now it's time to get my third opera "hyphenated-man" on over to europe w/my missingmen which is tom watson (on guitar) and raul morales (on drums) and play it for folks there before the weather gets too heavy for my lame-ass joints. we've really got it together now - almost to the day it'll be a year since we started preforming it and so we got things pretty happening w/delivering it w/maybe less clams than ever or at least the potential to do such. me and my men are eager to bring it, having already toured it in japan and the u.s./canada where in many cases we blew minds including our own - it is a fucking weird piece but it's just something I feel very strongly I have to do at this point in my life. all three of us promise you the gig-goers we'll play our fucking brains out and cut no one any shorts. here for us is yet more righteous opportunities to work this baby in interesting parts for interested cats - it's all very much appreciated, truly!
mike watt + the missingmen
"hyphenated-man in europe 2011" tour
thursday, october 13
in cork city, ireland at crane lane theatre
friday, october 14
in myrtleville, ireland at pine lodge
saturday, october 15
in dublin, ireland at crawdaddy
sunday, october 16
in belfast, northern irleand at auntie annie's
tuesday, october 18
in newcastle, england at the cluny
wednesday, october 19
in glasgow, scotland at nice n'sleazy
thursday, october 20
in liverpool, england at mello mello
friday, october 21
in birmingham, england at the supersonic festival
saturday, october 22
in sowerby bridge, england at the working mens club
sunday, october 23
in lille, france at la peniche
monday, october 24
in laxou, france at soapbox club
tuesday, october 25
in oullins, france at le clacson
wednesday, october 26
in grenoble, france at le planetalis
thursday, october 27
in marseilles, france at l'embobineuse
friday, october 28
in montpellier, france at secret place
saturday, october 29
in marmande, france at petit theatre
sunday, october 30
in paris, france at petit bain
tuesday, november 1
in antwerp, belgium at trix bar
wednesday, november 2
in dresden, germany at az conni
thursday, november 3
in budapest, hungary at durer kert
friday, november 4
in vienna, austria at arena
saturday, november 5
in amsterdam, netherlands at kafana
click here for mike watt bio stuff
click here for 300 dpi promotional picture for tour
photo credit: mike watt (I used auto-timer!)
click here for some of what's being written about watt and "hyphenated-man"
thursday, october 13, 2011 - cork city, ireland
[tuesday] i left manhattan beach at 7:45am, and met m & r at lax at 8. a flight to philly, then on to dublin.
[wednesday] made it to dublin at 8:30am. got to hotel and met timo. after some rest went to store with r and got some supplies: beer, bread, oranges, cheese, ham, chips and whiskey. we spend our day adjusting to the time change and drinking beer, trying not to rest too much. we all get tired after the whiskey, mike's on the couch and through a blanket over him. rail and i have a room and he's asleep. i sleep a bit, too. i get a call from lar and vinny and they come by to visit with more supplies. then timo too. we drink and talk till 12:30 am. a very nice first eve. i have a good nights sleep, with thanks to the no-jet-lag tablets from caroline.
[gig day] up at 9, mick comes by at 9:30. we have a quick breakfast downstairs and he and i take the train to his town of greystones to get the van, about 45 min's away. suddenly, in my hazy mind, i realize that i am expected to drive. i've never driven on the left side of the road before, everything is inverted, steering wheel, shift and all. totally bizarre, i was scared and i think i scared mick too. we make it back to dublin to meet m, r & hiori at the adebisi pac joint to grab their gear. i am learning something new, backing up narrow alleys, etc...from there tour begins. drove to cork to play our first show. ate thai food. broke a string, in bed at 3:40am. long day.
tuesday at the crack of dawn my dear friend nanny toted my still-hobbled self to the fucking lax airport. actually I thought my ma was gonna take me but she tells me her sight ain't so good - she feels she's taking her life in her hands every time she drives now! she had cataract surgery a couple of years ago but she thinks maybe stronger glasses might help? she's seventyfive now so I guess this stuff happens but anyway, nanny came to the rescue like she has for me for thirty-plus years. the traff can be plug (and was) so we shove off from pedro at seven am for flight at eleven to start this tour. actually it's two flights on us air - this first one goes to philadelphia on an airbus 321 and then continues on to dublin in ireland on via boeing 767. I'm bringing the dan bass (1965 gibson eb-0) w/me onboard in soft case so hopefully no trouble w/that. if I used the flight case it would be murder later schlepping that whale around on tour. I'm hoping it's easy-go.
it's beautiful day here in so cal. w/fall coming on, not so much marine layer so the sun is up bright and early. as I finish checking in, I first see raul and then tom - good, we're all here. this is our third tour for this "hyphenated-man" piece, my third opera. of course I've been insane stressed like I am always before tour (think of everything that can go wrong!) but I have to admit that us three have a handle on the piece better than ever so I feel pretty together about that. contrast that w/this same time last year when we shoving off for japan for the first performances ever of this piece - WHAT A FUCKING PANTS SHITTER! not only the usually pre-tour hell agony or worry but fucking trying to get this baby together, even w/'pert-near a month and a half prac! there is a lot to remember, all the parts and spiel, crimony. you can read about that adventure here if you want.
now there was some trouble getting this tour together. dutch dude carlos, my euro bookerman for more than twenty years had tried the first part of the year to get this together but alas he's kind of fell out of the loop w/the circuit and felt very bad. I love carlos though so told him not to worry and my friends timo and mick in dublin volunteered to get something together. things change, you know? anyway, they got some gigs mainly for their island and the one next door plus a band named papier tigre in france wanted to tour w/us (which is neat cuz I've never played france on my own) so that made up the bulk of the gigs. hard weather is coming to europe so I didn't wanna be out too long and also I got much stuff to do back home as far as composing and recording so this tour's only a little over three weeks. it's my first time w/my own music w/out carlos in europe so it's kind of scary but I am hoping for the best. like I said, me and my guys know the piece better than we ever have so that's together. whatever happens beyond that is kind of beyond us so we will just roll w/it and try to learn as much as we can.
the flight to phily's four and a half hours, all us three in the same row, I get good shots from window seat of lots of u.s., west to east. at phily airport I chow a phily cheesesteak w/provolone - the nice man asked me what instead of just foisting on that velveta bullshit. it's pretty good and so much I don't gag any of the next flight's crap and pass it on to tom instead. again we're three in a row but this time I'm aisle, tom once more salami. us three travel real comfortable. of course both my men ran ahead of me getting off the last flight but that's out of forgetting about the cojo w/them and not out of meanness. it's six-something hours to dublin airport, the new terminal two. immigration very kind but there was a man freaking out on the deck and hollering, some kind of drama - I felt bad. both flights I could stow the dan bass topside in the storage bins, grazie mille. I forgot to mention I filled the hours in the metal tube breathing farts w/reading "collected fictions" by jorge luis borges - man, can this cat write - short stories is his thing... big respect to him!
we arrived at nine and a half in the mooring (it's wenesday) and... nobody here to pick us up at the airport, whoops! no big deal, miss hiyori is here from hamburg to do the merch (her idea, her volunteering) and she has leash (mine works in u.s. only) so we get timo on the horn and he says to take taxi into dublin's city center millineum bridge cuz there's an apartment there we're gonna konk at. mick (also drummerman for great band adebisi shank and richter collective partner) and legendary promoter timo came to the rescue and got this tour together after twenty plus years w/dear friend dutch dude carlos. no freak out. thirty euros for cab ride though (about fortyone bucks u.s.) which I have to admit is cheaper than the sixtyfive it'd cost me to get from lax to my pedro town if nanny or my sister melinda didn't cart my ass instead. this apartment is pretty big and right by the "italian corner" (well, there's two, one on each side of the liffey. I try to stay up cuz I don't wanna be on opposite side of euro time. timo comes by, so great to see him again, respect! he catches me up on his intense life, damn, the brother's gotta cut back on some hours cuz this too many hours he's got going is wearing him out and worse: getting him sick. for example he was up 'till five am last night! still he makes time for me and learns me all kinds of stuff. respect. mick bandsmen lar and vinny come by, alright, fucking happening cats. by this time tom has gone to the market and gotten some oranges, bread/cheese, beers and a bottle of bourbon from "clarke's" - what? reminds me of that swill I got in germany back in the summer called "george washington" and this shit is just as fucking bad. aaarrrggghhhh. tom keeps filling my glass though and I do the whole damn bottle. I think timo came back later. at least I stayed up 'til dark - I think I'm on irish time now (eight hours ahead of my pedro town).
gig day and I pop at nine and a few minutes later mick arrives. we chow at a pad across the court (no road here) at a pad called "lemon jelly" and I have what's called an irish breakfast which (I hate to say but maybe I'm fucking stupid) is kind of like england full one? sausage, bacon, tomato, egg, toast, black and white pudding (what they here call it, not the desert but some other trippy stuff) - oh yeah, they call the bacon rashers too. maybe this pad was a little fancy but it was close. tom goes off to get the van we're using in ireland, an iveco from a richter collective band called enemies - very kind cats to help us out like this, thanks big time. first time tom's driving on the left (wrong) side of the road but he does good though he did give mick several heart attacks. we get a cab to join him and vinny near the adebisi shank prac pad near portabello college (near canal toad) cuz even though backline (amps/drums) are supposed to be at these first two gigs, why not have a bravo (plan b) just in case. respect to all these cats helping us out, truly.
170 miles south to cork city from dublin and on our way out of town we get a drum head w/vinny and he leaves us from there. bye vinny! damn if he ain't a great bassman as is lar but w/guitar. tom does good at the wheel. miss hiyori brought her tomtom navigator which I think ain't is good as my garmin but it does what it does to get us there. sure is nice weather. very pretty irish countryside. three and a half hours and we make it to the venue three minutes before we're supposed to (seven pm), a nice man named paul helps us out. this pad is called the "crane lane theatre" and there's equipment for us. peavy combo amp for tom though so he decided to go w/lar's marshall. I'm using this ampeg b500dr - a weird ampeg I've never played, something I think that lasted only a little while. the cabinet is even weirder - an ampeg svt-806he cab which is like a 3/4 svt cab w/eight six and a half inch speakers rather than ten inchers. well, fuck it - I'll use this so we don't have to shlep the vinny's stuff in the van. soundman justin does soundcheck w/us and then we go w/gigboss emmet to go chow at a thai pad his lady chika works at called banna thai, gwoi tio pad siew is what I get - noodles and pork, really good!
we ain't on 'til 12:20 and emmet asks us to play 'til twenty of two - yeah, it's a late night. I really dig emmet though - he did that last gig of the second opera ("the secondman's middle stand") for me. he's very cool people, very happening. no prob to do what he asks. I understand the sitch: they venue here wants people drinking beer 'til closing time, dutch heineken beermakers doing some sponsor w/it. no opening act either. the pad is packed w/much beer inside lots of folks and we bring the piece. actually I went to go piss right before and a trippy head here - there's a grating and a steel wall you piss against - not into the grate which you're supposed to be standing on. raul made the same mistake too. there's a line inside and some cat cuts in front of me - he then realizes and asks if I'm next. I tell him I ain't really in here to hang out and he says he thought I was waiting for somebody. we both fucking laugh. I hear the john coltrane playing - I made an "a love supreme" cd-r in dublin cuz I fucking spaced in my pedro town. I've learned more than a few tours ago to have your own "intro/outro" music.
the piece is intense. I dedicate it to little joe in tokyo - it's his bday and his pop (professor andy) is from ireland... two great cats. I got a shirt the day before we left (monday) at a walmart that I'm gonna wear for every gig this tour. I start sweating it out right away. tom has a terrible tone. raul's drums sound ok (they're pearl) and my sound sitch is total fucking mime on stage, there in 'pert-near thought only. glad justin has a direct box for getting it out to the people. it's a good kind of stage sitch though maybe cement is under the wood deck we're on to make it kind of dead but fuck it, we're actually having a good time. you tell lots of squarejohn in the crowd but they ain't hostile. in fact, they're pretty much trippy kind of hard on the insanity of the piece. I do blow a fair amount of clams - why? don't know but I'm kind of nervous. I do laugh a lot though and tom/raul is right there w/me, very good focus from them. it is a wild ride, let me tell you. no walking off stage, we just keep wailing on it w/stuff from old bands like the minutemen, blue oyster cult, pop group, urinals, wire, and the red krayola. fuck, many times in the piece I knock my 'g' string out of town and I brought no tuner so I just crank on it using my ear. in "forever/one reporter's opinion" (where I combined a dos song w/one off "double nickels on the dime"), justin forgets to put my mic back up (I gave it up for tom to do a few) and so we gotta re-start the spiel part of that one, had to! damn, was it a wild gig. we broke the water though, the tour's on.
it's hard getting through all those people but I get through - many kind folks hive me the good word, respect to them, truly. my first time in cork city - respect to emmet making this happen. I am kind of spent, kind of! I am more grateful though. tom drives us over the river (oh yeah, forgot to write that cork's a port town, lots of quays on the water and many bridges) to the windsor 'tel we'd earlier checked into. hard firing out the shower but I get hosed off and in the nightwear. fucking three bells when I konk but fuck, the tour's underway and that's a good thing. we worked the room.
friday, october 14, 2011 - myrtleville, ireland
raul and i have to wake at 8 to move the van into a parking garage. somehow it feels good to be outside in the morning air. we have a half-woke stroll and conversation before heading upstairs to sleep a couple more hours. we start off for myrtleville by 1 or so but stop in a town nearby to meet the promoter, patrick. he leads us up some winding roads to the irish beach town where we are playing. it's challenging on my driving skills, but i feel like i am getting the hang of it more and more. the pine lodge is a large house which has been converted onto a pub and live music venue. it also has rooms upstairs for us, so we can park and stay till we leave in the morning. it's very different from being in the city, it has a residential vibe. the house is in a beautiful spot looking down a revine towards the sea, the fog adds some drama, too. we hang with patrick for a while, but we all take advantage of the rooms upstairs and chill out for a bit. when we arise again i meet sarah the sound lady, she directs our efforts as we load in. after our brief set up and soundcheck rail and i do some ball hopping with sarah (shootin' the shit), and i think my final description of our music was 'hobo-erotic electro-tronic'. we also talk about baked goods, cause she's a pasty chef and that's interesting to me. we meet locals, and after the sun goes down (and after hearing about how the building is haunted), raul and i walk down the dark driveway and follow the street to the beach. i can't see anything, except the moon and the lighthouse across the bay. we make it to the sand and wonder what the water temp would be, talk about scary stuff and walk back up to the pine lodge. there is a burger trailer thing in outside in the patio area, and david the burger man makes us burgers and pizza. very home made, and tasty..thanks dave. the cooking food attracts a little grey fox that comes very close to beg for food. it's the healthiest looking fox i've ever seen. later, after the intimate eve of playing to a cozy crowd of locals, and chit chat with many kind people, we wind it down with patrick and bar maid, christine. patrick lays out the full 'shining'-like story that happened many years ago. one priest chopping up another priest and hanging the pieces in a room upstairs, near ours by the way. then it's "goodnight".
whoa, pop at eleven and a half - at noon I got an interview w/a cat w/a radio show named dan downstairs in the bar. I get out of the nightwear and packed up - fucking shave (forgot to yesterday) and bring down everything w/me. there's regulars hoisting beers already, the barman gives me a menu and I get "regular irish" breakfast (not my words but the menu's). it's like yesterday's but w/no "pudding" stuff. it's good. dan is cool people but it's 'pert-near like he pushed a play button on my forward and I deliver him a fortyfive minute soliloquy about the third opera. he's really cool people though, much respect to him. last night's gigboss emmet comes by right at the end - or maybe he made the end happen cuz I saw dan give the thumbs up when he made his entrance. election time is here in ireland so emmet gives me the rundown on some of it. some hard times cuz of debt for ireland like in other other e.u. lands now (greece really bad), chickens coming home to roost cuz of dumbfuck policies and self-enrichment for the not-so-many... you know, like in my land too!
one and a half in the afternoon I say bye to emmet and dan, join my men for the short hoof (hobble for me, still got that fucking knee brace on though back home I never wear it - even at last week's "occupy long beach" march) to the car park and it's a little tough getting this fucking tomtom (sorry to my tom) situated but somehow someway by the time it does get happening, wouldn't you fucking know it - tom (not the fucking tomtom machine) has us on the right road for crosshaven, a little town to south where we're to meet patrick, the cat who's taking care of tonight's gig in myrtleville. can you believe that shit? alright. we're talking little villages here, south of cork and lots of country but still what looks like not too long ago built track homes in between the farms - we know cuz we make a wrong turn halfway and use this tiny path right through some of these tracts (tom a little shaky w/the narrow roads and getting a little too close to the curb but fuck, better than a head on w/oncoming motherfuckers who are straddling the line - I mean what line?!). crosshaven is right by the water and we find this bar "cronin's" we're supposed to meet patrick at. not too long and he shows up, asks us should we get some beers but I say maybe better if we get to the pad we're playing and drink there, AFTER the driving's done. a little more winding road, following him into myrtleville - it's been rainy all day but even a little more now. actually, I've been here to this pad which is called the pine lodge before - a friday the thirteenth six years and five months ago for the last performance ever of my second opera at the end of the "el mar cur todo in europe too" tour. patrick pours us some beers, gives me one called beamish that's dark and cold, I dig it. I chimp tour diary for last night.
for tonight's chow we got burgers made by david in the back on a grill - I get one slathered w/his own homemade garlic butter, good eats. he made his own dough for the trippy little pizzas too, happening. thank you so much, dave. great not having to drive and even tonight after the gig - we're konking up stairs, right fucking on! no worry about moving the boat to avoid "clamping" - what they say here for what we call "the denver boot" back home. patrick's very cool people and knows lots of stuff, a great cat to learn from and it's good fun - like emmet too - I think they call it a gift of the blarney which I think means good conversation and I think I got that right though after patrick this stuff about kissing a rock at some castle, that's where it comes from? for some reason I thought it might've meant "bullshit" but you know the less younger I get, the more suspicious I am of assuming stuff - for someone like me I feel it's healthier - oh hell, why not check the blarney wikipedia entry just for the fuck of it.
these young folks from cork city, agitate the gravel are opening up the gig tonight. actually one of the guitarmen ruairi is actually from here in myrtleville but he's moved to the big town to be in the band. the drummerman cormac is nineteen, the other three are twentyone. oh yeah, Muireann's got one of them trippy cort basses w/the plastic - ruairi too is playing a guitar I've never seen but of course tom knows about it... shit, it's an ibanez! enough hardware talk - nope... we're gonna share equipment though the guitarman chris has his own amp, a blackstar combo. they're very cool people. so is the soundlady sarah, we do a check w/her - she knows last night's man justin! tonight I use adebisi shank bassman vinny's ampeg svt 8x10 cab and ampeg svt-pro4 amp so no mime tonight! I rap a bunch w/these cats and some other gig-goers. very cool people here, truly. there's black blinds now they got on the bay windows you play in front of - I'm told that's new cuz those weren't here last time and you could see the sea right behind but w/fall coming, it's been dark for a while now anyway.
the young cats do their set, I dig them. I sit right up front. damn if the guitar chris is playing ain't one of adebisi shank's lar's - I find out later he bought it in fact from the man! the do real good. it's twenty after eleven when it's our turn, pretty much as quick as we can get up when they finish. I love going on after bands that kick up some dust.
I tell the folks here comes a weird piece that goes on for fortyfive minutes and one guy hollers back "ok, see you!" and I tell him "arrivaderci!" but I think he was having fun. I think we do the piece better than last night (raul really likes hearing the bass) and we still have a lot of fun. it's good to have w/this piece even though some gets pretty heavy. I clam some words and even some bass ones but not bad. the monitors are hard for me to hear but fuck it, we're having a blast delivering this baby. the folks have us do some encore and man, I think it's the most lamed-out "conspirator's oath" I've ever done - don't know my baka head was at... some of "black sheep" too - oh no! still, the gig's a hoot. tom and raul did real good though raul did have to get used to some dynamics at points cuz they get loud in this pad.
I share good times w/many gig-goers when we're done. real good cats, everyone - some from last time too. a friend of that radio man dan this morning, his name's johnny (he does radio w/him too) talks w/me as I'm getting to do final spiel w/the agitate the gravel cats. and there's a lady from texas w/her two irish friends who tells me about touring w/an arkansas band in mexico. johnny's having a good time, I gotta do a spiel w/him when I get there's a chance to. he's a drummerman too. good people. I meet a younger drummerman who's pop's here w/him, great - love that. his pop tells me a bunch about rory gallagher, a great guitarman who made his home around these parts. I actually saw him in the 70s open for jethro tull and he smoked them, truth be told.
when everyone bails, patrick fills in on some history about this pad, ghost history. some coal importers had the pad 'pert-near two hundred years ago, then last century it was a monastery. someone sometime supposedly got hacked up (not just knifed) and hung in one of the rooms - one of the closed off ones. patrick himself has had keys disappear and there's been shades of young kids passion though a hall. a bartender lady too has had glass jump off shelves and crash on the deck. whoa. it's shakes me up but I'm so beat I konk hard and quick.
saturday, october 15, 2011 - dublin, ireland
it was a restful sleep, a city place in spite of the haunted house thing. however, we have to load up and get back to dublin, so we thank patrick and have some coffee and bread and jam, and move along. the trip to dublin is an obstacle course of errors. i think we make every possible wrong turn. the gps is getting confused and the roundabouts are testing my capabilities, however, we get to the hotel where hiyori stayed when she got to dublin and we pick up some more merch that is waiting for us. then we head on to the center of dublin to wait outside the club before we load. we shuffle around the parking situation for the van and then load in right when it starts to rain. i get so drenched that i have to take off my jacket. the crawdaddy is a nice little venue with a separate bar section connected. it's inside an old train station and totally redesigned. very comfortable. steve, the sound guy, seems very capable and the sound is great. very clean power, no buzzing at all. mick, from adebisi shank comes by and he and rail go pick up some falafel's for us, and i think mine is the best i've ever had. it has a thin, burrito-like wrap, instead of pita bread, with just the right balance of ingredients plus a hint of pickles. superb. thanks mick. tieranniesaur is playing with us and they are very cool and sweet folks. they have a great sound, very hard to describe, but they remind me a little of a band called: life without buildings, or: delta 5. danceable, but trippy. great singing, and a lot of texture. i change strings, and we play a good set, i think. then we have to load out to make room for the next event at the club. mo is a great dubliner, and friend of the shanks, and a big guy, so, he helps with our load out, and makes it much easier. vinny helps too. thanks guys. after we find another parking spot, we get to our room down the block, and decide to go to see timmo at another gig he's doing tonight. we walk a little distance to the button factory and somehow squeeze into the overcrowded building and find a spot to sit and drink a couple beers. there are too many people for my taste, but i get a chance to rap with vinny and have great conversation. adebisi shank are some of my favorite people. vinny, mick and lar. i feel really comfortable with them, and it's great to make new friends like them. we hang for a while, drink beer, talk...and eventually head back to the hotel. it's a crazy night, lot's of people out in the streets, but we get to bed sometime in the early morning. it takes a while to quiet my brain, but i slip away at some point.
whoa, popped late again, at ten and a half but had to cuz late konk time and it seemed like that ghost stuff either left me alone or had their way w/me in zombie mode cuz I had not even a bad dream. most grateful watt for being spared. I hose off now - too tuckered last night and maybe I didn't soak the levis like the night before but that shirt I'm doing for these gigs got flooded which got took care of via all night on a coat hanger.
patrick put out chow for us downstairs and I put between bread cheddar, salami, ham and then shovel some coleslaw. good coff too. it's raining out but we gotta get the gear out - it was cool of the folks here to let us wait 'til now to load out. big "safe seas" to patrick and we're on our way, whence we came - back by cork and up to dublin. by the time we get near cahir it's vital we get diesel in this boat - there's a flashing signal on the dash according to tom and I'm thinking maybe that means we're on fumes. 1.44 euro/liter works out to about $7.60 u.s./gallon so you can see how much easier this way we got it where we come from.
back on the road north, we trip on when we're spieling w/each other yesterday on the way to myrtleville and somehow we get to trying to remember last tour we worked this shit when we did milwaukee - who was the opener that night. this is one thing the fucking diary I chimp can be kind of good for... we find out it was couch flambeau - it was their twentyninth anniversary gig - but we also find out how fucking much like a 'tard I goddamn chimp. man, I find beaucoup clams w/tom and raul 'pert-near laughing to death to hear such corn pouring out of the socket spiel. ok, there's some entertainment, I can take it - I deserve it! you really need to know why I never read this shit once it's chimped? embarrassing is too gentle word, even shame is. whatever. the really trippy thing though is some cat at the myrtleville gig asked tom and raul if we knew of a band called... couch flambeau! can you fucking believe that? the cat said tom and raul reminded him of them but how the hell did that obscure trip get channel into existence in that moment - by us rapping about hours before in the boat ride up there? damn, there's a ghost story kind of thing, huh? fucking a.
we first have to go north of dublin a little, to the airport cuz miss hiyori has two boxes of merch that came when we were playing down south. the tomtom motherfucker has been laming out a few times but it's really bad finding this pad but luckily we get a visual and can get to it the old fashioned way. whew. the rain starts really coming down once we get to where we're playing tonight (via a couple of fucking blowbys - maybe some more my fault than the fucking tomtom and you know I ain't talking about our guitarman), "crawdaddy" is the name of this pad and it's in an old train station w/big stone walls. actually it's part of another pad called the "chocolate bar" (get it?) and joining them is this like five foot hallway filled w/red l.e.d. lights everywhere except the deck that makes you feel like you're swimming in it, I shit thee not.
we luck out on the parking, get right up in it. steve is the soundman and is very cool people, so glad to have him as fourth member of our team for tonight. we do our check and vinny's amp sounding good (for an ampeg - my baka opinion). I asked miss hiyori about our sound the last two gigs and she said no bass on first one in cork city - man, was I a stupid motherfucker for lazin' out and using that piece-o, I could break my leg off in my ass for fucking that up so, god damn it. I came up short for those gig-goers and it makes me feel terrible. aaarrggghhh, it trips me out when I hear about folks who say they've never had a regret in their lives. I'd one be one big time jive ass lying motherfucker to try and make that claim, believe it.
anyway, we get to meet tonight's band w/us, dublin cats called tieranniesaur and though they're a seven piece, only six can play tonight. friendly folks and their band is tight w/a dance sound (but not shill rave). speaking of beats like that (ones played by humans), I find out here on the internet that the lite brothers just played in scotland and they're in england tonight - what?! damn, we should've did some gigs w/them - they're so close, fuck! man, I wish them all the luck in the world, I love those cats. next month I get to do the "we jam econo '11: mini-fest w/them and speaking of THAT, a couple days each side of that since I'm in tokyo, mr shimmy and ms yuko are gonna record third brother's sister's daughter album w/me - I just got email from him saying he's booked the studio time - yatta! can't wait!
