watt's "more light" tour 2000 diary - week 1

j mascis and the fog

j mascis and the fog in 2000

george berz - drums
watt - thud staff
j mascis - guitar, singing
(left to right)

eric fischer - tour boss
jamie - soundman
mike - helper man

steve kaul - the man outside the van

monday, october 23, 2000 - orlando, fl

   saturday was the last gig for me and my pliers for the "enough w/the piss bag" tour. yesterday morning, I said a prayer for the boat to keep tom and vince safe and then sent them off back to cali. thirtynine gigs in fortyone days, it was a good tour and I made it, despite being weak from that emergency surgery to save me in february. the gigs were tough, like I could only work the bass from the arms down - I couldn't throw my body into it, like the way a baseball pitcher does, throwing a pitch. they cut me in the perineum, the place between the balls and the yang and I got scars inside that don't let the blood flow so good. it feels like there's newspaper all stuffed in there, especially when I wake in the morning. at the gigs, it was hard to get myself torqued into the tune, like a puppet whose strings are too loose and not taunt enough. anyway, it's two days from that last gig (and that one was the thirtythird one in a row) and I'm going to start another tour tonight. different role though, this tour I'm one of _the fog_ along w/george berz playing w/j mascis.

   our first gig was october 8 in winooski, vermont - in fact, it was our first time playing together ever. what a pants shitter - I blew more clams than a five gallon kettle of chowder could hold. damn. j gave me a cassette before the tour and I had been practicing w/it through a "rock and play" headphone amp w/my bass. that helped good but it ain't the same as playing in front of folks. another trip about this tour is that I'm playing w/a pick and through a marshall amp. it's been seventeen years since I've used a pick and I've never used a marshall. it's a trip, I dig putting myself through some changees a hope to rise to the challenge. I see this much more as an opportunity than a burden. even w/the scariness, I'm way into this tour. j's one of the best guitarists I've ever heard of, I'd put him there w/d. boon and nels cline and his songs are so good. he's quite an individual too, I'm gonna dig this. now j has produced a fIREHOSE record for me (the last one, "mr. machinery operator") in 1992, reocrded on my wrestling record (did an incredible one take version of funkadelic's "maggot brain") five years ago and we did three gigs of stooges material a few months ago in nyc when I got better from my illness. every experience has been intense and great for me. this new record he's got, "more light" is really wailing - happening sounds and tunes. I'm way into this.

   yesterday, j's plane was delayed really long so I ended up doing many laps w/the little folder (a great thing - I get to bring my little fold-up bike on tour w/me) up and down this one street for a couple of hours in front of a practic a couple blocks from jim's, where I stayed the night befoe. he's the boss over at the _saphire clube_, where the final pliers gig was and where we're playing tonight. when j did show up after eleven at night, we put in some good hours of prac. I was choking like a big dog. changing up the tour mode and just plain playing for j has got watt shook but I'm working hard to overcome that. want to do good for j and in the long run, for myself. there's lots I know I can learn on this tour. it's a trip letting go the control I had over my own world to come along w/these cats but that's another side of life. the reality is you can't learn everything always being the boss, it's good to be a deck hand and gain another perspective on this world of bass I'm living. anyway, I'm blowing motherfucking clams all over the place and j's even gotta show me some riffs, how god damn embarrassing. this is part of letting go though so I don't have a total cow over it, just sweat like a pig and knuckel down. he just came from japan for some instores (!) and has extreme jet lag. george is playing good, he's played w/j the last few tours that dino did but hasn't been on the road for like three years. he knows the songs good though and helps me out too. even though I'm giving it my best, clams and clams and clams. damn. they're patient though and we do as much as we can do 'til everyone is total toast. then it's konk time at a hotel near the club. I'm in a room w/eric the tour boss and george. I konk on the deck next to the hatch. arrggghhh, if only I could snore away the clams.

