watt's tour diary
friday, march 17, 2017 - xinxiang
tuesday I popped at five forty am, time to shove off for another tour (last one was a tiny one that ended a couple of weeks ago, tom's idea to get us good and prac'd up for this one - great idea) BUT not just another tour cuz this will be my FIRST TIME IN CHINA! tom and raul's also. I've been real excited about this. the connect is brother steve mackay cuz the people bringing us over, gil and chach brought him both times he got to play in china. I actually have been invited a couple times before but just didn't have the open place to do it but this time I made sure I would.
I've gotten all my shit together last night so there ain't much to hassle over except wash - I waited last minute for that which is important cuz the yellow coat is in that batch and I'm wearing that to china. all the sudden my land-line rings and a robot voice tells me the first flight we got, the one from lax to sea-tac has been delayed big time so "would you please make other arrangements" - crimony!! ok, I go to the web site and find a flight that'll help us get there so the flight to beijing can stay the same but I can't make the change cuz the site says there's an error so I gotta get on the horn using the 800 hundred number w/a numbing wait w/that fucking numbing muzak trying to drive me wack but I hold the course and after forty minutes, get a voice and then that voice takes another half hour to find and get together the flight I found but then she's gotta get the stuff approved - hell, I gotta get the wash out of the coin machine downstairs so I roll the dice and go for it... the muzak wailing is long enough for me to make it back up and secure the flights, whew. I call up raul and tell him it's calmer now (I had called him in a panic when I first got the robot call), so let's have dirk (my old buddy who has a righteous guitar shoppe here in pedro called "guitar safari") get us when we were planning to have him get us, at nine bells. tom meets us at lax at ten (it takes 'pert-near an hour w/the fucking plug traff) but we've done - we thank and hug dirk big time for his righteous aiding and abetting.
we gather tom and make for the gate. finally just before three w/liftoff from lax in a delta boeing 717 bound for sea-tac and get there in just over two hours. me and tom are in the very last row which don't even have a window (that's where tom is, I got the bologna seat) but you know what? we don't fucking care cuz at least we're underway and not gonna have to juggle the sea-tac to beijing flight, thank god! raul's in the seat ahead of tom, he's twisting his head back a bunch cuz we like to work like a three-way, even when we're spieling. it's kind of sad about this tour that way cuz it's prolly raul's last tour w/us cuz him and paloma have a shipmate coming in may, she's already been named sophia. she's gonna have a righteous ma and pop, I know it. back to our journey: we take the tram they got here (lax is the ONLY big 'port w/out this or a people mover trip - we were discussing this stupid fact when wading in between the buses and shuttles at lax that could be all eliminated w/such a thing, crimony!) to the satellite terminal and boom-ba-da-binga, there's our gate and I can see our plane get readied in the gray drizzling rain (no sunny so cal up here - still like it was when we just passed through two weeks ago). it's a boeing 767 and we board w/in minutes of me getting to take a good long piss. checking in yesterday, I found out tom had bologna seats for all our flights so I put him in places otherwise, especially for the fucking twelve hour hellride we got coming up now. I chow kale ravioli (like I could tell!) but it don't make me sick. I finish another re-reading of richard mckenna's "the sand pebbles" - can't tell you how much I love this book. nobody in the baloney seat between me and raul, tom in the seat in front of raul.
man, no matter how many times I read "the sand pebbles" (or see steve mcqueen in the movie version - you gotta to do both, I think), the ending really gets me, I get choked up big time w/a sadness that always hits in the gut and w/the feelings. another thing I never get used to is these long-ass plane rides. so glad I got the open bologna seat between me and raul - and also that he's there but I'm struggling like a motherfucker to bear it, especially w/the book read. the dude in front of me every half hour doing a three minute shake and bake didn't help much - I would point it out to raul but didn't say anything cuz maybe the guys suffered from seizures or something. I make it through this 'pert-near every time ordeal though and we touch down ("touch" - more like one big boom but at least no bouncey bounce) at beijing airport twenty minutes early though the runway ride makes it about eight pm (it's fifteen hours ahead of my pedro town's time here and now wednesday - we lost a day but will get it back when we fly home) when we hit immigration/customs, pretty quick w/the flow there and the borderlady makes it total butter, xie xie ('thank you' in china). waiting for us is gil, who came from shanghai to get us. he's from boston but has lived in china for twelve years. we all share the relief of getting another flight to replace that bunk first one earlier and damn if we ain't here in china, first time!
gil gets us all in a taxi and heads for where we're staying, "home youth hostel" which is in a hutong (residential neighborhood in china) in beijing, much different though the highway we came in on, lots of olde-timey and very much their own thing here - not like the more modern buildings and stuff - actually w/it being night it's hard to actually see what the town's like... there's some neon signs on some buildings but nothing like times square or shinjuku or even what they're trying to make downtown l.a. into these days. w/daylight we'll get better view. waiting in the reception place of this konk pad, they've got lots going on, many young people w/each other or their leashes/'puters. a tsingtao beer is ten rmb (about $1.50 u.s.) but we wait to tourboss gil gets done w/checking us in (the people are very kind) and then go to a bbq pad he spotted as we got closer. yeah, the road through this hutong was pretty much threading the needle w/all kinds of vehicles/pedestrians involved, the driverman wasn't afraid to use the horn either. anyway, we chow next door at a pad called "right here" which is what's kind of like I've had in japan (yaki-niku) and korea - even u.s. in the old days near pedro in harbor city was what they called "mongolian bbq" (gil says they call it "hot pot" here) and what I mean is they bring you most the ingredients raw and you do the cooking. no hibachi or little grill in the middle of the table though, it's more of a charcoal filled tower w/like a moat around w/water that gets boiling from the lit coals. I use their hashi ('kuaizi' in china) and I ain't used to big plastic ones but I do ok. I tried a china beer on the plane, brand name yanjing that was a lager I liked and that's what tourboss gil brings us, also a little bottle of baijiu which is traditional china liquor, kind of tastes like slivovitz but it's it's prolly more like soju or sochu.. I think it's made from sorghum. they bring some grilled pieces of lamb and little chicken things both on skewers too. our first chow in china is a good one, hao chi ('tasty' in china - I tell the people who run the pad, very kind people). we go back to the hostel and konk around ten and a half, all three of us in the same chamber - tourboss gil in another. our first konk in china.
thursday morning and my first pop in china was around three (mostly cuz of having to piss) but then konk, piss and konk again 'til seven when I get pretty popped by a giant loogies hurled by the porthole - our chamber's got an alley running right next to it and some local sounds are being visiting on us. big bells ringing also. it ain't too crazy so I hope it don't sound like I'm bellyachin' - we were up anyway and we all have a good laugh cuz it was an intense loogie a bonus one - you could hear the foundation shake when it hit the deck. tom and raul forage for coff, a lady here brings towels and toilet paper - we thought this is the way things go here but I guess the room was still getting ready when we got here last night. no prob. ni hao ('hello' in china), very kind to help us. we are learning about china!
gil's hired this man to drive us to the great wall. we'll meet him on the main road so walking through the hutong we get the good smells and damn if we ain't hungry! at a little pad that serves out the window I get a ro bing which is a dough in round shape, maybe ten inches in diameter w/some kind of meat in it. the dough is thin and the taste is good - my first breakfast in china! we get in a toyota van and make the hour and a half drive up to where the part of the great wall we're gonna see (the motherfucker is about 5500 miles long!), there a bunch of boofs selling tourist stuff (baseball hats w/really BIG stars on them, etc) and even a camel and then the cable car to take us up near what's the sign says is "the sixth tower of the north side" which is as far as I can go w/my fucked up knee cuz there's some steeps going up and even harder for me, going down - especially w/the hand rail thing having some gaps. thank god raul, tom and tourboss gil all help my crippled ass. it's hazy and so not the best view but you get the sense a picture will never get you of the intense mindblow this whole baby is. two canadian guys in town for an oil logistics convention start talking w/us, right out of nowhere, nice cats but they tell me "tarsands" is a dirty word. no prob, understood. the one guy is recording their adventure on his leash and well, he's a trip - he's having a good time. there's people here that ain't foreign that wanna take pictures w/us, trippy but very friendly. I'm so glad this trip could happen for us and w/gil be such happening people, so kind. I gotta know my limitations and acknowledge them and pull anchor on this incredible great wall visit. next stop for us is tiananmen square and the driverman has an intense two hour drive to get us to the middle of beijing - damn me for not getting his name cuz he was very cool people. he drops us off and we clear a security checkpoint but then there's a major one w/a HUGE fucking crowd and we're just not into lines now - actually never but of course you gotta do but we can see the gate w/the picture of the helmsman and I get a shot of that, as good as I can which is good enough for us, this time. we then journey to find a cab to get us back to the hostel and drink some tsingtao beers and rap 'til night comes and the back down the hutong to the main road and find this pad that's got "baby lamb's leg" in its name and sure enough, that's their specialty: baby lamb's leg, given to you pretty much cooked but then over coals you cook the rest of it and w/real long knives and forks, everyone goes at it. no room in the main pad so we get taken down to an alley to like a satellite part of it and crimony, maybe two hours it takes to get chowed? they just got too many customers but it is really good when it comes. before there's trippy mushrooms I've never had ("black ears" they're called) I dig along w/a mild china-style kim-chi and more beer - actually I don't big amounts of beer that much any more and get feeling kind of bloated... it is kind of cold too and I got worn w/my hobbling on the great wall - all this adding up to my having to pop the chute and throw out the anchor BUT not before chowing some of that lamb which is really fucking great tasting, love it! raul comes w/me for safety, beautiful man. I hobble back to the hostel w/him and damn if we ain't out real quick - not even hearing when tom got back.
gig day (happy saint pat's!), I pop at twenty of six - tom did get back cuz I see him konked, good feeling for me... I knew tourboss gil would keep him safe. via internet I answer some questions about wire for a big rock magazine back home, I think it's related to this proj called "fitted" I'm doing march thirtyone at the echoplex, having been invited aboard by their bassman graham lewis. bob lee will be on drums (my choice after graham asked me to think of one) and the man who replace bruce gilbert, matthew simms on guitar. we got only one day of prac the day before. I also hose off in the shower which is the same room as the head, water fucking going everywhere. this used to be the style in europe (some pads still is) where there's no separate shower. glad I got the "dusch das" lemon liquid soap, a lifesaver in this stich.
