"puttin' the opera to bed" tour diary - week 5

monday, october 19, 1998 - pittsburgh, pa

from bob lee:

   since my dad lived here for a while, I also saw a lot of my early rock gigs here (lynyrd skynyrd pre-crash, eric clapton, allman brothers, most memorably the kiss "destroyer" tour). we're at the electric banana, one of the first punk venues here, I have a bootleg cd of black flag playing here in 1980 with dez singing. a big improvement over the laga club where we were last time. opening tonight are honeyburst, with the lead singer from the cynics. pretty good, they definitely tried to get a rise out of the bored audience, which succeeded with one lone skinhead guy, skanking around a big open pit in front of the stage all by himself. the gig is pretty good, although the acoustics onstage are such that I wonder of there's something wrong with my drums, they just go "poik! clink!" when they should be doing "dooooom! craaaaash!" well, better a dead stage than a reverb chamber, and my hearing seems okay after the set.

from steve reed:

   we haven't been here since 1989 which was my first fIREHOSE tour (the "springboard" tour). the place hadn't changed at all and the bosses, johnny and judy, looked pretty much the same. the same lame-ass sound system with a different board but what the hell!! this is johnny and judy.

from watt:

   we pop and bail kind of early cuz we gotta drop carla off. over the ben franklin bridge (funny how he just had appeared in pynchon's "mason & dixon" - trippy how tour always parallels the books I'm reading on it, huh?) and over to 30th street and then for the carla drop. heavy time, I know for nels but I he's also in righteous spirit so it's tempered.

   onward to pittsburgh. over the alleghenys and after six hours, we're there: the town w/all the bridges on three rivers. no grid pattern to the roads here! we're playing the "electric banana," home of johnny & judy - two old friends of mine. this is the home of my only minutemen and fIREHOSE gigs in this town. after two gigs w/another cat in this town I am ready to come back home. it's the most econo gig of the tour (not too much of the heavy coin to share the bosses burden with) but I really want to do this. I want to play the opera for johnny & judy, folks who knew d. boon and cared about us minutemen. it's important to me.

   judy feeds us chicken she cooks. w/mashed potatoes - it's great. pie after, watt can only handle half and is bloated and finished. get to the van (boat) and sleep it off w/sueno. easy konk w/the help of the indian blankets but before I'm out I remember back some drunk I had at this pad (maybe fourteen years ago) where there feeding me popov wahdka (you know, the daytime housewife drink) and I ended up puking all that shit into my beard. this is minutemen days. we're staying at some cat's pad w/big old hills and all the brownstones look the same and so when I'm a little late coming out of the van (boat), all the cats are all ready in the pad so watt is confounded and knows not where his team is. I felt like that cat in "streetcar named desire" where brando is out in the street yelling "stella, stella!!" so I'm out in the middle of the street hollering "where are you?! where are you?!" and there is no return so I'm sleeping in the boat (van) tonight. well, the hills in this town are motherfuckers so gravity ends up winning and I'm down by the accelerator peddle in the morning when I wake up. damn! let me tell you how I woke up: the van is shaking cuz we're in a place where you gotta move after a certain time and we're being towed! damn, I got puke in my beard and I'm paying the tow cat not to tow us for twentyfive green pieces of art. he agrees and I go down to the ho-jo a block away and puke in their head a bit. damn, the chunks in my beard are too dried up to yank out w/out taking half the beard so I run some hot water in the sink and soak the motherfuckers. I get it together and my cats (the other two minutemen) are miraculously on the street, waiting. how could they know? damn. I gather them and relate to them my little episode. d. boon and georgie burst out some gut-busters and I gotta laugh too - what a comedy life can throw you, huh? I remember this laughing and konk happy.

   I miss the opening band, _honeyburst_ but bob lee can tell you about them. I konk right up to downbeat and head for the stage, bass and bag of shirts in hand. boy, was that a cold konk - the weather is getting brisk now. good thing for the trucker blankies (got three of them) I keep in the van. the p.a. here is hilarious - not a horn in the house, they're all blown so everything sounds like wet sandbags are sitting in front of them. fuck it - it's for johnny and judy so I don't care. I play my heart out for them. end up miming most the whole thing cuz these monitors are not coming through. I'm laughing anyway cuz this is great, playing once again for johnny and judy in their pad. the pittsburgh crowd is great too, offering up a happening vibe. we give them lots of encores and when we're done I spiel it up w/lots of them. meet one of johnny and judy's sons and talk to the other one on the phone (he's got pneumonia and is in the hospital). I've signed so many shirts for them in the years past. we part very happy and then it's off to the mo-six across the river in crafton (the pittsburghers call it crapton). econo gig or not, I dig working w/some old friends the have always been there for me. I'm a lucky man. one lame thing was donating my yellow lens peter fonda shades. maybe I can call johnny and judy later and they can send them to me. the konk comes quick and easy.

tuesday, october 20, 1998 - columbus, oh

from bob lee:

   well as soon as we start missing scrawl unbearably, we get to see them again. personally, anyway, they're not playing, presumably due to their appearance at a narl benefit later this week. tonight's the first gig with caustic resin, which includes rick from tongue, my favorite l.a. punk band of the moment, on bass. they turn out to be real nice guys and a very competent low-end specialist kinda band. however due to weird compressed sound mix the guitar is nearly inaudible. will hopefully get to check it out more indepth later in the tour, they're on the last few weeks with us. but first a week or so with gaunt from columbus. I really like the gig tonight, one of the most comfortable of the tour temperture wise. sue & marcy feed us chili and apple pie, play us mekons records, and we crash at their homes. sadly tour got the best of dana the drummer and he is laid up in bed sick. get well big guy!

from steve reed:

   ed crawford's town but ed's friends won't come to mike's shows. mike will always work for dan dugan. we had lots of people and that's geat for a monday night. caustic resin supported us tonight. they're a grunge band!! we didn't know that but they asked me to do sound for them when they re-join us in minneapolis. maybe I can help out. I've never mixed grunge before!! I'll give it a try. sue and marcy (from scrawl) came and put us up for the night. thanks ladies, you're the greatest. we also ate at sue's and had chilli. it was great until I put the dave on it and my mouth started to burn badly!! nose running!! eyes watering!! that shit is burning!! with only three drops!! never again.

