"smokin' on the ol' pink pole" tour 2012

fIREHOSE on april 5, 2012
steve reed + richard fuckin' bonney on april 5, 2012

watt's tour diary:

thursday, april 5, 2012 - sacramento, ca

   first stop: sack-town!

   now this is a little tour but no less intense, chiefly due to this is the first time I've done gigs w/edward and george as fIREHOSE in eighteen years - that's right, our last gig was on january 12, 1994! last year edward called me from where he now lives in pittsburgh, pa and asked if I would do some fIREHOSE gigs but my third opera was just about to come out along w/tours to do for it so I asked him to wait for the next year and he said ok. it was edward who got this ball rolling. george was into it so ten days after both me and him got back from doing that all tomorrow's parties festival in england (we did old minutemen songs as a duet on request from mr jim mangum), edward arrived via train ride to our pedro town (george lives there too though a few years ago he lived in carson for about a year - shit, I should tell you actually neither me or george are from pedro but we moved there as boys, d. boon too) and we did two weeks straight of prac to get it together for this. edward came up w/a set list of songs and we went to town on it, trying as hard as we could. of course the REAL PRAC is tonight cuz it's a REAL GIG.

   at seven am I went and got what I've lately come to think is the best breakfast burrito in pedro: the sausage one at the sandwich saloon on gaffey between eight and ninth (though I love the sausage ones at pacific diner on sixth near palos verdes), then after last-minute-before-tour working on stuff I got edward at ten (he's been staying at george's, in his own little prac room) and we met george at the prac pad to load up the boat. of course we had to put my kayak in the prac pad cuz for sure I'm thinking george is gonna use where it goes (on the shelf secondmen organman pete mazich built for me) for konking during hellrides. the boat's been running great. I'm still in shock some after finding out a few months ago that ford's last year for the econoline van (mine's a e-350) is 2013, damn.

the dash of the boat on april 5, 2012

even though this one I got is a 2005, I'm thinking maybe I might get one of those last ones, seeing it'll be my last chance and it'd probably last me into my sixties if I make it that long. george is using this white drum kit by premier I've never seen before and edward's got a fender custom shop vibrolux amp he got when he arrived here to run the two fender telecasters (recent models made in mexico) he's got for these gigs. I got the dan bass plus my eden wp-100 preamp going through a qsc power amp into two of david nordschow's brand new 2x10 speaker boxes. david's former company was eden which I've used for years but I really dig these cabs from dna which is his new company.

   we next pick up soundman steve reed in the lemert park part of l.a. man, I ain't toured w/steve reed in a LONG time - too long! he's just the best, the best. we're not complete as a team yet though cuz richard fuckin' bonney left san pedro for san francisco five years ago so he'll take a train from there and meet us in sack-town. it's 380 miles for us in the boat and though the weather's mostly good (one heavy-heavy storm catches us for a halfhour in stockton, huge drops 'pert-near turning to sleet as they hit the windshield), we're held back some by construction on the I-5. we pull into a pad called "harlow's" which I've played a few times before around seven pm, most of the way we heard creedence clearwater revival's first six albums. richard's right there in the back alley where we load in - the team's all together now.

   too late for a sound check, we just get the stuff in and visit w/the gigboss brian along w/the guys in victims family and tera melos, two bands going on before us. tera melos has got seven gigs w/us - yeah! that was my doing cuz I love them. victim's family was a nice surprise, they were playing back in the days when fIREHOSE was, larry's a righteous bassman. they do a cookin' set after I watch tera melos tear it up as a trio - prolly my first time seeing this way (before they had evan as a sidemouse) and holy cow, tear it up they fucking big time do. no, I'm wrong - first time I saw them is when we both opened for melt-banana, doh! what a fucking baka I am.

   our turn. you know steve's the best he can w/the situation. "wave napkin" is first and I clam immediately, damn it - after all that prac too! fuck. I'm keeping my eyes on george to get my nerve up and start playing better. it ain't like I don't blow any more clams but at least I start playing more like a man who is not a total fucking coward. edward does real good and he's up front w/the people. it's not like me and george are way in the back but we ain't on the lip of the stage either. I only do spiel for a few songs in this set and at first it's really hard cuz there's a low mid feedback like a motherfucker giving me hell. I reacted kind of poorly to that, what a idiot. george cracks up each time I clam, he's in a good mood. he blows some little ones too but not much, he does good. edward forget a couple of verses and so sang the same one twice but still, I'm grateful for his strong wailing on it. now I just gotta get watt more together, hopefully tomorrow night. the sack-town gig-goers are beautiful and very kind to us, very kind.

   the tera melos cats are gonna drive half way to the next gig (in portland) but I ain't into driving at night, just ain't. it fucking 'pert-near six hundred miles but I think it's better we leave early in the morning. concepcion is from the old days but has lived here in sack-town many years and we're invited to konk at her and mario's pad once again, they are so kind. mario gets some liquor going for us too - I don't drink 'til I get to the konk pad, it's a good policy for me. concepcion breaks out some olives, yeah! all different kind but all real good - and some cheese too. gigboss brian comes by w/a box of cds richard spaced and left at the venue (he's slinging the debut e.p. from edward's new band food and also my third opera) but can't stay. hell, we can't stay up much longer either cuz we gotta pop early.

   this little tour's underway now it we had a pretty good start. all us five together again is pretty fun.

friday, april 6, 2012 - portland, or

   pop at seven bells and soak some in the tub but the water don't get hot much so kind of not the most relaxing. concepcion and mario are righteous though and that's relaxing enough for me - I towel off (being lame at this, I'm always a little wet though). concepcion fixes up chow quick for us: eggs, onions and asparagus all pan-fried up. her little girl carmella is just the best and raps w/eiko-san when I prac english-go via skype w/her. mario was out the hatch quick, he was supposed to be already at work - oh no! man, these are beautiful people and I love them much. respect.

   we pull anchor at eight and head north, 'pert-near six hundred miles north on the I-5. the weather's good though which is happening especially cuz of the siskiyou pass on the cali-oregon border which is the highest on the entire I-5 which makes sense seeing all the snow on the side of the road.
siskiyou pass on april 6, 2012

I always try to time our crossing here for like noon - one pm to make things safer. lichen on the trees up here in southern oregon, is there some kind of disease or something? doesn't look all the way healthy but what do I know? looks weird. at medford I hand the wheel to steve reed and he does about 180 miles, I take over just past salem after waiting forever at a rest stop where some cat wouldn't come off the throne and out the stall... it was fucking flush after flush - man, he must've been delivering quite a load.

richard bonney, ed fROMOHIO and george hurley konked in the boat on april 6, 2012

   we get a call from last night's gigboss brian that victims family's larry has lost his bass, damn. we get to the venue in portland at seven pm - that was a long-ass haul. this pad is called doug fir and I've played here a few times now. we find out what happened to larry's bass... we took it by accident like fucking idiots, aaaaarrrrrgggghhhh. so sorry, brother larry. we do a soundcheck - so great of the tera melos guys for waiting for us, they are beautiful. I see the ride cymbal georgie hit so hard last night he flipped it inside-out, can you believe that shit? he's a remarkable cat, damn. he ain't using any cases either! ha, econo!

   one great thing about playing portland is getting to spend time w/my friend richard meltzer cuz he lives here. I chow w/him and his wife after soundcheck - we both each shovel a huge thick pork chop from the chow pad above where we'll play tonight (same pad). I bring him copies of the spielgusher album we just collaborated on and I'm so glad he's into it. we talk about all kinds of stuff like we always do, it's always the highlight of a tour that goes through this town for me. his wife's a great lady too. we finish spiel and chow just as tera melos goes on. they're kicking up much dust but I think only the overheads are on in the p.a. - no fucking singing, what's up w/that? I still love their set and am motivated. it's only us and them tonight so ten bells comes and it's our turn. richard was really happening to meet and talk to georgie, edward, steve reed and richard fuckin' bonney while I was witness tonight's tera melos mindblow. just before going on, me and him talk about walt whitman - and raymond pettibon too. I don't why but I thought of both of them, maybe to fight off some fear of the gig to come? richard makes me laugh. I talked about my pop when we had chow, forgot to mention that... richard says I'm his favorite sentimentalist...

   the pad is sold out but I'm a little tripped out that neither george or edward has setlists? have they got the set memorized? edward starts the gig w/out me having my bass amp on, sorry. once on though, I beging the set better than I did last night - more confident but still keeping my eyes on george. I notice both him and edward are using my set list - what?! too much. "hop-on-station anywhere" is 'pert-near ruined by me but saved by edward and george keeping it going. georgie has some clams but man, they don't compare to some of the ones I blow (note being either sharp or flat sometimes) though I gotta say I do a tiny bit better than last night. thank god I'm wearing my john coltrane pin which is a picture of him when he in the navy! the monitors sure are better, thank you, house knobman mick. the portland folks are very kind to us and I ask edward to do the final encore by himself.

   I tell richard I was feeling weird and he tells me about pronouncing nostalgic like NOST-AL-GEE-ACK (pronounce "al" like the first name for a guy and the g being a hard g and not a soft one) when I somehow bring that up. I give him a big hug to say bye thanks so much big time - he's really big in my life, really. truly.

   I see the boss brian and do that kind of stuff you do at the end of gigs w/the boss (he's a great cat, very kind to me, always is) and then see keith, the producer of the "we jam econo" doc, so great to see him again - big hugs! big respect to keith, both him and tell we so happening for letting folks know about us and the old days.

