mike watt + the secondmen
watt - thud staff, spiel
pete mazich - organ, singing
jerry trebotic - drums
(left to right)
steve kaul - the man outside the van
tuesday, april 29 - richmond, va
popped on laura's couch in a major state of disorientation; didn't remember passing out there or covering myself (another wonderful by-product of the magic of alcohol), but I surmised that laura, being the great den mother that she is, tucked me and jer in after we crashed. nobody was up as of yet so I gingerly tip-toed into the head and did a hose down- by the time I was done jer had woken up and we decided to go into town to grab some chow. we found this cool little deli that laura had recommended and strapped on the feedbag. both of us could only eat half of our meals as the sauce was still coursing thru the body, so we got up and decided to go see jen and moni at the gift pad (the night before we had discussed the possibility of grand national opening for us in richmond and they were into it). we got to the gift pad and rapped w/ the girls about the show, and moni introduced me to a friend of hers, biljana, who was from petrinja in croatia so I rapped w/ her in croatian for awhile and it turns out she was a fan of lil the kill's band Magazin (small world). moni called the promoter in richmond and confirmed everything, so it looked like the grand national crew would be playing w/ us after all. we headed back to laura's pad and her friend melissa and ellen were there and we relayed the info to them about the show, they were into going and laura decided to call up ed w/ the cool news. laura gets on the horn w/ ed and he has no recollection whatsoever of agreeing to do the show and to top it off he's pretty aggro about the whole thing (even ellen, who was dead sober the nite before remembers talking to him about it). it's decided that that part of the gig is a wash, but jen and neal decide to come out and check out the show while laura and ellen saying that they might come (it's a 3 hour trip mind you). we have to go p/u the chief at the airport and me and jer agree that it's time to get a move on and get back into tour mode- the break was a welcome one but about three days too long. we loaded up the stuff in the boat, said our goodbyes, and were off to go hook back up w/ our sorely missed boss. very much respect to laura, the best den mother, drummer, salsa maker and cheese grits cook in NC (and a great listener-I wish you continued happiness), jen and neal for the great sauce, vibes and que' (you really made us feel at home), moni, for the coolest and sweetest rap ever (wish you much luck in arizona, and may you win this round of chess), the unsinkable ellen quinn ( I wish everyone had your attitude and demeanor) and of course ed crawford (for the inspiration). I really feel like I've made some friends for life and if you're ever in pedro'- there will always be a place for you at my pad.
jer took the helm of the boat, we stopped for some gas and then made our way towards the airport. we got there right on time and the chief's flight had just arrived- he called jer's cell and we met him up at the arrival gate. I gave him a big hug ; I missed him alot and was glad to see him- he looked a little beat but he was in good spirits and I could tell he was glad to see us and be back in the tour mode. He had gone thru a major hellride and me and jer were determined to make it easier on him by splitting the time at the helm. we got out of the airport and pulled over in a small industrial park and watt called bill, the cat who does the t-shirts on the horn to meet us there so we could buy a little time. Bill shows up w/ the shirts and me and jer transferred them into plastic bags and loaded them up in the boat. After settling w/ bill, we hopped back on the interstate and steamed our way towards richmond. jer had taken the helm and I was riding shotgun; watt was kicking it on the bench- he really needed to get some rest and we wanted our boss healthy again. the trip to richmond was a breeze; we did good time and got there about 8:30 PM and loaded out the gear and set it up on stage. The pad (poe's pub) was a small one- we had done a really cool gig there last year and the space was limited, but it looked like it would be a wailer. "Z", the soundman miked us up quick, but we only did a line check as there were people chowing dinner in the pad and we didn't want to blow their heads off. we sat down and ordered up some chow and indulged in a little sauce as we were still a little shake-shake from the night before. Jen and neal showed up and we rapped w/ them for awhile- I was really glad that they showed up and I wanted to do a good show for them. there was no opening band, so as soon as 10:00 rolled around , we slammed into the set. we played w/ alot of energy and the crowd seemed to really dig on it altho' I thought they were a little subdued ( but fuck it, it was a tuesday night). I could tell that watt was really into it and that's what my main concern was- I really play off of the chief's vibe and he needs to know that we're with him. It was tough on jer tho' as he had no monitor and couldn't hear the vocs at all. trouper that he is, he intensely soldiered on and kept the machine going.
we finished up the set and many people came up to us w/ much positive vibe and I felt okay about the gig tho' it was our first after a few days and there were some cobwebs to shake off- I thoght we did very well. I was just really glad to have watt back and to be playing again. we broke down the gear and loaded it up into the boat and rapped w/ jen and neal for awhile; they dug on the show, but I was still a little bummed that ed had blew off the gig. we said goodbye to them and we were off towards kyle's pad (same place we stayed at last tour). we got to kyle's pad, sat around and rapped a little until the eyelids got heavy, then crawled into our bags and conked. solid.
pop just after four in the morning - right before the alarm's supposed to go off which is good cuz the motherfucker never did do what I had intended it to do... machines... aaaaarrrrrgggggghhhhhh - good thing I have this auto-pop-o-matic thing going in my head. richard "fuckin'" bonney, my good ol' pedro plumber friend (we go back to our teen years) is coming to take me to the airport so I can rejoin my guys who I miss much. I'm weak as hell (feels like I'm just surface form w/my insides full of air instead of the standard guts) but at least not hurting so I thank god much for that. what a blessing to be still in the race. I find it hard sometimes to believe the turns in my life sometimes. I say bye to some dear things in the pad: my kachinas, shots of d. boon, my pop, the man - stuff like that. I hope everything holds tight for the next four weeks 'till I get back. always scary about leaving one's pad but then one must sally forth from time to time, right? to really miss somewhere, you have to go somewhere else. funny about that but us humans can get to taking shit for granted so easily. I seal my pad's hatch at five, richard's here w/his truck.
besides the barbie purse (which I didn't hardly get to use cuz of all the hurting), I'm bringing the "doughnut" cushion and kira's yamaha pb-1 bass preamp in some kind of a may company like bag - one of those varnished paper things w/the rope/string handles - I don't know of any other way to do it cuz I certainly don't want to check it in as baggage and let some loader folks beat the shit out of it (probably the preamp more than the cushion) w/some gentle tosses and whatever. I'll put it in the bin above my seat. me and richard pass a huge accident on the freeway which is in the slow lane - four lanes over from ours (remember, I'm in l.a. now) but lookie-fucking-lous plug all the other lanes for no other reason but for morbid curiosity. it'd be ok if folks really learned something from seeing things like this but it seems they don't take these consequences to heart cuz 'pert-near right past the carnage, they resume driving like assholes w/all the risky shit that goes w/it. we are funny creatures. we do though in fact arrive at l.a.x. safely and I say bye and thanks to richard - I'll seem him again come tour's end. even w/my strange shopping bag, no problems w/security or checking in - again I use those touch-screen machines to check myself in, I dig that cuz it's quick and to the point. I go to my gate and wait. glad I washed my yellow coat while I was home - it was getting a little filthy and that shows up easy w/that color. maybe that's why folks wear so much black?
like coming here, my trip will be two flights - one to saint louis and one to raleigh/durham. even though we missed last night's cat's craddle gig (south of durham in carrboro), the shirt folks are in raleigh (the beautiful ones of tannis root, bill and barbara) and I want to load up on more and settle things so far w/them in person since I'm in the vicinity. richmond's only about three hours from there. I konk the whole way on the first flight, forcing myself to. I find it incredible I can even sit in an airplane seat this long after the hell of the weekend but I've been healed up that much, damn. in between flights at the saint louis stop, I get a little book by alan lightman called "einstein's dreams" and read that on the hop to north carolina. it's a trippy, stream of consciousness type of thing, thirty "fables" having to do w/young einstein and his thoughts on time. I enjoyed it much and complete it just as we land. trippy too being in the last seat of the plane where you get to smell everyone's turds as they use the head.
it's four in the afternoon here as the wheels touch down and I use the walkie-talkie phone my sister gave me for my birthday (I named it "watt's leash") to talk w/jer and him and pete meet me at the gate. I am so, so, so happy to see them again!!! they look good and sound in fine spirits - great. almost four fucking days for them in port! much respect to them for keeping up morale. they were in my thoughts much when I was back in cali - even w/all the fucking hurting trying to bogart every notion my mind could conjour. they tell me about driving on the I-40 through eastern tennessee, between nasville and knoxville and getting pulled over by el hombre for "weaving in the lane." jer says this was a trumped-up means to serve as an invite to a fishing expedition and the officer went through the boat w/his dog for drogas. I don't travel w/anything in the boat like that (a policiy my guys very much agree on) so he finds nothing. the dog goes crazy after pete's bag but still, there's nothing and he lets my guys continue on (jer's wife kel and my baby rilei are w/them too) w/a warning ticket for the "weaving in lane." they tell me that was the only crazy shit in their drive from memphis to grand national's drummer, laura's pad in chapel hill, which is where they stayed 'till I returned. grand national is ed fROMOHIO's trio and they were gonna open for us last night if I would've been able to make the gig. damn, wish I could've. so kind of laura to help us like that - much respect to her. from pete and jer's reports, there was lots of saucing going on. in fact, during last night's "session," edward agreed for grand national to open up for us tonight in richmond but when laura called him this morning, he was dead set against the idea, saying he hadn't spoke w/me and didn't want to bumrush or bogart. very kind to be so considerate, edward, but we can share the stage anytime - I would be very much honored and would love it. one other trippy thing is my guys tell me that they tried to give edward a short life in the boat but he said there was no way he was getting in it - five years of tour in it was too much. that's wild but I can understand his feelings. edward was some trooper though when it came to touring - during those five years we put many, many miles and gigs under our belts together (georgie too). I will always have much respect for him for doing that. thank you, edward.
back in the boat, I go to the back seat bench - I'm going easy in my weakness and let jer steer us, pete in the navigators chair. we stop in an industrial park nearby and bill from tannis comes and we do the t-shirt thing. so good to see him again and much love for him and barbara plus new moody, oscar. we load the boat up and do the I-40 to I-540 to us-70 thing that puts us on the road to viriginia, I-85. bye bill! I once again konk and wake up as we near petersburg, which is where we'll take the I-95 north into richmond. we're well into the state of my birth and I love the sights the window in the boat is showing me. what righteous spring weather w/the sun coming through the trees the way it is. little boy thoughts come back on watt and he's running through places he did more than thrityfive years ago in his head. this is the first ride this tour where I don't have the wheel in my head and it's trippy, like I don't have to survey any potential threat on the road to us (looking well down it and then back using the mirrors) and I can let me stare wander w/my thoughts. back to the tour rhythm - it's surely in my bones but pedro life, even for a few days and even if it was so bizarre as it just was can get me a little removed from that. believe it or not, it's a comfortable rhythm in lots of ways, maybe cuz I've done it so much and am so familiar w/it's workings - even w/all the uncertainties it can throw at you. nothing like being in the center of the tour universe - the boat - and rolling through other folks' towns, ready to work them. it seems right in a way for someone like me. my mission.
we roll up to poe's pub around eight at night, in the old tobacco factory part of town, near the james river. we're only blocks from the edgar allan poe museum but it's way too late to visit there, damn. last time I missed out only by minutes. maybe next time - I really dug his writing as a younger watt and read almost everything he ever wrote. poe's pub is a pad I played for the first time last year, courtesy of my good pal in richmond, kyle. this man is very, very happening people and I respect much. I'd play anywhere for him but poe's is a great little pad and has good folks working it too. there still is that picture on the wall of captain tony where he muses, "to succeed in life, all a man needs is a tremondous sex drive and a great ego - brains don't mean shit." I wonder who "captain tony" is (or even was)... maybe a great thinker of richmond who roosted here at poe's? no opening act tonight (it was gonna be grand national) so we just set up and forgo the soundcheck cuz there's all kinds of peeps chowing dinner and they don't need the blow-me-down. the grand national bass player, jenny and her man neil, made the drive and are here. so very kind of them. I hook up kira's bass preamp and put the peavey one in the boat - it helped me get through the memphis gig but thank goodness I can stow it cuz it's sound was pretty much utter shit, it's voiced way more for a guitar and an 80s-type "rack sound" one to boot (yech!). it tests out good so I'm relieved. thank you, kira. this cat named jeff brings me a pimento sandwich his ma made - wow! thanks, jeff. he asks me this question, "what is art, in your opinion?" I tell him I think it's kind of like the act of proving to each other we're alive. he asks then, "that's it?" and I tell I think so cuz I want it to be a broad enough idea to embrace all forms it can take. hope that made sense. I eat his ma's sandwich w/some potato chips stuffed in it (the best way I like it) and then go to the boat and konk a little.
I pop around a quarter after ten and call raymond back in cali. there was a message on the machine at my pad when I was there but I was too hurt to call anyone - even raymond, that's how bad off I was. he tells me about things I've missed being on tour and being away from him and it's so good to hear his voice. he did good w/his last art show in europe. I tell him I've been out of touch cuz of being wary of the way it seems news reporting is kind of on the pravda level but he says it worse cuz probably in russia, all them folks knew pravda was bullshit and government lies but here, well... he makes it funny in his, way - like w/his art and his call doesn't end in a downer like you might think but is instead very inspiring. thank god for the inspiring people in my life, I dearly don't know what I'd do w/out them. I grab my sling sack and go in to do the gig.
I am weak. my guys are strong though and help me much. the pad is full and the folks are in great spirits so that helps too. my voice is much better w/the time off. that's the one thing I can't seem to find a solution for, so many gigs in a row really beats the voice up. I feel vacuous doing the gig - not stupid like that might sound but rather lacking of material or solidness. it does feel good though to be playing w/these secondmen again though and I love it. I love playing for these virginia folks too. the way the pad is, the people are right up on you. one cat is holding my arm lots and very much into it. this is a very welcoming climate for a return to the tour life. there's some clams but no big ones and I get through all the tunes w/out falling over. success. very, very warm talks from folks as I sling. one cat was a the stooges thing in coachella and flew back home here for this gig - wow! he brought his wife who's sees me for the first time tonight after hearing about me for eighteen years from him... that's a trippy thing I hear about lots of times. I just hope I don't disappoint anyone, not live up to the hype or whatever. another reason for me to try my hardest each and every time I get my bass in my hands. this is not an opportunity to be squandered - I am lucky to have the bass to try and make expression w/and also help my guys shine.