   I pop in the morning and walk around lake eola. it's pretty and I listen to the weird honks of the geese. there's boats in the shape of swans. the soundman jamie and helper mike are loading the gear into the sapphire now, we're going to practice at one. this prac goes better. still, I get the rock and play out and start woodshedding w/the headphones. don't want to totally stink up this first gig. this drummer who lives here named nick comes by w/two boat loads of sushi, he's a cook at a restaurant here and the sushi is literally in these two wooden boat things him and a buddy, who goes by casper, carry under their arms. it's some good shit, I dig it. this'll help the gig - I always play good after I eat sushi even though I don't eat it that much (too many dollars). folks who saw me saturday w/the pliers show up, hugh manity and gabe - gabe's gonna take shots of this first fog gig of the tour.

   the act before us is a local band called _precious_ and I dig them. they're really good. I tell their front man steve so after they're done. he was really nice to us on stage, called j the "charlie parker" of rock. it's our turn next. we start we some stuff from the new record even though it doesn't come out 'til tomorrow. the pad is packed and folks are really paying attention, aaarrrgggh, I'm scared shitless. j's playing so effortlessly, it's amazing to see him go. we play some dino songs and they go over good but so are these new ones. it's kind of hard to hold the pick but I hang on and it only falls out once. songs like "the wagon" are real tough. lots of eighth notes, whoa. by halfway, my shirt is all the way wet. no monitors at all so when I gotta let loose w/the voice, I can only mime it seems. I push sound out anyway. what's up w/the soundman who's supposed to help our cat, jamie? damn. it's funny about that. funny too, when we get to "blowin' it," I don't know how to end it - seems the song got cut off on my tape - damn! I just try to follow j's fingers. I'm mainly watching j the whole time anyway and when not him, george. I have no confidence to look at the folks in the crowd. I feel so weak about that but it's taking all my focus to not totally bunk this all out. j has me do some solos, I got a box he gave me called a "super hard on" by z. vex that gets shit real loud when I step on it. never done this before. at the end of the set george starts the stooges song "dirt" and j says go for it so I sing that one and then he starts another one, "tv eye" and we do that one too. finally, some monitors but they sound like they have wet sleeping bags on them. damn. we're done and then off. they have us back and we do "more light," the last song off the new record. j wears a keyboard around his neck along w/his guitar, he's looking trippy - quite funny! he makes a huge blizzard of a sound while me and george kick into a hawkwindesque groove. it's good fun, then we close w/a dino one, "freak scene." I blow a clam on an f# part - damn, where'd my mind go? I recover though and we finish strong. first gig done, whew... lots of nice sentiments from the folks - wish I could've done better but maybe it's as good as I could do. I would like to think I could do better though, I know I can do better and I will. just gotta get my nerve up and the memory banks cemented in.

   I get in the tour's rented boat (a dodge b3500) and wait for the team. steve, the band precious' singer, talks w/me about things. I tell him I really dug his band and he tells me about wanting to get signed for his four year old daughter and his health problems. I tell him about the illness I went through this year and he tells me about his: chronic kidney stones. he says he's had twentyseven surgeries and there's not one time he don't burn when he has to piss. damn. makes my shit feel way more calm in relation. I hope a record deal can do him right but from my experience...

   we get back to the hotel and george ain't back at the room so I'm outside the door and gotta piss bad. luckily, there's an ice bag by the hand rail (we're on the fourth floor) and I fill that, like when you go to a pet store to by a goldfish and they put into a bag only this a pouch of amber gold. I leave outside when eric finally comes and lets me in. on the deck right away cuz this has been a draining night for the pedro man. sweatyass, I strip down and just plop there naked on the deck and pull the blankey over me. I think of my pliers men sailing towards cali in the boat and hope they're safe.

tuesday, october 24, 2000 - athens, ga

   pop and soak the watt bones in the tub. no fucking key for the van so I can't pedal. damn. hoof instead. get some coff and sit there by lake eola and have a good think. good friend sun is bounced of the water and split into millions of sparkles, all of them dancing for my eyes and lighting up my brain. there's a breeze and the temp is just right, thank you, world. inside the head, I'm kvetching about the clam blow I threw last night. have to transfer the tune info from the brain to the muscles and implant there so I don't have to think - too much of a delay, second guessing and just overall tepid tippy-toeing where I should come out strong and swinging for j. it's hard on me, I think of all the times I've come up short in my life (well, not all) and want to get so much fucking more together.

