mike watt + the secondmen
watt - thud staff, spiel (w/goddaughter rilei)
pete mazich - organ, singing
jerry trebotic - drums
(left to right)
steve kaul - the man outside the van
tuesday, april 1 - sacramento, ca
woke up on tuesday morning kind of tired as I spent most of the night packing up my stuff and getting ready for my second tour w/ Jer and the chief. It's been a pretty busy year for me and I was very much looking forward to going out for another trip in the boat and playing for people. Me and Lil the kill, tony, and the girls had said our goodbyes the night before so I smoked a cigarette and waited for my pops to show up to take me to jer's house. The old man finally showed up and dropped me off at Jer and Kel's and we waited for watt to show up. I spotted a bottle of wine (2 buck Chuck) and poured myself a glass; a little early I know, but a move befitting the occasion. I was a little nervous because of the new songs once again (we'd only had time to learn three more and those weren't exactly on the money yet ), but watt said we'd cover the rest of them on tour. me and jer opted not to use crib sheets this time around as that had turned into a mental nightmare and added to the anxiety level on the last tour. I can truthfully say that I feel much less stressed out this time around- one of the reasons being that I'm bringing the real B3 organ on tour this time (we had a little practice carrying it w/ our mini-tour w/ eyes adrift) and my comfort level w/ it is good. I slept in the boat most of the way and we made to sacto in a few hours w/ no problems. The pad was an old blue collar bar from the thirties called "old ironsides" and it was really small (the stage was in the dreaded arc shape) but it had a lot of vibe and character and I felt the gig was going to be a good one. The soundcheck went well as larry the soundman was a real down old-school pro and miked up the all the tools in no time. he warned me about some acoustic anomalies unique to the room but we were very good on the dynamic w/ watt so I didn't forsee any problems. My biggest fear was falling off the stage as the hammond takes up a good deal of real estate and I was almost hanging off the edge but I figured I'd have to soldier thru. this was going to be an early show (we were on at 8:45), so me and Jer went to go have our usual round of 'drivers and maybe get some chow. Geoff showed up in true form w/ some egg rolls and thai food but we opted to eat after the show due to the totem pole issue.
watt decided that we wouldn't do the 3 new songs yet as we didn't have time but we would get to them. The set went very well save for a few clams and the energy level was good. The crowd liked it alot but were somewhat subdued. I felt good about the gig and some people came up to me after to say how much they liked the organ and I was much humbled. much respect to you all for accepting an organ player in a punk trio. watt thanked everyone and began to sell the shirts while me and jer went to have our customary cocktail. afterwards we packed up the tools and headed on over to Geoff's pad. Geoff and evan discussed songwriting style w/ watt and he told us stories about the old days w/ the minutemen and firehose (I do love to hear the chief rap). The sandman came calling soon however and I hit the deck quickly and was out in a blink. laku noc sviraci........
it's d. boon's birthday and I'm thinking of him a lot. he would've been fortyfive like I am now. in these crazy days, what would he be thinking now? that's something that's going on inside my head. well, I should say I'm kind of always thinking that in a way, always thinking "what would d. boon say, what would he do?" about all kinds of stuff cuz when we were together I would ask him things like that all the time. me and d. boon shared thoughts lots and it's one of the biggest things I miss most about him being gone. that and his confidence - man, did d. boon have confidence - when I'm doubting myself, the momentum he instilled in me then still gets me through difficult moments now.
it's been kind of rough these last couple of weeks for me personally, I got really sick and I thought I'd have to cancel this tour. it was very heavy on me. even worse was that the hurt was where that sickness got me three years ago and almost killed me. that really scared me shitless, I have to say - I kind of was hoping (praying) that shit was a singular thing and would never happen again to me but I guess that's not the case. the doctor said it might have something to do w/my pedaling and this bums me out. I'll deal w/it after tour since no pedaling while I'm out plucking the bass for a couple of months. somehow I got well enough though to sally forth on this tour and even if I'm in a weakened state, I feel grateful I'm still in the ring and work some bass. it's a trip maybe but I think this is a time when I really should be out there playing for folks. I really feel fortunate I've got pete and jer w/me too, they are some solid cats. they help me feel confidence too, in their own way. they have good spirit and play their hearts out. I dig that and it makes me want to try my best.
last night after practice, I got some pork shoulder ribs econo and fry those up w/some eggs for my last pedro meal before tour. it's five in the moring and I do my last wash so I've got tour clothes. I write my last emails, letting my flow list folks know I'm shoving off. it's always a scary time for me when I'm just about to bail. I think about never coming back to my home town cuz something might happen, I get so worried and full of anxieties that it 'pert-near overwhelms me. I can't buckle though, just can't - must get it together so I do what I do each time it's this time: do and not think (too much). I load up the boat (my van) w/all the stuff I still need to load. last night, pete and jer helped me load all the gear after prac. it's not the time to hesitate, not the time to doubt - time for tour mode and watt's gotta step to it. I know the drill: plant your foot and kick off from shore. I always seem to get a heavy dose of "too much to think" at these moments, 'pert-near every time. this is somehow bound up in my fabric and I wonder if it'll ever change. whatever, I remind myself I got two righteous cats to make sounds w/and some good folks to do it front - plus I'm d. boon's bass player and what would he think if I even thought for a moment to shirk? not a good thing, watt and you know what's gotta be done. you gotta get in that boat and shove off, leave your pedro town and build some gigs in these hurting times. onward.
I get to jer's and pete's there w/him, ready to go. jer's wife kel has baby rilei (my goddaughter) and I get to hug her while we take the last shots of us in pedro. hugs and byes, then we're off. after a few minutes, jer's walkie-talkie phone rings and it's kel telling him he forgot his wallet. a quick loop, wallet retrieved and we're north on the harbor freeway. the tour is underway at last and we're in good spirits. my guys help put some of my fears in their place - we joke and talk up a good time. there's good chemistry in this secondmen band - you're a lucky man, watt.
there's a mechanic cat named phil in harbor city who did the shake down and fix up on the boat for this tour. he did a great job and both pete and jer notice how smooth and quiet she runs. much respect to you, phil. pete also battened down the shelf unit further and rigged up a volleyball net so the stuff on top of the shelf wouldn't be able to come forward on top of us like previous tours. good job, pete. he had the boat a couple days and his three-year-old boy tony was helping him out and digging much on the vessel that was going to carry his pop for the next month and a half. pete said when he told him he was getting it back to me after working on it, tony asked him, "is he going to float it now?" too much - that kid's a quick learner. maybe pete's instilling some tour desire in him early, huh? the boat's a little long in the tooth - twelve and a half years old and two hundred and twenty thousand miles worth. we bless her though w/some anointings w/the peach-flavored air freshener and some heartfelt prayers cuz she very much is the center of our touring universe. eleven in the morning, so the traffic is easier (by so cal standards) and there's kind of gray sky so that'll make the climb up the grapevine not too fraught w/assaults from heat. off the harbor freeway near dodger stadium and onto the road we're going to be rolling on for the next bunch of days, the I-5. more and more track homes as we head up to tejon pass and down into the san jacquine valley. bakersfield is the hundred mile mark and there's three hundred miles more of farms and farms and farms on our way to sacramento. most are huge corporate ones though so it's not so much a scene from "little house on the prairie" or something like that. however, I think it's better than the plan to replace them w/lots more track homes like some interests are talking about. believe it or not, cali is a farm state - lots of it. I don't think that's such a bad thing. already, we got more folks in this state than the entire country of canada - c'mon people! sorry, just thinking out loud and maybe not that thoroughly. it is a feeling I got somewhat in my gut though.
some crazy nuts on the freeway abusing the privilege to drive by taking insane chances w/there's and other folks' lives - gotta love it. I sure wish patriotism really meant us being nicer to each other. wishful thinking. in the boat, I just let them pass and wish them fare thee well. watt don't speed or do insane shit in the boat - I got two pops w/me and I mean very much to get them back to pedro safe. I say safeness prayers for all of us, even those people driving all wack like they do. we don't need more senseless hurt! this might be this tour's mantra for me, huh? I'm thinking about consequences a bunch, I have to admit. hope it doesn't totally intimidate me! I am making sure I got the hope fires stoked too though, just got to. I talk to my guys about this as I steer us onward. pete and jer both express very uplifting feelings and it buoys me much. I can tell they know I'm struggling w/things but even this war shit ain't going to totally pound us down. again, let me say I got some real good men w/me. lucky watt. kind of trippy we're doing a piece about a war that went down inside my body. kind of weird.
seven hours of rolling and we make downtown sacramento by six. we're playing a pad called old ironsides, somewhere I've played once before. it's still w/the same promoter I've been doing gigs w/for years, brian mckenna who's a great cat. an old pedro friend who lives up here now, concepcion and her husband felix say hi. good to see her again and we celebrate the fact it's d. boon's birthday today. a good day to start a tour for watt. we load in and soundman larry mics us up. he's a good cat. I take pictures w/a photographer from a mag called heckler and we talk a bit about skateboards - why I try to play my bass like I was riding one and how this cats who work them wild can really inspire me. jer starts working on a problem his snare drum has but I have to roust him into "set your fucking drums up" mode cuz we're on early tonight. not his fault, I should've enlightened him earlier in the boat on the way up. see, tonight is brit-pop dance night at this pad and we've got to be done by ten. that means the openers, frank jordan (not the person but the name of the band) are going on at eight. they're really nice cats and I've played w/them before in my parts. I hate bogarting on the openers (one reason is cuz I don't like it being done to me!) so we do a quick "the read and the black" and are done. this means jer has to use his backup drum, a kind of lame piccolo one. it'll do though. cuz of that sickness I had before this tour, new tunes got hurt in the readying department so we're gonna wait 'till we got some more soundcheck time to run them through before we play them. life is always throwing you the curves. I just gotta learn to keep my eye on the ball better.
