thursday, september 19, 2019 - santa cruz, ca
I woke up at about 8:30AM yesterday morning. I made sure to be all packed up by Wednesday night, that way I could wake up early enough to enjoy my favorite breakfast in Pedro from the Omelette & Waffle Shop - turkey sausage and eggs with spinach, zucchini and bell peppers and (extra crispy) home-fried potatoes from the Omelette & Waffle Shop. I just bought a sweet bag from REI last week that fits everything I need right on my back, none of that wheel bullshit like I brought on my last tour - it fits all of clothes, toiletries, laptop, snacks, medications + vitamins, konk sack, etc. with no issue. I really made sure to not overpack like I did last time (with Neighborhood Brats) which was only three weeks - this time I only brought a week's worth of clothes - 7 shirts, two pairs of pants, 1 pair of shorts, 10 pairs of socks, 10 pairs of underwear...okay - maybe I'm saying too much here. This is my first tour diary, anyway. Give me a break. You'll hear about my digestive issues another time. How old am I again?
My grandmother, Angie Giacalone, passed away last week. She was 91 years old. Her and I were very close, as we've lived in the same home together since I was in the 7th grade. Last week, I was lucky enough to have one last articulate conversation with her that I'll be forever grateful for. I thanked her and told her how much I loved her for doing such an amazing job being my second mother and being the absolute best grandma that a kid could ask for. I also told her that every show that I play on this tour will be dedicated to her, and that she would be a constant thought on my mind. I'm glad I got to say goodbye to her before I left.
I am so grateful that Watt & Tom have put their faith in me to fill in for Raul. It truly is an honor; it's hard to put into words how gracious I am. I hope that I make them, and all of the gig-goers proud. I don't want to half ass anything. I want to come home a better musician, and even a better man, if possible. I know this is going to be a learning experience on so many levels.
I must have been 12 years old when I saw Watt perform for the first time. My dad's friends from work, Johnny Aralica and Pete Mazich (who also plays in the secondmen), were playing with their now-defunct group "The Angry" at dipiazza's and mike watt + the missingmen played after them. I had no fucking clue who watt, the minutemen, or what the fuck "punk" even was at the time. Needless to say I was completely floored by the energy that Watt, Tom, and Raul brought to the stage. I vividly remember walking inside right at the beginning of "the glory of man". My pop told Pete that I was a drummer and Pete gave him a CD Double Nickels on the Dime to give to me. Long story short - that record completely changed my life. In theory, I will forever keep Petezo in my top 10 people in my life - if it wasn't for him, I'd probably still be listening to the shit that I listened to in middle school - Metallica, Iron Maiden, Motley Crue...who the fuck am I kidding? I still listen to them. I owe Pete so much for how my life turned out. Anyways, back to the tour.
Watt and Miss Hiyori pull up to my house in the boat about 10AM. I say goodbye to my ma and my pop - of course I'm going to miss them, especially because of what just happened with my grandma. We pick up Tom at about 11AM at his house in Manhattan Beach and it takes us almost 2 fucking hours to get out of L.A., which was sort of expected. Watt drove the whole trek to Santa Cruz with only one stop for gas at about 4:30PM - but by 2PM I had to piss so fucking bad... I tried doing the piss bottle thing but holy shit - my boinker just kept pulling a scared turtle and I couldn't go for the life for me. It's so hard for me to piss in a moving vehicle - definitely going to have to practice that.
We pull up to Moe's Alley in Santa Cruz at about 5:30PM. Dan the promoter meets us outside to show us where to park the boat and load-in. Easiest load-in ever, right through the green room. Great hospitality. Great sound man. Easy soundcheck. Shortly after all of that I walked to get sandwiches for everybody with Tom and Hiyori. I should have just waited for the taco truck to pull up at the venue later - the smell of that pastor was haunting me, but my stomach was already stuffed from the mediocre sandwich.
It's about 9:30 and gig time is at 9:45. I'm only a little nervous; just fuckin' ready to play the first gig of tour already. 9:45. It's time. We walk out to the end of Coltrane's "Pursuance" - part 3 of A Love Supreme. It was kind of a perfect moment.
Tom starts the set off with "she don't know why i'm here" and we get right into it. My favorite songs to play are earlier in the set - "big bang theory", "conspirators oath", "amnesty report" - but I made sure to not blow out all of my energy too early. I started to get a little bit tired already after "forever - one reporter's opinion" but luckily, Watt is smart enough to keep the set very dynamic, so certain songs don't require much energy compared to others. Playing with Watt has definitely taught me that I do not need to hit my drums hard to get my point across performance wise. The best way to keep an audience interested is by being dynamic. If you're playing just all soft or just all loud - they're going to get bored quick. Overall, a couple of clams here and there on all of our ends, but that always comes with the first gig of a tour...not to make excuses for myself or anything. I felt as if it was a great first show of the tour, I know we're only going to get tighter as the tour goes on.
Right after the set Tom and I break down and pack up everything quick while Watt goes to sling merch and rap with the gig-goers. After everything is in the boat, we pull out of the gig and head to our konk-pad for the night - Steve Slany's house. Talk about fuckin' amazing hostpitality. I get a bed to myself, beers, bubble water, and homemade carnitas immediately. I'm not even that tired yet because of the adrenaline rush from the gig, so I stay up pretty late talkin' shit with Steve and Watt. I must have konked out at about 2:30AM.
I'm finishing up this tour entry after my stomach is satisfied from a homemade breakfast burrito by Steve - eggs, carnitas, guacamole and cholula hot sauce all wrapped up in a hot flour tortilla. Thanks so much Steve. I'm gonna miss your hospitality. We lift anchor at 1PM to head to Sacramento at Old Ironsides for the next gig.
first day of tour. i'm traveling light, say goodbye for a few weeks to my mom and bro (will's birthday) and jump in the van with mike, nick and hiyori. first stop the 405. a couple hours till we get on I-5 north. relieved that we are out of town and looking forward to doing gigs. nick is fitting in really well, he's a quick learner and hard worker, gonna miss raul on tour this time though, first time without him in years.
the ride to Santa Cruz is pretty smooth, one stop. however, the 8 plus hour drive doesn't even feel that long, that's a good omen. we get off the highway and the club is right there, the load in is smooth and simple. nice place, nice people, good vibe. kind of the perfect first gig. pretty good, but fdi know we'll work out the bugs.
afterwards we do a good pack and load, the first time with nick...we worked out some of the packing issues and it feels good. we head to steve's home and have the perfect first sleeping sitch for tour. nick and i have our own beds in a nice room and mike and hiyori stay up and chat with while i fall asleep.. but not before the carnitas!!!!
pop at five bells, so much stress always before a tour even though I've done buttloads of them, it's always this way. things get calmer when I shove off, always do... it's just the times coming up on it that twist up my nerves, arrrrrrgh. never had the boat packed w/so much merch but miss hiyori's has taken that mission by the horns, so be it. good weather, that's a righteous thing but hey it's so cal just before fall, a good thing - hoping the rest of the tour has such stuff. we pull anchor at ten bells and get missingmen rescueman big man at his pad 'pert-near where me and d boon went to junior high (dodson), I get to give his pop rudy a big hug and hope to see him in austin - he wants to come out and see us. rudy's from the san pedro high class of 1976 - same as me, d boon and georgie. he's a good man, had his boy first do a song w/me at "harold's place" in my pedro town ten years ago... when the big man was twelve! fuck, does time fly but here he is to help me and tom deliver fortyfive gigs in fortyfive days - I believe he can do it! so great he got a shine cart too, now we got two of them (counting mine) so load in/outs will be way more shipshape. respect. big love to his pop, I wheel us to manhattan beach to get tom watson - it's twenty years now I've been touring w/him, I shit thee not. thank god for tom, he's really been there for me big time. his ma and brother will are there to see us off, beautiful. of course I promise to get him back safe - the first two rules of tour for me is one) get my men back safe, two) play the best we can for the gig-goers and three - infinity) everything else. fucking plug (stau) city to get us up through the sepulveda pass - three fucking hours to get over the grapevine BUT we're safe and that's what really counts. we get there when we get there. since cruz is our first gig we gotta get over to the coast but the road (ca-41) has got big time construct so I blow by that and damn if it ain't 'til we're at santa nella when I head west - big man's gotta piss but he's new to using piss bottles and it just won't come. I never want the boat's tank less than a quarter left so I fill that up as he drains his. much respect for him not bringing any bellyachin' and dealing w/the reality of the dealio. 'pert-near nine hours to do 360 miles. crimony but we're safe, main thing.
drop anchor at moe's alley at twenty of six - this is where the first gig of the "dick watt tour 2019" is gonna be at. my first time here - lots of other cruz gigs have been downtown at the catalyst. thinking of santa cruz... this is where I bought my first even eden amp in the early 90s, I'm using a dna-1350 amp for this tour (dna is david's company after eden). for speaker boxes I'm using barefaced cuz of them being so light and still full of punch. gigboss dan is here to greet us, nice cat and damn if we ain't also sharing the stage, he's in tonight's opening band, village of spaces - crimony! that's so great. soundman david is very cool people also - also a bassman, respect. he's using an ipad to do the sound and damn if it happening, more respect! I let the big man know I don't like long soundchecks so drums get done, then tom and his guitar/singing stuff, then watt and finally all of us on one blue oyster cult tune. we get done and big man gets me some soup and a tuna melt sandwich trip from a nearby chow pad - much better for me to stay at the venue cuz less of a chance of me falling during a hobble that I can avoid if able to. brother dale comes by to say hi, he lives around here somewhere - had to bail from so cal... I love this man. he's a bassbrother but also toured w/the minutemen in the fall of 1985. we catch up on stuff, so good to spend time w/him. I listen to village of spaces do a bunch of tunes for their soundcheck and then go konk in the boat, I'm beat and soon I'm out.
quarter of ten is our time, tom rousts me. first gig of the tour, here we go. I give no spiel, just give tom the look which means go. the santa cruz gig-goers right away bring big spirit, whoa, thank you big time. they know it's international talk like a pirate day so we have some fun w/that when I do give some spiel. back to playing, tom's playing his ass off and big man's doing good, just a little rushed at times. I let him know. I also blow some tiny clams, nervous watt. tom's a little nervous too but hey, that's tour and we're human - we gotta start somewhere and build it up. the sound is pretty strange at first but soundman david ropes it in. there's good flow to the set, 'pert-near like my operas... I guess doing those three I've done have really rubbed on me. now what we're doing is a collection of tunes but I did group them into little "blocks" of stuff I felt fits together - like "here's four tom sings" or "here's some where we both sing" or the words have similar subject matter or just the way the music flows - it's like I'm editing for a movie, stitching together all these scenes. interesting. main thing of this tour is to get tom ready for the next missingmen album. big man's helping us big time w/this cuz you know it'll be raul morales on the album. I'm calling the album the same as this tour, named after my pop - his name was actually james richard watt but I don't think anyone ever called him "james" except maybe the navy... he was always called by his middle name and mostly dick except my ma when she was serious, "richard" she'd say. my pop was a dick. that's why he never called a cazzo a dick, always called it a hammer. I dedicated the stooges' "tv eye" to henry kaiser - he lives in this town.
gig gets done and I get the good word from the gig-goers big time - to be thanked for starting a tour in their town, big hearts truly. most kind, lots of hugs. real good big man gets his drums packed up and in the boat quick - great learner! tom too but he knows the drill. I settle up w/gigboss/bandman dan - whoops, gotta move the boat to let the taco truck out - back, we're done and I wheel us to where I stayed w/my secondmen when we opened for x last time I was in this town, bassbrother steve's pad. he's very cool people and we got lots in common - he grew grew up in my pedro town but came here to cruz in 1992 and ended up buying this pad here in the downtown (the part where we played is called soquel, steve tells us). he cooks up carnitas for us but I just drink some bourbon - I try not to chow after gigs really, it's better for me. steve's really good at spiel, we have a good time. before midnight too, yes! I hose off and get in my nightwear. air mattress inflated (I brought three of them), watt's ready for first tour konk. thank you big time, bassbrother steve.
friday, september 20, 2019 - sacramento, ca
After we pull anchor from Steve's pad, we hit the road and head to Old Ironsides in Sacramento. So much fucking stau (German for traffic) on the way there; pretty fucking frustrating that it took us about 8 hours to get from Santa Cruz to Sacramento. This was partly due to plenty of assholes on the road on their leashes and a lot of car accidents too. Hopefully no one was hurt, though. Watt really knows how to keep his cool behind the wheel - much respect to him for that.
My stomach issues haven't been too bad so far, then again, it is only day two of tour. I don't wanna get ahead of myself. For a little under a year now, I've been experiencing horrible digestive issues, including extreme loss of appetite, stomach bloating, and...well, plenty of other things not worth mentioning. Maybe another time. Touring has always made me nervous because of this, but ultimately, touring is really what I want to do with my life, so those 45 minutes to an hour on stage are totally fuckin' worth the shitty pain that I gotta deal with sometimes throughout the day. I've been a lot better at maintaining it these last 6 months by trying my best not to eat heavy meals, laying off the dairy, going not so hard on the carbs, etc...but then again, I always make sure to treat myself when I can. Life is too fucking short, man! If someone is gonna make some good home-cookin' on the road for me, the fuck am I gonna do, say no thank you? I'm 22 years old. Fuck man. Anyways, back to tour.
We finally pull up to Old Ironsides at about 6:00PM, and I am immediately introduced to brother Brian McKenna, promoter of the show for the night. What a kind cat he is. I complimented his Big Boys shirt and he tells me a bitchin' story about how he saw them in '83...Randy Biscuit in a tutu and everything - I am jealous. We decide on no soundcheck because Watt and Tom are already pretty familiar with the venue - in hindsight maybe this wasn't such a good idea because our stage stitch was a bit whack which we could have prevented with more time...more on that later.
After loading in, Brian recommends a place called Fox & Goose to get some chow at. I walk over by mysel,f as Tom and Hiyori went to get ramen - I'm not big on ramen. I had a lettuce-wrapped hamburger with fries and half a cobb salad - no onions, no dressing. Just a few crumbles of bleu cheese is all I need (and that anyone should need for that matter. People really love dressing their greens with bullshit that takes away from the nutrition). My waitress was very kind and accommodating. Shortly after that, I meet up with a friend from high school, Elnaz - she lives in Sacramento now. It was a pleasure to see her and spend some time before the gig with her - she is too sweet, and a big supporter of all kinds of music. We need more people in the world like her!
It's about 10:10 now, almost time for the gig. I'm pretty fuckin' nervous and having a bit of a stomach flare up because there's a LOT of people there, surrounding a pretty small stage. I think about thirteen people asked how old I was. Look, I understand that I look like I'm sixteen. Mid-set, some drunk gig-goer even shouted, "Who invited the eight-year old?". What a fuckin' comedian. Trust me, I am grateful that I look young for my age...hopefully, I continue to look like how I do now well into my 30's (if I make it there. Kidding, ma! I know you're reading this).
It's 10:50 now. As soon as Watt and Tom come on stage - pressure's on. I dig small stages because the intamacy with the audience is intense, and gives me more adrenaline to do my best and connect with them. Watt and Tom dig this too. Immediately, Watt notices that the kick drum mic was on his side, which he specifically told me to make sure doesn't happen because he has a bad knee, and he can trip over a kick drum mic easily. I tossed the bass drum mic into my kick drum to prevent further issues - but it kept fuckin' moving inside the entire set anyway, which was lame. Tom's guitar cables were having some issues too, which made us have to stop during the set a few times, but I made sure to keep my cool and not let the disruptions from the technical difficulties and tension from the crowd get the best of me. I am getting a lot better at that. I used to let shit like that bother me so fuckin' much where I would literally beat myself up for the rest of the night. Performance wise overall, I thought we played good but we really gotta make sure our stage stitch is well-planned out before hand - last night Watt's bass amp was so ahead of me that I couldn't hear shit which was pretty frustrating. For the first time, I really felt like I nailed The Red and the Black. Watt said so too.
After load out, we head to sister Conception's house to konk for the night - really really bitchin' mexican-style house. I get my own bed for the night, with a corner dedicated just for myself, which is always a plus on tour. Watt tells everyone that we need to wake up by 11AM so we can hit the road by 12PM. Conception made some albondigas soup for everyone, but my stomach was hurting, and I wasn't even that hungry anyway. Bummed I didn't get to try any. Before Watt and I konk, we have a real good conversation about the gig, and the concept of "the rally. He told me that he was proud of how I've been doing so far on this tour - not just performance wise, but with my attitude as well. Gotta keep pushing, and gotta do my best for the gig goers. I want to make them happy that they took the time to come to our show. I hope tomorrow at The Chapel in San Francisco tomorrow goes well - I have a lot of friends coming out to that one, and I've heard really cool things about the venue. Signing off, talk tomorrow.
morning in santa cruz is pleasant, but the trip to sacto is a mess, too many cars.. we get to old ironsides late and choose to forgo the soundcheck, there are two other bands before us. hiyori and i go get ramen around the corner where i like to eat when im here. good before playing. our gig is kind of a fiasco, kind of hard on us, my wah pedal is going in and out and cutting off the sound however, we muscle through it. a little bit challenging, and we can learn from it.
we head to conseption's place, one of my favorite places to stay. in the kitchen there is a pot of amazing albondigas soup that her mother made for us. i have a bowl and retire in the back house/studio were there is a very cosy bed that is extremely comfortable. another good sleep to be had..
pop at seven bells, I had a good konk. wish the air mattress thing was in my wheelhouse in the old days but I guess no wine before it's time. bassbrother steve wams up the carnitas that was left over from last night and I chow that w/scrambled eggs he cooks up fresh... good shovel, big thanks from me to him. we spiel lots about my pedro town cuz though he's from a younger shift, he grew up there so we can relate to all kinds of common stuff. interesting cat. he also knew martin, the reactionaries singer - man, I miss him. anyway, I get into his spiel so much that it ain't 'til one when we pull anchor, stopping at record store called "metavinyl" cuz a cat from that last night said they wanted to buy some records from us. then I wheel us northeast to sac-town... fuck if it ain't like seven hours to do 150 miles - can you believe that shit? nor cal traff is just as plugged as so cal, I shit thee not, people. my ipod's got 'pert-near nine thousand mp3s on it - I got it on shuffle to keep us guessing what's next. big man knows a lot of bands I don't know - seems there's some coming out of this machine he doesn't know though maybe I'm helping add to his mind storage. as far as experiences go, I know he's added at least one - he's finally able to piss in the boat, even if it took a mug to do it - good man, I'm proud of him.
the stau is fucking more and more total the closer we come on sac-town, it's incredible this plug shit but it don't help to freak out about it and just build up your gaman ('patience' in jap) cuz what else you gonna do? maybe we gotta do something w/transit, the commuter stuff? maybe it's all the tour econolines clogging fucking up the goddamn freeways? it's kind of funny in a trippy way. us humans are slow learners. what I don't really dig is people driving fucking dangerous and using their fucking leashes behind the wheel - maybe a big part of why the driving's so dangerous and shitty. you sit a little higher in the boat so you can see down and watch these motherfuckers do the gameboy like total bakas. I ain't into it.
we do end up getting safe to sac-town coming on seven... gigboss brian's there to greet us at where we're playing tonight, old ironsides - love this cat, he's been doing my sac-town gigs for thirty years now. much respect to him. no time for soundcheck, I tell him to bag that so the other two bands can - hey, here's mark curry - he's got the baloney slot and I ain't talked to him a big while so we rap and catch up... he ends up telling me about this q and a he saw bootsy once do, incredible. captain cutiepie are the openers, locals like mark. I am so beat though, I gotta konk in the boat. I get the shirt, socks and shoes off and I'm out. a hour later tom brings ramen from some pad that cooks that nearby and he wakes me so I can chow but then right back I'm out. fuck if I ain't really tuckered.
it's tom again at quarter of eleven, time for us to bring it. I fucking am so sorry I missed both groups who shared the stage w/us. what I find on stage is not really the way I like us set up... this is terrible, big man is actually behind my amp. right away we start having problems - well, tom's got the probs w/what cable stuff - I even take one away and give it to a gig-goer... by the sac-town gig-goers are very supportive in this time of struggle - tom's getting a buttload of probs still (later he tells me it turns out to be the power connect w/his "wailing demon" wah wah) but we keep pushing though, don't totally lose it which I think is beautiful of tom and big man, truly. I try to channel my frustration into working the bass, driving that point home as hard as I can. then some lady leans against the light switch, turning them off and then her arm goes onto tom's amp controls shutting them off so that's adds to the confusion of what's up w/his stuff. then this other lady's crawling across the stage - it's ok I guess as far as experiences and kind of trippy test in a way and I think we did ok that way. I was really proud of tom and big man - oh yeah, big man's kick drum mic was a nightmare in itself... we learn. you know we also had no check but this was just a reality check on the dealio. hey, I even got the second verse of "the red and the black" tonight - totally blew that last night so there you go.
the word from the gig-goers right after is most kind - it shows to go you that you gotta let go of inside things when the main point of you working the room is to be kind of outside yourself meaning to me that you got a responsibility to the gig-goers to give it your best no matter what hand you got dealt. I'm most grateful. I sling shirts - yeah, I'm gonna start doing that again like I used to. people are most kind - the captain cutiepie people are beautiful, wanting to help schlep my stuff, respect to them. mark's bassman too - we played together w/josh haden (petra's brother) a few months ago, very cool people. we gotta do "the lime and the coconut" I tell him (harry nilsson, one part - all c7) next time we play w/josh. phil's here, the man who used to work on my 1990 e250 econoline! whoa, he drove up from mammoth. I play lots of his music on my watt from pedro show, respect. he's got a buddy eric who's got a wattplower that's gonna start jamming w/him - both of them are buddies w/quinn who's here too. damn, great little conclave we got here! I'm so glad to see them all. oh, forgot to mention the dude w/the b.o.c. shirt who noted we did two of their tunes tonight - big respect to him!
last spiel w/gigboss brian - big hugs for him. old buddy concepcion is letting us konk at her pad again. she rides w/us there, taking us through a park so we avoid the construction - they're putting in water meters now, sac-town people are gonna now have to pay for their water. it's one and a half when we drop anchor and quick I go hose off in the tub w/those hand-held style kind of hoses and then quick in the nightwear. I'm feeling a little trippy, kind of crazy-tense so I pour on the calm-down thoughts and they win over that other shit. good to konk like that.
saturday, september 21, 2019 - san francisco, ca
You know that Magnetic Fields song "Come Back to San Francisco"? That very tune comes into my head whenever I'm leaving the bay area. I don't think I could ever live there (unless I was rich as Jeff Bezos or some shit) but wow, I really do love visiting, and last night was easily one of the best shows I've ever had the pleasure of playing.
Tom woke me up at about 11:00AM. We planned on hitting the road by 12:00PM the night before because we didn't want to get caught in the fucked stau like we did from Santa Cruz to Sacramento. Conception and her lovely ma had some killer eggs, potatoes, and focaccia bread hot and ready for us - plenty of coffee too. I tried kicking caffeine about a month ago - that lasted about a week. My body relies on coffee to get me through the day; I never should have started. Worst decision of my life. Not really, though.
We hit the road at 12:00PM on the dot, just like we intended to do so. We only have a little bit of stau on the way to SF and pull up to The Chapel at about 3:00PM. They saved a spot for us right in the back parking lot of the venue for the boat. The spot was nice and secure too, which was reliving because break-ins are so absolutely fucked in the bay. My friend Allie's band, Peach Kelli Pop, played at Bottom of the Hill a few weeks ago, and earlier that day while eating lunch, their shit got broken into - IN BROAD FUCKING DAYLIGHT! So fucked. Anyways, we're immediately introduced to possibly the best day-of-show person I've personally ever dealt with, Sydney. As we load out the boat, she asks if we want anything to drink - I kindly request a hot cup of black coffee, and my wishes are granted within minutes. After an easy load-in, we soundcheck with our fourth member for the day, Ingrid. I pick her brain and find out she's from Chicago and did sound out there for a venue I've played in the past - The Beat Kitchen. She knows her shit. Soon after soundcheck, I head upstairs to the green room to hang out with the crew plus Richard fuckin' Bonney - such good people, always good to see him; it's been a few years since I saw him last. He can't stay for the show though, he has a gig as a professional stage-hand. Sydney brings us a menu from the restaurant that's connected to the venue, Curio, and says we can order anything we want. I ordered the smoked beer can chicken, and baby kale salad. I'm not even kidding when I tell you that was some of the finest chow I've had the pleasure of munching on in a long time. No bullshit.
After I eat dinner, I walk over to Dolores Park to meet my friend, Mitch. I met Mitch in SF a few months ago at another show I played with Neighborhood Brats, through my best friend from growing up, Neil. Neil moved up to the bay last year for college - him and Mitch attended the same school. Mitch is really good people, I'm glad I know a guy like him. He offered me some beer, but I don't like to drink immediately after eating a pretty heavy meal. My other friend Katie, who lives and goes to school in Berkeley (who I met through a very funny stitch, really not worth mentioning) meets us at Dolores too. Mitch goes home to change and says he'll meet us at the venue. Katie and I walk back to The Chapel and talk some shit over drinks - always nice to catch up with her. She's very sweet, intelligent, and has a killer taste in music. She's one of the few non-middle-aged, non-fedora-tipping people that actually enjoy shit like Teenage Fanclub and Guided By Voices.
It's almost gig-time now. San Francisco-based band, MAYYA, is opening up the gig. I really dig on their sound - sort-of indie-inspired pop-rock that hits hard and isn't afraid to get weird at times. Their drummer man impressed me much - I dig on his style. It's about 9:45PM when they end their set. The venue is almost at capacity now (500) - naturally, this makes me a bit nervous, knowing that I had friends coming to the show as well. Pressure's on whenever my pals come to see one of my shows, but it also gives me an extra boost of confidence that's much needed in a stitch with nervousness.
10:15PM now. It's time to go on stage. The crowd cheers with excitement when we walk on. Watt gives no spiel and Tom goes right into "She Don't Know Why I'm Here" per usual. The first half of the set was pretty fuckin' spot on, in my humble opinion at least. Watt and I made sure to keep plenty of eye-contact, that way we stay on time with each other, but he also knows that when I make eye-contact with him, it's gives me a lot of confidence, and genuinely makes me smile mid-set. Synergy like that really only exists in live music. Toward the middle of the set, Tom attempts to end the song a bit early on "E.T.I." which makes me clam it BAD - not a soft clam, but one so bad that it was completely obvious to the audience. Shit happens. Luckily, we get right back into the groove with "Forever - One Reporter's Opinion" - a crowd favorite, I think. After a couple of rough sports during "Case Closed" and "Mutiny in Jonestown", we end the last quarter of the set strong with some What Makes A Man Start Fires material - "Bob Dylan Wrote Propaganda Songs" - "One Chapter In the Book" - "Fake Contest" - "This Road" - definitely some favorite tunes of mine to play. Watt and I really lock in with each other during the last song, "We Are Time". We walk off stage. Watt got on me for twirling my sticks - I don't do it because I think it "looks cool" or anything, it's just a really lame force of habit I developed since I started playing. I gotta quit that shit stat. Also, he wants to make sure that from here on out, his bass amp is even closer to me to limit the amount of clams, which I think is a great idea. We walk back out, Watt gives some spiel, and we slam right into the encore tunes - "T.V. Eye", "I Have Always Been Here Before", and "The Red and the Black".
Show is over now, and it's time to schlep. My friends from back home, Neil, Kayla and Ashley are there now, plus Mitch (who I mentioned earlier). They are so kind to help me pack up my drums and guard the boat while I load up. They know that with tour it's hard for me to dedicate a lot of time to spiel, so I'm very grateful to have friends that support what I'm doing - shit like that truly means the world to me. Thankfully, I had a little bit of time to bullshit with them after the show with a round of "victory" beers. I say bye to them, Katie too. On the way out, I thank Sydney for her extremely accommodating hospitality and express to her how I wish every venue could be ran like The Chapel - definitely one of the finest places I've ever had the pleasure of spending time at. I can't wait to (hopefully) play there again soon.