I thank the soundman z for all his help. I've said this before but the cats on stage are just the motor, the knobman is the tranny - getting the power to the wheels. much respect to them. I thank the boss chuck too for having us aboard - a good gig. kyle comes to guide us to his pad cuz he had to work and missed the show. we thank everyone and roll to kyle's. he makes me some throat-coat tea. there's all these great dogs here: talley blanchard, scout, jack and the newest addition, little man. scout is the alpha dog and lays real close by me is real loving. thank you, scout. first konk back and it's an easy one.
wednesday, april 30 - washington dc
popped on the deck at kyle's - watt was already busy on the puter', and kyle was cooking us up some much needed chow. I did a quick wash up and got my clothes on- then chowed down w/ extreme prejudice. I was feeling a little melancholy again; I was thinking about my little man tony, lil the kill, and the girls (on top of other issues too), and it was way riding on me. I walked around kyle's yard a little to try and shake off the blueness, but I could feel it coming on me strong. I would just have to ride it out. we loaded up the bags in the boat and took some pics w/ kyle and we were off again. we had to make a little pit stop in town to change the oil in the boat; watt had berated us for having so many days off and not doing this- but there had been a miscommunication w/ jer's machine and we had not gotten it done. we get to the jiffy lube and the crew does the boat up right and we are on our way in no time at all (kyle called us up at the jiffy as watt had done a donate on his bag and he graciously brought it back). many thanks to kyle, his wife, and his pooches for sharing their pad w/ us once again.
the trip to D.C. is a relatively short one and I kick it in the back, alternately conking and reading my tape op mags desperately trying to push the blueness out. we pull up in front of the pad early and jer wants to go chow , but I'm not myself yet and want some time alone. I sweat it up in the boat while I read thru my tape ops' and gaze out the window and people watch; old people, kids coming from school passing by- all w/ their own weeps and gripes. I tell myself to snap out of it and I do somewhat. jer comes into the boat and pulls it out in back of the club (the black cat- we played it last tour too), and I hop out to shake off the creaks a little. we are playing in the smaller room downstairs tonite as opposed the larger room we did last tour and I'm looking forward to it- I like when the peeps are closer to us. we load out the gear and set it up, the soundman, dennis mikes up jer's kick and that's it- a limited PA, but a poor carpenter blames his tools and we decide to make the best of it. Dennis is a real nice cat and helps us w/ the monitor placement- poor jer will once again be w/o one. we do a quick check and it sounds pretty cool, it's a large room and the sound should project nicely. we go to the band room and arnold, the boss has set us up w/ some kind chips and salsa until dinner arrives. I do some chimping as I am a little behind and jer goes to take a shower upstairs. The chow arrives and we all dig in heartily (it's very kind grub- much kudos to the chef). I continue my chimp right up until a few minutes before showtime- I go to wake up the chief and a cat asks me where watt is, I tell him he's in the boat and he introduces himself as Ian. I assume it's Ian mackaye and I lead him to the boat. he's an old friend of watt's from way back (we stayed at his brother alec's pad last tour). I go back into the pad to turn on the leslie, and me and jer wait for the chief to show up. Mike arrives w/ Ian and we hit the stage- The set is strong and we really get into it. the crowd does too and shows much appreciation (they are very cool and don't yammer on the quiet tunes either). we finish up the set and go in back to discuss the set; watt is really up in spirit and agrees that the set went down well- the crowd is roaring and we go back up for the encore. we do "sister ray" and "om-om-om", again to much applause. we finish the encore and watt starts to sling the merch' while we break down the tools. a young woman asks me for a set list, we don't have any written ones, so I write her out one. I am completely soaked so I go to change my shirt and have a beer w/ jer. I rap w/ a few cats about my hammond and also w/ two dudes that came to our show last year, Jacob and aaron. Aaron's wife is due any day now and I wish him much luck. very nice cats. me and jer load up the gear in the boat while watt settles w/ the boss, then we all hop in and make our way to ian's house; it's about a 15 min. drive and we get there soon. we bring in the bags and I roll mine out on the deck. we rap for a little while w/ Ian and then he bids us good night. I talk a little while longer w/ watt and then he crashes out- I find a mojo magazine and I read it until the eyelids can stay up no longer. I conk on the deck.....
pop and find myself alone - seems all the puppies bailed for the familiar folk of their family. that's proper though I did miss all their love. I go to where kyle instructed me the coff machine would be in the kitchen, it's set to go and waiting for my finger to hit the button, which it does. coff gets made. cubes of ice get tossed in the big mug w/dog paw prints all over it so the contents is calm enough in the heat department to let it fly down the throat, which it does next. then I hose off upstairs in the shower. all that soaking last weekend, hour after hour, mainly for relief and shelter from the pain storm has now given way to a tour life of hose down in folks' showers. I can dig it. I think of nina simone, who just died at ninety. what a woman of courage and righteous gifts of artistic expression - someone very much to look up to for watt. much love for her. trippy what you think of w/water hitting you. sometimes it's so very easy to cry in these places cuz your tears get blasted away the shower streams - in fact, seem tiny compared to the plumbed-in torrents and maybe that helps to put them in a calmer place. the pressure of the drops are like millions of little rubs on sore joints. I can dig it even though soaks are such the great thing.
I go outside to get a dry flannel and find the weather still kind, great - blue virginia skies filled w/bird song. back to the house a kyle's up and cooking up chow. his pad's got lots of lighthouse things like clocks and knicknacks - reminds me of my town and the lighthouse at point fermin. it's getting restored now, the oldest building in our town (1874). right near is where the loundmen hang out. they're actually bright green wild parrots from mexico but I call them the loudmen cuz they're really into yammering w/each other - they love being in pairs inside their little swarm. I love them. they also take a time out in their day to fly over my apartment which is a couple miles away. I always call out to them, "hey, loundmen!" when the pass over, even though I'm mostly inside when they do. I can imagine them liking a greeting from the crazy man. I would never want to impose on them. I chimp diary and listen to kyle's righteous wrestling stories while he continues w/breakfast. pete and jer wake and we all chow up the eggs and bacon which are just great. kyle's wife patti joins us as does the four dogs and it's all very social w/all the life and activity us beings (both human and dog) can conjure. I ask kyle to lead us to a pad where the oil can get changed since it's that time. love the boat, gotta keep her healthy.
speaking of health, I'm feeling a little stronger today. I'll drive to the oil pad but only a little more after that. I am not going to push things cuz believe me, the gigs are hard enough. I'm very glad I don't feel the pain I did but I do feel a little empty in the physical focus department, if that makes any sense. I kind of feel all spread out and like porous w/air instead of concentrated to the point where I'm more like a solid body. it's a weird kind of semi-tiredness. my mind is fired-up though, big time. pain is such a damper on getting the thoughts together and straight, even writing gets crippled - a big reason why I couldn't chimp diary during that whole time from friday to monday, damn. well, that's the hand that got dealt me and I'm playing it out the best I can. these little drives right now are helping play the catch-up game so no complaints here. weird how stuff can find it's place, even after a hurricane. we say bye to patti and the dogs, load up into the boat and follow kyle to a oil quick-change place. nice, big man there who digs the boat is still running good as it is cuz of tender care, he says the only thing he can recommend besides why I came in there is a differential oil change so I go for it. the guy behind the counter is a little different. he's not from around here either cuz I hear a distinctive northeast accent. he asks for my address and when he hears "california," he goes, "a lot of liberals out there, right?" and I say, "wasn't your president reagan from there?" a big hmm from his face and then I go, "aren't people everywhere a little liberal about somethings and a little conservative about others?" more hmm from him and then he says, "I'm going to move to tampa bay." funny folks you meet on tour. some probably think I'm a riot. all these things to divide us, who are we listening to when we get to thinking for ourselves? there's a call for me here at the oil change pad - what? it's kyle's wife patti saying I've spaced and donated my minus twenty sleeping bag - aahh, I'm thinking "fucking retarded watt." kyle rushes it right over though - much respect to you, brother. I say my thanks and byes and down the road we go. a big loop on the richmond belt and we're north once again on I-95. I pull over to both get gas for the boat and let jer take the wheel. back on the freeway, lots of pretty virginia going past the windows as I chimp diary on the barbie purse.
jer's plotted a course that's a little different than the one's he's plotted for me the tours he's been on (when I'm driving and he's not farting it up big time on the back bench, he's pretty good w/the map) and he's briefed pete on the route. however, when it comes down to making the moves, something gets all fucked up and he has to improvise but to our luck, we're still right on target. we get off the freeway right in front of the lincoln monument and looms huge, bigger than the back of any penny. we pass the jefferson one too and pete confuses that w/the house he actually lived in. damn, if we were playing charlottesville, it would've been great to bring pete to monticello. I really dug that pad when I last went there a couple of tours ago. we go past the national mall and all that and there we are: in the midst of an ever-growing georgetown that's creeping up on where we're playing tonight, the black cat. this is been my main gig in this town since the old 930 days and it's great to work here and for owner dante. tonight, we're playing another part of the club I've never done before, the back room. a new sound system is being installed there as I check things out. dante's really busy w/a "secret" foo fighters show for tomorrow night that's some kind of webcast for hey-oh-hell (or whatever). I have big love for dave grohl will try to leave some watt spirit here for him from my gig tonight.
there's a laundromat across the street and I've learned from many tours not to squandered that kind of opportunity when it presents itself. only a couple pairs of levis, flannels and the gross stuff that goes under but some of it is before I went to cali and full of ferment so it's a good thing even if there's not much quanity. in the meantime, I go back across the street and chow a gyro which is good. trippy stuff - I don't get a chance to eat many but I love the flavors. I get a chance to rap w/dante and check email too - love listening to dante cuz he has tons of thoughts to elaborate on. he's got a little baby coming soon too - congrats! I finish w/my wash and we unload the boat in the back of the club. my friend jenny toomey comes by to say hi. she fights tirelessly for music folks w/this organization, the future of music (http://www.futureofmusic.org), against the forces of oppression. you might think there aren't any but that's just want some powers (http://www.clearchannelsucks.org) that be would like you to believe. however, I ask her about folks like in my town who are not so hip maybe to issue-specific stuff, probably don't even know why what's on the radio is there except for a very sneaking suspicion it might have to do w/big money - kind of like the same perspective they might have on how government works. how to make this connect for folks regarding art and politics, cause and effect click w/folks? this is a big issue w/me and I think it's great there people playing the lobbyist game w/these motherfucking bogarts who want to run everything but damn if there isn't some way to get those jeffersonian ideas across regarding the u.s. citizen and their rights for a say in lots of this crap. I see so many parallels in all this - it kind of overwhelms me but at the same time, gets me even more uppity in this struggle... uplift people w/art, give them confidence - this is what me and the little bass can help w/some maybe. it is my intention. I have a greek salad from the kitchen here and then go konk in the boat.
there's no opening act again, second night in a row! this makes me think of europe and the way lots of shows I've done there have gone. a great thing about it is starting early. around ten, pete rousts me from my konk and look who's w/him? ian mackay! so happening to see him again - on sunday, when he saw me last, I was such a mess - gotta play good for him. he helps me by carrying the sling sack. a look inside and this room is good for watt here. the folks are quite supportive and vocal too, one cat keeps asking me to "go get 'em, watt" w/much vigor. I know it's a hard gig for jer cuz the only mic he has is on his kick drum and he has no monitor! very admirable of him to give it his best and not whine - thanks, jer. my monitor is pretty much a toy and is not much help. whatever, "you work the room" - something I tell myself maybe a hundred times a tour. it's a pleasure to play for these folks anyway so why let the little shit bogart your focus? no yammering at all from these cats, lots of focus from them so I'm thinking much respect to them. one good thing is the bar is in the other room - maybe that's why! something about bars and yammering or maybe alcohol and yammering. I know jer sure yammers more when he's sauced. me, I can yammer w/out it so maybe this theory is too general! the gig goes really good even w/me blowing a clam in "the red and the black" - I stop the band and say this is an important part so we just gotta start it over. ok, "hornswoop me bungo pony, dogsled on ice - make a dash for freedom baby, don't skate on thin ice." come the next couple of lines and I deviate from the b.o.c. original but it's in tender tribute to our drummer. the folks have us back for a tune w/crazy words and crazy bass solos ("sister ray") and then one w/no words and only a tiny bass solo w/"om om om" - a funny thing though about this tune. since everyone's so attentive and quiet, during the interludes, where all three of us exchange little figures on our instruments, I tell the audience (not even using the mic) that what I find interesting in ensemble music is dialogs between the instruments. I say I hear a lot of people in bands just playing their parts and going through the motions and not actually "speaking" w/each other. I also tell them that sometimes it's even interesting to not play straight time, like we do here so it let's things breathe. it's as if I'm giving a little lecture along w/a demonstration. funny, never have done that before but I always get trippy feelings playing here in dc. d. boon said it was a neat opportunity when you were playing the town where so much power gets decided on, so many deals get run down. he thought it was our (meaning us minutemen) closest we could get to having our say w/the big government bosses, like even if they weren't listening, somehow the huge federal buildings might be. trippy.
good spiel from audience cats during sling phase, one man tells me he's a federal government worker and there's lots where he is that hates the current gang who's strutting and swaggering on top w/smirks on their face. a firm handshake for him from watt. aaron, a friend from here, is going to be a pop soon, his wife's been due for a week. this gets jer going, he hears any kind of baby stuff and it's sure to set him off yammering on that - it's quite endearing. bernie is here as an audience guy when he's usually managing the place for dante. thank you, bernie. he's so excited for me getting to do that stooges thing, I love bernie. he plays bass too. I go to settle w/dante and there's some debate going on w/him and ian over a guy dante had to deal w/regarding graffiti. ian's reminding dante of when he was doing that but dante protests by saying he got it together by sixteen. he does admit he was a terror before that though and even himself did some graffiti. always stimulating conversation here in dc! we load out and stuff the boat w/our stuff - whoa, it rained while we played! it's stopped now though.
