mike watt + the missingmen

"third opera europe tour 2014"

tour diary

thursday, february 20, 2014 - paris, france

paloma taking raul + watt to lax on feb 18, 2014

from raul:

   slept hard last night, maybe over 10hours! that's way more than i usually do. I must have really needed it, i didn't sleep much on the flight here, and also pushed hard to stay up last night to try and get on track w/ time change for us.

   The town we're in is called erquery, maybe an hour and a half north of paris.this is my second time here, the first was a couple halloweens ago on our last tour in europe, 2012. Maybe town is wrong word, it's more a village. Masai, brother of the man who booked this tour for us, macario, had said it's population is only 620 people.really bitchin big place next to an old church, and horse stables behind that. giant yard too, has lots of character, modern mixed w/ very old. also, art everywhere inside.The father of macario was argentinian artist named mauro mejiez. he's no longer here, but this place is his personal musuem/shrine his many paintings are decorating the house. some still on easles that look liked they were never finished, trippy.

   Big treat to get the chance to come back and spend the day w/ macario and his family. watching him and his people interact and do their thing is beautiful. They're all great cooks, and in betweem making us lunch, they're also preparing dinner, and food for all the bands at the gig tomorrow night.I was sleep deprived, and probably trippin' a little, but i thought of it as a sorta dance in the kitchen.they seemed so comfortable and at ease, and that made me feel the same. truly amazing folks.

   i woke to cristine, macarios mom, calling out my name. She had mentioned the night before, that a space in the house would be used for a weekly yoga class, and would i like to join them. honestly, it's something i've wanted to try, and have just maybe been a little to insecure to give it a go. being here though, and offered, how could i pass the chance? glad i decided to go for it, a big stretch was a great way to get the day going. plus i couldnt do much walking since we had some cold weather and rain.After the yoga deal, i got the chance to meet our tour commerades guess what, and guitar man that goes by the name l'oeillere. super nice guys, stoked! rest of morning is spent loading up the sprinter, and trying to figure out the right way to get it all in there. it's a small space in the back of the van, and we gotta get gear for 2 bands, and merch for 6 weeks plus all our clothes shit, nicolas guitar and macarios record distro...whew!

   first gig is always rough. even though we've been doing practice for this just about every other day for a month and a half, my nerves still get me, and also using unfamiliar equipment can bring in a challenge too. i had some problems w/ the floor tom tonight, and also w/ the kick drum sliding forward on me. soundcheck was ok, but somewhere in between there and auctual gig, it got off the rug, and went unnoticed by me, truly dumb, it made things rough. The floor tom legs twisting and collasping was also pretty distracting. it wasnt right the whole set, but i was able to get it together, and we pulled thru. All that shit aside, i thought it was good for a first, and i was psyched to get that one under the belt.

tom watson + raul morales (l to r) at de gaulle airport on feb 19, 2014

from tom:

   day one (tuesday) of tour starts at 6:30 am, and i'm all set with packing and  feeling fine. my dad drops me at the airport and i hook up with mike and raul with no problems. one of the most relaxed check-ins ever. we get the gate and time seems to go by quickly until we board the plane, and we all get aisle seats!! i make a couple calls before we start to roll away from the gate, i usually feel a sense of relief at the point when the wheels finally leave the ground, but there's nothing to relieve this time and i just enjoy the beginning of out trip in the most simplistic way. once we reach cruising altitude i close up shop, ear plugs, sleeping mask, seat back...it's only a 3 hour flight so that doesn't last too long and i start a conversation with the woman next to me who's heading home to dallas after a visit with her sister for her 50th b-day. i tell her about the things i like about dallas and the things i like about L.A., i rarely have a loss for words about anything it seems, though when i do it worries me. anyway, i get her back story, she gets mine and the time slips away yet again. our change over in dallas is painless as well. i have a chance for a short phone call before leaving the country for a while, and grab a banana strawberry smoothie and re-embark on our journey. the large and rather old 767 is maybe half full, i score a middle section of 3 seats the i turn into my sleeping bunk and after cheese raviolis and two cups of boxed red wine in close up shop again....this time to try to get onto euro-time....i konk without trouble, like being a cradle. i think of my loved ones, and anything i may have forgotten to do, and wake up a few hours later to find out it's morning time and i have my first croissant of the tour and a cup of coffee. now i'm excited!!

   we made it to macario's mom's place, totally incredible farm home with a pigeon coop tower.  the smell of french home cooking wafting from the kitchen. i have a couple naps in between hanging out eating and drinking wines. this goes on till dark, then we have another meal of melted cheese and salami poured over potatoes. more wine too. then i'm ready to get some real sleep and find my little bed upstairs.

   i wake and go downstairs for some coffee and eggs that christine has prepared for us, so kind of her, and such a nice way to start a tour. it's grey and chilly outside but a very beautiful place to be. the morning is our first time meeting the other guys going out on tour with us. great guys who i know will great friends by the end of the trip. we also have to do our first pack in the van, lots of stuff, gear and merch, etc. so far so good...we head out to paris at about 2pm. we arrive at the venue and do our first gear load and get through our first sound check. the gear works well, and that makes me feel secure about the gigs to come.

   after sound check my od friend jackie iliohan from my holland days, along with her man, edwin. it's a trip to see her after some thirty years, but shes the same person i knew and it's great to have a little time to hang out and catch up. the show gets going and people start to fill in the club room. it's cool to get the first taste of what theyre all about. so one gig down, 55 to go.

missingmen merch at fgo barbara in paris, france on feb 20, 2014

from watt:

   tuesday morning I popped a little before the ipad w/that intense "classic" alarm started so I was ready to scissor that shit quick. it's been a couple of weeks of stress leading up to now, blast-off day for what I guess is the fifth tour of my third opera "hyphenated-man" which was released now that I think about it, 'pert-near three and a half years ago. now I did do a europe tour of this piece w/my missingmen in 2011 but it was just twentytwo gigs so when this tour's tourboss and bookerman for the continent gigs macario (tourboss for tour's gigs on the continent where he's also the bookerman) asked me to sally forth w/him I thought this was a good idea, especially for towns that never got a performance. so w/that in mind, he booked fortyfive gigs and then mick in dublin w/his partner matt in london booked a further eleven gigs in england and scotland and that makes fiftysix for a tour that last fiftyeight days. out of all these gigs, only four had a chance to see "hyphenated-man" performed live before, it'll be the first time for everyone else.

   one really great thing about this tour in comparison w/the others is how well we know the piece. I can't tell you what a pants-shitter it was for that first tour (it was a japan one in 2010, where the album was first released) - there's just so much goddamn stuff to remember but we've pounded it much into our minds and muscle memory now so it's prolly the best time ever for us to bring it as far as knowing the motherfucker. much respect to tom on guitar and raul on drums - I wrote this baby w/them in mind to work it, wrote on one of d. boon's telecasters to give me confidence though tom's the real guitarist and did so good actualizing my palsy-ass six-string ineptness via my demos though I did show him some hand positions, one's d. boon learned me and this cat in pedro when were more younger, an incredible cat who lived for a time in his car named roy mendez-lopez... he had a HUGE influence on both of us but especially d. boon... I can still hear roy telling us "practice practice" and damn if d. boon didn't do that up the yang and me not enough. still, I'm glad d. boon's ma put me on bass - always will be very grateful of that.

   this is gonna be the longest tour I've been on in a while, won't see my pedro town for 'pert-near two months so I'm a little sad about that but at the same time way excited to bring the third opera overseas w/tom and raul. paloma (her man is raul) is giving us a ride to the lax airport cuz my sister melinda (who usually takes me) teaches junior high and we gotta bail at 7:30 am so she's unable to. oh yeah, paloma takes just me and raul cuz tom doesn't live in pedro - he's about sixteen miles northwest in manhattan beach. he makes his own way and we meet up at the american airlines terminal for our ten after eleven flight to dallas... from there we'll head for paris. I had some turkey burgers and frozen cauliflower left in the fridge so cooked that up all together for bon voyage chow - I try not to leave anything in the fridge while I'm gone on tour. the only thing besides condiments in there now is a sack of rainforest coffee beans in the freezer part and that's happening.