We pull the boat out of the parking lot at about 12:30AM and make the short trek to a hotel in Vacaville, CA. We gotta wake up early to hit the road to make the hellride to Eugene, OR, so sleep will be limited. Also, it's been about 3 years since I've had to take an English class, so please excuse my unprofessional writing style. I know I'm all over with the active and passive voice. My apologizes. Baka big man.
i used to live in s.f. so i'll probably see some friendly faces. a lot has changed in s.f. from then, rent is out of control like other places but here it's ridiculous especially since my time here. my first place was in the mission with rob holzman on 16th and guerero with dick's guitsrist tim carrol and their "mood coordinater" Debbie gibson, plus another tom, and angie mima who lived in closet in the hallway. i think it was $165/mo. great location, the 22 filmore bus stopped right across the streetand some of the best mexican food anywhere right around the corner. also the weather is the most moderate in s.f.. slovenly moved here in 1984 from the South Bay in l.a. so it was a big change for us. we practiced down 16th at capp st studios, i would roll my amp down the street to prac. we shopped at the canned food wharehouse a few blocks away. Once in awhile - La cumbre!
driving into s.f. Is a new experience. The bay bridge, the skyscrapers, gentrification everywhere, it,s all cleaned up. The chapel is right in the middle of the mission, not far from where we lived, but man it's like another place. It used to be a little rough and ragged. mostly white people now.
we arrive a little early, but se set up and do soundcheck with ingrid doing sound. It's a beautiful room, i have been here before with lee rinaldo and steve shelly a couple years ago. Very comfortable and an amazing staff who are all cool, and cindy the mngr most of all. They all helped us so much. The food is very good too. After soundcheck we order from the menu, i get the warm salad with beer chicken on top. I usually dont order chicken, it sometimes freaks me out. Everything is delicious.
richee boney A friend from pedro and a tour friend in the firehose days, slovenly did a couple tours with them, he's family to us. he shows up early cause he has he has to leave to work on a janet jackson gig, he's always a great one to hang with.
i think the capacity here is around 500, but people start to fill it in and it's good turn out. it's a drag to play in big place when it's empty, i've done that many times. soon i see my buddy steve anderson the singer from slovenly, and then pat ryan, singer of a subtle plague. it has been years since i've seen pat. we're playing with maya again and the very cool folks in the band, and they are great, i hear a growth in the tunes. they have a great show and then we set up to play. it is a good vibe but i have some problems again, just stupid mistakes. and i feel embarrassed which just makes it worse. i dont usually fell this way, but i push on and get through it. i feel like i let mike and nick down, but i'll learn from it. again.
we pack, mike is doing merch, we have our system now and it helps the load out and not to leaving anything behind. after that part i see my friend Amee and her boy, Nica. fun to talk with them. kenny is there too. another long time/no see friend. it's a fun day and night, but we have get going so we get loaded and drive to a ramada inn in Vacaville about 50 miles out of s.f. to avoid the morning traffic and cause it's a long trip to eugene. we get to sleep around 3:30, and we need to get up to leave by 8.
pop at nine bells, whoa. needed it though. hose off in the tub. concepcion and her ma cook us up breakfast, righteous papas and huevos... big time grateful, they're beautiful. carmella is starting high school! whoa, I remember when she was born! much respect. me and concepcion know each other 'pert-near forty years now - you know she goes back to our pedro town before she moved up here to sac-town. very VERY kind to me all this time - her ma too. I bow deep their way always. HUGE respect.
we pull anchor at noon and I drive us to the city, it'll take three and a half hours to make the hundred miles mostly on the I-80. so much plug! get gas in vallejo, big man gets some gomi ('garbage' in jap) sacks from the store... hey, a clean boat is a happy boat in my book. amen. anyway, what's important is we get there safe and the weather's much happening. it's a new pad for me here, the chapel which is in the mission part. they got parking for us and damn if they ain't the nicest - gigboss sydney and soundlady ingrid plus everyone else goes the extra whatever-it-takes, big time respect to them truly. righteous chow here too... I get the pig belly w/beans and grits cooked up like they're mashed potatoes - real trippy and good. damn. sharing the stage w/us is mayya who I met when she helped me celebrate turning sixty at ramona's. can't wait to see her new version of her music. my old buddy richard fuckin bonney from our pedro town shows up before his work to spend some good time w/me and tom, so fucking righteous to get to spiel w/him, so good.
I'm tuckered and get to the boat to konk. damn if I don't pop in time to see mayya - I thought I was correct and came through the people to see the drummerman taking his drums down - I missed the whole fucking thing, what a fucking bozo. I did have a trippy kind of nightmare though when I was konk... it was something about the musical "hair" - thinking I was joe osborn and having to go do it but I had forgotten every fucking tune! man, it had me shook up. so strange, very insecure watt. I feel so stupid about popping too late and damn if just yanking myself from that 'mare would've spared that crowbar in the head but really I wanted to see/hear - I just am sometimes not strong enough. I am embarrassed. luckily slovenly singerman steve anderson is here and I give him a big hug which really helps.
quarter of eleven is our go time and whoa, the pad is very much pumped w/spirt of the city's gig-goers, big respect - watt can't give enough respect, I feel so in debt to so many. it's a challenging gig in some ways - some my fault cuz I put my bass amp in the wrong place like a bozo. it's also a real challenge for tom - no hardware issues like last night but more of nervousness. I made it hard for big man to hear the bass cuz of my stupid amp placement and there's some screw-ups cuz of that but overall, I think we're getting together. I tell you for sure the gig-goers spirit here really was a factor, I owe them so much - my men too.
I get to see kenny when we finish up, ain't talked w/him in five years. so many times I konked here w/him and lis - lis was one of the first lady punk rockers in my pedro town along w/her sister nanny (nanny did the art for the shirts and posters for this tour), oh man... he says me and him gotta talk one/one when there's a chance. so many gig-goers give me the good word, so kind - everyone digging tom and the big man too, makes really dig that. I meet tshirt bob - he slung merch for the stooges, he says ig told j thank you for helping reunite the stooges and I agree, j was big time responsible and that's beautiful of ig. I meet this pad's owner frank who's very kind to me, he says he liked the connect between the gig-goers and the band, real nice of him. glad I could work his room and be w/them like that - also his people working here were just as righteous. man, it's a real good night even w/the stuff we gotta still get together as a band.
I wheel us north whence we came 'til we're at vacaville and we get a 'tel that's fucking spendy but I guess that's what we had to do, get's a leg up on tomorrow's hellride. I hose off and have a good talk w/the guys about tonight's gig - so glad it's no prob w/them to do that... you know some people ain't like that - fuck, some people won't even let their dudes use piss bottles... weird. I konk real grateful for this crew we got here, good fucking team. big love.
sunday, september 22, 2019 - eugene, or
I wake up at 7:00AM in the hotel. With only about 4 hours of sleep, I'm surprisingly not that tired. After packing up all of our things we head downstairs to make the most out of what a hotel has to offer. I have some oatmeal with peanut butter and half of banana with some eggs and turkey sausage. Surprisingly, not bad by any means. We hop in the boat at 8:05 and the hellride to Eugene, Oregon from Vacaville, CA begins. I keep myself occupied by writing my diary entry for the previous day, listening to music (mostly Built to Spill, The Berries, & Silver Jews), breathing exercises, etc. Much respect to Watt once again for driving the entire way with only two fuckin' stops! I finally did my first true piss-bottle as well - my aim was perfect and everything. Everyone is proud.
We arrive at the venue, Whirled Pies, right on time at about 5:00PM. It's raining a little bit, but luckily, the load-in stitch is pretty easy. As soon as I walk in the venue, I get trippy vibes because it's literally a family-style pizza joint with a stage, and the room is big. I think, "Fuck, I hope this shit isn't a disaster". The show and stitch overall ended up being pretty much the exact opposite - more on that later.
Kyle the owner introduces himself, shows us the green room, and lets us order whatever we want off of the menu. I order a gluten-free slice of smoked salmon pizza (I don't have celiac but I do avoid wheat products whenever I can) and a greek chicken salad that was way fuckin' happening - very very fresh and tasty. So nice of these people at these venues to provide chow for us.
The show is an early gig, and the opening band is The Madeleines - and the singer / guitarist is Devon - my friend I went to high school with, and the person's house we're staying at as well! His band got added to the bill last minute - too funny how shit pans out sometimes.
It's 8:15 - the owner wants us on at 8:20. There's a lot of people here now - a near-empty restaurant at around 5:00PM ends up being pretty much packed! I am surprised, but not discouraged by any means. If anything, I am very excited to play, and make up for any mistakes made at the Chapel.
We hit the stage. Watt's amp is way closer to me now, so I hear him way better now, and we lock in pretty much the entire gig. This makes my playing a lot more confident. I really feel as if we're totally locking in much better together this way, Watt too. Tom is sounding really good - a lot more confident with his vocals overall. As far as my playing went, I really need to stop doing that stupid stick twirling; again, just a bad habit. Also, I really need to lock in with Watt more during "Political Song for Michael Jackson to Sing" - those pauses are very rubato and easy to fuck up if I don't pay attention. Overall however, the set was very strong. I think it was our best set of the tour so far. After the set, we all spiel a bit with the gig-goers, pack up, Kyle gives us a pizza-pie to go, and we head to the konk pad for the night.
We get to Devon's, and just as I expected - total college-kid pad. We spiel with him and his roommate Brendan for a while before it's time to konk. Luckily, the drive from Eugene to Portland ain't bad at all, so we're not crunched on time.
pop at seven - we got 'pert-near five hundred miles to cover to get to tonight's gig in eugene. I check out my port-side elbow... it's ok but had to check cuz I crumpled near this 'tel's front hatch last night, forgot to chimp about in the diary. it was cuz my knee went out, sometimes that happens. I've learned roll as I'm feeling I'm going down to reduce the consequences. it kind of freaked big man - he's never seen it before... didn't mean to do that to him. there's free chow here in the lobby (for the money we spent, there should be maybe?) and I have some buffet scrambled eggs w/two kinds of some kind of meat in patty form. I use toast to make sandwiches out of them, one for later in the boat. we shove off just before eight. typical good california weather.
first the I-505 short cut to I-5 north and then some worry for me. last night there was a trippy thing w/boat's gauges - a chirp was sound, "check gauges" appeared where the odometer stuff is and the temp gauge went to max immediately. after some seconds everything returned to normal but this recalled to me a prob I had a couple years ago w/the boat when two oxygen sensors lamed out and fed the boat's 'puter bunks infos - fucking would shut down the motor! now this didn't happen but damn if the 160 miles to redding ain't nerve-rackers for me cuz every so and so the temp meter would just shoot up and then go back down - no chirp and performance hit but just these wack reads w/the temp meter. it would go down after a little bit but then again and again... we pass red bluff, where my pop grew up and my sister melinda was born but I keep on keepin on. oh man, the anxiety. at redding I get fuel and uncap the coolant reservoir to relieve any kind of pressure. I touch the radiator - it ain't hot at all, I mean not out of bounds... the gauge is sitting right on the middle-mark... I think it's either a sensor or 'puter issue but then when I get us back on I-5 and wheel us through the grades up through shasta county, the needle never ever moves again. another trippy thing: I zeroed out one of the resettable odometer reads at the beginning of the tour cuz I wanted to kee a running tally of the tour miles but damn if that wasn't now back to zero - I wonder if the 'puter somehow reset? whatever, I never have any troubles all the way into eugene. we make it across the border and over the siskiyou pass around one in the afternoon and there's serious hills to pull plus rain starts to drench 'pert-near the whole canyon part of southern oregon but none of this seems to bring on the trouble I earlier had. crimony. of course there's asshole drivers taking ridiculous chances w/everyone's lives via shitty driving but that fucked up shit w/the temp gauge never once happens again. I get some gas in roseburg (oregon's gas is like a dollar cheaper than in cali right now at $2.80/gallon) and there's a subway sandwich shop across the road big man asked for earlier but he says he doesn't need it now... just over the border he asked me but I said I thought we should really keep going and get out of this dangerous rain and also see how the gauge drama would work out. ok then. the next eight miles a very calm. did we dodge a bullet? hope so... I worry so much for keeping my men safe, I fret about it big time.
I get us into eugene at five, head for the downtown and a pad I've never played before but once did chow a slice of peetz here - it's called whirled pies and damn if there ain't a stage here and everything, pretty happening. soundman jack is there to greet us, very cool people. so is the ownerman kyle, very kind. he makes me the greatest big bowl of greek salad ever - finally some big time greens for me this tour, I needed that. I make sure I set my amp up smarter plus me and big man work out a way to get his drums right up to the stage's lip and work in a good angle for him so eye contact is way easy. I explain that his kit can be exactly like he digs it relative to just the overall angle which takes a little bit for him to comprende but he comes around after me w/some 'splainin. so glad he's flexible! I want him to be right there for the gig-goers... fuck, this is what us minutemen should've done w/georgie - he should've never in my opinion been behind us, no fucking way. in lots of ways I'm a fucking slow learner. I change up the soundcheck tunes also, having us do two instead of one cuz tom's gotta be there w/his voice - he really helps me out and I think makes the set a whole lot more interesting... also when we're together - we're doing some of the only tunes me and d boon collaborated w/regarding the words and I'm using both me and tom's voices to riff on that. these are all songs I wrote for minutemen - I mean the ones we play from the minutemen days but some never got played or even recorded - the lyric collab ones did (check out the first ones on "the politics of time" and some of the "bean-spill ep") but others just ended up on the cutting floor cuz, well, d boon and georgie just wrote better ones. I think seeing me now days do stuff I wrote thirtyeight years ago might be interesting for folks to hear concerning my song-writing arc, I mean if anyone's into something like that and so that's what I'm thinking. I ain't asking tom to be a fake d boon, just trying to add dimension to what folks might wanna know where I came from concerning how to write tunes. I will tell you something trippy though: it is amazing to me all these years later how some stuff seems so much relevant these days - THAT is a total mindblow! seems like only some of the names have changed... I also think of a set of what I'm doing now goes better as 'pert-near one big tune so I wanna make sure we make for all kinds of scenery flying past when looking out the windows: hills, beach, mountains, desert, bayou - stuff like that, in a musical sense and also helpful to us being able to bring it. I go chimp diary and finish my salad when we get done, talk some w/ownerman kyle who I really like.
early gig - well, it's sunday and makes sense - one opener and they're locals called the madelines but actually big man went to high school w/the singerman devin! we're konking at his pad tonight too! they hit at seven and get things heated up. our turn is quarter after eight damn if it don't turn out for me to be the best gig of the tour - yeah, we're getting it together! big man and tom really bring it, I'm so proud of them both and the eugene gig-goers are really righteous w/their open hearts, respect to them. now I saying there ain't any clams but I think all three of us did real good together, I'm really happy w/us - I know we getting more happening and truly believe we will but this is great progress.
I talk to the gig-goers and sling some shirts at the same time. karen (sister of my good friend doug rockett who got killed from diabetes, broke my heart) and steveo from memphis (near fayetteville in arkansas now actually) are here to visit friends, whoa! man, I wish I had time to spend spieling w/them. damn. glad to see them though, so glad. also I'm most grateful to the other gig-goers giving me the good word, so very kind. you know, these days to keep from getting sick I use fist pump so I hope folks ain't offended cuz I mean no disrespect. also I gotta save my voice - fortyfive gigs this tour! in a perfect world I'd spend forever w/everyone, I swear but just cannot do w/this sitch. I am sincerely grateful for all the kindness though, I really am.
I settle w/the ownerman kyle and he thanks me for bring people on a sunday night to his pad but I gotta thank him for everything, I just thanked soundman frank for being our fourth man. when you got someone providing for a good gig in a town you come to visit, what better a twofer, huh? big deep bow to him.
the boat packed up, big man directs me to devin's pad (nicknamed "the hills"), he sang in the madelines. him and his roommate brendan rap w/me after I hose off and get into the nightwear. after some small talk about the evolution of peetz, hamburgers and hot dogs they both wanna know about the old days of the movement (they're big man's age) - devin about pedro cuz he knows dirk vandenberg and brendan w/salt lake city cuz that's where he's from. I'm happy to give a perspective, good cats. so bitchin to be able to konk at midnight too. I always carry extra blankies in the boat and use them tonight, need to get good konk to stay healthy.
monday, september 23, 2019 - portland, or
I wake up at about 8:00AM after my worst konk of tour so far - I slept like shit because I was way too cold. I should have brought in my sleeping bag. Watt explains to me how bad it is to sleep in the cold because that's how you get sick really easily, especially after playing a gig in your own sweat. I usually don't like to shower until the morning time though - it wakes me up.
We head over to this bitchin' food store / coffee shop called Party on Friendly in Eugene before making the short trek to Portland. The owner, Mark, came to our show the night before and offered us coffee and chow before we split town - so of course we stopped by. I went down on a fried egg sandwich with prosciutto, a deviled egg topped with smoked salmon, and a big hot cup of coffee with almond milk. Thank you so much Mark. There's nothing better than some healthy and hearty home-cooked on the road.
Once we hit the road to Portland, I take advantage of the long drive to catch up on some konk. Once again, Watt drives the whole way no problem with only one stop. I am really looking forward to the Portland gig - the people there really seem to love music, especially punk. Plus, who doesn't love The Wipers and Poison Idea? Squarejohns, that's who.
We pull up to Eric's house, our konk pad for the night, at about 12PM. Tom, Hiyori and I take a Lyft downtown to go to the Whole Foods (Hiyori needed some stuff) and I go to check out Powell's bookstore. What a fucking maze that place is. I don't even buy anything but a couple of stickers and post card because I don't even know where to begin with browsing. Tom decides to not even go inside because he knows he'll spend way too much money and walk out with a bunch of shit he doesn't need. After that, we rest back at Eric's pad before heading to the gig for load-in and soundcheck.
Pull up to the gig at about 5:30PM for load-in and soundcheck, and we're greeted by the soundman of the day, Kyle. As I set up all of our gear on stage, I talk with Kyle about his background in doing live sound, where he's from, and all of that small talk. I explain to him that I feel like I'm bothering him a bit because he's trying to work, but he says he likes talking to every musician that comes into the club, and that I'm not being a nuisance. He's also grateful for our stage set-up - he explains that indie folk is pretty popular in Portland, with way too many "fiddles and shit" on stage - we share a laugh.
After soundcheck, I meet the day of show person, Arian. She gives me drink tickets and a meal ticket. My stomach is bloating pretty hard right about now - I'm thinking it must be nerves, or the cheddar cheese that was on my sandwich for breakfast. Probably a little bit of both. I'm not letting this bother me too much though - I have a gig to play. Watt informes me that Lance Bangs is coming to film our set too, so this makes me even more nervous as well - gotta watch the clams. Around 8PM, despite my bloated gut, I eat a delicious beet salad with a hamburger patty and some fries for dinner that the venue was kind enough to provide. With my stomach issues, sometimes it's really hard to tell when I'm actually hungry or not, so I try to space out my meals throughout the day, and try to make sure they're not too big.
It's about 9:00PM now, we hit the stage in an hour. My cousin, Michael, who I haven't seen since 2015 came to the show. He lives in Vancouver, and lives only about 15 minutes from the venue. I'm excited to see him. I hang out with him and his boyfriend - my first time meeting him. Ironically, his name is Michael as well, and they pretty much have the same outfit on - black shoes, jeans, and a flannel. Thank the lord they don't look alike at all...now that would be weird. Good to catch up with my cousin for a bit, and good to meet Michael #2. After we chat, I go inside to watch the opening band, Mascaras. Holy fuck. Best band we've had the pleasure of sharing the stage with on tour (so far), much respect to them. Their drummer blows me away. They end their set at about 9:45PM - we're on in 15 minutes. Before I set up, I run into my friend Natassia (originally from Long Beach, CA) and her friend Joey who came to show - great to see her, and great to meet him. I also run into my friend, and fellow drummer, Kristin. She plays drums in the band The Shivas, and also sings in another called The Rare Forms. She's the best.
About to be gig time. We walk on, Tom and I forget to put out setlists...both of us baka. We wail right into the set as usual. I feel as if I'm not hitting my snare not so hard, which is good - really makes the set breathe and more dynamic. Overall, we play a very good set, but not as tight in the pocket as Eugene. Lots of things to learn from this set though - I must always make sure the stage is in tact. First, I must make sure all of my drums are lined up how I want them. Next, make sure everything on stage is marked with tape just right (drums, mic stands, bass amp, guitar amp). After that, setlists. Finally, make sure there's a clear path for Watt to walk on and off stage, because of him being "cojo" (spanish for cripple). Definitely don't want the man to hurt himself on stage.
We load out super quick, I say bye to my friends that come to the show, and we head to the konk pad for the night. When we arrive, Eric is kind enough to give us some really good tequila he has in the liquor cabinet. Tom, Watt, and I spiel for about an hour over some drinks. It feels good to be on the same page after a gig. We go on about our strengths, our weaknesses, why we love playing music, why we are grateful for each other...goo-goo-ga-ga shit. But, shit like that is good because it helps us all remind each other how important we all are as a unit. If one of us is fucking up, the whole unit is fucked up. After this, it's time to konk. 2:30AM. I lay down on Eric's extremely comfortable couch and gently start to fall asleep, much warmer compared to the night before in Eugene.
we're up early and out the door to get some complimentary food and coffee from mark who runs a cool place called party on-friendly, very tasty. drive to portland, we arrive at eric and tamara's sweet home in the alberta district around 12. eric and tamara are there and we hang and talk for a while before loading in at mississippi studios not too for away. later before the gig i sit to do an interview with a nice person named amanda from pleasekillme.com. i do some stretching and a short meditation before we play, and just try to relax. i see some nice folks, john m. etc.. i got in touch with my buddy kyle, should've contacted him earlier.
show was fun and the crowd was great, i had a chance to talk with john afterwards and caught up on some stuff. great to see him. lance b documented the show so will the clams will be preserved for future generations to analyze and recreate if they would like.
after the gig we head to e&t's, set up sleep sitch, i take a bath and bed.
pop at seven and a half. it's john coltrane's bday, righteous. just over hundred miles to drive too, alright. we got clear skies. only lame thing: like an idiot I donated my hashi, damn it. it's the sticks I use to chow w/and I keep them in a hashibako - that's donated too. fuck. devin and brendan are still konked when bail at nine but I drive back to look - nothing at "the hills" and then I drive us to last night's venue - nothing again. fucking stupid watt, fucking baka! big man says last night this cat mark invited us to his coffee pad "party on friendly" so we go there and he's real cool people... respect. I ask for a suggest and he recommends a korean kind of egg sandwich and I go for that. big bow to him and hug. I wheel us north on I-5 and chow that sandwich... yeah, big time happening! shuffle mode on my ipod gives some okinawa folk music and joe frank - it's joe's "a landing strip in the jungle" - it puts big man to sleep but tom's way into it. well, big man konked terrible cuz he forgot to use his konk sack last night, I told him he's gotta watch out for his health, a HUGE tour rule if you wanna be good at this stuff.
now before we bailed I got an email from sightworks co-owner eric dayton (sightworks hosts the watt from pedro show) inviting us to konk at his and his wife tamara's pad but saying we can come over earlier so that's where we go... it's noon when we drop anchor in the alberta part of portland where they live. they're beautiful people, always so kind and so is the captain, their righteous little dog. their pad is like two miles from the venue too, way happening. we get to relax and it's a good time. oh, the boat's gauges had no probs - very grateful for that.
just before five bells and I wheel us over to mississippi studios (my second time here) - prolly called that cuz of the street's name and ain't it fucking the best they got cones out front for easy drop anchor. production bosslady arain is there to greet us and soundman kyle hears the fourth man spiel and is into it. now that I'm chimping this, I realize I didn't give him enough time w/my mic - what a fucking idiot I am. I'm kind of raw in the speak-box... baka watt. I chow their bacon sandwich w/a salad from next door (they own also I think?) and who's here? lance bangs w/his buddy, they wanna film the gig. no prob, love this cat. man, the stress of the boat prob (those gauges) and the miles needed to be driven has got me kind of feeling it... I gotta get to the boat and konk. first I meet the cats sharing the stage w/us, mascaras - really cool people, an honor to be w/them here in their town. gran respeto. into the boat w/watt and fucking immediately I'm out.
tom gets me, fuck - I missed all of macaras. shit. well, I was fucking tuckered and worse is my voice... what happened? no ocha ('tea' in jap) - tom used to always bring that to me. it ain't his fault, I'm baka. anyway, time to do my best for the folks here, I know tom and big man are w/me, this helps you can't know how much. it's ten bells and time to do it. very kind reception for the portland gig-goers and there's lance right by me w/his camera... oh boyl, wanna do good for them... and him... and my men... scary cuz there's cables by my feet, I'm such a klutz but fuck it, I just throw myself into it. the spirit is big time lift-up in the room, helping much the kind-of dented-up... fuck, I gotta be careful - no, right now I gotta bring cuz the gig-goers are bringing, tom and big man are bringing it... good flow - well, tom has some challenges but the band handles it really good, I think... makes it like that kind of stuff was part of our plan! I love tom. not getting the eye contact I was digging on this tour from big man though so I think I'll mention something to him. maybe it's cuz of me being kind embarrassed for not knowing where my voice is but at the same time I'm digging and laughing at points, it relaxes me. I think of john coltrane - I heard him say in an interview he thought musicians were after some kind of truth - I really like that. I buck up. I'm so grateful for everyone in this room. maybe I liked eugene's gig better which is kind of trippy cuz it was right after the hellride from vacaville but maybe there's some kind of delay I'm reacting to, I don't know. tour is a trippy test on your body and mind but I think worth it. I would not do this if I wan not into it. I ain't gonna bellyache anymore about my shortcomings. thank you portland gig-goers, thank you tom and big man - thank you everyone!
I sling shirts when we're done, get tons of good word - generous hearts. one cat (pancake man?) though is bummed I give him fist instead of hand but man, I just don't wanna get sick and ain't trying to be rude. brother andy from kansas city's here - yes! love this man. him and his brother john go back w/me to my minutemen days when we first played their town at "foolkillers" though andy moved to these parts years ago to work as a fireman. hopefully I get to see brother john later in the tour, I'm hoping. a real lot of kindness, here's jess who got me to narrate guy maddin's "brand upon the brain" up at the egyptian theatre in hollywood a bunch of years ago... I was so scared. much respect to her though, truly.
I get done and then wait in the back 'til the pad empties. I thank all the workers here I can, everyone so very nice to us. I wheel us back to eric's (a little debriefing on the way, good while stuff's fresh in the head) and he's waiting for us - parking right in front and there wasn't even any cones! crimony. I hose off and get into my nightwear. we have a real good time, eric's the fucking best. the whole team is really helping me, I'll rally for tomorrow but in hindsight - it was a good time. I think of richard meltzer. I called his name at the end of the gig, same w/a happy bday for john coltrane - man, I love those two. good crew though here also, helping watt through a little bit of a valley. it's a real grateful konk for me.
tuesday, september 24, 2019 - seattle, wa
I wake up about 9:30AM, after a really refreshing and well-needed konk. I take a bath with epsom salt shortly after - my back was a bit sore from the night before. I really need to start learning how to lift things properly when I'm loading out gear in a fast-paced environment. Eric heads to the store to get some breakfast chow, and cooks up some classic all-American bacon and eggs, and I toast up a sesame bagel for myself. He puts out some of his almond-milk based jalapeno cream cheese, which way good on the bagel. We chill for a few hours at the pad while Watt does an episode of The Watt From Pedro Show with Chris Slusarenko - also an accomplished bass man. His main project right now is Eyelids, and he used to play with Guided By Voices before their first hiatus in 2004. Naturally, I pick his brain about that - really cool to hear what it's like writing and working with Robert Pollard. GBV is easily in my top 5 favorite groups ever, if you didn't already know. If you know me, you probably already did. He offers to send me some of his shirts and records - really happening. We pack up, say our goodbyes, and hit the road to Seattle. Gonna miss Portland, and Eric's hospitality. I hope to cross paths with him again soon. I also hope to stop at Revival Drum Shop next time, too.