   I usually konk w/eric from sightworks here in portland but he can't be here so by the dog track in the north of town I find a motel-6 that's kind of suckass cuz they want a deposit and inspect the rooms in the morning! what? fuck, I'm so tired anyway that I put up w/it and konk after a little spiel w/steve reed, under a fucking blankie and all naked (not even hosed-off either).

saturday, april 7, 2012 - seattle, wa

   pop at eight bells and do a big fucking soak, like an hour - I shit you not. I was sore. fucking lame plastic tub but it held water and the water got hot so I ain't compiling. I'd let out water and the kept adding more hot when shit would cool. it was good on my bones. then I konked again for a couple hours. check out took forever cuz these pricks first inspect your rooms before giving back your deposit but georgie was still chambered and they said can't inspect w/that happening, fucking crimony! man, this pad in a way was a big pain in the ass.

   yes, only three hours north up the I-5 for seattle! gas was like in so cal, about $4.20/gallon but in nor cal some pads had it for $4.05 - don't know what it's like for the rest of the country but you know us u.s. people are still spoiled when you look at a lot of the other lands. we stop at mom and pop pad called the "burger bar" and I get a burger to taste the diff compared to a crapdonald's or booger fling. it tastes 'pert-near like I'd cook it.

   the weather is righteous, not a cloud in the sky. I put on some traditional okinawa music from a comp I was given. I play some wipers too, seeing how we were just in portland. richard meltzer gave me the number for this cat in smegma who's doing a documentary on the satryicon and wants to know about d. boon going through the stage floor the first time we played portland. I'll tell you this: d. boon kept playing! nothing could stop that man! by the way, his bday was just a few days ago: april first. the other thing I remember was greg sage being there to see us, this was a mindblow for cuz we loved that first album big time. I was so nervous when I found out he was there!

   we drop anchor at three pm - yeah, they got parking for us, respect! we're playing a pad I've never played before (unlike the last two gigs) and it's called neumos, located in the capital hill part of town. usually I'm by the water. the folks here are really nice, the sound people are ladies who really know their job but are very kind. my old friend sandy glaze and her husband steve come by and take me to a noodle pad a couple blocks away called boom and I have a soup kind of thing called katsu ramen.

steve and sandy at boom on april 7, 2012

it's different than what I've had in japan but I still like it. some pear juice w/shoga (ginger) in it too to wash it down. I hobble back and we have soundcheck, hey there's a go team! poster on the wall. my buddy sam in that band is on tour now w/shige's group drum eyes in europe. we got a band called cuz that's soon gonna have a debut album out. brother sam is beautiful people. an older pal of tera melos drummerman john tells me about him seeing john coltrane - he was at the gig "live in seattle" was recorded, crimony! he pounded out a cymbal for tera drummie john too, very happening. cats you meet on tour can be a mindblow!

   after soundcheck, I go to the boat and konk and am out big time. unfortunately I miss all but one tune from the openers daniel g. harmann & the trouble starts but I do get to see all of tera melos and damn if they ain't smoking and righteous too is these soundladies gave them a most happening mix. big respect to them, big respect.

   eleven and a quarter, our turn. georgie and edward did setlists tonight but edward forgot his downstairs! oh well, he can share mine, no prob. he must've got caught up in that episode of the first "star trek" series he was watching on a tv in the dressing room. we got good flow though a couple times georgie started the wrong tune - I did once also, baka watt! I was shaky at first but got more confident... sure does help to have georgie make eye contact w/me, it really helps big time for me. this is our strongest gig of the three, it appears we got a progressively-getting-better-at-this thing going and I am most grateful. sold out gig, I'm most grateful to the gig-goers. some of this stuff is difficult for me, I've changed as a bassman - maybe this is good training. I feel weird about the sitch in a way still but really enjoy edward and georgie there playing w/me, it's a good time. even w/the clams, it's relaxed in a trippy way and I know we're trying our hardest. georgie breaks a snare head but keeps going - both him and edward are putting a lot of heart into their playing and it feels good for me. edward helps me off the stage w/a hug.

   terry pearson's here, a great cat from the old days and did touring w/fIREHOSE before brother steve reed joined - steve learned from him. also, richard fuckin' bonney's cousin tony is here (he was in portland last night too), so glad to see him, he's real good people. I sign stuff for folks and say hi, it's trippy when they thank me for being here cuz I come around here all the time but I guess that's the sitch. I wanna do good for everyone I can, of course especially for edward and georgie.

   sandy comes w/us in the boat to guide us to her pad not too far away. it's a good time w/her and husband steve along w/a couple of his buddies gwen and mark... me in the rilakkuma nightwear, first time either edward or georgie has seen me that way. I am beat but happy. I have some bourbon and then konk.

monday, april 9, 2012 - bellingham, wa

   yesterday I popped right before seven bells, just in time to prac english w/eiko-san via the skypeage. it's easter. my ma calls - there was a wreck on the I-5 in downtown l.a. and she was worried for me but forgetting I was fucking 'pert-near twelve hundred miles north. good to talk w/her and my sister melinda too cuz sunday in the morning is when I have chow w/them when home in my pedro town. easter is a day off for us, sandy had to bail for business trip (her sin-in-linen company celebrated eight years yesterday - yatta!) but husband steve takes us to her ma iris' pad in west seattle for a chow of ham, asparagus, macaroni/cheese and salad plus olives and marinated mushrooms. the weather is beautiful agin and we talk much as we chow in the back yard. I've known iris a long time - met sandy when she was thirteen when she'd go to shows and hang at sst - she's real good people, real good and so is her ma. I'm sitting next to the electric usage meter and that gets me to thinking of being a meter reader in the late 70s. I start telling stories of those days to everyone, the crazy shit that would happen going into people's yards and some of the adventures I had. crimony.

   we get back to steve and sandy's pad and the tera melos cats come on over - I do an edition of the watt from pedro show w/their rhythm section, nathan and john. man, have they had an interesting journey w/music in their path to play w/their guitarman nick! speaking of nick, I got a proj planned called "big walnuts yonder" w/him, nels cline and greg saunier set to record an album soon as all four of us have our windows of opportunity able to sync. he's was into brother nels so I wanna make it happen for him bad.

   back into the nightwear when they bail, georgie barbecues up some brisket and broccoli and does real good. I have a little applejack, kind of mazui (tastes terrible) but all the bourbon got drunk last night. we have some trippy stuff to talk about, edward konked way before we did. I show everyone the flannel patch my sister melinda used to fix my nightwear. georgie says I'm way ahead of my time.

   gig day and I pop same exact time as yesterday - is that a trip? after skypage, I'm in the nightwear 'til three when pull anchor for bellingham cuz it's only a couple hours north of here, not too far from the canadian border. I take it very easy, they got a righteous couch here that fits my body good and after getting the radio show up, I get caught up some on the fucking email avalanche that is 'pert-near eternal in my life.

   man, I got sad news from my buddy billy who lives up here, chief wahoo passed away. damn. I dug him much. don muraco and terry funk were my favorite but I really was into the chief. big respect to him.

   the pad we're playing is called "wild buffalo house of music" and we get there just after five. I go get a 'tel (not a fucking mo-six) back near the freeway and the two guys there are very nice. trippy how a lof cats from india run 'tels here in the u.s., huh? the sakura trees on the side of the road are beatuiful.

sakura tree in bellingham, wa on april 9, 2012

back at the venue, we do soundcheck w/soundman eddie hernandez - he's from pedro! we all have our minds blown, what a trip! he's a good cat and helps us much. he gets a strap for me to use for that reverend custom-made-for-me bass ken from that company gave me back in portland but it's after soundcheck so I'll try again in eugene... I really wanna know how it plays/sounds. I tried to use one of edward's straps but it was way too tiny.

   I didn't shovel all day so after the check I go up the street to a chowpad called "the teriyaki bar" and have chicken katsu that I dig much. what a surprise. I earlier tried to chow an egg salad sandwich from a gas stop but one bite had me pitch hard that shit into the dumper. bellingham used to be a boat town but now it's pretty much a college one. I don't know but I'm feeling a little tired and so go konk in the boat when the shovelling's over. I dug the way the thousand islands dressing on the salad had sesame taste to it.