I head for the boat w/the little bass and bossman brain helps me bag up the shirts that were sent here to the club. in these industrial-strength construction cleanup bags, the shirts can fit more easily up on the shelf than they could in stiff boxes. like in life, it pays to be flexible, more malleable to circumstances. rigidity brings brittleness and like I don't have enough of my share of those tendencies?! damn. this young man named jonathan comes up to me and gives me a small box, telling me it's a present from him to me. I open it and find a bracelet. it's kind of delicate and even a little girly - it's actually three bracelets joined by one clasp. two of them are suede and the third one is a fine chain w/tiny green glass beads. I dig it. fortunate for me too cuz that bracelet I got a couple of years ago in texas got kind of beat up from me wearing it constantly - I got some strong sweat - and I couldn't wear it this tour. I thank jonathan much for such a kind gift, thank you truly. this cat named dan
I can hear frank jordan start their set and they sound good even from outside here by the boat. geoff, the cat who's taken over the maximum wattage site from erin, has got us some thai chow like last year when we played here but it's too close to gig time to chow it. thanks much, geoff. he's invited us to konk at his pad after the show. real quick it's our turn to play and here's the first gig of "the cord that spun its own top" tour 2003. the stage here is kind of tiny so pete's just got room to barely work his organ. the stage isn't that high up though so I feel safer for him. my guys play great - man, I love them. there's no sides to this stage so folks can be right on the side of you while you're playing - even behind and you can hear all their comments, which are all good ones and very kind. I'm so glad these cats can see pete play cuz they missed out last tour - one reason why I'm taking kind of a bizarre routing this time around. I'm wearing a shirt that was a gift that says "bass = love" on the back and this is what I very much want to be about this tour. not really about some kind of love for me (this tour's poster has a pettibon drawing w/one cat carrying another while the caption reads "no arrogant prayers") but rather a love between us all to somehow heal all the hurts coming down in these days, all the insanity. I'm trying to keep love very much on my mind - not so much the romantic kind either. in fact, in the middle of our set I'm thinking of john coltrane and I realize I spaced and forgot to bring some to play before and after our set! fucking idiot watt!!! I scramble fast in my thinking and figure maybe geoff can burn us some later since he sent me a live trane gig (from a 1963 gig in germany) once. all this while I'm doing the songs w/my guys! gigs can be the trippiest things or rather, one's mind can be on some trippy stuff while you're trying to deliver the tunage! focus can just seem to get swept away no matter how hard you try.
the folks are quite nice to us and want to hear more so we do just that. this first gig goes good. I'm a little weak and have to balance myself a little on my amp between songs plus I blow one huge clam and cut an entire part out of a song (it was a fuckup) but my guys are strong and support me despite that. speaking of amps, this cat named dan who's a rep for gallien-krueger wanted me to play one of their setups tonight but I talked w/him and said I'll do that at the san francisco gig at the end of the tour. I really like my eden stuff - love it but I'll play a gig through this g-k stuff if he really wants me to when it's a little less crazy. I used to use their amps at the end of the minutemen and beginning of fIREHOSE days. pretty reliable and tough, it was the 800rb amp. we'll see what's up down the road but I gotta say I dearly love david eden's stuff much. so much for gear talk. the vibe of the audience is so supportive and makes me feel really grateful - I thank them all tons when they come up to me at the end while I'm slinging. a good way to start the tour, big thank yous to sacto. one sad thing is some cats, like my friend percy (he's asked me to record w/him and vernon reid sometime later this year) didn't know the show was an early one and get there only in time to say hi as I'm about to bail. same w/this other cat who's seen me every time in sacto for the last ten or twelver years. his girl gives me a bag of righteous oatmeal cookies that she made. thank you both much. sorry about the misunderstanding about when I was going on. this is sad but I'll be back in the fall.
we pack up and pete goes w/fellow watt list cat evan (he's staying w/geoff) while geoff rides w/me and jer. two big lovable dogs welcome us along w/geoff's wife andrea and I have a little of that thai soup but not much cuz I really try not to chow late at night or after a gig cuz it's just not that healthy for me. I roll out my bag and put on my mask, ready for konk but geoff and evan want to ask me some things so I spiel w/them although there's no eye contact cuz of the mask. I hope that don't seem rude cuz I don't mean to be but I drove a fair piece (four hundred miles) and played my brains out. I really was working that bass hard too cuz I was trying to send some healing vibes to a dear friend who's sick (who inspires me much) as well as all the other intentions I've already mentioned. the personal and the general - trippy how they can intertwine. anyway, the result is I'm beat. geoff's writing a set list for this 1985 minutemen gig at safari sam's in orange county and wants to know the name of a tune. damn, I haven't heard this one in since the last time the minutemen played it but I recognize it as one off of "three-way tie (for last)" and geoff lets me see the album cover so I can get the title right. this leads to him and evan asking me about how songs got written where I used other folks' lyrics (since this one had kira words) and I try to explain that process and history. then I talk about using the same songs w/different groups like w/dos songs being used w/fIREHOSE, especially in our early days. I hope I made some sense out of it. I'm really beat and by the time geoff wants to know something about something I did on tv like eight years ago (I beg him not to play the video - not that I can see it w/the mask on but still, I cringe to hear it), I am spent and must take that train to sleepytown. no rudeness intended but I konk quick, I konk hard. tour is underway. happy birthday d. boon.
wednesday, april 2 - eugene, or
I was awakened at geoff's pad by the persistent tongue of one of his friendly pooches who lovingly licked my ear until I groggily sat up and looked around. Geoff had made us some coffee which I eagerly downed in a few gulps. The chief wanted to get moving as we had quite a hellride to oregon (9 hours). geoff and evan bought some shirts and stickers from watt and we said our good byes (thank you geoff and andrea for putting us up). much respect. I had the bench seat so I decided to cop a few z's and maybe get a little reading in (evan had gotten us this cool book called "road food"; a listing of every diner in america practically)), so I proceeded to dive into this culinary tome. man, this cat and his wife (who co-wrote the book) must weigh about a metric ton apiece; the food he raps about in all these pads is all deep-fried (some of the deep-fried shit was even deep fried in lard), soaked in butter or grilled up and drenched in melted cheese, bacon or some kind of gravy (I'm positive that these cats won't live to see a third edition). In all fairness they did have some good listings for seafood pads of which i am a major fan of. Ironic that a book about food didn't make me hungry. I slept for a couple of hours after which me and Jer switched seats and he went to catch a nap. I took some snaps of the countryside; it was very beautiful but it was cold and raining and we were reaching an elevation where the rain was quickly becoming sleet splashing on the windshield of the boat. we got up to about 4300 ft. above sea level (highest point in Cali) and it really started pounding hard. after the high point we started to descend down and watt took the boat out of overdrive so the tranny could help w/ the braking.
every time we passed by a big rig you could smell the asbestos from the brakes on the fuckers as they coasted downhill. It was a bit of a white knuckler for awhile but we made it down to a lower vicinity w/o any problems; the chief really pilots the boat safely.
We pulled into Eugene around 5:30 and loaded the tools out of the boat; the pad was a place called the WOW hall (woodsmen of the world)- I had played there once before about 4 yrs. ago w/ a deadhead band I play w (the Maykers) so I was familiar w/ the room (kind of reminds me of the fillmore in san fran, only smaller). this was going to be another relatively early show so watt again decided that we wouldn't do any of the new tunes- this was a relief and a worry at the same time to me; the longer we didn't play them the more suck-ass they would sound when we did, but watt said we would do them at the next gig. The two cats running sound, Jordan and Brent were very accomodating and the soundcheck sounded good but I was noticing something strange about my stage sound even tho' I couldn't quite figure out what it was. One of the other bands arrived (the ovulators- an all -girl band) , and I helped them carry some of their tools in. I grabbed my puter' (my very first Mac) and went to the green room in back to chimp some diary ( incidentally, Jer pussed out on the diaries this tour- surprising since we wouldn't of had to share puters' this time around, so you will all miss his deepest thoughts and desires; but I will keep you posted). a friend of watt's- saci (short for sasha) brought us some real kind indian chow to munch on (it reminded me of a macedonian dish that lil the kill makes called satarash), so we plowed thru that whole-heartedly. Saci was originally from croatia so I got a chance to rap w/ him in the language ( made me feel at home) and we talked about the political sitch over there and in pedro. I told him about lil the kill and he tripped- he knew some of her albums from when she sang in magazin. saci lived in india for awhile and got into the hindu religion (much to the chagrin of some of his parents friends), and I could sympathize (croatian folks in pedro could be pretty nasty too if you did something out of their box). a friend of watt's from pedro- mark, who had re-located to eugene came by to rap w/ us and we talked about our town (mark's pop was a teacher at pedro high and we traded school spiels). real nice cat that Mark- he's a teacher too.
the ovulators started their set and me and saci went to listen for a bit- they were very cool sounding and had a lot of enthusiasm; the tunes were very melodic garage rock- I liked em' alot.
after the ovulators the second band- dan jones and the squids (another local eugene band) started their set. great sounding pop and some cool grooves from these cats; dan is a great vocalist and guitarist and I really dug what the bass player was laying down ( he plucks all these melodic, fluid lines w/ his thumb!). great lock-in from the drummer cat too. they were all real fun to watch.
we went up to do the set and once again I thought we did well- no major clams and the energy was good- the crowd was very appreciative and we got much positive vibes from them. much respect to everyone at the WOW. It was starting to rain so we loaded up the tools as fast as we could and headed on over to dan's pad where we were staying. we laid out the bags (jer got a room to himself which was probably just as well as he tends to seriously foul the room when he sleeps) and I read a little of the new rolling stone issue (that fucking rag is fast turning into a tits n' ass mag) until the sandman approacheth. watt was well into a nasal symphony, so dan let me borrow a pair of plugs and I fell happily asleep to the now dulled chief's drone.
buona notte musicanti.......
I pop at like six. it was only like one when I konked last night but you must understand that I don't stay up late in my usual pedro life - I'm only up late when I have to play gigs and konk early other times. I hose off in the shower and then ask geoff for some coltrane for pre/post gig music at the gigs, like I was thinking of during the set last night. he comes through like a champ and saves the day. I talk w/him and evan about things. pete's up soon and joins us and eventually jer does too. geoff gives me some cans of 'dines (sardines) and that's very kind of him, on top of all the other things he's done for us. evan's got a young one so him and my guys - who are both dads too - have lots to talk about and do. lots of talks how visual stimulation competes (mostly through television) much w/other ways of learning and how one (the little ones) spends their time. interesting. I will say that though I've observed lots of "older kids" (twenties, thirties and beyond) seem to get lots of their worldview this way too. experience through personal journeys is kind of relegated to "get aways" and the like. scary and ripe for consensus to be manufactured, maybe (thank you, noam)? I think it's always been a human dilemma actually, the means of delivery is what's changed from the older days. a knife can be used to cut an apple up so some folks can each share a piece and a knife can be used to slit someone's throat - this scary, physical world. regarding another perspective, someone just flowed me a piece on marshall mcluhan from the ny times:
because mcluhan saw the media as extensions
of the human body - printed books as extensions
of eyes, radios as extensions of ears - he
believed that each new technological advance
would reshape humanity and traumatize it, too.