the tour's bookerman (and adebisi shank drummerman) mick arrives and gets us some lebanon chow, he gets me a fucking happening falafel, in fact tom gets one too and says it's the best he's ever had, I shit thee not. it is fucking good. pickles! he gets me a half pint of jammeson but that's for after the gig. his bandmates vinny and lar arrive - respect to them! then bushie, andy and sarah from estel get here, fuck yeah! oh man, got play good for my buddies tonight. shit, I'm just saying that cuz believe me, I try hard as much as kind even though I might stumble some but I'm trying to convey a nervous feeling here cuz I care so much about my dear friends and I bet tom/raul feel just as strongly.
early show, tieranniesaur hits at nine bells. very happening set from them, respect! 9:40 and fuck it, we go on five minutes early. whoops, we shared equipment and I guess their bassman wanted to be down some so we start the piece w/the bass tiny. it takes a few turn around and tries w/different knobs cuz my glasses are off and the writing little but I get it together. we do the third opera best so far of the tour but forget some about us - the dublin folks are amazing to do it for, you wouldn't believe their focus and respect, you wouldn't believe it. how incredible and kind of them, even w/all this crazy shit being thrown at them by us. of course I blow some clams (though fewer than last two times) and fuck if I don't get the 'g' string all flat again, time after time - I think tomorrow I change strings and you know what? I bet these are the same ones I used for the entire north american tour back in march/april... anyway - not to get off on a tangent for that BUT it does remind me I spaced and forgot to write about during last night's encore tom snapped a string in our encore cuz he was playing slide w/a bottle the night that in cork city (his theory). well, maybe I'm just daring the odds for some of that string snap to happen so tomorrow I change these soiled cables. sorry, I'm spinning of course in relating the gig, baka watt... the gig is happening, really. I feel so grateful to the dublin gig-goers, really I do - BIG TIME respect to them. and man, did steve do the fourth member thing on knobs, crimony! I could feel him being there for every little bit of the piece, every dynamic shift. you couldn't ask more from a brother. thank you so much, steve and thank you so much good people of dublin for being so kind to us.
we gotta pack up quick for this pad's round II - whoa, what a trip... one of the cats in the later show's band is darren, he was in estel for a few gigs including the one when I first played w/them in may of 2006 - so good to see him again! we go to the 'tel which ain't too far away to hoof (hobble in my case) and spend time w/the adebisi shanks and their bud dek (very happening cat). they say timo's working this gig at "the button factory" and yeah, I wanna go see him! we hoof (I hobble) down to this pad (except mick, he's gotta get back to the greystones), passing the phil lynott statue on the way and damn if this town ain't hopping w/partying people, I mean the streets are way alive, intense. kind of too much for me but I wanna see timo. this pad's got a german duet called modeselector (or like raul thought: bone collector?) and whoa, I got to sit in a back part cuz of the rave pavement roller. it's beautiful to see timo again, even in this sitch (big hugs for him) and plus we get to rap w/moe who is righteous people. he's got rory gallagher inked on his arm! we talk a bunch about him. big respect to moe, big respect.
time to bail but first I eat a lamb kebab (a little one that's good), streets jumping still at three fucking bells. we're in a cab back w/tom driving the driver crazy w/spiel - it's like I'm carrying a load! at the 'tel (we're in "the playwrite's suite" but it ain't fancy) and I hose off and damn if I don't feel old, aaarrggghhh. into the nightwear and then konk as quick as I'm no longer standing.
sunday, october 16, 2011 - belfast, northern ireland
i get a coffee and we get in the van. we drive to belfast, find auntie annie's and load. my first time here. i'm a moving a little slow, but i feel fine. it's cooler in northern ireland, and it has a different vibe (obviously). load, check....find food. i want to get an irish stew and a pint of guinness, but i can't seem to make it work. i can get the stew but they don't serve beer, but i can bring it in, however, i have to buy a 4 pack of cans at the store and that's too much. after realizing defeat, raul and i get noodles from an asian place across the street, and that's fine. before showtime, mike and i talk about the who in the tiny backstage room. we go from the tommy movie through the earlier years, and on to the later times... we get to play with a grate two piece combo called, continuous battle of order. they have a good home town crowd too. fun show, i break a guitar cable.
pop at ten and a half, again a whoa from watt. gather up the still-sweaty things and put them in a plastic sack save for the gig shirt which gets worn and it's pretty dry anyway - trippy how one side smells less worse - the side where the strap don't go across and that's probably cuz that nylon strap retains kusai smell - I wonder how you clean those motherfuckers? no chow at this pad so I hobble while the rest of his hoof the short way to the boat and be off to the next country on this tour: the ireland part of england.
tom is jonesing for coff so after some fucking loops (goddamn tomtom gps), we get across the liffey and I have him pullover in a tiny town part so raul can run and get him fixed - fuck, wouldn't you know it but this little road is james joyce street! that's a trip. the sun's out bright too, what the fuck? we leave dublin whence we came (from the airport which is north, 'member?), it's only about a hundred miles between here and belfast. they got these roadside service centers called "applegreen" and we chow some breakfast there. it's that "full breakfast" stuff like from england and here, I gotta say the bread are in pretty big slices which I mean not thick-wise but across. tom sure has been doing a good job w/the clutching, shifting and driving all from the wrong side, I'm very proud of him as well as big time grateful. it would've been a little bit of challenge for me w/this fucked up hiza (knee in jap) but ain't everyone getting tired of hearing that excuse? I know we're all grateful to tom pulling this duty, 'nuff said. interesting detour: not getting diesel where we chowed (my dumbfuck mistake), we follow a sign to one of those gas pads that's not roadside but in a town. fuck if we find though but we do see some interesting irish backroad. another "applegreen" stop once we find the highway after our wander and we diesel up. the border w/northern ireland is invisible - no stops or even a marker that we can see but all the sudden the road signs are in miles and there's no irish language version of every road and town name. the weather's getting cloudy.
we get into belfast around four and this pad "auntie annie's" is the same one I played six years and five months ago which was my only other time here. where you play is upstairs which is very happening for staying in shape and shlepping the gear up two flights of stairs. at least they're not narrow. gigboss darren shows up at five and we shlep the gear up - fucking baka cojo watt on one side of lar's marshall cab w/darren on the other. we soundcheck w/soundman jonathan and then meet the opener, a local duo called the continuous battle of order (one of mick's richter collective bands!) and both cats hornby and craig are very cool people, very cool. I watch their soundcheck when we finish (putting on new strings during mic setup) and really like what they got going, it's a trip. I think the lite brothers would dig it much too - oh, by the way, they're here at this pad in four days - damn, we're just missing them - kuso!
across the street is a india chow pad called "archana" and I get something called a balti, the kind they got w/chilies and garlic and hunks of chicken in it. I don't know much about india chow but dig the stuff I've had. I spoon this balti onto pieces of garlic nan bread (fucking love nan bread) and man, is it good eats, great! I go back to the venue and this man daniel comes backstage to give me a sack of brownies he made, very kind of him. he tells me it's a tough scene for young bands in the belfast scene, very tough but cats still go for it. much respect to them.
earlier gig (maybe cuz of sunday?) so gig starts around nine and a half and I watch continuous battle cats go for it. man, they are intense! hornby on the guitar, sitting on a square stool and wailing on it. he rocks back and forth, hollers w/out a mic and sometimes lifts himself up while working his guitar like nobody's business, craig cooking on the drums right along w/him. great team.
since we're using the same stuff, changeover is quick and easy, we start the piece w/in ten minutes of them getting done. first three parts have a big prob w/feedback 'til raul let's soundman jonathan know w/a fingerprint that it's the drum monitor and to scissor it. whew, that shook me up bad cuz it was bogarting our whole sound pretty fucking big time. the setup for us is kind of lame - I got too in front w/the mic and raul gotten fucking behind me which I hate cuz I like looking right across to him and not behind. tom has some problems w/his eyeglasses strap but actually these things are kind of tiny cuz in the big picture it's a fucking happening gig. I really can hear my spiel good so I can but lots of nuance in where otherwise it just a ramrod foist. the belfast gig-goers are most kind and show respect like the dubliners, no yammering to bogart the delivery of the piece to them. like I said, weird having raul behind - I do not dig cuz raul deserves right up front w/me and top - fuck, if I had to really be forced to choose, I'd wanna be behind HIM, you know? truth. I went over and did one too many "man shitting man" like a fucking bozo. goddamn it, I know most these cats don't know the piece and have nothing to compare to (or feel let down by) but shit, doing something like really robbed some VERY ESSENTIAL DRAMA at a very critical moment, a really lame clam from me, really lame. but these folks are very kind and have us back for more. we have a good time giving them the encores and I finally remember to ask folks to START YOUR OWN BAND! (better to ask than tell, right?) one gig-goer and his buddy tell me right after about having to make a choice between going to a gig and playing one - they ask for my opinion! lots of kind words from lots, most grateful watt, truly.
hornby (who played earlier) talks to me about john coltrane, there's a picture of him on his telecaster guitar. he is most sincere about him - I give him a button to choose from the ones raul made for me. respect. this cat is genuine. I'm so glad I got to meet him and drummerman craig, so glad to hear them play and so righteous to get share a stage w/him here in their town.
gigboss darren (man, is he happening, I promise I won't wait so long to come back - I promise!) rides w/us not too far to a 'tel where hey, it's only twelve and half - no late konk tonight, I'm digging that some. hose down and into nightwear, our leg on this island now done for playing, we take ferry tomorrow night for further journey, stay tune for further tour spiel being chimped by me. tom and raul have promised me some too so hopefully this whole diary won't be a watt bogart. respect to them
tuesday, october 18, 2011 - newcastle, england
[monday] today is a big day. first the drive to dublin, then go to the adebisi shank prac place to meet vinny and mick and load out their gear. it was very kind of them to let us use their stuff, and organize to the van for this part of the tour. the van belongs to a band called enemies that mick's label put's out. many thanks for all that, y'all. after the load, we head to the music store where lar work's and drop off all our bags and gear, and raul, mike and hiyori hop out too. i have to drive the van back to where mick lives, about an hour south of dublin in greystones. it's nice to hang with mick, and when we get to where he and kim live (nice seeing kim again too), mick makes me some beans on toast with a some basil on top. the rain starts to come down while we're sitting there, mick has to resolve some tour details and kim and i play with their 2 cats till i have to catch a train back to dublin. mick walks with me through the heavy winds and cold (for me) rains. i'm drenched by the time we get to the train station, and soon i say goodbye to mick and ride along the east coast of ireland reading confederacy of dunces. vinny meets me at the station to bring me to the button factory, where timmo is housing our stuff (thanks timmo, for everything) and mike and rail and hiyori join time for a quick bite before we have to grab a taxi to the ferry building. we load our things and get onto the shuttle and board the ferry to takes us to the u.k. it's a good 3 or 4 hours on the boat, but it's comfortable and has internet, and at this time, maybe 1/10th full. raul and i wonder if we could swim to shore if the ship goes down. we do this at several different points in the trip, figuring whether swimming back of forward would be better, or if we would just try to find a buoy to hold onto and wait. regardless of any strategy we both decide that in the dark cold waters we would probably be happier to just die. anyhow, we survey the journey, and disembark without any trouble from the border guards, who say "here come some americans" as we walk past. kind of a nice welcome, actually, as opposed to strip seating us, i guess. we grab our stuff, find a taxi, and get the travel lodge nearby and try to get some rest because tomorrow is already here.
[gig day] we wake and get ourselves organized and outside to meet up with kirk, who will be our tour manager/driver from here on out. he pulls up in a large silver van and we toss our stuff in the back and we start our first part of the tour where i'm not driving. i join kirk in the front, and try not to talk his head off. we drive 5 hours east (from holyhead wales) all the way to the other coast and get to newcastle and load. the cluny (as in, george) is a cool pub/cafe with a live space attached. we check and get food from the cafe. i get hungarian goulash and a pint of local ale. we meet the guys in the other band playing tonight, hot club de paris. sweet dudes from liverpool, we have a gig together again in a couple days. raul and i meet someone named rich, who has brought his video cam to shoot the gig. we talk a while and find out he has some prog roots like me, and rarely do i get to connect with anyone on that subject without them giving me a hard time, or attitude. after a nice conversation with him, i bring him to meet mike and they chat it up for a long while. rich has a lot of information to share. mostly on films, and directors, but also music, too. the talk helps time go by. the gig goes well and after our show we load out, somebody steals rails sweaty shirt, and i grab all the left over food and beer i can grab. thanks cluny...xoxo, tom
monday I popped at eight, we gotta shove off and do the last day in ireland dance. fucking tomtom (not the guitar missingman) very confused so a few mindless loops 'til I get tom (missingman guitar) on an 'a' road south instead of the 'm' one we came in on yesterday so different scenery a little bit. fuck if the wind don't start to blow. we pull over to an "applegreen" and I shovel a breakfast chow like yesterday but w/baked beans and damn if they don't taste 'pert-near just like those ones out of the campbell's can when I was a boy. I should report here I almost crumpled coming into this pad - they had some halloween stupid shit stickers on the deck w/some creature hands making like some creature (no shit?) was prying open to get up and out and I don't know, I got took w/out taking care and for that moment I was very fucking glad that goddamn brace was on my fucking yowai hiza (weak knee). thank god I stayed up.
this time we watch the tomtom to see when the border comes - there's a couple of signs for moneychanging and then you see offramp and direction shit using both english and irish language so then it's clear we're in republic of ireland again. I think it's pretty ok it's casual border like that, no soldiers or even fruit inspection like what we got between either cali and arizona or oregon. man, the wind is really blowing but tom does real good. we get to adebisi shank prac pad near the canal toad part of dublin (portabello bridge) about one in the afternoon. mick and vinny come in a bit to help shlep the shit into their pad and then we head on over to "music maker" where lar works (see how much all three of them cats have helped us? righteous!) so we can stow our sacks and shit there 'til it's time to head for the ferry. from there tom mick head out to return the van and since I had no internet yesterday, I search out a 'tel where I get a coff and use there free wifi to update the fucking diary I've chimped. as I do that, fuck if the sky just don't start coming in one hell of a rain storm. I think about tom - he's gotta take the train from the greystones where he's gotta drop the van off... raul goes to laundromat which we need bad but fucking ten euros a load?! aaarrrggghhhh! well, that's the way it goes and anyway for that kind of money the levis are still wet. better than the alternative though so... I get back to the music store, most of the stuff here is fender as far as basses and guitars go - I rap w/vinny (adebisi bassman) about p-bass vs j-bass... lar said soon they're recording and I'm thinking he might want vinny rocking a p-bass, I don't know. I record mostly w/my moon which is like a j but I really dig where a p has got's it's pickup and I think one pickup a string gives you more punch than two, just sayin'. I feel a little weird trying to act like I'm learning both these cats anything cuz even though they're in their twenties, they can play like total motherfuckers - basically they can big time learn me! respect.
timo arrives to the store, big hugs - timo's here! I apologize for being such a spacefuck w/the bones space from the other night, what a baka watt! tom shows up (yatta!) and the rain's subsided (more yatta!). we shlep the shit over to "the button factory" and then go chow nearby at the "ire cafe" and I get a bacon and cheese panini and share it w/tom. we gotta say bye to timo and head for the port to catch the ferry to england. the taxi is packed but we make it - bye bye to timo, wait a minute... we don't know what ferry line is taking us, I only have a reference number - baka! timo quick makes a call on his leash (one good thing these motherfuckers are good for) and it's stenaline, whew, that was close cuz tom thought it was p & o line! and here we thought we had good time but then wouldn't you know that we're loaded onto the ferry (I think its name was "adventure") just as we get there - fuck! but we made it, great. so much respect for mick and timo, so much BIG time. oh yeah, we passed that "occupy dublin" thing on the way out of town, respect to them folks too, solidarity.
the ferry ride is like three and a half hours. let's spend a little time thinking of band names: fists full of tufts, let's spend A LOT of time spiel about that lady who got all einstein w/her youtube.com video about her idea of u.s. and "others" who make sounds like "ching chong ling long ting tong" on their leash. that actually happened at the beginning of our last tour doing this opera but we were so busy doing less important things like that to be aware of such brilliant controversy. let's explore "reflexology" and just where are all those parts of the bottom of the feet and the insides of the hands are connected to which organs... we dock at holyhead in wales (not england, baka watt) about one am. trippy words I ain't used to on the "welcome" sign - yeah, that's welsh... yeah, this my first time to this land. of course one day I wanna go to port morion (more south of here), where "the prisoner" was shot. I dug that show, one of the only things it's probably my easiest ever entry into into the "united kingdom" - even though I have our work permits, I'm not asked to present them, thank you officer! soon we're in a cab for a "travel lodge" not too far away. the driver says he spent time in virginia... says he knows virginia's a commonwealth and not a state - says the people swear allegiance to the queen there... "oh yeah?" I him from virginia...
we do the shell game to get all four up to the chamber (me, the hobbler coming down each time), divvy out the blankies and bedding and konk. damn, we didn't do a gig but hell if this day wasn't full. I am big time fucking tuckered and konk once in nightwear and konk-masked.
gig day and I pop at nine. fuck, what a weird dream - my pop was in it. we're walking across some bridge and damn if it ain't over the moscow river and there's red square in front of us. next somehow we're in some kind of museum and my pop is checking out real close some medals and shit on a uniform jacket on display. what? he's got his eye real close on them and appears awkward - what? my pop awkward?! I never much saw that and it makes me feel very uncomfortable - in this fucking dream but also now, thinking of it, trying to relate it. next in this nightmare (it fucking 'pert-near is) me and my pop are in a room w/scaled-down models of boats and planes - I remember my pop building a plane w/me, him doing most of it and me watching which is how I dug it cuz I had no idea what to do... him xacto'ing the balsa wood pieces and sanding/shaping them smooth, putting on the thin paper and doping them for the wing surfaces, painting it dark blue and then fastening on the metal stuff like the wires to rudder, the landing wheel (yeah, it had just one tire in the center!) and then the little gas motor. it was a proj that took quite a while, many sessions and I just dug being there watching him and listening to why he did what did for each step - it was amazing for me, it was the best. I'd ask baka things but he never got bothered and would calmly get me straight on where I was confused. none of this shit in this dream had that plane (fuck, what did happen to that plane? lost somewhere in the pedro navy housing where we first moved to?) but I'm thinking of that now cuz of those things in the cases... then I found myself lost, found myself separated, alone w/out my pop - it's there when the fucking dream ended but put the hell feelings in me as I laid there for like an hour before rousting the team. what a fucked up thing that was.
england driverman kirk is gonna come and get us at ten am but maybe more like eleven? yep, here comes a silver mercedes sprinter now but I real tall and long boy, damn - you can stand up in this baby. there's a table and seats facing each other then. probably terrible on gas mileage which means kind of like u.s. van? the driverman kirk says he's twentyfour, he asks my age straight back - I like that. I say thirty years apart but actually I got two days and two months before that. he seems like cool people, alright. ain't really use to this way w/a driverman though I've done it a couple of times and of course there's stooges world. welcome to our world, brother kirk - I hope we don't drive you nuts! he says he's from birmingham (the one in england, not alabama). up the coast, first time for me here - kind of like welsh version of pch - after an hour and a half it's good bye to wales (actually going from west to east cuz we were in the north part of wales) and hello england - we hit a gas station and fill some of our tanks (none for this boat) - I get a sandwich called "deep fill chicken & chorizo" and then I stuff in some "steak & onion" (I shit thee not) flavored potato chips for texture the way I do back home on tour. towards manchester and then onto leeds, from there is destination newcastle. some sun on the way but big time clouds and it's pretty chilly. the sun really comes out and it starts raining! in japan I think they say foxes are getting married when this happens. we pass the "highest motorway in england" and damn if it don't look like where you turn off to get to san jose from the I-5, for a bit. of course every land is their own land and it's only my baka head making the links but I saw that one for a moment.
we get into newcastle about three and a half after only a little wander... driverman kirk has navigator gps machine that's as baka as miss hiyori's tomtom but he let's us hear it issue retarded orders (I muted the fucking tomtom and only got visual baka orders - remember I was the only backseat man in ireland - the other three rode up front) and still somehow we find we're playing tonight, "the cluny" w/not too much difficulty. this town is laid out across the tyne river and this pad is right by that. I really like how it is, chow pad right next to gig room and a very good gig room w/character all it's own. it's been twenty years since I last played this town if you don't count playing here w/the stooges five months ago. can you believe that? I am old punk, I'm thinking but that still was the 90s! well, just the beginning but still so far from my real old 70s punk days... shit, how things blur in a way... but what's important I think is the moment and soundman ross here is a good cat and is into being our fourth man for the gig. respect to him. the gigboss joel and the padboss justin are all righteous cats, I'm really digging stuff. first time on this gear driverman kirk procured for us. he said u.s. guys don't dig laney bass amps but I tell him I prefer that way over the ampeg shit for the stooges... he said he wished he knew that ahead time cuz he went and got me a ampeg svt classic and it's 8x10 cab. aarrggghh. he got tom an older laney gh100l guitar amp w/a 4x12 cab that he was hesitant on cuz he's a fender man (uses and older silverface bandmaster through a 4x10 at home) but damn if it don't turn out to be ok - not like a marshall thing that he's just not into. raul's been given a tama kit to work that's pretty typical except for a smaller kick drum, a twenty inch but it sounds good. we do our check quick (shit's gotta be done by six cuz two hour curfew for the chow pad) but that's normal for us anyway. we get to meet the cats we're sharing the stage w/who are from liverpool and they're called hot club de paris - really nice guys who are in a trio - hey, we get to play w/them again in sowerby bridge saturday!
for chow I shovel a stew made here out of rabbit and w/that is some chunky homecut fries plus some steamed vegetables like cabbage and carrots. the rabbit is trippy, second time I had it (first time was in huesca part of catalonia). hard to remove the softness image of the bunny in the head while chowing it, crimony. I remember getting two live lobsters in the mail from mission of burman clint for letting him use my bass amp. it was a trip, I had no idea and it was total surprise when I opened up this styrofoam box that got delivered to my pad - god damn! two lobsters w/rubber bands around their claws. well, I boiled one - alive - and he kept pushing on the lid so I had to put all these heavy plates on top and it made me sick in a way when I was chowing cuz I boiled that poor motherfucker alive - hell, I gave the other one to someone who I think let it out in the sea which probably killed it cuz it's atlantic and we're pacific. anyway, empathized feeling like this makes chow different, just sayin'.