About half way through the drive, I realize I fuck up and donated my black Levi's to Eric's pad. Great - down to one pair of pants now. Luckily, I can just probably have him send them to me somewhere on tour. Probably going to have him send them to Detroit, because that's where Tom is getting some stuff delivered to as well. More business cards too - I'm trying to make as many connections on the road as possible. For some reason, I'm starting to feel a bit car-sick and nauseous, which is actually unusual for me. My stomach issues are pretty severe with bloating and such, but luckily, I very rarely struggle with acid reflux and feeling the need to throw up. I try to not let it bother me, and sleep it off for a bit.
We pull up to the venue, The Royal Room, at about 5:30PM. Watt parks the boat in a righteous spot right by the entrance, and we load in. The soundman and gigboss, Brad, greets us, and is very excited for us to be playing the room. We soundcheck, and put in an order for dinner. I eat a really good chicken and shrimp salad with chickpeas, while I listen to the opening band from the back room, Fine. Damn, they were good. Reminded me a lot of Slint, Wire, and Modest Mouse. Trippy but melodic noise-rock stuff. Very cool band and people, I hope I can play with them again soon and stay in cahoots with them.
Early gig tonight, we play at 9:15. Thank God - we gotta drive to Spokane tomorrow, and they want us at the gig early...3PM soundcheck! I get that every place is different but damn, that's an early soundcheck! I complain too much. We hop on stage and everything looks ship-shape, just like how we intend - except my hi-hat microphone stand is sticking a bit out, potentially being a bit of a safety hazard for Watt. Other than that, everything looks and feels great. I spy lots of die-hards in the audience tonight, wearing lots of Watt, fIREHOSE, & Minutemen gear of course...hell, someone was even wearing a Pair of Pliers (Watt, Tom Watson, Vince Meghrouni) tour shirt from 2000! I compliment him on it.
Watt and I make sure to keep eye contact with each other much more during this performance - it helps us both play so much better, and gives us a lot more confidence overall. The audience is super into that as well; there's nothing I love more than making a member of the audience smile during a gig - it helps me know that I'm doing an alright job, and that we are genuinely giving it our all. That's really the whole thing about doing a tour like this, I think. It's tons of fucking fun, but it's also a lot of phyiscal and mental work too. Like I said, I hope to return home a stronger man. Anyways, we definitely hit it hard in Seattle tonight, I am proud of us. I spiel with the gig-goers a bit, they are all too kind. They all think I'm no older than 16, which is common at this point. I take it as a compliment, if anything. Time to load out. Paul, the current drummer of The Last, is at the gig, and helps me load out. He just happens to be in town for vacation - real good to see him. He's a great dude, and a killer drummer as well.
We follow our friend Sandy in her car - we're staying at her pad for the night. She is long-time friends of Watt and Tom - she's known both of them since she was 13 years old! We park the boat in a nearby parking garage, and walk over a couple of blocks to her apartment. She has two big pitbulls named Penny and Meatball. Penny is 12 years old, Meatball is just a puppy - only 5 months old. We take the dogs out for a quick walk, both are playfully aggressive and sweet. I sleep on a super comfy air mattress next to Tom. Gotta be up pretty early to make the mission to Spokane.
waking up at eric's pad is a good feeling, good people.. eric does a breakfast fir us all, we have some time to kill and we stay with eric till mike finishes his business then roll towards Seattle. not long again. out the door and heading north to a suburb in south seattle and find a spot on the corner next to the royal lounge. it's a nice supper club and live space. the first group, fine, plays plays some enjoyable minimal pop. i like it. we eat food and soon we play. sandy shows up and go to her place for the night after having some of her amazing plum torte, me and nick inflate the air bed and get some sleep together.
pop at nine bells, watt was tuckered. I get the internet stuff I need to do every morning I can done and then get things together for a radio show - eric wants me to do an edition of twfps http://twfps.com/ at his pad and has gotten chris slusarenko to come and be my guest. in the meantime eric cooks us some great breakfast, trippy kind of "bacon" w/a happening omelette - for me a great shovel and in fact I man-handle it instead of using hashi. I've been a hashi user for over fifteen years now, love it. I chow slower, am more careful... maybe even keep my mind more "active" or whatever (kind of brain exercise?), I don't know but I love using them and wish my ma would've gotten me into it. I then get the music for the show together not too long after chris shows up - nice man and we share a lot of knowledge of the movement. we do the show and has interesting musical journey to share. ends up w/where he is now, w/the eyelids it's hard for me to do my show on tour w/no days off but eric I'd do anything and am so glad he made this connect, so glad.
I hose off and get my shit together, give the word to shove off and... what, did I lose my leash? I ask bot tom and big man to yank on it but no rings they hear - it just goes to windbag box so tom's thinking it's turned off, I'm inclined to agree. I search the boat... I did find other hashibako and hashi I always carry in the boat but spaced on... (eric and miss hiyori got me some hashi from a china store yesterday - I'm carrying them in a plastic sack) - anyway, in my back wack 'puter sack is my leash and I got reset it by popping out the battery - sort of like the boat's 'puter! well, they're both kind of relatively olde-timey so... just happy no donate and damn I also realized I had 'plan b' hashi all along (I carry in the boat cuz sometimes I get chow I don't shovel in my pad), happy watt.
weather is still like my pedro town and I'm most grateful. coming on two bells - one last hug for eric and we let him take some shots of us belted in and ready to go... 'til next time, brother! his alberta part of portland makes crossing the columbia river into washington state way quick and easy. of course we're still on the I-5 and it's about 175 miles to where we gotta be. I don't have too many assholes give us shit on the road and about halfway there I pull us over to fuel up (I never like to go below a quarter tank) and next to the gas station is a burger pad called "mrs beesley's" (it's in toledo but NOT the ohio one!) and while I'm filling the tank, I ask miss hiyori to please get me one. she ain't used to ordering here though (she lives in hamburg, germany) and doesn't realized you got to specify the condiments so there's no senf ('mustard' in german) on it but fuck, I still like it. she's very kind to get - actually it's part of fueling "pit stop" routine we do when we pull it over - tom cleans boat glass, she gets chow, I fuel boat and big man... ? we'll think of something.
you know for I-5 traff in these parts, especially starting w/tacoma, it ain't too bad and the location of this gig - let me tell you how I know about this pad: I played here last march when I was w/mike baggetta and had such a good time that I told the people working that I would be back next time I was in these parts. it's called the royal room and the part of seattle it's in is called captiol city which is south of the downtown so we avoid a buttload of plug, five bells when we show up and though it's like whatever-long it takes tom to navigate me into a park (for some reason "port" and "starboard" ain't good enough for him today... he's using words like "curve it" and ambiguous shit like that 'pert-near makes me insane), it is a fucking happening spot right by their front hatch - all's well that ends well, right? padboss/soundman brad is here in same role as he was last march, so good to see him. new cat is garrett but we met twenty years ago when he drummed for a band called spell... before that he was in the fluid. anyway, what a mindblow! another mindblow is find out a dude working here looks just like jacob from the criminal guitars ain't him but instead named nico! man, life's trippy. everybody here's really happening. much respect. they bring me enchiladas and collared greens and I shovel that.
early gig, locas fine open the gig at eight so I got no time for konk and listen to them while I chimp diary. they got real nice green room here and it's right behind the stage. fine are really good, I dig them and am inspired. our turn is right after, maybe quarter after nine when we bring and damn if my voice ain't back. it's really REALLY important I get hot throatcoat tea before I go on, REALLY important. it was like pounding a glass of sand last night in portland, oh my god. the horror. I tried my hardest but a dry fucking throat is a dry fucking throat - not to make any excuses to anyone for anything cuz I owe the gig-goers my best and the seattle ones here tonight in columbia city are truly beautiful. this I gig I prolly watched them more than I ever do cuz usually I like to look at men and have good eye contact to work the gig better but the sitch here at the royal room has the gig-goers right in your face (there's a low stage here) so maybe that's why. there's a couple of cats that really got infectious spirit and it's contagious on me - thank you! the band's cooking pretty good and I'm real proud of big man and tom, really am. I'm also so grateful to have my voice back... hey, I already said that! I don't blow that many clams on the bass either - not to be too full of myself but it's a good gig for us I think, really happening... digging the flow too, no need hardly for the set list - like I can see it anyway - fuck, I need new glasses, just do! ANYWAY, I put the bass in the air and holler "start your own band" cuz I'm so glad d boon did w/me and look where I am now. we were twentytwo when we started the minutemen - same age as big man.
I sling shirts from the stage and rrick king from guitar maniacs in tacoma is here and I immediately ask him on stage for GIANT HUGS, thank you so much, rick - love this man. I get the good word from so many - I can't do open-handed handshakes, so sorry - no disrespect but I can't get sick... most folks understand, thank you so much! people wanna tell me about the first time they saw me... damn I wish I could remember every gig - I try, good people, I try. I also try to talk to every one can, however weak and worn I am. finally I get to give BIG hug to don brown - a cat I've known since grade school (taper avenue) and whoa, he looks great. we ain't got much time to rap but he does come to our pedro town at times and I'd like to show him what I've found there since we went to school together. one guy we remember together that we still know is john deluca... john's always been very kind to me. I do wonder what happened to craig muranaka, john martinis, richard orienza... trippy about trying to remember back understand exaclty why that means what it does, huh? especially at this stage - I think lee ranaldo might even call it "the fourth act" - he used to say "third" to me but that was a little while ago...
the co-ownerman wayne was in a band that played w/the minutemen when we headlined our first ever gig in new york city (1983) and damn if he don't give me a copy of a flyer that was made for it. crimony! it was at folk city west and I 'pert-near shat a pecan log but d boon and georgie charged real hard. I love being in a band w/strong men, love it. my old friend sandy glaze missed the gig but she's here to have us follow her to her loft in downtown seattle, one of the oldest buildings that's real close to the original skid row (where they slid logs into the water for transpo). there's some schlep and hobble but it's well worth cuz she is righteous and her pad safe and clear. love both her dogs too, righteous lovermen. I hose off and she's got a mattress for tom/big man while we got ours - it's a one room pad full of people that truly care about each other that konk just like that. amen.
wednesday, september 25, 2019 - spokane, wa
I wake up at about 8:30AM - had a pretty good konk. I take a shower and get ready for the day while Sandy is cooking up some scrambled eggs and potatoes for us - I have a banana and peanut butter with it as a dessert to curve my craving for refined sugar. While I was getting down on the chow (which was great by the way), Meatball chewed up my headphones! Oh well, he is just a puppy. But damn! I was doing so good at not spending money on the road, but now I gotta bite the bullet on a new pair of headphones.
The ride to Spokane begins. I'm very tired for some reason, and in and out of konk for most of the ride. I'm not upset about this though - it helps pass the time, and it's really easy to fall asleep in the boat. We hit our first Subway stop finally - I really do love it. As Watt says, it is the safest fast-food to eat on the road. I eat a rotisserie chicken and tuna sandwich with mustard and an assortment of veggies and spices. Pretty damn good.
We pull up to the venue at 3:10PM. They wanted us there really early for the soundcheck for some reason - why, I don't know. Luckily, we're the only band playing so after soundcheck we don't have to strike any of our equipment. Watt's old friend from back in the day, Mitch, is there at load-in time to say hi to us and help us with load-in - so nice of him, truly. He's even kind enough to drive Tom, Hiyori and I, to a nearby plaza to get some tour goods, since we have a lot of time to kill before the gig. We hit the Walmart, and the Dollar Tree. Fun fact - as a 22-year old, that was my first time ever walking inside of a Walmart - trippy. It was kind of just like a bigger version of a Target, I guess. I've never supported a Walmart because they're non-union, but, I really needed a new pair of headphones. I also buy a konkmask at the Dollar Tree - it says "Beauty Queen" on it.
We get back to the venue at about 5:30PM - this gives me a lot of time to hop on my laptop. I finish my diary for the previous day and get to catch up on booking stuff that I need to take care of. I don't think I mentioned that on here yet - I help out with the booking / talent buying at Alex's Bar in Long Beach. Luckily, my bosses Paige and Alex are supportive of me going on tour, so they allow a lot of my work to be away from home. They know I'm just a phone call or a text away.
I start to have thoughts about home - I don't miss it just yet, but I am thinking of my mother and father. I have concerns about my mother because she just lost hers, as I mentioned before. This is her first time being so alone in the house - it's just her and my dad right now without me there. I sort of feel guilty for not being there for her right now, but they totally understand that this tour is my utmost priority. I'm also a little worried for my father; the week before my grandma passed, he received the bitter news that he has prostate cancer. His father died from it, and his older brother was diagnosed a few years ago - but he fortunately kicked the cancer with professional treatment. Luckily, my father has "very treatable" stage one prostate cancer, and doctors are certain they are going to be able to get rid of all of it in no time. I just hope my father doesn't get ahead of himself; he doesn't seem to be overly concerned. If he's not going to worry, I'm not going to worry.
I start to get a little hungry. I order a greek salad and some green chicken curry from the venue restaurant. Very very tasty. I go downstairs to grab a bitters and soda with lime and chat with the bartender, Danielle. Funny enough, it's her first day on the job, although she's been a bartender since she was 21 (she's 28 now). We talk about music, amongst other things. Soon after this, I walk upstairs to the green room, and find Tom - he isn't feeling so hot, so I go on a short walk with him to try to ease his mind off his troubles.
There's no opening act, we hit the stage at 9PM on the dot. I don't really need to go into detail but overall, it's our most troubling gig of the tour so far. Watt's voice isn't sounding so hot (no tea), Tom is having some guitar issues, and I'm having my troubles having trouble getting into the performance due to discouragement. But, I soon get over it and look forward to rallying at the show in Boise tomorrow.
After the gig, we head to Garett's house - our konk pad for the night. I rap with him and his friends outside over a couple of drinks in front of the fire - a very wholesome way to end the night.
sandy makes a great meal and we pack onto the van. we cross from the western part of washington to the eastern part, a totally different climate and look, and i like this drive. through pendelton along this prairie land to spokane. the venue is a nice size and we get to loading right away.
tonight we are the only band so we can leave our gear on stage till after we play. hiyori gets some chinese chicken soup which is super good and loaded with veggies and noodles. after gig go to some nice peoples home for the night.
pop at eight bells, start chimping diary. soon I find myself in room that was full of konked people room full of popped people. sandy fixes up scrambled eggs and roasted potatoes for us. five month year old meatball dog is insane w/morning energy, nine year old penny dog is calm by my side despite frequent attacks by over the top pup, it's the nature of such things. they're both beautiful. pit bull terriers too but very loving. young one must chew though so there goes big man's earphones. that's what chew toys are for (purposely made ones). ten bells we shove off and as me and tom hobble through pioneer square, I explain to him some of the history I know of there. such a great place to put the boat - everything safe but I spaced on leaving my belt at sandy's like a fucking... she's righteous and retrieves - I owe her so much for so much for so many years, truly. byebye 'til next time...
scary w/all the hills w/their big grade that we gotta do, especially w/the red lights and the big angle holding patterns but the boat is strong and can hang. the weather is like sunny so cal, we're again blessed... it's gonna be 'pert-near three hundred miles to get to tonight's gig. I wheel us east on I-90 over that big cement floating causeway to bellevue and we climb up into the cascades. very good conditions to go over snoqualmie pass, the fir trees start disappearing and the rain shadow landscape starts to dominate. we get to ellensberg (home of the screaming trees - I took them on their first two tours during fIREHOSE days) around noon and we stop for our fist subway sandwiches of the tour - miss hiyori's into get that stuff for us, I fuel the boat and tom's is the windows, getting them. big man is bringing up the rear as we wait... what's his job at these pit stops? I tell him his job is to not make us fucking wait. I tell him not to worry though cuz this tour stuff is a learn by doing kind of thing, no way can you give someone a buttload of instructions before you shove off for the first gig and expect them to have it all down. he's getting it though, getting it good. we pass over the columbia river, she is mighty even here where she's going north instead of east. later I see a sign that kind of trips me out - it says the most u.s. potatoes are grown here... I thought that was idaho's claim, no? it's on the license plates...
anyway, twenty after three we drop anchor at where we're playing here tonight in spokane, the lucky you lounge - it's right near the railroad tracks and I think a kind of new pad. soon as I get the motor off, look who pulls up - it's mitch from "instant karma" in the montrose part of houston who did my gigs since I think 1998 and then later at a pad he had downtown called "the engine room" - maybe I was w/j mascis + the fog then. anyway, so glad to see him again and he helps w/the schlep, says he lives here now and coaches hockey - he's originally from boston. I meet the soundman jack and he's into the "fourth man spiel," so very happening. I meet the padboss kaleb also, nice man to me, respect to him. the knitting factory people brought this show in so we're waiting for the rep and in the mean time, set our stuff up. no opening act, interesting. we do a quick soundcheck (the way I like) and then mitch takes everyone but me to get stuff at a store including a plastic cooler - not a fucking lame styrofoam one like I got... didn't last even one fucking week - for the boat. the outside promoter reps eric and cameron arrive and bring us chips/salsa (mrs renfro's ghost)/soda water/pears/plums/bananas - all we need and instead of using downstairs "green room" (never say that word) w/my lame cojo knee, I use soundman jack's backstage (literal) space for p.a. they're very kind and since my rider stuff costs less than sixty bucks, they flow the rest to us for buy-out... miss hiyori using the internet finds a china chow pad close by and that means soup? yes, excellent kind tour chow for watt, tom asks for also. I go to the boat and konk.
there's no opening act, tom rousts me a few minutes before go time (nine bells) w/some throatcoat ocha but damn, it's like body temperature (maybe kidney-filtered too?) and it don't do a thing for me. very challenging gig for watt, big time totally like portland was, as if I had just pounded a fucking glass full of sand. crimony. tom's got his challenges too. big man does good but could work on some body language to help both sell it and help his two challenged band guys. it's learn by doing w/tour, he's gonna get it - no heaviness on him. big challenge can lead to big rally - in fact I don't think you can rally w/out big challenges all peppered w/foulings. big man's our anchor tonight though, his shorts our nothing compared to ours. fist in the air for the big man! most grateful to him. big point I learn tonight is I gotta get us an electric kettle for my fucking throat, just gotta. we'll talk about tom's stuff tomorrow. watt has to get together what he can get together tough I can be there for tom and you can count on that happening, love this man... twenty years now we've been touring together - is there anyone else that's done us as much - ANYONE? I owe tom big time, BIG FUCKING TIME.
I get the good word from the gig-goers which surprises me only cuz of our challenges but that shows you the big heart they got, HUGE respect to them, truly. I ain't really using open handed shakes and mean no disrespect but I can't get sick, good people, just can't. I've done experiments w/myself regarding this stuff and for sure it's a vector for sickness w/me and the palm to palm shake and the knuckle on knuckle has proven to be safer for me. hell, even elbow to elbow - like we're in the kitchen! darrin huff is here - big hugs for him - I also hand him the wattplower mark II prototype III to try out... you see people, a lot of where this bass comes from comes from ideas darrin and myself came up w/together long before the reverend guitar proj. this was years ago when me + the secondmen came through - well, actually it was before that cuz we were trading ideas via email before that. it was a nice bass and stuff, beautifully made but it didn't fit where I was at and he didn't have the resources to do prototypes so I just took it home after working the gig (I think it was at "moose's" maybe?) when the tour was done and eventually giving it to miss eva who played it a bunch and still has it. really, it's fucking beautiful. anyway, good ideas are good ideas and his thoughts and stuff along w/my practical experience went into the wattplower of course w/even more input of course ken and joe from reverend guitars who darren tells me he has respect for. please understand MANY prototypes have gone into the wattplower w/them which makes it why I work it - in fact this one I'm playing now is a mark II prototype! so kind of all these luthier cats to bear w/watt... I have to say it sure is righteous that people I'm working w/w/this stuff understand why I ask for stuff for them - me also leraning from them which notions I got might be pretty stupid too. it's all "learning by doing" stuff, like w/what big man's learning w/working tour the way we do.
before I settle in the boat w/rep eric who's most kind - I talk w/john, a buddy of a cat I knew many years named pete stewart. pete was from wichita falls and recently passed away and it was very heavy for me. I never get used to losing people, never. pete would leave all kinds of messages for me when I was a way on tour all through the years. oh man... love you pete stewart, love you.
a very kind man named garrett has invited us to konk at his pad in nearby spokane valley, very happening and he's most generous. I hose off right away and get in the nightwear... soon w/two of his buddies - I think they're related to each other - I mean maybe not garrett but... damn I get confused but anyway they're really interested about music and so I spiel about w/them and we have a good time. such kindness here in spokane... really grateful for everyone. good konk.
thursday, september 26, 2019 - boise, id
I have felt a little off. We've been doing a lot of long drives and having a lot of late nights, so I think the constant move is simply starting to catch up with me. I know it sounds like I'm complaining here, but I'm really not. That's just all part of touring - it comes with the job. Luckily, by gig time, I make sure to give myself enough time to konk in the van or at the venue, that way I'm pumped up with adrenaline to give it my all for the gig-goers. There's nothing I hate more than giving a half-assed performance when I know I could play better.
Since our performance in Spokane was not as strong as we wanted it to be, we want to make sure to rally in Boise. Long story short, we very much do so. Watt's voice sounds so much better, Tom steps it up with his voice and guitar as well, and I step it up overall with "working the stage".
After the gig, we head over to crash at Bart and Steph's pad - they've known Watt and company for years. They have homemade pizza ready for us - I cannot deny a slice. Their band also played the show with us - Hotdog Sandwich is the name of their band. They were really enjoyable to watch! I konk out downstairs next to Tom, and try to get as much sleep as possible before the next day.
we get on the road early and we stop at a subway and i get a 6" breakfast. another long ride to boise, we always like playing here and see our friends bart and stef, and we always stay with them here. but tonight we get play with them in their band hot dog sandwich. they play as a two piece tonight and are very great.
i like this club, very cool people always. i spend pre gig time meeting the folks here. all goes well, i do better than last night. we head to stef and barts pad and eat his delicious pizza and i camp downstairs for the night.
pop at seven bells and get the stuff we brought stowed back in the boat. I find garrett's coff machine and make a glass of that and drink a quart of water. we're the only ones up so we leave him a thank you note and shove off just after eight. gray skies and some traff as I backtrack us on I-90 for an hour before south on us-395, my ipod gets us a big dose of mr burroughs reading his "naked lunch" and filling our boat w/that most distintive voice. pull over for fuel around ten at the colfax/othello offramp - like the sound of that... $3.06/gallon w/only one station - whoa. I get some "chesterfried" chicken/taters and proceed - big man says I'm "fucked" for chowing that.. I guess he's more than just in charge of drums, he's in charge of chow too, interesting. the weather's gray but holds as far as giving us hell. I briefly drop anchor to have tom run into a tallfarts in kennewick to get a electric water boiler cuz I can't do another fucking gig w/out the throatcoat ocha ('tea' in jap), just can't - too big of a challenge for watt. tom talks to us about his challenges from last night and in fact makes a call to deal w/it directly - this is when I think a leash is righteous to have - spock, kirk, bones and scotty had it happening as far as something like that helping us in the future. we get rain in the blue mountains but not heavy... the boat gives me that "tone" and red "check gauges" light for a few seconds again going DOWN a grade, hmm... about one and a half I pull us over in la grande for fuel - maybe recent law change, you can pump your gas in smaller populated areas, hmm... nope, not a new law - the counterlady says she think it's always been. slow learner watt. anyway, I get two hard boiled eggs and a neck pillow that's got a snap - easier for me to konk w/out getting kinks cuz I tried out big man's last night. around three I get us into mountain time zone so we lose a hour... half hour later we cross into idaho - byebye west coast states.
soon as we're in downtown boise, some I blow by the pad - I say that cuz I've worked the neurolux buttloads of times but so much has changed... the china chow pad across the street's gone, damn. a few more port turns and there's bart - he's in one of the opening bands, hotdog sandwich - we finally get to play w/them (we'll be konking at his and steff's pad tonight), so good to see bart. whoa, it's pretty warm here, I mean for this part of time - better a little cold or even scarier: a little icier.
after soundcheck w/soundman eric, I meet two cats from a small town called stanley that's near a town here in idaho I lived for a tiny bit called blackfoot cuz my pop was getting trained for nukes stuff (he was a machinist mate for nuke engine rooms) - there's a little part of idaho in watt, truth be told. I'm sure grateful to these cats for doing the miles to be here, damn right I'm gonna work my bass my hardest I can for them tonight. I get a baja burrito from "calle 72 tacos" where that china chow pad was and yeah, mi gusta, muy sabor. crimony. gran respeto. I go to the boat and konk.
out of nowhere in the konk I hear drums and bass - fuck if I don't pop and realize it's hotdog sandwich and hobble straight to the venue (I was lucky to get a bitchin space not far from the front hatch), I hobble right to the front of the stage midships and witness their gig, it's fucking most happening for me, I love it. bart's on the drums w/steff on bass, both singing w/voices fitting real good together, I have a real good time and am much inspired by them, a little like w/those two cats from stanley... I'll be running on idaho fuel tonight! I gotta get more konk though and am very sorry to miss the hand cuz I've shared the stage w/them before but damn, "a man's gotta know his limitations" I think a great man once said.
tom rousts me for the ten after ten go time ten minutes before and he's got the hot throatcoat ocha... kind of small cup but still, it helps me so much big time, so much - thank you thank you, tom! it's a chance for us to rally tonight, I think we can do it. the boise gig-goers bring the spirit to help out and I think we did just that - I ain't just chimping that here to make for some kind of fairy tale happy ending but that's what happened. I'm so proud of tom and big man whupped it up good also. I did have to holler at some yammering yammerers in between soft parts in the softer roky tune but overall everyone was quite kind w/us and it felt truly buoyant and sincere. man, I love it when your rally after a challenge, love it!
"the bread man" - some folks here from my pedro town keep talking about that to me as I sling and thank gig-goers (so many so kind so truly are w/me, thank you thank you!) when we get done... trippy about parallel universes, huh? OH, I broke a 'd' string our set - ain't broke a string in a while, it was during "forever/one reporter's opinion" but we picked right back up - another rally, yes!
I settle w/gigboss eric and we talk a little about my bookerman steve kaul, we both dig him - I love the man w/all my heart, he's "the man outside the van" - yep. good quick pack and we're soon on our way to bart and steff's pad near the old graveyard on roosevelt road. beautiful people, we talk some but I can't chow the homemade peetz bart makes for us cuz of the age of my gut these days, better for me to wait for morning, just is. I hose off though and get in the nightwear and they got washer/dryer for us that's just so kind... move the coff table for the air mattress also. crimony, it's already two am cuz of the time zone move and I'm fucking way tuckered. luckily the "spiel party" moves downstairs and I can cut the lights and get started konking, even w/some challenges w/that I get it going, need it to protect my health. whew.
friday, september 27, 2019 - salt lake city, ut
I wake up at 7:00AM ready for the hellride to Salt Lake City from Boise. I'm pretty much in and out of sleep the whole ride there. Extreme amounts of coffee and eating snacks while sitting in one place can only keep me awake for so long, and I kind of start to feel like shit. That's another thing that is bothering me a bit - I feel like I've gained a little weight, which is unfortunate. My appetite has been a little fucked up too, due to the lack of schedule with eating. I'm trying my best not to let it get it to me though.
We make it to Salt Lake City - same stitch as usual. Load-in, soundcheck, eat dinner (salmon and quinoa), and wait for the gig. The green room is very comfortable. I am tired but I don't want to take a nap because I want to be as tired as possible before it's time to konk.