ian's invited us to the dischord house to konk so we follow him over to arlington in nearby virginia. ian is a great cat for me to listen and learn from. he covers all kinds of stuff but his bottom line is to keep things simple which I dig too. he makes me some rooibos tea which I've never had before and it goes down real good. ian gives me lots of things to think about, too many to put down here but they'll surface in their time. I feel very energized coming to this pad again, revitalized. I think about the old days sometimes and think of only ruins remaining but here is a place where lots of those older ideas that drive me today are not it the least bit bygone or rusted away - they're alive and creative. he talks about seeing nina simone perform once - whoa, what a trip! I konk happy. thanks, ian.
thursday, may 1 - baltimore, md
popped on Ian's deck- I felt pretty good (albeit a little sore). I jumped in the shower for a much needed hose off and shave and then had some tea and really good multi grain toast which I spread w/ some roasted peppers that I scrounged up in Ian's fridge (Ian is the snack king). we hung out and rapped while watt did his puter' work. Ian got on his piano and began plucking out some tunes, bluesy stuff and it caught my attention. Ian had started out as a piano player before he switched over to guitar and I felt an immediate kinship; I talked to him about how amazing I found those old barrelhouse piano players to be- wailing chords and melodic jams on the right hand while pounding out these intricate boogie bass lines; I play left hand bass also ( I did this in my wedding band for three years while we were in between bass players), but these cats blow my mind. I showed Ian this barrelhouse bass line and we jammed a little on it. Ian 's a really nice cat and he's truly a punk DIY'er; he's been running dischord records for about 23 years now (w/ a small crew ), and virtually invented hardcore w/ minor threat and fugazi. he's very inspiring as well as being a very gracious and down to earth individual.
we gathered our bags and loaded them into the boat then went across the street to dischord's office. Ian packed up watt's preamp to send back to david eden for repair (he would pick it up later in the tour). we took some snaps, bid everyone goodbye, and we were off again. we had a really short drive to baltimore and I immediately commandeered the back seat for a conk; I was feeling the blues creeping into my head again and I wanted to just sleep it off. we pulled up in front of the pad (the ottobar- same place we did last year), and watt parks the boat. jer needs to get to a post office to send a book to kel that she had left behind (and needs for a term paper), and then grab some chow. I am in a completely dark and shitty place in my mind and I reluctantly join him, but I figure the walk and chow might do me some good. I'm pretty silent on the hoof to the johns hopkins campus (where the post office is located), as I'm mulling over many thoughts- we get to the P.O. and jer takes care of his business after which I rush ahead outside; I almost felt as if I needed to get the fuck out of there- an almost claustrophobic feeling. Jer catches up w/ me and asks me what's wrong, I mutter "you know", and he spends the next few minutes talking things thru w/ me and I begin to feel much better. Jer is a true bro and I'm really lucky to have him here- he understands me pretty well after all this time. thanks jer.
we go to get some chow at the only place around, the paper moon (where we also ate last tour); luckily it happens to be a very kind place and I mellow down after the meal and the rap. we hoof it back to the pad and I belly up to the bar to chimp some diary. Babyleg, the cat whose pad we stayed at last tour is there once again- he's now part owner of the ottobar and he sets me and jer up w/ a little sauce for the cause. we have now sworn ourselves off of brown sauce and have graduated to clear (absolut for jer, stoli for pete). the soundman, rob arrives and we load the gear in and do the set up. he mikes us up proper and we do the check'- everything sounds cool so we break down and I get back to my chimping. me and jer meet one of our opening acts, mary prankster (she's doing the solo acoustic thing) and she tells us that she's doing two more shows w/ us as well. she's very nice and gives me one of her stickers which I plop on the B3. me and jer hoof it back to the paper moon for some dinner and after we make it back to the club and hop in the boat for a little pre-gig conk. I lay out for about an hour, then me and jer both pop to catch mary's set; we had missed the first band's (slow jet) set, (sorry guys). mary really has a tremendous coomand of the stage and great demeanor w/ the crowd (they sang along w/ all the songs). I was very into it- very soul-laid-bare lyrics. Mary knocked off the set and me and jer hit the stage to set up the tools while bayleg went to go wake the chief. we launched into the set w/ much energy and the crowd, altho' seemingly a little perplexed in the beginning , began to get into it. by the end of the show, we had em'. we went up for the encore and watt broke a string during "sister ray", but we kept on chugging along. w/o changing the string he plowed into "little doll", and we tore it up. the only bogart of the evening was a little ground problem we had w/ the mike- every time watt would touch his lips to it, an irritating buzz would emanate from his amp; very fucked in the soft songs, but we soldiered on thru anyway. Me and jer rapped w/ a couple of peeps that had come to the show the nite before, strider and his lady sara- very nice people. we loaded up the gear into the boat, waited for babyleg to hop in and made our way to his pad. once there we climbed up these majorly steep stairs to his pad, which is way cool (high ceilings, wood floors-classic loft). he got us situated and left, and no sooner had he gone than mike got up and accidentally ripped a knick-knack shelf from his wall. In horror, we scrambled around for a stick or something to support it with. I found an old crutch in the back room and we propped it back up (never a dull moment). babyleg had a cool book on the history of stax records (which I am way into ), and I read the tome until the eyelids started closing. I conked on the deck. solid.
pop early and hose off, coff next down the street. I have trouble on the brain, sometimes I pop up from a konk w/the most insecure feelings. may day 2003 and I'm thinking of d. boon and how lame I am, standing in his shadow. I know it's being kind of hard on myself but these thoughts just flood over me w/out almost any way for me to control or wrest them from time to time. best to hoof them off but I gotta watch the knees w/all this pavement so I don't do too much. sometimes that kind of state of mind gives me what seems like infinite amounts of hoofing energy and I could wail like I did as a kid, when my knees were in much better shape (even if inside, in my room - running from corner to opposite corner). I come back and chimp diary. ian awakes and makes me green tea where the leaves aren't in a bag but loose and gather on the bottom after floating around a bit. it's good. thanks, ian.
pete rises and gets his morning thing on. jer's way upstairs somewhere - he always tries to konk as far from me as possible cuz he says I roar w/the snores. I don't mean to. it was probably worse in my liquored-up days but maybe that's not saying much. good sleep for jer means good drumming so I'm all for it, whatever it takes. ian plays me "compensation" from a nina simone record, a beautiful tune. it's a little one but he says it's helped him much. I love it. I'm trying to answer some email here - damn, does it pile up on tour when you can't get it in it's proper place during the day (lots of days it hard to find any access or time at all) like back home in pedro. I feel bad about those who feel I might just a lame-ass about replying but what can I do? meanwhile, ian's discussing all these great things, bouncing ideas and concepts all about - sort of like in the old sst days when all of us would be around, spieling. in fact, some of our talk is just about that - the old sst days. sometimes, what I hear about folks from then is just through rumor and second-hand, like someone was telling me henry was all pro-war or whatever w/the recent events and ian said he just saw a performance of his and it was much the contrary. this teaches me not to trust almost anything about hearing about my old friends except straight from folks I can really rely on. ian asks about a minutemen gig that didn't have george on drums and I say there was one, it was at ucla in the last year of our band. it was weird to do a minutemen gig w/out georgie for me and I tell ian that. it was a benefit thing and he couldn't miss work so this other pedro guy, richard derrick, filled in for him. both richard and d. boon were sick w/flu. I'm glad we did the gig but it was still weird. I tell ian when I saw glenn danzig at that hollywood practice pad last week, he said greg was going to tour black flag again w/chuck, dezo, chavo and keith w/I don't know who on drums. glenn said it's what he heard from someone - I wonder if that's really going to happen. folks from your past, folks in your present - I'm glad ian's here now for watt. I do get sentimental sometimes though, ghosts flying through my head. luckily, most my memories that I keep are good and happy ones - ones that make me laugh when I call them up and let them dance on my mind's stage again. I seem to remember mostly the good parts of all those cats from the old days. in this dischord house now - remembering us minutemen in the basement here twenty years ago, writing some songs that would be on "double nickels on the dime" - whoa...
now, in this moment. ian's got the dischord company across the street and he says I can mail my hurt eden navigator bass preamp back to them so they can fix it. I love my eden stuff. kira's preamp is working out ok though I sure wish I had a compressor cuz I'm such a thug sometimes w/the touch on the little bass. there's a lady who works there who's got a huge knee brace on - surgery for her soon and of course, this brings out memories and thoughts about my own knees and so the stories start rolling out: the hurts, the nightmares when they would pop out, the surgeries, the physical therapies getting them back and learning to walk again (both times) - all that. someone in the office shows me a picture of a cat from a dischord band (maybe bluetip?) w/his finger all dislocated - much empathy pain is tapped in watt. there's a good spirit in this work place and I wish I could spiel here forever (what a fucking bogart) but we must let them be. ian's got a great crew.
we're in the boat and about to shove off when ian first gives me this book he meant to send to me after last time here, charles van cott's "freemasonry - a sleeping giant" and then he hands me directs to get to baltimore only a local would know - like getting on the I-295 south for one exit, then getting off and going the other way - stuff like that. bye bye, brother - see you down those shipping lanes of life, pulling our shifts and trying to make things ineresting/vital. his directs do in fact (like I had any doubt) put us on the baltimore-washington parkway which is the road I always take from dc to balto too. a parkway means no trucks - yes! it's pretty terrain too w/the trees and all - some creepy stuff though like the nsa too (life seems to be always a mixed bag, huh?). that rain from last night cleared out and it's a little humid but not bad. I only meant to get us rolling but baltimore is only like sixtfive miles away so I drive the whole way in. I want to really go easy on the driving cuz of my hurts and weaknesses, gotta really watch it. I got three and half weeks left and I cannot take another major sickness assault - I was so lucky I was in pedro for the one last weekend, damn... just to think about it - fuck!
the great navigating jer did yesterday does not translate into today's mission - we spend almost as much time wandering in town than getting here from dc! not all jer's fault, just some screwy laying out of street in real life and on the mapping software. he does guide me into the club eventually, real near the johns-hopkins university. we're playing the ottobar tonight, like last year - almost a year and a week to the day! the folks at this pad are great and look who's behind the bar (and also helping w/the renovations going on inside here)? babyleg! he's also now a part-owner of this pad besides playing in the oxes and bartending. he's a great cat and it's both a pleasure and a privilege to work w/for him. we'll be konking at his pad later after the gig too. jer takes pete on some mail mission at the university while I do a chow forage. I find this caribbean pad and get some jerk chicken. there's peas, corn and rice plus some fried plantains too. good chow. there's some rooms next to the ottobar where they've set up like a backstage area and I chimp diary back there alone. all the construction means a late soundcheck. I have lots of chimping to do too cuz during that sickness, I couldn't do shit - the hurting was that total on me.
seven comes and we do a soundcheck w/soundman rob. after a quick tune, we're done so I go back next door to continue the chimping. it's a little sweaty but not too heavy. this is the way of anywhere east of the rockies come summer - it's not just the south. we're pretty much spared lots of it in pedro. we get some heat but not much of the wet, unless you want to go into the ocean. it's trippy up here in this room w/no one about. I can't find the light so it's just the glow from the barbie purse as I chimp. also trippy is the subject matter I'm chimping - last weekend w/the stooges reunion thing and all that lame sickness around it. like doing the first five songs of this tour, I seem to re-live the hell of the hurt by thinking about again and then writing or spieling about it. I can't find away to detach myself enough to separate the experience of it being behind me to those same sensations coming up in me again and shaking me silly w/fear. you would think that maybe making art or expression out of that shit would help me purge and rid myself of the pain "ghosts" but in fact, I seem to be in for yet another "ride" on that hellercoaster. I'm into chimping the diary though and will go through w/it despite whatever. the chimping helps me develop the skills I want to gain in pulling the voice out of me that wants to manifest itself w/writing - kind of like how gigs do it for me w/bass. I wish I would've started this as a young minuteman even. I think this is a skill that for me needs be involved in the doing to get it to grow and be more expressive. it's also for folks to gain an insight into the way one nut does the tour thing and maybe somehow might help others find confidence in their own artistic or whatever endeavours. these are two important reasons (for me) why I chimp these diaries.
ten after eleven and babyleg comes to get me for the gig. I missed local openers slow jets and a lady named mary prankster. damn, too caught up in the chimping. good crowd for me in this town, thank you. whoa, the stairs to the stage are kind of like the ones were gonna take to babyleg's pad tonight after the gig - not as much but just as steep of a grade. the sling bag almost causes me to lose balance but pete's helps on board. put the little bass on and tell the folks hi and thanks for coming - boy, do these strings need changing cuz they are dead! gonna have to do that tomorrow cuz the gig is on now... the new ones are a little loose but not bad - seems like jer can't hear so well. I get an idea for pete to do a harmony in the chorus of "he tied a reed 'round my waist" and let him know as we're doing the tune! hey, I've been thinking about this for a little bit but always space 'till we're doing it. hope folks don't mind. the gig goes good though I wish I had a compressor to go w/kira's preamp cuz I'm brutal w/the blows to the strings. poor speakers. there's a balcony here and it's trippy how folks can be almost right next to you, on the side like that w/their knees where your head is - whoa. it's funny. these are good folks though and a pleasure to play for, I'm laughing much and having a good time w/my guys. rob's having buzz problems w/my mic - like an idiot, I kind of discuss it w/pete - right in the middle of "walkin' the cow" - what was I thinking? sometimes I weird even myself out. we get done and they bring us back for "sister ray" and I break an 'a' string at the nut which is strange - almost always a string break is a the bridge (the nut is up where the string in a grooved saddle up by the headstock - the bridge is down past the pickups, near where one end of the strap goes). I don't want to break the energy so I go right into "little doll" w/that string still missing. it being between strings makes it a little tough but what the hey - nothing like a challenge to see watt's really made of. I have a good time w/it and the folks are very generous w/their hearts.