"we shape our tools and our tools shape us..."
something to think about maybe. I read some of his stuff in my twenties and found it provocative as a younger man. funny how things have looped around for me in so many ways cuz I found this flow to me interesting once again -maybe cuz of these times, maybe cuz of where I'm at - maybe a little of both. that same period (my early twenties) saw me writing my first song lyrics and I hadn't really thought of them much since those days 'till I had to collect them for this book "spiels of a minuteman" (on l'oie de craven) that came out in january - it's a book of words I wrote for minutemen songs in the early 80s, among some other things. I can imagine it be weird or hard for most to wrap their heads around but for me (probably cuz I was there and maybe even more cuz it was me!), I saw striking parallels. again, the personal and the general, the internal and the external - these are weird parallel universes too. I have to say though that I wrote much of my stuff in relation to being in a band w/d. boon, who I had great love for - a much stronger bond than I ever had w/television. even books have had a stronger influence on me cuz they just got me more personally involved. I don't think this makes me better, it's just the way it happened. there was a television show from england that I think had a strong effect on me when I was young. it was called "the prisoner" and it ran for one season in the 60s. it was definitely of a mindblow for me and now that I have the dvds (I got them last year and it was the first time I saw it in color!), they still intrigue me. trippy about that. I wonder if the medium really is the message? things are probably never as simple as a blanket statement can make them. I learned that young and continue to find it true. understanding/perspective/confusion/frustrated, a gordian knot? such desires for shortcuts. mixed-up creatures, we do our dances. any hope for laughs over angry mistakes? angry laughs, mistaken hopes? pathetic drama, cruel irony? dominance and submission - hey, I liked that blue oyster cult song as a boy and never stopped one moment, one heartbeat to think about what it was supposed to mean or maybe more important - what it meant to me. I just liked it. in a weird way, I still do. maybe it was the guitar riff. what's job of words anyway? where does their work get done - should words be considered us humans' greatest creation? tutti fruity, oh rudy...
last night we got off the freeway using the watt street offramp. we use that one to get back on now. I think of this pop group song called "words disobey me." it makes me giggle a little to see how nature is so much about camouflage, about distorting the "truth" so one creature can either chow or avoid being chowed. it's a weird giggle, almost like throwing up your arms in surrender to overwhelming force. it's a scared giggle, huh? maybe not so defiant - so be it. I have work to do w/my little bass and have two good men to work it w/and for this I feel blessed. I take us north on the I-5 once again and we head for gray skies and a pretty big headwind but the boat plows on. we get our first subway sandwiches of the tour and I have a tuna one. it's good. I'm wearing my "bass = love" shirt again, fuck it - tour life can make you tolerant to some filthyness. just can't let it get out of hand cuz I gotta stay healthy. that's one thing I've gotta keep w/me if I'm gonna stay in the ring. we pass red bluff, the town my pop grew up in. you can imagine the thoughts in my head now. dick watt, what has become of your boy?
it's getting pretty cold and the visibility shrinks and shrinks. after reading, we start to climb into the shasta region and sleet starts to hit us. we see turntable lake but then not much else except for the road right in front of us. now there's some snow flurries. man, I'm praying the weather doesn't get any worse. some hail and more flurries but it holds and we make it through the pass near mount shasta, whew! this drive is over five hundred miles though and we're not even half way. we descend some - into a town where my pop worked as a boy called weed and the going gets a little easier. not for long though cuz along w/the oregon border (bye cali, see you again later on), the grade goes up again and we're on the siskiyou summit, which is the highest pass on the entire I-5. well, it's coming up and here's the sleet, some hail and then the snow flurries again. you can smell asbestos from the big trucks leaning on their brakes hard. oh boy, even whiter knuckles on the wheel for watt now. here's the pass at 4310 feet and the snow is coming down. we clear the pass just time and start this six percent grade down for six miles. this was close and I whisper what seems like ten million thanks. the sun pokes out and all the white turns to the green of the trees, which there's plenty of in these parts. I can tell me guys are feeling pretty grateful too. weather is a heavy trip you cannot talk your way out of.
we get into eugene after nine hours of driving. the w.o.w. hall is where we're playing - it's the only place I've played in eugene for the last thirteen years. nice folks here. this cat who brought us chow last time, saci, is here again and he's got some righteous india-type chow he's cooked up once more. mmm, is it good. pete and jer dig it much too. saci is from zagreb so him and pete talk in that language. after soundcheck, me and him talk a bunch - the war stuff bums him out. being from another land, it's kind of wild for him to see how people here absorb information. I tell him it trips me out too! he brought some pear juice and I love it, drink the whole bottle - thank you, saci. I like hearing of his crazy stuff w/the army, his journey to india and his struggles w/his family accepting his choices about his life. he's inspiring for me - a young man too. I'm quite lucky to bump into cats like this.
two local bands are opening, an all-girl band called the ovulators and dan jones + the squids. cuz of my talking w/saci and the tour being new and all, I don't konk like usual but hear both bands. they're good. dan's band has got a wild cat on bass who plays a rick w/his thumb, really high up - almost to his chin. there's a cat from pedro who lives here now and talks much about teachers from pedro high w/us. I kind of got him started on that by telling him the random lengths paper in pedro interviewed me about the hundred year anniversary of our school and what teachers do I remember most. I told them mister karg, who taught a history class to me and d. boon cuz he inspired us to check things out ourselves and visit places, mister zorotovich cuz he inspired us to learn about political stuff and mister donahue, my electric shop teacher for all of high school cuz he inspired me to get my hands on things and be a doer.
our turn to go on and gig number two for the tour is on. two young guys, jordan and brett are doing sound and monitors and there's some squeaks but they do a good job. my guys play great too. these eugene folks are very supportive, what a honor to play for them. I tell them about wearing the same shirt twice in a row and they don't mind. we get done and this one cat gives me what he calls a care package. it's got a bunch of nice things - 'dines and fruit, very kind. one guys gives me a very nice letter and one of his bass strings - whoa, it's a flatwound! dan from the second band invites us to konk at his pad and we follow him after loading up. he's got a righteous red tabby that's very friendly and a wild puppy name dozer that's jammed w/energy. unfortunately, I am not and after quickly getting into my minus twenty back and getting the mask down around my eyes, I'm out.
thursday, april 3 - portland, or
once again I was awakened by the inquisitive tongue of a canine; this time it was dan's little puppy dozer, and he was also determined to climb inside my bag w/ me but he was not successful in this endeavor. I sat up- the chief had already popped and was doing work on the puter', while Jer was still in dreamland. Dan woke up and made us a real kind breakfast scramble; he keeps a cackle of hens behind his pad so the eggs were fresh and we chowed down w/ extreme fervor. I hopped into the shower and packed up my stuff (dozer managed to pull my skivvies and socks out of my bag and was attacking them repeatedly). I pryed my underwear out of the pup's mouth w/ some difficulty and threw em' in the bag and grabbed a cup of coffee. we rapped for a little while about music and then we headed on out w/ dan in the lead as we had to go to the music shop in town to get a part for jer's snare. we ended up not finding the part and jer was getting nervous because that meant he would have to use his backup snare (a shitty sounding piccolo), and he was not down w/ this development. we would have to improvise when we got to portland.
we got into town early and the pad was not open yet (a place called the blackbird), but the manager was there and let us load the tools in. watt got in the boat to work on the puter' and me and jer went to go find some chow and a music store. the rainy weather had not let up from eugene and it was pretty cold but we soldiered on. we found a hardware store and bought some bolts and nuts figuring that we could jerry-rig the part for the snare and then headed farther up towards the center of town on a chow search. I spotted a music store (actually a piano and organ pad that had a little music shop upstairs), and we went in and Jer found almost the exact piece he was looking for. After some discussion w/ harry the owner, jer made the purchase just as happy as a clam and we were off to go munch. after we threw down the feedbag we went over to barfuck's to get some coffee- I had a severe caffeine jones.
we got back to the blackbird but mike was nowhere to be found, so we went inside so jer could do his snare work and I could chimp some diary. I watched the discovery channel and chimped a little but jer was having issues getting the piece to work w/ his snare. he called a couple of drum shops and luckily found one that had the exact part that he was looking for. DJ, the manager of the blackbird graciously gave him a ride to go get the part and I sat and waited for watt to show up. about a half hour later the chief shows up and explains to me that he had gone to a chiropractor who had given him much good advice about his knee problems and associated hurts and some spiels about which vitamins to take (she also told him that he really needs to change his posture as this was contributing to some of his ails). I knew about the posture thing from singing as to keep your diaphragm extended and get more projection you are always told to keep the shoulders back, chin up and chest out. I hope the chief's pain is alleviated.
jer showed up happier than a pig in shit and quickly put his part on the snare. this time everything fit perfectly so the drum stress thing went down. The soundman, a real nice cat named sammy showed up and miked up the tools real quick. mike came in and indicated that we would try out the new tunes for the check; we started and I just about forgot everything - we hadn't tried them in 4 days so the memory was slipping a little. The room was also a problem since it was all concrete and there was a fucking drone on a couple of notes and it bogarted the hearing. Me and Jer weren't locking in and mike was having trouble keeping us in line and singing the lyrics; it was turning fast into a clambake. the sound of the B3 was kind of bothering me again and I still couldn't figure out what it was so I decided it must be the Leslie as I didn't have time to go thru it before the tour. sure enough bI look down and the fucking lower rotor has slowed down to a crawl on slow. Shit!! (I should've made time to look the box over as this was only our third show and there was many more to go). we halted the soundcheck despite the fahrfromgruvin performance and watt said we would just have to plow thru (altho' the room would probably sound much better full of people). I popped off the back of the leslie and adjusted the motor a little (the laminations were hot- not a good sign), and I determined was not as bad as I thought; just needed a little cleaning and oiling, but of course I, dumbass neglected to bring any spare parts or tools. Luckily, everything could be found at a hardware store. I got it to work a little better and figured I could make it thru the next couple of gigs w/o fear. we took down the tools and I went downstairs to the green room to chimp. I finished my necessary entries while sipping a slew of cocktails and I began to get sleepy. Jer was coming up and down the stairs (checking out the crowd) and he assured me that it was near capacity. I nodded out for awhile and jer woke me up just as the last band (caustic resin) was finishing their set. I shook off the grogginess and went to go wake up watt; he was already up as it was fucking freezing outside and I don't think he sleep. we ambled onstage and watt gave his customary "hi" and we were off for the musical hellride; the first three songs we pulled off in pretty good form but it was really hard to hear on stage cause of the room bogart. we got to the new stuff and save for some clams and chokes we made it thru em'. I was relieved and real glad that we had finally tried them out; we were over a major hump and I knew from this point on that we would only get better. The rest of the set went off w/o a hitch- despite the sound problems we soldiered thru w/ much energy and the crowd was way into it. jer's friends (whose pad we were supposed to crash at), didn't show so we were in a bit of a bind- he met this other cat Erik who had played on a watt bill w/ his band before and he offered us his pad to crash at. It was still freezing outside and drizzling so we loaded up the tools and headed to erik's pad. Erik got a big fire going and set me and jer up w/ a mattress on the floor and made sure we were all toasty. He regaled us w/ some spiels about his grand-pop who sounded like a real interesting character in his own right. we also discussed a trip called "oki noodlin'", which is basically cats catching fish by w/o any lures or shit. fascinating cultural phenomenon. I listened to the spiels until they started fading in my head; I popped quickly. Laku noc sviraci.......