from watt:

   up and I'm walking through one bright sunny motherfucking day. trees all blazing w/their colors - I'm all dazzled. damn. we hop into the van (boat) and cross into west virginia, get some subway sandwiches and then head into ohio straight on for the middle of the state, where columbus is. the pad we're playing tonight is "little brothers" which used to be called "stache's little brothers" and was a few miles up the road, closer to that temple of genius, ohio state. the boss here is dan dugan and I dig him much. this is my second time at the new pad but the first time w/him cuz he was at the world series last year. we talk a long time about the indians (not the baseball team, native americans) in the area and a lot about the history too. d. boon would've dug it. dan's been to pow-wows and shit and knows a bunch about what's up w/that. it's great hearing him spiel. he's a great cat to have on the scene to cuz he's a true believer. I'm glad to be working for him tonight.

   after soundcheck we head on over to sue from scrawl's pad to have a chow she's cooked up. marcy fro her band comes too. we have chili and of course I gotta run out to the van (boat) and get the dave's insanity sauce to liven up the meal. everyone gets a little happy and starts applying it to their chow. pretty soon noses are running and the brains are sliding out the ears. I'm burning like a motherfucker. I love it! waves of heat and all that shit. damn. steve reed is bug-eyed and in tears. damn. such a good chow and such a good feeling here w/these scrawls, I dig them so.

   back to the gig and it's time for watt to konk. a band we'll be hooking up w/in about a week for the last leg of the tour called _caustic resin_ is playing w/us tonight after a local opener called _bubba hotep_. of course, I gotta hit the hay and do the konk and miss both of them. I pop again right before show time and head up to do the duty. good vibe w/the crowd and I'm happy to do the piece for them. very good response and I've got much respect for these folks. this is the town ed fROMOHIO went to college and it means a lot for me to do it up right here. the stage makes it like you're coming out of a big cake and it resonates strong w/the _a_ note. lee ranaldo could tell you about that. anyway, we play a long time after the piece and finally end the gig w/a great feeling. I rap some more w/dan and we're both very happy. me and the black gang head off to sue's, have some whiskey and then I'm konk city w/some righteous cats purring on along side me on the deck. purr men.

wednesday, october 21, 1998 - cincinatti, oh

from nels:

   Sudsy Malone's - OK, I forgot to talk about our gigs in Charlotte and in Northampton....

   Charlotte was at the Tremont Hall - a place run by Penny, a fabulous woman who I've heard about from Carla B. Seems that Ethyl Meatplow blew her away so much that she STILL talks about it. Loves the Fibbers, too - loves Carla (and who can blame her???). She showed me that she still has the board tape markings from yhat gig on the wall of her office! Plus Meatplow and Fibbers posters. Carla sent me Scarnella photos to approve, plus the (wrong colors) Digipack for our CD (not TOO awful) and some other neat stuff - a whole Carla kind of day. Ate a bunch of fried food, was interviewed for Vintage Guitar mag, which I had never heard of. It's like a big fat newspaper w/ tons of depressing ads fr stores selling guitars like mine for 3 times what I payed for mine. There was part 2 of an article on Rick Derringer that pictured him in the 70s, then in '91 or 2 w/ Edgar Winter - he looked like a faceless blob dwarf - awful! Anyway, I consequently missed the opening acoustic set (solo) by Danielle Howie, but chatting w/ her was great and we swapped CDs. Our set seemed good - the Vintage Guitar guys asking me questions while Watt was playing the opening salvos of "In the Engine Room" - me saying "I've gotta play now!". Everyone was really nice, and we got our first whiffs of non-swelter air (though of course it was raining most of the time).

   On Northampton- The Iron Horse: I was kind of dreading this one since my experience there previously w/ the Fibbers was unbelievably bad. It ended up with the manager calling thecops on us, refusing to pAy us until every piece of gear was removed (they had already delayed our show 1 1/2 hours), called us "dirty punks," called Carla and Si (soundperson) something worse I think....Anyway, the place is still weird, but Scrawl went over really well, soundman Jim was really nice, saw Byron Coley (green light on recording Destroy All Nels Cline for his and Thurston's K-ey Series)... Show went fine. Went afterwards to hear Mascis w/ his Can-ish thing Wank Factor 7 and Counting. J on drums, his girlfriend on strap-on synth, another guy on kraut-style acid synth noises (Watt acurately said Klaus Schultze), a singer who made up stuff in a real high voice while clutching a beer bottle, and a guitarist who kind of locked down the grooves w/ J - good tapping, sort of bass-cum-guitar role. It was formative. I think Carla B. may have loved it. The venue was a restaurant/bar w/ elderly men hobbling around picking up the empties - surreal! Since I still have this nattering cold I've started drinking cognac again, which I enjoyed a gteat deal that night. Ended up syaying at J's, which for me meant shivering on the floor feeling idiotic and sullen - and sicker. I'm not very forthcoming about my needs (understatement! In therapy to deal w/ low self-esteem, etc. etc. blah blah whine whimper). Anyway, J's quite remote still, but he loves Watt and vice versa. Big plus: J's bulldog - adorable!! Slept w/ Watt, keeping him warm and toasty. Wanted to leave w/ us! A real sweetie... Bailed (in the rain) and went...wherever.

   So now we're at Sudsy's. My laundry is done - machines right here in the pad! Went across the street to Mike's and bought a cheap Hagstrom III, a furry old Silvertone amp top, and got an amp for Carla (her credit card - phone sale). Whew! A great fellow named Jeff repaired my decaying Jazzmaster (usually guys get faint or angry when the see the poor abused beast). I get asked almost every night how my guitar stays in one piece. Answer: I hve no idea, but it HAS broken. But I'm in good shape now.

   On Providence: the club had fresh habanero chilis, so Watt was ecstatic. We scarfed chips and salsa spiked w/ fresh chilis - a shared obsession. Opening band Orbit: the less said the better. A trio of FM + Alt pastiche: a bit of Dando, a bit of Thurston, a bit of bands I've never heard, and a moment of Bono that sent me straight to the dressing room. Sorry. PLUS, they had 2 TV monitors w/ different imagery for each song triggered by the drummer (I think), so they were even their own video! Their drummer came into the dressing room and told Steve and me that on the road he just listens to jazz now, no more rock, and that we should try it. Dude, THANKS for the advice! SCRAWL sounded good and full - my ears grateful. When we came out I heard a fellow VERY loudly saying repeatedly, upon seeing Watt: "He looks like a fuckin' lumberjack! He looks like a fuckin' lumberjack from Alaska!! ," over and over. A lot of loud yahoos, talkers (who got quieter) - one guy just kept SCREAMING, "WAAAAAAATTTTTT!!!!!!" MIIIIIIIIIIIKE WAAAAAAAATTTTT!!!!!" Turns out that he and his drunken pals are starting their own micro brew cafe. "Dude, Dark Log! Dark Log! If you come here and ask for DARK LOG and they don't have it, just WALK OUT!" Kept thinking of a turd floating in a beer glass...