I sling and talk w/people. one cat is a doctor at johns-hopkins and gives me a card (w/email address), saying he "works w/three fistula gurus." this is very thoughtful and kind of him cuz that's definitely where I'm weak. thank you much, brother. timmy's here, he supports me every tour and sees me at least a couple times, I always light up when I see him - he's like a familiar buoy you count on when at sea. kind words from lots of peeps. whoa, bert's here! this is a cat who gave me a cd of his stuff that I just love and have played every track at one time or another on my radio show. his step-mom is here too, great to meet her! outside, sailor brother aaron's got a care package for me that includes a jar of peanuts, plums, "amsterdam" by ian mcewan, "the song of roland" (the oldest extant epic poem in french - based on the massacre in 778 of charlemagne's rearguard) and some kind of travel kit that has socks, eyeshaes, toothbrush and toothpaste. thoughtful matey, aaron - what a kind man. oh yeah, there's some green apple scent air freshener, to quote aaron's letter, "camouflage for brother trebotic's road apple scents."
waiting in the boat, this cat strider, who also came to last night's show, comes up to the window to talk w/me. he digs the fact there's sailors like us working the towns and getting a feel for the folks and where they're at. he's kind of embarrassed for his spiel but I know what he means and thank him much. we had a short but good talk about dante last night too. good mind, this strider. he's on the watt list but what you know how much things are w/personalities over the internet - almost like cb radio in the 70s - people will act in a way they might never do if they were face to face w/those they're chimping their "statements/positions" too. he gives me these righteous little button/pins, one of charles mingus and one of john coltrane. wow, thank you much - I've never any like these before. safe seas to you, strider. we load babyleg into the baot w/us and head over to his pad in the hampden part of town. you gain entry to babyleg's pad by way of some steep, steep stairs - hilariously steep. inside is a huge, righteous artist's space w/tall-ass cielings and lots of personal and unique decor. I love it. he's gonna leave us here and go to his girl's pad. just when he bails, I'm taking off my shoes and damn if this little shelf don't come tumbling down - one that was screwed into the wall and had all these righteous little totems on it. I feel terrible and scramble hard for a solution. pete finds me a crutch and I use this small cardboard box to make up the difference between the hand grip and the shelf to reattach everything and try to make it the way it was. damn, I can't believe that happened - trippy. jer goes to the loft where spot snored it up big time last tour so he can shadowbox in peace. pete buries his nose in a book on stax records (it's hard for pete usually to do the quick konk) while I bring the mask down and send my shit to bed. no need to get in the bag - I just get between it and the couch and sleepytown is my next stop. happy may day, d. boon.
friday, may 2 - philadelphia, pa
popped on the deck at babyleg's and waited for jer to finish his hose off, he was soon done w/ adjusting his tiara and I went in for my own primp session. I ask B.L if he has any towels left- of course he doesn't so I have to do a shake off. B.L. has brought us up some coffee (good coffee) and I down this w/ purpose. we pack the bags up and load them into the boat then go to grab some chow w/ the leg'; the chow is super kind and we strap on the feedbag w/ glee. after we are done, we go back to B.L.'s office to get the chief and we are off again to our new port of call. much respect to babyleg for graciously sharing his pad w/ us once again.
the ride to philly is relatively uneventful and I get us in w/ the ti book w/o any problems. The parking sitch is as usual, a nightmare and we have to park the boat a little ways away from the club, feeding in quarters while keeping on the lookout for a spot that's closer. I happen to see a place open up and I flag down watt to move the boat in. I misjudge the size of the slot however and watt has to loop around the block to get back to the old spot. Me and jer go sit in the club (a pad called the khyber- same as last tour) , and flip, the bartender lines us up w/ some sauce. Jer gives kel a call (she's hanging w/ lil at our pad), and after he's finished slobbering on the phone he hands it to me and I rap w/ lil for awhile. I really miss her, but I will be seeing her soon. a spot opens up right in front off the club and watt moves the boat up- score! I go back inside the pad and chimp some diary while washing down stoli's ( I'm trying to stay away from the bushmills as it beats me down pretty hard). Jer wants to go get some chow, so we hoof it on down a few blocks to the area near independence hall; we pass thru the former location of ben franklin's home (the original foundation was discovered even tho' the actual structure was torn down in the 1800's), and check out some of the sights- philly is a very cool city, and one of america's oldest (lot of history there). we find a little pad called vinnie's and do the chow down(very kind philly style sandwiches), and then head back to the club. the soundman, darrin has arrived , so we unload the gear and do the setup. The khyber had been closed down by the fire marshall for a time due to the backlash from the great white disaster and as a result the stage had been shortened to make way for a fire escape (the original stage wasn't even that big to begin with). we did the check' and it sounded ok, but there was only one monitor mix up front and it was way toy- I could foresee problems already. we did a strike on the tools and I went back to my chimping.
My chimp session lasted several hours as I was a couple of days behind and jer soon came to get me to go score some chow. we ventured down to the corner and got some soup and stuffed mushrooms, then headed back to the club to get in some pre-show conk. the opening band (an albatross) was already in full swing and I watched them for a few minutes (very aggro shit- I dug em'), but I was feeling beat, so I went upstairs and plopped down on the couch and drifted away to the rumblings of the band. I awoke some time later and the second band was well into their set- watt had taken a cab down the street to another club where the burning brides were playing ( he was sitting in on "TV Eye" w/ em') , so me and jer started setting up the gear after the second band had cleared off and waited for the chief to show. he sauntered in and we launched into the set- the sound was very toy from the get go and to top it off I didn't have much room to move on the stage so my confidence was a little frayed. we played intensely tho' (save for a few clam blows), and the crowd was way into it. the brides' also came to check us out after the show and dug on it. the crowd was very appreciative and we signed many posters, and I recieved alot of cool comments on my playing, many from fellow musicians (it's always an honor to be liked by your peers). we packed up the tools and dimitri from the brides' and a friend of his navigated us back to their pad where we were crashing for the night. we got out our bags and went in- Mel , dimitri's lady and bass player for the brides' did a shot of tequila w/ me and we had a long conversation about marriage and kids (much to the chagrin of dimitri I think). Mel is a very cool woman, reminds me alot of lil the kill (they're even the same sign- go figyah). I happened to glance out the window and noticed that it was getting light outside; I quickly bid my good nites and went upstairs to conk. which I did....immediately.
pop early and hose off in babyleg's homebrew head that's he's built under his huge konk loft (where jer's augering his clockwise-fluted fart darts now). I dig the way babyleg's put his hand to almost everything in this pad - nothing looks like it came out of a may company or a sears. touring, I see lots of ways young people make their living spaces and wish maybe I could've done more of that in my earlier days. I did have a table in one of my earlier pads that I built from old boards in my alley - ed fROMOHIO konked under it the first nine months he was in cali. this was in a pad I had for many years that had just one room besides a head and a kitchen. it was on fourteenth street in pedro. it was built before electricity so when it got electrified, my pad got just one outlet. I had my whole world running on one outlet! I kept things safe w/circuit breakers and all - it was maze of some electrical plumbing. the longer I live here, the more the stuff I was accumulating was moving towards the middle of the room from the walls 'till there was a point where I could sit in this swivel chair I had and get to everything! it was like an early space capsule in a way. there was no room for furniture or a bed so I had none of that. this where I first started konking regularly on the deck. this was a bizarre enough way to live by yourself so you can imagine when kira married me and we tried to have to lives there - there was no room for anything of hers and so it all had to be put in storage. what a nightmare for her. she has a condo now in the valley (studio city) and all the room she needs for her stuff. I'm not saying this was a reason (or one of many) for us not staying together but it sure was fucked up and I still to this day wonder how I could've been so oblivious to this. I've very much tried to learn from this and maybe that's why I've never lived w/anyone since. come to think of it, I never did live w/anyone before and I moved out on my own when I was eighteen. oh, there was a time for a couple of months when I tried a room mate thing w/two other people during early college days but that was extremely difficult for me. it was also the only time I didn't live in pedro when I was cali (it was in paramount - about fifteen miles away, just north of long beach) except when we first came from virginia and had to wait 'till a pad opened up in the navy housing in pedro. people's pads that are different make me think of things like this. like last night, when me and pete tried to chase down the phone line - it must've been like three hundred or more feet long! babyleg had snaked it all the way from obviously where the only jack was in the building to where he needed it, by the "living room" area (near where that shelf fell). people improvising to make a life, I can dig it.
I head out into the morning and find a light haze and some humidity but all in all, the weather's still holding for us. how does it go, "brings may flowers" or something like that? I can dig it. I find the same chow pad I shoveled at last year and order an egg w/a little steak - first time this tour I've done that but what the hey. I'm sitting there drinking the coff the lady's brought me when this radio guy reads some news over the air. I was into professional wrestling a bunch in the 80s though I don't much any more except to hear raymond tell me what he's been following. there's lots of reasons for this but a big one is that got too mersh and just not interesting to me any more - the characters became much more steroided-up and their raps very boring, even the wrestling itself got pretty cliche for me. anyway, there was one thread going in those days that followed randy "macho man" savage and his courting of miss elizabeth. it was bizarre, to say the least. I guess they were in even married for a while in real life. well, this radio guy says miss elizabeth (I never knew her last name) died last night in marietta, ga and they didn't know the exact cause. she was living w/this ex-wrestler, lex luger, who incidentally was arrested two weeks ago for allegedly hitting her in the face. he was now being held on drug charges. this was sad for me to hear, even though I didn't follow it all that close then, it was a recognizable thing from my past days that now had the ring of mortality wrung on me - maybe like how people pause when they hear about a tv show actor passing. I have to say I have wondered what happened w/this lady in the last few years and even asked raymond a few months ago when we were talking about some older days of wrestling. he said a couple of years ago she was managing some other wrestler so I looked on the internet and found some fan site dedicated to her and this lady even emailed me an account of her meeting miss elizabeth recently at some convention thing or whatever and even sent me a shot of her and miss elizabeth together at this event - something I never expected. totally weird, like looking through your high school year book and wondering what became of who. I would have to admit I can't even remember hardly anything about what the folks in my high school year book were even doing in school! that's how bad my memory is. I think just after I moved last year (well, after I came back from the tour I had to go on immediately after moving), someone was going through a san pedro high school year book I had, the last one for me - 1976. I was very hard-pressed to remember 'pert-near anyone in there that I don't sometimes see now. high school was not a very good time for me, anyway. I remember folks from the old punk days easier than from then. anyway, this news about this "first lady of wrestling" (that's what they called her) kind of shook me up. I guess the same thing might happen to someone who heard the guy who played eddie haskel in "leave it to beaver" died too. in some ways, maybe I'm not all that alien.
I go back to the pad and roust my guys when babyleg shows up. he takes me to his office and I do an interview w/a burlington, vt paper while he chows w/pete and jer. we then say our thanks and byes to babyleg and head on down the road to the next town on the tour, phily. it's getting a little moist in the air - I'm in the back, chimping diary w/jer on th wheel. north on I-95 and we hit town about three which is good cuz we're in the old part of town by the water where things can get really plugged. parking is also a nightmare. we find something a block away and then creep up each time a car bails 'till we have the kind spot. we're at the khyber pass, the scene of tons of my phily gigs. they were just recently shut down cuz of all the inspections in the wake of that club fire in rhode island where great white played where almost a hundred people were killed. in order to re-open, they had to cut the stage smaller and put a corridor next to it so people could get out the door there if needed. I chimp diary - almost caught up now w/the stooges part - w/my shirt off cuz of the sweatyness. boss brian says the burning brides are in town (this is their hometown, actually) and want me to sing "tv eye" at their gig, which is a couple hours before mine. ok, I'll do that. I get a phily cheesesteak sandwich and then we do a quick soundcheck w/soundman darren. a cat from the watt list named kirby pedals by on his bike and gives me a cecil taylor and john coltrane cd - thank you, kirby. another cat from the list, cj, flows me some "holy shit" hot sauce - thank you, too! in the boat, I konk and do so hard.
brian's assistant ben wakes me up to get me in a cab to the electric factory, where the brides are playing. they're glad to see me and look who's their tour manager: iggy's son, eric! what a trip! he looks so much like him but taller. I tell him what an honor is was for me to play w/his pop and the asheton brothers last week - the brides want to hear all about it so I tell them as much as I can before they have to go on. dimitri is really stoked. they do their set - man, are they looking a little tired - drummer jason said they did around three hundred shows this year, whew! the have me on for that last song and I can tell the kids here (the brides are opening for a kentucky band called my morning jacket) are wondering, "who the fuck is this not-so-young guy in the flannel?" they're all very nice to me but I feel so weirded out that I go right from the stage to out the door and back to the boat in front of the khyber. that was very nice of everyone but I feel like an idiot. in front of my friends and iggy's boy too. I guess I did ok but aaaaarrrrrgggggghhhhhh, I'm so self-conscious about so much shit. in fact, I have kind of a lame time in the boat here before the gig. I can't konk cuz my mind's all revved and weirded out. I wrote an intense email this morning and I know I got all jumbled up in my thinking and blathered on like a lunatic. I got a postcard earlier and tried to explain myself but that was probably futile. here I am, in the town john coltrane spent a lot of his years and I want to reflect love somehow like he could w/his expression. aahh, I get so intimidated about playing sometimes and find myself in such a state - I wish I could find just the right amount of words and fuck, the right ones too to get what I want out, out - just like w/my playing. it winds me up so, I find myself wet w/frustrated tears, in a very much stressed-out state. I'm all about stress, I sometimes find myself deciding. calmness seems like a myth I can never live, seems I'm always on some kind of crazy wheel. this what's running through my head as I'm taking the stage tonight.