I pop to the sounds of dozer the puppy running crazy all over. the cat comes by for big rubs and I'm happy to accommodate. that's a thought: watt, the accomodator... well, maybe not... dan gets up and goes to get some coffee. I'm wearing the t-shirt he gave me, it says "one man submarine" - I dig it. I'm not a big t-shirt man but this is a good one. dan comes back w/the coff and a new york times. I have to admit that I kind of dig the way tour is keeping me kind out of touch w/all the you-know-what-info and I don't even leaf through the times. there's some stuff I get flowed when I'm on online but those times are so short, I don't get to read much there either. tour is an time-intensive activity! dan's girl jenny is from orange county and talks a little about cali. she's reading the paper and ask some questions about what's in it. dan's got reservations about this whole thing - like saci last night, even though both these cats are coming from different places; saci from war-torn balkans and dan from the midwest of the u.s. I'm all ears and not spieling as much as you might guess I might be. I'm interested in the personal perspectives I'm finding out here on tour. I think this a good reason to be out touring now too - not for folks just to hear me but for me to hear them too.
dan makes us up some great chow - eggs and potatos - tasty. jer needs to get on that snare drum so dan takes us to a music store where his drummer works. no luck there but we get an address for somewhere up in portland. big thank yous, good lucks and byes from us for dan and we're on our way. I'm thinking d. boon would've dug a cat like dan jones. north on the I-5 again, this time for portland.
grays and more drizzle - boy, is it cold too. c'mon spring! after two days of big hellrides, the just over a hundred miles to portland is a blessing. no passes to get past either, thank you. jer calls that pad we got word on in eugene and the voice on the phone tells jer sorry. oh well. we go to the venue and it's a pad I've never played before called the blackbird. it's east of the river and in a part of portland called hollywood. that's funny! the only other hollywood I know of (besides the cali one, of course) is in florida and there's a funny story about that. it's near fort lauderdale. anyway, during the last minutemen tour I wore army clothes and didn't shave so there was a silly fidel kind of look going w/me. me and d. boon were discussing, debating, arguing - whatever - about history or something and it led to us rolling around and wrestling on this patch of grass in front of a bank. someone in the bank called the police but by the time they came, we'd stopped and d. boon hoofed over to some healthfood pad for some spiralina or something. when the cops arrived they questioned me about what was up and I said it was nothing but friends getting some steam out. they asked me, "where you from, hollywood?" now me, not realizing I was in hollywood, florida at the time was thinking the cali one - the one where us pedro guys would ridicule people w/when we thought they were trying to act like big shots or something, like "man, are you hollywood or what?" so when I heard the cops say this, I just started cracking up involuntarily - not out of respect for them but from my own experiences. they got very straight-faced and said "ok comrade, where's your partner che?" just then d. boon came from the health food pad but his outfit for that tour was his idea of bruce sprinsteen. the cops immediately started laughing their guts out and got into their car and bailed. d. boon just looked at me and said "what?" it was a trippy scene, one I can't forget.
we load the gear in, then jer and pete bail to find a hardware store. this chiropractor lady named jeanne had written me an email inviting me to get a treatment. she read about my ailments on the hoot page. I've never scene this kind of a healer before but I'm open-minded to anything that might help - I really need my health these days. I go to her office which isn't far and she talks w/me to learn some medical history and then does these rubs and crunches on me. they are a trip but open me good. she hips me to some strategies about posture and chlorophyl, chow stuff that's good for me too. I'm very much into to trying these things out. I have to admit I was kind of afraid and apprehensive cuz I didn't know what to expect having never had experience w/this stuff but she was gentle w/me. also cuz of my knees, I have involuntary paranoias that make it hard to have people handling them. it was ok though, in fact it was great and pretty neat. I told her about how fears really weigh heavy on me, it's always been a big struggle of mine. it's weird how people appear surprised about this cuz for it me, it seems way more than obvious. again, the inside and the outside - two hugely different worlds at times. I'm very grateful for this kindness from jeanne. it's a trip she's a bass player too!
I get back to the blackbird and my guys are back - jer had complete success and has the parts he needs, good news. we have loads of time for soundcheck and do a couple of the newer illness piece tunes. boy, are we out of prac w/them! gotta break the water w/them in front of people though so they are definitely getting played tonight. sam, the soundman is a nice cat and puts some care into our check - thanks, sam. I read the local papers here and they say some very kind things about me, thank you to them. man, there's a lot of clubs now in portland - whoa, an explosion! I remember when there was only the satyricon in the old days! there's also a piece from a writer who's talking about how the current mood has made things kind of insane for him, all kinds of arguments, fights and behaviors he would never regularly do. his name was neal pollack and his piece gets me to thinking about stuff on the watt list where things at times gets kind of uncivil - the hurts seem to run deep in the differences folks have been expressing at times. this troubles me much, sometimes I'll just start bursting out in tears when I'm by myself thinking of this, how much I want somehow for things to heal up. seems folks aren't much in a mood for that, seems almost like there's scores to be settled from the vietnam days. only a truly insecure people would thump their chests this hard to hurt our family this much I get to thinking sometimes. we are all going kind of crazy almost. I say almost cuz I have faith love can win out. some softness in your salute, soldier - your weird cousin has a part somewhere too. sometimes I want to holler so loud that our worst war was our civil one and really, it wasn't that civil - what was heroic was that we survived it, not so much that we fought it. man, has my head been driven round and around by this shit - aahh!
my guys go to chow and I chimp diary. damn, is it cold! the wet kind too which is putting big hell on my joints. there's a japanese chow pad near and I get some udon soup they got for pretty econo. it's good w/thick noodles and shrimps. there's a community paper there for the asian portland folks and more stuff on you-know-what, oh boy... it's kind of interesting though cuz the writing is talking about television media making high-tech violence looking sexy and what a seduction that can be. that's a trip cuz I've been saying our version of "sister ray" - a song about junkies and transvestites, can be some kind of an antidote to that. I was making fun but it what this cat said made me think. mcluhan stuff again and the press as pravda maybe. funny too - "pravda" (the "newspaper" or party mouthpiece for the soviet union) means "truth" in russian. maybe not so funny. damn, do I want to transcend all this but on the other hand, the d. boon part of me wants me to stare it right down the barrel.
back into the boat and some more chimping before letting konk take me. I got two of the indian blankies and my minus twenty bag on me cuz it's really, really cold now - breath fogging and all that. mike johnson (j's dinosaur bass player after lou) is opening the show up and then playing bass for caustic resin, who go on before us tonight and again tomorrow in seattle. I miss both of them cuz of suneo but I have seen them both before and do dig them. oh well, I am beat and have just got to play good. richard meltzer lives in this town! I hope he comes, same w/carrie from s-k but maybe there's other stuff going on. I forgot to write both before or rather, I've been just so busy w/things - aaaaarrrrrgggghhh. I hope the sightworks people, eric and bill, can come too. they host my internet radio thing, the watt from pedro show which, by the way, has some problems - it's become too popular! it's bogarting all the bandwidth on their servers! what it means is that I have to find a sponsor or something so the can get another dsl line to handle all the folks who want hear it. oh dear. they've been the coolest folks to have on board like they have - I've done fortyfive shows now and they're all archived and accessible. gotta think of something but it's tour mode now. hell - it's gig mode even - our turn to go on.
there's some clams in the new tunes but we do break the water. I have to say that singing about that illness is heavy on me and brings back insane memories about that shit - big shivers on me. got to get through it though. the portland cats are great and support us much, great folks to play for. the sound on stage is pretty atrocious but we hold together and deliver ok, I think. I'm very proud of pete and jer w/their work w/me here on these gigs. they make me beam and it's a good thing. pete's set up a little wider than I'd like and makbe jer's a little too far back but I walk up and get close on both of them time to time as the set goes on. encores and good raps w/the folks and we're finished and on to pack it up. like I said, very sincere and nice words from people on all kinds of subjects - one cat is thrilled big time about hearing blue oyster cult's "the red and the black" all these years. there's another guy who tells me thank you, that he loves that I pedal and then his girlfriend tells me he's shy to tell me he's the world marathon mountain bike champ. wow! much respect to him.
none of the friends I've mentioned earlier in this spiel came, oh well - next time. we always konk w/the sightworks cats so this is kind of a dilemma. however, there's this cat who drummed for a band we met in missoula called messiahmyass - his names erik - and he invites us over. he's good people and tells us some wild stories as were laid out for konk. stories about his grandpa rangvald who was a cod fisherman from norway and about these cats he saw a film on that catch catfish by sticking there bare hands in mud and wiggling their fingers 'till the fish bite on and they yank them out. he's a fan of the opera too and tells me how he digs the concept of "black gang coffee" so I hip him to the connection that has w/richard mckenna's "the sand pebbles." I can't ever recommend that book enough, I tell you (an actual navy man who writes about "the military fear," among other things). anyway, erik's real good people and his roommate is too but shit, I can't remember his name. the pad is freezing cuz they got no heat but they build a fire from an old futon frame and I'm lucky to have my minus twenty bag anyway. jer and pete are close to the fire so I'm glad that can be happening for them. they worked hard at the gig and deserve it. after two early gigs, this is our first late one and it must be like four when konkville makes the scene. I gotta watch it w/the spiel so I don't go hoarse but erik really got me going w/his good nature and I just wanted to speil and spiel w/him too. hold up, watt - sueno...
friday, april 4 - seattle, wa
woke up at erik's and it was positively fucking bone-chilling cold. I splashed some water on the mug and erik made us up some real kind pancakes(norwegian styje) w/ choke cherry sauce and bacon- very welcome chow. I read a review of the sacto gig- the lady that wrote it was very gracious and into the new stuff... made me feel very good. We packed up the bags and loaded them into the boat, took some snaps of us and erik and we were off... thanks erik for the very kind chow and crash pad. much respect.
I slept most of the way to seattle and we pulled into town around four; the pad was a place called the crocodile cafe and it had a cool vibe to it. The soundman hadn't arrived yet so me and jer made a schlep in search of some chow - we decided to hoof it down to the waterfront and maybe get some fish. we found a place called Ivars and ordered up some clam chowder- I got the red stuff. feeling a little more energetic we walked back to the pad and stopped at barfuck's (caffeine jones again), after which we walked thru the seattle fisherman's market and watched these cats at a fish market toss fish around (it was like tom cruise in "cocktail", but w/ fish). making it back to the croc, we loaded in the tools and jim the soundcat arrived along w/ chad the monitor guy. they miked us up right and we tried the new tunes again; it sounded better and we could hear ourselves real well on stage. Caustic resin and Mike johnson were opening again and it was a CD release party for caustic so it looked like it was going to be a kind crowd. after the check me and jer went to eat- this time the croc made the chow for us and it was real good (I had some killer red beans and rice and I piled on some heat from a bottle of habanero sauce. way....
a cat named mark that had seen us last tour in NY showed up; he was a teacher and had relocated to seattle. It was his first day of a liquid diet that he was on and he was feeling a little hot but I know how that can be having tried several diets myself ( it can be a real mindfuck). we rapped for awhile and I chimped some diary after which we moved on back to the bar and had some cocktails courtesy of the gracious mark. we rapped a little about music in general and kids (mark's been getting some serious tude' from some of the kids in his class and it was making his psyche jump thru hoops). I just told him to be open w/ them while still being the authority figure as he could change this tude' w/in them (i try and do the same w/ tony and the girls). Kids are like a sponge and you need to speak w/ them on their level w/o being the preacher- they're a lot hipper to some shit then some of us like to think ( I'm not that old that I can't remember how fucked it was to be that age....).