nine bells we bail from the 'tel - bye bye house hostel xie xie, you've been very kind to us... my first two nights in china! we wait for tourboss gil to fetch the cab and bring it down our hutong... it's ain't a lame wait even w/it being a little cool cuz it's happening to watch all the traffic in the little narrowness: three wheelers, two wheelers, four wheelers electric powered, gas powered, on foot, w/cane (hobbling, like me) - young, old, middle - it's really amazing. tourboss gil taught me laowai ('foreigner' in china) before he bailed and sure enough a young man soon comes to speak w/the laowai w/the yellow coat: "are you in a band?" - I nod my head and tell him yes, he replies "cool" w/a big smile. actually, I haven't see that many laowai here in beijing and there's some stares from the local but not belig ones, just kind of wondering ones or big smiles. actually at the wall, some cats wanted to take pictures w/us, total strangers. that was pretty neat. you never know about a place 'til you go there yourself, mark my word.
the cab driver's a lady, first one for me in china. she listens to comedians doing their routine on the radio (just a guess but damn is there a lot of laughing from a crowd it seems they're working. as she drives us to the beijing xi ('west' in china) train station, neat this part of beijing during the forty minute ride, I get lots of pictures. kind of a tough hobble to get to the station where we got dropped off but I make it. scary part is waiting right outside cuz we gotta give our passports to gill so he can get the tickets but then here we are in this public space w/no passports - I don't dig it really. there's xraying the sacks and then passport check and we're in - good, two hours early so we can chow. I sport some korea chow and get some pad called "cheung e wei" that's got rice w/egg on top in a bowl, a bowl of kim chi and then this spicy soup w/meat potatoes and chilies for thirtyseven rmb (about $5.30 u.s.) - I just put everything all w/the boiling soup to cool it down some. I use my own hashi for the first time this tour, I missed them! I love ones made of takei ('bamboo" in jap) that get smaller at the end, been using them for more than ten years now and (not same pair but same kind!) I ain't just talking about overseas but in my pedro town, I love using them and 'pert-near never use a fork or spoon unless I really have to. I discuss stuff about "the sand pebbles" w/tourboss gil 'til he says that maybe we should mosey over to the platform our train's gonna be on. I put away 'puter cuz while tourboss gil was getting some healthfood at "crapdonalds" I was chimping ri ji ('diary' in china) - whoa, quarter after twelve noon and we make it to the train on time - crimony!! why were we just yammering and lollygagging upstairs at that korea chow pad? very very baka. we gotta figure in some buffer. actually we're in car thirteen but had to get on at number eight cuz the train had to start moving - what a bunch of bakas! I plead w/gil to pad in some buffer so we ain't gotta cut it so close... he says he's used to living like a "japanese car factory" which I guess where everything is just making it, time-wise. well, I'm cojo ('cripple' in espaņol) and I need the pad, please! everything though ok now, ding-hao. whoa, this train's going 302 klicks (about 189 mph), that's some butt-haul, right? the train is very modern, clean and pretty quiet also. I also see a little bit of tract housing, yeah chinese tract housing, first I've seen - right out the window. then stuff gets rural... lots of farms. we're going around 250 miles southeast to xinxiang for our first time in china tour's first gig. we go by places where the pads are lik half built, trippy... works in progress? we stop at baodingdong - this ain't an express but still we're making good time. next stop zhending - that's why even though we're hauling ass, we don't get there as quick as you'd think. we stop at shijiazhuang and tourboss gil just has to bolt to the platform to get his puff on. xingtaidong next and is tourboss gil puffing it up again? YES! we pass what looks like orchards for fast growth trees cuz there's all this lumber and tons of new trees planted in huge rows. for sure it ain't rice and the skinny trees are growing straight up w/hardly any branches. some passengers as us where we're from, people - no other laowai where we're at and I guess we're kind of novelty. it's a good vibe all around. thank you china people! hangdandong is next stop and tourboss gil still ain't come back... is there a chow car up front he's at? maybe there's a smoking car cuz now tom's gone too! raul's buys reading ray bradbury's "something wicked this way comes" - great book, I read it as boy. tom comes back just before we set off again and says there is no puff car so hopefully he's in the chow car.
three and a half when we arrive at the xinxiang train station, massive building - whoa... I gotta hoble some cuz the cats picking us up can't get their car in close enough but opening band pumpkins guitarman roger is waving his arms so we go there - him and soundman shunshun pick us up and drive us to the "jiu zhou hotel" which is only a block from the venue, very happening. in the 'tel lobby I meet the round eye guys: gil (our tourboss), chach, jimmy and livio - we have a good time meeting each and talking about stuff, I mixed chach up w/another cat and apologize much to him about that - I find my mistake and show him the email that helps explain myself but damn if I don't feel like an idiot for not getting shit right - so sorry, chach. soon as the 'tel stuff is done regarding our passports,we head on over to subark livehouse which is where our first china gig ever is gonna be. I rap w/the pumpkins guys pumpkins guitarman roger and bassman chang while stuff's getting set up, meanwhile raul forages for a rug for under his drums. this tour we're working stuff that the venues have - well, tom has his fender jazzmaster and I got my wattplower (still prototype but very close!) plus raul brought drum sticks. feels so good to play again, we do both a stooges and a blue oyster cult tune to get our stuff back on - it's been monday since we last played. we also wanna show the round eye cats "fun house" so they can play it w/us. they go w/tom and raul to chow while I hold the fort. the padboss steve (I'm finding out these guys pick english names in school, the teachers ask them to big one), his girlfriend girlfriend shiny and their friend fishman offer to take me to chow pad but it's too much for my fucked up knee so I say xie xie but no thanks and stay in the backroom. though a little later brings me a sack of trippy kind of dumplings about the size of an apricot w/meat w/its juice inside, very good!
the pumpkins singer bruno (his english name) wanted me to see their band but I was planning it doing that anyway. they go on at eight and a half and tear it up, I'm right up front. singerman bruno calls me "uncle mike" - he's using my mic, I spaced and forgot to get it after soundcheck! no big freakout but I use my own my mic just to keep healthier, make it harder for me to get sick from other's bugs. it's ok though, bruno ain't swallowing it... I wouldn't want him getting sick from me either even though I'm in good health so far this tour. I like their set. bassman chang is pretty amazing even though he loses his pick, he does great w/his fingers (he apologizes later but I tell him he did great!), I like guitarman roger's phrasing of his solos, he's got his own thing. the drummerman too, really good - never got his name but love his style which is personal and trippy. I like the ice bell upside down on top of the ride - he don't work it like fusion but has it rockin'. good job. singeman bruno's got some happening dance moves also. two of chang's buddies came up on stage and ripped his shirt off, that was a trip.
the round eye cats go on next and explode right out the barrel. chach does some guitar but mainly is hard charging singerman w/tourboss gil being the consistent guitar - when both play together it's interesting too, not just two guys doing the same thing but parted out. drummerman jimmy is groovin' and bassman livio glues it all together w/some aggressive pick technique and pedal fuzz. I can see the gear better that we're all using - it's a fender "fm100" which is all solid state (not the best whatever), the drums are pearl and bass an ashdown whatever through one of the 4x10 boxes that is pretty terrible but I bet soundman shunshun can get a good sound through the direct, I trust him. chach has some amazing energy, let me tell you - I wish I had a good knees sometime to do leaps like him and also chang from the pumpkins but I settle for my hands still working. both bands have fired me up good for my first china gig ever!
we go on a little early, maybe ten after ten but tourboss gil says the boss steve says it's ok - there's no "stop selling booze at two am" law here like there is in cali. I give the opening speech about how grateful we are to be here and thank everyone involved including the gig-goers and then bring it. of course this tour we know working the rooms involving using stuff that ain't ours but I think we did pretty ok and like I said, I trust sound shunshun who's our fourth man tonight and when I say that, I really mean it - it ain't just hot air being blown or some flower poetry thing. one thing annoying is the boom stand for raul's snare drum hitting me right in the back of the hand and I 'pert-near heave it big time. the other prob is the mic cord being all tangled around the bottom of the stand which is dangerous for my fucked up knee and keeping stood up. however, the beautiful energy of the gig-goers w/tons of dancing really aids and abets our set and I think we do pretty good. there is a moment in "cut" where I freaked out cuz of these painful harmonics from the guitar but tom gets that together. I really think raul does good cuz I know he can't hear me that well, even w/the bass amp up on a riser that makes for a tradeoff by losing the coupling w/the stage deck. but in the big picture, that stuff ain't all that bad cuz my men are really professionals and I mean that in a "person that cares" sense and not any kind of elitist shit. like that four word stooges philosophy: "we came to play." we cut no shorts for these folks and the give us good love. I apologize for being too stupid to talk to them in their own language and then we bring on the both the pumpkins and round eye cats for a blowout version of the stooges "fun house" - it's wild but still together, we even pretty much get the ending nailed w/out even a go-through - much respect to them. I holler twice one my favorite d boon quotes: "start your own band!"
whoa, our first china gig a good one, thank you good people of xinxiang! so much kindness after too - lots of pictures and signatures, no prob and very honored they share the good feelings. padboss steve brings me some bourbon, I have two then this kind cat gives me some local baijiu that's kind of fruity tasting compared to what I had wednesday night. tourboss steve also brings some mutton w/big bones, really good - I usually don't like chowing after gigs so I don't do too much before it's time to hobble to the 'tel - tom and raul always know when it's good time so we say bye and thank everyone oh so much for our first gig in china!
at the 'tel I hose off, feels very good and get in the nightwear, feels righteous and I konk 'pert-near like that. thank you, xinxiang, xie xie!
saturday, march 18, 2017 - beijing
pop at six and a half, feeling good - it pays to konk in nightwear... don't know what I didn't the last two nights, I was an idiot. also no hose-off before konk which is another idiot move, damn me. they got some sacks of tea so I use a little of my bottled water (gil got me a litter of it yesterday that I've got in the man sack but I use some from a bottle the padboss steve gave me last night
pull and use two sacks from the ones in red and one green sack in a cup that is most happening cuz it also has a lid to help w/the steeping. of course, this is a tea land and they got it together here w/that stuff, much respect. I catch up w/email, the shitter and fakelook posts about tonight's gig and finally diary 'til nine cuz that's when I thought lobby call was... it's good tom's already out there though cuz the fucking zipper that's for the 'puter holding section of my back wack 'puter sack has been fucked up by prolly a cigarette cherry that melted it up in one part and now it's won't close one side. tourboss gil comes to the rescue by getting a sewing kit from the 'tel desk but it's time to pull anchor, maybe at the train station something can get done... we get in a cab w/the round eye guys getting in another one. it's a very interesting ride back the way we came from yesterday, I take a buttload of pictures, being big time fascinated. perry farrell once told me about keeping "the child's eye of wonder" and damn if touring don't help me don't that, amen.