   we got a hellride to athens so it's time to roll. I'm riding up front but starboard - no wheel for watt, it's tour boss eric's station on this tour. sure is trippy after helming the whole time on my last go round. gotta let it go, that's part of this experience: deck handmanship. want to learn it better. I get one of those neck pillows at a flying j (always have thought of j when I saw these gas pads on tour) cuz riding shotgut does have your head doing the bob pretty big time. legs are kind of cramped up too but I can deal w/it. now in my boat, the cat in this seat has to work the map - too much duty for the helmsman just to keep things safe and plow road so that's my duty here. we're taking the I-75 to macon and then us-129 to athens instead of going out of the way to atlanta to stay on the interstate. everyone gets spieling and I don't realize that eric soon gets us on a state road going too northeast. watt fucking wakes up and gets us back on track. no loop involved, just a northwest maneuver to correct. we get to the pad we're playing tonight, the _40 watt club_, only a couple minutes late. the folks here are great, I always dig working their house. berry, the boss, comes and talks w/me about the sickness and all that and once again, I'm travelling down that hellroad w/it's accompanying spiel. folks want to know where I lost all this weight and I gotta tell them and it wasn't from health, it was from hell. whatever, I'm still alive and I'm here to play tonight in athens. it's great to see berry again. I remember last playing here and staying at her pad after the gig and having the most intense nightmare, huge stomach ache in the morning too. weird how body hells leave their fucking mark in your brain.

   j got a roky erickson record next door, great! I really, really dig roky. let me say, j sure knows a bunch about music, it just runs through his brain and veins. I love listening to him relate about it. his mind is always going, whirling w/all kinds of stuff, music and thoughts. he reminds me of pettibon and perry mixed together in a weird way but also like a guitar wielder in the spirit of d. boon or even early greg ginn. trippy combo. most fascinating. I've been really blessed in this world to meet the most interesting folks. they forever leave deep impressions on me. j turns me on to this ginger brew stuff and some ginger cookies that have no wheat - they're made from rice. both are really good. thanks j. the cat knows how to consume happening shit too, alright. I go to the headphone world to prac, gotta get shit together.

   gig time. good, full house and folks really want to see j rip it up. we start w/"severed lips," first time for us w/this tune. I blow a couple of clams in it. they're only little ones but damn, what the fuck is wrong w/me? j wants me to sing some lines in "same day" and I get scared and space on that. fuck again. I hide back behind george and his drum set. I want to play tight and hear every beat he's playing. I don't really have to hear myself. some cat (maybe the monitor man?) comes running up and changes the microphone and cable that's on the marshall amp's cab. after he does that he comes up to me and says he wants to switch out the amp. I say "no way," I don't want to break the sets flow. the sunn amp is running the other cab and that can hold us. I'm a big believer in flow, fuck that anal shit. sometimes shit is gonna sound rough, well ok. I gotta enough to worry about like getting these tunes played fucking right. don't bother me, man! I choke on "all the girls" a little bit - george chokes big time. in fact, he's having kind of a hard gig - I think he's tired from coming in late last night. he said he hasn't toured in three years also so there's some cobwebs. this is kind of tough for me cuz I'm leaning on him but you know what? he's still laughing, I like this about the way he plays, very light hearted. that's a good thing for me, so many cats get caught up in how they're perceived and it makes things hard to communicate honestly. I like this about george, he's a joy to play w/and I feel good about being one of the fog w/him. j is up front, slinging the goods and well, I'm just to scared to get up there w/him - I only go up there when I gotta use the mic. we are definitely not in triangle formation. most assuredly it's j mascis and the fog. ok w/me, I feel proud to serve. four songs from the end I break a 'd' string. aaaaarrrgggghhhh. still, I'm committed to not breaking the flow and soldier on. I can do this. not for "dirt" (the stooges song) though and ask j to cut it. he says ok. we finish strong, he's playing like a champ. by this time, george is too. we get off stage and when we come back for an encore, the roadie man mike gives me the dino feder jazz but its output is like a fourth of what the little bass puts out. I say "fuck it" and go back to my tattoo-pictured little one despite the snapped string. time to dance in real time but I get it done. like they say, "where there's a will..."

   packup time and berry gives us some 40 watt knit caps. I look even funnier w/one of these on. she offered a baseball hat kind but don't think I can wear one of those again after donating the hat j gave me years ago. when I was first getting better, brother matt, a pedro buddy, took me to a dodger game and it was hard as hell to sit there in that seat for three hours (extra innings even). I took my hat off and sure enough, I left it there like a fuckhead. that hat had been through a bunch, it even got stole off the stage in boston once and then brought back to me two years later in cincinatti. maybe it'll find its way back to me again, who knows? what I do know is that I can't wear another one now. nope. we get to the mo and I konk good and fast cuz I am spilled out fully, emotions and body.