I packed the pute' into the boat and went backstage for a little pre-gig conk. I was in n' out alot and heard some of resin's set; real psychedelic, angry shit- love it. they played their last tune and I went to go wake up the chief- he was already awake as it's hard to conk in that icebox. we hit the stage and the sound was really good- I had much more confidence w/ the new tunes and I was glad that I didn't opt to use crib sheets this time around. The crowd was fucking intense; they were into all of the set and really showed their love. afterwards I passed out many of the "bush out of the u.s. now" stickers (very popular items), and the "let us prey" stickers - It's cool to see that not everyone sees eye to eye w/ the cats running our country. Jonas, the cat whose pad we were crashing at showed up and graciously helped me pack up the B3 (a task not for the feeble-bodied). watt slung the merch from the stage while me and jer loaded up the boat then we all piled in and made the short trek to jonas's pad (he had heating too!) I laid out the bag on the deck as the back was hurting a little and drifted off....
pop and hose off in the shower here. the window's right here and man is there a giant tree stump in the back yard! not that it's growing out of the ground but it's a big sawed-off piece that set to be like a table or something. I can see the sky from here and it's gray and drizzling, more of the same of what we've been having. sometimes the sun comes out to taunt but then the clouds take care of that w/more blanketing. no towel here so watt shakes hard to drip dry. nothing wrong w/that, I can deal w/it. oh no, that bracelet that young man jonathan gave me at the first gig has the little chain part broke. the two suede bands are ok but there's only pieces of the other left. damn, I play like a go-off and am really hard on shit. this watch I got a couple of years ago in tokyo is some tough stuff to survive all the gigs it's gone through. I'm gonna try very hard to keep these other two parts of the bracelet together cuz it's special to me. erik's up and he's gonna make some norwegian pancakes like he promised us last night. can't wait - thank you, brother. his roommate tells me he's the one who got that big tree trunk slice over to this pad - somehow he moved it here w/his bike, damn! much respect to you, brother. man, is this chow that erik cooks up good, yes sir. kind of like crepes but still a pancake and I chow a bunch of them, folding them over and then stuffing my pancake hole w/them. erik gives me cds of the bands he is/has been in: messiahmyass, the high + mighty and carol's chump. that's great cuz I dig playing unique stuff on my watt from pedro show that makes listening interesting. he's a really funny cat - me and my guys are busting a gut w/his raps and such. thanks, erik. we shove off for seattle.
the rain let's up a bit, on and off for our ride north on the I-5 for seattle. sure is pretty in these parts w/the evergreens and all. I try to find the beauty wherever we're driving, sure is easy here. first friday of the tour, that's happening. makes me stop to think of all the things that can go right in the world to: the boat's running good and I got two righteous cats to play alongside of. a moment for watt to give thanks - ok, maybe more than a moment! one thing that's kind of challenging is withstanding the onslaught of jer's constant farting. oh man. the shit's intense. what's w/this guy's body chemistry? maybe it's his way of saying he digs touring w/me too. alright, jer. luckily there's enough to go around for pete too. jer is a generous man.
three hours of rolling and we come into town. pete's getting a handle on using the mapping software to direct us and we're soon at the crocodile cafe, the home of lots of my gigs in this town for the last few years. a good pad w/good folks to work w/so thanks should be offered up for them too and I do. lucky us and there's a parking spot up close, great. my guys head for the waterfront while I get a cream of broccoli bowl of soup at the venue (they got a kitchen too). it's good. across the street is some record shops and though I'm no thurston moore when it comes to going crazy for these kind of things, I do time to time check stuff out. I get johnny thunders' "bootlegging the bootlegs" and two econo buzzcocks live cds. I get a germs pin for my shirt too. no blue circle but it's a neat one anyway. watch me space and lose it quick. I'm such an idiot about those things sometimes. I do find a safety pin on the ground and put that on - they store cat doesn't charge me for it, thank you. I see a minutemen "tour spiel ep" seven inch on the wall they're selling for twentyfive dollars. whoa. it came out on bob mould's reflex label almost twenty years ago. the store cat says there's some resemblance between the young man playing bass w/the bald haircut on the record cover and the middle-aged nut standing in front of him now. we both laugh. a couple doors down is a much more uptight guy but he does have the new version of john coltrane's "a love supreme" which has a second cd that contains a live version. I've been thinking of playing this before and after our sets - no disrespect to brotherman geoff and the trane cds he made us in sacto - cuz of the current mood/climate. all of trane's music speaks lots of love to me but this one really sends it in a righteous way. I go to the boat and pull the tracks off on to the barbie purse (ibook) so if the very understandable donate happens, I'll have the tracks. I'm keeping the live cd in the boat no matter what but I have like three other cds of the original album in pedro. soundman jim has a firewire cd burner so I'm in luck and burn two cds copies so we don't have to risk the original. that's very happening - thanks much, jim. he shows me the two room mics he put up and explains how he uses that w/a board mix to make cds of the gigs for the bands within minutes of the show ending. damn! that's happening. he does a soundcheck w/us and we try them new ones again. we finish up and I go shave in the head, then it's off to the boat w/me.
it's raining now and getting quite cold, brrr... wet cold can be the worst on my joints so I bundle up tight w/the indian blankets and the minus twenty bag draped on top of them. the warmness of the 'puter helps too while I chimp away. I hear the rain clatter on the roof while I try to organize my thoughts in a tour spiel type of way. you never know how your thoughts are going to read in other's heads. when you put yourself out there to "be shared" or whatever, seems there always the chance of the "chapman syndrome" (this guy who shot john lennon cuz he felt "betrayed by his hero"). to be misread by folks who think you're an idiot in the first place is not as big a deal in a way as someone who thinks otherwise but I'll continue to take that gamble and just lay my thoughts out there anyway. tour's a trip and I want to share it w/whoever. I must admit some of my thinking might sound crazy but this is the state of my mind and where I'm at. oh, to try and make sense of things! I'm into though and I have to admit I have some regrets I wasn't doing this more in the old days - man, to have more than that one skimpy minutemen one I did in 1983 or any of the fIREHOSE ones... what an idiot I am to not get that together 'till now. oh well, no wine before it's time. at least I'm doing it now.
I konk w/my fingers on the barbie purse keyboard. there's banging on the boat and jer let's tavis in - he's a cat that got me the only gig I've ever done in alaska - thanks for that, tavis. good to see him. he says he was banging on the boat earlier but I was konked and didn't hear it. I wish folks would let me be cuz I do almost all the driving and can't sleep in late so I really need the pre-gig konk - I'm not fucking superman! I need rest to do good just like anyone else. I don't mean to sound like a complainer, just thinking out loud here.
cuz of my konking, I miss both mike johnson and caustic resin again - sorry, guys. tavis helps me w/the sling bag and I get up on the stage - it's a packed house and I'm grateful to the seattle folks, always nice people - going back to the minutemen days. we're set up better tonight, pete's in closer and jer is too - I can dig that. it's kind of tough gig though for jer, I can tell but he still does pretty good. we clam up a little w/the new ones but not too bad, we've got good flow and move right from one tune to the next and I dig the momentum. I have to say I'm into the context being w/a bass-organ-drums trio puts me in. I think folks look at me from a slightly different perspective and it makes me a little fresh for them again. I think folks don't know what to expect a bit and that helps w/some mindblow which I've always been into. pete's really helped me on in these days and jer's drumming is inspiring for me too, especially when he gets it really going. I dig this secondmen band a bunch. nothing against all the other cats I've played w/but this is a trippy place I find myself in now. lucky watt. when I think back on my other lineups, I think I've learned something from all of them. right now, the experience of what I'm doing at the moment is fresh though and that's why I think I have such an impression as I do. luckily, all the cats have had such personality and voices of their own that I've been quite blessed to have been able to share music w/them. pete can really cook though, let me tell you. the context just happened to be what it is but I do find it very happening. as a person too, I find he brings out good things in me, both in thoughts and in feelings. he's inspiring - pete is not a jaded man! so lucky to have fate thrown us both on this voyage! I've grown to really like and appreciate jer too. well, I've always dug him as a friend but his drumming fires me up more and more too. back to the gig: it's going good despite some probs - we fuck up the beginning of "sister ray" but don't let on and immediately get it together right away which for me is a sign of cats really playing together - really wanting to play together. good job, pet and jer.
we finish up and the folks come up and tell me very nice things. one guy says he's really glad I'm out here touring - there was lots of that last night in portland too. this touches me much and inspires me even more to do better. it's trippy, you think of playing w/your guys, then you think of playing for the folks. both are so important in my mind that the idea of watt alone on bass seems insignificant and w/out meaning. I go up and settle w/the boss christine, who's always been the nicest w/me, it's an honor to work her pad. we pack up in the cold - I get this wet flannel off and put on this sweater I found. it's raymond's! he left it accidentally the last time we went to see the ponies a couple of weeks ago before he went to his next art show in europe. it means much to me to have it on.
my old friend sandy has gone to india for he new business but asked her buddy jonas to put us up so we follow him to his pad in the ravenna part of seattle. jonas is very cool people. we talk a little bit but man, is it late and I konk I think in mid-sentence or something. oops.
saturday, april 5 - vancouver, b.c., canada
popped in the morning all nice and toasty and went to go take a shower; jonas was fixing us some chow and after my soak I munched down as happy as a clam. we loaded up the bags into the boat and we were off once again. much respect jonas for the chow and good vibes. I chimped some diary in the boat and drifted off to sleep. we stopped in bellingham to get a ho' and drop off the shirts as we don't bring any merch into canada. after we cleaned out the van we headed on towards the border; no problems getting thru, the canadians are stern but respectful and we only lost about an hour. we steamed up in front of the place (a pad called the picadilly club) and jer went inside to get the hatch open. a friend of watt's, destry helped us load out the tools (down a flight of stairs) and we set up. nick, the soundguy showed up and did the mics and we ran thru "the red and the black". it was a small pad but the stage size was perfect and everything sounded real good so we broke down the gear and I proceeded to do some repair work on the leslie; I had to clean-up and oil the lower motor stack and adjust the belt tensions. took me about an hour and everything seemed to work properly so I bolted it all back together and me and jer went to get some chow. We ate at a pad called subee's that jer had done before and the chow was kind. we hoofed it on back to the club and jer ordered a beer while I indulged in my customary bushmills and water and chimped diary.
we went down into the green room and the cats from the opening band (the DT's) had arrived and we rapped w/ them for awhile; they had a new organ player , patty and we talked shop. The other opening band (esperanto) went up and played and did a little impromptu mike watt rap that was really cool. The DT's went up and started their set- me and destry watched and I 've gotta say that I was totally blown away by them- I watched their and had a smile on my face the whole time. heavy power chord garage guitar w/ janls-like vocals and freight train drums. no bass but the organ player does the bottom end and melody comps. these cats had major ya-ya's and stage presence (i'd love to play w/ them). They're from bellingham and if you ever get a chance to see them, RUN and buy a ticket. they're all very down and articulate cats too, much respect.