at the station we got a bunch of time which I dig and after tourboss gil gets our tickets w/our passports (scary time, I hate being w/out my passport) we go to sit down while round eye drummerman jimmy uses the sewing kit to help me get a half-ass in the mean time going w/that fucked up zipper and he does real good, thank you much, drummerman jimmy. hey, both round eye and toys that kill got a jimmy and chach - ain't that a trip?! I think tourboss gil was talking about getting the toys cats over here next fall. I go to a little store they got here and get a duck leg that's got a red glaze and black peppercorns in a vacuum sealed sack for seven and half rmb (about $1.11 u.s.) and I like it, maybe not all the time but for breakfast today, ok. I find out our platform is upstairs so I suggest we move up there - hey, there's an elevator not just for employees so that's a help. upstairs me and the round eye guys have a good spiel about stuff ranging from my secondmen organman pete mazich's hammond b3 to different words for police (zou here or tam-tam) to all kinds of stuff tour related like different stuff in different lands. I think me and chach end up agreeing what a great singer freddy mercury was and how those first queen records had some good rockin' before w/embark just after noon. I also tell them about japan live house scene and the pad we played last night - subark (last night's pad) was way more like a club in u.s. or europe where japan live houses are much smaller (not as much space in that land) and also "pay-to-play" crap like they got in some u.s. pads (unnamed west hollywood pads, for example.
me + my men are in car thirteen like yesterday but the round eye cats are in another. my seat's in the aisle so no pictures but it's the same side anyway from yesterday and not that big of a loss in respect to getting pictures so I chimp diary. I ain't mentioning the stations we stop at either cuz they were the same as yesterday and I ain't gotta waste your time chimping that. big hocks from the older cat across the aisle, I feel for him cuz I hate lung sickness. the sun is shining really bright so this can't be all haze outside... I think it's gotta be smog and damn if it ain't bad. I grew up in so cal starting w/the late sixties (when I moved there from virginia) and know a little something about smog and this is intense. raul's smartleash app is saying at hebi (where we're at now) the air is "unhealthy" - not just "unhealthy for those sensitive" - I can tell you though changes we did in so cal help get our so cal air cleaner (we can get way cleaner I know and really believe we should) and the people here are gonna ask for more healthy air. in fact, last week there was some new from china about a government man high up there saying something like "making china's skies blue again is very important for us" and I'm sure folks are behind that. the last stop before beijing xi station is "very unhealthy" on raul's smartleash app now, crimony. I tried wearing the mask yesterday and got choked out from my own foulness but I think today I'm gonna have to bear down and learn how to use it.
ten after three the train gets in and then it's half a hour to get a cab but that time ain't wasted cuz chach wants to know about the mike barnes captain beefheart book and I spiel his ear off about that in the cab line. then it's an hour and a half cab ride to the chayong part of beijing, a litte north east of the center... on the way chach (it's me + my missingmen w/chach in this cab) gets a call from tourboss gil saying the 'tel we were gonna stay ain't happening so I just say let's go to the venue and that sitch will get taken care of later. the venue is called ddc or dusk dawn club and I really dig it so far. it's in a houton so more good smells from the cooking and olde-timey stuff on the way. there's a dog named sandy (three d's in chinese?) here who seems to run the place, very friendly. this like an old pad w/a few rooms, the biggest being where the stage is, maybe four times as long as it's wide and then there's a room w/a big table twice as wide but huge open windows between plus an open doorway between them both. there's a little side room w/couches for equipment that's got couches and that's where I plant myself most the night except for music. we meet sixtynine, the padboss - good name and great cat - he says he's honored to have me and I tell him it's very much the same w/me about him, beautiful. the soundman's sick so they gotta get a replacement, no prob this cat soundman lemon is happening, he wants to be our fourth man for tonight, alright! I learn the word qing ('please' in china) tourboss gil gets the 'tel trip taken care of - I knew he could. I'm gonna konk w/round eye saxman mac (his first gig w/us, couldn't make last night) and he takes my man sack there, good man, big xie xie to him. chach talks to me about diary, I tell him he should do one, start simple and get the ball rolling...
we do soundcheck - I'm playing through a fender 100 which is a newer baby and it's all tubes, sounds good. tom's got a newer fender, a blues deluxe that's all tube and raul's drums are from a company called "blaze" - what? things sound good, I'm digging it. I meet right the b.o.c. soundcheck tune marshall from swinging barbarellas - he's laowai as is his stickman bandmate alex and bass sister lee ann - good people. I meet the other band tonight, local cats (not lao-wai) called sksa and they're so kind to give me a cd of their music - I wanna check it out - will definitely see them play live tonight. marshall the sax man asks me about how do you get scenes happening from what I gather that ain't jive and I tell him what I think a good thing to do is folks to dump the arrogance trip cuz that I think can be a definite damper in the pamper, especially in the context he was explaining - the expat who thinks he's got a leg-up just cuz the land he's in new might have a newer take on the trip. people are people, I suggest to him. I say I believe in the old days it was about people and in these days it's about people - it's always gonna be about people. it's about some kind of ethics - I try explain something called "fanzine ethics" which in my head just means putting out a zine cuz you wanna get stuff out w/out a filter... put it up on the web! I wish everyone had their own web site instead of a so-called bleedin'-ya amount (I'm playing w/language here, get it?) but whatever - you can use those turd farms for telephone poles for your flyers, right? when things look bleak, think of walt whitman and his twelve poems he put out himself in 1955 w/the hope of trying to stop the fucking civil war. that's an intense tradition, huh? a good one, like james jamerson on bass... like john coltrane on sax... tom, raul and the round eye cats go to get chow, tom and raul will bring me back something like they always do. I gotta remind the round eye cats twice, I start even hollering it like an idiot. I think me wearing earplugs makes this even more intense - so sorry. I finish uploading my first diary entry.
tom brings me back some pao zi, kind of like bigger version of last night's dumplings but more spicy, I really like it, fucking juicy and tasty. I watch marshall's band play and the basslady is really good, she also has a righteous guitar solo - her and the guitarman (I like him too) switched instruments for a tune - under marshall's sax. next up is sksa and they're a trio of native beijiners (marshall's band was all laowai) that explore many moods, so glad they gave me that cd. I'm pretty sure they weren't singing in english too. they reminded me at times of the the only beijing band I actually knew of from beijing called p.k. 14 who I really liked and played much on my radio show (twfps.com). the round eye cats are next and kick up much dust, they get stuff piping hot for us, xie xie. they also clear the stage quick like champs deserving of big respect which they totally get from me, I bow low their way.
eleven and a half (only ten minutes late) I begin our set w/a speech but ain't in the luck of the irish that some clown's gotta try and shut me down. not native but laowai. I ask the guy to give me a break - shit, it's only one of only two spiels I do. man, does it put me in a bummer mood... or tries to - it does have its effect on me, I fucking clam part of a chorus of "she don't know why I'm here" but I rally cuz I'm most grateful I'm have the amazing opportunity to be here - it's ok there's people from all over, I don't mind but c'mon, let me do my thing in beijing here tonight, don't try and bumrush it and think I'm gonna be into that, fuck. luckily, I can't really see the gig-goers cuz of the lights in my eyes but I can feel lots of good vibes so like I said, I rally and get in tight w/tom and raul. we have a mechanical difficulty soon after, tom's mic is going out so I ask soundman lemon to switch out the cable and while that going on, I ask raul to do a drum solo which he balks out at first which kind of trips me out but then he relents - thank you big time, raul, thank you xie xie much. we pick up where we left off and do "one chapter in the book" again. I think I was thinking of my old buddies saccharine trust kind of when I wrote this tune, like thirtyfive years ago. sometimes I mix up all kinds of stuff in tunes though... I 'pert-near always start w/the title though... I wonder what I was thinking then? damn my memory sometimes - or I mean lack of it! there's a great a spirit from the gig-goers I feel now strong and it helps me forget any hell and work the room in the moment, getting in their tight w/tom and raul who are both playing their asses off, great. last night I guess I scissored two tunes from the set list - tom reminded me when I got on stage and I make sure that doesn't happen tonight. I wonder why I did that? I think it was a space-out. anyway, it is really sweaty so I piece out my energy to deal w/it and I manage - I'm trying hardest to play the best I can for the folks here in beijing tonight, they deserve! the amp makes the bass kind of mushy no matter how I change the setting so I don't get too caught up in that and focus on working the bass and projecting the voice. the monitors are real good but then I feel a gate - damn I hate those but maybe the sitch called for it... I know mac (round eye saxman) said feedback was a big prob for them. second speech after "cut" (I do it good tonight, there were some clams last night - sorry!) I give the second speech which ain't that long and then raul bring us into the b.o.c. tune as the closer. I wait a moment to see if the round eye cats are gonna join us but see none of them so I mention some words of encouragement on the mic to ask them to please get the fuck up here w/us - we're short tourboss gil (or round eye guitarman gil) and bassman livio but the show must go on... we bring on the encore to cap it, much kindness from the beijing gig-goers and I thank them big time for it, truly. our second gig in china ever, alright. many many thank you xie xie to padboss sixtynine, he's beautiful to get this happening, truly. big honor for us, BIG HONOR!