   it's two and a half hours on a 737 for dfw airport and all three of us got aisle seats, one behind the other. I start this book I've been meaning to write for years: "watt" by samuel beckett and then start on this here diary cuz damn if you ain't gotta read stuff by mr beckett kind of slow cuz for damn sure it ain't fucking pulp. we land too fast (tom's sitting to some flight attendants who say the same thing I learn later) and it's hard but we survive so I guess it's ok. they got a sky train here and it's a ride to a terminal w/our gate right there - a "popeye's" right across the way so I get a chick po' boy cuz that turkey/veggie chow is losing some steam, shoved too far down the intestine line. american airlines again, this 767 is delayed cuz they gotta replace the oxygen bottle for the pilot's cabin. really empty plane, lovin' it! tom and raul grab empty middle sections where they can fold down the arm rests for konk. I got no one beside me and am in the aisle where I like it. I can konk against the bulkhead which is smart cuz we're flying overnight and arriving in the morning. the delay is a tiny one and soon we're in the air for the nine hour flight. this "watt" book is a hard fucking read, crimony! pretty funny though. I get up to piss and when I come back some baka lady took the seats in front of me and is jamming them way back and fumbling herself around like a "it's all about me" and there's no consequences to others cuz of fucking selfish behavior. I ain't trying to get high and mighty here but goddamn this is a pain of an ass but you know what? raul saw what was happening and offered up the row of center seats he was konking on - there's was a buttload available so he grabs some of them so I don't have to move all my stuff. raul is truly righteous people.

   we land at charles de gaulle airport just outside paris at nine thirty wednesday morning. the borderman finds it hard to believe I'm the same man who's in my passport - the picture's from eight years ago and I had a mustache... damn, I gotta get a new one cuz this has happened before, last time coming back home, for example. aaarrrgghhhhh, yet another hell thing. anyway, miss hiyori has flown from hamburg to join us, she will be merch lady for this tour w/us. macario and his ma christine arrives to bring us to erquery (about forty miles north of paris) where they live in this most happening pad, maybe it was part of a celestine order? that's what masai (macario's brother) thinks. using a metal detector, he' found much stuff buried - he shows me these coins from roman times, que chingau! there's some from middle ages and then from louix XIV ("the sun king") up to u.s. army soldier buttons. he's got quite a collection of first world war helmets also. christine has cooked us up a righteous dinner and I chow a stew made of leeks and other veggies plus an oishii quiche. joining us for dinner chow is rudy who will be a helperman w/us and robert from dortmund in germany who's company gate to hell is renting us the van, bass and guitar amps. me and tom already checked the stuff out and it's in great condition (so the boat). tom's got a red knob fender twin and I got a g-k rb1001-II going into a peavey 8x10 cab - actually we both got two amps each, robert being a totally righteous cat has given us each a backup, can you believe that shit? what a beautiful man and at the chow I find out he knows many cats I know from the old days like jello, andrew weiss, the victim's family dudes, nomeansno, et cetera - damn, what a great connect, we share much of the same econo culture and values, big grazie to macario for making this happen! safe seas to robert, he's gotta get back home so we say tschuss. man, I feel this great and most fortunate beginning for a tour!

   I got some jack on the plane duty-free cuz macario had told me they had some kind of slivovitz but I was scared of it being too sweet (and thus great chance to get sick on) so though I'm not really into it (I like bourbon better), we drink the tennessee whiskey while learning many more historical things from masai, he's mind is good and deep w/the knowledge trip and I dig it much. I try to stay awake as much as I can cuz my pedro town is nine hours behind here - I even wake tom and raul up cuz they konked in the afternoon but the same thing happens to me around eight which is ok cuz my plane konk was for wanting cuz of that baka who decided to play out her bogart scene in the seats of front of me (sorry to harp on this, I will let go now) so maybe it's good that at least it was night time so I could get on the french time and still make up for lost konk and keep my health good. I can't remember getting nightwear on but I did and konk like very heavy stone, boom.

   gig day and I pop at nine bells, still gray and a little rainy outside... maybe in the forties (fahrenheit) - long winter here in europe, I pray for safe roads for us. christine makes coff and scrambled eggs for us while giving yoga lesson to raul. I look through some books of mauro mejiez, great painterman from venezuela, macario and masai's pop. very very interesting. I meet nicholas, he's in the one-man band l'oeillere who will be opening up each gig this tour for us - actually we're all part of a package along w/some cats living in england - trippy thing is these cats, guess what are french and so is nicholas (he's from bordeaux but lives in brussels, belgium) but all live abroad. hell, I've lived in my pedro town fortysix years but am originally from virginia... this is what humans do lots and in ways makes bizarre nationalism even more ridiculous and detached from the real world. anyway, tom's has some coff and is way lit up so he's playing the ten inch ep macario put out on his label for this tour called "missing the minutemen" which has six tunes from "double nickels on the dime" that we recorded in pedro last october.

   just before two bells and we bail for paris and the first gig of the tour. there's about a half delay 'pert-near quick when we stop for diesel (1.34 euro/liter, about $6.57/gallon u.s.) and try to get the tires at the right pressure cuz the fucking air toy ain't working and damn if the man working here won't help but macario uses tact and gets the boss to help, very skillful finessing of the situation I think and give him much respect. nine of us in the boat - three rows of three as we drive into a rainy paris, to the north part of the right bank, not too far from the moullon rouge. this town and three others (marseille, lyon and glasgow) are the only ones of the fiftysix shows this tour has that we've done the third opera in before - on purpose I tried to bring "hyphenated-man" to places its never been before but I relented on these four cuz it made sense in other ways. the venues for those four towns are all different however and here tonight we're at a pad called fgo barbara and it's part of a culture center I believe run by the city. very nice people and stuff - we set up for first soundcheck of tour. I start explaining our act to the houseman val and then find out our rudy ain't just a helperman and a wheelman (he drove us here) but also the knobman, alright! I set up quick and rap backstage w/both guess what? members damien and axel, the french cats who live in england and they're great people, very interesting and smart - I wonder how old they are? christine arrives and sets up the buttload of chow she cooked up for us, crimony! I have some pasta that's got olives, sundried tomatoes and goat cheese in it, fantastic! masai and a buddy also are here and what does his buddy talk to me about? basketball! he knows all about the bulls but also about kobe and abron too - he likes the former but not so much the later. I go chimp diary after chowing.

   the first of our team, nicholas, goes on at nine but not on stage - he's in the back of the pad w/his acoustic guitar under a lamp. his gig is an solo guitar instrumental one and he's really happening, I love his playing. he is very emotional in his expression through the guitar, I'm thinking d. boon big time would dig this. he plays just a short time and then I'm really surprised but damien and axel coming up behind me (I'm on the side of the stage behind a curtain to experience nicholas) suddenly in black and white costumes, masks also. they're a keyboard/drums duo that also does instrumental - both our brother bands have no spiel - these cats I really like also... lots of arabic influence but also classic organ trio style ala jimmy smith or something like that. when they come off, nicholas returns to his place and does the next half of his set, interesting and another surprise for me. whoa.