   I konk hard and miss the local band opening called falling upstairs (my apologies) but steve reed said they were good. I do get to see tera melos and they kick up much dust, MUCH dust. I dig the way the gig-goers were digging them too, fucking happening. when they arrived earlier, john showed me the milk container he used for a piss bottle on the trip here. he's very proud but I'm even prouder for him - good man, john.

tera melos drummerman john clardy with a jug he pissed in on april 9, 2012

   'pert-near eleven bells - our turn now, I find georgie and edward konked in the back room - georgie pops to do his set list and I tell edward not to worry, we can share the one I wrote in the boat. edward's voice is a little worn so we both agree a little calmer on the lyrical delivery tonight. the bellingham gig-goers are very kind to us, as enthusiastic as the first three stops even if it is a smaller scene. I do maybe my best yet - still clams make their way into my bass wraslin' but focusing big time of georgie helps me get real tight w/him. he blows some clams too. edward does good but like I said before, his voice is a little heavy on him but he endures. we have no mis-starts tonight and very few stumbles. it's a good thing to see us trying like we are, I like that much.

   we get done playing and I put away my amp stuff and then some folks wanna talk a little to me, tell me about the old days or something. one guy did a drawing from a picture of me. when I use the "happy days" trip to have fun w/the sentimental thing, it kind of weirds people out but I don't mean to make them feel bad. I'm sincerely grateful for their kindness, truly. just cuz I'm doing older music doesn't mean I'm not trying to playing it as good as I can now. it's good training for me in a trippy way. I say bye to jeff, a cat from florida who seen the last three gigs. he sure is nice and so were the three guys who saved a parking space for me out front and wanted to give me a cigar but I had to let them know I'm not so stronger and gotta be careful w/the health now. still haven't smoked a cigarette since we shoved off from pedro.

   we get to the 'tel, I share a chamber w/brother steve like usual and am konked by one and a half.

tuesday, april 10, 2012 - eugene, or

   pop at six and a half bells and do big soak to eiko-san's english-go skype prac. then of course cuz of doing big email catch-up crap yesterday, of course now I gotta deal w/the replies resulting from that and do so 'til we pull anchor at ten. it's 'pert-near four hundred miles to eugene so we head south on I-5 to retrace our steps through seattle, then portland where the sky opens up w/rain - actually that started around salem. at the first filler-up I get two fried chicken breasts from the gas pad (only got them cuz I saw just got cooked - most of that kind of shit has been sitting forever when you get it) w/a coff for fucking $8.75 - burn ward! next stop we do is in tacoma so edward can replace his leash that will no longer charge. oh yeah, I call mobile phones leashes - what's a better word for them?

   I use my ipod to put out some sounds in the boat for the ride but not too loud. I put on boston spaceships and the fall, the former another bob pollard proj and the latter still gigging - me and georgie played w/them at that festival we did in england last month (georgie hollered hi to him backstage - he was able to mouse his way in and I was denied). when that rain started coming down is where I handed off the helm to brother steve reed. he did real good. second time we pass this town called wilsonville in oregon and I don't why but damn I'm thinking that's a 'tard name for a pad. now fife is a good one, love that name (it's near tacoma).

   we're playing this pad I've done many times, wow hall - wow standing for woodworkers of the world. it's a non-profit pad that does all kinds of cultural stuff. after unloading, I get georgie and take him to the shit hard center so he can get drum stuff (the head he used to replace the snare one in seattle is already stretching out!) plus some strings for edward and an econo strap for me to try that reverend bass ken gave me in portland.

watt w/reverend bass in eugene, or on april 10, 2012

george hurley in eugene, or on april 10, 2012

ed crawford in eugene, or on april 10, 2012

there's some table w/shit on sale so georgie goes and buys a hihat stand and other stuff too. we get back and do soundcheck quick, the house people jay and celina are righteous help. the opening band are locals golden motors and their main man dan jones gets a big hug from me. I dig him much, he is a true cat. I then hoof around in the rain some and get hit up by some cats who wanna tell me old stories about them and fIREHOSE, again I feel kind of like that fucking "potsy" (or however you spell his name) character on "happy days" but actually my attention is more on not slipping cuz of my lame knee. on my own eventually, I walk out of pizza pad cuz nothing looked safe and settle for a hot dog from the gas station across the street from the venue I find after hobbling a huge loop.

   oh, I tried the new bass at soundcheck and think I should try it for the set tonight. the neck radius is a little flat for what I kind of like but I'll try to see how it sounds w/the band in a gig. I go to the boat and konk, I don't why but I am beat. I think I'm out of shape w/the knee, not being able to do my elliptical trainer workout shit I do everyday in my pedro town. before konking, I go a block and a half away to get us two 'tel rooms, very nice people there. I can't remember so many times I've gotten a 'tel on tour but this is a different crew than w/my own trios - they didn't even bring konk sacks! (mine's here though, always rides in the boat)

   fuck, I konk really really hard. shit, I missed both golden motors and tera melos which makes me wanna strangle my fucking ojisan self, aaaarrrrgggghhhh. damn. richard fuckin' bonney comes and gets me and I panic rush to get the set list wrote for me cuz I'm figuring we're on now (I think it's just after ten and a half or something) so hurrying that up, I go right to the stage w/the bass. a cat named tim is filming me getting out of the boat and stuff, trippy but he did tell me he wanted to document something from these gigs. I'm ok w/that but I don't wanna do any interviews, I don't feel comfortable about that for something like this. again, I don't want feel people to feel bad about my reactions to doing an oldies thing. I'm here to play w/edward and georgie the best I can.

   I guess they didn't know what I though was happening cuz I'm waiting on the stage by myself. I know edward and me can both share my setlist but soon I realize georgie only wrote about half of his - oh no! his part of the stage is uneven too lots of stuff of his is moving, like the hihat stand and the fucking stand holding the cowbell and the rototom in a few tunes fall right over. not much eye contact from georgie tonight though I do get a burst in the middle some, that disappoints me. I just so much love it when he gets the ojos happening. it makes me really feel like we're truly a rhythm section when he does that - he's been so good w/that so far so like I said, it's kind of disappointing. believe it or not, I feel validated as a bassman for whatever fucked up reason when he makes the eye connect, just love it. I'd rather have one georgie than whole room of gig-goers give me the ojos, especially in this case cuz edward has such a better stage presence. I can help georgie w/cues too if he gives me the eyes. edward plays guitar really good tonight and his interpretation on singing delivery is real smart, considering the voice sitch and gig we got on saturday. by the way, man, what a fucking clam in "soothe every mammary" I blew in the first verse - at least a whole step off, baka watt! how embarrassing. I did better on a lot of the set though, even w/a bass I played for the very first time.

   this revered bass has some issues for me. it plays good though the fretboard is too flat for my liking, I'm into a smaller radius. the sound is sort of generic, I missing that growl of the dan bass. I like the strap peg on the back of the body and not on the side, the input jack on the front instead of the side - stuff like that. ken at reverend sure is a nice guy but I gotta write him and tell him these things. I ask georgie, edward and steve reed each their opinions and on the sound they tell me same kind of thing: missing the growl and sounding kind of generic. tera melos nick says I have more definition but he says that might be cuz of the dan bass having old strings (something I've been into the last couple of years). oh, speaking of tera melos nick - the fucking eight songs I wrote for him for our "big walnuts yonder" proj are on a cd at my fucking pad - baka watt! I spaced and forgot it. click track on one side and bass on the other... I got it to him soon as I can but I think their band's got a euro tour right when we're done. fuck. I'll get it to him somehow.

   the bosslady is training a new bossman but I'm happy to bear w/the instruction and even bumrush w/some of my own horseshit observations. soon we're at the 'tel and I chamber up w/brother steve. konk seems to come quick...

wednesday, april 11, 2012 - san francisco, ca

   pop at four bells cuz of fucking nightmare... damn, usually these come if they do on a tour at the beginning but I guess I'm thinking we're 'pert-near in the middle when actually in a real tour it'd still be considered the beginnig, in the first week. my guess has been it's cuz of my being insecure and all that but maybe there's more? fuck, the 'mare had us playing w/a band that I know now couldn't be playing cuz of one of them fucking having a aka-chan, what the fuck is wrong w/me?! I was fucking up some way, making some hell somehow whatever and it worked it's way up into kind of indeciphirable drama that swallowed me up w/those kinds of feelings w/out really defining the how and why... yeah, pretty much big time fucked up. damn was glad somehow I popped and sprung out of that hell and realized it wasn't really going down... I went and soaked in a tub of hot water for half an hour before popping just before english-go prac time.

   it's raining out but not fierce. fuck, we got 530 miles to cover to get to the next gig in s.f. we pull anchor at eight bells. still on the I-5 (lots of that for these gigs!), I wheel us south and am sure happy the rain calms and even turns into just spurts as we go from pass to valley. man is oregon pretty even in the gray, all the green. am still wondering about the lichen really whuppin' up on lots of trees - is this shit some kind of blight or what? damn. on the ipod again I play the fall, "the step forward years" so lots of rerun of yesterday - ha! rerun time - could be a metaphor for right now's zeitgeist maybe? after that I play jack kerouac himself reading excerpts from his "on the road" book. edward in fact turns the volume up, alright! didn't know what he'd think. we stop and get gas, there's a funny car on a trailer, it's parachute packed and read. fuck, last week irwindale closed... I was so big into drag racing as a boy, so fucking into it. I would dream of one day having a '40 willys coupe to race, never happened... damn, would I read those fucking magazines and daydream like a motherfucker about that shit... wild.

   here comes siskiyou pass again but the suns out and though not bright, warm enough to have that fucking "chains required" sign not have its lights flashing. I timed it so we pass right at noon, happening. we pass into cali easy, bye bye oregon... see you again in the fall when I do a final tour of the third opera. mount shasta's all snow and clouded 'pert-near totally. weather turns to real trouble as were coming past the lakes and into redding - the sky had just turned black and then the hail comes down like a motherfucker, pounding us like ballpeen hammers and smacking the windshield 'pert-near to crack it open but luckily they're more sleet than solid ice shit but damn if the road don't ice up big time and cars start stopping under the overpasses. I slow us down and put on the flashers but don't stop cuz I don't want us sliding, don't wanna spin the tires. I keep the tires in the troughs ahead of us and we get through, luckily vehicles far ahead and far behind so I don't have to worry about peckers slamming into us. whew, fucking whew. we leave that hell behind us cuz luckily the front donesn't go all that south but we are! richard fuckin' bonney got it recorded - the ballpeen hammer pounding! what a trip. thank god my guys are safe. maybe the nightmare came from all the worrying cuz I had been fretting on shit like this - and look what happens. you just can't this shit for granted. man is it scary about the road and the weather, just is. so glad we're safe.

