mike watt + the missingmen

"3rd + 30 opera tour" 2015


friday, may 1, 2015 - utrecht, netherlands

raul morales (left) + dirk vandenberg (right) at lax on april 27, 2015

from raul:

   We're up about 8am this morning, not too much sleep last night. Even though we've been here in Equery for a few days trying to get use to the time shift, it's still been hard for me to get on a good sched, getting tired during the day, and wide awake at 4am The czech guys arrived about 6pm the night before we bail to start this tour. Great guys, got the chance to talk and get to know 'em over dinner. I was feeling tired after dinner, so i snuck away and tried to get some good rest. No dice, i hear tom and watt hangin out, so i get up to join 'em both downstairs... we all end up only gettin' a couple hours of sleep.

   Most the gear is on the van, so after a quick breakfast, us missingmen and hyori throw in the few things we've brought, and head to the netherlands to get the 1st gig under our belt. Would like to thank Christine and Masai again for making us feel so welcome in their home. And actually, should thank give thanks to some other folks as well. First, my girl paloma, who gives me an endless amount of support w/ most anything i do, and her family as well. A few hours before we left to the airport, her cousin went and tracked down the fedex driver who was delivering my fake tooth to her aunt's dental office. As it was enroute, her aunt rosio, got me prepped, and took out the temporary, and her aunt nena glued it in...totally freakin awesome ladies, i owe them big time. Also dirk for pickin' up me and watt and gettin' us to LAX.

   Grey skies on our way to utrecht, but once there we get some sun, but not much warmth to go w/ it. We're all using the gear the czech brought w/ them. Turns out the club has a drum kit in back though, so i decide to use that so our changeover will flow better, and the other band can stay set up behind us. Sometimes the house kits can be a little beat up, but this one is a pretty together mapex yellow sparkle kit, and same size drums as i play at home, so it's pretty comfortable. Sound check is quick, and once we're done, tom and i go on a walk around the neighborhood. We're back just in time to get the last of the chow, fresh indochina kinda meal w/ lots of fresh veggies, and  some rice on the side. I'm also asked if i can be designated driver for the evening, which is no problem, never a bad thing to not drink too much. This will be my first time driving in europe though, but i'm into it! macario says we gotta do an early check-in at the place we're sleepin' so i take it the opportunity to use this as a chance to get used to the clutch in the van. Tom comes along, and is much help w/ eyes and also in the roundabouts. Not too far either, 8 miles or so.

   pretty good turnout for the gig, and thankfully not too late either, it's rough waiting to play sometimes...my nerves will get to me. i spent the time stretching, and pounding water, i don't wanna cramp up or pull a muscle the first night out. Really live sound on stage, which i like sometimes. maybe because it gives more room for clams to go a little less unnoticed, i dont' if that's a wack reason or not, but i feel a little less exposed, and  i thought we did pretty good, considering no prac in a week, and on borrowed equipment. Very nice folks at this gig, and while the czech guys are tearing down their gig, i talked w/ a local named Wim, really nice man who knew lots about music, especially punk rock from los angeles in the 80's also sst stuff, his favorite was husker du:

   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HPBNuofVLo (video)

   i tell him my first introduction to them was land speed record, which mike and d. put out on their label new alliance from san pedro. My first introduction to sst was the blasting concept album, it has some intense bands on it, and that's how i first heard the meat puppets, saccharine trust, black flag, and minutemen. I knew new alliance though, because one of my 1st was the descendents bonus fat that had the ride the wild e.p. along w/ the the other tunes... i loved that record, and know for a fact that it's where i got my surf style of drummin' from, i really liked stevenson's playing.

   load-out tonight takes a little longer too, when we left equery, the bags were just thrown in on top of the equipment, so macario needs a little time to find the right way to load the gear in. czech guys all get pretty hammered, and it takes some time to get em' all together to get them into the van once we're loaded up. Jarda even got in the boat drinkin' a beer, i had to tell him not while i drive dude, not to be a lamer, but the last thing i need is to get pulled over w/ an open container in the van. Drive back to hotel is quick, and i'm way more confident since i already know how to get there. The tricky part once we're there, is not the reversing down the tiny driveway, it's getting the help of two hammered czech dudes..whew! Tom was the one who i was focused on, and he helped me big time, and saved us from almost getting the wheel stuck in a hole that was covered with an old piece of splintered up wood... so lucky it was able to take the weight for those few seconds, tom said he heard it start creaking, and it was almost about to give, we were so lucky with that one. Most of us are staying in the same room w/ bunk beds, i decide to stay on a bottom bunk, if i roll out, i'll be closer to the floor. The czech dudes are out instantly, tom and i both didn't drink at the gig, so we share a couple of beers i brought back from the gig. After a quick wind down, sleep comes real easy.

from tom:

   monday, 5pm: sitting in the new international terminal at LAX with mike and raul, i eat a turkey and cheese sandwich and make some last connections with friends and family on the phone. it's relatively quiet here right now. on the plane the boarding is complicated because i have to put my guitar in the overhead compartment but it all works out alright, and the seat between me and the guy in the window seat next to me is empty, which lifts both our spirits in anticipation of the long journey to come.

   earlier i wrestled with my packing like i always do, i never get much enjoyment from the process but thanks to a smallish pelican case my bro will got for me it limits the options extremely and that helps me. i load my backpack with my most precious items for doing gigs, pedals etc... it's probably 40+ pounds and my guitar in its gig bag adds extra efforts whence loading into the plane.  my mom and dad are the absolute best folks someone like me could ever hope for, they've always been completely behind me going off and doing what i want to do, play guitar, and i think my confidence has been a product of their confidence in me. my brother is also very supportive in another way, he keeps me on my toes, he can see through any lazy behaviors that i can tend to have, he calls me on things. he is extremely talented and entertaining and any conflicts between us are usually out of wanting more for each other, i think. also, before going away on tours, for the last ten years!!, Caroline has helped me not to freak out, just been there for me, all the time. so, that's my support group, pretty much...there are others that have been the closest friends to me, and helped me push along on this crazy path, whom i wont put names to, but that doesn't doesn't belittle their importance to me.

   once we arrive to france  we are shuttled to christine's living compound and settle into the comfortable accommodations for  the next couple of days, before our first gig in utrecht on friday. i do my best to adjust to euro time but i nap on and off till dinner time. we have quiche and wine, fresh veggies and salads. then i hit the wall and i fall asleep at 8 only to wake up at 11:30 and sit with mike and raul till about 4 and go to sleep again. we wake for breakfast, socialize with the band "cheap wine" who are in residency here doing a recording. very nice dudes. it's an ideal place for that sort of thing, lots of space for everyone. the day drifts by and i get some sleep but wake a couple times through the night.

   [days pass: things happen, food eaten]

   on thursday we meet the czech guys, then macario comes and we hang together for one last night before tour truly begins.

   our first gig is in utrecht, nederland, my first time to play here but not my first time here. i went to school to study electronic and tape music at a place called the instituut voor sonologie just after high school  in 1980. it's great to see this city again and get to try to use my very limited dutch. i feel a bit burnt out when we arrive, just tired and maybe still some jet lag, but raul and i walk a little after soundcheck and sit to eat with the others when we return to the club. we watch the first act perform, a guy named craig who plays guitar and sings songs, old seed. i like it. the czech guys go on after and are a total trip on stage. musically and performance wise, almost surreal. a lot of information. i know i'll get it more as i hear it more. wild show. i drink as much water as much water as possible and stretch in the cramped room behind the stage. i'm sore but my energy stays up for our show. is goes pretty well. my string pops out of it's saddle a couple times but i adapt and fel alright by the end of the set. raul drives us to a b&b where we park and find a bunk bed with the others. raul and i sit up for 20 more mins whispering about the gig and ht the sack at 3.

from watt:

   actually the tour for us started on monday (april twentyseven) cuz that's when the plane took off from lax w/me and my missingmen on it, an air france 777 out of terminal b - first time being there after a major makeover... I remember the time I was there to bail for some stooges gigs and saw that "pink's" had disappeared but damn if that whole chow part of the 'port is now gone and security is where that was now instead of on each: right up the middle. my old buddy dirk got us here from pedro here in his brand new to him 1966 plymouth valiant wagon (w/slant six), first time on the freeway for him in it, me and raul too. tom came from manhattan beach where he lives... we don't know about this new stuff they built, kind of sterile but the overhead being high up and lots of windows is neat... just no esthetic, oh well. it does have function - you know what has function? these fucking high pitch alarms that keep going off, very soothing.

   we get on the plane and take off right on time, six and a half in the evening - I like bailing at night when I gotta go to europe cuz they're nine hours ahead so we'll arrive in the early afternoon. it's been like eight months since I've done this so I'm a little out of shape - the fucking flight is kind of hard on me this time, even w/all three of us w/our own aisle seat w/no one next to us (very lucky), no fucking lumbar support kicked my ass 'pert-near the whole ten and half hours the flying took. I fucking spaced and forgot a book (wanted to bring "hopscotch" by) to bring to read like a 'tard so I have to resort to airplane movie world: "the crossing" was a new one from hong kong w/subtitles that was intense and made me cry some, "dial m for murder" from mr hitchkock in the 50s was righteous to see again and then this hobbit shit crap film from I guess recently drove me to turn the fucking garbage off. I swear I don't how to get through these hellrides but somehow I do, at least the chicken and noodles ain't too bad...

   very easy coming into france here via charles de gaulle airport though it takes an hour for the sacks to come down the conveyor belt but hey, better than the shit never coming, right? tourboss macario's there to welcome us, miss hiyori w/him after arriving from hamburg in germany. tourboss macario doesn't drive but his ma christine does and brings us to her pad about thirty miles north in the countryside to a little village called erquery where her and her other son masai live on a little compound made of an old stone barn and an older chapel plus a tower where they raised pigeons. very olde-timey and very nice, really beautiful. they aslo share this place w/an incrdible lover dog name pancho, such a good aura about him, he loves howling w/the church bells when they ring.

pancho in erquery, france on april 30, 2015

also for the time being there's a band called cheap wine made up of young men from around these parts, real nice cats and they can jam. they're recording stuff for a release and have turned the part of the pad we're usually into a recording studio so we're in a little house on the side, very happening. christine cooks us righteous the whole time - we're here the rest of tuesday, wednesday and thursday - thursday evening is when we meet uz jsme doma who are czech cats who are touring w/us, they're from czech republic. first time I learn about them but they've been around thirty years - mirek's the only one who's from the beginning, there's been many lineups for them, the others are from the 2000s. everyone very friendly, great spirit - good way to start a tour, important to have happening spirit so really good start. cheap wine bassman val let's me wail on his rick 4001 and damn if don't really play good, he's got a really good bass, respect.

   gig day is may day is friday, we're to pull anchor at nine and half so last shovel w/christine is at eight - actually masai cooked last night's tartiflette in his own special way and it was good, I always think of emma goldman on mayday, thank you for learning me big time, raymond pettibon! I have some leftovers. the boat is a big sprinter rented in czech cuz it's more econo. our crew is nine and damn if it don't seat nine - I put myself furthest aft and to the starboard - I'm thinking this time cuz you know my port ear's got scar tissue that don't take to too much sun too well. like w/this tour, I learn - little by little but I learn (try to).

   a gas station closed cuz of may day - is it's a holiday here? it takes some searching but we find a robot station and diesel it up for 1.40 euro a liter which about $5.70 a gallon u.s. - pretty happening for europe but prolly cuz the euro is really weak against the dollar now. drummerman jarda at the wheel, kind of windy so this big boat weaves some... kind of hard for tom cuz he thinks something he chowed this more gave him an allergic reaction and he puked his brains out right before we bailed, damn. I really feel bad for him. w/tom and raul it's real important I do everything I can to keep them safe so it's frustrating not being able to him w/this crap sitch that's got him suffering. we get into belgium around eleven and a half and pull over I guess for cigarette break - what? ok. sure I quit them a couple of years ago, much healthier for me that way. I wonder though what we're gonna do on the longer drives cuz pulling over too much... oh well, just as long as we're safe is what I care about.

   I forgot to talk about the weather. there was some sun when we landed and later on that day but since then it's cold, gray and rainy. you would never know it was spring, even w/the rain quitting as we get more north cuz damn if it ain't chilly. english is the middle language w/our team, macario native speaking french and the czech cats obviously doing czech - mirek does real good english w/his bandmates maybe not so much, especially bassman pepa. mirek has great tour stories, not just in europe but lots u.s. and canada ones, interesting to hear what he's experienced, much respect. also the whole behind the iron curtain thing w/having to do secret gigs, whoa.

   sure glad we to prac the piece yesterday even w/no amps and raul beating a chair cushion and the metal chair leg cuz damn if saturday wasn't the last time we played together. not only me was thinking but tom and raul just as much. when you shirk prac you have nobody to blame except yourself when you start blowing major clams and we're all on board w/that thinking so amps or not, we prac'd the whole piece. we stop near brussels in a little town where tourboass macario says he can get a tub from some cat here for econo but just like at the first pad we tried to get fueled up at, it's closed for the holiday. maneuvering the big boat is tough but jarda gets us back the path we need. north through belgium, the traff begins big time plug as netherlands gets closer and closer. we cross the border around two and a half - trippy you can't tell where the border is except for a sign - in the early 80s days of touring over here, this was the only border like this and it I think it was kind of the first version of what part of the e.u. is about. the sun comes out more and more 'til we get to utrecht which is around four and a half. oh yeah, there was yet another stop but this time I think it was to switch ponies cuz now trumpetman adam got on the wheel for the last bit of driving. the venue for tonight reminds of some of the japan live houses which also have prac pads and recording rooms, it's called dB's and the soundman axel is real nice cat. he let's me use the house bass amp (ampeg ) cuz looking at pepa's "torque" (what brand? I think it's from england) head only has two hundred transistor watts of power - I'll use it when I got to, no prob but if I don't, I wanna save it for pepa.

   by the load-in door outside are some tables and benches and damn if it ain't not cold anymore but very nice 'pert-near pedro w/the sun shining nice. tom seems to be feeling better (he'd been puking this morning as we pulled anchor and then all covered and konk during the boat ride), he goes w/raul to do w/the konk pad, raul getting used to driving the boat. the man from the other band playing w/us tonight, old seed, greets me w/help to remember meeting him fifteen years ago in his native winnipeg, canada town - his name's craig and he lives in germany now, gave up on the new world years ago and now does man-alone acoustic guitar and singing touring, very kind cat to me. then who comes up to say hi? it's dutch dude carlos, my dear old buddy - he was my bookerman in europe for 'pert-near twenty years - crimony, how I miss him!

mike watt + carlos van hijfte (l to r) in utrecht, netherlands on may 1, 2015

he lives in rotterdam these days but is from the south, in zeeland. we spiel for hours cuz I wanna catch up as much as I can. I love this man, very genuine. he wants to hear the story of how j is really the cat that who got the stooges reunion stuff going, I go all the way back to ronnie coming to my gigs to getting to record that "velvet goldmine" soundtrack w/him and steve shelley w/thurst cuz of don flemming and jimbo to that illness that 'pert-near killed me to the hellride bands (east coast w/j and murph, west coast w/peter and perk from porno for pyros) doing stooges tunes to help me get strong on bass again to doing tour bass w/j mascis + the fog where in ann arbor asked me to call ronnie to jam w/us which lead him to ask ronnie to tour w/us so the last third of the gig would be stooges tunes w/him to thurst curating the 2002 all tomorrow's parties festival at ucla w/scotty on drums (asheton, asheton, mascis + watt) and then the europe gigs which caught ig's attention and them him inviting the asheton brothers to join him on "skull ring" and finally to coacella... 125 months I then served w/them, incredible classroom ever for watt, love it love it!! I barely chow the plate of chinese the gigboss jerome kindly provides but he kicks down for carlos after a bit so I join him w/words stuffed between the shoveling w/my hashi... I got new hashi box for this tour cuz the one I had for years got all broke. me and carlos the see uz jsme doma drummerman jarda being pushed around in a cart wearing a trippy white outfit, what??!!!

   it's gig time and uz jsme doma are opening, what a mindblow - they're all wearing the same white outfit.

uz jsme doma at dB's in utrecht, netherlands on may 1, 2015

the band is incredible, great musicians and really bring it w/much spirit. my first time seeing them, wow. I'm pretty blown away, it doesn't matter they sing in czech cuz they bring it and I really fucking feel it. great job, new friends! up next is old seed (craig) and he sings/plays real good, tells lots of jokes too. our turn's next, 11:40 pm - forty minutes late. that's show biz.

   first gig of the tour, kind of scary? no, big time scary! always is. we're a little rough but rally and though there's some hills and valley, the clams are pretty little comparatively I think. I really blow it though in "hill-man" part though, prolly the worse maybe I've ever played it, the shame... I recover for the wind-up and for that I'm most grateful but how did I lose focus like that? after five tours too, huh? I'm real embarrassed. t raul's on the house kit and he does good but there's some kinks, same w/tom (he's playing through merik's marshall halfstack) but both guys save the day for me by hanging tough and never letting go, I'm really proud of them as well as big time grateful. the utrecht gig-goers are very kind though and bring us back for an encore - fuck if I don't clam one of the pieces there up as well. I thank everyone much, holler d. boon's name and tell them happy may day, "start your own band!" I tell them.

   I go right to the merch table but damn the red lights shining make it hard to tell this year's orange shirts from last year's white ones, carumba! so many folks, truly - so many. there's eric from the old days when I'd play at "tivioli" here in town (last one maybe 1991) and damn if eric from that band ain't here tonight... also a younger man working at the new version, he's got one of those mike watt flannels from altamont! in fact he works at the new "tivoli" - ain't that a trip? I'm most grateful. one last big hug for carlos, maybe we see him later in the tour, who knows? when loaded up, I say boss to gigboss jerome, great cat, I thank him much.

   we pull anchor at two and head out of town down a tiny road to a konk pad called "bill and lettie's b and b" which is really olde-timey and neat. no time cuz of having to pop earlier for england gig tomorrow so after hosing off I get up the stairs slow but safe and konk quick as my mind will let me after this start of a kind of strange way of something I've been doing so long but I'm gonna roll w/it and try to learn all I can. thank god tom and raul are w/me.

mike watt + the missingmen in utrecht, netherlands on may 1, 2015 - photo by reinier asscheman

saturday, may 2, 2015 - brixton, england

from raul:

   big travel day for us today, so after a quick breakfast we get on the road and headed to the  train that will get us underneath and across the english channel, total trip, and a little scary to think about. Once we're thru customs, tom is picked to do the england drive on the opposite of the road that he's used to, and i'm chosen to do the drive after the gig again, wonder if the other guys are a scared, makes me a lil nervous too, i've never done it either, but i'm up for it. I sit up front w/ tom, and help him get into the city, and guide him to brixton part using the gps on a freakin' phone, that keeps losing signal which is totally frustrating, especially for tom who has to drive w/ out knowing where the fuck he's going! i've done tours w/ only maps, and even with watt my first euro tours with him were all maps, but as soon as we used tomtom on a euro tour years ago, that was it, and that's totally the way to go, especially to have it mounted on the dash where you can see it,, not holding a cell phone that keeps losing reception..crazy! As soon as we're at the club, i suggest to mike that we buy one, he's been thinkin' about it too, and let's me know that hyori has one at home, and we can pick it up when we play hamburg next week.

   Small club tonight, so it's decided we will use the gear at the club to save space and time, there's also a bunch of bands. The kit i have to work with is maybe the most beater i've seen...whew! Only one bum leg, and the other side is propped up with a cow bell. It's not only me though, watt has a toy to work with too. fuck it, we don't mind it. i just wish i would of played it harder at sound check, or found a better solution than the cow bell.

   After sound check, tom and i take a walk down the block to find a place to chow down. We run into the other guys doing food at a totally greased out place, fish and chips deal. Across the st though we see a sit down indian place. We got time to kill, so this option seems like the way to go. We hadn't eaten all day, so we wanted something with some freshness. i had biryani w/ chicken, and some veggie curry on the side, really tasty stuff, lots of different flavors going on. We must of sat there for like 2hrs, owner was actually really cool about it though, and didn't mind at all, he said he got lots of band folks comin' down from the windmill to eat there.

   When we got back to the club, the bands had already started, and i went right up front and watched a local trio called small gang, great band, and really nice dudes. i was real tuckered out from traveling all day, so i waited out the rest of the gig hangin' w/ tom at the merch table. wish i had the energy to walk though, it's lame to be in a town you never been too, and have no energy to explore it.

   when the czech guys announce it's their last song, i decide to make my way up to the front of the stage so i can be ready to go. They end up doing an encore, so i'm right up front for the last tune. I liked their set tonight, they didn't have an england adapter to use keyboard, so they played more guitar driven songs. All the band used the drums, up front, but jarda had to put them in the rear of the stage, so i had to set up again, he let me use his cymbals to make things quicker thankfully.

   So like i had mentioned earlier, i should of found something better than the cow bell, turns out we couldn't even find the cow bell!! So i grabbed a brick to keep it from tippin over. i should fuckin' know better though, a brick ain't gonna do shit for me. So the kick drum is all over the place from start to finish, and i'm cussin' myself and the kick drum for the wack situation, totally miserable. I had to tug on it to get it back any chance i had, but from the drum moving, the kick pedal kept comin' off, and was almost fully sideways 99% of the gig. I had to use my foot in between songs to straighten it out, total nightmare, and all focus was out the window.  I pulled thru though, and only missed a beat while comin' out of baby cradelin'. We fade out, and i stopped a lil early to try, but fail to screw pedal on. Regardless, we played a  pretty good gig, really hard, and got totally drenched in sweat. I change instantly, i do not wanna catch a cold, and this england weather has a bite to it. Seems like we need more of a system for bringing things out of the windmill, because now, it's just a big pile of gear and bags on the street, totally amutuer styley. it's comical, but seems like more hassle than anything? Once the gear is in, i get in the driver's seat, and prepare for the potential weirdness of driving' on the opposite side of the street. Tom is there w/ me, so that gives me all the confidence i need, luckily the rain has let up too. Getting' out of town is of course just as windy as getting in, but a little less traffic, and downhill too, which is easier to manage w/ the clutch. I just cruise 'er slow and steady, and we're in the clear in no time. Right before the highway, i spot a shell station on our side of the road, very easy in and out, and we're extremely low on diesel. For reasons unknown, macario ask me not to stop, so of course, an hour later we're rollin' on fumes in the middle of fuckin' nowhere!! luckily, we spot the one station on the highway on the way to the train, close call number two in two days. Also, we end up late to the train on account of a total wander drive. For other unknown reasons, someone thought it was a good idea to just put into the name of the town into the gps instead of the actual address of the train station, after many wrong turns, circling round abouts, and even a trip into a dead end, we finally find the the cracked up and un-lit one laner driveway entrance, which to our defense looked like a road to an abandoned part of town, but also, maybe we're just lame brains too. Once we check in, we find we're 10 minutes late for the departure, and must wait an hour. which, is not an issue really, we still have 5 hours to go once we're thru anyhow. Just really glad we've made it this far unscathed, i know everyone, including myself is in delirium.

from tom:

   we wake after 4 hours of sleep at 7am, clean up and have coffee, bread and cheese, cereals, juice. talking with the owner lady, letty, about the house we learn about it's amazing history. it's a mid-1600's structure with hand carved wooden beams and various rooms for farm life of the time, a cheese cellar. the thatched roof is incredible. we have a serious drive today, all the way to calais in france, hop on the train and take the chunnel to dover england and the drive to brixton in london. i don't feel in the rhythm of tour yet after only 1 gig, and the adam from the czech guys does the driving to the train. we go through the customs before we get into the line of cars to drive onto the train. this is my first time at the wheel...i will be the england driver on our way to the gig. i've driven in ireland before, but that was a while ago, so it's a little scary to do. the train works well, we get through the 23 mile tunnel and onto u.k. soil and i drive the highway with raul navigating from a cell phone. all's fine till we get to the curving roads of london, and into brixton. eventually we get there, load in, and sound check. i'm very tired already, and raul and i go get some indian food and sit and talk and eat to kill a couple hours. there are 9 bands on the bill tonight...we're last. there is some interesting music and i plant myself in a chair by the merch table and conserve energy till about 11 when we go on. we play well, i think. i use a vox amp that i like and we get through the set. it's very sweaty, i'm soaked, and it's cold and wet outside. fun show though.

from watt:

   pop at eight and take some real steep stairs down to shovel chow but it's a slow-go for cuz of this fucked up knee and damn if taking a tumble now would be a good thing for the tour. I chow some salami stuffed between two pieces of toast w/mustard, love this combo. the konkpadboss lottie comes to visit and cuz I say in dutch 'thank you' she thinks I know her language but I let her know I only collect words from other people's speech and converse only in english. I have never pretended to know any other ways of speaking - damn, I wish I could but bass takes up too much time - I dearly wish I could, believe me. we pull anchor at nine. I wanna learn tom more blue oyster cult other than "the red and the black" so I push "she's as beautiful as a foot" and "hot rails to hell" into his ears via my ipod - he's way into it, alright! raul's next...

tom watson + raul morales (l to r) being driven through holland on may 2, 2015

   today's a hellride but the whole sitch is kind of trip. now tomorrow we play in amsterdam which is like thirty miles away so what makes total sense is to play in brixton (southern part of london, england area) tonight, around 320 miles each way counting the channel crossing (we're taking the chunnel to do that). oh well, that's just the way cards get dealt so I ain't gonna bellyache. we cross into belgium around eleven and a half, sun now draped w/white haze clouds but at lest not raining - bye bye cali sky that blessed my visit from carlos yesterday afternoon at the gigpad. there's tint on the window so lots of my pictures ain't for shit, terrible. oh well. as long as we're safe. the czech cats have been usually at the wheel (except for mirek and tourboss macario who don't drive even off tour) but they ask tom and raul to take the helm in england cuz the driving's on the other side of the road and they've never done it. I nominate tom - I do way most of the driving on tour back home but overseas the last few tours I've been letting that go to be stronger for gigs cuz I ain't as strong and gotta kind of ration why I got. HUGE plug trying to get out of belgium and into france for calais, frustrating - lots of construction is the main cause but there's lots of cars also... so it goes. we bear w/it... finally shit breaks up and we're moving again, we still get to the chunnel entry at pas-de-calais in time, the border check is actually here in france and what a really kind borderman who deals w/us and our work permit thing (u.s. people need them for only here to gigs), it's a "butter" crossing, very smoov. I love it when it's this way, of course. no one except me has ever done this before, you drive the van up on the train (the cars made for our kind of big sprinter, it's three meters/nine and half feet high) and then stay in your vehicle as the train travels under the english channel, it takes about fortyfive minutes.

   tom's at the wheel when come up at folkestone and head northwest for london. he does really great for driving on the wrong side of the road w/the wrong kind of vehicle (england has the wheel on the right and not the left). tourboss macario has no map and so it's up to first road signs to get us near and then mirek's leash (mobile phone) which keeps losing signal to get us closer. man, what a halfass this is, I suggest to tourboss macario the night before when there's internet available he uses some mapping website to get a map to where we're going and take a screenshot - just a suggestion. just driving to brixton and hoping to find the pad? well, ok. tom does a great job maneuvering the big boat around. I don't think he's ever wheeled something this big, let alone on the wrong side of the road. what's really righteous is raul right next to him to help, guide and warn. the plan for after the gig is for them to switch roles cuz tom's got bad eyes for night driving.

   anyway, it's like five pm (england's an hour earlier than the continent) when we find the pad (mirek's leash map comes through after his happening persistance), it's called "the windmill" and it's gonna be the first time I've play brixton in thirtytwo years - it was a pad called the brixton "ace" and it was black flag and minutemen - first time ever for us pedro guys in this land. the gigboss is george and he's a righteous cat - made this gig happen for us like a week and a half, crimony! I give him huge grateful hug. this is a festival for walpurgis which I never heard of 'til today but I can dig it. we do a short soundcheck w/soundman paul who is very cool people. the amp I'm using is a little orange solid state lunchbox looking trip on top of what looks like a one twelve cab (also orange) but actually has two speakers, one in front of each other - trippy. first time I've ever worked an orange amp before so I'm into it - up on two crates even. tom's got a good sounding old vox, maybe an ac30 and raul's got like last night, mapex - which has only one kick leg so paul uses a cowbell to prop up one side. after check I chow some lamb shwarma miss hiyori got from around the street, it's really good - lots of salad stuff. I get to rap w/some nice cats who I've rapped w/before at gigs. this pad's got a real good feel by it's own character but w/the gig-goers too, fucking happening and much respect to them from me. I get told so many times thanks for playing here - I ain't gonna wait another thirtytwo years, let me tell you! this young man gives me a book his sister wrote called "a girl is a half-formed thing" and said she's HUGE james joyce fan, her name is eimera mcbride. so glad cuz I forgot to bring a book for tour like a baka. by the way, I got asked to be part of a second volume of a music tribute to "finnegans wake" - can you believe it? very kind... and so many kind cats here give me the good word, good folks w/much heart.

   I check out and dig the bands before us: former utopia, smallgang and crumbling ghost - they all play w/lots of heart. our czech buddies let go of their outfits and keyboard for tonight but still really bring it w/some bitchin' playing. while they're wailing away my old buddy jose arrives and he's got some got heavy news/feelings but I'm glad he could get out and he's doing much struggle to handle it - he's gotten into swing/blues/rockabilly/lindy hop, etc to get stuff out. I admire him much for not giving up and wallowing.

   it's our turn to play and we get the piece going after me thanking everyone involved here tonight. jose's right in front of me, even though it's the 70th bday for richard meltzer who is such a hero for me and who I wanted to do the gig for, I wanna do it for jose too. great feel from the gig-goers but damn if I ain't distracted by a hard shadow on my neck cuz of one side of the p.a. pillar is causing cuz of where I am in relation to where the light's coming from. now if I just kept my eyes closed and "felt" where I was w/the neck it would be one thing but by me trying to look, I blow many too sharp or too flat clams, aaarrrrrggghhh what a baka I am. I still got joy to buoy me cuz of great playing from raul and tom plus the gig-goers giving right back. raul's got some drum issues cuz I hear much cussing but it ain't whining, it's more like aiding abetting his wailing. second gig of the tour can be better cuz of watt but it's good one cuz of the other folks involved and helping. thirsty like crazy cuz I completely sweated up the outfit - levis 'pert-near down to the knees but there's no beers... I just want a beer after I play (I drink nothing before gig) when I go sit next to the merch stuff but... one real cold one comes and I got that going down the in hole like a god damn - crimony if I ain't most grateful! however I'm a super baka idiot for spacing on thanking soundman paul for being our fouth man tonight cuz he was beautiufl - baka fucking watt!

   I rap w/many kind gig-goers, old friend b is here w/simon and they're both so very nice - damn, I wish I would've played better, aarrrrrgggghhhhh - have to fight the regrets welling up in me. all the good spiel from sincere folks helps but I have my challenges which I think are a good thing to have... most grateful to the gig-goers, most grateful to raul and tom - a little disappointed in watt but I keep on pushing.

   gigboss george has me sign the orange bass amp everybody used tonight, whoa! man, is he righteous people - huge hugs of respect for him from me! love his ethic and his work, great scene he's working here to get stuff happening, much respect. I think back to me and d. boon first playing brixton all those years ago... the resonances, huh? crimony.

   raul now at the wheel, we pull anchor at one (is my watch right?) w/tom right next door to him for help, role reversal from earlier today. the missingmen work the england driving for the team, viva! viva viva! I'm very proud of them. they make me feel secure enough to konk easy in the baka seat. I pop when we're at the chunnel entrance in folkestone, we return whence we came. it's 'pert-near six and a half in the morning when pop out into france at pas-de-calais and the czech buddies take over driving. I learn from my men it was tough finding the chunnel opening in england and took many loops - I was konked and not aware but am so grateful for their persistance and dedication to keeping us all safe.

sunday, may 2, 2015 - amsterdam, netherlands

from raul:

   Ride back to Netherlands is freakin' intense, everyone is burnt out. Jarda did the first hour or so outta the train, and adam took care of it the rest of the way. We rolled into town around 10:30, and it was decided that tom, jarda and i would share a room. We were a little early for check in, so we waited it out w/ some coffee in the hotel eating area that was right next to the room. Those guys let me shower first, maybe because they think i'm the stinkiest, i don't know? Whatever the reason, i'm totally grateful to wash off the gunk from last night, i felt nasty, and this hot shower was exactly what i needed, feeling so much better after. We have four hrs till sound check, so we all konked out. Mine was sorta restless, i had really lame dreams about home, i was happy when i woke up in Amsterdam.

   The club ochii is just a couple minutes walk from the hotel, so i think we're all stoked tonight's gonna be a little easier on us. Once we're in, we're greeted by the very nice volunteer soundman named gary. I ask him if there's a house kit, and he says sure is, but not something i'd wanna use. Ok i tell him, but i'd like to see anyway. In the tiny backstage area there's a bunch of random gear, and i'm able to find 3 pieces i can use, floor tom, rack tom, and a one legged kick drum. luckily, i there's a box of random hardware too, in there i found a leg that didn't belong to the kit, but i made it work. There was also stands w/ out felts or wingnuts, but i brought some of those along, so i'm gonna make this work w/ a lil love. The snares were a little too wore out, and sounded boxy, so i used jarda's. Turned out to be a good kit to play, and they had a rug w/ a piece of wood taped to the front, so that helped out lots with the slippage. Gary hooked us up proper, and we had a good sounding stage. Dinner is also served at the club upstairs, well seasoned potatoes, quinoa, and lentils w/ salad...perfect.

   After sound check, i went for a short walk in the vondel park just across the street the club, beautifully calm place. Good turn out tonight, lots of folks for a rainy sunday. It's a good gig, we played real well together, and no huge clams, and it feels like we're gettin' into the swing. There's some space on stage tonight, and watt comes up behind me during the last two encore tunes. We haven't had coltrane's love supreme playin' after the gigs yet for some reason, but gary is on top of it, and plays a live version of favorite things, which kicks much butt, and i like very much. No, it's not supreme, but no problem w/ me, wonder if watt minds? maybe we could change it up this tour?

   Since the hotel is not far at all from the room, and i haven't had a pivo in a couple days, i stay over after the gig, and have a few local beers  w/ tom and some of the gig-goers. Got to talk w/ jan bart and his buddy who i hadn't seen in years, and also boston phil who lives here now, who had many nice things to say about the music we did tonight, so cool of him. oh, and also made a new friend named roland, great kid who gave us a chance, and really digs it now, really cool of him too! Tom and i do not overstay our welcome, and shortly after we get back to the room for some much needed sleep.

from tom:

   we have to load out and pack back into the van for another trip to the train. raul is designated driver now and i navigate for him through the twisting roads out of town. it's 1:30 by the time we get on the road and it's a long couple hours with some misguided directions and poorly marked signage to find the chunnel back to france. we miss our 4:00am train so we sit in the parking lot to wait for the next one. raul and i walk around delerious in the cold dark morning air, not sure what our plan is. after a while we have to roust jarda off a couch in the waiting area to get behind the wheel and get onto the train. it's 5 something by the time we begin to roll back to calais. everyone is sleeping in the van except me and mike and we yak about pere ubu and related bands for 45 mins till we re emerge into the morning light on french soil. jarda continues driving as the light comes up, but we pull over to make a switch of drivers in belgium...7 or 8 in the morning and i haven't slept for over 24 hours. i get in back and we continue towards amsterdam.

   it's another 4 hours till we arrive at the hotel by the occii club where we play tonight. raul and jarda and i get a room on the ground floor and we shower and get in bed to catch whatever rest we can before we load in. i'm out for 3 hours, still tired but so much better to get a little rest. the occii club is 1 block away, and after loading and soundchecking we are fed a great vegi-meal. potatoes, letils, salad, and a half glass of red wine. i head back to the hotel and lay down again for a couple of hours. raul is in the room too, and we head back over to the club at about 8 to see some of old seeds opening set and then the czech guys do their thing. i hang upstairs with mike until our turn to play. i feel pretty good playing, a couple mistakes but overall we do a great job i think. afterwards we do a quick pack, but we get to leave the stuff in the club so we dont have to load out till tomorrow. i talk with a couple nice dudes i have met before, rehydrate and head back to the hotel to get some seriously needed rest.

from watt:

   I stay popped awake after our channel crossing, jarda at the wheel. kind of not comfortable in the seat here but damn if it couldn't be worse so please take this as bellyaching cuz we gotta do what the sitch calls for or how else do we have the nerve to expect something like gigs or seeing stuff we can't find back home? we don't so I don't mean to make these chimpings sound like total kvetch. we diesel up and I get a bacon-lettuce-tomato packaged sandwich which I make bearable by stuffing it w/potato chips from last night's gig ("bacon sizzler" flavor!), I gotta chow something. I chimp diary. the weather is rainy but at least the traff is calm w/zero plug. our czech buddies like to take puff breaks every two hours or so adam's turn is next on the rudder and finally pepa for the last hour to get us to amsterdam, we arrive at the "hotel central parc" a few blocks from the venue around ten and a half. fuck, we did it, blessed it be! right quick I get out of the goddan soak-sweated outfit from the gig and hose off, crimony ain't that truly a fucking blessing! I konk hard 'til four but not w/out a sense of big time gratitude to everyone involved driving us all safe to/from brixton - whoa, what a fucking mission... but in the long run, way worth it!

   five is when we get on over to the venue, a former squat now official but still very righteous pad called occii - I've played here a few times now and dig both the pad and the folks here much.

outside of occii in amsterdamn on may 3, 2015

inside of occii in amsterdamn on may 3, 2015

the gigboss sjoerd is waiting for us and helps load in. the sky helps as well w/laying off w/the rain for a while. the soundman gary knows the score, has done me before... actually I have tom decide what I should use tonight cuz the stairs are pretty steep for my fucking lame knee so I just stay planted upstairs (dressing room/chow pad). tom decides the house bass amp is too tiny so we're gonna go w/our czech buddy pepa's "torque" amp and some kind 4x10 speaker box. it works good for soundcheck. oh, tom's on mirek's marshall and raul's working the house yamaha kit. drummerman jarda asks us to sign his snare drum w/a u.v. pen, don't think I've ever done that before.

jarda + uz jsme doma mural at occii in amsterdamn on may 3, 2015

   when we finish the check I slowly get back topside and do a spiel w/a kind man named matt (I think so? my fucking baka memory, so sorry) who's spieled w/me before. he reads to me what I think of this part of an interview he did w/the band lightning bolt answering what they thought of the minutemen. it's trippy how they're confused why we played w/black flag and all that, they just came later and weren't there so I don't blame them, they just had a different idea of punk then the people we were and were w/in them days. I got to meet bassman brian, real nice man and he man, he can play his ass off - much respect to him. anyway, I don't mean to sound like an idiot or patronizing or anything but I never really got asked to react to something like that before. I sure wish the lightning bolt guys would've got to meet d. boon though cuz I think they would've dug him - georgie too, especially the drummer. after the spiel I chow these fucking righteous potatoes roasted w/herbs along w/a salad w/olive oil and vinegar which make for a really great symphony in the mouth. I chimp diary after and then rap w/painterman phil, a cat from boston who went to the channel and pads like that. good to see him again. picturetakingman roger says hi also. w/my fucked up knee I just gotta stay up here cuz once I go down then maybe it's smart to try and not come up again, treacherous for cojo watt. this also means I can only hear our czech buddies and also old seed - yeah, craig got added on here at the last minute also.

   we were supposed to go on at ten but damn if it ain't over an hour when we actually do... it being work/school night, I feel that's kind of lame on the gig-goers and in fact tourboss macario made it a point to me he didn't want that to go down but he said shit happened. oh well, I will say that it ends up being the best gig of the tour so far and I think that's cuz I blew way less clams. the lighting on the stage was perfect for me and also raul wasn't behind me as much - the stage sitch last night dictated how we had to be but I play much better looking at raul w/out the look-backs but not like that was the reason for my major clamblow... I think every gig you throw the dice but starting a tour can be a little tougher... aarrrggghh, I'm just glad I did better! I can tell you the amsterdam gig-goers were very kind to us and give much support and spirit, beautiful. even if it was late on a work/school night. for encore I move between raul and tom - I got both room and confidence to do, it's a good time.