The DT's finished up their set and tore down and it was time for us to hit the stage. we did the five songs from the piece and they're gettin better every time- we're locking in much better and mike is getting more comfy w/ the lyrics. we chain-sawed thru the rest of the set and the crowd gave us much love. we did the encore and started striking the gear. I felt really good about the gig and I was in a great mood. we loaded up the boat quickly (again assisted by destry god bless his soul) as it was raining and we had to get across the border still. we bid our goodbyes to the kind people at the pic and we were off once again. I dozed off the first part of the trip but was awakened by watt as we approached the border. there was actually a pretty long line of cars but they were moving pretty quickly. The agent was an older cat so watt surmised that we wouldn't have any problems. couldn't of been further from the truth..... watt assembles all of our id's and documentation and hands it to the guy. he sees the cali plates on the boat and from then on proceeds to scold us for not having our birth certificates on us and generally being a fucking nazi. meanwhile, in the lane next to us they're letting drunken club-goers pass at random. (one was pulled over on the side and the cat was blowing chunks on the asphalt) . Himmler finally lets us go but says that we have to go submit our papers in the office. we pull into a spot and me and jer run in as we have to piss really bad only to find out there are no restrooms (we get no sympathy from the agent on duty). this cat glances at our papers and sends us off- what a down experience; it really bummed us all out and we were silent for awhile- but we rapped about it when we got back to the ho. I felt really sad when I drifted off.......
pop and hose off in the shower here. there's an interesting book in the head called "the best of bathroom reading" and I get kind of engaged absorbing some trivia. didn't mean to but I did. funny how that stuff can leave your head kind of quick though. even now, writing about it just a little later, most of it is gone. maybe some situation will bring it back or traces of it. maybe having the book in your own head and repeated readings will pound it in, I don't know. man, it would be something to remember everything you read (like how that pillsbury doughboy actually came about and shit like that that's in this book here). however, I've thought about something related to this before - the idea of being responsible w/memories, to fight against shallow sentimentalism and garbage nostalgia. that is, for every good memory you want to cherish, you'd force yourself to have to remember a bad one too - a singular happiness coupled w/a total regret nightmare. would it then really be desirable to remember anything at all if these were the conditions? scary.
jonas makes up some good chow and coff for us, much respect to him - he's a good cat. many, many thanks to him. we pack up and head on down the road - a road wet again w/cold dreary rain, oh well. some miles north on the I-5, I realize I've forgotten an important envelope at jonas' pad. damn, what a fucking idiot I am. I don't have either jonas' phone number or address and w/my fucking memory... oh well. I did get an email from sandy's ma iris so I call her. she's great people and I'm so sorry the email I got was this morning instead of before last night cuz she inited me to chow w/her. she says she can go to sandy's pad and look for jonas' number there. she succeeds and jonas will have the envelope for me when we come south from canada tomorrow. kind folks to help such a bozo out. I have to learn from this - damn, I'm always telling myself that when bunk stuff happens so at least something can come of the lameness. I'm trying hard to find philosophies that can try and help me grow and break out of the fucking loops I find myself in.
we stop for pete to get stuff for him to do leslie speaker (the speaker the organ uses that spins around) work at a hardware store. then we get gas and I see a newspaper that says u.s. soldiers are in bagdahd. back in the boat, I ask my guys if maybe this means the war might be done soon, what will it take to make it over? I haven't been following any of it, busy in tour world but dearly would like all the hurting for everyone to stop and the healing to start. these are my hopes. pete and jer have interesting ideas and I listen to them both carefully. I have to say I am spaced on all this and it hurts me much to think of it. I feel like a little boy and lost. I feel vulnerable. I feel in a way the violence is coming right out of me, like I'm hurting my little bass when I work it, things are abstract and surreal while at the same time there is very real screaming, hollering, pain and crazy shit going wild - not john wayne in a movie. I feel responsible yet helpless. I've searched for words from u.s. founding fathers to help w/my thoughts, vibes from john coltrane's "a love supreme" and spirit from my lost friend d. boon. judgements from watt's mouth? no, tears from his eyes. hurt in his head on this, heavy in his heart. war sickness healed, I'm almost begging my guys here in the boat to make it so. I feel very tiny, real real tiny. I'm very glad I'm w/my secondmen here. maybe some of these thoughts aren't appropriate but they are running all through me. when am I ever acting right about anything? d. boon would be strong, I miss him so bad. I wish I could be a strong leader for pete and jer here.
we stop in bellingham, maybe twentyfive miles south of the border to get a hotel room to put the shirts cuz you can't bring them into canada. we unload them out of the boat and continue north. at the border, I register our musical equipment on the u.s. side and then we do the immigration stuff on the canadian side. the immigration office is packed w/folks and it takes us quite a while to process our work papers. the immigration man is very nice and knows much about jazz, we talk about bass players like ray brown, marcus miller and dave holland. he says his inlaws lived w/him a while and jazz was one music everyone could like. I told him I play jazz-fusion when asked what kind of music I do cuz that seems to go down much easier than punk, I'm afraid to say - even in these days still. the border thing can be so heavy and intimidating - I'm not just talking about the canadian side either. in fact, these folks have always been kind to allow me as a guest mostly. I've always thought this very generous of them.
the rain starts coming down more as we make our way into vancouver. pete and jer tell me about some u.s. guy and his son that was sitting next to them in the immigration office while I was up at the window. next to me was an muslim guy from india who lives in maryland and runs a photo analysis company that nasa and other government agencies use. I could hear that while I was waiting for our papers. it seems this man was muttering all kinds of foul stuff about this guy like "don't lie, sand nigger" and "what's w/the fucking dress?" - all for his son to learn from. weird times. I know there's the human nature thing and all that but man, how we ever gonna get further down the road than that kind of petty shit? we are all strange creatures w/our moods and behaviors. basically though, I think there's some good down somewher in us all if we'd just let have a chance to come up and prevail over the bad that's muddled up down there too. that's what I tell myself when cynacism tries to win me over. life is not a one act play to be so easily figured out even if sometimes you can make yourself stoop low enough to buy into that. I wish in a way this guy and his son might've gotten a chance to chow w/this muslim man or something instead of just eyeing him in an immigration office.
onward towards vancouver, through a rain that gets heavier as the air gets colder. the venue tonight is a pad called the picadilly pub and it'll be the first time I ever played there. it's way in town, almost to the water on the other side. the boss is peter and his daughter erin, like all of my shows here in the last bunch of years and erin's here to greet us - even w/the border delay, we make it right on time. it's kind of a heavy part of town so there's a cat who'll guard the boat the whole night. destry, a cat who's worked lots of my 'couv shows is here tonight too and helps us unload. nick's the soundman and we do a quick soundcheck w/him. there's some fruit downstairs so I chow two bananas, two plums, a pear and a peach - yes! I dig it much - love those tastes on my mouth, the way they feel on it too. I then go outside in the freezing rain to find some saltines for the 'dines we got but can't find any in the little store nearby. I do find some korean ramen-type soup in it's own bowl, ready for the microwave. I heat this up w/some water and bring it back to the boat in hopes of dumping some 'dines in it but when I pop the boat hatch and try to enter, I slip on the ledge and dump the soup on the fucking bench seat, damn! I get some t-shirts that's been donated my way and soak up the broth while at the same time eating the ramen noodles - I ain't letting the shit all go to waste. oh well. across the street is some dollar-a-slice pizza so I get one w/just spinich on it. fuck it - w/the fruit, this is an ok chow for tonight. that's what was in the cards anyway, no problem - at least the shit didn't land in my lap and scald the cajones! I quickly cover myself w/the two indian blankies and open up the minus twenty bag and drape that on top cuz it's unbelievably cold. I chimp diary and the barbie purse's heat helps too. when done, I konk 'till pete comes and gets me.
I missed the first band, local cats called esperanto and most of this bellingham band called the dt's which is fucked cuz they're both great - the drummer of esperanto told me their singer did an ad-lib rap w/the minutemen in it but I was just so tired w/all the driving and everything. I know that must sound lame but I gotta really conserve my volts/amps this tour cuz I'm not that strong. the club is clean (sold-out) and we go on to a crowd that's very happening. I've always dug playing for these folks. not only are the in front but cuz of the stage setup, they're on the side too. one lady keeps wanting to give me beer. I'm still not drinking so no thank you. I smell tons of mota but again, no thank you - I just can't play on that stuff - my memory goes out the fucking window. my guys play pretty good and I'm ok though the toy monitors don't do much to help me. I gotta watch these situations or I'll blow out my voice. it's a good gig though. lots and lots of niceness from the folks here, good words to make this watt man's face red. one lady asks me to "do another ballad" after "chinese firedrill" and even redder in the face - have mercy, please. when were done, another lady gives me a pin that says "no war" and I'm proud to put it on. lots canadian brothers and sisters shake my hands much and express just the sweetest sentiments - it's fuel for me to really try my hardest and keep going on and on.
sean and barry from the band station a are here and I'm so glad to see them. I was up here in november to play bass on four of the songs on their new record cuz bass player barry fell of a roof and almost died. so glad he didn't and I hug him much. just a lot of good will all around - I wish I could spend so much more time up here but we gotta pack up quick and get back over the border. the rain's let up a little but it's still pretty wet. there's a huge line at the "peace arch" and when it comes our turn, we get a scolding for not having proof of citizenship. I am very surprised cuz in over twenty years of touring up here, I have only had to show my driver's license. this man is pretty hard on us and makes us "swear before a federal officer" that we are u.s. citizens. very intimidating and I feel really small. I don't talk back and don't try to debate or argue, I just take it. he makes all repeat our answers twice - making me shut off the engine so he can hear jer's voice better. ok, whatever you want, officer - we're not trying to do anything wrong. the one kind of disturbing thing was that in the line next to us, drunken young people are hollering, honking their horns, puking out their doors - doing all kinds of crazy shit and they're just getting waved through. shows to go you, huh? you never know what a border crossing will bring you, maybe that's the way it's supposed to be. I just want to help make things go smoothly, truly. we didn't mean to make problems. when I go back to do that stooges thing in coachella, I'm gonna make sure I have my passport and jer's gonna have his wife kel bring him and pete's stuff when she comes out to visit him while I'm doing that.
twenty five miles more and we're back at the ho in bellingham - almost four in the morning. whoa, is it bitter cold. into the minus twenty bag w/me though and it's mummy-sack-tight and warm, it even has a hood. konk finds me quicker than my mind can even begin to try and comprehend it. that's ok w/me.
sunday, april 6 - spokane, wa
popped very groggy this morning and it was really cold. watt called his mom and she told him that the us trips had gotten into baghdad and that saddam and his head cats were mia (I hope this finishes quickly). we loaded up the merch into the boat and headed off. I chimped some diary on the trip while jer conked in the back- the scenery on the trip was absolutely georgeous; frfeshly fallen snow on treetops- we were going thru what's called the snoqualmie pass - intensely beautiful. we got down w/o a hitch and stopped in ellensberg to get some chow and gas. we all ate some beakfast burritos (killer breakfast burritos they were called) and headed on towards spokane. we pulled in front of the club (a place called the b-side). it was owned bya real nice cat named ben who used to be a promoter and now had his own establishment; nice, welcome vibe to the place. we loaded the gear in and waited for the soundman. I got in some chimp time and a cat named darrin (who's pad we were crashing at) showed up. Darrin had built a bass for watt and he had brought it w/ him. he called it the "purple plower" and it had two knobs on it labelled "dink" and "thud". short scale neck and inlaid mother-of-pearl w/ a mabinga wood body (yes, mabinga). a stunning piece of craftsmanship- much respect darrin. bobby the soundman showed up and we set up the gear and miked everything up- he was having some cable problems w/ the pa so we didn't have a chance to do a song but we figured we'd come out allright. I chimped some more diary and then me, jer and darrin went to a pad down the street to score some chow. darrin's brother showed and we all chowed and rapped. got back to the club and the first act (solo cat) was starting up. I went to chimp some more diary and maybe get a little conk in. The second band did their set and I went to go wake the chief. we set up the gear and got down to business.
