a word's-eye view from mike watt
I celebrate myself
(first words of whitman's "leaves of grass")
jen and marc live right near the cemetery but have never been there. the little crypt where walt's put is real close to the entrance, to the left and down a hill road - marc drives his truck down it and we park (right near where a flock of canadian geese are... he says they're getting to be a prob cuz they don't migrate anymore), I then sit in the dirt by this stone w/an engraving of walt (of course it's him all old - always you see this! what about him in the 1855 first edition, I love how he looks there!) and spiel about what mister whitman's work means to me as mark films. I have lots to say though it's kind of like wondering out loud. I'm wearing my favorite flannel right now - the blue one I got last month w/sam in his brighton, england town and this was unexpected, me spieling like this but I think it's as important in some ways maybe as the d. boon and bass stuff - or maybe it's the way I see things connecting in my life or trying to - even this land I come from, my home. it's a trip and walt's work has been profound on me, how I find myself in these days. I could never thank him more, thank him for his works and the spirit w/in. we then go back across the river into west phily and over on 33rd street we find the house john coltrane lived in from 1952 to 1958, first passing through parkside which was the neighborhood schooly d was from. I tell jen and marc about fIREHOSE playing w/him in phily back in 1987, kim and thurst drove down from nyc to see it - it was such a righteous thing to meet schooly and see his gig after playing before him. anyway, the pad is kind of beat some but I've heard "cousin mary" still lives in it (there's a trane song w/that title, great tune!). I'm too scared to knock on the door but get my picture taken in front of it - first though I run across the road to a driving range and see a portajohn and go dump in there, marc right outside it w/the camera on and asking my thoughts on coltrane. I tell him he's like walt whitman to me, a prophet of possibilities and inspires me to know end. I 'pert-always have a john coltrane pin on my shirt. and like whitman, I could go on and on about mister coltrane - much respect!
what a nice journey! I thank jen and marc much and they drop me back at the 'tel so I can hose off and chimp diary before it's time to bail back to 'pert-near where, I was: across the river in camden, where this download festival 2008 is. nine and a quarter and it's our time... just a few minutes before, eric brought me my little bass - feels like helperman chris has put on new strings, hmm... usually I get four or five gigs out of a set - hey, that reminds me, a couple of days ago, a new volume control got put in cuz it seemed like the one that was in there was linear and not audio taper. anyway, we follow ig out to the back of the stage-port side, at the bottom of some stairs. this venue's what they call a "shed" in the racket (this one called "the tweeter center" w/a capacity of twentyfive thouand), hooded over the stage and kind of an amphitheatre trip where the folks sit, this is a bigger one but maybe too big for the crowd here? the vibe of ig though is intense - right away I think of the gig of last month's empuriabrava (catalonia) gig and how he came out of the gate charging hard, how I love this man's spirit. he lifts the band right up w/him, lifts the folks right out in the crowd w/him - we're all w/ig and trying to charge as hard as him. boom! goes "loose" - we're off. one string again w/the riff, I think of dave and wonder if he did it this way cuz it sure sounds and feels like it - not the way I've been doing it and I have to say it takes focus for me to make these moves but I will get better at it - I'm here to learn! "down on the street" and the knobs on my svt amps survive ig's accession, me on my knees. before "1969" he tells the gig-goers how he's glad to be here cuz "we believe in you" he tells them. his singing is strong and his abandon has that righteous wild focus - yeah, wild focus! does that make sense? does to me! "I wanna be your dog" next and scotty re-starts his drum intro (love it so w/him on the lower riser - he's got a gold sparkle drum kit) to follow ig but me and ronnie get a little tangled but get all straight quick once it's riff time - during ronnie's solo, ig launches himself into javaline heave mode and flies straight into folks! it's been a few show since done this cuz the euro festivals have huge open moats between the stage and the peeps, not so here cuz they're right up front. it's beautiful, my mind is blown. he asks if anyone's thirsty - it is humid hot up here - we're into "tv eye" and it's some pummels in the middle chug part w/words towards u.s. commercial television, good ones to the gut, yeah! he calls out "real cool time" and after singing his verses, puts out the invite for dancers - they come and they're great, stage invasion! "no fun" comes and two dudes jump on my amps, like where ig was but they're both standing straight up (ig just sits and humps!) w/their hands in the air, each one on each of my svt stacks and then one leaps off and up - whoa, he gets some fucking air and comes down (I've moved to the side to give them room, I kind of seen it coming), then the other cat does the same - so glad they did get hurt cuz that was some leaping! ig says over the mic "thank you philadelphia punks and dancers!" (I know, it's camden but he keeps saying philadelphia and probably there's a lot of folks from there cuz it's just across the river) ig means it too, he's so happy people come aboard and dance w/us, make things alive and not just the "mersh rock show" thing... it's spontaneous, it's fun. band intros and then "1970" - boom, round II w/steve coming on board w/his sax: "blow, steve - blllllooooooooooooowwww!" reel it back some w/"mindroom" (check your tuning watt!) and then ig hollers "fun house" and so that's what I do and we slam hard (only stooge song w/out a countoff we do!) and then boom boom boom, into "l.a. blues" and soon I'm rolling on the deck after humping the amp speaker front. check the tuning again, "skull ring" yeah! "my idea of fun" yeah! and here's the closer: "search and destroy" and it turns out to be the send off - ig says we're done. wow, that was a great sweaty gig, wow!
I see jess on the way back, she was running the tour of the guy madden "brand on the brain" silent movie I was asked to be one of the guest narrators one night when it was at the egyptian in hollywood - big sweaty hugs for her, aaaarrrrggggghhhhh. we're only here a tiny bit cuz we're leaving on a private jet, an embraer legacy 600 - in fact the same kind we used from vassa last week to london heathrow. it's a one hour flight north to cover the four hundred miles to montreal. maybe one and a half bells when a van brings us to an embassy suites (maybe run by hilton? I don't know much about fancy pads) - damn, this room's like a pad w/a big frig, living room and jacuzzi tub that can fit two! go figure. I konk on the deck in my clothes w/no blankie.
sunday, august 3, 2008 - montreal, quebec, canada
pop at seven bells and try that jacuzzi thing. I've tried before but this has tinier jets so maybe better? don't really have enough experience to have a real opinion but it does feel trippy - like I'm being cooked up in a soup, like it was boiling from heat and not from water and air being blown through them little jets. did you know "jacuzzi" came from the last name of some italian brothers who moved to cali? I didn't 'till I just looked it up on wikipedia. I shovel from the free trough downstairs, a big zoo w/all kinds of peeps but I keep out of the cook-to-order line and use scrambled eggs and sausage from a less crowded end of the room. trippy, eggs almost every morning on tour for me but at home only on sundays w/my ma and sisters for breakfast. I chow some yogurt and strawberries too. today's kind of unusual for stooges cuz not only are we playing on the day we travelled, we're also playing two gigs in a row which ain't too often for this team. I go and chimp diary after hoofing around. montreal is a beautiful town, probably the most europe style of any I've been to in north america.
we're to go at six pm so we bail at four bells and ride through town to an island next to this one (montreal's an island) but it's manmade - built w/what was dug up for the city metro. it's very pretty, stuff from the 1967 expo w/lots of trees and a beautiful view of the city. it's been raining we were told but the stooges brought the sun w/them yesterday, the ground still muddy but I hoof around and find lots of parts by the water vacant so I can talk to myself in the nature w/nobody getting bothered. cat power is on before us so I hoof back to the "compound" - where the dressing rooms are, by where the big caltria sculpture is and there's chan! I'm already in the boilersuit so I have to laugh but she likes it. she's going on now - I see her drummer jim white and guitarist juda too... we talk some and then her gig starts, I watch from the front cuz the side of a big stage is always just the worst but I'm inside the barricade thing so I don't have the best angle. their bassman couldn't make it over the border so keyboardman's doing double duty but they're still cookin' w/chan leading them strong w/such great singing and much feeling - wow, a great thing to inspire me for the stooges gig next. even a ccr tune, yeah! our turn soon so gotta hoof back - hey, there's sam and ian of the go! team, wow! what a surprise, beautiful - big hugs for them, big ones! it turns out they're playing at this osheaga music and arts festival on the second day (tomorrow) but came on the first time to visit me and see the stooges - damn, big hugs for them, big ones. I see tourboss henry and ask if I should wait here for the guys but he says ig wants me riding w/them so he can see I got focus so I say bye to sam and ian and run back to the stooges crew by their trailers. there's a little delay but not much... I roll in a van w/them, it is quiet so I am quiet - we get out... we're underway w/the sun still up but on the way down. from ig's "go!" I charge up the stairs w/the little bass, we roll out "loose" and let it rip - right away the montrealers are way w/us and it's crazy time for stooge music, me staying on the 'a' string again the whole tune. "down on the street" number two - right into number two, the way we do. number three "1969" w/ig first telling the folks "we're the fucking stooges... we believe in you!" outside festival w/stage up high (low riser for scotty's drums though, way into that) so number four "I wanna be your dog" has no stage dive but he gets on the grassy deck to work the crow hand-to-hand, man-to-fan while ronnie's never sounded better w/his own marshall twin stacks - wow, they sound incredible! oh yeah, I'm using the two stacks of eden vt-300 amps I used for last year's u.s. tour and the difference in punch and directness of each note compared to ampegs is lightyears for me. "tv eye" number five is come even more alive time, up and up and up we keep racheting up the set' intensity... getting folks up on stage w/us for six "real cool time" and seven "no fun" takes a bit but security relents to ig hollering "let 'em up here!" and soon it's yes fun! yeah, a very much real cool time! intros and "1970" following, steve making his entrance to close it w/soul tootin' sax wails cuz we're all the way feel all right... some water for watt cuz no bass in "mindroom" - hey, there's jim white and chan stage starboad! I bow. number ten gets the shoutout from ig: "fun house" - bass ignites, band blows up, bass w/it! pieces of us freak out and whirl for "l.a. blues" - the screw holding my strap on the bottom of little bass comes out while I'm putting her between me and the amp in some thrusting - oh oh but helperman chris is there quick w/some gaff tape to get me back shipshape and up for "skull ring" at number twelve. a trippy hat comes flying upstage, maybe a cap? the brim is so tiny... no time to ponder too long cuz "search and destroy" is right up for number fourteen, last on the list - ig makes sure we run the set tight by hollering out each title but for the closer, "I got a right" - scotty here's it as "not right" - this tune was an audible, not listed so the intro's a clusterfuck and it's much clam chowder 'till ronnie just forcefeeds the riff on us and we follow him, ig yelling encouragement in a particularly creative way... it comes together though and we finish strong. yes, we are finished, they holler for me to get in the van cuz I'm still up on the stage... I don't walk away like the stupid move I made last gig in finland when ig wanted one more tune but there is no "one more tune" this time and I hand the little bass to helperman chris and ride back...
I most time hoof back but I was asked to get in so I ride back. soon though I do hoof back to the stage, all wet in the boilersuit still but I wanna see sam and ian. jim white and chan are there too - so is jimmy from sparta (he's got a new band now but fuck, I spaced on the name - sorry!)... once when the asheton brothers w/j mascis was doing asheton, asheton, mascis and watt (the band ig heard about doing stooges and maybe had him think to ask ron and scotty to write and play four songs on his "skull ring" album) at pukelpop like five years ago along w/sparta, I asked him to sing "no fun" w/us so he wrote the lyrics on his arm just in case but he used blue marker and it turned out the stage lights we're all blue - aaaarrrrrgggghhhhh! he did great anyway, much respect. he tells about just getting held up by gunpoint in atlanta but got away safe (thank god!) and it made it to the press so he says omar (both were in at the drive in, before sparta) just called him, first time in a long time - maybe they play again together? yeah! we decide to all meet up at casa de popolo (run by the same folks who across the street have gigs at la salla rosa where I've played gigs, great great cats) in montreal cuz the stooge boat is rolling and I gotta be w/them. I get back to the 'tel and then take a cab to find jim white and chan and some of their team watching a four piece instrumental actually called the trio (they have a guest on trumpet). I ain't really got to talk w/jim white for a while, at the 1996 "big day out" in australia, the band he's in w/warren and mick, the dirty three, would have me guest for each gig - yeah, turning into "the filthy four" for one tune! jim white's and incredible drummer. and chan, yeah, getting to see her again after a while too, so SO great. she's in the greatest spirit. of course ian has more of the most interesting ideas, telling me about a deck a cards he gave his bro for xmas, something from eno to promote chance in experimenting w/music - maybe call "oblique strategies" or something like that? then look who comes? sam and ian - they made it! wow, what a blast! in fact I get a little excited and foam up some which also means a little loud and this one young man as me to lower my voice so I am embarrassed and go out on the sidewalk. I meant no disrespect and when the band finishes, I go and shake their hands... later the guitarman coming up and saying he just recognized me so hopefully that young man (I think maybe a friend of the band?) knows I did mean to be so stupid. that was just a little hiccup though in a very happening night w/friends for watt. we spiel out on the sidewalk about music and all kinds of stuff 'till go home time and again I konk on the deck in my clothes... I was tuckered but really really happy, a very very fun time for watt!
wednesday, august 6, 2008 - toronto, ontario, canada
I pop at six bells and use the shower rather than the bubbler tub - feeling more like hosing off than soaking, I feel alright! go down to shovel the free trough - maybe beat some zoo and anyway, shove-off is at nine so... I see helperman jos and he's got an intense look on his face. I tell him thank you for the good job he did last night but ask if anything's wrong and he says the rental truck w/all the equipment might've been towed cuz there's a time of the morning when parking where it was (right across the street from the 'tel's front hatch) is supposed to be free for rush hour and I tell him "damn" but he answer that would be good if it was and like an idiot, w/out thinking, I ask him why and he answers "cuz then it means it hadn't been nicked" w/"nicked" meaning stolen in england slang and I think "fuck, of course!" and mutter even too. I go and shovel slow. as time goes by, it's more and more clear it's a major donate though we do have our clothes sacks - it's the yellow penske rental truck and all the musical equipment in it that's gone - all except steve mackay's tenor sax (the same one he used on the "fun house" album) cuz he had that w/him in his chamber. there is an intense sadness in me cuz of losing the little bass but on a parallel track, almost immediately I feel what seems like a very honest reaction that's telling me it was meant to happen. for the last several months I have these visions of a picture forever fading and that being most appropriate... to resolve a karma, naturally but now though, like a guillotine move - here for me is a proper resolution. there's a minutemen song on the "double nickels on the dime" album called "please don't be gentle w/me" - I think saccharine trust's singer jack brewer's cousin joe brewer actually wrote the words - god, we had to write a second album really quick cuz having already done what we thought we be our next one - a single album (this was in the late fall of 1983), we changed our minds quick and wanted it to be a double one cuz our friends husker du had just come to cali from their minneapolis town to record "zen arcarde" maybe around xmas. we "outsourced" some words cuz it was intense enough to come up w/the music so on that album you'll find lyrics by all kinds of cats like joe carducci, chuck dukowski, hank rollins, joe and jack brewer, dirk vandenberg - even a landlady of his, mary macono who's note about his tub leaking from his upstairs apartment was never ever intended to be part of a song (I used it in my "solo song" - all three of us had a "solo song" on that album, part of a joke along w/the title being ironic to a sammy hagar song) but d. boon was telling me my lyrics were too spacey so I asked him if her note was "real enough" to use (he bust a gut laugh when I asked him that). ok, I'm getting a little carried away here on a tangent? aaarrrrrgggghhhh. I actually really feel bad for ron and scotty's stuff, that they had to be plucked also. I have no feelings about them deserving that and think it's a very grave injustice, just like sonic youth losing a rental truck w/all their equipment in irvine, ca (orange county) the night before I played w/them at the 1999 "this ain't no picnic" festival (hey, they named that festival after a song from "double nickels on the dime" - maybe I didn't spin off on a tangent!). brother lee eventually got three of his guitars back. hey, maybe I should write here about the little bass, about it actually be stolen from me before - and it came back. yep. I was on tour in 1996 w/the crew of the flying saucer (myself, nels cline, michael pruessner and vince meghrouni) and the morning after a gig in charlottesville, va I got a call from my sister melinda saying my apartment had be broken into and everything scattered/ransacked but not a lot missing except for some monies and two basses - my minutemen telecaster bass and that little red gibson bass. aaaaarrrrggghhhh. again, I was kind of resigned 'pert-near right away and was just hoping someone would be writing and being creative w/that minutemen bass and it wouldn't be just hanging on a pawnshop wall somewhere. well, about three years later, there's these three younger men in my pedro town that ask me if they want me to come watch them do prac and I said sure. I go w/them there to their prac pad and the bassman pulls out the little bass! I ask where he got that and he said he got from a guy who's pop was a methamphetamine enthusiast and know maybe some break-in people who partake in that to support their methamphetamine research and self-study so it was like he didn't know and was kind of embarrassed and just gave her to me. so some kind of invisible bungie cord snapped her back. I have had trips like that w/women too, where they come for a little bit before the forever split. I've learned to reconcile that and have peace w/it - every woman I've been in love w/I still love very much - just in a different way, sort of like the way life is a journey and I think that's cuz love is part of life. actually it's too hard for me to get all what I think about in words or even in thirteen hour spiel if I was sitting right across from you so I hope it don't appear all figured out in the stupid tour spiel I chimp here. if anything, I'm just trying to convey in some sense a kind of feeling - hence all the pseudo-details (I mean they're accurate but the reality is something's - or most - is bound to be left out), part of a device to try and let that emotionally part of me that's always doing flying karate kicks on the inside of head bust out.
back to touring in stooge-land... ronnie is hit hard by this and can't even speak - this will go on for a couple of days. scotty's philosophical about it and is actually feeling more bad for me, same w/the bosses eric and henry but I try to relieve them of that cuz I wanna keep the team spirit up and also in my head is that stuff in the paragraph I've just written though it probably ain't that clear - sorry. maybe one word will help: cathartic. now I'm speaking for me, not for ron or scotty - knobman rik too cuz he also lost a lot of stuff. my heart goes out to those guys, truly. we take an airbus 319 (trippy, there's ac power and usb ports on the chair in front - this back in peasant class!) and get to toronto in an hour, this is canada's big town, the one w/most peeps. as soon as we land, we're shuttled to a four seasons fancy pad up in a part called yorketown which is like for bourgeois chowing and clothes shopping but at least there's a subway sandwich pad so I get a tuna one later but right quick, eric and chris come to my chamber to draw up a list of the shit stole - henry joining us later and rik flowing an email w/his donate list cuz they want me to set up a web site and do a email flow to get the word out about the heist. I do just that and the response is immediate, damn. friends of chris, the hard knocks write me a song about me losing my bass, just like that. perk calls and asks if scotty needs any drum stuff. yauch says he's got a bass for me for the gig in nyc... beautiful, generous just lovely lovely people to help. like I said, in my heart I know why the little bass had to go and accept it but I feel so bad that ron and scotty's stuff had to be w/it and get taken too. it's a weird thing for me but eric and henry are intent about it and man, if we could at lest get ronnie's stuff back and bring some peace to him, that would be righteous. I do radio interveiws, canadian ones - a montreal one and they ask if I hate their town now... I say of course I don't - hell, I've been robbed at gunpoint in my pedro town (in fact in george hurley's pad!) but I didn't move. humans do shit like this everywhere and then humans are generous too - just look at the response from the flow. I tell them I have perspective and anyway, if that montreal gig was her last gig w/me - what a way for her to go out cuz it was a righteous gig, her last one a stooges gig that was smokin'! I think about when we were doing "l.a. blues" her the screw for one end of her strap came out and I think she was telling me "you gotta let me go, watt... it's time for me to go" - yeah, I think about that. roadboss eric had is phone number and email on the flow so he's getting big time responses. I gotta chow and dark's coming so everyone finishes up and leaves me - that's when I get what I like at those subways sandwich pads - tuna on italian w/no cheese, black olives, chilies, jalapenos, pickles, onions, mustard and salt/pepper plus I pack it w/potato chips from a little sack I get w/it for crunch. then I hoof to find some beer and it's hours of me w/fruitless searching - nothing around here, holiday too I find out but mostly (I did see one closed pad) it's not zoned for that around here, in this part of town. fuck it, at least I got real tired and it's easy to konk. I hose of first though cuz it was humid and sweaty. yeah, toronto's kind of safe for hoofing, I didn't get back 'till almost eleven and people were out. soon I'm on the deck, out.
tuesday I pop at seven bells and after hosing off, search for a chow pad cuz there's no free trough here and it's probably forty bucks or something (by the way, the canadian dollar is worth now a little more than the u.s. dollar - I think you get 97 u.s. cents for 100 canadian ones - I remember when the canadian dollar was down to around sixtyfive u.s. cents at one point!) so on bay street I find this little diner w/four dollar eggs, sausage and toast including coff. it's run buy I think vietnam people by the sound and look of them - many asian folks in toronto, lots of all kinds of different folks here - very cosmopolitan. I like. today we're gonna have prac - not just cuz of the donate but it was planned before we left cuz ig wants us to bring in songs from "the weirdness" album we haven't done in a while. I do more interviews for the theft thing, tv and radio - one cbc cat named michael follows me to the "gibson showroom" and the nice lady tina there gives me a new version they have of the eb-3, a powder blue sg bass - yeah, that's what they call it now which is funny cuz people are always asking me about my "sg bass" and I have to tell them its's an "eb-3" and explain the guitars were called sg but the basses we eb even though they had the same body, they had different and of course different bridges, pickups, electronics, tuners and strings. this bass has some differences though, like just two volume and one tone - ronnie had one of these that was in the truck and got stolen. at three we bail for a prac pad by the water - toronto is one of the great lakes called lake ontario. it's a huge prac pad, big as a small club but w/a higher ceiling. we prac for three hours, ig keeping it very very focused and never mentioning the theft once which I think is good. we can't get distracted w/that shit - it's out of our hands. what I've been saying in my spiels is that what's in my hands - what I can control - is me playing the best I can for the stooges and for the stooges, it's playing as good as they can for the people of toronto. we do them tunes from "the weirdness" ("trollin'," "end of christianity" and "she took my money") and focus on some detail on "I got a right" (ig asks me to use a pick and explains the syncopation: dig-diga-diggity-dig-adig-dig) and "my idea of fun" to get things more down. I love the way ig runs pracs, it's the best - he is sensei, it's all business but you really feel a sense of getting stuff done and not just going through the motions. much respect. during one little break I go out in the back to look at the lake and the sky just opens up w/one of the most pounding rains ever but it turns out be not long. we go back and I do one more tv spiel and then head over to this place called the phoenix theatre cuz sam and ian asked me to come to their go! team gig. now I was in a weird mood - not so much cuz of the heist or even spieling so much about it but rather cuz of some news back from cali that raymond was feeling down and there was no way for me to be there for him. it really was stewing inside me though ig running the prac the way he did had my mind be somewhat relieved or not relieved but more focused on the stooge music at hand but now I'm starting to freak and can't stop worrying about him - if I lost raymond, it would kill me... their roadboss david has a fifth of beam, down it goes - well, sam has a little bit. I sit on the deck and tell chi about my ma "loaning me out" as in my first months of life everyday while we lived in the navy housing in portsmouth, virginia (I was born there) to this lady from japan who had married a sailor and they were unable to have children... my ma sharing me w/her. not on purpose but by accident, when the backhatch first swung open, I saw miss kaori - stupid startled watt surprised stare w/the fucking jim beam bottle in my hand david gave me, put it down - and I see jamie too - he's better now from a sickness that had him down and missing some gigs, I'm so happy for him but I squeeze his forearm hard like a borrach dumbfuck... I'm kind of wishing he would've knocked my shit out for that cuz it was so stupid but he is just the most gentle of me - he let me use his bass to make cuz w/sam last month and gave him as part of payment walt whitman's "leaves of grass" - I got right there in brighton! I can't even remember what nonsense I started going off then, back sitting on the deck but sam and ian join me 'till my knees start to freak (they do that from sitting crosslegged sometimes) and I gotta get up which brings on a headrush and at the same time, my leather bracelet splits in two (the leather cracked and snapped) and my mind freaks on maybe this is a sign something really bad has happened w/raymond - fuck, fuck... then miss kaori comes back from shower and changing, no make-up and I almost cry - get back to the deck watt, get lost in spiel and bourbon. I get back to the 'tel after seeing my friends off but I cannot konk and just pace and think the worst - we're three hours ahead of cali time so I gotta hold on 'till I can try and call again...
gig day. the sun comes up and the inbox on the 'puter is full of much kindness from folks about the heist of the stooges stuff, both condolences and then from some, anger at the thieves... I personally have to write here I don't want revenge on my part, I feel no hankering for that - I have to be honest... I hope it doesn't sound like I'm trying to be "holier than thou" or stuff like that, I just don't feel that. hoof around, chow at the same pad where those vietnam folks work, hoof/think/fret/repeat... get back to the 'tel... thurst writes to tell me:
"They cannot steal yr soul!"
then his wife kim writes:
"It's hard to move on. I think it stretches the soul."these words make me think - all of the words in the emails make me feel grateful for the kindness cuz I think one might get cynical of humans if they kept their view narrow especially now. I'm uncomfortable w/making people feel sorry for me though I didn't really intend this cuz I think I had to lose the little bass, I feel that in my heart... I think it's symbolic. I feel bad ron and scotty's stuff had to be plucked w/it, I feel worse about that. from miss yuka:
Anyway.. Thurston is right that they can't steal your soul. I think it's also the way that the life is designed; we have to keep losing what's important for us, to learn to let go, and to learn to accept new things in life. It forces us to keep moving and learn to accept new things, like pushing "reset" buttons, and it would stimulate our mind and soul and promote more growth. If these experiences make bullet holes in our heart, we will make flowers grow out of it. May be life is about making this lush flower garden on our heart...
try the phone, watt - whoa! I get a hold of raymond! we talk as much as we could 'till I had to bail for soundcheck. I was so scared something had happened - my leather bracelet busted last night at your gig and I thought this was a symbol for a nightmare disaster. I was so afraid, so afraid... the phone ringing... the it picked up, I held my breath and stuttered "raymond, it's watt..." his voice however was full of life, full of raymond! it was beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I started crying.
soundcheck not to far away where we're playing, at massey hall which has incredible history - fiftyfive years ago charles mingus, charlie parker (listed as "charlie chan"), dizzy gillespie, bud powell and max roach performed as the quintet in an amazing gig and here we're gonna work that same stage tonight! if bird did it w/a fucking plastic horn, then I can do it w/a fucking powderblue johnny-one-note toy bass! the strap's too high for me also (maybe a guitar one?) but fuck it, I can hang. at prac yesterday ig said at least this bass they gave would be color-coordinated w/the dark blue boilersuit. I am amazed though when we get out of the boat for the check, there's a young man named andy who drove up from the u.s., up from constableville, ny to give me his bass, a 1965 gibson eb-3, whoa! man, I can't believe it - I hug him much. of course it'll have to be "wattified" and such but what excellent shape and the headstock even not ever broken (kind of rare for older gibsons). what a kind kind KIND man. very beautiful. very generous. I am touched to the bottom of my heart and hug him much and close. wow. this is why you don't lose a spirit of possibility w/humans and not adopt a know-it-all attitude, this is what I think. we do the soundcheck and yeah, this powderblue bass is johnny-one-night, ronnie on white gibson firebird that's tearing his fingers up but we're gonna be good sailors and soldier through.