Without going too much into detail, I simply want to express that I love this particular gig so much - this is where I feel like the set really starts to come together. Our performance in my opinion was top-notch with only a couple of clams. So many kind gig-goers as well, who had nothing but nice things to say to us. After the gig is over, we head to Don Dalton's for the night - a righteous pad only a few minutes away from the venue. Don is an amazing cat - he's originally from Pedro, class of 1975; just a year ahead of my pop, Mike, George, and D. His band opened the show too! I get my own bedroom for the night - that's so happening. Tom and I soak in the hot tub before it's time to konk. We need to be up early the next AM for the hellride to Denver so I try to konk early enough to enjoy my slumber as much as possible.
early rise, i walk to a gas station with hiyori to get some gas station coffee, another drive to SLC, but it's not too bad and scenic through the vast lands of utah. we increase to the elevations the amazing rock formations. you can really imagine the time when this land was the world of the native peoples. strange how my perception of the west always includes the white european people from all the westerns and tragic battles. it has a peaceful feeling going through this more or less pristine landscape. i still echo's with a time without people.
tonight we get to play with mike's good friend, don. he's my friend now too. we always stay with him in his beautiful home, a perfect host. however tonight is special because his band is playing too. when we arrive wait for the door to open and soon we don and is boys. i had trouble with one of cords last night, i tend to find every weak link or something to trip over. i have a murphy's law syndrome, if it can happen it happens to me. sometimes that's a productive talent, but usually not. anyhow, don acquires 3 great replacement cables for me, what a guy.. thanks don.
after the motions of pre-gig stuff don's band rocks for a good size crowd and play some catchy utah tunes. whatever that means.? we do our thing and wrap up a fun show, and afterward i meet my friend, terri's friend jennifer, and a couple friends from L.A. john and pam. turns out they were visiting and out looking for something to do and saw the name on the marque and came in. crazy chance moment. cool to see them.
after load out, we go to don's palace and nick and i jump in his hot tub which is perfectly heated. perfect for a nice sleep.
pop at eight bells but let bart and steph konk cuz I know they're beat. bart usually cooks up eggs and sausages for us but we gotta bail at nine and see them w/only enough time to get a present from bart, a popeye olde-timey comic book. very very kind of him - both him and steph are the best - byebye!
past the boneyard and the jack in the box (french cooking) tom knows all about to get on to I-85 and we're off, I wheel us eastward along much of the snake river. everybody in the boat is most grateful for good weather. ten bells and we're in mountain home (where richard mckenna was born - he wrote "the sand pebbles" - me and d boon's favorite movie was one made of it starring steve mcqueen in 1966... this book/movie had incredible influence on my first opera also) to fuel the boat and get some subway sandwich... I get us back on the freeway and damn if I don't see a semi wa /trailer that's got "holman" painted on the side - jake holman is the man cat in mr mckenna's book. crimony. only a half hour after chowing that sandwich that had too much of the yellow mustard foisted on it, I gotta pull us over in jerome to blow it out. I love mustard but this wa ridiculous. I also get a mug for the throatcoat ocha brings me before the gig cuz this tiny shot glass shit ain't happening. tom asks me about mormons and I tell him what I know. I got good friends that grew up that way, dirk (did the "double nickels..." cover photos and don (konking at his pad tonight after he opens for me) but also I've read some stuff on this but am no way an expert but I ain't anti either cuz I see no sense in that. it does help make the last part of the drive go by quicker. tom is a great spieler, even in the listener mode cuz he engages you sincerely.
at three bells I get us to the urban lounge and drop anchor right out front, great load-in spot, righteous. I've heard this kind of location called some bullshit things but then again you have to consider the source. these three cats are there to interview me, their boss is del and talk to him a little about my sitch, that I can do too big of one cuz of where I am w/my health/strength (or lack there of) so please let's make it a little one while my guys set up for soundcheck. he says he understands. I tell him I'll do a bigger one in the future. it's for del williams' professor of rock and I'll talk about my minutemen days but I just can't do any more. del's cool about it, I promise him more parts in the future. I go rest a little on the boat bench and then chimp diary as load-in things develop. I read my diary for yesterday... all the detail I got for the drive - sometimes that happens but usually when I'm not at the wheel which is trippy cuz not once yet this tour have I not driven but I guess it was after-effects of the flipper tour I just or something? strange. there's a bottle of topo-chico still left from eugene - my favorite, you can't believe how I love this stuff after getting turned on to it by jeff smith. I love this agua con gas so much. the bubbles burn out the loogies I got from the spiel. we do soundcheck w/soundlady kitxia that goes by quick, dig that much. this pad is much wider than deep, so be it. like what they used to say in vaudeville: work the room. I'm grateful for the opportunity. I get some salmon from the chow pad next door cuz it's both friday and I think is somehow connected w/the urban lounge... somehow. anyway, it's good and makes me feel good. I go konk in the boat - I'm really REALLY fucking tuckered. man, that spiel I did w/those guys fucking really wore me out - even more than the hellride! truth be told. adam wanted to know some minutemen stuff and I tried my best to answer him. I love talking about d boon and georgie. I love talking about d boon before minutemen. I'm just not that strong and have 'pert-near just enough for tour and not really spiel, it's just the reality on the dealio.
tom ain't gotta roust me cuz I heard my buddy donzo's band somehow through both the pad and boat's bulkheads (sort of like in boise w/hotdog sandwich) and catch their last few tunes. donzo's ma was the librarian at san pedro high when us minutemen went to school there (1974-6) and he's had me konk at his pad for years... I know he's always been into music and in fact me + my secondmen helped him to record an album at casa hanzo in our pedro town as sons of hanzo a few years ago. never seen him perform before, he does good!
our turn is next, quarter after ten and right away the salt lake city gig-goers bring out, much respect to them. doing the throatcoat ocha from the big idaho mug really helps though I gotta use some hand signals to soundlady kitxia to get the monitors up... if she would only look up from her board... she does, viva! maybe the best gig of the tour so far in lots of ways. hihat mic ain't tighten up so my clumsy ass keeps fucking it up but I fix it back 'pert-near every time. set has good flow and both tom and big man are kicking up much dust. respect. the soft roky erickson tune near the end allows for assholes to bogart w/their yammering - it is from the bar part of the pad and it is a friday night... but we just lost him not too long ago and I really wanna do that tune, really do. I gotta stop "the red and the black" after a verse cuz the band is not together, no disrespect but it was a trainwreck and needed to be reset. hey, life is not a rehearsal - that title was meant to be ironic!
I sling shirts from the stage w/the gig done, get the good word from so many gig-goers, most MOST kind. lots of spiel is about when a person first saw me and it's very kind but hard to remember ALL the gigs I've done - actually sometimes there's someone whose says "this is my first time seeing (hearing) you" and I'm also most grateful for that. grateful also for people accepting no opening handshakes from me, that you so much cuz you know how sickness bugs get spread. there's the reverend guitars local rep here to say hi, whoa! hi! love my wattplower! I sign a bass (not a wattplower) that a gig-goer for tonight got for "a young woman bassist" - he asked if I minded - I never mind signing someone's bass, NEVER - watt love all basssisters and bassbrothers, we are team!
I settle w/gigboss kitxia - yes, she's both soundlady and gigboss! gran respeto. I hope to see more of this, very happening how things are changing positive this way. I like being part of it, really do.
boat packed, we follow donzo to his pad not too far from where we gotta get on the freeway tomorrow morning for denver. he's got some buddies bogarting the driveway w/their car but they understand and pull the ripcord. I hose off quick and get into the nightwear. the air mattress gets setup right in front of the fireplace (in active now, there's drums in front of it - donzo's being more of a music man now! gotta konk cuz we got a hellride in the morning, sorry for not much spiel time this go, donzo. you know what also I should chimp here about? tom had a cable go kaput last night in boise (big thank you for that neurolux soundman eric for getting us through the gig) and he brought three replacement ones - I paid him for these but what a brother to help us out that way.
saturday, september 28, 2019 - denver, co
We're all up around 6:00AM - I take a shower and get ready to take off. Don has some waffles, potatoes and eggs ready for us - so happening; hot coffee too of course. We hit the road at about 8:00AM instead of 7:00AM, because he notices a storm coming our way. That's something so simple to check on, but also something that I would never even think to do myself. I'm glad that he is smart in that regard and constantly raises concern about our safety. The road from Salt Lake to Denver is long and boring, but also very beautiful to look at. I must have been in an out of slumber the entire time - I don't remember much of the ride at all to be honest. We finally arrive to the venue, the Lion's Lair, at about 6:00PM. I'm introduced to the booker man, Doug, who Watt has talked very highly about. I also meet Tony, who is one of the co-owners of the club.
It's almost gig-time here in Denver. I'm really looking forward to playing because the place is super small - I love playing packed, intimate gigs. Slim Cessna is opening the gig - just a two man band with him on guitar and vocals and his buddy on a pedal steel - a real nice way to open up the night - country-inspired rock and roll tunes that I very much enjoy.
We hit the stage at 10:15 on the dot. The place is packed and pressure's on, but I'm excited to play. Other than some asshole shouting "FREEBIRD" during our cover of the Roky tune, "I Have Always Been Here Before", the show was a very pleasant experience. I truly believe that I'm getting a lot better at not hitting my snare so hard. I'm starting to learn how to play with a lot more dynamics. I thank Watt and Tom very much for teaching me the importance of that.
Show is over and I'm fucking beat. We are playing the same venue the next day, so we can leave all of our gear on the stage - what a relief. We head to the hotel for the night that Doug was nice enough to provide for us. I get my own room - hell yes. I'm so exhausted that I immediately fall asleep after hosing off at about 1AM.
early rise to start our trip and don has coffee and breakfast set up for us in the kitchen. we get out the door in the dark and start our trip to denver. we go all the way across wyoming drop south through Fort Collins and roll into town and load into the lion's lair tavern. a cozy locals place on colfax. cool people and a good vibe. we are playing two nights here which is a new thing for me, we can leave gear in the bar and stay in a ramada inn tonight and tomorrow night. we have a day off driving tomorrow, i think we all look forward to it.
after checking i get fish tacos with nick across the street, they're okay, a little bland but not too greasy. we kill some time in the little room in the back of the lair and i practice some things that have been giving me trouble. me and mike sit and talk with gig boss, doug for a while and wait till slim cessna and john get ready to play. they are a duo of guitar, vocal, drum machine and pedal steel. local heros i figure. people start to arrive and it's a great group of locals that are probably regulars for the most part. i meet michelle who was a previous owner of the bar and super sweet, for to talk with. after slim and john play, we set up and do our first set in denver. goes alright, i still have a few snags but i think (i hope) only we hear them. the night goes on and then doug leads us to our hotel for the night. i have my own room and i make the most of it. bath, etc..
pop at six bells w/in moments here's donzo w/reveille cuz he doesn't realize I got 'pert-near an auto-sense developed in me now to pop when I'm supposed to. of course I gotta piss (always first mission of the day) and he's got coff for me right when I'm done - what a mensch! I go look up our route for today, basically I-80 to I-25 on the nws enhanced data display site which is a fucking righteous tour tool and adjust our pull anchor time one hour ahead so this storm can pass through the first part of our trip. donzo makes me scrambled eggs and papas on the side - I can't go for the waffles he foists on the others but damn if the eggs ain't got tomatoes from his garden, fucking muy sabor - big abrazos for donzo from watt, truly. we shove off at eight.
before I get on the freeway I get bunk gas (bunk cuz it's 85 octane and this boat likes 87) but only $30 worth - I don't like going under a quarter tank. the weather is happening, you can tell there was some big rain but it's a clear go for us now. only lame thing is lame fucking driving by fellow drivers we gotta share the road w/and I say that cuz speeding, tailgating and fucked-up dangerous roll-the-dice lane changes is just so fucking stupid and senseless. assholes. maybe driverless cars are the way to go, fuck... I wonder... we pass where in the late 80s us fIREHOSE guys 'pert-near crashed after hitting black ice - I turned into the spin and kept my foot off the brake, oh my god... I was shaking like a leaf, must've been at least a 270 degree counter-clockwise but I kept it on all four wheels as we ended up in a muddy infield (no k-rail divider or stuff like that - open ground), damn were we lucky. you can tell a storm just passed even more here. I get us into wyoming at nine and a half. big man up front but now konked. tom konked where in back where big man usually is. we're a little out of our usual norm but that's ok. wyoming is where my ma was born and grew up as a girl, the town's gone now, it was a company coal town called dines her grandpa came from italy to settle there. it was by rock springs but first we pass through green river which also was a title of a ccr song that d boon really dug and minutemen covered. a hour later I fuel the boat up at little america (actually a gas station whatever trip and not a town) for $3.10/gallon and ten tins 'dines w/mustard (the ones w/oil are too heavy for me, packed w/water ones are ok though) and some crackers. 'dines are tour chow that goes way back - you need no refrigeration so good to stock up in the boat. the asheton brothers told me they dug 'dines too. I get us back on the road and tom's back up front and feeding me 'dines on crackers w/that green jalapeno sauce we got in eugene (yeah, where we got the topo-chico, thank you big time kyle!) and it's good eats for me. thank you, tom. we're so lucky w/the weather - one hard thing though that way is the wind... soon as we're east of rollins, it really starts to fucking blow. of course asshole drivers come by in the their clumps - interesting how assholes of a feather cling to each other as they make things as dangerous as possible on their "mission" to get killed and/or everyone else unlucky enough. crimony. sorry to harp on this shit but it's a nightmare and TOTALLY FUCKING AVOIDABLE - what's up? I gas us up again in laramie and the gusts are 'pert-near fifty miles a hour... blow me down for fucking sure! I get a "fix your own" trip where you get a bun from a warmed drawer and I put a beef patty and breaded chicken puck w/some mustard on them and chow that cuz I wanted to see what it was like. verdict: filler but at least I didn't get sick or puke. back on I-80 w/the gusts really going now, we pass on the other (folks going west) four semi all crashed into each other - there was a jack-knifed truck all by itself back near evantson when we got into wyoming but this looks like a choo-choo train where the cars you know, kind of are in human centipede kind of trip? it's horrible. I never take shots of wrecks but I do a quick one of this cuz it makes so made why people drive so fucking risky in such a dangerous sitch. terrible. shit, I hit a bad spot on some road being still built on and damn if that could've sent us over... I prayed to high heaven most grateful - this is scary shit we're dong people - even if you're driving just a couple blocks in your town down a "quiet" street - these are steel/glass/rubber/plastic sleds travelling under the laws of physics, PLEASE WAKE THE FUCK UP AND BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL OUR SAKES! it ain't no little kid fucking playground game. ok, got that out. three and a half, we go south on I-25 at cheyenne and soon it's byebye wyoming and hello colorado. plug/stau starts at loveland, makes some kind of weird sense. fuck.
however I do wheel us to the venue only twenty minutes late - that after going through a rockies baseball game that's got people gathering. the lion's lounge lair is on the old downtown strip called colfax (also part of us-40) and the last three years I've been doing a couple nights in the first week of december w/my secondmen there cuz my old buddy doug asked me and I thought, hell - let's make it part of the next missingmen tour so something kind fo trippy for a watt tour, playing two nights back to back in the same town. I love doug, been doing my gigs since the 80s, real good cat to me, always. he grew up in ann arbor so we always talk lots about stooges and he's a bassman too - when I come for those december gigs he's let me use his early 60s fenders, I love working them. tonight's w/the wattplower though. he's got his buddy shorty holding the parking spot right out fornt - the "very fortunate to have spot" watt calls it - first I put us a block short cuz it said "pete's lounge" and I was thinking of secondmen organman peetzo - I am baka! soundman patrick ain't here yet so we soundcheck w/barboss tony and then me and doug catch up w/some good spiel. not too much though cuz I'm fucking beat from the 'pert-ten hour five hundred miler and am out for like three hours in the boat.
I miss slim cesna, damn, so sorry but was running on fumes and needed some recharge bad. tom rousts me w/the big idaho mug of throatcoat ocha, yes! very grateful to tom. righteous heart shared w/us right up from the denver gig-goers, beautiful. we do the gig pretty good, maybe not as good as last night but 'pert-near. I gotta work on some gain stage stuff w/my amp set up to avoid some protect mode cuz you now how my wraslin w/bass can get a little thug - don't mean to but it happes. big man needs a little more angle on his setup too so I can get more face. tom needs to know "do you want new wave..." - that's ones' really important to me and why I put in the center of the set, sort of the hub everything else kind of rotates around thematically. speaking of which: I give only two spiels and starting w/last night in the second one I feel I gotta explain what we're doing this tour cuz I've been reading some kind of lame assumes about stuff people obviously don't know what they're saying and I can't really blame them but what I'm doing this tour is twenty tunes I wrote for the minutemen and then maybe ten watt versions of some songs from others that have really influenced me much. now some of those tunes for the minutemen I wrote never got recorded for an album or even played live - I thought it would be trippy for gig-goers interested in watt's musical journey to see where he was at thirtyfive to thirtyeight years ago. you know d boon and georgie wrote the best minutemen songs and that's why I try to show respect and not dick leech off them, not right, I feel. there are some trippy tunes in this set though that are kind of rare - ones where me and d boon both collaborated on lyrics - that hardly happened where he would write a line and then I'd write a line and so on. I show that by having tom watson trade those actual lines off w/me, like for "case closed" and "the big lounge scene" - oh, we also do a jumpstarted plowhards tune, one of my more recent collabs.
isn't the "freebird" joke a little fucking tired! some tried to ruin the quiet roky tune w/that and it really pisssed me off but as I sling shirts to the other gig-goers, that pissed-off feeling leaves and I'm most grateful for all the kindness these cats share w/me. it's really generous and beautiful. people get drunk and fuck if I haven't said the most stupid shit in the word, yammered like a fucking yopparai baka - especially when I was w/raymond, I would sometimes get oblivious to anyting else and fucking bag some major wind like an asshole. not raymond though, he was always aware and polite. thank god I grew out ot that stupide shit. kazu and mio are here, yatta! kazu made us some tako-yaki, oishii. I have to chow some quick. beautiful people. there's a couple who wants me to take a shot w/them cuz it's maybe their thirteen anniversary? there's this other lady who tells me three times how I've been a bad influence on her. I tell her that it's the third time after the third time she says it and she gets pissed off, what? I didn't mean to offend. I'm sorry, really. sometimes it's hard to know what's the right thing to say. I wanna thank everyone I can. a bassbrother named stan wants to talk to me about bass tone so I have him come up and check out my amp setup. I show him about my finger techniques too cuz I think that's where a lot comes from also. he tells me he thought for sure "the glory of man" was slapped and he saw tonight it ain't (it was his first time seeing/hearing me). this bassman stan says he's in the food industry and he understands about no open-handed handshakes, that's reassuring. I really ain't trying to being anything mean, bump elbows is ok he says, all his buds do it. I get to say hi to jay fox, he missed tonight but'll be here tomorrow night.
we can leave all our stuff cuz of the twofer sitch. yatta. big hugs for kazu and mio, their kuruma ('car' in jap) is parked right in front of us. we follow gig/padboss doug not to far to the ramada me + my secondmen stay in during those first week in december gigs here and check-in is w/in minutes - I say that cuz last december was... well, that's another story. there's a tub here and I get to do BIG soak w/salz in the water... man, you wouldn't believe how righteous this is on my bones. after pouring pruned-up self out I konk fucking naked cuz it's so good my sore and tiredness.
sunday, september 29, 2019 - denver, co
I wake up 11AM. Holy shit - best konk I've had all tour. I am so grateful to get such a good night of rest. After waking up a little, I call my friend from high school, Quinn, and also a recent graduate of philosophy at Humboldt State. He now attends graduate school at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He plans on driving down to hang out with me for the day and also plans to come to the show later. Him and I used to play in a post-metal sband together called Promontory. I am still extremely proud of the record that we made, you can listen to it here.
Quinn picks me up at the hotel, and we're off. First, we go check out Wax Trax - dubbed by many as one of the best record stores in the country. The store is huge with a large selection of used vinyl at bargain prices and lots of new & sealed wax that probably has what you're looking for. As much as I love collecting vinyl, I don't really like buying it on tour because that's just more space used up in the boat. I simply buy a few pins for my bag - including Coltrane, Pere Ubu, Husker Du, and Jawbreaker. After that, we head to the nearby mall so my dumbass can buy a new pair of pants. I also treat myself to a new nice, fuzzy denim jacket to keep me warm for when it starts to get colder for this tour. Being from Southern California, I do not do well in the cold.
I take an afternoon nap in my hotel room at about 4PM, and wake up a couple hours later. We head to the gig at about 7 - I eat at the gringo-mexican-style pad across the street called Illegal Pete's with Tom - it was pretty damn good actually. I meet up with Quinn at the venue after dinner - we catch up some more over a drink - he turns me on to Whiskey Sours. Uh oh. It's really good to sit and talk with an old friend. It's easy to forget about the simple and good times that you once had when you really didn't have to worry so much. I'm talking like I'm in my 40's. Jeez.
Almost gig time - I'm feeling more confident and ready to play better than I did the night before. Our set is getting a lot tighter - it's starting to sound like one big song. A very enjoyable experience in Denver. Watt drives us back to the hotel after the gig, and I get ready for bed, feeling determined for the next day.
i do my best to sleep in, but i wake at 8 and get a coffee and omelet across the street and try to rest more. the time on the road can be wearing on the body and mind. i just want to keep healthy. it's a relaxing afternoon, just hang around till we go back to the lair and set up our gear at 7. same bill tonight as last night, easy change up with slim and john again. even more relaxed than last night. by this time we are friendly with the folks working here, we have a good night.
pop at quarter of ten - tuckered watt! piss and then call my ma and talk w/her and my sister melinda - they're doing what we all three do together on sunday mornings when I'm in our pedro town, chow breakfast my sister makes and watch "noir alley" or some old movie my ma can hip us both to w/both the film and the people acting in it. I always look forward to that shit, love it. miss my ma and my sister. I got other sister marilyn I miss too but she ain't in pedro so we don't see her as much. very proud of her though, a teacher for many years. melinda too's been teaching a while now.
I go chow lunch w/last night's gigboss doug at a not too far away mexican chowpad - I get huevos rancheros and dig it, different than so cal in some ways. me and doug have a good time w/lots of good spiel, I'm way into it. we're chowing outside and a big gust comes and lifts three of the giant umbrellas from their mounts and they go flying. doug catches one of them and luckily the other two don't blast me. we get out of there laughing but doug's car's battery is kaput, he gets me back in a cab to the 'tel. we lived to tell.
weird feeling for me while I play catch-up w/the tour stuff not having to get to another town... 'pert-near feel like doing laps around denver in the boat BUT I don't. I play catch-up and also rest my sore joints for the next five hundreder we gotta do tomorrow to get to omaha. there ain't nothing like salz in the tub w/hot water and doing a big soak. crimony. miss hiyori brings this packages of salz that really REALLY help me. I'm wondering if we got the same here in this land... I know we got epsom salts and they've helped me big time but this stuff is even more wailing on me, I fucking dig it. I'm gonna wait for after the gig tonight though, don't wanna waste what I got.
no need for soundcheck so doug's asked us to get to the lion's lair lounge at seven pm, he's got barboss tony holding the most-fortunate-parking-spot place w/his coche. it's just down the street not far from the 'tel. slim cesna is opening again, such a nice man. much respect to him. me and doug do tons of spiel before I gotta get to the boat and konk. turns out we're going on a half hour later than last night just cuz.
I have both tom and big man play a tiny bit softer than last night and I do the same. I think we're tighter tonight than last night - I really think we're on the right path w/this act we're touring. so proud of tom and big man. yeah, I did holler "you're prolly digging this, ronnie!" or something when tom starts tuning his guitar w/out muting it instead of firing up "tv eye" after my "lllllllllllllllord!!!!!!!!" intro and some other tiny things that ain't worth pointing out here but I think we're getting it together and damn if the denver gig-goers ain't really fucking kind to us, especially those who came both nights! crimony. oh, there was some drama for some weird reason in my first spiel cuz of a beer put near me when I could trip and fall cuz of it but that was kind of ridiculous and I could've handled it better. man, I'm such an idiot sometimes. I get scared cuz of being cojo, I don't ever mean to be mean, I swear - I ain't into it.
gig done and much kindness from the gig-goers, very good ones from them. the cat who put the beer up there apologizes but I say it's ok, nothing serious - he gets me a soda water w/a lime in it which is really good (especially after playing your brains out) and it shows how it meant nothing but being generous. beautiful man. lots of good word from the gig-goers, old timers and new people, I'm grateful to all. kazu and mio again here, so kind.
big farewell hug to doug after we pack up, 'til next time. we gotta pull anchor at seven cuz that needs to get done. I do get a soak w/the salz in though, a good one. I get what I need done and shipshape for the morning, I know we can do this. d boon's pop was from nebraska. I force myself to konk.
monday, september 30, 2019 - omaha, ne
My alarm wakes me up at 6:40AM on the dot - I immediately hop in the shower, freshen up, grab my things, and power walk down to the boat. We're off at 7AM right on the dot as we planned, and the hellride from Denver to Omaha, Nebraska begins. I've never been to Nebraska, but Watt has spoken good things of the gig-goers there, so I'm looking forward to the gig.
I'm starting to get a little homesick out of nowhere. The only time I ever get homesick on the road is when I start to not feel the best physically - I tend to feel the best physically at home because my body is so used to the routine there. Plus, when you feel physically good, you're generally going to feel mentally good - they go hand in hand. But, I need to remember that it's important to adapt to your environment. Luckily, it's not that hard to take care of yourself physically and mentally on the road, if you use the correct tools to do so.
We pull up to the venue, The Reverb Lounge, at about 5PM. It's in hip little area of Omaha called Benson - I dig the atmosphere of it. We're introduced to the sound man, Brendan. While I'm setting up my kit, I ask how old he is - I'm just curious. He tells me that he's only 20 years old! I was thinking that he was closer to 27 or something - he appears a lot older to me. He also tells me that he's been doing live sound since he was 10 years old! That's so fuckin' happening.
We hit the stage early at 9PM. We really fucking bring it tonight. Definitely my best performance of The Red and the Black, by far. I really lock it in with Watt, and absolutely nail the ending. Barely any clams on any of our ends. The set is really coming together.
After the gig, we head to our konkpad for the night, Fred's. Fred is a longtime friend of Watt who saw Minutemen and fIREHOUSE a lot back in the day. Thank you so much Fred. I always love when I get to sleep in a bed on a gig night!
not much sleep and then to omaha. have to leave the ramada inn, but it was nice to have my own room for a couple of nights. i think i made the most of it, bath, shower, shave, rest. it's another trip to omaha, hours to the colorado border and all the way across nebraska to omaha. long trip. when we arrive at the reverb lounge in the benson district of omaha. i remember this area from past visits, a little neighborhood with cool shops in old brick buildings. we find a spot right in front and load in. it's a new place for us, just around the corner from the waiting room where we have played before. it's run by the same people as the waiting room, it's just a little smaller but a good size for us. all nice folks working here and they help us get things going. after check i find a thai salad across the street and return to the reverb to do meditation. afterwards i realize that i spaced and left our tea kettle in denver, but it turns out there is a walmart right down the street, so i go get a replacement thats the exact same model. we need throat coat before the screaming begins.
after show we go to fred's place where we've stayed before, great guy. i get my own room and bed and shower and sleep.
pop at six and a half, hose off. prepped everything before last night's konk so I'm ready to shove off. all the team's at the boat, righteous, pull anchor at seven bells, I'm talking on the dime - great team we got this tour, I'm most grateful. beautiful. also grateful for the most happening clear weather. quarter of eight stop in hudson for fuel and subway sandwich - the navigatoro gps put on u.s. 6 to get us out of dodge w/no plug and onto I-76. I love mustard but miss hiyori made sure they didn't bumrush the tuna HOWEVER why do they bumrush the tuna w/mayo? motherfuckers, please get it together. I pull us over at hilrose offramp so tom can switch w/big man - he's got hurt toe from getting it rolled over by one of our shine carts twice. crimony. I want him healthy but tour can bring hurts. he did tell me his fingers have healed up and I'm most glad for that. lots of flat land in these parts but still for me interesting - I like driving ALL OVER our land, never have had a boring feeling about any of it. damn if I don't wish everyone one of us who lives here could visit all the other parts they don't live in. I think we'd have a better consciousness and more realistic sense of who we are all are and shit could get more together, I truly do. I wheel us into nebraska at ten and a half, it's about there when I -76 ends and we're back on I-80, the same road we got across wyoming on - actually also how we got to the city too to work the chapel in the mission - I trip on the connects a tour can bring you. twelve and a half (an hour ago we crossed into central time and lost a hour), I pull us over in north platte (the town, not the river) at a flying mascis I get 87 octane for $2.50/gallon, best price yet. at the counter get to hear an enlighten soul end his sermon w/something like "...your governor in california's a fricken idiot" - not to me but a counterlady. when it's my turn to pay for what I pumped I tell her I've lived in cali fiftytwo years and it's ok - hell, we're running a surplus. my guess is assholes are trying to divide us (I mean the country) to benefit their own bumrush. it's a bad hurt on us, we gotta wake up to that bullshit. it's an old tired game being played, so fucking lame. anyway, I get us back on the road and chow the tako-yaki kazu cooked for us last night. it's real good. man, is that brother most kind, truly. tom's back in the starboard bow seat and is good company, always something interesting out of him and lots of time most funny. twenty years we've been touring together - think about that... I do all the time and it blows my fucking mind - longer than being w/d boon... that's the reality... I love him so much. big man was only two when me and tom started touring together - can you get into that? crimony!