The set went off well; again the new tunes were getting tighter and we put in a good show altho' there didn't seem to be any monitors the whole time (we of course soldiered on thru). there was a little mosh thing going on in front of the stage but that was the magic of alcohol kicking in- the crowd was really cool and gave me and jer great accolades. Thiis one cat gave me a shirt and jerry got a little bee broach . It was a great turn-out for a sunday night. we loaded up the boat and headed on towards darrin's pad; he showed us his work shop (I love power tools) and then me and jer watched the weather channel to see if there were any upcoming storms in our midst. looked like we would have some snow on the way (great, my skin was already peeling like a maui onion). I was beat and my hands and back really hurt so I crawled into the bag on the deck and conked. solid...
pop and hose of in the shower here. whoa, there's a kitchen in this pad too! sure is beat though but it was good enough for what we needed. my guys have some pretty lightweight bags though and the heater here was incredible tiny - a wall fan about three inches in diameter blowing out the most miniscule amount of anything. very much comedy to see this, people. my hose off is just that cuz I can't find any soap, oh well - it's tour life anyway. we gotta bail quick cuz it's a four hundred mile hellride and there's the northern cascades to cross. a little sun to taunt us while we load the stuff back into the boat and then gray, wet and cold again as we shove off. we get gas and I chow some nuts and get some crackers for later. south on I-5 (our last time on this road) and we return to seattle. even w/the rain, it's such pretty country to drive through. we get into town and brother jonas is at his pad w/the envelope. much hugs and thanks for him from watt - much. I am so blessed to have such kind people come into my life, really.
back on the freeway and we make a hard starboard for I-90 east. good bye I-5, it's been a fun six days and gratefully, safe ones to drive the boat down. at jonas' pad, we checked the web cams on the internet for snoqualmie pass it looked clear and the reports said no travel restrictions - great! in fact, as we start our climb north of mount ranier (invisible to us though cuz of haze), the sun is battling to break through. there's snow all along the sides of the road but the freeway itself is in great shape. I give thanks and tap the dash of the boat three times. at the summit, the sun really starts coming on strong and I tell pete to check out the terrain change as we start on descent into eastern central washington state. jer's in the back on the bench, konked and farting up a motherfucking storm - this cat has got a buttload of foul fuel in his body, fucking big time. me and pete have been gassed repeatedly this tour. it is both sour and crude and telling of some seriously bad chemistry going down in that man's system, jesus h. christ. does he laugh in his dreams? does he in some way harbor ill will for us? I can't imagine that but I don't even have to imagine the ill wind, a small sick breeze. back to what's going on outside the windows: evergreens disappear and the landscape becomes much like east of the inland empire down in so cal. we pull into ellensburg, the town the screaming trees were from and get some gas. there's a little shed all decorated up called "hot shot's espresso" and I get some coffee and a "kickass breakfast burrito." living in cali, you can imagine my take on the "kickass" washington state burrito but it's ok. jer gets the last one they have so I split mine w/pete. these little coffee shack pads are popular up here in the northwest where you can get coff w/out getting out of your ride. I should mention one thing that kind gets under my skin: when I pulled in to get gas, all these empty cars were at the pumps, bogarting everywhere. why don't folks move their rides after gassing them instead of leaving them there while they eat or dump or whatever? not a big issue in this world full of hurt but damn, I try to do that when I'm done. like a goofball, I tell the counter lady that. she probably thinks I have a screw loose. ok, maybe... back on the road and eastward. pete's turn to konk so jer's in the passenger seat next to me which means he's gonna now auger his farts into the cusion so they'll be dampened somewhat w/some filtering. lucky us, I mean really. we cross the mighty columbia river which cuts a righteous gorge. up north about a hundred more miles is the grand coulee dam but we can't see that on this drive. we make spokane about six cuz we lost an hour due to the daylight savings time change - that was about an eight hour drive, whew! sure was pretty though. one thing that will never cease to amaze me is the sights you see driving on tour. I love it - always have and I think I always will.
we're playing a pad called the b-side and it's my first time here. actually, it's only my third time playing this town. next door is a chinese restaurant so I get something I've never had before called chinese pickle soup. it's good! I dig it. this town's got like three local scene papers and they all have stories on me, the words written are very kind - there's spiel too from me before tour on the phone and it's funny reading how I talk written down. I hope I make some kind of sense cuz it's hard for me to tell cuz I'm so close ("the observer interferes w/his own measurement") - same goes w/these tour spiels I chimp. when I'm done, the luthier named darrin huff brings me this bass he's made me, it's called "the purple plower." wow, sure is nice. we go into the club and it plays really good too, really good - no dead spots and gret intonation. thank you so much, darrin. it kind of looks like the little bass but it has a tele-styled headstock and it's purple. he made some really righteous inlays in the neck of d. boon, the man, a pelican, a bike and my name. very, very nice work. I'll play it tonight in his honor even though I've never even touched it before - why not? the boss here is ben and he's a very nice cat - he gets me some thai kind of salad that's really spicy. the soundman bobby gets a soundcheck going and it's kind of weird w/the monitor to the side and almost behind me but hey, "you work the room," like I was told once when I first started touring w/d. boon and georgie. there's some neat art by local artists on the walls, I dig it. ok, after soundcheck, back to the boat to bundle up and chimp diary. all that semi-warmness the sun brought east of the cascades is now gone and though it's not raining, it sure is cold. I finish my diary entry and konk hard.
there's two local acts opening but I missed them both - so very sorry. it's pretty late for a sunday - like almost midnight but the place is packed. however, there's been much alcohol flowing and lots of borrachos is the result. that mean lots of hollering. at least there's not any fights. the sound on stage is kind of tough w/lots of low-mids bogarting much. they yammering from drunken voices is very much in competition w/our playing, especially during the little ones but even challenging our slammers - that's how loud these cats are. oh well, that's how the cards were dealt tonight. I don't take it as a sign of disrespect cuz there's no meaness directed and folks do show a lot of appreciation. it's just hard in the situations but I'm mainly doing lots of laughing cuz it is funny in a way. I can tell jer's probably even having his best gig of the tour though pete's having a hard time cuz of the weak monitors. he blows some clams but for the most part, really makes me proud to share the stage w/him - jer too - both these guys. I'm getting a little hoarse, I really have to watch it - we're only getting done w/week one, damn!
when I spiel between some songs - and it's only been a few times every set, I think my words are coming out a little clumsy and maybe even sort of incoherent which kind of reflects the fucked-up feelings in my heads cuz of the current mess - it might also be coming out in these tour spiel words I'm chimping right in this diary. damn, d. boon would have such a better way of putting things - raymond would too. I feel so very inadequate about expressing myself right, what I want in words to represent the way I feel. I think I do a lot of thinking out loud inside my head and when it comes to putting them outside of myself w/words, they come out all palsied and convoluted - oh how I wish I could just put the thoughts straight into the heads I'm trying to communicate w/along w/the context they're supposed to be in! that's impossible or like my pop told me: "boy, you can wish in one hand and shit in the other - you tell me which one fills up first." so I find myself here trying to make some kind of sense but in the back of my mind, I'd rather be somehow instilling confidence in folks to create interesting works rather than give them a lecture on how I feel about things. by letting people know some of my thoughts, maybe they won't feel alone or afraid as much? I mean, to act as individuals, not as a cog in a mob or something like that. this is a struggle for me. I do want to be creative about it though.
I do think humor is a strong thing, especially sometimes a self-effacing kind - maybe not so much on-purpose even. this man was up front near the end of the gig and was asking me to do a song (shit, I spaced on which one) and I told him that when it was turn, I would listen to him play but I realized this sounded so stupid that I had to laugh and he did too and I felt in a way I was laughing w/him at me for saying something silly. man, I wanted to hug him in that moment - is that weird? I was embarrassed for me but like me being him embarrassed for me. it was strange and made me step out of myself... I have to say I've always been wary of what I've seen as fascist elements in this racket I'm in but do at times see myself almost goosestepping along and have to just cross my feet up so I will trip on my face, what do you call it? do a pratfall or whatever. not to be manipulative or calculated but almost like a involuntary instinct to save myself, like gasping when you find yourself out of air.
we get done and I talk to some folks. these lady tells me, "I'm fiftytwo and I dug the fuck out of this!" thank you, ma'm. another lady really liked "walkin' the cow" and told me that she wrote me, asking me to play that. I do remember the email. sometimes on tour it's hard to get to the hoot page email - damn, things are so busy. the hoot page email is actually better for me now cuz I switched to using myway.com (thanks, e) - the yahoo one got so spammed w/bullshit, it plugged my box up big time, fuck. what's w/spam anyway? oops, tangent - sorry. a young man wants to talk to me about bass a bit so we do that. he's got some interesting things to say and so we spiel while jer breaks his drums down. I then settle w/the boss ben and he's very happy. soundman bobby's a little frustrated w/things that went wrong but I tell him not to worry much cuz it really was ok and life's for learning anyway - he had a great spirit and it was good working w/him and that really is what counts, I think. they'll get the kinks here ironed out - I think they have a good pad here to do gigs. there is a kind of weird scene though but it was incidental and not too major a focus. one drunk guy hollers "fuck this war, our president wants to kill people!" right away, from the other side of the room, another drunk guy hollers back, "w/out war, you wouldn't be here!" it ends just like that, no more but you can feel an intense charge in the room and it tears at me from somewhere. hurting on each other over hurting - here we are. how to heal this? watt is quiet but not quiet in the head.
darrin's invited us over to his pad to konk so we follow him. his wife tammy is w/their two little dauschund dogs and they are so up in arms about the invaders (us). one calms down but the other is adamant so I spend some time to reassure him. I was a meter reader for the power company in long beach during the early 80s and saw maybe a hundred dogs a day (we had to do an average of four hundred reads a day). he calms down after a while. I stretch out in the minus twenty bag on the deck and lower the mask. I hear pete and jer say something or other about tv - the weather channel maybe? I think it's something about snow in new york city... I can't hold on long enough to get a handle cuz my shit is plain tuckered... out.