gig time is nine bells and a local band, fucked up is first. great band, really good. singer damian is a hard charger and is smart too, lots of charisma and reminds me of d. boon. me and brother steve watch them for a bunch of tunes. much respect - two of their cats in europe playing in other bands too but the ones they got to cover them are happening. ok, our turn - the pad is packed and three tiers up of balconies (it's like a hundred years old concert hall). "loose" of course first as ig yells to us side starboard "go!" the toronto folks are very up, live and lit from the git go - the gig is on! I know where the notes are on this bass but man does it sound nothing like the little red one - no matter watt, don't get hung up on it. I kick my leg up in front of scotty w/ronnie's eyes on me to end the tune, all us machinery operators in back of iggy locked into a purpose, that purpose: to deliver. "down on the street" right away - of course, ig runs a working man set. I'm playing through two marshall wbv400 amps, each w/a 8x10 cab sideways - ig jumps up and humps them. he prefaces "1969" w/a "we are the motherfukcing stooges and thank you for being here cuz we believe in you!" and I can think of a sentiment any more real. we kick the tune out very hard, as we do "I wanna be your dog" (w/harpoon over the bow stage lanuch by ig), "tv eye" (he sings his "ram it!" parts on the other side cuz I think we hesitated and got on his other side) but then what tune do the stooges do that ain't kicked out hard?! stage invasion for "real cool time" and "no fun" - there's tina w/her buddy! we finish and a young man who was dancing around (it's a good amount on stage tonight but no problems) gives me his copy of the minutemen's "double nickels on the dime" and yeah, sure I sign it - much respect to d. boon! band intros and then "1970" - I back off of the bridge pick up to try and get some kind of punch (good luck!), I think the pad's acoustics ain't helping much - very high ceiling... oh well, ig's on fire, the crowd's w/us, scotty's slammin', ronnie's making do w/what flamethrower he can make of the firebird and I'm shaking my body as hard as I can. I take a whole water bottle down during "mindroom" (don't worry, it ain't a liter one) and then when ig calls out "fun house" this murk issues forth from my bass - is that the lick or what? actually, I don't think can tell cuz he's singing in the wrong part of it but me and the asheton's (steve on sax too) pick up me picking up on that and they follow me switching to get onboard w/ig and were shipshape. dynamic band, huh? yeah! we tear it apart for "l.a. blues" ka-blooey!!! very intense and crazy freak-out... I put parts of coltrane's "giant steps" and "a love supreme" - hell, he lived here some, right? went to the pad in fact last week. into "skull ring" - man, I need two tuners - one always running and then one for muting but only one tonight - aahhh, am I out of tune? stay on the 'e' string - hell I wonder if you can tell w/this bass anyway? and then "search and destroy" - a change-up thought up by ig yesterday at prac. many people putting hands all over ig as he wades into the seats for "my idea of fun" - hell, some cats had hands on him early in the set when he was standing on the lip of the stage - that was trippy but I'm thinking of it only now. we finish up w/a slammin' "I got a right" but ig runs the tunes so tight, I don't have time to fish the pick out of my pocket. we run off and the back on for encore time w/one we bringing back - "trollin'" and then "little electric chair" (wonder how that bass solo sounded!) before going "back to the jungle" (ig's words) for "little doll" and finally finishing w/him fried but still enough to push "I'm fried" into everyone good and hard.
whew, that was a gig, great gig. glad to say both canadian gigs were ragin' full-on. great spirit from the canadian cats, both in french and in english. thank you merci. I ain't drinking anything but water tonight. talk to lots of nice people after the gig - hey, there's bob matheu! alright. and martin popoff - riff kills man! great cat, like bob... oh, kathy asheton too - baka watt, you mention her now? she's rode from the 'tel w/us - she's been w/her brothers since we got to town. she's a happening lady, always glad to see her and we get to sit next each other in the van ride back. whew, what a roller coaster for my feelings today but I got to talk w/raymond, got a bass from andy and toronto gave us a very righteous gig. a tuckered watt konks quickly and content (a little bit).
friday, august 8, 2008 - new york city, ny
thursday morning I pop at six bells and pack which is hardly anything cuz I usually keep everything in the sack unless I really need it. I go to shovel eggs, sausage and toast one more time from the vietnam people closest econo chow to this fancy pad - oh, forgot to mention I showered last night before konking cuz man, did I push some poison out of the pours w/that swelter gig at massey hall. we're shoving off at ten and half for a one pm flight to la guardia. the canadian airline folks are very nice to let me bring andy's bass onboard into the cabin of the embraer 175 we're taking instead of checking it cuz the case ain't soft (original 1965 one) but it ain't a road one either. thank you, canada! trippy, the u.s. border officer knew about the stooge heist but then later I find out my former customs agent friend lis put the word - damn, did the word get out, ap wire and eveything... perk called out of the blue saying any of his drums are there for scotty - much respect! less than two hours we're back in the u.s. (yeah, immigration/customs is done on the canadian side for u.s. re-entry!) and I'm in the van w/the guys to the london 'tel where they're staying in the midtown part of manhattan but from there I'm picked up by my old friend jimbo cuz I'm gonna go stay w/him, his wife cameron and their little girl lili-kate like I always do in this town when possible - way up in the most northwest corner (really happening seeing the corner of "seaman and cumming" right near their pad - I shit you not), called washington heights. so good to see jimbo again! yeah, they have a car - lots of peeps in this part where they're at have cars. well, first we go to his work down on sixteenth street by union square - jimbo procures music for movies and shit. I'm starving (it's six pm now) so I get a liverwurst sandwich at a nearby deli while he does a meeting - none of those in pedro. speaking of shoveling I'm to chow w/miss yuka tomorrow and call from jimbo's office to see when. she is very wise. she tells me where she's from they say if you lose something dear it's cuz it sacrificed itself to head off an even bigger hell that was about to come on you. this makes me think and resonates well inside me. hey, it's the eighth day of the eighth month of 2008 - the boredoms are doing an eightyeight drummer thing at the la brea tarpit in los angeles - damn, wish I could've witnessed that! last year was seventyseven drummers at the brooklyn bridge... I wonder where/if next year's ninetynine pounddown will be. great fucking band. I go w/jimbo to his pad and talk a while w/him and cameron - she's hurting hard w/nine day old foot surgery - ouch! I'm reminded of my knee surgeries in my early twenties... I think it's worth it though and tell her. my ma and aunt had work done like hers. in the meantime though, itai itai itai! I can feel for her. they got a righteous tiny tiny (full grown too!) dachshund called scout that is one hundred percent love, oh my god. I love her. all affection. no drinking again, I konk early on their couch (hardwood deck here).
gig day and I pop early to hose off and then hoof a couple blocks east to the deli for some coff and sandwich (hero bread) w/eggs/sausage. I then hoof west to inwood park to watch the herons, canadian gees, ducks, sparrow, pigeons, etc. - there's an inlet from the hudson river here and you can see where broadway connects manhattan w/the mainland... I feel it's a very nice, peaceful, generous and understanding - I do a final contemplation, a joe christmas revelation and one more from-the-bottom-of-my-heart dialog w/myself in regards to deciding it's full-on correct and right the little bass is gone. I have an audience of tiny sparrow doing dirtbaths to serve as witnesses. I go back up to jimbo's to write jose and then chimp diary. I think about jose some - him using "mike watt" and "normal" in the same sentence, oh boy. soundcheck at four bells - whoa, jimbo takes me again in the car - the westside highway, viva! except for the blight of the sump pump dump trump tower town we have to pass. get me a shovel. we're playing somewhere I've never played before - hardly even been in the neighborhood before except for something or other at the sony studios a bunch of years back - in the mid-fifties near the hudson, called terminal 5 and run by the bowery ballroom people I'm told (same as the mercury lounge, a pad I really like playing). there's a young cat named andre at the stage door w/a 1969 gibson les paul professional bass from adam yauch for me - I knew a bass was coming cuz yauch emailed me (flea offered basses and amps too - much respect!) but didn't what kind, he just said it was a "heavyass gibson" but what a trip - I got one too! never did many gigs w/it but did record some dos, got it cheap during one of the fIREHOSE tours in the 80s. damn, hardly any of these were made, actually a studio bass cuz of low impedance pickups but I'm determined to play it just for the karma. man, this room has bad sound - like a huge warehouse but I know knobman rikhart will do his best - he can only use the mic w/the bass cuz the pickups got too low of an output for the rdi passive one we got (I got one and let him try it - he digs them!). I then take a c train (whoa, rained during soundcheck but it cleared up fast!) down to washington park to meet miss yuka and do chow. on the way walking, she has stop at a tibet pad to get a t-shirt w/their lands symbol but though the got lots of many-arm statues, incense, beads and other kinds of shirts - they ain't got one of those so she sees this japanese chow pad across the street and we chow there. I get squid - she says get spicy... she says she wants to be like a squid cuz sometimes she feels too brittle and wants to be more flexible. we have seaweed salad and cubes of tofu (I put my habanero sauce on it) but the tofu I really like is this fried thin sliced kind in the udon noodle soup. it' all very happening chow but what is even more happening is her spiels, they are great and inspiring ones. very interesting woman, once in a while I meet them like this. we go sit in the setting sun and then I take the train back up to the gig to get into the boilersuit. the guys arrive, we popwow for the hour still to go - we're on at nine and a half and there's no opening act (what?). the gig's clean - old show biz talk for sold-out. we're to wait five extra minutes to make sure everyone gets in. different tonight, we're coming in on ronnie's side, stage starboard so I'm last instead first. ronnie's got his other reverend guitar, the one that was for him in camden. good, his sound. he starts the "loose" chords after his brother scotty hihats him in - yeah, the rental marshall amps he's got are roaring even if they look beat (fuck, I look beat). my double svt-II setup I can't even hear but the monitorman helps me out w/the wedges. ig is flying and spinning, singing and signifying - amazing. the gig is on. wow, my fingers working this bass - find the right notes, watt! "down on the street" right away, right away - whoa, two octave neck and the strings really close together, short scale but more frets (my eb-3 was not two full octaves worth) means smaller... neck is thinner front to back also. I get down on my knees when ig gets up on my amps - I look at the front row of folks and hey, there's some cats older than me... maybe bikers or vets (or both)? "1969" ok... "all across the usa" - I'm messing w/the tuning, helperman chris got me a boss tuner and hey, it tracks fast but I shouldn't drop out any or get distracted - I just hate playing this one sharp. ig runs the tunes butt-up on each other - "I wanna be your dog" next and there's him w/a from-the-stage-launch, they're packed up to the stage's lip and there's no chance for a moat plunge only tops of heads and hands for people padding. the body of this bass is really heavy and fits kind of trippy w/my body but not lame... I'm just glad chris taped the strap up good (by the way, he got me a long purple one - like the little bass had! nyc's 48th street's got 'pert-near everything!) on the buttons where the hang, especially the top one - what a retarded place to put it! aahh, I remember, I put it behind the neck on mine and now I remember too, I did use my les paul professional at a dos gig on a radio show bobby alt invited me and k on - baka memory watt! and yeah, now I remember this too: when I first got that bass, I did a fIREHOSE gig w/it in riverside and the strap did fall off the button (I hadn't put one on the back yet) where they originally put it and the headstock snapped. jim foote (a cat in hermosa beach) took three years to fix but did a great job. sorry, I digress... my life is a digression! sorry! very right on the money "tv eye" - there that snaps my attention back. swing the mic, wide circle getting smaller, mic getting faster - ram it!!! why is "dirt" on the set list? well, no worry about the set list cuz after the stage invasion in "real cool time/no fun" - a cat rips it off the stage (the crew tapes that thing on all sides real good too)... I remember a man in a white kind of suit (a wedding suit?) kept asking me but I was busy hugging people - I look over at ronnie's and it's just shreds, either it got kicked to death or tore up trying to be took. the invasion is an invited one, you know that - ig wants folks up w/us and this one tonight reminds me of last year's, taking time to get folks off once we're done but while it was on, it was so great - folks just full of life and expressing it in dance and pogoing, sharing it w/us. iggy introduces the audience to band (!) - time to bring out brother steve mackay as we roll hard through "1970" - him blowing the ending into "mindroom" where he gets his intro from ig while the asheton brothers do guitar harmonics and cymbal splashing behind him. then he hollers "fun house" and now I've been using just the neck pickup but whoa - ronnie gives me "what's that?" look as this muffled version of the riff tries to pry itself from my bass but it ain't as bad as massey hall and the whole room turns into a real hopping dance hall, not the disco it appears it normally would be or was - ig leading w/steps of anarchy meaning no copying any dance moves, everyone's moves w/as much value as any others. freak out next meaning "l.a. blues" meaning pushing this bass now hard not to anchor but see where she goes. hmm... I can feel my fingers w/her but maybe not hear so well - hope the peeps feel it. "skull ring" - jimbo tells me later this makes a slogan in his head, that's a trippy thing and I don't think I ever heard that view before. "search and destroy" - whoa, I know it blew jimbo's mind to hear this, having done the wylde ratttz sessions (fleming too) and the "my idea of fun" which is a trip to do on the bass, the way the strings sit off the body and the upper frets and the neck - upstrokes w/the fingers for watt! there's a pick on a piece of tape on one of the amp heads so I don't have to reach in my pockets cuz ig calls out for us to get right into "I got a right" but fuck, I pull the tape off the amp but it stays stuck to the pick and I gotta fucking try and pull that off - scotty and ron into the intro and my floundering around - fuck, I finally get it together enough to get into the riff... fucking baka watt - I ain't used to anything about a pick but I will learn. the tune is on fire cuz I think ig and the ashetons are - and the crowd... watt is aboard this train w/his mouth open in wonder - and his fingers working bass. it's a trip. we go back out and do "little electric chair" - like in toronto, I'm wondering what the bass must sound like, ig urging me on, "c'mon mike!" he's great! of course I'll come on, try to do it like a ton of bricks. man, it's a blast watch him coming up to each of us and getting the fires blazing... "little doll" - I go from both pickups to neck only... scotty doing the bo diddly riff (I missed his launch last gig and had to let him do a few bars alone but didn't choke on that tonight). the "double dog" reprise next turns out not to be the close - no, it's "I'm fried" - but of course! ig's a genius!
I run off stage but don't change out of the boilersuit... I wanna find miss yuka, she's got dougie bowne w/her and dougie played drums w/ig many years ago and it's been like fifteen years since they've talked so I wanna get him backstage to do that. hey, there's jimbo! and juan rosenfelder! amanda from lawrence (kansas) is working here, wow - she helps me find where to look, helps w/security - good to see her again, I find miss yuka and dougie - miss yuka is leaping up and down cuz of the gig, wow, never seen quite like this - she is lit from the stooges! wow. yatta!!!! I bring them backstage. tourboss henry is so glad to see dougie again (henry's been w/ig a LONG time) and then there's ig and dougie together, yeah! good good times, good good spiel. it's a very happy time. I finally get into dry civilian clothes. time for jimbo to get me back to his pad... stanislav is here w/some of his slav buddies, righteous! big big hugs for him. richard reilly too - happy birtday! last last big hugs for miss yuka and dougie, safe seas!!
jimbo gets me to his pad and man, am I sore. only a little spiel from watt and much hugs I get from the little dog scout, much kisses. I konk quick in my civilian clothes, jimbo's couch cradling me. whew...
sunday, august 10, 2008 - baltimore, md
saturday morning I pop at six bells and greet a manhattan sky outside of jimbo's pad full of sun. whew, body a little sore still from last night's gig so I go to the closes deli he's got east to him again and get coff and a hero-bread egg and sausage sandwich then walk back and past his pad to inwood park and sit on the rocks right on the water, many huge canadian geese coming up to greet me or is it to become disappointed that only chow I give is a few crumbs to the little sparrows? not much, just a couple. all the bird eyes, I see lights of life in all of them and the way the ducks land on the water - the way they water ski for a bit as their feet meet the water, amazing! again I drift back in my mind to what's now less and less a riddle: losing the little bass... the water ripples from the ducks and geese swimming calmly expanding circles on their way to dissolving and have calm in my mind. I spend a while there, a good long while. I loafe and invite my spirit (thank you mister whitman)! I get back to jimbo's to chimp diary 'till it's time for me to catch a train to phily. no stooges gig tonight, no, tonight I read two of my poems and then play solo improvised bass behind charley plymell while he reads his poems. it's part of this tour byron coley put together - I love byron. tonight will be the first time I try the bass andy gave me!
jimbo jams me down to penn station on 34th street in his red car (I think one day I paint the bass andy gave me this red) - he has to jam cuz I had the boilersuit being washed in the machine he's got in the basement of his apartment building. not much jamming either after leaving the westside highway cuz early saturday manhattan traff has got enough plug to remind me of so cal! we make it though - when I take the escalator (after hugging up jimbo big time) below madison square garden to get to penn station (cuz that's where it is), a quick port brings me right to the new jersey transit trains and there's jess who's coming too and already got tickets, one for this train to trenton and then a septa one to phily - $20.50 total. jess is interesting to talk w/and is good listener (better than watt, I need to take lessons!). we decide to shorten the hoof once in phily by taking the blue line subway for another two bucks. three blocks from the stop, in the fishtown part of phily is where the gig is. outside behind these buildings in a fenced-in common area, lots of small gardens - that's where it's going down. very cool people putting it together, the main lady named brooke - much respect to all of them. they got a lot of chow cooking: collared greens, black eye peas, salads, macaroni and cheese, grilled peppers - all really good eating. the weather is a little warm/humid but not too much. charley arrives w/laki, a friend traveling w/him. big hugs for charley from me! he pulls off his shirt and so I take mine off too - he says we're both like iggy! we put our shirts back on after laughing our heads off. we chow. we're on second, after byron reads some funny/serious poems, one of them being inside the dick of the dick who's only got a few months now of vice left. I read my two poems, I wrote them last tour leg when I was asked to do this, "healthy eyes" and "some explaining" which starts my sweating and trembling for the night. man, have I been nervous about this - not just about reading these poems but way more about doing good for charley cuz I love him. all these eyes - I think of the birds this morning and never look up at the crowd again - only cuz I'm scared and not cuz of them cuz I think they're all very kind to have me aboard, both the gig-put-er-togetherers and the gig-goers. I put on my flannel I got last month w/sam in his brighton town right before and it's already drenched. now time for charley - he sits down to read and I stand behind him, a fender silver face bassman provided for me as an amp, pretty good. I just gotta stay tiny enough and hmm... it seems only the back pickup is working on the bass - pretty trebly so I roll all of it off on the amp's eq and put in the "deep" switch. I can't be bogarting on charley's voice. he reads beautiful - I try a boogie-woogie one-flatted-third-flatted-fifth thing he starts reading some of his older stuff, lots about neal cassady in it. now next a slow blues for his next poem, more about the old days. maybe too much jamming around, watt - I settle for a james brown "sex machine" groove for his next one, the longest one and stay just on that - not one fill. I am drenched in sweat now and shitting a pecan log... very intense for me, so much coward trying to take over and fuck up everything. very interesting, charley's take on what I'm doing... I wish I had more confidence, damn it. he goes to what he calls his political ones - I go to kind of an arabic trip - part of my "crossing the equator" thing and for the last one, use what I did for mister tom cuz even though he's out in the west part (pittsburgh) and me and charley are on the east part (phily), it's still pennsylvania, right? much respect to mister tom - he asked for a take on his tunes so me, kira and flea are gonna do a take on his "drippy eye" - kind of a "tres" version of dos, huh? all bass for mister tom! whew, so glad it's done but I wish we kind of kept going cuz I love charley and was getting a little bit calmer than total panic but the wave of relief is intense. of course I have regrets and wish I had another shot but maybe I will, maybe I will! we go upstairs and talk, charley gives me some cigarettes from china called "panda" and they're ok - longest filters I've ever seen. byron brings up some knob creek - biggest bottle of that I've ever seen, same type exactly like the smaller one I more know so it totally looks like I've shrunk when I hold it. charley's friend karen's here too, she's a painter. she said john coltrane played a gig at a coffee house she was having a showing of her paintings in the early 60s. lots of stories of san francisco in the days from these cats, charley and karen are having a good time recounting them and I'm all ears to hear, very very interesting. I go konk on the deck of the floor above. man, what a righteous thing - to share w/charley, righteous!
gig day and the sun's up to greet me, seven bells. wow, that was late last night. I go hoof to find coff - this part they call fishtown has taken blows - pretty huge blows but it looks like there's folks trying to get a renaissance kind of thing going. I find coff and then go chimp diary 'till charley and laki get me and drive me the eighty miles south to baltimore for my stooges gig. big hugs and thanks to jess before shoving off, most grateful to you, jess. damn, soon the sun gets swallowed by some very heavy thunderclouds and then soon there's like nickel-sized hailstones! the storm's travelling north though and soon we're past it and when we get to pimlico racetrack (this is where the preakness is run), the weather is kind of a little maybe too humid/warm - no trace of the pelting and gray blanket we just cleared... trippy. this is the second day of what's called the virgin mobile festival and shit, my buds in the go! team are going on at twenty minutes past noon - damn, just missed them. mister jamie and miss kaori coming back as I have my stuff in the backstage parts by the gate (laki drove right in!) and am waiting for roadboss eric to get passes - I show them andy's bass and they say andy was a righteous man for being so generous - I agree! their fellowbandman sam arrives - hey sam! happy watt. they go to get changed and less sweaty. I see matt ward, great! the first three missingmen gigs were playing w/him, a great singer and a great guitarist besides being real good people. that's the thing about these festival things, folks back into your life - especially if you're holing yourself up in pedro lots of the time. later me, sam, charley and laki go watch matt play in him and her - a neat proj he was telling me about. we gotta separate now, I got stooge world and a boilersuit to get put on... I check out the chow tent - nothing chowable (I did have two little pucks earlier they had on a tray in another tent when I first arrived) but I see old buddy shawn london, we first worked together thirteen years ago when I was learning from and helping porno for pyros - we have some good laughs and memories.
we're on at 4:50 pm. the idiots who set up the big "north" and "south" stages didn't set them up "north" and "south" FACING so we're pointed right at a setting sun on the north one - dohh!! luckily clouds move into to diffuse and a breeze comes up making things nice but that don't mean this boilersuit ain't gonna get sweated big time! I spend the hour before downbeat w/the stooge team, getting our focus together - shit, I'm in good spirits... I wonder what andy's bass will play like in stooge mode? no better way to find out than a big outdoor festival gig, huh?! let's do it... we take a econoline clubwagon up to backstage, at the foot of the stairs ig asks if we're ready and when we all nod, says "go!" and up them stairs I go to grab andy's bass - yeah, I didn't even warm up on it - too much! "loose" let's loose... feels like the nut is a little more narrow than my old one... the monitors have the bass real loud - a really good job, wow. the sound out the two stacks of svt-classsics sound good too - these kind have gain and volume controls - I'm doing the one string version for this tune so maybe a couple of either sharp or flat clams, a little? ig is blasting off and I don't think acting insane but for sure FULL ON ALIVE AND ALL STOPS PULLED - I love it! "down on the street" - go scotty-san! ig jumps on my amps, I go down on me knees... ig gets done humping amps, gives me a back thump jumping down - yeah! "we are the motherfucking stooges" he hollers and then brings in "1969" and I get on board that train. the sun ain't that bad and neither is the heat though I've got the sweat coming for to soak this boiler suit. some "fuck/shit/fuck/shit" chant and then "tv eye" - I roll down the tone knob a little, I get a shake-the-body solo at the end when it's just the stooges playing together. ig tries hard to get cats up on stage for "real cool time" but it's tough for folks to do what he wants and get on up w/us but for "no fun" the dancer thing gets happening, alright - love it! I think my 'e' string was a little out of tune though, lo siento. steve mackay time: "1970," "mindroom," "fun house," "l.a. blues" (the andy bass don't mind being part of an amp fuck, yeah!) and "skull ring" before he goes to tambourine for "search and destroy" then back to sax for "my idea of fun" (ig on the turf working the folks hard - where is he? there he is! where again? there! my eyes scanning intensely) and then back to tambourine for "I got a right" - I've been going as hard as I can, both cuz of charley being here for me and cuz I wanna keep up w/ig but that ain't gonna happen, still I try anyway, he fires me up so... I'd follow him to pluto w/out the tiniest of doubt. we're off the stage and I start to run down the ramp (like an idiot) but tourboss henry asks me to hold on - we're back for "little electric chair" and when my solo comes up, ig goes "c'mon, mike!" and then hollers "get fried!" - and then goes way stage starboard and I try to follow him w/my eyes but the sidefill blocks him out... shit, I get distracted and though I stay in key, I clam the last couple of bars, aaarrrggghhh - have to laugh at my stupid self. you understand that watching him helps me keep focus and plus, I just love watching him sing his heart out and dance up a storm - they're ain't nothing like it. incredible. ok, we end the tune and we're done.
I walk back and spend a little time in the soaking boilersuit w/go! team sam. we're next to this trippy 'puter driven musical string machine from the lemur people called a guitarbot that's doing all kinds of trippy tunes - has some pretty good one string bass lines going too, both me and sam go "damn" as we watch/listen to this thing. then we go w/charlie and laki to watch bobby dylan - my first time ever seeing him live but I know all his songs by heart up to and including "blood on the tracks" - he's really tripping w/the arrangements though, rephrasing the singing and using kind of a clipped spiel to his singing. he's dressed in what's kind of a mariachi outfit w/a flat brim gypsy-kind-of hat and he plays no guitar - only organ and sometimes a little harmonica. it's a trippy. charley's dancing to lots of it - I don't know the three or so new ones but I do know "rainy day woman," "stuck inside of memphis," "it ain't me babe," "highway 61," "ballad of a thin man" and "rolling stone" - even w/them tripped out. the weather now is perfect, like back home in cali. thank you, bob! I ask jamie-san his thoughts and he says the tunes have a life of their own but he can see bob being playing them for forty years might have something to bear on what he's doing. that's a analysis. miss kaori says it's "dadrock" - ha! I think bob can do anything he wants w/bob music but then I am a sentimental fool. sam says he dug it. I introduce charley to the go! team people... scotty-san comes on by, yeah! I introduce him and he gives this philosophy to my friends when they asked him how it was doing the gig w/his stuff just stole, scotty-san says "I came to play!" hell yeah, that's the drummerman I look up to! big hugs to my go! friends, they go back to england tomorrow. I sure love do them cats. looks like jamie is bringing home a plastic pink flamingo... hey, this baltimore - john waters' town - I gotta send him mister water's "pink flamingos" - amazing none of him or his band have seen it. so they don't know everything about the 70s, do they?!