   eleven we're supposed to be on but w/ten minutes to go, venue boss richard asks if we wanna go and we're into that - yeah, we wanna go and so here we go, first gig of the tour, cherry gig... I thank the good people of paris, our tourmates and introduce tom/raul, then begin the piece - here's goes... monday was the last prac back in my pedro town, I was having big fears I'd forget everything but all the parts just seem to come out of my hands and mouth w/out me thinking about it. the bright lights make it so I can't see the gig-goers but that's ok, I gotta pull together w/my men and we do. raul's working damien's kit (the brand is "salto" - who's that?) but it's sliding all over, distracting raul a little bit but it deals w/it good and we reel off part after part of the piece. there's some yammering but most the folks are big time kind to us. one man apparently being helped w/alcohol tries to help us w/challenging out-of-time clapping and attempts at serious dialog via french (watt knows tiny tiny bit of words unfortunately) but I don't break focus cuz I believe people come to receive the piece whole and not have it hijacked by diversions. of course little parts (very quiet dynamics) really make this a challenge but I got enough experience w/this now so that the only who can fuck it up is me so I work on that. "bell-rung-man" has me clamming the ending - surprise to raul and tom but they ride w/it. I'm a whole step flat for a couple of riffs of "antlered-man" like a fucking baka but still we hold together and bring it, fuck if I ain't the most grateful man in the world for my men. actually for the first gig I think we do pretty good and the folks are most kind to us and have us back - I space on the very last encore but the train keeps a rolling and my memory gets back on board - how embarrassing but this shit happens and at least I was still in key and no sour-ass notes. whoa, we did it - we're underway. a big bow and tom helps me down off the stage side-stairs.

   thinking about it now it's trippy how the piece has really become united now, a single entity for me to express and I can really put effort into feeling instead of wasting so much on memory recall shit, maybe its really embedded in me now finally. I go out and say hi to gig-goers in the lobby, really nice folks, really nice. sandrine's here to say hi, I'm so glad she could come. she started seeing ig when she was sixteen and has been to many stooges gigs also. good people.

   the load up is quite a process and this ain't even the real thing cuz we're going back to christine's in erquery tonight - it's an hour drive so maybe two am when we arrive and chow that wasn't chowed at dinner is now attacked again along w/this slivovitz (only one drink for me, mazui!) macareo was telling us about, I have some wine and cheese while this skateboarder friend of masai's knows about our pedro town skatepark and how he's building one where he's at. he's also way into "three things french" which is bread, cheese and wine and fuck yeah he's correct in my book about that! I volunteer maybe salami too cuz I love the symphony the four can make in my mouth. masai gets to talking to me again about interesting stuff and fuck I can't believe it's five bells when I konk. what a baka I am.

friday, february 21, 2014 - roubaix, france

from raul:

   another big sleep. i'm thinking maybe it's the comfort of this house. I will be sad to leave, but we gotta get the show on the road. another big pack job this morning, this time w/ more merch. everything seems to fit just right. better when you think about it, no room for things to bounce around and get damaged. today, no cheese or bread for breakfast, maybe i lay off the fromage for a day or two. I do have some milk though, w/ cereal and a half bananna chopped up in it, my breakfast of choice at home. also get some coffee w/ cinnamon in it. thanks again to christine for making it such welcoming enviroment, and giving us such a good feeling to start the tour with.

   playing a place called alcatraz in roubaix. later on after the the gig we find out that among other things it was once a jail, and we played were they held prisioners, freaky. Hugh place w/ many levels and doorways easy to lose your way for a first timer like me. there is an in house chef, and he cooked us a great meal. started off w/ a seafood kinda salad on top of arugala, and after, chicken w/ red peppers in a sauce im not to sure was, a thin cream sauce that reminded me of thai dish w/ out spice. Also cous cous and for veggies, sautaed zuccinnis. he topped it off w/ a cheese cake for desert, but it hasnt been half a day yet, so im still off cheese. oh, also baggette and red wine to go with the meal...very fuckin' tasty!

   after we eat, watt, tom and i climb the 71 stair case to our room at the top of this old building. nice big room w/ a kitchen, two bedrooms w/ beds a wc and a room w/ shower. tom and i grab a room w/ 2 beds and set up camp for the night. there's minimal net, but enough power for me to finally get the chance to write home, and let paloma know im here safe. felt good to get that off my mind. i don't wanna make her have unnessecary worries about me. This is a long tour, and i havn't done one like this in awhile, it'll be rough for her, shit it'll be rough for me to. not the travel and gig part, that's fantastic. Just being away from pedro for so long. i got the good end of the deal, she's gotta come home to an empty apartment, and that thought breaks my heart.

   small room tonight, in size and attendance. The 40 or so folks who are there, are super kind though, and very attentive. honestly, i was a bit scared, there wasn't bad vibe kinda thing, they were just paying very close attention, and i had the under the microscope kinda feeling, very ok though. Id much rather have that than drunk talk, and also it's challenging for me, and i need that. Word was there was a big local gig close by, so thats the reason it was poorly attended. seems odd though, a free gig on a friday night. none of this bothers us though, and we play hard for the ones who came to support us.

from tom:

   i have a very solid sleep, i had no memory of any dreaming which is strange for me. today is our first day on the road, and we need to do a serious packing of merch, gear and baggage. it's going to be tight. all fits though, and we say goodbye to christine and get on the road at 2:30. the trip to roubaix is relatively painless and we load in and bring bags in because we are staying upstairs in the same building as the gig tonight.

   i'm still working out my sound with the amp so i spend time on it for a while, then we check. after check we have a fine meal prepared by the kind people at the venue...a crab salad with arugula (mike thinks it was rocket), very tasty. then a great chicken and red pepper in a cream sauce...finished off with a slice cheese cake with raspberry sauce. after eating we chill out, and then i go down to watch nicholas do his first session on his guitar. it's a tiny crowd, and he plays in the entry way to the live room on top of a table. he likes to play in odd places of clubs, other than on the stage. it's a cool idea because he can play before guess what, ad then again before we go on, during the change over...it gives a spacial experience to show that's different from regular gigs. there's a small-ish turnout, even though it's a free gig...still we have a good time and i drink many waters after playing and then find my little bed upstairs to get some sleep.

christine mejiaz at her pad in erquery, france on feb 21, 2014

from watt:

   fucking noon when I pop, what??!!!! well, there's this big tub here (righteous how they kept the heart of this old stuff and still modernized lots of the inside) so why not try that out w/a soak - first body cleansing for watt since him leaving his pedro town. it's a good fucking soak. I go to the window and right below are our french buddies trying to get the real pack on the boat, crimony! so much stuff we gotta get fit, how? I abrogate this responsibility, I got my bass, man sack for clothes (tiny roller) and back wack 'puter sack so that's enough. actually most of the load is merch, macario's got a buttload, crimony! christine has coff for me and I chow some more pasta, same kind as last night. the "peri peri" chili sauce is running out - fuck I was stupid not to bring some sauce from home, damn me. you know what's happening though? the sun's out bright, fucking yatta! I mean there's some sprinkles but the sun's out bright and it fucking lifts my spirit big time.

   2:23 pm we pull anchor, seven minutes ahead of schedule. big hugs for christine, we'll see her again in six weeks. I can't believe the boat got packed but packed it got. I chimp diary as pretty french countryside goes by, I'm sitting behind the driverman who today ain't rudy but guess what keyboard man damien at the wheel. behind me is raul and beside him is tom who's feeling much better today cuz last night when we got home he had to puke right outside the boat he tells me. we've really had a lack of water so we kind of alert macario of that sitch. of course I like it w/the bubbles but fuck I'll drink plain also. we get into roubaix ten of four, this town's a suburb of lille, the big french town nearest belgium. the venue is called a.r.a. and I'm guessing it's kind of a community-run placen (I guessed right). gig room reminds me of livehouse sitch in japan actually. edouard is the gig boss and real nice cat, respect. they got water in the dressing room, yatta! they got some cheese, bread and wine too - surprise! I don't do the wine (wanna be straight for the piece) but do a couple of bread/cheese twofers, damn is this crust crunching the fucking kind? oh man, digging it. first internet opportunity since tour started, I try my best to catch up w/the buttload of fucking email while we set up. the bookerman here mick tells me this pad at first was part of a textile factory and then later became a police station - in fact the part where we do the gig used to be the jail... "alcatraz" is the name they gave it!

