against the speaker cabinet 'til scotty hihats us in. finally we're "trollin'" and then out. I run off to sit at ig's feet while he readies himself for round two. he tells me "nice job" and I get a grateful feeling I pretty much hardly ever get in life, I mean in this particular way... it's very special for me. it ain't just words, it's much a gift for someone like me. we go out and work "1969" hard, the ending taking some real band connect cuz somehow somewhere things got out skew on the offbeat but we pull together tight to make it together, make it happen and not flounder. ok, it's a singular take on it but that's ok, it's human and in the moment. "she took my money" has it all the way it's planned but still not a connect-the-dots cuz this ain't a sleepwalk on a cruise ship, it's a fucking stooges gig! same w/"not right" - hey, I can do this baby on one string, gotta extend that knowledge to "loose" somehow. watt is a slow learner! we get into "I'm fried" and ig starts working the starboard wing of the stage where they got stupid curtains hung from poles next to the sidefills. somehow iggy works one of these big aluminum poles free - it must be like ten feet tall, he runs over and brings it center stage and starts beating the deck w/it in time to scotty's drums - it's intensely surreal cuz of the scale of him working that pole - like a giant drumstick, I trip on it big time but hold on to the lick and keep it tucked into the groove. we're off one more time and back w/"little electric chair" - ig really pulls the solo out of me this time, staying by me 'pert-near the whole sixteen bars and yanking those walking notes from the little bass a fistfull at a time. right after comes ronnie slashing a forestfire solo, he's been wailing all night on guitar - what sinus infection? hard for me to tell w/the righteous playing like he's putting out, wow. I get so lit that I run right from the stage after putting the bass as high in the air as I can get it, then a fist, then my glasses on - I run the whole way the big distance to the dressing room by myself cuz well, I'm lit. whew, what a gig.
ron, scotty and steve come back and join me and we talk some but mostly laugh, it was a good one - even w/all the sickness these cats had to overcome. I congratulate them all. mark arm and his wife come in to say hi. we're gonna play w/mudhoney in greece later this summer. mark is the hugest stooges fan and good people. ed vedder comes w/a big hug for me - he'd called earlier and said he was almost here but had to go back cuz his little girl olivia had an ear infection that needed a doctor. I guess that all worked out cuz he says he got back just in time to see the whole gig and dug it, was amazed how much sound could come from just four and then five cats... very kind of him. he gives me this book "into the wild" (jon krakauer) and some pictures of him doing stand-up paddling which looks like standing on a surfboard w/an elongated canoe paddle - wow, that's trippy... I wonder what it's like? he wants to come down and kayak in pedro - hell, if the weather would've been better yesterday, he said he wanted to take me paddling in the sound here. man, I would've dug that, maybe another time I'll get to. ig comes in and talks w/me and ed, speaking of seeing jerry lee lewis (love jerry lee even if he did shoot his bass player). ig said he felt his voice was a little hurt by the sickness but we thought it was all heart and much spirit. he said he kept thinking of lemmy, how he sings but then after a while thought, "well, lemmy's cool!" well, shit yeah but even even if there was some lemmy there, it was still lots iggy and that's righteous. he dug down deep cuz of the health challenge but then in my view, he's always digging down deep at these gigs, it's an inspiration. the cigarette smoke makes it hard for him in here so he's gotta bail... we then talk w/scotty. he passes on many wise things to us - I told ed I learn much from this man, I learn much from all these cats all in their own way. I am very lucky to be in their classroom, they are very generous. bail time, big hugs for ed - damn, the boilersuit's way soaked - sorry. there's a vacuum-pack thing of peppered salomon and I put that in one of my many zip pockets but it's too big to zip the pocket so it hangs out, folks laugh. steve's smart enough to have brought a sack. we load up in the van that took us but w/the crew guys too and much yucks on the way back, having fun w/the ones from england (rik, jos and bob) - I ask what's this "having a bit of a chat" about? steve quotes from someone (sorry I spaced on who) "two countries divided by a common language" or something like that. good vibes w/the team for sure tonight. I konk sore but happy.
I pop at six, hose off and then hoof around a sunny seattle 'til ten bells when sandy comes by to chow breakfast w/me at the fishmarket, overlooking the sound. she says her and her boyfriend really dug the gig last night which means a lot cuz sandy's seen me play in all kinds of different ways all through years and has much perspective. I wish her luck w/her sheets and remind her again to think about getting deck linen happening. back to the 'tel, I join steve and eric for the ride to the airport. yeah, same timezone as my pedro town and the flight made even easier cuz chris and jos are driving the gear to memphis for the gig there next week so they can take the little bass and save me from having to haul that. I get into long beach airport at four pm and my sister melinda gets me back home just in time to meet my missingmen drummer raul at the prac pad to load up the boat w/our equipment cuz we got a gig at harold's place here in town, an old bar from the 50s - what a trip there's punk gigs there now, I still get over that. we play at eight, opening for a band that tobi vail just joined. tobi for me is heroic, one of the first riot grrls and help start that great label kill rock stars. how righteous to share a bar room deck w/her in my own town, whoa. life's a trip. we had a good set, both tom and raul tore it up and right before I met a cat I hadn't seen since my teen years, phillip hilliard. he's doing longshoring now but was a tug boat skipper for a while. bet he's tripping on what I do for a living! I knew him back even in navy housing days, when I first came to pedro from virginia. good to see him after all this time, love seeing cats from the old days. yeah, life is a trip!
this page created 7 apr 07