I talk a little bit w/matt ward and his music crew - all good people adn then I go back w/the crew and scotty to the intercontinental hotel in baltimore where they stayed last night and hose off (didn't do that in phily), then konk. monday morning, me and steve are leaving for dulles airport at nine bells and there's no free shovel - there is free coff in a machine in the room but man, that is some lame coff. mazui! me and steve chow subway sandwiches at the port, our gates right near each other but he's off for sfo and me, lax. big hugs for him. only five hour flight - I trade my aisle seat for a middle one in the back (lucky pierre!) cuz this man wishes to be w/his family, no prob and anyway I should be grateful - short flight and no customs! melinda gets me at back to my pedro town at five pm. notice taped above the mailbox: looks like my apartment is due to get a city inspection, back just in time! I go straight to the prac pad for missingmen tom and raul, we ain't played since april and we got three warped tour gigs at the end of the week - go go go!
sunday, august 24, 2008 - london, england
ready for a return to stooges touring which in turn is ready for a return to touring across the atlantic after some north american playing. the eleven days in between saw me and my missingmen playing three of the last four warped tour 2008 gigs and that was a blast! all were in cali (chula vista, mountain view and carson) and richard "fuckin'" bonney and peak were on board w/me, tom and raul for all of them (peak got lots of shots, some of them here). we played on the "old school stage" - something warped tourboss kevin (and old friend) set up for bands from so cal's earlier punk days to play for those getting into it now (the average age of most warped tour attendees is pretty young, like in the teens). it was great getting to share the stage w/cats from the old days I dig like lee (fear), pat+don+lorna plus new man shane (germs), stan+leonard (dickies), jack+mike+ron (tsol), mike (agent orange) and casey (d.i.) plus everyone else that made that stage run smooth and played their hearts out. I even got to bring raymond w/me for the last gig!
we're working on adapting a script to shakespeare's "richard II" for a film we wanna shoot, kind of a twist on the only play where the bard chose the man of action over the man of ideas - we're making it where the bass player-leader of a band is overthrown by the lead guitarist and thereby restoring the natural order of things. so good to play w/tom and raul again, first time since april. much MUCH respect to kevin for doing what he does w/the warped tour, so many bands get a shot at showing what they got. punk will be really alive if the folks having a hand in it keep pushing and tripping on what can be done, being whatever they make it to be and pushing over all the category-fences.
friday my sister melinda got me to the airport at eleven bells in the morning, not so early as usual and that's ok w/me cuz I can pack in doing more shit before I bail. I'm on united airways boeing 777 going straight to london heathrow from lax and w/me is a brand new flight case I just had built for the andy bass, I got it made in yellow to match both my clothes sack and my jacket... speaking of jackets - I found a third yellow one in my closet, my ma must've came to my pad and put it there to go along w/the other two she's gotten me - the yellow makes it safer for me on my bike when I'm pedaling in the morning, safe cuz maybe it's easier for oblivious ones driving cars to notice me so I don't get run over. so now there's three ways I am the yellow man! the flight arrives at eight am on saturday so I konked as much as I could for most of the ten hour flight. I only find out as we're landing that I'm sitting next to the current drummer of tom jones' live band, mister herman matthews - damn, another musician cat in the back of the plane! well, the row next to the last one. I hardly ever talk to anyone on the plane rides but I sure wish I would've w/this cat, I bet it would've been really interesting. fucking baka watt. I meet stooges saxman steve mackay after clearing immigration (not one question!) and customs and we get taken to the andaz 'tel in london's east end but I'm there for only as long as it takes my buddy jose to come and ride w/me back on the bus to his pad in the angel part of the islington burrough, not too far away, just north. jose + kyoko are really REALLy good people and so nice to me. jose cooks up handmade pizza while kyoko does tampura and italian style oil/vinegar lettuce, onions and tomatoes salad plus little bread things. such great chows from them - gracias arigato!! we go to the store and I see there's kind of generic labeled bourbon ("sainsbury" - a grocery chainstore) and wonder what's that like, is it outsourced or whatever cuz from what I know, bourbon's supposed to come from kentucky. I get it to see what it's like and it's not so good. not bad enough not to drink though. I spiel w/my friends 'till pretty late - yeah, they like to stay up late - so much different from me but I can try and do.
gig day and I pop at like ten bells (really late for me) cuz of the four am konk. jose said I could borrow his bike so I grab that and start pedaling. all the sun yesterday is trade for gray skies today, sort of like a morning in so cal during the summer (yeah, that's true - they usually burn off around noon there though). so I don't get lost, I stay on what's called the upper road, a main one. this is england though so it will change it's name several times. there's also no fucking bike paths and this makes for some scary shit, whoa... and it ain't just cuz they drive on the other side of the road as we do. the road (even this "big" one) is still narrow and there's lots of buses (lots of them doubledecker ones) fanning me as they pass and fucking cab drivers that pull in front and just make things a pants shitter. I hug the curb and am very careful - I don't have the yellow coat on (baka watt) and plus no helmet. I do pedal for 'pert-near three hours though, even w/the seat jose has on this bike way too low (I think he needs a longer stem cuz this one's adjusted all the way out). I pass this pad called "the garage" - I played here ten years ago w/the joe baiza-bob lee version of the black gang - what a trip to stumble on this like that, huh? I get back and here's another great chow: pasta rotelli/penne w/bolognese-kind-of sauce and an italian-style salad - mmmmmm... oishii!!! such a great shovel for me each time! I have to get to the 'tel and meet the stooges guys so maybe we cut it kind of close? jose gets me back w/in a couple of minutes and no one's waiting for me so we're safe... I feel bad about voicing my stress to jose while we were in the tube but I just wanna be able to have the stooges guys always know they can count on me and I won't fuck things up for them - I think it's very important I feel that way, especially when I'm konking at a bud's pad and not in the 'tel w/them. it's a matter of trust and honor. jose says he understands and it's also pretty obvious I'm a fucking kook. man, yesterday I had a discussion w/him about deerhoof (a great band we both love) and going off on some tangent having to do w/how music's notated or whatever and I seemed like I was headcase, I have such poor skills at keeping the voice tone from getting out of hand - that kind of shit, shit that appears to be rage even if that's a hundred miles from it in my mind - like, "watt's really intent on this tiny little point and actually he really loves you" but by the look on jose's face, not much of that's getting conveyed - only the insanity buttons have been pushed inside of me. it's embarrassing and shameful. it's nutcase shit and someway somehow I wish I could be that stupid-ass behavior right out of me. jose is very patient and understanding, he's beautiful. big hugs, I'll see him after the gig - kyoko's coming too and so is go! team sam hopefully... don't know cuz he's coming from a gig they had in spain yesterday.
I ride w/steve and scotty to go pick up ronnie - different 'tel for him (the dorkfester - I was there two years when the stooges did the reading festival, hurricane katrina was a the same time in our land) and then we head to the part of london south of the thames river (hardly ever in these parts) for this grassy area called clapham commons where get loaded in the park festival is being held - we're playing clean-up (going on last) - we hit it at 7:40 pm. tiny little dressing rooms, ig's gotta walk through ours to get to his but it's ok - at least close to the stage! I get naked and put on the boilersuit. hey, slouch is here, yeah! I see eugene from gogol bordello - great cat, great band... I did a spiel once w/him when I played a festival in budapest, something for radio there... he tells me he's living in rio now, busks on the street w/manu chao there, damn... yeah, fucking right on! eugene is an interesting cat, man, I could rap w/him long time but here comes eric w/the andy bass - I got a germs sticker pat smear gave me last week. slouch is here, alright, great cat. he gives condolences about losing the little bass but I understands that even though I loved her w/all my heart, she had to go. it's gig time. "fucking go!" ig tells while pointing at the stage from where we had just come up the stairs. watt runs out w/the andy bass, puts his eyeglasses on the drum riser (good low one, yeah!) and plugs into two svt-classic stacks. whoa, folks going all the way back when I look out but that's just for a sec cuz here's ronnie ringing in the chords to "loose" and scotty getting us underway after that. I'm using the position '3' setting on the varitone (gibson gimmick) which is a wiring where the bridge pickup is on as well as the neck picup which has its choke applied (yeah, they had choke coils in these!). beer cans are flying up towards us - beer coming out of them as the hurdle so at least they ain't unopened ones (those are heavier) as we fly in to "down on the streets" (ig likes to run the set very tight) - jumping from my amps after them getting humped he gives me some hands around the throat w/me on my knees - cue to get up, watt. "1969" after telling the folks thanks for being here to see the "motherfucking stooges" and he means it, he's grateful and I share that too, much respect to the peeps. "I wanna be our dog" and a roll-it-up-we're-rolling-it-out "tv eye" - the moat was too wide for a "...dog" stage launch he got it out there w/the peeps and then asks them get out from there w/and up w/us for "real cool time" and "no fun" which is a little tough at first cuz of security goons but ig says on the mic he ain't shutting up 'till they relent and let dancers be dancers w/us on stage together and damn, cats from the sides too - there's eugene and his gogol dancers, fuck yeah, much respect! we finish and I give many young englishmen big hugs and lifts into the air. my boilersuit is soaked. econo band intros (ronnie as "the guitarist ron asheton" very cool) and "1970" plows out loud and very much driving, skidding out into "mindroom" but not before steve mackay comes and wails his sax w/us in the coda. fist in the air from watt for his intro, like w/ron and scotty-san too, much respect. "fun house" calls ig - I think I know it's coming now when he puts the mic into the stand but I take nothing for granted and have all my focus threaded on him like it was him having it on me. holy mackerel, it is smoking - whoa... "l.a. blues" blast out... (be in tune watt) then feedback intro'd "skull ring" - beer cans have been flying, yes but I ain't seen ig not dodge one and I ain't been threatened but anything close... "search and destroy" - yeah, here we go... this version, a stooges version - ronnie on guitar version. ig's been singing great all gig. he does it again w/"my idea of fun" and we close out using "I got a right" - two picks sitting on the riser for me and I get it going w/just a milisecond to go... of to the side and ig says "two songs!" - we go back out and do "little doll" and "little electric chair" - the two "little songs that are anything but - I love these tunes, love them all really but I'm loving these big time now. ig comes over to help propel me w/my bass solo w/some face time of his which is also big time - big time inspiring... THANK YOU, IG! thank you too to the sold crowd of london cats, what a great crowd to play for (except for the idiot who hit ronnie w/the can - funny thing, I saw ig catch one w/his hand near the very end, just like a third baseman snag a line drive!).
the gig is done, damn - that seemed like it was five minutes, I get so caught up in the intenseness! we go to the little rooms and ronnie tells me he got it in the temple w/a half-full beer can in the first tune, just as "loose" - damn I didn't see that. he said it hurt but he just kept going - much respect to him. he played great, ig sang great, scotty was slammin', steve wailing - what a great fucking gig, wow. I see brace from the gossip outside the window - I go out to me him and there's beth from the band too - big hugs to you, sister! big hugs to you, brother (he's got "d. boon lives" written on the palm of his hand), wow. much respect! they gotta go, I gotta go - roadboss eric helps me w/his leash - there's sam, he made it! him, me, jose and kyoko take the tube back to their pad... so much good vibe makes it seem like we were just teleported even though there was some wander to find the station there in clapham. at their pad, me and sam spiel 'till at midnight another righteous chow cooked up by jose and kyoko is brought on - these cats are incredible! spanish-style tortilla (first time for sam), a pilaf (safron on the rice), italian-style salad (but w/shrimps in it), some handmade pizza slices (crust handmade too again!), olives and breads - wow, so fucking good. we chow, spiel, much happy much!!! 'till like four or five, damn - these cats have a different rhythm but I try to keep up... maybe though I konked first... again on the couch - I have to admit I'm scared of that music room upstairs for a place to find himself konked in. man, do I konk happy tonight, very happy - yatta!!!
thursday, august 28, 2008 - berlin, germany
the day after the last gig, monday was a day off for the stooges and had me experiencing one of my latest pops (as in "pop" I'm awake - not ig's last name) ever - like noon, incredible! this is cuz of konking like at five fucking bells or something... jose + kyoko have pop/konk rhythms much on the other side of mine. along w/sam, it was so happening for me to be w/them. I think about stuff for a bit as I look above the shutters jose put up in the windows last light to see a gray sky not too much different than an early morning pedro one (though ours turns to sunny one before noon) and for all that's said - a lot got said w/much of the wind being bagged by yours truly, I realized it's paralleled w/what's 'pert-ear an equal part that ain't said, truly. I trip on that. we're all aware w/out acknowledging it, surely. this though is not lameness but rather yet another way these friends are so beautiful to me and truly care, so soft and gentle w/the frail and clumsy stumbles of the jijii viejo tonto baka gaijin, you know?
I fucked up w/diary writing... the first bike riding for me was today and not yesterday - yeah, I day after the gig and I get this shit screwed up! I couldn't find the kagi/llaves and couldn't get the bike out the hatch w/out the fear of not getting back in so yesterday I started number two in john burdett's three books (so far) on arhat thai cop sonchai jitpleecheep called "bangkok tattoo" (finishing number one "bangkok 8" last leg) and it was today monday, what they call a "bank holiday" here was when I pedaled. everything I wrote about that pedal was right, it was just wrong fucking day (did I tell about eating a sausage and egg across from the local government building called the "worker's cafe" though?). I get back and chimp diary 'til sam, then jose + kyoko get up like at four pm (how do young people do this?!!) to rustle up heap big righteous chow for us like grilled corn on the cob, some cream and seafood mixture on eggplat slices, eggplants scooped out and filled w/their innards and shrooms and cheese, linguini w/peas, tomato/mozzarella/cucumber slices salad - all very much righteously handmade chow to be shoveled by me w/intense feeling, oh man. very grateful mike-san, very grateful. this was another midnight affair (like w/the pop/konk thing, another event w/much contrast to watt life) and followed a jam upstairs in THAT ROOM w/sam on guitar, jose on some kind of early 90s synth made by roland that he very much covets - says it's rare and has a special case for it even... he gets it to make loops so it kind of replaces a drummer. another late late konk after a few marx brothers movies - jose + kyoko really dig marx brothers and have seen their films tons and tons of times but I find out cuz of them both having english not as mother tongues and then being in england and learning it here instead of u.s. (of course the marx brother's form of english), lots of the humor of the puns is lost on them so I can help give ideas about that. ain't that a trip?! man, I can tell they've had years of experience watching these cats but yeah, the slang and the 30s u.s. culture and stuff like yiddish and immigrants coming into the u.s. - actually, this puts an angle on the marx brothers that I always was aware of but now give it some more mindtime as I relate what I think I can to my friends. the whiskey is along for the ride too - bourbon gone so scotch and then tequila to take up the slack. I can't remember which film I konked in.
tuesday night is when we taped a thing for sky tv (and I found out later for the u.s. the independent film channel) called "live from the basement w/nigel godrich" and that morning I popped at like eleven am - am I changing or just adapting to the shortstay w/my friends? it has to be cuz of the late konks, has to be. I get on the bike again, same kind of sky for morning but damn, the traff is twice as heavy, twice as scary! I figure it must be cuz yesterday was a holiday, huh? fuck! no yellow jacket or orange helmet either, like I got in my pedro town. somehow I get back safe after a couple of hours of rolling the dice aboard jose's bicycle - a u.s. cat from a band called bluetip recognizes me as I'm about to get onto liverpool road and we talk for a bit - what a trip... I remember playing w/them but not sure where - salt lake city maybe? (thank you, bryant!) aahhh, my fucking memory... nice cat though. back to the pad, go to work on the 'puter while my three friends appear one by one from the incredible ability to konk way into daytime. kyoko washed my boilersuit - usually the only time it gets a machine was is when I bring it home from the last gig of a tour leg - and it's ready for me for tonight and tv. sam comes w/me and jose to the underground cuz he's going back to his brighton town, I hug him big time and say I can't wait 'till I see him again cuz that's how I truly feel. only a couple more go! team gigs for him (I wonder what he thought hearing jose practicing their tunes on bass each day? jose helped them out for three gigs miming the bass cuz jamie-san got sick bad... maybe jose's trying to be ready to REALLY do bass if it happens again? sorry jose but I hope jamie-san never gets that sick again) and then he's gonna work on his 100 pets and samethings (him and dj scotchegg shige) projs before getting to me and his cuz band... one more hug for him and then bye bye sam, safe seas... jose gets me back to the 'tel where scotty and steve are, he gives me his "oyster card" to use to get back when the tv show taping's done. we bail for this studio called the hospital (waiting a half hour though cuz the driver didn't realize who we were, parked right in front of us - of course we couldn't blame him!) and that 70s band sparks is being taped as we go to the green room. ig says it's gonna be like a free prac but of course I'm in the boilersuit like it's a gig and you know what, in a way it is like a gig. we're using amps provided for us, me w/a very cool 60s ampeg b-15n portaflex but at sixty watts, maybe not nearly enough to let me be heard or let scotty hear? ronnie's got a marshall halfstack and the monitors just barely have enough ig but hey, you "work the room" - right? no prob. right before we go on, steve macdonald comes by for a hug and some spiel - he can't stay cuz of a commitment but wanted to say hi - it's been a while since I've seen steve last, he's now playing bass in sparks, wow... I remember first seeing on bass for red kross, maybe he was twelve? no shit, his voice was miles away from changing yet. good to see steve again. ig just calls out the songs, "little doll" first but there was no set list and I can't remember exactly. I do remember being told by the producer lady astrid (nice lady) that they were gonna use like six songs - I think we did like twelve... I know we did "end of christianity" (sounded good but I blew a little clam) and "little electric chair" where I really fucking clammed the bass solo so god damn big time, aaaarrrgggghhh. I stayed in key but lost all the fucking phrasing, don't know why, damn, don't know why. I had so much regret and bad feelings for myself but didn't let it get on to my guys (I did let them know though, right after) and luckily it was the second to the last tune we did. there was a stool for ig to sit on and at first he had his shirt on but then things got wilder and he was soon dancing and singing so great. it was a great performance by ig I think and he led us well, the band did great consider things - man, did scotty have to hold back just so he could hear his brother and at first steve mackay had no sax at all 'till ig made sure that got going... we did pretty good working our machines how we could but ig I think made everything way more happening w/much charisma and w/an intense sense but also a trippy spirit of having some fun, you know? man, I just wish I wouldn't clammed that solo - I fucking don't know what happened... ig did yell out "bass solo" which I never heard before and you think that's what through me? what a fucking lame thing to blame that on so I won't but for the life of me... maybe I should've had that mi-gu button on - I had realized I spaced and forgot to have it on - I did last gig... I'm so superstitious - of course my john coltrane button was on... aahhh, I try to let it go. I go back w/the guys to the 'tel and then take the two subways to jose + kyoko's - hey, I did it and didn't space even w/my mind on that fucking clamming... I get back and tell my friends and tell them no drinking for me tonight. I kvetch, inside, I kvetch. even w/the great company of jose + kyoko, inside I kvetch. I can't change the past and yet I kvetch. somehow I konk though and there's relief though I had the trippiest dream about perry and janes addiction playing... they're doing a gig at either a drag race or a tractor pull and I'm watching from the side when per comes up to me and holds his fist in the air - it's seem to look the size of off-road truck tire and looks all armored like a night from the old days... I put up my fist too and then it turns like that also, I look per in the face w/a huge questioning look, like "what the fuck?" and he nods some like as to say, "yep, what the fuck?" it was a way trippy yume.
wedesday I pop at six and a half bells - back to wattstyle popping and hose off one more time here. the blue bottle soap is out (am so used to bar soap, bottled kind is trippy fo me) so I use this kind that says "leather" - or is it "lather" maybe? I don't have my glasses on (of course, I'm in the shower!) but it gets up on me all thick and yellow... there's only dribble from the shower head so it's kind of hard to get this off - fuck it, I'm going to germany w/some "leather" then. jose takes me by bus one more time and we have to say bye. I already gave kyoko the hugest hug, her giving me some special japan paper inside a kind of wallet-purse trip that on one side has what she calls "strong man" (it's ukiyo-e) and the other is "not so strong man" (I suggest "weak man") and also a small towel w/her land's letters on it, beautiful. big hug for jose and bye for now, so much gratitude to him for the kindness of him + kyoko plus sam too, dear dear friends. I wonder how in the world I deserve such beautiful people in my life, they are so generous and patient w/me. and such righteous chows too! I owe them tons and tons.
on to heathrow airport and brand new terminal five, whoa, so much different that the other beat up ones. an hour and half in an airbus 319 on british airways to tegel airport in northwest berlin, a kind of small airport (immigration, baggage and customs right there at the gate!) and w/in a halfhour we're at ritz-carlton in the potzdammer platz part in the town's center, monuments to the berlin wall right near. very soon I get a phonecall from j mascis' brother-in-law phili cuz he's coming w/toni of crippled dick to take me to the kurzburg part not to far away cuz they each want some spiel filmed of me - phili for a j mascis/dinosaur documentary and toni for one on mark stewart/the pop group. I spend about an hour each on this - I don't know if there would even be a mintuemen band w/out the pop group cuz that band had such an influence on d. boon and me, I can't tell you how much. that band was total mindblow for me. and w/j mascis, I man I always dug on the guitar and then getting to learn from him by being in his band, I owe him a bunch too so the spiel is easy to flow w/cuz it's most sensical (to me) why I have huge debt to both these cats. then mark stewart comes into where we're shooting (phili's office) and whoa, that's a trip! first time I've seen him since first time ever meeting him three years ago at a festival me and my secondmen were on the same bill w/him and his mafia band. right down the road a little bit is a chow pad and I have some ray - as in stingray but man, is it tough to chow w/so many bone-like things laid out 'pert-near like a fan, hmm... don't know about it really but the stuff I could pick away was pretty chowable and I could dig it. what I really dig though is getting to spiel w/mark for like six hours, what an interesting and amazing cat - crimony! man, I kept thinking "d. boon, I wish you were here to help me ask the things we would always wonder about, man you would ask good things and not be spacing like me sometimes" but even still, w/my embarrassing awkwardness, I am so glad I got to be here w/him, so grateful to toni for making this happen. pretty unbelievable night to me and I'm on a cloud when they drive my back to the the 'tel - man, did I laugh my ass off! and think much too! that's what mark's good at, laughing and thinking, what an amazing cat.
I pop on gig day at seven bells. no free trough at this fancy pad so I soak and then read "bangkok tattoo" 'till the subway sandwich pad opens at ten and get a tuna footlong w/pickels, olives, jalapenos, onions, salt+pepper and mustard w/a small sack of chips. it's raining but not real hard, sure hope it clears for the gig cuz though it's in an old fort, it's a round fort (citadel) and the stage is outside, in its courtyard. I chimp the last gig's doings and then back to reading 'till shove off at seven and a half. just before bailing though, I got a reply from a kind of freaked-out email I sent miss yuka, asking her what she does when she's clammed. she wrote back:
anti-stupid smarts, much wisdom. yesterday I heard the spandau prison is or rather was near where we're playing. rudolf hesse was held there 'till he allegedly hung himself and then they tore it down. this gig is part of the berlin citadel music festival and it's a twenty minute ride from the 'tel to the venue. we got an hour to go. ig comes in to talk about the tv show we taped tuesday. I tell him I clammed my bass solo. I'm trying not obsess on it (thank you, miss yuka) but getting that off my chest to ig helps some - I am determined to do it right tonight. I get naked and boilersuit it up. jino de lunch is on before us, I played w/these guys on the same bill as a fIREHOSE show maybe seventeen years ago, whoa. it's been four years since the stooges have last played germany - I remember the last gig we did in berlin was at the columbiahalle. I pace much, luckily the hallways inside this citadel are pretty emptry where we are and there's 'pert-near only us so I do a bunch for laps inside a small circuit, passing from the two curtained areas that make up our dressing "room" and an empty one. finally time, 9:10 pm and ig leads us out to the back stage-port of the stage. "y'all ready?" yep "fuckin' go!" and I run out to plug in, "loose" "starting soon right after I do. I put my glasses on the riser. here we go ad the bass sound is piddly. I can imagine knobman rik having a hard time cuz of the noise restrictions imposed - 105 db. I discount the way it sounds - try not to hung up about it and just try to give a good to feel to whatever might be coming forth. still getting use to doing that tune on pretty much just the 'a' string - I'll get it. more familiar w/working "down on the street" but when you're this low it's hard to know how to play consistent and not-jump from where you are, too loud on the stage and then you're playing to lite and that's weak too. iggy tells the folks they are important to us, says it w/no irony and means it. "1969" next, we mean that too - boilersuit starting to sweat up. helperman jos gets more of my bass in the monitors, thank you much. "I wanna be your dog" follows and ig launches forth once ronnie fires up his leadå. damn, it's intense to see him do this, amazing! alright. then "tv eye" - some "fuck/shit/fuck/shit" chanting to start it off. it gets folks crazy - I get crazy! something must've come up on stage I didn't notice cuz there's slippery shit right by my port foot and w/my fucked up knees I'm afraid of slipping so I ask jos to throw me a towel but he wipes it himself. whoa, my glass on the deck (I always put them by the tuners on the drum riser), glasses now crunched - whoops! oh well... dance time now - "real cool time" now... ig has some trouble getting cats onstage cuz some security people are being stupid 'till roadboss eric educates them and one cat gets up - man, I'm glad cuz I thought for sure he was gonna be beat and pummeled. he's by himself for a bit 'till maybe ten more guys get up and then that's it... no girls though ig did holler "let her up" to some guys acting like goons and not being educated. "no fun" up next and the dancing continues, good fun! "1970" after band intros, whoa - kind of rough liftoff but we get up and in and out w/steve joining us - whoa, soaked w/sweat now but "I feel alright!" tune up while ig and the asheton's do "mindroom" 'till ig hollers "fun house" and moving away from my svt-classics (are they on?) reveal a tiny intro from me on the andy bass... man, what a great take on this tune - smokin' and cookin' w/some good and funky gravy! love it - ouch! "l.a. blues" blew up! blam! "in tune, watt?" here comes "skull ring" - yeah, I'm in tune... the train is chug-chug-chuggin'... right into "search and destroy" - wham, whump, whoa - "my idea of fun" - steve back on the sax - he's on tambourine for the last tune but back again for our finisher "I got a right" but there's no pick, aaaahhhh - I just make my index finger real straight and stiff and use that like a pick to get the dig-diga-diggity-dig-adig-dig syncopation. we're off... for a couple of minutes but not finished... ig brings us back for "trollin'" which is mean mean groovin' and then "little doll" which I'm diggin' too - shit, I forgot to mention I blew a clam, it was the last note of "I got a right" and it was a c# over the final e (in e-minor too, baka watt!) but it was only for a moment, just in time to see ronnie laugh but in "little electric chair" I nail the bass solo, all sixteen bars... man, did I focus too and ig helped me out - "mike watt!" we finish w/"I'm fried" but no, we are not finished - watt, get back up the stairs - ig tells the great folks we've gotten to play for "we know only more song and that's 'double dog!'" yeah, propulsive - that's how I'm feeling about it, we lay it out. whew, done now but I could've played for an hour more, lovin' it! did get eighty minutes in though...