   after we check they got chow for us so we assemble to shovel. holy cow, did the chefman do up a righteous job, so fucking good. first a salad w/his homemade seafood dressing w/shrimps along w/olive oil and then the main course where I get strips of chicken cooked in this sauce/gravy that's incredible along w/very yummy zucchini chunks on the side. fucking happening, much respect, much! another great thing about working this pad is we konk upstairs - no fucking drive after gig which I dig VERY MUCH. I explained to macario how I hate doing that shit unless we really gotta do it - I'd rather pop at the crack of dawn and drive in the daylight cuz night drives are to me very dangerous and risky... fucking so much about tour is risky and I'm always trying to be careful. anyway, the konk pad of this place is way up some stairs that I gotta give the slow-go cuz of my fucked up port knee. in fact it's so much I decide it's too much for me going up and down that I stay up 'til our downbeat time which fucking is frustrating cuz that means I miss l'oeillere and guess what play, damn it. I do get the diary up though but fuck...

   we're on at ten and a half so ten minutes ahead of that I make my way slowly down to the "alcatraz" part and pretty quick w/bring the piece. the sitch reminds me a little bit of a livehouse trip in japan, that kind of thing. the roubaix gig-goers are VERY respectful, you can hear a pin drop the entire time and the only time I hear a holler is sometimes when we rev the opera into high gear - what great cats. I blow some clams but play better than last night. raul's got that "salto" kit a little more together, less of it falling apart but damn if the snare's got no crack to it, kind of dead. he plays real good though and so does tom, we do pretty good for number two I'm thinking. respect to my guys, respect to gig-goers, respect to the pad and respect to macario for bringing it all together. the beginning of our encore ain't all that together - maybe I should cut the first number? I'll talk to tom about it.

   a bassman named arnaud gives me his millions of comrades album, very kind of him. club bookerman mick gives me a bottle of "houlle" genievre de france grain liquor that's pretty mazui ('bad taste' in jap) - after a big pull straight out the eight bottle, that's my verdict. still, most kind of mick - everyone just the best to us and I'm most grateful. slow go back up them stairs and it's konk time... I'm thinking maybe it's good we brought the piece to a pad like this w/all its karma (not just police but vichy and ss nightmare shit history) to dry and ying that fucking yang. it reminds me a little about playing this pad back home in charleston which was a market where slaves were bought and sold. lots of human stupidness to exorcise, a lifelong struggle. I guess the alternative is to be oblivious and I ain't into that so I'm glad we brought it.

saturday, february 22, 2014 - brugge, belgium

from raul:

   first shitty sleep of tour. I crashed out about 2am i believe, but woke up near 5am or so, and could not get back to sleep for anything. Watching the sunrise is not usually a bad thing, but while in bed and not intentionally, it can be a bit of a bummer.Tom seemed to be having a rough time too, he was in sleep, but talking lots. At one point i had to wake him up from what sounded like a horrible dream. Come to think of it, i later on had some pretty dark dreams too! Maybe some heavy mojo going on because old house and jail downstairs, Sure there's more than a few ghosts still around. So, even though i was able to get a few more hours sleep, i didn't feel like they were restful ones.

   Driving to bruges today. its a city in the flemish part of belgium, and not to far from robaix. We end up getting gig spot early, so tom and i, along w/ the guess what guys have a little walk to the middle of the old part of town. It's a nice day, good walking weather, and also packed w/ tourist. It's not long before tom and i break off from the pack and walk down the less crowded residential streets that follow a canal that runs though town. this toally relaxes the mood and feeling of the walk, and makes me very happy to be here.

   We make it back to struffel hostel for what turns out to be the sound check of all freakin sound checks. we finally get to do our little 10 minute section of playing after a 3hr and forty minute wait for everything to get set up and the kinks worked. In this time, i did some more fiddlin' about w/ certain drum things that don't seem strong. Go around kit, find loose lugs that make buzzes etc. This tom stand we have is now starting to become a worry to me...it's a post thats held together w/ duct tape!! i don't know how long this will hold, and i'm getting anxieties during the set over this.. just waiting for it to go tumbling. little deals like this have the potential to cause loss of focus. I'm not complaining, just sayin', and we'll do our best to get a handle on these things. damien seems to be psyched about this, and has actually said that he feels he's gonna get his drum kit in better shape than we we started the tour!

   another great meal tonight, some of these places we've played in the past really know how to feed the band, and folks working w/ the show. not reminissant of things in the states. my experience w/ this was somewhere in germany 10 years ago now. I remember being awed at the fact that everyone ate together before the gig family style. Tonight was a show, lots of finger food appitizers, anchovies in olive oil, terra chips, olives w/ feta, salami's, w/ spicy mustard to dip it in, cherry tomoatoes, all kinds of things. After this, i figured we'd have a simple main dish w/ the salad they brought out. no way, the struffel folks must of brought out 8 different dishes! meatballs, short ribs, zuccinni stuffed w/ cheese and rosemary, fritz, the one thing i didn't try was a mango dish that was topped w/ blood sausage. ive eaten many "weird" things, but for some reason i havn't mustered the nerve to eat that one. I had to cut it off before i stuffed myself w/ too much food, not good or easy to play all full.

   tough gig, but had it's moments. Tom seems to be having difficulty finding a volume he likes, and im having the same lil problems w/ the gear im using. Everything seems a lil loose, and is moving to uncomfortable angles. Also, bass is tough to hear, but i can tell watt is trying not to play over the tiny pa sound that's goin' on. also big bright light right in my face, all i could see of mike was sillouette, and if i accidently looked into it, id be momentarily blindned. I think we pulled thru. For sure thought we did much better on the encores than the previous one's. Tom nailed the vocals on all his, my only gripe woudl be my lousy playin' on one reporters opinion, which i'll half attribute to drums being everywhere, but also blame just myself.

   folks are super nice though, and have only positive things to say, and for that i'm grateful. I'm not really looking for back pats, but it's rad when people genuinely care and they express it, then you've both made a tiny positive difference in each others day. also good thing is that we're staying just upstairs, so no drive to do after the gig. Some people stay around to hang, and we all have a couple drinks. I only do a couple beers, and call it a night, we got an early call tomorrow, and i'm feeling like a good sleep is what sounds best.

from tom:

   i have a slightly restless sleep, raul had to wake me because i was talking and laughing in my sleep, and i have asked him to whenever i do that. (which i tend to on tour). raul said he slept badly too. i have some juice and watery coffee and shower before going downstairs to help load gear. it's a short trip to bruges, belgium. i've wanted to go to bruges ever since i'd seen that movie "in brugge", maybe that's a lame reason, but it's a very beautiful city. we arrive and have a couple hours to walk around before loading in, so raul and i head out with damien and axel from, guess what, and bump into soundman rudy who's eating frites (belgian fries), and we decide to get some too. it satisfies a certain salt/grease craving, and i wash it down with a stella artois out side at a corner cafe. we watch people for a bit then follow a river of tourists down a cobble stone street and make a right turn along a canal to get away from people...very pretty town. we get back to the bar/club/hostel and have a little kick back in our bunk bed before loading and checking.

   it's a long sound check cause they had to move tables where the bands set up, and then a p.a. is brought in and set up from scratch. it eventually gets done and we have a short walk before sitting to eat some food that is prepared for us and is quite delicious. i have a couple light-ish beers that are extremely fresh, and then head chill out on my bunk until the gig time. it's a tiny room so it fills up quickly, it's also getting cold outside so people pack in pretty tightly. i struggle again with tone, but overall i feel good about the playing. we can be very critical on ourselves after our gigs, but i know its only for doing better next time. still i have to be careful not to be too hard on myself and learn to accept people's compliments even if when I'm not so happy with my playing. raul and i stay on stage and break down, have another beer and sign a few records. there are some really nice people here in bruges, i'd like to come back sometime.

   we pack the van so we can get an early start in the morning, moving stuff through the beer drinkers and gig goers. soon it's "last call" and i head upstairs and join raul, axel, and damien in our little room and even though i'm kind of wound up still i fall asleep for a brief sleep.

from watt:

   pop at nine bells and this big room at the top of a.r.a. has a kitchen w/a coff machine and a sack of coff from italy - yes! I chow bananas and oranges they got here too, very nice folks here. I chimp diary 'til load up time (12:30), sky full of big clouds but w/a very bright sun and I notice the pigeons are different than the ones we got in pedro, more puff to their feather thing... interesting. we pull anchor and head north for belgium which ain't far and after an hour here's brugge and we're pretty much downtown and at a hostel called snuffel which is we're both playing (downstairs) and konking (upstairs). it's only two in the afternoon so we got two more hours before loading in. everyone goes to wander while I try to catch up w/internet stuff (it got real terrible this morning in roubaix) though I did wanna wander around myself cuz I've this is what they call a museum town and not cuz of museums but cuz of preserved oldage. cobblestones w/my fucked up knee are scary though. I hope I don't sound like I'm bellyaching - the reality is I gotta pick my fights careful w/the condition I'm in. so it goes.