I heard some of the openers, an albatross and jai lai savant (both from here), through the boat. they're both good from what I hear. I hear a lot of disco mixed w/them to cuz of the pad next door called "glam" though I can't see what's so glam about it. I thought t-rex was glam or new york dolls? none of the people goin in there look like that, more like wannabe nyc or hollywood w/all this black and a doorman deciding on who's dressed up to code. weird. I grab the sling sack and man, is it hard getting around jer's drums - things are pretty tight on stage. the pad is packed and the folks have a good energy. however, I screw up a lot of the early songs, especially the fifth one bad - so many wrong notes. my head isn't screwed on straight and I'm thinking of some of that crisis I was having in the boat earlier. it's hard for my guys too when their jeffe is off his rocker but they do the best they can and it's good. I do get better. I know a by-product of self-loathing can be a poisonous bitterness so I brace myself hard against that and tap into the good feelings coming these folks. whoa, what's this on the deck? two books from howard wuelfing - one pamphlet on arcana and the other nick tosche's "in the hand of dante" - great and thank you, howard. he's always learning me interesting things. the monitor situation is pretty much total toy, especially w/when a compressor is set to stomp on my voice w/a brutal boot so I ask darren to please lighten up w/that, which he does to make things a little better. there's a cat in a "what makes a man start fires?" t-shirt just starborad in front of me and he yells out "bass" consistently during key points throughout the set. it makes me laugh and forget the awkwardness I had at the beginning of the set. in fact, all these phily folks have a great vibe and it's very infectious on me, it turns my mood much around and helps me play w/a minimum of clams and ups the vigor. thank you, kind people. after the encores (where jer has the brides' jason double up on drums w/him for "little doll"), much slinging and talking w/folks. one lady thanks me for playing a weekend (I wish every gig could be one but there's only fiftytwo a year) and for saying something about miss elizabeth dying and women not having to get hurt just cuz they might be smaller. that's how I truly feel. I didn't really consciously think of making any kind of statement but gigs can put me in such a state. the guy w/the minutemen shirt talks w/me and of course he plays bass - alright! there's a few guys who want to talk to me about bass - that's good, it's wild. there's a cat from a grass roots radio station here too, derek from radio volta (http://www.radiovolta.org), who's been re-broadcasting my radio shows in here in phily. thank you! timmy saw the show again too after last night so a thank you his way also.
we load out the gear and my friend rachel wants to see what the boat's like so I let her sit in the passenger seat. I teach her how to unscroll so she can see the back bench area. it's all kind of a mindblow for her cuz she follows along w/the tour diaries but now a physical presence sets things different in her mind about it. she says I look a little weak. well, I do but I'm feeling stronger than the richmond gig, where I first came back from cali. I hate to scare people like that but I am watching out so close and am trying to be as healthy as possible. it's very nice to know people care and I wouldn't want to disappoint them. a little more spiel and then we have to say bye (my guys have climbed in the back and of course we all have to enlighten rachel to magic of the piss bottle as we show here two full ones from the deck) and we get the brides' dimitri and his buddy aboard for the the ride to his pad and where we're konking.
this was a sort of "homecoming" gig for the brides so all these folks are here but dimitri takes me upstairs to a couch. him and his room mate talk early kiss w/me. kiss, the band - I saw them a bunch, a few gigs before they had an album even and only one where they headlined - I saw very early kiss, mostly for gigs in long beach where they'd open up for anyone. dimitri's room mate has the paul stanley voice down and accents every story I have for them. dimitri accents w/air guitar. w/me ten or whatever years older, I can definitely tell these guys were kiss army w/the lunch pails and everything - I'm telling them about a time all before that, when the kiss sign was made of light bulbs. good to see them so lit up like bulbs about this stuff. I am way tired though and the konk mask must come down. my friendly hosts take the hint. konk consumes me.
saturday, may 3 - brooklyn, ny
popped on the deck at mel and dimitri's- dry in the mouth, flossed out brain (but in a good mood). watt was just finishing the chimp on the puter' so we had get moving so I did a quick wash up, grabbed a banana out of the kitchen, and piled all my stuff into the boat and we were off. Mel and dimitri had already taken off as they were still on tour and only in town for the night- I felt bad that I didn't have a chance to say goodbye to them, they are very down peeps and a very good band on top of that. much respect to them for having us.
we had a time getting out of philly as they had a bunch of streets closed off due to some marathon that was being run, but jer was at the helm and the chief was navigating from the back (the ti book's battery had run dry), so we expertly took side streets until we made it to the interstate. the drive wasn't bad at all (only about an hour and a half), and we were on the williamsburg bridge going into brooklyn in no time. we pulled up in front of the pad (the north six) and sat to wait for the boss to show up. me and jer were a little hungry so we hoofed it down the street in search of some chow. the part of brooklyn that we were in has a large polish and hungarian population so the area has many local mom and pop food places. we found an italian pad and strapped on the feedbag- the chow was very kind(I had a sausage and pepper sangwich), and we chowed down. after our feast we walked around soaking up the local color; in new york there's always so much shit going on at the same time and people are always walking and milling about (as opposed to cali where everyone is in their car w/ their cells permanently planted in their ears), I don't know how to describe it other than that the city feels - cliche term maybe, but that's exactly the vibe I get. we get back to the club; watt is chimping diary and the club hasn't opened yet, so we sit tight in the boat, I smoke and we wait for somebody to show. a young woman finally comes out of the club and introduces herself, her name is debbie and she's one of the bosses (and the sister of another one of the bosses, jeff). she pops the hatch on the pad and lets us load our gear in- me and jer are both a little tired and we decide to wait for the soundman before we set up. The soundman, noel shows up (he did sound on the mascis tours and knows watt), and we set up the gear and get it all miked up. we run thru "the red and the black" and "genius or lunatic"; the sound on the stage is very agreeable to me (no small wonder since noel is an old pro), and we break down and strike the gear. we head on up to the office and rap w/ debbie for awhile and I answer my email and read some of the diaries on the hootpage. hunger pangs began to plague jer , so I quickly clean up and we're off on another chow search; debbie had recommended a thai place down the street called "sea", so we found the pad and went in. the place was packed w/ very pretty "in" people all decked out in black, not a tattoo in sight- all on display, very very bouge (not my kind of scene at all). not wanting to jump the gun on forming any opinions yet (tho' the disgust level was getting high), we decide to stick it out and wait for a seat. the lady in front hands jer a ticket and we go to the bar to get a drink while we're waiting. after being completely ignored by the bartender for fifteen minutes, we decide to try our luck at the back bar. yeah right, we stand back there leaning over the bar and there's not even an acknowledgement of our existence, no eye contact, nothing (we were dead fucking meat to them). feeling my already very small modicum of patience start to slip away, I suggest to jer that maybe we should go to the front bar again so as not to miss them calling our number and ending up in table limbo for the rest of the night. we move towards the front again (w/ a great number of cold, hipster stares foaming up in our wake), and jer once again leans up to the bar and tries to get us a couple of drinks. I hear the lady in front calling out number nineteen (we are fifteen), and I point this out to jer ( I guess the hipster pecking order is empirical). I turn around to look and there's a young woman next to him that leans away from him in such disgust (as if the mere sight of him was soiling her precious vision). meanwhile, the bartender is directly in front of jer and despite taking orders from everyone within twenty feet of us, we are still regarded w/ leper-like non-chalance. Feeling my blood pressure rise and not wanting to introduce these fine people to some real pedro style tude' , I tell jer (in a loud enough voice so everyone could enjoy), "fuck these jive-ass motherfuckers and fuck this place, let's get out of here". jer agrees and places our useless ticket under a glass on top of the bar. I leave a penny next to it (for the wonderful service), and we head out to find a "less cool" pad. we walk a little farther down the street and find a real nice peruvian pad, tacu-tacu, where they seat us immediately and treat us like human beings (and the chow was excellent).
we head on back to the northsix and rap w/ mary prankster for awhile; it's her second show w/ us and I know the crowd will really dig on her. her mom is croatian, maiden name is filipovich just like the first drummer in my wedding band. I tell her about lil the kill and her great vocal talents and also give her my email and land line number; I'd be honored to play on any tracks w/ her, she's a really intense and talented performer.
mary goes to start her set and has the crowd spellbound soon enough- you could hear a pin drop in the place while she was singing. me and jer go down stairs to the band room to kick it for awhile and the cats from the second band (the fiery furnaces) come down and we rap w/ them for awhile; they are very nice cats and we give them some of our drink tickets as we have many to spare. they go upstairs to do their set and jer follows to go listen- I stay downstairs to get a little pre-gig conk and I drift away to the rumbling of the furnaces.
I am snapped out of my slumber by a slightly peeved jer who tells me that I should've gone to wake up the chief and had my shit set up already; I snap to it and run outside to wake watt, then head back into the club- I go upstairs to the office to retrieve the ti book but the door is locked so I head back down only to find that the door to the stage had locked behind me. Shit!!- I run back down to the band room and navigate my way thru the labyrinthian passageways that run up to the stage, and out of breath I finally get to the stage where jer and noel are waiting for me (jer is visibly irritated). I explain my dilemna and jer absorbs this- thank god that watt hadn't showed up yet. I quickly set up the rig and go to the side of the stage where we wait for watt to arrive. the chief finally shows, plugs in the baby bass and we are off. The set is very intense and I sweat up a storm, my eyes are burning like a motherfucker and I desperately try to rub the salt out of my eyes. The crowd is majorly digging on it and really show their love; the only bogart happens towards the end of the set when we are plagued by a low-mid hum out of the monitors; noel, much to his credit, quickly solves this problem and we finish up the set to much applause. we come back up to do the encore and we do "funhouse", and "sister ray" and the crowd goes wild. we finish up to much applause and I am very happy about the gig. we are going to leave the gear in the club for the nite, so me and jer quickly break it down and commence the saucing. we rap w/ a real nice cat named conner who plays in a band (the band actually came to the show), and was inspired by our performance. It made me feel good to hear this as it is most gratifying to me when I can inspire someone to do their own thing by doing my thing. we rap w/ conner and his bros' for awhile, then I head upstairs to retrieve the ti book. Jeff, the boss is up there and we rap for awhile (we are staying at his pad tonite), jer shows up followed by watt and we read some emails and rag on each other until it's time to go. The northsix is totally my favorite pad to play in new york.
we get outside and grab our bags out of the boat, debbie hails a car and we all hop in - the driver says there's too many of us but deb throws a little sugar on the cookie and gets us all in. we're at jeff's pad within a few minutes and we proceed to unroll the bags, watt takes the couch which is a little short for him, while deb and amy (jeff's lady) blow some air mattresses up for us. I am feeling iffy about laying on the mattresses as after a gig my back is twisted up and I prefer to conk directly on the deck. I relent, however and lay out my bag on the mattress. Deb, seeing that watt is struggling on the small couch, offers him up the couch at her pad and he quickly agrees and follows her back to her pad. me, jer and amy chow up on some leftovers and play w/ her pooch, mister, a very rambunctious and cute little cocker spaniel. we rap for a little while longer after the meal but the sandman soon cometh and we crawl into the bags and conk.....hard. buona notte musicanti.
this tour my mask has been getting thrown off my head while I'm konked, I must be thrashing around like a crazy man in my sleep. I couldn't find the mask I regularly use - a bonus deluxe one from jimbo w/velcro and eveything and instead used a back-up (I try to always carry two) from tasha that is done up all fancy, like she puts it, "madonna crossed w/liberace." maskless, I am quite vulnerable to popping to first light, which I kind of do but drift into a semi-awake state (which is unusual - when I pop, I'm usually popped for good) and then one of the cat's or something startles me big time - I thought I was going to have a heart attack and even let out a little holler. didn't mean too. I go to hose off and shake loose those scary feelings. oh boy. warm water is good for that, nothing like it beating down on your head, trying to beat sense into it. dimitri's up - they have a gig in boston and have to leave soon. he makes me coffee. he's still excited about me being a stooge and talks to me much about that. their road manager eric (iggy's son) comes and relates a funny story when he was tour managing his pop. it was a skoal tour (skoal's a chewing tobacco company that was sponsoring the tour) and at this gig in cleveland, there weren't enough people at this huge venue to catch iggy when he jumped so he dislocated his arm. the doctors put it in a sling but part way through the next gig, he took it off and duct-tapped his arm to the side of his body. that's dedication! eric shows me a picture of his brand new little baby girl, only a couple of weeks old. iggy's a grandpa!
the brides shove off and we're almost set to do the same. I put jer on the wheel and run the map stuff from the back. what a plug in phily, there's a marathon going on so I guide us through the old part of town towards the freeway. to think of these streets being some three hundred years old, whoa. to think of the tour vehicles of those days - double whoa! we get on I-95 north but just for a bit cuz I want us to take the betsy ross bridge over the delaware river into new jersey. the I-95 gets into such a mess at trenton, I'd rather jump on the new jersey turnpike here between fellowship and ramblewood. the weather's dryer than yesterday and there's less haze. we get to the lincoln tunnel at like one and the traffic's not too bad - it's a saturday too. one thing I have to tell jer about is the horn. I think it should be used only for danger but it's gotta be used when things get hairy - no one hears you cussing to yourself inside your own boat. this idiot bogarts a lane w/us and use of the horn is definitely called for. I hate the honky honky shit some fuckheads get going w/their horn but pedaling many, many miles w/only a little bell for denese has taught me sounds can help head off nightmares. jer does mostly good though and we're in mid-town heading for manny's cuz I definitely need a compressor for my amp setup. I'm just too much a thug on the little bass' strings and have to do something to guard the speakers.
in manny's I find a dbx 166xl stereo compressor/limiter/gate and I'll be able to use this in my little studio so it would be out to pasture when I get my eden navigator preamp fixed. I got an email for the eden rep that said david eden himself is going to bring it to the minneapolis gig. funny for him to see how his designs get worked in crazy man's hands. in the meantime though, this compressor will help me out, teamed up w/kira's preamp. from manny's, it east to the river to pick up the fdr expressway south to the williamsburg bridge and over into brooklyn. this is my second time over here since the old days where I played this part of new york once w/the minutemen. it's the same pad as last year, the northsix we pull up aroud three. jer takes pete immediately on a mission to get their faces stuffed.