maybe more drenched than the venice, italy gig? I don't know but soon I gotta get out of this boilersuit and into civie clothes. I go from the backstage to find mark stewart and toni - for his documentary mark wants to thank ig and ask him some things. it's really important for me to help him w/this and I'm really glad ig helps me out here and lets it happen. I meet larry mullen, a cat who drummed w/ig for eight years, what a really nice man, really nice. he knows k's brother paul roessler too, wow - small world! geza x also. so grateful I am for ig talking w/mark. damn, I didn't phili though... I did see texas terri - she lives here now... like mark does part-time. man, what a happening gig, "I feel alright!" intense to hear mark tell me he liked me w/the stooges, especially when I "shagged" the amp - shagged? it wasn't loud enough, right? tried to get it that way... does shag mean get loud, does it mean to get hollerin'?
the drive back is a short one w/no traff or plug and soon I'm on the deck of that fancy pad and konked after I drink the one beer I brought back. oh, I found some "mr. tom" tiny candy bars for mister tom, ain't that a trip? gotta send them to when I get back to pedro.
saturday, august 30, 2008 - konstanz, germany
friday and I pop from deck to find sun w/gray blankie to make like calit morning - baka watt forgot curtain closing before konking and sun-sensitive to keeping konk even w/it blankied how it is so quick I am no longer be-decked but soon hosed off at out the hatch to get north on eberstrasse to fill the digicamera w/what I can before shove-off time at eleven bells. before making a port on strasse des 17 juni (named to commemorate the 1953 uprising of east berliners) in the tiergarten there's a memorial to murdered gay people and across the street the memorial to the murdered jews of europe and where I make the turn, the bradenburg gate - where the "berlin wall" divided the city in the last cold war (maybe a new one now w/the fight russia and georgia just had?) - I examine up close the soviet war memorial for the first time after so many times playing this town and just having some looks... through the trees in the back and there's the rebuilt reichstag as I loop back and see memorials on a fence for shot people who tried to get over the wall. forever heavy all this, I take it personal and feelings fill me up, tears well up... I walk through the gate, see "memorial the kennedys" then walk through all through the maze of the murdered jews memorial and use working the camera a focus to keep from falling apart - not cuz of this being german so much as realized potential of even me if I ever stooped low enough to lose respect for humanity in the name of anything. it is me who orders myself so humbled and let go of such fucked-up insensitivity if I let it creep up and tear holes in my heart. if I'm to make such self-important judgements, let it be something like that? or be ridiculous to be sane - what way to be appropriate? for appearance? sacred act of choice at the subway sandwich pad again before I return to the potsdamer platz w/a digicamera full, a head full - again I chose a tuna footlong w/pickels, olives, jalapenos, onions, salt+pepper and mustard w/a small sack of chips. I am sentimental but I will not be hate instrument, I aspire to be ironic kafka work! just cuz I chimp these thoughts, I should not shirk at admitting how trite they might appear for others cuz of such inadequate whatever it takes to make it proper - objectively (obviously), subjectively (self-apparent) - I think about the crutch I used to help put a cork in the recrimination/regret/guilt/handwringing machine cranking away in my head the night after clamming that bass solo for the tv taping in london... I think about why I'm chimping that now and why wasn't it where other thoughts were concerning that "day in the life of a bass player on tour" and what and why some thoughts are attempted to be scrawled while others willed out of the record? after getting back from that tv taping and before yet another righteous chow from jose + kyoko, I was asked by jose to teach him the bass for a song I wrote him called "paddlin' in my jinbei" in my pedro town a couple weeks before, me sending him a mp3 of it in a email w/clicktrack on one side and bass on the other, all he had to go on (he had asked for us to try and collaborate on something musical). ha! watt re-learning his own song and struggling a bit - what a dumbfuck! funny too, jose using video - of course probably to see where my fingers were on kyoko's thunderbird but at the same time, what a harvesting of watt's own self-soil! I think it was good for me. also, it got my mind off of falling short for the stooges - not that I deserved that but by listening to them and re-learning this tune (so appropriate: the metaphor of being able to do what I love in the form of paddling only cuz there's enough tears from me to make that happen, make a sea of them), I had to truly communicate w/them and get out of my head and over to them the form of the entire piece, the motifs w/in it, the rhythms (three-four) and the phrasing (couplets, deviating and resolving)... it felt good to realize myself so ridiculous and appreciate so much them both being so kind and generous. they were actually the teachers, I find this happening so many times and it's ok, in fact righteous.
whoa, that was a tangent. yes, the embarrassing tour spiel chimped by mike watt - so be it. there's some parts of "berliner mauer" outside the fancy 'tel not too far where I'm told not to sit on the deck by a semi-hidden hatch after checking out. they said it was for my safety cuz it was in front another hatch but like an asshole I took it a little personally I think... I wish now I could apologize now somehow for not making eye contact w/these 'tel-workers, actually I just wanted a bench or somewhere to be - I didn't feel I fit it that lobby. aaahh, it was ridiculous of me but only a few minutes worth (this time!). we all drive together back to the tegel airport and fly an hour and half to zurich - yeah, that's in switzerland and the next gig is another german one but it's right over the border so I guess that's why we're going there. it's a lufthansa bobardier crj 700 jet - I keep noting this airplane type shit, huh? let me note this too. tegel has a small "international" gate and there's a duty free shop where I find beers for only 3.90 euro (about $4.83) for four so I get two of those but I guess the rule is they gotta be in a clear plastic sack and so they're laid out flat w/one row four on top of the other and I'm carrying this like it was kind of a suitcase 'pert-near and it's fucking goofy and my stupid shit obviously self-evidident but maybe consider some the econo thinking I had about it - ronnie acknowledged it (not to embarrass him) later when he told me one beer at this park hyatt zurich 'tel we're in ONE beer cost nine euros (and that was a shorty, these were tall boys). of course they weren't cold but I got ice at the 'tel and put it in the sink of the head had them cool off - sharing half of them w/brother steve. as the sun was going down I hoof to the zurichzee and the weather is beautiful and for me cali-like, no humid, no hot, no cold - golden sun rays filter across romantic (to my eyes) sea w/lots of swans to come near while I chow the wurst and brot (and of course mustard - either gotta be tart or spiced... or both!), ducks too. I talk w/them w/out moving my mouth (its busy chewing) or making a sound ('cept for chow chomping) and worry aloud (!) about fouling people's thinking w/my own cuz I swear this is not what I wanna do w/these diaries, I swear. I konk in two shifts, having to read burdett's "bangkok tattoo" book a bunch in between them to help re-passout...
gig day and yes, once again in the land of the free shovel - there's trough to be experienced downstairs and I have eggs fried over medium - a man asked me if that's what I wanted even though there was stuff on tables, like the yogurt I had w/some muselii and pears, a small roll stuffed w/salami and swiss (!) cheese. the burdett book is consuming me so I go read that and chimp diary 'till time for us to bail for the gig. including the border crossing (borderlady kind/polite to us, danke), it's about an eighty minute ride to the north side of the bodensee (also called lake constance), where the rhine comes from the alps and then starts its way to the sea, one of the longest rivers in europe. right after the border we crossed the rhine but where this rock am see festival (whoa, the website list me as "michael watt - bass" only my ma usually calls me michael watt!) is being held - at the bodenseestadion makes it hard to see the lake cuz how it's situated but still, the weather is very happening and there's like twenty thousand mostly young people making up the audience. the guys were afraid of sun-in-the-eyes but I think it'll be late enough for sunset coming on to prevent that (just a guess). we're here w/more than a ninety minutes before we go on (7:40 pm start time) so I shovel some of what they got here in the chowtent (for watt it's more genki before than after w/chow and playing) which is some lamb, gnocci (w/shrimps)and eggplant/caulliflower - I like! bad religion is before us and greg hetson comes by to say hi to me, been a while since I seen him. we were both in a band a few years ago called punk rock kareoke and that was a trip having young people get their chance at being a singer w/a band playing behind them and not a machine. I'm in the boilersuit now and doing stretches - not cuz I'm pretending to be a jock but just to try and head off cramps. the time finally creeps by and it's gigtime. eric arrives w/the andy bass and leads us down - handshakes w/the headliners die arzte ("the doctors" maybe?) on the way, they tell us it's an honor to play w/us, kind words - to meet up w/ig and head for the stage... bottom of the back stairs - ig asks if we're ready and w/the answering headbobs, points and hollers "go!" and so go I do... I run and plug the bass in and of course knock of the arm of my glasses eric had fixed w/superglue after the last gig in berlin, fuck - don't worry now, just get ready to go... the asheton brothers have "loose" up and running so I jump on and we're off. ig is wild, ig is leaping and spinning, singing and running back from one side of the stage to the other, whoa! it's that thrill I get when this trip sets off... "down on the street" right away after - two stacks of old style svt bass riggs ain't got much push so I signal chris for more in the monitors, there - that's good - thank you, chris! "1969" third, yes twentythree-skiddoo-times-three (my thought to get focused) and hoping for good tuning cuz I ain't checked yet (train keeps a rollin'!) and it's the same for "I wanna be your dog" - damn, it looked like ig was gonna make the leap but the moat is a wide one and we are up pretty high. water bottles, almost all of them at least half-filled, have been flying up on the stage from the crowd - in fact ig caught one right away w/one hand and he said "you'll have to better than that, swiss punk" - whoops, we're in germany... but there must be some swiss here cuz the border's so close and anyway he always said "deutschland" after that. some lighters come flying up and sun glasses, all easily to dodge but I do get hit in the right biceps w/a snuff container - bigger than a halfdollar piece but smaller than a puck and about a half inch thick. later I found out it was empty (I put it in my pocket after the tune) and hell, it didn't hurt but I think that's one of the first times I've ever been hit by something on stage in five years and five months of the stooges. I've been hit over the years by all kinds of stuff in other bands - believe me, ALL KINDS of stuff. no pause for telling that though here... "tv eye" next and ig's swinging the mic wide in the chug part - man, he lets out some length w/the cable! some good stagepounds w/the mic stand too - whoa. again, no "dirt" - it's on the set like always but I can't remember when's the last time we played that... there must be a good reason for cutting it though, I always trust ig cuz his thinking is sound and makes good decisions - he knows how a set flows good and man, is he working it hard for these young people in germany today. he doesn't call for dancers in "real cool time" which is very rare but he's imploring the audience to feel, to feel something... "no fun" next and some cat comes in from the side and sings the first verse w/ig right in front of me - for a moment I'm feeling like the gig's been reduced to three folks - not cuz I'm important anything but I just happen there, right in back of these too souls face to face and singing stooges! ig's digging it. a girl does make her way up and dances w/us - ig telling security to "let her up!" but it was her own motivation, much respect! she dances over and kisses me - that's different. band intros, "1970" - blam! steve comes out, big sax sounds join us - toot! hoot! steve intro! "mindroom" psychedelic. "fun house" tough tough beats! wow, is it crazy but "l.a. blues" a little crazier? yeah, fuck the amps, watt! ok, I will. poor andy bass? no! poor amps? maybe... then "skull ring" bass amp sounding like no bottom - low end feedback coming on though - I put my hand on scotty's floor tom head and feel it vibrate. I think scotty's drum fill is feeding back into the floor tom mic but then I'm just the dumbfuck on bass so please know that's just an uneducated guess. I do know that last gig the kick drum had a mute on the front head - like in the old jazz days - and it's got it on again. I put my hand on that head and feel no vibrations... oh well, still we search for this prob but not now cuz "search and destroy" is next, our best version of yet, I think, real punched up and strong. turns out this is it - ig calls off stage but soon we're back for one more. he's worked so hard this gig - I mean, he works hard every single fucking show but here it seem to go for not as much payback from the folks... there's little eddies of tiny pits throughout the crowd but also a strain of a certain "dohh" also - I'd say there's part of the crowd like how I'd describe something as in so cal we'd a kroq crowd that listens to the band-of-the-week playing the same generic sound all the other bands-of-the-week sort have had and maybe... well, I don't know what to really cuz I don't wanna get down anyone but man, is iggy working it hard up here for everyone - holy shit! he asks what's wrong w/the front row people, "are you waiting for the jonas brothers?!" I don't know who they are but the stooges are on stage now and damn, there ain't nothing to be waiting for, I think! that's just my opinion. I'm all the way behind ig though and would follow this man through any hell or crazy shit cuz he gets me lit and I can't help it, just can't help it. we finish w/our "little electric chair" (ig explained at the tv taping this was from an andy warhol piece) and I nail the bass solo good, ig right there w/me and helping out. I have much vigor w/the focus regarding that now days, believe me! thank you, ig!
we come off and I'm soaked, the boilersuit all the way sweated out - big surprise. the sun wasn't in our eyes it was too low and it was sweaty but really nice cali-like weather but I just had to rip it up inside and get into it cuz stooges music gives me choice and I will tell you w/no exaggeration at all that I truly love it. I don't care what anybody thinks and I never have cared what anybody thinks cuz that's how I deep down feel. the other guys chow (I already chowed - before gig like I like it) and scotty fixes my glasses using white tape he uses for his fingers to fight off blisters, thank you so much scotty-san. steve said it was good gig for him - "no tightness in the chest or dizzy spells, no hoping the gig will end quick cuz I don't know if I can hang on feeling..." what! ronnie, scotty and me are kind trip out on this, like damn, steve, we don't want you feeling like that ever! oh man. we want a strong and healthy stevie-san, we love him. I did see him dancing tonight when he was playing, it was great to see that. deep prayers for steve.
soon we bail, the ride home taking only fifty minutes w/the swiss borderman being very kind and letting us through easy, soon I'm on the fancy pad deck on the fifth floor naked, blankied and konked quick. whew.
tuesday, september 2, 2008 - rotterdam, netherlands
sunday: when I do pop eight and a half in morning, I trip on the weirdest dream I had - I'm actually afraid to recount it cuz of the visit by someone in it I can't believe did. it was in the second part of my konk cuz yeah, I was out 'pert-near immediately but then popped like three hours later and found only reading burdett's "bangkok tattoo" could get my mind tuckered enough to get asunder again - it wasn't the body cuz that was plenty tired but it was the mind. it took many chapters but finally I was mercy blessed into sleepytown but I figure even konked my mind was wailing cuz I went it one of those kind of dreams where you think you're awake, you very much do and are just guessing you might konked and even hoping for that as things get more and more weird, pushing you into near desperation and praying your heart out it's only a dream. it was like this on me cuz of not what usually shakes me up, like violence and/or pesecution but rather confusion. I mean all those kind of dreams are confusing but it the confusion that made me mindblown on levels even further than the disorienting ones. it happens to me in waking reality too, like right after an experience I find myself forgetting or at least not sure of memory being so reliable, it being distorted by wrong remembering - this can be like only seconds after it occurs. it happened last time like that to me in baltimore, just before shoving off after playing the v-festival earlier, after seeing bobby dylan. it was after charley plymell had left. it was before I last talked w/matt ward and members of that band (her and him I think they were called) he was w/who were very cool people but like half or some part my mind was w/them and what wasn't w/them was wondering and trying to ponder what had just happened before I stumbled on them (it was like among rows of tour busses) and this is how it was for me alone in that fancy pad room, in the head and hosing off, the water coming down on my head - me wishing it could be powerful enough to force some kind of comprehension on a meaning... fuck, I got to hankering maybe it'd be happening to somehow fall back into that dream and be more "aware" or whatever and be more together about me might having some kind of understanding. it was a visit and interaction unlike the woken-up world has yet to find me in - I'm talking about the few visits I've had like this when not konked (konked ones even fewer!), the dynamic so much different: me being a listener w/very little spiel. you would think w/all that spiel be heard by me, it being so out of character that I would hang on every word but for some reason beyond me, it couldn't be further from the truth cuz I couldn't tell you one thing I heard. I wonder if I was actually hearing it in the moment (I know, I know - it was a dream but I've "heard" shit in dreams, stuff I could put meaning to and not just being bathed w/sounds beyond my understanding) and I know it was english - I recognized the voice, very singular and I could feel in the tone a very relaxed feeling which was different than these kind of visits in "conscious mode" - I mean I realize I'm the one that makes it uptight but maybe cuz in this dream I was passive (not being oblivious windbag) that made for a release of tension not possible w/me un-konked and engaged in a lifetime of ingrained behavior. yeah, it was this "tone" of voice that made huge impressions on me - I would easily waive the right to know what was being said to keep in my heart that feeling, that relaxedness I was receiving... hell, maybe I was a little relaxed myself by it, like it was rubbing off on me - I mean, partly cuz there was a part really bent on trying to understand the whole scenario plus on top of that the battle for a some kind recognition of what state I was in: konked or not, dreaming or awake ("the observer interferes w/his or her observation, becomes part of what's trying to measured" - some kind of heisenberg thinking?) so the mystery coming from these "information deficits" captivated me much as I shoveled the from the free trough across from the lobby - helperman chris scared the shit of us when he said maybe there as a mistake and it wasn't free - fortyseven fucking swiss francs (swiss francs worth a little more one-to-one w/the u.s. dollar now) worth! I only shovel in 'tel troughs in the shovel's a free one, unless misled - econo watt! I have fried eggs, fruit/yougurt/musili and coff. we shove off at ten am for the airport, and I'm still thinking about that dream that was so powerful on me. we take a klm 737-300 and after an hour and a half land at the schipol airport near amsterdam and find sunny skies. we're taken right to the center of town and check into the last pad we stayed in last month, the swissotel and in fact, the put me in the same room! our roadboss eric is tour managing for my bloody valentine and so this is his last week w/us - he won't be on the last stooges touring leg for this year (september twelfth - october first) so we're all having a chow for him. scotty picked the chow pad, one that's india cuisine. it's just across the damplatz from where we are so we hoof there and I order the hottest curry they got, w/pieces of lamb in it. not so very hot for me but it tastes real good, especially w/the soft nan bread (it's got garlic in it too). it's good to have everyone around the chow table and I shake eric's hand and tell him "apprication" cuz I much mean it and am grateful for all his hard work. I stumble back alone, don't know why... it was a great chow w/the guys and then I threw in my part of the euros and just started out the hatch and onto the 'tel - my mind carried away w/inside thoughts and luckily on the outside no bikes or cars ran me over... can't remember how I got to the deck like I did but I did and konked wondering... I wonder about that now.
I pop clothed, no blankie. damn. it's an off day but also today carlos comes up from his rotterdam town to visit w/me. dutch dude carlos has been my euro gigbookerman for twentyone years now and besides that (I mean more than that), a dear friend. love him. I wait to chow, I wanna chow w/him. I do a soak, empty the tub and then wash the boilersuit cuz I spaced on that last night. I thinn chimp diary 'till carlos gets here just before noon and then we hoof to where the museums are at, real close to the paradiso which was the very dutch pad I ever played - it was us minutemen opening for black flag there coming on twentysix years ago now. there's a chow pad called wagamama that he said jim o'rourke turned him on to and it's kind of japanese chow but not by their people, looks like a mix of young dutch people that live here cooking and working the place. I get a soup that said it's udon but what do I know? what do they know?
we go to the van gogh museum and check out vincent's life. him and carlos are both dutchmen but carlos seems to have some holes in his knowledge of vincent. of course watt knows some stuff but it's all tangled up in his confused manner so it spills out weird. I know it'll spark his mind though and he'll go home, do research and get it right so there's some good to come of my yammering. I am in love w/vincent's spirit in his works, everything about it - there, me trying to absorb and engage as much as I'm trying to. of course I'm there w/carlos so I don't wanna burden him w/dawdle and try to move right along. I'm thinking though this certain line of thought though - parallel to being w/carlos and thinking w/him... I'm thinking about an aspiration like, uh, somehow entering into a exchange where I could solve this problem of desire (I got this awareness from buddha thinking) but trading it for works - that is, converting one into the other somehow - taking a hankering and getting a song out of it w/no other goal in mind except to give birth to that work and maybe that in turn w/nutralize the hankering, reconcile it and me not distracted w/having to figure out why or how. it is kind of a tall order, an alchemist wish, huh? lead into gold, transmuted. damn, I'm just so driven for works but works w/lit w/spirit and not just physical traces to document a trail of madness... stuff that lives beyond me and maybe hints at something about me but is not beholden to (or burdened w/) me. I don't know why vincent's work here is magnifying these thoughts I've been having this way but it does and for sure, I would blame him... or his works. I'm trying to be so pretentious to say my fucking silly struggle w/bass and getting songs out of it is anywhere in the same universe as vincent's work - how embarrass to even have the slight appearance of that - it's just what I got going in my head and have been the last year or so, you know? feeling the fifty year old conscious of mortality thing or whatever maybe, huh? away from myself - it's good to be here w/carlos, I hope I'm not too much of a distraction for him... he is so tolerant, so patient w/me. there's a little bit of malevich to check out too when we see pretty much all of what they got here of vincent's ten years of painting, he only painted for the last ten years of his life. last year carlos took me here to see "japonias zommer" exhibition - the effect his brother theo's bringing on over meji stuff to paris had on him but it wasn't the meiji stuff, it was the hiroshuge printing on some crating paper (!) and both the plum tree painting and the one of the rain on the bridge that he did - like a very personal take on a cover song - are here, whoa... look again now, watt - feel it there, right inside you, through vincent's work, through his take on another man's work... how it all cascade's - I think of raymond... I wish he was here too - hey, maybe I just conjured part of him?!! me and carlos hoof back to the 'tel, stopping at bookstore he really likes and I get a biography of john coltrane I haven't seen before, one from 1975 called "chasin' the trane" by j.c. thomas which has lots of recollections from people who knew mister coltrane, mostly in their own block quotes like:
"the most impressive thing about working with trane was a feeling of steady, collective learning." - elvin jones
carlos said something spontaneous happened in the square in front of the store here in 1965, dancing around this statue ("het amsterdamse lieverdje"):
something about the fluxus people... I have to read up on that. we go back to the 'tel and he's my guest for the september 1, 2008 edition of the watt from pedro show, playing mostly tunes he's brought w/him on his ipod and talking about some of his personal journey through music. it's amazing how he manages to do this despite all the potential bogart w/my fucked-up yammering, much respect to him. he bails back to his town via the train and being really tuckered, I try hard to get the show together, encoded and uploaded before konking. somehow I do.
tuesday gigday and I pop to find the sun gone and rainy amsterdam instead. I hoof to find chow - "full english breakfast" in holland different than england but at six euros (around nine $ u.s.), more econo than anything else to fill the hole left by only having soup yesterday. I chimp diary and read burdett 'till we bail for the gig, fifty miles away in rotterdam (I should've got on the train w/carlos!) but the ride is a slow-go cuz of major plug w/the traff and takes 'pert-near two and half hours but hey, we're there safe so why the whining? look, now I'm whining about whining! thank you to scotty-san for pointing that out. we're playing a club - get this - a club w/the name watt - that's right, ain't that a trip? it used to be called "nighttown" and carlos put me here four years ago as the first gig in the last tour of my "the secondman's middle stand" opera but it's been re-done and obviously re-named. the stooges are here for the grand opening. ig said the gig went clean (sold out) in twenty minutes. parts are still being built like the backstage so we're brought to a hotel (the westin) a couple of blocks away but I'm not there long, soon I go w/scotty to the pad and get changed into the boilersuit there. eight and half pm and it's downbeat - no opening act so it's all us - "go!" hollers ig and up the stairs and across the cement stage (yeah, cement!) I plug in and ronnie goes to start up "loose" but there's no sound from his guitar - there's drums from scotty though... ig runs out and he's ready to go... helperman chris gets ronnie's amps going and yeah, now there's sound (whew!) but my bass is totally tiny - well, I push on anyway cuz we're off. ig keeps looking back at me while he's singing and running, working the show hard right out of the gate, the pad packed and the spirit burstin' at the seams. "down on the street" next but right before he hollers to me "get that bass working!" and so I turn around and just turn both amps up (one's a svt classic and the other's an old svt w/out the master volume) - I know chris is gonna think I'm deaf but ig wants bass on stage - there's none of it in the monitors, ig wants to feel it... I would like to also! anyway, a little rough on my knees w/the cement deck when I kneel down, a little rougher trying to get back up! some empty beer glasses fly up but not rough - they say "watt" on them! what a trip. I don't like the tone the bass is getting but no time cuz "1969" is here and then "I wanna be your dog" and "tv eye" - just play tight and stay in tune at this point, that's what I'm thinking while I focus on ig while pop tarting the endings and accents for ron and scotty (careening on the "ram it!"s, am I on the ands? I wish scotty would give me more ojos). ig gets a mob of dancers on stage for "real cool time" and "no fun" - there's no "moat" and folks are right up on the stage which is why I knew w/hardly a doubt that ig would rocket out and launch in "...dog" - but there's a little delay in getting the stage cleared before resuming (but nothing belligerent, everyone cool) w/the steve mackay infused part of the gig: "1970," "mindroom," "fun house," "l.a. blues" - the bass tone getting weirder, how? I can't really see how the varitone is set (did it get changed?) cuz the chicken-head knob got broke when I was fucking the amp... baka watt, getting carried away. in "skull ring" he's asking me to get the tone together, "c'mon mike!" he implores and I feel helpless for him - I think maybe I'm not playing tight but no, it's the tone - he starts crashing into the sidefills, damn - I wanna help him so bad... he says "fix that tone!" when we finish - I've rolled off some highs but I think what helps too is jos turning some eq knobs on my amp - thank you, jos! ig gives me the thumbs up as we go into "search and destroy" and then "my idea of fun" - we get finish w/a "I got a right" that's got me doing that stiff index finger technique again, I'm getting better at it and hey, there's no pick to lose. we come off and then back on - the rotterdam cats have been giving us such great spirit all night, much respect to them - to hell w/the technical stuff about the bass but when we come on for "trollin'" - again, I've vanished! why did the amp volumes get pushed down? it's not like you set them at '4' or whatever no matter where the gig is, you gotta work the room. ig looks back again, like "where are you" ?? I know what he means, I so much wanna be there for him. he asks me to hit my bass after the tune, is it there? it kind of is, people scrambling trying to do what they can... I'm grateful but my history is dealing w/it myself, even fucking up myself though too so I just let these guys do what they do. I get a little something for our last tune "little electric chair" and even have the solo nailed (boy, do I focus!), ig right there w/me and helping me... finally during steve's sax solo I get some kind of body to the bass... boy, what a weird night. I like the gig though, you know? ronnie and scotty and steve playing great, iggy's pipes so fucking good, his spirit on fire... I love these guys. ig tells me, "mike, even though you mostly sounded like a twig, you stood your ground and you faked it good." thank you, ig, thank you. I just wanna do good for him.