I pack up quick and some gig-goers help me off the stage, u.s. guys who've seen me years ago, talking about a gig in omaha during a big snow storm at a record store called "homers" which I remember big time - california drivers are scared of fierce plains weather, we were scared shitless. cats from other lands too, a norway turbojugend beijing man who I talk w/about happy tom and euroboy, cats I love much - we also talk about black flag. I gotta sit down though, my hands are cramping up much, especially the fingers. marshall talks w/me about stuff we gotta do as a generation, I offer an opinion that it's gotta be maybe bout more than a generation, more of a last shift/this shift/next shift thing - hell, I'm thirtyone years older than him! of course we're on the same page though, I can tell and love his energy. so glad to meet his buddy nevin who's got a distro here and gonna send me beijing music he's putting out now. it's always an exciting time to be creative in my head, that's what I believe. jimmy keeps bringing me scotch but I want bourbon, also no ice! it ain't his fault, I think there's some communication challenges but it's no big deal cuz I don't hanker for drinking that much anyway, I'm kind of beat - kind of?! I find out there was some wild shit from a laowai who started getting aggressive - tourboss gil said he to get him out cuz of the trouble but said it was trippy cuz it was the last cat you'd who'd start that kind of shit up. I think it might've happened during "the glory of man" cuz I hollered baliando ('dancing' in espano) - so fuck, maybe I proved that... didn't mean to and maybe he didn't either. lo siento ('sorry' in espanol). I meet a roma cat named jordan - I just knew he was roma in a way by his style... he's great and I love him, he's full of insights and real passionate. he introduces me to a beijing musician I wish I could've spent more time talking w/but damn, I'm out of gas...
a man's gotta know his limitations so I ready myself to pull anchor for the 'tel, round eye saxman mac to help me w/the hobble I need to do which ain't really that far, thank god. after his escort duty, he returns whence he came while I hose off, feels so good cuz this was the biggest sweat yet of the tour, levis all the way drenched... so glad the tour flannels mostly polyester. I konk easy cuz I'm beat but it was well worth it - my second gig in china!
sunday, march 19, 2017 - songjiang
pop at twenty of seven, I feel good and rested - no more cramps in my hands/fingers also. mac pops not soon after and says he'll get us some coconut water from a nearby convenience store - coconut water is incredible w/dealing a deathblow on crampage, thank you big time xie xie brother mac. from the internet I learn chuck berry has passed away at ninety... loved his "roll over beethoven" tune, loved it - got to do it a few years ago w/m ward, that was a trip.
I hit the 'tel lobby right at eight... see raul and tom but not the rest of the team - twenty after and it's decided me and my men are to get our own cab - I'm into it, way into it... no disrespect but I'm cojo and can't wait for the last minute cuz it increases the chances of me crumpling and we don't want that. like all the cab rides, it's me + my men together in the back seat, they're very kind to trade being bologna seat, I can roll down the window and take as many shots as I can cuz I'm fascinated by what we're going by, from little stuff to the HUGE... hey, we get on this super-wide street, I mean like ten or fifteen lanes worth and damn if we don't go right by the forbidden city on one side and tianamen square on the other, yes! we were denied a couple days ago but what a nice good bye present from beijing to us, whoa, xie xie very much!
nine bells and we reach train station beijing nan ('nan' is south in china) at nine and after clearing security, tourboss gil puts us at a "fuckin' gonuts" (take a guess) so we can get coff while he gets the tickets w/our passports. the rest of the round eye cats meet up w/us and we have a good talk about stuff like violence at gigs (cuz of last night) and then happier things like bass brother lemmy kilmeister before we gotta head for our platform. tom helps me big time by running interferance cuz there is quite a sea of humanity at this station, the most yet for us on this tour. people are very kind though - I gotta learn the china word for 'sorry' but they kind of understand or maybe see my sitch and help me get through. I get a window seat cuz raul's next to me and he trades - he says he's got the book and I got the camera but bottom line he is a very kind man. we talk about last night and I wanna reassure him I was not setting him up to look stupid, I would never do that, never, no fucking way ever. I explain to him I only asked him to do that cuz I didn't wanna give another fucking speech after that asshole gave me so much grief and we had to get that cable switched out for tom's singing mic and also didn't want dead air in the room to make for more potential trouble and that was all, nothing about setting him up for a shaming. once he did get going, it was great - raul is raul and not a show-off so he set up a good groove and worked the sitch in a happening way, much respect to him. out the window it's looking pretty dirty as far as skies go and damn if raul's smartleash don't show us that the air "quality" here now is rated at "very unhealthy" - the good news is that in the shanghai parts it shows "good" for there but it's a heartbreak to think about the beijing folks sitch w/this. we're doing 298 klicks an hour (185 mph), crimony! I say that partially cuz it doesn't feel like it, very smoov ride. tom's konked but is soon popped by an older lady on her leash, 'pert-near hollering - I'm prolly like that sometimes, even w/out being on a leash! tourboss gil looks for some kind of lozenges for me cuz like a total idiota stunad, I forgot to look at the station... I need a bravo (backup plan) for these coughs I get sometimes - it ain't from sickness and it's been four years and two months since no more cigarettes for watt but I just feel like a dick for coughs around people in a confined space... jimmy comes through w/some halls - righteous brother! his sew job on my back wack 'puter sack is holding up good too, respect jinan is our first stop - tourboss gil gets his puff on cuz jones coming but damn if it ain't a short-stay when I hear a whistle blow... thought we were gonna end up in songjiang a tourboss light, crimony! chach comes by and sits next to me, raul's moved to the other side of the aisle cuz tourboss gil had a turn w/me before chach... me and chach get talking abou the stooges and I get real emotional relating back to the 125 months I got to serve w/them - I never had an older brother or been in that sitch and those guys were so much older brothers to me, I loved them big time and it's hard for me to deal w/this subject... we move to blue oyster cult and captain beefheart, which I know a lot about but not personally - well, I know the bouchard brothers and love them but never served w/them. chach tells me about growing up in florida and having ted williams as his only neighbor and cuz raymond's into baseball much, we get to talking about him, I've got big HUGE love for raymond.
the air's cleaner as we get more south, you can see way further out the window and there's more agriculture. still lots and lots of construction, china is a building land! finally I see rice paddies - I've always thought of rice paddies when I think of asia - trippy to know california grows much rice, up by sac-town. there's trainworker ladies selling models of these trains we're on, I think the german company siemans built these really smoov, fast and comortable babies, they reall are high quality. tourboss gil told me they're like only five years old... it used to take fourteen hours to do the beijing - shanghai run, now less than five w/this baby, whoa. next stop is nanjing, the capital in the old days... nan ('south' in china) jing ('capital' in china) - we get there at ten of two, kind of foggy - raul's smartlesh says moderate air quality. we head southeast towards shanghai. as we get closer, I talk to tom about "fun house" w/the round eye guys - I want him to conduct all the soloing after the two verses, to make sure it don't go into "rhythm guitar mode" cuz damn if I don't holler "BLOW!" to set it off, right? I know he can do it. I wanna lock in tight w/raul and be in rhythm section mode. all three of us agree it makes sense.
we reach shanghai hongqiao station ten before three, it's raining a little bit. we decide to chow here, a pad called "ajisen ramen" that's got a definite japanese theme - I get thick bone ramen soup and some vegetables. we get done it's time to get to songjiang, 'pert-near a suburb of shanghai. the line for the taxis is incredibly lame so tourboss gil negotiates w/a "black cab" guy which means something not really allowed but they got cats in yellow coats soliciting for it... we go for it cuz of time. it's forty minutes to songjiang, a university town I'm told and the doing club is on the second floor of this building w/all kinds of stuff, sort of japan live house style. no one here you so I got to the public head and I gotta go for the the style of dumping here which is crouching and hopefully firing in the hole in the deck. damn did I have a time at the subark pad in xinxiang - not just a hole in the deck but up on a platform, kind of like a mount for a trophy especially w/the pose you gotta do but you know, maybe it's healthier? tom was saying the same thing. anyway, you don't wanna soil yourself but the same w/the head. luckily there was a brush and water to help my miss there - here I gotta napkins to do the job (you only find toilet paper rolls in 'tel rooms so you better be packing) so it takes a while to clean up but I'll get better w/more prac, I know it. the real fucked thing is I forgot about the platform so when I open the cubicle hatch it's like a half foot drop and I pert-near took a total fucking header! thank god I hit the tile bulkhead and it broke my fall, fuck. there was a dude pissing in the nearby trough too who 'pert-near had a heart attack, sorry. five and a half and the venue opens up, we go in and looks happening, kind of a seventy by seventy room, all painted black w/two big flat screens on each side of the stage (what?) - the stage itself about two feet up (like last night), not bad. there's a bar in the back. soundman simon can do ok english and though it takes a little time w/the "blaze" (same brand as last night) drums (good thing raul brought that gel stuff to kill rings), tom takes some time getting an orange amp going for him. my rig is a real piece-o (ampeg IV pro) through an ampeg 4x10 box w/very beat speakers - you can't imagine a worse tone but prolly there is such a thing. soundman simon works w/us and I think we get it the best we can - there's no direct box here except a dj one - that's what I think mainly happens at this pad but you know what? we have a good time about and keep the spirit up, getting the best dynamic we can on the stage cuz raul really digs having bass to play to (I love him for that, one of the many reasons I love him) so tom adjusts. seven and a half when we finish but we had to get the ring out of the drums and vocals plus the gain structures were way wack. I love soundman simon for his patience and keeping to it despite all the hells. we're gonna have a good time!
I go to one of the boofs and chimp diary. tourboss gil says the gigboss still hasn't shown up so he decides round eye will go on at eight and half and us at ten after nine, alright. I'm into the early, great. they go on right on time (love it!) and I watch the gig from a side boof closer to the stage than the other boof I was chimping in. the round eye cats bring it, some dudes (saxman mac, bassman livio and tourboss now guitarman gil) even standing on stuff, shit I would never have the balls to do. they're really good tonight. jimmy kept the drums the way we set them up, very cool of him to do that, doing it for us. tourboss now guitarman gil breaks a string but gets it changed pretty quick as the band keeps going - hey, chach is pretty good on guitar too, he ain't posing. they're playing real good as a band and get shit lit, much respect.
we're ready to go at five after nine, the round eye cats helping us out. I put the bass amp closer to raul, up on the riser (it's a small one, raul's in front of it) so he can hear it better and fuck the anti-tone from this amp cuz a poor carpenter blames his tools, right? the songjiang gig-goers bring the vibe - I think soundman simon is bringing us to them good, much respect to him... and them! I'm also fired up from the set from the round eye cats. tom and raul charge hard, really good. I make sure we do all the songs again. I play prolly my best of the tour - even w/this whatever w/material stuff. the mic stand is a challenge - boom ones just are tough for me, especially w/loose not tight shit (better for me to have a straight one, no booms for watt) and the damn clip too big for the mic so it keeps slipping out and the cord keeps it from hitting the deck but what the fuck? I don't let it get me down though and laugh instead - well, maybe I cussed a couple times but no damper in the spirit hamper. it's a good time. gig-goers come on stage us for the group tune w/the round eye cats (everyone but chach on drums cuz of the amp sitch). I holler out "JOHN COLTRANE" to end the gig.