I linger and check out the neighborhood, right near the east river. there's hungarian deli I ate at last time and I get a little salami sandwich there. the weather is so much like pedro right now. it's dry w/a small breeze and the sun's coming down kind of orange to make righteous contrast on everything - the river's blue seems deeper, the sky's blue just the opposite. the red of the bricks look just baked. there's trippy smells kind of like my town too but different - there's 'pert-near no green out here but lots of cement. the buildings have been pretty beat up but you can tell there's a renvation thing going on throughout. lots of bohemia type younger adults walking about too. I wonder how many are from smaller towns, come to this big town? I wonder what it would be like to move fom town to town, searching for the right one? I have always had my pedro town since I was a boy. maybe touring gets that out of my system.
being here sure puts a lot in my head to think about. people tell me about them driving through pedro on a trip out to cali and somehow they thought of me, thought of d. boon and how we'd walk the streets they were now hoofing or rolling on. the same happens w/me, I think of those who's town it is and I'm but the visitior, the out-of-towner, the out-of-lifer. to exist outside the physicalness, to be a enitity 'pert-near much only in chimped-in spiel, then to share the same sidewalk under your/my feet, the same air, the same angle of the sun coming down on us. parallel in almost the same universe. all my sensations are skewed w/this thinking and I walk really slow to try and take it all in, to cipher the code of my emotions - they get so hard to read in these cases, like I'm almost overwhelmed by them. the closeness but missed connections put all kinds of feelings in me, something I find no where else on tour. it's a confusion that makes me uneasy and feeling very emotional. this little store has some cherry soda drink called "feel happy" and I cannot resist. I try to find focus by chimping diary in the boat.
debbie at the club lets us in at five. seems they were in the building all the time, upstairs in an office but didn't know I was out here in the boat. damn, I was to eat chow w/david rees and his wife but that's gonna be tough now. david does that strip, "get your war on!" and I'm a huge fan of his. I read somewhere that he was inspired to do the strip by d. boon, he said when all the war stuff was coming on here in the u.s. he thought, "what would d. boon do." I wrote the email address on his web site thanking him and he wrote back. that made me very happy. it made me very happy he thought of d. boon and was inspired to be expressive w/art. I think that was always a big part of the minutemen's mission, to try to inspire people in their own artistic endeavors. d. boon was way into that and I'm stiil trying to do the same thing in these days w/my music/spiel, to uplift people that way. I call david and tell him of the circumstances and say I want to chow w/him tomorrow around noon. I can't wait.
the usual soundman is out on tour w/jason lowenstein (along w/northsix bob on drums) so my old friend noel ford (he did sound for the last legs of the j mascis + the fog tours I was on) is twisting the knobs. so great to see noel again! I hook up the dbx compressor and it sounds great. we soundcheck w/noel and I meet ryan, the drummer for the opening band, the fiery furnaces (mary prankster, the lady from baltimore, is also on the bill). he wants to know all about the stooges reunion gig. wow, everybody's heard about this now! in fact, his buddy was the cat who ended up mixing our set! what a small world. it was supposed to be the chili pepper guy but some screw up had people just standing around the board 'till we were just about to go on when ryan's friend (wish I could remember his name cuz I did meet him right after the set) was asked to jump on at the last moment. what a trip. things like that happen. whoa, look who's here - wasco, from cleveland! damn, great to see him and I get a flash of energy but soon I'm feeling a little weak, maybe I need some chow. I'm sensing a little weird period up in the head. do you think chow can fix that too?
there's a fish pad nearby and I have some scrod steamed over rice w/cabbage. I bring it by the river and chow it there. the sun's bouncing right off the water and filling my eyes w/mesmerizing notions, half-thoughts that I don't pursue but let ferment in this strange rarefied stat of mind I'm in. they start off as a memory, twist into an insight and then linger there as a sentiment, almost in a kind of baby-talk sense. it's hard for me to imagine experiencing any of this except in this alone state w/mothfuls of fish by the river in this town. it is a singular set of circumstances and my mind reels from it. it's warm enough still for me to have this flannel on, though it's getting thinner and thinner cuz of all the wear - it's one of my favorites, one I got in manhattan (across the river) at a salvation army. I wear it at gigs where I need I feel real specialness. this is one tonight. I want to do good, I want to do the best I can w/my guys up to this point. I am determined and inspired. I have made sacrifices even though that might seem crazy to most but I'm not that strong in lots of ways and wanted to put myself in a place where I wouldn't be selfish, wouldn't be so much an idiot or a goof. well, I'll always be goofy but I want to be as good as I can w/this secondmen music on my tour stop here. I would like to do that every night and very much try to but this gig had been pulling on me so I want to do it up right. I eat all the fish and cabbage but not all the rice cuz but this time its too salty w/tears.
I go to the boat and konk hard, almost four hours - sorry to miss the openers (is this sounding familiar? I am truly sorry though but watt's got only so many watts of power in his battery). I guess my mind was weary w/all the wrestling it had going w/itself. I pop determined not to choke w/this gig. the little bass is inside so I grab the sling sacks (for some reason I have two tonight) and head inside. a good crowd here as I shake the konk from my head and roll up my flannel's sleeves. john coltrane's "love supreme" filling the brooklyn air inside of here. I really get inspired starting up my gigs after hearing him, what an effect he has on me. there are people like that w/me in this life, whether they're here to share w/me in person or not - their presence is indelible on me, becomes 'pert-near part of my very fabric. john coltrane, you're so generous w/your spirit, letting it fly out your horn like that. I whisper a prayer to myself, one for those who's physicalness is absent yet have forever made a place in my heart that can't be purged. neither can it be made numb w/scar tissue. it resonates in its true voice w/every beat of that silly bass wrestler's heart, it sounds the deepest tone he can fathom and shakes him from within throughout. I take my biggest gulp of air ever, like I was to take my furthest plunge - like the time when I was saved from the sickness and just let go of everything and fell into free fall. I wanted no distance from my feelings then and though it hurts much now, I still want to somehow be w/out that distance - not physical but emotional. to be emotionally free would mean such a big part of me withering - it's too hard to imagine. what I can imagine is refining it so it makes more sense in this world w/this watt of a being. all this is bundled up in my playing tonight, even going through these first five tunes which are part of the illness piece. god, to relive that shit again (and this music does just that to me) is worth it to gain the courage I needed to voice what was in my heart. even w/all that hurt and all the hurts to come, I have no regrets. things maybe happen for a reason... pete and jer work their machines good w/mine and we bind our expressions tight within the tunes. you could not find a more grateful bassist to be lucky to be w/them. I blow some little clams, not many and none of them like the first part of last night's set. I am determined, even w/teary eyes. oh watt, you emotional wreck - use that to fuel a fire your men can leap over and laugh, infecting you w/good nature - release/joy/abandon. my little becomes one w/me, my first and only tattoo. she plays me, I am helpless to her power. trying to shake so much into her - she shakes back and is strong... up how many flights of stairs, watt? you are helpless, yet you are cradled - cradle her back cuz this is not violence, this is love. I think of d. boon and say things about him on the mic. "what would d. boon do?" first off, he'd paly his fucking heart out, that's for sure. I think about raymond and speak about him and the wise words he's passed on to me. these are not paragraphs - I came here for me and the secondmen to play, not have the bass cat windbag. this is an emotional gig for me - "get you war on!" I say in "sister ray." this is irony but when I mouth the special name, I let the little bass speak it for me. this is dear to me, this makes sense. I play some of the most intense solos in this tune that I've played all tour, I am quite inspired. I shake my brains out for "liitle doll" and that feels right too. damn, does my brain need a good shaking out, this body bag and it's bones too - need to be shook silly.
it's hard for me to pat myself on the back about a gig but this one was ok, especially w/what was going on inside me today. I'm very proud of my guys. noel too - how many times have I told the soundman that we're just the motor and he's the transmission? there was a problem w/a low midrange thing but he got that out. much respect to you, noel and great to see you again - what a great surprise. good words w/the folks while I sling, such nice people. whoa - david rees is here and I'm very honored to meet him. we'll chow and spiel tomorrow. tina, who I haven't seen in a long time, is here and gives me a dinosaur fossil. she tells me about her brother climbing mount everest right now, damn. I talk to a man who lost his pop last year and the opera helped him w/that. last night in phily there was a cat who lost a friend to a suicide and there was some music I did that he said helped him too. god, has stuff like mister coltrane's helped me like this in the same way so maybe it's a chain. same w/raymond's art.
we're leaving our stuff here at the pad - bossman jeff is kind enough to let us do that and let us konk at his pad. good, good people here at the northsix. we're even leaving the boat and jeff's wife calls a car service to take us home. when we get there, the couch is a little short so debbie, who helped us all night at the gig, offers her couch next door for me. it's way long enough and I konk swift and easy. this night took a lot out of me and left me reeling. time to exhale now and shuffle off to sleepytown.
sunday, may 4 - manhattan, ny
I was awoken by a very dilligent and wet tongue in my ear; it was amy and jeff's pooch mister, and upon seeing that my eyes were open he ran away. I had had a rough nite(I really should of conked on the deck), my back was hurting and I had been plagued by several home issues- all this shit had been mulling in my mind all nite and these things along w/ the low rumblings of the subway passing underneath the house contributed to me waking up very pissed off; I was laying out in my bag thinking very angry thoughts when mister takes a running jump across the room and lands right smack on my balls- I suck in air and let out a tremendous snarl, grab my gut and the pain soon passes. mister, oblivious to the damage he has rendered skips happily along thru the house. I lay on my side and the angry thoughts start to well up again- deb comes in and says good morning which I greet w/ a five pound ball peen hammer scowl and she backs off sensing that something is amiss (I felt really really bad about this and I apologize to her later- she had no way of knowing she was walking thru a den of scorpions). jer attempts to say something to me and I mow over him w/ some cruel comment ( I get in the most fiercest, blackest moods ever sometimes). I walk outside to smoke a cigarette and to calm down somewhat; I'm being unnecessarily mean to people I care about and I desperately want this shit to pass- it really drains me and makes me feel even more sad. the outside air seems to do me good and I rap w/ jer for awhile- he brings me down and we decide to go out for breakfast w/ debbie and amy. we walk down to this little greek pad down the street (the garden grill) and order up: I'm beginning to feel a little better and the atmosphere is making me feel more homey. we eat and rap w/ deb and amy, then head back to amy's pad. deb calls a cab and we all pile in to go back to the northsix -watt had a breakfast date w/ the cat that does that comic "get your war on!" - and would meet us there later. me and jer pile all the gear into the boat and wait for watt to show up. deb makes us some sauce and we all go up to the roof to hang and check out the skyline. watt calls jer on the cell and tells us to just drive on and he'll meet us at the pad in manhattan. we say our goodbyes to debbie and pile in to the boat and make our way towards the williamsburg bridge in to manhattan. The drive is not a long one, and in no time we are in front of the pad (the mercury lounge), looking for a suitable place to dock the boat. we cruise around looking for a spot and after a few loops we find one a couple of blocks dowm from the club. we dock the boat and I feed the parking meter and get into the boat and start the chimp cycle. jer gets in the back and conks while I'm doing the chimp. around 5:10, jer gets a call on the cell- it's watt and he wants to know where the fuck we are. we scramble and do a few loops as some of the streets are closed off due to some faire that's going on. fifteen minutes later we pull up in front of the club and start loading out the gear; we get in real quick- the opening band had gotten there early and were already doing their check'- we waited for them to finish and we set up the tools on stage and miked everything up- the soundman, mark, was a real cool cat and got us going quickly. The mercury lounge has totally killer sound and everything sounded very good(you could hear every nuance in the monitors; to add to the niceness, mark used an EV RE-20 for the bottom rotor on the leslie- my personal fave. we finished up the check and met up w/ an old bro of jer's from pedro, matt chamberlain; he had just finished up a tour w/ tori amos doing the bam-bam and was in ny for a recording session. we found a little thai place and did a major chowdown- the food was really kind. we hoofed it back to the club and I happened to find an old panavise that somebody had thrown out that was in good condition (good score). matt had some shit to take care of and had to bid us goodbye, but he assured us that he would be back for the show. matt is a really nice cat and I got into rapping w/ him much.
we got back to the club and I went downstairs to the band room to get some chimp time in, while jer kicked back; some of the cats from one of the opening bands (holy ghost), came down and we rapped- really nice peeps and they had a twisted sense of humor just like the secondmen. everybody went upstairs to listen to the first band, I stayed in the pit to chimp and get in some conk.