I wheel the boat into the benson part of omaha (actually used to be it's own deal way back but you know how "metro" trips swallow stuff up) and we drop anchor at the reverb room at just after five - just that much late, most grateful for the safe arrival after 524 miles, most grateful to arrive alive. load-in is right in front convenient and parking too is right there most fortunate. new pad the music room is separate from the bar room - dig that. I meet soundman braden and he's real cool people, way into the fourth man spiel and hips me to the knowledge that this pad's (new pad called the reverb lounge) connected to "the waiting room" which is around the corner and I've done more than a couple times. the boss john there has always been most kind to me, always.
after soundcheck I do a spiel w/james for his "everthing's gone green" show on kzum, very kind and insightful cat, truly. what was supposed to be tiny spiel turns into serious bagging of wind, whoops. he's beautiful about it though cuz he was gonna try and make it tiny for me. his questions were good ones though and I felt I owed him full answers, not shallow crap.
miss hiyori finds a nearby chowpad called "ika" ('squid' in jap) and brings me some niku udon soup... damn if it ain't really fucking good. she said they had "don chigon" too - fucking trippy, huh? fusion's ok w/me - so glad asia chow is getting bigger here in u.s., same w/mexican and you know I ain't talking "taco bell" shit - same as "yoshinoya" mazui kuso ('bad tasting shit' in jap). I write raul, we need shirts and him w/kid kevin and their calimucho operation are doing those for us, great cats. also demos in shaker heights is most happening to have them delivered to his pad so we can pick them... he's also letting us konk at his pad, he's the best.
early gig tonight (yes!) - john says go time is quarter after nine. no konk in the boat (no time), I hear all of the wagon blasters do their from stage port in the dressing room (great sitch) and get inspired to bring it tonight to state where d boon's pop was from. even w/stuff to potentially put us off sched, my men are great w/the prod and the local guys are most kind to get their stuff gone from the stage for us, thank you much wagon blaster people, thank you much!
the omaha gig-goers right off the bat bring, grazie. I'm lit and try my hardest for them, together w/my guys - they're bringing it, good rally - we're still on the path to getting it together, yes! I blow some clams, tom blows some clams and even big man blows some clame but in the big picture they're all tiny, I'm thinking - we're on the path to getting this show together... damn if I don't wish this could've been the first gig in cruz back in cali! but it can't, you have to build these things, especially w/new shipmates so gaman ('patience' in jap), it takes time. I thank everyone for letting tonight's nebraska-california connection happen, it was really a good time.
sling from the stage when done, get much good word from the gig-goers... not all are omaha - pete drove from kansas w/his lady, he's the man who during my tours of the first opera gave the bracelet (he made it from a bicycle spoke) I've worn ever since getting it from him - he's got one on too! I've always felt I'd have good luck if I wore, a tour totem for me, so kind of him. some cats drove from iowa (some from great band fetal pig) - I wish I could play everywhere every tour so people wouldn't have to make the hellrides like they do but the country's just so big... fuck, no florida gigs this tour cuz of that - no dakotas, montana, no wisconsin, no maine - I feel so bad cuz of that. damn me.
I settle w/john - he tells me my picture on the bulkhead at this pad was the first one up when they opened... I'm most honored, big hugs for brother john. such kindness, I find it all over this country and am most grateful truly so please keep that in mind if you read any kind bunkness in my chimping.
we drive over to fred's pad, on the way have a hell-encounter w/some potential nightmare but are blessed w/dodging the bullet, so to speak. I just put my hand over my mirror cuz the brights from behind me were blinding my eyes. at fred's I get to soak in some salz and then spiel w/him and his buddy tim, another nice cat too who had to bail and damn if I space on his name... gotta write fred and get enlightened. fred's the best, always so kind to me and the crew I bring him, beautiful. thank you big time, brother fred.
tuesday, october 1, 2019 - minneapolis, mn
Fuck, I can't believe that it's already October. One-year anniversary of dealing with extreme stomach issues. I've seen so many different doctors, and still, none of them have been able to diagnose anything. I'm starting to come to terms with the fact that they may never find a "cure". Everybody has something shitty physically that they have to deal with - digestive issues happen to be mine. Tom has bad vision. Watt is crippled. Hiyori is allergic to polyester. My mother has lupus. I simply need to remind myself that everybody has something going on, even if it's invisible.
We pack up at Fred's and get in the boat soon after I wake up. He doesn't have coffee, so we stop and get some at a bakery that's in the same plaza where Watt pulls up to get gas before making the trek to Minneapolis. I'm super excited for the Minneapolis gig, even though I'm a little homesick, and not feeling so hot physically - my stomach has really been bothering me these last couple of days.
Last time I played a gig in Minneapolis was with my band Neighborhood Brats for our Across America 2019 tour back in April. We played at a place called the Eagles Club - a bar/youth center of some sorts. Holy shit, what a fucking gig that was! We played with a lot of great bands that night, specifically Green/Blue, a newer project with members of the Soviettes, Blind Shake and Birthday Suits, plus another really awesome band that blew my mind that night called I.V., that shares members with the band Color TV. You can check them out here, I highly recommend both VERY, VERY MUCH: IV and Green/Blue.
Drew, the singer of I.V., is actually coming to the gig tonight - I'm stoked to see him. Not only because he's a righteous and hilarious dude - but he's also being kind enough to bring me an old zip-up hoodie from his old job, and some fuzzy gloves, because I spaced and didn't bring any from home. It's going to get way colder as we start to get more East, and I do not do well in the cold at all; me being from California and not so experienced with traveling and touring, my body isn't so used to extreme temperatures just yet. My penpal who I met in a music group on Facebook, Caitlin, is also coming to the gig with her friend Colby - I'm excited to see them too - both big supporters of music, new and old.
We pull up to 7th Street Entry (also connected to First Avenue, the bigger venue next door) at about 3:30PM for load-in and soundcheck. It's raining - fuck! Luckily it's not pouring, and the soundman Tony is there to give us a helping hand with the load in - thank you Tony. We always appreciate an extra helping hand with the schlepping, especially in the rain!
After soundcheck I head down to the green room to put my stuff down and go upstairs to eat dinner with Tom at the restaurant that's connected to the venue. They have Beyond Burgers on the menu - fuck yeah. I'm not vegan or anything, but I do love the taste and texture of a beyond burger - I devour one with a fried egg and some delicious house parmesan truffle fries. God damn, what a meal! Good thing it's still early and we're not playing for a few hours.
I head back down to the green room and Tom introduces me to John deVries. He used to play in a band called Agitpop that was on Twin/Tone back in the day. He is an extremely nice guy - we talk about our love for The Clash amongst other things. He's also opening up the show tonight - stoked to be sharing the stage with someone him. When it comes time for his set, I head upstairs to watch. I really enjoy how he owns the stage by himself with only his voice and electric guitar. He delivers a very emotional and eclectic performance, with his "fucky" guitar-style and his captivating, passionate, unorthodox voice. I love it.
I hang out with Drew when he shows up, we talk about music and life in general. It's almost gig time now - I'm not feeling so hot, but I'm determined to give my best possible performance for the gig goers. During the set, I'm feeling good, and within the first four tunes, my nervousness subsides. Once I get into it, it's hard for me to lose my confidence unless something really goes haywire.
After the load out, I take a picture with Grant Hart's star on the wall, and we head to Steve's pad for the night. They settle us in like we're right at home. I share a drink with him and spiel with him and his wife Anne for almost an hour - fuck, I'm tired but they're so good at talking I don't even wanna go to bed yet! Thank you so much Steve and Anne. I wish we didn't have to be up so early for the trek to Chicago!
mike goes early to get the oil changed in the boat and when he returns he calls me to get everyone outside to start the ride to minneapolis. we play at the 7th street entry again, very good plsce and people running it. i dont know how many times i've been here. great room connected to the 1st avenue large venue where prince shot some of purple rain. as we enter the city the rain is coming down which is kind of nice except during load in. we do it quickly and park the van in the 1st avenue parking garage which is very cool. after check and i get some food next door at the depot which is connected and part of the whole 1st ave complex, we don't even have to go outside good food salad and blt for me, very sufficient. i go down to the green room to practice guitar and vocals, and soon john deVries shows up. wild to see him after such a long time. he's playing a solo set before us tonight, i love his songs and his voice. we hang and talk till time to play.
after show we go to steve and annie's place for a very comfortable stay. its perfect for us' everyone has their own space to sleep plus a a garage for the van that locks, great. very sweet couple.
pop at six and hose off. I gotta get the boat into the elkhorn ford dealership for 3000 mile maintenance, I'm five hundred miles over but what could I do? the denver gigs were on a weekend w/the ford people closed. gotta take care of the boat though cuz the boat takes care of us, much respect. that gauge prob I truly believe is a gauge prob cuz the boat's running great... I'll get to it when I get time... we got four hundred miles to cover to get to minneapois and they want us to load at three and a half, crimony! I ain't gonna cower or bellyache, I'll do my best to FIRST get us there safe and SECOND try to be on time. I chimp diary while I wait.
boat serviced, people at this ford pad most kind to me... get the team from fred's at eight and a half, get fuel for the boat - $2.34/gallon - crimony! can't find big man cuz he scourged for coff... crimony, I go off (apologize to him after) prolly cuz of wanting not to let the first avenue people down - hell, I'm been up since the crack cuz of maintenance for the boat. I think everybody gets the point, it's just the method of the delivery... I keep working on it - tom says I used to be worse. I'm really trying to get better. eleven and a half, pull over north of des moines to fuel up, I fucking did a blow-by machi-gai ('mistake' in jap) and thank god tom alerted me or we might've ended up in minnesota via illinois. fucking baka watt. trippy, agit-pop on my ipod, "big bang theory" too that the shuffle mode brings us - both tunes by john devries and damn if he ain't playing w/us tonight - how did this machine know? it has no connect w/the internet as far as I know... maybe it's got some kind connect w/us? I got a lame feeling in my gut from the chicken "tender" (not) miss hiyori got for me last fuel stop and after getting over the border into minnesota around two, I gotta blow it out at the "welcome center" big time. thank god tom's got some anti-acid "tums" pills I chew down. gotta watch the shitty chow... even after years of working on an iron gullet, I still can get poisoned though in my earlier tours it happened all the fucking time.
the closer to where we need to be, the more rain the comes down - quarter of four we arrive at the seventh street entry which is part of the first avenue (you load in on seventh street), I've been doing gigs here since steve mcclellan ran the pad - it's also where "land speed record" by the huskers was recorded, the first full-length lp d boon and martin's label (new alliance records) put out. lot of history. load-in/load-out is fucking lame in the rain but what can you do? just bellyache about it? HELL NO, let's get it done. lucky thing is now they have you park here INSIDE - old time workerman and man I love much conrad guides me in. so good to see him again, so good. we try and catch up w/much spiel but still that ain't enough to get it together - I could talk w/this man forever, I really dig him. there's a tour bus already here, I found out it's for the new pornographers who are working the big room. I watch them soundcheck a song and then their bossman carl, bassman john and singer neko come and rap w/me, most kind people and I'm such a baka w/bad memory acting up on me strong, so embarrassing but they're just beautiful to me still. thank you good people, thank you. damn if I ain't social awkward so much.
we do soundcheck w/soundman tony - he reminds me about me and lite brothers konking at his pad years ago, alright - more kind people in my life and then on the rebound! he's way into the fourth man role I ask him to be in w/us tonight and he gives the big yes - he's got a big beard now, I realize... gigboss eli gives the balance of the rider - a big reason I go for small rider - I chow caesar salad w/some korean rib vegan trip chunks from next door, "the depot" - more newness about here for me. I see john devries downstairs in the entry's dressing room - so good to see him again, saw him last march in beacon, ny during me helping mike baggetts w/a tour and that was after a buttload of years of NOT seeing him... big hugs for john, big ones. adam from the mighty mofos is here also (I saw singerman billy going through the maze to get from the boat to here), all three of us are sharing stage tonight. tom tells me water boiler was donated, said he did want me to find out but even the sack it was in - the good one w/the zipper so it could also hold the throatcoat ocha sacks and idaho mug - hey, the idaho mug somehow was saved! I tell tom he can tell me stuff like that and damn if he didn't replace it anyway. fuck, I am way tuckered and gotta some konk, back through the maze to get to the boat and I konk fucking hard and fast.
I don't know how but I konk at five of nine, twenty minutes before our downbeat - no roust from tom? that's strange... a kind workerman from the chowpad helps me through the maze (obviously I appeared lost) to where I gotta be and tom's got the throatcoat ocha coming, I'm most grateful. doing a gig w/out this stuff (like in portland and spoakae) is the absolute worse for me, even worse than no konk which I can do once in a while but it's always fucked w/out the throatcoat ocha wetting down my chords on tour, really fucked - a virtual sand-pound glass glass-full on me.
big man and tom are righteous w/the changeover, soundman tony too - they get it down good and quick! one lame thing is big man's water container and a water bottle in the corridor I use behind him to work the room so that's gotta get moved, I put by tom's stuff - we'll have a talk abou that later. I'm just a fucking cojo that needs safe corridor, so sorry about that. the minneapolis gig-goers are there for us from note one, HUGE respect to them. my guys play real good. I do have to stop a couple of tunes and start them over cuz tom's having some probs w/the spiel but then I blow some clams where I don't stop us - what? well, one of these tunes I consider the "hub" of this tour's set and I really wanna get this together and deliver it. we'll get it - remember, it's twenty years I've toured w/tom, longer than anyone else in my life. it's a good gig, really is. I had to tell some yammerer to shut the fuck up in the quiet roky song I do - then it flusters me and I reverse the chorus words, baka watt. still, pretty smoking - so proud of the big man and tom, so glad I get to do this tour w/the.
sling what shirts we got - running low on all sizes - actually smalls and medium already gone and large will get spent after tonight. a gig-goer tells me some real hells he's had to go through w/losing his pop, his best buddy and hard health blows - I hug him up big. a big reason why I try as hard as I can w/music stuff, especially the live gig part. cats from the old days, cats from the new days too. one guy though has to get weird w/the no open-hand handshake trip... hell the new pornograhper people understood earlier when I met them... why is it a big fucking issue, I mean on the personal level? I just wanna keep my health together so I can do the best gig I can for folks on this tour - IT AIN'T ANYTHING OTHER THAN THAT, I swear. man, us humans are weird species. fuck, what can I do? I move on to the next gig-goer who ain't so fucking uptight about this shit. crimony, talk about petty crap - can you they put themselves in my shoes for just a sec? I ain't trying to be anything other than watt that's grateful to have people show up.
I settle w/eli and he's most kind, he even prints up some papers I need for the border stuff I got coming up in a few days for the upcoming toronto gig. to have cold soda water after a gig is so fucking happening - trippy, hot throatcoat ocha before and cold soda water when done! I say bye and thank everyone I can - I see steve mcclellan as I wheel us out, love this man and he promises to come to my pedro town for a tour I wanna give him. one more hug for conrad! another steve is w/us, a man who interviewed for his radio show years ago and now again he's letting me konk at his annie's pad not too far away. he's even got a garage for us to drop anchor in. I hose off and get on the air mattress soon after getting my word-out-for-next-gig work done. there's a bunch of yammering from big man that's kind of urasai... maybe I have a talk w/him tomorrow about that. small stuff though, he's doing so great, keeping up w/all of us.
wednesday, october 2, 2019 - chicago, il
I awake at Steve and Anne's pad at 6:15AM - we have to be on the road by 7. I rush to get ready, chug coffee, swallow breakfast, say my goodbyes, and we're off to Chicago. Another shitty night of sleep for me, even in a comfy stitch - it's really starting to get to me now. My stomach doesn't feel good at all either. Oh well, that's tour. I'm in and out of sleep the entire ride there again. Watt wakes me in the van as we pull up to venue at about 4:30PM. Even though it's raining outside, we quickly and efficiently load everything in. We're there a lot earlier than when the sound man is supposed to arrive, so I get a little bit of down time to do some work on my computer, catch up on diary, etc. We meet Liv, the person in charge of hospitality for the day - she gives us some meal tickets and shows us down the green room. After we do soundcheck, I eat dinner with Tom. Soon after, the opening band arrives, The Crustations, and Tom and I spiel with them in the green room. Good people they are - we talk about our mutual love for Prince and Tom and I explain to them that they need to listen to the Pop Group.
Early gig tonight, we play at 9PM - righteous. I love the atmosphere of the room as it resembles a small theatre. We bum rush the stage and hit right into the set. I start a little bit too fast on the first song, but I don't get too down on myself because it is better to come out guns blazing than...well, guns not blazing? I pick it back up with a great tempo with Sweet Honey Pie...the set starts to flow now. My favorite part of the set is when Tom does lead singing for a beginning chunk after Fun House - these songs include "Conspirator's Oath", "Amnesty Report", "Beacon Sighted Through Fog", and "The Glory of Man". These are easily my favorite songs to play in the set, and some of my favorite songs to play on the drums in general. Watt and I especially lock in together on these ones. We sound great, I'm proud of us.
I get a lot of kind words from the gig goers after the show, this always makes me happy - I truly thank them all. We load out very quickly with some help from the audience too which I'm extremely grateful for. After getting a little lost and frustrated on the way to our konk pad for the night, Jamie's pad, we finally arrive at about midnight. Jamie - thank you so much for housing us for the night and thank you for being able to provide a bed for myself - always so grateful for that. I'm ready to konk, we gotta be on the road at 9AM for the show in Columbus, Ohio!
we get fed in morning and say goodbye till next time. today we go to Chicago, so we get on the road early to avoid rush hour traff. so many cars, one person in each just like home. both in and out to the city the lanes are equally stuffed. that's a little different from
it's a maze getting the venue, but we do and load and meet the nice folks running the place. the sound man fabrice helps us setting up and run through our short soundcheck.
a nice green room where nick and i rest a bit before the other group that's playing with us the crustations. all sweet and interesting people. pasha and group eats and hangs with us before their set, we talk about music... duh. fun.i see a great great guy i know here, doug m. after gig we roll to jamie's pad for the night.
pop at six bells, what can I say? that's the way it works. that's why initial konk for me is important. steve's up soon also...he gives me "writing for a spaceship" by j otis powell? who was a poet he knew. respect. he cooks me up scrambled eggs while annie does some chicken sausage - I can't eat the pastry sweet stuff cuz the only sweets I really like are sour gummis and even then just some times. easy out of him and annie's garage at eight, byebye and big thanks to them, so very kind. they're empty nesters now, both kids they raised going to college in the number one and three cities, I'm so proud of their contributions to putting some happening people out there for the next shift. watt never did that, neither did my sisters... they're both teachers though so maybe they're doing some kind of contribution... maybe somehow I am too? for sure steve and annie did. big respect to them.
relative easy out of town - I'm grateful for only having to avoid dangerous assholes instead of both that and sit in fucking plug. fuel up at nine a little bit after getting into wisconsin, dry skies but gray. I chow none of the shit at the fueling station and instead tom fixes me up crackers w/the 'dines in mustard on them w/the green jalapeno sauce, real good. at noon pull over near the wisconsin dells for more fuel after just passing semi truck on its side all twisted up in a ditch alongside road - this is the reality of what can happen to anyone on the road. I hope the driver's ok. it's hard to eve look. down the road some cuz the onramp back on is closed, we find a cheese place (wisconsin has many cheese pads, it's a big dairy state) and I get some curds, I get a sack of them fixed up w/dill and garlic. greg norton says you know they're good ones when they squeak on your teeth and that's what they do. I get us back on the I-90 towards madison - no chance to see bucky pope this tour but I'm thinking of him - you know I did a seven inch w/him last year? yep, proj is called tone scientists and we're planning next on a twelve inch fortyfive. so sad for me in a way to pass through a state w/out playing a gig there, treating them as though they're some kind of conduit or something, hate it. into illinois around one, it starts sprinkling. lots of tolls but then these roads got lost of use on them. the navigatore puts us on I-39 so we can get into chi-town near o'hare airport and not along lake michigan which makes better for avoiding trucks but still there's assholes cutting us off and shit... plug comes as we pass the airport - a pickup 'pert-near plows us, going over an island but I swerve to avoid and we make it to schubas right on time four bells. another fucking eight or so hour drive but we arrive alive so it's way worth it.
gigboss liv is very cool people. soundman fabrice has a problem w/out setup but grumbles through it... you gotta have the soundman on your side so we try our best to ease it for him. he's got an "intern" named kaela which is kind of new for me but anyone who can help to make a better is ok w/me. opening act the crustations ask to borrow our drums and bass amp - I meet their bassman david and he seems like a nice man who won't break my stuff. the pad here cooks me up a small steak sandwich and that's what I chow for dinner. I go to the boat to konk cuz I am fucking tuckered. every fucking day 'pert-near since seattle has been a fucking hellride - I'm grateful were ok and healthy but fuck, does it wear on me. thank god for these konks. howard really has to worry why I don't wanna do spiels on the tour? crimony. so glad he loves me though and I love him back.
gig time for us is nine bells and tom brings me trhoatcoat ocha ten minutes before after rousting me. fuck was I out. I really REALLY needed that. the chicago gig-goers are most kind and ready to go, I give it all I got soon I get my bass on and make sure it's tuned. no monitors at first but the soundman fabrice brings them for me. I learn later the intern kaela kept asking tom to turn down - during the gig?! really weird. he's got just a little sixty watt combo. anyway, that's the way it goes - I later felt bad for him when he told me this but what can you do? you gotta have the soundman on your side. actually me and fabrice have a good laugh about stuff before I drove off - it was in the boat later on way to the konk pad that tom let me know what was up. anyway, about the gig: I thought we did pretty good. I did have to re-start "do you want new wave?" again cuz again tom couldn't get the words right and this ain't nothing against tom cuz I know he's trying his hardest but it's really important to me this tune gets done right the tour cuz like I've previously said, it's the "hub" of the set, the bottom line in some ways of what I want this tour to really home in on. I do pile on a lot of stuff on tom... twenty years of this now and still he's w/me, I'm most grateful, truly. you know, it's richard hell's bday and it really got me to thinking. he was my first punk rock hero and me putting his picture on my bass in 1977 really was a line in the sand for me... so many people in my pedro town hated the movement - I don't even think most of them new what it was but the stuff they thought the did know about it, the didn't dig AT ALL but I thought if richard hell could have a band and let his freak flag fly, then I could w/be d boon and we could try to do our own version of that - fuck what anyone else thought about it. I think about richard this whole gig and it gives me righteous focus and stomped out all doubts and hesitations. it wasn't like I thought I was better than anyone in this room but more like it was more like my turn to bring it and I didn't wanna let anyone down. luckily the big man had very happening focus though his set list 'pert-near tripped me up cuz it was in the "corridor" behind him that I like to work between him and my amp when I ain't having to do spiel on my mic. I couldn't ask for more from he at this moment, same w/tom. I'm most grateful for both. even w/having memories from 1977 to motivate me, I need real live co-conspirators w/me on stage for gigs in 2019, just do. the past helped make what I am now but it's a memory now and a gig is very much in the moment. thank god for richard in my life, same w/d boon and the stooges and so many others but in these kind of moments watt has to really man up and grow a pair - that's how I feel I can try and make up on the huge debt I will always owe. life is fucking trippy.
time to be grateful to the chicago gig-goers and damn if they don't deserve it, they're so kind to us. lots of them wanna talk about the old days when they get up to stage while I'm slinging when the gig's done and I so much wanna tell them I'm so glad they're hear NOW - yes, the time when the first saw me's important too but past stuff is trippy in a way, hard to figure how it truly figures in stuff that is in the NOW, at the moment. all my time w/my pop is stopped forever in 1991 when cancer killed me but actually me thinking about him maybe makes him kind of here since I still am? same w/d boon since 1985... maybe it's a trippy parallel w/why these gig-goers gotta tell me about the first time they saw me or the last time they saw me... memory is such a deep trip w/me. after seventy minutes of asking these cats to listen, now it's my turn - seems fair, right? I wonder why I get feeling weird about it? damn, I'm so grateful for them - I never want a gig-goer at a watt show feel they've taken for granted, never. I know d boon would think something like that would be total horseshit. I feel grateful no one tonight tells me it's bullshit I won't do an open handshake w/them, that's very kind of them, truly. can you believe things can get down to that tiny of a thing? it kind of does when you think how fucking hard it is to do a gig sick. let me tell you. on the other "hand" I wanna let these folks know it was really important to me that they did things to make they were here for me and my men, it really is.
I settle w/the gigboss liv in the boat, she has no prob that. respect. it was raining when I konked earlier but now it's calm that way. I wheel us southwest sauk village, about two miles west of the border w/indiana - on the way the sky opens up w/pounding rain. crimony. of course there's assholes driving like it wasn't like it was but we're lucky and survive the crazy shit. on the way, tom tells us how his pop and ma got together, really interesing and righteous romantic - they ended up getting married in switzerland and then had three boys in new york city before coming to cali. great hearing about this... twenty years w/tom and I never knew - his pop and ma would come to see us play many gigs together. sauk village has calm skies but the navigatore gps can't find our buddy jamie's pad - this happened last ime when me and the jom & terry show konked here two and a half years ago. what I end up doing is parking the boat at popeye's fried chicken pad and wait for him to come in his ride and have us follow him. he's got his buddies from the heelerz (very creative band) over and I talk some w/them and him after doing a soak w/the salz - kind of took a buttload of time for the tub to fill but damn if it wasn't worth it. in the nightwear w/the air mattress inflated, I spiel 'til I'm out of gas - one of the latest nights for me this tour. I was stupid about that but everyone so kind. I drank my first beer this tour, just one and it was trippy. we got another hellride and another time zone to cross tomorrow - I got an email from richard saying he's in barcelona, there's a picture of him on roof of a gaudi-designed apartment building, one I've been on too when I toured w/the stooges... he's beautiful.
thursday, october 3, 2019 - columbus, oh
Once again, even with a comfortable konk stitch at Jamie's pad, I still slept like shit. I also feel a bit of a throat cold coming on which is not good. These last few days of having horrible bathroom issues and slumber issues is really starting to get to me. Thankfully, I'm still keeping it together in my head. Of course the music aspect of touring gives me motivation to keep going. I need to do my best for the gig goers!
I don't even bother taking a shower at Jamie's because I already feel gross. I simply wash my face and put some deodorant on - I'm tired and too lazy to shave even though I desperately need to. I chug some coffee and we're off at 9AM to head to Columbus. On the ride there, once again, I am in an out of slumber, struggling to stay awake and keep my cool together.