   I go to the merch table and meet w/gig-goers, there's several that were at the utrecht one, whoa - thank you much, most kind people! my old friend from the u.s. ron goudy of modern warfare gives me a whiskey - hey, after the gig so I will do (not before) and I also get to meet painterman phil's lady... always nervous when people who come to your gigs lots decide to bring a friend and the you're hoping you don't disappoint, you know? very awkward but they're both so very kind. soundman gary gives me digital sound files of the gig, whoa! a tall man tells me his ma is czech and where did I get connection the uz jsme doma band - I point over to tourboss macario, that's who. damn if it andy from nomeansno - oh man, GREAT BIG HUGS - he's here w/his son who's a bassman himself - hugs for him too. wow, can't believe. incredible respect to them both. beautiful father and son.

   the 'tel is only a couple of blocks so time for time for me to bail. there's a gig-goer who earlier asked me if I said "start your own band!" and yep, I tell him that's what I said so he says that's what he's gonna do - he says, "you just wait!" and I hug big time as I hobble for konkville... 'pert-near right after hosing off in the chamber I am out like a, like a - well, out like that.

monday, may 3, 2015 - enschede, netherlands

from raul:

   The room i'm in is just next to the dining area of this hotel, so me tom, and jarda are all woken up from the racket of the other guest going back and forth. We decide to not try and sleep thru it, but to get up and chow. I'm still wore out from the England travel too, so no big hoof before we bail, maybe if i hadn't stayed up later i'd feel more rested, trippy to be in amsterdam, and want to rest more than explore. After breakfast i crashed out for another hour.

   Playing a squatted warehouse tonight, big space w/ artist set up in rows next to each other in little homemade cubbies, kinda re-purposed things as walls etc...the place smells like paint and various chemicals big time. There's probably like 5 vehicles parked inside, and piles of old paint cans, and piles of you name it's , 50 bikes stacked on eachother, and just the most random shit all over to be used for art, or for anything really, even the pisser was a barrel cut in half long ways w/ a drain put in it.They've been here for 4 years, but w/ the amount of shit everywhere, seems for like 40, reminds me of sanford and son. We play in a pit that looks like it was used for truck repair or something. A group of us are shown to the sleeping part for the bands/travelers in the rear of the warehouse, in upstairs room w/ sky light, and about 10 beds. Totally clean in here, and will be a great place to camp for the night.

   Before sound check, i search around the rubble for various drums, and end up piecing a kit together in about a half hour, some i find in the warehouse next door. These guys had busted a hole in the wall for access, and used the building as a wood shop, and upstairs there were more piles of busted equipment. I Ended up w/ 3 matching tama pieces that had a silver wrap. I wet a towel i'd grabbed from the bar, and dusted em' off. hoping for something not totally wack. I don't know what to think, is this crafty, or am i freakin' nuts, i guess really i was just lookin' for something to do, and anyhow,  it'll save time and make change over easy.

   We decided that we'd switch off w/ clean-up, so tonight, since we'll play 1st, we check last. whew!! soundcheck was horrible, playin' in this big cement pit everything was just so loud. Watt thought i was playin' behind the beat too, but turns out he was way outta tune w/ tom..arrgh! after that's fixed, it sounds a lil more together though, but not much, this makes me worried about gig time. No hoof today either, instead tom and i try to do transcendental meditation up in the sleeping space. Maybe this sounds corny, but this helps calms the both of us, and after just laying there for a half an hour, i feel totally calmed. Dinner is soon after which is a spinach and mushroom quiche style dish fresh from oven, all vegan and very good. I only have a small piece w/ a big salad since we play soon.

   Truthfully sound of gig is 10 times better than i'd anticipated, i think that the people being there helped soak up the sound. Unique thing too, it wasn't a traditional set up at all, and more than half of crowd was behind me, and some dudes sittin' on the steps just a couple feet in front of me... so maybe we should of set up facing the other direction, w/ the most floor space, we're not all there though, so this doesn't even cross our minds, but soundman jon doesn't bother to bring it up, either way, i don't mind. Like watt says, work the room.. we do, and the soft parts are extra soft and we get a nice moody version of bell rung-man.

from tom:

   jarda, raul and i have a quick breakfast and then join the rest of the group to load out of the club and into the van. we stand on the sidewalk with our gear while dodging bicycle riders on the bike path. even a tiny car with an elderly woman behind the wheel rolls down this narrow pathway between the sidewalk and the street. the skies are clear with strong wind, very pretty. we pack and head towards enschede, another town i've never been to. we arrive an hour later.

   the space we play is a squated industrial building filled with eccentric plastic sculptures and broken up spaces for people to make their art. the room we play in is an old auto repair garage with a pit sunken in the middle, where we set up an d soundcheck. we are shown the room where we all can sleep later and raul and i take the moment to lay down and do a 10 minute transcendental meditation which feels really good. it's great to have mutual likes with raul at times like these. we spend a lot of time hanging out and talking. the evening continues and we are treated to a fine vegan meal with vegi quiche with perfectly flakey crust and a crispy green salad, so tasty.

   after uz jsme doma plays we go into the pit and push though a tough set, for me at least. i have a hard time with the sound and my amp has a funny buzz during the quiet parts. still we have a good time, the locals seem to enjoy it enough. afterwards i am treated to the "coq du jour", "the mexican", which is basically a Bloody Mary without celery...not bad at all. i have chats with a couple different folks, band stuff, politics, films, the night expands and gets later and later.....i follow some people next door in a connected squat for another phase of party, talking, etc...now it's very late and i need to break away to lay down before it's too late. i fall asleep at some point.

from watt:

   pop just before nine. ok, we've been gone from home one week now. there's bright sun roaring into the windows, I can dig it. I'm confused about checkout time and pull anchor time... I can't remember if tourboss macario told me anything about this, I'm a fucking baka. better to be early than late though so fuck, I go down to checkout and there he is in the mess hall not far from the lobby, I hear his voice and a couple of the czech buddies. the paper from the 'tel said chow was ten euros but tourboss macario says it's free so I have a sandwich using toast w/salami, cheese and mustard stuffed between - I like this kind of thing since a boy... I have another! I swallow coff also. load up the boat at twelve and a half, I hobble the couple of blocks over to the occii pad, the gigboss sjoerd waiting for us, respect. this is very dangerous situation cuz not only are we on a busy road but the bike paths are full of pedalers wailing on it - it's a miracle no wrecks, I shit thee not. did I say "bike" path? there's scooters and even an old lady in a tiny car - I swear I saw her smiling as she wails by, crimony. we have to be careful and somehow we get the boat loaded w/no incident, I am most grateful. also, we still got much sun! we head east for enschede.

   I spiel w/mirek about how band members are picked in uz jsme doma. over the thirty years there's been many versions of the band w/only him being the only constant. he tells me he puts out ads asking for people. he makes midi files of his music (he's the band's songwriter) and flows them to potential members and then auditions them. he also tells me there's a policy of when one cat wants to quit, they have to find a replacement and teach them what they know uz jsme doma music. right now youngest member is drummerman jarda at twentyseven, trumpetman adam is thirtyfour and bassman pepa is forty - oh, mirek is fiftythree... hmm, that makes me oldest one (missingmen tom is five years younger and raul, twenty) on the tour - again! that's ok, it's the reality of the dealio...

   onto the highway w/no wander, fucking happening! there's lots of traff though (hurry up and wait) - finally break free of plug and as the sun gets blankied by clouds w/stop to fuel - no, adam at the wheel wants to check the tire pressure, righteous idea but then the machine takes three euros and they say to wait for germany and I'm like "fuck that!" and get them their three euros to get us right. how much is three euros worth against our lives? they go for it - thank you big time, thank you, czech buddies.

pepa inflating tires to correct pressure on the way to enschede on may 4, 2015

I used to take way more chances as a stupid more-younger person. anyway, everyone is very kind to get on board w/this, "diky" is thank you in czech and I tell each one that. speaking of slav (or southern slav as in the balkan), our czech buddies trip a little bit on the little speak of the former yugoslav I know from going to high school w/immigrant cats in my pedro town, like how to say dick (kurac) you little piece of shit (tisi mali govno), you big piece of shit (tisi velike govno), go fuck yourself (jebi se) and kind things like that but like my buddy jose (remember from last night?), I don't converse in anything but pedro-speak, other than that I'm just a fucking word and phrase collector, a fucking idiot. oh, "prosim" is "please" in czech, another good one to know and of course "sorry" ("promin").

   we arrive in enschede right around three, another five minutes and we'd be in germany but this is still holland. real soon we're at the loch which is a former auto repair pad turned into an artist factory... fantastic place, many "sculptures" from garbage plastic, whoa!

original art at the loch in enschede on may 4, 2015

original art at the loch in enschede on may 4, 2015

original art at the loch in enschede on may 4, 2015

original art at the loch in enschede on may 4, 2015

original art at the loch in enschede on may 4, 2015

original art at the loch in enschede on may 4, 2015

original art at the loch in enschede on may 4, 2015

original art at the loch in enschede on may 4, 2015

original art at the loch in enschede on may 4, 2015

original art at the loch in enschede on may 4, 2015

original art at the loch in enschede on may 4, 2015

original art at the loch in enschede on may 4, 2015

   we load in and do soundcheck w/soundman jan, great cat. very unique situation for tonight - we are in a pit! yeah, the gig-goers will be at the "rim" (as if we were playing at the bottom of empty swimming pool), trippy! for the first time also this tour we will go on before our czech buddies - I asked tourboss macario to make this happen cuz they play so good, I believe they deserve this as respect from us. I'm glad he's into it. after we shovel great homemade (cooked by jeanette) chow of like a deepdish w/crust on the bottom and edges filled w/a mushroom filling w/a very fresh and tasty way-leafy salad, love it. I use piri piri sauce they got a bottle of here also, good flavors coming together!

   we're gonna go on at nine and a half. in the meantime, mirek shows me the uz jsme doma pop up book done up by his buddy martin - the same cat who does their stage mural and album artwork. damn if this pop up book ain't a real piece of work, I really dig it, much respect to him.

   our gig is interesting. great dynamic w/the gig-goers, for this tour the least amount of yammering yet. they give us sincere respect and much focus. tom and raul are playing their ass off. I'm thinking I'm doing ok to though I gotta admit I fucked up more than half of the words for the hell-building-man part, what a fucking baka idiot I am. there was a clam in the first solo of the last part also - not to use this as a crutch of an excuse but the lights are coming from the deck and up at us which is prolly happening for the esthetic but tough if you open your eyes - remember the shadow in brixton on me? I avoided much of this problem by playing w/my eyes closed or bringing the bass right up to my face. I do better w/the encores also - damn if I didn't really fuck up one last night, the shame... raul held the course though and got us through (tom mainly sings in that one). like w/their excellent driving in england, my men always come through for me, they are most bitchin' truly.

   I go to the mersh table and many kind people rap w/me. one man is a bassman and he reminds me I did play here before w/fIREHOSE in the late 80s (I had told the gig-goers this was my first time in this town, what a baka I am!) but what's really a trip is when I came to end of the third opera's jug-footed-man part where I quote buddy rich's "no beards" line, I was staring right at him and damn if he doesn't have a big ol' beard. I apologize to him big time and say I've had many beards - hell, I didn't shave once during the whole fourteen months I toured my first opera so what the fuck am I talking about?! he's very kind and so is his buddy, I'm most grateful. all three dutch gigs got seen by this young man roland, he raps w/me a good while, he's a big john frusciante fan and just recently found my music through him. he's very expressive, calls himself "out-of-his-head-man" which in context to the piece he's just witnessed three times is pretty fucking right on! raul brings me what they're calling the "cock du jour" which is cocktail called "the mexican" but we would call it a bloody mary and maybe find very little of it mexican but hey, we're guests here and everyone so nice. I think latin america is really exotic for these cats, interesting.

   our czech buddies put on a blister gig, I think they're great doing clean-up. the black lights on their white skater outfits are big time surreal! things keep going and going, much cramps coming from the dj bucket podium by the hatch - I have to let go and konk. so glad for miss hiyori getting these air mattresses, the back of the sprinter van is quiet enough for konk and so I do.

wednesday, may 6, 2015 - hamburg, germany

from raul:

   Playing inside the cargo hold of an old fish processing boat in the harbor of Hamburg, it's been converted to a club, but still functions, and travels around europe doing music and visual art events, so awesome! We're here for two days, and get tiny cabins w/ bunks to share. Again, it's me tom and jarda, and we have four just big enough bunks, and a little table in the middle and a sink, there's also a small round window that you can unscrew the latches to open for airflow. I take a bottom bunk, Jarda's on the one above me, and tom is on the bottom bunk next to us, the top one we use to store bags and such. Great accommodations, and stoked to have a pad for the night off. Me, Hiyori, and Czech guys walk a mile or so to the grocery store to get some food for dinner tonight. I get some simple things for sandwiches, and a bottle of cheap wine, and it's decided we'll go to the center of Hamburg by train tomorrow. Hyori's mac machine went kaput sometime on this trip, so lame, and she's bummed, and has just found out that it can't be fixed...weak. She's gonna bite the bullet though, and get a new one. Tom and i tag along w/ her. While she's doin' here thing, Tom and i take a walk just across the street. Since i got dinner stuff last night, Tom buys me my first good euro coffee of the tour, and a croissant w/ jam while hyori gets her machine set up. Hiyori takes us on a mini tour of thr centrum, and also shows us personal things, like places she's worked before, i think she's lived here for 20 years plus maybe. She also treats us to some donor kebab in a sit down turk place, extremely sweet of her.

   Back at the stubnitz, the Czech dudes are using the time to learn new tunes for a recording sesh they have comin' up. I chill out in the cabin and read a couple pages before falling asleep. When we're told it's our turn, both tom and i double time it downstairs. The club has a kit, and i use the kick, rack tom and snare drum, which i really like, has a good crack to it. Our soundcheck seems to take hours, no sound guy shows up till forty five minutes before doors. Whatever, we were here waiting, he's a real nice guy though, named blo. He explains that he was busy elsewhere gettin' the ship ready for an event they had going on the next day, so he was just busy, totally understandable, but nobody told us what was up, and we were both waiting for hours. After our quick check, i cruise upstairs for a late dinner, just a little bit of pasta w/ some meat sauce.

   unfortunately, the opener is stuck in a bad traffic jam over 100km away, so the czech guys are up first, they end up going a few songs over the time, and are still playin' when we're asked to start...aarrgghh! We wait on side of the stage and they start to go into second encore.. this is when we take a stand, and ask to go on. We set up quick, and played quick too, really fast set, was i little difficult for me for some reason. I think maybe the coffee i had earlier had a fucked up effect on me, and really tensed me up. That topped w/ faster playing did not lock in right sometime's, and tempo's seemed all over. We did play w/ some fire though though, and i feel this outweighed the clams. I learned some exercises to relax my wrist from jarda, which helped at soundcheck too, but come gig time i was all tensed up, from both nerves and caffeine. People are sincerely nice though, and i think the mistakes we make are hyper real, and over analyzed in our minds. We're hard on ourselves, but that's not a bad thing...we just don't wanna get soft.

from tom:

   the sun and humid air feels good as we load out, i feel worn from last night and we have a bit of a drive but no gig tonight.. we will shoot for the place we play tomorrow night and stay there. the rains and winds come and the traffic is thick, and i am sore. hours pass, drivers change, hiyori takes the wheel for the first time and does a good job. when we roll into hamburg we loop and loop searching for street names, finally finding the stubnitz boat on the river and carry all the gear up and down wet metal stairs and into the main room of the ship. we have cabins on the boat where we get to sleep for the next two nights, it's great, and i get my bunk and lay down for a few minutes. i'm very tired and relived to not be playing tonight, which is very unusual for me and us. it's a beautiful ship, and we explore it and then sit together in the small galley and eat some left overs. there are a couple bands playing here tonight, but i take the time to change my strings and get my stuff in order. the night goes on, i get cozy in my bunk and go to sleep early.

   i wake at 6:30 and jump in the shower and shave and crawl back into my sack for another hour or so till waking and emailing and drinking tea. raul and hiyori and i decide to take the train into hamburg center to the apple store to get hiyori a new computer, it's nice to get outside and raul and i sit for a coffee and croissant and wait for hiyori to wrap things up at the apple store. afterwards we take a short bus trip to get some showarma sandwiches and then back to the boat. there's some down time while uz jsme doma run through some songs in the live room. there is some pasta being made with red sauce and i have a bowl before we soundcheck on the crowded stage. it's great to be staying right here so we don't have to move out till tomorrow. there is an opening act tonight but he calls from the highway and stuck in heavy traffic, so the czech guys go on first, then us, then the French guy closes the gig. it's a good show, a couple mistakes here and there, but overall good energy. we all hang in the front room while the french guy does a sweet set of looped guitar and drums and it feels like the perfect come down to long day. our little cabin and my tiny bunk are very wonderful and i am asleep in moments.

from watt:

   tuesday popped around nine and a half - very good konk in the back of the sprinter van on the air mattress. first day off of the tour but also liberation day in netherlands and I think it's the first time I've ever gotten to celebrate it, makes me think of d. boon big time. I go get coff from the kitchen, feel the fucking knot on my head from hitting on end table in that amsterdam 'tel monday morning - aarrrggghh. not too bad but damn... I check email: painterman phil from amsterdam flows me this link on huge hieronymous bosch celebration where he lived, in 's-hertogenbosch. I write immediately an email to carlos (remember I saw him in utrecht?) to see if maybe we can be part somehow? w/out this painterman there would've been no "hyphenated-man" - I shit thee not.

   twenty after one we pull anchor, bye bye good folks of the loch... well, it takes fucking like twenty minutes to finally leave, damn - do I need a crowbar to pry us away?! pepa at the wheel w/miss hiyori next door to navigate cuz she lives in hamburg. w/in minutes we cross the border and are in germany. big wind and the boat's getting tossed. we suggest a slower speed maybe - no gig so no rush but even if even w/gig, why take chances? back row here has no air but I'll deal w/that, the yellow jacket comes off. the gig shirt's drying (the shirt I wear every gig this tour was from my ma from last xmas, and orange/blue/gray/white whatever plaid flannel) so it's barechest and no mystery I got a fucking gut but it's all three us back here and you know tom and raul are used to it. we pass through osnabruck - the minutemen played this town w/black flag in early 1983 and it's where I first met richard hell - both our bands we're opening for him and I was so nervous I couldn't speak. he shook my hand and said "hey, mr minuteman" - I couldn't believe it... my first punk rock hero (I put a picture of him on my bass and it was like a line in the sand, changed my life!) and there he was... I was so self-conconsious and freaked out, I bolted. I still have a mug the gigboss gave me, it was a lady which is kind of rare. it was the first time I chowed europe pizza too, I remember the olives weren't fucking pitted and I almost broke my teeth like a baka. a little before three we pull over for some fuel (not much cuz it's 1.35/liter for diesel on the highway here) and since we're in germany, I get a wurst w/brot and senf (fat-ass hot dog w/bread and mustard) and chow that on the curb, it's good and my first chow for the day.

mike watt chowing wurst/brot/senf on the way to hamburg on may 5, 2015

we switch ponies, miss hiyori now on the wheel... rain starts coming down heavy. luckily the rain relents after a while. it's starts getting muggy - jacket back off and showing out. the traff turns to plug to make it more intense. I keep my mind off by chimping diary. we pull over for some of our czech buddies to stomp on their gorilla cigarette jones... the sky goes way dark w/huge storm clouds and the wind kicks up like a motherfucker - and there's fog rolling in too, shit. the sky so black... reminds of back home in the midwest - you might wanna call it tornado weather but they ain't got tornados here, do the?

   miss hiyori drives us careful and we make it to the waterfront that's south of hamburg, letting go of the wheel to jarda. of course there's some time to wander so we do that for an hour, making a few laps around where we don't have to be and then, voila!

the stubnitz in hamburg on may 5, 2015

we arrive at the stubnitz (wiki info here) which is a boat, yes! we're playing here tomorrow but get to stay here tonight, so very kind of the cats here. it was part of the old east german fishing fleet, a factory boat for processing fish from smaller trawlers. since the early 90s it's been a place for theatre, art and gigs - it goes to different towns and ties up to do stuff, what other pad is like that? I'm really into this venue! one of the crew here named rica invites us on, she's very kind like everyone here - the chefman is from dunkirk and is very interesting, he hips me to a bunch of infos from french navy words to schnapps and early morning racing in hungary, respect!

   raul goes w/the czech guys for chow run, he says again they wandered (maybe it's their hobby?) but eventually found a market and I chow a couple of bread rolls stuffed w/tiny (like half a pinky size) sausages, goat cheese and mustard along w/cherry tomatoes and cucumber slices on the side. I talk to il sogno del marinaio drummerman andrea who lives in berlin - maybe he has a gig for us there? he did his first big u.s. tour w/me and il sogno del marinaio guitarman stefano last fall. so good to hear his voice again.

   there's a gig here tonight and I see two swiss guys in a band called blind butcher that are a trip. dummerman does bass pedals at same time as he drums so damn if they ain't got a bass player! both have great outfits also. it's a good time. tiny bunk in the cabin I'm in, I imagine an east german sailor in a wild sea getting tossed around here! actually no toss but rather only sound of rope tying the boat to pier moaning w/the strain. trippy.

inside the cabin area on the stubnitz on may 6, 2015

   gig day and I pop just before nine. mirek makes me turkish kind of coff he likes which means no filter so you don't drink the whole cup down. it's good, I like it. there's news via the internet that there was a guy killed in hamburg yesterday cuz of the storm - actually there was tornados, crimony! I've never heard of such things. there's big clouds out but also lots of sun so we got no rain but some wind - go and take shots of all around the boat topside - wish I could hit the engine room but entry forbidden... understand this ain't a "fixed monument" or whatever but a operating seaworthy ship. there's a hammock on the top deck and damn if I don't lay out in that, way fucking relaxed. there is nothing like a hammock except maybe a hammock on a boat, righteous.

watt in a hammock on the stubnitz in hamburg on may 6, 2015

   I ate a can of tuna - well, the tuna in the can which my only chow 'til tom and raul return w/miss hiyori from the city and w/this a donner which is pretty good. I then try to follow the history of the ottoman's I got here on my 'puter version of the encyclopedia britannica but goddamn is hard to follow all the twists, especially in its beginning. seems after it was a slow crumble but dame is it a spaghetti nest of different bosses and peoples. of course byzantium is involved and you know where we get that word "byzantine" to describe something twisted/convoluted? whoa, right here, man, right here maybe. just as I'm overwhelmed by all these names, dates and whatever when another of the crew here named vera offer's another cabin w/its own head even! she's most kind, truly. it's been "updated" since its east german days I think, there's pillars from trees that've been installed, beautiful - rough and beautiful. I do huge hot soak in tub - yeah, this cabin has a head w/a tub! and there's a mirror over the sink so I can shave... even cut nose hairs (I brought safety scissors in the man sack) too! I then wait in this cabin w/the lights off - damn if I don't konk for like two hours! I guess the soundcheck was either delayed or tom couldn't find me or both but I make my way into down into the aft part of the hull which is where the stage is. you can see many cooling coils still on the bulkheads (actually the inside of the hull), I guess this is where they stored the fish brought on board from the smaller trawlers. we do a quick check w/soundman blo (very happening people) and then go chow a little pasta and sauce from the dunkirk chefman which is real good. I go to the cabin, sit in the dark and think - I see through the porthole bash.o guitarist graeme, so I go right out to meet him and we have a good long spiel about u.s. constitution stuff, he's a very interesting cat. I go back up to the cabin and think in the dark. I think about the big coils of rope I saw earlier in the day on the deck... george hurley used to sometimes call the head a "coliling booth" where turds you shat appeared as coils - "coiling and toiling" was even the name of one of our fIREHOSE tours, I shit thee not.

coil of rope on the stubnitz in hamburg on may 6, 2015

   well, I'm kind of pissed cuz it's a work night for gig-goers and we were told we'd go on a quarter of eleven and damn if that ain't in a couple of minutes. our czech buddies clear out fast as they can but it takes some time - aarrrrggggghhh. so glad raul using the house kit (sonor) w/jarda's floor tom so the setup can real quick. frustrating though when tom's monitor has a prob, loose connection - this is what happens when you're all rushed. I'm cussing pretty big time and can you believe butjean-herve penon the guitarman for faust is right in front down in the pit and asking me to lighten up - whoa, I tell him his english is pretty good... he gets me into a better mood for a but as we start the piece after my opening speech, I start getting angry again which makes me blow clams. aaarrrrrrgggghhhh, I force myself to get over it and not be stuck in rage world... it does make for a certain fire though. the hamburg gig-goers got a great spirit truly. there's a few cats w/video cameras that work for the stubntez, it's a live feed of what we're doing - I remember seeing the swiss cats last night like that. we get better and better as we get more and more through the piece. I start thinking about playing in the boat here more and more also, thinking about my pop - he did twenty years for the navy in the engine room, was a machinist mate and got up to chief. a big reason I do kayak is cuz it feels like I'm my own engine room when I paddle.

   we get done w/the piece and they bring us back for encore. macario joins us again for the final throw, his second time but I mention it now cuz he's got it more together. glad to have him aboard, he's a good closer. I go up the merch table and many kind folks give the good word. one lady said her parents were big minutemen fans (we played the markthalle here thirtytwo years ago), ain't that a trip. I once again get to rap w/graeme, he's the best. I meet a bassman named henning, who's got a band called some of my best friends about bass - he's got a great suggestion of james jamerson (big time inspiration for me on bass) playing: bouncy - yes! we also spiel about submarines. he's a great cat. so is bassman tim of the deeper dees - in fact he might be able to fill in some holes w/this tour... you can imagine a watt tour w/twentyone holes?! fuck, never in my thirtyfive years. but anyway, getting to talk w/these very kind people really makes things better for me, puts me in a great mood. we also get to hear sheik anorak who finally arrived cuz of transpo problems. he's a really nice cat from lyon in france. so glad he made it, better late then never and he's got some serious groove, respect!

   back in the mess, I get to rap w/the blind butcher drummerman roland who's also got his own stuff going too. interesting man, great sense of humor and damn if he can't play like a motherfucker. much respect to him. so kind of tourboss macario to provide bottle of jim beam, czech trumpetman adam shares whiskey views w/me regarding bourbon - I mention my view of scotch/irish whisky being more like treble and bourbon being more bass. just a thought and not a commandment.

   people here have a good time tripping on my nightwear. glad to make happy. I'm beat, time to konk.

friday, may 8, 2015 - aalborg, denmark

from raul:

   Off the ship about one pm today, we gotta wait for our lp's to arrive though, then we go to Hiyori's pad, and then north to almost the top part of Denmark to a port town called Aalborg. After we leave Hiyori's place, we end up back in the center of Hamburg, and 10 minutes from stubnitz? Something is definitely up, and we totally went an hour in the wrong direction. As we slowly roll in the traffic plug, i hear it was because of construction, really hard to believe that there was only one way to go, and the only option was closed... maybe i'm wrong though. so what was supposed to be a 4 hour drive, turns into more than double that, what the shit! Regardless, i'm stoked we have a destination, a club called 1000 fryd in Aalborg. Enroute to club, we stop to get some groceries from a store inside the mall. I'm not a big fan of malls, but i like food, so fuck it, gotta do whatcha gotta do. Macario ask that we take no longer than 30 minutes to shop for chow. Me, Tom and Hiyori team up and get Some good bread, stinky cheese, average deli meats, and some fresh greens, cucumber, tomatoes and radishes for a salad, i also get a couple irish beers to go w/ dinner. 1000 fryd has a great loft style place upstairs, and will be a good comfortable place to call home for the next two nights. Hiyori washes and chops up the veggies, and the 3 of us have a tasty meal. Some of the Czech guys are really upset about the no meat policy in the kitchen, because they're unable to cook the food they bought, and will have to chuck it, bummer, but them's the rules. Seems like when Missingmen are in this sitch, we always go for sandwich, easy, and no cookin' of anything.

   I slept like a mofo last night, and i'm second to last to wake up, pepa being last, just like at the loch. Still groggy, Tom waits for me to get dressed, so we can go out for a walk to stretch our legs. It's cloudy out, but no rain, just a few sprinkles here and there. We're not exactly sure where we're at, so we go to the bridge down the st to get a better perspective of the town, and decide to walk the waterfront, and paths along the park near an old church. Then we do some walkin' in the center of town where all the folks shop. Neat old houses turned into shops and cafes just right off the main drag, new mixed w/ old. Maybe some are still houses lived in too, hope so. It's starting to rain, so we decide to head back before it gets too wet.

   The crew just seems to lounge around the loft most the day, probably waiting for dinner, nobody has the money for this country, and it's not worth the exchange since we're only here for the night. I had lots of time today to communicate w/ home which was great! paloma let me know that her and kevin took care of two calimucho silk screening jobs the last two days. She's been helpin' much w/ pick ups and art work, and luckily for us kevin was in town that week, so he could pull the ink. so glad we didn't have to turn down more work because i was gone. It's been more difficult w/ kevin now in portland, but he's still doing calimucho there, so we're lookin' at this as growth.

   Tonight, we're the bologna, and we play right in the middle...great! Not too late either, and we're on stage at 10, and jammin' by 10:20. Weird sound, and there's a big low end feedback. Watt thinks floor tom, but i got gels on it, and i'm holding it so the skin won't move, i think soundman just has the mic way too loud. Anyhow, i hold it, and don't hardly play during cherry headed lover-man. This throws us all off, and it's a terrible version, and watt even says something to sound man over the pa... luckily this gets his attention though, and he's able to right it quickly. It was a loud bar scene too, so lots of talkin' the folks that wanted to see it though, they came right up front, and were pretty respectful of us, just one dude talkin a little, we'd catch him off guard by stopping, or getting quite suddenly, and his voice would be all loud and shit, kinda funny. I'm glad we're able to rally, and not let the situation ruin the gig. Big Embarrassment for me was droppin' a stick during encores, what a lame maneuver, i think maybe because of sweaty hands it slipped out of my right out. Oh man, i feel stupid! Both Tom and Mike are very understanding about this though, it's me who's being rough on myself. We try to be on time, and i think we're even done w/ a few minutes to spare. I quickly get my cymbals off, and change out snare stand, and help Jarda w/ pulling the drums back some, and getting some of the hardware into position. When i ask him what else i can do, he just says have a beer and relax... sweet guy!

from tom:

   it is grey and wet in the morning, i feel tired and sore again but i pack my stuff and help load gear up and out of the boat and into the van. it's cold and i feel a bit weak, so i take my time with stuff. i sit in the loaded van waiting for the others to finish up emails and whatever, hiyori is also waiting on some records that will be delivered. we get rolling around 1. we follow hiyori to her place in a suburb north of hamburg and drop off records and grab small sandwiches at a bakery and then get onto the autobahn. the drive is long, and the is a lot of traffic from construction, but we don't have a show tonight, again, so we just need to get to the venue to stay the night. eventually we cross the border of denmark and the land starts looking different, the buildings are more modern and beautiful and they seem to compliment the land in a different way. the sun stays up till 9:30 and it's finally dark when we roll into allborg and into an alley where the 1000 fryd cafe/club is located. we all pile out and start loading all our stuff into the semi empty bar space and onto the stage. soon a young lady named katerina shows us the upstairs rooms where we can stay the next two nights. it's perfect and i grab a sleeping mat on the floor and have a bite with raul and hiyori of sandwiches and salad that we bought at our last stop in germany. we all kind of wind down, and i hit the sack after a couple emails.

   i wake and shower, and raul and i go for a walk in chilly danish outdoors. we walk and talk, observe. back at the venue we all hang around and eventually the swedish band, vanna inget (pronounced: vohna) show up and we help them load in and onstage. upstairs we have some tasty vegan pasta and salad and a very delicious baked raison nut bread that i indulge in with 3 pieces. vona inget play their set and i watch most of it and really enjoy it. i love hearing songs sung in swede. then we play and it feels good, aside from some lowend feedback, a good show. uz jsme doma get to close it out tonight and its fun to watch them do their thing to the smallish crowd of locals. upstairs after the show we all hang together and talk and drink beer till it's time to sleep.

from watt:

   pop at ten. there's some toast, I chow that w/coff after a good soak - love that tub. piping hot water... get the tub warm w/a mix, the get in and hot only hot 'til you're a float toy - that's the way I dig it my bones (especially knees) do too. it's pretty sunny out the porthole. I chimp diary. miss hiyori's gotta wait for vinyl for her mersh, the pressing company had a problem w/their machines and so there was like a one week delay. I can feel a vibe from some of the older crew (the ones who make the boat work) that's it's time to go, my crippled slow ass clogging up the hallways and go-slow on the fucking stairs.

   load the boat (our czech rented sprinter) at one - much easier than loading from cuz of the tide making the angle of the gangplank more calmer. I feel useless cuz of my fucking lame portside knee preventing me from helping, pathetic. I wanna pull my share but fuck, this torn ligament keeps me from doing anything productive that way, fuck I can't even run let alone lift anything much more than my bass and back wack 'puter sack. since the man sack has wheels and a handle, I use that for a fucking walker. aarrrrrggggghhhhhh. well, we make due and I'm most grateful for everyone taking up the slack from me w/the no shlep help.

   the vinyls finally arrive (truckman got lost!) so we bail at two pm, we follow miss hiyori to her pad in haldenstadt (hamburg suburb) and while waiting for her to get tom and raul clothes she washed there yesterday, I get a weird kind of pretzel bread roll that got some cheese chili tiny filling/topping whatever... it's two euros and is only other chow besides that toast for me today. we get caught in a massive plug on the autobahn going towards keil and have to actually bail from that route - luckily miss hiyori brought her tomtom gps and that gets us another route but damn if we ain't gotta go back into central hamburg - what?! poor jarda at the wheel, it's like a fucking two our plug we fucking gotta wade through, crimony! I think back home in so cal ain't the only parts w/plug traff these days... we got more lanes and those are plugged but... anyway, grin and bare it, right? the plug finally relents and we make our way through jutland, this part of germany is really pretty. holstein is part of the name of this region (state)? I actually see some of those kind of cows on some farms! we got a bunch in our land. a quarter of seven near the border w/denmark in flensburg for chow and fuel (we leave euro zone to go to denmark) but damn if it's a huge mall - crimony, I come six thousand miles to go to a fucking mall! I chow a skinny wurst w/a bread and mustard plus a beer from the gas station, four euros all together.

   soon we're into denmark, no border check. very pretty here. my pop's ma was from denmark, I think that's where my knees came from cuz I saw the same situation w/some great uncles from her side at a family thing one time a while ago. trippy. before I had gray mustache, there used to be red in it - you think that's danish? whoa, eight and half hours since we left the stubnitz in hamburg when we pull drop anchor in aalborg - it's ten and a half now.

at 1000fryd in aalborg, denmark on may 7, 2015

I dig this pad 1000fryd - great vibe and they're letting us konk upstairs. I get to meet the gigboss nikolai who's very cool people, real happy face and not jive. big parts upstairs for everyone to konk on good mattresses and blankie. it's my first time in this town but I first played denmark thirtytwo years ago in both aarhus and copenhagen, both south of here. I'm real beat, time to konk so I do.

   gig day and I pop at eleven - yeah, fucking eleven bells! today's ve day - it was seventy years ago. internet says mr putin put on a big moscow parade and the new tank they were showing out konked out and had to get tow, whoops. actually I think the commonwealth lands had the celebration yesterday, no one is united - trippy how that bottle I beer I got was in flensburg cuz damn if that was where the nazis put the nazi capital after berlin got rolled after dummkopf nummer eins yanked his life from himself. I think a navy boss signed the we quit paper. what a fucked up thing, that war - sixty million killed... twentysix million soviet, eighteen million chinese and so on... all the lands losing people breaks my heart thinking/remember - but these wars going on now too, fucking baka... please let's stop the fucking wars, people!

   ok, I got that out.

   I check the internet and a man I was talking to last week at the brixton gig name mark wants me to know about the women who spit - hmm... interesting. miss hiyori's 'puter went kaput back in erquery and she got a replacement yesterday. luckily she has backup drive and I could migrate all her stuff and help organizing her shots and movies, she takes a buttload. this takes a little while but it's worth I think so she can get on a good road, organize by folders named w/dates. that iphoto crap is just too slow and has 'tard elements. I guess whatever works for whoever - there is no one way but he's the baka watt way. I find info on this band mirek on the ride up here was telling me influenced him big time as younger man, a band I saw a few times called chinas comidas - ain't that a trip? hell, I even find a screamers connection I didn't know of... man, I dug screamers gigs - they were huge band in 70s hollywood scene me and d. boon learned punk from. trippy about connections like that - w/a czech dude too! so glad tourboss macario got us touring together like this. a funny link from a cat makes me think if it wasn't all an accident - was it? this former kgb man claims ussr funded punk movement! I immediately write my buddy raymond pettibon about this... he said only dils but then they bit them in the ass! raymond's beautiful.