the dash of the boat just before red bluff on april 11, 2012

   at red bluff I hand the wheel over to brother steve reed. six and half hours of driving is enough and I wanna chimp diary as well as give my nerves some rest. my pop grew up in red bluff and the second part of my first opera is called that. I have trippy memories of it as a boy when we'd visit my grandparents... real hot summers. of course georgie immediately begins foraging and gets me some of the china chow he gets which truth be told is kind of mazui. steve wheels us the rest of the way to san francisco where the weather is cloudy but dry. we're playing "slim's" which is a pad I ain't played in a while. the bosslady dawn is an old friend. richard fuckin' bonney worked here for a while so he knows everyone. we're two hours late (what could we do?) but everyone works real fast and we get a quck soundcheck in. good folks here, good folks. we chow good chicken, beans, rice and salad plus a righteous habanero sauce from jose, he's been cooking here for years - a real good cat.

   first on is the glimpse trio and guitarman mike is from monster cock rally which I played some gigs w/a couple years ago, calvin weston the drummerman. after them tera melos rips it up and wails w/the best sound I've heard from them this whole run, god damn! I'm fired up. five after ten and its our turn. I did no konk tonight - miss hiyori's here and I'm trying to learn her about cats like sun yat-sen... can't believe she doesn't know this stuff. I know it's china but damn... you know what's a trip? a grandson of sun sat-sen lives across the street from me, eddie. he's very cool people, a great cat. anyway, I'm playing the dan bass again, feels/sounds good. funny move and almost tumble but I stay up and georgie gives me good eyes tonight, it's righteous. I guess the lights are too hot for edward and he gets really sweaty, I feel real bad for him. I even gotta do a spiel so he can collect some breath. he does good though and rearranges spiel and note selection for the vocals. georgie does real good, slammin'. I'm getting it more togehter - ha! I keep saying that but I think my progress w/this stuff is incremental. better than getting worse though. the s.f. gig-goers are most kind, most kind. it's the same trip that's been going what now, six times? yeah, I'm getting my nerve some back.

   I settle w/dawn and she's worried about my knee, I have to talk to her about it. I don't want her to worry. I seen dennis again, wow, long time - good man. pack up and see larry from victims family finally getting his bass. man am I embarrassed about that shit, I feel so bad about that. larry's a good man - someday I gotta find a way to make it up to him, somehow/someway.

   I wheel us over not too far away to my old buddies kenny and lisa's pad and cassie's there w/her son who's now eighteen and grown up good, a handsome and smart man, respect! cassie brought her chair for rubs and gives me intense ones, real intense one but good ones. haven't seen her for years, for years. it's a good time though richard fuckin' bonney stayed at his own pad cuz like I've mentioned before he's moved from pedro to here five years ago. actually I do much more listening than rapping - something for some bizzare reason 'pert-near always seems to happen here w/kenny. it's good to konk happy w/old friends.

thursday, april 12, 2012 - santa cruz, ca

   pop just before eight bells to get in a little bit of english-go w/eiko-san, a little. sor-ry. lis pops soon and goes gets coff, very kind of her. I think edward konked, I think in a chair facing me konked on the couch, that's what lis says. kenny pops soon too, so kind of him to wash my gig shirt, so kind. their buddy stevo pops, he's very cool people - we both try to wrestle moments of conversation into kenny's immense monologue but pretty much he ain't having it though it ain't out anything thing except exuberance. kenny's a beautiful man. him and lis put money in the machines out front so I keep the boat docked 'til eleven and let georgie and steve konk more - that's when richard fuckin' bonney's coming to meet us so we can bail as a five piece for santa cruz which is less than two hours south of us. the sun is out which means the sky ain't free of being heavy w/big clouds but for now not much rain is dropping down. big hugs for lis, love her.

   we head out of town, passing the proj where oj simpson grew up. I have us hear bass army and bessy smith via the ipod going through the boat's radio via an fm transmitter - damn, do I hate those fucking things but there's no fucking input. I haven't played santa cruz in a good while and never at this pad we're at now on their boardwalk, "the coconut grove ballroom" which is right on the beach. I get us in hours before we're due so everyone follows georgie (well, maybe georgie doesn't) while I konk in the boat for an hour before getting some garlic fries nearby and returning for me konk. thinking about it now, I think it was four bells when I konked last night which is kind of hard to remember in my mind but not to feel in my bones. the boardwalk trip is kind of mersh for me but I have been here at times when under the pier there's all kinds of huge sea lions under it. I return to the boat and konk another three hours.

   load in time and we get the stuff upstairs through a loading dock elevator to find who we're playing w/tonight doing soundcheck. this gig is actually the first of four this tour where we've been asked by m. ward to open for him.

m. ward + his band in santa cruz, ca on april 12, 2012

he is righteous people. the first three gigs my missingmen did was opening for m. ward back in the fall of 2006. and then there was when he had floored by four open for him in central park back in the summer of 2009. he's a great supporter, much respect to him and what a distintive singing voice. he's great musician too - d. boon would've love the way this cat picks a guitar, I just know it. he knows minutemen too - I hope to get an interview w/him for my radio show, I would really dig that. his band is happening people too: mike, chris, scott and nate. his roadboss brain is very kind to me and we have lots of spiel and laughs to share.

   this pad is an old ballroom under a dome but it was hurt in the 1989 earthquake - by the way, we (and I mean fIREHOSE) started a tour that day and we're 'pert-near on the epicenter of it, near watsonville. man that was a trip. first gig was supposed to be s.f. but of course it got scissored. instead we played cupertino w/a band called helen keller plain, organized at the last minute. after the gig we drove through s.f. and I had never seen that town so dark - all except the fire in marina district. man that was a spooky night, real spooky. anyway, this pad had to have much changes done to it but it's still pretty happening and sounds pretty good, especially for a ballroom. the gigboss britt sure is nice and in fact works out of dawn's office up at "slim's" - small world, ain't it?

   I rap a bunch w/keyboard/trumpet man nate while georgie leads yet another foraging party. petezo mazich from my secondmen band calls and says he's recording first raul and then himself for our toothless grin proj which is a trip - all put together via the internet (folks sending me files of their parts) which is matt wascovich, john petkovic, my secondmen petezo mazich and jerry trebotic, my missingmen tom watson and raul morales, byron coley, thurston moore, saccharine trust's jack brewer, chris grier and myself. almost done, just need a few more parts from some of the ensemble.

   only two bands tonight and we go on first, a quarter of nine. whoa are the lights intense. they ain't part of the ballroom but brought in, it's georgie who's got it real bad though they're distracting on me, the dark stage lots of time or flashing red only. georgie's got blaster ones burning out is retinas and it's hard for him to make any ojo contact w/me 'til I find a place where I'm blocking the up-high ones but then the one on the deck in front of monitor is whupping on him from between my legs. damn, I feel for him. we're cutting out twenty minutes for a set appropriate for the sitch and at least three of the tunes he abbreviates w/out even knowing it - that's how distracted he is. still, we have a good time and at least they're not hot to make edward suffer. it's a trippy gig... the santa cruz gig-goers are most kind.

   we get done and I go to find thalia, a buddy of mine in pedro we do music together w/stuff like li'l pit which is the band I did to learn standup bass on some. she's great people. such a trip she came up all the way here w/her friend sheila. thalia's seen so many of my music stuff. wendy and her husband plus miss hiyori are here too but had bad luck - their car was broken into last night in s.f. - I tell miss hiyori the u.s. can be intense that way, it's very unfortunate. I'm glad they're safe though.

   m. ward does a righteous set. it's this band's only third gig but man, they are happening, respect to them. m. ward has many trips, many places he takes that great voice of his and he works more than just guitar himself, he does all kinds and so does lots of his band - it looks and feels like a good time. it's a grateful sense I have for him having us aboard. thank you much, brother m. ward.

   I see lightning big over the sea out the ballroom windows, crimony! I heard the tera melos came but I can't find them. I have to go get the boat and damn if the shit ain't coming down hard now - big waves of gale blown rain wailing over the empty parking lot deck making surf 'pert-near enough to jump on a board and ride it - I shit you not. I do many many tiny geisha boy steps to try and keep safe. man, I 'pert-near got swept away but made it to the boat and got it to the rollaway door. we load up the stuff - I go and take care of the bobby dinero w/the bossman britt (he gave me m. ward's envelope, oops!) and then we pull anchor for the way out - on the way I see a 'tel w/easy parking called the "quality inn" but damn, kind of spendy but fuck, it's coming down so here we stay. me and brother steve have a little bit of a talk about how happening it was working w/the m. ward team before konking. those are some happening cats, all of them. respect, big respect.

friday, april 13, 2012 - fresno, ca

   pop on the bad luck day - I think it has something templar to do w/it but I myself think thirteen letters could put together a pretty good name. I prac einglish-go w/eiko-san for an hour and there hobble in the sunny morning time up the road a little to find a smallish dung bag (not "the bomb") and chow that, just to put something in the gullet - it's just a bean one - no fake meat. only three hours east for the next gig which is in fresno so a pretty relaxed time which is good cuz tomorrow we gotta pull anchor at six am for our coachella gig saturday.