whoa, I am sweat-soaked and a little beat so I... you know, I'm gonna stop now cuz - well, you'll see in the next diary entry...
tuesday, march 21, 2017 - shanghai
yesterday I popped at seven and a half and thought: where the fuck am I? the last thing I remember last night was taking pictures w/soundman simon and his buds along w/our crew after drinking a whisky and a beer chach brought me and a beer soon after from soundman simon... there was "a long way to the top..." (ac/dc) playing and then I can't remember anything. I didn't talk to anyone after putting my stuff (mic, bass cable, bass) away, bringing the bass sack and back wack 'puter sack w/me to that boof... I'm naked under a blankie but feel real clean... there's a bowl of some kind of convenience store ramen not chowed but some cooked it (added hot water) and then there's a plastic wrapping of what looked like a stubby sausage-like dowel food-stuff w/only a little left in the bottom - I taste a terrible salty taste from it, yech. I get up and there's a little partiton on the other side of the bed so I look around it and damn if it ain't tom and raul konked, crimony! I'm in a 'tel... fuck, I thought the plan was to konk at chach's apartment the next three nights, what's up? I try to use the macpurse for internet but no good so I take the 'vator down (it appears we're on the sixth foor) to the lobby. the desk lady uses her smartleash to spiel w/me, she types on it and I read the english and reply by chimping my responses - no using voices, trippy. I learn you need a leash but I got no leash that works here in china so I guess no internet but no big deal, I go back up stairs and just to make sure, hose off (maybe again). tom and raul pop when I'm done and I try to learn what happened last night. they said I mainly stayed in that boof w/my stuff at my side and was ok - both of them said they were keeping a watch on me (thank god) and I only got up once to dance to grandmaster flash's "the message" and then went back to the boof. they said it took a while to get out of that pad - I know for sure we finished up at like ten after ten but they said it was like one and a half am when all three of us got "installed" in this 'tel (can't find it's name in the room here - find out later it's called "hanting express" in hongkou - the old downtown of shanghai), tom and raul said tourboss gil carried me to the chamber we all shared and then they went and got chow, stopping at a convenience store and got me that ramen bowl and stubby sausage-like dowel food-stuff on the way back, finding me in the shower - I guess I had been hosing off in there for like a fucking hour! what? they got me in the bed and I konked but I was kind of like in a semi-konked state the whole time, since that little dance I did. both tom and raul's guess is that I was exhausted and I just crumpled cuz out of gas, it wasn't borracho ('drunk' in espanol) shit. so strange, trips me out how I could have literally no recollection. I discuss some showbiz stuff w/them regarding our gigs and then about raymond, that's trippy but raymond's on my mind all the time and sometimes it comes out w/out me really knowing why.
a girly text comes to raul's leash (tourboss gil had him get an app called "wechat" here for connects) that we gotta be at chach's school (he teaches fifth graders) at 12:15 so tourboss gil will be here a noon - what?! damn, I need some buffer, what's w/this close shave shit? chach girly texts back and says tourboss gil will be in the lobby quarter after eleven - I ask raul to girly text back "thank you, see you soon." standing outside this 'tel, waiting for a cab is not in the least boring for me cuz it's an amazing trip just watching how this all happens right here in this part of china, big time fascinating for me. it's drizzling rain and there's fog but damn if cats ain't wailing around on their scooters while doing girly text on their leash (one-handed, I can see their thumb working it), scooter all angled over to make the turn at maximum speed for a wet road (which means hauling ass), other folks walking right down the middle of the road - old mixed wild w/new, what might seem like complete chaos but it all coming together to make how they got here happen. all the eye-gifts coming into me are 'pert-near overwhelming but not in a lame way, it's like a minutemen gig w/all these little scenes going on to make one big, uh, I don't know... mosaic or something - maybe happening (the noun) is better? it is a intense dynamic, that's for sure and I get 'pert-near hypnotized by witnessing it - my belief gets suspended even. I think some of it is ideas in my mind of thinking how it might be and then the reality of what I'm actually experiencing mixed in w/the discovery of stuff I never expected and then on top of that an affirmation that me and these folks still have a lot in common, it ain't totally another planet - I don't feel totally divorced from them, especially when I interact w/one on one... yeah, people are people - I am convinced. it's a mindblow how that's apparent. of course there's a lot I'm missing cuz I haven't much time here but this is what I'm feeling now.
cabs takes some time, this is what I'm experiencing even though in my pedro town I think I've used a cab once in my entire life - I have used them in nyc though and they roam around but different here. also tourboss gil says even the smallest rain in shanghai has things like that and even gig attendance get way hit, they don't know why cuz this weather happens every year. we pile in - you know, they got seat covers in the back seat so you can't use seat belts but cuz how me, tom and raul are stuffed in, it's kind of like already inflated airbags so I feel a little less afraid. every cab ride I keep the window down so I can get as many shots as I can - it reminds me of doing bass for the stooges when we had a gig in the venezia area and I got to stay on the lagoon a few days... there was no way I could take a shot that didn't have something interesting about it. the only thing that could ruin the shot was being out of focus. just after noon we arrive at the "shanghai experimental school" which is where chach teaches fifth graders (about ten years) and I'm the show and tell item for three classes, one after the other. it ain't a rerun though cuz all the kids are really dynamic and pretty sharp. first chach has them introduce themselves and tell where they're from. of course a lot are shanghai but bunches of them are from taiwan, korea, japan, thailand, u.s. and even africa. chach wanted me to play them a tune so I chose a dos tune called "powerful hankerin'" that I later added words from raymond - I do what you can hear at the end of that "ring spiel tour '95" album that came out last november. I am so nervous to play in front of them, so nervous - my hands and legs are trembling... I clam a little (by the way, I turned tourboss gil and chach on to the buddy rich pep talks - can't believe they've never heard of them!) but the kids are most kind to me. they ask great questions too, beautiful. they ask about where I'm from, how I got on bass, my ideas about music - all kinds of things. they sing "big train" at the end and chach shows a 1995 video from mtv that's got me and the crew of the flying saucer (I had both vince meghrouni and michael preussner on drums plus nels cline on guitar) doing it. tourboss gil brings me some won ton soup that's real good, I chow it when I finish the q and a spiels, we then head for chach's apart cuz that's where we're konking tonight and even more important, we get to do some laundry - first of the tour, hallelujah! chach's pad is small but not as small as the pads in japan, it's good for us. nice to relax here and look at the buttload of posters he's got on his bulkheads. at quarter after six we go out in the cold drizzle to find a cab to get us to what used to be the french concession - where france used to have it's stuff here in shanghai for 'pert-near a hundred years. the cab tourboss gil called for leaves cuz I'm too slow but I gotta be careful and not slip. also, lots of these scooters are electric and very quiet - you gotta keep your eyes peeled, be alert. it takes a while for another to come and it's a little cold - I got no shirt on under the yellow jacket - same sitch w/the school earlier no way could I wear the gig shirt or even the purple one cuz of the too much sick sour smell. tourboss gil says you can tell this area cuz of the trees all around - they're maples. this bar called "the apartment" has a room upstairs where a man named brian does a q and a w/me that's also being recorded. there's lights right in my eyes so that's tough as far as me trying to look at the crowd or brian. I try to answer him the best I can and clear up stuff that might seem blurry. everyone's very kind to me.
"the apartment" ain't too far from chach's pad so we hoof (actually I hobble) not too far to this little chow pad chach likes that has halal chow. it appears to be like family run w/the kids doing this shift (no one's like my age) and the ladies wear hajibs, first time I've seen that in china. chach gets us a plate of noodles. one of the young men in the back starts pulling them - yeah, these are gonna be fresh. not just noodles though, there's lamb, peppers, onions and strong cumin seasoning and it looks kind of like something my ma would cook (her people were from italy)... man, is it really good - I love it fuckin' great, hao chi big time! I thank one of the young men outside as he's using his leash. I loved that chow, chach got me a little "sloppy-joe" like sandwich made w/flat bread for later.
we settle in chach's pad to watch "tropic thunder" cuz of the only time prolly robert downey jr is happening, actually it's an insane part in an otherwise filler-filled time-waster flopper (sorry jack black cuz I love you much). we make it to where the director gets blown up, maybe four percent? I spieled for many hours today and damn if that ain't tougher than doing gigs, you know?
gig day I pop at five and damn if tom don't also. in fact, tom is quite animated, trippy... he fires off spiel after spiel. chach pops to get ready for his teaching work and tom gives him a spiel-some right out through the hatch! he then runs out of gas and is deck-bound, mask fitted and soon konked. I chimp diary. after a while I hose off, so glad I brought the dusch das soap, so glad. about ten raul forages for chow (no key so someone has to hold the fort and by this time tom is out cold) and brings me up what looks like is chinese style gyoza - bigger and thicker plus cooked on one side more to add some crunch. really really good. five of them for like around a dollar of our money back home. I hose off after and then chimp diary 'til I konk some... pop again and look at pictures, tossing the lame ones and getting ones I like for the hoot page. twenty after two raul brings me chow that consists of three portions, all next to each other: rice (my first rice in china!), pork belly chunks w/seaweed in the middle and then steamed assorted vegetables. it's 25 rmb (about $3.50 u.s.) and I like it. earlier I started blowing farts and now I'm really going, what's up? don't mean bathe tom, luckily he pops cuz it's 'pert-near like foaming down a runway and he's on that air mattress on the deck (he's had to pump it back up like four times). I feel bad for tom's shoulder - he's hurt there and also in the leg some... they're not tour injuries, he brought them w/him and the damp cold just kind of magnifies things and w/this matters deflating lots, it can give the shoulder hurt a little more amplification. the really righteous thing regarding that is when chach gets off work, he brings us not too far away to a massage pad called 'kang zun spa massage" where they put all three of us in a room while he does errands for the next hour. three massage people (tom and raul have lady ones and I get a man) have us take off our shoes/socks and roll up our pants while they get three big bucket of water for us each to turn around on the hassocks and soak our feet while they rub our backs and after a half hour of that they have us back on the chairs and then rub our feet for the next half hour, finally using lotion and then washing them. the rubs on the bottom of my feet are way intense and I gotta grip the chair arms to keep from 'pert-near leaping out of them. it feels real good though and later I believe it's one of the reasons I play pretty ok and we have a good gig. whoa, never had such rubs before, big respect for chach for being so kind and also these folks for doing it.