   I get to meet the padboss peter, very nice cat - everyone here is. soundcheck w/soundman martin after our czech buddies get done (we switch playing cleanup tonight), we're on a stage I like though some acoustic challenges w/the low ceiling making for it to act kind of like cupboard but we'll ride it out, I'm thinking. raul for the first time of the tour uses jarda's whole kit. I'm w/pepa's amp and tom w/mirek's. they sure are kind to share.

   while there's sun, I wanna see outside. I go hobbling around parts near to take shots, the sun's out bright but that don't mean it's warm - not too bad though.

mural on building in aalborg, denmark on may 8, 2015

there used to be a fjord a few blocks away but a flood made the north part an island, the folks at the pad told me. there's a big bridge across but there's wind also and I'm a little scared w/my knee the way it is. I go over the water though. there's some soosh pads and a china restaurant pizza pads but of course everyone wants kroner. the kroner is what they use for money here, not the euro... one denmark kroner right now equals about fifteen cents (one euro now is about $1.12 u.s.) but of course cuz of the little time here, I got none. one pad close to the venue I check out says they'll take ten euros for a sixtyfive kebab plate to go. two brothers from iraq and one of their sons I think, it's called "princip" and damn if it ain't good, their own style. they come from the north of their land, near the kurds. they talk about how broken their land is... I tell them one day I wanna play there (one's a drummer and the other does keyboards) but they say to wait about thirtyfive years. ok. I really do wanna play there one day, one way.

   when I get done shoveling that happening kebab w/the hashi, I read some more news from the internet: cuz of anger in scotland over the referendum last september, mr cameron wins election - can't wait to talk w/brother sam (my cuz bandman) about that this summer when I return overseas for cuz tour. trippy how bash.o guitarman graeme told me wednesday night it was gonna be four way leading to some kind of crisis. I never can predict our elections back home - I've been surprised so many times. it's 'pert-near like what bands end up being mersh... beyond me.

   opening up is a band from sweden called vanna inget and they charge hard. they're really good about the times too and allow us to go on right to the second. the aalborg gig-goers give us a great welcome but damn if by the cherry-headed-lover-man there's a low mid feedback coming off of the floor tom like a motherfuck, I mean this baby is eating our whole sound and damn (again) if I ain't gotta leave the libretto and say stuff over the mic to soundman martin cuz maybe it's just us swimming in the feedback bogarting us like a fucking blankie. I don't stop playing though and I still keep as much of the piece's words as I can between the pleas of help. he gets it together, whew. no more monitors but I'm close enough to the side mains to hear something of what's coming out of my mouth. I blew some clams but not many, very emotional gig. I know my pop loved his ma and think about her, think about him - both gone and here I am, it's a trippy thing being conscious but vital - vital I get it together w/tom and raul and deliver this piece! can't get too internal, right? they're both playing real good though they got some challenges too, I'm so lucky to be aboard w/them... also we're lucky to get to play for these aalborg gig-goers, they give us big time respect even w/some yammering at the bar from some not-so-conscious folks, it's a good time. macario joins us for the closer on the deck (no stage for him!) after tome really puts out for the encores. it's a little tough for us to have days off like this tour's had, prolly a bigger challenge than anything else but we perceiver. much respect to tom and raul, much. there's I wrote this piece for them to help me deliver, why I picked them. I bow deep as I chimp this, I do.

   much kindness at the merch table, "tak" is thank you here and man this "thor" beer tastes good after getting so sweaty. our czech buddies bring it and tear it up good, the do an instrumental about a sailor and a gray whale who fall in love and have a baby giraffe, trippy.

   we have a good time upstairs w/them when they finish plus some of the swedish vanna inget cats (the drummerman andreas is really cool people) and a man from australia that's got roots everywhere, he schools me much on some heavy "doom" or whatever you call this kind of metal... I'm really happy we end up somehow (how the fuck?!) talking about ronnie james dio cuz I got to spend time w/him twice, some real time rapping w/him and just loved his person, what a righteous cat. the vanna inget singer karolina puts this australian man's long hair in a braid in mere moments - damn, that's some technique, crimony! she also explains that their band name can translate to our baka speech as "let it go, man" - I can dig it. ok, I see on the yellow watch it's past three bells, time to konk. I say bye and go konk.

thursday, may 14, 2015 - turku, finland

from raul:

   Woke up sick as shit this morning...aarrgghh! This is day two of feeling weak, yesterday, we had day off, and i spent 90% of the day laid out on a little sleep mat in pentii's office. sleep has been difficult, and i'm getting like four hour throughout the night, and finally crashing once the sun comes up. I think my body is beat down from two long travel days, i know that's why my sleepin' sched is off. On the first day, i was up for at least 24 hrs by the time i crashed on the second ferry to Finland at about 8am in the morning. Very hard two days, and that's all i gotta say about that.

   We've been holdin' up in a little pad just north of the center of turku, quaint country vibe just a fifteen minute walk from the center of town. Days off for us are difficult, and i think we all have a case of cabin fever. One of the days hiyori and the band take the walk into town to the turku art museum to check out some early Finnish paintings, and a trippy movie called DEAR JESUS, DO SOMETHING! Group Field trip that i totally needed, my plan was to go back the next day to walk the river and take the boat back, but sickness got in the way. The next day i spent the whole day inside reading patti smith's just kids, but ultimately feeling shitty. Very rainy weather outside too. Adam and Pepa took the time to make dinner for us tonight, a brothy soup from the leftovers from the night before, and also stuffed bell peppers, w/ a tomato based sauce on white rice. the soup fit the the weather, and my cold condition perfect. again, lots of trouble sleeping though... probably due to lack of physical activity.

   On our last day at Pentii's, i'm starting to come around, head is still plugged up, and green, but the ache's are going back to just the normal wear of travel. most the day is rainy again, but luckily stops before we gotta pack up and get to the gig. For all we had stacked against us, i thought we did a good gig despite some dynamic things and issues w/ volume. The Czech guys have it totally together though, and it shows. They're mostly stayin' at the practice pad down the road from pentii, so they're ready w/ 5 new tunes for tonight's show. I never even checked it out! Our first morning in Turku, jarda showed me all the bites he'd gotten while sleepin' on the floor there. The night before, i was jokin' to him about gettin' lice from the punk house too! So, he refused to go back there to sleep, and ended up bunking w/ us, but set up camp in the kitchen after the cooking was done.

from tom:

   today the crazy drive begins, though first we rise, drink coffee and juice and load the van. everyone is moving slowly it seems, not in a rush to spend the next day in transit. we have several days till our next show in turku, finland, which means we have to get to the ferry on the coast of denmark first. the czech guys are very helpful with loading but i do my best to be useful, even with some strong body soreness. i pace myself, then we finally start to roll. adam is behind the wheel, he's a good driver and i feel safe in the back with him there. jarda takes over at a certain point and again i feel pretty safe, which is important in a packed van like this. we get to the ferry and have a short wait till the trucks and cars drive into the belly of the ship. the weather is more chilly, and wetter and windier than anything we get back home. once situated, i curl into a ball in a chair on the ferry and sit with other travelers on our way to sweden. the three hours move slowly and i have a bad taste in my mouth from the dry roasted peanuts i ate earlier. next we disembark and drive and drive, stopping for a moment somewhere between gotterburg and stockholm. it's disturbing to see a mcdonald's at every gas stop here. time expands, the sun slowly fades to grey and at  sometime, close to midnight, we arrive at the ferry station. it's closed, and the streets are strangely quiet for a saturday night. we make suggestions as to what to do for the next few hours till the ferry office opens at 6. finally, i think to myself, if only if there were a starbucks, or even a mcdonald's to hang at to get out of the van maybe have internet?? we wander through the empty roads to the center of the stockholm saturday nightlife area, not really what any of us were looking for, but we park and a few of us venture out into the cold, looking for a place to sit, maybe a toilet or a cup of tea? i catch up with raul, mike, and mirek, and at the heart of the disco world we are rejected from entering any bar left open now at 1:30 or whatever. one door guy says, "you're not on the list". it's a joke anyway, and i guess it's on us. we walk and laugh from sleep deprivation and appreciate that it's not raining. so, back to the van, then back to the ferry building and park in the lot and wait... the temperature drops, mike shares a corner of an open sleeping bag with me, i guess cause my shivering legs were annoying enough. in any case, i think of that penguin film, of them huddling together like this, i drift into an uneasy sleep for enough time to have a dream of being stuck in the van. in the dream, in the seat i'm actually sitting in, there is a tucan in the seat in front of me and raul is trying to feed it some bread or something and the huge bill of the bird is snapping at his fingers, stressful. it's too cold to sleep and i'm kind of miserable. it's 4 then 5, and finally the sun starts to come back, slowly. mirek and macario go into the building and eventually we can go in to use the toilets, and then we get into line again for the next ferry to finland. this time we have little cabins to share, with bunks, and showers, and we spend the next 12 hours on that boat.

   we travel in relative luxury now, warmth, available food now that we can use euros again. it's about 8am and hiyori, raul and i find the cafeteria and pay the 11.50 euros for the buffet breakfast, happily, and mike finds us sitting at a round corner table and we sit and eat slowly and pocket some fruit for later and i head back to the cabin to get some sleep, finally.

   i awaken around 2:30, and take a shower in the tiny motorhome-like bathroom, shave, etc. i figure i need to try to stay on the local time schedule as best i can. raul rouses too. i go downstairs to do emailing and join mike at a small table where other travelers are watching a road race of some kind, it's an enjoyable distraction, we talk and write and watch the tiny islands go by the windows of the ferry. it's still very grey and cold looking out there. during the last couple of hours before arrival, i get a disappointing sandwich and a beer, find raul on his iphone, pack up my stuff, and prepare to get back into the van. it's not too long till we arrive at our new place of temporary residence in turku, and pentti's place is not far from the center of  town. in the wet cold late afternoon, we load our gear into the basement of his place, and find spaces on the floor for our pads as we get to know our gracious host.

   pentti is a musician, instrument maker, contact microphone builder, label runner, recording artist, engineer, music lover, and real interesting dude. i look over his music collection and have fun looking at his home made electronic sound devices. it reminds me of my electronic roots. some of our gang split to stay at another pad about a 5 minutes walk away. the evening winds down, and our long journey from allborg is finally completed. incredible. i am asleep.

   it's getting colder and wetter in the morning, not too bad but we lounge around and do emails and read inside. it's kind of a lost day, kind of just recharging a bit, taking it easy. i don't remember much about this day. mirek makes us all a very nice meal, celery root soup, with goulash and dumplings, all fresh made. very czech style and very delicious. we stay up listening to various musics but i hit the sack by midnight.

   on tuesday, raul and hiyori and mike and i go out for a walk over a bridge and into the center of town thats not too far away. the wind is blowing cold, but it's not raining as we walk by an old church, by a river, through town, across the market square, up a hill to the turku museum. it's nice to get inside out of the wind. we slowly walk into rooms of late 19th, and early 20th century landscape and portrait paintings of local artist, and into a room with more impressionistic works. eventually we come to a partitioned room and go through the black curtain where a film is being screened in a loop. johann bergstrom hyldahl? a film entitled "dear jesus, do something". we sit through the 24 minute film and it's enjoyable funny and tragic. we like it. downstairs we see another finnish artists works and complete stay there. after that raul and i continue walking through town, talking and observing. finally back at the house, 5 hour after we'd left, there is more czech cuisine on the stove. it smells great after being out in the cold all day. we cozy and wait our turn to enjoy the schnitzel and fried cheese and veggies. in the mean time, pentti stokes up the sauna downstairs, and after eating, mike and pentti and i have an intense heat bath. we sweat out toxins, and scrape off dead skin, and shower and climb onto sleeping pads. i do emailing, and talk a bit with raul in out little room space before hitting the hay.

   wednesday is yet another day indoors, the windy rain and grey skies make it easy to hibernate. i make one run to the store with hiyori to get another 12 pack of local beer for the house. that's the only time i have my shoes on all day. other than reading and writing and internet, we just cruise along till dinner time. adam and peppa are preparing yet more czech style food, a delicious soup that we crumble little dried peppers into, and then a stuffed pepper and a scoop of rice in nice sauce. i'm stuffed after all that. i rub my eye with the fingers i crumble the spicy peppers with and feel the sting. as the evening slows raul is not feeling so well and we find our little sleeping pads in the little room.

   gig day, finally!! i wake kind of early, i slept alright, some tossing and turning, and soreness. however, it's nice to have had this space to hang out in during these last few days, pentti has been so cool to share his home and so cool to get to know. even so, it has been 5 days since we've played last and i know we all feel tight from the down time. mike and pentti do the watt from pedro show pod cast in the kitchen and the rest of us stay busy with stuff till we have to load gear back out of the basement and into the van for the short trip to the club. after the load into klubi (the club), i drive the van a few blocks to find parking with pentti and we walk back talking about his earlier days here in turku, making music and working the scene over the years. at the club we set up, check, eat some salad, rice and curry, and sit in back and talk a bit. the hours go by till uz jsme doma goes on at 9:15 and plays an intense set to a rather small group of locals who chose the gig over the hockey game tonight. it's understood that that's a reason for the smallish turnout. we go on and play as hard and as well as if it were sold out, i do love that about this band, aside from some mistakes from lack of practice it goes well, we feel good about it, we have fun, and during our breaking down of gear some nice locals give us some kind words about the show. i am designated driver, so macario and i walk the 10 blocks back to the van and i drive back with him and slowly we load out and into the van, and i drive he full van back to pentti's and we all come down from the adrenaline and after watching a part of an old twin peaks episode raul and i konk in the little room.

from watt:

   saturday in aalborg I popped at nine and a half. I realize I didn't hose off yesterday so I hose off this morning. days off on a non-stooges tour are strange for me! I chimp up last night's gig for the diary and get it up on the just before we gotta bail...

   pull anchor from 1000fryk ten ahead of noon after saying bye to gigboss nikokai, I invite him to my pedro town. he says maybe next summer he might visit miami... I wonder what summer in miami is like for a cat from northern denmark? I tell him we can paddle kayaks, he says he does that in the rivers here. much respect and tak ('thanks' in danish). it's rainy, gray and cold but not freezing. I try to get one last shot of the pad but the camera jams up, damn it. in the boat though I free it w/tom sitting next to me and giving a huge girly gasp which really helps but you know? maybe it did cuz it starts working again. tour cameras take a beat from me, maybe I've been through 'pert-near eight of them? this one's a canon sx160 and still in the race. in less than an hour we stop for diesel cuz it's cheaper than in sweden right near where we get the ferry at frederikshavn. there's two danish navy frigates/corvettes, trippy looking w/their strange angle and flat surfaces, pretty modern. we gotta wait a bit in a little room and then ten before two we board a stenaline ferry, driving up into the bow.

the ferry 'stena danica' in frederikshavn, denmark on may 9, 2015

   soon the boat's underway but damn if there ain't hardly anywhere to sit... so many gambling machines and they let the walk-on passengers first, aarrrgggghhh, we do find some space by the little kid playing area which also is on the way to the liquor store. it's mainly swedes buy booze - they bring their own carts, one cats shlepping seventeen cases (408 cans) I count! I guess it's a lot cheaper. after a bit, two staff ladies wheel in a cart that says "lotteri" and people line up to by tickets to see if they can win some booze. I see one winner get a bottle of wine, the rest I guess are "supporting" them. well, we got a lottery for money back home, I think 'pert-near every state has one - to each his own. "everyone deserves a break" is the slogan on the cart. I chow a falafel sandwich 1000fryd gigboss nikolai gave us all each, dry but the lowensenf helps w/that... damn, we're running out though, need to find some more somehow someway.

raul morales + jarda noga (l to r) in the hold of the ferry 'stena danica' in frederikshavn, denmark on may 9, 2015

   we arrive in goteborg, sweden at five and a half when me and my men are enlighten to the fact that it was not possible to use either phone or web to purchase tickets we need to take a ferry from stockholm for turku which is also where our first finnish gig is gonna be. we try around the port but saturday evening makes for everything closed, same thing at the central train station which I guide us too cuz of being here once to do a stooges gig like three or so years ago, damn. well, we got a six hour drive to stockholm to do anyway so we head west head into the rainy cold, hard to believe the main road is a two laner. adam's been at the wheels and continues to be, even after piss stop at chow pad where the smell in the head is like the ferry - yeah, didn't start out that way but by the end of the stena danica (that was the name of the ferry we just took) ride, the head's were totaling overflowing and w/huge odor perfuming the boat w/scent of both piss and turd. good show! amazing how someone running a chow pad would want this kind waft making people all hungry and shit, mouth salivating for the "fajita burger" whatever-the-fuck-that-is advertised right by the head entrance. interesting. twenty after eight we switch ponies, jarda now at the wheel. mirek teaches me new new translation for mouse-headed-man lyrics: jako mysh ('like a mouse' in czech) and a mysh spiva ('and the mouse sings' in czech). so great, every czech gig we got coming I'll do it. we stop again at twenty after ten to switch ponies back, adam returns to the helm. the rain's stopped and the road is now two lanes on each side. I'm so glad no more music from tourboss macario cuz it's starting be the same thing over and over... soon I'm gonna ask for an end to his music dictatorship and to spread it around a little - I got an ipod. we get to the silja line terminal (I guess the mascot is a muumi - someone somewhere hipped me to the books about them) a quarter after midnight. after about ten minutes, tourboss macario decides we should find somewhere to wait the five hours it's gonna be 'til the terminal open and hopefully we can find tickets to board. we go into the center part of stockholm, pulling over to ask folks - tourboss macario says he doesn't like to talk to people but damn if the three ladies at bus stop get him to ask in english (scandinavia people are 'pert-near all incredible at english, respect) where maybe there's something for us to somewhere to while away the hour 'til fucking crack of dawn. we get directected more and more to the middle of town and damn if me, raul and mirek become the scouting party when we drop anchor. what do we find? trendy discos w/morphed from cafes w/big lines. we're finally directed to what we're told would be somewhere for us to go but every fucking place says they're closing or closed - this one pad obviously open has their velvet rope chump tell us we're not on the list... what fucking list?! and he never asked our names, how does he know?! just like back home, same mentality of these kinds of areas and that's why I'm never there but I'm wondering where in stockholm is more happening part of town? there's gotta be something better than "the soap bar" or whatever the fuck it's called. mirek asks at tons of pads w/no luck... we mosey back to the boat to find the other cats and make our way back to the terminal, guess we're gonna just have man it out and konk here in the lot near the terminal's hatch... god damn is it cold. happy spring. at least it seems safe and we can konk maybe w/out getting attacked.

the ferry 'baltic princess in stockholm, sweden on may 10, 2015

   sunday morning... somehow we push through and make it to dawn, tom asks if tourboss macario is trying to kill us and I say no but... six and a half and we're in line to board the "baltic princess" ferry. it's cold and rainy but we're happy to have it through the knife - hell, even 128 euros instead of the baka four hundred the web site that wouldn't work for mirek or tourboss macario. we got two cabins, tourboss macario joins the czech guys and we're in the other - there's a porthole but actually it's a mirror so it makes for total dark when we hit the lights. before that though, we need to chow - glad we didn't waste coin converting to swedish money but that meant nothing but the gummi candies and nuts miss hiyori had so we hit the buffet... eleven euros but it's all you can stomach and I get that rollmop herring stuff w/salad, scrambled eggs, stubby short sausage and tiny meatballs plus bacon along w/a good amount of apple juice - oh yeah, some cottage cheese too! so glad raul and tom brought some tobasco. then we konk, konk hard. I pop at like elven - do it on purpose cuz I don't wanna reverse the konk cycle but fuck if it ain't hard. I go use the barely flowing internet to update the diary w/spiel raul gave me. joe boon (d. boon's little brother) wrote me to enlighten to me the fact that the park western proj him and his family lived in wasn't exactly old navy housing like we were told then but federally funded housing for ship builders for the second world war - ok, thanks for that. happy for the enlightenment. still federal government though I'm thinking not all that different than the navy housing I moved to from virginia a couple of miles north of there. I bet those ships the built were navy ones, huh? so glad I ended up in newer proj (park westen estates) right near - damn if it ain't still there! (d. boon's pad was torn down to make "tarragona" tract homes, even renamed the streets). I also get word from brother vasko in his skopje town in macedonia about this hell and wanna so much help somehow... damn this stupid fucking violence shit. peckers! I watch the spanish grand prix formula 1 race, damn how the cars have changed, longer now w/a section behind the front wheels and the rest of the body, different rear end spoiler trip, "gameboy" fucking steering wheels - I feel like a dinosaur. not really a race except maybe between third and fourth place... mercedes team gets first two, ferrari third. I used to be so into drag racing as a kid, fucking loved watching it and reading all the zines I could find at the sav-on in the park western plaza. you know what? I wonder if we stopped in mariehamn? I wonder cuz it's a twelve hour ride. I know we also had to be careful cuz man if we didn't pass a buttload of islands, some so tiny but still w/pads on them - the stockholm archipelago is pretty much a mindblow. turku also an incredible amount of little islands too - the finnish archipelago are amazing what about these lands got this way, tons more even, crimony!. I find out this is a finnish boat and that's why you can buy chow w/euros - dinner buffet is seventeen of them so I bail on that and get ham sandwich instead for four (about $4.50 u.s. now). I also re-learn (I've played in finland like three times w/the stooges) the phrase for thank you in finish: kiitos - great word to know!

mike watt + the missingmen and uz jsme doma at the docks in turku, finland on may 10, 2015

   seven bells when we drop anchor (finland is one hour ahead of where we just were), tourboss macario (who doesn't drive) and my tom (who does) have to quick move the boat cuz of the trucks that gotta get out - the rest of us gotta wait to be the last out cuz we're on foot out the hold. a real incredible thing is the pad we're konking at is only like ten minutes from the harbor - what? maybe we should do laps for a few hours? fuck no! we meet our host pentti who bitchin' people, great beard also. we're making camp in his pad. he's a bassman too, also guitar and percussion - respect. his english is righteous. the czech buddies are konking in a pad that's a buddy of penti's named tapio, they give us a couple of beers they got on the swede boat. oh, mirek is konking here, upstairs. our inflatable mattresses come in handy, such a good idea from miss hiyori to procure those for us. it's mother's day so I write my ma but I was gonna do it anyway cuz that's what I do on sunday on tour anyway - when I'm off tour I chow breakfast w/her and my sister melinda. so glad to hear my ma is ok.

   I start adding up the time to get here from aalborg... like thirty hours! I have a discussion w/tourboss macario and the uz jsme doma boss mirek about the twentytwo hours after the helsinki gig to get to mirek's pad in czech coming up on monday - well, stop about halfway on the border between lithuania and poland, no more straight throughs. this is good relief. we share the last of the jim beam from aalborg w/pepa and adam, time for konk.

pentti dassum at his pad chowing mirek's cooking in turku, finland on may 11, 2015

   monday and I pop at lik seven - my cycle is all disturbed from the denmark to finland hellride and it's gonna take a little bit to get back on where I'm genki. I read stories about stuff on the net 'til finally another person wakes - it's mirek and makes what he calls turkish coffee, damn if pentti doesn't make the same thing, he says it's not so common in finland. I fucking shave, yes. of the nine of our team, only I remain while they go and forage at some grocery store, get provisions cuz we're here 'til friday morning, so VERY KIND of pentti, truly. around eleven and a half the sun cuts through some clouds but not for long - still not as dark and rainy as yesterday though. happy spring. pentti has five captain beefheart albums, a couple by king crimson and a marvin gaye one that's got "what's going on" w/my bass hero james jamerson thumpin' on it, HUGE respect. our czech buddies are making chow for tonight - mirek's the mainman chef but adam and pepa are helping him big time. smells real good! I'm not getting out of this fucking nightwear today but I did shave!

   after going to the market (we're here four days), tom starts learning chess from raul. I used to do chess club at lunch time in high school, intense game - no dice or chance stuff like cards dealt. dinner time finds us chowed by mirek w/some celerova (celery root soup) and a goulash w/knedliky (potato dumplings) and pork he has cooked up from scratch himself and damn if it ain't really good, much respect to him. after we have big spiel w/pentti about experimental music - tom went to school in holland (utrecht) for a year when he was in early twenties and can relate, I can cuz of listening to carl stone on his show on kpfk in the 70s called imaginary island while raul listens to us all in his chamber on his air mattress. very interesting is pentti's musical journey - from in ecuador as a boy to hair bands and then punk in pori (finland) to here in turku w/anything goes (check his umpio site here) after that. he's most interesting cat besides having huge generous heart. his mind's as sharp as motherfucker too, respect. two in morning when I finally run out of gas and have to konk.

   tuesday morning I pop at nine, much better I feel and more back on my body cycle, 'pert-near cured of that stockholm freeze-out. I am most grateful. pentti makes me his style coff (very much like mirek's turk style) and I talk w/mirek about bijelo dugme I find out was a big band in his music history - he tells of seeing them as a boy at a croatian summer camp and it making him wanna do a band, he immediately wanted to be an organ player. now for me, it was only rock band from former country yugoslavia where some from there (mostly from island of vis off dalmatian coast) went to san pedro high w/me, immigrant cats. trippy later my secondmen would be from croatian families and in fact the first thing we recorded together was as masina doing an esma redzepova tune but also many gigs before that as the madonnabes - ain't life a trip?

   I get into my levis and put on the yellow coat - no gig shirt though, I'll save that for thursday, when we play. it's one in the afternoon when me, my men and miss hiyori hoof into a gray sky that looks like it won't burn away from sun but at least ain't leaking rain on the deck to make my hobble even more dangerous. we head for the middle of town, pentti's pad ain't too far from it. not sunny but not too cold and windy either - everyone tells me it was nicer yesterday but I was in no shape health-wise. I am now and damn if I don't dig the exercise even if it's slow-go (so sorry to tom and raul). we first over railroad track bridge then river bridge and there's the big old church, looks like many materials to build this. then we go along river - some art in the river, four huge floating mallard models and a fancy bird. over a bridge and to the main square. can't believe we see a mall entrance and then facade to make outside look olde-timey. ok. we head towards the turku art museum which is up on a hill. small but nice. upstairs is the permanent collect, landscapes of waves and forest scenes. then there's this twentyfour minute film/piece up stairs from a couple years ago called "dear jesus, do something!" by johan bergstrom hyldahl which kind of lynchian but a voice all it's own and I dig it. a little absurdist but also kind of skeptical of all our conviction w/both science and knowing what the fuck we're doing. great work - it's got us talking way after, even back at pentti's pad, made quite an impression on me and my men. ground floor last, I see every work they got here by ellen thesleff - when my ma wrote she heard finnish people never smile - I thought that was crazy, the young man who helped us find the museum smiled tons but sure enough, there was no smiling in none of her self-portraits. I think this lady was way ahead of her time, the feeling in her econo abstraction and strong emotion but free w/dream/love form. respect.

what watt saw in downtown turku, finland on may 12, 2015

what watt saw in downtown turku, finland on may 12, 2015

what watt saw in downtown turku, finland on may 12, 2015

   on the way back to the pad at a 7 - 23 store (I think that means 'open from seven am to eleven at night) we get the most econo beer, "karjala" beer at about fourteen euros for twelve 33cl bottles. I don't think it's so bad, I definitely put it over heineken or budwiser crap. back at pentti's pad is good smells of mirek cooking up schnitzel (breaded pork), boiled potatoes, breaded mushrooms, breaded cauliflowers and breaded gouda cheese - fuck, is it fuckning good. once again he blows us away w/great cooking. respect.

   pentti offers up his sauna for use, it's downstairs. crimony, I ain't been in one for like four or five years - I love these things, the shvitz kind too (shvitz is steam bath, sauna is dry heat w/cedar walls). tom joins me and whoa, a wood burner - first time for me, I've always been in gas or electric ones. I got the ladle to pour the water on the rocks and the wails on us in waves. fucking righteous. soon I'm tasting salt cuz of everything getting pushed out of me, filth along w/the salt - made do I feel transformed after the immediate cold show I take after being able to take no more of the broist w/my heart pounding like motherfucker... a man could be no cleaner or relaxed than me now and damn it konk takes me before nine fucking bells, I'm out.

   wednesday I pop at ten to find gray rainy outside as seen from window eye gift and am totally surprised (not). chow last of my schnitzel. miss hiyori cooks up chow for us, very kind. find out raul has sickness, damn. hopefully he doesn't give it to me or tom but even more important is that he gets his health back fast as he can. I don't think I'm getting out of the nightwear, the weather is really heavy for a cojo like me risking shit out in that. I do internet, find link to john coltrane talking in his station wagon in november of 1966. this has been floating around for a while now but here it's in one piece, it's via pacifica which has a station in so cal called kpfk which is where I learned so much about a lot of stuff, like zbs mind movies, experimental music via carl stone - trippy how night before last pentti talking w/tom about such a thing brought back lots of memories. richard meltzer had a show there too, "hepcats from hell" is what it was called (he talks about it here along w/other stuff), sometimes don bolles guest hosted for him (another spiel w/don here - the man is good spieler and get this: a fucking grandfather, I shit thee not! by the way, looking for a hepcats from hell internet info I found a show I heard richard do w/guests nervous gender - holy fucking cow! total flashback time for watt, total.

adam tomase�k� + pepa cervinka cooking for all of us at pentti's pad in turku, finland on may 13, 2015

   I smell great food cooking in the kitchen while I happen upon yma sumac in pentti's music collection, whoa - raymond took me to like three gigs w/her, blew my fucking mind each time - what a voice, I can hear it now. I knew pentti was deep into music but... I chimp diary so I don't space on this stuff. if I waited to chimp for after tomorrow's gig (I like the diary to go by gigs played), lots of this would end up in the vortex and not on the hoot page. czech trumpetman adam and bassman pepa serve us a tasty (chutny) goulash soup first and then stuffed bell peppers w/pork filling on a plate thick w/gravy and a pile of rice, very very chutny - much respect to them both. pentti comes back from work late (he works shipping/receiving gig) and no time for shvitz but that's ok - at least I got one in - kittos big time, brother! I konk around midnight, my last spiel's w/tom and raul about marbles I had when I was a kid.

   gig day and I pop at eight and a half w/window full of sun, yes! thank you, kind turku skies, thank you for great gig day present! I chow the last of what adam and pepa made for me w/some coff cooked up by pentti his style. I'm on his case to get music of his together for my radio show I wanna do w/him soon as he does. don't mean to be a bumrush but now after all this time off, things will soon be wailing into tour mode - there's three gigs in a row coming up, back to the way me and my men are used to touring! organ/guitarman mirek hips us to incredible czechoslovakia stop-action art from the old days, some pat a mat and stuff by mr svankmajer plus some "best of" - righteous mindblow material, respect!

   pentti is a bassman, trippy how the bass is he plays in his "boogie band" - two lower strings tuned in fifths, the two upper ones in fourths w/a c being on the bottom. me and him do an edition of the watt from pedro show and he's great. it takes forever to get up but I do get it up just in time to pull anchor and get the venue, we're playing a pad called klubi that's also the sister club of the pad we're playing tomorrow in tampere (also called klubi), we get there at ten after five. we meet padhelper patrick who opens up the pad, the padboss jan comes over to shake my hand backstage, very kind cats. it's a holiday today in finland, some kind of religious one, pentti tells us - oh, he's also our soundman for tonight - great! we do a quick check and somehow I only blow one clam (we do the first three parts of the piece for soundcheck) after five days of not playing. back in the dressingroom I cook up chow padboss jan brought: some great chicken chili, rice and salad that's got tasty black olives, great.

   it's a character builder (supposedly cuz of finland and czech hockey teams playing some of big game) so pentti asks for our czech buddies to go on quarter after nine. we're told there's a big hockey game between finland and the czech republic, ain't that a trip? whatever, we're gonna play our brains out and I our czech buddies will - five fucking days w/out a gig? you bet we fucking are, no matter what's fucking going on! I'm right up front for them, on the rail. they're kicking out tunes I ain't ever heard before. I had seen sheet music being distributed to the members by mainman mirek earlier in the week and now I understand. stickman jarda gets a longer drum solo tonight, interesting. the band's really good, hard to believe w/five days off and all the new tunes but they are fucking badasses and know their craft. respect.

uz jsme doma at klubi in turku, finland on may 14, 2015

   they do a shorter set and damn if we ain't gonna be able to go on at the earlier agreed time - that we do, now-soundman and our fourth man pentti dealing w/the interesting way of the technique for running a snake here, respect. no rush to him, just tripping on interesting technique cuz remember, I'm here to learn. we got my ipod going now for john coltrane to intro for us - idiot watt waits 'til now for that to get happening, what's that about? anyway, so good to play a gig again, even w/blurry onstage sound I'm digging getting to work bass again w/tom and raul, work the piece and bring it. the turku gig-goers are most kind w/a 'pert-near total focus for us, big respect to them. ok, the gig's a character builder but ain't it good to keep getting those in life so you don't get all full up of yourself? I think so. I'm also real proud of tom and raul doing the fucking righteous job they did, helping bring the piece the first time to turku. of course we thank pentti for being fourth man also.

   I go the merch table and nice cats give me the good word. I sign the last stooges two stooges, those are the ones I'm on. I feel weird about signing anything else stooge cuz I ain't on those and they deserve respect. a young man gives me an album he's on he says was influenced by "double nickels on the dime" - his band's called sur-rur, he's most kind. two bassmen have me sign their vinyl third opera copies, I tell them we're a trio of bass brothers!

   it's only minutes back to the pad, tom at the wheel.pentti takes me upstairs to hear this record he's got, one he wants to give me by an england called solanki called "under the influence of leeds 6" (on flat earth records) and there's this tune he plays me titled "number 53 song" which has got my name in it, it goes:

down here in the basement
we make punk rock
down here in the basement
it's all too much
down here in the basement
this mike watt to me
down here in the basement

solanki record cover at pennti's pad in turku on may 14, 2015

   man, these cats can play... and what a great recording. I'm very grateful for this gift, truly. I'm also blown away by the "sound lab" pentti's got going here - I had no idea, fucking crimony! what a setup. much respect.

   I forgot to say I got in my nightwear soon as we got in the pad so I'm ready to konk once I safely get back down the stairs w/my solanki ten inch. both these cats and pentti sure would've made d. boon proud, absolutely. I konk real happy.

friday, may 15, 2015 - tampere, finland

from raul:

   Woke one hour before bail time, and got up and outta bed and dressed instantly. I'm feeling a bit better, and even more, we're gettin' in the van and rollin' to a new town. pentii hooks me up w/ a couple records of his, and an herbal tea mix he got from a lady shaman, and i'm ready to get. Short drive w/ grey but crisp weather on way to klubi in tampere. Easily accessible place, and load in is a breeze, especially w/ help of big carts and even a pallet jack. Tonight our tourmates will play last, so today they do first sound check, and i help jarda set up, him on stage while i build stands and rest of kit and hand them to him. We also move the drum riser off stage, and i'm stoked to see a drum rug w/ a freakin' board stuck to it. Every gig of the tour with the exception of Aalborg have had different degrees of kick drum issues. hopefully we can take care of this once we're in prague, i feel like such a dumb ass for not thinking about it when i had the time to fix it!! out of sight, out of mind. Watching doma do their sound check is a trip, and they each take turns out front listening to each other's sound, meticulous... our method is a bit different. They're gonna sound great tonight! Tero takes us just across the square, looks like maybe used as a storage warehouse in early 1900's, but now it's a eatery, i have grilled Salmon in mushroom sauce for dinner. Tero shares a story about the ghost of the thirteen year old boy who happily haunts the club, finnish boy who was shot here in the square that we play in tonight. I say happily, because from what we hear, he doesn't do any spooking, but his spirit is still here. Some heavy battles took place here, and Tero points out bullet holes that can be seen all over one side of the building, wild. I later looked up the town using net, and there was a picture of the town square we were standing in, it was totally blown to pieces.