I go back to the dressing room and a cat from not to far south named rich comes to visit - he wants to film tonight and of course, sure. we get to talking though, he lived in cali for a while and just helped w/this foo fighters documentary that recently came out. he knows a butt-load about movie stuff, actually all kinds of things even though I'm his pop's age and older than his ma. he's a great spieler, very interesting and not really a windbag or bogart - he keeps apologizing for any apparent bogart but I tell him it's ok and even tom joins in so the time 'til the gig starts pass quick. so great to meet rich.
hot club de paris goes on at nine pm and these two cats are nice enough to let me sit at a table right above and to the starboard of the stage. man, is this band happening. there's something really genuine about them for me, whatever the fuck that's supposed to mean cuz I'm already feeling it was stupid for me to just chimp that but fuck, on the other hand it is most sincere feeling in me too. I just really like them. they used our stuff (actually not our stuff, we're using someone else's - kirk procured it) w/their guitars. they all sing together well, the bassman is really good and does most. they do a great version of "the anchor" which was the first minutemen song to go over two minutes. man, I hope this doesn't sound too stupid cuz these cats are a lot of fun but by the last song they make me cry some, like coming from the corner of the eye a little bit. I know why I love music when I feel this. good work from these cats.
we're ready to go right on but knobman ross says twenty more minutes please, no prob. it gets time and thank god the coltrane goes on cuz it wasn't there for a while. I'm a little nervous cuz of rich filming and we didn't do a gig last night and those are like hiccups for me cuz I usually never have a day off on tour - "when you ain't playing, you're paying" someone pretty wise once said probably back in vaudeville days. it's not just that but I get out of the tour rhythm pretty easy... actually, I'm doing ok even w/the clams and I'm way lucky to have tom/raul playing real good - I mean I'm lucky to have them! we bring the piece real good to the geordie, I think. they show huge respect for the tiny parts and rev it up for the louder ones, much connection I feel. there's a couple of times I think of that crazy dream I had w/pop in it but keep it in check, keep it from bogarting on my obligation to bring this thing. I shouldn't have my cord going to my amp right where I'm standing cuz that's a little scary. I fuck in a couple places of "jug-footed-man" and think I gotta refresh myself on the solo I got there in the end. what a great way to begin playing england, here in newcastle though, very genuine w/the gig-goers, like me watching the liverpool cats... man, it's at trip. we bring the encores and tom breaks an 'a' string but we keep charging. I tell the folks it's england and we (us three in the band) should acknowledge a debt I feel to some bands from here - we already did a pop group tune but we finish up w/two wire ones. I can't even imagine what the minutemen would've sounded sounded like w/out those two bands - or would there even had been a minutmen? anyway, I feel good about ending the gig that way.
many kind words after and lots of posters to sign - good idea for these to be made put I should've put raymond's name there cuz he drew the arrow-pierced-egg-man creature. I get to meet in person oli, who's the mind behind detective instinct and sue, great folks. rich is real nice to help us load out. I get to say thank you to many kind gig-goers and also joel/justin who brought me here, big respect. one cat tells me "diamond" to express himself, I can dig that. thank you so much. oh yeah, there was guy from indiana - I could detect an accent.
it takes a good half hour or so to find the 'tel (another travel lodge) cuz the fucking navigator gps machine is fell of it - I can't tell you how many times it said "you have reached your destination" but kirk gets us there w/some skill moves and I think it's crazy to put weight on a driverman about stuff like that. actually I think we're on the other side of the river from where we played but whatever, we all have a good time shooting the shit cuz it was a real good time playing the gig and our spirits are way up there. it's only midnight when we check in and we rap a little as a hose off quick and get in the nightwear. there's even a little tennessee whiskey w/some water, konk is easy. big time.
wednesday, october 19, 2011 - glasgow, scotland
we wake at the travel lodge, and mike, kirk, and hiyori have some breakfast next door at the little chef restaurant. raul and i sit outside in the chilly sunshine, drinking coffee and finding things to laugh about. i think joking around is an anxiety defense mechanism for me, and i'm glad that raul doesn't get tired of it very easily. in fact, he's pretty good at keeping it going. we roll towards glasgow today, but stop at the hadrian's wall museum and mike pays for our entry to learn about the roman rule in england 1900 (or, something like that) years ago. we even walk up the road to check out a portion of the original wall and check out the incredible vista looking 360 degrees over the english and scottish border. this is only my second time in glasgow, and my first with mike. i was here with raul a year and a half ago playing with lou barlow. i always like the scots, i connect with their sense of humor, and, of course i love the accent. i try to learn the show promoter lady, valerie's name, using a scottish accent, and it turns out to be really difficult for me. we talk over some food upstairs from the live space here at nice 'n sleazy's, and see mike's old glasgow pal, dep as he comes in. i met him with raul and lou last time, but apparently he and mike have known each other for quite a while. he has a record label and a store here in glasgow, and i understand that we'll be staying with him tonight. i try to use the internet without much success. the gummy stumps play before us and they have bizarre thing going that i like, but i don't get to watch much of it. we get through a sweaty show, and break down to make way for the afro-beat dj thing that's on next. it's a cold load out, but soon we have dep and kirsteen join us in the van and they direct us to their place for the night. up a few sweeping fights of stairs we enter an amazing top floor in a beautifully restored scottish-type mansion-like house. really incredible. we have several drinks and talk, and kirsteen mentions that she's sad to have lost here german-bought pack of american spirits and a new yellow lighter. ironically, before leaving the club, a young punk dude handed me the very pack of cigarettes as a gift, saying he'd found it on the floor. i believe he did. anyhow, i pull the pack from my pocket like a magic trick, and return them to kirsteen to complete the circle. it gets late, and ultimately i succumb to gravity.
pop at nine and take first soak of the tour. shallow tub though (way short too) so it's kind of lame one but I don't wanna sound like a whiner, just reporting what happened. the sun is out bright but it's cool out, definite autumn for cali boy. there's a chow pad next door to the 'tel called "little chef" and I shovel something called a "loaded bloomer butty" which kind of like an england old style breakfast (or some of it) put between two pieces of bread which is kind of how I chow breakfasts, using the bread to make kind of fajitas or little burritos w/the toast as the wrapping fabric to combine the plate items - I like when shit combines and fuck, it happens in the stomach anyways, why not ahead of time in the fucking mouth?
we pull anchor at one pm and head north to scotland. I had a nightmare last night but very abstract - mainly just water and all kinds of it: river, ocean, waterfall but being up in all those sitch's and perpetually drowning, fuck, not pleasant. I chimp diary from the back of this sprinter here, tom's now joined us but sits back facing forward. I got a little table to rest the 'puter on.
we pass a sign for hadrian's wall and damn if I ain't seen these (the signs) every time to/from scotland but have never actually seen the wall so I ask kirk to do a turn-off cuz hell, it's only a couple hours to glasgow and we'd be getting into town way early as it is. from the turn-off we're in a pad that's a little roman army museum built on the grounds of a roman fort called magnis. it's five pounds (about eight $ - I springboarded it) a person but fuck it - let's learn! they got some neat stuff about romans, hadrian (first roman emperor to wear a beard), romans in england and the stuff that's been found around this place. there's a little film in three-d, whoa, I've never seen a film where you wear those kind of glasses and though it ain't as dramatic as I might've thought it'd be, it a little bit ok. w/out the glasses it's impossible to watch. I've always been skeptical of that shit. I know d. boon would've dug all the history stuff - we'd stop on minutemen tours to check out revolutionary and civil war stuff back home or anything that had history if we had enough time (like even a fucking barbed-wire museum in the midwest), d. boon loved history... he got me into it. once the museum was done it was time for the wall itself and w/my fucked up hiza, it's a little bit of a challenge but fuck if I'm gonna cower out, I wanna stand on a part of it, even if it's up on a big-ass rise in the land. there's a pond w/some swans on the way, beautiful countryside out here. there's some grad to hobble up and no path on the hill part, much sheep turd looking like steroided-up raisinettes, all shiny and shit plus some cowpies to avoid and though I'm a slowgo, I eventually make 'pert-near the summit. incredible vista from here, whoa! damn, you wouldn't believe how good shape the wall's in for being around nineteen hundred years old. shit, I played an outdoor sports trip made out of communist concrete a couple summers ago in belgrade and that shit was crumbled and pitted like crazy after only about fifty/sixty years! kirk says if we stay thirty minutes we'll be late so... the hobble down is kind of scarier for someone like me in my condition so tom let's me use his shoulder, thank god.
we're back on the road, there's some wind buffeting the boat and as tall and narrow it is don't help much for that but kirk's a good wheel man. at four bells we cross into scotland. there's some wind farms but lots of sheep grazing, some cattle too. we're playing this pad called "nice n'sleazy" and get a parking spot right in front of the pad, alright. the gigboss valerie helps wheelman/roadboss kirk park it and drop anchor. where you play is downstairs here and they got a chow pad above it. this is why having an svt is such a great thing, especially the fucking speaker cabinet. we do soundcheck w/scott and this pad sounding good for a low ceiling shotgun room w/a low stage. they got a good p.a. and a good man working it. there's a little buzz and this ampeg's got no ground lift so he mics up a speaker and puts a foam windsock on my vocal mic. smart man. I do an interview w/a young man named mikey for his webzine "the middle" and he's very cool people, bright young cat.I get to meet the band before us tonight, local cats called the gummy stumps, good dudes. there's a singerman named spicy colin and two robs - one works drums and the other has an electric w/two guitar strings and one bass string only - wild! I get to talking w/them - they don't know about cathars but they know about templars and masons. spicy colin especially knows about some scottish connects... hmm... connects - you know my pop's name "watt" is a name from around here?
there's a chow pad called "noodle bar" across the street and I chow a plate of duck/szechwan/udon that's pretty tasty. back across the street, I catch the gummy stump set. they're great, truly original and very much to the heart. "you're too big for your britches!" spicy colin sings w/all the veins on his throat all intense. and the rob working string was 'pert-near a one man however he was very much aided and abetted by the other rob on the trap kit- trip when they finish cuz he just piled everything in the kick drum and carried that off-stage. my old friend from here carolyn comes says hi - actually I met her through secondmen drummer jer. she just lost her pop to cancer, big hugs for her.
we're on at nine thirty which is good for a work night. some cat says "blow it up" and I tell him I'll blow it up. the sound on stage is really good and the gig-goers right up there in your face but man, are they showing the respect, showing it big time. there's some hollering but just in loud parts, the tiny stuff has pin-drop going. tom and raul's playing real good though tom's got some cable trouble but he pushes on and throws not the hint of a fit. I blow less clams than last night though I'm still choking on the bridge to "blowing-it-out-both-ends-man" especially w/the fingering, fuck. but in the big picture, I work the piece pretty good for me - oh, kirk cut a hole in raul's kick drum front head at soundcheck so that's happening for more "face" and maybe a little less "dome" from it... turns out he was a drummer at some point in his life, great! anyway, back to the gig: probably the best we've done it on this tour, we work it good. the folks want us for more, we bring them the encores on fire (like a dork though, I call scott steve - fucking baka watt). great gig. thank you glasgow folks.
much time signing stuff and talking w/folks. this cat chris white wants us to record w/him tomorrow which is very kind but no real time, so sorry about that - so kind of him to ask though. I sign a reactionaries album for a couple getting married, that's a trip. a man from edinburgh brought his son, respect to him. there's a young man who was at last night's newcastle gig - he's wearing a blue oyster cult shirt - he got one of the bass strings I took off in belfast from miss hiyori - I think it was the 'g' one - I think that's a good thing, I'm very glad he has it. I get lots of the good word. man, valerie sure put together a happening sitch for us - I ask her if she knows carrie from sleater-kinney, there's a resemblance...
we load up the stuff and my old buddy dep and his lady kirsteen for a short drive to where they live not too far away. it's a giant house from 1870 that was split it up into four pads and renovated, just a great place to live - very scotland and solid. we got some woodford reserve bourbon from gigboss valerie and it's pretty happening - we spiel about lots of everything 'til three bells passes and konk demands us - me long before hosed down and in the nightwear.
thursday, october 20, 2011 - liverpool, england
i wake early from a headache pounding, and i get some water in the kitchen and see the sun rising through the windows facing east. i can see that there's a chill out there, but no rain. i manage to get back to sleep for a bit, but i still have a headache when i awake again. we return to our places in the kitchen and have coffee and talk while kirsteen makes a nice breakfast for us all. in the daylight i can really check out how nice the house is, and get the tour from dep to the rooftop greenhouse and deck. we leave, sadly, but we go to liverpool today. it's my first time, and i'm looking forward to it. we load into mellomello, a smallish club/cafe space and meet some of the locals phil, dean, ian...nice folks. before playtime, i go with kirk, mike and hiyori to a mexican restaurant nearby, i get a beef burrito, and jalapenos. not fabulous, but the ingredients seem good quality. afterwards raul and i take a walk, just around the nearby walk streets, and almost get lost. we get back to hear elmo and the styx freaking out onstage. we watch from outside for a while, and when we go in we see the guys from hot club de paris, they live here. i go upstairs before our show, just to detach. while we play there is some tension in the crowd, maybe a fight or two trying to start. lots of breaking glass during the quiet parts too. nothing too heavy though. it is also a very sweaty gig, but a good one i think. some people come up to say how inspiring it was to them, and we have a relatively easy load out to the curb and into the van. we have phil and his girlfriend, emma join us and show us to the hotel. the hotel is really fancy, carver ceilings in the entry and old iron railings. the room is more of an apartment, with a kitchen and a couple bedrooms and a living room. we stay up talking for a little while. suddenly i figure i'd better get some rest.
pop at ten bells and can smell dep and kirsteen cookin' us up breakfast chow - that's what I'm thinking anyway and it turns out to be the case. this is really a bitchin' pad, I check out more of it w/the light of day flooding it through the windows. more good rap (and eggs/beans/sausage/tomato, yummy!) from dep and kirsteen - man, they are a smart couple... rappin' about art - my best friend is raymond but I'm such a 'tard about such thing but that's not the case w/tom and he can wail w/them. turns out some artists are suing some auction houses and my guitarman and our hosts explain some about the corruptions in the dealer world. aaarrrgggghhhhh.
dep gives me his little label's (called "watts of goodwill") latest release, an album by a glasgow band called muscles of joy. he tells us of his two journeys through the u.s. in the early 90s, even made it to my pedro town! man, some harrowing adventures - be careful when traveling in the u.s., young explorers. I'm not say don't come cuz I think it's righteous and the more the better but be careful, please. he said there's a big diff between a ymca here in scotland and one he stayed at in portland, maine, big fucking diff. he said he didn't feel safe. still, he braved it out and like I said, sallied forth twice. I wish more u.s. cats would visit over here too. we need more folks everywhere visiting each other! I'm very lucky w/my kind of work.
it's 'pert-near one pm. big hugs for dep and kirsteen, we pull anchor and head south back to england. there's big time clouds but now and then some sun gets through. on the road, it's me and raul looking fore w/tom looking aft, a triangled trio'd troika. out the window I see another "chef" chow pad, a cousin of "little chef" maybe? a little tinkering w/the letters produces "choad ref" and tom has a good time w/that for a while, mixing it in w/the michael d campaign poster image w/saw in ireland. both him and raul keep promising me diary for this tour but of course there ARE priorities, god damn it.
lots of sheep and countryside all made easier to see cuz there's no billboards on the side of these roads. ireland was like that too. not back home... sometimes they'll have so many fucking billboards that it's 'pert-near like you'll see one telling you how many fucking miles (or feet) to the next one. just after three we pass back into england - we were in scotland just under a full day, damn. wheelman/roadboss kirk drops anchor and we get fuel (about $8.44 u.s. a gallon!), I get potato chips - this is the land of the weird potato chip flavors, I get a sack of worchesters sauce ones and a sack of roast chicken for a pound - the sauce one's pretty trippy but the chicken kind of has a bouillon cube thing going. actually the main reason we stopped was cuz raul had to piss and both him and tom are a little uncertain about how kirk feels about piss bottles... when we get back on the road, I ask kirk (I ain't gonna cower) about such things and he says he's into them. alright. back on the road... all the sheep, you can see why the industrial revolution had fuel from the wool getting produced here, towns like newcastle fed from it.
the port town of liverpool, ship builders too - the titanic was constructed here. last time I was here was the same as glasgow, six years and five months ago. the pad we're playing is called "mello mello" and real close to the chinatown here. we get in about five pm. robb is the pad boss and said the cream people (we're talking the band w/jack bruce!) were here and it has a studio - had one back then too, there's history here. right now a theatre group is doing prac upstairs but that's where we can have our backstage. the gigboss phil is very cool people I met just this summer at a stooges gig in chester, amazing how he got this going for me. he's got a great label called anti-pop too. oh yeah, he's the soundman for tonight and I'm using his bass amp - an eden wp-100 navigator preamp going into an eden wt-1000 power amp and then to a svt 8x10 speaker box. tom and raul are using what they did last night, what we're carrying (provided by kirk). we do our soundcheck and then go chow down a couple of blocks away at a "mexican" restaurant called "savina" that's kind of "del taco" but black beans cold in the middle (from can?) and no cilantro - kind of mexican taste in the beef cubes. a bowl of potato wedges w/the way europe does chorizo - like pepperoni sausage and not ground up like we got in our parts. the taco shells are brittle shaped ones and the burrito tortilla soppy gooey lame - I only chow half the burrito and hardly any of the papas - it's twelve pounds (about nineteen bucks u.s.) and well, I just don't wanna get sick... I don't think I will... actually I've had way worse in the u.s., way worse (any one say some pads that claim "tex-mex" maybe?).
hobble back and watch the first of two openers (first time this tour we got two other bands on the bill), a local trio called elmo and the styx. bassman dean is wild w/a style all his own. I met him before when I first met gigboss phil in chester. they do a great set, really wild. later dean will tell me what makes them them is that they're "best mates" and that's the connect. I go upstairs and phil shows me the 1965 eb-3 he just got. it's been modified w/a later bridge (three point) and a jazz pickup for the pack one - it plays really good, much respect. man, it's the night of big bass - next up is super fast girlie show, a two piece w/bassman pasha tearing it up big time w/a heavy fuzz - he uses a pick like dean but dean goes for an attack that gives him 'pert-near a funk sound whereas pasha's got feedback squealing along w/his trip. they both also share roles as lead spielers for their bands. s.f.g.s. drummerman stenif (sp?) throws out incredible spirit as he wails his kit - not to say e.a.t.s. drummerman jj didn't tear it up cuz he did too - it's quit an honor to share the stage w/both these bands. speaking of liverpool bands, paul from hot club de paris is here to lend me a cable - damn, ain't that so very nice of him. I really dug his band and can't wait to play w/them again saturday. big hugs for him, big hugs.
we go on at 10:30 on the money. unfortunately the fucking only way to play john coltrane broke so we gotta go w/out his introduction, oh well. bass is kind of miming it on stage but still raul slams good. more than any other drummie I've ever done rhythm section along side, raul really REALLY listens to the bass when he's playing and WANTS to really hear it. amen. anyway, "work the room" is a very happening philosophy and that kind of takes precedent over wishful thinking in a pragmatic sense, just does. amen to that too cuz what do you want - a fucking hissy fit over less-than-perfect sitch? fuck no. actually there's a great energy in the room that is trippy to define, it ain't typical one. something pretty unique happens for us too, "confused-parts-man" gets clipped by a phrase at one point by tom but we hold together pretty seamless, then I scissor an entire verse but STILL we manage to be right there for each other. that was a trip! big respect for tom and raul. so we kept the keel in the water. I even screw up the first line of the intense wind-up, the part before the last (twentyninth man) but somehow improvise to salvage the intent. fuck, this is not the place to clam... I don't want anyone thinking I'm putting blame anywhere. before that I had to grab the cymbals to make the way clear for the "and no beards" line but even that wasn't a big dealio. the encore is loosed w/all the folks singing "a love supreme" when we finished just truly beautiful. man, what great cats. I'm so glad I got to holler "hot club de paris" three times right before that for luck. I mean this third opera is crazy and I can just imagine what people are thinking when it gets laid on them for the first time - even if there wasn't ONE clam blown so I'm grateful, truly.
much good word from the gig-goers and the cats in the opening bands. dean is really excited - we talk bass and stuff. all the cats in both groups are way into the moment - so are me and my guys.
gigboss phil brings us to an apartment (they rent these by the day like a 'tel room - the first night of the tour in dublin found us in one) and we have a good time spieling w/him and his lady emma. good good cats. trippy, the story of his cousin giving him a cassette when he was boy that had nothing written on it but "this will change your life" and much later he found out it was the minutemen "what makes a man start fires?" album. now showered and in the nightwear, I give respect to him. a little after one I konk pretty much way tuckered.
friday, october 21, 2011 - birmingham, england
i feel some chesty cough in the morning, i don't like. we have to get out of the room sooner than we thought, so we pack up and join phil for breakfast across the street. he kindly pays the tab, and then we load into kirk's silver rocket and head towards birmingham. it's a big city, and has a sprawling, almost L.A. vibe to it. i like it. we arrive early enough to go to the hotel for a short rest before going to the super sonic festival where we play tonight. raul and i walk to the fish and chips place and i get some french fries, or: "chips", and raul gets a chicken sandwich, which has a bit of an indian (as in east) angle to it. we eat and loaf about for a bit. we get to the music fest event location around 7:30 and load some gear in. not everything, cause we will use some of their back line tonight, to simplify. there's a lot of time to burn still, and i decide to change my strings to avoid any breakage. the evening crawls until it's beginning, and after some exploration of the premises, the doors (or gates) are opened and the birminghamians begin to flow into the quarantined streets and venues of the super sonic fests' bordered world. long winded, yes, like the night. however, there are some great bands playing in the two separate live spaces, and it's nice to be able to hear some music before we play. we also eat food provided by the events' organizers. veggie stuff, i have some rice, fried onion, and salad. onstage, part chimp plays before us and we watch them from the side of the stage. there's a stage guy there, from whom i don't get a name, that raul and i spend a little time ball hopping with. i take three or four nervous pisses into plastic water bottles before our time comes. we do a quick change over, and play a decent set of our opera and then do the inverse. even so, we hang at the fest, and watch the trippy music of the secret chief 3, totally awesome guys and sounds. very satisfying. raul and i and kirk, along with some help from the nameless stage guy, load out to the side door and wait till kirk can get his van out from parking and pack up.. we join hiyori and mike till the end of the secret chief's set and find our way back to the hotel and i have no trouble going to sleep. thanks birmingham.
pop at nine bells. we were due to be thrown out at ten and a half but last night gigboss phil said he had extended out to one pm HOWEVER that has been countermanded and getting the heave-ho is back at original time so we gotta get the clothes that ain't been dried and hang them in the boat. by the way, trippy about these washing machines - they're also dryers! they don't dry too good but it's the same fucking machine.
last info I get from internet is kadafi's been killed in libya.
on the way out near the lobby, I check out the ceiling work and tops of the pillers in this older building that's being renovated... the plaster moldings were incredibly reliefed and detailed, crimony - also all curved and arched, damn.
it's a little gray but not big time and we meet phil and emma and chow nearby, "the brassier" is the pad's name and damn if he don't buy us all breakfast. big respect to brother phil! I get the "full" I've been getting full 'pert-near every morning so far on tour. the writing on the little blackboard outside said "the fattest hot buttered toast" - I shit thee not. w/beans and an egg and some sausage, I fill those fat toast slices along w/the cooked up tomato but hold off on the brown sauce - "brown sauce" ???! that name is not appetizing maybe? me thinks so.
hugs, big thanks and byes to phil and emma, southeastward toward the midlands and england's number two town, birmingham. just under a hundred miles, only takes two hours. our kirk is originally from these parts but now lives in oxford. much different accent here than liverpool - yeah, less than a hundred miles away. again, what a wide selection of sounds from kirk, damn. we also hear that cd dep gave us yesterday, it's good trippy stuff.
orange alert from tom - I had the same thing happen to me yesterday morning but it was mostly before we pulled anchor - I'm thinking maybe that pad across from the glasgow gig did it? damn, it tasted going down but maybe not so much saying farewell. took maybe like five individual wringer sessions. I don't know what chow hit him but he's kind of a little bit bent over. what worries me more though is this hack he's got - the kind where you hear chunks being tossed around in his lung - he had this on the north ameircan tour last spring and by the time we were in canada I made him go to a clinic for help and antibiotics. I worry about my guys much... remember, that's priority number one in my head for my tours: get my men home safe. number two is to play as good as we can for the gig-goers. number three through a hundred is try hard to not to be so baka.
we get in to birmingham at one and a half and kirk's thinking is we get to the 'tel early since they need us at the gig at seven. good thinking. finally a pad w/free internet. just outside this konkpad (sorry I didn't get the name like a baka) is a street sign w/the town's coat of arms. it's trippy w/a hammer being held by a hand coming out of a castle tower w/a woman on one side of it hold painter stuff and a man on the other w/factory worker stuff. of course in the middle is a shield below a knight's helmet but at the bottom the motto is "for what?" and I'm asking myself what the fuck is that about? is this fucking for real or has it been fucked w/by a subversive? (I am not against this kind of subversion, by the way). trippy. I get a lot of work done, lots of stuff happening back home in my music world, too much to spill out here and I wanna keep it kind of on the q.t. now. mr shimmy sends me "memos" (maybe demo? maybe sketch?) of two tunes for our upcoming recording for our third brother's sister's daughter album next month, yatta!
seven and we go to a former custard factory not too far away from the 'tel in the town's center that's been converted to an art space by folks here. it's the home for this "supersonic festival" we've been asked to be a part of. not so much like a typical festival, more grass roots, I like it. first there's olives, pita bread pieces and chili to chow 'til they bring on vegetarian stuff I don't know the names of but tast real good. there's garbonzo beans, string beans, rice, carrots - I use my hashi to shovel it down. right after I do an interview w/a nice cat named matt who's involved w/the festival. he asks me stuff regarding to the old days of the underground and where is it now, questions about what is important about an underground. I'm into it.
there's two main places for playing here tonight. we're at "space 2" and so I watch the two bands before us there. the first one is called apatt and they're a fucking trip. dressed in white, this is a four piece w/everyone always trading instruments - everyone playing everything and styles constantly switching around. trippy films are being projected at the same time on the walls - some of it w/alfred jarry's "ubu roi" and shit too, snips of crazy art stuff. these cats were a trip, big time. even what seems gregorian a capella at one point! whoa. go over to the "boxxed" stage has got hoodie guys doing the button pushing thing, looks serious. back over to see another four piece called part chimp and holy smoke! they truly can smoke, big time - very VERY bitchin' and I'm way into it. I don't wanna reference things here cuz that's what happened when I tried to express myself to one of their guitarmen tim when they got done... man, did I feel stupid about that, very stupid/very baka. I got to shake all their hands though and I hope that went beyond baka talk. hope so. what they did made me very inspired to play.
we go on at 11:30 - I even look at my fucking watch to make sure. I think the soundman's name neil or nils or something like that - I'm so sorry not to be sure but I got told right before going on and acutally I never got to meet him. I just hope he can be our fourth man - I can imagine his dillema of not knowing what the fuck is gonna get thrown at him. captain beefheart's "ashtray heart" goes on and then there's some synth kind of instrumental (no cd player so no coltrane, damn it) before I give a tiny speech about it being an honor to be here, the piece is fortyfive minutes in thirty parts and a please to the soundman - we hit it. I got the ampeg svt they got here for back line (tom and raul have their stuff except for tom using a marshall cab), this amp is pretty beat and sounds... well, kind of beat but I'm gonna work it. we bring it intense - there's yammering and though not like last night, you can tell maybe less than total focus but still good cats to play for - you have to remember it's kind fo a big cinderblock room. I think it someways it might even appear kind of funny, especially the baka bass player. I can imagine the soundman having to deal w/all the dynamic baka things hulred his way... a couple time HUGE lowend feedbacks come up through the deck like earthquakes but the crew is good and get's them under control quick - much respect. I get lost in "stuffed-inside-the-drum-man" cuz, uh, fuck - for some reason I start thinking of what I just saw of the part chimp gig, why now?! aaahhh - I play whatever and luckily that spiel part is small. I rally my baka self. I blow a few more clams down the line but none that bad. raul gets his arms tangled up for "fryingpan-man" but it's a couple of stumblebums. acutally we do go for a band for this sitch, I'm real proud of tom and raul. we finish up right on time and I thank the people. no encores, festivals are like that lots, w/tight schedules (along w/no soundchecks and such) but I think they're good to you cuz you can maybe blow some unexpecting minds. the one lame thing was a cat I really dig, a brother sam buddy named scoth egg - he's goona be on the next cuz album (when brother sam finishes the first one!) but I digress... the point here tonight is we got to bring the birmingham peeps the third opera. a cat from france said he saw at the all tomorrow's parties last december and said we got it more together, merci frere!
secret chiefs 3 are on next and they're really great, an instrumetal six piece (or seven?) from the u.s., around brooklyn? macario is their roadboss, I talked to him earlier - our last french gig will be w/him in paris... his ma is the secret chiefs 3 merch lady! I stand by those tables to watch these cats wail up there in thier druid hoods - the sound has got kind of middle east feel... lots of gig-goers come up to me to give the good word, much respect to them. one couple came from newcastle - they saw the gig there, whoa. the stuff we used got loaded out, tom describe a very internesting scene w/the locals - "tell them you need your tambourines back" says one cat who is very much into somehow getting into the gig but alas tom is powerless to help. we gotta pull anchor before the end of the set but I come to the side of the stage and in bewteen a tune tell them "much respect" and give macario a big hug.
ok, back to the 'tel... hose down and get the nightwear on, konk comes at two bells? maybe... fuck am I tuckered.
saturday, october 22, 2011 - sowerby bridge, england
i wake up coughing, so i pack up and walk to the corner store for some "chesty cough" syrup and then join the others for breakfast in the hotel. i load up on baked beans and a sausage with english mustard and juice. soon we get rolling, today we go to sowery bridge. there's a chill when we arrive, but the venue is a great old "working man's club" from the 40's or 50's (maybe it's much older?) and has an authentic english atmosphere, and we load up the metal stairs in the back. there's some time to kill after sound checking, so we walk up the street to ben's place (bassist from the band: nice sharp pencils, playing tonight), and we get a home cooked meal from his mom and sister (i think), and do some internet. Skype can be very useful on tour. i walk back to the venue with kirk. the pencils are an interesting 2 piece band (bass/drums) with great vocals. very entertaining. then our buddies from liverpool, hot club de paris play a great show, and i get to spend more time listening to them than i did in newcastle. very nice. we play a good show, but i have trouble with my compressor pedal, and some dynamics are lost because of it. i also feel the sound being ridden by the sound man, martin. he's doing a great job, but i think i'm a little loud and whenever i try to get softer i feel it compensate in the mains. it's cool though. it was a fun show, and i enjoy talking to some locals after we load down the metal stairs in back. we have to get on the road to drive a few hours southwards, finally stopping at the travel lodge in toddington to get a few hours sleep.
pop at a quarter of eleven - what??!!!!! fucking baka watt... the free shovel finishes in fifteen fucking minutes. make way for the galley in full hobble - shahzad sees me at the hatch, he spoons out chow for me in a bowl and finds me a table to park my ass at. he pleads w/the 'tel help for some extra time in my regard. I chow w/him and try to explain peculiar watt things to him while finding out the many parallel universes we share, what a beautiful man - so kind to me. he wants me to give him a tour of my pedro town next he's in so cal... of course, yes! absolute. he tells me about getting bass lesson from the incredible carol kaye bass lady, respect! one trippy thing is he didn't know ivan jullian was a guitar player - whoa! that blew my mind. ivan w/bob quine was in my book one of the greatest guitar duos ever - they were the six-string part of the voidoids who were fronted by richard hell (my first punk rock hero - when I put his picture on my bass back in 1977, it was a line in the sand). richard changed my whole idea of the bass cat in the band, me the baka coming from only arena rock and never being in a club 'til punk. man, shahzad is righteous cool people... you know last night the whole secret chiefs 3 band was at a table in the chow room and I was right close by but kept to myself cuz didn't wanna barge in and bogart on them - believe or not there are times where I'm painfully shy - I shit thee not... it ain't all the time, for goddamn sure but sometimes... big hugs for shahzad.