   I ain't brought the yellow man sack out w/these 'tel konks so I ain't been dawning the nightware but damn if I think I might kind of need cuz these pads have been cold and the blankies not all that thick. fuck, some kind of lame parts to konking w/the shiverin' shit and all. and this pad w/the higher bones to be here too, no diff?!

   on the internet here... whoa, I stumbled onto this... digging big time this drawing from minzy (maknae for 2ne1, great singer/dancer), d. boon would've loved it and reminds me of something he'd kind of d. boon. he was great w/painting and drawing - like w/raymond, I'm into cats who can express themselves this way... damn, I wish I had even a piddly amount of their ability. well, like w/drums, I think the only way is to actually do it but either I'm a coward or too rapped up in bass - or both!

   mr shimmy's sent me "move love" which is his new solo mini album. he also flows me this scary story - holy cow.

   rain comes down on us but not blasting and also just in patches, actually not that many patches and just sprinkles - mostly it's sun. we get to be on pch for a little way even and see the pacific one more time before east into the san joaquin valley and towards fresno. a lot of this road west of I-5 is where we were at during the 1989 loma prieta earthquake - yeah, we were like driving real near where the epicenter happened as it was happening. it was trippy seeing the power lines going like crazy but no wind buffeting on the boat. it was curvy road and we had no idea that thing was happening 'til we got gas in the south bay and heard from the gasman (he said someone hit the ball too hard in the bay series!) and then heard more about it on the radio. crimony. chili dog for my gullet near just past hollister at a filling station called "casa de deisel" (I shit you not about the name) burn ward that's ripping folks off for $4.40/gallon cuz why? cuz they can so I get only forty bucks worth to get us to fresno. richard fuckin' bonney tells "the wild one" (w/marlon brando) was filmed in hollister cuz maybe a biker party there in 1947 inspired the script? I don't know but it was a good movie. I'm grateful mr turner has that cable channel that plays all them old movies and there ain't any fucking commercials. I am BIG TIME most grateful he has the heart to do that.

   the pad we're playing here in fresno is called "fulton 55" and across the street kittycorner. is a funeral home. there's a town about ten miles northeast of this pad called clovis and that's where my pop retired to from the navy (he then did air conditioning repair) and is now burried - cancer killed him in 1991 (we were recording "flying the flannel" right then). after our soundcheck it's trippy thoughts running through my head as I hobble a block further from that mortuary where I find a chow pad called "fajita festival" and get two fish (it's friday) tacos that are fucking really good, I mean they are happening. my pop only saw me play once and it was at an old spaghetti factory (name of the restaurant chain) in fresno, it was w/fIREHOSE. we konked at his pad after. I could tell he was tripping on what I did. before that, he had infos from what I had said or in the post cards I would send him on tour. it was that that made him tell me how I thought I was like a sailor too, working all those towns like I did. I have a half-brother here, a great cat named justin. he's thirty years younger than me. we both share our pop but have different mas. he's supposed to be at the gig tonight.

   I go to the boat and konk. fuck, I miss the openers, locals named the quiet americans but I do see all of tera melos' set. whoa, they're smokin' it up, truly. damn, it's the last gig w/them, fuck, damn.

tera melos in fresno, ca on april 13, 2012

this band smokes and I love them, truly. we're on at eleven but start just before that - hell, the house soundman offered up the middle slot but gigboss brian (same one as sacktown's) asked to stay third and hell, I'd do anything for him. I think this is the tightest of all the gigs we've done on this run. edward's voice is beat but he knows how to use what he's got, that's what it feels like. there's some clams - will the form of "bakin' me everyday" get committed to his memory? that and two others got the abbreviated treatment from him but I still have a good time. during the encore, I see brother justin, alright!

   yeah, by the boat I talk w/my brother. I explain what's up w/this mission to him, my take. he tells me he's teaching himself piano, whoa. he's sung for a hardcore band before but now he's on this path. I love him much. I know we both miss our pop big time but what can we do 'cept to plow on. I give him a huge hug.

justin watt + mike watt in fresno, ca on april 13, 2012

   hollering to get everyone on board, I get us south on cali 99 as far as kingsburg and we get another 'tel of the "quality inn" flavor - not as much as a burn ward as the santa cruz one, fifty buck cheaper. no alcohol for watt today, I chow a slice of the crapizzia brother steve brought me and konk soon after a quick hose down.

saturday, april 14, 2012 - indio, ca

   pop at a quarter of six, pull anchor in fifteen minutes - I'm already to go, even already hosed off cuz of getting it taking care of before last night's konk. the next gig is the coachella music festival and they want us checking in at 12:30 so the emperial polo grounds in indio where it's held (about thirty miles from palm springs) is about six hours worth of driving, hence how the decision was arrived to bail when we did.

   most of my colleagues are konked out cold, georgie stuffed up on the shelf. I gas up right away - edward request either "the bomb" dung bag or a "big-az" microwave puck and I get him the later, thinking of his gut. ca-99 has got some real rough spots, lacking the funds of an interstate but there's parts they got fixed. I'm grateful for dry weather - we pass visalia. you know there was a trippy gig at a pizza pad I was part of maybe four years ago: thurst was doing a solo tour for not this solo album but the last one (his second one) - he had come and saw me and my secondmen work the filmore w/mission of burma and asked me if I would open up his visalia gig w/a twenty minute version of me doing mose allison's "young man blues" kind of like how the who did it but w/just bass and spiel. it also just happened to be halloween so right near I found a pumpkin patch and bought a pumpkin and carved it behind the pizza pad - cutting out the bottom and then hollowing it out after cutting in eyes, nose and a mouth. I played right before thurst and his band w/that pumpkin on my head and bringing forth what I had for that tune which was a buttload cuz that tune means big time tons to me. I had to do it by braile cuz I couldn't see shit but I've worked a halloween a few times now w/my fitted that way so it wasn't a total trip out for me - difficult but not impossible. it was a hoot as it worked out and damn if I didn't put all the passion possible for me for thurst cuz I just really always wanna do good for him.

   back to our adventure here as I wheel us up on bakersfield - mr garmin the gps navigator suggests dodging grapevin and doing tehachapi so that's what I do. I put us east and though that pass is about a hundred feet lower (tejan at grapevine is 4144), damn if their ain't blizzard 'pert-near blowing, fuck.

the view from the boat as we reach the summit at tehachapi on april 14, 2012

I slow us down but keep the tires rolling and again I'm glad there's no big amount of traff or the road having that many turns to thread. it gets worse and worse as we climb and then - bing! we're over the summit and there's the mojave, sun all bright and high in the sky. fuck, we made it, we made it! upper desert towns and highway 'til I hit the interstate and through cajon pass, there's some fog but the road's clear and dry, yatta! I get us to indian wells where the check-in is fifteen minutes early. damn, if I ain't grateful - thank god for steve reed's buddy mrs ruth praying for us.

   the coachella people are real nice. young people w/no 'tude, no jadedness - they're fucking happening - stage bosses like corwin and jason. we load our stuff from a lot the boat's put in to another van that goes to the gobi stage - that's the stage we're on, right before the buzzcocks and right after azealia banks - man, does she tear it up! respect! both goldenvoice bosses paul and gary come up to say hi and watch her - so good to see paul and gary, good cats who came up from the bottom to be working how they do now. kevin, the warped tour boss comes over to say hi to me too - this cat started loading equipment into pads. actually he's got both a country and metal travelling trip (two seperate dealios) going now too, crimony. respect. people say I work hard but there's lots of us trying not just trying coast on shit but do what we can by charging hard. ian mackay is here w/amy and their new shipmate carmine, ian is always so kind to me, always. I wanna do good for him and these other friends too. cath from sargent house is here and I rap w/her a bunch. her label puts out righteous records - this is the home of tera melos, adibisi shank, le butcherettes - even boris has put out a couple albums w/her last year! great lady, great label. much respect.

   ok, our turn but I'm the only one on the stage. I wheel over the drum riser and the amps - I don't want us all spread like I guess the other bands like it (the vaccines from england we're on as we arrived, it was fun watching them play). I get on the leash and give brother steve reed the word relating how I feel, I tell him I feel like I'm standing here w/my dick in my hand - that's what ig would say. I guess they all went to go get chow but I got a different set of priorities, just the way I am. I'll chow after. first I gotta work this gig. the guys arrive in time to get everything up but man, we got sound problems right from the beginning of our four pm downbeat...

   it's a lowend feedback that's w/us the whole fucking gig. actually, it's tough mixing in these fucking tents - the front and back are open but it's still a fucking tent. whatever, I just hug close to my amp and keep my eyes on georgie like I've been doing w/these gigs, trying to get the "rhythm section thing" together or at least like hell to do that. I only see the crowd when I do the songs I spiel in and it's a different thing that we've been up to this point. maybe some in the front's kind of the same but... I try to play best I can w/georgie and edward. I still think fresno (last night) was the tightest gig we played but this one's pretty ok, I think it could've been a lot worse. georgie made it fun in lots of ways and I'm grateful for that. edward had to use shoes borrowed from georgie cuz he donated his at that 'tel we stayed in had only flipflops... I guess they fit good enough cuz he didn't keel over. I can't believe he wore those oversized sunglasses, that was a trip. I think edward did good and so did georgie. I tell you I was laying into the dan bass, truly. it reminded me some of the old days where kind of had to prove ourselves cuz of the sitch. I kind of think that ain't a bad thing. I see cedric stage starboard and flow him a fist... you know me and him are part of a proj called anywhere put together by triclops! guiatrman christian? yep. debut album just came out - didn't know it was cedric I was putting bass too at my "studio thunderpants" in my pedro pad. oh, back to the gig - damn if I didn't count off our last tune like a 'tard which made cause for a pileup but I get it together w/georgie after a few bars. georgie laughs big time and I deserve it.