I stay at the club while the others go back cuz we're all riding back to amsterdam in a small kind of bus so why not change out of the thoroughly sweated boilersuit here and that way I can see carlos and meet his friend ton and not take a chance getting sick going out in the rainy cold. I forgot to mention carlos yesterday had brought a mockup of this book his writing w/his old friend ton about the old days - him and ton had a label called kremlin, they saw all kinds of bands in the old days cuz carlos booked the effenar in eindhoven and before that worked at an indie record store so this is pictures and memories of those old days. carlos has asked me to write a poem for it too. we have a picture taken of us: carlos, ton and myself:
big hugs for them, big ones... a little sad but I gotta go now - story of my life - joining the stooges band in crew in the bus. there's a great feeling here amongst the guys - I feel a little like I belong... I explain to chris some why I'm sorry but not too much to be fucking retarded. the ride back is so much shorter and just good vibes all around and it's neat to be w/them all. at the 'tel I konk very happy despite that technical bass sound shit and I consider that a victory of spirit over material... it a grateful konk.
thursday, september 4, 2008 - paris, france
yesterday: pop at seven bells and have one more dutch soak, my bones are sore! I hoof in the gray morning down the damrak and have the same breakfast chow I did yesterday but it's the pad next door - obviously they're connected and share the same kitchen, I mean that's gotta be it - exact same chow, tasting same way. I use half the bottle of tobasco they give me (I ran out of my own) and still get no vapor on the brain... aaaarrrggghhhh the bummer of building up a tolerance. that reminds me, I stumbled onto learning (respect to wikipedia and random connects!) about a chili w/more than a million scovilles of heat, the naga jolokia chili - I gotta try one of those someway some day. at nine and half we're shuttled from whence we came: schipol airport. we're on klm 737-900 (the newest model of a fortyone year old design!) for paris and in less than an hour we're at de gaulle airport. like all french stooges gigs, alain arranged this one and part of his team, charles, comes and gets and brings us to town. it took a little time to get the guitars and my andy bass - we were a tiny bit nervous but I did get a shot of the new yellow road case in the baggage trolly next to the plane and waiting to be loaded before we took off. I'm in the room next to brother steve at the regina hotel on the rivoli right near the louvre on the north (right) bank of the seine and from both our fifth floor windows we got a righteous view of the eiffel tower and the southwest part of the town around it, a gilded joan of arc statue if you look down at the square right below us. I get out quick to a little store I remembered (we've stayed here before) and get a sixpack of beers for five euros which is less than one beer at the 'tel, put them in the sink and bury them w/ice from a bucket that's brought up to me when I called the desk. hell, I would've gotten the ice myself but couldn't find the machine like I did last time... maybe it's on the third floor? my fucking memory... oh yeah, for the same price I got a thon (tuna), egg, cheese and lettuce baguette and a sack of chips to stuff it w/for texture and that's fresh and good. I konk waiting for steve to get back from him leaving for a bit but pop to spend a couple of hours watching a movie called "the number 23" on his tv and empty those beer cans. the movie's not that good but my brain goes into "exploring masonic connections" mode (even though the movie doesn't, does it?) and bring up the robert shea/robert anton wilson "the illuminatus trilogy" book again to him in hopes one day he'll read it and be able to share in lots of the fnord jokes life continually reveals to me from that perspective. steve's a smart man. when the crap movie ends, he starts to konk so I go to my chamber and konk too.
today, gigday, I popped at seven and do another soak - I'm still sore some! there's free trough downstairs so I go and shovel some scrambled eggs (not too much milk which usually can be the case in these parts) and toast along w/yogurt and musilli while making and pocketing a pocket sandwich of salami and cheese in a roll for later. I chow econo. I hoof to the musee orangerie right next to the place de la concorde on a suggestion from carlos while we were hoofing from the van gogh museum. there's lots of impressionist paintings, pastels and monet's nympheas... I think of me and d. boon when I see derain's "arlequin et pierrot" and catch myself laughing out loud some (already getting enough stares from the one-arm broken fucked-up glasses on my stupid head) when I think of what raymond would say to hear me tell him that.
I get back for the soundcheck me and steve do w/scotty - chris does guitar for ron (singing too, good job!). the venue is called "le showplace" and is built underneath the right bank of the alexander III bridge, right next to the seine. that means it's a long and narrow "shotgun" type of pad - the stage only big enough for one marshall stack for ronnie and one ampeg svt for me. rik brought in the p.a. which is good cuz the house thing was probably total toy. three tunes and we're back to the 'tel (just ten minutes away). I finish diary chimping and get the last gig's entry put up on the hoot page. I change into the boilersuit before me and steve leave again for the club, this is cuz it looked like kind of crazy w/all kinds of shit going on about "the event" - see, this is actually what I'm told is an "employee's party" for the converse shoe maker and we're just one part of the party's entertainment. this is not open to the public and we were allowed no guests. the other thing is cuz of the belgrade gig we got tomorrow in serbia, we're gonna have to leave right when we're done to fly to serbia cuz of some restriction where the plane can leave only so late. the backstage is very crowded and all kinds of running around so I just stay outside by the river. some security wear suits and some wear black jumpsuits w/the legs tucked into combat boots - one of them arrive in a little beat-up station wagon and his two guard dogs (muzzled, they're very calm when I walk by). I pass the time sitting on the curb. we're supposed to play and 9:30 pm so I wait 'till nine to go in, security at first not letting me in even w/my pass but alain and oliver help me clear that hurdle - the idiot w/the broken glasses, very worn out converse chuck taylors and boilersuit. there's no band before us but there's other stuff going on and the go time is moved ten minutes later. now we're gonna bail no matter what when we gotta so the 10:30 end time has gotta be adhered to so the one hour gig whoever purchased (roadboss eric says it's a trip how no one seems in charge, no one from the company has made any contact w/him and he's been here the wole day) now has fifty minutes. finally we get the go and follow ig past the catering. like an idiot, I don't realize we can only come on stage from behind my side of the stage so instead of going last like I should, I'm first and after getting the word from ig, I'm fucking in the way onstage and have to make room for everyone to get by. "loose" rips out and the packed "column" of folks (so much deeper than it is wide cuz of building's nature) explodes - "les stooges!!!" are underway at the sneaker party. "down on the street" like usually but no "1969" third. there's trouble ending "...streets" - scotty goes out early and then catches himself so it ain't a total fall apart but I'm thinking about me "pop-tarting" cuz sure that can help make the ending not run over but how can I help w/stopping an ending ending to early? hmm... have to think about that. the 'e' string on this bass is sounding really REALLY terrible - shit. also, the physics of this pad really make 'd' notes jump out really huge, there's a resonance in the fundamental there. "work the room" I tell myself and nog get hung up - ig sure is, whoa! there is no "moat" and so that means in my mind a 'pert-near crowd plunge from him and after the second verse on "I wanna be your dog" that's what is does, a beautiful one! have "tv eye" all on the 'a' string alleviates the 'e' string problem - ig hollers "I'm the real deal!" and that is so much for god damn sure, you couldn't find a more sincere fist in the air from someone in this room than me to back that up all the way - no sir, no m'am - none. I am wild into. the next one we do is by special request, someone had ig before the gig to do this and it's one that's been on the list all summer but lately, never played - "dirt" - which is a tune I love and he sings it great. what a bass line dave alexander wrote too, much respect! "real cool time" is on the 'a' string too, great. ig's been slamming some mic stands onto to the deck lately, very intensely and he's done it a few times tonight. now he uses it though to actually hold the mic, like he does in "tv eye" - well, kind of but different - he does everything different. I just stay on the riff and try to use only 'a' string. ig brings up dancers. one cat just checks this out in front of scotty while his countrymen (and some countrywomen) leap and fly all over the stage, continuing on into "no fun" and it must be a million degrees now. jos got two big fans going, the bass amp cutting out (wrong plug?) for a second when it happened - a look from ig to get it together. but this breeze is a life saver but still it's toltal shvitz. very enthusiastic reception for the band intros, merci good french people! "1970" and my feet are slipping on the deck. I found a towel though and mop up quick during "mindroom" - don't want this knees going out from a stupid slip on my part. "fun house" and the tunnel-like under the bridge pad is one big fun house - what's this about sneakers? not one word has been mentioned about them from the stooges. peans againsty being fake in "l.a. blues" though - that and the music getting really crazy, wild... and into "skull ring" w/the 'e' string really hurting, terrible... man, do I have to get on this soon as I'm home. time's running out though, one more left: "search and destroy" and we're out, we gotta go!
immediately I get out of the soaked boilersuit, I'm sitting on the tiled deck in the dressing room and leaving a pool as large as my body cuz I lay down naked 'till ronnie warns me about the hatch coming open might bang my head, good point! wow, what's this? we're given shoes! so many times this company has said stooges will get them but that always falls though. I get given a box and they're my size but NO - THEY'RE FUCKING HIGHTOPS and watt's a lowtop man. oh well, I'm kind of weird on free stuff anyway cuz I believe down the road, you pay for 'pert-near anything. anyway, I give mine to franca (her man is jos) and ask her to give it to someone who can use them, aurevoir! quick, we gotta bail, we load up the minivan w/the guitars, bass and drum stuff we bring (scotty still wanting that yamaha steve gadd signature cuz none of these others got the crack he needs) and charles leads at the wheel leads the other two sedans (one w/ig/nina, one w/ron/scott, all the rest of us in the minivan) on a hellride to de gaulle airport - not driving crazy or dangerous, just moving. he does a good job - getting us there w/a half hour to go, whew. this is different than other private jet flights we've had where we use an actual terminal (number three) and go through procedures you do w/mersh airlines which we've never had to do in this situation before. it's ok, we still make it in time and everything else is the same, in fact this embraer legacy 600 is the same plane AND attendant lady we had from vassa finland to london heathrow - not just the same kind but the same plane, same lady! trippy. it's a two hour fifteen flight to serbia's nikola tesla aeordrome beograd and very smooth. me steve and scotty sit up front along w/eric - our last jet ride (mersh or whatever) for a while though we get tomorrow's gig w/him, we're starting to miss him now. we all chow steak that's cooked up for us, steve using words to say how all of us are really digging how it's tasting - steve really into the sauce, saying it's a whiskey sauce or something - maybe it is but I'm just drinking wine. don't really know what's going on behind us except once when I got told to keep it down by some voices back there so maybe I got loud. funny about control issuses w/humans, huh? everyone w/their own ideas of loud - or it my case this time, oblivious to what's too loud! everyone in good spirts at the 'pert-near empty airport but the immigration folks are very kind and soon we're getting driven to the hyatt regency 'til, right near the river sava. man, I'm beat and forget to kneel down to the statue of zeus holding up the big clock (aren't you supposed to do that) on my way to the elevator. I gotta shower this gig filth off - the poor outfit that's taken so many of these in the last week ('pert-near two for the pants part!) but what can be done? my pop sweated big time and my ma's people came from iitaly! I think it's ok though, a kind of a purge. it's warm here in belgrade, even at three in the morning. I konk naked on the deck w/out a blankie - it being seal-a-meal w/out the windows being able to open. it's ok though, no problem.
friday, september 5, 2008 - belgrade, serbia
there's free trough at this 'tel but when we landed last night, the gigboss dragan (what an idiot, I spaced on mentioning him!) who helped make it no prob for our entry (though he did tell me there was something w/the 'tel people and the lead car but he said nina helped smooth that) and it was so great to see him again - four years since stooges last played serbia, in novi sad at the exit festival. actually I go back w/him before that via email when balkans were heavier and well, he asked me to come to the venue w/him at ten and half which is when the trough closes and only fifteen minutes from the late pop the late late konk put on me so quick to hose and wear these levis one more time (the going-home-pair is waiting in the sack along w/the going-home-shirt, the going-home-socks along w/the going-home-skivvies cuz none of that shit gets worn 'til the voyage home, a trippy thing w/me I've developed the last few years) and I wear a shirt w/purple in it that eiko-san sent me from japan... I wanna show some purp! I'm gonna see j and you know how he likes purple. we're playing more in the center of town which is not too far away but we gotta cross the sava to get to it from the 'tel - belgrade is where the sava and danube meet and on the bridge I can see the fortress I visited last time... so great to get to tell ronnie I saw a real tiger tank in person (the fort is real old but they got stuff they captured from the nazis) but even better was sitting on the wall and just watching the rivers, having a good think about stuff (oh yeah, we're in the same 'tel as then - my first time in this land - but for the gig we made a journey to novi sad... we do stuff like that w/this band) and dragan reminds me but I recognized it right away. we talk about tons of stuff, as much as we can - I'm still curious as ever about the music scene here and how it was before, of course - there's a pedro connection w/many dalmation slavs that came there (both my secondmen guys pete and jer have connects, reactionaries singer martin, etc) and there was punk here way back though I didn't know it at the time. I'm learning now. the venue is an outdoor open arena made out of cement in the 1950s for basketball games and it's a neat pad for a gig, some of it coming right out of the rocks around it... trippy how cement from communist places and days doesn't wear all that well, pretty frayed and crumbled at the edges but the esthetic is kind of happening for a crazy rock gig I think. there's some little chows, like slav tapas or something - meats and veggies on breads, they're real good and we chow some in the backstage area which I guess got made into a little club before? mirrored balls are hanging and some of the bulkheads have patent leather padding... outside the sun is really bright and it's quite warm. here's the dinosaur guys! big hugs for j, lou and murph - managerman brian also, yeah great to see them all again... last time was last spring at the troub in west hollywood? they were smoking and it was kind of after they had a major donate on all their tour shit - the trailer got stolen in the queens part of new york city. cuz of that, lou plays a p-bass reissue now instead of that rickenbacker he used before. he's using two amps, one's a marshall stack and the other's an swr one - I think it's all rented except for some amp heads maybe? don't know but it sounds good. j tells me he asked lou to put in an emg pickup to replace the one it came w/cuz the string levels were more even. I really like the way lou works bass: w/a pick and giant strums, like semi-townshend-windmill 'pert-near. j's sounding real good too, three marshall stacks and a hi-watt half-one and oh, there's a fender twin or something blasting him from the side-front. murph's drumming good - they all work so happening together and soundman noel (great cat), gets it sounding so slammin' - very very happening! back inside w/dragan, more knowledge from him - about his days w/the navy, he had to put time w/the yugoslav navy. me growing up navy cuz of my pop being a sailor (why I ended up in pedro, why I was born in virginia) I can relate some, it's all very interesting to me. he talks about working w/officers too, this one in particular he wondered about when the fucked-up wars came in the 90s (my pop was an enlisted man so I didn't have much experience w/officers). he said he could tell this guy was kind of sociopath, just in his relations w/others. fucked up shit. of course karadzic - I bring it up cuz it's just been handed over by this land to the hague. in sarajevo he was jailed for fraud before the war. I think of telling ronnie about seeing that tiger tank last time and how abstract that is - even w/my fist against that steel to make sure of the reality? how can I know the reality w/my little fist on a tank any more than think I can or believe I can. here's my friend here discussing this stuff cuz I asked him to. should I tell about my pop's grandfather being kkk? ok, I do. fucked up. look up at john coltrane pin on my shirt... "I think the majority of musicians are interested in truth" trane told august blume in a 1958 interview. hey, this pad is right next to a high school, and here now is school for watt! music connects between this town, zagreb and ljubljana and those developments, stuff about laibach I had no idea of. dragan knows all about igor, the cat who first brought me to yugoslavia in the late 80s - he was real important to this land's scene - man, dragan's got quite a story about the music here... all kinds of stuff, as much as I can absorb. a belgrade cat who had his fanzine seized by police way way back and now a culture institute wanting to make an exhibit, has the receipt the police had to hand over when they took the stuff - hell, they found the officer in charge of the raid - they need those fanzines, those artifacts! good good spiel. tour is so righteous to put me in situations like this, you know? chris asks me to try out the amps I'm gonna use. one's an svt, an old one but the other ampeg is a v-4, don't think I've ever used one of these w/the stooges and the cab is a trip too, it's called a v-9 and it has nine speakers (three rows of three!) - not ten like the svt ones! the v-4/v-9 combo doesn't have even half the power of this svt here but it does sound better so I guess that's one rik has the mic on. good call, chris. ok, back to the 'tel w/me - I wish I could have more time w/dragan but he's got a gig to run and I should chimp the paris gig or I'll forget 'pert-near everything. unsual for stooges to do two gigs in a row like that but I'm glad we did.
I chimp diary and must've drifted off cuz I found myself lifting face off the keyboard - I go to piss and see where it left some checkerboard! man, look at the last word I chimped "annnnnnnn" (actually three rows of "nnnnnn"). I finish the entry up and get my sack ready... good, they got plastic laundry sacks here so I put the boilersuit in one and put the other one in the yellow clothes sack cuz it's good to have a reserve and the boilersuit just gets so sweated out that if I put w/any other clothes w/out plastic, they'll be immediately stenched and fouled - kusai! this gig is called the the pivo jelen live festival (pivo means beer in slav, jelen is the name of a beer company) and we arrive just as dinosaur is going on, into maybe their first song. damn, I wish I could've seen the first couple band cuz they were local but least I can see j, lou and murph. their man brian asks if I wanna come on stage but the sound on the side of stages is pretty lame even though you get closer to see, even that's lame cuz you're mainly getting butt-views and back-of-head shit. I stand off stage against the building where there's a good angle to both see all three guys playing and getting the mix noel's doing from the front of the stage. I watch their whole set and it's very happening. some new songs at the beginning and then older one later on, lou sings a couple - his voice low on the first one but then it comes through really strong. j's singing is boomin' - he told me he's doing vocal exercises before each gig. he saw a singing coach in san francisco after I saw them at the troub cuz he lost his voice right after that. murph's wailing too which kind of trips him out when I tell him after cuz he said he was just in a bike wreck and thinks maybe he even might've broken some ribs. he said it was a hard gig for him. I thought the fucking jammed, so good, yeah really happening - I'm inspired! I go get the boilersuit on.
it's pretty much a full house and hearing/feeling the spirit the crowd had for dinosaur, I think they're gonna be there for us to. "loose" opens up once ig hollers to us "go!" and I get up the stairs and stage starboard - huge waves of hollering w/us, ig lit up by it, even more than his full-on ganbatte style that's always his thing, no hold-back ever but when folks are like this he's all the more appreciative - after "down on the street" (help me w/some level, mister jos - thank you!) he tells the people "this is our kind of town!" and fuck yeah, they're great cats to do a gig for, to play stooges music to - much respect! "1969" next and I'm having to work the open 'a' string cuz the 'e' one ain't gonna happen, shit. I can manage though but fuck, do I have to get on this right when I get to pedro. I can 'pert-near see sort of an invisble plane ig's dancing and singing on, one buoyed by the peeps and their emotion, it's intense. things really go off for "I wanna be your dog" and though the moat's too huge to make a leap (he kind of makes a move for it though!), he gets out there and gets personal - there's a huge screen behind us, not side ones but one huge lit-up display (it's actually not a screen but I bunch of little lights) and so folks can see what's up - usually when he's doing that at big shows w/out any kind of screen or display, it's just the guitarist, drummer and bass player (sax too if it's that far into the set) and I feel retarded, I've got my eyes on ig out there w/the crowd - I wonder if I should be working it like that but like I said, I feel retarded being there w/out him. maybe if scotty would look at me more! ronnie's busy blistering the night w/wailing leads, smokin' - maybe j's got him fired up. they got to talk some during the changeover. I think j has a lot to do w/the stooges getting back together, that's what I think. first "bottle shower" for ig by ig and the "tv eye" - holy cow! I know I'm part of helping w/delivering the sound but man, I gotta focus hard not to get swept away w/it and lose any sense of where I am - stooges music is very intense on me, no matter how many times I hear it, I'm always getting pushed out of my head, out of my skin. dancer time w/us into "real cool time" and I stay on the riff that whole time, stay on the 'a' string, the 'e' too weak - some cats get nerve up to accept ig's invitation and dance their brains out - much respect! one cat gets on his knees in front of scotty's kick drum after first taking his stooges tshirt off and draping it on his kick drum and so I get on my knees too, facing him while working the bass. hard getting down for my knees but even harder getting back up! I do though and some more dancers get up for "no fun" - again, I'm trying to use as less of the 'e' string as I can cuz it's just dead, the pickup "picking up" shit-all, fuck. I can hang though - jos gives me a little more volume. main thing is I want ig to have the bottom he digs - it's not a reggae band but he sure as wants to FEEL it. I wanna be there for him. band intros, much respect for the huge hollers as ig tells the folks who each of us are. steve joins us for "1970" - he's w/us for this point on... fist in the air from me like I do for the asheton brothers when ig calls his name out. check tuning and get some water while the three original stooges doing "mindroom" and then I'm back in w/them for "fun house" when we "take it down" for that part of the song where I drop down an octave, I disappear, damn. out and out freak out w/some frustration cuz of that in "l.a. blues" but all just freaking w/the original stooges freaking, freaking w/"fun house" stooge steve too! I roll all over the ground, I'm freaking my brain. "skull ring" leans on the 'e' string a lot and I'm just not there for ig... he looks back at me for "weakness is what you can feel" (or something close to that) instead of the line before ("strong as a bar of steel"), where he usually checks in w/me - damn, I a little bit frustrating on this level but it's such a wailing gig everywhere else. "search and destroy" is cooking and so is "my idea of fun" but I admit I get weird thoughts cuz of where we're playing and some of the talk w/dragan earlier though I know the levels are irony and black humor but it's strange - my little fist on the captured nazi tank - I don't why this is my head but I am strong enough (this time!) not to let it bowl me over and I'm right there. we get gonna finish now, "I got a right" gets going and ig comes up close and mimes the dig-diga-diggity-dig-adig-dig part for me, I'm doing it w/stiff index finger cuz there's no pick. I'm getting better at this. we're off to the side for a bit, then back firing up "little electric chair" - what, no bass hardly at all, it shrunk! ig looks back and says to get it happening so I just reach back and turn both of them up. I love and respect chris much but I had to do it, ig gave me that look like "do, don't think - do!" and so I did. he comes and helps me w/my whole bass solo, yanking the notes right out of me and dancing close. he's beautiful. he is quite a man for bringing out whatever good you might have in you, I respect this man so much. my eyes riveted on him. he asks us to go back to africa w/him and scotty flams us into "little doll" and then final tune for the set and this tour leg, "I'm fried" - I'm totally using the open 'a' to work the rifff. ig starts climbing on lighting scaffolding, they got big water holders as moorings... unsure look on roadboss eric who's always out there helping ig get back on stage or not let him sink too far into the crowd, fishing him out when he has to. well, ig doesn't pull anything down, he's just getting wild and vibing off all the good energy, an on-fire gig for sure. earlier in the day I asked if you said "thanks" here the same way you do in croatia ("hvala") and he said "sure, it's the same language!" ok so hvala, belgrade!
quiet watt after this gig.
much respect to helperman chris, watt loves and respects him.
backstage, outside dressingroom hatch, I stay quiet... ig walks by (sweaty boliersuit man got back first) and I bow deep to him as he passes - he says "good job, mike" and it goes deep down into the middle of me and resonates outward like the shot I got of the sunset here in this town earlier... it could've been a sunrise by it's look, it's feel - only the clock makes it certain and might also the direction I'm facing to see help? I don't have my bearings but I think for sure I know I am most grateful, all I wanna do is good for these stooges guys, my only mission. ig sets good bearings for me to learn bass better. I owe him much. I owe ron maybe even more cuz he pulled for me to get in and scotty too. I tell them I love them. I become still again. I get out of the wet boilersuit, into the civi clothes and leave the dressing room... dragan has someone he wants me to meet, it's koja, a man he was telling me about from earlier days, since 1982 w/a band called disciplin a kitschme that I actually first know from my good buddy stanislav, a cat who went to high school in vukovar and now lives in john petkovic town (cleveland). ok, I talk now and talk soft. I tell him so and also what a great bassist he is, his style really wild and expressive, usually just w/a drummer but sometimes also w/horns. he's a very interesting man. his band used to be two croats and two serbs, then the war came and he to take the band to england - he said that scene was not that happening though he tried, he came back and now is playing at this festival but it's tomorrow, damn, I wish I could be here to see him. it's a great cat, really. I wish I could have so much longer to rap w/him.
back to the 'tel after big hugs on dragan - "safe seas to you, brohter" I say. at the the 'tel I soak but short, enough for some relief but I know I'll konk if I go to long and I gotta be out of this 'tel in three hours. I get into the going-home-outfit and konk three hours. I used the robot alarm clock you call on the phone to set but damn if I don't pop five minutes before that goes off. it's a six bell flight from belgrade's tesla airport to frankfurt in germany. hey, the dinosaur guys are here! they said the had to bail early last night cuz of early flying but did say they saw some stooges tunes - didn't know they were flying w/me and steve to frankfurt! lou talks to me about getting the first pop group album and what a trip that was from him to hear, how "hard" it was to listen to - he said he got it after hearing minutemen though they were first, obviously - even if it was just a year or two. both me and lou trip on the fact those cats were just teenagers! damn! I get to talk w/j a bunch too, waiting at the gate. always good to talk w/him, he tells me about his son rory and shows me pictures, beautiful aka-chan! he tells me he wants to get an gibson eb-3 bass from the 60s, whoa. it's only an hour on a lufthansa a321 and then there's a couple of hours at frankfurt's airport - I think maybe only the second time I've been here. fucking ripoff coin internet machines take a few euros from me - no fucking way to access the "@" key or it's beyond me how that works. whatever... brother steve has many good words me in the smoking chamber near the gate. our flights are at the same gate but different times - I go first. eleven hours plus on a lufthansa 747 for lax, am not trying to remember that terrible chow. I did finish the "bangkok tattoo" book and re-read whitman's "leaves of grass" (1855 one) yet again. I made myself stay awake cuz I land at two pm and wanna konk right in my own town, when it's dark! my sister melinda gets me home. right away I wanna pedal - I just was building up the hankering the whole flight - I get on my bike and pedal my fucking brains out... "hey there, pedro town!" I think out loud.
saturday, september 13, 2008 - st nolff, france
it was just saturday getting back and five days later and it's time to take off again. it was still good to have that time in my pedro town though, getting to pedal some, paddle some and do some catch-up... well worth the breathing-farts-in-the-metal-tube-for-many-hours that one is lavished w/via intercontinental flying - that and the luxury of prolonged prac for fetal positioning of one's adult body to accommodate the wide open spaces of coach seating. no problem. not one sunrise was witnessed by me and my cuz of marine layer bankied sun but to pop on my own deck was a good thing for me to feel. I had a couple of good chows cooked up by my ma too, one for arriving and one for bailing - thank you, ma. it's good to know she finally kicked this sickness that was whuppin' up on her last time I was here between stooges tour legs... that scared the shit out of me and my sister melinda.