We pull up to the Rumba Cafe at about 4:30PM. Chris, the sound man and DOS person opens the back gate for us. Hell of a guy, easy to work with, etc. Smooth load-in and soundcheck stitch, couldn't ask for more. I'm super tired but I walk to a nearby Greek restaurant to get a chicken salad and fried calamari that was cheap and tasty.
When I get back to the venue I hang with the dudes from the band Vacation - a Cincinnati, Ohio band. They're opening the show tonight, fuck yeah, I love these dudes and their music so much. They're like if Guided By Voices meets the Ramones - very good with pop sensibility but also not afraid to get weird as all hell at certain points. It just works.
During the gig, we definitely bring it hard, keeping the set in motion, not a lot of clams on any of our ends. The only thing that bums me out is that Tom's pedal has some major issues so we can't play The Red and The Black, which is my favorite song to play in the set. All good though - we get kind words from the gig-goers and a good amount of them come up to us after to show their good faith to us. I'm most grateful for this, always, especially when I feel like I didn't play so good.
For some reason after this gig, I am way more tired than usual. As soon as we get to John Zuck's house, our konk pad for the night, I immediately head to bed. I am in need of a good konk.
our trip takes us through garry, IN and toledo, OH. ending in columbus in the center of ohio. we are at club called the rumba lounge, our first time to play here. we park in back and load through their patio area into the club, pretty simple. nice dude running the place. i'm not feeling great so after eating al pastor burrito from a truck around the corner (which was very good) i do a meditation and drink tea and focus on the set. gig goes well with a pretty a pretty packed room. i'm satisfied.
we then go to john's place for the night.
pop at quarter of seven, get the bones I owe my men to them for the second week of work they've done this tour, they deserve much. jamie makes up coff. I show him how I got his mac to set up a network we can use to access the net. it's actually just a little kind of plumbing using the sharing pref pane. so kind of jamie letting us do laundry - all these kind people helping us w/that... I can speak in behalf of the band that we're much grateful, MUCH grateful. big hug for jamie. us-30 for 130 miles, gray skies but dry ones. quarter after nine we pull anchor and give our big thanks and byebyes to jamie. can't wait to get new heelerz music from him.
just after twelve noon (lost an hour going into easter time zone), I pull us over to fuel up just south of plymouth $2.38/gallon for gas the boat likes - I see big man bring his leah into the subway sandwich joint, why? everybody else does that addictive shit these days... hmm... we were talking about the old days at jamie's too... I don't a sandwich cuz of already chowing two boiled eggs miss hiyori got me a couple of days ago (love how the ice packs keep the cooler cold - great idea from tom, it beats the shit out of ice melting), those wisconsin curds and jamie's popcorn he flowed us a bag of. I pull us off at the first rest stop on us-23 after we get on it after us-30 cuz I gotta dump.
we arrive at the rumba room in the clintonville part of columbus quarter after five, fifteen minutes early. soundman/gigboss (like brad in columbia city and ketxia in salt lake city) he is most kind to us, him making everything happening for us. it's warm - lots of clouds but the rain held off and it's sunny. soundcheck is quick and loud but that's cuz no audience yet... I've learned shit changes if bodies are brought to soak up the gig... miss hiyori gets me some tacos carnitas from a comidas truck around the corner soundman/gigboss chirs hipped us too - columbia and not mexico style which is trippy for me but good, I like... the tortillas are different, thicker... muy sabor. I go to the boat and konk.
there's a cincinatti (speaking of cinci, my old friend adam is driving all the way here to see me but damn if I'm to beat to have chow w/him... he's most kind to understand my sitch) band called vacation opening up but I'm out cold in the boat trying to get rested up for our turn. so sorry.
tom rousts me for the nine bells go and brings the most tiny mug of throatcoat ocha - like two shots worth of piss-temperature that really don't help but better than nothing and I know tom really tries his hardest. it's a hard gig for me, pert-near miming it but trying my hardest (tom's good at inspiring watt) - fuck, this is the town where ed fROMOHIO went to college... big man's playing his ass off, much respect to him. the columbus gig-goers have big energy and a couple have big mouths for the soft parts - I guess you gotta take the whole package which I'm grateful to do. we have a prob w/tom's "weeping demon" wah - it craps out at the end of the stooges "tv eye" so I go and unplug his board and plug his guitar straight into the amp so we can finish w/the soft tune of roky's we do this tour.
I sling what we got left - miss hiyori's moved so much stuff. I get a flannel from a gig-goer, so very kind - there's a man who says he's got a chow pad but my stupid head (now that I think of it) thought he was talking about tonight when he was prolly talking about the morning... I'm so stupid. arrggghhh.. that man was so kind, he mentioned it two different times but I don't why I couldn't make sense of it then 'cept for maybe my head throbbing - it does that after gigs sometimes and I stopped using any ibuprofen or aspirin even - won't do it anymore. a man apologized for yelling during our last tune by saying he love that tune so much he couldn't help himself. I wish it wasn't an issue cuz I sure don't wan't anyone who spends money to see me play feel bad about something like that. I'm so sorry for getting so frustrated about that stuff, truly I am. the columbus gig-goers really brought and I thought they were/are beautiful.
the team packs up and soundman/gigboss chirs is having probs w/his printer... we get the settlement done though and I thank him for everything, truly. I thank as many folks as possible - the vacation band man I get to say just before I roll us out. I'm soaked w/sweat.
get to john's pad more than a hour before midnight, fuck yeah! his buddy down the street brings a bass for me to sign, it's for his son who he's trying to get to take it up. no prob for me soon as I hose off and get into the nightwear. a little spiel w/john and then I gotta konk, I'm tuckered, truly tuckered.
friday, october 4, 2019 - detroit, mi
I pop up from a much well-needed konk at about 9:30AM. We don't have to leave until about noon for Detroit because it isn't that far from Columbus - only about three hours. John has some stuff for us to make breakfast, and of course I have a big hot cup of coffee. Since I was so tired last night, I have a good time rapping with him on his porch about music and life in general. He tells me he's 10 months sober - that's really good to hear. He gives me some history about his music background, and while doing so, he also tells me about how he's been playing in wedding bands for years now as well, and that you can only play Margaritaville so many times before you want to off yourself. We share a laugh. Thanks for the hospitality John, I very much appreciate it.
We say our goodbyes to and head to Detroit. Once again of course, I start to konk out. I don't feel so hot today, but I keep pushing. We pull up to El Club at about 4:30PM, and we load-in and soundcheck quick, with help from our friendly and accommodating soundman, Sam. I like his style.
I walk down the street to Armando's, a nearby Mexican joint, to grab some really tasty Mexican chow. We are in the part of Detroit known as "Mexicantown", after all. After chowing down, I head to hang outside near the venue's outside fireplace, and drink a Club Mate. I drank those so much when I was in Germany this past summer, I never see them anywhere in the states! My friend Steven Schnieder shows up. Him and I have been Facebook penpals since about 2014, but this is my first time meeting him in person. He's just as eccentric in person as he is online, which is reliving to say the least. He also gives me some records and stickers to take for the road, fuck yeah. I'll make sure to send him a care package of some stuff when I get home. Him and I rap his time living in Long Beach, back from 1999-2003...way before my time (I was born in '97), and he also talks about how close he was with Josh Fischel. I never knew Josh personally; I really wish I knew him personally. I always have heard nothing but good about him.
Early gig tonight, we hit the stage at 8:45PM. I don't feel so good in the head, or physically too for that matter, but I'm ready to do my best for the gig-goers. We blow into the set right on time - I fuck up and forget to tell Sam to put on Coltrane before and after the show, fucking fuck, I'm mad and upset at myself now. I have to make sure to always remember that for the rest of the tour. It's so important for the set. During the gig, I blow a clam missing a beat on "Forever/One Reporter's Opinion" - fuck, I hate messing this one up, it's one of my favorites to play. I also fuck up some timing with Political Song For Michael Jackson to sing. It's okay though - I'll rally my mistakes tomorrow.
We head over to Bob Teagan's after the gig. Bob was kind enough to record the whole gig for us too, fuck yeah, thank you Bob. I'm tired as shit, but I can't sleep...probably because of that Club Mate I drank, and because it's loud as fuck downstairs. Bob has a huge stereo system. I come downstairs at about 2:30AM to find Watt dancing to "Kicks" by Lou Reed - too fucking good. I hang out for a bit, then head back up to try and crash out again.
north to detroit, we will see bob t. tonight and we play at el club where we played last time with the puppets. nice place in mexicantown. after check i go down the street for some enchiladas and am very pleased with the authenticity of the food.
gig time comes and we do a good job. then load and head to bob's and we listen to blue mask at a very high level. i take a shower and nick and i sleep in two beds in a little room on the second floor.
pop at six bells and chimp diary, why waste time lying there? I wanna really konk when I'm situated that way. I think the way I was oriented might've had something to do w/some giving probs cuz damn if I didn't have it better 180 degrees opposite on the air mattress. john pops after eight and makes me coff. he works his bass while I work my 'puter. he turns us on to some zip-ties to help secure some of tom's pedalsby cables - I'm really thinking it's this ibanez wd7 weeping demon wah of his - it's the only old thing of all the stuff he's using, I mean everything: cables, guitar, amp, board, boxes, amp stand - ok, not the strap BUT everything else... I know cuz I'm the one who's gotten him all of it, I love tom much. I know it's material things but still, twenty years he's been there for me and I just feel I owe him to help focus on his expression and not let the material stuff weigh on him too much. tom's an artist and bass players are like glue anyway - what's glue like w/nothing to stick to? I tell you what: a fucking puddle. I don't wanna be a puddle, I wanna be w/tom in the missingmen, help all I can and if that means helping w/any and all material stuff, I'm gonna fuck do it. we gotta solve this dilemma w/the cutting out at the end of the set that happened last night... can't just replace this wah w/any way cuz this model is very special and one that tom's really into so I want the exact dealio but w/out any fucking up and cutting out. makes sense to me and I know tom watson is not some generic guy - if he's particular about something then there's a good reason for it.
noon and we pull anchor, many thanks to john for his kindness... he helps me down his steps cuz the handrail is laying in the yard. safe seas to you, bassbrother john. blue skies, I take us whence we came on us-23 north to us-30 north 'til we're beyond our shared deja vu and onto I-75, passing toledo (home of reverend guitars) and into the mexicantown part which is right when you get into town, right by the river and the ambassador bridge (how you get to canada from here), we're here a quarter of four, fifteen minutes early. yatta! arrived alive. alyssa's the gigboss and gets things happening for us - w/the buyouts we get mexican chow from down the street (I think "armando's" is what it's called) and I get three tacos al pastor, good stuff for me, I dig it. soundman alex is way happening and into the "fourth man role" - trippy the rubber deck on this stage - he says they wanna pull it up and replace it. we git an opener called the 696 blues band - soundman alex says it's one cat who can set up where tom plays (he'll move his pedalsby) and me and big man's stuff can stay. I'm usually against this cuz for me it kind of shows disrespect to the people who you're sharing the stage w/but if it's just one guy on chair, then maybe it's ok... I just gotta get to the boat and konk cuz I am fucking really beat... most of the route I wheeled us through had stoplights, not much interstate! gladly not a lot of plug though, REALLY GRATEFUL for that. still, it wears on me and I wanna play good for the folks here.
eight-fortyfive go time (was gonna be two hours later BUT... really dig it got changed), tom brings throatcoat ocha to the boat fifteen minutes before that and we're ready to go right on time. wish I could've met the 696 man, damn. anyway, I thank him from the stage and we bring it. tom and big man play really really good, tear it up and it's one of the best gigs of the tour for me. also helping out big time is the detroit gig-goers, they are wailing spirit on us w/hardly a hold-back. crimony. we do have that same prob we did last time - tom's weeping demon wah cuts out in the same exact spot it did last night, the exact same spot. he plugs his guitar straight into his amp and uses the channel that's got distortion so we get through the song and then the roky erickson soft one but again no final b.o.c. tune (we still did the other one earlier in the set), the roky one is again our final and of course there's some yammerers - fuck, I feel bad about calling them out but especially w/the ticket price this tour people are being asked to pay - all them bones to hear someone bogarting the soft spots w/yammering? fuck, there's only two spiels I do all gig between tunes and maybe like three soft songs the whole time (of course there's some soft parts even in loud ones)... can't people deal w/that - I don't wanna put some heavy weird thing on people, especially gig-goers who support and are there for you. damn if they're ain't any john coltrane to play when I'm done, the only thing that really bums me out about tonight - even more than that failed wah pedal. oh well...
I sling only two cds, the spielgusher one and the "dos y dos" one, that's all we really got. raul's got shirts already delivered to demos in shanker heights, oh. I get the good word from so many kind people - one cat actually built/builds econolines (now they have front part-only for special jobbers - no ore cans like the one I have, they stopped making them in 2014), it's great to meet someone who makes the boat I put so much trust in to get us to gigs and home safe. a young gig-goers is here w/his ma, they're both most kind, truly. much niceness and good will shared w/me, I give as much as I can back w/the tiny time I got, so sorry I ain't got more. bassbrothers too. respect. I settle w/alyssa while the load-out goes down, real quick and good. all the el club people were most righteous, all of them. ewolf, my old buddy from here meets me at the boat before we bail, BIG hugs for him and he gives me a button from his first band, priceless. big love.
I put the boat on course for bob's pad out in fraser, maybe forty minutes north, by twelve mile road. the navigatore knows about the construction and puts us on a good course - oh man, two and half years ago on that tour w/the meat puppets was a total plug here but we meet chris and mel at bob's - they beat us but we both beat bob by a half hour... he says he got lost in mexicantown. he's here though before midnight and that's a great thing. it's the wildest night of the town for me, I drink some of his rum he gots, terrible tasting stuff but great w/him blasting first tenko, then gories (tradition w/bob's pad) then home and garden, lou doing "the blue mask" and "kicks" - two tunes I dig so much it makes me 'pert-near cry... everything is at super db level, blasting, I'm digging it my nightwear, having hosed off and chowing some brie cheese and packaged yaki-soba that bob microwaves for me, chris and mel w/mota called "urine cake" that's two hit and enough, indeed. such a good time here, such a good time. bob brings it every time. first time I don't konk on his couch, this time it's on the air mattress but the couch is right next to me and where I put my levis.
saturday, october 5, 2019 - toronto, ontario, canada
I awake at roughly 8AM after a solid 6-hour konk. I immediately take a hot shower and freshen up. I'm exhausted, but mostly in the head. I think I just need to eat something and drink some coffee...I'm falling asleep again on the couch as I wait for everyone to pack up. We're out of the house at about 9:30AM. Bob shows us the way to a nearby diner - I forget the name. On the way there, Watt wants us to get our passports out, that way we have them ready for when we get to the Canadian border. I'm so delirious still that I don't even remember pulling it out of my bag; it must have fallen out when I opened the pocket where I keep it. Naturally, I lose my shit when I realize that I can't seem to find it. When everyone goes inside to sit down for chow, I nearly tear apart the boat trying to find my passport. I give up for a second, run inside to piss, and grab Tom to come outside and help me. He is most kind for going out of his way to give me a hand. Thankfully, after just a couple of minutes of digging, I find my passport lying on the floor of the boat, slightly hidden under a blanket. I have never felt so relieved in my life. I'm nearly in tears. First and only meltdown of tour, not bad for being one-third in. Tom and I go back inside, drink coffee, and eat some tasty greek omelettes. I have mine with egg whites, gyro meat, feta, and pita bread - extra toasted. Miss Hiyori decides to stay behind with Bob before we head to Toronto, because she's worried about passport issues...I think this is a good idea. I'll miss her, even though it is just for a day.
We say our goodbyes to everyone, and start the drive to Toronto. We are very close to the border from Michigan. After one stop for gas, we realize that we have a shit ton of booze and fruit in the boat that we won't be able to carry over. While I'm in the bathroom unloading probably about three days worth of...well you know, Watt and Tom donate the booze and fruit to a guy at the gas station. His lucky day. Soon after, we arrive to the border, Watt registers our equipment, and we get passed within just a few minutes. The officer at the window gives us no issues whatsoever, as I'd like to think we give him no issues either - it goes both ways. What a relief, our lucky day too.
After we get passed the border, I gently fall asleep in the back, for probably about three hours. During my slumber, I experience some of the most surreal dreams I've ever had. It's hard to remember the exact details, but it had something to do with a type of entity that was slowly taking over the human race by creating alternate beings of the ones you love and making copies of them. Very trippy shit. I wish I could recall more so I could explain more. I wake up feeling very uneasy, run inside to the washroom at a stop we make, and wash my face to snap me out of whatever I'm feeling.
We're very close to Toronto now. As soon as we get into the city there's so much fucking stau that it takes us over an hour to drive about 30 miles. So fucked. Too many cars for the infrastructure. Toronto reminds me of a mixture of Munich, and New York. It's very busy, industrial looking, but also somewhat appealing as well. We finally get to the venue at about 5:40 - 20 minutes before our scheduled set time. We meet Ryan our soundman, he's a very nice guy and excited to be our fourth man for the night. After soundchecking, Tom and I walk a few blocks to a nearby Pho restaurant to bring food back to the venue for us. After we eat, I walk over a nearby record store, called Sonic Boom. Really cool place, it's like Amoeba, but kind of better in a sense? I don't know. The people are very nice, and one of the workers is actually already planning on coming to the show! Hell yeah.
The opener of the show tonight is Martin Bisi, a well-known producer/engineer who has done stuff for Sonic Youth, Swans, Helmet, hell, even Herbie Hancock...him and his band rule the stage from about 10:00PM to 10:45, and inspire me. Their drummer man, Ryan (I think that's his name, baka Nick here) blows my mind with his chops. We're on in 30 minutes now, I'm feeling more pumped than usual, I think Martin's band inspires me in the moment to get up there and do my best.
We start the set at about 11:15. Watt tells me multiple times throughout the set that I'm rushing which he hasn't really told me much all tour...maybe I'm a little too excited and quite literally and figuratively getting ahead of myself. Not to worry though, I can always rally at the next gig. Hopefully the gig-goers don't notice my rushing, or at least, hopefully they don't mind it. I need to remember to not make any noise whatsoever too during Watt's spiels, even if it means just opening a bottle of water. He only gives two the entire set...I should be able to be quiet during those parts. Despite our clams, our energy is good and it's a great show overall I think. The gig-goers show their kindness to us after, and I start to pack up my gear feeling grateful as can be that I'm here with Watt and Tom as we bring this music to the people who truly appreciate and enjoy it. It feels really good.
As I'm packing up after performance, someone I don't recognize walks up to me toward the stage..."Hey, you're staying at my house tonight." I smile. He introduces himself to me as Chandan. He's originally from Fremont, CA, and now a professor of linguistics at York University here in Ontario. Watt has known him since he was a young man as a student at UC Berkeley. He is really fucking good people. I see it in his body language and hear it in his voice. He is married and has two young boys. I also see good taste, with his Meat Puppets shirt. He guides us back to his house, and shows us where to konk downstairs. Even though I need to be up at 7:30 to be ready to pull anchor at 8AM, I'm tired and ready to take advantage of enough sleep as possible.
in the morning we sort out stuff before going into canada. toronto is a great place, almost the same as being in the u.s. but juat a slight bit different. there's always a moment when you turn a corner an the vibe is different, more like europe. i've played with mike at here at the white horse tavern several times, always a good crowd and good time. there is also access to quality asian cuisine nearby, tonight it's pho. pho is one of the best things to put in your body before playing.
we play with a band that martin bisi is playing in, i'm looking forward to it. they have a cool sound, vocal lllllloops, guitar, keytar and drums. great crowd, fun gig. it was nice to meet chandan who treats us to a fine home for the night.
pop at seven bells. man, I had a good time last night. I look out bob's hatch - we got good weather, thank you! bob wants us to chow w/him at a chowpad not far - he's been writing me emails about their greek omelettes so when we get there I order one while he's trying to talk me out of it, what?! I get it anyway and damn if they ain't got sourdough toast here - that used to be impossible outside cali... along w/us is bob's neighbor ron who does music and is very cool people, originally from scotland - he had a band called the opium trail in the 60s. he asks me what my goals are and I say I have many music projs I wanna do, that's really the focus of what I wanna do w/my life. I can't help but talk about john coltrane w/him, "I think all musicians are after some kind of truth" mr coltrane said and I really take that to heart. "truth" is a big theme for me w/this tour I'm on now.
miss hiyori decides it's too scary for her w/a japanese passport (though she's lived in germany more than she did in japan) to get back into the u.s. cuz maybe she needs a visa so she'll stay w/bob and ride w/him w/the merch stuff I'm dropping off w/him to cleveland heights tomorrow. w/borders you wanna always do the right thing, you don't wanna cause any trouble or break any rules. we leave from the chowpad north to port huron and I get our last u.s. gasoline 'til tomorrow. we get all the fruit out and all four unopened whiskey bottles that's been given to me, a gallon's worth... I ate really drinking that much this tour anyway. tom wants to give them to the guy next to us getting gas and I say ok IF this guy promises he won't drink any 'til he gets home and is through driving. I don't know why tom just didn't let them in the trash can where I put them... we hit the border at noon. first I register our equipment on the u.s. side and am so stupid not to 1) have my own pen - I got a sharpee instead which is for signing stuff after gigs and 2) not knowing how many pieces of music stuff we're carrying. I tell the officer "two shine cart loads" but he shakes his head and tells me "you're not helping me here" so I guess and say twenty (turns out we had sixteen). damn, I'm stupid. the music playing in the office is slayer, a younger officer says he's way into it while the one w/me tells him he wants to put on some pink floyd. interesting. on the canadian side (after we cross the blue water bridge) the officer at the boof handles the whole dealio. this much different than the old days where you went inside and had a lot more to do - canada's let loose the work permit requirements for bands and I think we should do the same for canadian ones - you wouldn't believe what it takes for canadian bands to play the u.s., big bones involved too. he he asks why miss hiyori is missing (she's on the manifest) and I explain the sitch - he says he doesn't know the u.s rules but for canada it would be ok for her. he lets us through after clearing all he wants to know, very kind. whoa. thank you much, neighbor! I think it's the 402 we take east - all the big roads in these parts (including toronto) are 4-0-something on an image of a crown. weather holds for us and there's asshole drivers up here too like back home. I just keep it at the speed limit and make sure there's a big cushion of space always in front of the boat. it's 100 and 110 kph here, 62 and 69 mph which is ok w/me. an hour before toronto we stop at a "service-whatever" so I can release mr brown into the small white swimming pool. damn if I don't see big man coming to the boat w/his smartleash held out in front of him about waist high w/the screen pointing the sky - I wish I could've got a picture but you can imagine cuz you see so many people doing that days. who bring that kind of stuff into a public head? prolly the majority now days, huh? I don't want him to feel bad... maybe he ain't so much out of the norm? man, that word "normal" freaks me out, don't like it. "decent" or "humane" or "safe" I can handle but... I don't wanna get into it, just don't this is just petty little stuff w/big man cuz in the big picture - working drums for this tour - is doing really good, we're on the right path. I am most fucking grateful.
I drop anchor at the back of the horseshoe tavern twenty of six (twenty minutes early) - the plug getting into toronto was over an hour and a half starting thirty miles west. crimony. anyway, we arrived alive so I'm most grateful (there's asshole drivers on these roads up in true north also - did I mention that yet?), watt likes to use that word "grateful" but damn if I don't mean it. I haven't been here in a buttload of years, so lame of me. I put the boat's culo right there at the pad's rear hatch which is w/in a few feet of stage, most happening setup here. I see gigboss craig, damn has it been a long time - baka watt! I gotta play here more I tell him w/a big hug. his lieutenant curtis gives us canadian money for chow and tom gets me some pho from up the street. we do soundcheck w/soundman ryan and he is righteous people - way into the 'fourth man spiel' and also working hard on monitors for me and my weak voice at this time in the tour trip. BIG respect to him. opening tonight is martin bisi from brooklyn... I first met martin right after d boon died and I was coming home from taking k to new haven to do an internship at yale - I stopped in nyc and sonic youth was recording evol - thurst asked me to play kim's bass and improvise w/drummerman steve shelley... lee had a poem about a car wreck he wanted over it. thurst also had me record w/steve to a song from kim fowley's "outrageous" album called "bubble gum" - I mean really play to it which means martin put the recording from the record in me and steve's headphones w/us playing to it. trippy. anyway, it was a big deal for me cuz I thought no one wanted to hear me play bass w/out d boon. it was after this recording w/sonic youth that I asked thurst to collab on a seven inch (which turned out to be "burnin' up"/"tuff titty rap"/"into the groovy") and he came up w/the idea for ciccone youth - understand I ain't on that album except for the demo for the seven inch which thurst put on w/out asking (ok w/me though, no prob) - I had nothing to do w/any of that other stuff on that album, how many cats have I had to explain that to them? buttloads. the ciccone youth seven inch had much to do w/me getting back on the horse but the ciccone youth album I actually had zero to do w/as far as being involved... yes, my "burnin' up" demo (made on a four track cassette recorder) is on it but I only found that out when it was released. thurst used to surprise me w/all kinds of stuff, like him using parts of two phone messages I left at him and kim's eldridge street pad for "providence" (the video is even funnier), love that man.
tom and big man go get vietnam chow not too far away, they bring me back not the pho I asked for but won ton soup cuz tom mixes them up. both are good for me so no prob. big man whines about the back room being tiny and I put that in check, I tell him about the one in exeter at "the cavern" but you know what? I still think it's ok - it's got character! this one too. of course big man means no harm. I think he's starting to realize I really listen to what he says. I think he deserves respect. I go to the boat and konk really hard and deep.
tom rousts me for the quarter of ten go time, he's got throatcoat ocha for me, big thank you for him. big BIG spirit from the toronto gig-goers, most kind, MOST kind. whoa. however, I prolly blow the most clams of the tour - none to put over on the side but... big man rushes some stuff too but we rally - my voice is kind of lame, having trouble w/the monitors even though soundman was so kind to work on them. who's really wailing his guitar good and the same w/his singing is tom, whoa, he's carrying this gig big time. I'm really proud of him - big man's doing good too but you know he's part of the rhythm section and if the bass part is fumbling around, it makes it harder for him. I don't fuck up everything though. I got hit in the balls w/the hihat mic boom, whoops. that gummed some mind stuff up but I recover. some of my fingers are on the wrong frets sometimes, arrggghhhh. no wah for "tv eye" and there's no prob for tom - for sure it's that motherfucking pedal failing. it's a really good gig cuz of tom and w/a lot of help from big man. I had some probs w/him regarding some stage stuff after the load-out, we figure out a work-around we can try in the gigs down the road.
I thank the toronto gig-goers much - I got nothing to sling but lots want me to sign stuff so I do. I cannot stay away from canada for so long - baka watt. such kindness, I mean sincerely, thank you true north people. I settle craig and curtis backstage, really nice cats and we talk about stuff regarding the music racket. we have a good time catching up. man, again - I can't stay away so long!
we get chandan in the boat w/us and head for the little india part of town where he lives but not for long cuz soon he says he'll be in scarburough, in the suburbs. I teach about remembering port (spelled w/four letters, just like left), he's got a happening soul that fills the boat. chandan went to school in the bay area and would see me do gigs around there. he's most kind to have at us pad. he's a linguistics professor now at york university and we talk some philosophy and I hip him to some stuff about using his keychain on his macpurse. I like to give back what I can after getting such kindness for me and my men tonight. thank you, brother chandan!
sunday, october 6, 2019 - cleveland heights, oh
I wake up at about 7AM on the dot and rush to get ready. Chandan's wife, Karen makes us breakfast. Mike and Tom are done eating, and I don't want to get ahead of myself, so I take a bagel and egg sandwich for the road, and a cup of coffee to go. We say our goodbyes to Chandan and Karen - and I thank them kindly for their quick but gracious hospitality - I hope to cross paths with them again very soon - especially Chandan. We didn't get to geek out about music enough!