wednesday, october 25, 2000 - atlanta, ga

   little tub so the knees are all bent up after I pop and pour myself in. still no key so I can't pedal. tomorrow for sure, I'll get a key from eric today. we got a short drive to atlanta but music stores have to be visited cuzz j wants this box called a "probe fuzz." it's controlled like a theremin but w/your foot instead of your hand. there's a brass plate that modulates the fuzz depending on how close your foot is to it. pretty trippy, I dig it. I get a purple strap for my bass and a box of dean markley strings. never used them before but j can get them for free so I'll try them out tonight. we're at the _cotton club_, not the old one where I played but a new one put in where there used to be a house of blues, right in the middle of atlanta. in fact, right next to centinneal park, where that bomb went off during the olympics when they were here. this cotton club is actually the downstairs of this old church, called the tabernalce. I think of the french-canadian cuss word I learned last tour w/the pliers, "tabernac!" thak you, chapu, for teaching me that.

   I hoof around looking for some backwoods 'gars. I find some razors - good, I've been nicking the fuck out of my face w/this old one for a week now. damn, are they light, these disposable bic jobs. I can't handle them right and they dig into my face. I get back and we do soundcheck. j's got to bail and do a radio station and then an instore at a pad called criminal. wow, being a sidemouse gets you off the hook w/that stuff. gracie, a friend of mine comes gets to eat some chow her fiance is fixing up for me. they live in this old school that's now being used as pads. the lockers are still there even. it's a neat place, real high roofs. at chow we're talking about her little bro abe who just graduated from indiana (in bloomington) w/a degree in music. he's written me an email recently about advice for what to do w/music. I tell gracie about my experiences and now looking back on it, how many accidents and coicidences were involved. I mean, yes, I've worked on it and never let up but I don't really know if there's a connect-the-dots program on how to do it. one good resource is that by doing school, he can do the teaching thing and maybe support himself while he tries he creative endeavor. she has a good idea, abe has to put himself in the right place to be able to act on an accident or opportunity when it might happen, maybe get out of the college town now that he's done w/school. you got have backbone, that's for sure. I tell her I think you gotta keep a child's eye too, always have the potential to become amazed and wonder, to be inspired and fired up. I'm talking about feelings, not the quest for accquiring objects or adulation. stuff from the heart somehow. a lot of this stuff is still a mystery to me even after all the years.

   get back to the pad and the night's manager, melissa has gotten some backwoods for me. thank you. j's making the set list. he wants to do "thumb," haven't done that one yet. well, let's go for it. j has no fear. watt has tons. we go out to the stage and I'm first. I get out there and I'm standing all by myself - where is everyone? damn, I feel like an idiot. eric comes out to tell me j has to take a dump. oh man. last time I walk out first - ever. j finally comes up onstage, I'm sweating bullets, arrrrggghhh. we got the drums turned at an angle, maybe thirty degrees w/the kick drum turned my way. right off the bat, j's having problems. none of his guitars are in tune - what's up? his set list is taped upside down, we're skipping over tunes and having to go back. I can tell he's bumming. he can't get his sound right, the guitar can't get over the bass enough so I turn down. aaaarrrgghh, I feel like a bogart. I don't need much sound anyway, I'm right by george and can't hear it much anyway. I play better than the night before but I still blow clams. a lot of it is just scaredness on my part, not having the infos impressed deep into the muscle tissue. "thumb" is ok, I'm really following george's every move. thanks george. we were gonna do another new one (for me), "mike's house," but j cuts it. he wants to get off stage, he is not digging it. me, if j don't like it, how can I? it's where I'm at for this tour. I'm trying to tune in on his vibe besides just getting the tunes right. there is a thrill when I do get them right but is it just a matter of executing the parts correctly? isn't it also about levitation too?