   Trippy gig tonight, i really enjoyed the set up, the stage was rounded up front, and the way we set up was really comfortable, i was able to have good contact w/ watt. The hard part was the sound, on stage anyways. It was obvious that these guys were used to mixing much louder bands than us, so they gave us a big rock sound. For certain things, it made playing easier, i didn't have to waste energy, i could pick where to really push... it seemed like whatever pressure i put on the drum, the sound was the same, not so good, but the same. The weak part was the gates, it made it difficult to play soft, and in actuality, i had to play softer so i wouldn't stick out too much...weird. Some sound guys have trouble w/ our dynamics, and usually that will end up w/ drums feeding back, which happened tonight unfortunately. The guys played real well tonight i thought, and even for the problems we had i felt we had a good gig.

from tom:

   we wake and i pack my stuff and deflate my air mattress. this marks that our stay in turku is coming to an end for now, and i will surely miss the time we had, then we chow leftover rice for breakfast. it was nice to be here, but it is also a good feeling to get moving again. get back on track. we bid farewall to dear pentti, hoping we hadn't left any disarray. we roll at 1 in cloudy damp and cold afternoon weather. after a relatively smooth ride we pull up to the other Klubi bar in tampere, also finland. a big venue with two stages, ours is in the smaller of the two rooms, plenty for us. the gig boss is named terro, and super nice guy. we chat and sort out the night, then most of our group go with him to pick up some local cuisine from a nearby place, i order falafal with avocado hearts and pickled red peppers which hiyori kindly brings to me and i am impressed with the quality. raul and i visit our hotel just around the corner, a holiday inn express, which is pretty much the the cream of the crop for our hotel stays these days. no complaints.

   we chill, shower in luxury, email, watch youtube a bit, and close my eyes for a cat nap. we walk back to the Klubbi and listen to the czech guys play a really good set and use their theatrics very well. intense music to listen to and watch. strong show. we push on stage quickly and rip though the music will little clams, but mostly very well. the lightly attended crowd accentuated the rather large room, but there were very interesting and cool folks that wanted to talk, and so we did so after the show. several people had something meaningful to say to us all. time ticked and ticked, and later raul and i grab a hot dog then made our way to our room showered, and went to bed maybe a little bit later than what would have been best for us though.

from watt:

   pop at nine bells, chow sandwich of happening mirek bread, somebody's blue cheese from the fridge and some of those little pinky sausages along w/one last dose of pentti's coff, love this stuff - love him. can't believe we're bailing, thought my legs were starting to sprout roots! nope, bail we gotta do - pull anchor at quarter of eleven, sad for me to say farewell to pentti but that I gotta do. I asked him last night if we could collaborate and he said yes! he suggest czech stickman jarda for drums - yeah! adam at the wheel, the boat rolls... adios hermano pentti!

   don't know how but can't get the words out my head from this band george hurley always had us minutemen playing in boat on tour (known to us in our parts as "the dan") - he tried doing the same thing w/fIREHOSE but edward 'pert-near went insane. me and d. boon - we could handle it and dug it much - up to half of "aja" cuz after that it didn't do it for us, sorry. anyway, here's the words:

in the corner
of my eye
I saw you in rudy's
you were very high
you were high
it was a cryin' disgrace
they saw your face

on the counter
by your keys
was a book of numbers
and your remedies
one of these
surely will screen out the sorrow
but where are you tomorrow

I can't cry anymore
while you run around
break away
just when it
seems so clear
that it's
over now
drink your big black cow
and get out of here

down to greene street
there you go
lookin' so outrageous
and they tell you so
you should know
how all the pros play the game
you change your name

like a gangster
on the run
you will stagger homeward
to your precious one
I'm the one
who must make everything right
talk it out till daylight

I don't care anymore
why you run around
break away
just when it
seems so clear
that it's
over now
drink your big black cow
and get out of here

   fucking mr fagen sure had craft, not one too many syllable bogart, big time econo. respect. don't know how mr becker figured in but I think I don't know why I think of his partner first - maybe cuz he gave up on bass? shit, maybe they did tagteam, I don't know - that's the riddle of art: "the painter and the painter's hand" if I can quote my own spiel. anyway, not to dwell, me and tom also get into charlie tumahaii, bebop deluxe bassman. for tom it was an older brother thing but for me I remember some arena rock gigs seeing him put out for mr nelson, he was beautiful and now that I think of it, a big inspiration for me - especially before they got a keyboard man and became a four piece. he had great pass lines, rockin' the fender pbass. respect. just out of turku we hit a gaspad for a diesel stop (second try) and also get a check on our tire pressure sitch, seems aft port tire might have slow leak. good thinking from trumpetman adam to check, maybe I've mentioned it already but his pop's a mechanic so he's got that kind of stuff in him where I had to learn but damn if my pop taught me much since I was teenager, I loved him learning me about cars and a big reason besides being econo I got into working on my first cars (one in a row, not at same time!) which were all volkswagons: three beetles ('68/'63/'64), a squareback ('67) and a bus ('63) - the last burned up on me, fucking catching my head on fire (it was in the back, in the engine compartment) so I switched to jap pickup trucks and had three of them before being strictly ford econoline van... the history of watt's wheels w/motors. the further we get from turku (tampere is like two hours northeast), the most sun we get but everything still wet and sky w/much heavy clouds. we drop anchor in an industrial (most of it former) area on tampere at five after one, incredible how little wander time we invested on this voyage but w/only one stop for directs, here we are at klubi which has same name as last night's pad (maybe connection? prolly, dumbfuck watt) but way different, doubles as a chow pad here and next door is huge hall for bigger gigs. actually this pad's kind of big w/stage kind of roundy and high up. I meet the gigboss yori who's most kind - he's looking for tourboss so I direct him to french speaking guy who wears black.

   talk about midnblow coincidence: on the ride I was tripping on inspiring-to-watt bassman charlie tumahai and then dig this... here at the gigpad I check internet and crimony, back home the mr art tavana in la weekly but me on a list w/incredible bassfolks like carol kaye (righteous harmony and hook creator), bootsy collins (incredible improviser w/feel, john entwistle (thunderfingers and what fucking time!), charles mingus (righteous tune composer as well), tina weymouth (yeah, I've borrowed some of her takes on a good "pneumatic" bass line), james jamerson (my biggest influence - everyone on bass guitar owes this man in my opinion!), family man barrett (this man's bass can never bogart where he puts it - another HUGE watt teacher!), paul mccartney (learning more and more to appreciate his way w/bass), larry graham (w/sly: the thumb! the pull! the groove!) and geezer butler (incredible influence on me like other uk bassmen jack bruce, trevor bolder, and andy fraser) - oh, my buddies les and flea - wait, they left flea off? that's kind of problem w/stuff like this, cats get scissored... flea is very good music cat - I can vouch for it. and what about tony maimone - and what an everlasting effect he had me since me and d. boon saw him w/pere ubu at the whisky in the late 70s, I ain't got the words to explain it right but I feel right here (pointing to body parts).
   padboss tero who's really a happening cat talks w/me a while about his music history and about the scene here - he works w/the city running it, built in 1901 it was then a customs house and then when the big final battles of the finnish civil war of 1918 happened in tampere, the courtyard outside was where many executions were when the whties won. I asked about ghosts he tells me about one named valtteri who was a young soldier who still haunts tullinaukio which is what the courtyard is called but tero thinks he's happy w/the way this area has become arts place and doesn't scare anyone anymore. tero's amazing, started bringing bands to finland since late 80s - he's been here making this pad happen for fourteen years now! HUGE respect. he knows pentti back turku also, speaks of him very highly - I share this w/him. it's good people like tero and pentti and tons of other why I keep doing what I do... w/them there's no waiver to give me doubt, I team up w/their momentum, we fucking do it!

tom watson down in the klubi dressing room in tampere, finland on may 15, 2015

   I chow "horse bean steak" which is like a thin veggie burger in some tasty mushroom gravy along w/sweet potato fries and roasted vegetables and some fresh cucumbers, yeah, dig it. I chimp diary 'til seven and then use the sauna here and get some shivitz going, beautiful - this is the best backstage I've ever been in of all tours - it ain't fancy pad crap but organic in its feel - it's got great personality, it's got a washer, lots of padded bench (one tom's on has stuffed leather coats screwed into the bulkhead for cushions - ingenious!), even a bed in a room, smaller chambers, a chow place, and it being downstairs - just so happening for watt. I do three rounds w/the sauna which means after big ass shvitz (sweat) I go quick to frozen quick shower (right outside sauna hatch) and then back in, get waves of heat going ladles full of water on the hot rocks - electric though, pentti's wood one I dug more but still good and righteous. all that crap pushed out from me, all the muscles/joints relaxed so the qi can flow and even the heart getting its workout w/the big time blood-pumping it's doing... I'm WAY into it!

   9:19 pm our czech buddies go on and hit it hard. respect. we were supposed to be in there place but we're asked to switch - aarrrrggghh, our czech buddies deserve respect but tero's righteous people and of course we comply. stickman for uz jsme doma jarda says it was hard gig while coming off stage which I can understand but at same time he blew me away w/the drum wail as did pepa on the bass, adam on the trumpet and mirek leading the team w/piano and guitar. our turn now, we move quick to try and make ten and a half downbeat time.

   raul's using all of jarda's kit, still has problem w/creeping kick drum. there's a big weight on stage to help w/that. I'm using house ampeg svt amp but damn if it don't sound worse than pepa's. tom's on mirek's marshall. damn if we don't get everything up in time and I deliver the greeting. hard to see soundman hanko cuz of pillar in the way but he agreed to be fourth man at soundcheck and we trust him, had good spirit. the tampere gig-goers are a little shy but I thank them anyway for sharing their friday w/us, our czech buddies for sharing this stage w/us and padboss tero making all this happen w/tourboss macario as the connect (the first time they meet in person). we bring the piece and the onstage sound is pretty "big rock" in the way the bottom is way exaggerated - I think it's room acoustics but my men bring it hard and I stay there right w/them, it's a pretty happy version, lots of dynamics despite what us three are swimming in and the gig-goers respond w/beautiful focus and respect... one lady interpets w/dance. I feel for some reason at points like ig and try and bring what we're bringing to each and every gig-goer here. it's scary doing this cuz of blowing clam potential but fuck, I just got it in me to do it. trippy I just got flowed this link about "what makes a man start fires?" cuz damn if we ain't celebrating some of that for the encore, tom and raul doing real good interpretation w/much heart. this after the last part of the third opera 'pert-near got blown out of the water w/feedback but the bass players hand (mine) on the floor tom luckily saved that. lucky again was me not breaking my neck AND busting the dan bass' neck when I tripped on some power strip behind the amp trying to leave. damn was I lucky. I gotta make sure the path is clear for cojo ass, just gotta cuz the consequences could be big time dire. oh, I finally remembered about valtteri and told the folks the gig was for them... I wanted to do that right before we started! man, am I fucking baka so much.

   it takes me a while to recover and get my shit off and down the stage - there's a curtain that's been closed so no one saw but I think no one thinks I'm gonna sit by the merch table like I always do. there are a few though who come to get stuff signed and give me the word, most kind of them. some engage me w/good spiel and after a huge hug w/padboss tero, I go and spiel w/them at a table w/m men. I never go downstairs again... same reason I never went up again except for soundcheck and the gig. it's the knee thing and this far into the tour I really gotta be careful. so many people here know pentti, crimony! big respect too him. tourboss macario has me try what he calls "my favorite scotch" and I gotta say though I ain't a scotch man (more a bourbon one), I like this. I get learned a little by "tall drink" but fuck if this ain't a girly drink w/grapefruit juice. ok, czech beer to clean the papalettethank you tero! back to the table w/my men and the finn cats: I get learned about a lot finn stuff by these cool people, about suomi and sami - I was always confused by this. kiitos to them.

   the 'tel we're konking, a "holiday inn" is only a few blocks away but padboss tero has a car for me - first I want a dog though from this kisoki that I saw in the courtyard all day, I get a chili one and tero asks for "real spicy" which for me is maybe not so much but stil real good, a work of art really and I'm baka for not taking a picture. baka. I am beat and konk fast and hard, damn if my starboard forearm ain't hurting from that tumble, fuck.

saturday, may 16, 2015 - helsinki, finland

from raul:

   We stayed in pad just a couple blocks from the square, so there's a breakfast included. Tom and i wake up early to partake, but only have a little, nothing looked too good, hardly edible stuff. maybe it was seeing' the big chunks of blood sausage first thing in the morning too. I ended up having some yogurt w/ a really tart cranberry sauce on top. also, we have plans to meet up at one, and do chow at the club, which coincidently is the exact same food they had at hotel, but they got some greens too, so i make a salad w/ some feta and salami, and top it with olive oil. I still got a tiny bit of cough left, but feeling way better than just two days before. Had i been a good boy, and not drank some guinness pints last night, i'd probably be 100% today, we had some fun rappin' w/ the locals though, so no harm there... i ain't hurtin' nobody but my body. Just happy to have energy back, and after we schlep gear to van, me, Tero and Jarda use part of the square for some way overdue frisbee toss.

   First time playing in Helsinki, we're at club called bar loose. The logo is a bite from the stooges logo, and i guess a homage to the song on the fun house record. total rock and roll style bar w/ shots of lots of bands from middle 60's to late 70's. We're there a little early, and take the liberty of getting the drum riser off the stage. soundman Yohan shows soon after, and gets us hooked up w/ a quick soundcheck. After, me, tom and hiyori walk to the tiki style restaurant that will be flowing us dinner tonight. It's an easy oeder, only two options, veg or meat...i get pork with grilled veggies.. really good.

   Tonight, in my opinion, one of the best gigs of the tour as far our playing goes, this one just felt most together, second best maybe Amsterdam. Yohan, did i great job w/ sound too. He was able to control the drums well, and later told me that he was riding them the whole time we played, so no big feed back on the quiet songs, and kick and floor sounded perfect on mouse headed. I did have one big space out though, and i left a whole part out, i lost focus cracking up watching' someone gettin' wild on the dance floor, great moves.  After the set, we gotta pack up and get the shit out quick, they do a dj deal after, so folks will start dancing soon. I'm stoked to find out that's it's not a techno party. Instead, it's old soul and rocksteady. We all hang for awhile longer, dancing and drinkin', and hangin' w/ some of the locals. Didn't get to see much of the town, but i will have a good memory of our time spent here in Helsinki.

from tom:

   we wake by alarm and throw on clothes and stagger down to the free breakfast they offer here. it's 9 o'clock we move slowly and consume medi-ochre eggs and baked beans with bacon, juice and coffee. we return to our suite and lay down and raul has godfather 2 on his computer and we watch. we shower again, one at a time, and rest before checking out and joining the group at the club for another brunch. i have a hot chocolate, bran flakes, juice, a hard boiled egg a hot dog thing and a croissant. after that we start to load up our van say "farewell" to terro and get ready to search for Bar Loose in helsinki so not far away.

   we park right in front, we load in immediately and sort out various issues at hand. then raul, hiyori and i walk to the the funny hotel for tonight around the corner and then to pick up food from what seems to be a tiki bar with a southern style twist. we all order the pork from the fixed band menu, but when the guy read the list of options, for one he said "weggies".. to that i said: "what are weggies?, i mean, i know what a weggie is..." to that he replied: "weggies, like wegetables". we all couldn't help cracking up at that. my pork dish was very tasty and the grilled weggies were as well, and the jalapenos topped it off nicely. i drank three bottles of water after that.

   soon uz jsme doma starts to play to another smallish crowd, though it's also a smaller venue so it feels good. the sound is good here too, and johanne at the board knows this room and is quite proficient. i watch from the side tonight and check out more of jarda's drumming, he has some serious chops and tasty beats, and they all do a great job. it's cool to get to know their music better and better each night, there's so much going on in it. soon after they finish we jam to do the switch over as quickly as possible, but it's a complicated change from their set up to ours. raul has to basically rebuild the drum kit each night, and all the mics changed, and my side has a ton of mirek's gear to move aside and i have to move his marshall half stack off a stand, etc... but we all just jump on it and get it done and start right on time at 10:30. it feels good, and the monitors sounds good, and we play well too. it's my feel i play my best show so far and i feel more connected with raul and mike. when we finish we have to break down as quickly as we set up to load out before the disco begins and the place fills up with the dance crowd, ugh. this isn't uncommon, especially in europe, and is usually a total drag to hear the ultra loud techno start pumping right after playing. but suddenly the dj starts to play old soul tunes, r & b, and obscure ska singles and it's really a nice groove. i feel happy and completely relieved, i even dance a little too. we load out and chill out, and i hang with raul mostly, but we all stay for a little while digging the tunes, and also cause we stay right around the corner tonight. outside, mirek asks if i can show hime how to enter out hotel, so i walk him there and we jump in the elevator with a few young ladies who'd been out on the town, and i strike up conversation with one explaining who were are and what we're doing, telling them what important musicians we are...which is true, i suppose, but mirek is a little impressed with my jovial nature, and that makes me happy. i return to the club and join the others and in a strange way i have a really nice time just being there, but time goes by and eventually raul and i walk over to our strange hotel room, which is kind of like a set from "a clockwork orange", and we konk hard.

from watt:

   pop at ten bells. hose off in nice shower they got here, safe here for a cojo like me and the bulkhead mounted liquid soap dispenser is quite convenient. little things like that, huh? outside the window is gray but no sign of rain. I get last night's gig chimped up in the diary and the get it all up on the net, good connection here at the 'tel. I find out bb king died yesterday, great cat. I remember once on tour in the 80s see his tour bus on the side of the road (all black w/his written big on the side) and damn if I didn't see him w/his head in the aft section where the motor was. respect. I love the way you could tell it was bb if he sang, you could tell it was bb if you heard him on guitar - I love the way he found his own personal way w/the blues while at the same time putting a personal stamp on it w/ever losing respect for the tradition. great sensei.

mike watt's breakfast chow at klubi in tampere, finland on may 16, 2015

   at one I hobble w/our team to join our czech buddies where we played last night cuz the got chow for us and we gotta load the boat up w/our stuff (always good security-wise to have it not in the boat if we got that option) plus they got chow for us, good eats. I get two hard boiled eggs two smaller hot dog-like sausage, pork meatballs, little cubes of goat cheese, big rough leaf salad w/oil/vinegar dressing and tomatoes plus a little roll, apple juice and koff. they got siracha but it ain't the kind I'm used to - it's called "flying goose brand" but I dig it. it's a good chow, feels solid and fresh. not too long after shoveling, padboss tero arrives - he's here to help w/us loading the stuff into the boat, most kind of him. when I get back to pedro I wanna do a spiel w/him via skype for my watt from pedro show. he's the man.

tom watson and tero viikari (l to r) in tampere, finland on may 16, 2015

   about a quarter of three we pull anchor once the frisbee session between jarda, tero and raul gets done - they're a joy to watch, even better than the jai alai game some locals are playing here in the tullinaukio courtyard... I hope is valtteri is smiling on us all. bye bye brother...

   we travel south toward helsinki which is finland's big town and also a port on the baltic sea. I chimp some diary. just before four we pull over at rest area for piss stop - no, only me and tom piss - I guess it's cigarette jones break for our czech buddies (mirek doesn't smoke though). adam back at the wheel (the stop wasn't even to switch ponies!), we got a sky full of big heavy clouds but sometimes there's a hole in them. looks like light rain as we get into helsinki about four and a half and amazingly we wander not, and find parking right in front of the gigpad fifteen minutes later, viva! now this is like my fifth time in finland - four of those (I think it's four) were w/the stooges so this is my first time doing mike watt music but I actually visited here w/scotty-san, brother steve and roadboss eric - it's called bar loose seven and a half years ago while in helsinki for one of those stooges gigs (see september nine entry) and I dug it much, we had a good time here even though we weren't making any music. man, I miss the asheton brothers so much, breaks my heart.

   there's a chow pad nearby called "kokomo" and I get brought back some roast pork, mashed potatoes, roasted peppers and gravy - really good! I'd called this style of chow "u.s. midwest" and it's something my ma might cook from time to time when I was a boy. you know kokomo is a town about sixty miles north of indianapolis in indiana, right? it is. there's a couple of others too in the u.s. but that's the one a lot of folks know. I tell you, this tastes authentic w/the ingredients good ones. beats the shit out of eating crapdonald's or booger fling in a foreign land! soundcheck w/soundman johan goes quick and smoove - this man knows his room and his gear, much respect.

   I don't leave this green room or back room or back stage or whatever you wanna call the place where you ain't on the stage. I tried to watch our czech buddies but the hatch from upstairs is right there and I'm almost toppled by cats coming pushing it open quick and hard. you can't blame them, how can anyone see through the hatch? our turn, we gotta set up fast cuz of eleven and a half cut-off point for the pad morphing into dance club. we got on right at ten and a half. someone tries to interrupt my opening speech and I ask them to have a little patience cuz there will be not another word once we're rolling. we bring the piece. the helsinki gig-goers are way enthusiastic - one cat starts dancing and doesn't stop for the entire opera! damn. I blow a clam in the frying-pan-man part, came in too early w/the second verse like 'tard. there ain't a lot of room for me but that ain't the reason - actually that was cuz of this like eighty pound weight for raul to keep his kick drum from creeping up, he's been having that prob w/jarda's kit. it works good. also the prob we've been having w/the floor tom doing resonating bogart ring got solved, a lot of it from soundman johan. this is one of my favorite gigs of the tour now though I dug last night too - it was just a little tough w/the sound on the stage. tonight's the monitor for my voice is so fucking happening, I'm way into it. we finish up w/just two minutes to go before dj time...

   I go over to the merch table and folks come up to give me the good word. very kind. these two brothers are wonderful. I meet an old friend of pentti (remember, in turku?) from pori, a real nice cat - glad to hug him and shake his hand. this man and woman have me sign their third opera vinyl and tell me it might be last chance they ever see me again... I ask them why and they say their from russia. I told them that somehow I'll find a way to play their land some way. man, that was a reality on the dealio check. many finnish cats thank me for being here also, I'm grateful to all, truly. the pad has turned into a dance club buy the music ain't mindless rave, it's 60s soul and stuff like that, really happening. I wanna dance - yeah, my crippled as wants to get up and dance and so I do... I have a good time. I'm careful but I have fun. I get tuckered and am ready to go, I get up stairs but I think adam brought me back down again. I should've scissored that but adam's beautiful. it's important at this point in my life I am careful and scissor shit when I feel I ain't strong enough to go more. I got told I lost my glasses but some young man found them, thank you so much. what a baka watt.

thursday, may 21, 2015 - krakow, poland

from raul:

   Early call at the club this morning..whew! Feels like i just crashed out minutes before tom woke me up...aarrghh! No time for shower, which blows because we now have two big travel days, one ferry w/ two days driving thru some Baltic states,  Estonia, latvia, and Lithuania, hard to believe we don't have gigs here, but we don't, and that's the reality. After a few hours on the ferry, we drive till sunset, which is almost 10pm in these parts. Staying at a hotel in a small village, no hope for shower here either, there was one, but i could only get cold water out of it, and the little nozzle had no connection, so it went wild garden hose on my ass, gettin' water everywhere. I'm able to rinse, but it's more hassle than anything. Sleep comes easy, and before you know it, we're back in the van for a 15 hour roll to czech republic. Most of the route is on 2 lane country roads, and crawling thru villages at 30 km and. Finally we arrive at Mirik's place to drop of him, mike and hiyori. Tom and i will drive on w/ adam, droppin' of the rest of the guys, and then finally us at mirik's buddie's empty apartment in Prague.

   The next morning, the plan, for me at least is to see as much of the city as possible. Tom has a different idea but i'm able to persuade him to join me, and we end up having a great time, even w/ the shitty weather. We bail apt, and find a place called prost kafe, good net and good coffee. soon after we get our tram ticket, and take the 22 into the center of town, and take a walk up to the top of the hill to walk the grounds of prague castle. We've have a crudely drawn map that helps us a little bit, but mostly we wander. it is very helpful in us finding a food place place that mirik had suggested we go to called U Hrocha. Local place near the castle that for some reason isn't packed w/ the tourist. They have only one beer on tap, pilsner urquell, and a few items on the menu. After a couple of beers, tom and i decide we'll go for the local dish called pecene veprove... it's the knee of a pig...whew! Massive piece of flesh and goo, but good, and glad i tried it here, but not something i think i'll order anytime too soon. This bad boy induced a food coma on tom, and i needed to walk it off. I did the big walk to the old jewish part of town, and peeped the cemetery too, i've never seen grave stones so close to each other, these things we're pretty much stacked, unfortunately, i didn't get the chance to go inside, i was there only 15 minutes before closing time.  The next day, we make a plan to visit a museum, not kafka museum or prague history though, we decided on a exhibit w/ both sal dali, and andy warhol. Pretty neat, and good way to stay dry.

   On our second morning in Prague, we gotta get back together w/ crew, and head for krakow. jarda meets us out front of the apt, and we take 3 city buses to meet up w/ adam, and then we collect pepa, and and make the trip out to mirik's to get the rest of em'. luckily drive to krakow has some big highways, also watt had checked the routes, and found all the bigger roads, thank god, sometimes a route might look shorter on paper, but when you're going the speed of walkin on country roads, it doesn't make sense  I took the wheel  from jarda about 40 miles out, and get us into the old jewish part of town that we will play tonight.

   No sound check, no gig for days, and on borrowed equipment from the opening band, made for a difficult gig. I was able to adapt fairly easily, but watt's amp had a bad ground buzz, and tom's marshall was way wore from being cranked all night. Plus, really dead sound on stage. The Czech guys said it sounded really good from their point, so that's good to hear, they sounded great too, so it's a possibility it didn't sound as rugged as i felt it did. I think maybe a combination of so much travel and still having a little infection in my lung has me feelin' wore out. i'm stoked that we got to play here though, and the gig people seem to appreciate the effort too, and it's all worth it.

from tom:

   i awaken before the alarm, 8:55am? shower and make an instant cup of coffee with raul and we hustle down the stairs and back around the corner to where the van is parked in front of the loose club. mike and hiyori and macario are there waiting already, and we arrive at 9:24 for our 9:20 call. 4 minutes late, and mike expresses concern for our tardiness, though we are a good 10 minutes before the group is complete and we're ready to pull anchor. peppa's on the first shift at the wheel and he takes us to the ferry only a few minutes away. we maneuver into position to drive into the ships hull, ultimately walking up the stairs and onto a seat somewhere for a couple of hours. i sit myself near the windows and youtube the genesis album "the lamb lies down on broadway", a record i used to know well when i was in high school, and that mike and i have been talking about in the van. it must be 25 years since i've listened to it, but it sounds great to my ears and i have no "prog" shame to admit that. i used to be a major prog fan, the more notes the better kind of thing. then i got into various kraut rock, neil young, and wire and the fall, and that changed. however, i'm still excited by the arrangements of this sort of music, and the complexities of instrumental parts and the kind of stories that the songs pull one into. raul comes by and snaps me out of my headphone zone and we go up another flight of stairs to an observation bar with couches where we find a cozy spot for an hour or so. my wifi dissolves and we gather our stuff up before we pull into the harbor on the coast of estonia. from here we begin the "big drive."

   we dock and pull out onto mainland soil again. our journey is going to take us two full days south across latvia and lithuania (where we stop before the border of poland), 12 hours including the ferry ride.... a nice couple let us into the hotel later in the evening and raul and jarda and i have a newish room but no wifi so i read for a while. i sleep from midnight till 5:45. i shower and have an instant cup of coffee and a cookie thing....back in the van, we stop at an early super market to buy food with euros since the money will change at the border and it will help us survive the next leg of this trip. we gather as quickly as possible and get rolling again. hours and hours trickle and trickle and 10 and 20 minute pauses at service stations to switch drivers occur from time to time. some longer than others but at none do i leave the side of the van. okay, the roads are getting smaller and more narrow, and slower, though more pretty as time goes by. there is a very nice area with a warm golden sunlight on grassy hills that reminds me of central california. at one point we are stopped by polish immigration police who check our papers and let us go. more hours roll as we roll, jarda at the wheel, raul at the wheel, me at the wheel, then peppa at the wheel. the narrow country roads are getting dark from the time of day and the roads wind and stretch out. 17 hours into the drive we pull up to mirek's place and we stretch our legs and say goodnight to mike, hiyori, macario and mirek and with little dinner sacks sweetly prepared from mirek's wife we shove off towards the center of prague. after another hours plus of driving we pull into a parking area and let peppa out near his pad, and hop back onto the road with adam and jarda. raul and i are staying at an apartment that mirek has access to and they drop us off around 1 am and we go up the tiny lift to the 6th floor and into the loft type single apartment and i plug in the air bed and roll out my sleep bag and we talk about freedom from the van for a moment and soon we vanish into the vapor of the night.

   we sleep till 9 and walk down the block to the proste kafe for cappuccinos and wifi. there is no internet at the apartment so we feel isolated there. there is a little rain starting as we walk to the light rail tram #22 and take that into the center of old town prague. from the famous charles bridge we walk up the hill and the stairs to the prague castle area and walk slowly along with many other tourists and my mind wanders as raul snaps pics of the baroque church in the middle plaza area for a while. we meander like that for an hour or so, and up and down along the garden wall, then back up to find the look out point that mirek suggested to us in his hand drawn maps. from there we find another road that loops back down with various trinkets and souvenirs and baked sweets and hostels and more and more visitors everywhere until we locate the small street off to the left and up another smaller street where we find the "hippo" (in czech) bar and we sit our tired bodies down and order two beers that he claims to be the best in the world.  certainly the ambience and clientele is a promising sign, it's totally a locals place and obviously hundreds of years old, and that might be an understatement. the beer is delicious, the perfect temperature and foam on top, and cheap too. i think it's pilzner urquel, the pride of czech and a beer that i truly love, very bitter and refreshing, not sweet. mirek has a good case, it's definitely up there with the best, kind of in a class of it's own considering the experience. raul and i start a conversation with the man at the table where we are seated, a friendly fellow and soon his buddy joins us too. the first man is german and lives 3 hours away and had met his czech friend at this bar 10 years ago and they meet every now and then whenever the german man comes through town. it's kind of a sweet story and it's cool to see them have their reunion, and for us to interject our story too. soon we get hungry and on the menu is a well known czech delicacy of pork knee, something we've heard of but never experienced. somehow the time is right and we order one that we'll share since that's what they suggest. good that we did cause when it comes it's scary how huge and intense it looks. there is bread, mustard, horseradish and grilled onions and parsley to deal with too. we dig in and my first mouthful is total blubber, tasty though it is it takes me a second to figure out the best eating strategy and we opt to carve up half of it first and dip meat chunks into the mustard and horseradish and eat the bread and order more beer. it's rather decadent, raul shares some with the czech guy who is ever more gregarious from the pivo (beer) and soon the knee is devoured as if dropped into a piranha tank and then reeled back up. the somewhat chilly server lady actually cracks a smile when she comes to retrieve the wooden platter that once held the mountain of pig flesh and bone. we feel a sense of pride and after paying up and a piss stop we reemerge on the cobble stoned path and wander lightly outside a while with our stomaches stuffed like haggis.

   later that evening, after sunset we walk along the river and sit and talk for a while, then walk more. next to one of the bridges near the kafka museum there is an outdoor screening of what looks like a scandinavian film with czech subtitles. people sit quietly watching and drinking beer and smoking cigarettes, so we have a small beer and sit there too. the skies are clear and dark blue, and the river boats drift back and forth and their strands of light bulbs reflect in the ripples on the waters with the old buildings outlines from the other side of the river in a gothic silhouette behind them. it reminds me of the pirates of the carribean ride at disneyland, the balmy air and the way that the sky is actually an airbrushed ceiling and which is pretty effective. of course i'm joking. we continue across the river into the jewish quarter and by the old jewish cemetery, and around the tiny paths and through the squares by churches and towers. we pass by the kafka house and by barkers who try to hand us slips of paper advertising jamaican food or strip clubs for the tourists. we have walked miles today and we rest on a bench by a fountain and make plans of what to do tomorrow before heading back to get some sleep.

   in the morning we go on a hunt for a cup of coffee and wifi and maybe some food. we go to a hostel and get a couple cheap cappuccinos and try to wait out the rain outside, but it's not letting up. so we go down the street and get a thai massage for our feet, from the knee down. 10 euros for 15 minutes, but we are both feeling some pain so it's a great luxury to do for ourselves. especially cause we intend to be walking all day again. we walk out from there feeling some freshness in the legs and we cross back into the old town prague area and through the squares and by the churches and towers that we passed last night. our next goal is to find a little museum with dali and warhol exhibitions showing there. we enter, pay the fee and climb the stairs into the dali section first. there are various prints and sculptures from all stages of his life, we look closely to each piece proceeding slowly though the different stages of his work. nearer the end there are more of well known works and originals, plus ceramic plates and some bottles of perfume he produced and photos of him in full form. a lot of stuff. down one floor we go into the warhol show and first off see a set of ten of the soup cans that still look good to me. it goes through other phases with works i've seen, marilyn, mao, jagger, a multitude of other screened works and then into a room dedicated to record cover art. it was cool to see especially the old jazz records and ones that i'd never known he had done, some i might actually have at home. it's enjoyable, and we still walked and stayed out of the rain for a couple of hours.

   we are hungry now, and the rain is a little forbidding so raul tries to  locate something on his iphone but we decide to just walk out of the tourist district to find less inflated prices. our walk becomes a pilgrimage or march through the wet roads and by the train station and though different neighborhoods up and down hills, finding a bar that mirek suggested in his maps. it's 3:30 and the bar isn't open yet and we sit on a doorstep in the rain and make our next plan. our legs are tingling from pounding the wet pavement in our flat shoes and we push on to find food asap. another mile and we find a czech style restaurant with many food options and of course pivo. it feels amazing to sit and get out of the wetness, we order and sit and talk in a half zombie state of mind. we kill an hour and a half there and reluctantly exit into the rainy day and do our best to navigate back to the apartment and we arrive there around 6pm and lay down for a rest. before actually sleeping we make a run downstairs and down the street out front of a cafe we leach some wifi and send emails to mike and family before committing ourselves to sleeping again.

   [tonight i have a dream about hearing of an l.a. band called "right guard", that supposedly had the biggest and most complicated break ups ever... strange i had never heard of them, in the dream, i couldn't believe how many different well known people had come and gone at one point or another. even the captain from the "love boat" tv program had been in the band.]

   i wake at 4:45 but i lay there till 6:15 and then my alarm goes off and raul and i start to pack up and go down to meet jarda in front of the apartment in prague. i drag my roller bag and guitar and backpack up the hill and around the corner to a bus stop where we wait for the net one to come. we change to another bus and ride about 20 minutes to a place where we meet adam and get into the van to go get peppa, and drive the hour plus trip to mirek's place to meet up with mike and hiyori and macario and start on the road to krakow, poland. i'm very tired from a bad sleep but after adam and jarda do shifts at the wheel i go on for a shift. i do about 120 km and hand it over to raul and i go in the back seat to rest my eyes.

   we arrive in front of the club around 4, and we mill around for a while in the club until load in time. tonight there is another band playing first, and they set up after the uz jsme doma soundcheck so we don't have sound check tonight. that's not good because we haven't played in four days and we are out of practice. there's more time to kill until we are fed in the club by a couple of nice locals who prepare some delicious vegan food that is perfect for me tonight. i'm feeling sore from not enough sleep and sitting in van so i sit on the side of the stage during uz jsme doma's set and stretch before we play, and i especially like the order of their songs tonight. at one point during mirek's spiel in czech to the crowd the people start to sing a polish happy birthday song to them, it's a really cool moment and i wish it were being video'd. when they finish we have to do a super fast change over, not easy but we get it done and we star just ahead of schedule. not a bad show for not playing in a few days, and we have a good time so...good. at the end i'm running on adrenaline but we break down and load out and speak to a few nice local folks and jarda drives us to the hostel for the night. he and macario park the van someplace safe and we stand in the large kitchen with the nice young lady named goda and talk and drink beer and some kind of lemony vodka. she tells me about the polish furniture they are doing restoration on there and i check out a nice deco style cabinet in the other room before i go to sleep on one of the cots in the main sleeping room with several other male bodies and get to sleep.

from watt:

   sunday I pop at eight bells, damn did that dancing wear me out but I ain't too sore. trippy 'tel, no people only code to get in. I first used one of these in france, "formula" was the chain I think. it was very ok, no prob. well, eight days of finland and we must say bye...

on the way to the ferry in helsinki, finland on may 17, 2015

   I start chimping this here diary and drink a bottle of "fentimans" ginger beer, best I've ever had - I shit thee not. it was given to me by a young man last night at the gig who also had me sign his bass, he had me do it real big and printed cuz he wanted to carve it into the wood, whoa! the ferry pulls anchor at ten and a half - same company as the one we got to finland from sweden on though this is smaller, "superstar" is its name.

the ferry 'superstar' in helsinki, finland on may 17, 2015

   sky heavy w/clouds but still helsinki is kind to give us sun for bye bye. it's a very smooth two hour ride, we dock at tallinn at twelve and a half. border check, the older borderman very kind and the crossing is butter after he matches each of us w/appropriate passport (czech guys have id cards), me and my missingmen's first time ever in estonia.

tallinn, estonia from the ferry 'superstar' on may 17, 2015

   we head south, soon plowing the through farmland on a one lane each side undivided highway, small but not bumpy. pepa still at the wheel, after an hour we get diesel for 1.17/liter, pretty econo. over the entrance it says "pood & kohvik" - don't know what that means but the got a kilo of these fat stumpy sausages linked in twos for 3.75 euros. they got fun stuff for sale here too like a "willy warmer"

mirek wanek + jarda nog (l to r) in estonian gas station on may 17, 2015

and a "gentleman's ballscratcher" as well.

raul morales photobombing important device display in estonian gas station on may 17, 2015

   one stop shopping but I pass and instead get those sausages and a loaf of bread plus a beer w/russian writing, using the sinapi ('mustard' in finnish) I got near pentti's pad in turku. quarter of three we got first pony switch of the day, pepa hands off to adam. I take my first estonian piss, pretty clean gas station head and you ain't gotta pay. I got a special reason for checking out this land cuz my raymond's ma was from here, love raymond. his ma is cool people too. damn if the nice spring weather at the port has now turned into cold rainy gray, happy may I guess. no big cities we pass, just little towns and rural woods/fields. just before four we pass into latvia (no border check, it's e.u.), forty minutes later next to an old boneyard we switch ponies w/adam handing the rudder over to tom. the rains lessened a little but it's still cold. the sun's in and out briefly but you'd call this a not too happening weather day in my pedro town except for the fact cali now's been in drought for the last fiver years. the encyclopedia britannica says latvia has an average of only thirtyfive days of sunshine a year, crimony. diesel on 1.09/liter here though. around riga we get a little lost but adam w/miss hiyori's tomtom gps gets us back on track. I put earplugs to put a damper on tourboss macario's dictator trip w/the music, aarrrrgghhh, I'm gonna soon seriously suggest he use earbuds to make his enjoyment a little more personal and give everyone else a fucking break. six and half, we pull over for diesel and switch ponies, raul on the helm now.he brings the sun too, righteous. adam said he was recommended "tervete" so I get one also 1.09 euro like in estonia for fifty cl. I like it. we pass into lithuania just after seven w/no border check (also e.u.). an hour later we switch ponies, now it's jarda's turn. raul did good, especially w/the road kind of tore. they're working on it though (damn if a crane tipped on it's side - dohh!). I get a "svyturys" beer (.89 euro for fifty cl) from the station here, some beatup sovietski buildings behind it though it's a little beat too. now I've had a beer from each of the three baltic lands we've been to today.

three different beers from the baltic states watt drank on may 17, 2015

   we drop anchor in a little town called silavotas (a little north of the city of marijampole) a quarter of ten, whew... today's travel mission finished and we're safe, I thank jarda like I thank every driver after their shift. the boat's in a secure back lot of this just-built hostel, "nakvynes namai 'silavotas'" I thinki is what's called but I could (could?!) be wrong. a nice man named andreas was out on the road to meet us, he asked if we spoke russian - he can do english and so does the lady w/him, irma. they're very kind and are showing everyone around, very nice empty pad and you can still smell the paint, so brand it is. I hit the head and then make for a konk room soon as I can though cuz I am beat. one more of them one bread one stubby sausage, mustard but this time w/a swiss cheese slice and then I'm out.

   monday pop at five and a half, plan is to pull anchor at seven. I chow another one of those bread/stubby sausage/mustard/cheese sandwich but this time double the stubby and the bread.

mike watt's chow he had on the way to marijampole, lithuania on may 18, 2015

   the window is direct east and through the gray is a white sunrise, white platinum blaster bright. andreas and irma come to open the gate, I'm already out in the lot listening to roosters crowing, love it. I see some storks too - we ain't got these where I live, closest thing to it is a heron. these birds are pretty huge, more bulky than a heron and a way different head. a real nice view of a lake and pasture. we pull anchor and head south... we're in last land of the euro for a while so we decide to fuel up and get chow but the filling station ain't got chow so we head into the middle of marijampole and find a supermarket by going to the train station and asking someone after bothering a guy on the sidewalk near an old abandoned army (prolly red) place.