   NEW YORK: Sweetheart, Knit Fac, the worst onstage sound, Carla B. sitting in on "Drove Up From Pedro" and "Tuff Gnarl" (virtually unnaounced, people kept thinking that she was some girl who just got up and went for the mike - she ended up digging the anonymity). Hey! Im in the dark now and can't see shit! Can't type w/o looking! Still to come: More on NYC, Hoboken, Asbury Park, Pittsburgh, and Columbus. Merci merci!

   One thing: you probably all know that Watt hasn't shaved since he started touring on the opera a year ago. Anyway, he's ready to get it off, that's for sure! Hotel clerks think he's either a terrorist or some Unibomber-type. He has to wear his Dino, Jr. cap and glasses - more trucker-like. What face lurks beneath that beard?! ARGH!!

from bob lee:

   back at sudsy's, early in the day, this place and the surrounding 1/2 mile have all the accoutrements a touring guy could ask for: post office, guitar/ amp repair shop, cheap used record stores, kinko's (which charges a ripoff $12 an hour to go online, I suppose I could ask for a good coffee shop or public library), and a laundromat right in the club, which also boasts a full bar & two god pinball machines. I like playing here. I have my first used record binge today, check out what I got for $47.50: aerosmith "greatest hits," j. geils band "love stinks," b.o.c. live "some enchanted evening," pretty things "s.f. sorrow" and "parachute" as a 2-lp reissue called "very pretty," john lennon & yoko ono "some time in new york city," "the bears" with adrian belew (a guilty pleasure from my crimhead years), fref frith "cheap at half the price," soundgarden "superunknown" (I've ben holding out to buy this as cheap as possible, and found the cd for $2.50 here!), "pretenders II," and pete townshend's "another scoop" (home demos 64- 86?) and "deep end live," an lp from an 85 solo show. past 1975, I prefer townshend's solo material to any of the late period who stuff, some of it is corny but some is quite good, though not in the same way that the who was good. I saw him play a solo gig in 96, just him and a keyboardist, and was really impressed. my hopes are that the dude will realize he does not rock anymore and proceed accordingly in his future career. the giant sham that was the quadrophenia tour should not be repeated, a tight, pro twelve piece orchestra is no substitute for a crushing four-piece rock band. someone at the gig asks me if we have an opening act. looking at the flyer, I say "yeah, looks like... ditchweed." "do you know anything about them?," he asks. "well judging from the name, they're shitty and give you a big headache!" just kidding, actually they were pretty cool. three-piece band with a contortionist bass player (check out the photos I took - the best one, of her bending over backwards almost to the floor, the flash didn't go off! damn!) after the show, another good one, steve reed & I notice about half a dozen drunk frat boys being poured onto the street from the bar a few doors up. dudes just folding up like chairs despite their friends' best efforts to assemble them. a few days ago a drunken sorority pledge fell six stories out of a window at a frat party about two hours north of here in michigan. I hope these kids learned something from her example. I'm not the straightest edge guy that ever shaved his head but damn, kids today... reminds me of, uh, when I was a kid.

from steve reed:

   the yanks sweep san diego! did my laundry as usual, called home to see what was up, sent money home and nels bought an amp - a fender pro for carla. read an article about hendrix and learned the truth why his tow all-black projects didn't work with the white coporates and witnessed next door at the martino's bar how many college boys don't know how to drink!! I mean they were falling out of the front door flat on their backs drunk!! I saw four guys carried off and put into vans like dead bodies. these two brotha's were watching and just busting up in laughter!! this got me laughing too. I also saw a guy and girl fighting!! wow!! an exciting evening and vomit everywhere!! I have pictures.

from watt:

   I pop and do some work on the 'puter. these cats are righteous and I think of the man and little girl back in pedro. I'm missing them. he's seventeen and she just turned one year. she keeps him young and he mellows her out, they're good for each other. they're good for watt too.

   only a hundred miles to cinci. we're playing "sudsy malone's" tonight, a combo bar/laundrymat. I wish more pads were like this. the boss is dan and he's a good cat to watt. across the street is a guitar store called mike's and it's got a lot of good old music stuff. nels is foaming. he buys a fender pro reverb (silver face), a hangstrom guitar (three pickups) and a silvertone tube amp head (w/homemade fuzz all around it). it's a full on gush of a flush for him. love to see nels happy. I chow some shishkabob at a jordanian pad and then konk in the van after a few interviews (spiels) on the phone. I'm out for maybe four hours, damn.

   gig time and we're starting the piece. always have had good gigs here cuz the folks bring a good spirit to the pad. the bartender was a navy man, a couple in the crowd were too. trippy how the opera can relate to these cats too. it's great to know there's those w/open hearts and minds in that gig too. nels plays like a motherfucker tonight, he is on fire! I break a string and put it on in moments, lucky watt but then again, I've had a lot of prac at it. it's a joy to be doing this for cats who dig it and the piece goes down fine. in the one year of doing it, we did three times at this pad - thank you much, cincinatti! we give up lots of encores and then have some spiel w/the folks before heading up to sharonsville where the mo-six is (I always try to get the mo on the side of town where the next gig is so we don't have to drive through the middle of the fucking town we just played). as we're bailing, we see some college boys doing the stupid fuck under the magic of alcohol tumblinhg out of a bar a few doors down. what a show. our leaders of tomorrow, huh? steve reed is laughing hard. we get to the mo and it's konksville, pronto.

thursday, october 22, 1998 - cleveland heights, oh

from bob lee:

   I got a haircut today! we hit town hours early for load in, and I found a little salon just up the street. I like it, and the silly looking headset mic I use now fits in place much easier. toniht we hook up with gaunt, straightforward loud fast rock of the type commonly called punk, and also play with cobra verde. c.v. were the band bob pollard used on guided by voices' "mag earwhig". they're very strange, heavy rock with trippy arrangements and an oddly compelling stage presence. wish we were doing more shows with them. my friend christina is here visiting her home town from l.a., where she now lives, works for epitaph records. the show is another good one, cleveland seems to have some of the best audiences in the country. it was the site of one of claw hammer's first real triumphs on the road in 1992, played to a crowd of drunks swinging from the ceiling pipes, wrestling on the floor etc. whatever happenned to the band sissy? does anyone know? if so write bobzilla77@mindspring.com. shout-out to greg, chris & dennis who are taping this and the next couple gigs, and to joe the drummer who talked up omar hakim and matt sorum.