   we get done and after the encore, we get back in the dressing room and discuss things. yes, j did not dig the gig. it bummed him out pretty much. jamie said it was hard to mix. the idea about putting george's drums at an angle is panned, it was blamed for some irritating high end. while everybody goes to pack up, this guy comes in and starts asking j all kinds of weird stuff, like he's trying to fight w/him. he'd ask him something and then argue w/j's answer, just cuz it was something he didn't want to hear. he said he had a jukebox in his house and half was dinosaur and the other half was ratt. strange.

   we're driving tonight to greenville in south carolina to get a jump on getting on the chapel hill gig for tomorrow. good thing I got the neck pillow cuz my head is being tossed all about, what a wringer. trippy sitting in this seat. I remember george hurley having this problem so I found him a captain's chair at a swap meet for my own boat. the low back seat it had just wrangled his head all over. it gets really bad when your asleep cuz you're konked and unable to counter the bullwhip motions. we get to greenville and into a red roof inn. at least the deck is steady as I lower myself w/a "timber" and fill the room w/the thud of my fall. I'm konked.

thursday, october 26, 2000 - chapel hill, nc

   I pop and head out to the van. no pedaling in a few days and I am itching to go! I break out the folder and head for the main road. it's a highway and that's great - not too many signals to stop my flow. I pedal hard, hard as some goon like me can go and get that heart rate up there. I go and go - then suddenly to my surprise, the road turns into freeway! whoa, what's this about? cars are jamming past me and I am not digging this. I turn around in the median when there's a break in the traffic and head back. I'm stopping in every gas station I see to find another pair of those bug-eye glasses but they're nowhere to be seen. damn. that was a fluke finding them at all, I wish I would've kept it more together and not lost them. oh well. a good two hour ride, that's happening. sun's out too and it's clear skies for our drive northeast.

   tonight we're at the _cat's cradle_ where the boss frank heath is an old friend. he just did my last gig in raleigh w/the pliers a couple of weeks ago, great to see him again. we're kind of late so we get stuff up quick and check. something's wrong w/the marshall head so we switch it out w/one of j's. hardly any sound was coming out of it at all. j's having trouble too w/one of his amps, I guess it was running w/no cabinet last night and the no load toasted it. aaarrrggghhh. we make do and then it's to the sideroom and on w/the headphones so I can practice the stuff up. I just gotta pound it in so I can get my confidence up. I practice the whole while up to gig time. it's neat that j asks me to help him w/the set list. I really like all the songs and dig playing them much. it's a trip, the gigs have been like an hour and a half all together w/the encore but it seems like ten minutes to me. I am so in the moment and trying to be on w/my playing. the little bass is holding up good, I'm so proud of her. must be the picture on her, huh? I blow some clams but recover pretty quick when I do. still, I wish I had shit down better or just could get a handle on the doubts and not second guess so much. it all seems like a blur sometimes, if only I could brand my brain w/the tune infos and know w/some sense of sureness that when I reached for it, the shit would be the there. the doubts make me feel timid and afraid. aarrrggghh, I don't know why I go on and on about this. just gotta get over it.

   edward (from fIREHOSE) lives here but he's out on tour w/that band _southern culture on the skids_ and can't be here tonight. even w/the clams, I wish he could've seen me do this. it would've gave him a good laugh. j tears it up tonight and it's good the hell of last night's gig is behind us. those things happen - hell, it goes w/my tours w/out a doubt. in some ways it's so different doing this kind of thing but in other ways, there's lots of simularities. when we do "get me," it breaks out into a big wailer and at the end, j looks over at me and says "jam." it was quite a jam at that. his guitar has such a sound and power. I let it go through my body and kind of let it play through me when he solos and I'm trying to both support and kind of fill out in a power trio sort of way. sometimes (sometimes? most times!) I wondering what he thinks of what I'm doing. I know he's swimming in his own sound and doesn't hear me much but I know his mind, he's aware of things w/out making it seem like he is. don't want to bogart, that's what I'm trying really hard not to do. grout for the tile. this is a trippy role for me but I'm really glad he asked me and I signed on. when we finish, I asked the monitor man where was my voice, when I looked up at his desk, he was nowhere to be found - what's up? he comes back w/something I never would've expected: "I was dancing." well, what do you say to tha? I just double over laughing. an honest man is good to find.