I see another roadsign as I'm hobbling to the kirk's boat - it's got the same coat of arms I saw yesterday but the motto reads "forward" instead - what?! which one is right? tom got a bottle of "chesty cough" for his uh, chesty cough. man, I worry big time for him. you know about last tour and how that sick lung shit beat on him so... god, miss peak even worse... that really weighed on me bad, real bad. when my crew hurts, I hurt - can't help it, worries me to death.
getting north of birmingham is tough, the traff total plug and we find ourselves in fucking parking lot mode. in fact at one point this passenger of one car in front of us gets out, runs to the nearby woods to piss - that's how slow the fucking traffic's going, I shit thee not! a few minutes later another clown does the same thing. aaahhh, I see - this one hour easy plug is cuz of a wreck and the road opens up soon as we clear it. this is where the other side starts it's go-sow cuz of fucking looky-loo, humans are bizarre. we listen to a ricky gervais "podcast" (man, is that a stupid word, huh?) that kirk plays but didn't know it 'til it's over and I ask him what was that - wheelman/roadboss kirk's got a pretty huge breadth of a sound collection. tom is proud to show his latest triumph in filling a piss bottle to the brim.
kirk puts on the radio and there's a debate about england leaving the european union. I guess everything's falling apart piece by piece w/that way of organizing. maybe what's happening in greece has something to do w/it even though they use pounds here? I wonder how much longer for the euro? I gotta admit being current news is way down on the list when I'm in tour mode. I hope somehow all the peoples and land here get the best they can. that's the fairest idea I think a baka like me can foist on them.
the weather is now very sunny but temp mild, really nice. soon as we pass the white rose road marker (we're in yorkshire now) the turnoff for sowerby bridge comes right up and remember the other day I said a part of the road in england here looking like that part of the I-5 in cali where you go through livermore on the way from so cal to the bay area? well, that's where we're at. then right away we're in val running along a river.
we drop anchor at three pm - this bad is called the "sowerby bridge working men's club" and it's a roadside pad w/a small "ballroom" upstairs. pretty neat. the stage is pretty high and cut right into the bulkhead like a theatre, sort of. soundman martin brought in his p.a. stuff but built into this pad (not being used tonight) is a column of four ten inch speakers on each side made by "kitchen-marshall" - yeah, very old rare shit, crimony! yeah, martin and his helperman sam are very cool people. the gigboss ben is also in the opening band, a great duo called the nice sharp pencils - he lives right up the road, real close. he sure is righteous people to make this happen - I turned down a london gig to do this, took me like half a second to decide. big respect to brother ben. he's also an incredible singer and bassman. respect.
I get fish and chips next door at a pad called "marina" and hey, I had to eat this kind of chow at least once this tour and it's probably my last chance so I went for it, not big - only two smaller pieces. knobman martin tells me he's from lancanshire, not too far away (they're the red rose) and that there's a cricket match every year to "celebrate" the war of the roses which had many folks butchered - ain't humans strange? in the u.s. they reenact civll war battles too, crimony. his wife made us some very tasty salsa, very much! good heat and happening flavor - love it.
we do soundcheck and then ben ferry's my hobblin' ass up to his pad (my guys hoof) and his ma and sister has cooked us up some excellent fucking chili - kidney beans in it, the whole deal. there's happening salad also. I use hashi to bring it down. I update diary - I've been doing the chimping on the drives - trippy not to be wheelman/roadboss on a watt tour cuz no-drive mode for me is usually reserved for stooges work.
I wanna see nice sharp pencils so I have ben shlep me back w/him soon as I get the diary uploaded, I meet the hot club de paris guys - yeah, we get to play w/them again, righteous! ok, upstairs to see ben and his drummerman chris do it - the nice sharp pencils are a bass and drum duo and I ain't talking "push play button playing at music" bass and drum but real drummer and real bassist. fuck, can ben fucking thump, crimony! he does these strum things too like a flamenco cat would do, getting the fingernails going like picks in going forward down on the strings - d. boon would be way into that! d. boon loved flamenco - he learned it from this cat who had a profound effect on our music lives/philosophy, a pedro cat name roy mendez-lopez. much respect to him. fuck, can ben sing too - wow. much respect! up next the hot club de paris guys who we played w/a couple of days ago in newcastle. this time the seem a little less nervous - less awkward banter between the tunes although they still get in some funny spiel. the playing is fucking tight - I'm standing right in front of guitarman matthew and he's kicking up much dust. he's playing through his own hiwatt combo this time, sounds great. big al's on the kit raul's using and he's using those ear cover things he did last time so I guess it ain't a shtick. over on stage port is paul and he's got a VERY HAPPENING flannel, a gray one. he's bassing it up while singing his heart out, truly righteous. I get to meet his ma too, she came to the gig - yatta!
wow, two bitchin' sets by two bitchin' bands - I'm inspired big time but then also for some fucking stupid reason I feel a little insecure. we set up pretty quick - paul used the ampeg cab I'm using but brought his own hartke head - ben did likewise but used an ampeg b5 - did I mention he worked a musicmaster bass? I don't like the sound of those usually but damn did he make it sound good! I dug paul's sound w/his rick and I really ain't into hartkes but that shows to go you that it's the person so much more than the machinery - truth be told! yeah, the person... that's kind of my problem tonight: the person. watt's feeling a little insecure, I don't know what but like a baka I let it get to me some though not all the way too terrible but damn, I know I could've done better... I mean, I always think I can do better but this a little more than the usual. the dynamics thing for tom is a little tough for tom tonight and maybe as a result his timing some but I still think he did real good. raul was slamming but later he told me he had a little of that "coming out of a cake" feeling I had - fuck, I probably fed it to him w/my own lameness w/some confidence. sometimes this happens to me, I get self-conscious which is just the worst - no, it wasn't the worst gig I've ever did but... aahhh, I'm analyzing it a little hard here but it's hard for me not to be honest w/myself when I'm chimping diary about this shit, I hope the handwringing here at too much a suffocater. I'm out a context a little here, too close to the thing I'm trying to talk about... shit, I got a little scared. I spaced on some parts but not too huge... let me tell you this though: I am SO GLAD I got to play here and w/these bands, so glad - it was HUGE honor for me. sometimes watt comes up a little short but that's got nothing to do w/what's in my heart, more of a choke in the execution - some. I think if I wasn't so inside myself and the gig was up against another kind of yard stick then maybe it was pretty much ok but I just felt like I could've manned up a little more. I'll tell you this right now though: I'm really lucky to have tom and raul. lucky to have brother ben to bring us to his town too - this is not self-pity watt talking but the aware side of double-clutched fuck-thee-not I wanna somehow be a little more down the road w/someday. actually you know what? I laughed a bunch during this gig, that's a good thing. I'm thinking about that as I chimp now.
besides the fellow musicians, there's really kind gig-goers here, really kind, oh man, big big respect to them. brother ben brought on a really good gig, really good. I sign posters for them, a little embarrassed but very grateful, very grateful. one cat my age gives me some rory gallagher, oh man, respect. talking w/the hot club cats, they want me to flow bass w/some collaborating - bass from my pedro town, flown into them via internet. fuck, that is huge honor. fuck yeah, bring it, I say. we have a good time for the little bit we got cuz fuck, we gotta drive south so it won't be so much a hellride tomorrow. big hugs for brother ben, BIG grateful hugs.
after like a half an hour into the drive, I konk, waking again when we arrive at a "travel lodge" 'tel in toddington, great job by wheelman/roadboss kirk - that was 'pert-near three hours for him. respect. I konk again once chambered. bye bye england, that was our last gig in this land. thank you much everyone here, truly.
sunday, october 23, 2011 - lille, france
we rise at 8-8:30, and realize that there's no little chef connected to the travel lodge. we walk over to the gas station to get our last uk style breakfast of the tour, and hop into the van to head to the train and take the chunnel to france. it's only a little more than a half hour train ride to the french coast. then we roll on to lille. we arrive early but the folks at la peniche help us load onto the boat/barge/club floating on a canal there. i guess this isn't that uncommon to have here, but it's the first time for me. rafael is doing sound, yann is running the show. after a brief sound check, raul and i get a quick tour of the old part of lille nearby from a nice fellow named arthur, who is on his way to work. i have been here once before while i worked on some music for my friend alexis at the le frennoir (sp.?) film institute in a town called roubier (sp.?) which is close to lille. during our walk we bump into arthurs' mom, who was riding her bike somewhere, and they kiss each other hello. that was a cool moment, something very french about it.. we continue on and return to the boat and meet papier tiger for the first time of our 8 shows together. not many words exchanged, but i know we'll get there soon enough. it's an early show on a sunday evening, and papier tiger starts at around 6:45. it's my introduction to their music and there's a lot going on at first listen, however, i say to raul that we'll humming these songs in a couple days. our set is tough for me because we have to play so softly for the legal volume limits here, and much of the set i can't tell if i'm making any sound. it brings my playing down to a different focus and i struggle to make sure volume is alright. i figure i need to play parts right, and trust that the sound lady has it out in front. the softer parts are not a problem though and i think it all works out fine. after the show, and break down and load, we have a home cooked meal in the little chamber in the bow of the boat. curry lentils, rice, a leak tart and some delicious beet and apple salad. it's a cool way to end the show, with the club people and all who helped and the papier tiger boys whom we've just met. this was another long day, so we head to the hotel to get some sleep. we have a quick debrief in mike's room, with a shot of bourbon and hit the sack.
pop at eight and a half, we gotta pull anchor at nine cuz we're gonna take the chunnel to cross the english channel to get to france. next to the 'tel is some roadstop chow mall type hooked to the gas stations and I get my last "english" breakfast of the tour at ten pounds fortyeight (about sixteen fucking seventyseven u.s.!) and it's the lamest one, had to force it down the in hole... ok, last greasebomb 'til I have a sunday chow w/my ma and sister... hey, that reminds me - it is sunday so I should send her an email saying me and my guys are ok. I ain't saying my ma cooks up england-style breakfast but she does do bacon and eggs and that's the only time I chow that stuff all week - the breakfast chows I whup up don't use eggs or toast or bacon. oh yeah, the coff that came w/this pile had a handle on each side, big motherfucking cup.
well, the morning started real gray but turned to kind of sunny. we go south and around london (thank god we ain't gotta go through it) cross the thames, continue to dover - see two ladies trotting their horses on the side of the fucking freeway - I mean motorway! we get to dover (where the chunnel opens up in england) a half an hour ahead of our scheduled departure, good planning on kirk's part - respect! I go foul this pad's faciliites. thirtyfive minutes for the chunnel crossing and it costs us 153 euros (about $214 u.s.). you don't drive through the chunnel, you drive up into a train car and the train carries you across. we never get out of the boat. we get into france at 1:30 pm (we lost and coming over cuz of time zone change), thier side of the chunnel opens up in calais. raul pops the top hatch for some air - first time we've done that. after half an hour of wind tunnel, we close it back up. the weather though is real nice here.
us three band guys have discussion about greetings. like when somebody greets you w/something like "are you ok?" well, it kind of bugs me. if "how are you?" seems like a bogart - I usually answer w/a "I'm glad to be here" or something like cuz I don't dig the interrogation. when I meet someone I usually say "hey, it's great to see you" or something declarative rather than a fucking third degree interogation kind of a trip. I guess most folks don't even think about it do the question thing out of mindless habit or even to somehow show like you're concerned and therefore a compassionate feel but it kind of creeps me out. I ain't that social but then I ain't that much of an anti-person at all. it just seems not neutral enough of a way to make a connect, seems to much of a foist. I ain't anti-people... I guess I just take the words at their face value and it seeps like a weird literal sitch. if it's a sleepwalk formality, then maybe that's kind of jive too, no? tom and raul have their own way of expressing some of what I'm thinking - I hope you don't think it's a "little sir echo" thing, it's just maybe a coincidence we all three agree on this thing.
we got fuel up but this gas station we pull into (only one around and we need diesel now) has no employess, must use card... kirk's having trouble working it and he's as lacking as we are in french but luckily a lady helps us get it happening. merci! it ain't too far to lille and it's real near the french border w/belgium. I played here two years ago at the zenith. the navigator puts us to a big lot where a giant circus tent is - yep, that's for a circus but in the canal right near is where we're playing - on a barge tied up to the side - "le peniche" is what this pad is called and "rock the boat" is their slogan. alright the first gig ever of my music in france is gonna be on the water.
tom detects an odor. I hear him notify anyone in earshot from otherside of boat.
we do a soundcheck w/soundlady raphaelle - we're inside, the stage at the fore w/us facing aft. the overhead is maybe a fistfull worth from the top of my head. france now has some tough noise restrictions so we play a little tiny. drums are loud though where we are cuz it's kind of a cubboard where we at. I like this sitch tonight, like it much. there's some great cheese and bread in the dressing room in the foreward hold. this gig is part of the "ground zero festival" www.groundzerofestival.fr I meet the promoterman yann, great cat. his company has put on many stooges gigs (includeing the one a couple summers I ago I did w/them at "le zenith"), respect! he spent two years as a younger man in michigan, near muskegon. I update the diary - by the way, I stand corrected as to the bullshit notion I put forth regarding the titantic (that boat) being built in liverpool - I'm told it was actually built in belfast. man, am I dumbfuck. everyone: please be skeptical of anything you see chimped or hear uttered by my 'tard self. my apologies. the crystal antlers http://crystalantlers.com/ folks wrote hi to me on a tour poster - they were just here - that was sure kind of them. respect.
tonight and the next seven gigs after for us are in france and papier tigre will be w/us on all of them. they're from nantes (in france's brittany part) and are very nice cats. they're a trio but no bass - there's pierre on drums, eric on guitar/singing and arthur does guitar/percussion. eric spent his six through eleven years in tulsa, oklahoma so his english is good - I mean really good, better than me. their merch man bill is very cool people too.
seven bells and they're on. they got some angular rhythms, pierre is sure smooth. eric sings all in english, speaks some in between songs and that's in french. they're a really good band. they get sweaty - now I understand why they changed clothes before they went on. man, have we had some good bands to play w/on this tour, I'm way into it - lucky watt!
it's easy to choke on the smoke (look at last night!) so I rally myself big time - we're on at eight but hit it five minutes early, yann says it's ok to. here goes... cast off! I'm nervous a little, the pre-spiel and piece warning are in english and I'm stumblebum w/my 'tard talk - I wanna be to the point but am bumblefuck - luckily when I count us in, there will be no ridiculous fucking banter. sure, the sound's a little tiny but I'm digging it. the light's are in my eyes so I can't see the crowd so I just throw myself into it. raul and tom are there for me, they're spirit is way up. the tiny sound gets to tom a little though and he loses some energy in his body language. it gets a little tough on his dynamic thing too. I keep my spirit up - we're floating on the water! I am not self-conscious like sometimes last night, thank god - that's the worst feeling ever. it's not like I'm free of clams, I blow some - tom blows some and even raul does but it's no big deal cuz on the whole I feel we deliver the piece good. it's sweaty. actually I've sweated out the gig shirt every gig this tour, it's less or more when it comes to the levi. we come off stage and tom's a little bummed cuz having to play tiny but I tell him don't worry, just try harder w/the body language when things get tough but actually I know that feeling though it was for different reason (my reason was cuz I was baka) so I try to reassure him. it is weird feeling though, I know. he rallys for encore though. great boat gig! many happy people.
we have chow after the gig, load out after thanking gig-goers giving thanks first. merci. the chow was made by one of the helpermen here and did righteous: lentil curry and rice, a very happening leek quiche and a tabouli salad. I use my hashi to bring it down. we have a good rap w/out new tourmates and then make for the 'tel, checking in at before eleven, very happening! rightat away a hose-off and into the nightwear. we got more of that woodford reserve bourbon we got in glasgow and have a little of that before sack time. yeah, a good early konk to finish first day of french tour leg. įa va!
monday, october 24, 2011 - laxou, france
raul and i rush downstairs to catch the tail end of the complementary breakfast, but i only get a coffee, juice and yogurt before we get in the van for our trip to nancy, which is a ways east. we travel through a part of belgium, stop in luxembourg for a quick sandwich, and arrive at the soap box rock 'n roll club around 5. we do our thing, load in, etc... this was an added show, and it's a monday, but i like the vibe in this place. the stage is about 3 or 4 inches high, and there are no monitors, but the room sounds good and we kill some time getting to know the club owner jean-charles before stephane and antoine show up, the ones who organized the show. we also meet sound man, yann. we set up and run through a quick sound check and wait for papier tiger to show up.. we have some food that stephane and antoine brought for us, talk about the french resistance here during the nazi days, wait. we play first, and i think it sounds great. there's something about the minimal mic situation i like. just vocals, and kick drum through the tiny pa. we work the room with our volume. then papier tiger play. it's a cozy little crowd of locals and friends of the promoters and club people. i spend some time trying to learn french yann's friends. i meet someone named elody nelson, which is totally strange because was just talking with mike and raul about the serge gainsboug record, melody nelson. coincidence? maybe. after the show we drive 70 km south to a town called epinale to stay at antoine's place for the night. we climb the stairs, i brush my teeth, and join raul on the foam mattress on the floor.
pop at eight bells to make sure I get the free trough going downstairs. it's called "continental" cuz maybe we're on the continent? anyway, two rolls stuffed w/jambon (french for ham) and fromage (cheese) is what I shovel. I don't do coff so I can go back up to the chamber and get more konk aided by konk mask. fucking heater won't shut off (wall plate heat radiator) so I have to keep the window full open to make some sort of blend. it's a little cool out but sunny. I do the for real pop at ten and try in vain to get on the fucking internet and though the 'tel desk man says it's gratuit (free), in practice it's taunt.
we pull anchor at eleven and shove off southeast for laxou, in france's lorraine region. 260 miler, probably four hours. tom has asked me to make wheelman kirk some cds from tunes off my ipod so he can play them on his boat's player. I make him one of the first two wipers albums. I am huge wipers listener since "is this real?" came out - tripped on it at zed's records in long beach cuz of the fucking wild album cover art (wouldn't you know on a tour I'd end up konking at the pad of its painter, mike king? yep!) and bought just cuz of that but then when I heard it when I got home I couldn't stop playing the motherfucker, righteous. second one not as good but third one up there w/the first one... after that I fell off the track - sort of the same w/another band, wire - just really dug the frist three albums and then... it ain't these guys' fault - I blame myself more. they are what they are - kind of like what popeye said but different, huh?
tom's still dealing w/the crap in his lungs but says he feels better. we discuss the possibility of maybe some kind of archimedes screw device to help get that fucking lunguini up from w/in him. man, my gig shirt is fucking kusai (jap for very bad smell) - I should've used the 'tel soap/shampoo to do a sink wash of this fucker, what baka dumbfuck I am. france has beautiful country side like england but different. they got tons of sheep and cows too but somehow these are different. ain't that a trip? you don't see though walls made of piled-up stone and the fields seem broader and maybe not as hilly in these parts.
we pass through the tiny country of luxembourgh where the diesel (gazoel in french) is only 1.27 euro a liter (about $6.72 u.s.) which for europe is econo. we fill the tank. I get probably the worst kebab plate I've ever had and that ain't econo eight and a half euros ('pert-near twelve bucks back home!) - I've learned my lesson. oh yeah, the other thing cheap in this tiny land is the cigarettes and people buy them in the gas stations by the butt-loads. we continue on, I chimp diary after making a cd of roky erickson tom asks me to make for kirk. great to hear roky, always great - love that cat. trippy kirk never heard of him cuz he knows so many other musics, trippy.
starting to get dark at four pm, when we get in a little after, it's on the outskirts of laxou (which itself is right outside nancy), old roadhouse style. the pad is called "soapbox club" and the bossman is there to greet us, a great cat named jean-charles. his english is good so tom starts gnawing his ear off and it's good to listen in on. I'm so glad tom's feeling better, an ill tom breaks my heart. I'm glad raul's doing good to though he said he's been hacking up a little green. man, why is it that the old baka healthy? don't get me wrong, it's a good thing to be but like last tour, for some reason I'm not the one getting sick.
we set up our stuff. this a real neat pad but a tiny pad so only p.a. for spiel and kickdrum, makes good sense. soundman yann is very happening and cares much as we check - he has to get behind tom to get to the soundboard to make adjustments, then come out to the front to see how it's sizing up. he's gonna be a great "fourth man" for us tonight. promoterman stephane arrives and I thank him much for getting it together for us. mick in dublin booked it w/him maybe three days ago? something like that, wow... VERY SHORT NOTICE - what a great brother to take something like this on and make it happen. respect! you see, monday's are hard to book in europe, mick was telling me but I really wanted to do as many french gigs as possible, whenever/however. so what I'm trying to chimp here MERCI MOTHERFUCKING BIG TIME, frere stephane.
him and his buddy antoine brought baguettes, sandwich meats, tabouli and shredded carrot stuff to chow, it's good. we're worried about the papier tigre cats but eventually they arrive, whew... their navigator gps toy fucked up and made their trip a fucking hellride. so glad they're here safe. they touring in a vw van maybe half our size. we agree that since we're set up that we'll go on first tonight. I wanna switch off w/them all these gigs actually - I asked them last night if it was ok and they were into it. people, this is a great band.