   I chow a donner kebab miss hiyori gets, a trippy one from a pad doing them pakistani style so it has kind of a curry taste, spicy. the bread is almost like a big hamburger bun, trippy but I like - very different than what I've had of these (I am kebab fan). the gig boss here is real nice cat named fred and I tell him maybe I've played this town before but he says nope so this is my first time here. sometimes my memory is so fucking lame, embarrassing. after load in it's like three hours for the set up - a cat named koen brought in a sound system so it takes like three hours to get that happening. we finish soundcheck and soon the cook here brings on a great chow for us: a happening salad w/rocket (like last night but w/out the seafood dressing, this time oil and vinegar), big pieces of zucchini hollowed out and stuffed w/its insides mixed w/sauce that got rosemary, pork short ribs, potatoes w/some kind of moroccan chili, meatballs in tomato sauce and there's one thing I don't chow: slices of blood pudding on some kind thin quiche slices. I was full anyway and we're going on in not too long so I gotta be careful so I don't puke. the soundsystem cat koen tells us about living w/geese and we share stories about our interactions w/nature - me telling about sea lions and pelicans in my town and then relating some wildlife things I've learned from nanny (old friend in pedro who works w/animals). he's a nice man and interesting.

   cuz of me windbagging about that stuff though causes me to miss nicholas - I get back to where we're playing to find him packing his guitar up, goddamn me! I do get to see guess what though and tonight damien plays a pocket coronet for one tune, trippy! they do real good, a very happening set.

guess what at snuffel in brugge, belgium on feb 22, 2014

   we're on at ten and a half... to my fucking astonishment, we start the piece w/my 'g' string a half step flat - FUCK, I read the tuner wrong like a total baka stunad tonto idiota. talk about embarrassing - the is REALLY embarrassing but fuck if I'm gonna stop the piece and tune it on the fly while we're in the first part, avoiding the up-on-the neck figures I'm supposed to do. I could choke myself for this. another thing I ain't that proud of tonight is reacting to the monitors my deaf-ass ears can't hear - I holler a few times for them to be louder. this is terrible, it fucks w/the integrity of the piece and I'm full of self-recrimination now as I chimp this here, thinking about what a stupid thing that was for me to do. I'm gonna learn from it though, I promise myself that. the brugge gig-goers are pretty much quiet in the quiet parts, very kind actually especially w/that dumb crap coming out of me. yeah, it was a pretty terrible stage sound all around but I've done enough gigs in my time to deal w/that, don't know what got in to me... so glad it's just the third gig of the tour and hopefully I can make sure I deal w/frustrations better cuz the folks who come to see the piece deserve it and damn me again for being like that here, the closest we'll get to where the main inspiration for the imagery of "hyphenated-man" comes from, hieronymous bosch. he was a little more north (in holland) but he was flemish and damn me for fucking up so - maybe his spirit from five hundred years ago was testing me and damn if I didn't score pretty bad. I ain't trying to say it was a terrible gig - actually tom and raul played really good but I'm just a little disappointed in myself. I don't wanna wallow but I do wanna make an impression on myself so I learn from this and get better. ah, kvetch kvetch kvetch - I know! sorry. even at the end of the encore I over-react and turn the bass amp so folks can hear me clam like a motherfucker in one of the trade-offs w/raul and tom (by the way, tom did real good w/the encore tune that's been giving him trouble the last two gigs). I'm ok though w/the very last I say to the people which is hollering john coltrane's name. I gotta really keep him mind when I play for people - a beautiful thing I read once quoted him as saying "all musicians are searching for some kind of truth" and I'm way into that much. amen.

   so embarrassed, I wanna hide in the back room but then decide to man-up and go out and thank people personally. a young drummerman who came w/his ma and pop talks w/me much about music stuff, he's very sincere people, very cool. a cat more my age named damien tells me he lives not too far away says he'll go get me some scotch at his pad and damn if that ain't just what he does. one guy says he wants to get me outside but I'm wet w/sweat from the gig and can't get sick, I'm sorry. oh yeah, the gig shirt I got for this tour is a flannel my ma gave me for xmas - or for my bday... actually since my bday's five days from xmas, they're kind of the same thing. this one has got a trippy kind of blue-gray in it w/some white and yellow. I sign one of my "on and off bass" picture books - just recently this is now distributed directly in europe so the folks here don't have to pay gross shipping costs. one cat my age tells me brugge (he's here visiting his mother) is a town that died, that it used to be a textile town where weavers took wool from england to make stuff but after a while the textile bosses in england moved them there so that's why the town now has to exist on tourism and had to be turned into a kind of disneyland ride. I can't vouch for this but that's what he told me. I'm still glad I got to play here though I told him, very glad. I hope he understood.

   upstairs to the konk part of the hostel and I'm out like that, pretty tuckered but a little cheered up from that talk w/that young drummerman. he woke up a part of me that's a reminder of why I sling the bass and work the towns - dank u wel to him, dank u wel!

sunday, february 23, 2014 - honfluer, france

from raul:

   Tom got me up when he woke, and we head downstairs to meet the rest of the crew for a quick breakfast. i have a a bowl of choco cereal, coffee and toast. it's the coldest it's been so far, and i'm very thankful that hiyori made me a scarf as a gift. i read and try to catch a little sleep on the way to honflour.

   Playing what looks like to be a city run gig space/youth club kinda thing. Not your regular style of gig spot, atleast on this tour. box room w/ a nice sized low clean stage. after a quick bite, me and damien get the drums set-up, and do a lil more tinkering, this time i center the snare chain on the bottom of the snare drum, and this seems to help w/ the character of the sound.

   for me, great gig tonight, i felt me and the other guys had good connection, and stage volume was really good, for my ears atleast. Tom used the silver face tonight, which seemed top cut a bit of the treble, not as loud as the other twin, but i liked. I did hear a weird break up, or mushy-ness when he got loud, but on the quiter parts, sounded much better, not so shrill. Over all, a better amp for the whole of the piece, and our ears on stage. Hopefully he's happy w/ it. Bass was nice and loud too, but not overbearing. In certain parts, this helps me too, i feel i can dig in a little more.