grade school is back on and mindy's teaching again but she still gets over to my pad thursday at 3:30 am to tote my ass to lax so I can fly away at six. trippy day to fly cuz of all those murdered seven years ago in nyc: sep eleven... heaviness in me some for all that unhappening shit - I remembering starting a jom + terry show tour that day - oh man, that day... san fran gig was scissored but we made it up at tour's end. always thinking of that date? last year it was the first time I played in russia, in moscow. that date is a geiger counter? some fucked up shit. I get the third john burdett sonchai jitpleecheep whodunnit, "bangkok haunts" cuz I wanna complete the trilogy (I don't think he knew how to end the second one) and also I want peak to give me the lowdown, her being thai and all but still remember it's just fucking fiction and of course it's about pretending... I'm getting the feeling though that this burdett cat might being doing some alter-ego shit w/his character(s) - just a hunch though but that's how it sort of reading to me. I know, that's dangerous, I know... sent miss peak the first two of the trilogy the day before I left in hopes she has tons to say about them and I don't care if it's positive or negtive cuz it's always fun to listen to her, even when doing her semi-cynical wallow mantra. I wanted to do a watt from pedro show (http://twfps.com) the tuesday night cuz there's political stuff in thailand right now I don't exactly understand and wanted her spiel for some kind of lowdown but I was feeling frail to body clock be all twisted - actually I wanted to allow it to be twisted this way I'm returning to... not right away though cuz it's gonna be over twentyfour hours in travel time counting the airport waitin' and the cherished breathing-farts-in-the-metal-tube-for-many-hours time plus unforeseen time ahead waiting for me in france (I'll get to it). I start off w/about five hours in a united airbus 320 to dulles washington dc, plowing through the burdett - hey, yet another prostitute captures his heart - first book had his ma, second one's a worker in ma's bar we find now is pregnant by him and this third book's got one that's been murdered. another united flight to de gaulle paris, on a boeing 777 and where air france flows wine, it's six bucks on united so fuck that. I do get a tuna salad before my third flight to st jacques rennes airport on an air france (no, I didn't ask for wine) atr-72 which is a turboprop... I get to the 'port there at eleven am to find my bass made it but not my yellow clothes sack. oh well, those things happen - kind of glad I'm missing the yellow clothes sack and not the bass... speaking of the bass, "the andy bass" - it has a new pickup and the two original ones yanked. yep, did it a couple of days ago, tore out the varitone, volume controls and everything else electrical except for the output jack which I replaced in the break in between tour legs before this one (that and a mounting plate to put it on). the new pickup is a bartolini mmc pickup mounted where it'd be on a p-bass if the 34" scale of the p-bass was 30 1/2" like w/the eb-3. between the pickup and the output jack is a passive circuit, just volume and tone controls.
back to my journey: I'm there before anyone else, I sit tight for a couple of hours... wow, the la patrouille de france (kind of like our navy's blue angels) is part of an airshow here tomorrow and I see all the pilots come in, wearing their boilersuits! very handsome men and their mirage jets all painted up red + white + blue are outside parked across the road. I sure wish I could see them fly. when the rest of the team arrive and we begin the journey to the south side of britanny - the 'tel is in a town called arzon, right by the port crouesty. our drivers get kind of lost though so it's a few hours but what the fuck, they're good cats and shit happens - it's not like the gig's tonight. we stop at a supermarket on the way and I get a six of beer and also a can of something from holland called "the maximator" which has a huge 11.9 on the can, the percent of alcohol in it. I'm curious how bad this will taste. it and the six are four euros (around six $ u.s.) plus I get a two euro long skinny salami and a baguette - oh and two tins of 'dines... eleven euros which probably less than two beers at the 'tel - trust me. it's right in the port and called miramar crouesty and some kind of wellness pad - "thalassotherapie" in big letters (what's that mean?) on the side of long building that kind of looks like a boat, I ain't bullshiting - like a cruise liner. hey, there's free internet here - how many fancy pads have that? I got a ton of emails (big surprise) - here's one from stanislav, he found a post on a slav bbs by that cool man koja I met in belgrade last friday:
Cuveni basista Stoogesa Mike Watt je na dan njihovog koncerta u Beogradu u petak, proveo neko vreme u druzenju sa Kojom iz Disciplin A Kitschme. Motiv je bio vrlo konkretan: Watt u kolekciji ima nekoliko Disciplininih albuma, pa je od organizatora trazio susret sa Kojom. Tim povodom u celini prenosimo izjavu lidera DAK: "Covek je upoznat sa radom, cak donekle i opusom Discipline Kicme, prepun je postovanja i prijatno me iznenadio. Puatao je cesto nase snimke na svom internet radiju. Njemu kao prekaljenom punk-alternativnom-rock basisti je sigurno dosta toga u mom sviranju jasno. Rekao mi je da bi sto vise ljudi trebalo da budu upoznati sa ovakvim sviranjem bas gitare, a posto su Stooges morali sledeceg jutra da putuju, obojici nam je bilo zao sto nije mogao da ostane da vidi band. Delimo i ljubav prema Gibson bas gitarama. Mikeova majka je Italijanka, tako da su njegova srdacnost i sirina razumljivi. Postoji taj momenat kad se ljudi osete i prepoznaju u prvoj sekundi, sto se u ovom slucaju desilo. Lepo i pravo poznanstvo, moram reci. Mike Watt rules!"
which stanislav translates to me as:
Famous Stooges bass player Mike Watt spent some time with Koja from Disciplina Kicme after the Stooges gig. The motive was concrete: Watt has a few Disciplina LPs in his collection, so he asked the organizer to see Koja. Here's what Koja said about the meeting: "The man knows about my work and parts of the Disciplina Kicme opus. He is full of respect and suprised me pleasently. He played our songs on his Internet radio. He's an experienced punk/alternative rock bass player and he understands my style quite well. He said that people should know about this style of bass playing. Since Stooges had to leave Belgrade next morning, we were both sorry that there was not time for him to check out my band. We both love Gibson bass guitars. Mike's mom is Italian, so it's understandable that he's so cordial and open. There's a moment with people recognize each other in a single second, and it hapened this time with me and Watt. Very nice acquaintance, I have to say. Mike Watt rules!"
much respect to you bass brother koja, much respect! I drink the beers and konk. that fucking "maximator" had to be the worst shit I ever put down the hatch, mazui!
so w/the nine hours ahead france has over my pedro town and all that time w/travel and waiting - where did september twelfth go?! it's gig day now and I pop at nine bells (what? twelve hours plus konk for watt??!!! tired man!) to find a sunny morning (paris was all rain) and free trough to shovel. there's pear yogurt, never had that before. well, I've had yogurt over pears but not w/it out the little jars like this. it's good. there's bacon w/three cheeses - one good, one ok and one stinkin' plus some scrambled milked-up eggs (only a little bit for me). lots of people in bathrobes, probably here for the wellness. now there's a marina close and the sun out and I wanna sea where this channel leads out to the sea so I go and hoof. hmm... the marina is almost all filled w/sailboats, lots of them. I follow this channel here to find it leads to the gulf of but the land, once it passes these kind-of track "cottages" or whatever, becomes a small footpath around what's kind of like a miniature palos verdes (the hill up from my pedro town that makes up the bulk of the peninsula we're on) and I hike that. beautiful nature, love it. I go all the way around 'till it turns to a beach, plage du fogeo. I go back but this time up a path where signs point toward "tumulus" and I'm led to the peninsula's center which is also the top and the location of cairn du petit mont which apparently is a 4500 to 6500 year old stoneage man-made mound that had three tombs in it though one had be wrecked when the nazis put a pillbox in it (dumbfucks!) during the second world war. there's a locked up fence around it so I can't see the engravings a sign out front says it has on it's stones but I can get shots of the whole dealio (some w/the fucking pillbox showing) and some of the hatch which has a one rock on top of two arch just like those at stonehenge. I spent about four hours hiking around - oh, I'm wearing new chuck taylors, the last pair's starboard sole was flopping. of course I had to re-lace them to get it right (straight and parallel, not crossed-over) but I guess they're kind of ok - I just hate wearing fucking new shit. well, I did get something new that's ok after one wash - union war surplus in pedro had a sale on some flannels and I got three really econo and I don't know about this company who made them but they feel pretty alright soft and kind of broke in after I said, a wash. I put two of them in the clothes sack. maybe I wear one in a couple of days cuz the gray one I've worn for years really got stenched out from the hiking. so anyway, that hike and stumbling on that oldage was neat.
eight bells and we shove off for the gig that happens to be called the festival de st-nolff cuz yeah, that's where it is, st-nolff. actually it's in some woods near there. ig and nina rides ahead of us in towncar from the 90s (you don't find u.s. cars like these that much) and us others in a little mercedes minvan, I like the way it's broke-in, wish my converses were like it. not far from leaving the 'tel, we hear this huge blam/splat!! on the back window and at first the driver (a very cool man) thought it was a bird but nope, it's pretty clear it was a paintball, like those people who play army w/paintball guns use and sure enough, scotty sees the car which moved in front of us (must've shot when they were passing) make a starboard and someone leans out the passenger window and fires a couple more into the air. what a bunch of bozos. we get to gig w/out further incident, damn I miss a beautiful suset w/the camera cuz of the treeline but that's ok, we're hear safe. a little bit cold, it's an outdoor festival and attendance is over twentyfive thousand. I try to get some chow but they're serving it one plate at a time w/someone running out of the kitches w/it and after waiting some I give up cuz it's bcame to too close to gigtime to chow right. oh well, it's ok. I get the boliersuit on. the mayor of st-nolff comes up to me to ask if he can say hi to iggy. I tell him chip's coming and he can have know he's here through him. now the worst time to talk to ig is before a show, even a couple of hours before cuz he's getting things togther for the gig but chip will get a hand at working that... oh yeah, chip - he's the new man on the team cuz roadboss eric went to go do my bloody valentine and we're missing him, chip coming on as new roadboss in the meantime. he's a tall man and nice too. I guess I met him three years ago at a leeds gig but my fucking memory is terrible - sorry, chip. lots of soft sand w/woodchips as I pace outside the dressing room can under fir trees cuz I think it been raining and raining but the weather's good now. I just feel so bad for folks standing in rain to see a gig, just hate it so we're all blessed to have a dry night to do a gig in - yeah, so if it's a little cold then ok... a little bit into the first tune and warmness will be there, no problem! chip brings me the andy bass and I show ronnie, scotty and steve my changes. they're like "what?" 9:10 pm, pushed back ten minutes but now it's time... we ride in a van maybe thirty yards?! who's complaining about cold - ig's got his shirt off! of course! he asks if we're ready... we nod yes and he says "ok, let's go!" I run across the stage and plug in - looks like I got two stacks of svt classics but I ain't even gonna check out the knobs, let alone turn any - I'm trusting helperman chris. we bust into "loose" and I got a good level - thank you, chris! the new pickup in the andy bass sounds very happening, lots of consistent and fundamental bottom to hold down this stooge boat keel. there's like twentyfive thousand folks out there - that's what alain told us and it very much looks like it but I only snatch a peak, keeping the focus on ig... he's singing and spinning, flying all over this pretty huge stage. next "down on the streets" - I look at scotty for the hihat in, appears he's got a dw drum kit w/a tobacco sunburst finnish - song two and he's slamming right out of the gate. ronnie rips out solos like the french jet acrobatic team while ig jumps on my amps - he gives me a shoulder tap as he jumps down but also hit some bass knobs but jos gets it all right again - merci beaucoup, jos! thundering "1969" roars out after ig thanks everyone for being here and letting them know we're the motherfucking stooges in their language. my fingers are definitely not frozen dowels now, if maybe they were a little before we hit the stage. no tv screens so when he works the folks from the moat for "I wanna be your dog" (looked he almost was gonna launch over the chasm but held back), most the peeps don't get a look-see, they see scott and ronnie w/the idiot in the boilersuit! if throws the mic stand between the drum riser and my amp - there's low end feed back on the stage - between tunes and I got the bass muted at the tuner each time we stop so it couldn't be the bass. a brief pause for ig to shower himself a few water bottle pours - he heaves some into the crowd underhand (I look over at chris about this feedback and can see his lips say "vocal monitor/front of house" - I'm glad he knows it's not me - thank you, chris) and ig gets a "fuck/shit/fuck/shit/fuck/shit..." chant going to kick into "tv eye" - whoomf! and then right into "real cool time" and he gets some dancers from the crowd on board, first a trickle and then a bunch for "no fun" - one young man is holding his glasses and his nose all bloody, maybe he got hurt coming up on stage? was it security? (funny fucking word if that happened) I don't know but here's there by me so I face him and play just for his benefit, giving him full attention cuz damn, there's a mess of a hurt there and it's all dripping down but he's singing along so I sing w/him while we're playing. I see jos fly by w/some crazy young man on his back, what? never seen that before... tourboss henry helps keep the cat on the deck while jos gets back to ig - I really didn't see much of that cuz of the bloody young man I'm playing for - I give him big hugs when we finish - "frere!" I holler. ig gives band intros and this time says "and I'm iggy!" which is rare, he usually never introduces himself... "1970" charges out hard and we ride it out as frere steve comes aboard w/his sax (steve's got some pretty good french at his command) and we wind down into "mindroom" before boosting it up again for "fun house" - thump thump thum-pa-dee thump thump a-thumpa-thum SLAMS into "l.a. blues" and shatters/scatters into tatters then feedback, then "skull ring" locks in and we're on that train, woo-woo!!! I fumble a little at the beginning, just a bit in the front of the first lick cuz I was rolling off some highs w/the the andy bass' tone knob - did some before "fun house" too to kill some dink, just a cunt hair worth maybe. it wasn't a clam as much as a stumble and I got right quick but I do think about it - not enough to lose focus though I do lose ig in the crowd as he gets downstairs for most of "my idea of fun" but then he gets back up to finish it w/us (he loves singing that tune w/the people right there in his face) and then I do probably my strongest beginning for "I got a right" ever yet but at the end it seems we run one chorus extra so I'm off a chord for a moment but then jump right back on to nail one more time around w/the band - we're off to the side and back, where we came on. ig re-hydrates for a moment and then tells us the three we got for an encore, me on the deck w/my bass and listening - back up and run over, plug in and scotty gets us into "little electric chair" w/the andy bass really getting those notes out there w/definition but w/thuddin' punch too, ig right there w/me and urging them notes on. alright! "little doll" next and he's back right in front of scotty and I can sense he's digging the groove much, singing right back there w/us - righteous! we end the night w/an extendo "I'm fried" w/steve blowing and blowing while ig works the wings... great gig, great way to start off this last leg of 2008 stooges touring, yeah!
backstage ronnie tells me how much he dug hearing the andy bass now w/the new pickup. he said he felt sorry it had to get gutted for that to happen but is way into the sound. scotty and steve say so too - I'm so glad they're all digging it. chris comes back and says he liked it too. in france they got this "1664" beer and that's what's back here for us to drink but what the hell. what I'm saying is maybe it ain't the best but it beats the fuck out of that can of "maximator" swill I had yesterday. we like to talk about the shitty kinds of beers we drank as younger people, rattling off the crap brands we forced down into us. youth is wasted on the young. out of the sweaty boilersuit - even w/autumn coming on some coldness, the boilersuit will surely continue to be sweated out by stooges gigs! jos comes by w/my glasses - I think what an idiot I am and thank jos much. chip comes in - his first time in the pit, yeah! ric comes in to say good job - everyone is very up and that's fucking happening, righteous! then ric's pop comes in to give us the good word - he was into it. a kind man, he says I looked I was into too, especially when "making love to your amp" and I'm a little embarrassed but that sure is nice of him. turns out it's his first time to see his boy work at what he does, alright! you know, my pop saw me at a gig only one time, it was a fIREHOSE gig in fresno... I sure my miss my pop, I sure sure do.
time to bail, on the way out I go to bow to ig and he tells me he knows the low-end feedback wasn't from me and we're gonna get better at stomping on that. he said "good work" - deep grateful bow from watt... thank you much, ig. fortyfive minutes back to the 'tel and the mood in the boat is very happening, everyone happy. it's a good cherry gig for this leg. I konk way happy.
tuesday, september 16, 2008 - bochum, germany
sunday, time to leave france for germany. I pop at seven and soak for a good while cuz I am a little sore, my fuckin' joints - not sound like a whiner though, I can hack it (just let me vent some!). then downstairs to beat the bathrobe crowd and shovel on the free trough... I'm thinking why ain't the chow chamber on the eastside of this boat (I swear the building's built like one w/the lobby the bridge and then the cabins running aft of it) to soak up rising sun? I wonder about these kind of things... there's lots of huge windows to look out but what's to see? condos! same chow choices as yesterday, lovin' the pear yogurt - I do the same thing by adding canned pear slices to plain yogurt. check out time and then rap some w/knobman rik's pop john. I tell him about my ma seeing me play w/the stooges, it was at the all tomorrow's parties 2003 jam in long beach, back in cali - he lived some in cali, up in santa cruz. I like john, wish I had more time to share w/him. we head out for the st jacques rennes airport (wence we came), w/no wander it takes about an hour. I see a hotair ballon on the way, clear skies for us. at the 'port I see a cat w/yellow chuck taylors, low-cut ones... I want some! it's a little more than a hour in an air france crj 100, me and jos sitting together - he gives me the aisle when I had the window - most grateful watt! we land in lyons - it's two flights to get to dusseldorf... I get a sack of this gummi candy called "sour spaghetti cola" and man, is it weird... but kind of good though I think I wouldn't chow it too much. fuck, I like sour and I like hot (hot as in spicey). another air france crj 100 for dusseldorf international, another hour and a half and some wander to get to the 'tel but that's mostly cuz of construct and detours but back and forth across the rhine? I wanna do that on foot! we get to this fancy pad not too far from the altstadt (old town) called the steigenberger parkhotel around six pm - whoa, all day to make the trip, huh? I hoof a couple blocks into the altstadt to a kiosk which here means a little stall/shop that sells cigarettes, snacks, drinks, etc. - they got big becks (50cl) for 1.20 each so I get some for me and steve. you gotta understand at these fancy pads a beer at the bar can be like five or six or more euros - each - small ones (six euros 'pert-near nine dollars u.s.) so that's why I prowl econo outside the 'tel. me and steve spiel and have some beers and then go back out to the altstadt and get donner-pita (turk swarma chow) and fries - again cuz it's so much cheaper than what's at the 'tel. I always try to spend no monies in the tel. I show steve the rhein. even though it's dark, he can see how huge it is. I kind of know this area cuz when the stooges did the "lowland" festival last year, we stayed not too far from here (I know, that festival was in the netherlands but we stayed in dusseldorf). it's pretty ok weather, fall is coming but it ain't rain or frozen wind. it's great to get steve out of the 'tel w/me. I konk after we return and I get done doing some internet shit - I say shit cuz this fucking pad wants like forty u.s. dollars for a day of connect and I gotta do it cuz there's an essay on "where do you think bass will be in twenty years" I gotta get in. fucking rip-off fucking burnward. oh yeah, there's some news to read... there's a u.s. executive branch of the federal government beauty contest coming up - and it ain't all just men - no, there's what kind of seems like sort of different variations of clown involved but not much though, I think. there's a real jive one from alaska that's just come on board to join the others or maybe she was created... wouldn't wanna say anything was evolved or some such nonsense. this clown chimping this diary is thinking of voting for cynthia mckinney, should he have chimped that? I think it's supposed to be secret ballot... I always fuck shit up. my best friend raymond's the best one to hear from about this crap anyway (in my opinion) but honestly, I like the fact he'd rather work on his art. he's got exhibition of old stuff now that I had to miss cuz of this touring but I'm thinking of him all the time. I konked clothed cuz I wasn't really ready for it when it happened, guess I was pretty tuckered.
monday I popped at nine bells cuz I had a couple hours w/out konk in between two times I did last night. had to read the burdett third thai book meanwhile. no free shovel at this fancy pad so I hoof into the altstadt and find a subway sandwich pad and get tuna, pickles, mustard, olives, jalapenos and salt/pepper w/potato chips to stuff it, then chow it by the river. I find some coff too and after some altstadt explore, get back to the 'tel and chimp up the diary. I help steve w/some 'puter stuff he asked me to come over for and then scotty visits us... then ronnie, who asks about the bar but I hip him to the altstadt kiosk trip so me and him hoof it - alright, ronnie! he's into foraging econo w/the bass player tonight! he finds some russian wodka he likes and we go back to steve and scotty to have a real cool time shooting the shit and sharing many belly laughs. it's a very happening time, the four band guys like this - very righteous. it was a trip cuz at one point I remembered in my chamber and as I was coming back out to return to steve's, the hatch of the pad right next to me opens up and there's ig! he's pushing out a just-done chow cart... "hey there!" wow. I ain't usually right next to ig like that, didn't know it. sure was glad to see him tough even just brief. back at steve's, all three of them are my older brothers from another town in another time that they all shared but for me it's all newage for lots of it, even if I heard of some of the characters, there's so many situations in the ann arbor history they've lived (and some hollywood) that I'm all ears and soaking it up, very interesting and the way they all have their own way of telling it, very entertaining. it's a real good time for us and makes for a very happy konk.
gigday and after popping at seven bells and hosing off (no soak tube here), I went and hoofed to the altstadt and got coff and a schnitzel sandwich and then while looking at the big rhein river that I wanted to go across it. I try to hoof through little altstadt streets I had tried yet as I make my way to the oberkasseler brucke (that's the bridge I've decided to take) but on the way, I stumble across the museum kunst palast and explore around there. I'm too early for the "der verbotene blick auf die nacktheit" ("the forbidden glimpse of the naked body") exhibition cuz it's starts next month but the glasmuseum hentrich is open and I trip on the amazing works there, holy cow! there's glasses, bowls, vases, etcetera from roman times, islam, middle ages and modern stuff too - contemporary pieces that are pure art and incredible... I spend much being absorbed and blown away by this stuff. the medium of glass is an incredible way to express things, wonderful. there's one room w/an exhibition by marta klonowska who makes solid images of dogs, shoes and this one creature who totally reminds me of bosch out of pieces and shards of glass, it's a trip.
you can see the creature playing a "flute" made of it's nose in the detail from bosch's "the last judgement" on the right, see? (the creature's kind of a blue color, like ten o'clock from the naked woman) marta's work is the orange glass creature on the left. whoa, I'm so glad I stumbled onto all this. I finally get back to my mission - getting across the rhein... it takes like ten minutes to walk across the bridge, the river is that wide. now where the 'tel and the altstadt is - on the east side - there's a levee and wall to protect against high water but the west side has big flood plain and goes right down to the shore. I hoof down there and put one my foot in - not submerge my converse but just get my sole wet. now if this was last tour I wanna gotten my sock soaked for sure cuz those shoes were beat but I started wearing a brand new pair of chucks w/this tour leg. I spend a bunch of time down there, thinking... man is the current pretty quick and the huge barges carrying stuff sure jam. I'm very surprised to see this older man in kayak paddling, whoa! I make my way back up to the bridge, cross it and via the altstadt (again trying to take as many tiny streets I ain't hit yet so as to give the digicamera a chance to capture some trippy shots) get back to the 'tel and it ends being like six hours I was out hoofin' - the dogs are a little sore. sure wish I could soak them. I rest some on the deck before getting in the boilersuit, civi clothes in the sack I'll bring it back when it's gig-soaked.
it's a fortytwo minute drive northeast up to bochum, me w/the ipod plugged into my head and eyes closed cuz of scary driving, our wheelman right on the bumper of the audi carrying ig, nina and henry. we were supposed to play a town near bochum called gelsenkirchen but last week it got switched. well, ruhr valley is ruhr valley pretty much for us gigwise. we're playing the ruhrcongress bochum which is like a sports hall. we're brought up to a dressingroom on the second floor. since we got an hour and a half, I go down to catering and chow some pork chunks, rotteli pasta, cooked carrots and green beans plus a salad all on one plate and smother the whole trip w/some west african hot sauce that says "extra scharf" (extra spicey) and though you could probably float ice cubes in it, there is some good flavor going so I can dig it. back upstairs and we can't really hear the one band that's the openers, we're too far up. our turn is too come at nine and a quarter but a halfhour before, chip brings up my bass so I can warm up and I ask scotty to get a shot of me w/the andy bass now all "wattified" and he does a good job. then chip gets it again, guess he got from the crew before the linecheck, oops. henry brings it back up and then we all go back down (!) together to do this. ig joins us and at the bottom of the stage floor (this appears to be like a sportshall but no lights on anywhere except the stage so it's hard to see anything), he asks "are you ready to do this?" nods. "then let's go!" he tells us and I run up the stairs - whoa, handrail starts halfway up! I'm ok though and plug in... ready, set - "loose!!!" yeah, we're underway! right away the gig is slammin' - "down on the street next" w/ig jumping on my amps in the middle but the knobs are protected cuz I'm using two stacks of svt-II amps and they're rackmounted and inset some in their cases. "1969" after some "we're the god-damn-mother-fucking stooges and we're happy to be here for you!" from ig (and he MEANS IT!) and then "I wanna be your dog" w/no stagedive though I thought for sure he was gonna launch. ig knows what's right for when, I trust him. ronnie gets hit in the shin by a flying mic stand, I know ig didn't mean that. stooges gigs are still risky. trippy, I saw ronnie's leg fly up and thought he was doing a wild kick! ig's singing really great, "tv eye" next and he sounds really good. "real cool time" has sort of an awkward start but ig pounds the downbeats on the mic to get me right - I get right. he asks for dancers from the crowd, they come on up and it's wild, keeping it going into "no fun" and I have several one-on-one's or rather the dancers have them w/me and I'm seeing lots of happy german faces right up close, big hugs when we finish - a gotta hoist some of them up. alright. intros, "1970" and then "mindroom" - steve now up on stage w/us, I give him a fist in the air when ig intros him - "fun house" real spare for watt tonight w/not one fill 'till "l.a. blues" which is all fill all spilled! "skull ring" - man, are we playing fast tonight... incredible pace but that's the vibe - schnell, schnell, schnell!!! right away next "search and destroy" - I've rolled off some high end during the intros from the andy bass' tone control and am glad I did - stooges don't the dink of a monkey wrench hitting a lead pipe. we're into "my idea of fun" and then right out w/"I got a right" - when nail tight for a closed ending and you could hear the sound suck out and even a mouse squeaking way in the back could've been heard when ig turns around to us and hollers "noise! NOISE!!" and so we immediately fly into "wail on the 'b' mode" 'till he gets us out w/a leap. whoa! before wailing back down them stairs whence we came which feels like was two minutes ago (in the mind of a crazed watt) is encore time. ig tells us four more and we're back for "trollin'" and way-kickin' "little electric chair" - aaahhh, I checked the tuning and went too far, by the the time I got right scotty had started "little doll" so I wait two times around to put in w/him solid. we got the room groovin' and then seal the night up w/an "I'm fried" that's got ig saying near the end "I gonna go take a big shit, get in bed and and beat the meant cuz... I'm fried!!" later henry we I relate that to henry he replies (of course he heard it, everyone did!), "well said" - indeed! back up the stairs - first a "good job" from ig - and thanks from me back... boilersuit off, whew - I get my glasses out of the bottom port leg pocket cuz the guys tell me it's smarter than the five years-plus I've been putting them on the riser (it is, they're right!). scotty said the andy bass sounded even better for him tonight, alright! we cool off for a bit, all of us liking the gig and talking about it... happy happy mice!
raus maus! back to dusseldorf. only a halfhour back (less traff but again, I had eyes closed and ipod wailing on shuffle). I hose off in my chamber, better than konking w/sweat-stuffed pours. konk is swift and sure, deck close and near.