asking some dude directions in marijampole, lithuania on may 18, 2015

lots of sovietski horrible architecture like we saw last year around these parts but not so much. after getting real directions from a lady at the train station (not that that other dude didn't try), we see this "hypermarket" is called "rimi" and we gotta wait thirteen minutes for it open (eight am) but it's worth cuz they got a bunch of stuff and econo. I get twelve euros worth which is a kilo sack of peach yogurt that's got an inflatable handle even,

mike watt handling some yogurt (tom watson's hand above his) in marijampole, lithuania on may 18, 2015

   I get some china chili sauce garlic, some portuguese piri piri w/garlic sauce, some sliced cheese I'm guessing is from lithuania hopefully, some tansan ('bubble water' in jap), a tin of sardines and their czech budweiser beers - not the u.s. kind! speaking of back home, this "hyperstore" is totally like a target where they sell all kinds of stuff, not just chow but clothes, electronics, etc. it's 'pert-near an exact copy of some pad back home but w/chow from here. I ain't saying every store in lithuania is like this but for it is here at "rimi hyperstore." by the way, I'm noticing tom has no more sign of sickness and raul's much much better. so glad about the health thing w/my men, so glad. I got a bruise on the top of my port foot and some soreness, prolly cuz of the dancing. I'm very glad I ain't more hurt. everybody's waiting for me in the boat, time to hobble back... we head southwest. at nine and a half, we pass into poland (we get hour back we lost when we got to finland from sweden) - no border stop, again cuz it's e.u. the rain's stopped for a little bit now but the sky's still go big black clouds but not a blankey. a half hour later, now we get the border stop - a checkpoint's been set up and we're flagged over. the lady border guards (that's what their uniforms say) asks for passports or id cards. a border guard man says we get out and walk around cuz there's a 'puter slowdown prob. after a while we get the word everything's ok, here come the passports and id cards back but then he asks me why mine's so big? "my passport?" he says "yes" and I tell him cuz of the visas and he says "ok" w/a smile and waves us on. they were very friendly actually. we're on our way and the sun stays around. looks like the sun is gonna stay out too. there's a sign warning of bobcats, whoa. many many stork nests that look like people have buit for them - I wonder if so... I'll you this: some are fucking huge and even the small ones are big. ten of noon we pull over to switch ponies, jarda takes the wheel. rain is still being held back. I chow that sack of yogurt, it was good and I can build up some good gut bugs - I think I'm getting that from the cheese, sure is good over here but maybe some yogurt bugs can help. weird how u.s. yogurt is hard and not so chuggable, huh? tourboss macario thinks we need a vignette which is like a sticker that you put on the windshield like kind of a road toll (austria and switzerland use them for example) so we stop to get one but the cat there at the station we don't need - tourboss macario thinks then maybe it's only some roads he's been on before. we're about thirty klicks from warsaw - there's internet at this filling station and so from the boat I can write my ma and tell her I'm ok - I always try to write on sunday but the hostel last night didn't have any connection yet cuz it's so new. there's traffic plug in warsaw but then there's two and three lanes a side on the highway also, crimony - first time on this journey we've experienced that. there was some get lost w/jarda taking us down like one laner bumpy-as-shit stuff but mirek's got a handle on the navigation - there's an art to using these fucking gps machines, I know when I use them you gotta but remember I've been on the backbench the whole time - weird but tourboss macario doesn't want me on the wheel... I known I've driven more miles than everybody in this boat put together but... hey, he relented and we ain't once had to hear lame tunes from him - I'm gonna ask him to play some yma sumac... ten after two not only does jarda give the rudder to raul, he takes his seat also, right next to tom who's right next to me. we continue towards wroclaw, a town I once played w/the stooges... turns out the beer I got is of the non-alcohol kind, ok. I wish we had a fucking road atlas - at three and a half w/leave the highway for tiny road which means for much slower speed so maybe it was retard move but to turn around and backtrack? we plow, raul doing a great job. the yma sumac even gets going, happening. five bells and we stop for diesel and switch ponies, tom now at the wheel. everyone breaks out their chow and starts shoveling. the weather now has turned really together, not just not raining but warm even w/the blue way in majority of the clouds up top, really nice. eight bells come, switch ponies - pepa's turn and the helm. we reach the czech republic border at 9:22, our czech buddies are home! darkness on us now so hard to see but you can see the architecture change, actually it was coming before we crossed (parts prolly used to belong to czech). it's eleven bells when we reach cirkvice, a small village where mirek lives about fifty miles east of prague. we drop anchor in font of his pad, it's a 150 year old house. I study the sky, point out planets to tom and jarda - all of the sudden me and jarda see a shooting star, a fucking meteor, whoa! I forgot to make a wish. so grateful to all the drivers today, they did a great job keeping us all safe. it was seventeen hour hellride for us today but we made it safe! all the czech guys except mirek plus tom and raul continue on to prague where's they'll be while the rest of us are here at mirek's pad. we meet his wife veronika and she has some really good chick soup, w/light broth. mirek has some of his pop's homemade slivovitz he gives me also, whoa. I'm beat as hell but really ready to konk like stone now.

   tuesday I popped at eight. mirek puts out some bread, salami, cheese and coff for me, very kind. his little boy tony talks amazing and is only two and a half years old, respect! no internet yesterday so I get caught up on some - brother sam has 'pert-near whole cuz tour booked - only four holes left, great work. I get email from raul and tom saying they made it to prague safe and I'm big time relieved. they'll spend today and tomorrow there and then will arrive thursday morning to get us for the gig that night in krakow back in poland. damn, it's raining - goodbye to the good weather we ended up w/yesterday but maybe it'll change? anyway, there's a military airbase right next door called caslav and we can hear the pilots training - they do not sound like airliners and for sure the rain ain't putting a damper in their pamper. we were gonna see the bone chapel but the wet makes to scary for me and my fucked up knee. I'll wait for tomorrow. lunch brings more cooking from veronika: potato soup and then "spanish bird" which is some pork wrapped around pickles and a hardboiled egg w/a gravy and dumplings, very good! I make jpegs from google maps of the next three drives, if we ain't gonna carry a goddamn road atlas and be total gps machine hostages then I'll do a half-ass in the meantime cuz me and my guys ain't used to this fucking wandering every fucking drive shit. look, the whole team is beautiful but we can get better at somethings like knowing where the fuck we are and where we're going. mirek tells me about this kostel ('church' in czech) right nearby that's from 1165 so I get out of the nightwear and visit and take pictures.

kostel jakuba in cirkvice, czech republic on may 19, 2015

it's walled and there's a lock on the gate but I get good shots - all that rain we had is now gone and the weather very nice. back at his pad, he shows me in the back his cherry tree (soon ripe, right now they're green) and a little peach tree and some brand new plum ones. he's gotta a real cool neighbor who says one of those griffins I've been hearing doing training from the nearby airbase crashed a couple of days ago, the pilot got out in time though. he shows me an olde-timey potato picker machine.

marik wanek's neighbor's potato picker machine in cirkvice, czech republic on may 19, 2015

me and marik then back in the little room in the pad where I konk, marek points to a painting made by his grandpa... his grandpa painted only the last three years of his but wow, it just proves you're never too late.

painting by merik wanek's grandpa at his pad in cirkvice, czech republic on may 19, 2015

trippy that back home the aarp people had a lady named jobeth a doc on me in my pedro town about you don't have to quit what you're doing just cuz you're getting older. I've read somewhere vincent only painted the last ten years of his life. respect. mirek's wifi went out - he still has internet so I show tourboss macario how he can make his macpurse a hotspot for us others using partage ('sharing' in france), just a couple of clicks. mirek's wife veronika cooks for dinner potato pancakes w/pieces of chicken and wild mushrooms inside them (they're folded in half), really good. mirek hoofs down to a pub that's across from the kostel jakob w/a jug and comes back w/it full of beer, whoa - you can't do that in pedro! we do an edition of my radio show after the kids konk - they got some energy! mirek has a very interesting story for his music journey - so glad I could have him aboard. I'm tuckered right after though and am soon out. I wanted to get it up today cuz it's fourteenth anniversary of me and brother matt doing it but since we're nine hours ahead of my pedro town, I can still make it early tomorrow.

   wednesday pop a quarter of seven cuz I wanna get the radio show w/mirek up - I was just too tired last night and had to konk at midnight. it's raining out the window, oh well, happy it ain't a blizzard or tornado... gotta keep things in perspective. mirek's wife veronika has some bread and cheese out for morning chow and then bring's the kids to school. I meet her brother later, he's broken his foot playing soccer, young strong twenty year old. I hope he heals quick. there's a lot of communication I do w/my il sogno del marinaio fratelli for planning a 2016 euro tour. also lots of spiel w/brother sam about later this year (august/september) tour for our cuz proj. no lesson wasted that got learned on current tour I wanna share w/my bandmates, right? tom and raul are getting first hand - w/out the watt filter! for lunch mirek makes me tripe soup (tastes a bunch like menudo) and then what adam and pepa made for us in turku at pentti's pad - stuffed peppers but w/macaroni instead of dumplings and instead of bell peppers, he uses what they call paprika which is kind of like a yellow poblano chili, tastes just like bell pepper. later after that chow I get to see what mirek told me about earlier on this tour in nearby kutna hora, what in calls the bone chapel which I find is very trippy - it reminds me of some old freemason tombstones that had skulls and hourglasses on them but you know what, this is actually a fucking total mindblow the more I see of it.

watt in the bone chapel in kutna hora, czech republic on may 20, 2015

watt in the bone chapel in kutna hora, czech republic on may 20, 2015

watt in the bone chapel in kutna hora, czech republic on may 20, 2015

watt in the bone chapel in kutna hora, czech republic on may 20, 2015

watt in the bone chapel in kutna hora, czech republic on may 20, 2015

watt in the bone chapel in kutna hora, czech republic on may 20, 2015

watt in the bone chapel in kutna hora, czech republic on may 20, 2015

watt in the bone chapel in kutna hora, czech republic on may 20, 2015

   I get told black palgue and some hussite war battles claimed a lot of the lives and well, the bones ended up here in I guess an artistic way some four hundred years later done up by a cat name frantisek rint. crimony, I don't know why they don't scare me cuz I scare easy but it is very trippy, maybe it's that masonic connection I got in my head - remember, it's in my head and please don't take that for fact. I wonder if dust from their bones has gotten into my lungs? I've had this sensation before in old cathedrals - maybe it's all in my head? I think I get the feeling that life is limited and I got a lot to get done before my time's up. it's raining but one more stop, saint barbara's church not all that far away by car, mirek and veronika so kind. they tell me there were silver mines close by so a lot of money was here and big stuff got built. I see a statue of one brother killing another, both w/crowns - mirek tells me this was the start of the bohemia kingdom. on the way back to their cirkvice town there's a first a stop at the ice cream/cake shop to get some of that kind of stuff plus czech rum and then the butcher's to get sausages. for like "tea time" mirek makes up a "grog" that's hot water, lemon slices and the czech rum. I pass on all the cakes and ice cream.

   gig day I pop at seven, out window is gray and wet... par for this tour it seems no matter what the land. it ain't storming though, I'm grateful. I fucking shave, about time to. mirek cooks up his version of scrambled eggs, it's got sausage and mild chills mixed in, good tasting - same w/his turkish style coff (don't finish the cup though!). we're waiting for the boat w/adam, jarda, pepa, tom and raul to arrive and get us to make full boat for ride to krakow in southern poland. mirek printed the maps are made up for the next three drives, tourboss macario now has hard copy! I'm guessing this might mean less wander but it's only guess. the boat arrives at nine and a half - tom and raul is w/them, YES! big hugs for both from me. our czech buddies are glad to see each other - we pull anchor in a few minutes w/jarda at the rudder and the boat's as full w/their spiel in czech as much as ours is in english. it's tiny road time again so the go is slow, especially when encountering tiny towns. road closed, we need a detour - we find but some wander... then back on track - I really don't see the value of using these tiny one land undivided "trails" that have us slow down to crawl at every village - time to engage the patience overdrive device somewhere I got buried in me. twenty after noon we pass by (we're finally on highway and off tiny roads) lipnik which is a little town where mirek's pop is from. the rain's stopped but still real gray skies. at six of one we pull over switch ponies, tom takes the wheel but not before we do a small chow at this station called "benzia" - we ain't got that many zlotys (polish money) so better to use czech crowns... I get a schnitzel (czech style) I chow w/brown mustard and bread - have to use the knife to get into hashi-able chunks and it's good. eightfive crowns, mirek says that's about 3.80 euros (about $4.80 u.s.), econo. we head for gliwice, the bordertown w/poland. we cross the border at two, no border check. this highway real good, has five euro toll but that's ok. forty minutes later tom pulls boat over to hand over helm to raul for last hitch. we get into krakow at four and a half and damn if there ain't but just one blow-by before we find the pad we're playing tonight piekny pies and the gigboss wojtek is out front to welcome us - me and my missingmen's first time in this town. happy to be here. I meet peter from crossfirefuckin'hurricane and he offers their bassman's ab200 orange amp w/a laney 4x10 speaker box, most kind of him. there's drums from his stickman for raul to use also (floor tom from jarda though). no soundcheck for us, that's ok. I go to wander, it's a little rainy - I discover we're in old jewish quarter, kazimierz - there's a sign for I guess people who wanna see where their folks before them were - all that hell about wiping out a people what a bunch of fucking shit, really makes me wanna puke. the nightmare of history. I wonder what this red writing means on this sign?

jewish heritage route sign in kazimierz part of krakow, poland on may 21, 2015

   I meet these two warsaw guys karol and bartek, they made the hellride here to see me play, much respect to them. they also put on gigs in their town so hopefully I miss playing there next time I'm around. I hobble back to the gig pad and on the way I take a shot of a trippy looking poster but damn if it don't catch tom in an sitch w/a cat who's had it hard. tom likes the picture all blowed-up so I'll put here:

tom watson (on the left) w/two people he just met in krakow, poland on may 21, 2015

   that's paul from england's lady behind tom, I think. tom tells me that cigarette the guy has in his mouth was just in his, he flowed it to him for a donate. speaking of hard times, this man only a few days different in age than me asks to take pictures of me and sells me his two books, he's named piotr and talks jazz and hardcore punk w/me - I try to get across music is music to me and I wanna be free of "category coercion" or whatever... I think he gets the point. back to the pad, no soundcheck for us cuz of the sitch but that's ok cuz I know I got men who know this piece and we can do it. one thing I don't want though is a "line check" right before cuz man, what a fucking lame to deliver a gig like that. I think soundman robert can handle it, I trust him. waiting for chow, I rap w/the antena krzyku label dude arek ("world's oldest label" he tells me) about us first meeting twentyseven years ago in belgium when I was doing a dos gig w/k. he's cool people. then waiting for chow, I talk w/paul from england about both his music journey and then also some of my experiences playing in his land, we have a good time. the chow comes and I shovel these falafel balls, greek salad, rice and spinach w/chickpeas - finish in time to get right up front for paul from england and his three czech bandmates. whoa, they bring it. the singerman has righteous spirit, "C'MON KRAKOW!" he tells the gig-goers, hell yeah! bassman has great attack w/the pick technique that's real percussive but digs in much, paul from england got an abstract wail to swim in, it's a great inspirer set for me, very happening. our czech buddies do a different set than usual, jarda really being put in wound-and-wail mode by mirek's setlist choices tonight. we follow up a little before ten - piotr asked me to go on as soon as possible cuz of public transportation shutting down for the night and he wants to see as much of the gig as he can. fast switch over except for the bass - pepa helps me get it over where he needs to be, only takes a few minutes and we're on ten of ten which is ten minutes early... after the intros from me, we bring the piece. no fucking line check, we just bring it. the mic stand being used as an overhead I moved before we started could've been moved ever further like raul suggested to me but like a baka I didn't follow his advice close enough and damn if the tuner for my 'd' string hits and gets flat, fuck. I space on a couple words too but not really bad for fucking four days w/out a gig or prac, I think - tom and raul are really happening as are the krakow gig-goers, really alive for us and most kind. my third polish gig ever and damn if it ain't first time for mike watt music - the gigboss wojtek is right up front, whoa! there's a buzz on the bass amp but the biggest kink on stage is that overhead mic stand I didn't w/right, I fucking hit it again. I gotta make time to tune cuz it's so bad out and damn if it ain't the 'd' string too, gotta get it right. all and all it's a good take on the piece though and I know when I get to the side of the stage w/tom and raul that they think so too, of course raul was right about that mic stand! the gig-goers are most kind, most kind though some holler stooges song titles... I tell them I love those tunes too but here's some "what makes a man start fires?" ones I wrote. it's a good time.

   at the merch table I get the good words from generous folks, some made big hellrides, some live here. I'm grateful to all. I talk much w/a bassman, talk about finger thumping, how I try to use two always together at same to make a "flipper" inspired by james jamerson's "the hook" lone index one. he said the orange amp was sounding good... everyone very nice, gotta play poland more, absolutely. I hope it ain't another twentyseven years before I see arek again too!

   wojtek brings us to a hostel in an old timey building not too far away and there's a bizarre discussion in the kitchen between 'pert-near all of us. I never even knew of these issues but I'm sure glad they came out. I sit w/my men w/my shirt off and do mostly listening. at the end I advise I get brought in next time dust gets kicked up instead of hearing about it later. I owe raul and tom so much and am always there for them... I don't know how it could be less obvious but maybe that needed some mansplaining. they spell pivo (slav for 'beer') w/a w here, piwo but pronounced it the same. I realize that right before konking.

friday, may 22, 2015 - budapest, hungary

from raul:

   Both Tom and i are the last to get up, and freakin' two minutes before we gotta bail. We of course pop, and stumble into van. Maybe someone could let us know at least 10 minutes in advance though, whatever, we make it before the others anyhow, and it's our fault for not getting up sooner too, but i was beat, and totally knocked out. Weather is still shitty as ever, and we're in this bastard all the way to budapest. i drove for the last two hours of the trip in this shit, and tom took the wheel w/ 40 miles left to the s8 in budapest, Last minute gig addition to this tour, but we're very thankful for it.

   No soundcheck again for us tonight, so after i chow a couples slices of pizza, i do my first walk around the neighborhood in budapest. My third time here, usually it's straight to gig after a long drive, play, then konk and bail early, so this hour hoof has me stoked. Seems like an easy city to get lost in, there is one big main street that runs down the middle, but all the streets that splinter off go diagonal, and open up to little squares, no grid at all. so even hangin' louie's won't get you back to where you started... close though, i got turned around once real good. one day i hope to get the chance to figure it out. I tried to make it back to catch the band, but turns out it got pushed by 45 minutes, and they hadn't started yet!

   Another rough gig for us, really bad buzz on the bass amp again, and no mics on the drums. That's not really an issue w/ the playin',  except for me playin too hard to compensate, but i feel for the people that paid to get in, and they get no sound. It's actually a relief to not hafta worry about drum feedback for a change, sometimes there so many potential interferences, that i can't fully be in the music part of the work, because i'm preoccupied w/ other thoughts. We pulled it off though, and again, like the krakow gig, folks are genuinely stoked we came here to play for em'... me too! We're staying at same place as four years ago, old building that has a few big rooms that is now groove hostel. We're all in the same room, so some folks have big worries about getting good sleep against the snore onslaught. For me, sleep comes real easy, and i'm out till 8:30am, only 5hrs, but more than i've gotten in the past few days, wonder what side i was on...snore, or no-snore?

from tom:

   at one point in the dark of early morning, 4 or 5 am, i wake from loud snoring, a choir of jackhammers choking and gasping, i lean over the loud sound to my left and shake the arm of whoever it is. no luck, i put in ear plugs and do my best to fall back to sleep. at 8 i get up, still tired and sore, i join mirek and adam and macario in the kitchen and i make some instant coffee and get ready to re-board the van for another longish drive to budapest. slowly we move through and around the curved roads looking for someplace to exchange polish money, it takes a while. the drive is long and we switch drivers till i go onto the final shift and through rain and then rush hour traffic i steer the van up to the club and we park and begin the load. a familiar face says hello and it takes me a second to realize that it's a nice young lady named lilly who we had met last time we were here, i remember having a good chat with her at the groove hostel here in budapest... maybe my favorite hostel i've ever stayed. we talk minute and then she and a couple others help us load down into the cavern-like club space. this is a pick up gig, one that we only had booked to fill an opening in our tour schedule. i change my strings and eat some pizza that is kindly provided for us, i drink a cup of beer and some fruit juice and walk around upstairs to stretch my legs, then find the most comfortable seat i can to rest briefly before gig time comes. the pa is sort of small and doesn't fully acomodate uz jsme doma's sound needs so the don't so the keyboard songs tonight.. it's a rainy night and a lightly attended crowd but people dig the music and all do our best to give them a good show. our set is a little rough and the sound is pretty bad and the first few songs i sing without my mic going through the pa. we work up a sweat and finish it off on a high note. we don't linger too long after the gig down in that cavern but it takes a while to load back into the van and start to roll to the groove hostel. hiyori is behind the wheel and it's a tough drive then adam takes over and we file into and upstairs to the groove hostel and i grab a bottom bunk and do a emails and then fall asleep. long day.

from mike:

   pop at eight bells. the host lady of this pad (think her name's goda) is still totally konked and blankied in a round chair in the corner of the "living room" like a cat in a way, ingenious. adam has coff for me, what a brother. quarter after nine we gotta pull anchor but that doesn't mean we're gonna try and get out of town - no, we gotta change currency. last night's gigboss wojtek's a great cat but he spaces for some reason on arriving and getting the dinero thing happening so tourboss macario decides we'll search for a kantor ('money change pad' in polish) - I'm into balling early but it's too early for these pads to be open... we wander - we find one open but they ain't got enough for all the bones tourboss macario wants changed so we gotta search for another, jarda at the wheel - he puts us on some tram tracks w/a tram coming - what?! keep your eyes sharp, yeoman jarda!

passing china chow pad in krakow, poland on may 22, 2015

   we find a second open kantor and procede to get out of dodge (krakow) but soon realize it was baka to change ALL the zlotys (polish money, about four to the euro) cuz we got highway tolls both here and in katowice - miss euro can make the loan to him. I break out that tin of 'dines from lithuania and chow that, raul and tom getting the first bites via my hashi. they got tomato sauce w/them. we use 'dines for tour chow in the boat all the time back home, also keep saltines and chili sauce to make for crunch and heat w/them, nice tiny packages. raul accidentally dumps a huge fart from his yang into our air which fills quick the whole fucking boat and w/might be much shame weighing on him, he immediately pulls the only window we got in the back open which is next to mirek and damn if it wasn't for his seatbelt, the man would've been sucked right out!

mirek wanek 'pert-near getting sucked out the window on the way to budapest, hugary on may 22, 2015

I think of this song bob wrote when he was a husker, on their first warner brothers album:


avalanche looms overhead
airplane flies overhead
important man sits by the window
sucked out of the first class window

images run by, thousand miles an hour
but the time seems far away
folding clothes in a folding closet
folding money in a resume

time to let off some pressure
time to let off some steam
all your notebooks get thrown away
and you start your diary clean

crystal glass lined up in a row
watched over by the g.i. joes
sugar in your coffee doesn't taste quite right
feeling the effects for a hundred thousand nights

when civilization falls in its grave
technology throws on the dirt
you realize the finest things in life
are the ones that can never be hurt

shatters your brain in a million tiny pieces
the sounds you hear aren't coming out right
you think it might be mystic, you think i might be cryptic
the crystal in your china case is breaking in a million tiny pieces

just before eleven we pull over to switch ponies, adam now on the helm. as we pass wroclaw (first polish town I ever played, it was w/stooges in 2007 - search for 'wroclaw'), sun comes out, righteous... not for long though - just before czech border it starts raining. ten before noon we cross border and all our czech buddies clap hands - tom says "uz jsme doma" which means in czech: "we're home" which is what they are - good thinking, tom! then something really scary happens: it's a swerve to avoid move - some other car is "in the way" or something - it's coming into our lane? all I know is adam pulls hard port to avoid and then starboard to get out of other lane and w/this big fucking vehicle we're in, I get the same sensation as I did like fourteen years ago in sweden (near falkenberg) w/j mascis + the fog and a swerve/over-correct move flipped the van on its side, j broke his back in the wreck (he wears seatbelts now). thank god he healed up good from it, the swedish doctors beautiful. trippy thing about that was right before wreck we stopped for fuel and j discovered two of the piss bottles I had stowed for use, for pissing in. he told me to dump them in the trash and when I asked why he replied: "what if we get in a wreck?" - like that was the worst thing that could've happened?!! life's a trip. and yes, I did dump them two bottles like he asked - here's a shot of me w/them here. tom's always been proud of his piss bottle skills, the man very much capable of getting it to the brim w/out a drop spilled. much respect! he's shown our czech buddies such a display a couple times already on the tour. the rain stops but damn if it ain't dark skies as we head south through valachia towards lipnik, where his pop lives. his name is carl (he tells me "charley" and mirek introduces me as "misha" - 'mike' in familiar czech) and the chow pad we're at is called "lipa" and I have a czech version of spaghetti after some soup w/pieces of dumplings - mirek says they call it "droppings" but hey it tastes good. the spaghetti tastes more u.s. than italian but still it's good.

mirek wanek + his pop charley wanek (r to l) in lipnik, czech republic on may 22, 2015

   pepa now at the wheel, south we continue - around brno we pass the austerlitz battlefield (one of napoleon's big wins) and some clown w/a cement factory called zapa has dressed his place up to look like a big cannon w/soldiers manning it. too much. gray and sprinkling, we pull over not even an hour later so some of the team can dump, jarda back on the wheel. I see some mechanics pumping gasoline from a diesel van - doh, somebody fucked up - I've heard stories bout u.s. guys getting like a mile down the road before something stupid like putting the wrong fuel in their vehicle bricks it. there's internet he though and my friend tina tells me it was 750 bday for dante alighieri yesterday - damn, how'd I forget that? baka watt. I used his comedia for a parallel to my second opera - I owe that cat much respect.

   we pass into slovakia twenty of four, pull over to both change ponies and also get a "vignette" - road toll sticker for travelling in this land, like austria or switzerland. jarda finishes his second shift for the day, handing off to raul. at four and a half we cross the danube ('dunaj' in czech) and into the big slovak town bratislava. ten minutes later we cross into hungary - only deserted zoll/douane buildings, border check (our vignette was for both slovakia/hungary - good move by adam last stop), the weather gets worse and worse as we go further east towards our destination budapest, raul's doing great driving w/both that and the road that's turned into an undivided two laner. a quarter of six we switch ponies, tom's up for driving the last forty miles. the rain gets more fierce. we pass from the buda (hilly) part over the danube - second time we crossed today - to the peste (flat) part of town... tom's a little hard on the brakes but he does good, not whole lot further (we pass a pad that has sign saying "communist theme bar" in english - what? keep going!) - you can tell at one time there was A LOT of money here, a bunch. we get to to the venue s8 pince about seven - neat pad inside a court and then down some stairs for a space that's like a cavern, rounded low vaulted ceiling and padding to help w/acoustics. lilly from four years ago at a pad called "durer kert" where we first did the third opera in this town comes out to help load w/gigboss gasper, most kind people. I meet soundman gary and explain what we're trying to do, ask him to be the fourth man - you wonder how crazy people think you are giving a speech like the way you do but fuck, all I can do is hope for the best. I never mean to rub people the wrong way.

   no soundcheck and I tell soundman gary we want no line check so I start chowing some pepperoni pizza gigboss gasper brought us. I then go topside where the heads are to piss - this is like a former kind of big fancy pad that's been reappropiated by someone or else somebody organized it into a hipster fashion - I'd hate be cynical by that though... gigboss gasper really came through and got this gig for us on real short notice so I'm really grateful to him. I think maybe people live upstairs from here even - don't know what the scene's like here. I do know I get to do a great interview w/a young man named gregor and he asks great and genuine stuff, lets bag much wind also. I get to do it on a couch too, a beatup one but ok and spouting on your back to the overhead I hope doesn't seem too out there for him cuz I respect him much. the stairs just wear my crippled ass out, especially w/the cold wet from the rain, stiffens my joints like a motherfucker. when we get done I go back to the gig chamber and behind a curtain that's behind the area near where the mixing desk is, I put earplugs in and get an empty one and a half liter water bottle to use as a pillow and konk right on the deck.

   I pop at ten - that's when I was told by tourboss macario we would play and somehow my body knew but I'm worried I'm a late - no matter cuz our czech buddies still have like fifteen minutes more to do... I wonder if we can go on at 10:30? I bet we can! we'll try. I go to a table to drink throatcoat tea miss hiyori brings me and lilly, the lady who helped us load said she came back behind the curtain w/out seeing me on the deck and accidentally kicked me in the face. I tell her I had no idea, I was konked hard. she says she feels real bad so I ask her if there's any bruise on my face, she says no so I tell her not to worry then, maybe it's like it never happened.

   we set up in time to make ten and a half shove off for the piece. the kickdrum mic has some big-ass stand and right away raul spots trouble but me like a fucking 'tard AGIAIN tells him not to worry about it and bring the piece soon as I get soundman gary to please not try and do a line check but let's get it on NOW please. you think last night there was a buzz on the bass amp? tonight it's about a hundred times that. whoa. also tom's mic has a bad cable so it ain't working. worse is watt spacing on flipping second and third verse of the fryingpan-man oart, confusing the fuck out of tom but luckily not raul and then some hairbrain shit in the feet-and-head-only-man part, crimony. I got yank the bass from the direct box and put it right out of the amp and though not buzz-free, it's a tiny bit better... I find it's really bad when my mouth's on the amp so that might mean it's bad ground sitch here. even thought it's prolly the most clammed gig of the tour (prolly worst sounding too after many cats telling me after), I still am real glad we did and damn if the budapest gig-goers, just the best and real giving w/the heart. yeah, very glad we came here, very grateful to gasper.

   at the merch table one cat tells me I'm the same age as his pop. funny that piotr was way into being my age (w/in a few days) last night in krakow. there's a cat from san jose area in cali ("I can detect an accent!") who's most kind, his name's stefan - he had german parents. very cool people w/not as much as english as the other gigs but every one some little bit and the like to share, very kind, truly.

   it's however three hours from finishing our gig and getting to "the groove" hostel not all that far away. three hours in wet clothes for me and it's raining outside. it's a combination of things, mainly waiting too long to get the loading started but also the boat kind of being hard to get back from it's park place to the venue, one ways making it hard, all kinds of stuff. it's really hard my health, I have tell you. I am so relieved when we get to the hostel - me and my guys staying here four years ago w/northern ireland cats and so I watch you from afar and had a great time. real nice man at the desk here tonight, very kind. crimony, does a hot shower help me big time... soon in the nightwear, I'm out and ready to join all nine of us in the snore choir.

monday, may 25, 2015 - prague, czech republic

from raul:

   After our budapest gig, we have the weekend off, unbelievable, but very true. The plan is for Tom and i to stay w/ Jarda near the center of prague. like i mentioned before, i've been here a few times, but never got the chance to roam...i guess my patience paid off, because i'm now gettin' a mini prague vacation. In the 4 days we stayed in the past week, i walked 45 miles or so! Jarda's pad had a good central location, which made it easy to explore the different neighborhoods. We were just a block away from a great park, and a half hour walk from the biggest cemetery i've ever seen, started during 1600's plague time...those graves were now gone though, but most that were there are early 18's. While jarda and tom went to an art thing, i spent a good two hours plus roaming around the graveyard, it may sound strange, but it was really pretty, overgrown w/ lots of greenery, and of course very peaceful. We did meet up later in the afternoon, and two of Jarda's buddies took us to a park just below the prague castle, where we had a beer while overlooking the city, cool vantage point, i was able to see all the places i had been in the city, so was able to make a bit of sense out of it. They also took us to a little tea room/bar where we watched a couple of their band mates jam old bavarian tunes on accordion and banjo.

   Tonight's gig is just up the road from Jarda's at a club called Acropolis, so the plan is to meet the others at 4pm to start work again. Great old theatre, w/ a tiny balcony and 1930's look. Good crew too that help us load the gear downstairs. After soundcheck, tom and i are led next door to where we chow. Some of my favorite food of tour, medium rare steak w/ lots of garlic on top...delicious. Every once in awhile, i contemplate a vegetarian diet again, it's time like these that i squash that idea. Soon after i realize that i spaced out, and left my euro plug adapter at jarda's place...aarrghh! luckily i'm able to catch him right before he's about to get on stage. I grab his keys, and start running towards his pad...i gotta make sure i'm back in time to do our set of course. Maybe a mile there, and i ran the two miles in 20 minutes...not the best time, but i couldn't believe i did it..i was drenched in sweat by the time i made it back. My legs and ribs were instantly sore...i should think about gettin' in some better shape once i'm home, i've been neglecting my bicycle unfortunately.

   Good crowd tonight, especially for a monday night. We have a tight sched tonight, so we gotta set up double time, we got a big stage which makes things easier, but big thanks to help of the acropolis crew who help us get it done in fifteen minutes. My only gripe for the gig is the drums mics falling outta the clips onto the drums...i was worried about them bouncing on the skin and making a horrible slap sound. i don't feel like i play hard, but i knocked em' both loose, twice. First the floor tom, which i was able to fix, and then both at the same time!!! I did eyes to mike, and once he figured out what i was gettin'  at, he fixed the rack tom mic while i secured the floor tom mic. Glad i didn't let this suck up my focus. I let it go quick, and i thought we played pretty good considering two days off w/ out prac. For the most part, crowd was with us too, i could feel it when we got big cheers during pinned, and during the quiet times that come after. That part of the piece can be daunting, we really gotta be confident, and the claps and whistles gave me some confidence to play strong but soft, and not feel so exposed. I also have good memory of jose dancing right up front while we did encores, put a big smile on my face. After we're done, i instantly start to pack up the drums, thanks again to the crew who carries all our gear up the stairs, and basically load our van. This gives me time to chat w/ a local dude named robert who believe or not, is a big killer dreamer fan, band i was in from pedro. i couldn't believe he even found these records. We made such a small amount, and printed the 2 outta 3 albums by hand, small batch stuff. After gig is tough, we got very lost looking for hotel, unbelievable. hiyori was picked to drive, but to her defense, it sucks to drive and not know where you're going, and that topped w/ everyone tellin' her what to do, i felt for her, and volunteered to take the wheel. I'd only had 2 beers, and during our two hour wander, i'm totally straight. it wasn't too much longer, but i get us to hotel, drop everyone off, and then go find parking. The boys are still up when i get back, and Hiyori is kind enough to give me beer. We polish off the last of the irish whiskey, and call it a night... 3hrs to get 4 blocks from where we played!!!

from tom:

   in the am, we get cleaned up and raul and i wait in the cafe downstairs and order some breakfast while we wait for the rest of the van to pull up and we all fill it up and we roll in the rain out of budapest and towards prague again. it's a long drive when we drop off mike, hiyori and mirek at mirek's house and continue into prague. we pull up to jarda's place and raul and i jump out with him to stay at his place for the next two days while we wait for our next show here on monday. jarda shows us his apartment, and make ourselves comfortable and he takes his record player and a metal watering can to go play an improv gig someplace with one of his roommates, ian. raul and i decide to chill out here and go find food in a bit. we walk out the door and down the street past the national museum and along a main promenade to find a little thai restaurant around a corner where we sit and enjoy a simple this meal. afterwards we walk back to jarda's and make up our sleeping areas and lay down. i am on a low mat on the floor in my sleeping bag.

   in the morning we have bread and peanut butter and fruit with jarda and ian and talk for a while. i decide to tag along with jarda and his other roommate, prokop, to an art auction where they're girlfriends will be and i borrow a shirt and a jacket from jarda because he was instructed that it would be a dressy type occasion. raul stays at the apartment and we head off down the main promenade to a train and ride a short trip to a museum area and into an old czech hall where two auctions are being held, one upstairs and one down. we go upstairs and find seats and sit during the bidding, looking at images in catalogue as if we were there to buy something. it's interesting enough, but after an hour or so of that we agree to walk around the block for a snack. i have a little plate with three small wursts with cabbage slaw and horseradish. we walk back to the train and back to the promenade and by the museum and to the apartment again. i lay around on my mat on the floor and rest my legs and do some emailing. jarda proposes that we join he and his roommates to a little gig and so we do. we take another train a few stops to another part of town and they walk us up a hill to a park where there is an amazing view of prague overlooking the river, and we have a beer with other folks sitting at benches and talk. after the beer we head to the little bar/tea house and meet a few of they're friends and find seating on couches to watch two dudes play some intense folk tunes on a six string banjo and an accordian. they tear through bulgarian songs and english and irish reels with incredible dynamics and really impressive playing. it's so great to hear some real acoustic music like this, no amplification and so close you can hear the fingernails on the keys of the accordian. they are both total shredders, and after a short break and another set of tunes they wrap it up, and we with at the little bar for a while longer till jarda and his buddies head someplace else to have a jam session and raul and i find our way back to jarda's place. raul and i get some noddles at the little market on the street and go up to make our meals and then hit the sack.

   in the morning we walk around the corner to get a coffee and then to a market to get whatever we can afford to eat. we make a big egg scramble with onion and tomato and a little bread roll and some instant coffee. we have to meet at the club in a little while so i chill on the floor and do some meditation and close my eyes until jarda shows up. the acropolis is only a couple of train stops away and a short walk in the rain and we see the van in front of the gig place and we load in and get situated again. it's a nice sized venue with a great backstage area and we reconvene there before soundcheck. then we go next door to get food, and i order a strip steak with rosemary and a ceasar salad and raul and macario and i sit and eat. it's an early gig tonight, uz jsme doma starts around 7:30 to a nice crowd of locals who know their music. the trumpet sounds especially good in this room because of the natural reverb and adam plays very well. they all do a great job and then we play. it goes well, but i think we can't help focusing on any troubles that occur. i have a little difficulty with hearing onstage and it makes some of the set tough to stay locked in with mike and raul, kind of like the beat is floating around. we finish up strong and break down and talk to some friendly people in the entry area till we can get back in the van. the uz jsme doma guys split up and go home with their wives and friends and mike, raul, hiyori, macario and i start off to find the hotel for the night. this becomes a strangely complicated trip and hours go by before we find the correct street only blocks from the club. nuts. we get into the hostel/hotel and get our places upstairs and talk a bit. macario decides to sleep in the van to protect the gear. that's a kind gesture, and after a little conversation we all turn in.