right from the rub pad we head for the gig... tonight we're playing a pad called live bar in the yangpu part of shanghai and it takes like forty minutes going north to get there. I get to meet padboss lao san is also the soundman, I'm digging that! tourboss gil goes way back w/brother three (san is 'three' in china) so even more respect. now while we driving on over, chach gave us the word that maybe we should do a different set than what we're doing saturday in shanghai so why we were driving I was thinking of tunes we ain't done it a long time. for soundcheck we try these and it's a little awkward for raul and tom cuz folks are here and though I can tune them out (that ain't always the case though but tonight it is), I can tell they're a little shy and I get a little too intense I think rallying them... don't mean to bark BUT I know they can do it - I believe a lot in my men, big time. raul's got a ludwig kit to uses, I got warwick stuff while tom has some kind of peavy 4x10 combo - I think got an older version of it at my prac pad (it's tweed though, this ain't) anyway I have us of go over some of these tunes we ain't played for a buttload of years... ten of them - will play seven of what we've been doing and then those ten. I put the set list together upstairs - this pad's a square room but w/a big balc that's got couches and a stuff, really deep. oh, the staircase has a kayak mounted on the other side of the handrail - I paddle my kayak "zaby" in the l.a. harbor off cabrillo beach and in/out the angels gate three days a week, love it... I'm my own little engine room! I write the set while the opener mario as the bonesinner does his turn, he's very passionate and d boon would've love his guitar playing cuz he was way into that, respect.
it's our turn at nine and a half and damn if we don't bring it. tom and raul are great as is the folks in here in yangpu for the gig - hell, there's even squarejohn people looking in from the windows from outside! the only real clam is a tune I got start over cuz tom was totally not there (I think a piece of tape fell over his set list) and then some strange chords I had to sing over in a roky cover ("I have always been here before") but man, I think we worked a good set and trying to pull that shit out of our ass from who knows when was actually a great strategy to get things out of rerun mode and into the moment. we do a super long coda version of wire's "ex-lion tamer" and I 'pert-near crumble but keep righted somehow (sometimes it's like that, I don't need an "incident" for my port side knee to go out and cause me to crumple, scary). lots of laowai in the the crowd but they are very respectful, everyone is - respect back to them! for the encore I can't play my bass cuz the pickup for the 'd' and 'g' strings has come up - brother san runs up w/a phillips driver and saves the day and in seconds we got it together, we do it!
bonesinner mario helps me down the stairs when I tell him "soy cojo" - he says he saw me w/the stooges when I played w/them in the basque country in 2004, the cramps went on right before. I give him a big abrazo ('hug' in espanol). there's very kind words from everyone I meet after, I get to meet lao er who is brother two (er is 'two' in china) and brother san's biological bro. he's VERY cool people and he tells me about rock and roll in china and some of the pioneers. very interesting. I have GOT to learn more about china rock, have to. brother er has a club for live music too, his dream he tells me is to get places for live music ALL OVER china, big respect to him! he's very cool people and I dig him much. I meet another picture-taking cat who's just getting into it and he asks for advice, about stuff I wouldn't like - the think I don't dig is getting posed so I tell him that and good luck w/artistic endeavor.
we pull anchor and head back for chach's pad. a block away are cats cooking chow on grills. they got a table w/all kinds of stuff on skewers ready for customers. you pick what you want and put it in a basket and then give it to them to cook. chach helps pick: chicken skin, shrooms, different meats and some rice stuff too. I big these big poblano pepper looking things and fish that look like smaller mackerel. it gets grilled up and I thank the man w/a pat on the back and we head for chach's pad. man o man, is it good eating, love it - fucking hao chi big time. we get in about twenty more minutes of "tropic thunder" before every one's too beat and konks.
wednesday, march 22, 2017 - ningbo
pop at five and a half... whoa. well, that's the way it is cuz I trying konking again but can't. it's ok, I gotta roll w/it. it was a cold one last night, I gotta get the yellow coat on over my nightwear shirt, crimony! when he pops, tom tells me he had a dream w/georgie in it... he says georgie kept adjusting himself against a wall to make himself more comfortable - maybe a parallel to tom's actual sitch in the moment?! tom loves brian eno and damn if I don't stumble on to this thing on the web regarding brian eno and television - tom's a really interesting man to talk about music -so is raul but tom's only five years younger where w/raul it's twenty so we got a little more in common in regards to older stuff. actually, raul's pretty well versed in music - please don't get me wrong. I find one of those sandwiches from that halal pad the other night - a minute or two in the nuke box and I chow it, love it - round II! the bread is a trip, still happening and all soft. pop some corns, tom helps himself then go downstairs to forge for coff, they come back w/some and report it's wet and cold... hmm, I could feel that in here. I chimp diary.
chach's cat (tuxedo markings) named jackson is beautiful and cuddly but a little in the way when chimping diary - it ain't impossible though and I admit I love the warmness shared in this big time damp coldness shanghai's got. tourboss gil comes by to brief on the second half of tour's itinerary and it's VERY happening he offers tom his pad w/him for tom konking there tonight cuz tom NEEDS a good night of konk, truly he does. thank you big time, tourboss gil, xie xie. via email I get some shot from a nice man named john rash that was also at "the apartment" for the q and a, he flows my some shots of last night at live bar and I flow back him some info on richard mckenna cuz I got into telling him about that when I met him and by coincidence he just finished a yangtze river doc and is soon moving to mississippi to do some stuff there... oxford, in fact and that brings up my favorite william faulkner novel "light in august" that I got so into one tour stretch w/the stooges in france that I read it in three days, blew my fucking mind - "joe christmas!" I hollered at john after that live bar gig... and damn if that very same book ain't now on a little amp here next to the couch I'm konking at chach's pad while I'm chimping this diary, crimony ain't life a trip?! tourboss gil recommends doing shitter/fakelook posts at noon in china cuz that gets the best look-sees. he orders us chow that's delivered, meat filled dumplings and soup - I get one w/chilies and glass noodles plus veggies, hao chi. chach's got a lady who does cleaning and she has no prob doing her do while we're here, respect. tourboss gil and tom go for a walk while I chimp and raul konks.
ok, time to pull anchor... scary hobbling w/all the wet so I'm vigilant - there's the driver and his van - a ford transit, maybe eight years old - not the new style we got in u.s. now but way too many seats for this but hey, better than not enough (I find out tomorrow it was enough seats - I was baka!). scary crossing the street w/the weather, the cars, the scooters, the bikes but I make it, tourboss gil helping me w/some interference. five bells and it's time to leave. eleven minutes later jimmy shows up - livio will find his own way. now get this, jimmy didn't piss before he got on a three and a half hour ride and there's no piss bottle on board (there is in my boat!) so we gotta pull over. he gets done but not done is the driver who's disappeared... we wait and make jokes. jimmy now wants cigarettes. of course when he leaves, the driver comes back. it don't end there - then it's time for gas, what? you gotta laugh, right? it's 138 miles and hell, we get there when we get there. we go across a huge causeway, maybe fifteen miles or something - crimony. change the subject: brother steve still lives, I tell the story of us discovering the root of the word sabotage. I think it was the first gig we did w/james williamson in france. we got to this town bourge a few days ahead of the gig to do prac. on one of those days me and brother steve hoofed into to town and on the way saw a statue of a guy wearing wooden shoes, brother steve taught me the word for shoe was sabat (I knew the espanol word was 'zapatos' and can see the connect) and it wasn't just the dutch who wore them, they just marketed theirs better and we think they were the only ones. if you got wet ground, it makes sense. well, the luddite movement though machines were gonna take all the jobs so maybe it's better to destroy them by throwing the wooden shoes into the machines at the factory and that was called sabotage, right? brother steve still lives when I think of him, when we talk about him. it's raining pretty good but not monsoon.
we get to the time beacon livehouse at eight and a half, we gotta do fire brigade to get the stuff out cuz the rear hatches ain't happening. that's ok, at least the rain subsided. the venue's right next or maybe even a part of ningbo university. the soundman cooper seem to have ideas about how things should be, I work w/him on that. I also fix the kick drum pedal (I think the brand is "me" or something like that?) cuz there's a set screw missing on the trip that holds the beater. what I do is lash to a part that is fixed w/several strips of duct tape. tom's using a orange amp and I got a new hartke - don't like these amps but I ain't gonna bellyache about it. we do soundcheck and it appears livio ain't gonna make it (he had to travel separate cuz of work) in time so no prob, we'll go on first. back to the set list we've been using, we bring it strong - I'm having a good time, looks like raul and tom are too. the ningbo gig-goers bring us good spirit, xie xie. there's some laowai but not all. there's happening connect between us three and also w/the gig-goers, I like this a bunch. I play my heart out, sweating it up big time. when I think about being able to turn it on, it sure is trippy but I guess doing it a while has helped me that way. I'm grateful my body can take it, of course I gotta be real careful and make sure the dangerous stuff is w/the music! man, though - I wish I could dance like tom, he's great. I wish I could play like raul... well, I should just be grateful I can work bass. fuck, I am! thank you, most kind people of ningbo.
we finish up and I see livio's made it, great. the round eye cats go on and I get a beer, meeting some laowai folks who tell me this town is famous for making auto parts and toys. alright. we take pictures. I made a lady a couple years older than me that thinks I should do gigs in the big bear area (in california), that's a trippy thing but she's sincere. I got a buddy named phil who moved up around there... some non-laowai talk w/me also, this young man wants advice on what music to check out and I recommend the stooges and captain beefheart, they're the first things that come to my mind - oh yeah, and wire. I go back stage to rest and hear round eye wail and soundman cooper's assistant uses his smartleash to tell me something, it says "I think you are very strong and charming" - very kind. a little later he asks me in english "can I ask you a question?" and I tell him sure and on his smartleash it reads "what is the most important thing in life?" and I chimp into his machine something like (trying to remember), "helping each other, trying to find your own voice so you can use it for expression w/out ever forgetting that everyone everywhere maybe has something they can teach us, to keep the child's eye of wonder" - that last part perry farrell told me when I was helping on bass w/porno for pyros twenty years ago. I've never forgot that cuz it made good sense to me, per told that one day in auckland (new zeland) when it was just me and him looking at the sky.