from steve reed:

   played here before when the indians lost the world series to the marlins last year. gaunt played first of seven shows with us. fast and quick, they sounded all right. the gang sounded great and we had good monitors.

from watt:

   we bail kind of early cuz we gotta go from one corner of ohio to the other, right around columbus and on to cleveland. played this pad last year, it's called "the grog shop" and I dig it much. the boss there is kathy and she is down. the pad's actually in the east part of cleveland, a part called cleveland heights and it's different than where we used to play down on the flats which is on the waterfront. this part is by the college and has lots of bookstores and stuff like that. nels is going crazy. there's a radical bookstore nearby and it's closed but looking through the window I see that today, october 22 is anti-police violence day and a sign says we should wear black today. now I don't own any clothes that are black so I put on a strip of black electricians tape around my arm like and armband. maybe this will help.

   at a music store I find coltrane's "for sonny" and buy it. all right. we do soundcheck and I retire to the boat (van) and konk. it's getting cold now, g - let me tell you. the blankies are doing good though as long as I don't hang my feet out of them cuz I don't wear socks. _gaunt_ is playing their first gig of eight w/us but they can't get here until just before their set time cuz of a funeral. the middle band is a local one called _cobra verde_ and I want to see them. I remember spieling w/the singer for an interview during the wrestling record. his name is john and did one the best spiels w/me I ever had and I want to see his band. they were the _guided by voices_ band for a while until they got scissored. I konk w/trippy dreams that keep me in a swirl and then out of the malestrom I'm yanked into the world we all share by some trippy sounds coming out of the pad (we're parked right in front of the pad, my favorite spot). I pop, put the dinosaur hat on, grab the llaves and shirts then head into the pad (like a fuckwad, I left my bass on stage but it was hidden under a curtain. god smiles sometimes on the fools). up on stage is john's band and they're a trip. I dig them much. he's got one foot on the monitor wedge and singing these real dynamic tunes in the most earnest of manner. he's gotta a bassist that's kicking it like a growler, so much down. there's a synth dude making some theremin wail and then a guitarist who looks just like jon newman, who'd a thunk it?! huh? john plays guitar too but is mostly just letting it hang while he grabs the mic and looks the crowd right in the fucking eye. the music has tons of drama but in a musical way. it's way great. I am truly inspired and double up my intent for our turn.

   the pad is packed and the change over is quick so we can share the energy the verdes set up. we charge right into the piece. this pad is a great to play cuz the sound is down and direct plus the monitors are some of the best of the tour. I'm not talking about the best hardware but rather the man who works these machines has tinkered them into a resonance that best suits the sitch. this is what it's all about in my book. this gig is a joy to do. we flow through the opera and then on to the encores. we do a bunch w/a real good "little johnny jewel." nels is working his shit up big time, it's amazing. bob lee is so much down too. we get done and it's a thrill. damn.

   the boss kathy gives me a grog shop shirt that has buttons! yes, I dig shirts w/buttons - I don't wear many t-shirts. I believe you have more control over your life w/shirts that have buttons. I go out to load the equipment and a man named cory comes up to me and thanks me for the gig and says "mr. watt, on behalf of the enlisted men on the uss miami (a nuclear sub), here's some fish and a copy of the bluejackets' manual. the officers hate your opera." this is great. I am blown away. the "fish" are a pin of two dolphins surrounding a submarine that they give you in the navy when you complete submarine training. I have my pop's bluejackets' manual I found in an old box at my ma's. they give you this book when you join the navy as an enlisted man and it's the basic rules and shit like that (how to tie knots, how to march, how to break a choke hold, etc...) and my pop's was the 1948 version they gave him when he joined in 1956. he was only seventeen then. damn. his way to see the world. I rap w/john and tell him I dug his band and I want to play more w/them. this is a great gig. this motherfucker watt is a happy sailor tonight.

   the mo-six we got tonight is on the west side of cleveland, a town called loraine and head for there and then it's off to the deck to konk w/some sense of purpose. the swoop comes quick and then this light is cut.

friday, october 23, 1998 - detroit, mi

from bob lee:

   news flash: my earlier post about needing neil young's "where the buffalo roam" has already paid off, thanks so much to jeffrey from fayetteville! (I do still need a vinyl copy of "on the beach," any suggestions? my address again: bobzilla77@mindspring.com. ignore those nasty error messages and keep trying, people tell me it's hard to get through. I will have a better server quite soon!)

   yuck, I have a migraine headache today so this is not the most pleasant gig for me, but I guess it goes okay. highlight of the day is the detroit public library, where I get to check my email for an hour. hotmail however is unbearably slow, so I have not gotten to look at much more than my close pals' messages since I left home. I also had a great talk with melanie, girlfriend of taper chris, about the state of modern rock. to summarize: things could be better. I am very ill by show's end and very grateful to arrive at the home of mr. bob teagan, taper extraordinaire, to pass right out. sorry bob I'll check out those boredoms videos next time!

from steve reed:

   haven't played here in nine years. the gig was great, the spirit of the audience was great and we filmed and taped the show so it is well documented. I hung out around the motor city and took lots of pictures. we slept at bob teagan's.

from watt:

   pop, roust the mates and then head west on the ohio turnpike to detroit, a town I always get a jones to play every tour. good, good spirit there to play intense music. for those who don't know about turnpikes, they're private roads where you pay tolls (that's why they're not called _freeways_). besides that, they have few off-ramps and the gas stations and chow pads are usually at these "service plazas" that seriously limit choice. from loraine to toledo there's like only four exits (over a hundred miles) and we just have to get gas (from experience w/my last van eating rust from it's old gas tanks - old econolines have two - I never go below a quarter tank) so I pull of to one of these plazas where the chow pad is called "hardlees" (you can guess the real name). I gas the boat (van) while my crew goes to chow there, I will have no part of the shite and when we're all back boarded and rolling, the foul waft of that crap fills the van (boat). steve reed says "they can't even make fries right, damn." I'm glad I held out. the irony was that the turnpike ended on the next exit (the I-75 north to detroit) and there was all kinds of pads available! well, stick a fork in the sides of our fucking heads! the comedy of fate.