   tomorrow, j and us fog are flying to new york city. it's evan dando's wedding and we're invited. the flight's at six in the morning, which means leave to the airport at five which translates into two or less hours of sleep cuz it's real late when we get into the mo after getting done. I say fuck it and don't even get out of my shoes. I just lay there and konk for the moments left until liftoff.

friday, october 27, 2000 - new york city, ny

   pop and eric runs us to the airport. cuz of cost diffeneces we fly to islip, which is on long island. never been there before. the furthest I've ever been out here is pinelawn, where john coltrane is buried. I took the trane out there once w/john rosenfelder when I was forty. trane was forty when he died. I laid on his grave, matching my head and toes to maybe where his were and thinking about him and that wonderful music he made. he is quite an inspiration to me. I think about him a bunch when I get doubts about what I'm doing w/that little bass strapped on me. j's girlfriend, louise and her buddy, gabriele pick us up at the airport and drive us to manhattan. bob's here in the volvo w/us too - j's bulldog. he's great. I remember when he was so small. he's five now. just the cuddliest bundle of love, ever. when we get into town and j's pad, j and louise pick out clothes for me to wear - they're dressing me for the wedding. this is funny! I haven't worn fancy clothes much and don't know much about them. louise has me wear he work pants she uses for waitering. j gives me a purple shirt that's not made of cotton, which feels weird on me - all smooth and close to me. he gives me a tie w/all these tiny flowers on it. then a light purple suit jacket. he even wears a ten and a half shoe like me and gives me some purple wingtips. I'm done, what a trip everything fits! I thank them very much. they want me to ride w/them in a limo to the thing but I really don't want to do that, it's really not my scene. I don't want to hurt their feelings though. oh boy. I say bye and then take a train to jimbo's pad where I'm staying on canal by the holland tunnel. it's great to see jimbo again but I'm so tired I just have to konk. whew, what a wailer on me - this watt is tired.

   whoa, I pop and it's time already to bail - where does all the time go? I wonder how I knew to wake up? aaarrrgghh, I didn't wake up at the right time - it's late for me. I have to get the subway up to central park and meet my friend elizabeth, she's agreed to go w/me to this. I'm very nervous, this is a shaky scene for me. I slept in these clothes j and louise put on me, I hope it doesn't look like it. I was so stupid, I should've take them off while I konked. I hope I don't embarrass anyone. there's canker sores all open in my mouth from my nerves and I've been swabbing them w/camphor to help w/the pain. I'm such a mess. the wedding is at a place called the boathouse here in the park. the music they're playing is lou reed's "street hassle," what a strange choice. neat though. I don't go to many weddings. it's a trip for me sitting through the vows. the same thing happened to me when I went to george hurley's wedding last year. I keep thinking about my own wedding thirteen years ago and the marriage all wrecked later. it makes me sad but I'm so happy for evan, I try and pull myself out of my crazy thoughts. being w/elizabeth helps, she makes me forget all that. I don't know how that works. then we dance to a ccr song (first time ever for me)! it's "looking out my backdoor." wow! I know d. boon is laughing, I remember when we played that tune as kids. the sensations are surreal, I can't believe this is actually happening. she spins around and dances really good, it's amazing. she leads me through it like a champ. here I am, dancing w/elizabeth, I can't believe it! it's almost too much weight for for my brain to take. I've done some drunk-ass disco stompin' and twistin' before but nothing like this. the song ends I have a big head rush, whoa. time for chow, some great fish and potatoes. we're sitting a table right in the front. I wonder why. then j tells me we're the band to back evan up w/some stooges songs! oh boy, now I'm really scared. gibby is here and it's good to see him. I feel so fucking awkward. it's time for us to play and this helps me in a way. the bass is from the opening band and it's a fender, wow - so much bigger than the little one. I work it hard and folks are getting into seeing me do it. I guess they don't figure bass to be like that but it is the stooges, right? it's really funny to hear evan singing those songs kind of relaxed and loungy, what a trip for stooges. I get kind of self-conscious and turn the other way, towards the lake and the boats. I let elizabeth help me w/some jamming - I work the left hand on the neck and she does the right on the strings. wow, that's fun. it's good to hug evan and congratulate him when we're done.