I roust everyone to pull anchor cuz my guess it's at least three hours back to shanghai... it eleven and half now. fuck. at least it ain't raining and w/fire brigade all the stuff in and shove off. some how I konk for lots of the ride and damn if it ain't two and a half when we drop anchor. tom's gonna konk at tourboss gil's cuz that air mattress at chach's just has had it. believe or not a three bells there's a knock at the hatch as I'm in the nightwear and ready to konk. chach had some whiskey delivered (he's konked already, has work at his school tomorrow early, crimony!) and man, this helps me big time cuz I just need to shut down big time. it ain't long before out real good. HUGE xie xie to chach.
thursday, march 23, 2017 - wuxi
pop at two in the afternoon! man, I really needed a big konk and that whiskey helped big time. I was 'pert-near running on fumes. better for me not to do hellrides after gigs cuz it's really tough on me, tough on my health. tourboss gil comes by w/some rice porridge (I like much!) and a smaller chicken that's been cooked w/cilantro and chopped w/a cleaver so every piece has pieces of bone. there's good sauce for dipping before filling the mouf w/it. he brought some little dumplings too - careful cuz they can squirt! I chimp diary and answer emails for for important stuff, like w/the il sogno del marinaio guys both the "lo sguardo focalizzato" piece and the upcoming september/october euro tour. we can't bail yet anyway cuz of all the round eye cats' day jobs. jackson is not only good company but is liberal w/the body heat, much respect - tom was making use of that the day before.
five and a half and the same driver in the same boat (ford transit) comes to get us. riding w/us drummerman houzi (only non-laowai of band) and guitarman chris of pinball city - tonight going on before the round eye cats. something wild happens as we start our journey, a jing cha ('policeman' in china) jumps right in the road in front of us to get a car w/the wrong license plate (by the way, I learn license plates can cost more than cars here!) three lanes over. luckily are driver slammed the breaks and stopped on time... it was really crazy what happened, so risky, crimony! that was a fucking heart attack. chris from pinball city wants to spiel about stooges and I can do that... big time and so I do.
it takes two hours to drive the ninety miles west from shanghai to wuxi is the center of wu culture I learn this town goes back like three thousand years, now days it's sometimes called "little saigon" and is the center of wu culture. it used to be called youshi (w/tin) but when the tin ran out, the name changed to what it is now which means w/out tin - makes sense. it's seven and a half when we drop anchor so soundcheck has to happen now. no rain though, alright. this pad which is called piston livehouse is the best venue of the tour and I would rate above many u.s. and europe ones, I shit thee not. everything about it is really happening: the sound (they've treated the pad for acoustics), the backline (dw drums for raul, aguilar bass amp/speakers for me, fender hot rod deluxe amp for tom) all in great shape, really good monitors, a head in the backstage, all the heads having toilet paper, great sight lines everywhere, upstairs balcony place w/comfortable living room like chairs and couches and really nice cat named dondon doing the sound, much MUCH respect. it is incredible pad, really and just the right size. I love this pad. dondon is great to work w/and though the aguilar could use another speaker box to go w/the one they got so it doesn't have to be put on the drum riser (remember, I have raul set up near the front of the stage, leaving the drum riser empty) but hey, at least it sounds good. actually it sounds better than other aguilar I've used before.
tourboss gil tells me things have been changed, everything's been moved up a half hour. both pinball city and round eye will get twenty minutes and we'll go at ten of ten. no time for chow. the show starts and damn if we right on time. the only ONE thing lame about tonight is that it's a total character builder, hard to believe but I guess no one told anyone we we're coming... four and half million folks in this town too. ok, so we take turns playing for each other I have us end the round eye cats doing stooges "fun house" w/it cuz fuck if I'm gonna milk an encore out of cave. one gig-goer (not laowai) has everyone of my minutemen and fIREHOSE cd's and has me sign them. he's a very nice cat and so is this guy who filmed the gig - I'm sure glad tom and raul never go halfway and played their asses off. there's a musician guitarman we were supposed to play w/us too I meet, a very kind man but damn me for not remembering his band's name.
I didn't know it but we're sitting around a table spieling w/everything pact cuz I'm supposed to give the word to pull anchor - what an idiot! it wasn't too long but these guys got the ninety mile back ride while me + my missingmen plus tourboss gil are konking here in a 'tel. doh... the van drops of at the green tree 'tel not too far away, we say bye to everyone and wish them safe seas.
I hose off while tom, raul and tourboss gil forage for chow. they bring me back some wuxi version of chow mein, a duck leg in a sack and a beer. it's very kind of them. the chow is really good, soy seeds before sprouting in the mein along w/cucumber and other stuff I ain't sure about but loving and it goes great w/chomps out of the duck leg's dark meat. the beer's in a clear bottle though and I can taste it. it's a trip how people don't know why they put beer in dark bottles unless they're foisting some jive marketing shill shit on you - it's cuz the sun ruins beer. if they use clear, they got put some version of formaldehyde in it. actually the best way for beer I've heard is from cans and then drink it in a glass. trippy, this beer is called snow but I it's got that same suck-ass aftertaste as corona and gags me. I don't let it overwhelm me though, I think of the piston livehouse and how I really dug that pad. so glad me and my men played as hard as we did, no half-ass for this band... I sure love tom and raul for their backbone and integrity, real good men - let me tell you.
friday, march 24, 2017 - jiangyin
pop at seven bells. there's half that wuxi chow mein left... I don't like chowing after gigs but did some last night cuz of only one chow (or one and a half cuz of that little sandwich from monday night) before that yesterday - I seem to chow a lot less on tour, you know?
we were supposed to play yiwu (at the gebi bar) but that got changed at the last minute. tourboss gil told me this cat in jiangyin came to the rescue though it's his first time w/him so it's kind of mysterious. hey, I'm into working any gig - when you ain't playing, you're paying - right? understand that everywhere in china is new for watt, even the next block over... it's all a huge trip for me.
I go and move the chair by the desk next to the hatch so I can work w/out bother tourboss gil (he's sharing this chamber w/me) while I chimp diary and process email - got word from the reverend guitars people the next (and maybe final) wattplower prototype is ready to flowed to me, what the bossman ken hass there calls the "WattWatchYellowWattplower" cuz I sent him the watch I'm wearing to get a bearing on the yellow I'd like it. anyway, the main changes are a tryout on the pickup have a thousand more ohms of dc resistance (more winds worth) and softer edges on the neck's "shoulder" - the sides of the fretboard, I want them more rounded.
at nine I start getting blasted - no, I ain't fucking drinking - it's from sound! I guess tourboss gil has set up his smartleash as an alarm clock and damn if I ain't treated to a thirty second chunk of fuck car's "just what I needed" over and over ad nausea - the dude won't pop and I ain't got the heart to wake him myself (he's worked so hard for us all tour) so it's on and on and on and on w/this wave shit, over and over and over and over... crimony! he does pop and begin his morning. I pull back the curtain to have a look-see outside but there's only bulkhead on the other side of the glass: fooled me.
we pull anchor at noon and get in a cab that drives us (some drama over the around $24 fee but that works out) about thirtyeight miles north to jiangyin which is the north part of the wuxi metro area, 'pert-right up on the yangtze river, china's big daddy (like our mississippi)... it takes about an hour. real gray skies and a little cool but no rain. we check into a 'tel called the jinjiang inn and at two, tourboss gil brings mr wang to the hatch of my chamber, he's the padboss for tonight's gig. very nice to meet him, cool people. we'll see him later at the gig. damn, I wish I could speak chinese. a little later, tom and raul do the knock-knock (we have a secret one) and they give me this little chicken that's been broasted. there's a little sack cayenne and cumin I powder it up, good eats - tastes very fresh. there's lot of the colonel here in china but damn if I'm gonna stoop to try one of those floor chickens - I won't do it back home! I go chimp diary.
five and a half rolls around and mr wang comes by in a range rover to pick us up. there's a small drizzle from the skies and a little cool. the pad ain't far, it's called "slow life" and the logo is a snail. there's hundreds of different beer bottles for decoration - out front and inside. it's kind of a sports bar but just one gigantic tv which got some bon jovi gig going constantly, mostly muted w/either bob marley hits or some soft rock going. soundman wang (tourboss gil explains big wang is gigboss and small wang is soundman) shuts it down to do soundcheck w/us via ipad. he says he's brand new but does a good job, we get it done quick. take out chow is brought to us, contemporary versions of what's sort of like what we call chop suey back home: veggies and meat over rice. it's pretty good though you know I'm more of a noodle man - maybe cuz a lot of pasta when I was a boy (my ma's people were from italy).
there's soccer team scarves everywhere. a very comfortable upstairs balc part w/many soft chairs and tables w/a downstairs that's got tables and chairs for beer drinking - they put up pony kegs on stands at the tables for personal gravity feeds. it's all kind of surreal a little bit but folks seem to be having a good time. the smoke machines on stage start going off at nine while I'm upstairs chimping what you're reading here and looking down on the whole dealio. right near me is a shrine w/jos sticks, candles and fruit offerings one of the staff was praying here a little while ago. of course the pad is filled w/the smoke of everyone puffing cigarettes like chimneys, the rap music kicks in. turns out tourboss gil has a lot of friends in common w/mr wang, he tells me. at nine and a half he changes into round eye guitarman and they hit it but not before fifteen minutes of the jovi gig w/the sound up! even w/all thats going on, lots of the peeps are staring at their fucking smartleashes, trippy about that. the pad's getting more full but I think that has nothing to do w/the two laowai bands on tap. there's a smoke machine going off right near me - time to move. it's trippy how they got the bon jovi gig going while the round eye cats play - I mean it's muted but fuck, what's up w/that? raul's the only cat up front - no, tom is too and so is what I think is maybe a co-boss? she thought I was chowing too far from the containers the chow came in. ok, the cut the jovi gig and lights are flashing all over the place. the sound is like coming from the grand canyon, bouncing all over the place but maybe that's just up here. I don't think one person here knows about this music, not even the one table of laowai up front. chach and guitarman gil go out into the crowd... chach has wireless mic - all of the sudden he's next to me upstairs! it's fucking loud and surreal... the smell of the fucking smoke machines, whoa. chach has a bitchin' wipers shirt on - loved those first three albums they did. I'm noticing chach has got some mark mothersbaugh influence in his voice, a little bit and in now way a bite, just an influence - I like it. they play a longer set tonight... jimmy's drums are tiny, the p.a. ain't enough for this pad. chach is back on guitar so he's on stage and maybe a little tired? the dude is strong, there's weights in his pad and he's got some guns so I know he uses them weights. he's got a elliptical trainer too - damn, do I miss mine much, I use it every fucking day I'm home. the round eye cats' set is blurry as far as sound but good as far as impact in my opinion. the local folks are tripping on it, good. they finish up at ten and right away the bon jovi returns to the HUGE screen.
we're ready to go at the time tourboss gil told us earlier (the second time), quarter after but word comes from on high to wait for ten and a half, ok. first there's some lady saying stuff and then my little speech, translated to the people via tourboss gil. basically I tell them bon jovi is from new jersey and what we're gonna bring them is from california cuz that's where we live. I tell them I'm very grateful to mr wang for making this possible and am really into being able to play in their land. we bring it and I keep things down w/the volume - I gotta shout over to tom cuz he ain't paying attention, damn I hate that. the reason is what I experienced watch our buddies play and try to adjust for that. there's parts where we're not that sharp as a band and I'm talking more about performance rather than acoustics but all and all I think we do good. I don't know how soundman small wang fucking mixed it from the side. I do know raul lost the beat in one number but recovered beautiful. I had to holler at tom again in "slots" cuz he didn't tuck his spiel in w/mine - usually he's really good at that... what's up? overall though he's kicking up much dust though, same w/tom.