   all done, I get my stuff packed and then wait for the buzzcocks. man, I can't wait. this is a very happening band. originals pete shelley and steve diggle are still w/them and somehow I get to talk w/steve a little as he's walking to the stage. he is very cool people, very much! man, he tells me him and pete are gonna turn fiftyseven (they're born two weeks apart) - that's only three years older than me! I'm just foaming all over but he's cool about. I talk w/the drummerman too - he comes up to me and talks about stooges, how he almost got the call larry did last summer. damn, ain't it a small world? the buzzcocks blow the place up - I'm stage port and nearly out of my mind, using a mic stand to channel some of the nervousness. after I get to meet pete shelley, oh man,

watt + pete shelley at coachella on april 14, 2012

oh man!! I don't wanna foam too much but I feel I need to give him respect and he's very kind about it, he know it's a little (little?!) emotional for me. fuck man, they finished w/their "I believe" tune, incredible! I was sinigng that when I got done w/my gig, singing it to myself when some helperman thought I was spieling into some kind of bluetooth device!

   me and edward get brought via a golfcart - whoa, we see a recycling bin on the way w/d. boon stuff painted on it, what?!!

recycling bin at coachella 2012

whoa! - to sign records (georgie's already there). one young cat in line to get shit signed is a bassman and he asks me good stuff about bass, about the relationship between the finger and the string - "the flipper" is what I call it. I tell him we're together on that journey to see what the bass will bring us.

   now we can bail. georgie will stay w/his people but us other four wanna bail cuz we're beat. it was an intense day for watt for sure! ha! I wouldn't trade it for anything though. I get a chilidog w/gas for the boat not far down the road - first chow all day for me. nine and half when I get to brother steve's pad (we pass mrs ruth's on the way and give thanks), ten pm when I finally dock the boat in my pedro town. whoa. hose down... into the nightware... onto the deck - my deck! I konk very grateful my guys are safe.

monday, april 16, 2012 - solana beach, ca

   pop here in my pedro pad six bells, make coff. yes, to be in my routine a little bit... yesterday was a no-gig day and I did much rest amongs the must-do catch-up, that's the way of the world I'm in. it being sunday too and being in my pedro town means breakfast chow w/my ma and sister melinda. jane mansfield on the turner channel w/tony randall in a movie made the year I was born. my ma know a lot about these people and their drama. I think ms mansfield lost her head in a car wreck, tragic.

   today which is gig day, I do the english-go prac w/eiko-san and then bring the boat into the ford boat doctor for regular maintenance I do w/her, it's way fucking worth it. god bless the boat and all her sail w/her. I want my men safe - even though I feel fIREHOSE ain't like my secondmen or missingmen, I still everyone to get back home safe.

   kuruma (car in jap) is dangerous sitch. back in the boat to get my men... brother steve reed was very kind and came down to pedro to make my hellride a little smaller. he's in a part of town close to where richard fuckin' bonney is which is the northeast part (he's at his late ma's old pad) so w/both of them in the boat, we go to georgie's and wait. edward makes his appearance but there's more time needed for georgie - something about dealing w/a water prob. we're only half an hour late out the gate which in the bigger context ain't that bad. so the crew is all together again and we roll out of town. I play "uncensored" by charles bukowski on the ipod. sure wish I could plug it in directly instead of using this fucking lame-ass fm transmitter thing but there ain't any other way. we get some gas in san juan capistrano but the only swallows I see are in freeway decorations and living ones. I use to see their mud nests in the overpasses above the freeway but can't see any now. damn, I wonder what's up?

   two hours south of pedro off I-5 is where tonight's gig's at, in solana beach (twentythree miles north of san diego) at a pad called the "belly up tavern" which I ain't worked since opening up for the lemonheads w/my secondmen like six years ago. it's kind of like a quonset hut in a row of other ones that make up "decorator's row" (what they call it) on this little street in this little beach town - or is "desinger's row" maybe? something to do w/clothes but this venue has kind of a surfshack theme going but maybe there's a clothes connection cuz they do all have red shirts on. we do a quick soundcheck and the one tune georgie never fails to foul during the set comes out perfect from him, trippy.

   the venue then provides me w/a "brie burger" which is pretty tasteless but doesn't get me sick. the salad w/the walnuts ain't so tasty eight but I'm sure it ain't the fault of the cat who made it so I ain't blaming them. old buddy o shows up

o at the belly up tavern in solano beach, ca on april 16, 2012

like 'pert-near always, he's great for being there for me in these parts. same w/jovi, he arrives later. o always like to talk guitars - he has a picture w/me and j from when I was a part of the fog but I guess he chimped the email address wrong cuz I can't find it (damn) but jovi is a fellow bassman.

   less than a half-hour to go (we're to start at nine) and edward/georgie are somewhere chowing w/people. man. I get nervous about that kind of stuff. the m. ward roadboss brian who is happening people asks me if we're gonna make our obligation and so I'm hoping by telling him yes. edward and georgie arrive w/fifteen minutes to go and I am relieved. let's do this. gig is clean (meaning sold out) so that's a good thing - I just realized all of today I never talked w/m. ward, damn. what a trippy thing to think of but I like him much. anyway, time to talk w/my bass and get it together w/georgie and edward. we do good - I still think fresno was better but the three of us do ok I think and edward's had some rest for his voice. I do clam in the last tune again but not in the count-off but rather in parts not too much before the first spiel. what a doof. georgie points it out by pointing at me w/a stick and he's right. he also clammed his share but I ain't saying that to get back - in fact I'm glad he called me out. the gig-goers are very kind. I express my gratitude for m. ward having us aboard.

   young josh, a cat I ain't seen in a long time says hi. so does old friend laduska. some other people tell me what I think is kind of bullshit - not a lot but a couple and they seem like nice folks but they wanna put down m. ward when telling me they liked what we did. I wonder if they realize I don't feel better cuz they didn't care about the cat who made it possible for us to play here tonight. I don't think it's out of meaness, I think there's some stuff in the culture that promotes that kind of thinking, some of the less healthy things in the culture. I like m. ward cuz of him being him and cuz of his way of working music so I wanna protect him. folks of course can have their opinion but like I said, these kinds of sentiments being expressed to me kind of rub me the wrong way.

   I help steve and richard get the boat loaded. edward wants to stay w/a friend and their at a holdiay inn express nearby that's a hundred bucks a room but I wanna be close so we have no probs in the morning pulling anchor. him and georgie stay. I am just really tired and need the rest even though it means missing m. ward and his band which bums me out but a man's gotta know his limitations. fuck, that's a reality I have to face. hell, it's like eleven bells when I konk but damn if I wasn't big time tuckered.

tuesday, april 17, 2012 - phoenix, az

   pop at three bells and do hot soak in the tub like I did a few days ago (in santa cruz?), don't know why I popped but fuck it, I'll soak, I thought. after I konked again and then popped for a second time just before doing english-go prac at seven. there's free chow at this burn ward so I go have some semi-kind-of omelette "pieces" w/a greasy sausage patty and some toast. there's watery coff too. I go back to the chamber w/brother steve reed and chimp diary.

   we pull anchor at eleven head south to where I-5 connects to I-8 and head east from there. it's 370 miles to phoenix. there's another pass (just over 4000 feet too), laguna pass but we're south enough where the weather's fine. I wheel us the six hours it takes using the air conditioner, we're in the desert now and at sea level.

sign off the I-8 in california

over the colorado river and into arizona, our next three gigs are in this state. I fill the boat w/sounds of "wait for it" which is a solo album from former pere ubu guitarman tom herman. I love tom herman.

   I get us gas in yuma for $3.95/gallon - first time under four bucks in how long for me? kind of a while... they got the long-ass squeegees for the windshield, the ones they use on trucks and though it's good for bonus reach, it's REALLY HAPPENING for leverage so you can scrub that glass good. edward gets a jalapeno dog so I do too, kind of tastes lame though. I like these kind of dogs (lame-ass gas station ones) skinny so it ain't as "pulpy" or however you'd describe the "filler" taste of fat ones.

   the u.s. border patrol has an improvised checkpoint (official one miles back was "closed") set up and the officer questions me some but relents after asking edward where he was born and then telling him he's a citizen if he ain't already the son of a king... what?! trippy. he looks over at the shrine of homies on the dash and trips some on that before waiving us on.