   tonight's gig is at "alvin's," which is right next to wayne state in the downtown and it's been a good eight or nine years since I last played here. I dig it much, a good room w/a good feel - it used to have a bunch of blues acts play there. now they got new owners who were very cool peeps but I never did get there names. damn, I hate that. it makes me feel fucking retarded. you end up just calling the cat "man" or "dude" or "boss." I gotta get it fucking together. I'm glad I held out for the chow though cuz there's a syrian pad one block away and I have the most righteous syrian salad and falafel ever. econo too. damn good chow w/trippy flavors and spice. trippy smells in the pad too of their cooking. I dug it big time. we start the soundcheck and up comes the soundman who is dean, an old friend from days back. he used to stay at an old funeral home that was converted into a music school and fIREHOSE would stay there. this is the same funeral house they washed up both henrys ford and houdini's bodies and I slept in the big flat, shallow tub where they did it. dean slept upstair in the attic. he's a great cat and digs _wire_ too. one time fIREHOSE did "mannequin" and he almost lost it. he's gonna really dig "the 15th" when we play it tonight during the encores. old bud bob teagan (who's pad in frazer is where we stay the last bunch of years) shows up w/his cameras and some shirts - I ran out last night so just in time. let me tell you, the folks at tannis root (bill and barbara) are the best and so down to earth, always there to help watt w/the shirts. call them at 919-834-9891 in raleigh if you want the best, econo. of course, I used up all the brown shirts they could find on the first bunch so now I've got purple which makes sense cuz detroit was the home of the purple gang! it's a trip about things, huh?

   after the soundcheck it's konksville for watt and I konk hard and deep, missing _gaunt_ but getting up just in time for liftoff. head straight from the van (boat) to the stage w/bass and bag of shirts. seeing christina, a friend I met from my tours w/porno for pyros (in a room jammed w/folks clammering for perry and perkins, she came up to the corner of the room watt was in and talked to me about bass - it was great!), I have to pause and give her a hug. she even came to pedro once and did the bike ride, my morning 20.6 mile route where I wrote the opera (the fourth song of the piece, "pedro bound" is a peddle by peddle account of my ride, by the way). her bud carol is there too. there's a good charge of current in the air and I climb up the front of the stage feeling like this is why I tour: friday night in detroit, yes! the opera is great to deliver w/the crowd knowing all the words and helping us along. I'm having a hell of a good time. there is much joy in this room. we play over two hours and then I sling shirts and spiel w/the cats until I have to see the boss and share his burden (get paid). everyone's happy in the office too and we trade all kinds of spiels, they're very glad to have me. finally it's time to bail and we head on over to bob teagan's.

   bob's in the suburbs (frazer) and his pad is on the most quiet of streets w/lots of squarejohns living all around him. he has a thing called the "wendy hour" where he tapes all kinds of bands and artists. he's got a tape he just made of kim gordon w/a couple of other folks who played a gig at the cooler in nyc maybe a week ago and nels is slobbering to see this. bob teagan loves to blast the sound when he's playing his videos, which for cats who have just played a gig, really hurts big time. I can't take any loudness at all after a gig so we beg bob to go easy and he does but as he gets into it more and more, up comes the fucking sound! damn. I got earplugs on. nels is pinned against the chair he's in, watching kim sing and play guitar. I can't see what's on cuz I'm not seeing the picture (I'm behind the speakers to avoid the ear assault) but it sounds great. kim's singing all kinds of trippy shit. it sounds like there's a d.j. and a drummer w/her. I hope she doesn't give up on bass forever. oh well, at least kira is still faithful to the fourstring. four am comes and I'm finished, maybe the tape is finished too, maybe there was still a full tape of _geraldine fibbers_ for nels to watch - I don't know cuz sueno spread the wings of a dream over this old punker's head and konked him down to the deck like a pillow-swoop.

saturday, october 24, 1998 - louisville, ky

from bob lee:

   my personal apologies to anyone who caught this show, it was my personal worst performance of many years. we got to town at 6:30 and found that mxpx were doing an early gig so we couldn't load in till after nine. there were no decent food places, but there were a couple of bars, so I ended up forgetting to eat and drinking maybe a beer an hour till we went on at 1:30 am. I'm no puritan but I get very upset about a bad performance and need to show some more restraint under these circumstances. once again, lo siento to all concerned.

from steve reed:

   I've never done a show or even been in downtown louisville. I've always been outside of town on the bardstown road so this was a new experience for me. I like walking around the town, there's a lot of history here. ran into an old friend of our's, gloria, who used to do sound for the geraldine fibbers. she's here working with some young band called mxpx. I guess they're kind of popular from the size of their tour bus. oh well, they will be around for one or two years or maybe develop into something great. a late set for the gang - 1:30 am but a great one with nels jumping off the stage during the "liberty calls!" guitar solo.

from watt:

   up and a goodbye to dear friend bob teagan and we're headed south through ohio and on to kentucky for the next gig in louisville. the I-75 going south is fucked w/construction so we go west to ann arbor before making the hard port. I think of ron asheton passing by his town and the great sessions we had doing the _wylde ratttz_ record. I hope we get to tour that thing w/thurston, steve shelley and mark arm aboard. that would be so happening.

   crossing the ohio river, we again pass through cincinatti. on the way to louisville we see a great sign for a town called "great bone lick" - hah, what a name! we get into louisville and on the way pass by the louisville slugger bat factory and mr. reed jumps out of the van (boat) to snap some shots of a giant bat they got stuck outside the pad. this is our first time downtown by the river, usually we're up on the boardstown road. the pad tonight's called the "mercury paw" and the boss is named bill, a cat I've played for before and dig much. it seems our gig has been bumrushed by a kiddie-alternative band called mxpx cuz their fans complained their original venue was in a strip club. well, the pad is right next door to a "gentleman's" club and the paw itself was one of them pads up until a month ago. so what a bunch of horseshit, huh? what it really means is that we won't get to play until way, way late. fuck.

   the folks who came to see us do the opera one last time hang on and we finally hit the stage at one fucking thirty in the morning and then start the piece. the pad is long and skinny w/the stage having this big tounge in front of nels sticking out like four feet and it's maybe two feet wide (it's a stripper's runway). we don't set up on that part but I'm waiting for nels to take the cat walk. he never does but jumps several times from the stage to the deck and wails on his solos there. later, he shows me the damage he took: swollen-ass ankles all blue and puffy and shit. damn, what a trooper. the louisville cats are great to play for and we give them lots of encores and not giving a fuck about the time. I think the underling in charge was pissed it went so late but why did they let them other people bumrush our show and push us back our start time so much? their fault as far as I'm concerned and I'm not going to make my folks who work all week and then ante up the pesos to have us work the opera for them abused any further like having a tiny-ass set foisted on them. fuck it. he says he's gonna have a talk w/steve kaul's underling - let him. we did nothing wrong but played our hearts out. I had a contract and could've made one hell of a stink but instead just rode w/it and konked in the van while the kid band did the rubber stamp to pay for their prevost bus and rented p.a. (real punk, huh?) in the same fucking room we played w/the house p.a. sounding great w/steve reed dialing it in. I don't need that shit and I didn't even say a word when we got done - just gave him a look in the eye that said what I felt. I bear hug jason lowenstien. I pull a fax paper off the van window, turn it over and it's from lou barlow, it says "soul does find you... it's finding me too, finally." it's a great thing to get from him, thanks lou. we pack up happy w/the folks and the gig , head off for the mo-six south of town and when we arrive, I konk w/a clean conscious about the whole thing right there on the deck.

sunday, october 25, 1998 - nashville, tn

from nels:

   Nashville @ The End - It's a warm and sunny day in Music City, USA, and my friend and former Fibbers and Ethyl Meatplow soundperson Gloria A. is across the street working in fully corporate high style w/ Christian "punk" band MXPX - they were on Louisville last night, too. It's great to see her.