   then things move to a bar near jimbo's neighborhood and we're all taken on a bus there. so strange. lots of strange things seem to be going on but it's hard for me to fathom them. it seems sureal to me. here I am in these clothes and everything. the sores in my mouth are getting more intense. I've had them since the tour started, my nerves have been just so shakey w/the new tunes (for me), the pick, playing for j, still recovering from the sickness/surgery and now this. well. you have to imagine so many more critical and actual problems in this world and here is fucking watt, caught up in this. another's clothes, another's shoes... I wish I was another somehow. it's no one here's fault, everyone is quite nice and if they aren't, elizabeth wises them up w/some choice words - she is an amazing person, she doesn't seem scared at all. I just watch, I'm beyond words now. this has been some experience. it's getting to four though and I'm out of gas. a cab for elizabeth and I walk to jimbo's. so freaky, these purple shoes clicking on the road. it's like cobblestones here and it's all uneven and buckled up. weird wearing shoes w/arches in them, I'm not used to that. the leather soles slide across as I try my best to keep steady. werid for someone my age, huh? up the six flights to jimbo's - there's a strange sense and even like a purple light on in my head. I'm trying to figure this out. I don't take off these clothes - I want to konk w/them on see if that helps. the purple puppet man and his strange adventure. I ponder this and somehow, sometime - sueno does prevail and the last thing I remember is a fragrance I can't figure. lilacs?

saturday, october 28, 2000 - washington dc

   I pop at jimbo's and head to the westside cafe, a great cubano chow pad a couple of blocks away on church street. mas fina comidas and econo too. then to hoof on over to the hudson river to have a think. this last summer I went out to play a benefit for this young man who was killed in amarillo and the gig was out in the middle of this field. it was all flat w/out any trees in sight and the town was some miles away so it was real dark and the stars just were up there by the trillions in the most fantastic way. I mean, they're always up there (or we're always down here) but you can't really see them to notice how vast and awesome a picture it paints. that's the way my mind is feeling right now, like the inside of my head is like that texas sky and all those stars and even the milky way are like thoughts and ideas - some alone, some linked in constellations, some smeared out like swim team. the awe has me somehow calm and I'm not torn and tossed like mostly when I get to thinking about my life. I only konked for a couple of hours, I dreamt I was a spaceman who had lost his suit and along w/that, his reason. I wasn't tired in the body but too beat in the head to organize and make sense of this and was kind of like a spectator to my own mind. my eyes would follow the boats and it seemed like I was thinking of everything at once. it was intoxicating, like buzzed on my own thoughts, what a trip. like everything had let go and now was flying about and finding their place due to magnets placed where I could not see them. fields within fields and polarities spinning and pulling on thoughts in the most strange sense of reasoning. no torture, more like wonder. one giant exhale. I put my hand on my face to know it was there. it felt like a bass string - a big, giant one and I wanted to pluck it. I wanted to hear what note my head would make if it was rung. the watch on my wrist said get to j's so I left the river and this state of mind.

   bye to jimbo, subway to j's - bye to bob and louise then cab w/j to la guardia. george is there to meet us. we fly to dc. tonight we play the _black cat_, I was just there ten days ago. still, it'll great to see dante and bernie again. dig this pad and it's peeps. first we gotta do an interview at a radio station, very nice of j to have me in on this. the label guy who's driving us hits the curb and blow out the tire - whoops. we do the spiel in the meantime, the cat doing it, dave, is quite a nice fellow. when we finish and get to the club, I chow a greek salad then it's back to the little amp and bass to prac. a big sound comes through the headphones from upstairs and I gotta check it out. it's the _burning brides_ and wow, what a guitar player. he's great. good moves too. george tells me we got three more gigs w/them, great.

   our set is happening, george and j play great. I'm still blowing fucking clams despite the all the prac. I gotta get over these nerves. my mouth is one giant sore, I even gotta put some of this salve stuff on in the middle of us playing. even to sing hurts cuz there's sores under my tongue too. what a mess. I know they'll go into remission once I get more secure. 'til then - arrrggggghhhh... I am getting better at this pick thing, I'm not dropping it or cramping up as much. sure is loud on stage, it's really unbelievable. he hits a wah-wah or that fuzz probe and it's zing! - right through the brain! when I move up to sing "tv eye" (we've been ending every set w/this) I can't any bass, drums or spiel. it's a total mime. that's why I'm mainly just standing right in front of my amp or back w/or behind george. I just want to do right and help j the best I can. I don't really have any ego issues w/any of this. in my mind, if j feels good about us playing and making the fog work, I feel what I'm doing is a success and can be proud. just to see him after a tune w/a smile on his face is good enough for me. george is always laughing and grinning, he's a great confidence booster for watt. sometimes I wonder if he even hears me though. I go up to the drum monitor and I hear absolutely no bass coming out. weird how this power trio works. I just can't wait to get more sure of my self so I can get over all the self-doubt about going to the right chord and stuff like that. damn, I even to have a more calm look on my face rather this fucking furrowed brow I got now. I know I keep going on and on about this but it weighs heavy on me.