   I put on the last poets for the rest of the ride, hitting the I-10 at buckeye. I remember pete buck letting me tape some last poets when we stayed at his pad in athens on what turned out to be our last minutemen tour. thinking about it, I taped some buzzcocks too - ain't that a trip? those guys really knew about a lot of musics. it was trippy we had to get an rem album (the one w/the ear on a swinging block) to hear what they sounded like. slow learner watt!

   we're playing right in the middle of phoenix at a place new to me, the "crescent ballroom" but it's an older pad and not that big, a good size w/a good sound. charley's doing this gig - he just moved back here from tucson - he's done my gigs for years, I dig him big time, much respect. it's warm here in phoenix but not blistering. there's a chow pad that's part of the venue and they bring some burger w/the word nortena in it but I chow only part of the patty and the onions cuz the bun was a total bogart and 'pert-near choked me w/just one chomp. I did have a bologna sandwich - was that bologna? I know it was just one slice of bread w/it.

   we start the show off (w/these m. ward gigs, it's just us and them) at nine pm. I think this gig we do goes better than even the fresno one, the band has clams but not to put the keel out of the water, I'm very proud of edward and georgie. it has good flow too. I'm a little more sure of what I'm doing. I think it's good prac I had to go and relearn these tunes even though I don't really play this way so much any more. I have edward to thank and of course georgie for helping me w/focus. the phoenix gig-goers are very kind to us too.

   one man named chuck comes by to tell me my old dallas buddy john lambert was killed by cancer. I konked at john's many times and I liked him very much. it's sad news. my heart goes out to his family.

   m. ward has me come up and join him for willie dixon's "spoonful" and "roll over beethoven" by chuck berry - I blow more clams in the later. man, he's got a great band, fucking happening players... MUCH respect to them. m. ward is a really deep music cat and I love his voice. I'm so grateful we got to do these gigs w/him.

   my old buddy cris kirkwood from the meat puppets and ruth are here and invites to konk at their pad. I go WAY BACK w/cris, fucking forever way back and I love him. miss vicki comes w/us to their pad and cris' nephew elmo (curt's son) joins us w/some pretty kickass acoustic guitar playing, yeah. respect! I get into the nightwear (righteous getting to wash the gig shirt here) and drink jim beam. georgie says I konked in fetal position but not on my side - rather I had my face planted in the rug and my ass in the air. it was a good time though, truly BIG LOVE to cris and ruth.

wednesday, april 18, 2012 - flagstaff, az

   pop at ten and half - watt was fucking tired! only two and a half hours to today's gig in flagstaff so it's real relax-time for us and no pressure. cris cooks up scrambled eggs, bacon and potatoes for us, his hospitality is all heart, respect to him. I wash my nightwear. we lots of good laughs. man did cris turn it all around in a righteous way. all these years and we've looped it back to days of the good time when being w/him. life sure is a fucking trip. I just love the guy. he shows me a bunch of his artwork that's getting ready for a show. he's always drawn and painted, his brother curt too - you can see it on a bunch of meat puppets album artworks for example but I think this something really happening for him. I would chug coff from a mug w/cris kirkwood art on it, yeah! he tells me dave-o from the old days (black flag roadie and then pups one) is never heard from but lives in planned community south of town and cleans pools. he says there's never word from original drummie derrick bostrom but he runs a meat puppets web site - trippy dynamic there. you know, you get thinking about the old days and folks from then that still have a place in your heart. sometimes it's pretty intense for me, pretty intense. I get sentimental.

   we pull anchor at one in the afternoon and head north on I-17. the weather's warm and dry, skies very much big time bright and blue. I get gas for the boat near planned community (I think modern arizona has a lot of this going) and there's some cats asking for donations for thier music cds. I must've given out like seventy bucks - I've never done that before but think about it: many people have "donated" towards my music journey so it seems ok to give back. the driverman gets out and gives me a big hug. I tell him and respect and he tells me the same right back. I wish them luck. he liked my coltrane button on my shirt. already georgie shoveling (or "grazing" as he puts it), he's got two big pieces of pizza. man, can this guy chow!

   there's some hillclimb involved and we're up to 6,000 feet when we get to flagstaff. it's a college town, miss vicki went here. it's been a good while since I've played here - I think it was w/my seconmen at the "monte vista hotel" like seven or so years ago but we're playing a block or two away tonight at "the orpheum" wich is an old theatre. it's our last gig w/m. ward, damn. man, I've had a good time we them, we all have - they're real good cats, truly. after soundcheck, I read about some stuff on-line... very sad news about levon helm - I dig him so very much, HUGE respect. my heart really goes out to him - I will play for him tonight when I work my bass... and then on the opposite side there's this boss in china, bo xilai and what a weird trip that is his tumble - I get out of touch w/a lot of news on tour. I read about my town and some seal controls found at a pad... of course the address they give "25th and mesa" doesn't even exist - I wonder about the veracity of lots of "reporting" - think about it. fuck, we dangle from either the whim or the 'tard level of the shallow skim and from this we're supposed to help develop opinions? scary.

   a nice man named charles (later I found out he's this pad's co-owner!) gets me a gyro, so very kind of him. it's a good one, crimony. I am grateful. I lay out on a couch and become still. cris scruggs talks w/me about music stuff... damn if this cat ain't deep, crimony! he knows a buttload about tons of shit, very interesting man. he learns me all kinds - I wish I had month to spend w/him!

   we go on at a quarter after eight, I'm into that. again we do pretty good (hey, we're learning this!) but edward's got some challenges cuz of his boss distortion pedal having it's battery go kaput. I could tell it was distracting him. georgie's really got it going w/these hand over the head monkey gestures - he's wild. it's a take off on his "give a monkey a banana" philosophy where he see his role as a drummer sometimes. man, he cracks me up and I love it. now for soundcheck, we did prac w/m. ward and his band - all of us doing "the red and the black" which is an old blue oyster cult song I've done since playing w/d. boon when were young teenagers. for our last tune in the set tonight, that's what we do - we bring those cats up and launch into it. they're such happening players, that w/only going through it two times, they pretty much got it - even scott on the drums w/georgie (everything from both bands is set up so no shorts had to be pulled). it's a fun time, all us wailing on this together and a great way to celebrate these four gigs we've just done. cris did chicken pickin', mike did tambourine (!) and m. ward himself did stun guitar! a real good time, yep.

   they go and do a smokin' version of their set and then m. ward has both me and georgie (on floor tom only) do "spoonful" w/his drummie scott. everyone comes out for "roll over beethoven" and man, I clam worse than last night! christ, I gotta learn then changes better! fucking baka watt. flat wounds on this bass too, not used to that - like skinny pipes!

   we take a shot backstage, both teams:

both the m. ward + fIREHOSE crews in flagstaff, az on april 18, 2012

   tourboss brian is so kind to give us their two 'tel rooms cuz they're gonna motor to coachella instead of staying the night - so very kind, truly. all these cats are just the best. safe seas for them. I tell m. ward I sent him the original version of that b.o.c. tune and he's says he's gonna burn into his brain! you know what? that cat will - count on it! I thank him again big time for having us aboard. "let's do it again" he tells me. fuck, I wanted to a spiel w/him for my radio show but damn, I spaced... he told me back in cruz he was into it... damn, somehow I'll get it happening. this cat is deep into music, like I've said. much respect. let me also thank their helperfolks chad, phil and shelley cuz not only did they kick up much dust for m. ward and his band (mike, chris and scott) but also came to bat for us as well... and tourboss brian was big time the man. respect.

   it aint even half after eleven when we drop anchor. 'pert-near quick I'm on my way to konksville, man am I tuckered.

thursday, april 19, 2012 - tucson, az

   pop at eight bells and no english-go prac w/eiko-san cuz she saw mr jim o'rourke and the other eiko-san do a nagoya gig. I do check out some news via internet, I learn about an opening that's gonna happen next week for a place in big rapids, mi called the jim crow museum of racist memorabilia - whoa, of course stuff this way in the old days is fucked up but to know TODAY there's still stupid fucking intolerance is, well... I'm glad this pad is opening up and hope folks will learn from it. I find out so cal's newest public art is pianos for anyone to use and we got one in our pedro town, by the warner theatre. me and d. boon saw "the exorcist" there when were teenagers.

   we pull anchor at ten bells, bright and sunny skies for the ride south whence we came on I-17. a little less scarier this way, the way the grades work. at beaver hollow (or is that the name of the filling station?) I get gas - the cheapest of the tour at $3.90/gallon. there's a dung bag I get put in the gut, tasteless filler. I ask myself why? the whole crew is laughing. I don't blame them.

   about fifteen miles from of an exit for a town called bumble bee

offramp for the town of bumble bee off of I-17 in arizona

(I've always marveled at the name of this town and how it says "no services" on the exit sign - "would I wanna live there?" I'm always compulsively thinking - I swear I'd live in the desert if I couldn't live in my pedro town) there's one of those "adopt a highway" signs for something called "urantia book" and that gets me thinking... hey, don't I remember something about urantia or what? I found the arizona department of transportation doc that says this sponsorship goes for one mile (going from 234 to 235) and it's been going since 2005, expiring next year. just trippy shit you get to thinking about on tour cuz of the physicality of being w/the boat and travelling the land.

   between phoenix and tucson I do something foul at the next stop we need for gas. I not only fill the boat up but myself also w/one of the worst "chilidogs" (I really don't feel good about slurring the good name of those that are made right) ever - edward for example could tell it didn't look right and damn if it was a horrid chokedown I had to do to get that crap pushed through the in-hole. yech. no more crap for me. oh, forgot to say on the ipod I had bob pollard's "mouseman cloud" solo album when we passed that urantia trip back up on the mountain part of our journey earlier - I mention that now cuz maybe it means something...