from watt:

   saturday morning I popped at eight and a half. there's an electric kettle and so I make earl gray tour for pop juice and do diary chimping in the little lobby here so everyone else can konk in the communal chamber. a young man from england talks to me about stuff - well, I tell him about masonic stuff I've learned about in connection w/ideas I had about all those skulls and bones in kutna hora's bone chapel when he asked me about them after I guess looking at my 'puter cuz I was fitting some of the photos I took there into the tour diary. we talk about the election where mr cameron just won in his land - he tells me once him met one of the other guys in that race, mr miliband, on a train and he was very kind to talk w/him. actually this cat seems to have good skill w/talking w/strangers - like this one he just had in budapest w/a bozo from pedro! much respect to him. looks like money exchange time but w/cast-off time at noon (was two pm last night), there's still two hours someone can walk to a pad w/directions provided by the kind desk lady who's got a map right on the bulkhead - I understand yesterday had to be improvised cuz of wojtek spacing but why do a rerun, why not learn from mistakes? mirek comes to the rescue and hoofs directly on a couple blocks, knowing right where he's going cuz of the helpful desk lady instead of us in the boat in a town we don't know in the rain fucking wandering. it's raining outside like it was any other time but spring or summer. we're in front of a chow pad called "kino" which is an old word from "movies" and mirek explains to me silent movies first had music to drown out the sound of the projectors! trippy. he said when songs were first put to them, they were promoted bigger than the movie, the size of the printing on the poster - ain't that wild? the boat finally arrives before everyone gets too soaked, poor miss hiyori's back sack - fuck, if this couldn't be organized better... pull anchor at nine after eleven w/pepa at the wheel, this is a great thing... original plan yesterday was two pm. fuck, we even make out of town w/out a wander! we cross the danube and into pest part of town (we're going west back to czech) w/rain coming down not so soft and full-on gray, trippy later spring weather but maybe not for these parts... I think I'm too used to so cal. we pull over for diesel just before slovakia about one pm and get all we can get w/the florint we have (you guessed right, 'pert-near all the hungarian florints were exchanged w/out thought of having to get diesel, doh!), about four liters worth... it's enough to keep us off the curb and out of the race - we cross the border, bye bye hungary. a half hour later we pull over for real diesel fill-up (slovaks uses euro) and I wanna try slovak things since this is only chance, I get a "zloty bazant" ('golden pheasant in slovak) beer cuz of adam's recommendation and smoke goat cheese called 'parenica" from mirek 's recommendation - both I dig much and econo, prices like stuff in the baltic states. soon we're into bratislava, adam now on the wheel, we're over the danube once more and into czech republic. through their southern part, the rain has stopped since we left the big road for some smaller, that's a good thing - maybe adam's sun dance helped. I get into explaining the history w/the madonnabes leading to touring w/tom as part of the pair of pliers and the jom and terry show. a little after four there's a detour we gotta do and damn if we ain't on little roads again but way worth it cuz crimony, we get to stop at minimarket in a little town called stoky - my first time ever in stoky. mirek enlightens us to the culture of these minimarkets in czech republic that's come the last ten or so years, people from vietnam running them and they sell many things, twentyfour seven. he explains czech's really don't have much experience w/foreign people so these folks are kind of isolated. the czech guys buy some chow. whoa, they sell clothes here, all kinds of stuff. I piss behind the boat before we continue, adam now on the helm. real close is bigger town for the area, havlickuv brod which is where mirek's last three children were born there. we get to his pad in cerkvice (actually he's the jakub part of cerkvice) a quarter after five - mirek's wife veronika w/their kids anezka, lucie and tony outside playing - across the road there's a volley ball game too. not real sunny but not wet and rainy either, alright. time to separate again: pepa to his pad, tourboss macario w/adam, jarda w/tom and raul is the plan. macario wheels the boat west, we go inside. mirek calls this a "sweet meal" we're having which is like bread pice an inch square in a bowl slightly filled w/pudding. also there's potato dough dumplings w/blueberry inside and poppy seeds on the outside. so kind to turn me onto this, so kind! I konk before seven cuz this sickness is really trying to lay into me. I did a big soak before. this konk is most solid one I get before popping at eleven and then trying and trying to get back to sleepytown where my body can rally and fight this shit.

   sunday I pop a quarter before six after much agonizing konk, rather semi-konk cuz of all the starts/stops this fucking sickness attack is laying on me, trying to get in and get a hold... it's ain't fully-blown but damn if it ain't threatening. good news is though there's lots of cloud, they ain't dark heavy ones, more like blankie where the sun still can beat through, kind opaque curtain. no rain either. it being sunday, I write an email to my ma and she tells me an oil pipe broke off of santa barbara back in california last week. she's upset about that, so am I - so glad hermosa beach (near where tom lives) just voted no on a oil drilling proposal off their land. she says cali needs rain, wish I could send her some of the deluge we've been touring through! ain't that a mindblow about our climate trip! even though it's gray and a little windy/chilly, lunch is outside today w/mirek's family. we have pieces of pork w/potato dumplings after pea soup, very tasty! the plan now is to go swimming. there's an aquapark in nearby kolin called "vodni svet" ('water world' in czech) that's got a pool, slides, waterfalls, sauna, shvitz, jacuzzi - all of it indoors so it matters not what the weather's like. maybe the shvitz push a lot of the sickness poison from out of me. there's like ten minute cycles of steaming it up and I first do three of them and then two (quick cold shower after each) more. then it's a huge bubbler jacuzzi - not that the jacuzzi is real huge (it is big though) but good bubbles pumping me up, keeping me a floater, all buoyant w/tiny water poundings. then I go to the swimming pool side - damn, I ain't a cripple in the water! I do laps w/breaststroke, sidestroke, backstroke, australian craw - I ain't done this in years. there's a waterfall part (of course fake rocks) and I let that dump all over me. there's big pounder jet streams out of pipes coming down like real good tsubos ('pressure point' in jap) on my neck, shoulders, back - hell, even forehead. right below this stuff is giant geyser and getting yourself puts your balls like "klik-klak" mode! oh yeah, mirek got me this swimsuit that's like old euro style, total bikini bottom. mirek's wife veronika gets us at five, on the way back to their pad, mirek gets another bottle of bozkov (e.u. says they can't say rum) to make me "grog" to help in sickness fight I'm having. we chow what mirek fixes up for us: bread w/what he calls "stinky cheese" (cheese that smells) on bread that I complement w/mustard and also on the plate are radishes and slices of german turnip (kohlrabi) plus watermelon. into the nightwear, I konk early but it's good one. I'm pretty worn w/all that swimming. I worked many muscles I ain't used much in that pool. freed up a lot of blockage though, let the qi flow. I'm so SO glad mirek brought me that water park, so glad.

   gig day I pop at eight feeling much better, like I got much more solid konk. sure I'm a little sore in the muscles cuz of the swimming (using muscles I never use w/hobbling) but that sickness attack seems to be held at bay. the sun is out bright for a little bit! lunch is chicken baked in the over w/the stuffing out of the bird and in the pan to make like a fritter and mashed potatoes plus more watermelon. good good chow! I chimp up the diary. at two and a half mirek's wife veronika gives us a ride to the train station in kutna hora and seventyfour klicks takes about an hour to get us into prague at four. man, that was timed tight - even w/my fucking cojo hiza! takes a while to get a taxi (the 'taxi stand' here is for cabs 'ordered via a leash) but just before we get to palac akropolis which is really a neat pad, very distinctive.

mirek wanek (lower left corner) at palac akropolis in prague, czech republic on may 25, 2015

inside palac akropolis in prague, czech republic on may 25, 2015

inside palac akropolis in prague, czech republic on may 25, 2015

inside palac akropolis in prague, czech republic on may 25, 2015

   I give soundman martin the "please be our fourth man" spiel and I can tell he's an aiding abetter much respect. helperman markus is very cool also. whoa, it's time for soundcheck and another martin is now at the knobs, a friend of our czech buddies. now I didn't get to run my spiel but luckily the houseman martin "shared information" as he put it. right after soundcheck me, tom and raul do an interview w/a nice cat named petr for czech television. he's great w/working everyone in, like a good designed flannel in the way the threads blend, you know? then chow comes, "argentinas" is what I ordered and that's a steak w/cheese melted on it w/a salad w/simple oil/vinegar - I use my hashi to put a chuck of the steak in the in whole w/a chunk salad to get the blend there, real good symphony for the mouth, nice harmony. I then do an interview w/romek who goes way back w/mirek, like when they were nine! he's the band's manager and asks me stuff for use in a doc they're making of uz jsme doma. I think romek goes back to the band before mirek was in, fpb - mirek tells me this was "first punk band" in czech republic. romek asks me what I think of uz jsme doma and I tell him about first time I saw him which was first gig of this tour in utrecht and it was a trip right from when jarda was getting pushed around in a fucking cart through the cafe to the room w/the stage! he asked is it weird to hear "their details" and I tell him that's why I'm in this movement for many years now, to trip on weird music.

   our czech buddies hit the stage at a quarter of eight - there's a curfew early cuz of neighbors but early is good for me and maybe for the gig-goers as well w/it being a monday night and all. I go out to watch, rupert from innsburck is here! good to see him. after big hugs, I in closer, put my arms on the stage right up front and center... my buddy jose from london (originally from valencia) is here, more hugs!

   it our turn, first time ever for mike watt music in czech republic. man, to play the town of franz kafka - holy cow! he's even in the third opera, the twentysixth part... a little bit of heckle when I give the opening spiel (one technique to stuff a sock in that wordhole got a tumbleweed "woosh" from tom) but then w/no warning I bring the piece w/tom and raul. sound is intense here. whoa. wish I had a little bit of monitor for the voice but not at the expense of laming it out for the gig-goers so I lean on myself to go for big time feeling if accuracy falters some. tom's got some falter when I look over and hear "krink-klink-tink-rink" - his thumb pick is caught in the strings, oh no! he throws it off and grabs one from his back pocket though and recovers real good. we gotta problem next w/raul tom mics, them falling off the stands and on to the drum heads. I can fix the rack one but not the floor - helperman markus sees what's up and gets things good for us. the prague gig-goers are most kind to us. for the mouse-headed-man part I use the czech mirek learned me, "jaka mish" ('like a mouse' in czech) and the for the bridge "mish zpiva ('and the mouse sings' in czech) but fuck up and say something like "zpiv amish" (means fucking nothing) like a total fucking baka. I do mime one last "like a mouse" in english - no sound just mime but I think it was important to do that. the mouse is very important in the third opera, appears much. I get totally lost at the beginning the funnel-capped-man - I can't explain why or point fingers but I give raul the ojos and he restarts it, maybe the gig-goers thought it was part of the piece. well, for tonight in prague it definitely was! much respect to the focus the gig-goers gave us, beautiful people most kind.

   we finish strong w/tom and finally tourboss macario singing the encores. I space on saying jarda's name right when I'm thanking everyone separate and feel like a dick, so sorry, aarrrgggghhhh. we finish one minute before the ten pm curfew, whew. I go to the merch table and many nice cats bring me the kind word. I meet a new hampshire man who knew gg allin - whoa. peter from england's here, trippy how he didn't know his band people's last names! many czech folks too, not all expats I get to talk w/and share good trips w/and of course I get long last spiel w/jose, big abrazos for him, big ones.

   then two hours of wander begin. I guess the 'tel was a few blocks away but the wrong street name got fed into the gps machine and we did big pragure night cruise. luckily a cat at a biker bar helped tourboss macario help us all find "hotel prokopka" - no czech guys are w/us, just us non-czech part of the tour are enjoying private night cruise of their big town. all things must come to an end though and the deskman here is very kind. very comfortable pad, I konk in chonies only w/no nightwear, still sore a little from that swimming yesterday... so grateful to mirek for that - not the soreness but the chance to move my body w/out being afraid and use shivtz and water poundings to purge out poisons. man, do I got clumsy talk or what? baka watt.

tuesday, may 26, 2015 - vienna, austria

from raul:

   Woke up to Macario pounding on the door of our room. He slept in the van a few blocks away, he wanted to be sure equipment was safe. This method sometimes scares me, i understand the idea of a guard, but certain criminal minds do not care, and there's possibility of getting into a shitty situation, i have mixed emotions about this being brave, but also foolish. So when i hear the knock, i know he's safe. I take a quick shower, pack up, and head downstairs for breakfast. Jarda meets us soon after, we load up, and start the travels to collect the rest of the guys who spent the night w/ their families. Adam takes the wheel, and about an hour outside of Wein, Jarda takes over, and gets us to the front of chelsea.

   We're at club a couple hours early, so things are very calm. While we load in the gear, the promoter sets up some chow for us, meats and cheeses w/ a few different style of breads. Shortly after, i set up the drums and wait for the soundman to show. Sound man thomas is super cool, and gets us going w/ some good sounds. Tom and i decided to walk to the hotel after check, place to be before gig starts. The chelsea is a great, club, but pretty beer soaked, and there's only a couple of chairs in the upstairs room above bar. It's not too far, and we're back to see most of the doma set.

   i thought pretty good gig tonight, and it being a rainy tuesday too. We played pretty well, and i'm really diggin' the togetherness we're getting w/ the 3 quiet parts in the middle, pinned has been sounding really good to my ears at least. No big space outs, and i feel pretty locked in, the beginning of jug footed also has a good feel to me, i remember thinking we locked in good on hill man too, which can be difficult. I been puttin' more slop on the top hi hat, and it allows me to get a looser feel on certain parts. Since bed is so close, we all decide to hang out for an hour or so after the gig. I mostly chat w/ an american silk screener man i met named steve, he met his wife here, and made the move from a town in orange county called cerritos. Sweet dude, he runs a little print shop here doing one offs of his own art for walk in customers. He even ran home to get me a hand printed comic he does, pretty awesome of him. Adam brings me a double whiskey, and i shoot it down quick, and shortly after we leave to hoof it back to the hotel...he looked 3 sheets, and gave me a look like he needed to get to the hotel pronto, on way, he tells me he got a bottle of irish whiskey from the rep that was there, i think he had most of it too!! These dudes are walkin' real fast though, so jarda and i say fuck it, and stop at a little food cart, and end the night w/ a street kebab.

from tom:

   we are up at 8:30 to get the free breakfast downstairs and i am not feeling that great, more cold symptoms. it has been so wet and cold for most of this trip that it's easy to get sick. also, driving around in wet clothes isn't so good for ones health either. after some cereal and bread and cheese and juice, i grab an extra apple and a little cup of raspberry yogurt and go upstairs and pack up again and then meet everyone downstairs. i take the wheel first today and with jarda and the rest we drive to meet up with adam and then he takes over to pick up peppa and then mirek at a train station somewhere. we finally start towards vienna. it's a gray and rainy day again and we pull into vienna and find the chelsea club under the train tracks at about 4 and load in. david is the gig guy and i've met him a few times before, with mike and when i was here with the red krayola years ago and we chat about that for a while till the sound man tomas arrives. i like this place. it' a caver-like space with the stage at the end a three sectioned room. we have a hotel about a kilometer away and after soundcheck raul and i walk in the windy rain and pick up some subway sandwiches, the first of tour, and find the hotel and eat and chill for an hour or so. then back at the club the crowd is watching ujd and we join them. it sounds really good in here, and tomas seems to know this room well. we have to do a quick change over again and then go on at 10 sharp. we play well. at one point my thumb pick gets stuck in my strings and i have to fumble with it for a second. the rest of our show goes well and i have a good time. afterwards we hang and talk to some nice folks. we leave and walk back along the train tracks to the hotel and jarda, raul and i go to our room and i take a hot bath and go to sleep.

from watt:

   pop at eight bells. free shovel downstairs so I have a wedge of softcheese (the come in some foil covering) w/some have and what looks like bologna - no fucking mustard though, damn. I do maps for the next drives to venues and venues to hotels. we gotta learn from last night

   tom in the boat and at the wheel, I make the hobble on the cobblestones and make it w/out tumbling. we pull anchor at ten twenty, jarda's w/us (otherwise it's the same crew as last night's 'tel search) to help supplement/overrule the gps jive. we gotta get adam in prague's spozilov neighborhood which is where his ma lives cuz that's where here stayed last night. we get him at twenty of eleven, he takes the wheel from tom. time now to get pepa in the hornime mecholuby part of town. eleven bells and we gather him, raul finds his back wack sack wet - hmm... tom find's one of those alkohol-frei budwars w/a pin hole in it and spouting, time for trash can - nope, adam will drink. ok. now we pull anchor to go get mirek, skies very gray. rain comes... we get to the train station in a town called jihlava - "ahoy (pronounced ahoy), mirek" ('hello, mirek' in czech) at ten of one, took a train from kutna hora. as we head for southeast czech, the rain gets more and more. trippy kind of end of may. at two we pull over for diesel, the rain's relented some. pepa gives me some of his kielbasa. jarda takes the wheel. at two and a half w/stop right before austria and get a vignette for the austrian highways. this first part of austria is wine country, lots of vineyards, poysdorf is one wine town we go through.

downtown poysdorf, austria on may 26, 2015

   once we hit the vienna suburbs it's a real slow go, whoa - hey, did I call this ride we're in sprinter or something stupid like that? I realize now it's a vw crafter but damn if it ain't "inspired" by the mercedes sprinter. rain's back. we crawl into vienna but still fast enough to blow by... we loop... raul has righteous idea to get us in - it works!

near chelsea club in vienna, austria on may 26, 2015

chelsea club in vienna, austria on may 26, 2015

inside chelsea club in vienna, austria on may 26, 2015

   this pad chelsea is built into the arches of a viaduct for an elevated tramline (funny it's called u-bahn cuz that means underground but for sure this part ain't!), olde-timey stone curved overhead cuz of that inside. we drop anchor at four-fifteen, the bar lady helps as much as she can but she has to close soon BUT... bookerman david soon arrives on a bike w/a couple of sacks filled w/sandwich stuff, he's most cool people. we talk a bunch about gigs I've done in this town, paul debnam who used to do all my gigs in austria in the old days (still in the ring w/his company psi music now I learn), hieronymous bosch's "the last judgement" where nine men in my third opera are from (it's here in town at the academy of fine arts), "the third man" and the zither in that movie, crimony! mr karas fucking HUGE respect! we also spiel about my buddy raymond first getting recognition in this land, they helped get the ball rolling for other lands including back home! david got to interview raymond, couldn't tell when he was in or out of satire mode! I told him raymond's god very dry humor sometimes. he's a truth-teller though.

   soundman is tomas and he is most cool people - everyone here, really. I read him the "fourth man spiel" and he's into it. check goes good and then it's back upstairs in the little room above the bar - "the" bar - hell, this pad has four of them! above the "back bar" where barboss ole is to chimp diary. miss hiyori gets some kebab that good and spicy, I ask the name but she only remembers it was on thaliastrasse. david comes up w/his buddy peter - peter's a younger man that's been to my pedro for a vist, I gave him a big tour there. both cats interview me, they wanna know about all my current and future plans: finish the black gang album w/nels cline and bob lee ("my shunbun no hi") and the duet album w/jim o'rourke where we've already recorded the basics for in tokyo, and a three song seven inch for record store day 2016 w/il sogno del marinaio. there's "thirty year" dos album k's gonna record and produce also. there's one proj I'm all done as far as the proj as concerned, big walnuts yonder - I think greg saunier's gonna mix that maybe but I know for sure nick reinhart still has vocal ideas for it... maybe he wants some watt spiel? watt writing a couple of spiels for nels/greg/nick? fuck yeah, I will!

   we finish the spiel w/just a couple of minutes of ten and a half go time. I take a piss first and a kind man name vincenzo (from ischia, off of napoli) helps w/my bass and I make my way to the stage after pissing. what a very kind man, grazie! I start us five minutes early, give intro speech. the gig-goers right from this speech part give great focus and respect, damn. they are most generous. the bass seems like it's missing a little middle but that must cuz of the room. actually it sounds really good and I like the way were connected w/the gig-goers cuz last night that stage was a little high and I always feel awkward (I'm always feeling awkward so maybe a little more awkward) like that. I don't like to look down on people. we do the piece real good. I ain't digging the mic cables on my side of the mic stand instead of in front of it so that's a little distracting but raul and tom are really smokin' tonight and I'm in on it, thank you men! it's the last tuesday of the tour and I'm thinking of bobby ho back in cali, big heavy on him cuz of an intense sitch - man, you wanna help your buddies so much... way less clams tonight compared to last night (which was coming off of two days off), I remember in prague totally laming up the chorus in "beacon..." and crimony if raul didn't hold us steady through that clammage (tom hardly plays there), much respect to these men I get to share the third opera w/and deliver it! they're both the cats coming down the rope ladder and giving you the grip-up so secure you let go of your lifejacket w/the other one - we got a sculpture of that in my pedro town. anyway, the gig goes real good. I hit my head trying to get behind the czech buddies backscreen cuz there's a curve in the overhead but of course we're in the arch of the viaduct holding up the tram line! my last words are hollering respect for mr karas.

   very grateful to the vienna gig-goers, a big kind austrian man helps me to the merch table and damn if david ain't got beers w/ice floating in them. I meant figuratively that's how cold I wanted the beers when he asked if I needed anything, not literally! I drink them both anyway and am much grateful to him. the vienna gig-goers are most kind w/the good word, most kind. I sign much stuff - the "still missing the minutemen" ten inch brown vinyl ep. I gotta say tourboss macario (or the plant where they were made) fucked up the back and cut off two of tom's drawings. the whole thing (all four drawings and the text) were supposed to be centered, what the fuck? I didn't get to approve proofs cuz there weren't none - tourboss macario (it's on his label) said the plant where they were made gave him a one day deadline - this was back in february... then were four weeks late in delivering them for the tour, just getting them yesterday - don't that eat a big sack of dicks? there's a cat from long island - stony brook, fucking blue oyster cult! he's living in germany now and tried to get us a gig for this tour but damn, no luck. one man told me he wanted to quit guitar after seeing this gig tonight and I tell him to please don't cuz us bass cats look good making cats like him look good... he thinks about it and says ok. good man.

   I'm beat, time to bail - we're at a konk pad called "hotel wimburger" not that far away (like a klick, eleven hundred yards) but czech stickman jarda volunteers to kart my ass in the boat, so very kind of him, truly.

monday, may 27, 2015 - wels, austria

from raul:

   I'm up at nine this morning, and utilize tub while the other dudes are crashed. feels great to soak, deep tub w/ really hot water. Once i'm out, i join tom and jarda down in the restaurant part for breakfast. Someone had brought my bag to the room for me, which was really thoughtful, but i had to lug it back to chelsea for the 12:30 rendevous to load the gear and get on to wels. Promoter man david is there already whippin' up espressos for us...bitchin'.

   Playing an old slaughterhouse turned community center here in Wels. We arrive a little early, so Jarda and i get a little bit of exercise by throwing around the frisbee. it's grey, but not cold...feels good to be in shorts and not wearing socks. Of Course this doesn't last too long, and rain comes down, Luckily the club folks show up soon after. Great space inside, two stages on each side of room separated by curtains, and a big space for us to be upstairs, very clean and comfortable here, seems the whole crew has a relaxing afternoon here. Food is made in house, and we chow upstairs as well. Veggie pasta's, rice and salad, and a big ol' meatloaf style dish, real crispy top, and it's seasoned great, a little spicy.

   Another good gig tonight, both Mirik and Adam tell us it's the best sound of the tour for us, Soundman Franz did a good mixing us. Onstage sound was there too, and i thought the guys played great, my only flub that comes to my mind is an early start on hillman, watt lagged on comin; in, and i jumped the gun just a little, i don't even know if he noticed, but i made a quick recovery and got in time w/ him. It's a mellow night, but i do have a local beer while i tear down the drums. Jarda is sleeping, and there's no rush anyhow, since merch goes first, and i can see macario hasn't started to disassemble his shop yet. Jarda and i have also worked out a plan, i break the things down, and he puts em' in the right place. My thought was that we'd go back to nearby hotel, and i'd crash soon after. and get some needed sleep, Nope. When we get there, most the venue workers are there, and watt and hiyori are still up rappin' w/ them. These folks at the black horse inn are super nice to us too, and start offering up beers. i decided i'll sleep later, and i have a couple guinnesses w/ hiyori. They're playing some good tunes too, dylan and t-rex, kinks. Slowly all of our crew is gone, and it's me and tom shuttin' 'er down w/ the locals. After Robin bartender feeds us big plates of delicious austrian goulash, it's time to hit the sack.

from tom:

   we all go down to the free breakfast buffet and enjoy the best one of the tour. lots of choices and good quality too. back upstairs for an hour till we have to get back to the club and load our gear. it's wet and windy outside again and we get loaded up and say goodbye to david and start our trip to wels. when we pull up to to the club which was an old slaughterhouse and i realize that somehow i left my jacket in vienna at the club while we were loading out. i make some efforts to contact david at the chelsea club and hope for the best. we get all loaded in and soundcheck. later raul and i walk around the country style roads to find the black horse tavern which is also a hostel and we find out that the rooms wont be open till 1 tonight. so we back over to the club and up to the back stage room and i join in with the czech guys playing a game of fusball. after that we sit down to eat a meal of a kind of meat loaf over rice with a cucumber salad and bread. i add tabasco and drink bubbly water and then lay down on a couch. it's an early show we go down when ujd starts to play and i meet a familiar face of a great guy, manfred, who has brought my jacket from vienna. my shoulders and neck have been very sore all day and upstairs before we play hiyori gives me a massage and it helps a lot. we get set up and and talk with franz the soundman and start right on time. it feels good, the monitors are great and we have good visibility onstage and we can play strong. after we finish up, we do a leisurely pack up and head over to the black horse where others are already sitting and drinking and talking in smokey pub. we join them and get different stories and conversation from several nice local there. florian who helped at the gig and elke and sara, mr. beers working the bar. we have guinness and later some goulash to cap off the evening. finally raul and i climb the stairs to our little room and we both go out like little lights.

from watt:

   pop at eight, sun so bright and sky so blue! finally spring weather? go down to shovel from the free trough they got here - big spread so I'm reminded of the 125 months of stooges touring a little, when that was the one econo (real econo: free!) chow and so I'd stuff my clothing orficises w/as many "pocket sandwiches" as I could to last the day. I was baka though and forgot my hashi, damn me. I ain't that used to eating w/this fucking fork and knife shit for a while now. back up the room, I'm looking at shots I took yesterday, there's this stencil of a young man w/the name jan kucera underneath it at the jihlava train station...

found on train station wall in jihlava, czech republic on may 26, 2015

mirek knows nothing about this but a search on the internet shows me first a photographer w/that name but also a young man who was murdered by nationalist clowns - I recognize the face, there's a web site telling about it (baka google translation of it in 'english' here), very sad - he bled to death after being stabbed, tragic. mirek tells me about this movie he really likes from his land called "the emperor's baker/the baker's emperor" that's got an actor in it named jan werich who had quite an interesting life - the movie sounds like a mindblow, I gotta see it somehow. he then tells me how tycho brahe died, trying to hold a piss. speaking of piss, our czech buddies have taught me about using the trees and woods behind filling stations and such...

mike watt's self-portrait of him pissing behind in woods behind train station in jihlava, czech republic on may 26, 2015

   at noon I begin my hobble to the venue, using the mansack as walker, that's why you don't see me w/it behind me but in front of my cojo self. clouds have smothered the sun and a cold wind's kicked in, crimony! david's waiting for us to do load out, there some rain now, I can't believe it! anyway, good to see david one more time. we talk about mark lanegan before I gotta say bye. adam at the wheel, I we pull anchor at one. he does real good, get's us out of vienna in less than a half hour w/zero wander. we're hearing crass and having a good time w/that. one piss stop w/no diesel-up and we're at alter schl8hoff in wels right at three and a half, right next to the main fire station. I played here once before w/joe baiza and bob lee working my first opera seventeen years ago during the "hola marinaro" tour (scroll to march 21, 1998). the pad ain't open so raul and jarda do frisbee while I take shots of the walls... I find a imbiss ('fast food' in german) across the road called "king" and get a durum, it's like the kebap pita thing in "burrito" form. it's good, could be spicier but I like it. I hobble around and see places around this place - looks like a jail across the road... back to the pad. I see the hatch open and florian greets me, also wolfgang (he was at the 1998 black gang gig). inside upstairs is cookerlady sonja who's prepared the back stage for us, very kind... she's provided very cold water w/bubbles, love it. also find two jellybeans and this gets me to thinking - I go downstairs to do soundcheck w/soundman franz (cool people) and I got the two jellybeans in my left palm... I go up to tom and look down at my opening palm, revealing the jellybeans I'm cradling as I tell him, "look what I cut off of you."

mike watt w/two jellybeans in wels, austria on may 27, 2015

I do this to 'pert-near the whole team and it works every time except when I get to adam who tells me, "be sure!" and then holds up his fingers indicating a sphere the size of a baseball - I back off, beaten. I got sniffles some - I think maybe little tony (mirek's son) gave it to me in cirkvice, not his fault... I chowed a piece of salami he was chewing on and gave me - he really dug my hashibako (box for my hashi). tom and adam go at it w/the foozball table up here in the galley part of the pad. we do soundcheck w/soundman frantz, a cat either my age or older, he's into being our fourth man. happening. back up the stairs to green room place and we chow a great dinner from cookerlady sonja: pasta, meat loaf, salad (w/raw onions, yes!), boiled potato quarters. I'm digging it - "smecht gut," big thank you to her from watt! mirek flows me a link w/him doing a spiel on the czech national radio then suits up for their gig. after reading, I go down to watch them play, get right up front and center. they're kick up some good dust, yep. bravo. at one point jarda did a cowbell solo behind a side curtain.

   mirek tells me "your turn" and they clear the stage quick. soundman franz is a little stressed but I tell him not to worry, we got it together and we'll be ready in time for the ten pm go - raul's using jarda's drum set, both me and pepa's using the house ampeg svt-4 through a 4x10 box on wheels and tom's got mirek's marshall. everything's done w/ten minutes to go, I reassure franz and thank him for being our "fourth man" tonight - he thinks I said "four bands" and tells me there's "only two tonight.. I have to do heavy metal shows that have ten bands, aarrrggghh!" he goes to put on the john coltrane music and it reminds how our entrance synched up perfect w/jimmy garrison finishing his bass solo, totally coincidence. intro speech and then the piece, we bring it. trippy how now when going through the parts I remember the last time we did it (in this case, last night in vienna) and all the places where I blew clams much better than when I'm sitting w/the 'puter and chimping recollections in the diary. it's as if the muscles are talking to me through their "memory" as I ask them to bring it in real time, very trippy. there's this second part in head-and-feet-only-man I ain't sure where it really is I try it sharper - fuck, I gotta get that right... I think my demo ended up different than how I recorded it w/tony maimone - what a baka I am! I do get distracted some (also like a baka) cuz I can see the hatch folks come in and of course it's closed for the performance but about a third of the way through, a couple bail and then a little later two young cats do the same. I mean it could be cuz they got work or school early next morning (it is a wednesday) but I got a little insecure and thought maybe I was sucking out loud. idiot, even if I was - I got hold fucking focus. thank god I got tom and raul helping me. I the last part of the last part (I really know how to write, huh?) tom rushed me some but damn if him and raul didn't do really good. my voice was a little strained, fighting this sickness assault but I'm happy w/what we did. back for the encores, I remember fucking chours (kind ot) part in "beacon sighted through fog" in prague the other night - maybe it helps me to play it better if in the moment I can remember when I blew it out of the water, huh? you wouldn't believe the respect the wels gig-goers gave us, wolfgang right up in front and you could hear a pin drop in the quiet parts. much gratitude to the good people of wels from me, much.

   over to by that hatch I was just telling you about, a man won't let me sit down next to the merch table 'til he gets his purchase - that's ok w/me. I do finally get to sit down and much kindness from gig-goers and also freak out for a sharpie to do signatures w/cuz some "borrow" to get tom and raul ones and I'm left there w/my dick in my hand. adam, the cat from stony brook who was at last night's gig at chelsea is here again, much respect to him for being a two-timer, very kind. franz said he dug the gig too, I think he now knows what "fourth man" means... he did a great job.

   we're konking not very far away at a bar called "the black horse" and there's a barman there who's got irish parents so he's big on whiskys that ain't bourbon. he has me try some. I get talking w/wolfgang, florian and a couple of others, we have a good time. I don't feel the sickness attach much but I'm pretty sure it ain't gone. where we konk is upstairs, stumbling distance.

thursday, may 28, 2015 - usti nad labem, czech republic

from raul:

   A knock on the door gets me and Tom up, it's macario letting us know that we have a half hour till go time, very cool of him. I'm feeling the effects, of stayin' up too late last night. A little cold water on the face, and shades help me out big time though, and this being sick sucks, after gig you feel better because of adrenaline, but the reality is that you're still physically worked. Everyone is downstairs having' little euro style sami's and coffee. First hour of drive is a little rough for me, i'm sore as shit, and i gotta drop the kids off at the pool, and we're in the middle of nowhere. I let Jarda know, but he drives on, i think maybe looking for a place to fuel up. Just past the Czech border, he pulls into a service station that can acommadate both our needs. We also find out that it's Pepa's b-day, and we sing him the b-day song in the parking lot of the station. We're in no hurry today either, so it's decided we'll find out a place to sit and chow for lunch. That place turns out to be the budweiser brewery in the town it comes from. The food looked good, but i didn't chow much, still digesting the austrian goulash from the night before. Honestly, i liked it more than the czech goulash i had last week. The austrian stuff was more like a beef stew, the czech kind comes w/ doughy dumplings, and just for me isn't as enjoyable, just my opinion though. I did have a bud here though, and a cup of delicious garlic soup. Whole pieces of garlic, w/ a little cheese and egg inside, i figured it could help my head cold a bit, clear me up. Nice sunny weather too, and by this time i'm feeling much better.

   Playing an old ballroom style place, sorta like acropolis in Prague, wood floors and big stage. Soundman lets us know that if the drums come too far out, there will be big feed back. We find a compromise and set up in the middle of the stage. Tonight we play first, so we can leave the gear set up, total bonus. It was a trip being so far back on the stage, i felt a distance from the audience that i'm not used to. No biggie though, and we played a pretty good set. I had a total space out, and stretched out a part, i thought i was somewhere else in the tune, quick recovery though. And, for last part of set i didn't use the rack tom. watt was kind enough to leave me w/ his moco's all over Jarda's drum set, and i made the mistake of hittin' the drum once, getting snot splash on me..uugghh! After that, i let it be, and just used snare and floor tom. during the few minutes between set and encore, i wet a towel to clean up the mess, i didn't want a dried up reminder of the grossness staring me down the remainder of this tour. since we played first, we planned on just doing the piece, but when we got off stage, Jarda suggested we go back up and play some more. Glad we did, there was a little kid right on the front of the stage, he looked totally mesmerized by our weirdness, and in my mind i was playing for him, trying to implant some trippy memory that'll pop up later in his life, really fun gig.

from tom:

   we rush out of bed at about 8 and back into the bar for a coffee and bread and ham then back in the van for our journey back to czech. i spend my time in the van reading "bluebeard" by kurt vonnegut and drinking water. the weather seems warmer, and when we get to usti we load in and check out the old dance hall where we play tonight. this will be interesting i think. it has a very eastern feel to it. before we soundcheck we are fed some chicken schnitzel with vegis and mashed potatoes. home styled and tasty. we do our short soundcheck and then raul and i walk to the hotel with adam and macario. it's around the corner and up a few streets where we find the vladamir hotel. it's an early 70's styled modular building that reminds me of something from a clockwork orange, which is in total contrast to the more common traditional czech classical structures decaying along the small boulevard. there is a charm to things here but also an emptiness in the air echoing the despair of times gone by. i really like it, and our double room has a sweet view of the rolling hills and heavy white clouds spilling over the wooded peaks with radio towers. we take our shoes off, i shave and get cleaned up and then we head back over to the Narodi Dum club/social house. along the way we see more clockwork orange sets, a buildings desolving cement walls surrounding it's crumbling courtyard with overgrowth and weeds poking out of any cracks they can find. the empty feeling is very strong here, and again i like it.

   in the venue we sit and talk, we play first tonight and i am looking forward to that. it feels good to be able to let ujd stretch out their set if they like and i have a feeling that they will have some fans coming. our start time is postponed and we start at 8:15 and roll through a good one, then the last tunes go well too. we get off the stage and set up ujd's stuff and they kick into their thing in the dark with their black lights on full blast. the local people are way into them and fueled on czech beer they dance and swirl and bounce off each other like some kind of pagan ceremony. it's a good time and i watch it and meet nice people and after we pack things up and we leave our stuff in the entry way where we will pick it up in the morning and raul and i stop for some noodle packs and head to our clockwork orange hotel. we borrow a hot water pot at the front desk and the guy says i am the most american looking guy he's ever seen. ? i don't know how to feel about that. anyhow, we make our little meals and sit and eat before we crawl into our little beds.

from watt:

   pop at eight, sun coming through the window - is it just a taunt? kind man downstairs heats up rolls and provides cheese, thin ham slices, coff and even bubble water w/out even asking, so nice, danke ('thanks' in german). much green comes out from sinus and some from my lung, gotta get this shit out - green means infection... raus! ('get out!' in german) we pull anchor at ten after nine, jarda driving. we head east for linz and then north for our tour buddies' homeland. we cross into czech republic at ten and a half (no border) and stop for diesel almost immediately across from "american chance casinos" - can you believe this area in the good ol' days? prolly entirely militarized zone. austria was neutral (not nato) but I can imagine on this side that "the west" was the other side. the sun now is out bright and the climate very nice... how long will it last? pepa turns fortyone today, we sing him the bday song. back in the boat and rolling, mirek tells me we're now driving through south bohemia and there's many man-made ponds from the 1300s used for carp farms. I don't see any but believe him. twenty before noon we come up on a town called ceska budejovice and damn if this ain't the home of the "real budweiser" so adam suggests we chow there, they got a little chow pad at the budweiser budwar brewery which is literally on the road where on to get to our next gig. mirek suggests I get some garlic and cheese soup along w/a plate of some beef slices in a cream sauce w/cranberries and sour cream along w/some czech-style dumplings... oh yeah, a glass of budweiser budwar pivo ('beer' in czech) too which is so much better than all the gallons of the u.s. version I've drank and pissed since whenever.

adam + pepa behind mug of 'real budweiser' beer watt drank at budweiser budwar brewery in ceska budejovice, czech republic on may 28, 2015

this is a great lunch. mirek tells us of his first marriage ceremony. at one and a half we pull over to switch ponies, pepa on the wheel now. the weather's holding out, still nice - what's up w/that? lots of pretty czech country side as we continue north, right though the middle of the country. we pass near adam's home town, he points out a rich man's farm where he says "only stupid things happen," interesting... I chimp diary to try and get my mind off this fucking sickness attacking me. we get to prague and rejoin highway that we left in austria. good thing it's only two and a half so we miss prolly what's will be rush hour plug... nope, I'm wrong - we're soon in 'pert-near parking lot mode. like peanut butter arteries thinning slowly out though, we make our way through, passing prague w/not one look of the old town part... three pm we "pause" for those w/the cigarette jones. back rolling, we're now north of prague in a part our czech buddies' painter friend marting calls the "land of breasts" cuz of the huge plain w/what's left of ancient volcanos... we pass rip mountain which is the cradle of the czech land, mirek told me the story of two brothers czech and lech - lech went north and founded the polish land. interesting.

rip mountain in czech republic on may 28, 2015

    adam gives me a "staropramen" unfiltered beer but I'm gonna wait 'til later to drink it. a lot of "panelaky" in usti nad labem (nad labem 'on the elbe river' in czech, this river goes all the way to hamburg in germany) cuz it had to be big time rebuilt after wwII - "panelaky" is what czechs call that sovietsky "architecture" that is not appealing, you prolly have read me belly-aching about a bunch when I'm looking out the windows while driving through the former east bloc. there's painful history here, mirek tells us. I think it's good to play pads like this - I think of this pad back in our land where it was once a slavery market - I think maybe music can bring a spirit that's opposite of the nightmare that did go down. the venue's a culture center (prolly built in the 50s, mirek says) called narodni dum and the folks here are real nice. soundman george says he can't do much english but he knows his room. he's having set up way back of the stage front cuz of the acoustic sitch. oh, we're going on first the next three gigs, we're way into that. good job, tourboss macario, thank you merci much. the uz jsme doma backdrop is situated behind us also cuz I think it's neat piece of art martin velisek (kind of "band member and old friend of mirek's) made for them.

adam + jarda looking at stage banner created by martin velisek in usti nad labem, czech republic on may 28, 2015

   we chow homemade roasted chicken w/cheese melted on it w/salad along w/roasted potato wedges, very tasty. I go back to the dressing room and do an interview w/a nice cat named mikhail who tells me I'm twenty days older than him. he wants my whole store in music in twenty minutes so I give that to him. he tells me he really liked that "made in japan" by deep purple. I told him I listened to that as a teenager too. most my talk was about my involvement in the punk movement though.

   a quarter after eight is our go time and we bring the piece to usti gig-goers. the band's playing pretty sharp, only a couple clams from everybody and they're pretty evenly distributed, we're all using our czech buddies' stuff so we're pretty used to it. the sickness attack has got kind of a fever on me but I hold focus though at one point I gotta do farmer to clear each side of the sinus, both blasts ending up on jarda's rack tom, sorry jarda. there's some yammering in our quiet parts but that goes to dead silence when I do the pinned-to-the-table-man speech, pretty intense - much respect to them for relenting. soundman george interprets us in his way which I dig while the light man seems to do only a few moves but maybe that's the way he feels about it... I never got to meet him. soundman george puts a huge echo on the last word of the next to the last part, a big ol' "MAN!!!" like I've never it before, trippy. proud to have him as our fourth man tonight for bringing special "usti version" of my third opera.

   out in the lobby is the merch table so I go out there and talk to a man named petr and his wife who drove five hours to get here, he's wearing a stooges shirt and gives me a bottle of slivovitz that he says is "medicine" for me. I don't have that but I do have two czech beers that are really good, this land knows beer, truly. you know I actually had three beers - one between those two czech ones was from last night in austria and I could nto believe the difference when I tasted them back to back, crimony! nothing against austrian beer damn if you couldn't taste the diff. of course the adrenaline I got up from the gig keeps me from feeling much hurt from the sick attack - I go in front of the stage for our czech buddies' set and go into full "happy bday pepa" mode, it's gigantic fun, truly.

   just after eleven mirek gets me a cab so I can get to the 'tel (called "vladamir") and out of the wet clothes in my condition, so very kind of him. I told him I'm so glad I got to play here, I really am. a little fever and I hose off but here I can konk soon as I towel off and that I do, I do it all beat and w/out knowing it I'm out.

friday, may 29, 2015 - policka, czech republic

from raul:

   Waking up very dry lately, i for sure need to drink more water, but right before bed might help out a little. Anyhow, i get cleaned up, and both tom and i go downstairs for some breakfast. Mine is two sunnyside eggs, and some granola and yogurt, and a glass of strawberry kefir, and triple espresso from a push button maker. We got a few hours before we meet up to load the gear, so no rush to get out this morning. Tom and i took a longer route back to the club, trippin' on the overgrown greenery on the busted up communist architecture, future primitive kinda vibe. some really beautiful old homes though, and definitely the feeling that you're surrounded by country, it's in the air. From the view from the hotel, you could see that the city is in a valley and there's rolling hills all around. Pretty geography, and great weather...it actually feels like spring here. On our walk i saw many butterflies, and heard lots of bird songs.