friday, september 18, 2008 - hamburg, germany
thursday popped already hosed off, yatta! sometimes baka watt stumbles into some ok thinking. lobby call for airport bail ain't 'till noon so I go for coff and chow forge - same "kampers" pad I've gotten coff at three mornings in a row - trying to trip those folks out working there or what? I tripped every time on many wasps and bees they let light on the pastries! for shoveling I hit up the subway sandwich pad and get a tuna footlong w/pickels, olives, jalapenos, onions, salt+pepper and mustard w/a small sack of chips - nah, you never heard me get that before? there's a crew of four w/the main cat, they're getting trained - enthusiastic looking! danke... one for chow looking at the river. kind of gray skies but at least no rain. bye bye dusseldorf. a lufthansa b737-500 takes less than a hour to get us to hamburg though that's time enough for me to konk w/big ibikis and drop the burdett book in the aisle, whoops - I pop to pick it up and the flight attendant people are laughing - I would be too! man, my ankles are sore - I think I better give them a rest in hamburg after working them so hard in dusseldorf which is kind of lame cuz I really dig hamburg but "a man's gotta know his limitations" so goes the wisdom of "dirty harry" movies. on the way to the 'tel, a fancy pad called hamburg park hyatt, I see "the markthalle" which is the first pad I played in this town in 1983, minutemen + black flag. I remember it right by the trains - yep, there's the hauptbanhof. I remember that gig - wow... d. boon, georgie - then later henry, greg, dezo (dezo was my konkmate at some konkpads), chuck and billy - of course helpermen mugger and dave-o. us three minutemen were so blown away how the black flagers were so generous to have us aboard, they were beautiful. I even tried to write my first tour spiel w/that trip - you can find the embarrassing results in a book of my minutemen lyrics called "spiels of a minutemen" which frere chapu put out w/a quebecois translation page opposite every english one (great work, chapu!) plus there's the raymond drawings we used on our minuetemen releases. I was so embarrassed by my shitty writing that it took years for me to get up the nerve to try it again, like 1998 or something (fifteen years!) - in some ways I am such a scardy-cat. when kyoko gave me that holder-type thing w/ukiyo-e drawings of two guys, one she thought looked strong and one she thought looked afraid or weak... maybe for me but maybe too generous to think sometimes I'm not weak/afraid man and have strong times? her and her jose are so kind to me. there's internet here, andy of the andy bass writes me this:
man, what a happening brother. much respect to him and his ma. there's another email from nez over at transduction records flows me the lyrics for the newthe 54-71 album the recorded w/steve albini back in april. kentaro-san is both the bassist and the band's leader/lyricist though bingo sings them... the lyrics are a trip, here's one:
idiot (awakening of Noex)
now "noex" can't be an acronym for "nippon oil exploration limited" - could it? I'll write nez at transduction and find out. I'll tell you this though: kentaro-san is one mindblow of a cat, he's amazing - much respect. hopefully in december I'll get a shot at recording w/him and brother jun (who's also lite bassist) in december for a dos-like recording proj of three basses only called san... phone rings. scotty-san calls and says his buddy sonny vincent has come over and to come visit them both. scotty did drums for a few sonny vincent tours and recorded w/him too - ronnie mixed one of his albums. he lives here in hamburg now, originally from new york though. scotty wants to go to the reeper bahn so we go over there and have some beers, sonny getting to know me w/spiels of my own and I the same w/plenty of his, love hearing him telling about touring mo tucker and sterling morrison - then about sterling's days as a tug boat captain. more spiel back at scotty's chamber w/the news on a twenty minute loop from the idiot box... I think that it started seeping into the spiels! still real interesting though and I'm glad scotty got us all together. I'm all spieled out and konk on my own deck quick, 'pert-near doing it on scotty's 'till I mustered up enough to get myself up and out.
gigday and I pop at seven and soak long long time. my ankles are killing me but I'm still glad I did all that dusseldorf hoofing anyway. free trough downstairs and pretty good, they offer to fry me up two eggs - cooked the yolks out but still I like it bettered than scrambled. good fish stuff too, herring and smoked mackerel and of course righteous euro bread which u.s. bread (except for some sourdough) cannot much compete w/to be honest. I gotta be up for the gig though so calmness again before gig time - am two/thirds through burdett's third jitpleecheep whodunnit but start in on j.c. thomas' "chasin' the trane" coltrane bio too cuz I can't help myself! so I got two books going and there's always whitman's 1855 "leaves of grass" w/me too. fuck, I realize the boilersuit I washed night didn't get put up to dry - fucking baka watt! luckily the window's open here and the sun's come out so maybe in the couple hours I got 'till we bail it'll dry up some... can't believe how I stupid I am, so absent-minded w/shit. we bail at twenty of eight pm and I'm standing by the ride as scotty and steve sign autographs by the 'tel hatch and this lady comes up to shut the minivan hatch and I guess is telling me in german my cigarette smoke is getting inside it (a few words I can recognize) - the driver guy stands between me and the ride, like trying to force me away. I just shrug it off and ignore them, whatever. these guys come for me to sign things and ronnie gets in and says hi - the driver guy now of a different state of mind and asks me if I wanna be in w/ronnie (of course! I gotta work the gig w/him) and then that lady comes on over and apologizes for thinking I "was just a fan" - well, I am a fan - a huge stooges fan, no problem. I look out of place, I know that - I've always been out of place, I don't mind if folks don't recognize me. it's kind of a drive through some plug traff to get to this park where we're to play this ndr open air 2008 stadtpark gig. there's a stage built right onto a knoll-like area of grass in front of a clearing of trees to hold a few thousand. very low barriers and grass from them to the stage. they've put up a back and sides like a typical outdoor festival thing but we are on the deck, rugs on the bricks put into the ground. it's kind of neat I think, different. I shovel some chow when I get there: some gnocchi w/shrooms, beef chunks, a fennel-tasting kind of veggie I didn't know and salad. there's some hot chilies in oil (kind of china style) that's pretty tasty and finally a little bit of heat in europe! jessie evans is the only other band (person) playing w/us and I watch her and larry mullins on drums (introduced as "toby damnit" though! stage name?) - I met larry in berlin not too long ago. jessie sings and plays alto sax, larry wails w/his sticks (and sometimes shaker things) and wears a tux - he's great! I go to get the boilersuit on... it's still pretty damp - fucking baka watt! knobman rik had come up to me while I was watching jessie and larry and told me the gig had a 93db sound limit on demand of the city so only me and ronnie's top cabs and half our amps will be working tonight. from where I was watching on the side, I could see ronnie's bottom cabinets missing speaker cables so I knew something was up. sure though, "work the room" I assure rik.
no stairs to climb, ig gives the "go!" and we go! but in a tiny way... "loose" is in mouse mode - ronnie sounds like he's on a banjo and me, well, it's less than unamplified washtub - you can see ig is NOT DIGGING it at all but he still puts every bit of his soul into it, working the grass in between us and the folks. "down on the street" is so down w/the volume - later ig will say "not our vibe" and I so much agree but what can I do? play my best, that's what so I go for that. before "1969" ig hollers over the mic to turn it up or someone's gonna get killed... helperman chris turns ronnie up. that's something, something better - can you believe stooges w/no ronnie? it's like w/no scotty or no iggy - not happening. "I wanna be your dog" - ig hollers for more guitar, helperman chris turns it up again - ig wails a stage launch, right out of an invisible cannon, amazing! "fix this sound!" he implores. I think he's singing great and the asheton's are tearing it up, wow. "tv eye" - wow! wow! "real cool time" - real little bass but hamburg gig-goers become dancers to make it alright, one cat showing me his "raw power" writing tattooed on his arm, man folks dancing - "no fun" and ig's singing it right to a security person standing all erect (erect man next to me) while that tattooed cat w/the corkscrew hair puts big plastic sunglasses on me - we finish and the owner (not him!) happily gets them back, sure! hugs all around. "thank you hamburg dancers!" ig says and then introduces us and "1970" w/steve now making us five and "mindroom" and "fun house" and "l.a. blues" (I fuck one live amp, one amp not live but still fuck them both). "skull ring" is strong like ig is strong but it's obvious now there's a problem in the lowend, I think in the subwoofers out front cuz it certainly ain't on the stage w/rubber band sound - I had looked at where the eq is at and the bass setting was sitting at like 9:30! "search and destroy" then I think cuz "my idea of fun" is in e-minor, it's feedback is really starting to show. is it the kick drum, the floor tom? I try not to be distracted and play for these guys - it's not a reggae band - it's stooges and I love it. new ending for "I got a right" - it's like the intro, I like it a lot - good idea, ig. we come off and ig tells me "it's boomin' but not your fault" - damn, to be tiny sounding and still causing feedback, just so frustrating - how? "trollin'" is ripping, I stay on the 'e' string and no clam like the first chorus in back in bochum. the audience this whole gig as been so great and full of the spirit, the whole place roaring so to get hung up on sound stuff is weird for me I know but mainly I wanna make it good for ig to sing his best... "little electric chair" is very happening, both of us close for the bass solo, ig then visiting ronnie and steve for theirs, a little later giving each of us his own set of bows, each getting a turn and it's just so righteous the way he is, what a remarkable musicman, spiritman... FEELALIVEMAN he is. "little doll" though is a real problem w/the bass - I know it's me cuz I stop playing when the boom starts to bogart and it leaves so I knows it's bass guitar out front in the subs, probably from the direct. so weird to analyze this here like this cuz I'm fucking not that together but if anyone's wondering why whole parts of this tune was missing bass guitar, it's cuz I just wanted to do the right thing for the song and for the stooges. it was frustrating but I stayed calm and didn't weird out. the resonance w/the situation and e-minor really compounded things so for the closer "I'm fried" being in a-minor, it was much better and I never had to stop once. I just wanna do good for everyone: the stooges, the crew, the crowd, everyone. I go off my side of the stage - we're finished but why did I do that? I've never done that before. very strange.
backstage everyone's in a good mood despite the tiny stage sound but giant lowend feedback out front, I think that's a great thing for them to share, a brother spirit. we have good laughs about stuff. sonny vincent comes back to visit and I get some music from him - thank you, mister sonny! larry mullen comes back and so good to talk w/him too... ig comes in for one of the briefest debriefings ever, maybe seven seconds? "hey that ending worked, huh? ok, gotta split!" he's right that ending did work and so did his whole performance and I think it when lightyears to urge and inspire us on, much gratitude to him. we're out very early tomorrow to fly to czech republic so we can't stay long. we get back to the 'tel just after eleven and a half... I bring steve over a beer before soaking and konking, I had one in the sack I carried the sweated-out boilersuit... yeah, even though I started the set outside in damp and clammy - my body turned it dry and wet again... thank you stooges music!
saturday, september 20, 2008 - prague, czech republic
after the hamburg gig, I called the 'tel desk when we got back for a six:thirty am wake-up call cuz we bail for the airport an hour later - I think can fit in a shovel. of course I pop ten minutes before the call (how?) but it's good insurance maybe? I dunno but when I'm going down the hall I see a friend I ain't seen a long time - jim tremayne! met him in athens (georgia - he was writing for sheet that had the best name "the red and the black" - not the stendhal book but maybe the blue oyster cult song? I do believe though it was the other way around but wished it was it was how I first thought of it) along w/buds of his like chuck reece and dewitt burton... after saying hi and hugs, jim says dewitt's here and to come go see him. turns out his chamber's across from scotty-san's! wow, many years it's been since seeing dewitt... he's in skivvies and show's me the scar from a just-done hip replacement, looks good and ain't too big. he's w/the rem management (they played this town last night too) and is now flying to helsinki cuz pete buck's oldest rickenbacker guitar was stolen a few weeks ago and now dewitt's acting the bagman to get it back (fucked up but it is coming home). wow, what a great surprise to see these old friends again - jim's on his way to berlin, he writes for a dj zine now. ok, I gotta get to the trough and shovel... they cook me up two over-medium (not! yolks cooked out) eggs and some bacon but while they're doing that I fix up three pocket sandwiches - one w/salami and swiss, one w/some roast beef and shmear plus some kind of pate w/blue cheese, all on great little rolls - the last w/pumpkin seeds stuck on it... well, I "pocket" them, of course. I shovel what's on the plate though along w/yogurt and a plum before it's time to bail - ronnie hates being late for departures and I don't blame him so I try to always be a couple minutes early. another turbo-prop ride for us, eightyminute on an atr-72 via czech airlines. funny about the hierarchy on these planes - bourgeois in the aft, saltlick up fore cuz you enter/exit through a hatch near the tail.
this is my first time to the czech republic and tomorrow's my first gig ever there. on the way to prague's airport is much farmland and tiny towns - the airport is out in this kind of land too. I got both window and aisle seat (no one's sitting next to me) so I can be many shots w/the digicamera. very pretty. we land and get taken to a part of the city up on a hill where much of the rest of the old center part can be seen but it's a little bit of a hoof - I hope I get to make it there, I really wanna see the kafka house I've heard about if I can. I've herad so much about this town, about how so much old is there cuz it never got really bombed or shelled much in the world wars. I don't know if I'll get a chance though cuz brother steve's got a friend here I really wanna interview for my watt from pedro show - a drummer man named jarad "erno" sp. the 'tel on this hill is called the crown plaza prague castle (though it ain't a castle, just near one that I never could tell where it was though there were old walls all about and a cloister next door. soon after arriving, jarda comes by and we do the first hour of the radio show, him telling about his days as a young man during the 60s in what was then czecholsolvakia, trying to make music playing drums. man, what a story! the government there was not into letting him do that, nope - but he did it anyway - like I said, amazing story but we gotta stop and finish the spiel tomorrow cuz he's got a gig set up for him and steve to play - steve knows jarda through kamilsky. jarda's pad is not too far away so we hoof there and meet julie, who's gonna play alto and keybords w/them as well as a bassist named tony. the door next to jarda's has slibovitz sign above it - I know that stuff! it's a plum brandy the slav immigrants to my pedro town drink. in fact, it does feel a little like home here... you see, the stooges tour much more in western europ than the eastern part so when we do come east and I hear the slav being spoken, I am reminded of home. I know the czech slav ain't exactly the same but to my ears very very similar. we get driven about twenty minutes from prague to a little town called cernosice and I see written on the side of the building where the gig's at, "sokol" and think wow! jarda says it's a czech sports organization started in the twenties and here I thought it was some guys name (there's a sokol hall gig in omaha, ne) or whatever - never knew it was czech. this pad used to be a theatre and it's really nice, done up real good and a happening jbl soundsystem. very kind folks too, the pivo (beer in slav) keeps coming w/out asking, same w/kind/interesting conversation... good good folks! now jarda is calling his unit w/steve, julie and tony "on the spot" and/or "over my dead body" and it's really good. I brought my little device that hooks to my ipod and makes a cd-quality stereo recorder (tunetalk from belkin) and capture their improvisations, lots of times steve and julie bouncing sax off each other - steve's tenor and julie's alto. for the last piece they have me come up but tony's five string bass is too hard for me (not to used to it) so after a few moments, I take the 'b' string off the tune but let it dangle cuz I don't want him to lose it and another thing hard for me is the short strap - the bass hangs on me 'pert near like a necklace so I just sit on the amp and not have the bass strapped on. now I've had a bunch of pivos so I don't know if I probably sounded like that - they wanted me to really do one w/them but I tony was doing such a great job, a pity he had to let go for pivo-powered-pedro-man but at least it was just one piece, not too long and near the end. they take me and steve back to the 'tel after a real fun time for us - thank you so much, jarda, thank you! I konk on the deck clothed and no blankie.
next day (gigday) we see jarda again. he hoofs on over to do the last two hours of the watt from pedro show. so interesting, his journey through music, really. the u.s. part too which is what he got into today. he just keeps on pushing and I find that so inspiring. I ask him at the end what advice would he give about music and he says "follow your heart" and I think that is very wise. we finish the raido show (oh, in the morning was a pretty good shovel at the free 'tel trough - forgot about that) and then it's soundcheck for us. rik asked for it to happen and of course I will always say yes. we're playing a sports hall that's called the hc sparta arena and it holds eight thousand - the show is sold out. I am skeptical like an idiot to helperman chris' bass eq but later realize what an idiot I am. more on that later. we go back and I chimp diary 'till time to go. then back to venue - maybe it's twenty minutes a trip but not bad though some streets are kind of intense w/the cobblestones! I chow some salmon, green beans, broccoli and salad in catering, oiishi. over an hour to go before we play so there's time to digest and I like burning the shit off w/body shaking while doing the gig. the dressing rooms are up a couple of floors so I can't hear the opening bands - I think there's two local ones but I'm kind of disappointed I didn't get to see any of them cuz I'm curious to what's going on here. oh well. boilersuit on... henry leads us down stairs, ig asks if we're ready and we GO! the crowd is way alive as we thunder out "loose" - well, I ain't thundering and am wondering if it's another semi-mime gig for me but then chris comes and turns on my top amp - guess it thermaled out right at the start! ok, now I got a good sound, in fact chris got a great sound going, lots of growl (the amps are svt-II models) and all I added was a cunthair of mid, bringing down the passive tone control on the andy bass. we womp into "down on the streets" and then send up "1969" - the czech cats really w/us and ig is channeling much it into rawest power, whoa. he launches himself into them in the middle of "I wanna be your dog" and then dances/sings up a storm for "tv eye" - how does he do it? no pause to think, we're right into "real cool time" and ig causally does his stage invasion invite - NOT! it is not casual! brave men and women take to the stage and join in on the craziness, into "no fun" and don't hold back 'till it ends. way great, thank you! band intros and then "1970" - a wet deck and my feet are slipping, very scary for my knees so I ask francois (she flew in from belgium to join jos) for a towel but she can't understand me (hard to hear over the roar!) but somehow jos figures it out and saves me. I'm amazed how good the sound is for this kind of pad. "mindroom" into "fun house" into "l.a. blues" into "skull ring" into "serach and destroy" into "my idea of fun" into "I got a right" - that's how tight ig runs this end part of the set, it's a jammer and unrelenting. I have some cut-outs, little ones and I'm wondering what is that? not too bad though, only brief ones and I'm relieved... don't wanna fuck the gig up. I think there was one clam I blew or maybe two in that whole slew but they were in the right place and the right key, just maybe not the best note. I think about things like that cuz I wanna do my best for these guys, my best. we go off and then back on for "trollin'" into "little electric chair" into "little doll" into "I'm friend" - one last four-barreled blast to cap the night but wait... ig has us finish it off for real w/the "double dog" reprise... ok, now we're done. whoa, great gig, really good one.
we cool off... whoa. there's some little tins of tuna - I got chow for tomorrow night! get some waters too and put them in the sack w/the sweaty-soiled boilersuit. damn, didn't get to see jarda again... wanted to tell him bye and thanks so much again for all his spiel, good playing and company. keep jammin', brother! back to the 'tel and I hose my soiled self off then konk, well tuckered out.
monday, september 22, 2008 - saint petersburg, russia
sunday pop at six and a half bells, gotta hurry it up cuz we bail at nine and I got hardly any shots of the town cuz of being so busy w/jarda and steve so I jam downstairs and shovel eggs, toast and yogurt, then make a "pocket sandwich" of chorizo and cheese before hoofing it down the hill. we are not really in the center part of the old town but up the hill from it, by the castle. it's a little gray but the sun's coming out and at least there's enough light to shoot what I can... I jam forty minutes towards the center, snapping everthing interesting I see but don't get to the famous bridge (can't remember it's name, fuck) and even worse, don't make it to the kafka statue which is REALLY lame cuz franz kafka w/his writing has had a huge impact on me. man, am I kicking myself but what could I do? jarda was so great to hear him share his history w/and I think that's kind of a one-shot dealio where as when/if I come back to prague (which I very much hope to), I make sure I make enough time. as it is, prague being when prague is - a town not really beat on w/bombing like so many other towns, it's got lots of oldage. I do get a couple of hundred shots, here's one:
I like shots w/big scope but then I like those of trippy little detail also. I get back to the 'tel just in time for our bailout which is good. oh, first I had some monies to pay at the desk. after that many-pivos gig w/steve and jarda the night before, I went and chowed a candy bar in kind of a borracho state on my way to sleepytown. don't ask me why cuz I never do that, never chow from the 'tel minibar or whatever but who knows? the pivos had the better part of my judgement and man, I can't even tell you what it tasted like but I can tell you what they asked me to pay for it: five euros - what - that's a little over seven u.s. bucks! this was not large size candy bar either, you know? I'm laughing at myself for being such a stupid person. well, actually it was the only money I spent my whole time in this land. I get back four kruna (one kruna = six cents u.s.) which is kind of good cuz scotty-san has a buddy who wants something from czech republic so one of those will work. now I got three... three's a good number.
we leave from prague airport on a czech airline a320 and get into saint petersburg two hours later at about four - it's two hours ahead here in time zones from where we've been touring in europe. this is my first time in this town, so much different than moscow. there's still a lot of traffic and it takes an hour to get to the 'tel but the streets are really wide and the town is laid out so much more different, more like a europe kind of town. it's on the sea too so as we get more to the center, there's all these canals and bridges - no skyscrapers either. it's a really a beautiful town, wow. our tell (called "holdiay club") is actually on an island but it's hard to tell except for the bridges, they're very nice there and give us free internet. there's also been a sightseeing tour organized and this same wheelman who got us from the airport is driving w/a lady from the promoter using a mic to point out things. I join henry, rik, jos and chip - we're the ones who wanna see this town I guess. whoa, so much to see... peter the great (russian czar) from a couple hundred years plus ago built this place w/venice (italy) in mind and wanted it to be russia's "window on europe" and man, is it nice. the weather is really happening too - I get tons of shots. most of the things we drive by w/her explaining pointing out interesting infos but we get out for a hundred year old navy boat (the aurora) and an ornate mosaic onion dome church (our saviour on the blood). I'm gonna hoof tomorrow and check out stuff closer. we get back and I chow the three tins of tuna I got from last night's gig. there's a little nearby w/like fifty kinds of wodka and I get one called "five stars" for about six bucks. brother steve comes over, I've never had russia wodka in russia before... whoa, it's a little raw but then I'm a bourbon person anyway. steve has to konk, I go to scotty and he has me watch a show on pandas w/him, whoa. then we go downstairs to the bar looking for ronnie... nope. we get talking and I ask scotty-san to next year maybe show me how to dress a deer. he says I might hurl and that's probably right but maybe I should do it if I chow meat. he's got a cabin in northern michigan on drummond island.
gigday and I pop from the deck w/my clothes on - must've went out that way. I gotta get into another shirt cuz this gray one's starboard elbow is all the way wore out. I put on the blue flannel from england. the free trough downstairs is really good - red caviar, sun dried tomatoes, eggplants, new mexico chillies, shrooms - all in olive oil, happening blue cheese, halibut cut thin salmon-style, trippy dumpling kind of things, eggs, bacon, good bread, yogurts, fruits... I'm gonna hoof around five hours so I'll burn it off. great chow, in ways italian style. now it being monday, stuff like "the hermitage" are closed, damn! (second only to the louvre in size) the only museum I do find open is the "defense of leningrad" (the soviet-era name of this town) one and I know ronnie would've liked this one. there's some tragic stuff though... it was nine hundred days and there's one exhibit about how it was for kids, displays of their toys and how they still tried to school the kids, even w/all the starving and disease, it gets me pretty shook up and I cry some. it's all kind of hard for me to take, even w/everything written in russian, you don't need to read the descriptions to understand. I hoof over the bridges and around the palaces and big buildings, the summer gardens and the field of mars where an forever fire is burning in the middle. this town is gorgeous and I take like five hundred shots w/the digicamera. I walk a lot along the river neva - last night they had the bridges open for boats and they were all lit up. there were some fireworks too. I get back to the 'tel, passing the only big building I see that's not painted all bright, some kind of military trip cuz lots of officers are in and out - man, do they have big hats! I soil some on the hoof back - well, been wearing these levis eleven days now anyway and a shower will feel good.
we leave for soundcheck and we're gonna stay there after... the traffic gets pretty plug and the routing is pretty back and forth w/the bridges and stuff. we're playing a sports hall called lodovy dvoryetz and it's pretty new a much bigger than the prague pad. lots of security people everywhere, men in suits. the soundcheck sounds like a roller rink, there's a huge ceiling. ronnie's cord is having problems so they get rid of it. we work on a version of "raw power" that's slimmed down to just the main riff, ig wanted us to do that tonight. I go chow some salad, broccoli, cauliflower and penne pasta at catering. ig's stuck in traffic so the on-stage time's been pushed back to nine. I go watch the openers, a local band called p.t.w.p. which is a russian acronym for "last dance in paris" - they're really trip and I dig their set much. very singular, their whole way of running a gig - I really liked them and go to their dressing room to talk w/them when they finnish. they're in their early twenties and really nice cats, very humble about what they do. man, were they a trip! I'm very inspired by them for our turn next. it is our turn, ig asks if we're ready - "let's go!" he says and I run out and up the stairs... "loose" gets underway a little late, I say a little cuz only a few secs but ig's waving his arms "let's go! let's go!" - we're off. I think in the five years and five months I've played this song w/these guys, it's my best time ever, I just got everything pretty ok w/it, the groove and the bounce (I'm back to using both the 'a' and 'd' string for the riff) and helperman chris has a great sound going through the svt-classics (brand new) - thundering! "down on the street" and ig don't even hit the knobs when he jumps up on my amps, even where they're most vulnerable on these amps. "1969" next, blam! man, the sound is way better than I thought it'd be - surprised again! and last night we even lost the sidefills (ig pushed one stack over). on to "I wanna be your dog" and the folks are wild, singing along w/ig - he's singing great and a dervish w/the dancing - no stage dive though, there's a moat. no cameras/screens either but he works the crowd from that moat before climbing back up to rejoin us, "tv eye" next. my bass is cutting out again - is it the jack or the cable? I think about ronnie's at soundcheck and signal to chris - he switches out the cable... yep, it's that. alright, the andy bass all shipshape. "real cool time" and "no fun" - time to invite a stage invasion, alright! they do real good, ig says on the mic "thank you saint petersburg ballet!" he introduces the band and we fire up "1970" - time for steve to join us in the coda. "mindroom" next - hey, someone through up a puppet on stage, jos brings it over to his side... man, I wanted to get that (it's ok though) but I gotta tune a little, not bad - "fun house" stomps out when ig calls it, funked up! I roll on the deck some after fucking the bass amps in "l.a. blues" and get the deck where I was wet w/sweat and slip some in "skull ring" but not bad... just scared for the fucked-up knees. we wail on "search and destroy" and ronnie breaks a string - wow, like the second he's broken in all the gigs we've done! ig doesn't know it and calls for "my idea of fun" so it's just me and scotty 'till ronnie gets his orange reverend from chris (he's been playing the blackron asheton signature v one now, stays in tune so guitar switch - yeah, reverend guitars!) and joins us but ig stops the tune to restart us, ron was there w/the right chords though. I see a young man get his head cut somehow (he had shaved head) and ig has him sing part of the tune (he's working lots of it from the moat) but security hauls this guy off and I'm not into it, that wasn't appropriate. they could've been much nicer to him. "I got a right" is the closer and we come off. there's always a chair for ig to re-hydrate from and tell us what's up, he looks at me and goes "good" which is very happening cuz at this point I'm usually sitting on the deck at his feet w/my bass and feel kind I'm a distraction but always give him full attention so he knows I'm focused. I just wanna do right for him and the guys. we go back up and rip out "trollin'" and then "little electric chair" w/ig, going "go mike!" in my solo, yeah! then we take it to "little doll" which has me simplifying dave alexander's original bass line, better for watt - much respect to dave. we finish up w/first time-ever for us "raw power" - steve on sax too, reduced to the main riff but still w/ig singing the lyrics - just no changes. it's a jackhammer groove, very powerful. scotty almost follows some words into the changes that ain't there but only rolls over the accents, never loses groovin' and jumps the accents right quick back in. we're done and out! great gig!
backstage ig comes to debrief us - a good long one. he said we did "raw power" good and everyone else thinks so too. yatta! we talk about stuff, everything seems good w/the team and that makes for a happy watt. I told him about the hermitage being closed but went and hoofed anyway and saw lots - everyone says saint petersburg is really pretty town, gorgeous.
the drive back is much quicker. mister shimmy wrote me a wonderful email - his english is always the most amazing poetry! I love reading his grappling w/english cuz it's just the most surreal takes on things that appear in "correct usage" to be so mundane. I have to let people know. I've already hosed off... I'm sore but I konk glad.
wednesday, september 24, 2008 - moscow, russia
it's nine am bail for the airport to leave saint petersburg for moscow on tueday so I pop at seven to hit that free trough up like I did yesterday and shovel up pretty much the same chow as then but more red caviar - hey, I never have it much and here it is... I make a pocket sandwich too, putting it well, in my pocket. I get my yellow clothes sack and 'puter backwacksack and check out, getting out on the street early so I can get shots of the sunrise, a saint petersburg sunrise. some shots have the military building in them, making one side all flooded w/sun (port side) and the other all dark (starboard). I positioned myself like that cuz full on size would've overloaded the digicamera. some of the shots I got military men w/their back hats - three of them - in the center.