I go out hobblin' around the near the club. there's a huge memorial across the road for those part of the resistance in the second war sacrificed for the liberation of france. next to it's an old sherman u.s. tank. the first war too and even going back before that, the war that made germany a country - this part of france has took much hell from those. bossman jean-charles says old people in town ask how he could have a german band even play here but he tells them this is a different generation and that even he feels in some of them "a weight" or guilt about that. we talked about this earlier when we got here cuz tom was interested, having seen that memorial but now that I had walked amongst it, I got it my mind - actually I'm thinking what would d. boon think and kind of thinking it out loud w/papier tigre singerman eric and we get talking about stuff - he's a deep cat, intelligent man - yeah, all three guys in this band are only twetnyeight but they are big time sharp, their english better than mine and they can play their asses off. we talk about joyce, we talk about dante - ok, it's time to fucking go on!
nine and half bells and we bring the piece. maybe less pressure not being cleanup? I don't know but tom's in top form, raul's on fire. great life my men bring to the piece and they buoy me up like a massive gas bubble. I put my bass up a little higher, don't know why - maybe cuz of seeing arthur (other papier guitarman) last night? I don't but did right before we started and it's trippy cuz now the notes seem in a little different place. some clams are blown but no capsizers. it's a fucking happening gig. soundman yann did real good too, also filmed (late he flowed me the mpegs). no encore, I think it would be bogus to bogart on our tour brothers.
they change into their gig clothes (not too much different from their non-gig clothes except for the shorts on pierre and arthur, rolled-up ones for arthur) and then bring it. now I know why wheelman kirk play fugazi on part of the drive earlier, I hear some brendan and pierre confirms it later but that's not to say there's any rubber stamp going on here, it's just an incidental reference from some baka like me who has poor imagination. these guys really know how to use space in their sound and really work the interplay. I'm so glad singer/guitarman eric spent his six u.s. years in oklahoma instead of somewhere else in the u.s. maybe cuz well, I just do - you know, that woody thing w/out having to pretend to bring it. even w/all the hits pierre lays on his drums, man, is he smoov (sic), way smoov. I can't help but to bop my crippled as to their sound.
great gig, everyone happy. rain must've come down while the gig went down cuz we gotta load out in but it's not too bad. our plan is to head to where stephane and antione live, epinal, about fortysix miles south. actually, we're already loaded up, did it right after we played so I think the tigres brought it and no wonder w/that sound of theirs! respect. kind words from the gig-goers, one has me sign his "spiels of a minuteman" which has both english and quebecois which is canadian french. jean-charles gives me a small glass of "jack russell" whiskey and it's terrible - he even said it was, "like the dog" he laughs! he's a good cat, so great to play his pad. respect.
wheelman kirk does the drive good - I hate night driving but he doesn't drink and is very responsible man. I would not konk as easy as I do w/someone else I think in his sitch so I am most grateful. it's two bells when we arrive at antoine's pad, third floor which means eight flights of stairs cuz where u.s. people say first floor is on the ground, most folks here say first floor above ground is first floor (and floor on ground is ground one). so kind of antione to have us aboard, so kind. I see a bass in the corner - yeah, he's a bassman too! I get in the nightwear and konk.
tuesday, october 25, 2011 - oullins, france
when i get up, antoine has coffee and some bread with pear preserves that his grandmother made. there's a little rain but no too much. we drive to leon, and get to the venue and the papier tigre van pulls up a few minutes later. we load downstairs with help from the club crew. mustard yellow floors, makes me think: french's. the place is a sort of community center and live venue that has been here for 30 years. i'm sure it's a vital space for the leon music scene. after the usual motions, raul and i go for a short walk around the venues perimeter, and then we join what seems to be the entire staff and all band members, etc, in the eating room for some chili like beans and meat over rice, and salad. the salad really hits the spot for some reason. probably because we've been eating a lot of bread and cheese lately, and salami. all of it being very tasty, but it can stop you up, if you know what i mean. we watch seb and the raaa disk play (actually, it's only seb. a one man show) and it reminds me of children's music for adults. he plays a keyboard with his big toe for christ's sake. i think fabreeze may be a good idea. having said that, it's a really cool performance, and there are even a couple little kids there rocking' out to it. papier tigre plays next and i have a better chance to hear whats going on in their music, and thoroughly enjoy their subtle complexity, and raw animal magnetism, of course. we play good, i have fun, and nothing bad happens. we do the load out/pack up as quickly as possible, and then head to the hotel. i send a couple of emails and then kirk and raul and i conk out slave-ship stye.
pop at nine to find a rainy epinal. I hose down now, didn't last night like a baka, aarrggghh. antione arrives (he konked elsewhere to give us more room, righteous brother) w/bread, butter and jams from his grandma - he also makes us coff. turns out he's a bassman, alright! so very happening. he's got a cort bass but not the plastic kind. stephane (our version would be "steven") arrives and tells me taking chances promoting different and interesting gigs, he is on adventure w/his music journey and not just same ol' fucking same so' shit, respect to him, big respect. he says good stuff is worth the gamble - hear hear! that's my kind of cat. big hugs for both brothers, man, I put w/them all the well-wishes for good luck I can.
we head for oullins, 240 miles southwest. like how laxou is in the metro area of nancy, oullins is in the metro area of lyon, just west of where the rhone and saone rivers meet. lyon was a roman town - in the summer of 2011 I played an old amphitheater from those times w/the stooges just, two days after fucking up my knee and it was also bastille day - ain't that a trip? ain't it been a long time this fucking knee's been hurt? crimony. wheelman/roadboss kirk needs piss stop so I get a little sack of "mini saucissons secs" since I chowed only hunks of baguette w/some butter at antioine's - these little links are tiny salamis, all pinched off at then ends. raul is amused, tom is aroused - I got good men, there ain't enough times I can let the world know that. morning started out rainy but around twelve and a half the sun starts coming out. in a hour it's back to gray though, rain along w/it.
soon after seeing a rainbow (tom says he's got an idea involving a flag...), out in the middle of nowhere is some trippy roadside steel art sculpture but as I try to get the shot, wouldn't you know it's that part of the porthole that's had birdshit on it this entire time we've been rolling w/kirk? I look over at raul. usually he's the glassman when we stop for gas. he shows me his toothbrush - by coincidence he's just scrubbed out his mouth bowl.
now the fog comes down, can't even see the tops of the windfarm blades, 'pert-near. there's a times herald tribune I got in england cuz it had a haruki murakami story in it (wanna read it). he's got a new book out (excerpt here) but there's also a kind of intense story on a new book on deng (d. boon always dug non-fiction more than fiction - maybe I'm a little half-ass backward that way?) and I read this as tom perfects his barbershop rap: "top o' me ol' pink hole in ya" ad infintum 'til melding into riffs on roky erickson's "the hole in baby's head" and all the wonder that can bring. somehow I find a parallel but can't word here right. speaking of mr murakami, in the head of last night's pad had a trippy sticker on the bulkhead. I mean this pad had tons of stickers and posters and stuff plastered/stuck up but it 'pert-near all hahd koa (hard core) 'cept this one that yanked my eye it's way - "kafka on the shore" it read - what?! that's the name of the first haruki murakami book I read, is this the name of a punk band? you go to the url printed on it (seanconley.tk) and tell me. I thought it was trippy to find this sticker from a young man in a hahd koa head and then read about it this writer he referenced (maybe not on purpose?) and well, fuck, maybe all the links in this paragraph I put here will be dead ones by the time they get read.
we're playing a community center - like in the old days on touring the western europe continent, something government funded. it's called "le clacson" and what appears to be a mainman named clapton (or was it el capitan? fuck, I hope I didn't screw that up) helps us load in after kirk incredibly wheels his big boat down the tiny streets. great sounding room and good system, we do soundcheck w/michele, damian doning the monitors - yep, a funded pad here for sure but VERY RIGHTEOUS folks, truly. some local cats julien and seb do an interview w/me, a very good one cuz they know so very much about the old days, wow, incredible. I actually explore parts about myself when I get to do good spiels like this. merci to them, merci.
the folks here cook up some chile con carne for us and damn if it ain't as good as what we chowed at brother ben's pad in england - ain't that a trip?! I wonder if he phoned them in the recipe or what! damn, that's a trip. good blue cheese hunks to go w/it too. I use hashi to bring it down. sometimes slower is better when it comes to shoveling.
I do an interview a man from the radio station connected w/this pad. he asks me good things and is very straight forward. he's close to my age. we end up talking about johnny thunders - ha! alight! first act is about to go on - damn, it's seb - I spieled w/him earlier w/julian! he goes by the name seb and the rhaa dicks but actually it's one-man-band w/him playing keyboard w/big toe on left foot, a kick drum pedal working a cymbal w/the right while he's singing and strumming twelvestring guitar. there's sampler pedals involved so he also does sound on sound live w/what he's doing. it's really happening and I dig it much. he finishes up w/an anthem that includes in the chorus:
I got the head
I got the balls
I got the head
I got the balls
it's great and both his little kids are in the pit, one w/a flannel. respect to him. when I learn he's playing w/us again thursday it makes me really happy - also the fact he's really bassman. respect.
papier tigre on next and they blow it up. whoa. now the tunes are getting more familiar, our third time w/them (tom said from our first meeting we'd learn everyone by heart) and so it's kind of like their opera. oh yeah, that radio guy was kind of intent on the question on why I called "hyphenated-man" an opera and I went to great lengths to explain myself - maybe too much? he was cool w/my stumblebum talk but actually in my mind it is very clear reason why I don't call it "song cycle" or whatever the fuck - I told him if you wanna referencer the who then it's a lot closer to their "a quick one, while he's away" than it is to "tommy" which is what I think most people think of when they of the two words rock and opera. mine's a punk one anyway and besides, I'm fucking mental - to kipe from england slang - which is something I think I've never done 'til right here. earlier I had asked tigre eric if he knew of the mao quote:
"all reactionaries are paper tigers"
[but read this: "a blustering, harmless fellow they call 'a paper tiger'." - sir john f. davis' book 'the chinese,' 1836]
of course guitar/singerman eric knew this but I brought it up cuz actually that's the quote that made d. boon wanna use "the reactionaries" for the name of the band we had before the minutemen. eric told me when they played china (they've been there three times), "tiger paper" was the name used for the gigs by the promoter people.
ok, let's put a brake on the tangent drifting, it's our turn. I put my bass even higher to be more like papierman arthur and it feels trippy. maybe cuz of the bell I gotta fucking work on to reduce? (no brainer) I wish I had both the nerve and the skill to roll these fucking levis up to show everyone my fucked-up hizas, even less fucked-up one looks as bad as more fucked-up. anyway, we bring the opera good, tom especially is very physical and raul's on tigre pierre's gretsch kit fucking wails, whoa! yeah, I blow some clams - I'm thinking I should fill ninetynine percent of my goddamn diary w/these thoughts but damn, don't it really seem to bum some out to hear me admit such fallings. let me say this gig though was not destroyed by these clams, not even hurt cuz... well, maybe hurt but NOT HURT ENOUGH. hmm... tom made a good point the other day saying for real careful playing calls for a stupefying of other performance issues - aaahhh, not to get too drowned up in the bellybutton lint, I had a good time w/my men, a real good time. you wouldn't believe how respectful the oullins gig-goers were, amazing quiet and focus for us, oh my god. truly they deserve respect from us and I'll give it right here.
some good word and cd signing (I have a little name) and then we pack up. starting the piece at 10:45 pm like we did makes for kind of late work night gig but I feel good about sharing this gig w/seb, papier tigre and my men, I feel real good. it's the furthest from any kind of drama a fucking 'tard like me could hope for. the 'tel ain't far and is an econo one that's name started w/a k - fuck, can't remember... sorrrr-reeeeee... me and tom relate to raul some of our pair of pliers days w/stickman vince meghrouni - tom says he's got two tunes we recorded for a seven inch that never came about and raul says what about getting it out on his and kid kevin's label - whoa! at the 'tel: hose off, into the nightwear and wash in the fucking sink the goddamn gig shirt, finally remembering!
wedneday, october 26, 2011 - grenoble, france
raul wakes me with his stirring in the dark, and i realize that he's just trying to get downstairs before the complimentary breakfast is shut down. i decide to go too, and i have some cereal, juice and coffee and then go back to the room to lay down for another hour. at 11 we reassemble at the reception area and pack into the van to follow papier tigre to a leon landmark brasserie for a traditional leon style lunch. i get a steak and fries and a beer that they brew here. i order the steak well done but that means rare according to our tastes (U.S. style). i splurge. the place has a beautiful art deco interior with painted ceilings. the waiter prepares steak tartar for kirk and pierre right next to my seat, so i get to watch his technique. the ground meat comes with an egg yolk on top, and some chopped herbs (parsley & chives?) and white onions on the side. the egg yolk is scooped off of the meat and put in a shallow bowl, and then worcestershire sauce, some tabasco and salt and pepper are added and stirred into the yolk. then he herbs and onions are blended and then the growing meat is folded into the mix and formed into a large meat ball type thing and placed on the plate with leafy green salad. it's really appetizing, and i try a bite of kirk's. after lunch we drive to the mountain town of grenoble. i hear that the 1968 winter olympics were held here, and we see a gondola going up the side of a mountain to a monastery type building hanging from the cliffs as we get close to where we play tonight. kirk backs into a tight spot near the cafe/bar and we disembark and hang around for a bit. there's internet so we all do our individual corresponding as needed, before we load gear in and set things up.. there's no stage so some tables are moved and we set up on the floor. i like these kinds of shows, a sort of viewer / player equality. simone is the young man who helped with organizing the show last minute and he and his friends make our visit very comfortable and have a nice meal prepared for us with potatoes and pork medallions with a chili/tomato sauce. i rinse it all down with a beer. last night papier tigre played before us so tonight we play before them. there is another band playing too, called june ashes. a two piece, guitar and drums with vocals. the play a moody set of dissonant pop songs that i like very much. then we play a good set and move our stuff to let papier tigre do their thing. raul and i have some conversation with friendly locals and i go in to watch the tigre's work the room. it feels like more like a house party than a gig, and there's a good vibe in the air. hiyori sells two of my solo records too! that's great, cause i need the money. thanks, after the load out we circle the town for parking and follow simone to his place where he lives with his mom and dad, and brother and mike, ra
pop at ten bells to find the gig shirt dried and fuck if it ain't as clean if not cleaner than a goddamn machine wash. I put it on and then complete it w/my john coltrane pin - how many times have I washed a shirt w/out removing that and finding it rusted up after? baka watt. a john coltrane pin deserves respect. baka watt. boarding the boat, tom tries to foist tarts he kiped from last night's gig (actually no kiped cuz they were put in our dressing room) - even on the papier tigre bros but there's no takers. I hate to see tom disappointed but fuck, we've been invited by these guys to chow at a special pad.
it's sunny so cal weather outside but maybe a little cooler - skies quite blue though and that's righteous. maybe it'll last all day? prolly not. we bail from the 'tel and make for a 175 year old chow pad in downtown lyon named "brasserie georges" - crimony, 175 years! there's a guinness book of world record badge near the front hatch that says in 1986 they served the world's biggest bowl of sauerkruat. repspect. it must've gotten some makeovers but it looks like the last one was mainly in the art deco days cuz that's what a lot of it looks like. I get andouillette "maison ravier" which is chitterling (small intestine of pig) sausage in a mustard sauce where all the seeds ain't ground up. it comes w/a little bowl of some really whupped up mashed potatoes too. there's nubs on each end of the casing, must be intestine too. I really dig mustard, all the different kinds, just love it - up there w/chilies in my book. I mix the taters w/the chittering after splitting it open w/the hashi (ignorant word is chopsticks - don't worry, I used to say that too) along w/the mustard sauce and shovel all that down. one of the more econo local specialties on the menu (fifteen and a half euros - about twentytwo buck u.s.), it is an experience for me. I'm so grateful to our tigre bros to bring us here. right next to our table is a oldie-time machine w/wheels so it's like a cart w/a handle crank on one side and a bunch of wood wind pipes on the other, like an organ would have. it must be someone bday cuz a waiter takes what looks like a big long menu but w/slits strategically placed along it and clamps it in a way that some kind of feelers "read" these slits and we hear the organ pipe the happy birthday song as he cranks. there's beer vats here but damn, only noon so I ain't trying any. we finish up and head out of town.
it's about seventy miles southeast to grenoble. get into town about four pm. this place is in a mountain valley, the alps not too far away - neither is the swiss and italian borders... actually we're kind of into the alps but in a big valley cutting into the beginning of them, they tower real close above us. wheelman/roadboss kirk literally has to get out of the boat to get directions from a local who wants to help us cuz yet again the bullshit gps navigator has failed us. luckily the street was not too busy. seems we're only yards away! but they can get only one ballard to fold down so kirk's gotta really be careful and back up through the narrowest of gaps... he does it! righteous. meet the gigboss simon - this venue's called "la planetalis" and he apologizes for it being just a cafe or something but I tell him it's quite ok, quite ok! remember, this was a last minute pickup gig - not as last minute as the one back in laxou but pretty much last minute. I thank him much for having us aboard anywhere in grenoble and making it happen.
upstairs is peaceful area where I can chimp diary cuz in the boat during the ride I actually konked, that chow in lyon relaxed me so... yeah, so I go to town on getting my fucking 'tard remembrances chimped while 'pert-near everyone else from both bands have got their 'puters going too but I don't think it's for diary chimping 'cept maybe for tom. gigboss simon's cousin has cooked up some taters and pieces of pork chops (no bones though) in a little sauce and that makes for a tasty chow, merci! first time for me in this town and man, what a view just looking out the window, grenoble's own bastille (much different than paris') is perched up on one of the many mountains ringing the town. big snows up on those peaks and much more on the ones futher offurther think next week is when day light savings time ends... autumn is on. I ask tigre arthur if am I crazy or does heineken beer tast like bubble gum. he says I'm crazy. ok, case closed.
there's a local band opening the gig and june ashes is their name. I'm just putting my chimping up on the net as they go on - I get down to see/hear them, a two-piece w/the lady guitarist caroline singing and frederic drumming. they do good. there's a gig-goer I meet who saw me play in the bay area way back when and the opening band was slovenly - it blows his mind to find out the gutiarman w/me tonight was there then, mr tom watson! ain't that a trip? both our minds are kind of blown, crimony!
since we were cleanup last night, next up is us and downbeat will be at eight and half. now the p.a. is small and only being used for spiel but in context of this space, it's enough. putting mics on the drums would be a 'tard move, same for the amps. simon's got the stich squared away big time, he's also working the knobs for the spiel, he's a hands-on guy and I can dig it. I give a little intro speech like I do just before I can finish, some cat yells "c'mon!" and I answer back "listen, boy... this is the last I'm gonna speak 'til we're done" but I get feeling weird cuz I don't think I've called anyone "boy" ever so why the fuck did I then. it was a weird kind of knee-jerk thinkg I'thinkinging aguessingnk about it now, and kind of shameful. I'm writing this now to whoever I said that fucked-up thing to that I'm very sorry and you can 'pert-near knock my shit out if you see me on the street or something - at least you deserve an explainatexplanationere apology cuz that was a lame-ass thing I did. fuck, I realized the moment the fucking shit was flying out the word hole but to keep from make shit worse, I just rigth awarightnted tom and raul in to start the piece. I might use cusswords for endearments but I never use "boy" on anyone like that. it's a fucked-up thing. again, sorry. luckily I get the shame put somehow where it can fuck up my performance of the gig and I'm able to connect real good w/tom and raul who both kick up a butt-load of dust. the gig-goers are amazing too, right in close and very enthusiastic for some crazy shit they've never heard - how very kind and open-minded of them. we're talking all of us sharing the same deck, no "stage" here in the sense of being above which is kind of lame for folks not in the very front but this is the sitch and it seems everyone's into helping making this gig work. most the clams I blow tonight are in the beginning and I get momentum up in a good playing way as we get it worked. I do have lame as body communication w/tom regarding my fucking skull moves vis a vis my hands on the fretboard of my bass and throw him off on stuff like "bell-rung-man" which is baka - sorry, tom. gretsch drums via tigre pierre again and raul's sound is slammin' - merci, pierre. trippy how the audience is compared to the other gigs - much more folks closer to my age and not as much more younger ones. it's a good ride w/the piece, everyone's on board including us three in the band, I'm digging the dynamic and it feels organic, not just a bunch of stupid parts - feels human, feels whole. respect to everyone make it happen.
w/our papier bros up next, I say to the encore request by just packing up immediately as if tyring totryingss no disrespect to the gig-goers but rather respect for our buddies coming up next. remember, it's a work night. while they're setting up, I do an interview w/local station "rockback" and it's a good one, no cardboard by the numbers crap. back downstairs when done, papier tigre bring their set - fourth time for me seeing them and earlier I called their set their very own "opera" cuz of identical sequence of tunes so maybe that's why they switch it up tonight. it's infectious on me and for the first time since my knee got hurt, I dance best I can. the knees never had such movement this way, wow. I can't thank them guys enough. soon my hands are in air like I just don't care, fuck yeah! I'm in the back where's there's space so I can be careful but the beats are still strong enough ton envelope me. bitchin'! I have a good time.
now it's time for the good word from gig-goers and they're very kind. one cat, ladzi galai gives me a copy of michael hurchalla's "going underground" that he translated into french, wow, much respect. I've always meant to get this book and now that I have this, I'm gonna go get the english one. so great to meet the cat who worked hard to translate it, HUGE respect to brother ladzi!
we all pack up and head over to simon's bro jonathan's pad but for reasons I can't think of, it takes a while and fuck, there's a kebab chow pad and there's enough whiskey in me to buy all crew of the sliver sprinter van from england chow, fourteen euros total worth - the deserve it! we chow them at jonathan's and say hi to papier tigre bros... oh yeah, not soon before hitting up the 'bab pad, my hurt knee gave way and I crumpled on the sidewalk. the yellow clothes sack I was carry helped cushion the the tumble and I got no hurts. first time this tour that happened, just gave way... one reason I 'pert-near have been always wearing this fucking brace this whole tour and this is the just-in-case time it was BIG TIME fucking worth it, whew. kirk decides to konk in the boat so it's us other four in a chamber upstairs at simon's folks pad. I don't even take my fucking coat off and konk unblankied on a matress, thank god I somehow took the backwacksack off first.
thursday, october 27, 2011 - maresilles, france
pi wake in the dark and have to piss, i barely miss stepping on mike's head, and then fall on raul. sorry raul. he doesn't say anything, so i quietly step to the toilet and then back to rest a little more. with my sleeping mask on, i am stirred by a cars horn honking from somewhere below our window. a changing pattern of considerate beeps. 1, 2, 1, 1-2-3-, 1, ....1, 2, 1, 1-2-3.... i realize that someone must be blocked in a parking situation, and i listen to the tension increase in the horns patterns. it becomes relaxing for me and i fall back to sleep. maybe my new york roots are touched upon and the urban sound brings me comfort, like being rocked in a cradle. maybe i'm just tired. we rise at about 10, and simon introduces us to his mom, claire, and she makes us coffee and we have some grapefruit juice, some little puff pastries, and talk a bit before leaving to locate the van, and where kirk had spent the night. we get on the road southward to marseilles. the toll road from grenoble to marseilles is something like 36 euros. that's like $50! kirk navigates through the gusty winds and we see the terrain change as we get nearer to the mediterranean. finally we see the sea. we arrive to the venue and kirk fits the van into a tiny spot right in front. we load , and are shown around the catacombs of the art collective space. there is a large meal being prepared by the kind people here at l'embobineuse. raul and i join guillaume to pick up some stuff from the store and walk through marseilles a little. when we get back we have the food that was fixed for the bands and help here. eggplant and onion soup, salad, pork loin and potatoes. very delicious, and i stuff myself and lay down and fall asleep for an hour or so. pork makes me sleepy for some reason. when i wake i clean up and go downstairs to cat the end of seb (& the radix) music and then papier tigre. there's a good crowd, and we play a good show, but it's really hot onstage and by the end of the sett, during my singing songs, i feel almost like i'm going to faint, or puke. i have cord problems again, and switch out my cable, but i detect that there may be something else wrong too. maybe the guitar jack? i push through and we pack up but not load out, cause we stay here tonight and it's better not to leave stuff in the van. i'm worn out and lay down, but the venue is still going strong and the rest of the guys are down there. i like knowing that i can go down if i want but i have a place to chill out if i don't. i go to sleep for a bit and when i wake i go down and things are still going. it's close to 2, and then i go upstairs again and change into my sleeping attire, and eventually i hear the papier tigre boys and mike and raul and hiyori in the front room and i go out and join them until we all decide to hit our designated sacks at 3:45am.
pop at nine but damn if there were 'mares troubling me so in too abstract a way to relate here diary chimping. my fucking piddly word skills deny me once again. another too is to revisit that shit cakes up the thought tubes w/fear chunks that burden me so - not that they shouldn't be confronted but the terms in which my 'tard head seeks to define becomes so much of a goddamn end into itself that it's inward spiral toy diversion lame-out, really big time. chasing your tail like an sure-you're-not-an-accomplis for fucking gameboy shill to get at the bottom of psych guess purity trampoline ain't gonna get it, watt - let it go. what you FEEL or more accurately what I FEEL is a tiredness in the body, fucking victim of the head.
simon's ma is downstairs and makes us coff - whoa, she's got a buttload of books, 'pert-near all paperbacks - not harlequin drama but real good stuff like james lee burke, james ellroy... she says one of her favorite writers is cormac mccarthy. I think I hear from raul she's a book seller. simon takes us on search for wheelman/roadboss kirk and his boat - we can't exactly remember. simon's only been driving for six months (that's why the big 'A' sticker on the back, in england it's an 'L'). he does well, clutches good and only killed the motor once cuz he forgot to leave from a stop in first gear instead of second... fuck, I learned to drive manual when visiting my pop in monterey (his last navy was shore duty at fort ord), the hills were intense grade motherfucking hills w/'pert-near a stop sign for everyone of them so I had to sweat bullets trying to pull that shit off w/the let out the clutch smoov enough but also quick enough to keep from killing the motor and of course there was every time somebody behind me so I was scared shitless about fucking hitting them. my pop used a pencil to show me the 'H' gear pattern and then both his hands to demonstrate clutch/break/accelerator interaction - this in his pad in front of me, nowhere near the car! I think my pop though sometimes it was good to learn things not so much the easy way, like learning on a bike w/out training wheels ever. his thinking was after a while you wouldn't fall down as much.
whoa, some big wind on the ride but kirk keeps the keel in the water even if we take some buffeting back here w/the california men are stationed. damn if it ain't looking more and more like cali as we go south... clouds coming in though and blue skies now gone. ¤36.50 in peage (road tolls), like fiftyone in u.s. dollars for an hour and a half drive. tons of kamome (seagulls in jap) and whoa, there's the mediterranean sea! we're about 190 miles south of last night but didn't drive it so much as the crow flies. couldn't be more different scenery though.
we're playing a pad tonight called "l'embobineuse" and a great job parking in tiny alley (actually it's a street - watch out when you open the hatch!) where it's at, three pm now as we drop anchor. this pad used to be a squat and before that, a factory that made bobbins to hold wire were made. fucking quickly we help the papier tigre cats unload (they arrived soon after we did) cuz they're plugging the street. whew, we do good job w/even crippled watt in the bucket brigade line. the people here are very cool and the performance room has an old fiat as part of the decoration. there's lots fo cool art everywhere, especially upstairs where we'll konk after the gig. we do soundcheck w/soundman sylvain, raul again on pierre's gretsch kit, righteous. the tigers check and then seb - yeah, the same man at grenoble gig day before yesterday is w/us again tonight, righteous!
upstairs they got chow they've cooked up w/fresh stuff right from the market. it's some kind of real tasty vegetable soup - they gave me a jar of chili they handmade for me and I load the soup w/some of this (that reminds me: I saw a big supply truck for that "booger fling" fast food chain that had a retouched giant photo on its side and the words "tasty load" under it - what??!!! that reminds me of that quote "two peoples divided by a common language!), pork loin, taters, salad (BIG leaf) w/trippy dressing and an apple desert that looks good but I leave alone - a man's gotta know his limitations.
I go watch seb kick it out, great. "johnny weissmuller" is the tune I dig much (see video for it here), I gotta play it on my show, gotta make sure I can get that from him. the sound here where the gig-goers go is good here. they got an old foozball machine - I say "old" cuz the men that twirl are metal and not plastic. you know what they call it here though? "babyfood" - that's right, I shit thee not. the paper men set up as I finish an interview w/a cat named hilary, a real good one cuz I had to stop for chow in the first part. he asks great stuff, really good. lots of the first stuff he asked was about my mustache I used to wear! I meet regis (his band hifiklub here), a man I've been in contact a while cuz of collaborations w/him along w/never-quitter r. stevie moore - he's got more for me to do that way I promise I will when I get more time. it's good to meet cats sometimes that you've only known through the e, good to know. I meet two of his buddies too. regis is good people and I look forward to doing more w/him. we go down and see/hear the papier tigres go at it. I get anxious! that's a weird thing for me to deal w/and usually I don't deal w/it good. there's a tune about a breadcrumb trail I think I ain't heard... regis talks more w/me - he was in nashville w/mr stevie. earlier I forgot to say he turned on a tape recorder to get thoughts I had for a r-s-m doc, I think that's what it was for. regis fights good for mr stevie.
big cannon laser lights on the stage, trippy (the stage itself is like one of those cupboard deals, not big at all). one very cool man who's german (he spoke earlier w/miss hiyori cuz she lives in hamburg) set a fan for me. it's not the heat for me when we bring it but I feel some struggle, maybe w/the monitors? yeah, they're kind of mime but uh... it's a good wail in a way but in some points I get inside sails knocked down some - kind of like cuz I'm thinking I got the bow facing the wrong way (metaphor), I ain't smart about my tact. each time though I rally out of that stupid weakmind thing and reach out w/raul right there, tom right there... beautiful. there's some yammering from the gig-goers but not terrible and the yammering that does happen in a way is focused on the piece or rather the dynamic of the piece and not in spite of it. I feel grateful much to them and some of those clams that were earlier, stay earlier and don't echo their ghost turd on the rest of the set. the monitors don't really work unless you kick into them hard which is tough w/the tiny voice cuz well, you want it tiny, right? strange watt. I think after spiels I get weird feeling about myself too sometimes when it comes to bringing it on stage - ridiculous for me to make like a spiel should be a gig? I ask for no blame shit. I feel happening spirit from marseille folks. I think the light cannons are pounding on tom. he's having some cord issues too but he's still great, raul also, great. it's a good way for me to keep stupid shit in check, bring what's happening together w/my men. fuck, they even got good looks on their faces - chingao! love it. the encores are tough on tom, he's about to collapse all baked and w/two cables hanging from his strap, one he just added and one he had to unconnect. I get real in close w/raul's shit, he's cooking too but looks like he moved some of the light cannons. it bad on me, this heat but then again I have the fan from the german freund.
we get it done (good and happy from the folks, they help me down the steps) and here's phillipe petit who's been right up front - I get to meet him after playing his stuff on the radio, another real-life connect tonight like w/regis - yatta! great talking w/him by the babyfood table. we're joined by this cat named herve who know my il sogno del marinaio men stefano pilia and andrea belfi - can yo believe it?! god damn! he also just played w/david grubbs (andrea and stefano have played w/him too) and knows about mr jim o'rourke - he didn't know about the album me and mr jim is working on and I also hip him to the fact he's recording his first "song based" album in ten years now in tokyo. phillipe is very interesting as well - this is like gigs I'd go to in the old days and connect w/the most interesting cats... it's how I met raymond so very very long ago. I meet an artist who wants me to see some of his stuff on the web named enzo, interesting. seb gives me a fake dicks seven inch he made that doesn't play and has appropriated sleeve somewhat cuz it's mixed up w/seb and the rhaa dicks stuff - oh man, now I know where his band name comes from! baka slow learner watt. we talk about gary floyd a bunch. that guy is one of my favorite singers ever, I love him.