   So much to catch up on...Back to NYC: Carla B. at the Knit. The worst on-stage sound, shocks from the mikes...(had to put windscreens on them - in my coldy cond I yelled out my gang vocal on "In the Engine Room" and a phlegm ball flew right onto mine, taunting me for the rest of the gig!). Carla said she was nervous. Someone asked her, "What was it LIKE?! WHAT WAS IT LIKE?!?! I mean ONSTAGE!!" As though it must have been her first time singing with, you know, THE CATS. Anyway, I hear the gig was webcast, but it was one of the roughest operas. Great crowd, though.

   Hoboken, the new Steve Shelley-ized (as in rejuvenated) Maxwell's: Really great night, nice food and good (sold out) bill w/ Fuck and Firewater. Gregg B. and wife Sylvia came and hung out. Karen S. and husband Dave, Tim Foljahn, etc. Fuck have literally lost their bass player. Played their usual skewed pop gems w/ much humor and irreverance. A little of them goes a long way w/ me, but they're damn cool and have the coolest (and cheapest) merch of any band extant. Caught a bit of Firewater, led by Todd from Cop Shoot Cop, and they were poised for major success, rocking hard (they may be a bit Fibbers-inspired) and pleasing the crowd immensely. But I just can't listen to band after band before I play - and just waiting for hours in a club wears me out. It's the headliner's dilemma : you arrive first and play last. Anyway, our set rocked pretty hard and was even more rife w/ drunken Watt fanboys than usual. A guy right in front of me kept up the usual screams of "WAAAATTT!!!," but also reached up to my guitar every time I soloed and wiggled his fingers - very helpful. When Carla came up to sing and took off her jacket he yelled, "Yeah, baby! Take it off!," angering me. But Carla can take care of herself. Apparently, she leaned over and whispered in his ear, "You're a total asshole," which didn't faze him in the slightest. Watt is loved by clubowners because his crowd does good bar, but it's not something he's proud of. We're playing in bars, after all. Back to NYC w/ sweetheart. Up and out next to:

   Asbury Park, NJ, The Saint - Whoa! Asbury Park is like a ghost town. Carla and I went to the chilly and eerie boardwalk w/ Bob lee and his fab mom (who came to Hoboken and Philly gigs as well). What a trip! The Saint is a really cool dive in a gnarly neighborhood. The show found me perched precariously (again) on a 4 foot stage. Show was opened by a corporate band later discovered to be called The Last Perfect Thing, but when Watt asked onstage what the name of the band was a kid in the crowd deadpanned, "The Next Big Corporate Thing," which we bought, Watt saying,"I like that name!" They sounded like Green Day and some other bands I've never heard. They bailed instantly. I hear that some of these bands' labels actually pay the clubs to get them on these shows, but I don't know if that's true. Anyway, the next band was a trippy local band called the All City Creepers, who were surfers in boiler suits playing twangy proto-punk a new wavey numbers fronted by a wild vocalist who Carla said was eerily reminiscent of John Napier if he had hair and looked, well, more normal. We all liked them. Our set was fun - a Sunday in the ruins of a beach resort destroyed by an uprising of blacks in '67. I jumped off the stage, just a little freakout, Carla sang - by now SHREDDING on "Tuff Gnarl". Really nice folks at this place. Carla and I ate scary Italian food. Then on to Pittsburgh, Carla going back to NYC (dropped her off at Philly train station) . By now the weather gods were with us - beautiful fall color w/ warm, clear air.

   Pittsburgh was a trip. The Electric Banana - still run by this portly older couple (of characters), John and Judy, who have been having shows for years and years. Watt was happy to play there instead of the other places that pissed him off in the past - it had been something like 9 years since he'd been there. Judy stuffed us w/ home made dinner. The place is just a dive, w/ old posters and promo pics from days gone by (notable: Kat,AKA The Magnificent Kat, the self-proclaimed "Bach of the electric guitar"). The PA was a joke, but we rocked. Opening band was Honeyburst, sort of a garage punk outfit w/ a member of The Cynics. Just OK, though their lead singer pulled out all the stops to get to the crowd - mostly for naught. My new name for Pittsburgh is Nelstown - more people hip to my own music here than anywhere so far! Sold a lot of CDs, and a LOT of people looked over my stuff and said they already had it all! Damn! Scarnella must play here...

   Columbus, OH, Little Brother's, run by the old Stach's gang (great guy Dan at the helm) - a really crowded show (on a Tues.!). Our first of several w/ Caustic Resin (led by Brett, a friend of Carla's friend JJ, who I must sat is more than a bit Kurt-looking). Dinner and beds supplied by those wonderful Scrawl girls, Marcy and Sue(dana was ill w/ bronchitis). GREAT PEOPLE. Forget the name of the opening band, but they were unbelievably bad. 3 guitars (usually playing the same bar chords) a struggling drummer...4 of the guys traded off singing, but they all sounded alike! Caustic Resin are - dare I say it - a grunge band. Their drummer is playing w/ a broken foot. Our set felt good - I'm still coughing onstage from my little cold and the TONS of cigarette smoke at these gigs - and people went nuts (lots more drunk and bellowing Watt fans). A good night for Dan, who apparently is hurting. Glad to help out! And it was great to see Tera, the house sound girl and friend of Duane Denison - she actually told me that she thinks I have "the best fashion sense of anyone right now" and not to change a thing (????!?!?!??!?) Huh? Well, how sweet! She's pretty fine herself!