   I wheel us into the venue called "plush" we're playing on the whatever-you-wanna-call section on fourth avenue which is being pretty tore up for a re-do so when I hoof around for some real chow to help flush both loads of foulent I've put my system through, it's quite a hoof but I'm thinking that's good cuz damn if it's been two weeks w/no elliptical trainer for me and my lame knee is missing big time the workouts to get it stronger. I find a pad called "pancho villa's" and get a relleno burrito which is real and is good eats. hopefully it will act as some sort of plunger.

   the hoof back - even though it's a block or so away from the chow pad, construction had me hoof many blocks just to get to the other side of the street but like I said, I'm into it. maybe something I'm not as much into is standing on the stage for a good while w/my dick in my hand (rhetorically) but after a quick check w/soundman tom and a little pow-wow w/georgie, I go to the boat and konk hard. even w/some sweatiness, I konk hard. weird prison nightmares plague the hard konk (was it north korean prison, I think it was north korean lady prison guard), I am helpless to pop from it 'til edward rousts me for gig time coming on ten pm.

   that was more than three hours - whoa... damn, I missed the opening band, a trio named the monitors from around here, was curious what they were about, damn but I must've way tuckered and part of middle age is listening to the fucking body - I mean would sousing be a better pick? not for watt. it's a trippy gig for me. I try hard to play technically good, really hard cuz I'm fighting the "phone-it-in-thing" which I hardly have to do but fuck, it's like that guard in the 'mare I just had and I could spend a lifetime fucking speculating. I can tell you the tucson gig-goers were most, most kind and some of them even weren't from here like my old buddy jen davis for one and then the people who told me after they came from north carolina and new jersey and parts like that. brother matthew didn't have to come from far and actually was here here earlier to interview edward for his "fluke" zine which is very happening. fellow bassist vannessa is here too but I get no spiel w/her or even isaac which is I guess is the way it is... I hear georgie (via edward) wants us driving right after to get a leg up on getting home. I'd earlier heard him asking about how much renting a car would cost...

   ok, I do the bobby deniro thing w/gigbossman randy and then wheel us whence we came toward phoenix and get us out of dodge. I ain't into night driving and edward says he ain't either so about half an hour after midnight we reach casa grande and I drop anchor for us to konk. the thooper-eight lady made it easy as pie to do what it takes to get a konk pad. the plan is for us to pull anchor at six so me and brother steve reed retire as I guess the others got shoveling work to do at the ihop next door. well, maybe not richard fuckin' bonney cuz I know he was beat too.

saturday, april 21, 2012 - indio, ca

   friday I pop w/fifteen minutes to before our planned (actually georgie's plan) pull anchor - I go hose off and am pretty quick w/guzzling a cup of coff where I give the lady the room keys. there's some chow here too but I was told six am was shove-off time. me and the helpermen (brothers steve and richard) are just waiting, sitting in the boat w/our dicks in our hand when I take a wild guess and bring the boat out around front - there's edward w/the puffin' and georgie inside chowing all I can. I roll down the window and ask w/a holler, "I thought this was your idea?" and once fully mouthfulled he waddles out and gets in and up on the shelf. he's pretty funny. the sun is up and bright but no heat yet. great time to roll, georgie's idea was a good one.

   I put the ipod on shuffle and take us west on I-8 'til gila corner where I get gas and my first tuna and only subway sandwich of the tour - man, at the filling station here is got to be the oldest john deere tractor I've every seen!

an old john deere tractor in gila bend, az

I convince georgie if he doesn't chow again he might starve to death and after putting up some resistance, he relents and once more stuffs his in-hole full before getting up on the shelf) and then north on az-85, like we did when we first came to arizona but this time west on I-10 instead of east. down this way is where d. boon was killed in a van wreck. his pop showed me some pictures and wanted me to have them but it was too much... he also wanted me to know exactly where it was but I asked him to please not tell me - I am not that strong a person. man, I get sad thoughts passing through these parts...

   we cross the colorado river and back into our california state around nine and a half, bye bye arizona. oops, edward's homestate is pennsylvania, sorry! I hand the wheel over to brother steve reed at a rest stop not too far west of the patton museum around eleven am.

   the last hour of the ride is a nightmare plug on ca-91, even w/the boat's air conditioning full blast it's a fucking shvitz in here. there's a few wrecks and of course folks gotta lookie-loo or things won't be right (traffic would keep from being plugged if they just moved steady and didn't stop to gawk). actually, georgie does great keeping our minds off this fucking traff hell but first talking about air conditioning and delta-t's before moving on to planets... we get going on venus and how trippy that fucking place is - what we know about it (I got both the "world book" and encyclopedia britannica on my macpurse), shit like it rotates once every 243 earth days and how the atmosphere (mainly clouds of sulfuric acid!) is ninety times the pressure ours is even though we're 'pert-near the same size. sure is our "twin" in the solar system, huh?

   brother steve takes us in the whole way to pedro. he's the first to be dropped off at his buddy laurel's which is very kind of him in regards to cutting down on more miles on the boat (in the boat?) cuz I can pick him up here saturday for the last gig. richard, then edward and georgie are next. it's actually georgie's last time cuz he's gonna take his own vehicle to the last gig and I know I can count on him to be on time, maybe we can even caravan. I feel very much relieved everyone's home safe. well, edward's not in his pittsburgh town but he's at georgie's and safe.

   I get to my pad around four pm, whew. I'm beat. eiko-san arrives from the airport via shuttle not too much later, she's gonna visit pedro again for her fifth time. we chow a pizza from "bonello's" cuz she's only had "buono's" from here before and I want her to check out the different take - all peetz ain't the same even w/both being good. oh, I find out some stuff about bumble bee - it's been a ghost town for a quite a while...maybe a difficult pad to inhabit - baka watt! me and my "einsteinian" ideas... but, who knows? maybe...

   gig day and I'm at georgie's at ten to get edward on board w/us (already got brother steve reed and richard fuckin' bonney - both men ready to go w/no dawdle) and see georgie set off in his craft. it's two and a half hours to indio, about 150 miles from pedro east by northeast in the desert (not too far from palm springs) and lucky us w/no traff plug but it still takes two and half hours. we're there just when we're expected to get the credentials... georgie's 'pert-near an hour and a half late, how? whatever, I'm just glad he's safe and this is the last gig. we do the repeat of last week, even me waiting like last time but not by myself - all us guys but georgie are ready to go... whew, it's a relief when he appears, a relief. I tell him I'll do much w/the eye contact than in tucson. we're on after azalia banks again, she is incredible, smokin'. it's four pm, a lot less people backstage to see us than last time but maybe up front is a little more. to be honest, both these coachella gigs are nothing like the club gigs we did where the audience is mostly people from the days of this band (late eighties/early nineties) - there's some of that, a little bit but mostly this is a young person's festival and I don't think they're much about this band. I don't if it's cuz we're from the old days cuz the buzzcocks (right after us again) are a much older band and the gobi stage tent fills all the way up for them. back to our final performance: I think it's the tightest me and georgie play, the least clams and we give edward a good foundation for his guitar which is maybe the best of these two weeks also. his voice at this coachella set is better than the other one... I've been thinking about that - you know we did prac for two straight weeks before these gigs and that must've been a strain on his singing - some pracs were like four hours long! I just couldn't think of another way to get ready, it being eighteen years since we last played and him now living out in pittsburgh. I did something to him a couple days ago about how I stop cigarettes when I tour cuz I only got so much energy and only so much throat but he said "michael, I got a monkey on my back" so I understand I think how he feels and have compassion. there's some low end feedback on the stage when I do my three spiels but it comes together for the last one which is our last tune period. edward picked a good set list order, trippy how chronological it was but I think that made sense since it's kind of a review of what this band used to do and how things developed. it was over a hundred degrees (fahrenheit!) but a good breeze and the shade of the tent made it ok.

   the buzzcocks come on right after and again I watch their whole gig from stage port and am blown away by how strong and together they are, crimony!

steve diggle and pete shelley (lft to rt) of the buzzcocks at the coachella festival on april 21, 2012

I didn't get to see the other two coachella re-groupings, at the drive-in or the refused (damn) but I can tell you these cats were smokin' and I was happier for it! maybe it's a gamble doing this kind of thing though I know they've been at it maybe since the 90s, that's what some folks we're telling me. folks like us and those other two bands got together just for this and maybe that's a big difference.

   it's so great to talk w/steve shelley again - I get more spiel in and give him both my "hyphenated-man" and "spielgusher" albums - he's so kind, I don't have to foist. man, getting to witness him and steve these two times was a total mindblow for me. trippy too is that the young men helping them have a band called the images that hail both from carson and san pedro, what a trip! missingmen guitarist tom watson and his brother will are here too which makes me glad.

   some record signing and then it's time for watt to head for his pedro town, I'm glad those w/me are into it also... we head back whence the way we came this morning. georgie's got his own vehicle but he does ride a little bit w/us to another parking lot so he can get to it - it's the last time for us all in the boat together. traff is pretty calm for us and I get us back around nine and a half pm. mission accomplished: everyone home safe, everyone I had w/me. it feels good to know the next day georgie got back safe too. alright, mission accomplished: everyone home safe.

thursday, april 5
at harlow's
sacramento, ca

friday, april 6
at doug fir lounge
portland, or

saturday, april 7
at neumos
seattle, wa

monday, april 9
at the wild buffalo house of music
bellingham, wa

tuesday, april 10
at the wow hall
eugene, or

wednesday, april 11
at slim's
san francisco, ca

thursday, april 12
at the coconut grove ballroom
santa cruz, ca

friday, april 13
at fulton 55
fresno, ca

saturday, april 14
at coachella
indio, ca

monday, april 16
at the belly up taven
solana beach, ca

tuesday, april 17
at the crescent ballroom
phoenix, az

wednesday, april 18
at the orpheum theatre
flagstaff, az

thursday, april 19
at plush
tucson, az

saturday, april 21
at coachella
indio, ca

loop back to mike watt's hoot page

this page created 6 apr 12