   Plan for today is to drive to Mirik's place, we're passing right thru, so it's a good chance for him to see his family, and for us to kill some time. We're pretty close to policka, and we're not on stage till midnight. His pad is real cozy, w/ a big back yard. I spend my time layin' in a hammock there. He has a great idea that we visit the bone chapel too. So he packs his two youngest in the car, and i drive them, and tom and jarda to the next town over. Bone chapel has a skin crawly feelin in it, piles of bones all over, something like 40,000 skeletons in pieces, all dead from war or disease... spooky. What really creeped me out was a shield w/ the little hand or foot bones, and teeth w/ other various bones filed down for shape. And more so the skull w/ ribs used to resemble feathers maybe, stickin' out the top, and a little birdie fashioned w/ a foot used for the wings. The man who did this, must of been out of his fuckin' mind! We don't stay for too long, but very glad i visited, don't think i'll ever see anything quite like this. I bought a little fridge magnet for 50kc to better remember the occasion. His kids are super sweet too, we had a fun little field trip. Soon after we collect the rest of the crew and say bye bye, i do the drive thru the country to get us to policka. I thinks these are my favorite times for me to drive. no stress of the highway, and very pretty scenery. just good we're not in a hurry, because we get to a crawl sometimes..the speed fluctuates by the minute on account of all the twists and tiny quarter mile villages.

   playing a festival in the inside of an old public swimming pool, trippy. Luckily we get good parking behind the stage, and everything is easily accessible. I do a little walk of the vendors, and get paloma a bracelet from a little handmade jewelry tent. Today, we all gotta pace ourselves, we're here all night, and don't play till very late. I do a lap around the site, and it starts raining like crazy. Luckily i made it to the tent in time...macario and jarda, not so lucky. It's pouring, and with lightning too! within minutes the front of the big stage has a lake in front of it! everyone runs for shelter, and there's a big group of us in a tent watching the water collect on top and sink it in, and the little pin holes are all leaking, and it's like we're in a shower. Adam is tall enough to push it out, but the problem w/ this is, that all the water is now inside the tent, and the ground has become totally muddy! the rain lasts about an hour, but the damage is done. The water stays in front of the stage for the rest of the night, w/ some insane-o's splashing around in it fully clothed, and some others not so fully clothed. Maybe fun, but me, i'm lookin to stay as dry as possible. They crew set up a new stronger tent, and on a wooden deck, so no mud. This place turns out to be much better, and i wonder why it didn't have it in the first place. i think because the weak tents all had beer company ads on em, and this stronger canvas one was just military green, but way more stable. Dealing w/ some trippy personalities here, i feel some ego's going. Particularly when a band dude kinda gives me grief for trying to make a coffee, he assumed maybe i just snuck my way in, i guess i could have that look. Also, the band before us lagged like mo-fo's, forty minute sound check, and after sound check took a twenty minute break before getting on stage, and the topper was a long ass encore tune..ha!! The stage crew are totally bummed, us not so bummed, but stunned...who pulls moves like that at a festival that's running an hour behind? We're easy, and i tape down jarda's small rug at the front of the stage, and set up the dusty black sonar kit they have lying around. I'm the only dude who used it, all the other guys had extravagant drum sets on big risers. i really liked the sound of this kit, and kick had strong legs, glad i decided to use it. Also, very thankful the red tape held the rug down, i thought i was gonna slide all over the place. We didn't do a soundcheck at all, and moved most the ger ourselves which i think won the respect of the stage crew, especially after dealing w/ some fussy bands before us. As a band, i thought we really did good, on and off quick. The in between was good too. The steam coming' off us reminded me of some footage i've seen of john coltrane and his band playing in Belgium, seeing watt's breath reminded me of jimmy garison from that gig. Long, wet day here for us, after our set i grab a sausage and a beer from the band chow booth, and take a breath. sometimes the waiting is the hardest part of tour for me, especially in situations like this, all the different possible scenarios of problems that can go down. Unfortunately my mind always goes there instead of all the good things that can go down on stage, i gotta work on that....diggin' this sausage and beer in the cold weather while doma plays, feels good to finally relax.

from tom:

   at 7:30 i am wakened by a wake up call from the room next door which goes unanswered for a half an hour. it's probably one of us and i try to block it out. i lay around till 8:30 and go down to the breakfast and have instant cappuccino, scrambled egg, juice and pocket an orange for later. back in our room we shower and sit till 11:30 when we leave the vladamir hotel and walk the other way, through the shopping area of 2 blocks and back towards the club we played. already there are peppa, adam and macario. we wait a short while till a man with a key lets us get our gear out from the lobby room through a side door. jarda shows up and we load up and i drive us to pick up mike and hiyori in front of the vladamir hotel a few blocks away. next we head to where merrek stayed for the night, a town about 45 minutes away. soon we find him and we negotiate a large wrapped canvas to fit in back on top of the gear for transport to his home. this requires that we make a stop to drop it off before we head to policka for our show. it's no big deal since we play at a festival at midnight tonight and his home is somewhere on the way. we get to his home and we all jump out of the van and snack and have coffee and some of us rest and raul and jarda and i are guided by mirek to another town where there is an ancient chapel which is decorated with human bones and skeletan parts and skulls all arranged into dramatic patterns and chandeliers and in piles and piles and piles neatly organized into strange towers that give off a felling more of an insane persons obsession than any sort of homage to fallen brothers or respect to loved ones. creepy.

   we gather the rest of our group and head to policka, now raul driving, i sit and read in the back of the van till we arrive. we pile out of the van and wander around the outdoor campground with a massive stage in the deep end of an enormous empty pool. several hippy punk types stagger about in black t-shirts, young families with barefoot children and moms and dads with tattoos too. in the patchy sky light i pray for no rain no rain, like at woodstock. it's about 6 oclock which means we have 5 and a half hours to kill. i have that tired feeling again with the aimlessness of no place to set up camp or shelter of comfort. i make do with small talk with whomever and look at the crafts at booths around the edge of the pool. the clouds turn darker with some hopeful clear spots but the chill in the air smells like rain coming. sure enough about an hour later it opens up and pours down so we hide in a tent which isn't for us it's for the current or next band, but they allow us to shelter ourselves for a moment. it gets cold too and some crazies are out there dancing to whatever music as the pools deep end begins to fill up. i high tail it with mirek to try to find another building which we hear has accommodations for artist. we finally find it and there are a few bunks that are taken and a living room space with tables and chairs and a fireplace sharing warmth. we sit and make ourselves comfortable and talk, and i have a terrible cup of coffee which i really enjoy. we talk about music, mostly.

   back at the main stage the skies have cleared a bit but there's a foot of water in front of the stage and the air is cold. i cling to my inner energy, eat what i can, little sandwiches, and stay warm for our show. time drags a little bit in these situations and i use adrenaline to keep myself up. finally the band before us finishes and we set up in the midnight cold, on the wet stage in front of whoever is curious enough to be there. the stage guys are good and keep it all rolling along, but i'm not that comfortable like this. we just shift into play mode and go for it. i feel like people are laughing at me, maybe my pogo-ing looks strange on such a large stage, maybe i have a stupid look on my face, but thats normal. maybe it's all in my head. i do my best and mike and raul do too, and then we finish and move out of the way to let ujd do their thing. they kind of bring some people back to life with their czech singing and bouncing music.. i begin to burn out quickly in the little tent out back. freezing on a picnic bench and nodding out in my coat. i hardly remember the pack up, i was half asleep in the van and shivering and afraid that i was going to get sick for sure. i held on till we arrived at our hostel and climbed under my covers fully clothed and fell asleep.

from watt:

   pop at five bells... it's my pop's bday, he would've been seventyseven today. instead I lost him twentyfour years ago to cancer. I miss him much. my ma wrote me this last week:

   "He has been so much in my thoughts lately. His spirit lives on in my children and with me."

jean + dick watt in chicago, il in 1957

   downstairs there's chow and it's 'pert-near all older german tourists (we ain't too far from the border, like seventy klicks south of dresden), I get some coff to go w/a couple fried eggs that looked like they're in round molds w/long frankfurter wurst and ham kind of like bacon but more w/a nice round flattish roll I can slice in half that's got caraway seeds in it. there's some cucumbers and yogurt too. chair/table by the windows, sunny skies outside but not cloudless. I go back to room when my shovel's finished and put up my chimping for yesterday soon as I fill in the gig part - one advantage of trying to write in real time and quicker cuz you don't have to spend time trying to recall and/or fight off false memories. I then konk for a couple of hours, sickness still assaulting me and I will not allow it to win w/out a fight. I don't wanna take stuff to relieve symptoms cuz that'll make me play shitty and it curing anything anyway.

   twelve and half the boat arrives w/tom on the rudder, we next arrive in teplice a half hour later to get mirek - that's where he konked last night and where we'll konk saturday. we then head south on the same route we got to ushti yesterday, past the "land of breasts" and rip mountain. clouds in the sky getting heavier the more south we go. we get near prague and there's a fuckup w/tom staying where he needed to be and we're in the outskirts... we pass lots of panelaky - mirek says actually there's really big one called "south town" but I ain't too bummed we ain't seeing it and rather really happy pepa navigates us on the right way to mirek's little town cirkvice which is on the way to where we gotta go. like I've notice about this land, not much corn but you do see and lot of young wheat, 'pert-near blue. the clouds relent some - mirek invites tom and raul to the bone chapel in kutna hora since it's right near and I recommend big time cuz where you gonna see something like that ever? you got it. traffic does the go-slow, even out here in tiny town land. jarda just chucks out a banana peel out the window - a big fine where we come from. driving through these little town from the one-time "other side" in my head I'm always hearing lazlo schifrin "mission: impossible" music, just do - ain't that trippy? not the theme tune but the incidental stuff like what's got flute and bongos... we get behind the only bus of the day in these parts, very lucky! we drop anchor in cirkvice's jakub part about three and a half - my third time at mirek's pad, I pretty much know the way.

tom watson at mirek's pad in cirkvice, czech republic on may 29, 2015

   I chow some "rolada" that adam's wife anna made, it's hardboiled egg and ham wrapped up in more meat (prolly also pork), tied w/string and served in slices. I eat two slice w/a piece of bread like a sandwich. I have tea w/lemon and shoga ('ginger' in jap) too. fuck, I feel slight fever also. mirek, jarda, tom and raul go to the bone chapel in nearby kutna hora while the rest of us wait here at the pad. they're gonna diesel up the boat too. when they get back, mirek's wive veronika comes back from work but it's time to say bye to her and the kids, bye bye. five pm we're back on the road, raul on the wheel and taking tiny roads east to policka in eastern bohemia. kind of scary, the tiny roads and the tiny towns are not made for this big vehicle, there's no shoulders on the road (just ditches) and plenty of fuckers honking horns at us. but I there's neat stuff to: at sec we go over a road on a dam at sec, before that we do see a great castle and there's lots of great tiny town life to take in but I don't understand why we plan routes like this... "plan" - give me a break, we just saddle up and go - maybe I was baka not to make maps but I thought czech guys would drive in their own land but it ended up being both my men today! anyway, raul gets us to the town safe about seven bells, we gotta ask someone where this rockoupani festival and some squarejohn-looking folks are happy to help after the first dude totally ignored jarda's czech. it's in an open camping kind of grounds w/a giant swimming pool w/the stage at one end and every one in the pool - oh, it's drained w/no one swimming. nice little festival.

dinner watt chowed at 'rockoupani' festival in policka, czech republic on may 29, 2015

   we're on at midnight so I decide to chow now and the festival people give me this great chow: pickled camembert cheese stuffed w/chili sauce, pickled onions, pickled chilies (not really hot but tasty), a breaded piece of fried pork and dark bread w/a good czech beer. what a happening chow! it starts raining and so I make for the boat to keep dry. I mean it starts coming down - is that swimming pool gonna fill up? lightning, then thunder (you can estimate how far the storm is in miles by dividing the time in seconds between lightning flash by five), wind blowing like crazy - whoa, I hobble quick for the boat! so glad I didn't go to where merik said there was a hot fire or even where the tent is (instead I chowed right next to the chow booth) cuz of much mud and shit to trip over. the water is just pouring of the stage's overhead tarp, I get some nightmare flashbacks of that storm in pori (scroll down to aug 8, 2010) - the wind is what really scares me - free wifi internet helps me get my mind off by reading the jim jarmusch piece on pere ubu 'til konk comes and takes me... I'm out for like three hours.

   amazingly our midnight go time is delayed by only twenty minutes I'm told by tourboss macario when I pop at 11:30. actually we could've gone on time but there's a major bogart by someone ahead of us - what kind of band does a full on soundcheck at a festival? I guess any band who thinks they should. well, comes our turn and we're right up. I give the soundman ben (I think that was his name cuz I never got to meet him) one bass note. I don't get to give him the "fourth man" spiel but from what I hear later, he did real good - much respect to him. the monitor man and stage cats are very nice too. I'm spitting up all kinds of infection - the first third of the opera was all about that. I'm so glad no rain came down the whole piece, what a blessing. I do feel pad for the policka gig-goers who got 'pert-near a lake not five or something feet from the front of the stage. I can imagine them not imagining what they were gonna hear but tom and raul hold tight w/me as I slowly get it together. the third opera at a kind of squarejohn fest must be a real trip - I gotta give the organizers much credit and big gratitude for being so kind to have us aboard, truly. this gig in a way reminds of minutemen days and playing a college in the u.s., the looks of the students! d. boon dug it actually and I'd look over to him for confidence cuz I'd be 'pert-near shitting a pecan log. georgie always like the "head down, see you at the finish line thing" but every now and then he'd give me a look-see and usually a laugh/grin. we had to play tight as a three vs whoever sometimes it felt and actually it wasn't "against" these folks but "for" them, we wanted to give them a good gig. same here tonight. I get the "jaka mish" and "mish zpiva" spiels together prolly the best of the three czech gigs - even got some laughs but then other stuff in czech came back up and some bailing - aarrrggghh, I hope they know we didn't mean any hell on them, it was mirek's idea to share those lines in the first but you know what? that cat does have a subversive streak in his expression... and I ain't against it! I holler "start your own band!" when the piece is done and we're done. I wanna make as much time for uz jsme doma as we can. raul used the sonor kit that was here so jarda could get his stuff together ever quicker. me and tom used their amps but that's easy to rearrange for their set. damn, I wonder why they don't wear the outfits?

   the cold is coming on now - I had the "fog breath" during the set but you know how adrenaline can make you blind to how you're really feeling. I get over to the boat and inside. a czech beer helps. it's three bells when finally bye bye time, the konk pad is a penzion right in policka which is like five minutes driving. the place is very nice, just renovated and most comfortable. into the nightwear w/me, latest night of the tour and w/sickness pounding on me to boot. so glad that storm wasn't worse, so glad.

sunday, may 31, 2015 - oldenburg, germany

from raul:

   woke up on a stage of an old dance hall turned yoga studio. i used one of the thicker yoga mats, but damn if i didn't wake up feeling like i was carved from wood. There air mattresses are tough for me to sleep on, but i'd feel better if i had went that route. My sleep reminded me of a hard night campin', when you're just  waiting for the sun to come up, and the minutes drag... big snores from tour companions didn't help much either. Had weird dreams about being in Pedro just off tour. I was doing a bike ride at night, i can remember seeing the view of the harbor from the top of 19th st. Then i was in point fermin, in the little alley behind the market, and there was a lurker, w/ his head down so i couldn't see it's face, i was barely rollin' too and had to really concentrate to balance. I was scared to go past him, and he knew it, so just as i got next to him, he lunged at me, not to attack, but just frighten me. Come to find out he was a new local wingnut, who shapeshifted into a babdook kinda character that was terrorizing the town. he grew twice his size, and wore a tattered stripped suit and a long top hat. He had it in for me and people close to me... very strange. I woke up thinking I hope everything is ok at home.

   playing a record store tonight, pick up gig on what was a day off, thanks so much to Tim, and MTS lp's for making this possible. We play first tonight, so i start settin up to get ready early. Nope, doma wants to sound check, so we're gonna hafta move gear around again. i don't see much of a point at taking the time to do a big sound check, but not my band, so i don't question it. Really low ceilings in here, and all the windows are are soundproofed, so there's zero air, and it's hotter than shit. Took a lot outta me to play this one. Was lots of fun, but i can always tell when we've had the day off, i know the rest of the band can too. Mike also decides to give me another nose gift. No thanks, this one is on the big ride cymbal this time, so i'm totally sickened, and don't even wanna look at it much less play it. Every time i hit the cymbal, it jiggles and threatens to come flying at me! I finished the set w/ out the ride, and he cleared it off in time for the encore, thank god. I later suggest that maybe he use himself as hanky instead... we shall see?

from tom:

   i awaken from a cold night but warm from the heavy covers, i join merik in the living room and make a small cup of coffee and he goes to a shop someplace to pick up a couple rolls and small sausage and smoked goat cheese and we snack as the others begin to rise. it looks like it might have been a late night here but i had to get some rest and i still feel worn out. it's a great hostel, everything is pretty new and clean with a really homey feeling. the sun is out and the air is warm, a nice change, and we assemble and load into the van and shove off back from the same direction of yesterday and stop by merik's place again halfway to where we are staying tonight. at merik's we all lounge around and play with his daughters and talk with his wife veronika and drink coffee and eat pastries she has prepared. soon we continue towards a place called dubi, and a friend of meriks place which has a lot of history that merik informs us of on our way. we are staying in an old dance hall with a stage and raul and i make our mattresses there and set up camp while the others do the same on different places on the floor of the room. we meet meriks buddy and his wife and we chat and watch czech animation and gumby on youtube and get ready to go down the road to a restaurant for dinner. this is a nice town, pretty old houses and forested hills, and sit at the restaurant and place our orders for dinner and talk. we have a long and filling meal, i order a steak with a fried egg on top and a cucumber salad. it's a really nice time just sitting together, and i think to myself that it will be a good memory from this tour. we stay for few hours like this as the restaurant fills up with locals on a saturday night. some people join our table, friends of the couple of whom we are staying with tonight, and after desert and many pivos our group thins out and soon we are all gone. i walk with merik and macario back to the old dance hall home of rudy and helen and i climb on the dark stage where raul is already asleep and lay down on the air mat and go to sleep.

   morning comes early it feels, and soon we start to pack up for the drive to oldenburg germany at the north western corner of the country. we say goodbye and head out. there's a rotation at the wheel during the 6 or 7 hour drive and i take the last shift and pull us into town and finally up a walk street with little shops, which are mostly closed because it's 6pm on a sunday, and which is also a good thing, and up to the mts record store back door where we park and load upstairs into the record store on the second floor. tim and ola and george and lars are there to help and are very cool people. i'm feeling ragged again, but we have snacks and i get cleaned up and soon the evening begins. there is a second room next to the record store area which is where we hang out and it has this huge slot car track set up but it's not plugged in or i would have been into doing some racing against the czech boys. we get sandwiches from a kebab place and i order a falafel one and eat it. we play first tonight again which is nice and we play well, which is also nice. we do a quick change over and watch ujd with a crowd of local gig goers. it's a good time but i'm exhausted again, just no energy, i drink as much water as i can to keep myself going. in a little while we load out with the help of the friendly team here and we drive a the practice place of tim and ola's in a large house-farm with empty rooms and raul i tag one of the rooms upstairs and i brush my teeth and hit the mat.

from watt:

   yesterday I popped at nine. huge sky of sun out, I go soak some up after hosing off. I blow out gallons/pounds of yellow and brown from my sinuses. a lot of what would've prolly came out of the lung/throat was tossed up at last night's gig. into the kitchen I find tom up and he says to make some instant coff which I choke down. mirek's soon up also and shares w/me and tom twisted-up bread rolls, smoked goat cheese w/paprika and some kielbasa but we'd call it more pepperoni. all three together are real good and chase away the mazui taste of that coff (so called).

   pull anchor at quarter of one w/adam driving, w/in twenty minutes it's raining on us. we're trying to take a less tiny road route this time but for some reason (the claim is "road closed" by google map didn't say that - not like they can't be wrong BUT...) we're back to the little stuff again. the rain clears up but the sky remains heavy, about two and a half we drop anchor at mirek's pad in the jakub part of cirkvice - how many times for watt? love it here and especially now w/the hammock all together in the backyard. we had to return cuz mirek not only forgot his leash and jacket at a pastry shop by the bone chapel but also his shoes - he did last night's gig in slippers! the "ten minute pause" (tourboss macario's words) becomes an hour but I don't care cuz I'm in the hammock and digging it big time.

mike watt in hammock at mirek wanek's pad in cirvice, czech republic on may 30, 2015

   I love being cradled but we gotta get to teplice cuz that's where tonight's konk pad is (actually it's in nearby dubi), an old buddy of mirek's from grade school days named rudy. adam back on the wheel we pull anchor about three and a half from jakub for the last time this tour... maybe. east we go towards prague and then skirt it for north - seem route we took yesterday to get to policka. and damn if we don't ACTUALLY DO SKIRT PRAHA - helmsman adam actually gets us north of town w/out going through it, BIG HUGE GIANT success! and damn if don't pull over at the same filling station as yesterday. I trade miss hiyori five u.s. dollars for 120 czech crowns and get a half-liter budwar budweiser, a footlong klobasa w/mustard and brown bread plus a sack of "spitz" flavored potato chips. we switch ponies, jarda now w/rudder in hand. ten of six we get to dubi which is small part of terplice and where mirek grew up. his buddy rudy has a pad that was former dancehall where his (marek's) parents actually met - trippy, huh? rudy's a great cat. we're konking right in the dancehall. it was built in 1895 but he renovated it himself, the house next door 1835. crimony.

   we got to a chow pad up the road who's name translates to four leaf (as in clover), I ask for recommendation from mirek and he says jelen ('deer' in czech) and a few small potato pancakes. man, this is really happening and the deer gamey tasting at all, maybe the best I've ever had (though I ain't ate much). I also ask for what they call a "mixed salad" which is good but trippy cuz no lettuce - just cucumbers, tomatoes and onions - good and crunchy. it's a good meal. I have a shot of slivovitz rudy recommends and then his wife helenka totes my ass back, sparing me the hobble. it's ten bells, I'm beat and soon out after writing tav falco - maybe a possibility to get to tour two weeks w/that man, can you fucking believe that? out of the blue. righteous if it could happen, let's see.

   gig day I pop for good at seven - I had a few other pops, like at three and then five... big fucking 'mares where I'm in my boat (econoline e350) and the brakes won't work. then there's some sitch where someone's trying to take it from me, just fucking alptraum ('nightmare' in german) big time. the snoring from the team is pretty incredible, 'pert-near sucking the paint off the bulkheads but something trippy happens. you know a big reason I'm popping an having delirium shit is cuz of this fucking sickness but damn if I ain't farting like a champ also, right? now this dancehall has like twentyfive foot overhead and so try to imagine some the acoustics, ok? well, there was the chorus of snore roar going when I drill a big FRAP, man does it BLAM it out there and shit thee not, the snore roar goes silent - how?

   my ma beat me to the punch and wrote me on her sat night (we're nine hours ahead of her in pedro) and I reply, telling he about my sickness and the fight w/that but good news is the sun's up this morning ever. she says there's tar balls on the beach from somewhere.for the first time ever I make my own "turkish style" coff cuz there's no filter, just coff and a water kettle to heat it up. I realize you gotta stir it like a motherfucker and then don't go too down low in the cup. tourboss macario wants us pulling anchor at ten but I ask first to finish this map I'm making - look, if I didn't have the experiences we've been having then... but... they wait for me. raul at the wheel, I really feel for him trying to navigated by a cat who's never driven (mirek) vagaries like "over there" and "the white building" - crimony!

the tour's stickmen: jarda nago + raul morales (l to r) in krupka, czech republic on may 31, 2015

   we stop to get provisions since czech crown land is way more econo than german or dutch euro land... in next door town krupka, my guys and miss hiyori get stuff from a "pennys" chain, they get me two long links of "lucifer" klobasa sausage, some smoked sheep cheese and bread too for a pretty happening breakfast sandwich. we get last chance for econo diesel at an "ono" station - germans must know about this pad too cuz 1) there's a line of cars w/german plates and 2) you can pay in euros. raul gets us across the border into germany just after eleven. man, you see the difference between this country and where we just pretty big time as we head towards dresden (funny to see when I look up that town in the encyclopedia britannica that it started as a slav town!), I ask mirek to help me get some czech straight, now usti = delta and brod = ford, right, s'right! raul lasts 'til just after noon and we switch ponies in a rasthof lot, adam now driving. the weather is very calm w/only wispy clouds. in the back bench of this ride though is murder w/out the windows open, just no air gets back here. leipzig towards the northwest, we almost got a gig here, fuck almost got two but both fell through. the man tim who got this gig tonight tried what he could there but that's show biz and last minute hands on knees strategy. more east at magdeburg, we hit plug on way to hannover, big one. trippy how the plug frees up lots once we hit the "deutsche teilung" which was where the "border" between brd and ddr.

passing the 'deutsche teilung' near magdeburg, germany on may 31, 2015

it was trippy seeing a sign saying ZOLL right in the middle of the country, have to say - that's what got my attention. at hanover we bear much for north for bremen. two and a half w/stop to switch ponies - one of the foulest pissers ever I've found in germany (nothing for the u.s.), tom now w/the rudder. weather still holding but a little windier. big plug returns just for tom, we crawl. just past hannover though we break free which is big relief. I konk, popping just before bremen and almost a wrong go but set tom right, some rain is coming down... we get into oldenburg just after five, my first time in this town. looks like the venue in the town's zentrum, in a pedestrian type of mall kind of trip but still big enough for this boat... I can't believe these guys blind faith in a fucking gps machine that doesn't know how big we are, after six weeks of so many failures wouldn't they get a clue? you have to work w/these things, not make yourself dummkopf hostage to them. even though it puts on a wrong street though we luck out cuz sure enough mts lp's & cd's entrance is on the side street and that happens to be our fortune - deeper dees bassman tim (tonight's gigboss) is standing out the hatch and waving his arms in the air, we drop anchor.

sign on the door for 'mts lp's & cd's in oldenburg, germany on may 31, 2015

   the boss of this record store is away in sweden, his name frank but man, is so kind to let gigboss bassman tim get this gig for us happening, he's truly beautiful. the store is upstairs but they've made great room for us, put up lights and sound system, wow, incredible. you know, in the old days the movement was about people and it's still that way: people w/big hearts who get things happening. there's a side room w/a hugh slot car track - yeah, slot car track! I haven't see one of these in a buttload of years, crimony! back here they got space for us and where they can do refreshments - amazing how folks can improvise, I can dig it. we're going on first tonight and after talking w/soundman bernd (also drummerman for deeper dees) we decide no soundcheck cuz hell, we know our czech buddies' equipment pretty well by now and I trust bernd and his helperman george. two other vitral cats are lars and ola. gigboss bassman tim decide 8:32 pm will be go time cuz there's an eleven pm curfew. miss hiyori gets us kebab not far from a pad called "amore" and I it's really good. tourboss macario talks shit about it, what's that about? this from a guy who eats cookies in hot water for breakfast. well ok, to each his own. this guy's a crack up. does he think about some of the stuff he says? I have to admit sometimes I don't, shit just flying out... I should cut him some slack. I meet a bassman name kai, very cool people - he has me sign his bass and we talk about active vs passive w/onboard preamps, I tell him a solution I've found is adding bypass switches to my basses that have them. I was a big user of onboard preamps but that kind of stopped around ten or so years ago. still, I got the option and options are good things to have. gigboss bassman tim has ansgar who's a physical therapist show me some exercises to help w/my knee hell. he gives me some putty for my hands, to strengthen them. luckily I got my hands going pretty good. they get sore from being swollen after a while but no carpal tunnel or tendonitis shit which I'm most grateful. I'll take a fucked up knee over fucked up hands cuz of my work but it is frustrating.

   me and my men take our positions and I give the intro speech. fuck, I run a minute over - we start at 8:33, I'm a baka! let me say this, I know only one day off but damn if that don't thrown an old wooden shoe into my gears - not saying that's good enough to excuse the clams I blow in my first two solos which are total shamers cuz right to my port is bassman pepa and damn if I don't wanna do good for him and gigboss bassman tim. not has much hock coming out my mouth but there's some sinus hunks - one goes right on raul's ride cymbal and it's 'pert-near like cookie dough but a green kind. that was gross but I was thinking of the pad's deck here and didn't wanna foul it, I can wipe raul's cymbal clean later - which I do, didn't mean to disgust him though. the oldenburg gig-goers are most kind. a little yammering in the pinned-to-the-table-man speech gets snuffed out w/just a look and a little inflection in the speech. like I said, they're quite kind and most respectful. the give us good claps - we come off and confer w/pepa on the side, asking him if we should do encore - pepa tells us to go and so we go and do the encore, tourboss macario in full-on flail for the very last tune "polarity" and busts it out w/abandon, right amongst the gig-goers, I don't think they saw that coming!

   over to merch table for some warm jever beer, whoa. gigboss bassman tim brings a becks which is like whatever but at least it's cold. I talk w/many kind people, one cat did one hundred klick hellride for the gig - on a work night, what a beautiful man. I meet a lady named manuela who's part of irteeran berria which is maybe a way to hear about bands? you know I've never had a manager - mr tav wrote me:

...have not had a manager since New York in 1983 for 3-months. Never again. Got nobody but myself to blame if something goes haywire.

I really like this and crimony if I ain't thought the same thing. manuela's very kind though, all these folks from both here and from endem (gigboss bassman tim also put out the word there) are so very nice, let me tell you. we all have a real good time.

   gigboss bassman tim got me some beam and it's been a while so I put a dent in the bottle and I then before I know it we're like ten klicks away in pad that seems pretty rural. it's the deeper dees prac pad in one of the rooms, place for blowup mattress in another w/some big baby dolls and a wheel chair - trippy combo, huh? I think the bourbon will keep any potential 'mares away.

   this whole dealio we owe to bassman tim, what a righteous cat.

wednesday, june 3, 2015 - antwerp, belgium

from raul:

   Spent these past few days off w/ Carlos, good friend of watt's who i had the pleasure of meeting a little over 10 years ago, on first trip to Europe, on a tour that he booked, damn time flies. Perfect location for a couple days, we're in the farmhouse that Carlos grew up on as a kid. I find the 3rd floor attic space that has a few beds in it, Stoked. There's enough stuff for me tom and jarda, and half the floor has been takin' out, so it's more like a loft than true attic now, which is cool, because it's helps w/ the air flow big time. Tonight is mike's turn to cook for the crew, so while he's gettin' things together for us, i drive me, tom and hiyori to grocery so tom and i can get things for our euro version of mexican chow, and hiyori can get some eggs to make the breakfast for us. Once we're back, watt is cookin up some mackerel which he plans on combining w/ shell shaped pasta w/ olives and garlic, and just a few other simple ingredients. He does a real good job making this a tasty meal, good flavor going on, especially when topped w/ the killer parmasien.

   Went on long bike ride today, real windy too...pedaled along the water for awhile, but felt like i could get blown over at any minute. Decided i'd be better off on the other bike path along the country road instead. Nice ride except for the pedaling into the wind part. long stretches of road in between farms... the space in between the villages being about 15 km, good stretch for not having done it in over a month. While i was gone, tom got started on dinner, and he had the beans soaked and on a simmer...they already smell great! I want to make some spanish riceso i start cutting up some mild jalapenos, and i blend em' w/ some whole tomatoes and spices to make our own sauce to cook the rice in, Turns out pretty good, a lil spice. I'm not used to cookin' rice for all these people, so it came out a little more moist than i'd usually like, but once it sat for awhile, it fluffed up some After prep of all the veggies, we both took a burner and made up two big pans of chicken fajitas, and had some tofu going on a third for drummer man Jarda who is a vegetarian. seemed to be a hit too, everybody had seconds, and we still had a ton of food left over. After we all digested, most of us had a long and heated ping pong tournament, with Carlos finally taking first place. To all our defense, he had the home court advantage, and had been playing on this table since he was a young dude.

   Playing a pad called het boss tonight, near center of Antwerp, warehouse building, but renovated into club space w/ with big rolling door that opens up for us to do an easy load in. I spot a dusty kit shoved into the corner in back stage hallway, so decide that's what i'll play tonight, green mapex i believe, reminds me of the kit that jer has in casa hanzo back in pedro. With some help, i get it down and dusted off and set up. It cleans up pretty good, and even have time to cut up a ripped tour poster to get the arrow pierced egg cut out, and taped on the front of the kick head. Sound isn't so bad either..stoked. After sound check, tom and i take a walk to the museum near by. It's just closing up, but we're still able to walk to the top get a panoramic view of the harbor, and the rest of antwerp, bitchin'.