I go upstairs. one of the staff here's getting papers ready - they're gonna go see the bank men tomorrow in an effort to buy this pad, whoa - I hope they can do it! back down for a bit to say final thanks, then back up and rap w/the both mine and the tigre men. actually, tom had gone into konk mode and comes out in his nightwear. for some reason I put my "going home" shirt on - what? I'll have to wash that again, I'm thinking monday. back to tom: he said it was very hard for him tonight and had his puke crank 'pert-near yanked by the heat - said maybe he chowed too much close to gig time too. he still soldiered through though I tell him, much respect, MUCH. mr tom watson is not a quitter. I was talking to papier eric tigre earlier about music books, he's read lots of them. I'm scared of them some though I like autobiographies from music cats. I have to say I like any book on john coltrane just cuz. I am not consistent sometimes. what?!!! I am baka.
we have a good time. luckily we all get to konk here instead of some getting split off like what was a plan earlier when we got here. we chow some bread that tigre merchman uses a slicer to cut so thin you would not believe it. that and some great cheese plus olives makes for good mouth stuff while words compete to make their way out past what's being forced in. there was some irish whisky. eric had some mota in w/cigarette "you wanna know, you wanna know!"
I konk in chonies w/out shawa back in the bunk room. man, we had a good time here, it's coming on four bells!
friday, october 28, 2011 - montpellier, france
there are 11 of us in the sleeping room and i hear a variety of snores and breathings when i slip in and out of sleep. eventually i wake and make some coffee and talk with raul till the others begin to rise. there isn't a big rush to get going cause we have a 2 hour drive today to montpellier. i wash my feet, drink coffee and write. we gather our stuff and raul and i load out with kirk, and then help with papier tigre's gear. we begin our trip to the next show. we arrive at the "secret place" and load in. we have to wait for papier tigre because raul is using pierre's drums, but we are early, so no problem. we have a little trailer for a backstage room, and there are supplies for our needs. i try the mine, it's nice. there is a small jar of pickled beets that are grated into a kind of slaw that i add to a piece of bread and salami. after soundcheck we hang out and eat with papier tigre and the opening band, harris matrix. once the show starts i do a little resting in the trailer, but i'm up and i feel ready when it's our time to play. i have a good time playing, we have few mistakes, but mike's strap breaks at the end of amnesty report, so we stop there instead of doing the minutemen songs. we slowly get loaded out and into the van, and head about a half of a block down the road from the secret place to the sun hotel. kirk and raul and i share a tiny room that's sort of laid out like a house boat, and i wash up and fall asleep.
pop at eleven bells, can't get no hose-down on cuz of perpetual benjo (jap for head - and that's not the the body part hooked to the neck) bogart. no matter cuz maybe somedays on tour (and even at home, truth be told) ain't meant for hosing off. I guess it's either that or maybe one just ain't tried hard enough.
just like laxmou, europe 'puters can see the wifi that works here but mine, tom's and raul's (the non-europe ones) can't - what the fuck is that about? it ain't a windblows thing either cuz miss hiyori's macair can, therefore I have to bring on the kludge and update the hoot page via hers. sorry for sounding like a whiner cuz it's more of an inconvenience than an actual foot in the ass. tom makes coff for everyone (several pots cuz it's small italiano one to make it from) and even boils up some eggs though I throw down only coff into my in-hole. after thanking everyone here, we shove off at quarter of two. marseilles sure has the tiny streets going. there's graffiti that turns out to be the "marquee" or whatever for a fire station - you know the firemen in france have chrome helmets, right? the look trippy/interesting. in w/some beat up oldage is a corny-ass fast food billboard:"strong bacon vs hard pepper" - c'mon, the same fucking place is selling both burgers. this idea of making choice an actual reality sure gets used a lot for maketing shit to people, huh? we go by a donner kebab supply place...tom wants one for the boat, one of them gyro rotating cookers! that would be a trip. we stop for gas and wheelman/roadboss kirk decides tires need filling - an aware man is a happening man, respect to him.
I read this bbc radio ulster review of our gig near the beginning of the tour in belafast and think of paul harvey - aint that a trip? anyway, very kind of this writerman. tom breaks out this netted sack of some great tiny oranges. we always take what's in the dressing to get chowed the next day in the boat ride. thinking about last night - fuck, I should've said hi to older bro of simon (last night's gig boss) bruno last night (his ma asked me to) but fucking spaced, god damn it.
we get to talking about this killer dreamer gig at harold's in pedro - raul was drummer in that band and his cali mucho partner kid kevin was on guitar. well, they were playing this gig - harold's for a long time was/is a biker bar but a few years ago started having punk gigs via of vinnie vegas who is very cool people - originally from the hill (p.v.) but pedro for a long time. anyway, this biker bday party was supposed to be over in time for their gig but these other cats weren't obviously done cuz one of them took a lit cigarette out of one their buddy joey's mouth and put it out on his forehead. then the knives came out all slashing but no one stabbed. actually big instant karma cuz cigarette man slipped in beer right after doing that and fucked up his leg. raul and his guys tried a little later but how came the knives again. this inspires me to relate one halloween me, d. boon and our buddy dirk spent at a biker get-togther... maybe I'll relate that one day - but not this one.
it's looking a little like new mexico out the window. we chow cheese salami, cheese and bread from grenoble gig - tom says he thinks he's at his smartest when not thinking says it was good idea to put bread in w/the other two things. I tell him whatever it took, he has it and I'm glad. though I'm wrong more times than he is, we pass a gypsy encampment and tom thinks it's a campout! ok maybe he's wrong this tim but even more 'tard even more 'tard is kirk playing deerhoof and raul not knowing who it is - what?! you gotta be kidding me. fuck it, I'm just kidding. I love my men. me and tom both school raul on deerhoof. their guitarman john is part of an album that's coming out soon on post-consumer in a couple of months.
montpellier is in the languedoc region and is about a hundred miles west of marseilles (cote azur region) but like yesterday's drive, not as the crow flies. it's gray and no sun, looks like it rained last night. we drop anchor a little after five. the venue's called "secret place" and looks kind of new, built at the end of a small industrial park. arnaud is the man ("but not a boss" says soundman jeremie), he asks me please go on last even though it's our turn to go ahead, I want no hell on him. we check our sound w/jeremie after the tigre bros cuz the arnaud "appeal" came then - no prob. I then do a spiel w/a very cool man named rob who's from pennsylvania, near lancaster. he asks me lots of stuff regarding literature as well as music. what he asks is genuine from the heart, I like spiels like that. there's a radio one right after from a frenchman named romain and his interview is way focused on "hyphenated-man" so again I'm into it big time. his observations and investigating questions are insightful, like rob's were only coming from his perspective. when he finishes, he introduces his friend - goddamn if it ain't marc from etant donnes - I can't fucking believe it! oh man, I think of the first single by metal urbain when it came out - the first thing I heard punk ever from france! anyway, marc gives me a record him and alan vega just collaborated on an album called "sniper" - crimony!
while I was rapping w/rob, tom brought me dinner chow: string beans, something like couscous but called quinoa along w/pork w/little pieces of fat tied to it. there was something like a chili there I used but actually it was some kind of minced pickled beets and horseradish, it tasted trippy - I liked it. finished w/the shoveling after the spiels I saw montpellier band harris matrix open up the show. ok, we're underway. character builder for hometown band? character builder. for the papier tigre crew, a character builder? me and raul up front when they start function as some cave-fill, those who were at outside bar come in also as the tigres show their sound claws, bear their beat teeth. damn if this room ain't loud - the only thing covering the sheer bulkheads are pictures of gigs and the stage being a low one made of cement combine for some maybe difficult acoustics. our nantes bros (that's the town their from) still sound good though.
when it's our turn I wait for the exact moment for our character builder "moment" which is eleven pm. it ain't a work night - I tell the folks thanks for being here on a going out night and that eats up enough time along w/a tiny explanation of what we're gonna do to get our down beat right at blast-off time. you know, for a character builder - fuck, let me put it this way, if you ain't ready to burst it (I didn't chimp bust but burst) on one of these then maybe you shouldn't be in this racket. I mean I ain't gonna lie and say it ain't been tough for me but I really believe you should man up and work this shit. this room though - I mean you hit an 'f' note, you would not believe how it roared out. I had to ask raul to do something... and he did. again I'm gonna chimp here how grateful it is to work a gig w/tom and raul who tear it up and seriously - yeah, we're seriously having some fun working this opera, punching it up good and then getting it little when it needs to, the gig-goers w/it. respect to them! the tigre bros are right in front of us, whoa! I get shy a little.
the folks want an encore and we give them a couple (make up on the red krayola one for big time clams last night - that was ridiculous) before my fucking strap breaks and I'm out of the race, sorry, good people. I'll fix it tomorrow. I meet some gig-goers that are u.s., one's from north carolina, the other's from georgia - both good guys, so glad to meet them. tony maimone recorded and mixed my "hyphenated-man" album and his cousin hugauze, a drummerman w/a band called dot dash who has many minutemen albums for me to sign and he's great to talk to. respect.
I go out to put up the most recent diary I've chimped (the wifi don't reach these dressing rooms which for some reason kind of like trailer trips you see at festivals) and damn if I don't crumple yet again (frist time this tour was two days ago in grenoble), this time in gravel but again luckily I ain't hurt. actually, I almost went down at soundcheck in the club cuz of some slippery metal grating but right after kirk put a rug there so it wouldn't happen again. and speaking of roadboss kirk: I finally fucking didn't space and got it together enough to remember to thank him on the mic when we finished playing for the righteous work he does, what a happening cat he is for us and fuck, I can't say enough bitchin' things about him cuz he's gone up and over of anything that could even be considered an expectation, he's just the best and very cool people, truly. this makes me glad I did this cuz he big time deserves it. I think he's wonderful and feel honored to be w/him - this is what my men have told me too. oh yeah, I'm hipped to the fact that I'm a total baka for thinking that the foozball table game over here in france is called babyfood when in fact I fucking heard wrong and BABYFOOT is the right name. what a fucking 'tard I am, god damn.
we're konking at a 'tel real close by called the "sun hotel" and it one of those kind w/a shawa in the hall everyone uses so I hose off there before getting into the nightwear, getting back to the konk chamber, getting into the sack and then... out.
saturday, october 29, 2011 - marmande, france
at about 5am, i have to open a window for oxygen. then i remember someone telling me that there many wild cats in the area, and i decide to close the window a little bit. once my brain starts to think about things like that i wont be able to get back to sleep. i do, however, and i remember dreaming about having the ability to levitate, and in the dream i float down into a small canyon, but going back up is a lot harder and i hover only a few inches off the ground. it was kind of humiliating. i tell raul about later, while we sit out in front of the hotel waiting for the others, and it seems funny in hindsight. we get on the road at about 11, and roll westward. we pass many old towns and wineries, and watch the landscape change for a few hours. i have time to think about a lot of things, like having the experience of touring through other countries and how much i love to play music, and other stuff. we arrive at marmande a little early and load into the space where we'll play. it's located outside of town, not much around except a little mosque across the street. i change strings. we have time to kill, paper tigre shows up an hour or so later. after we all sound check we sit down and have a french meal with everyone. chicken, pasta noodles with cheese, a rice dish with vegetables and a balsamic dressing. and potato chips on top. there's also bread and wine, of course. i rest backstage as best i can. as the night goes on it's becoming clear that the turn out may be thin. it's a big room, and you really feel the emptiness in this sort of space if there's a light crowd, and it can effect how you play. papier tigre charges through their set, and it sounds good. raul and mike and i watch the whole thing. we set up quickly and push though our set, with a couple tough spots, but mostly strong and i help kirk move gear outside immediately after playing. there is another band playing after us and we want to get our stuff out before they begin so we don't get trapped. our instinct is to go, so we all step up load out and get all ours and papier tiger's gear outside asap. we loiter for a little, mike has to chat with a couple fans from bordeaux, and then we caravan with the tigre's to a little house where we get to stay for the night. there's a washer and dryer in the garage so we do a couple loads and drink a couple beers and hit the sack, cause we have a long drive to paris tomorrow. i climb into a little bed and sleep.
pop at eight, no free shovel so I chimp and update internet stuff - the got slow-ass wifi but it is free and you gotta grab that sitch if it's happening cuz most usually, it ain't. now for some reason I thought we were pulling anchor and noon but a quarter after ten brings tom to the hatch to enlighten me to the fact it was decided it was ten - aaaahhhh, baka watt! so sorry, so sorry. immediately I get out of the fucking nightwear and into the daytime outfit. I get myself to the boat as quick as my hobbled ass will allow me. I apologize to everyone for being so baka. I wear green flannel while the gig shirt dries hangning on a hanger - I washed it in the sink last night and the 'tel had no hangers - had no phone either, that's why tom had to pound on the hatch to notify my tardy ass we were supposed to be shoving off. this pad was fine (little bunk too), I ain't trying to make excuses.
we head west to the aquitaine region where the smaller town of marmande is, about an hour south of bordeaux in france's southwest. passing toulouse, we pass a monument to the cathars - I stopped here during the last tour of my second opera to both check it out and think about stuff. it is some trippy sculpture and some righteous vista. wheelman/roadboss not even lifts foot from accelerator, we gotta move. raul remember being there to tom who comes back w/a description of this "puddle duck" flannel and I in turn remind him of us both on tour in the 80s (remember that tom was in slovenly) and him wearing that when he konked in an empty fireplace, all curled. now it wasn't a functioning fireplace (he wasn't konked in any ashes) but it must've been cold enough for him to seek refuge there. after that, george hurley's nickname for tom was "puddle duck" - indeed. what's a trip is after we pass carcassonne (I played w/the stooges there a few months, inside the very castle!) and stop for kirk to chow, look what the suzume (sparrows in jap) are doing - using the puddles in the parking lot potholes to take little splash baths. it's not really the same but kind of close, close enough for a 'tard like me to trip on the what seems a parallel. oh yeah, there's some gummi octopi to be chowed that miss hiryori bought at an auto stop at an aire... but eyes on top of their heads? c'mon...
back underway, I chimp diary then talk w/tom about gary floyd and how we love him. raul knows a lot about the dicks too. tom for a while lived in san francisco and that's where gary went after he left austin. I just think he's the best singer. I had the dicks' tune "shit on me" as my message machine announcement for many many years - 'til the fucking machine broke! a big break in conversation, I chimp more diary and then tom starts quoting drug talk he must've seen in some movie I know nothing about. getting closer the sun starts coming out, yatta! it cost ¤50.70 in peage to get from montpellier to marmande (about $71 u.s.), whoa. gotta do what you gotta do though. we find where we're playing kind of on the outskirts, by the train tracks. it looks like it's part of a school or something, it's called "petite theatre" and across the alley it's on is a mosque. more of a big cinderblock room w/a stage almost a third of the size of the place. I meet the promoterman fred, a very nice cat. first time he says he's done a show here. we're to place second and papier tigre goes on first. a french band called les touffes kretiennes which calls themselves a twelve piece crazy punk brass band goes on last. we chow some bread w/a chicken pate, a pig pate and wait for our turn to soundcheck. papier tigre arrive at six pm - they said they were up w/their buddies in a montpellier band called marvin 'til six am!
we do soundcheck w/soundman michelle, a guy my age. his helperman is julien. cool people. after check, I talk to two cats outside, pasquale and frederich - these cats are also very cool. their english kind of tiny but still we can communicate. the chow is some broiled chicken, like a rice pilaf and some pasta covered w/melted cheese. it's all real good, really oishii. eric had gone into the town to get two great bottles of wine - I remember one called perebo and they are good to drink w/some cheeses on a plate arthur hands me. the papier tigre guys are learning me!
their merchman bill watched some of the gig near me - he's got one of the weirdest halloween decorations (not really a mask cuz all his face is showing) on his head, like a big wide headband w/those things that came out of the monsters neck (bolts?) way bigger and coming out the side of the head and all drooping. halloween's monday though!
ten bells when our tigre guys hit, I stand right up against the stage, between eric and pierre. not only do I see/hear everything, I fucking feel it. I absorb their whole set like a facial. it's good for me cuz I was feeling tired but they fire me up. it's a character builder again, also like last night and like last night, a weekend cuz it's saturday - what gives? well, it's all part of some plan to get us learned so I'm philosophical about it. character builders have their purpose, like I was chimping in yesterday's entry: maybe they're wring out some chaff. I really get a take on what arthur does in this band: his guitar w/some bass player elements, the syncopation he gets going w/both other guitarman eric and drummerman pierre - his work w/either drumstick or drumsticks on his own snare too. on the guitar he works his palm real good mutes as well, giving rhythm "chunklets" character to his string work as well a hand to mute the snare w/his percussion. the way he works his pedals is interesting also - actually both and him and eric keep the pedal stuff from drowning out the basic sounds their guitars have. this is good for me cuz where I was feeling kind of down and tired before they played, I now am charged up for our set. thanks, guys.
the change over is quick, just a switch of the amps and some angle on the drums - raul uses kirk's hardware/cymbals but the drums are pierre's gretschs, so kind of him. man, standing in front and getting a chestful of those toms and kick was righteous! we're ready to go right at eleven. we don't wanna bogart for the guys after us. second character builder in a row, I lose a little nerve and clam right in the first parts which gongs the wakeup bell in my head, let's hustle down on this and get a focus on, I'm thinking and rally myself. we get to the more dynamic sections and there's yammering, isolated islands of it and even some moanings (attempts at harmonies?) - I think tom got distracted some (I actually got more together in some kind of weird positive reaction - clams went way to the minimum too - why?! maybe the papier tigre pre-charge?) and he had some dynamics issues. I still think he did good though, despite that - tom w/this piece has always been a strong starter versus a strong finisher. to try and show solidarity w/him, I play the whole last two bars out of key big time on purpose but resolve for the last note on the root - it is metaphor for how fucked up things can turn out really ok. kind of crazy to illustrate that way as part of a gig but I felt it had to be done that way tonight. I always want tom to feel I'm on his side and give some good back and neck rubs as soon as I tell the gig-goers thanks.
I'm very grateful we get all loaded up right after finishing. no encores - I wanted no bogarts on the band after us, they don't deserve that. there's some very nice guys who rap w/me outside the venue as we're gonna shove off - at the last minute they want the third opera on cd. I talk w/them, they are very sincere - as is frederick, the man I met this afternoon and explained to him my pop's pop was from scotland, his ma's people from denmark, my ma's pop from sicily and her pop from the dolimiti part of italy. he got a kick out of the and now relates it to me w/a big ol' laugh, mostly in his language w/heavy accent on the rest which is in mine. big hugs. for the younger men too. they know "we jam econo" and one even though he lives in bordeaux now (had to take the train), originally this is his town - ain't that a trip? merci, frere (thank you, brother).
the promoterman gave keys to his pad to the papier guys cuz he wants us to konk there. so very VERY kind of him, especially w/out the gig being over yet, I am grateful cuz damn if I ain't beat. like the venue, no internet available but that's no big deal. he gave us a bottle of four roses and it's so mazui (terrible taste), I gotta chase w/orange juice. we have good talks w/out tour bros for a bit but damn if I ain't tuckered and konk wearing only chonies.
sunday, october 30, 2011 - paris, france
at 3 am we 'fall back" and have to change our clocks, so we gain an hour, which is nice, but i get up at 8:15 and clean up and go downstairs to get my clothes. hiyori kindly took everything out of the dryer and folded it. thanks hiyori. i drink a cup of coffee with papier tigre before they have to shove off for paris, and get my stuff together. we have a 7 or 8 hour drive today, like L.A. to S.F., so we get on the road and i meditate in the van for a couple hours. we stop to get gas and i try a slice of pizza with tuna on it. it was good, but really fishy. i will need a tic tac. the drive goes by relatively painlessly, but costs many euros to use the roads. it gets cloudy as we approach paris. the petit bain is a brand new floating venue, permanently anchored to pilings but able to move up and down with the tides. we load and hang out with papier tigre until the doors are opened. they screen the "we jam econo" film first, i Skype with caroline and bring my computer in front when the tiger's play to let caroline check it out too. she dances on the screen. it's our final gig with the tiger's and they play a great set and then raul and mike and i join them on their last song. then local man, christoph plays a solo thing that diverts the audience from the stage while we set up our stuff. i check out as much of christoph's music as i can, very entertaining, and i think about what a great format tonights show is for the viewers. soon we do our thing, i feel like i play good, and at the end we have papier tigre join us for a fun version of funhouse. it was a very comfortable and enjoyable evening complete with amazing foods prepared by christina and her crew. merci everyone. after saying goodbye to the tigers, we set out to drive 80 km to where we will stay tonight, and tomorrow night. i fall asleep in the van and when we arrive at the house i crawl onto a mattress in a large sleeping room and get some deep rest.
day light savings time ended so when I pop and see that my watch says nine and half, a little pondering relieves me that actually eight and a half and I can make the nine am shove off w/out holding us all up. I hose off upstairs. hey, raul washed my gig shirt (there's a washer in the garage here), very kind of him. actually it was very kind of him to take the stenched gig shirt from me and hand it to miss hiyori, who had done all the real washing w/raul only being the delivery man. I found this out later and am carlifying this best I can. I think the tigre cats blasted off like twenty minutes before us so that idea from the first day about making a convoy (via their merchman bill) never came to be this whole time. oh well. nine bells and we're off...
now miss hiyori had also yesterday bought at a grocery store in marmande some cheese and salamis (including some of those tiny ones I had the other day and some slices of green peppercorn ones) so on our way out of town and after dropping the keys to the pad of the promoterman (never saw him again, damn - merci monsieur) off at a brassier near the train station, there's staffs of bread at a gas station we get and fill w/the stuff for breakfast chow. back whence we came 'til we hit the road for bordeaux. nice sunny morning, it lasts about forty minutes and then fog envelops us. just west of bordeaux, stopped by the douanes (border) police at a get-a-ticket-for-toll place. they pull us over for some third degree, like what kind of music? I always give the "jazz fusion" answer cuz you can imagine after hearing that, usually very quickly they want you out of their face. in fact that's what happens. merci, officers, merci beaucoup. the fog even begins to lift as we resume our drive - man, it was like an hour and half of that soup.
tom in front of me, konked... raul next to me, reading "on the road" by jack kerouac and every now then tom will pop to spout stuff most enlightening mixed in w/yammering and gak-talk before falling back into konk, interesting. he's wearing red pants. more fog, in and out as we move through valleys. stop for coff. they call this pulloff places "aire" along w/a name relating to kind of where it is. I think it might mean "area" in english? think so. oh by the way, speaking of things BEAT, there was a cat named shig I sure wish I would've met. so glad charley plymell came into my live - or mine into his cuz I love him much.
still about two hundred miles from paris, we pass something trippy called futuroscope but I can't get a good enough look to see what it is, some kind of theme park or whatever? (found this out it about later) still lots of farm land and rolling hills w/travel through. passing tours (in the loire valley), very nice weather... actually this is as far as the moors got into europe, in they got beat in a battle here 1279 years ago this month. the vineyards we saw so much of now are huge crop farms as we move through the centre region. stop for gas, the men except for me fuel their guts up as well - I'm gonna hold of for paris. I do have a couple gummi frites (fries in german) but they ain't sour enough for me - glad they were small. I'm gonna pass too on more of those gummi octopi I had yesterday - "hold out for paris, watt." I finish chimping about yesterday.
damn, there goes the sun, gray returning cuz of clouds. trippy, two big cooling towers from a nuke plant we pass look like the source of the cloud blankie is actually them cuz of their steam cloud uniting w/the overcast. also, an hour of daylight is lost cuz of last night's time change. about ninety euros (approx $122 u.s.) in autoroute tolls to get from marmande to paris but truth be told, this is a larger vehicle. the highways in paris starting at its massive burbs are massive plugs. of course this is the big town for france, the capital. tonight's venue is called "petit bain" in a boat on the seine in thirteenth arrondissement. this boat has no motor but it ain't a barge cuz big some-kind-of holders let it go up/down w/the tide but not fore/aft/port/starboard. actually the name means "little pool" in french, trippy. it's all painted yellow w/nice wood work, seems pretty new w/shiny aluminum gangplank. trippy too is the first of the eight french gigs started last week in lille on a boat and now the last one a week later is all on the water. five pm, damn, that was eight hours at the wheel (416 miles!) for roadboss kirk today - ok, we had a couple of stops but... HUGE respect to him.