I conked a little, then went to check out the last of the holy ghosts' set. good shit and cool grooves- very tight band. we went up to do our set and chain-sawed right thru it, the crowd very much dug it. I blew some majorly stupid clams which bummed me out, but I also laid down some real tasty shit too, which got me over the blueness. I had mixed feelings about the gig, but several people who had seen the previous nite's show had commented to me that this one had been better, so go figyah.... we broke down the gear and loaded it into the boat and a friend of watt's, tina, navigated us back to her pad in manhattan, just a couple of blocks from the U.N. building. we parked the boat in a huge parking structure and hoofed it over to tina's pad, which was a few blocks away. watt conked almost immediately, but me and jer were hungry , so we did a late nite chow scope. we found a pad - appropriately called "diner" and went in and munched it up. it was very welcome , but I think I overdid it a little. we walked back to tina's pad, stopping at a little irish pub along the way for a night-cap, then braved the windy weather (we were only wearing t-shirts), until we made it back. once inside tina's warm apartment, we climbed into the bags and were out before you could say...conk. in vino veritas...
pop and whoa, there's someone here in the chair next to me, curled and konked. hope I didn't bogart a couch that was supposed to be for someone else. I go hose off and notice again how tiny pads are in this part of the country for such high rent, even in brooklyn. debbie's got a room mate too and you could fit this entire place in the living room of my apartment. whoa cuz it's not like I'm living in a giant pad in pedro! usually, I'm washing my hair w/bar soap but there's a bottle of kiwi shampoo or something so what the hell, I use that. I'll have a head full of kiwi or at least kiwi smelling. they are trippy things to chow but I can dig them. I chimp diary 'till debbie wakes and goes to get coff - it appears I wasn't bogarting the couch cuz this was her room mate's friend that just dropped in. that makes me feel better.
debbie gets calls for car service so I can visit david rees and his wife sarah in the park slope part of brooklyn. the ride takes almost an hour! the driver was going through all these little streets - brooklyn is no manhattan. fifteen bucks too, damn! worth it though to meet this artist in his world. his pad reminds me of kim and thurston's old one that was on elridge, a long hallway of a space w/a window on each end. it's very nice though, even w/the narrow beam - sort of like a submarine. I like how folks improvise to make these pads happen around here. david has this comic strip serial called "get your war on!" that he started after those september eleventh attacks, when he was a "fact checker" for one of thos newer "men's magazines." he said he got it going in response to that experience in a way and also that he was inspired by d. boon. I had read that in an interview in the l.a. weekly and went to his site which had an email address and wrote him, thanking him about that. I love the idea that d. boon is still alive in people's minds. he wrote me back and hence the invite and why I'm at their pad now. I'm nervous so I start spieling about myself right away, trying to explain why I am like I am. they both saw me last night at the northsix gig. sarah makes us pacakes, eggs, spinach and slices of bread which I make into little righteously tasting sandwiches. she also brings over a big pot of coffee and I use this to fuel an enormous spiel-a-thon. I'm feeling pretty awkward and clumsy w/my words though they both are very comfortable to be w/and very interesting. besides my history, I discuss my ideas about art and culture from where I am and what I think it can help. david has a very insightful mind and his thoughts provoke my mind to think much. I think d. boon would been very proud that david associates his work w/him cuz lots of his ideas jibe very much. I wish I could find shortcuts w/my spiels cuz I have such a long-winded way of putting things and it's embarrassing. they are very, very gracious though and extend me much liberty w/their patience. in a way, I'm hoping that the parts of d. boon that rubbed off him and got to be part of me somehow might show themselves through all the watt drivel. I have watt ideas too but they always seem to me twisted up and crazy-tangled. these are such nice people though and it seems the three or more hours I'm there just fly by. I ask them about living in this part of the country. they're thinking of moving to lawrence, ks. whoa, sunflower state. such an exciting part of the country, this new york area w/all the energy artistic people bring here from everywhere else but to live a whole life in it would be a little hard for me so I can relate to their thoughts on this. in the meantime though, they're here and have things going. david's got a band called the skeleton killers and another volume of his strip coming out in book form. he even did a tour for the last one a little while back and can relate a little to the "sailing life" I lead. sarah's a social worker and says she likes some of my art ideas and wants to bring them to the kids she's gonna be working w/in her next foray w/that. they both make me laugh a little by saying they enjoy someone who's a little bit older doing what I'm doing. I guess I'm a little too close to see how I must appear, sometimes I've got it in my head I'm almost the same twenty-something watt... I would have to say it's very much in the head though cuz my body doesn't tell me that in the least - hell, sometimes it's telling me I'm well over a hundred! it's very endearing to being told you're doing an alright job of getting less young. I think what's kind of trippy for folks is the way I preform and looking the way I do. I explain that cuz of my experience w/d. boon getting killed so young that I try to play each gig like it might be my last cuz well, it might just be. d. boon always went all-out when he played and that inspires me so much. I'm so glad I got the chance to come here, it was very, very special for me. I wish I could find the right words to write here to really convey what's inside of me cuz of this. I feel like part of something rather than the spaceman feeling I get from most situations I'm in. thank you so much, david and sarah.
david walks me to the train station so I can take the 'f' one to manhattan. it goes almost right to where I need to be which is the mercury lounge on houston. the fares just increased to two bucks but it's still way more econo compared w/that car service shit. also, it's way faster. I'm in line to get a token - whoa, what's this? no more tokens. man, all that coffee is really working on me now so I jump out of line and head down the road for somewhere to piss. stupid fucking watt - in this town, one must always plan ahead one's head calls cuz it's way fucked-up for public access to these things. well, I find some bar that I just bumrush right into the head - no bartender so no challenge but fuck if I haven't already soiled some - time to wear my flannel tucked out. I sit as alone as I can on the train. much of the ride is underground like on manhattan and it's trippy seeing brooklyn through the windows, all elevated like we are. the weather is so righteous, like back in pedro but even clearer w/the air so all the colors are real vivid. the train goes under the east river so we're submerged for the last part and I'm soon at the club. where's pete and jer? I quick call finds jer konked in the boat w/pete! I ask them to please get the boat over here so we can soundcheck. they're only a few blocks away - they couldn't get closer cuz of sunday closure of lots of streets around here. they bring the boat around and I can finally change outfits, whew. we unload the stuff and I find parking luckily close on essex. while my guys are setting up (my stuff goes up quick cuz of not that much involved - two speaker boxes and an amp), I go a block away to katz's deli and get a chopped liver sandwich. man, is there a crowd in there! good chow though, really - one of a kind. I rejoin my guys and a quick soundcheck w/soundman mark (a great cat) and then I can wail on my chow in the sanctity of the boat. I chimp diary next 'til tiredness leans on me. this corner here by the van haunts me a little, houston and essex - the southeast one. I was gonna take a picture like last year of it but it spooks me much, puts shakes on me even - like I've seen a ghost. I think I wrote about this last tour, this thing w/ghosts here. ideas I get in my own my mind, not objective, matter of fact and concrete touchables but resonances of spirit yet very forceful on me. trippy too how it seems to ferment w/time and not fade. I am prone to not even try and exorcise but rather nurture and protect these sensations. like the old television song goes:
this was sad
thought it mad
scratch the surface...
in the boat here, I'm w/these thoughts. curtain down, on the bench in the back, aft of the two front seats and fore of the equipment bay. it's a chamber, a sanctum. there's lots of noise on the street - some bar across the street is kind of an open-air thing and all kind of lunatics are going off and hollering, running in the street and such. I've got my mask on, in the dark and I "wake up dreaming," watt w/a super-sensitive ability to feel by touch leftovers of spirit and aura. all over the corner here, I paw around. I sense many dilemmas. I see in the dream, myself paralyzed as this most unique and enchanting tree of a whole forrest full, slowly does a "timber!" and I'm powerless to catch her. I'm then somehow brought to face myself and see the deepest regret life has handed me, carved deep into tissues of brain, memories of mind. no words can abstract this - it is substantial - not a guess, not a whim. sure, here is where I presented myself, offered the book but the scales tip towards justice, not wishful thinking. again, I think of what my pop said, "you can wish in one hand and shit in the other and then tell me which one fills up first." my pop was not sentimental when it came to telling it like it is. he'd say, "boy, how long are we both gonna have to wait 'till you're done contemplating your navel?"
pete pops the hatch and shakes me out of this crazy dream world. whoa, that was sure screwy... in the womb of the boat there, how many notions get birthed? maybe tour upon tour has made it fertile ground for a fragile psyche to breed wild like that, I don't know. I do know it's time to do what I'm here to get done in the first place: make the gig happen. I hid the little bass up on the stage so all I need is the sling sack but I'm taking the 'puter too cuz I'm paranoid. that crazy dream put me in sweat.
I missed the two openers, local bands called the holy ghost and the solar return. we start the gig ok but things are a little clunky as we move through the new ones. this happens, a tour has hills and valleys. this pad is a great place to play, excellent monitors, great sound from mark and much respect from the audience folks. they got the bar separated by doors too so there's no yammering from that end. I love this room. the direct box falls off of my amp and out in the middle of "piss bags and tubing" and we have to pick it up again when I get things back together. I've noticed that gigs can be kind of tough after a spiel where I've talked about myself - I don't exactly know why but maybe it's life's way off helping me trying to get over myself - I did spiel much w/david and sarah regarding yours truly. it's not just me though, my guys are having it a little rough too. it's not a terrible gig though, not really. maybe it's just cuz I felt glad about overcoming what I thought was going to be so much of myself in the way last night and turning that gig around that this one seems a little anti-climatic. the folks though are really, really good people to play for and they deserve all of my respect. thank you so much. we're just about to finish and I spot jimbo in the crowd - jimbo! I haven't seen him since his wedding day and have missed him so much. I dedicate "sister ray" to him (I loving the part at the end where I get to say, "whip it on me, jim" over and over). we get finished and I sling and spiel w/many good folks, much genuine thanks to them all. I'm kind of quick about though cuz I really want to get to jimbo and hug him all up. I'm excited to see him. it's his first time seeing the bass-organ-drum band and the first thing he says to me is, "two things: rick argent ('hold your head high') and lee michaels ('do you know what I mean?')." it's great to see jimbo again. I wrote him an email about me coming but you know about email, I've learned not to expect replies from even those most dear to me in the world - people have to be able to live their lives! however, he just got mine a couple of hours before the gig here. no matter, I'm just so glad to see him.
time to pack up. I settle w/bosslady maggie, who's always a joy to work for, love her. this cat from staten island named john really wants me to play there and I'd love to also seeing I've never have before but have taken the ferry there and back umpteen times. it's the best econo ride in this city - free! fog tour boss eric is here w/both forms I need to sign for that stooges gig last week (he was trying to help run things there) and david scheid, who is now a full-fledged tour boss himself. I met both these cats through working w/j and am so glad they still are in my life, good guys. an old friend, rachelle, is also here - the last time I saw her here in this town, she came to jimbo's old pad on canal so they talk about how things have changed. I'm too busy bringing the boat about and loading it up w/my guys. things have changed though for me in this town, it used to be so much different for me. I wonder if I've changed as much? I have to do what's proper though and don't want to be a nightmare in anyone's life cuz that would be just unbearable for me. tina came to this gig too and has invited us to konk at her pad in the midtown part so we take he in the boat there and find parking in an underground place near the u.n. that somehow can take vans. that's very unusual cuz they normally have pretty low clearances and my boat takes at least seven foot six. man, is the attendant cat here sure kind of weird w/the wordless stare-outs and I'm wondering what's that all about? can't we be a little hospitable w/each other? hard to gauge what some people's trip is, that's for sure. whatever, the boat fits though and we hoof the six or whatever blocks to tina's. when we get there, my guys immediately want to go get food (and probably sauced too) so they bail and after some email check, I'm on the couch w/mask over the eyes. I can't find the bonus jimbo one said it's the madonna/liberace one from tasha again some little blankies tina gives me - the minus twenty bag stays in the sack. funny how people try still have a conversation w/you w/the mask down but I think there's a lot of communicating that involves the eyes so after a bit, she relents and I'm allowed to konk which I do, quick.
monday, may 5 - hoboken, nj
popped on tina's floor; got a really good rest and I was feeling good. went to do a quick wash up and when I came out tina was cooking us up a really kind breakfast (actually she made the toast and bacon while watt did the eggs), which we chowed down while doing our email and morning puter' work. we finished up our duties and packed the bags up and tina walked w/ us the five blocks to the parking garage where we had docked the boat the nite before. watt paid the man (forty bones!), and pulled up the boat. tina gave us a box of chocolates for the trip and we bid her goodbye- and we were off once more. much respect to tina for the good vibes, chow, and chocolate.
we only had a short drive to hoboken but the traffic was rough and it took us about an hour; to top it off there was street maintenance going on, so there was no parking at all. me and jer hopped out of the boat; the pad (maxwells) was still buttoned up, but a cat that works there let us bring the gear in . we loaded the stuff in, then went searching for some coffee- we walked about five blocks and found a little pad, got situated and I did a little chimping while jer made some phone calls. we walked back to the club and some of the peeps were there, so we went in and I continued my chimp as I was a little behind. the soundman, ken showed up after a while and we did a quick check, after which I went back to my chimping. outside, it began to rain and I stared out thru the window at the people scrambling for a dry spot.
jer had conked a little after the check and had just woken up w/ major hunger pangs going, so we ordered up some chow and wailed it down. danny, a cat whose pad we had crashed at last tour showed up and he had brought some stroop waffles (his bro had just come back from amsterdam), which he had turned us on to last tour. He also gave us some cd's of original stuff that he had written w/ his bro ( in fact the name of the project was bro mang). they had a song on there called "watt dream 33", which danny tells me he wrote after having a dream about watt being on a roller coaster w/ him. danny looked real good since the last time we saw him; he'd been working out alot and lost a lot of weight. nice cat that danny (his bro too). I heard mary prankster doing her check and I went to go give her a listen; I like her material alot- she's very compelling as a solo act and I would love to hear her w/ a band. I invited her to come and rap w/ us after her check. me and jer started the sauce regimen and mary showed up and we rapped w/ her for awhile- she gave us some cd's of her material. mary is very cool.