   we pack up and it's funny getting to the hotel. it must be like two blocks away but we drive for miles and miles! how did that happen? it is late and the adrenalin has worn off. I'm soon on the deck w/my head on a pillow right up against the door.

sunday, october 29, 2000 - philadelphia, pa

   damn, did someone leave the heater on last night or what? I can breathe for shit in this shvitz... arrrrggghhhh... I make a break quick for outside and some god damn air. it's like my lungs have been totally dehydrated and dried out like the most barren desert. must... have... fresh... cool... air.... fortunately, the sun is out bright but the air has that righteously cool and crisp but not freezing snap to it. I clothe and get out of this pad quick and just fill my bellows w/the life stuff, aaahhhhh. that shit gives me nightmares too as it's happening. I dreamed I was starting every j song wrong at a gig and couldn't get it together. then, just as was knowing it, the tune would end. what a pile of frustration. it was going on and on too, like the gig would never end and I was just blowing it, over and over again. such a relief when I finally popped and made a dash for oxygen. maybe my brain was just choking out or whatever. the sores in my mouth are really flared up now. only a tiny bit of camphor left too, damn. these guys want to go into georgetown and cruise the trendy 'm' street so what the hey. when you're not in your own boat, you're serving aboard someone else's. after an hour of that nonsense we get out of dc and head up north to phily, where tonight's gig is at a pad called the _trocadero_ next to chinatown.

   right when we get in we gotta take pictures so j an his fog pile in a car and we go to this pad next to an old bar. nice photo guy and it makes the session go easy. me and j both wear yellow "ron asheton" sunglasses for some shots. we get done and head back over to the gig. a soundcheck and then to the dressing room for headphone prac for watt. ain't hungy much on tour so it's just the veggies on the tray they give us for the room. ok w/me. j's turned me onto this real good drink called "reed's ginger brew," a kind of ginger ale from jamaica. I dig it. makes me blow it out hard too, I wonder why? anyway, I kind of dig that too - anything to purge the foulness out of you, especially on tour. back w/the headphones - prac, prac, prac...

   our turn to play after the brides and the pad is looking mighty caved-out. whoa, our thinnest turnout for the tou. they're nice folks though and enthusiastic plus I just get so excited playing w/the fog, I don't give a shit about it not being packed out. one prob though is the room itself, all high-ceilinged and echoy, terrible sound for us on stage. aarrrgghh, what a din. we do "raisins" for the first time and I dig playing this tune a bunch though I blow some clams in it. god, I'm sounding like a broken record about that shit but that's what's occupying my mind right now. I want to get it right and play like someone w/some backbone and not scaredycat tepid shit. I mostly look at j a bunch for both direction and inspiration but check in w/george all the time to make sure we got it together. nothing better than having the bass player being able to be in w/the drummer, huh? what I gotta do is get the stuff learned in my muscles, rapped around my bones so I don't have to think about it and suffer from this lag between command and response. there is a confidence I feel when I can get a tune to that state. then I can throw myself into it.

   pack up and we head up the I-95 to manhattan, it's a late one when I finally get deposited at jimbo's on canal, right out of the holland tunnel. hoof up the six flights and then through the steel hatch of jimbo's pad, I love it here. only two big rooms besides and a little head and a kitchen but there's a whole world in here. jimbo's world. I dig it. all dark now and I head right for the room closest to canal and the sueno pad I mostly konk on (sometimes I konk in the other room right near jimbo on the deck if I got band mates w/me). a sore watt but a grateful-to-be-here watt lets the fields of konkdom roll right over him and under I go, a bob or two of awakeness and then, like a bulb w/out current, out.

read week 2 of the tour diary

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this page created 11 nov 00