   Cincinnatti, at Sudsy Malone's, was a really rough night for me. Yeah, you heard about the gear I bought, the rain (it got pretty cold, too), my clean laundry. But the little amp didn't cut through, the monitors - Watt's mix hanging right at my head - forced me to stuff my ears, and I broke strings on both guitars, and was consequently REALLY out of tune at times. Ack! It went over well, but...Opening band was an odd and eventually rather winning local called Ditchweed. Their drummer was quite good, and their bass player was a very animated girl who really went for it, totally rocking out. More drunk guys, a lot of really nice folks. This sweet fellow named Josh Adams and his girlfriend keep showing up all over the place. And it's so nice that so many people are asking about the Fibbers - so there are more than 10 fans after all! Maybe 40!

   Getting tired - I seem to have sprained my middle finger on my left hand during last night's antics in Louisville. But performance-wise I may be getting stronger. Tonight will be our 27th gig in a row and I feel pretty good. It helps that I got 7 hours of sleep the other night.

   Cleveland, The Grog Shop: Always nice folks (a lot of Fibbers fans). Started with a bit of drama regarding start times, order of opening bands. Time before the gig to wander around (Bob got a haircut). Gaunt arrived just in time (from Columbus, OH, their home base) from a funeral. Only had 20 minutes to play their Bad Religion - esque punk rock (as it's known these days). Next was Cobra Verde, who we all really liked. Sort of dramatic 70s - ish, reminding me at times of Scott Walker meets Joy Division (and I now also realize, early Roxy Music). Led by a very nice fellow named John (who writes about pop for the local paper), he exuded a stagey menace that was pretty silly yet great. Their bassist ROCKS, and the second guitarist looked like Watt and my Sony pal Jon Newman sans specs. And their alarmingly gaunt keyboardist played theremin on a rather early Pere Ubu- ish song. All in all, pretty great. And a chat w/ John was also pretty great. I went nuts during "Bluejackets Manual" and yanked all my cables out of my gear, upending my wah-wah. OOOps! Felt good and wild.

   Been meeting a LOT of guys named Chris on this tour. And quite a few Matts.

   Detroit, Alvin's. More nice staff, a sizeable room, and a wild Friday night w/ Watt and the Black Gang. Gaunt were almost totally ignored *I sense a pattern). But this was a really cool night. Sure the usual, the drunk guys in flannel and caps were hollering ("You're my hero, Mike!," "D Boon!!," even "Egg whisk!"), but this night there were a lot of cute girls up front squealing a gaping. The show rocked hard, Watt always digging Detroit. Bossman Jeff was really nice and pleased. Mad taper Bob T. was there, and we adjourned, as is the tradition, to his pad in Frasier. I went w/ Bob and was most concerned that Watt's driving behind us was really irregular. Not good. But we got to Bob's w/o incident. Stayed up late watching his videos of a live gig in NYC last month at the Cooler w/ Kim G., Yoshimi, and DJ Olive that was wonderful, plus his shots of the Destroy All Nels Cline gig in L.A. (we opened for Sonic Youth - this Bob guy gets around!) - rather illuminating, since it also represents the only raw in-house, non-board, non-Gary Davis recording of this, our first gig. (Note: Every taper seems to have been in touch w/ Gary D. - I can't escape him! But he does NOT represent my music. Argh!). Anyway, it was cool. Thanks, Bob!

   More good weather, by the way. Last night was nuts in Louisville. 7 hour drive to discover that there's been a teen "punk" show w/ MXPX and other young bands added that afternoon at Mercury Paw, a former strip club turned rock venue. So we wait till after 10 PM to even load in. Hung in the slick band bus w/ Gloria A. Great talks, but the irony of seeing Watt's old econoline parked in front of this bigass stadium rock vehicle was overwhelming - Watt pretty much scoffing and seething the whole time. (Turns out they sound a lot like - surprise! - Green Day). Seems these pierced and tattooed teens are born again former drugged out punkers. Hmmmm.... Anyway, when the show ended it got surreal (I changed strings in the bar across the street, which later had a blues band). As the kids filed out this bouncer in a cowboy hat YELLED over and over, GO!!! GET OUT OF HERE!!! GET AWAY FROM THE BUILDING!!!! FUCK OFF!!!! I DON'T CARE WHO THE FUCK YOU ARE, GO HOME NOW!!!!!!" And fially, "YOUR PARENTS HATE YOU AND SO DO WE, NOW GET OUT OF HERE!!!!!" All this while Bob Lee was next door where I could look in and see him being entertained in virtual privacy by a totally nude exotic dancer. And at the (shitty) Italian joint where I got my mystery lasagna to go there was a folk crooner performing... Finally Mr. Bellowing bouncer turned to me and asked, "Are you in one of the bands playing tonight? Good, you're gold!" And later:"Is Joe Beeaza (his pronunciation) playing tonight? No?! Too bad, cause I wanted to rub his feet! Sacchrine were my favorite band!" After much delay while the (large) crew removed the (immense) sound reinforcement gear, we finally got in to find that the stage was really narrow and had a catwalk extending from it (don't tempt me!). So: another night w/ me about 4 feet up balancing right on the edge - I literally had about 1 1/2 feet to negotiate before Geronimo! Set started late w/ the Pennies, a Pixies- ish combo who I liked, but they went on a bit long considering it was already 11 ! Then Gaunt, who again seemed to get ignored. These guys are really nice. I hope things go better for them (and they're apparently getting dropped from Warner Bros. any day now). Anyway, before we played sweetheart called. I called her back from the walk-in refridge! Brrrr!! We didn't get on till 1:30!! Watt was not pleased, but we prevailed. A good show, all in all - but Bob was hungry and felt off. I felt pretty wild, even though balancing like that IS distracting/inhibiting. The staff of the place was great. The place is new, so their just getting it together. But it has real potential. Just get rid of that Catwalk! (Thankfully, Watt didn't go into "My Secret Garden," which I really camp up when I sing, or that catwalk would have reaslly have been my supermodel moment - I was practicing my Naomi walk). I think this gig got filmed, too. Bob T's Detroit gig vid and this one might be pretty good viewing. By the way, the sound was fine w/o all the megarock sound gear. "Punks" take note....

   About to eat. It's Nashville. Gonna find Gloria.

   Watt wants me to learn the Capt. Beefheart instrumental "A Carrot is as close as a Rabbit gets to a diamond" as a solo piece - FUCK! This is going to be next to impossible. He wants to do a suite of 3 Beefheart songs and use a live tape of "A Carrot..." as the B-side of a 7" of my piece, "This is a Prayer," for Kill Rock Stars. Bear with me, folks! And all you Van Vliet purists, I'm sorry.