I meet the bookerman for papier tigre, julien. he's the man who's responsible for allowing me for the first time to bring mike watt music to france. he's good people, a young man and his partner henri at murailles music are very happening. julien's girlfriend's here also, heavy w/child... she doesn't mind the little in her will get bathed in bass! I promise to watch the low end.
the promoterman macario's ma has made us a buttload of chow, you wouldn't believe it. macario has the "we jam econo" minutemen documentary playing as I shovel some happening lasagna and au gratin potatoes, really tasty. I go upstairs to do filmed interview w/hostlady valerie from tv show "tracks" from the "arte" channel. she's really done her homework and is very genuine w/the questions. then I do spiel w/paolo for "bassiste" magazine who's great cat and very enthusiastic about what I like much: bass! then I do spiel w/another nice cat named benoit for "guitarpart" guitarpart magazine. of course I like people who work guitar cuz us bass players look good making them look good - love those kind of politics. in the middle of this last spiel I have to run out and do the last tune from papier tigre - they're having us all on for their last tune (it's called "restless empire") - tom was supposed to tell me the chords but didn't (his vision of empire) and so I gotta use my ears as we're doing it. actually we'll play w/them again, at the end of our set. I was a little afraid cuz I wanted to do good for the papier men, these eight gigs w/them sure have been righteous.
from the crowd, monsieur le directeur does his set, very happening! yeah. respect to him, great. l'oie de cravan publisherman chapu who no only put out my "spiels of a minuteman" but also is a dear dear friend. of course his quebec french is funny for the france cats but tabernak! that's how it goes. he has the best spirit ever and he makes any words come alive w/a righteous joy.
we come on not too long after le directeur, it's a work night and it's coming on ten-forty. soundman fabrice had no chance for soundcheck (we couldn't do one) and so has to wail it on the fly. we bring on the piece after some rambling spiel - not too long but still fucking lame rambling in a way... people I gotta admit if is big time difficult for me to work gig after doing spiels cuz for some goddamn stupid reason, I get all kinds of weird feelings after - some bad ones even about feeling kind of self-important for delivering such monologues and it's kind of ridiculous. the piece (third opera) has not nothing to do w/this, neither does tom or raul - it is big baka on my part. ok, the monitors were kind of toy and that was a little tough but "a poor carpenter blames his tools" - right? the paris gig-goers are great, turly - w/both ttrulyfocus and respect. I blow some clams. I get some insecurity going. tom blows some clams (not as many as me) but he's got great body language going. it's a trippy way to bring the piece, I wish I could've had it more together or just not so self-conscious and kind of insecure, fuck. what's a pecker to do? get it fucking together, that's what! we deliver the opera, my eyes feeling like sometimes they're crossed... I know my tongue was hanging out sometimes - it's been doing that all tour... puffed-out cheeks have been a part forever of my face in a gig. raul breaks our man kirk's kick drum pedal in the encore. damn. shit happens though and it like raul is a fucking pounder. we bring on papier tigre at the end to the stooges "fun house" w/them, intense! I asked each one of them to "BLOW!" one at a time. it's wild.
so many kind people - fuck the people here at petit bain itself, this bro from the u.s. named black, much resepct to him. respectanother cat from russia who wants to bring the third opera there - whoa! sad, we gotta do last hugs papier tigre, sad... these times like this always are...
macario's brother masai and his lady aurelie ride in the boat w/us to their ma's pad in erquery, a little village of around five hundred people about fifty miles north of paris. just before bailing, I take pictures for matias but he hates flash and wants to come to where we're konking tomorrow and use natural daylight. he's very cool people and from argentina - he really wants me to play there. it's an hour drive to this pad that's pretty unblievable - I unbelievableike three hundred years old plus but lots of modern stuff done to it - IT? actually it's several old separate buildings hooked together! some bordeaux wine gets broke and some fucking oishii cheese - oh man. a freind of macarifriendcal, comes by and has a minutemen "what makes a man start fire?" album for me to sign, no prob. he's a nice cat. man, what a way to celebrate last french gig. the only sad thing was the tigre bros had to stay in paris cuz of comittments and commitments this righteous pad to be w/us one more time, damn.
I have to excuse myself cuz of tiredness. I've already hosed down and am in nightwear so ready to drop and konk. there's been a whole area laid out for us w/konk mattrresses and mattresses three and half am so I apply konk mask cuz I just know I'll need konk past sunrise. down goes...
tuesday, november 1, 2011 - antwerp, belgium.
[monday] i awake and join the others for some coffee and i see the amazing buildings and grounds of this compund-like country home. some of the constructions are from the 1400's and even earlier. there's an old barn, a tower where carrier pigeons were kept, a stable and rabbit shed that is now a nicely renovated living space, a chapel, and even ancient tunnels going underground. we get the tour and also see an area below the main building that has an oven for making bread that's hundreds of years old. mind boggling. today is halloween, and we don't play tonight so we just hang out and talk, raul and i throw his frisbee around. a photographer friend of steve shelley's, matias, comes out from paris to take some pics of mike and us for a magazine called inrocks, and we talk about the possibility of playing in his country of argentina, among other things. christina is busy in the kitchen creating a masterpiece of food for everyone. i usually have anxiety on a day off from playing, but this is more like vacation. it's kind of impossible to put into words. as the sun goes down, i do a little Skype, and then we sit down to eat a venezuelan feast with black beans, rice, little bread things and various items. of course there's some intense cheese to test ourselves with. after a little conversation my body shuts down again and i wake up with my clothes on sometime after everyone has gone to sleep. i change into my sleeping uniform and get some proper rest.
[gig day] i wake early and walk downstairs and see the sun rising over the stone wall to the east. i take some pics in the empty living room area and go back to sleep. i think i am catching up on missing rest, touring can sometimes be more tiring than one realizes, and times like this are valuable for staying healthy. i still have a little cough, but i feel good, however, there is some fatigue in the muscles. we all rise eventually, and i shave and drink coffee. in a little while we all sit down to eat a final meal together with macro and christina, and manou, and define, and christoph and masai. sorry for any spelling errors. we have to get rolling now, so i'll come back to this later. we get to antwerp and load with help from peter. then we plant ourselves in the back room area and do internet. we eat some tomato soup, chicken, veggies and salad before we play. the dirty beaches are playing with us tonight, alex and frank, from canada. i understand that frank has only recently joined alex, and the beaches have been a one man band till now. both of them are very cool, and i briefly meet another guy with them whom i don't get a name from as well as a young lady. we talk over dinner, then we go up to play. it goes well, with the exception of a broken kick drum pedal, that kirk quickly repairs in mid-song twice. after we finish, dirty beaches play an interesting and beautiful set of dark and minimal dream pop songs. i like it a lot. after the gig we find our hotel and raul and i sleep in one room and kirk gets his own tonight. he deserves it very much. before sleeping, raul and i have a beer with mike and hiyori and talk. raul and i decide to go downstairs for smoke and bump into the dirty beaches crew as they check in. we share compliments and then we call it a night. tomorrow's a big drive to dresden.
halloween I pop at eleven bells and hose off. a little while for the warm water - thought I was gonna have to go all teutonic on myself. it's sunny out, wouldn't know it was the last day of november. this pad is a bunch of old building right up on each other and in fact, some of the joined to make the living quarters part. there's also a chapel right next to that part w/bells ringing on the hour. the german shepherd (name is pancho) sing along to the peels. macario's ma is so very cool people - she rustles us all up a huge great chow around one which has lots of last night plus stuff she's wailing on now but I go w/the lasagna again cuz the taste was just the best. the living part of the collective is really laid out interesting - lots of paintings from macario's pop on the bulkheads. there's a collection of helmets on some shelves - it's real close to where lots of first world war fighting was so there french and german army ones - masai says he uses a metal detector to find stuff. man, so much oldage and then like I said, a modern artistic thing mixed in - very VERY cool pad...
now tonight is halloween and I think up to this point I'd done like twentysix of them in a row where I play a gig in a costume - sometimes in just a mask or sometimes w/a pumpkin where I'd cut out the bottom, then the eyes/nose/mouth and wear it on my head - w/a flannel on it looks real good, all icabod crane-like. you understand why I dig halloween? it's the ONE NIGHT a year we admit we wear fucking costumes. I find it cathartic and it's also really hard playing w/shit on your head like a pumpkin or whatever. it's sad not playing but that's tempered by what a nice time it is to be here. I stay in my nightwear 'til four pm even, my levis getting washed - chonies too (five pair). matias takes pictures of me w/the natural light like he wanted to yesterday in paris. he takes shots of me and my men in front of the old tower which was used as a coop for carrier pigeons. macario's ma makes us a righteous supper of this special biscuit-like bread to chow w/black beans and rice after some really good salad. many cheeses are here to go w/the wine, oh man, it's just so happening. I have a little bit more than a tiny amount of wine. first raul whupped me up big time in chess and then did masai I tipped my king for each meaning I'm done. both times a little yoparai and helped them some by giving away key shit, I was baka but still, good job by them. I konk around midnight. this was second and last day off of the tour.
gig day and I pop at eight, hose off and get coff from macario downstairs. he talks to me about plans he has in mind. he wants dos to do a forty gig europe tour! unfortunately a lot of the next year for me is already committed to. he is very enthusiastic though, love it. we'll work something out in the future, yes. another great chow from his ma though a little before we had great eggs fried by miss hiyori. I get some recording (via movie mode on my canon digicamera) of pancho howling to the church bells, very happening. big hugs for everyone, we must pull anchor. half hour after noon it starts to rain as we shove off - damn, yesterday was righteous sunny big time..
188 miles from erquery northwest to antwerp, we cross into belgium just before two and a half - au revoir, france. we go to get diesel at a filling station - nope credit card only so diesel but I do get a sack of chips ("lay's" brand even) but they're "bicky crisp" flavor - what? it tastes like a hamburger w/catchup and pickles, trippy. back on the road, kirk points out the memorial for the battle of waterloo. there's only a little bit of the french part the way we're going so soon we're in flanders. antwerp is on the schelde river and you put that w/the muese and the rhine and you got the biggest estuary in europe. we pull in at four. man, is it gray but at least the rain that was on us in france now gone. it's still misty though and damp. 4:30 pm, another good ride from wheelman/roadboss kirk, this man's a champ. respect..
the pad were' playing is called "trix bar" and it's part of a big complex called "trix" along w/a "trix club" and "trix zaal" - kind of an all-in-one type of pad. the folks dealing w/us are very nice. we were added to the bill only a few days ago, very kind of the dirty beaches to let us aboard - their mainman alex right away and comes to say the kindest things to us after we do a quick soundcheck w/soundman stijn (I asked him how it was spelled, "s - t - e - n?" and he says "something like that" - funny cat) and then we get talking w/him and his saxman frank - both canadians w/alex in vancouver and frank in montreal. later we have chow w/them, fixed up right there: chicken baked w/chorizo along w/vegetables and salad - there was a starter of tomato soup and bread (good europe style w/crunch on the outside, soft innards)..
we open up the show at eight and a quarter. great crowd in all ways: kindness, focus and numbers too. again raul breaks his kick pedal - twice in fact but both times kirk came to the rescue cuz actually I didn't and wasn't about to stop. I think the first time was in "hollowed-out-man" and damn if me and tom both thought it raul having "piot error" problems and not hardware ones... "fryingpan-man" was the other ond. kirk is there for us, right on it. yeah! I blow some clams but no piece-wreckers. tom blows some clams - doing "mouse-headed-man" part "...and the mouse sings" w/his tone knob rolled all the way down. he's still have cord problems but not as many now that he's using the purple one of kirk's I started using and taped up. the antwerp gig-goers are amazing, truly. in the tiny parts they even quiet the drink getting at the bar, what respect - hell, much respect back to them! no encore cuz I say we must bring on alex and thank him for having us at the last minute..
his dirty beaches is righteous, I loved the set he did. lots of it has frank on sax, beret and sunglasses w/trippy augmenting w/his reed to alex's singing and guitar. lots of times alex breaks down to just singing w/stripped-down to only a machine's drum and very powerful. there's another mesmerizing time where he works his guitar into a world where I'm hearing boats in the night, it captivates me - I'm on board a ghost ship, hearing other ones close and far. "I'm your man" he sings way down from his heart at another point, "you can't replace me" at another. whoa. so bitchin' when you see someone for the first time and they blow you away. crimony.
big hugs for alex and frank - yeah I get their album so I can play on my radio show (so sorry no time for a show on this tour - probably next one after I get back from tokyo november fourteen). "safe seas" I tell them and easy load for us, the folks from the club helping much. I do an interview w/a antwerp cat who's on the ball, lots of gig-goers to give me the good word - so very kind of them. tonight was a good time all the way around!.
the konk pad's nearby and is called the tulip hotel. I am way tuckered and after some talk w/the guys, maybe twelve and a half when I konk.
wednesday, november 2, 2011 - dresden, germany
our phone rings to wake us at 8:15, and i get dressed and go downstairs to get some of the complimentary breakfast and greet the staff with my best dutch. i have scrabbled eggs and bacon, with orange juice. i change my socks. we start our trip to dresden by 9:30. a couple hours into the trip we have blow out of the left rear tire and unfortunately we can't the bolts off. we use drum hardware to extend the tire iron for leverage. still no luck...we finally call for assistance and wit and wait. after 2 hours we get rescued and we limp on the spare all the way to dresden. it's a 9 1/2 hour journey by the time we arrive at the squat-like venue. we load and grab a little food and i watch the other band play. discrace and terror are a grind core metal band from brazil, and do a good job. very loud, good players, and they look totally angry onstage, but offstage we find them to be really sweet dudes and we have a nice conversation with them all. we play a decent version of the opera, and we finish exactly at 11, their curfew time. we load out and frank leads us to his girlfriends place nearby and we find a place to sleep and i change into my sleeping clothes and mask and power down.
pop at eight and half, go to the head to find the gig shirt "washed" in the sink last night but either the shampoo/soap/whatever the 'tel had wasn't strong enough or I did a shitty job cuz it reeks. damn. baka watt. they got a free shovel in the 'tel chow area... supposed to bail at nine and a half but I'm a dawdling baka am a couple minutes late cuz of stuffing jacket w/what's known as "pocket sandwich" - when I hear "WAITIN'!" as I open the boat hatch, I feel that was most appropriate and am shamed. baka watt.
it's 472 miles straight east from antwerp to dresden. we begin our roll there... soon get diesel, one and a half euros to the liter (almost eight bucks/gallon). I chow pocket sandwich. back on the highway, soon there's traff plug, the mist-sun is white disk before becoming yellow blazeball burning through the soup. we pass into holland about a quarter of eleven... forty minutes later we're in germany and about an hour after that, BOOM aft port tire blows - luckily on a corner of a highway exchange where weren't going that fast and it's easy to get over. we get the van jacked up, the spare off (man, is it fucked up w/huge bald spot) but can't get the fucking nuts off, no way. we even try and use the drum hardware to serve as a makeshift breaker bar (the longer you can make the lever, the more torque on the nut) but no luck. fuck if kirk ain't trying though, some of his hardware getting all bent up. time to call for help. miss hiyori has a german leash cuz she lives in hamburg. the word is less than an hour but it's more like two plus... us, waiting there in the grass, looking at motherfuckers looking at us looking at them ad nauseam. finally an adac (that's the name of the company) car arrives and a nice man named thomas first tries a makita power wrench which can't do it so he gets a breaker bar out of his car and has kirk do the armwork which w/the right tool stuff (this breaker bar), he gets them fucking nuts out. the whole job takes five minutes. we're back in the race - that was a two hour setback but fuck it, at least we're all ok. after fifty klicks, we stop to check on this tire - the spare we used was pretty beat and had a bald place even. it's ok and the nuts are still good and tight. I get a roll w/a sausage on it that looks like a bigger pepperoni but has no spice to it at all. there's some lettuce in there w/it and I ask for some senf (mustard) - damn I wish we had a tube of that shit so we can always have it... just love mustard, love it.
I chimp diary, get it done and the open up the encyclopedia britannica on my 'puter and whoa, this day in history thirtyfive years ago jimmy carter was elected u.s. president - that's the first election I ever voted in! they had just lowered the voting age to eighteen.
pitch black by five pm - out here in former ddr (east germany) there's 'pert-near no lights. we pass a wreck going the other way a hundred miles from leipzig that's got plug like six fucking klicks long, crimony! kirk's digging the roky erickson, second time he's played the cd I made from him mostly w/suff from the songs roky did produced by stu cook (ccr bassman). he never did play the wipers one again...
cloudless sky, moon at half looking like the nose part of a profile, kind of - I guess it if was a button nose one. it's coming on nine as we finally get into dresden and up to the gig, a pad "az conni" that's kind of like a community center. we play upstairs but there's a kitchen/bar downstairs and I'm given some chow by gigboss frank, a very cool cat that feels a little stressed out. he keeps saying he's "wasted" 'til I tell him "wasted" in the u.s. means borracho (drunk in espaņol) and then he says, no, I mean stressed which I believe cuz he seems sober as a judge. I think he just feels things might not be good enough but damn, he only go the gig a week ago and I think for the sitch that things are fine, I reassure him and say everything's ok. the chow's great, a plate of pasta along w/some cabbage/onions combo and brown stuff I don't know what is but it's good. I use hashi to fill the word hole but also need to use it cuz this cat from mississippi named ed (he's lived here in dresden a number of years) comes by to visit, soon joined by someone else from home - from virginia even - w/her man, a german cat who's very friendly - all three of them. respect.
there's one other band w/us tonight and they're from the rain forest part of brazil (in the north), they're called disgrace and terror and man, do they whup it up. I like it. bassman give it all he has, they all done - singer man expressive w/fingers when not singing, expressive w/face always and even at times giving his own self choke-outs - I can dig it, beautiful. they finish at ten, wheelman/roadboss kirk tells me this pad has a eleven pm HARD curfew so we gotta get on it.
we're up pretty quick but the soundman is kind of moseying... time is of the essence so I try my best to relate that. quarter after and finally we're ready but a check we gotta do? aaahhh, I wanna get the piece in - not a chopped up version but the whole dealio. we bring it and though the monitors are total mime, it's a performance I dig. tonight the kick drum went out on "bird-in-the-helmet-man" and on through "fryingpan-man" before kirk could get it happen... but it's a whole different set, raul's working the house kit (made by sonor) - not the one of kirk's we used last night trippy. later tom will suggest this kind of shit happens in clumps, like the three nights in a row of breaking strings on last year's jap tour. raul says it was a duende... whoa - anyway, we never stopped. there's something I can tell you had nothing to do w/hardware, it was me blowing 'pert-near out of the water the entire lyrics to "cherry-headed-lover-man" starting w/the second verse, fucking hell (to sound a little like england cussing). oh yeah, someone whupped out a harmonica and joined us in a completely different key for "baby-craddling-tree-man" (later his buddy would ask us if that was appropriate, not knowing it was kirk who tapped him on the shoulder to can it - I didn't know either). after raul's drum hell is when I notice the person who was doing the mosey w/the sound set up has no left the board - no one's there! what the fuck, I guess we're on autopilot. I saw bald man talking to him (or the other way around) and now, board alone w/us three working the piece literally as a trio w/no fourth man (or woman), damn. even w/that disappointment I still think we did good and the dresden gig-goers were beautiful. respect to the them and frank for making it happen. we finish right on the nose at eleven so no encore but we did get through the entire piece. amen.
we pack up pretty quick (no drums to do), backstage it's a blast w/the disgrace and terror guys, they're very cool peoples. their singerman gives me a shirt, bassie gives me cd - thank you much! one of their guys they called "hato" cuz of his teeth, he shows me that they look like a mouse. gig-goers come to get autograph, many nice people. danke everyone. one cat took the train from berlin. respect.
we put frank in the boat w/us and we go to his pad not too far away, up some flights of stairs of a building from the late 1800s - yeah, they exist in here in dresden. I know the town took a terrible beatdown from firebombing in the second war but not all was ashed up. this is neat pad it must've been for some kind of business - there's two separate shitters in booths next to each other. frank and his lady dorit have a baby w/chicken pox which is a little scary for raul cuz he's never had them so we never see him, he's kept away. I get to shower, righteous - then right into the nightwear. we're all kind of tuckered and they've set up this book work room of theirs for us that's very comfortable though kirk uses his konk sack so one mattress goes empty. so be it. there's big windows w/out curtains so I make sure I got the konk mask on as I... konk.
thursday, november 3, 2011 - budapest, hungary
we rise and dorit makes us all a nice breakfast, we talk and then leave. first thing we have to do is find tires. we are denied at the local tire place and decide to get on the road anyhow. we have a 410 mile trip today so we have to keep moving, but we defiantly need tires asap. we get to prague and go to 3 different tire places with no luck. finally we go to a mercedes dealer and succumb to the prices under these circumstances. we still have a long way to go to get to budapest, so it's good to get tires now. we have coffee and check internet while we wait. after an hour or so the van is ready, but they don't put one of the old tires on the spare rim, so we are driving without a spare still. we don't have time to have it done and in our haste to get back on the road i accidentally slam kirk's arm in the side door. it doesn't close on it, but it does hurt him and i feel awful about it. sorry kirk. the road is too bumpy to write, so i will have to put this away till later. we arrive at the venue an hour before we play, and we meet the northern irish guys in the band "and so i watch you from afar", whom we play the next 2 shows with. mick puts out their records, and we have a nice time getting to know one another. they have 9 guys on the road, 4 in the band, sound guy, light guy, merch guy, driver, etc.. = several names to put to memory. we are fed with chicken, spaghetti, rice, potatoes, and little fried meatball-loafs. all washed down with magyar beer. the first band, shell beach, does their thing and then we do ours. it's a quick change over, and mike and i have to switch playing sides because we're sharing gear, and i get a tap on my shoulder from my old friend christopher simmersbach, someone i haven't seen in years. i knew he was living here, but it's still a jolt when i see his face again. for a moment i'm snapped out of gig-mode, but i have to play so we wait to get into conversation. the show goes well, though it's a little odd to play on the other side than i'm used to, because i have to keep such close visual contact with mike and raul during the set. my low E goes a little out of tune from changing strings earlier, but i do a quick tune by ear in mid song and continue. we pretty much just tear through it, with a couple moments of strange lags where i try to hang on mike's beats which can be a perpetually shifting challenge. no problem though, it's a physical piece of music and there's thrill in the recovery from any stumble we have, and i imagine the people want to see us succeed, usually. i enjoy the gig. afterwards i get a chance to talk with chris for a bit, and watch the band ("and so i..."). my knees are tired, but mike is talking to people in the crowded backstage room, so i find a place with raul on the stairs and talk with him, and then again with christopher. i met christopher years ago in san francisco when his band at the time, a subtle plague, relocated there from new york. i ended up helping with their record, "inheritance", and they motivated my old band, slovenly to play more shows and make more music at a time when we were winding down. still, it has been almost 20 years since we've been in touch. weird. the evening is beginning to come to a close, and we have lili join us in the van to guide us to the hostel where we will stay. i shower, put on bed clothes, Skype caroline, and talk a bit with the others before i fall asleep.
pop at eight bells. man, I had trippy dream: like somehow my body was outlining some kind either abstract painting or an emotional roadmap for something very particular - different angles my legs and arms made vis a vis lumps of blankie of sheet folds I was feeling through my skin - it was insane trying to cipher it - I mean not now as I chimp or even after I had just awoken but as the dream was happening, somehow I was trying to do that. there's two parakeets - one is like fifteen years old ("from my childhood" says dorit) and I try all kinds of sounds to communicate but get only tiny replies and even they seem random.
dorit has brought out a huge spread of breakfast for us. basil leaf on tomato on mozzarella olive oil soaked italian thing. a bowl of maybe eggplant and garlic w/other stuff ground up - I use that in a roll w/a slice of some kind of cheese and it's real good. same w/some eggs she's scrambles along w/that same cheese in the same kind of roll. everything fresh and good. cucucumberlices, carrot spears and coff she's just brewed after a cup of what kirk calls fruity tea - yeah, 'pert-near pink in color. so kind of her, truly!
at nine bells we leave to get tires, frank already gone so thanks only to dorit though I think he might've heard gratitude from me when he called while we chowing... hope so cuz he's a great cat. the most beautiful weather.
at the tire pad (whoa, owned by a lady, yeah!), there's bad news: fuck, out of stock for this kind of vehicle and nothing anywhere - should we REALLY press our luck? only two and something hours drive tomorrow to austria so roll the dice and go for there? a pad was found but a hundred klicks the other way... we have to play early totonightopening and not on last so that means we wouldn't make it cuz of adding 130 miles to the 422 we already got to do - fuck! good thing is the very happening weather - not a cloud in the sky... at nine and a half we head for the czech border - we cross it a quarter afte ten. fog instantly envelops us, all that bright clear blue now gone.
it's 422 miles from dresden to budapest (southeast) and w/this tire sitch, we gotta roll. lots of little road cuz of construction. we get waved over by some kind of money scam? that's what kirk thought, the guy wanting to trade gold on his neck for some enenglandounds. I think kirk pulled over cuz it looked like the guy's mercedes was in trouble. actually I was about to offer twenty euros but the guy ran away, taking his card w/him. finally we get on a big highway just outside of prague. the fog lifts but its all very very gray. aaarrrgghhh.
czech has the first real bilboards we've seen on this tour, not a lot but some. lots of czech road work, we go a bunch of detours. downtown prague has got a tirestore we stop in but kirk gets told there's none - fuck the place is full of them! what the hey? well, it was worth a try.we find another pad. that spare is not only w/bald spot but split also! we can't go further... this cat has nothing but gives and address to fufurthernto the the city. no tires that fit us here either - wait a minute... what a dumbfuck I am - why didin't I think of this back in dresden? if we need a tire that's particular to this kind of mercedes sprinter, why not check out a mercedes dealer?!!! I am so fucking baka. the tireman (very nice cat) gives us an address of a mercedes dealership three klicks away. this fucking tire's split real bad now, I don't know how far it can - surely not to budapest. I'm so weirded out I don't even take a picture cuz I'm afraid it might bring bad luck. however, the dealership comes through but it's at a fucking burnward price - for nine hundred pounds ($1440 u.s. approx) and just for two! if I wasn't so stupid and we would've done this in germany, we could've got all four for that AND one of the ones that were replace put on the spare rim - yeah, that's right: they got all einstein on us and gave us the two old tires and left the blown out tire on the rim! so we have no spare but we do have two great pirelli tires aft. and there was free internet where we rediscovered those lyrics to that fucking flinstones mindless wilma tune and finally brought some peace to our minds. quarter after two we're back on the road. we can see the sun now but it's like a white communion wafer.