Mike, Tom, and I hit the road right at 8AM like we planned. It's raining, but it's not terrible. I sit up front for a while, so Tom can konk a bit more in back. We get back over the border with no issues -so righteous. We don't hit any traffic either, which we are most grateful for. The drive to Cleveland is quite beautiful. It's very green, and has plenty of pleasant scenery to look at - it's not a lot of industrial-ass looking-freeway. Tom teaches me from the back how to prepare sardines for Mike while he's driving - I do a pretty damn good job, I think. I still haven't eaten any yet! I'll stick to bananas and peanut butter for my car snack for now. I do love canned tuna fish - maybe I'll give sardines a try soon.
We pull up to Demos' pad at about 3:00PM, and I'm excited to get some solid rest before our show in Cleveland tonight. Demos is an old friend of Mike's, who used to see a bunch of bands play around the time when he was a student at Ohio State University in the early to mid '80's. He has a feast ready for us as well; Greek-style. My absolute favorite. It consists of a homemade pork loin with fingerling potatoes, homemade sausages, a traditional greek salad with tomatoes, bell peppers and feta, green beans, burnt cheese, and so much more side fixin's. Definitely the best meal I eat so far on the road, and one of the best meals I've ever eaten in general. We still have a lot of time before we have to be at our show at the Grog Shop, so Demos offers to give me a quick tour of Cleveland. I hop in his car and he shows me around the older parts of Cleveland where he used to hang out, and the newer spots he likes. He shows me Pat's in the Flats, the old DIY-spot that is now non-existent where he saw a bunch of old punk bands play back in the old days. He also shows me the house where they filmed "A Christmas Story". He even takes me to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - that was really cool to check out for the first time.
We drive over to the venue at about 6PM for load-in and soundcheck, and we're introduced to our fourth man of the night, John. He's an extremely kind and helpful cat. The opening bands tonight are Modem (locals to Cleveland) & Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires (from Birmingham, AL where we are playing soon!). The Glory Fires' drummer looks exactly like Grant Hart and plays like him too - this inspires me and somewhat humors me at the same time. I feel a bit off tonight, but I gotta play hard for the gig goers.
Tonight's gig was rough to say the absolute least. We must rally tomorrow.
It's raining outside now, but luckily there's a lot of gig goers that are kind enough to help with the schlepping - I very much appreciate this. We get back to Demos' pad at about 11:30, and I'm a little hungry, so I have some leftover chow from our feast earlier. I get in his hot tub shortly after this - holy shit did I need this. I decide to give my pop a call, as I haven't had a solid conversation with him on the phone since I've been gone. It's really good to catch up with him, and to get some solid refreshing advice from him that I really need to fucking hear with how I'm feeling in this moment. I truly love him and his constant support, and when I'm at home, it's easy to take that for granted. After hot tubbing it, I stay up pretty late with Watt and Demos to spiel with them until I just can't anymore. I have a really good time with them though. Demos is such a pleasure of a person to be around - so generous and hilarious. I'm going to miss his company and his above and beyond hospitality.
pop at seven bells, chandan soon after and he cooks up scrambled eggs and a toasted bagel for me, most kind. I guess fuck the hose-off, let's get to the border soon and safe as we can, it's raining. very chandan's on the east side, where we need to go... absolutely no plug getting out of dodge on the gardiner expressway down q.e.w. around the lake towards buffalo and the u.s. rain quits, I get us some gas at beamsville, $1.12/liter canadian (of course) which is about #3.18/gallon u.s. some dude is camped out in the head but I'm directed to the employee head - I don't think it was an employee though! I had to piss like a race horse though so I'm most grateful. the drizzle stops as we cross the border just after ten at the queenston-lewiston bridge (or the other way, I've seen it spelled both) and the officer at the boof directs us to put the boat in a park slot and get my registration sheet from yesterday stamped. the office officer takes a look and then brings us in for a couple of minutes to do the stamp - very nice and quick, most kind border crossing. we're back home.
tom instructs big man on how to prep the 'dines in mustard on a chip w/the tasty green "mexico lindo" salsa (gotta find this shit so I can get more - wonder if they got in cali?) for the wheelman (me) and he does a great job, actually tom does great job as instructorman - I love this team. we go through buffalo via hamburg - home of our good buddy marty - and eventually get on I-90 west, stopping at the only service island for some tom and big man dump. we let big man know that dumps are serious stuff and he should NEVER hold it but let us know soon as he feels it coming on so I can find a head, pull over and let him purge himself of the poison. piss is a different. twelve and a half, we're into pennsylvania for about forty miles, quarter after one we cross into ohio and the rain starts, only drizzle though. pull over to drop unko but the hatch won't latch so I piss only... while bc\buckling belt up I gotta let go off hatch and damnlady bursts in, no johnson showing though. I get us back on the road and we drop anchor at old buddy demos' pad in shaker heights part of cleveland at quarter of four - he's got a righteous chow being cooked up for us, beautiful generous man he is, truly. we catch up some w/good spiel and then I chimp some diary while he continues cooking and showing big man how set cheese on fire. when ready, he serves us up pork tenderloin w/taters and then some special greek village sausage plus greek salad. fucking really good like every chow he's cooked up for me and my men, starting w/ribs he did up for us years ago when he was living in madison. truly I am BIG TIME grateful to him, BIG TIME. bob arrives w/miss hiyori and poet dan mcguire from toledo (he's the man behind the unknown instructors proj) - bob wants to film us tonight, so good to see him again, brother dan also. our team now again is whole w/miss hiyori aboard. I chimp diary while everyone does what we can to get things together - tom's trying to work out getting a weeping demon wah in phily during our gig there tuesday or the the morning after on our way up to cherry valley. at least we're on the trail to a possibility w/this dilemma.
I get us to the grog shop in nearby cleveland heights at six bells, two stools holding us a very grateful to have parking spot right in front of the their front hatch. I meet soundman john and he's way into joining us to make a quartet. I meet managerman wallace and he's glad we're on at quarter after ten ("it's a sunday" he says) but I wish it was nine pm like most gigs this tours BUT I love the padowner kathy much and would play at any time. I meet the bands shairing the stage w/us, modem from kent here in ohio (where d boon got the telecaster I used to write hyphenated-man) on and lee baines III and the glory fires from birmingham in alabama (sun ra's hometown) - I get to talk some w/them but never enough, I'm so sorry. I do get to hear both of their sets cuz I just got answer this buttload of questions howard flowed me - it's REAL HARD for me to do spiel on tour and it ain't about disrespect, it's about what can I juggle and in what priority for the sitchi in the moment? I owe the gig-goers and my men on this sally-forth first - the press I can better do from my pedro town but I love howard and hammer down and do it. no before gig konk in the boat for me tonight. wasco from scarcity of tanks comes by to visit, great to see him again.
I don't wanna write about tonight's gig.
I settle w/managerman wallace, he says padowner kathy's dog got mauled and she can't be here. oh man, I hope the little wanko ('dog' in jap) gets well soon, it needs stitiches. kath is one of the best bosses to work for in this racket, truly. while doing guardiano w/the boat I get to spiel some w/john petkovic, love this man and we discuss a cleveland version of my wrasslin record concept I wanna do w/him at the rudder. we wanna do a dance record too w/him - his idea. wish I was here to spiel w/hm more. we get back to demos' pad and big man does his first spiel for me w/the arts & entertainment editor of a local college (case western reserve) paper named yvonne. demos gets the bubbles happening in his hot tub and I float and get tossed in it big time. tom joins me, both of us naked togethered and getting bubbled up big time. it calms me down some and damn if wailing bubbles on the bottom of your feet and the back of your neck ain't the most incredible sensation ever.
it's raining when we wake, and some food and say goodbye to chandan and his sweet family. along the trip to the u.s. border, eastward along the river through old rusted equipment and corroding structures of industry from the recent past, i think it has a gothic feel, like mid-evil ruins. the gloomy skies follows us to the border and we get though quickly and go south towards cleveland. the weather warms up as we get into cleveland and park at demos' house. of course he has some food prepared for us, this time it's greek style.
after a bit we head to the grog shop and get a spot right in front to load in. we have some time to kill and i'm still full from demos' cuisine so i take a walk and get back to the club to hear the first two bands. we do some writing in the backstage room and roll back to demos' to get some sleep. first i jump in the hottub where mike is already soaking. i get to bed as early as possible.
monday, october 7, 2019 - pittsburgh, pa
My body gets me up pretty late at about 12PM - but this totally makes sense because I didn't lay down to go to sleep until about 4AM. My body is very much rested, which feels really great both physically and mentally. I take a shower, do some work on the computer, eat some peanut butter toast with a banana, chug coffee, and get some stuff ready to have Demos ship home for me - he is most kind for doing this for me. Sometimes the boat gets so loaded with gifts that it starts to get really crammed in here!
I take a picture with Demos on his porch, and we pull anchor right at 2PM. Pittsburgh bound to the venue, Spirit. I sleep the entire way to the venue, which surprises me because I had a really good konk last night. Whatever, I try not to question it - I'm on tour. I'm not going to question when my body and mind start to give out a little bit.
We pull up to Spirit at about 5PM. The stage layout is a bit odd, but we're able to work with it just fine. Our sound man Warren is really accommodating and kind. Him and I talk about our love for Iron Maiden, because he's wearing a shirt of theirs. He recently saw them in concert, and he said that they simply blew him away. In middle school, they were easily my favorite band. I'm surprised I've never seen them live - hopefully I can catch them before they hang it up.
As I'm setting up for soundcheck, I see no other than Ed fROMOHIO walk in! I introduce myself to him, and he is beyond delighted to meet me. I am stunned and blown away by how approachable and generous of a person he is. He's wholesome as all hell. He tells me he's proud of me, and I've known him for a solid three minutes. I am most gracious for my life in this moment.
As I'm walking around the venue killing time, I meet Gary and Jessica - they're hosting us for the night after the show. Soon after this, I hop on the phone with Mark Barrett, for his podcast, Licensed to Talk. He asks me a lot of questions, including how this tour all came to be. I can explain this to him on the phone - it's a long, long story - I can explain this another time. Shortly after, I eat some dinner backstage by myself from the restaurant - a slice of delicious vegan pizza, and a steak salad that was quite tasty, and just the right amount to hold me over before a gig.
It's almost time to play now. After having some nice spiel back and forth with Ed in the back, I head down to get the stage ready. Compared to last night, we rally BIG TIME, and this relieves me. I know Edward is watching and smiling too - I make eye contact with him a few times during the set - it warms my heart to see him enjoying the show, and the rest of the audience too of course! I wouldn't say our performance tonight is amazing or anything, but we definitely try our best to bring it hard for the gig-goers of Pittsburgh. We all need to work on achieving confidence gain, and get on the right track to finish this tour strong.
It's time to pack up the boat - it's raining a little bit, but luckily the staff is kind enough to help us load the boat efficiently. We head over to Gary and Jessica's to settle down for the night as soon as we're all loaded up. When we arrive, Jessica has a huge helping of various foods laid out - damn, there's all kinds of shit here! Pizza, hummus, veggies, fruit, turkey sausage, and so much more. I stupidly stuff my face with all of this amazing show, but try my best not to indulge. That is, until Jessica points out a pumpkin-dessert hummus that I really go in on. Jessica also offers me wine, which I really go in on - I know I'm going to regret this in the AM...I try not to let this get to me.
Gary and his neighbors are gigantic music fans, and especially fans of Guided by Voices - naturally, we bond over this. Gary shows me to his record room, and shows me all of his GBV memorabilia; setlists, show posters, and even a framed original pressing of Propeller. Gary is even flying out for New Years Eve for GBV's show at the Teragram Ballroom in LA - he asks if I'm going. I told him I didn't get a ticket in time, it's sold out now. Fuck! Hopefully I can find one for sale that isn't too expensive.
After we spiel back and forth until the early AM (it's almost 3 in the morning now), I head downstairs to my konk area for the night, and I suddenly find myself falling asleep, somewhat comfortably, hoping I don't feel too terrible in the AM.
pop at eight bells. demos cooks up chow when he pops. it's a good shovel, big thank yous to him from me. big thank yous for everything. I play catch-up w/all I got on the macpurse craptop while demos challenges my parallel processing by manning the chair on my port-side and braced for much bagging of wind. some of this is serious, I'm talking about serious stuff and I appreciate it much. he will do baritone sax when I do my cleveland wraslin' record. pull anchor at two and half, byebye demos, big hug first.
some drizzle but not bad, skies gray. I wheel us down some burb to the freeway belt and on to I-80, an hour later I stop us for fuel at a service plaza then onto I-76 and into pennslyvania. tom cuts me slices of salami from raul's carepackage that came w/the shirts, I miss raul so bad, love that man (called this morning out of desperation). whoa, ed fROMOHIO yanks on my leash and I get the bluetoof ear/mouf trip on cuz I never talk on a leash w/out one when on the rudder - he's lived in pittsburgh a good while now and says he'll be at the gig tonight, he sounds great. I chow some of the salami raul sent me (talked to him earlier this morning cuz I was feeling a little desperate), chewing off a couple of mouthfuls from the stick. trippy way to where the gig's at, we get routed by herr garmin (navigatore gps) through a neighborhood called troy hill prolly to avoid plug and then over the 40th street bridge (not far from the 38th street pub where I did many gigs for the padbosss joel there, always kind to me) and then east to 51st street where the spirit lodge is... I learned this part of town is called lawrenceville... tom jumps out to check the sitch and parking is easy in a lot and close to the load-in hatch, who's right there when I come out the boat? edward! big BIG hugs!
this pad is trippy, stage is kind of different w/a roundy-front and kind of supper club mode. "moose lodge" upstairs (I'm told but never see). I meet the padboss leigh and gigboss katie upstairs in the back stage which is upstairs, both very cool people. I meet soundman warren and he's way into being the fourth man, I explain my weaknesses w/the knee. soundcheck exposes my bass amp not being hooked up correctly again... we rectify that. even more important is there's noise from tom's guitar amp - when we trade the purple jazzercaster for the telecaster, it's all gone - I think maybe a worn-out volume knob. we do the check and then edward has a talk w/tom in the boat. I chow "hanger steak" which is mouf-sized steak pieces you deep in vinegar and oil, trippy. there's little taters w/it too. my turn for the boat when tom and edward return, I konk real hard.
I think there were two opening bands but I didn't get to meet or hear any of them, damn me. I got just only so much strength, I'm so sorry. it's our turn at nine and a half and we bring it. much MUCH feedback howls, especially when we get soft - must be tough for soundman warren and I feel for the fourth man cuz I know he's trying his hardest. hard w/my voice but I'm trying to bring as much as I can for both the pittsburgh gig-goers and for edward. of course I would do "the red and the black" w/him but he said he had to sell his guitar. crimony. he lost his ma last may also. man oh man, terrible. I love edward much... thinking of him all gig while at same time trying to keep tight w/tom and big man. I think it's a good rally, we come back come back come back - I'm most grateful. it's part of the human spirit I think's real important, the ability to come back and rally.
I try to sling but not one taker on the shirts - that's way ok though cuz I'm so glad for people coming for the gig, priority over that. I get the good word though and that's more important also. slinging is way down on the list. thank you much good people of pittsburgh.
I settle w/gigboss katie, she told me she got a pad around here for ninety k and now it's like way ballooned up - what's w/the same paradigm repeating itself all over? why can't neighborhoods get healthier and safer w/out become gentrified 'pert-near gated communities? crimony. I meet the two co-owners (spaced on their names, sorry) who thank me and I gotta tell them I'm here cuz of suggest from mr tom - and here's mr tom and maux, whoa! so glad to see them, so glad! real happy watt now.
we go over to gary's pad in sewickley part of town (northeast along the ohio) - same hood but new pad, very happening. I hose off. gary's wife jess has all kind of chow up for everyone, whoa. much respect. gary's gonna come to so cal for bob pollard's new years gig and I invite him to come to pedro so I can give him a tour of my pedro town... gary's always been most kind. mr tom and maux arrive, yes! I get to rap w/mr tom as long as I can... I could spiel w/this man forever. we have have a good rap about mad magazine and horror hosts like seymour - this cat had a HUGE influence on d boon (first time he used "d boon" was signing a painting he made of seymour) - I inform mr tom of my meeting d boon and our early days of doing music... I'm a GIANT fan of mr tom's music and it inspires me to lay out this spiel for him. damn I wish I had more in me but I'm weak and must konk. good night for me though, real good.
tuesday, october 8, 2019 - philadelphia, pa
Pop up at about 8AM feeling not so hot. Well, it's easy for me to know why... I am quite stupid for eating that much chow before bed, and mixing it with booze to - that's something I would absolutely never do when I'm at home. As much as I LOVE being on tour and playing music for the people, that's the one thing I miss about home - my somewhat consistent daily routine. It's way easier to plan out my meals and physical activity, so I never risk over indulging or going into that downward spiral of mindless self indulgence - both physical and mental. Whenever I'm on the shit, I don't like to put myself around chow because I tend to binge when I put the two together. It's quite scary - I can't stop! I never do that sober. Get me boozed up enough and I'll devour anything in sight, and go into this self-loathing thing all day the next day, and sometimes even for the next few days if I'm really feeling down. I apologize for talking so much about my personal issues here, but isn't that what a diary is for?
We say our goodbyes to Gary and Jessica - I thank them so much for their generosity and amazing hospitality. I hug Gary and tell him that I hope to see him at the Teragram on New Year's Eve for the GBV show! I will do whatever I can to make sure I'm there. We're on the road early at about 9AM. The road from Philly to Pittsburgh begins - it's about 305 miles and a straight line across Pennsylvania almost the entire way, so it seems like forever, even though it's only 5 hours with no stops and traffic. I feel pretty nauseous the entire way too which isn't helping the ride go by any quicker. I am really dumb for indulging before bed like I did. I can't seem to get over this kind of shit, whenever it happens. I just need to remember that I'm not going to feel like this forever, and these terrible feelings shall pass.
We pull up to the Boot & Saddle at about 5PM. It looks like an old cowboy bar, I dig the atmosphere inside and out. The load in stitch is kind of lame but, it is what it is. We work the room - every venue is different. I meet the soundman, Joe, and I pick his brain while I'm setting up my kit; he is a very cool and approachable cat. If there's anything I've learned while being on tour, it's that this world is very small. I ask him if he knows one of my co-workers from home, who is originally from Philly - Tony Godino. He immediately starts laughing and says "Do I know Tony Godino?" Holy shit, he knows him! Thankfully he has nothing but good things to say about him, but of course, a couple of soft, verbal punches to the chest about him as well...he's not letting him get off so easy.
After we finish soundcheck, I walk outside to go for a walk. I notice that there's a Sprouts across the street, and I take advantage of their salad bar to eat a clean dinner after my binge last night. My stomach is still super bloated, but I'm ready to play hard for this gig. The opening band tonight is called Heatmap - I watch their set and very much enjoy it. I get Shellac vibes from them - spacy and mathy noise rock kind of stuff , which gets me stoked before I go on. We're on at 9:30 on the dot; and we rally, yes! Tons of great vibes from this crowd tonight - I can see in their eyes that they're joyed with the performance, and for the most part, respectful as well, except the one asshat that wouldn't shut up during our cover of the Roky tune. Man, that shit really gets to me, and I know for sure that shit especially bothers Mike. It's a beautiful tribute to Roky that I wish people would just shut it for, for just a measly three minutes.
After the gig, we pack up quick and head to Steve White's pad, who actually lives in Delaware - but it's only about a 30 minute drive from the venue. When we arrive, I spiel with him and his bud and bandmate, nicknamed "Pug", before I head to bed. Boy, am I beat, and ready to hopefully feel better by the next day.
pop at seven bells, jess is fixing up a righteous chow of scrambled egg, brisket, sweet potato pieces and bell pepper. it's real good. so kind. 9:40 pull anchor. byebye to gary and jess, big ones. I do a blowby on the fort pitt bridge (herr garmin gps gets confused last night by big buildings and when you're under bridges or inside tunnels) but it works out good cuz at a fuelman peopleless gas station there's a porta-shitter big man fill w/dump. I told him I'll pull over the moment he lets us know he feels one coming on - I don't want him holding any of that shit in, big time poison - it ain't like piss, you know? I get us to the I-76 penn turnpike and it's east for three hundred miles. just before noon I pull over just after somerset at a service plaza to fuel up... back on the road, I chow some turkey balls from jess. oishii. just after two I drop anchor at the highspire service plaza so tom can switch w/miss hiyori, first time miss hiyor rides up front this tour. usually tom switches w/big man but I think he saw big man konked and wanted to make the move while were traveling at seventy mph but I think it's too dangerous.
I drop anchor at four-forty (six hour voyage to do xxx miles) in an alley a block from the boot and saddle which is where we're playing tonight, a pad new to me... I think this part of phily is new for me also, south side. barboss gina gets too many questions from me, I'm so sorry. soundman joe is most happening, into my spiel and willing fourth man. respect. the music room at this pad has olde-timey tin for overheads on the bulkheads! that's gotta be a later addition. I get some wonton soup from next door at "mui chang" - the cat there don't know about wor wonton soup - that's what I get in my pedro town. wontons are dumplings, of course and "wor" I think means "everything" in this case. after soundcheck I go konk in the boat real hard - oh, I found a spot out front and w/teamwork from tom and big man, we made it happen, yes! I'm out quick once the neck pillow's applied.
I met two of the opening band guys earlier (they're band's called heatmap two from here and one from brooklyn - hard to do prac, huh?) but miss their set. I am on time for ours though, tom rousts me at quarter after nine for my fifteen minute prep w/the hot throatcoat ocha he brings me. gotta push through the crowd but no in a belig way, in a grateful way. big BIG spirit from the phily gig-goers as we bring it, another rally - fuck yeah for tom and big man, most grateful to them also. I put the last encore tune first and scissored the original first three, that's where I am right now w/the tour, I gotta deal w/reality. tom's telecaster breaks and he's back to the jazzcaster which for me sounds ten million times better and who cares about a little noise in the pot - I never hear it even tonight. it's a real good gig for us, a part two of the rally... fuck yeah fuck yeah.
I sling 'pert-near everything that was in the tub, crimony! most generous people here tonight, most generous. much good word also, thank you, truly. timmy from delaware's here, yes! always. lots of cats are most kind that way. so great people are nice to understand my voice is weak and I can't spiel so much. gigboss amy does the settlement in the front seat of the boat, she's into it. good people. I ask her to tell barboss gina I'm sorry for all the questions.
we head over to steve's pad in delware, a town called newark - stayed w/him last time I was in phily w/the jom & terry show (the tour tour two), he's most kind. pug's there two when we arrive (her garmin AND big man's leash both got lost - that's why I tell him he's gotta mix in intuition and not be leash slave). I talk a little bit about stuff w/steve and pug after hosing off, some of it's about party affiliation - I let him know after putting in mr carter (first time eighteen year olds could vote) but turned independent after. we need good practical thinking for the public trust, I advocate. kind of late konk for me though - I'll pay for it tomorrow, I know.
wednesday, october 9, 2019 - cherry valley, ny
I wake up at Steve White's at about 9AM on the dot - boy did I need a good konk.
Watt, Tom, and Steve got up early to work on Tom's pedal board, so as soon as they got that finished up, we hit the road and head to Cherry Valley at about 9:45AM. Since I'm in a rush, I fucked up and donated my pill box to Steve's bed. Fuck, fuck, fuck! Thankfully I barely had anything in it, as I planned to re-fill it in the boat during the ride anyway.
One thing that I don't know much about, that I wish I knew a lot more about, is literature. I was never a bookworm growing up. I was never forced to read much in school. My parents aren't necessarily lovers of literature. This has always made me feel a little bit less than everybody. Everybody loves to talk about their favorite authors, poets, books, philosophy, etc. It's just something that I have always struggled to get into, mostly because I have no idea where to start. As most of you know, Mike is a big fan of James Joyce. He constantly cites the novel "Ulysses" as one of his favorites of all time. He read it for the first time when he was 25, he tells me. I pick his brain about James Joyce and the novel Ulysses, specifically. Apparently, a lot of the themes on Double Nickels on the Dime come straight from that novel, like "The World according to Nouns", "The Glory of Man", and "Spillage", to name a few. He explains to me that if I want to get into Ulysses, it would be a good idea to read the epic poem, "Odyssey" by Homer - Ulysses is based on that poem. Odyssey takes place over the course of 20 years, while Ulysses takes place in just one day. This is so trippy to me. I do my best to hear Mike out on his interest in the book and his thoughts on literature in general. Even though I literally know nothing about what he's talking about, I find it all very interesting in this moment, and quite inspiring too.
We arrive to venue, The Rose & Kettle, about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. I am intrigued by the way this place looks because it's not really a venue at all, it's literally a house that has been turned into a small fancy restaurant of some sort. Surrounding the venue is a few run down buildings - everything seems to be closed. It's like we're in the middle of nowhere almost; sort of like a ghost town. We walk inside and are greeted by the owner Matt, he is also the head chef - apparently the chow here is amazing; I'm looking forward to it for sure. The reason we are playing here is because Mike is real good friends with poet Charles Plymell - Mike agreed to play here so Charles wouldn't have to travel far to see him play. This place used to be his house, and he only lives a couple of blocks nearby these days.
We sit down to eat at this big, fancy table at about 6PM. I eat a delicious meal of roasted chicken, various vegetables, and some of the best damn chips and salsa I've ever had - the chips are house made by Matt himself. Wow. I'm gonna make sure to take some for the road. There's a lot of people here, and I don't recognize any of them. I soon learn that his big group of people flew out from Minneapolis, MI, specifically for this show, and to spend time with Charles. I also learn that everybody here was close with Grant Hart - one of my heroes, that I never had the chance to meet. I don't throw that term around lightly. I meet tBrigid, Grant's wife. She is so sweet and kind - of course, I ask her about Grant, and she shows me a medallion of a snare drum with his name on it, that she keeps around her neck. I find this beautiful. I also meet Lori, the drummer lady from Babes in Toyland - I didn't even know she was in the band! I'm so stupid. It's a very good time sitting here with everyone in this moment. I am so humbled, and so gracious that everyone is making me feel a part of this just as much as they are.
We play at 8PM tonight, and early gig, and there's no opening act. We don't do a soundcheck earlier, because there's no sound man - seems like we're just going to play this one by ear, quite figuratively and literally. This gives me time to do some maintenance on my drums, since we're just about half-way through the tour now - I tune up my heads, Watt tells me and Tom before the set to make sure to play QUIET, as he does not want to blow out this room. As a player, this is one of the most challenging gigs for me, but I do my best throughout to keep my dynamics tight and make sure to not get too loud during any parts of the set. I think I do a very good job doing this gig in a very intimate setting for the people. It is a very special show for us, and everyone else in the room tonight, I think. I am proud of us.
As I'm packing up and saying hello to the gig goers, one person named Taylor comes up to me. He tells me that he saw me play with Watt when I was just 12 years old at Harold's Place in Pedro, all the way back in early 2010. I played two songs with the Missingmen, "Little Man with a Gun in His Hand", and the "Glory of Man". If you want, you can watch a video of it here, it's pretty funny to look back on these days. I am so tripped out by the fact that he saw me so many years ago when I was just a little kid, and so is he, especially. What a small fucking world.
After we're done packing up gear and saying our goodbyes to these very kind gig goers, we head to Charlie's for the night. The drive to Charlie's took literally two minutes at most! I am beyond sleepy, so I walk upstairs for the night, and get my konk area ready for the night. Charlie takes care of cats, and boy does he have a lot of them. An orange-tabby (I think that's what it is) stays next to me the entire night. I slowly start to fall asleep, with a confident mindset, ready to take on the next day.
pop at seven and get dressed. steve soon comes down from his chamber and makes me black tea. we then go to a big box hardware place to get some velcro and zip ties - I'm gonna install the new weeping demon wah tom got last night in phily and replace the old one. the pad is close so we're back soon at steve's garage and he helps me out. very happening he's got tools and drill. we gotta drill into the pedal in order to use the zip ties to really secure shit. the first bit he gives me takes forever, luckily when I realize we need a bigger hole, that bit is way sharper and things really move. I gotta move the power supply to make the right connect but everything comes together and we're happening.