   The tor grinds on - rather happily. It was a blessing to see my sweetie back east 'cause I MISS HER! So it helped me a lot at the tour's mid-point. About 18 gigs to go. In the van I have so many non-gig-related thoughts that never get into these diaries. It seems that reportage takes over - and I'm already long-winded enough, lord knows! But it seems even more apparent than before that this opera of Watt's is quite the anomaly. All these bands with no distinguishing marks, no dynamics, easily labeled. I don't get it. No wonder people are turning away from guiter-driven ROCK bands - or are they? Tons of kids turn out at thses christian "punk" shows and by all accounts buy tons of merch. Hmmm... Where's the challenge? I am really not the person to take this on. I do instrumental music, improvise (not in this lame-o Dead way), experiment in Scarnella with non-rock songs and instrumentals - all of which inspires no one to drink, or pogo, or... But I think all of this is true grist for Watt, the old punk, and he'll probably hatch some more really contrary shit soon. Rage on. These are strange times for the non-generic. I just feel lucky to have my life: love, family, music. But as Sun Ra said:"Resist me, make me strong". I'm not going to stop. Rankled by current events (right now especially the gay bashing murderous thugs and the "churches" that condone their criminal hate), and inspired by sound, by people I meet and know, I cannot stop.

   Note: Lou and Jason from Sebadoh were at our show last night and flowed Watt their new tape, "The Sebadoh," and it is really moving, sounds great, and it rocks. One love ballad made me cry w/ lines like, "The future isn't all that long, so let's begin". The word TRUST appears over and over. I, too, believe in love....

from bob lee:

   nels bought me a copy of ellroy's "black dahlia," I spent most of today breathlessly trying to make it to the end. I am not a huge fan of detective fiction but this one had me hooked. mxpx played across the street from us, sold the exit in right out. I mentioned to steve that gaunt might go over better with that crowd than ours (they are a straightforward melodic punk band, after all) but steve made the astute observation that young punkers probably are more interested in seeing other young punkers playing the stuff. this is why mxpx are selling out big clubs while the damned and buzzcocks are caving, also why less than jake, pietasters etc. are doing so much better than the specials, madness etc. I must admit I have not heard most of the young generation's take on punk, ska and punk/ska beyond a cursory listen so maybe these youngsters are actually kicking it harder. maybe it's not such a bad sign that people are more interested in "new music." then again, third eye blind is also coming up with "new music," does that deserve support? I'm a grizzled old punk rocker, I'd listen to buzzcocks b-sides before mxpx myself, if what I have heard is representative. but which is the sadder scenario, young people whose heroes are all thirty years older than them, or young people whose heroes are their own age but suck outright? aesthetically I'd have to go with the teens who still sport germs and black flag shirts. are they living in the past or are they just music lovers with more refined tastes than most? I hope the latter, and that the state of homogenized sugar candy passing for rebellious rock and roll will inspire them to say "fuck this" and make it right. because I can find nothing rebellious about mxpx at all. maybe that's not their goal, maybe their goal is to be the boston of today's sound, if so they're on the right track. "this is not a matter of taste, I can prove this on an etch-a-sketch."

from steve reed:

   mike hasn't performed here in many years. hey, I almost forgot to tell you that jason lowenstein from sebadoh came to the show and gave me a copy of their new album ("the sebadoh"). it was the show last night in louisville and lou barlowe was their too, but he had to leave early. jason asked me about possible touring with the group in the future. very cool, thank you for asking. surpise again: mxpx are perfoming across the street. had a great inspirational talk with gloria and checked out the show.   even though these young men are paint by number green day type rock, they work very hard on stage and gloria mixes them great. she's awsome, much respect to you gloria and thank you. our show was good but bad monitors. gaunt did well with the audience also.

from watt:

   bing! pop and prop, then start to walk. damn, my joints are aching, aaaaaaarrrrrggghhh. gotta get some yucca capsules. taking those things works on my joints, believe it or not. it's just pieces of yucca cactus all ground up but the shit seems to help. five-eights through the tour and this sailor is feeling his hinges, big time. the walk does me good. my brain too. abstract thinking while hoofing.

   we muster then bail. pretty drive through kentucky. pass the "jim beam outpost" (whatever that is), the site of the original still must be around, huh? a couple of miles down the road is the maker's mark still. this must be the area where bourbon whiskey came from. there must've been all kinds of small pads in the old days. maybe there still is. no time to check it out now, we gotta get to nashville and play tonight's gig at a pad called "the end."

   nashville's not a town to have roads meet at right angles to make a grid (it's like boston, full of cow paths) so it's a trip to get around. I remember this pad was on the west side so after a little looking and some asking (I remember how carla tripped out when I asked for directions from someone on the street when she was w/us in the van. she said "amazing, a man asking for directions" - hell, carla, we do that all the time) we get there. I played this pad almost ten years ago w/fIREHOSE when it was called "elliston square." in fact, that sign is still up along w/the new one: "the end." the boss there is bruce, a cat I've worked w/for a long, long time (did a minutemen gig at "cantrell's" maybe fifteen years ago). he's happening and it's good to see him again. he was the boss across the street last year when we were here to play the town (the "exit/in"). guess who's at that pad tonight? ha! mxpx, the same band from last night in louisville. at least we won't have to wait for them to finish, we each got our own pad tonight. that damn bus they got is loud enough though. a generator/ac compressor going constantly - loud, loud, loud. I walk for blocks to get away from that noisy shit. damn. I come back for some spiel, a couple of phoners then a live video one w/a cat named pimp daddy from the college at murfreesboro where I get really inspired and give the full-on empower originality pitch which inspires him also and we both get lit w/the rush of it. good spiel, a success. it wears me out though so I gotta get to the van and konk so I can play good tonight. I get nels the 'puter so he catch up on his diary and then it's sueno.

   I pop during the end of the last tune _gaunt_ plays, gather my shit and head for the stage. mere moments from total konk to opera beginnings. damn. holly can't be here cuz she's got surgery. she's gotta heal from a car wreck that almost killed her. she was thrown out and forwad and the car ended up landing on top of her. thank god it came down on it's wheels or she would've been crushed. the motor did burn her though. shit, what a fucking trip. all of us black gang wish her well and hope she heals up quick. the monitors for this pad are the lamest of the tour. total weakness - made for acoustic gigs - the have no horns! total mush and I'm fucking miming it big time. the crowd has such a great spirit though and nels along w/bob lee are really whupping it up. I can't help but jump on and ride this thing out! I will not let the inadequacies of machinery get me down. a full trump of encores, pack-up and then it's into the lap of a mo-six deck for another night of snoring w/the mouth open.

read week 4 of the tour diary

read week 6 of the tour diary

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this page created 27 oct 98