   After gig we do dinner right in the club. Raclette style again, like at christine's. litte individual pans w/ cheese you stick underneath the grill that we cook the meats on. Then once it's all melted, you scrape out on top of boiled potatoes. bunch of diff meats too, bacon, salami, tripe, chicken...also a couple veggies get grilled too, red peppers and onions, total gut buster!

from tom:

   it's dark when i wake to take a piss and macario is tying his shoes in hall and i realize it's time to get up for breakfast and start rolling for our early show southward in the french town of honfleur, another place i'd never heard of. it's sunday and they will be screening the minutemen film before we play so we have to get in early...that's cool with me.

   we arrive and load into this live music room/community center type place. i try the other fender twin to see if i can get a better sound, but it's very different and has other issues. i'll give it a shot, so we'll see how it goes. anyhow, they start the show by showing "we jam econo" to a small group of locals, i pop in and out 'cause i've seen it a bunch of times, and i always cringe when i see myself make a one line comment about the minutemen....for some reason. i have another half of a ham and cheese sandwich and more orangina. it's 4:54 pm and still light outside, i think we play at 7.

   the turnout is light again tonight, even though the door is only 5 euros and the film is being screened and it's an early gig, but sundays are always hard shows. i walk around outside, and step in some dog crap, i guess it's not uncommon in france (or so they say), and i spend time scraping it out of the grooves in my left converse. i get obsessive with it for a while, then go in to watch nicholas perform a bit before guess what go on, then more of nicholas then us. nicholas and guess what both do great performances. we do pretty well too. it has been a long day, and i'm glad to be able to relax a little now that i'm done playing, but i break down gear first. we are being fed in one of the rooms in the building which looks like a class room for children. laurent is the main guy at the venue (ora at least for this event), and he and helper, ben, set up a nice raclette meal for us, which is like what christine had done on our first night. it's an especially nice meal for chilly weather, like fondue, and the cold breeze outside makes it nice to look forward to. we have a great time talking, and drinking during dinner and i feel a little buzzed in a nice way, but i get pretty talkative after a few drinks and i get on a roll. soon we finish up and head down the road to stay at lauent's place for the night, but get stopped by police on the way. they are nice though and rudy only had one or two drinks so they let us slide. we park and walk up stairs and find a few small mattresses in a room at the top. i pull out my mini sleeping bag for the first time crawl into the sack.

from watt:

   pull anchor at eight after eight and maybe drive a mile before a shake down w/the politie (police) in bright orange helmets - turns out to be a sobriety checkpoint and they make nicholas (he's today's wheelman) blow into a machine to measure alcohol in the blood and check the van papers. other cars pass us so maybe it's the german plates but all is well soon and we continue. also about the weather: it's not all sun but there's no rain so I'm glad about that too.

   we pass into france at nine, bye bye belgium... the most north we're going w/this leg of the tour (the leg w/macario). we pass a truck w/the company name "discordia" on the trailer - ain't that a fucking trip? trippy too is tourboss macario knows all about it, eris and kalisti - crimony! he don't know about the law of fives though so I help him w/that. another trip is me just having read a book on kerry thornley (omar ravenhurst), a cat who served in the marines w/lee harvey oslwald and co-author of the "principia discordia"

   we pass crecy around eleven, get diesel at an aire (service station/rest stop) called somme. now d. boon was the one who really got me into history so I read names like crecy, somme and dieppe and remember they're also battle sites where many men got killed... "history is a nightmare I'm trying to wake up from" or something like that in "ulysses" mr joyce wrote and damn if I ain't feeling that now. I get a sandwich jambon ('ham' in french) and "bolognese-flavored" potato chips, ha! also eau petillante ('aqua frizzante' in french). axel takes over as wheelman and it's another hour and a half to honfluer. the sky's got a little bit of blue (yatta!) when we arrive in honfluer which is around twenty klicks (around twelve and a half miles) from le havre, the big harbor where I've taken the ferry to england. we go over a huge bridge, pont de normandie which is a beautiful elegant design - it's a little bit in the style of the new gerald desmond bridge long beach (the town that's the east side of the los angeles harbor) is building to replace the one they got now that's falling apart. trippy how they're keeping the same name, huh?

   the gigboss laurent is very cool people. this pad he says is only two years old and part a little community center and it's called le batolune which means 'moon boat' and of course I dig that name much. laurent's helperman ben is also happening cat and w/his assistance real quick we get a soundcheck going - this is an early gig and we're supposed to go on at seven pm. oh yeah, they're gonna show the "we jam econo" minutemen doc when doors open at four. I try to update the diary but damn if the firewall this pad has won't let me put the files up there and in fact the original files get deleted! what the fuck?! hopefully tomorrow I can fix this w/better internet connect... I get an email from tom (my tom, tom watson) and he's got a buddy back in so cal that flowed him a picture he took of a new bar in highland park called "the greyhound" where in the front window they're advertising a drink special called "the mike watt" which is an "old milwaukee" beer and a shot of econo bourbon for seven bucks, is that a deal? do you think I'm the mike watt they're talking about? there's some convenience sandwich halves I chow and I don't puke so I guess they're ok... we find a rabbit kigurumi and tom has his way w/the head part and I find a sympathetic piece of art taped to a nearby window:

tom watson w/kigurumi head in honfluer, france on feb 23, 2014 some art found at le batolune in honfluer, france on feb 23, 2014

   I watch nicholas (l'oeillere, it means "blinders" but singular and not plural) and damn is he good, I am inspired! 7:30 is actually when we hit and we bring the piece. tonight's pretty much a character-builder but turns out to be my favorite performance of "hyphenated-man" we've done so far on this tour. I know it's only the fourth gig and there was good things about all the shows but that's how I feel. the gig-goers give us excellent focus, much respect to them. I can imagine how strange this piece is for folks and am most grateful for open minds, most grateful. for encore I finally do one that we planned to do but for the three gigs previous I've scissored. I come off the stage very happy.

   laurent and ben fix up dinner for us, a couple of electric heater grills on the table to cook sliced meat topside and under that part to kind of "bake" little skillet pans filled w/the cooked meat covered w/cheese so it melts and makes a schmaz of both - they call it "raclette" here in france and damn is it tasty! another fucking happening chow, merci merci! also here is a small bottle of jim beam and even more kind, aqua frizzante! we have a good time.

   we're gonna konk in the middle of the old part of town, at laurent's so we'll load up tomorrow and take a short ride in the boat to get there. three members of the police welcome us and it's another shake-down like this morning they're much more kind and no breath test for alcohol on the wheelman rudy... in a few minutes we're on our way. I konk in my outfit w/my coat on even on a couch in the front room, I am just way tuckered. one thing about having good focus for the piece is it means I can put more into it so it takes a bunch out of me but you know what? it's way fucking worth it.

monday, february 24, 2014 - brest, france

from raul:

   right before sleep last night i had made plans to do a morning walk w/ nicholas. He mentioned wanting to go to near by church that had insides that resembled a big ship. we had a, 9:30am call back at the club, and i luckily was up at 7:55am, 10 minutes before we're supposed to hoof it. I decide to wake tom up too, figured he'd like to be up take a walk and grab some coff than sleep another 15minutes. Macario is nice enough to offer to take our backpacks w/ him back to club, so that way we're not weighed down for our walk.

   man, just down the block from where we stayed is the neatest looking little port town, total old timey fisherman style popeye town.Also, the sun was just breaking, so we got to see a beautiful sunrise while having coffee and crossiant on the water front, bitchin' way to start the day. Something so simple, but something i dont' think i'll ever forget. we found the church, but it wasn't open till 9, so we explored this litte hilly town, trippin' on all the old houses and windy brick roads. The church is called saint- cathrine's, and the inside ceilings and beams resembles a ship, same b uilind style, really beautiful old building.

   we're right on time for breakfast before the equipment load out from club, sometimes it's a better thing to leave the gear in club if we're stayig close by-it's safer, and no standing around all wet w/ sweat in the cold night. for breakfats, there's some sweets, and a leftover pie from dinner, also a bag of apples. i go for a couple apples and a cup of black coffee. I should've asked watt for the fiber too! i'm pretty much a cheese filled human at this point! long but, relaxed drive to brest, in brittany, northwest part of france.

   playing caberet vauban, downstairs part of a hotel in the downtown. In honflouer, damien and i thought for todays' tune-up we could maybe change the snare wires, using the one on the spare he'd brought along. On closer inspection though, the spare is even more twisted than the one we're using now. So, while he sets up the kit, i take the head off, and clean out the inside, and check the rim for bends. Also, thought it'd be a good idea to get an even tension on the skin, and maybe it'll help some. It does, and we're now getting a good snap out of it! Once we get a chance to hit a music shop, we should get new wires as well as heads, and we'll be stylin'. psyched, just took a little time and tlc.