I continued w/ my chimping and mary had to go do her set; I was really sorry I couldn't hear it, but a sailor has his duties. some other cats that we had stayed w/ in jersey last year after the asbury park show showed and gave me a new copy of "weird NJ", a really cool rag about strange and weird places in jersey. They also gave me some snaps of the show. very nice people (I'm sorry I don't remember their names- pete is bad w/ names sometimes-much respect to you). the second band finished up their set and it was time for us to hit it. I was in a real good mood and wanted to play intense for the crowd; the last couple of shows had been a little iffy on my part and I wanted to make up for the clams. the set went very well and I screamed so hard on the last part of "amnesty report" that I got a shooting pain in my groin- we were all on after tthe last couple of shows and the crowd could tell- very nice people. some had even come for all three shows! everyone I spoke w/ after the show agreed that it had been the most intense of all the shows- so intense that I had broken a key on the B3 after "sister ray". I had to switch to the lower manual for "little doll" and I gave the key to a cat in the audience (he had me sign it for him later). I felt really good about the show and was in a very good mood. I bid mary prankster goodbye (it was her last show w/ us) and wished her good luck w/ the rest of her shows. watt slung the merch while me and jer broke down the gear, then we loaded it into the boat quickly as it looked like it might start raining again. we were staying at a friend of watt's- jimbo, and he hopped in the boat w/ us to play navigator. we got to jimbo's (in the most northern part of manhattan), and parked the boat in an overnite garage. we hoofed it up to jimbo's pad , which was a few blocks away and laid out the bags. jimbo let me use his puter' to check my email and jer toasted up an english muffin which he split w/ me. I finished up my mail, and exhausted, climbed into my welcome bag and conked. buona notte musicanti....
pop and go to soak cuz tina told me last night it would be ok to do so. it's a long tub and I can fit ok in it w/out too much knee bend - that's happening. it's a little slow to fill but it's not to cold so I can be patient and just sit in it while the comes up all around me. oh my big knobby knees, how they can achey. whew! at least they don't fall out like when I was in my late teens and early twenties. I have to say that the man who cut on them, doctor mizaguchi (sp? it's been over twenty years), did a good job cuz they've only fallen out twice since the surgeries on both of them ("fallen out" = dislocated) and that last time was twelve or something years ago. what he actually did was re-attach ligaments that hold the knee cap further towards the cap's center so I'd have a tighter pull on them. see, I was born w/them made all funny, a congenital thing from my pop's ma's side of the family (she was danish). I was at a family reunion thing once and saw three of my great uncles (they were all brothers) w/the same kind of knees as me (they were wearing shorts, something I hardly ever do)! I have a huge scar on each knee but that's a small price to pay for having the fear of them going out reduced. I still have to be careful and make sure I don't put them in threatening situations but it's so much better than before. every time they'd go out, I went through pain so extreme you can't even imagine. even to write these words here about it puts big shakes through me. anyway, I splash the tub water on them as the level rises and rub them up good. when I get the tub filled, I lay back and float/soak. this is a 'pert-near sublime moment for me and I feel almost dissolved and bodyless. my mind floats over the tub and its steaming contents, almost like an airship - slow and deliberate. it's been a rough few days for me both upstairs in the imagination and in the chest w/the heart - though not physical but definitely emotional. one more gig in the area and though it's across the river in hoboken (two rivers over from brooklyn), I have ghosts to deal w/there too. sometimes watt finds himself right in the middle of a ghost story, even one that's unaware of it even being written by him. that hot water melts lots of that worry away though and there's a strange peace in my head.
I come out and chimp diary while my guys konk in the next room. again, it's the typical nyc situation w/tiny pads and close quarters but I have to say that tina's done her pad up nice w/lots of art and things of hers to make it personal. it's nice. she wakes up for a bit and makes coffee w/one of those one-cup jobbers which is like a plastic rig that holds a filter full of coffee for the "brewer" to pour the hot water into. she goes to konk while I continue w/my game of catch-up, only one more day and I'll have the whole stooges re-union weekend chimped in. go watt. tina wakes again and shows me some bone fossils she found in france, by a farm house where the caves that have those famous stone age paintings are near. she offers to make us all breakfast if I'll cook they eggs cuz she's allergic to them. sure, I haven't cooked since tour started. she comes back w/the fixings and makes up the bacon. she's got good pans so frying up the eggs is no problem. the smell of the cooking chow wakes pete and jer and they're set to shovel. tina makes us sourdough toast (I asked for that - it's very much cali) and the chow's on. it seems tina is happy to have three sailors aboard and is very animated and chatty w/us, excited. I'm still weak from last week but better, though the mornings are like the nights after the gigs - harder to find energy to respond in kind. she's been really kind to us and we thank her much and head for the lot where the boat is.
up through manhattan's east side of midtown. whoa, here's a flower shop and some righteous little blooms to trip on. mums, carnations, pansies and blue bonnet - lots of others w/names that escape me. tina tries to help. there's a kind w/an incredible scent and I wish I could remember what they're called now - I even needed help to pronounce them right. I wonder if there's a little bit of bee in me cuz I love flowers so, always have. they have a strong pull on me - w/the eyes, w/the nose and even w/the texture of the petals - I love them. I take some snaps w/the digicamera. then back to the other realities of this town: forty dollars for parking!?! all of us can only laugh (well, tina's not so surprised). at the least the boat was safe and that makes the burn ward price a little ok. bye byes and thank yous for tina. I ask jer to take the wheel again to give my weakened self some calm and he takes us across town to the lincoln tunnel. from there we go under the hudson river and into new jersey. pete's navigates us south a little bit into hoboken. oh dear, lots of traffic on the main drag, washington. this iswhere maxwell's, the place we're playing tonight is and it looks like parking is going to be impossible. we unload the gear and then I take the boat around to look for a lot. incredible luck! at the end of the block, a space opens up and I ease the boat on in. that was a mindblow. the gray skies of this morning are still that way, gray. oh well - at least we made out lucky w/the parking - you can't have everything. pete and jer hoof for the elks club nearby - pete's pop got him into the elks and he can get into any lodge. I stay in the boat to finish chimping the remaining holes in the diary, taking a small break to get a slice of pizza at tudino's which is really good stuff, maybe the best pizza I've ever had. it's a bunch of blocks which is a good walk for me but kind of necessary cuz though I'm being careful and not trying to wear myself thin w/the tour and my current health, I do feel I have to exert where I move things around some inside me, get the heat going a little. it happens at the gigs but I need a little something during the day too. I get back to boat and finish up in time for soundcheck. soundman ken is setting us up so in the meantime I chow the meal maxwell's furnishes which for me tonight is a spinach and artichoke salad. good stuff - big, big leaves to run through watt. the jukebox is playing all of dylan's "bringing it all back home" which is a trip to hear again, I used to hear this a lot as a teenager and it was one of my favorites by him - songs like "it's alright, ma (I'm only bleeding)" - here's the words (trippy how they can fit in these times too):
darkness at the break of noon
shadows even the silver spoon
the handmade blade, the child's balloon
eclipses both the sun and moon
to understand you know too soon
there is no sense in trying.
pointed threats, they bluff with scorn
suicide remarks are torn
from the fool's gold mouthpiece
the hollow horn plays wasted words
proves to warn
that he not busy being born
is busy dying.
temptation's page flies out the door
you follow, find yourself at war
watch waterfalls of pity roar
you feel to moan but unlike before
that you'd just be
one more person crying.
so don't fear if you hear
a foreign sound to your ear
it's alright, ma, I'm only sighing.
as some warn victory, some downfall
private reasons great or small
can be seen in the eyes of those that call
to make all that should be killed to crawl
while others say don't hate nothing at all
disillusioned words like bullets bark
as human gods aim for their mark
made everything from toy guns that spark
to flesh-colored christs that glow in the dark
it's easy to see without looking too far
that not much
is really sacred.
while preachers preach of evil fates
teachers teach that knowledge waits
can lead to hundred-dollar plates
goodness hides behind its gates
but even the president of the united states
sometimes must have
to stand naked.
and though the rules of the road have been lodged
it's only people's games that you got to dodge
and it's alright, ma, I can make it.
advertising signs that con you
into thinking you're the one
that can do what's never been done
that can win what's never been won
meantime life outside goes on
all around you.
you lose yourself, you reappear
you suddenly find you got nothing to fear
alone you stand with nobody near
when a trembling distant voice, unclear
startles your sleeping ears to hear
that somebody thinks
they really found you.
a question in your nerves is lit
yet you know there is no answer fit to satisfy
insure you not to quit
to keep it in your mind and not fergit
that it is not he or she or them or it
that you belong to.
although the masters make the rules
for the wise men and the fools
I got nothing, ma, to live up to.
for them that must obey authority
that they do not respect in any degree
who despise their jobs, their destinies
speak jealously of them that are free
cultivate their flowers to be
nothing more than something
they invest in.
while some on principles baptized
to strict party platform ties
social clubs in drag disguise
outsiders they can freely criticize
tell nothing except who to idolize
and then say god bless him.
while one who sings with his tongue on fire
gargles in the rat race choir
bent out of shape from society's pliers
cares not to come up any higher
but rather get you down in the hole
that he's in.
but I mean no harm nor put fault
on anyone that lives in a vault
but it's alright, ma, if I can't please him.
old lady judges watch people in pairs
limited in sex, they dare
to push fake morals, insult and stare
while money doesn't talk, it swears
obscenity, who really cares propaganda, all is phony.
while them that defend what they cannot see
with a killer's pride, security
it blows the minds most bitterly
for them that think death's honesty
won't fall upon them naturally
must get lonely.
my eyes collide head-on with stuffed graveyards
false gods, I scuff
at pettiness which plays so rough
walk upside-down inside handcuffs
kick my legs to crash it off
say okay, I have had enough
what else can you show me?
and if my thought-dreams could be seen
they'd probably put my head in a guillotine
but it's alright, ma, it's life, and life only.
younger memories in my head get sparked in me by this which is maybe good to balance the not-so-younger-ones that have been troubling me these last couple of days. internally, I see parallels in my life to different days just as these words of dylan's do the same for me in another way. it's a trippy think out of nowhere for me. I snap out of it and do a quick soundcheck w/my guys, meet some of the cats in the opening band, cardia and then get back to the boat so I can konk. drops starts coming down and soon it's a hard rain, sort of (sorry bob). it is cold (isn't this april?) and I need both my yellow coat and two of the indian blankies to help me get warm enough to konk.
pete comes gets me when it's our turn and I get my sling sacks. mary prankster is out here and ready to return to her native baltimore. I thank her for sharing the stage w/us the three gigs she did and wish her safe seas. I come into the pad - whoa, how many times have I played here? bunches and bunches! I see bossman todd and part-owner steve shelley (also sonic youth drummer) and it's big hugs for both of them. they offer to help w/the sacks but I tell them it's alright (ma?!) and they have fun w/me about that. ok, to start the gig. we're a little off for some reason but I'm in a mood that wants to make things relaxed for me cuz of all the anxiety I've had my head wrung out w/and make sure I keep a laugh in my heart in place. I have all kinds of strange sensations this gig and it seems my amp is acting up again. oh boy. no way am I going to get angry though cuz I'm here w/pete and jer, along w/cats who want to see us play and I have much, much to be grateful for. sometimes I'm together enough to make sure that's forefront in my mind and everything else tiny in comparison. I like that. I am truly in a weird kind of calm state which is maybe from all the intense feelings I've had wringing me out, I don't know. pete breaks one of the keys on his organ, that's a trip. there's been a annoying midrange feedback coming from his organ though the p.a. - soundman ken must have some strange eq or the system/room's reacting weird w/it. I don't let this get to me too much either, it's almost like nothing can go wrong enough to make me freak out (and we all know watt is prone to freak out) tonight. trippy.
we finish up and I talk w/the folks, some have seen all three gigs in the last three days - a trifecta. one's a lady from nyu's film department that knows of my work in raymond's movies. that's interesting. danny from the watt list is here, that's very happening - always glad to see him. he says he's pedaling more now and drinking less, alright! there's a cat who played drums for a s.f. band called bad posture in the old days. wow, some from back then that's even a little older than me - alright again! there's a cat who's a bike messenger and read about me in a bicycling zine called dirt rag. whoa, much respect. jimbo's here too and he gives me a battery for my barbie purse (ibook) - thank you much, jimbo. after loading up, we bring jimbo into the boat w/us (I've always loved bringing dear friends in the boat for a ride after the gig) - I get this weird deja vu feeling of doing this before - not w/just jimbo but w/someone else dear too. whoa, I stop the boat and look over at jimbo to check myself... yep, same old jimbo... look in the back, there's pete and jer... hmm... I get the strangest tingle, right down my spine and then a flash that seems to come from the back of my eyeballs - what was that? I find myself searching for a smell I can't find either, whoa... the rain has stopped but it's still wet so I'm careful w/the driving and return the way we came, to the lincoln tunnel. I nervously talk w/jimbo to get myself together again - that sure was weird. it's almost like I'm hearing someone else who's not on board - I look behind and am kind of gald jer is yammering away so this is other voice, or an echo of it - I'm not sure - is quieted in my head. it even distracts me enough to make the wrong move and miss the tunnel so I have to loop it back and make it on try number two. man, am I kind of spacey.
under the hudson again (third time in three days) and we're going up the west side highway towards inwood, where jimbo live now since he got married. this part of manhattan is the far northwestern part of the island. one time jimbo took me hoofing around the parks around here and we picked berries. it's a pretty part most folks don't visit, up by columbia university's athletic stuff. we park the boat again in an inside lot but luckily it can accommodate us too. the man there is much nicer than last night and though he doesn't speak much english, he's way more friendly. that's kind of him. we hoof over to jimbo's pad and it's really nice - big for nyc standards and laid out great. some of the old jimbo's pad has been incorporated but you can tell it was his wife cameron's pad first. she's away w/their adopted daughter so we can't visit w/them. next time. jimbo's showing me his new ibook w/airport so he can browse the net while he's in the head doing a dump. he gets a little mota going - thank you, jimbo. I dearly love him for all the years he's been a good friend to me and I'm so glad he's got this happiness here in his life. it makes me very happy for him. however, there's a part of me - up in my head - that keeps working on a poem, one regarding me and my state of mind. it's bizarre to step back and see how things balance in terms of jimbo's life. I can imagine some trippy kind of scales, weighing us up in some kind of measue, making some kind of balance. the scales, there looming in my life. it wouldn't make me sad to come out any other way than what's meant to be cuz I want so much for jimbo to have joy and righteousness that his new life can bring him. it's very generous of him to have me still part of his world, folks who do that for watt - especially the ones he's close enough to show his love for are very dear indeed. thank you, jimbo. mask down (the very one jimbo gave me years ago) and next stop, konkville.
read week 4 of the tour diary
read week 6 of the tour diary
loop back to mike watt's hoot page