   Great gig tonight, i thought we played real good, i know watt's not feeling a 100%, but he brings it. I know i was pushing, i came off stage totally drenched in sweat. Fun crowd too, and they really seem to genuinely dig what we're doing, for that i'm totally thankful. We don't have load out gear till morning, so we get some time to hang out w/ the gig folks...truly sweet people. Glad we came back to bring this music to Antwerp for a second time.

from tom:

   we rise and gather stuff like usual and we take ola and tim to the bus/train station in town and start to roll towards carlos' farm house in southern holland where we will stay for the next two days before our show in antwerp. it's not a huge drive down the entire length of holland, and we find him off the country road in an old country home surrounded by agriculture and farm lands. it's nice to se his face again and the house is an amazing dutch building that he has restored with some modern upgrades and can easily handle our party of 9. we will spend the next two nights here and so we must plan our dinners and mike will cook tonight and raul and i will cook tomorrow. mike already has some of his ingredients that carlos picked up but we need to run to the market for other things as well as for tomorrows meal. when we return mike is halfway through preparing dinner with hiyori's help and the rest of us milling around or laying on the various sleeping places in the three leveled home. it's windy and grey outside but it's very beautiful and it feels good to be in comfortable place like this. we sit and eat the delicious morsels of mike's meal, a fish and pasta dish with a green salad. it gets devoured. we sit and talk but i sneak away and lay down upstairs and fall asleep at around 10:30.

   slowly i rise, in no rush to do anything, and it's nice not to have to. i get a cup of coffee and toast with some dutch cheese and return to bed and fall asleep and dream for another hour or so. a very lazy day. i shower and join others downstairs and start the beans for tonights mexican meal. i soaked the brown and red beans overnight so they will be more tender and easier to cook. i also start the pico de gallo salsa while raul prepares the vegis and chicken for the fajitas. raul and i play some ping pong upstairs and we hang with carlos and talk about stuff until it's time to get things going for dinner. we have to cook in two shifts, 5 and 5 so we can serve the fajita plates good and hot. raul makes some mexi rice that we prepare some pureed tomato, onion, peppers and garlic with cilantro, and then we stir fry the bell peppers with chicken and the beans are ready. we have some sour cream and avacado to top it off and i toast up the flour tortillas and we crank it out. everyone gets their food and then we make our plates and we sit and eat. it works out well, pretty authentic except not very spicy but i think thats okay with the czech guys. we have a good time dishing it all out, then hiyori and jarda and the rest help with clean up and then we all go upstairs to the ping pong table and have and have a 7 person tournament which goes for a couple hours. we each play each other and it gets competitive but we have a good time and at the end carlos is winner, peppa is a close second and i get third place. i'm burnt out and we turn in at around 12.

   morning comes again and we eat left overs and gather belongings and i take a walk around the property and then sit and change my strings. it's a short trip to antwerp but soon we have to say goodbye and thanks to carlos and get on the road. we drive into belgium and antwerp and find the het bos club by the river. we load in through a roll up door, which is always nice. it's a nice space with a little cafe in the same building. koen and peter are the guys who put the gig together and are there to help out, super nice people. we get all loaded in and situated in the little back stage room which has the coolest combination door handle i've ever seen. it's a simple latch type handle design with tiny numbered buttons where your thumb touches it when you grab it and a little green light that goes on when you punch in the right combo, then it unlocks. maybe you have to see it. anyhow, i notice the cool architecture outside and raul and i go for a walk to the museum and walk up to the roof and check out the panorama view from there and then walk back. we are fed tomato soup made by crystal and fresh bread and then i chill out in the little side stage room for a while. people start to arrive for the show and soon ujd go on and i video the first four songs for them and watch most of the rest, then go drink some water for our show. we do the change over and get started. we play well and the people are pretty involved with our gig, it feels good. afterwards we pack things up but dont have to load out tonight, we will pick things up tomorrow, so there is a couple of hours of people hanging out at the merch tables and talking and i have a couple nice conversations with local folks but soon get tired and ready to roll towards our hotel. we jarda drives us and we arrive and file into the hotel and get our rooms. raul and i ht the sack at about 1.

from watt:

   monday I pop at quarter after seven, fucking freezing. a lot less from my lung and sinus but still some and damn if it's still green some so fuck, it ain't gone. I try to get out, try to hobble around... can't find a hatch open - what?! there clouds out the window but - can't find way out... explore some of this pad, damn if it really kind of big, much more than just a prac pad. I find an open hatch! we're just off the highway in the middle of a bunch of farmland. there's like thirty head of milk cows chowing grass right near, only one strand of barbed wire to keep them in.

two cows on a farm near where mike watt konked near oldenburg, germany on june 1, 2015

the highway's nearby and so is a bus stop, what? way out here? there's a fucking cigarette veniding machine! hmm... when gigboss bassman tim wakes up he enlightens me to the fact this used to be a drinking place and they'd have weddings here, kind of the meeting/hangout pad for the farmers around here. we bring him and ola to the bus station back in oldenburg, thanking them both much - they give me a tour souvie, thank you both!

souviner boat given to watt by bassman tim on may 30, 2015

   we get diesel and I fuel up on a kind of panini that's got tuna, called tonno-italio" and a meisterwurst which for the first time ever doesn't come w/bread and mustard - did the counterlady fuck up? we got our own senf ('mustard' in german) so no big loss but c'mon. both together though cost just four euros which for germany is econo and the wurst has got good snap - maybe a little too much mayonaise in the tuna but that's tempered but the whole greek olives stuffed in too. we cross the border into netherlands at eleven and a half, the czech guys are real quiet, jarda says he can't keep from falling asleep. I suggest this tour has beat his little ass up. I love this man. the other day he asked when did I get used to all the driving on tour and I told him you never do, you just deal w/it the best way you can. tourboss macario's working w/raul and me for a route so far plug-free. whoa, a stork was flying right for us and veered off at the last minute - I thought raul was gonna swerve to avoid but he kept us steady and everything's cool. head south to avoid groningen - man, I wish we could've played that town this tour... damn. we head for zwolle... twelve twenty, pull over for pony switch - pepa's next. "ten minute pause" turns into half hour, finally we're back rolling south to utrecht - where this tour started! full circle. skies gray up pretty much but rain holds off... then out comes the sun as both tom and raul konk next to me. two bells and we pass near 's-hertogenbosch, which is where hieronymous bosch lived and who are going to have a big celebration of him soon (I wrote about this a little already in my enschede entry). it's around then tourboss macario has us get off at wrong exit but we get back on and off at right one, avoiding both breda and antwerp plugs - good job, pepa. I can't believe I'm chimping play by play highway drama but it's come to this point of the tour for me to do something about all this fucking wandering. we pull over at two and a half to switch ponies, adam will bring us in. we make the critical dogleg and don't keep going to rotterdam though carlos lives there too - the farm we're going to he inherited from his pop. into zeeland part of the netherlands, I've been in these parts only once, it was to a dos gig in goes (pronounced hoos) w/k alongside david thomas years ago, carlos put it on. we pass goes and then south through a tunnel to this land's most south part, a small town called hoofdplaat which of course we blow by but a call to carlos' leash has him waiving his hands in the air to help us arrive safe, it's four and a half - right in the middle of the window he said we'd arrive when I used miss hiyori's leash to send a girly text saying we were a hundred klicks from groningen. I ain't saying "I told you so" like a motherfucking thinks-he-knows-it-all but I do have some experience getting lost and wandering that can be invested in "get there" strategy, just saying.

   I love carlos, big hugs. missing him since last seeing him in utrecht. I love this old farmhouse, 140 years old but w/righteous amendments that don't ruin any of it. he's got potatoes planted out here, it's a working farm and his cousins run it. I had sent him a list of chow to get cuz the czech guys want me to chow them a dinner, cook it up. carlos got some righteous fish for me, I thought maybe try and get talapia but damn if it ain't flounder, wow! I cook it up w/onions and chilies in a pan w/oil - great kitchen he's got here, great stove. trumpetman adam volunteers helping me cutting up stuff for the salad: cucumbers, tomatoes, avocado and onions, most kind. the only beans carlos could find were like small yellow sting beans, three cans worth - I asked for lima or at lest butter beans but it said he couldn't find. also "canned" - I ain't into but I use some cheese and olives to go w/them. three sacks of shell pasta, that should be enough... after cooking it up I mix the cooked fish mix (now also w/garlic) and more olive oil in to fill the shells and serve it up to all ten chow people which includes me, parmesan w/the grater available to all for on top. yes, there's enough to go around but like and idiot I used the same spoon for tourboss macario and he has an allergy to fish and pukes immediately - well, he had time to get to the head but damn was I stupid not to use another spoon. all the chow gets chowed and I'm to cook for the team. big thanks though to carlos for getting the good ingredients.

when carlos 'saw abraham' (turned 50 years old) doll at his farm in hoofdplaat, netherlands on june 1, 2015

   we have a good time all spieling about tons of stuff, I konk early I think at the table w/head on the 'puter for a while before getting to a konk room... I know cuz when the battery's run out all like this it's cuz my forehead's been on the keys w/me konked. baka.

   tuesday I popped early, like five cuz damn if sinus pressure wailing on me like a motherfucking. it's like my head's gonna pop. this fucking sickness just don't wanna get the fuck out, huh? fuck that shit.bbreakfast w/carlos, I have cheese and liver sliced like ham lunch meat on brown bread w/coff he makes for me. I'm in my nightwear, I'm gonna stay in this all day cuz damn if it ain't raining like a sieve. I rap w/carlos a good long while. lunch I have smoked mackerel w/cheese on brown toast. got yesterday's diary up and then another big soak in carlos' deep tup and watch the trees dance up a storm in the fucking wind right out the window. it's a fine long hot one that prunes up my fingers and toes good. then I get the music ready for my radio show w/guest jarda and wait for him to get back from pedaling w/adam. it's a happening spiel we did, interesting man. my men prepare tonight's dinner for us all: chicken fajitas plus beans and rice. they do a great job, thank you big time, tom and raul, thank you much. the stairs in this pad the go up are too steep for my cojo self so I hear from downstairs all the carousing going on around I guess ping-pong competition. I konk early.

two bumble bees on carlos' farm in hoofdplaat, netherlands on june 3, 2015

   gig day and I pop at six and a half. both my elbows ache, I think I fell on the wood bed frame, landing on both of them. damn me. carlos again makes me coff though he don't drink it. I make a breakfast from the leftovers of last night w/the last of that flounder so it's that w/beans and rice. the sun's out! it's windy but the sun is out... for now. carlos shows me around the house and the barn, showing me the equipment his cousins use for growing potatoes plus other stuff (rotating the crops), he was born like six klicks from here. it's good to see carlos where he's really connected. I tell him I really like the spirit of his pad cuz that's what I feel. I give him the cuz album "tamatebako" cuz he asks for it, wants to always know what I'm doing. nineteen years he booked my europe gigs. I don't blame him for wanting to get out of the dealio though. I know he will always love music, he's a music man!

carlos van hijfte in front of his farm house in hoofdplaat, netherlands on june 3, 2015

   we pull anchor at one, where is the sun going - here comes gray... oh well. I am not giving anymore maps or backseat directs for rest of tour, tired of it. I ain't saying this is why we wander but we do for a while 'til accidentally running into highway... only half hour spaceout actually, quite manageable and damn if we ain't even have to pull over, adam takes us all east from hoofdplaat to antwerp in belgium (no border check cuz hell, it was that way even before e.u.!) in one pull, resepect. this is a neat town and actually adam wanted to get in early so he could walk around and explore some... you know me, I'm way into getting in early than late so my vote was "fuck yeah!" regarding that.

   two and a half when we reach het bos which is the venue that came through at the last minute (same w/tomorrow's gig - I was afraid we we're gonna bogart on carlos four days instead of two and it made feel like a dick leech, it doesn't matter he's my good friend so getting these two gigs were VERY CRUCIAL to me), we pull up right on the sidewalk and the padboss peter opens up a huge hatch and our boat pulls right in. gigboss koen arrives shortly after - damn if he just wasn't at carlos' pad last week! he brought some great homemade tomato/garlic soup, very tasty - I chow it after soundcheck w/soundman bram who is solid cat, tom can speak his language and I think he's a great cat to have in our corner. raul's using some pearl drums he found here at the venue, augmenting the front head w/raymond's art for the "hyphenated-man" cover, bitchin'.

   peter's the padboss, he provides me a can of bitchin' ginger beer - j mascis got me into ginger beer - it's great. koen and christel are the gigbosses, they brought the gig here and damn if they weren't at carlos' last week! tiny world, huh? they handmade all the chow. the gave me a tomato and garlic soup, mashed potatoes they're own way - same w/their hummus and a very original saffron sauce. good tasty chow and sat good in my gut. I chimped diary 'til time for our czech buddies to go on - we're last these last three gigs. they bring w/a picture of their back drop being projected behind them instead of the actual cloth banner but it looks good. they got the outfits on and the speckled lights, the black lights - quite a show from them I'm noticing more and more - I think the residents had quit an effect on mirek and I know they're old friends. I come up front and center - pepa points at me at one point before a bass solo in their encore... I love pepa, bass brother.

   our turn and though we're scheduled by tourboss macario for ten-fifteen, hell if we ain't ready by ten - hey, it's a work night. the antwerp gig-goers deserve respect and in fact, this is their second shot cuz three and a half years ago we brought the third opera to this town, another last minute gig where we were added on to a dirty beaches gig at a pad called "trix" or something like that - the antwerp gig-goers showed much focus for us then too. I'm feeling beat cuz of the sickness, it's still having it's way w/me but I buck up and charge hard w/my men. my voice is rough, sorry. not real bad but some rough. my bass playing's ok but there's some fever moments but not huge ones... somehow I recover each time - I think a big reason is my men, they're playing really good. there are times I got blow shit out from my lung or blast out of my sinus - there's still some green in both. I get through the piece though and then we bring back the encore - well, I gotta start the first one over cuz damn if the 'd' string wasn't WAY out of tune, what a fucking baka I am. huge gratitude to everyone here in antwerp that helped us: koen and christel, peter and the gig-goers, all beautiful.

   I spend much time at the merch talking to lots. roland from utrecht's here, the out-my-mind-man (he corrected my baka mistake I chimped in the diary when I last mentioned him, so sorry for being baka), he's on a search for what man of mr bosch's goes w/what man in my "hyphenated-man" opera. interesting. I meet several music cats, some who've given music for my radio show even, some getting projs going - lots I know only as fellow bass brothers. the belgian beer I'm given is so good, really is. all the kindness here, truly I'm in the heart grateful.

   we gotta drive some for the konk pad, a 'tel called "tulip" and damn if it ain't two fucking hours from when I get off the stage to where I get hot water on me and shut down this chill wearing wet clothes that long can do to you. hope it don't sound like bellyaching cuz I got a buttload to be thankful for, all the beautiful cats in my world this day/night, crimony. I konk hard but clean.

thursday, june 4, 2015 - aachen, germany

from raul:

   Trippy place for a gig, we're deep inside an old military bunker/bomb shelter in the middle of the park. probably a good idea to use things this for public space, wipe the weird vibes off. Great spring weather today, and the park is filled w/ local folks gettin' some sunshine After soundcheck, Jarda and i join them, and spend an hour throwing the frisbee. Feels good to have shoes off and be running around in the grass. Awesome to have this situation just a few steps from the venue too. it's an early gig tonight though, and since we see people starting to go into the bunker, we figure it might be time for dome to get on stage soon. They play a great set, and have a few worked up fans who made a big drive to come see them do their thing, awesome to see folks so excited to see them. As soon as they're done, we jump up to do our thing. Mirick hashleft the stage filled w/ what he calls spaghetti. It's basically the biggest mess of cords you've ever seen!!! Somehow though, and w/ out hesitation, soundman timo shakes each one loose, and has the stage lookin' clean just in time, unbelievable, this tripped us all out. On point gig tonight, i feel we're playing this piece better and better together.

   We're not doing a load out tonight, but i still get most things together to make tomorrow's work go smoother. Tom's w/ me too, and as soon as i'm done, we're gonna round everyone up and try and hit the road... we gotta drive into holland to sleep. Trippy set up, and we're above an old timey pub, like 4 flights up. me, macario, tom and jarda all make the trip to the top floor, and find two rooms to crash in. Even though i'm still feeling a little shitty, i open up the big window next to the bed for some fresh air... lil stuffy in here.

from tom:

   i wake earlier than i would like, the window is open and i am roused by the traffic sounds at 8 and soon raul and i go down for the breakfast in the lobby and i have eggs, bacon, cereal, juice and some terrible coffee. then i go back to the room and lay down, unable to sleep but just to rest a bit and then take a shower and do emailing and pack up and meet the others in front of the hotel at noon. we head back over to the het bos to get our gear and pack up to roll towards aachen. it's not a long drive again, but my sore legs make it hard to get comfortable in the van. we arrive in front of the music bunker which really is a bunker, a big cement building with cold sub level rooms with thick walls.we have a snack in the band room and check out the live room and soon load down the stairs and the little dumwaiter thing they use to deliver beer into the bar area. just doing our job, carrying stuff. i'm the designated driver tonight so i drink water and rest as best i can. we eat more sandwiches and then we are served some lasagne which is very tasty but i'm getting full so i just chill out. we set up and check and the ujd does it too and then mike and hiyori and i go outside with the gig boss, lars into the warm spring sunlight and he treats us to ice cream and we sit in the park and look at people and talk. back down in the cold dark musik bunker i sit in the little room and drink more water and soon ujd goes on. it sounds really good in this room, and the people dig it. we go on play a strong set, more relaxed than usual, i play a little softer so i have to stand in one place to hear myself. this actually helps me play more evenly without jumping around like i usually do. we get to the end and then the post show hang out and merch table thing and we talk to some nice people here. i'm ready to get rolling cause i'm driving the van to the hotel tonight kind of eager to go. after an hour or two the rest of us come to the van and we go to a place just over the border of germany and into holland. i park and we file upstairs from a bar and into a couple little bedrooms and i get a bed and go to sleep.

from watt:

   pop at eight, good sun flooding the window but maybe more konk if curtains were closed, baka! sky cloudless, really. downstairs is free trough. lots of folks from india on a bus trip kind of making for plug but it thins out and I get some yogurt and put pineapple chunks in it w/a plate of scrambled eggs/bacon/roll and some coff. back up in the room I work email w/brother sam and chris of bleeding heart recordings regarding a seven inch vinyl single we wanna bring for the first cuz tour that has two tunes not on the "tamatebako" album. I've convinced brother sam to go w/his own line drawings not only for this but for the tshirt also. what he did was make a little metaphoric line sketch for each tune, it's really good and part of the lyric sheet and album art. for me that means really organic connect between where we use it (posters? buttons?) and the work itself. brother sam is trying to do too much himself even though he's the biggest part of cuz he's got a lot going on - besides booking first cuz tour and getting the merch happening for it, he's helping bossman ian and his new go! team tour, just having to move to new pad and full time working during the day. incredible but I think maybe he's stretching himself too thin and wanna help him out.

   we pull anchor at noon and get back to the venue cuz that's where the equipment is. on the way, tom points out how he believe there's a link between the buildings destroyed by war shelling and the rebuilding using glass and design to reveal and not hide these hurts is used here, I get his point. tom knows a bunch about buildings and stuff, being part of a company making tiles for years. he says the tiles we got on our san pedro dana junior high school has some really rare stuff, malibu tile. anyway, I appreciate his insights much when we travel around, he's got a good eye for detail - raul also. for me life is for learning, especially from my men. good to see the het bos folks again, love these cats.

inside 'het bos' in antwerp, belgium on june 4, 2015

   at one we pull anchor and roll through antwerp to find diesel, tourboss macario is convinced there's a big difference between fuel on the highway and fuel in the town - sometimes I've found that the case but belgium I saw at the beginning of tour had econo prices but whatever...

weird public art in antwerp, belgium on june 4, 2015

trippy art on a building in antwerp, belgium on june 4, 2015

on the waterfront in antwerp, belgium on june 4, 2015

pulblic art in antwerp, belgium on june 4, 2015

   some interesting stuff in antwerp, wish I had more time to hobble around. the weather's much like pedro, digging it. adam at the wheel, tourboss macario gets him lost a little bit but then he gets us through belgium into germany and right to the middle of aachen where we're playing an air raid shelter built in 1943 and now called the musikbunker where we meet a most righteous man named lars, so glad to be working for him here tonight.

the musikbunker in aachen, germany on june 4, 2015

graffiti across from the musikbunker on june 4, 2015

   this gig was a last-minute add-on and damn if this ain't real special for me, just feels that way for some reason. I try to work each gig special but out of the blue I got a feeling here. it is a trip, like six foot walls - there's a "discussion" regarding which stage to play but it's all word games cuz everyone but us missingmen and lars wants this bigger one. there's a bowl of gummi bears and though they ain't sour ones, I can dig it. also very cool is soundman timo who does a soundcheck w/us after agreeing to the fourth man spiel, happening. he's always got a smile but works very focused too. we just do three parts for him - I say we cuz maybe it's end of tour-itis or whatever but damn if tom and raul didn't a kind of "guitar center" (I mean "shit hard center") version of "look what I can" play recital? my men are not about that. anyway, we're soon done - yeah, the bass amp was way behind too, hmm... some slack? well, some slack is expected next to last - yeah this is the last thursday of the tour... you know what? we did every thursday of this tour, missed four saturdays though - something really intense for me... never has that happened in thrityfive years of touring for me. by the way, there's a weird sculpture me and tom are on a bench in front of - looks like some dude stalking a lady, kind of weird but maybe I'm wrong.

some strange sculpture statures near the musikbunker in aachen, germany on june 4, 2015

   lars invited me for an ice cream cone and to sit out on the grass in the sun. you know, I have so much nice weather in pedro that I think I fucking take it for granted. I decline at first cuz of fearing for my knee but then after a bit start thinking about what a baka I wold be to say no and tell lars this. we go a few blocks past burg frankenberg (which is right next to the musikbunker) to a pad selling ice cream - not a cloud in the sky and so very nice, lots of cats in the park - damn, I can't tell you the last time I had a cone, a buttload of years, people - I swear! I get what they call a scoop of lemon sorbet and we go back to the park by the castle and enjoy the nice weather. lars is interesting man, very low key but lit-up mind and very engaging. I ask about the musikbunker story - it's got 650 supporters, crimony! it's got a lot of prac pads. when lars was younger he did construction. we talk about culture and history, stuff like that... he's real understated and much humble in his view but it's engaging and I dig it. I could prolly talk 'pert-near forever w/him. he's also a man of action though - people are trying to bumrush the pad in the name of real estate of whatever and he's got the barricade up to help w/this culture of expression, it resonates in me true.

   back to the pad, I chimp diary dealing w/the great time I had a carlos' farm. great lasagna from cookerman toby, wow. I dig it much, really fucking happening, respect. I get in a talk w/mirek about insane things about not so far away history - shit, fucking charlemagne was from here - well, he's planted here... I guess that is from far away but it got me somehow to talking about closer times - maybe cuz mirek is czech and he can refer to some pretty stupide times personally. I can dig. he tells me he's read a book on some guy in asia - yeah, we don't talk about asia much this tour, though I did mention the taiping rebellion... anyway, he read about this guy he calls taiko and no, it ain't the fucking drum! actually I have read about this guy but can't remember much cuz fuck it's hard for me to remember shit, frustrates the hell out of me. again let me say the lasagna cookerman toby made was real good.

uz jsme doma at the musikbunker in aachen, germany on june 4, 2015

   our czech buddies play it seems real special for two guys who drove all the way over from the czech republic. they know all the words. they're pretty borracho too so I gotta watch out and not too close. my knee is really weak at this stage of the tour. our turn next, I know we can make the scheduled 9:30 downbeat time. soundman timo is incredible, he completely untangles the entire snake as us three watch all set up, we're using all our czech buddies stuff but they've learned to switch over like that. soundman timo ain't flustered in the least, big smile on his face and his hands working like lightning - he gets everything together w/a few minutes to spare, whoa - respect! speech to the folks and then bring the piece... I think of lars and all the good stuff he told me earlier, and I don't know - I'm lit up good by it (later mirek will tell me it was the best gig he saw me do this tour, whoa). tom and raul are on fire, let me tell you - righteous playing out of them and w/me every moment. the way the lights are I can't see anyone but pure black but I can feel them real close. of course I can see raul and tom real good and am right on them - another miss w/a lougie and I get raul's crash all fouled again, damn me. I get it cleaned when him and tom get the lute-and-dagger-man part going... there was some yammering in the quiet middle but damn if the aachen gig-goers really show respect and focus on their own - I think it was the two czech guys who got sushed I learned later by our czech buddies - they were the ones who shushed them! very kind of everyone, truly.

   after the encores I go over to the merch table, sit and spiel w/such excitement - I don't know why but I wanna talk about why I feel lit - I do cuz I do, I guess! many kind cats - one bassman talks w/me much about the pickup I got in my dan bass, about geezer butler - about his composing and his way of working bass, the relationship his hands have w/the strings and stuff - composing though too, the way he sets up changes, amazing. this cat's hip to all that. there's a u.s. man named randy too that's most kind, truly. lots of locals that are kind of shy but still really sweet, "please sign for my children" and "please sign for my friend carlo" and "please thank you for being here" - most genuine, so glad this gig came through, so grateful to lars.

   we gotta get to the konk pad before midnight, it's upstairs from a cafe and the time is only so long when we can get it so what's supposed to be a quick dash across the border into holland (a town called vaals) takes 'pert-near hour but then crimony, just a minute or two late we find where we're supposed to be and it's up some stairs... and up some more... and more - I plead w/my me to put my closer to where the head is so I can piss w/less chance of a fall and they help me, help me like they've done so many tons of times. I chow a little more of that lasagna, yeah - there was a plate of it brought w/us, crimony!

friday, june 5, 2015 - brussels, belgium

from raul:

   My first thought when i wake up is, beautiful, we have perfect weather for the last day of tour, i also have an excitement that we're going home. For as much as i love travel, there's no place like like it. Me and tom pop quickly and forge for coffee, we run into watt, who's maybe also looking. We find a department store kinda place w/ a cafe, and get some coffee there, not the best i've had this trip. Seems to me that lots of coffee places i went to in europe are going the way of the push button automatic espresso machines, so everyone is the same. You can't really work w/ it, and there's no real flavor, at least to me. It all taste the same, kinda weak and watered down. i'll drink most any coffee, but i know the difference, and it's wack when someone tries to pass something lame as good. regardless, beautiful day, and when the others decide to go back to, i kill the rest of my time here w/ a walk around this little town, walking to the German border part, and also an old church restored church just a few blocks from where we slept.

   Back at the bunker and ready to load gear, we find the door locked. Hyori and i decide to take a lil walk and get a cone around the corner, they have lactose free stuff, so she's stoked! After an intense load in using many stairs, and a tiny lift, we all go chow kebap at a pad just right across the street that lars suggest.

   It's down-right hot today, the first real heat of the tour, and on the last day. of course we hit big traffic on the way into brussels. Soon though we arrive to the back of a big warehouse on the river, and going w/ the last schlep. I'm thankful that it's a real easy load, and we can leave the boat here all night. i asked our stage man if there's any drums around, he says there is, but the worst beater you've seen, and there's no way i'd wanna use it. I get it cleaned up and sounding pretty good in no time. I love this situation, makes change over quick. This kit feels good to, same size as what i like, and pretty comfortable to play.

   The czech guys play what i think is one of the best gigs of the tour on their part. This room is perfect for them, high stage, big lights smoke machines, and real loud. they look and sound great up there. The whole performance and costumes all come together, and folks really dig it. For us though, maybe not our best environment to play in, stage wise, it was a little high up for me. Thankfully the smoke had cleared though. As tom and i waited for our turn to go up, they filled the stage w/ so much smoke you couldn't see. Luckily, i had the pieced together kit, that was easy to set up.

   Hot lights on stage that made me sweat like a mo-fo, and i'm soaked by the time we're off stage. I get the same feeling as last night, and feel that we play real strong. in this way, it's a shame that tour has to end, w/ all the sporadic dates, it took time to catch a groove, and now we gotta leave it behind. good place to end a tour though, and we get to stay just a few steps from where we play, convenience!! i don't know about the others, but us missingmen end up crashing pretty early..watt and jose were talking' as i drifted to sleep.

from tom:

   i shower and go out in the sunny spring morning with raul and mike and get an unsatisfying cappuccino on the nearby Main Street and we talk about tour. one more gig to go. funny when the last gig day comes and it feels like, "that went fast". after all that. we have to get back to the hotel and then go back to the musik bunker to get our gear and then we stop at a nearby kebab place for some lunch before heading to brussels. it's strangely hot outside and in the van, we feel the heat as we pull into town and slowed by the traffic. we follow the ring road around the city and locate the magasin 4 club by the river and park behind on a brick road and load in through the back. it's a large warehouse space with a big stage and sound system and we set up. there is a room off to the side of the main room which has several bunk beds and a small sitting area for us to stay in for the night. i throw my back pack on one of the lower bunks to mark my space for later and go up to organize things on stage for soundcheck. the humid day grows darker and the wind kicks up and before we know it it's pouring rain outside. after ujd does their check we sit and eat spaghetti in the communal kitchen area and i return to my little bunk and lay down to rest before the night gets started. there's a film screening between ujd and us tonight, and ujd goes on at 9 and play with intense fog covering the whole stage from the smoke machines and crazy lighting flashing through it all. they do a great job as i watch their last show of this tour. next is a film with various musics accompanying the cut up imagery and i sit with raul on side stage waiting to play. it's hot and humid onstage and i instruct the lighting guy to lay off the smoke machine and keep the lights up a bit and we go on to play our last show of this tour. all goes well, and i see our friend from the last euro tour we did, nicholas standing in front as well as our buddy jose who has come to a few of the shows along this trip. we have a good time playing but i have to pace myself and not over exert energy in this sweltering heat. it's a good show and we jam through the last tunes and cap it off with ujd joining us onstage for free form version of "fun house" and that's it, tour done. at least the playing part is. i do a quick pack of my stuff and drink bottled water and do my best to be social but i'm winded and need to sit in our little room to regroup. it's a nice end to tour, and i wish i had the energy to hang out with everyone but i lay low and wash up and sit on my bunk eventually laying down with all the sound of music playing over the pa in the other room and people talking outside eventually fading away.

from watt:

   pop at seven. I hose off and shave for the last gig of the tour. the cafe's closed but I find a hatch to the street open... very warm (for these parts) sun in a cloudless sky greet me, I look up and see jarda's stage outfit drying, yes - the man knows his priorities!

jorda's stage outfit drying in vaals, netherlands on june 5, 2015

   I also the name of this cafe where upstairs we konked, I see it's called "'t vereinshoes" - I was wondering about that. this town of valls alive w/construction and shops open w/the wares out. I explore around a little... I see tom and raul and they call me over to get coff where they are... here we are, the last friday of the tour - would've been nicer to end the tour on a saturday but hey, that's the hand we were dealt. my guys talk about that w/me. man am I lucky to get to play and be w/them, they're just the best.

   back to the pad just in time to say hi to this pad's boss - I asked about the language here in limburger (I thought I heard some german w/dutch last night) and he tells me there's tons of dialects, people mixing up kinds of words and stuff. he's got a nice smile. eleven bells and we pull anchor w/jarda at the wheel, w/the help of pepa he backs us down the street perfectly. however cuz of construction and RELYING AGAIN TOTALLY LIKE A HOSTAGE to the gps machine and not looking our the windows at the signs obviously about a detour, we soon return to right where we started so the baka on rear bench seat breaks his vow about no directions for last three gigs and put forth a suggestion - you gotta force these gps machines to do what you want - like it doesn't know our vehicle size or obviously is oblivious to the construction so get it to the nearest BIG street (in this case one block away) and then it'll recalculate a path we can actually use. in a matter of moments here's germany (no border check) and then just like that we're at the venue, what was all that mangled-up wandering from last night? especially in the wet clothes - it's ok now, no more bellyaching from watt. chimping diary about this is actually good release valve for me. I've wandered tons of times, I ain't perfect navigator or driver so what am I talking about anyway?

   we get to the musikbunker and man, is the sun out hot, hottest day of the tour for sure. I gotta find shade, fight next door in a park that's got an olde-timey building called frankenburg, maybe seven hundred years. there's bball on a court going on, one sister is playing also and holding her own. alright. not too far away from them are uz jsme doma guys sans mirek which feels weird chimping that here in the diary cuz you imagine a uz jsme doma w/out mirek?

adam, pepa and jorda near the musikbunker in aachen, germany on june 5, 2015

   lars arrives at noon and we go down into the musikbunker to get the gear. such cool temperature w/in the thick thick walls. we load the boat up and then lars invites to chow not too far away at an imbues called "memo's" that's got turk still chow. very kind of lars! I get a sis kebab which is chunks of grilled lamb on french fries w/a salad and some great sauces and dressings. really really tasty. back to the boat by the musikbunker, I gotta say bye to lars, thanking him much but he's says getting this gig together was a small repayment for hearing the records we made - that's so truly kind of him, much heart. I'm very honored to be his friend.

lars templin and mike watt (l to r) near the musikbunker in aachen, germany on june 5, 2015

   jarda again at the wheel, we head for brussels in belgium, the last gig of this tour. the heat starts coming on... for these parts it's blistering. the fucking van has no air for those on the back bench - me, tom and raul are totally gasping for air... konking out is 'pert-near the only way to deal w/it so I do for an hour. when get into town it really gets bad. brussels is the e.u. capitol and lots of giant new e.u. buildings - like our d.c. in a way. the town's ring road is a shaped like a baseball home plate. we gotta go counter-clockwise to around eleven pm (if you look at the plate like a clock) and that's where a big canal is, where playing on the canal's waterfront in an old warehouse converted into a gigpad called magasin 4 which both tourboss macario and the czech guys have worked before - it's first time here for me and my men. just to be out in the air is total relief, it's fucking out. inside I go to the part that has all the bunks, the konk pad part. well, at least we won't have a chance to wander, right? it's cooler in there but still a humid swelter, I still got the shirt off... pants next? we do quick (regular for me) soundcheck w/soundman ludo who's most kind but I got a feeling these acoustics are gonna be a challenge. I notice raul's got a house kit, some sonor drums, hmm... mirek last night told me about "canadian night" - I never heard of it but he explained it's the last night of a tour when practical jokes are played. well, my "practical joke" is gonna be having them play the stooges "fun house" for the last tune of the tour. we do it for soundcheck to show them, just up and down w/dynamics but it's only one part in e-minor. mirek can do his keyboard, pepa can go direct w/his bass, jarda can do floor tom and adam can do brother steve's sax part on his trumpet. it's settled.

sundial on building in downtown brussels, belgium on june 5, 2015

   back to the konk chamber to work - I just received the proofs for the ebook version of my "on and off bass" picture book... twenty after six and the rain starts coming down in buckets, bye bye heat wave... it's still real humid however. an laster we chow spaghetti that's cooked here that I like, it's very tasty. my complements to the cookerman - so sorry I didn't get his name. a very good meat sauce and trippy cheese from switzerland to give this a distinctive taste, carrots too. after I do an interview w/eric johnson, his parents from the midwest but he grew up here. he's way into the skateboard connection w/punk. he's amazed that I'm actually before the time of urethane tires and from metal and clay ones, terrible. we'd sit down on skateboards and ride them down hills like go-karts! by the time urethane came out my knees were all the way shot.

   I go watch our czech buddies do their last set of the tour, they do a few tunes that they've never done that I've seen. I up front and center and I get a hug from behind - it's nicholas from l'oeillere - wow, that's right - he said he lived in brussels. so good to see him, big hugs! a few tunes later, another hug from behind - it's jose from valencia who lives in london, more big hugs! he gives "blow-up and other stories" from julio cortazar, he found out in was from brussels before growing up in argentina and then living the rest of his life in paris. I just started his "hopscotch" back home but spaced and left it there. no prob w/me reading both of those though, no prob. gracias jose, muchas mas.

   it's coming on eleven, jose helps me carry my back wack sack. tourboss macario's been showing his movies between the acts. it's really humid even if the sky really opened up earlier. I go outside the pad and to the canal, a little bit higher it seems then when we arrived this afternoon. much better climate out here, I can breathe easier. tourboss macario comes out to say we can start now cuz the smoke machines have made trying to see his movies impossible. jose helps w/the bajo. so glad they got a ramp going up the back of the stage but I notice all these fancy lights and stuff... I thought this was a collective and what I mean by that is no arena rock crap but then I think about it and decide they're really ain't kind of connection that way, I'm confusing things. the air is so thick up here - yeah, up here cuz this stage is real high and I'm thinking for what I do, too high. I give the last intro speech of the tour. there's some yammering, sounds like young man yammer... we bring the piece one more time. the sound sounds like we're in a zeppelin hangar. I don't really write music for these pads... I really like the people here but arena rock is like what got me involved in the movement, opposite of this sitch. the lights are big blasters and prolly looking full of corn. well, maybe it's a trippy way to bring my third opera in for final throw, the irony of it. for sure big challenges... it's trippy about tom, his sloppiest gig of the tour but maybe that's cuz of the sitch. raul is real tight and w/it, really slammin' - I'm digging it, he makes the gig fun - alright, jose dancing "charleston" moves - I ain't saying LIKE "charleston" moves but actual "charleston" moves which I know cuz he was showing me beforehand. anyway, this puts me in a better mood but the swelter and humidity is really weighing on me - my flannel's soaked, levis down to the knees and the sweat keeps pumping out of me but I don't have save anything for another gig so I just bear down... somehow we make it - or somehow "I" make it - my men are looking pretty strong, w/me barely holding on but I swear I'm pushing hard, I keep on pushing. the folks want an encore so ok, one more encore and thank god tom's singing most of these so I can save what I got for the big bukake dogpile at the end. it's the end and here they come to play, to celebrate stooges "fun house" w/us, celebrate making it to the end of tour in one piece! it's jarda on his whole kit (getting a floor tom from the club cuz raul had borrowed jarda's) which was set up behind - I thought he just wanted to play one drum but that's wild we had two full fucking kits - I ain't tried to do that since the crew of the flying saucer w/vince meghrouni and michael preussner (nels cline was on guitar), damn! adam was on trumpet but his mic clip broke so he was hand-holding the little mic. pepa went direct into the p.a. w/a direct box, no amp but coming through the monitors... who was really coming through the monitors w/his keyboard set to organ sound and really fucking blasting, like ice picks in the face, crimony! they handle the dynamics like champs, totally in the moment and really impressive for their first time ever dealing w/this tune. what a great way to do the last tune of the tune, together!

   I go over to the merch table, jose again helping me and I just make it - whoa, the cold belgian beer tastes really good. I felt a little separated from the belgian gig-goers cuz of the sitch but they all bring me much heart and good feeling now I'm right there w/them. arnau from billions of comrades is here w/a sack of small brewery belgian beers, very kind man and also a bass brother. he's spent much time in california cuz of family relation so he can relate a little more than some other folks but damn if they're ain't lot of kind souls - some cats from the first gig, from utrecht! there's koen from antwerp too, crimony! so grateful to go out w/the tour w/such happen folks, thank you good belgium here in brussels peoples!

   I gotta get out of the sweated-out outfit and into the nightwear. jose's back here w/us and explaining to us the roots and trajectory of techno-house music. he knows a lot about this stuff - he'll he know abunring manabout a lot of stuff. he's funny too though, good man. the tour's done, I konk right on the is couch... I can't remember when jose bailed. I do wake up in the middle of the night for to piss - what night can I make it all the way w/out a piss in my middle years? when I come back I find tourboss macario where I was supposed to konk - I thought it was a dream - he said "I'm sorry, mike." no prob, tourboss macario, no prob. this tour is fini.

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this page created 01 may 2015