monday, april 7 - boise, id
woke up to the smell of frying bacon and eggs; darrin was cooking us up some kind chow and we welcomed it into our gaping, hungry maws. I splashed some cold water on my face and did a quick shave job, rolled up the bag and piled into the boat. we took some snaps w/ darrin and we were off- much respect to you and your lady tammy for having us.
the trek to idaho was relatively uneventful and I conked a good part of the way except for one small event- the nite before over darrin's pad me and him were perusing the postings at the watt yahoo group (to check out any reviews of the shows), and a cat had posted a particularly scathing review of the portland show; now he didn't single out jer or me, but I thought he was way down on watt. His comments were downright mean and he ends the post by saying he hates coltrane and wonders how we can spend two months in the boat w/ watt (he had noticed watt keeping us in line on stage during the show). we discussed this at length during the trip and me and jer decided to reply to his post w/ some of our feelings (this cat had obviously never read the diaries), and I went so far as to invite the cat to ride w/ us for a few days in the boat (and if you're this g, the offer still stands). watt may occasionally give us the eye or yell during the song but it's for the good of the show and it starts and ends . when you're playing in a trio the sum is only as good as it's individual parts, so we have to stay focused. it's as simple as that.
we steamed into town around five and pulled up to the back of the place (a pad called the neurolux), and emptied out the gear. Caustic Resin showed up and did their load out; this was their home port and it would be the last time we would play w/ them. Brent the guitarist and spielmeister, was going to join us on "sister ray" and pat the bam-bam man was going to sing on "the red and the black". Ian the soundman showed up and miked up all the tools and we tried out "the red and the black" w/ pat. he wasn't quite used to our version of it and clammed in a few places but it sounded like it was going to go down fine. steph, a friend of watt's showed up (we were staying at her and her husband bart's pad) , and took me and jer out for some chow after which we headed on over to a pad called the crazy horse where bart's band was doing a show (he does a devo cover thing). the opening band ( fuzzy circus) was starting their set and me and jer checked em' out for awhile- real angry shit and the singer wore a dress during part of the set and did a little ballet thing - the band was tight but I couldn't hear the bass player for shit which was too bad as he was laying down some cool lines. me and jer hoofed it back to the neurolux as it was getting close to showtime and we were going on soon. we went in and checked out caustic's set- I thought they sounded better than any of the three nites they played w/ us and the crowd was digging it (it was a real good turnout for a mon. nite) . they went into their last tune and I went to go wake up the chief- but he was already up and ready to go. we hit the stage and went thru the new tunes; I choked up and blew some idiotic clams- lost my confidence real good and as much as I tried I couldn't pull it back for the rest of the set. I looked out at the crowd and saw a lot of blank faces , but there were some cats who appeared to get into it. i felt really small and stupid for choking and this was the first gig where I was truly terrified- I just wanted it to end so I could crawl into my sleeping bag and conk. all the old fears creeped out (what's that fucking ORGAN player doing up there in place of the guitar), it really wore me down. you could also hear all the assholes talking it up in the back of the bar during the quiet parts- what a fucking no class bogart. watt did a little spiel before we did "the red and the black" and he called up pat (caustic's drummer) to play. he never showed. we finished up the set and I ran to the side of the stage and lit up a choke and hoped that we didn't have to go play again- watt called us up again and I decided to just give it my best. Brent was set up right behind me so I was guaranteed an earful of guitar but we were doing "sister ray" so sensory overload was the point. we steam-rolled thru the song and then went into "little johnny jewel" and ended the set. I was relieved and severely bummed at the same time. watt slung the merch and I broke down the gear, then went to sit at the side of the stage. some of the people in the crowd came up to me and said some really nice things about the show and it made me feel a little better but I was still feeling down. to cap off this wonderful evening, as I was loading the gear into the boat an obviously borracho cat walks up to me and asks me where tom is; I tell him that tom is at home and he tells me he wants his money back (after he sat thru the whole show). I shrugged my shoulders and went on loading and I heard him going thru the room and asking for tom and his money back. whatever.
we got to steph and bart's pad and I mellowed out a little; the cats from fuzzy circus were staying there too and we rapped a little and watt told some pirate jokes. really nice cats. watt turned in and I went soon after; me and jer were sleeping in a little trailer in the back and it was nice and quiet- just what I needed. we rapped about the gig and watched the late show for awhile( I got some much-needed laughter relief from triumph the insult dog), until we both drifted off. I didn't dream.......
pop and hose off - haven't had a soak yet on this tour but there just ain't the time really. our ride today is to boise and there's no interstate route there so it'll be our first "red road" (as opposed to the "blue road" interstates and "orange road" divided highways in the rand macnally road atlas) trip of the tour. darrin cooks us up some eggs and turkey bacon (thanks much for everything, darrin) while I go read a post on the watt list that pete told me about - I guess darrin had him read it last night. it was a gig-goer's review of the portland show. you could kind of tell the cat was a little disappointed w/our gig. the only thing I felt I could take issue w/was the opinon he had I was being hard on my guys during the show and did not appreciate them so I posted a response trying to explain my love and admiration for pete and jer. I talked a little about circumstances before the tour w/that sickness coming on me and laming out our pracs and such - not so much to make excuses or be defensive but rather to explain some things he might not be aware of. oh yeah, he felt I had become a little self-referenced w/my new tunes but I just had to let him know I've always kind of been that way, going back to early minutemen. in my mind, I'm thinking maybe there's still some fallout on the list over the butting heads on the war issue - it seems this stuff has but everyone on edge and kind of weirded-out in a sense - of course, my self included. so much shooting from the hip and quick to get the ire up. well, change comes first from within so I thought about things a bunch before I responded and then read my spiel again before sending (something I fuck up and forget to do lots) and sent it on. later in the boat, both pete and jer write responses to this cat's post too. a forum is for hearing people out so I think it's good that my guys volunteer their voices too. from reading their spiels, I can tell they weighed their words carefully too. we can all see what loose talk can lead to so easily... this is not john wayne in a movie - even if it's one he gets killed in (wasn't there at least one? I think there was) cuz the ending isn't scripted out - this life is a work in progress that we're all kind of in on - that and our own works. again, the personal and the public - what a trippy blend. I always had the opinion the arts were about us proving to each other we're alive. such dramatic creatures at times, huh?
so, you have a sense of what the talk was like in the boat this ride. as for the ride itself, lots of prettyness outside the portholes. us-195 south through pullman to us-95 south at lewiston (right near clarkston - get it? all this northwest part of the tour has been lewis and clark journeyland) and a little further into idaho we set the watches ahead one hour for mountain time. from here it's all through the nez perce reservation, through some passes and gorgeous canyons. I've read about some about the sadness the nez perce had to go through, terrible. love to them. there's some righteous white water w/the salmon river, lots of places w/rapids like at riggins. the road follows the bottom of the canyons where the river's cut through. we see where the first hydraulic mining ever was done - what a fucking mess it left too, just tore shit up. there's still much beauty left, thank god though and I get tons of eyefuls as I steer the boat south through all this. we start climbing again and there's snow on the roadside - however the road itself is clear and there's been no rain all day - sort of like after we crossed the cascades from the west coast. maybe the wet is behind us now for a while? after new meadows (where I get some nuts to supplement the 'dines jer's been kind enough to prepare on crackers and shove in my mouth cuz of my hands full w/the wheel), the terrain changes again and all the forest evergreens once again disappear into territory like what was east of spokane except it's more like prairie. finally, the interstate for the last fifty miles, I-84 to boise and eight hours of riding in the boat finally comes to a halt outside the pad I've played here many times now in the last five years, the neurolux. I have to say that was ride was chockful w/the eyegifts, quite memorable. good too was the spiel w/pete and jer - they both would talk me up, one at a time as they traded konking on the back bench for riding up front in the passenger seat. interesting cats, really - not dumbshit stuff. I have good cats to tour w/big time.
this is a good pad but they got to get the monitors together. I should say monitor amps cuz the monitors themselves are in good ones. we're playing w/caustic resin one more time (leader brett's home town is here) so we do a quick soundcheck, seeing we just made it in time. soundman ian is a good cat. I go across the street when we're done and get some wor won ton soup like I always do when I play here. it hits where it counts. I chimp diary and then konk. damn, I wanted to try and stay awake for caustic too - shit. I forgot to say that earlier, in the boat, my guys asked me to play the little bass tonight. they're more used to the sound and found it hard to play to the purple plower last night. I can kind of see what they mean. though the new one is much easier to play and the notes so much stronger it does have a much different sound - not nearly as much "growl" and it's much deeper - a sound much more like les claypool or something like that. it's important I can help my guys the best I can so I go for the little bass. no disrespect for darrin cuz he made a beautiful instrument and I'll work w/it to get what my guys like. I want to record w/it too.
whoa, there's a great crowd for a monday night here in boise and our gig is pretty solid - jer's on fire though me and pete have zilch for monitors. well, jer didn't have any either. I got watch out blowing out my voice in these situations - you just can't get enough out of something that doesn't have it - I can't power a toy thing w/my voice alone. what I have to do is just trust the front man (ian tonight) to have it for the folks cuz after all, they're the ones paying - me and my guys get in for free. it is frustrating though. another frustrating thing in a way is people kind of being unfocused, especially the ones in the back but that's college kids, right? some are so into what you're doing while others are using a gig for a total social thing. it's really kind of funny if you think about it. I have to laugh - god, watt - after all these years, you know the hustle. I just give it my best as do my guys and that's what fires me up in the final analysis. for an encore, we have brett join us for "sister ray" but where's mike johnson? he was supposed to help out too. oh well. also, the caustic drummer, pat, was supposed to do "the red and the black" w/us but we found out later he had a fight w/his wife. home town gigs can be tough. it was trippy hearing a guitar on stage cuz I'm so used to hearing pete and w/brett banging away I didn't hear one not from pete. oh well - for our guest (pete is a generous man)!
much niceness from the boise cats after we're done and I even get a book of poetry from one. I get genuine words that touch me much, it makes me grateful - for my secondmen guys too, they help so. old friends bart and steph invited us to their pad to konk so we bart hops in w/us and we head for home w/him. he missed the gig cuz he had one w/a band from saint george, utah called the fuzzy circus. pete and jer saw them while I was konked in the boat. they're staying over too and all of us are in the living room talking. I tell some pirate jokes and then some tour spiels. I feel kind of weird being like the entertainment for a bit but it seems the folks here are interested in this. these utah cats are young and touring is new for them. I hope they have much luck. they're from a part of utah that's near zion and bryce which are beautiful places - I was lucky to play in springdale w/pek and nels in banyan. wild geography and singular. my spiels tire me so though and I'm forced to withdraw and retire. I only need the minus twenty bag draped over me for warmness. the first week of tour ends for me in a deep dive quick into a sea of konk.
read week 2 of the tour diary
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