I tell everyone to start their own band and quick put away my stuff when we finish, go over to the side of the stage on the deck where they got a chair for me and damn, if they ain't just the nicest. they bring me beers - mr wang himself! there's pictures and handshakes - one cat gives me a romeo e juliet 'gar - I ain't smoked a 'gar in many years... this one's cubano and it's fucking happening. such kindness, really sincere even if they can't find the english words (many can't), they're still showing it big time. I'm very humbled. I thought they thought our set was maybe the work of some crazy people - maybe they did but maybe they liked that. I don't know but I can sure feel some genuine good time.
it's decided we will chow w/mr wong and his friends, ok. this lady takes me and my men to a pretty simple chow pad, big paintings of crawdads on the bulkheads - nothing fancy, we're at one huge table. usually I don't like chowing after gigs but I really think I should do this tonight. there's a big plate of little snails and I use a toothpick to get them out and down my hatch. thin plastic gloves and then buttloads of boiled crawdads w/ground-up eggplant on their bellies are brought out for us to chow along w/cucumbers and crunchy veggies and chilies. we drink beers from little glasses w/many toasts, it's a fucking good time. damn me for not taking a picture but I was too caught up in the moment - the cat next to me gets his brother on his smartleash, he's playing marimbas in so cal, fuck yeah! I rap w/him a little. it's a fucking good time, truly it is - thank you xie xie big time, mr wang and all his very happening friends, very genuine and kind to us - showing big love and sharing it.
we get driven to the 'tel and I hose off AND tonight I was the gig shirt in the sink w/some soap from the shower cuz I want it clean for my wearing for the last time tomorrow night. I thought someone was gonna share this chamber w/me but I guess it's man alone when I konk about three. man, was that chow w/mr wang a good time. much respect.
saturday, march 25, 2017 - shanghai
pop at seven. hell, I'll hose off again - why? cuz I can... looks like no one got in here and I'm man alone. I shave for last gig and check gig shirt, kind of wet but at least clean w/out the foul odor - good for last gig, last I'll wear it, ever. there's a donate box next beach city market and that's where it's going when I get home. I chimp diary and wait for pull anchor.
lobby at ten but we're missing both chach and tourboss gil... they're rousted and now it's cab time to whence we came, wuxi, to take the train to shanghai. there's the negotiation - we need two cabs (saxman mac and bassman livio are w/us - jimmy had work and bailed last night) and luckily the lady driver of the other one prevails over what I guess is some difficulty between tourboss gil and our driver. like all tour, it's me and my men together in the back w/our guitars/bass cuz of too tiny trunk. it's doable, I got the window down and get lots of shots and we joke the whole thirtyeight miles south, takes about a hour. little bit of a clown show trying to find the right way into the station - up and down but sanity prevails and we get our tickets and find a bullshit coff lame pad named costa (buttloads of these in england) but we can park our asses for the hour we got until we need to get to our platform. weather's ok, w/no rain and the gray more light than dark - I can feel the sun trying hard to burst through fog? haze? mist? smog? combo of all? I feel a little sting in my eye. raul gets me a coff for thirty rmb (like five $ u.s.) - what?!! that's REALLY spendy for china, fucking burn ward. we get over to where you get to the platforms are early so I ain't gotta rush my fucking hobble. I chimp diary by the jing cha station, I can see the status of stuff on the boards easier w/out twisting my fucking neck around.
on the chr train, I use the head and damn if I ain't getting better at this squat-fire technique, even w/us doing like 180 mph. it's an hour to shanghai and it ain't the last stop so if we space, we'll keep on going, tourboss gil informs us. I keep vigilant, arrive in shanghai hongqiao train station at two and make the get-off. big long line for cab, takes half hour which for the number of people also wanting one is pretty amazing. pretty shrill is the helpermen helping getting this done using whistles, whoa. one hour ride to town and chow a "the lotus eatery" and meet liwei yu, a real nice cat the round eye cats are real tight w/and I dig him. the chow is first a lettuce w/sesame seed dressing salad, then some broiled whole fish carp, roasted/sauteed beans that got slight crunch that are so good, pickled cucumbers, minced meat w/cilantro and square slices of cheese grilled that you dip in a tasty sauce and oh yeah, lotus veg cut thin. this is a fucking happening chow, thank you chach and tourboss gil.
scary crossing the street (always), get to the venue just after five, big drama trying to get the cab guy to drop us off at yuyintang which is where we're playing tonight. it's like part of this park in a way, the back hatch opens to where there's little ponds - maybe kind of a cultural center kind of trip at one point but a livehouse since 2004 - one of china's oldest. I meet zhang haisheng, the co-padboss, much respect - I want him to know I'm grateful to be here. mr hong does a soundcheck w/us, we help him ring out the monitors and then the room, he does good and is quick - respect to him.
upstairs I blow it out - they got shitters like back home and toilet paper! I then spiel w/chach for adrian tapia http://www.daedalumfilms.com/ after starting it alone, so glad they finished their check and my mic wasn't working anyway so it was all w/him. adrian wants to know how this tour all happened and of course the answer is brother steve - he's the link between me and chach, chach confirms this.
I wanna go out and check out the park - there's a cat out there doing prac w/his tenor sax. not their hugest park, still it's the first one I've ever been too in china. things are relaxed out here, old and young, couples and solitos/solitas.
I meet third band going on tonight, a local trio called mirrors that have just started up, drummerman daniel though is from new zealand (I fucked up his land's flag - they got the white stars and australia's got the red ones but I did differentiate the accent right) and upstairs after they check and his chowing, he hips me to this plan china has for putting a enormous wind farm in the gobi desert (northwest part) that can help them get of this dirty coal crap they're having to choke out their skies now. maybe some landfill technique too instead of burning trash - daniel says green industry is gonna come. respect to that, I say.
they're supposed to go on at nine-twentyfive but the guitarman ain't here - the basslady is... fifteen minutes late, daniel says they'll still finish when they're supposed to and gets up even but the guitar bogarts for one more. I was in the crowd watching and digging their trippy person style but that was lame. the round eye cats are amazing however and get ready to go in eight minutes, fucking happening. chris from pinball city is doing records and let's me watch the round eye cats wail from his record player position. that's good cuz motherfuckers were being rude and pushing me all over, mostly laowai too, crimony.
we're going on a half hour late (was supposed to be ten and a half) but now curfew so at least we dodge that hell. the round eye cats are most kind helping out getting us ready, respect. we're ready to go, I give the speech and 'pert-near like clockwork, there's laowai mocking voice but I ain't gonna let me affect me and I let folks know that over the mic. we bring it. tom's using one of those orange amps through a 4x12 box - he says orange amps have "paper sound" but it beats the shit out of marshalls w/what he calls "the sponge" - tom's a fender guy. raul's on something called a "dixon" which is pretty much like dw. I got the most lame, an ampeg svt-3 though a 4x10 that really sounds bad. a poor carpenter blames his tools, I know but it's so bad as far as my guys trying to hear me that in "surfin' w/the shah" you can't hear when I do the whole step drop downs after my solo... it's so frustrating it's then and there I get on the mic for a sec to tell the shanghai gig-goers our dillema but still, we ain't gonna let them down and charge hard but damn, this piece-o I'm working, it's kind of more of me venting. the shanghai gig-goers are great though, lots of native cats right in front of me, helping w/the spirit, sharing it w/me to keep my shit afloat. of course tom and raul are playing their asses of too, giving eye checks lots to help me be secure w/them enough to let my fucking freak flag fly, absolute. I'm just hoping brother hong is getting it to the folks, of course. this other thing I'm talking about is more about how me and my guys can make it a band by being able to hear each other, that's it - of course the priority is the gig-goers. it's the gig-goers and my men that make the last gig of the tour a happening one, they all help bring what I got out of me and I'm most grateful - I hollered in "little doll" this gig was for brother steve and damn straight I say it again for "fun house" when our round eye buds come up to join us for one last tune in china. the tour is done, I ask everyone to start their own band by hollering one of my favorite quotes from d boon. I thank brother hong for being our fourth man tonight, I thank the gig goers for having an open heart and an open mind.
after getting all my shit stowed, I go stand where pinball city chris is making music. I get the good word from many kind folks - I'm most grateful to everyone and let them know that. I dance to the music but not too wild, gotta be careful and not crumple, I got back wach 'puter sack on as well... damn if jimmy's sew-job didn't hold the whole tour, huh? he did real good, respect. time to make like shepherds and get the flock out of here, I get to meet lao lu who helps keep this pad going, MUCH RESPECT!
I give him big thank you hugs and good byes. we go to chach's pad but first visit right nearby that cat who grill on the sidewalk and gather up stuff for hm to cook up for us. we then bring it all up to the twentyeigth floor of chach's building and after I hose off and get in the nightwear, I aid and abet in the massive chowing of it, fucking good tastes in the mouf! somehow "tropic thunder" is not only in the only times this flat screen is but fuck what the hell it's been reset so our team makes no fucking prog... I'm out in like ten minutes max...
the next day is sunday and it's going home time - I hose off for the last time in china after popping at seven. I shave w/shaving cream from chach's medicine cabinet - he's got "old spice" that got sent to him... my pop used this! it reminds me big time of him, I remember as a boy this smell so much - whoa, it's a big mindblow on me! man, I wish I could've been able to tell my pop I got to go and play in china, damn.
the plan is to have have a lunch on