I can thank steve enough, he's so much the man. HUGE respect for me. we shove off quarter of ten, I I get us fuel right after getting on I-95 north at service plaza still in delaware. I get us back on the road and tom makes 'dines in mustard on crackers for me. we both have some slices of salami from raul's carepackage. we cross into pennsylvania at ten and a half, rain has ceased (there was some drizzle soon after bailing from steve's pad). the ipod shuffle gives john coltrane's "ascension" - raymond played this for me, the first john coltrane I realized I was hearing. man, was that heavy for me... I thought he was a punk rocker - I knew he might be older but I didn't know he was no longer w/us... I knew nothing of jazz, I grew up w/arena rock stupid stuff - damn, so fucking ignorant. it was huge mindblow for me... then raymond started taking me to little jazz pads to see elvin jones, mr ray brown cecil mcbee, max roach, tal farlow, sam rivers, warren marsh, tootie heath, blind al hibbler, billy higgins, little jimmy scott and so much more - oh, a few times yma sumac at the roosevelt hotel in hollywood, once she blew out the p.a. w/her voice! beautiful, nipples like thumbs. I owe raymond so much, SO FUCKIN MUCH. he still keeps teaching me, 'pert near twentyeight hundred miles away from my pedro town... damn I miss all our time together though, really really fuckin miss it. cross into western new york at one and a half - parts I ain't in much (same w/the part of pennsylvania I just got us through) but real pretty and I did spend some time while my pop was getting nuclear machinist mate training at "the site" (what he called it) when we lived near ballston spa - half hour later I pull us over to get fuel at fort crane - I get a chicken sandwich that's kind of strange but I don't puke so that's a good thing. get back on I-88, I wonder if I've ever been on this interstate before? no lack of assholes driving on it though, fuck. big man asks me about mr joyce's "ulysses" so I tell him all I can about it w/out fucking destroying my voice. actually I ask him to read homer's "odyssey" first - seems all the books he's read have been assignments from school... I tell him the art of the novel is interesting and he might dig it. trippy coincidence is brother chandan just sending me this story on a lost chapter of "the tale of genji" was just found - yeah, some credit this lady murasaki shikibu for creating the novel. much respect to her for that! wish we really knew her name. I do like from that time (heian period) sei shonagon's writing better though... love her "pillow book" so much, always referring to it for inspiration, like mr bulgakov's "the master and margarita" - I really hope big man gets into reading novels.
I get us to downtown cherry valley at four and drop anchor in front ot the rose and kettle right near four. I am fucking beat, I mean real beat - this used to be charley's pad 'til the padboss matt (real good cat, I meet him w/his apron on) made into a chowpad, very trippy but very happening cuz I dig the connect. anyway, the p.a. will be only for spiel so no soundcheck and I don't think I'm strong enough anyway. I konk really hard in the boat after docking it a block away. miss hiyori gets me for chow which I was gonna skip but it's for charley and I sit next to him, we both got tomato soup that fucking happening. at the table is grant hart's wife brigid and old friend lori plus people I don't really know but are very kind. man, I miss grant much - I tell some stories, I explain why grant never called me "watt" or "mike" but "bones" - greg husker does too... lots of sst guys called me that cuz the slang for money I learned for money ("bones") was new and strange for them - go figure, I thought everybody called them that. civilians... charley invites us to konk at his pad - so good to be w/him. so sad his wife pam is in the hosp w/diverticulitis... she recently had a stroke too. I feel so much for charley, I wish I could do something - it's a big reason I'm here cuz I wanted to play for him w/out him having to travel to see me like he has before. it means a lot to me. I go upstairs when the chow is done to get ready for the gig.
we play at eight, no opening act - I ask my men to play this gig LOW. my voice is rough but at least I ain't as beat as I was when we get into town. tom's having some troubles w/levels, it's a different sitch w/things how they are but still I think we overall do good and if we would've gotten loud I think it would've been a nightmare. the cherry valley gig-goers are most kind to us. I'm thinking of charley the whole time, love this man. I was so nervous at first, even clamming the bass solo on the first b.o.c. song we do but then get it together... I gotta calm the big man some but he does good keep things calmer for tonight's sitch. challenge for tom but he stays in the ring and is never over the ropes. charley later tells me it's the best gig he's seen me do. I owe a lot to my men for that.
no slinging from the dinner room deck, instead just some good word and soon we're loaded up and head down the street to charley's pad, a two hundred year old pad where friends come by and we have a good time. I chow a pulled-pork sandwich, maybe mark brought the pulled-pork? can't remembrer. I smoke some mota w/charley - he hands me a lenyo and I show him the way in my pedro town I learned to pass one w/out exposing the person you're passing it to to the cherry by pointing the cherry towards the palm and using two fingers and a thumb to hold the lenyo so only the part where you put the mouf is exposed. charley's great to spiel w/and I could do it forever but damn if right at midnight I gotta get to the air mattress and konk.
thursday, october 10, 2019 - hamden, ct
pop at eight - I didn't hose off or soak last night, ain't gonna this morning either... even though last night's gig was kind of a pants-shitter, it was my least sweaty of the tour... usually I soak the gig shirt, soak half the levi but not last night. I go to charley's kitchen and start up coff, then go shave cuz fuck it's been a couple of days and I ain't doing any more beard or mustache stuff, though w/that. charley's up and around taking care of his cats - I meet ragmop at his front hatch. charley shows me his pop's "sailor's union of the pacific" card, righteous. san pedro, ca branch, 1921. crimony. charley's boy billy comes by to tell charley about pam - she had surgery for that diverticulitis crap that came on her. I know this is hard on charley. billy lives in oneonta, about thirtyfour miles southwest, he's a fireman, I think. mark from last night w/his son eric brings potatoes makes runny scrambled eggs, I know he's trying his best. he's most kind. big man and eric connect w/both being drummermen. I wish I could be w/charley forever but I gotta head for connecticut cuz we got a show there tonight. man, I wish I could be here for him and I could learn so much also. it's so cal weather when we gotta say bye at noon... I'm so SO glad I got to see and play for him in his town. it's hard to say byebye...
east on us-20 'til we get on I-88 and then the new york thruway. give big man the copy of mr beckett's "watt" charley gave me last night cuz 1) I already got it and 2) I hoping to god big man get's into reading novels. it ain't a foist, he asked me yesterday about novels and that got me going on this. I also think it will somehow even make him a better drummerman, I really do. tom fixes us both up 'dines in mustard and crackers w/the salsa verde I've been digging, good stuff. we get on the mass pike (richie blackmore road - look at the fucking hat he wore at gigs in the 70s)... half hour later I pull us over for fuel, blow out mark's potatoes and/or eggs, something not kosher... no blame on mark, maybe just weak watt - he did say he used a stick(s) of butter and I've cut that pretty much out of my chow thing... tom says he felt something too but big man says he's ok so I don't know. first time all tour the ipod was never on, trippy! sad to say it wasn't the first day w/out assholes doing dangerous stupid shit on the road - every fucking day of this tour has people doing the stupidest fucked-up lame driving ever. assholes w/no sense of responsibility.
however, we do arrive live quarter after four, thank god... parking lot repaved here at the the space ballroom since last time I was here which is happening cuz there was like a lake next to us when the sky opened up and pissed down a storm... made the load-in a little difficult. padboss delaney is most kind (she says brian from wrtc is recording the gig - hoarse watt exposed!) and soundman travis talks a good game, he says yale ain't too fare away in new haven... k was born in new haven - doug wimbish lives there I think, both bassplayers I love. I work on tom's pedalsby gain structure chain and get that happening, especially from the board to the amp - I switch him to the channel w/a front end gain and get that way down cuz he was hitting it too hard - these fender hot rod deville III amps ain't all tube and there was some lame kind of bogart going on. I think we got this prob gone now (happened last night and I had to literally unplug him from his pedalsby and go right into his amp to get through "tv eye"). I got electronics in my background and understand these things - I so much wanna help tom any way I can. I think this will do it. I go outside and john from sunburn hand of the man arrives w/his band - I know john from thurst and now also a roadboss for j. good people - this is who our openers are tonight. john gives me four copies of the "bob lawton ep" by dos. whoa. big hug for him. I get a burger from a nice cat named pete who's got a pad right near called "the cellar on treadwell" and it's good eats, I shovel it in the boat and then konk. hard.
tom gets me we're a little early - that's good for watt! even more intense - here's joe bouchard to see us, I ask him to sing both b.o.c. tunes we're doing tonight. he does fucking righteous, good dancing too. he had influence on watt's earlier bass learning, one of the few u.s. rock bassmen I could hear the parts and learn to play to - most of those guys were from overseas like jack bruce, geezer butler and john entwistle but not him and dennis dunaway - I owe both of the so much. of course james jamerson and larry graham were even more huge w/me but in ways, 'pert-near as much. the gig's a good one, the rally continues! the guitar amp mic was tighten up and is pointing at the ground, I gotta fix that. the corridor I use behing the big man as both a line to the hihat mic (great stand holder for the mic though - it's just the fucking cable) and even more akumu ('nightmare' in jap) is a big wad of duck tape in that corridor that 'pert-near puts on to the deck in a crumple but I do keep up somehow. whew.
after, I sling shirts. the gig-goers here in hamden are beautiful, much good word and kindess from them. one wants five minutes later w/me and I'm sad to say no but I'm just too weak, just too weak... a man's gotta know his limitations, I'm so sorry. I wish I was a stronger watt but here's where I am now...
I settle w/the production rep mario, him sittin next to me in the front seat of the boat. I give my thanks to everyone involved, gig-goers and pad people who were most kind and very much there for us. peter too from his cellar pad also - he gives me a byebye as we shove off, the rain finally quitting.
I get us northeast of fartford to a town called manchester (I know, really original - I like native names for u.s. towns best) and cuz of medical emergency w/the nice cat who was gonna put us up, miss hiyori has us at another "raddison residence inn" type of konk pad, 'pert-near exactly like the one in vacaville except this time I don't crumple near their front hatch. I'm most grateful. fifteen to midnight too, WAY into that also. I do soak w/the salz, SO fucking good on my sore and swollen joints, so happening - it helps me like you can't know. konk ain't much that far away, soon as I wash the tour shirt and put it on a hanger over the tub to let it dry. not long after I'm on the air mattress and out, really REALLY fucking tuckered. whew.
friday, october 11, 2019 - somerville, ma
pop at nine bells. shovel some of the crap they got in the lobby: scrambled eggs and sausage pieces... even the apple juice tastes like plastic but I gotta say these eggs weren't as bad as yesterday. by the way, scrambled eggs I've had in france have milk added to them to make them mushy - maybe there's butter too but I think definitely there's milk. (is that an idiot sentence I just chimped or what?) we gotta pull anchor at noon so I get caught up on stuff and chimp some diary also.
looks like rain as I wheel the boat to the I-84 northeast and then to the richie blackmoore road (mass pike), only ninety mile ride but boston greets us w/a storm plus we gotta drive through fucking havard to get to this part using one lane and in this downpour... well, we arrive alive in somerville and at the once ballroom twenty after two and a nice lady named kay who runs an antique shop a couple doors down enlightens me to the fact I can park in front of this pad... we gotta wait though cuz no one's there yet. first time for me in this part of the boston area or at this venue. I asked bookerman steve kaul let's try something different after my last time in the parts.
there's a lot in the back, helperman aiden hips me to. soundman brian is way into the spiel recruiting him as fourth man, big respect to him. you can kind of tell who's all talk and who can walk the walk w/this stuff. I got a good feel about soundman brian. our check is quick and good. upstairs is the backstage and worth the schlep for my cojo self, I ain't there for long though - soon asmiss hiyori gets me caesar salad w/shrimp to go from "highland kitchen" a half block away, it's konk time for me. damn if she didn't slip and hurt her ankle, gotta move slow and careful like I always do cuz of my cojo sitch. I don't want her hurt, ever. not just cuz of all the help she gives but cuz I want her healthy. I want all four healthy as possible. we gotta be careful, we gotta be careful.
after chowing I go to the boat and damn if I don't hear a sound like a can-opener going to town. I see a pretty new white sedan on the boats starboard stern bumper creasing its entire side. it's dark and raining. no one sees me. the driver keeps going, I see the huge tear running along its side, then it stops its reverse and goes forward out the lot. I go look at the boat, only a little patch of white on its end (the bumper's color is kind of sliver-gray) so we got no damage but fuck, I feel so bad about the other person. why are now all these vehicles all crammed in the lot, stuffed in all kind of insane angles and shit? how are we gonna get out tonight? I can't worry about now, I'm really beat and gotta konk so I can play good for the gig-goers. I'm out like that, the rain pelting the boat kind of helping w/that. oh, I was peter right before the "can-opener incident," at the hatch. he's an old friend and damn forgot to mention I met his two bandmen, niels and keith in his minibeast proj who are opening up tonight, so sorry. love peter much.
tom rousts me, has a cup of hot throatcoat ocha for me. we were supposed to go on at ten of ten but there was some bogarting by peter's band I guess. anyway, the somerville gig-goers bring it right off the bat and we do too. I'm digging the gig, both my guys are doing real good but some strange stuff w/tom - I gotta shake him by the arm to stop him from using both boost boxes in "tv eye" - what's up? fuck, I don't wanna think the worse, don't wanna... you know I blew some clams tonight, so did big man but -
I sling shirts and get some abuse from some drunks but it's out-weighed by tons from big loves from the gig-goers. I'm so glad they're hear for me now, they don't even have to relate anything about an earlier time to show me they care cuz I appreciate much these now moments.
gigboss alex is righteous to come do the settlement in the boat w/me - him, helperman aiden and soundman brian are fucking so happening, I can't say enough good stuff about them. when you got cats like this w/you, it's is truly bitchin. he also gets the parking hell sitch cured so I can free the boat w/us in it - so happening w/everyone helping w/the load-out cuz doing it in the rain is a hell in itself.
peter comes up to the boat and apologizes for the bogart but I say to worry and tell him I wanna play w/him again - epsecially in his new adopted providence, ri town. I wheel us to south to a burb called roslindale, takes about half a hour. lawyerman chris is there to once again give me and my crew a happening konkpad to be in. I hose off right away cuz I'm sopped in gig sweat, even the socks. it's great to be w/him again, truly. the air mattress also digs his pad, just enough space for right next to the head. we have a good time.
saturday, october 12, 2019 - new york, ny
pop at eight bells. I move our shove-off time up a half-hour, I just got a feeling. a little rain is showing out the window. I chimp diary as chris cooks up righteous quesadillas that also have huevos and frijoles refrito in them, I stuff in sausages he's all so fried up. big bowl of fresh fruit he's prepared too. crimony, this man is beautiful. had the coff machine loaded up and ready for a finger on the begin button too. crimony!
pull anchor quarter of ten, I've been in the boat in man alone mode for fifteen minutes - I gave them the fifty minute warning earlier... damn it. a man is in his moving truck in front of the boat and notices the cali plates. we talk some, he's a nice cat and fuck if that ain't hard work, lifting peoples' suff. he likes that I work bajo - he's a latin man but I don't think mexico and it don't matter so I won't ask but sure appreciate his kindness. he takes a sticker from me and puts on his truck. "gran amor amigo" I give him kind fist in the air. finally all aboard, I wheel us to the mass pike (richie blackmoore road - the hat, it's the hat!) to I-84, cross into connecticut just before eleven, half hour later in willington I pull us over for fuel, $2.76/gallon. got a jar of popcorn seeds from some young guy. will we ever pop them? the stuff he had that was popped and candy shit all over it, too much for watt. I-95 east along the atlantic ocean starting at new haven - yeah we retraced much of the day before's route but beginning here is the only time this way this tour. so cal weather greets us too, rain and grain are gone! don't even notice passing into new york cuz of all the construction but herr garmin has going into manhattan via the triborough bridge, there's been plug since western connecticut but now you can imagine... south on the fdr, we go by where tom was a little boy (77th street), he remembers the park near it - I think he was six when he moved from manhattan, ny to manhattan beach, ca. her garmen has us get off on twentyfifth street but doesn't know about the street fair at union square so I improvise. it's stupid to be a slave to a gps anyway even though I appreciate much the help it can bring you lots of time. forty minutes late for three pm load-in but not bad considering sitch... very lucky for us too is parking spot opened up right east of the pad on houston JUST as we were unloading the boat - I hollered "quick, shut the hatches and let me get there
real good spiel w/soundman alex who is totally w/everything to help us, excellent fourth man material. so many years for me here at the mercury lounge - it's twentyfifth anniversary for them, maybe I was there from the get-go? part-ownerlady maggie and I go way back, she's ridden her bike over to say hi, so many times she's worked the hatch for me here. we talk about old times and then big hugs cuz she's gotta bail. she says tonight's check for me is their #20000th, can you fuckin believe? crimony. while big man sets up and checks, I get chopped liver sandwich at katz's, a block west. tried a pastrami for the first time last march but am backed to chopped liver, love it. also last march ava mendoza opened for mike baggetta's, hodge's and myself's little tour stop here (actually at "coney island baby") but that was solo and w/her replacing her regular bassman is my comrade devin hoff who I've never witnessed work electric bass guitar, he's always been on stand-up. we got a proj called the emma goldman bust-out brigade together, first album mixed and ready to be released. opening the threefer tonight is shellshag who has shel and jen for members and also has righteous pad I've been konking at for a few years now, beautiful people, truly. so happening to get to share a stage w/them also. after we check w/soundman alex, I head for the boat for a three hour konk - can you believe? I can.
well, 'pert-near three hour konk - more like two and a half... I'm self-rousted tonight - maybe all the fucking horn honking at times constantly, I don't know but I get a call from nanny - she's one of the first punk ladies in pedro (I met her in the late 70s) and she also did the art for many of my tour tshirts including the one for this tour and the poster. she says it was a butt-dial but I am so glad she called cuz we talk about all kinds of stuff I feel I gotta talk to her about, stuff I can 'pert-near ONLY talk to nanny about. what a trip this happened... just over the tour's half-way mark too. so good to have this spiel w/her, so good. tom brings me the throatcoat ocha, good man and I'm most grateful. early show, we gotta hit at quarter of nine cuz there's another gig at this pad when we're done. I head for their hatch from the boat - so glad about this parking place too, lucky fucking watt. oh, I had to put my shoes and socks back on - yeah, the so cal weather we brought fucking had me have them for my konk! crimony...
I get through the crowd to the stage and we bring the set. I wanna do really good for tom cuz his older brother is here to see him play for the first time ever. never met the guy but I wanna do for tom. I wanna do good for the manhattan gig-goers too cuz they're in big-time support and love-share mode, thank you very much. I like how things are going but "the tin roof" gets rolled and a couple times I got shake tom by the arm to keep from using both boost boxes. strange... he does a real good solo in "tv eye" though - I dedicated it to raymond just before hollering "lorrrrrrrrrrrrrrd!" - something strange is what I'm feeling while at the same time I think the band really is on the path to getting it together... fuck, I realize I've had the tuner on the headstock the whole time, what a fucking idiot - I hate that, arrrrggghhhh, hate it.
I sling shirts after telling some asshole who yammered in the soft roky tune - I really put space before the last verse and fuck if some dick took advantage of that - someone tells me to "let it go" and I don't respond wanna tell them the same thing, why do people feel entitled to be such assholes? just don't show up if you think I'm some kind of dictator. I give two spiels the whole gig and still... fuck. tina and her husband are here, she wants to update my bio - I need new missingmen and secondmen albums first! it's so good to see both of them, kat and peter from three rooms press also.
I finish up and go to the hatchlady annette to settle up, get check #20000. there's old friend jimbo but I got no time, so sorry jimbo. all the times I konked at his canal street pad, all the times! crimony. out the hatch, here's bassbrother mark and guitarman doug of guided by voices - double hug at once from watt for them, last time I saw them they were playing my pedro town w/me + my secondmen on another stage earlier. they had a hellride ahead of them to get the band stuff back to ohio - like me dring every mile of this tour so far! at the boat is jason (the other diamond brother) who helped schlep gear so I could leave it here and will also who revisits his famous shot from in front of the brooklyn bowl two and a half years ago, ended up chaining his bike up next to the boat again even!
pull anchor and get over the williamsburg bridge to the greenpoint part of brooklny where shel and jen live, frau garmin getting a little confused cuz of the tall buildings. in the back of my mind I'm getting some strange feelings again... oh well, it's only eleven, fuck yeah! they're always most kind. I hose off. there's some jameson... scotty-san like jameson... maybe watt swallows a little too much. I really miss scotty, miss ronnie, miss brother steve.
sunday, october 13, 2019 - washington dc
pop at eight bells. jen is up soon and goes gets the best bagel ever for me w/best lox ever along w/best cream cheese. crimony! this is a rough morning for me, really rough. not total physical though my guts are rumbling, it's like my heart in a heavy way is breaking - not romance stuff but old connects seeming to be unravelling which is bringing me stress, so much I feel like I gotta flail and grab some kind of solution or lose my footing. sometimes emotionally I'm 'pert-near as cojo as my physical fucking knee brings me - especially deep gut punches like I'm feeling now. I know it wants to turn to anger but that ain't the way to handle it though I can't stop some word-bursts. I do plug it up though and prolly ain't the best company 'til our noon anchor pull which is a shame cuz shel and jen are just so righteous people but I don't have good hiding techniques when it comes to this stuff, just don't. the weather is gray - yesterday's so cal visit is leaving w/us - big hugs and loves to shel and jen as I wheel us away... 'til next time - hey, that might be in january cuz they gotta a visit they're planning to california to get an album done, alright.
this is one of my hardest drives ever. besides calling my ma and sister melinda cuz it's sunday and raul (actual missingmen drummerman and also calimucho co-owner, what he's doing right now) plus toddski (biggest part of jumpstarted plowhards proj I'm involved in), I keep the mouf pretty zipped up. herr garmin puts on the veranzano bridge and we slog through across the whole of staten island (remembering bassbrother plumber john) and then across the goethels bridge and into new jersey and onto same named turnpike about one and a half. soon after, I pull us over at the molly pritcher service area, in new jersey they pump for you and the pumperman says he from nepal and knows about the yak on my boat hatch. trippy. nice man. I talk to raul. then I talk to tom. it's very important. next rest stop is the walt whitman one and tom run's in to get us both a nathan dog w/mustard and onions, we both dig that they got "snap" cuz of the natural skin casings.
delaware bridge over the delaware (sure he threw that silver dollar that didn't exist yet way the fuck over) into delaware around three and then into maryland not long after and under the baltimore harbor to come into the district of columbia via takoma park (this is where we're fuckin konkin tonight, trippy!) and arrive here at the black cat quarter of six, fifteen minutes early - I take us right down the back alley behind cuz I've done this pad buttloads of time BUT not this "red room" which is a small bar room just west of the big room... I was in the big room thirteen months ago to help celebrate the black cat's twentyfive bday, doing stooges tunes w/devin and renata ocampo - we did a seven inch together for last year's record store day cuz of it! great couple.
I'm realizing I never once got out of the boat during today's ride... the new jersey gas pump law has them do it and then tom got me that hot dog while I waited in the boat - maybe that kept all that unko ('turd' in jap) "sealed up" cuz damn if it did fly out once I hit the head - oh, managerman andrew 'pert-near knocks me down w/his hatch pop, whoa. fuck, I was really shook up, 'pert-near went down but he's a good cat - I suggest maybe he holler a warning before another hatch pop like this one. soundman sean is very cool people and great fourth man willing participant, a quick check and then I talk some to local openers' soul plots' bassman david (same middle name - blame my ma!) about the wattplower - he's got a great fender p, much respect to him.
big man brings me a great salad that solves my guy probs while I talk w/the ocampos, devin and renata plus heather and graham who did the art for our debut seven inch soul plots that came out earlier this year... we talk about our plans for a full-length album. morgan's here t0o, dear friends I made from that gig I did thirteen months ago - actually ian mackaye's responsible for that happening, I mean me playing w/the ocampo's, ain't that a trip? morgan helped me at the hosp when I woke up in a gurney w/sensors stuck to my chest... what a fucking idiot I was to worry my friends like that, baka watt!
fuck, it's gig time and I had no konk! well nine and a half is nine and a half... here's tom w/the throatcoat ocha fifteen minutes before, gotta tell everyone it's show time and me being cojo, I'm man alone making my way up the stairs. I get to give ownerman dante a hug on the way though, love this man - always here for me, always. love him.
it's gotta be the most respectful crowd of the tour, so kind the dc gig-goers are to us, no fucking yammering in the quiet parts, none. aaron and his daughter jal are here, I see them up front. brother kyle from mechanicsville in virginia also. I'm a little scared, I'm a little worn out... fuck though if tom doesn't bring it - tom saves the day for me. oh man, is he bringing it, is he giving me the hand up I need so bad tonight - I was hoping for some adrenaline for some self-help but this is even better. big man's doing good, don't get me wrong and he is key here but tom really pulls out for us in the bottom of the ninth, he's the rescue man for the missingmen tonight - he fucking carries the show. I am so grateful, so thankful, so grateful. whoa. tom really got the words to "do you want new wave (or do you want the truth)?" happening tonight - so much of our stuff in the middle where we traded spiels I felt so good about doing w/him, felt really connected. man, I can't tell you how grateful I am to be w/him - w/the big man too - it must be trippy as all fuck for him but he's there for us, I know he's trying hard. I got two good men on stage w/me, I really need them, really need them.
I don't really sling after, just ain't gotta in me but I thank as many as I can personally, cuz they were really righteous people to play for. michael pruessner is here, original nels cline trio drummerman I ain't seen since 1995 maybe... whoa. he's very kind to me. we talk about the gig he took me to at the dorothy chandler to see mr boulez conduct the orchestra there for mr bartok's "the miraculous mandarin" - what an impact that experience had on my life, incredible. what a great thing this happen.
downstairs to settle w/managerman andrew but first talk w/ian and his brother alec - I get to hear a chuck berry story from ian, put that in your pipe and smoke it! love both these cats, beautiful men - I get learned there's a trio w/ian, amy and joe lally - "coriky" I think it's called (my fucking memory) - ian says it's a dice game where '3' is the winning roll. can't wait to hear, can't wait. I promise him to take care, feeling like such an idiot to cancel our morning together last time I was in town cuz I was so embarrassed. baka watt. one more hug for ownerman dante and we're off.
I wheel us not far to takoma park part of town, 'pert-near the same route that got us here to the gig once we got off the freeway, crimony! pete's got the driveway open for us, his wife rachel inherited thus 125 year old pad and it's bitchin. right away he directs me to the tub downstairs cuz "it holds hot water better" and he's got a sack of epsom salts for a big long soak watt really digs, crimony! I can't believe how it 'pert-near soaks the soreness out of me, I feel it pulling right out through the bottom of my feet even. I get out and hug tom again, thanking him for all he brought at the gig. upstairs I spiel much w/pete cuz we go back to his peglegasus days and share buttloads of connects - w/today too, not just olde-timey, he's very bitchin to rap w/and we get into remembering brother jaki big time. man was that cat something... you know, pete's a drummerman too - a block island drummerman that I dearly dig still having big connect w/and I'm out pretty grateful, even w/out my numaki, for now...
monday, october 14, 2019 - richmond, va
pop at eight bells. pete gets the coff on and makes me a burrito or whatever he calls it - a tortilla w/scrambled eggs and avocado w/salsa? I end up chowing three of them, they taste for me really good. I chimp diary while discussing all kinds of stuff w/first rachel - it's indigenous peoples day so some history windbag from watt, mostly about vikings in the new world (vinland) and some watt theories about this. then it's pete's turn but I'm more in the listener mode... it wasn't on purpose. tom shows pete his toe that's hurting him and pete recognizes it right away, it's gout . crimony. tom's had such hell on him this tour! at least no sickness like flu or a cold though... damn in the old days if he didn't start every fucking tour w/one so I'm most grateful for that. email time, uncle ray is way into mr vonnegut's "cat's cradle"gout (hey, we're playing there tomorrow!) and shared this w/me:
I wonder if mr vonnegut knew about
"peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from god."