   After sound check, tom and hit the streets for a walk to check out the city. Pretty dead and deserted, and also freezing and windy. We haed in the direction of the water though, and in about 20 minutes hit the lands end, and an old castle on the coast. We tried to get past the gate, but a guard came out to let us know it was closed for the night. Bummer, but we got a little on the inside. we wanted to get down to the warehouses and the port, but couldn't find a close enough entrance. we decided to take a diffrent route back, and we wound up in the tourist part of town, which was also deserted, maybe not so many tourist in febuary. luckily, we made it back just before the rains came! I spent rest of time before set doing just this, while writing and sending flicks back home to pedro.

   maybe two reason it's not to crowded tonight, a nasty rain storm on a monday night! maybe a third too, that no one cares! It's ok though, we play hard any way. i had a big space out during one part though, but got back on track pretty quick, just fucked up on a pattern. I thoght the gus played real well too, little space outs as well, but shit it's lots to remember still! it's getting a good flow though, and the dynamics seem to flow well, from ragin' full on to a whisper, back to ragin' again. I was very happy w/ the gig.

from tom:

   i am awakened by raul and nicholas around 8 to go out for an early walk before going back to the venue to have some breakfast and load up the gear. honfleur is an amazingly beautiful town, old stone buildings on a marina, and w stop for an espresso to watch the sun coming up and reflect off of the still morning water in the bay. raul says it feels like we're in a movie, and it really does. we expect to hear "Cut!" and the view would be moved away like a backdrop. we continue to stroll up and down the cobble stone streets, waiting for the big church in the middle of town to open. we hear the church bell ring and enter this awesome wooden structure built in the 1400's from two enormous overturned boats connected to create the vaulted ceilings. we continue on to meet the others at the venue. we have coffee and tea and i finally have a chance to shave after a few days, i hate the scruff so i feel much better now.

   we get to brest through the chilly coastal winds, it's a town on the westerly most point of brittany's peninsula. we load downstairs of a hotel into it's ballroom type music room. raul and i walk towards the ocean after eating some pork loin and cabbage that the local promoter julien prepares for us. it's cold and wet so we head back and get into the gig. i spend a little time talking with a nice dude named pablo for awhile. it feels like a long night, and after the show we leave gear downstairs and slowly walk up the street to julien's apartment for the night. i roll out my sleeping sack on a little mattress in julien's little boys room with raul and sound man rudy. everyone is in the kitchen drinking beers, i hit the sack.

from watt:

   pop at nine, whoa, just tiny bit cold - the gentle wet kind that penetrates down to the bone to provide w/aches w/little trouble - time to move around before my entire skeleton fuses into a single brittle bone just before shattering into shards. this impressionistic description and of course not trying to equate a big hell w/here cuz I am most glad. laurent comes by to gather us and bring us to get some coff, right by a small warf w/boats - yes, like my pedro town! a little bit more old-timey though, for example: the church from 1450! I'm pretty sure only tongva were living in my parts then... I wonder lots about what kind of tunes they jammed on and who got put on bass or their equivalent.

   trips me out how close we were last night to all this oldage, had no idea - no wonder tom and raul said they were gonna hoof back! damn I wish my knee was better and I could join them or do my own like I'm used to but I do get some in cuz behind laurent's pad is what looks like an old way to do laundry: little channels for water travel and places to pound the dirt out of clothes, blankies, chonies and whatever. interesting. lots of oldage abounds so I work the camera. back at where we did last night's gig, I'm lead to believe we're gonna chow breakfast but these guys idea of chow is pastries, cake, jam - I suggest maybe we shortcut what needs to get cooked and just go for some sacks of sugar and sticks of butter, crimony. I don't mean to sound like a bellyacher and I don't need something like "england full breakfast" but back home I only chow twice a day so the morning one (the other is around four pm) is kind of important and not just a "candy bar snack" kind of trip - for me, I'm not trying to speak for others. now I mostly cook for myself at my pad cuz of on tour I have no choice but to eat out. I don't cook up cakes and pies though. I usually cook up some kind of meat (I buy in bulk for econo and put pieces into individual freezer sacks) and when it's about two-thirds cooked, I put in vegetables so it all ends up a schmozz and I got one pan and one plate to clean. anyway, I hold off for down the road and maybe a sandwich.

   it's a load-up party and w/the boat packed, pull anchor at twenty of eleven and head south, along the coast 'til we hit normandy where we come about west for a part of france called brittany, much of it a big peninsula and that's where brest is. nicholas is wheelman. we pass the towns caen and cherbourg which I know as part of d-day stuff... like w/yesterday, so much history I've read about, first cuz of being into "the worldbook encyclopedia" my ma got for us and then later when I met d. boon cuz fiction weren't his kind of books (they were mine, still are) and this influenced me much so I could know better what he was talking about and interested in. trippy thing is ronnie (stooges first guitarman) was like d. boon that way, loved reading about history. in fact, one year when stooges was on tour in france, we were in normandy area on june six (d-day) and I went w/ronnie on a tour of all the landing places and stuff associated, he was really REALLY into it. these are good memories but still the awareness of "historical consequences" reminds me big time of stupid fucked up waste of precious human life and makes me sad at the same time. axel tells me about how some stuff used to not be taught in the school books like vichy but is now. I know some subjects are/were/will be like that where I come from too. we also talk about lack of dynamics in music, this abuse of limiters and not letting sound breathe - terrible. tom had me make a cd-r of our _toothless grin_ proj but the speakers for this boat are only in the front and we hear only murmur. this proj has eleven people collaborating: initiator matt wascovich (scarcity of tanks), tom and raul (my missingmen), pete mazich and jerry trebotic (my secondmen), jack brewer (saccharine trust), john petkovic (death of samantha), thurston moore (chelsea light moving), byron coley, chris greir and myself. no one played together for this, everyone instead sent sound files over the internet... wasco would give me a bunch of chords and I would make bass structures based on them and next the drummermen would records drums at "casa hanzo" (petezo's pad). after that I'd get stuff from the other guys, each contribution influencing each subsequent one. we ended up w/ten tunes and are planning somehow now to release it. I'm into it - something that would've been very difficult in the old days so it's not like I'm against all modern stuff - I do wanna puke w/all this over-compression though, terrible killer of life in music is what I believe is happening w/this lazy-ass way of MAKE IT LOUDER anti-thinking. we pass mont saint michel and tom has his mind blown. it is pretty neat, one day I wanna visit if I ever get a chance.

   macario relents and we pull over for five minutes at an aire and I get a tuna sandwich and a little sack of "fritelle" fake fries (actually a type of potato chip kind of crap) which cracks me up cuz "fratelli" ('brothers' in italiano) is what we call each other in il sogno del marinaio - I will flow them a shot of this sack! I ain't saying this is the best chow ever but I just can handle all that sugar... I do like gummi stuff though, especially sour - ain't that a trip? maybe it is indicator of how full I shit I am? you decide. I try not to have others suffer cuz of me, I swear. cuz of me being next to the window (all us missingmen ride always in same seats), I gotta cover my port side ear cuz it caught fire in 1987 while I was working on a vw bus I had, burned that baby to the ground (very sad, it was a '63) and the resulting scar tissue reacts really weird and unhealthy to too much sun. I chimp diary 'til we get to brest at about four.