man these are some roads here, worthy of a kidney belt at the least, crimony! not to be whining cuz we're grateful to be moving now in a more safe manner but goddamn are they shaking the shit out of the teeth in the fucking head. they got roadside temp signs though - it says five c (fortyone fafahrenheit we get diesel like ten miles from brno - yes, they take euros at the this agip station (czech republic uses krona), 36kc/liter which after the exchange rate is .15 euro more a liter. wheelman/roadboss kirk didn't include a map in his gps navigator for slovakia so it keeps trying to get him to get to budapest via vienna which would an hour more to our drive time so miss hiyori puts her tomtom gps machine to work and it does great. just after five we enter slovakia - these cats were united w/the czech 'til a pretty painless divorce in 1993. the road immediately seems smoother. brbratislavas the big town and the only real bright lights we see, it's pitch dark. tom's watching a movie on his 'puter that has something to do w/the comedy in the muslim world but never came out cuz it happened at the same time of world trade center attacks. he's using earbuds but can't control his laughter so in a trippy way, me and raul share in it.
at six pm we cross into hungary - both sides of the border are closed up as far as guards/inspections, we drive right though. one neat thing about lands belonging to e.u. is this.
only thing for chow since that great breakfast was fruit and stuff we've collected from our dressing room stuff at the gigs. sure is smart to stow that in the boat instead of just leaving it for dumping. out the window: no lights. my guess it's pretty rural out here. the only other time I've been in hungary was to do the sziget festival in 2006 w/the stooges and that was flying in/out so I didn't get to see much of this cocountryy road.
this is as east as we go for this tour, we arrive at budapest at eight pm. wheelman/roadboss kirk did real real good job again. the pad is called "durer kert" and maybe used to be some kind of school? there are many rooms, we get taken (what a trip, the venue man is the same cat who was stagemanagerman at the stooges gig in romania back in august - oh yeah, that was the hungarian part of romania!) to one where the guys from and so I watch you from afar are and I get to meet them, nice cats in the late twenties who just flew in from where they live in northern ireland to begin another tour leg. the promoterman matthew then takes me to a room where there's chow on styrofoam plates. there's baked chicken, rice, burgers w/out the buns (he calls "meatloaf") and spaghetti. I take it back to the room I was just in, me and my people start going at it while I talk w/our new friends. I use hashi to take it down. on stage now is the openers, a budapest band called shell beach while I can't stop myself from chowing cuz it's real good but fuck, it will make the gig hard. baka watt.
nine pm, time to get set up and go. no time for soundcheck but no prob. since we're using the northern ireland guys bass cab (we're using the svt head we're carrying), I'm where he is which is opposite how we've been doing it this tour (w/raul ststarboardf me) and it's kind of trippy but we did it this way last year for the japan tour. raul's using those guys' kit (lilibertyrums out of england) as well - so very kind of them, truly. tom's using the laney he's be using. the soundman balu (hope I'm spelling that right cuz he's really nice) does a quick check after we set up real fast. no straight stand so I gotta use a boom one and it won't adjust tight - problems later w/it moving forward but not big deal. what's a real prob is this liquid (water? beer?) that behind me, by where the shell beach drummer's crash cymbal was - I hate having my drummers behind me, I want them upstage as far as possible - well, this whatever fluid keeps creeping closer and closer on me and I even start slipping on it as the we work the piece which is going pretty good by the way, my guys and me have a handle on it, working w/a good spirit along w/the budapest gig-goers feeding back some honest flow to feed the rooms energy. some trippy stuff this room has too - smoke machine (seeing tom bathed in it) and cannon lights only five up from the deck, aimed at us horizontal! there's some yammering too but only by a select few - they know who they are... just kidding. I don't blame them feeling a little awkward w/the bizarre shit being heaved on them. raul's ride cymbal gets a ring on it at one point - maybe it's me being on the side where it is now makes it more apparent but damn in the quiet parts it kills me kind of when way out of tune. no big deal. some enthusiasm in hungarian! a few cats hollering w/us in their language makes things trippy - not lame but trippy cuz I've never heard those sounds like that w/the piece. tom beats both me and raul to the finish by about an hour... nah, more like a second or two. no big deal though, it the big picture kind of makes good sense.
no encore, this gig is for and so I watch you from afar (the bassman johnny I'm told came up w/the name) and they deserve to have no one bogart on them. pretty quick they go on and whoa, they kick it up big time, WHOA. the promoterman matthew has some interviews for me to do - first w/two cats that ask interesting stuff, a cat named gabor helping out sometimes - I give them whole monty of opera spiel w/the a.s.I.w.y.f.a. going full bore behind us (they hold the recorder up to my word hole) and actually I'm getting carried away w/it. next is w/a cat named zsolt who actually got on stage and did airbass w/me when I was here w/the stooges. he also ask happening stuff, both these spiels are not superficial one iota and are very genuine. respect.
I finish w/the windbagging right as everything's loaded and we pull anchor, the hostel boss lilly riding w/us to show the way. neat pad w/lots of bunk beads and living quarter's stuff - better than any 'tel in my opinion. I get to rap w/rory and johnny long time along w/some whiskey (beer for them) after hosing down and into the nightwear. it's a good time, truly!
friday, november 4, 2011 - vienna, austria
i wake and shave off the scruff that has been growing out of my face, and lay back down for a little more rest. there's no rush today 'cause vienna is only a couple of hours away, but once mike is stirring we all slowly regain our consciousness and resume with individual internet correspondences for a little while. by the way, this is by far the best hostel i've ever stayed in, and i get the story from the hostel manager, lili, and we go downstairs to a small bakery-cafe just outside the hostel's entrance. i pay her a couple of euros for her to buy me a sandwich with the hungarian currency, forent's. it's nice outside, the sun makes the budapest streets very inviting, and the air is perfectly crisp. it feels like autumn's last gasp before winter begins to take over. we return to the hostel and have some coffee and then mike, hiyori, and kirk emerge and join us for the breakfast snack and we talk for an hour or so before we decide to get on the road to vienna. as we are getting out the door, some of the north irish guys are starting to arise from their slumbers so we say we'll see them at the next gig and bail. we get to "arena", the venue in vienna at around 2:30, and hang out in the room that they have for us. the arena is made up of a few brick buildings surrounding an open area which was originally an old slaughterhouse. it has been converted over the years from a squat into a complex of 4 live music spaces and and has been operating this way since the early 1970's. tonight we play early (8pm) and then we have to get on the road for a few hours afterwards because it's an 11 hour trip to amsterdam. after eating some vegetable soup and pork with potatoes (which is quite good, i might say), we have short soundcheck and then the doors are open. we get an extra 15 minutes to wait till start time at 8:15 and raul and i spend time talking with peter and rupert about music and old sst days. we play one of our best sets and the sound is really good. gutty is behind the board and she does a great job, i think. the people get really into it. we have to load out right when we finish, and we get into the van within 25 minutes after our last note onstage. we say goodbye to; and so i watch you from afar, and sign a couple things and then we hit the road. mike and i have a couple short pours off of the left over jack in the van, and at some point i fall asleep until we pull into the hotel parking in regensburg, germany some 4 hours later. it's about 1:30am, and tonight we stay at the star inn and raul and i jump in one double bed, kirk in another and i drift away in the dry heat of our air tight room.
pop at eight to hose off again, had to. got nightwear washed but not dried - it's good we got hangers in the boat. you know this sprinter of kirk's is 2.8 liters high which is nine foot two something (like 'pert-near seven meters or about twentythree feet) so you can stand up easy where me, tom and raul ride. it's no prob w/shit drying on hangers. by the way, kirk says the 16.5 gallon motor (4.37 liter) gets about 400 miles a tank. I got an email from tour bookerman mick explaining the costs and so settle w/kirk today before shoving off. I like cats paid ahead of their mission's end so feel less stress that way. this wheelman/roadboss sure is righteous people who does excellent work and I feel good about giving him what he's owed.
well, I should owe up to the dumbshit move I made w/singing "it's raining men" at the top of my lungs when I popped cuz damn if kirk didn't need the konk cuz tonight he's gotta put a dent in the 726 mile hellride we got for amsterdam which means four hours worth. man, what a fucking baka tonto goof that was. so sorry, kirk, truly. I don't know what I was thinking - wait, I know I wasn't thinking, that's right, it was about not thinking/not caring and that was very baka.
the hostel boss lilly makes coff, I chow panini while we learn a little about her land from her. she's got eyes like nanny back home by which I mean you can see some mongol. nanny's ma's people are balkan slav. trippy thing about hungarian language is that though surrounded by slav, it is related to finnish which is likewise not scandinavian. humans and their connections are trippy. we shove off at eleven and a half. kind of hazy but sun out, nice.
we see lots of the hungary out the windows we couldn't see last night cuz of the darkness. pretty land, lots of farms and broad fields. only 151 miles from budapest to vienna. we cross the border w/no stops (no control) but pull off to get gas cuz back in the eurozone (hungary though e.u. uses its own forint, about two hundred to one u.s. dollar) and to get a vignette which is a sticker for the window, it costs ¤7.90 and you need for using austrian roads. makes sense and for gaijin (foreigner in jap) a lot more econo than peage! just sayin' cuz I realize roads gotta be paid for somehow.
I see a hawk chow a mouse just before we get into vienna, whoa... too fucking slow w/the camera though - fucking baka. we get to the venue at two and a half. it's called "arena" and I first played here w/the minutemen (who were opening for black flag) back in the beginning of 1983, I believe so. I know the date and the town's right - I remember snow everywhere, I think it was february. I meet promoterman krusti and there's some sandwich stuff but no senf (mustard) but miss hiyori goes and gets some. this pad use to be some factory of some sort and there's many buildings. I think as a squat it started in 1976 ("love music/hate fascism" - I love this pad's motto). I meet the cat who did my gig the last time I was here, during my second opera tour in 2005, it was at a pad called "scene wein" which he tells me now has gotten bought up by some mersh company and changed. oh well, good to see him again anyway - fuck, I spaced on his name. he can't be here for the gig but I do get to give him big hug before he bails. I chimp diary.
we can't do soundcheck 'til the and so i watch you from afar guys get here cuz again we're opening up for them, we got added to their gig like last night kind of late in the tour booking but that's how mick back in dublin rolled it. it's a good thing in that we can get out maybe at ten so kirk can get in us out of austria before we have to pull over and konk but it's lame cuz we can't spend more time w/these cats and see them again once more play. damn. they arrive in a big-ass mercedes van-bus (bigger than kirk's) that don't sound so good but hey, it got them here and it's packed to the gills. these cats travel as a nine-man unit. can you believe this: kirk went looking at four different pads for tires for the front of his boat and not one of them had any, god damn! he'll get them in england. we got no spare which is a little scary but at least the back ones are brand new and fucking happening. I think about yesterday and that was fucking scary, from dresden to prague. I make myself stop thinking about that shit.
I get chowed a slice of pork in this gerat gravy and potatoes after first doing up some righteous soup (is it leek?), all of this made here. very fucking tasty. I do an interview w/peter for slam magazine - first time I met peter it was in so cal twelve years ago and next the day gave him a personal tour of pedro. he's a great cat. we do spiel about the third opera and then I go join my men for soundcheck w/soundlady getti - this room is very good sounding one and she sounds right on top of it. another spiel for me when we finish is w/old friend and very happening rupert who's from innsbruck (on the other side of the country) and really gets into my operas, analyzing them thoroughly and finding context for perspective. I admire his thinking big time, many times he has blown my mind about my own shit - like, why I haven't I thought of it that way? big respect for both peter and rupert.
I'm finished w/these spiels w/only minutes before stage time. we're hitting it at quarter after eight. early for a friday night gig, huh? actually in our sitch it's a good thing. I think this is probably the best we've done "hyphenated-man" this whole tour. even w/me again on the lame side (stage starboard), we do real good. also real good is the vienna gig-goers which are really focused and giving us much respect - respect back to them. there's a group of listeners just in front and starboard of me laughing their heads off most of the piece and I think this is a good thing. for all the seriousness of the it, the third opera has got a lot of humor put into it, lots. I also think the way we perform it adds another comical dimension. it's neat too see that some of that translates. I am very proud to have not spaced out and thank wheelman/roadboss kirk and even say which town he comes from thinking he deserves that cuz I do it for tom, raul and myself.
no encores, immediately we gotta load out - we pull anchor twentyfive minutes after the last note of the piece. sidestage it's hugs and goodbyes for the and so i watch you from afar brothers, big love to rory, johnny, chris and mike - mike actually runs outside as I gotta get to the boat in order not to hold things up - he's got a poster in his hand for me to sign (I sign it "from the other mike") while I hear his guys wailing up their instruments inside... good brothers, I gotta play w/them again. man, have I met some great cats making music on this tour, some great cats!
I think about that as we push away. I also thank my men for doing good. like I wanted to make the piece good for the hot club de paris men, like I wanted to do it for ben in yorkshire, like I wanted to do it for the papier tigre men - like for everyone actually, I know a lot of it comes down to me but am so glad tom and raul are there to help me. kirk too. he wheels us west into the dark through austria.
I konk and then am waken when we drop anchor in regensburg, in the east part of bavaria cuz we're now in austria. this konk pad is fucking 168 euros ($235 u.s.) but I ain't gonna say anything cuz our man kirk needs konk (it's one and a half in the morning). I do hide behind pillars w/out the deskman seeing me and let very realistic huge farts sounds made by my mouth and would've totally gotten away w/it 'cept it was my fucking signature that had to go on the registration, damn. as least I didn't get knotted up w/anything close at his hand but my guys later told me his eyebrows went up each time the fake farts were blown. the chamber's showa is very poorly designed w/nothing to hang onto and water shooting at the hatch but I'm real careful and don't slip and crumple before I konk.
saturday, november 5, 2011 - amsterdam, netherlands
i am completely dried out when i wake, so i take a shower and go outside for a brisk walk down the street. i try to whistle the most annoying tune that i can think of, and succeed. i find a bakery and get a coffee and an apfeltasse pastry and walk back through a small park, stopping to view a tiny window display of german folk art dating from 1886 - 1913. i check on the van to make sure everything's cool, and see hiyori and mike exiting the hotel as i approach. they are going to find a different bakery in the other direction. i then sit in the lobby and wait for raul and kirk to emerge. in about a half an hour we are all accounted for and we resume with our trip to our final gig in amsterdam, about 7 hours away. while driving through germany we notice how many old farm houses are equipped with solar panels on their rooftops, even some of the farm lands have solar panels in place of crops. it's amazing, and we wonder why we don't see that more back home. i want solar panels. it's a long last drive from one side of germany to the other, and i think about the tour and try to remember all of the shows and the different people we'd met. it seems like a long time since we left home, and i feel ready to get back onto the things i left behind. it's a strange feeling to know that while we are gone, life continues at home without me. time passes slowly in my mind, and i appreciate the experiences i have during tour, but i also know that i have to play some catch up when i get back to L.A. and it can be scary too. i feel security in the tour bubble, just knowing the daily routine and focusing on playing well. it's what i feel most comfortable doing. having said that, i am anxious to get back as well. i have some work starting when i get back, and i want to get working on some music i put on the back burner. so, i don't feel as worried about the end of tour as i sometimes do. i am know just going to try to have the best last show tonight that i can, and have a great final night with mike and raul to complete this tour on the highest note possible. so, no matter what troubles there may be, i know how fortunate i am to play the music that i love and with some of the best guys i know. when we get into nederland we hit some traffic and slowly crawl through the middle of the country. the weather is very mild and there's no big rush, but after 8 hours, even as comfortable as it is, i am looking forward to getting out of the van. we get through the traffic and through the narrow amsterdam streets and find the gallery space where we'll play our final show of the tour. it's a nice little store front type thing and the people are very helpful and even have a saved parking spot right in front (which is incredibly helpful in amsterdam). we load and sit down to eat some thai food with home made chili sauces that are very good). after a couple small beers and some wrapping with nice people, and viewing the petition film "sir drone" thats playing on a loop in the gallery, we get up and play a really good last show. i feel really happy, and i know we all have a gpod time playing, it;'s great. we slowly pack up afterwards, leave the van where it is for the night, and walk a few blocks our sleeping place for the night. we have a short hang out and i hit the mattress and that's that.
[sunday] we all get up by 8:00, and gather things up, and meet jan downstairs for the walk back to the van. we walk along the canals and enjoy the dutch city scape in the cool morning air, and finally get to the van and say goodbye to jan and head for the airport. i have to take apart my guitar to fit it into my bag again, as well as cramming everything else into whatever space i can find. we arrive at the airport and have a brief and sad farewell to kirk, who has become a member of this tour in a big way. we we really lucky to have such a great guy with us and we'll all miss him. hiyori joins us to the ticket counter as we check in, but she has to go back to hamburg so we have another sad farewell with her too. it was incredibly great having her with us on this one, but i know we'll be seeing her again very soon. from there we have the horror of lines and airplane seats, then layover in philly and customs nightmare there, barely get on the connecting flight and then what seems like a year later we arrive at LAX, and raul and i get picked up by my folks and we say by to mike for a while and head to manhattan beach. the end.
pop at eight bells, it was most uncomfortable konk. something about no air feeling and then sensation of lungs feeling like dried out leather sacks as a result. damn. outside the weather is so very happening for this time of year w/mild temp and clear skies, we are blessed. not far to the train station to chow a doner kebab w/lots of chili and a coff. trippy breakfast but fuck it, it's good. see tom hoofing back, he had the moisture sucked out of his life also. glad that konk pad cost that much, it was worth it.
there is a machine in the lobby for gratis internet and I check mail. terrible news: carlos has lost his pop. this happened to me twenty years ago, it is very difficult thing, terrible. I write him back saying part of his pop lives on in him, I write that I am very grateful his pop raised a son like him, a man I love. it's hard to know what to say but this is what I feel genuinely. tonight I do the last gig of the tour for his pop, his name was arnold.
wheelman/roadboss kirk says last night was clear and calm too - thank god for this, it is very fortunate thing, very grateful watt. shove off at ten bells, we got the rest of that 726 mile hellride to do.
guess what? the fucking hoot page is fifteen years old! also it's guy fawkes day. I've never been in england to celebrate that, one day I hope so.
the bavarian countryside is very pretty - the whole tour we've seen so many lands show so much of their nice parts. we pass a town where so many pads have solar cells on their roofs - what about back in our land w/this idea? even old-ass barns got their roofs all covered w/them! of course we're always seeing windfarms all over this trip but the big-time usage of solar cells like here is a trip. from bavaria into hesse, in two hours we pass wurzburg. onward westward, outside of frankfurt we see a hitlon hotel built like a giant fucking zeppelin or something, I shit thee not. we stop at a serways rasthof at urbacher wald and fuck if I'm paying for overpriced chow but I do gotta pay seventy cents (about a dollar u.s.) to piss cuz that's how it is in germany - they have folks man these facilities I foul and this how them being kept clean is paid for. back outside, you would not believe how righteous the weather is, no jacket at all needed and to go w/it are these beautiful autumn orange yellow leaves. three bells and we're back on the road (kirk needed chow). truth be told: I chow in the boat the last of the rolls miss hiyori got to go w/the ham, gouda and senf.
just before five, we leave germany and cross into the netherlands. whoa, last country of the tour to be in cuz tomorrow we will fly back home from their schipol airport. we stop for diesel. by accident (no shit), wheelman/roadboss has put in like a liter (a little more than a quart) of petrol (we call it gasoline back home). this boat of his uses diesel so wrong fuel like gas in it can stop it dead in it's tracks and kill the motor. he says it should be ok. I'm hoping so cuz I dig this boat of his and dig him. yes, a few klicks down the road and I think we're ok cuz konk-outs cuz of these usually happen quick. what ain't quick though is getting into amsterdam, what a fucking plug this goddamn traff is, crimony. funny, kirk's gps navigator tells us "watch your speed" - what?! we're doing like five mph tops! motherfucker. actually the source of a lot of the hell is three car rear-ender and people are going by doing the fucking looky-loo - WHAT?! I thought we were the land that had idiot's doing that, are they looking to share the title? I guess humans ARE humans.
six and half pm we finally make it into amsterdam. the gig is at an art pad named "kafana" and it's in the middle of town, like two blocks from the dam platz. respect to wheelman/roadboss kirk for not only getting us safe on this hellride but navigating his big sprinter through these tiny streets and avoiding make speedbumps out of any of these bikes. damn, I do wish so cal had more folks riding bikes, had more bike lanes for them to do it on. shit.
vincent helps get everything in - not the typical rock sitch and it looks like they just built a stage. jan is the gigboss and turns out he brews his own beer and actually he's not dutch but from bremen, in germany. he is very cool people as is vincent and everyone involved. there's a small p.a. - sort of like the sitch we had in grenoble. it feels quite genuine, I did it. no opening band but they have a small tv doing "sir drone" in an infinite loop. this is a film raymond pettibon made in 1989 w/me and mike kelley in it. it's about a punk band in the old days. so sad the cat who played scooter is no longer w/us, he was a very nice man, very nice. his name was richie.
there's thai chow for us and it's a good shovel, some homemade habanero salsa to go w/it that's happening. many thanks again to the folks here. I meet an artist man who's live here for sixteen years but is originally from cape anne, mass. there's been a print of heironymous bosch's "garden of earthly delights" put up on a bulkhead and I explain to him so of the "men" I used for the third opera. about a third came from this work. another third came from "the last judgement" and "the temptation of saint anthony" that's in lisbon had about a third also. one each from "the stone surgeon," "the haywain" and another smaller "temptation of saint anthony" (the one at the prado in madrid) maybe this one wasn't a true bosch some argue) - this gig here tonight's the closest I think we come to where he lived five hundred years ago. we know so little about the man, what is left of him is his work - so much more than his story... but maybe that's how it was meant to be.
I meet an old friend named ron goudie outside. he was in a band called modern warfare in the old days and the minutemen shared a prac pad w/them, secret hate and outer circle in the western part of long beach. he's been here as long as that mass cat, ain't that a trip? I've met a lot of ex-pats on this tour, they're always are glad to see you and me, them. I go take a walk by myself to the dam platz, I see the 'tel I was at when I last was here w/the stooges, last time in holland w/scotty-san. I think of him and sure hope he's healing up. carlos can't be here tonight, of course. his ma needs him now.
back near the gig pad I sit on some stairs myself to think about stuff. it's kind of overwhelming. just then there's miss sally and she sees me, she came up from den haag to see the gig. she's a bass player and I love her spirit for music. we talk about music stuff, about my journey w/bass from when I was a boy. she's in a band now and gonna do her first recording soon. it's good to talk this way before the gig, very relaxed and even a half hour more than expected cuz of some folks who made reservations not here yet. ten pm is when we should hit, jan says. a good crowd a big spirit has filled the gallery.
one last time for this tour we bring the piece. tom and raul do real good (big thanks for the folks here for getting him a kick drum pedal for tonight) - at first tom had cable trouble before we even started but he got that together. the amsterdam gig-goers have much good spirit to share, whoa. I think of carlos' pop - man, I wish I would've gotten to meet him. there's a blazing halogen light behind him (he faces me so from the crowd, you'd saying it'd be to the side) that wails into my eyes everytime he moves even a little outside it but no matter, I ain't gonna stop the piece and trip on that - just makes things more "interesting" or whatever. the folks have us back to do an encore, it's been 'pert-near a week since we've done that. I screw up one part of the red krayola cover royally, oh my god. I rally and get it together though. the last tune of this tour's last gig is "anxious mo-fo" which is a tune I heard covered by miss sally, the first time I heard her on bass. I'm realizing that now on the plane flying to philadelphia - that's where I'm chimping this diary now.
after the gig I talk to many folks from actually many lands, it's trippy. they're all artist types. of course ron is there too. there's some bourbon, not too much though. I get lots of questions, sitting at a table w/everyone, "is it the voice or is it the bass you express w/best?" I'm asked. that's trippy question. it's a good time and folks wanna continue it somewhere else but we gotta go in the morning so it's over for us. big hugs for brother ajay (has very happening band called the bent moustache), so great to see him again, so great - respect!
jan is very cool people. we're konking at his pad but it's a klick away. parking is impossible there so better to keep kirk's boat here and hoof there. he loads up this big cart/pedal-trike w/our stuff and we make our way... saturday night in amsterdam, trippy. we pass ome windows w/ladies working in them. of course we cross many little bridges over many canals. by where there's a popeye coffee shop (why dio you think he's called popeye?) is the pad and we talk a little, chow a little before our last europe konk. jan says he'll be there for us at 9:17 tomorrow morning, we all laugh.
it's thirty seconds before 9:18 on sunday and I tell my guys I'm about to call bullshit when jan is right there on his bike - I have to try hard to remove my foot from mouth and keep it from getting broke off in the ass. I'd already hosed down and got into the going-home-shirt, levis that ain't be worn since they were washed at macario's ma's pad - same for socks and chonies. you can smell mota big time coming from somewhere, maybe everywhere? anyway, big hugs for him from me. he then shoves the cart/pedal-trike back to the bus w/us along, everyone taking pictures of a most unique town made all quiet but an early sunday morning, we take a different route than last night, his idea. good man, I hope I see him again soon.
wheelman/roadboss gives us our last ride, to schipol airport not too far. I pay my men, they played their asses off and were beautifully essential and enlightening shipmates. last bones for gas to righteous brother kirk, much gratitude to him. we say bye to miss hiyori who is taking train to hamburg w/way less than what she arrived in dublin w/cuz she moved much stuff. many many thanks, many. so very kind.
our us airways flight is on a boeing 757 and leaves at one pm. it's gray out but at least dry. we like the way the security is at the gate, very thorough but quicker than a general cattle call. I chowed a sandwich from a snack counter nearby w/my last euros coins. it was egg salad w/bits of bacon - I'm learning to talk like in england! it's eight hours in the metal tube to philadelphia.
it's then two and half hours in line for both immigration and security - we just make the flight for los angeles, the close the gate doors behind us! whew... we have the same exact seat numbers but we're on an airbus 319 - ain't that a trip?! no chow on this flight and noticed I didn't chimp about what I forced down on the last one? it's six more hours in the tube for us but you know what, it's great being next to tom and raul - they make the time fly by and actually on this second hitch, I got much konk. when my sister melinda comes to get me at lax, it's ten pm and that means from the time jan started pushing that cart w/our shit in it to the boat in amsterdam, it's like twentytwo hours and a half later when I push open the hatch to my pedro pad, crimony! no matter though cuz there's so much hell that could've came down so I ain't gonna whine about that.
the two main objectives for the tour (one: get my guys home safe, two: work the third opera as best we can for the people) got done, a VERY GRATEFUL watt - let me tell you. much respect to bookerman mick. much respect to timo for helping him. much respect to everyone who helped make this tour happen and that goes for the gig-goers too, HUGE love from watt. I konk in my own pad happy, very happy.
day after tomorrow I leave for tokyo to be part of "we jam econo '11" fest and record third brother's sister's daughter album... ganbaro!