"spasiba" - I think that's how they spell "thank you" in russian (though they use cyrillic alphabet). it's an hour in the slow traff going to different airport than the one we landed in sunday. it's obviously built is soviet times, trippy archetecture though - damn I don't know the names of either of the saint petersburg airports we used, sorry. the gates at this one are trippy - tunnels under the runways take you to these "satellite" round rooms the gate doors in the glass wrapping around them and from there you walk to the plane - very futuristic like in a 50s sci-fi kind of a way. we're on aeroflot - my first time on that airline and you use to hear all kinds stories about some of the planes they flew w/all the crashes but this is an airbus 319 and the eighty minute flight is no problem - we land on the domestic side of moscow's sheremetyevo airport and do the one hour drive into the center of town - like last time we were here (my first time, fourteen months ago), we're at the hotel baltschug kempinski but unlike last time it's much warmer... not as warm as saint petersburg but just as sunny and pretty nice once the morning haze burns off. ronnie asks me to take a picture of the view from his window (right across the river from red square) cuz he wants me to send it to his girlfriend dara back in ann arbor but man, is it a bitch w/this internet that costs five hundred rubles for an hour (twenty u.s. dollars) and crawls like a motherfuck. very frustrating. I tried to flow this shot and the sunrise one from this morning but it's no go, fuck. I do get a little john coltrane one of him in 1960 out - it's his birthday and it's also shubun no hi (first day of fall). believe it or not, this will freak me out some tonight - well, that and probably other things - I'll get to that... I'm kind of hungry so I hoof over the bridge into red square - last time it was closed here (I did get to go up into saint basil's cathedral though) cuz of some march band rehearsal thing but this time I can go right up to lenin's tomb. this is where the communist bosses would stand to review the may day parades - I knew it from growing up w/those images from news reels and black/white news paper photos. I hoof towards the big g.u.m. mall and beyond to get some beers for later and those wrap things w/the hot dog, pickles, mashed potatoes and mustard I got last time I was here. pretty econo for moscow, four u.s. dollars worth of rubles (beer is two bucks a can). I did notice gasoline was half of what it is in the other parts of europe, like what it is now in the u.s., about four dollars to the gallon but in other ways, this is an expensive town. I get back and konk pretty early. I pop though at like three bells and had a lot of confusion, confused about everything except pretty sure I was afraid. I think there's a lot of ghost putting the haunt on me from little boy places where so much heavy was on us u.s. people and the soviet union. I mean, this reaction maybe I got now ain't so together, probably kind of stupid honestly but it shakes me up a lot... like it wasn't when I was on the street and by the kremlin and stuff but now w/me poppin' 'pert-near in a sweat and thinking about the first day of autumn and me being a boy - every last friday of the month when they would test out the air raid sirens, the space race and all that mystery surrounding their program - so much mystery about so much of them, me actually now in my autumn or starting on it, the stupid way I worded my last flow - not handling the shit connect internet frustration so well... of course the confusion/fear distills into huge doubts about myself, the lame thinking in understand what I'm supposed to learn from estrangement - I completely accept this though I'm so fucking stubborn in a stupid way - I tried to relate that to jose in the angel part of london - I am stubborn... here's something positive about that however - maybe when it comes to writing a bass part for a song you respect and it actually it helps it, it might take a lot of tries (maybe in my case especially!) and well, being stubborn and not giving up might be a good thing in that case - you keep going at it and provide liberty of choice while keeping a humility about none of your effort being too precious to become a foist on anyone, letting go - yeah, being stubborn about letting go just as much as focus on being determined to muster some kind of creativity and maybe somehow someway it might (or could be thought of for a moment) make a little good on the debt you owe the muse. I don't know - I do know I finished that "bangkok haunts" book of burdett's before dawn came even w/me getting freaked out a bit in the ways I've just been chimping about and then realizing it was also trane's birthday and him I think just being a descent man blasting incredible music in a way that made me feel somehow I could be calm and not worry, a weird gestalt thing that ain't really expressed how I felt it by me just writing that about him - not like he was a god but then swinging back around w/doubts and not feeling I deserve to be feeling what I was - like a denial trip and the little boy fears and all that chasing each other (the not-genki stuff) but the reading would pull me into that wack world - it was good cuz some of it was talking about hypocrite shit and I thought that fit - well, I just had a hell of a crazy confusing scaredy cat freak out night some. this happens, a twisted-up way of reconciling some heavy stuff maybe? or at least thinking about it.
no free trough (we were told) so I set out on foot early to forge. I walk and walk. it's gigday and the sun out early - no haze. the streets south of the 'tel are new to me (red square is north, across the moscow river) and they're laid out really kind of strange. I find no chow pads. I do find some trippy stuff though like this bridge w/fake trees that have on it's "limbs" all these padlocks, each w/names of what I'm guessing are lovers - like some promise for them to be w/each other, maybe some sort of a symbol for that?
the "trees" are right by some fountains in a canal - one makes the brightest rainbow I see at almost any angle, really fat. right near is park w/some pretty flower beds and next a kid's part, a trippy "sculptural composition" by a cat named mihail chemiakin called "children are the victims of adults' vices" and that about describes it - two kids playing, surrounded by thirteen monster manifestations of adult vices personified... it's a trip.
I end up by a canal w/the kremlin on the other side and decide I'm gonna go all the way around the pad, having only been on red square in front of it. I come to another bridge to get across that canal, there's soviet emblems on the rails and dates on the lightpoles say "1936 - 1938" so I'm figuring maybe that's when it was built and start to contemplate what maybe those days were like - stalin days... footsteps on this bridge then and the reality of that moment - it freaks me out. must be such different times for this land. I think about something though I noticed both here and saint petersburg. there was a war six weeks ago between russia and georgia - I'm not trying to be all judging from a high horse but I've seen no sign of questioning of that. I mean back in the u.s. there's lots of support for the wars from there but also dissent, you can see it in graffiti and other art... I'm noticing that. I get come around the kremlin - I find the back door. there's a young guard who helps me across the street, even w/the light not w/me and I come around the east side. there's lots of gardens and then fountains - I find some chow pads, I can get a shot of the mcdonald's awning w/some kremlin behind it but hell if I'm chowing that shit. I find a stand selling those wrap things w/the hot dog, pickles, mashed potatoes and mustard and get two. the metro stations here are pretty intense and all around are many many tourists - I heard lots of u.s. voices. I think it's a trip for us people coming here and I'm glad we can and have a personal experience - even fuckheads like myself. I see tourboss henry in red square and walk back w/him to the 'tel. he leaves tomorrow for his daughter's wedding and will see us again in slovenia. whoa, that was four hours of hoofing for me. I chimp diary. there's a young cat I met outside the gig last year named konstantin and he comes to visit me, bringing me a book by doris lessing called "the grandmothers" as a present. he also turns me onto a singer I've never heard of before named yungchen lhamo and plays me some her music, it's beautiful. on bridge over the moscow river we talk while I get some sunset in moscow pictures.
big hugs for konstantin, I gotta go get ready for the gig.
eight pm and we give ourselves plenty of time to get to the gig for the on stage ten o'clock go-time cuz of traffic being such a plug year (same club, b1), where it took over an hour to go a couple of miles but this time it takes only fifteen minutes. there's some tuna and bread slices so I make some little sandwiches out of that, stuffing in chips and a bit of french onion dip. I get into the boilersuit kind of early but it's ok. everything early is ok if the other choice is late and panic. the dressing room is right above the stage and to the right so it's very easy to hear the band. they're a moscow band and called the types. later the bass player will tell me they're "psychobilly, rockabilly, 50s, 60s, retro" so I'll just repeat that here. nice cats we'll find out too when they come to say before we bail. hey, I'm ahead here - there was a stooges gig in between! we're entering in stage starboard which we only do when there's no option to go port. that means I'm last instead of first. "go!" points ig and we're on, the club is packed but you could tell that cuz during the changeover they were singing to the songs and hollering iggy's name. much enthusiasm! we let "loose" lets loose and the gig is on. the soreness I had is on hold, there's a gig to do. once again chris dialed in a good bass sound through these svt-classic amps that are in good shape, no beaters. ig holds on in the verses and let's them play out more before singing, the crowd very pumped. we roll into "down on the streets" and he's singing great, working the vibe from the moscow peeps. ig then jumps on my amps and my knobs get turned (always down, never up!) but jos right away gets them right once our "bow of the boat" leaps off. "real o-mind!" - ig thanks everyone for coming, then we're up into "1969" and driving it home on them. a shirt gets thrown up on stage, the first of a few that will tonight (maybe a coat too?) - oh, and a shoe sole! even though it's a club (a pretty big one), there's a moat between the stage and the crowd but nonetheless, ig launches himself in the middle of "I wanna be your dog" and damn if they ain't just amazing, holy cow - how does he do it?! that was some feat, crimony. he does waterfall from the bottle over his head before he does the "fuck, shit, fuck, shit, fuck, shit, fuck, shit, fuck, shit" mantra a little and then "llllllllllllloooooorrrrrrrdddd" - "tv eye" w/the band stormin' tight as can be... whoa, I'm swept up in it and in my head I'm seeing things like I'm inside a lava lamp and I feel sensations of waves bobbing and heaving me - gotta maintain and hold focus, not lose it - keep your eye on ig, watt... the double stroke I do for "real cool time" puts me in blender mode, a blender in my head mode. it's pretty warm in this pad, I'm getting the boilersuit wet, yep... ig calls for dancers and this whole group comes on at once - it's the cats from the opening band! only a couple I think make it from the crowd, maybe it was organized that way? I don't know and I don't think ig does but he implores - "let him up!" he keeps saying but security won't let it happen. anyway, the folks we do on stage are pretty energetic and having a great time. they keep it up through "no fun" too, such happy faces and they're pogoing much. alright. band intros into "1970" which has ronnie looking around after the solo - is there something sliding around? sounds good to me, hmmm... steve comes on and ig tells him to "blow!" so yes, this is what he does. alright, steve. someone through up a book and it hit me in the starboard foot but didn't hurt at all - of course I don't have my glasses on (they're in my lower port pocket next to my calf) but I can kind of see there's russian letter (cyrillic) on the cover and put it up on the drum riser by scotty. "mindroom" gives me a chance to drink some water cuz I don't play in that one. I do play in "fun house" and in fact start it off and do just that when ig barks the title. "uhhh!" here we go, for scotty-san: "came to play!" big time crazy for "l.a. blues" - big time, play very intense. a lot of turmoil from last night being worked out here, no? ig can't run off stage port, there's a bulkhead. he gets over as far as he can go and then pours water down on him... I'm all the way wet from sweat now. "skull ring" and I think I'm in tune for it - I am not for "my idea of fun" though, no way. damn, I can't get it right, what's up? so embarrassing, aaaarrrrrggggghhhhh! I think the tuner needs a new battery... or maybe I just fucked up! it's time like these when I wish there was a tiny space in between a song but we're in the home stretch now w/no let up and anyway, that's a pretty fucking weak excuse cuz I think the dynamic of the show counts for so much more, ig's right run the gig how he's running it - absolutely. "search and destroy" follows and that doesn't lean on the 'e' so much - I here it "I got a right" though, even w/it not being so much - we run of my side of the stage, I got my bass and I'm feeling the vibration as I do the fourths harmonics... yes, it's the fucking 'e' string for sure. ig tells us the band was "crackin'" but is kind of bummed on struggle w/singing towards but no matter - we're back on to do "trollin'" but luckily ig asks for the lights on and to thank the people who have been so enthusiastic and nice to us. in that little space I tune up and see the 'e' was a tiny amount flat... for f-sharp, what the fuck?!!!! I get it in right just before we start to roll - blam! "little electric chair" (ig tells the folks about "in the country where I come from, the usa, they have this invention where they put troublemakers in and fry them") and my bass in tune for it - yatta! ig gets starboard of me so I can play to him that way - "go mike!" yeah, ig - I wanna go. "little doll" next, "back to africa," ig says, we play it tight and it pumps smooth. lastly, the "new" one for us, "raw power" which really pounds, whoa - ig's now having steve blow solos in between the couplets he does of the lyrics. gig done, I run over to where helperman chris has the guitar rack behind ronnie's amps (boy, were they buzzing but ron kept it under control, using his mute pedal - this club probably had didn't have the lights on its own power bus), thank him much and then run back off-stage on my side, leaping over the monitor... damn it, I forgot that book in russian - how fucking baka of me (actually I didn't realize this 'till the ride back to the 'tel).
ig has to travel through our dressing room to get to his and he stops there to debrief us. he tells us all very nice things about our playing, says he really dug "raw power" - said it sounded like something out of "cotton club" or like that, "very african." I apologize for my 'e' string being out of tune and maybe that's why he had singing stress... he said it was a tough gig but "the bad was really good." I tell him my legs are sore too, I can see the soreness in him, I can feel it - we all laugh about that "javelin throw" stage dive he made - him too, he said he just had to do it, had to do it. he is such an inspiration, always give everything he's got - I am just amazed at him, he's such a sensei for me. I really REALLY truly respect him. we all tell him he did a great job as he goes to change out of his sweaty jeans... we cool of w/some tuborg beers - that's dane, right? I had some russian beer yesterday, I liked that but there's none in the cooler. the tuborg is good though and they have trippy pull-tab tops (on bottles)... it's called green beer, steve explains to me "green beer" is different in scandinavia, meaning being stronger - in the u.s. I know "green beer" as shit that's gone bad. the boilersuit has been boiling me in my own fluids, time to come off now. the cats in the opening band come in to say hi after scott and ronnie do an interview - they explain to the lady about russian and ukrainian roots in their family. time to go now, on the way out I run into terex, that bass player/singer from the opening band for us last year (the screaming strings or was it roaring strings? my fucking memory!), he's got big hugs for me and a new cd... wow, great to see him again - am digging his funkadelic shirt! lots of nice folks by the car wanting signatures, sure tovarich (friend)! we get back as fast as we got here if not faster - it's one in the morning now and lobby call is for seven, early flight out of russia for france. I brought some waters and a beer back from the gig. after a five ten minute soak (they got some kind of salts at the side of tub and I dump them in w/me) - I can't risk longer for fear of a tub konk, I then pack the yellow clothes sack, putting the plastic-sacked soaked boilersuit and the waters in but not the beer - I drink that laying on the deck and then konk, whew.
saturday, september 27, 2008 - cannes, france
thursday morning pop at six and half in the am and scrub toilet mouth w/toilet mouth scrubber (some folks call it a toothbrush). konked last night after hose-off so can just dress and head downstairs for checkout after idiot check... check - yep, I'm still an idiot... situation normal, all fucked up (snafu). I've been pretty lucky all tour w/minimal donate and part of the reason I think is I bring as little as possible cuz maybe that'll make less to be potentinally donated (spin term for lost or stolen). sun coming through haze, a little like a pedro morning. less than an hour (though not much less) through moscow traff to get to the other side of the sheremetyevo airport we came in to, the international side. some waiting to get boarding passes, we're early but that's better than being late. while waiting a russian lady tells me she's sorry cuz she believes she should know who ig is but doesn't so I tell her his name and she says "of course" and talks to me about how moscow is fast town and kind of crazy/busy too much... "like new york city?" I say... "da." she's been to the u.s., new england and east coast - has good english. I take my glasses off for the the immigration lady to study my face - I remember last time that was a little bit of a problem... man, I try to learn from my fuck ups but it's hard. there's a smoking area - not booth but area right next to the hatch for the gate! scotty and steve are loving it, I sit next to them. it's a three and half hour flight to nice in france on an aeroflot a319 - good bye russia - I get a shot of the sun coming up over the plane as we board. I chimp diary most of the flight, starting w/the gig part cuz it's playing much still in my head. out the window I the the cote azur, the azure coast of the french riveria, wow. we land in nice and as the plane taxies to the gate, we pass the red arrows an acrobatic flight display team from england's air force, their bae hawk planes painted bright red and all parked next to each other. roadboss henry ain't w/us as we re-enter the e.u. cuz his daughter is getting married saturday in england. would've been neat if he could've went to it via one those red arrow planes, him flying it right in after doing some stunts overhead. none the less, I am very happy for him - much respect. he'll meet up w/us again monday in slovenia. it's a forty minute drive to cannes from nice, warm cali-like weather w/the minivan window open. the is the town where the cannes film festival is of course and our 'tel is the gray d'albion, only a couple of blocks from the beach. it's touristy kind of big I discover by hoofing all over but I find a store w/a six euro bottle of wine and at the same time think of it being saxman brother steve's fiftyninth birthday and get him the small bottle of absinthe I see on the shelf. on the way back to the 'tel I find a halal shwarme pad by the train station and get a donner kabob that's really tasty, using chicken meat and there fries in it well as salad - good spice sauce too. man, it reminds me how much I'm missing my habanero sauce - fuck, am I jonesing for it. the town is pretty crowded w/folks hoofing on the narrow sidewalks down narrow streets, has to be mostly tourists and there's so many shops catering to them w/spendy prices and that's why a search had to be done by me. I go up and visit steve and we celebrate w/the green licorice liquor - trippy trippy stuff - then at my chamber, knobman rik comes by to wish steve happy happy w/some wine he brings. he has to take leave when we start talking about castrating, eunuchs and stuff (sorry rik!). and dig this: it's a trip - steve's a voracious reader and that j.c. thomas "chasin' the trane" book I gave him on trane's b-day a couple of days ago is already read by him and given back on his (steve's) own b-day! steve talks about his experience reading about john coltrane and there's tears in his eyes, he is very moved to discuss the man, his music and his life, what he just read about and steve working tenor ("smae model" he tells me), it makes perfect sense. much respect to mister trane! later steve wants us both to chow dinner so I tell him about a 'staurant not too far and for this town pretty econo and we each have steak w/a pauv vert (green pepper) sauce that's happening. happy b-day, steve!
friday's a day off and after popping, hosing off and shoveling from the free trough, I explore more around town and the beach/marina (a big fancy boat rigatta show is on) and then have this huge nap, must've incurred some kind of konk debt to have that happen. the team's split between two different 'tels so me and steve don't see scotty. we head over to a little market I had found as day is ending and find a thirtypack of little beers (25cl) econo. we chow again at that same french sidewalk pad near the train station as last night but have steak hache which is a ground beef patty but w/the salad, fries and that great green pepper sauce, it's just as good and even less coin. we sit in fact in the same seats at the same table!
gigday and I pop early (big surprise) and repeat yesterday's morning except read the herald tribune and there's a incredible massive surprise: markers are being called in for the ponzi scheme that's been running for the last fifteen years and the pro-capitalists want the u.s. government to interfere w/a seven hundred billion dollar handout to them. of course they must be VERY PRO-CAPITALIST to want this or else they wouldn't hold the u.s. citizens hostage w/a scuttled economy threat, right? it's all about confidence, I'm reading or like w/trendiness: perception? "what do working people think about this?" I would think d. boon would wonder and wonder about that but not being too confused about that, I figure he would naturally do that and explain things to me. I know raymond would too and will ask him when I get back home. raymond's an artist but he got economics degree from ucla when he was nineteen, you know? there's a message on the machine - it's roadboss eric temp replacement chip (a very nice man) w/a message saying the sarajevo gig in bosnia has been scissored so we go home tuesday - looks like the ljubjana gig in slovenia will be our last one. damn, I was really REALLY looking forward to playing in sarajevo cuz I've never been there and I think it's good for stooges to play pads where there's been a lot of hurt and a need for spirits to get lifted. hell, I think it's good for the stooges to play everywhere, I love playing w/the stooges anywhere on the planet. well, maybe in the future we can play that town or play somewhere in that land... I sure hope so.
yep. it rained yesterday afternoon when I was konking but it's sunny w/me hoofing along the more west part of town. I hear my name hollered from up on a balcony - it's carolyn, a friend from scotland of my secondmen drummer jer's and she's here to see the gig tonight. what a coincidence me hoofing where her and her buddy mary could see the crazy yellow coat man! what are the odds of that? what a trip. there's a hill w/the "quartier du suquet" up top that's got a twelfth century castle and church and we explore that and then shovel at an italian-style chow pad - I get fish soup where you float these crunchy-crust bread slices w/mustard on them in. it's a good chow, some mozzarella goes in it too and melts up. that sure was nice of her to get me that and catch up w/a good long spiel - it's been a few years since seeing her last.
now me, steve and scotty did a soundcheck earlier w/helperman chris on guitar and got to check out the sitch. scotty hit his knuckle on a cymbal and cut it but I think he's gonna be ok. we were driven over but hell, the venue's like two blocks or so from the 'tel - it takes longer in the ride! I'm hoofing back to the gig and then I'll hoof after, no prob. anyway it's time for me get the boliersuit in a plastic sack and get on over for the gig. we're playing the theater debussy room of the palais des festival and yeah, this is where the big movies get shown during the film festival. it's all seats and they go up and a big angle and you can see where the screen rolls out from on stage - it's a big wide and tall stage as you can imagine. ig says he's been here to see movies during that event. I saw some handprints in the pavement kind grauman's chinese theatre in hollywood style out front. there's a opening band but the dressing rooms are really far away and the a maze of halls and you can't even hear a murmur of a drumbeat from them, damn. I wonder what they were like? olivier comes to get us and brings us down in a giant freight elevator. alain does all french stooges gigs (promotes them) and tells us the gig is sold out. we come up to just where folks can't see us and ig asks if we're ready... yep - "then go!" he says and I run out w/the andy bass, the crowd already wild and hollering, whoa. fist in the air for them as ronnie fires up "loose" and soon we're crackin' - my tone though ain't really happening... these amps are svt-II models w/out a master volume so if they're set low like they are now (on about four), there ain't much rockin' grind but rik asked for small bass on stage cuz of the room's acoustics, chris explaining to me and I understand so I "work the room" and not be weird about it. the thing about small sound w/lame tone is that I play too hard and not as consistent as I would otherwise but I ain't trying to sound like a whiner though I think I maybe am so please forgive me, I'll stop w/that. what's great is the asheton brothers and oh man, is iggy on fire - holy smoke! you get on this train and it's just amazing, a mindblow for me every time, no matter how many times - that's why I can't get too self-involved. I just love these guys. and so do the french folks, what a reception! "down on the street" and it takes ig a few tries to get up on my amps but he don't quit 'till he gets up there, much respect! powerhouseman! he speaks french to the folks before "1969" and expresses big thanks I feel too for them sharing such emotion w/us... then in "I wanna be your dog" he launches not just once but immediately again from the other side of the stage, whoa! no one saw that second one coming, not even me - what a trip! yeah, you go, brother! I dig in deep for "tv eye" cuz I'm determined to get something going w/what I got, I can do it and man, I just let the vibe of these guys run through me and that's enough to fire it up. "real cool time" and w/the stage how it is w/no barriers and no moat, it's easy when the invite comes from ig for folks to "come up and dance w/the stooges!" (ig's words) and they sure do come on up - one huge man comes up and grabs my head by each side and gives me a HUGE cheek kiss, whoa - alright! people are lit up and going off, right through "no fun" and it's many hugs after - by me on them too, not just them on me - helperman chris kind of pulls me off a little, sorry chris! these cats were just beautiful. ig tells them who we are ("...and banging the drum: rock action!" scotty tonight's using a 26" kick, whoa!) and then we give them "1970" so steve can joins us... ig telling them who he is at the beginning of "mindroom" and I'm turning the tone some, I'm thinking of playing "fun house" on the 'e' and 'a' strings rather than the 'a' and 'd' ones to get things really fat w/no "dink" and so that's what I do when he calls for it - no fills at all, I don't think I've ever played it in the position so it's a little trippy but I get on it. I blow up crazy bursts of notes and shound shards from feedback for "l.a. blues" - ig doing great howls, his voice holding up real good and him managing it wisely but still w/heartfelt wildeyed liberation, no muted feeling. he charges for the bow as we motor it up for "skull ring" and I've turned my tone knob up to two/thirds. real quick ig calls for "search and destroy" which we rip into and then 'pert-near just as quick come "my idea of fun" w/him way on the wings, at times I can't see him but still try my hardest to, I need the igster for focus! he sings "I got a right" real close to us though, the rally before we end it. trippy running off stage and not seeing henry - this whole last leg it was trippy not seeing eric either. ig calls for nina, she's there - it's cool her being at all the gigs lately, a very nice person. I told her some about me growing up in navy housing on the bus at the airport the other day. we're back out and blast "trollin'" w/a very hard groove and then pump out "little electric chair" intensely w/a slammin' groove - yeah, "the groove" - that's what these encore songs are about, now I get it... great thinking from ig. "little doll" has got the bo diddley groove on and then the haul ass freight train groove of 2008 vintage "raw power" to finish everything up. what a great gig, damn. thank you kind folks tonight for making it very happening... thank you ig, scotty, ron and steve, thank you chris, rik and jos. most grateful watt for all of you, I'm so glad to be let on board.
not too much hanging out in the faraway dressing room - the 'tel ain't that far and after the boilersuit/civi clothes change-out, it's hoof back to the 'tel tuckered and soon to the deck and konked. "I came to play!"
this page created 8 aug 08