   we're playing a pad called cabaret vauban that's in the basement of a hotel of the same name. a righteous old bmw motorcycle is out front and not fancied up. some (!) stairs involved for the load-in, my crippled ass incapable of helping which makes me feel terrible... fuck... they do got internet happening though so it's a good chance to make good on an interview comittmecommitmentt happening writerman john calvert for an also most happening music site the quietest which I read daily, very much an honor for me to do this thing they call "baker's dozen" where I talk about thirteen albums but of course I'm a windbag when I get started and mention all kinds plus maybe w/too much slang and too much stumblebum confuse-talk, I dearly hope writerman john can make some sense of it.

   everyone's waiting on me for soundcheck, so sorry. I did windbag it kind of big time. after very quick check (room sounds good), I'm told there's chow from the promoterman julien. it's homecook and I have this pork tenderloin, cabbage w/cumin seeds and oil plus some potatoes w/everything shmeared w/dijon mustard - whoa, strongest dijon ever for me! man, this all tastes so good, really great. I have a big spiel w/the house soundman pablo, a nice cat originally from argentina. just as nice is stephane who shows up later and joins us w/the spiel, I've met him at stooges gigs I've done in the area before. again windbagging, I miss our tourmates guess what but I do get to see l'oeillere tear it up... again I'm blown away.

l'oeillere at cabaret vauban in brest, france on feb 24, 2014

   our turn next, ten of eleven... damn if I don't get a little self-conscious and blow some clams. I've found I'm prone to this lots after doing a big spiel, trippy feelings well up in me w/guilts about being too self-important, damn me. gotta say raul tore it up big time though, tom was pretty good also - fuck, I even mixed up taiyo and tsuki in the near to last final lines even, what a baka! still, it wasn't a disaster and the brest gig-goers are beautiful to us. I get to meet the pad-owner when we finsih and he has me sign the guest book, merci.

   we leave the equipment like last night cuz we're konking a few blocks away at gigboss julien's pad, up many stairs but I can make it going slow and steady. his pad is older which is not so common in brest cuz it was bombed very heavy in second world war cuz nazi u-boats were stationed here. I listen to music that's getting played - whoa, they got tom cora playing, what an incredible cat... so sad he passed too young, too young. I get into my nightwear tonight for konk.

tuesday, february 25, 2014 - lannion, france

raul morales two-fisting it in brest, france on feb 25, 2014

from raul:

   good sleep last night, been having tripped out dreams though, but i feel rested after this one. my first thought is to check the dryer to make sure the clothes hiyori put in last night aren't still soaked. Ive never had much luck w/ euro washers and dryers, and i don't want a bag full of wet and ready to get moldy clothes. they're almost there, just a lil damp, but i can't figure out how to make it spin!!aaarghh. Only two buttons too! turns out there's a water catch, and it's all filled up, doh!thank macario for figuring out that one. There's also a shower too, and i take advantage of that before everyone else starts to wake up. trippy style, no shower head, just a hose connected to the faucet, literal hose-off.

   As everyone is waking up, the morning party is getting started, macario has got the music going, and there's dudes working the side of the building. This work shit is loud, i mean like banging on the side of the wall loud, and it's been going on since before we woke up. hilarious, i stumbled into the kitchen to get some water when i first woke, and the dude was on the outside of the window looking right at , fuckin 7 floors up. the work mixed w/ the music is intense, and i retreat to the back room, me, rudy and tom slept in for a laugh about it all. soon afetr a crew of us take a trek to the music shop to get some drum heads and strings.

   on the way back it starts pouring quick, and just as quick as that it starts hailing! We were on our way to take a walk down to the water too, but decided to cut it short and took shelter out front of a lil cafe and had an espresso while we waited for the rain to stop.After it stopped raining we decided maybe a better idea to get back to the pad and not press our luck trying to walk to the water front, plus breakfast is being cooked up, and we don't wanna miss that. So good, home made buckwheat crepes. I have mine w/ an over easy style egg and a piece of ham folded into it. Shortly after, we head out and make our way back to the club to get the gear and get on to lannion.

   Nice drive thru country that then opens up to the atlantic ocean, beautiful scenery and a shorty drive, we're there in maybe 2 hrs.Playing and staying a place called le pixie. Club style, but also connected to a hostel, but also housing for working people, maybe like a dormatory. Relaxed set up, change the floor tom head, and tom and watt teach the rest of the guys some songs they're gonna come up and jam w/us tonight during our encore. After check, we chow some, and i head up to the room to get a nap in before the gig.

   Unfortunately, not to many folks there tonight, but sometimes it happens, and tuesday can be tough anywhere. We're here to play, so we gotta give it all we got. Sometimes in these situations, i can become more self conscious than if there were hundreds of people. So i gotta really watch getting lost in my own head, the way to combat this is to really try my best to focus on tom and mike, make our own little stage world.

   Lots of fun after the gig, since we're staying here, home for the night is close, and the gear won't get touched till tomorrow morning. This makes it relaxed, and gives us time to hang with each other for a bit. Turned out to be a great night, had a good time hangin' w/ tom, damien and axel, the guess what guys.

from tom:

   i awaken to what sounds like gamelan music and then electric saw, it's actually kind of nice for a second, then i realize it's someone working on the building. i fall back to sleep and am awakened again by high volume classical music from the next door neighbors apartment, and the mix between that and the pounding on the outside walls makes me and rudy laugh. it's a slow rise because we won't be rolling till later today. i'm up by 11 and have some tea, and at 11:45 we run to a nearby music store that closes at noon for lunch to pick up some drum heads. and raul, damien, nicholas, axel, and i stop for a coffee while it starts hailing on our walk back to julien's pad. we have some amazing breakfast crepes that julien's lady has ready for us when we return. i play with their son augusto for a while hit a ballon back and forth till i get tired. raul and i grab our bags and walk to where the van is and wait till the others get there and load the gear upstairs and roll to lannion.

   we drive through some pretty countryside and along the coast before arriving at Le Pixie, the club we're playing tonight. we get to stay in rooms in the same building again, which is a nice feeling, it's like having a backstage with your own bed. we meet the club guy, another julien. after eating some tasty food and a couple glasses of vin rouge, raul and climb in our bunks and have a short nap. the chilly and wet weather takes it out of me. i have some strange dreams again and tell them to raul before heading down to the lightly attended gig. i decide to have a fancy local beer that julien kindly provides me with. we have damien and axel join us on "retreat" and nicholas on "spillage". it's a fun gig for the most part, still struggling with feeling comfortable with the amp situation, i'll try something else tomorrow i think. we hang out talking with julien at the bar with damien, raul, axel, nicholas, i drink more red wind and enjoy the talk sesh before heading up to our little room for the night.

from watt:

   pop at nine and no shower so... no shower for watt. there's righteous chow cooked up by stephanie though: kind of a breakfast burrito but instead of tortilla there's a very thin crispy buckwheat crepe it's wrapped up in and for cheese there's a few brittany ones along w/thin-sliced ham and a egg. lucky fucking watt even gets two cooked for him! merci merci. I notice the source of this morning's wakeup welcome - workingmen are going for right out the window (we're at the top floor, last night's ascent was long and interesting for me) wailing the fuck away w/hammers and power saws. I mean they're looking into the window and here I thought it was down the block! slow learner watt. I something about chillies and scovilles though so we rap about that for a while.

   only an hour and a half to our next gig in lannion so we hoof back to the club to load up, gotta wear my orange knit hat cuz goddamn if it ain't cold. kind of gray out too but the sun's trying. nicholas at the wheel, axel has one of those old cassette players he puts on the dash in front of him (I guess so it's easier to hit him in the teeth when the boat stops quick) w/a cord that goes into the radio and I guess he's got cassettes to play. I tell him and damien I want them both on my radio show soon as we can - maybe tomorrow? on the one after that I wanna have nicholas as guest.

   like brest, lannion is also in brittany and close to the sea but via some rivers so different and smaller. we're playing a pad called le pixie and though it's part of a community center kind of a trip (we're staying in the hostel part) it's literarily a one-man show w/this cat julien (same name as last night's gigboss) who is very cool people. after soundcheck (we run through what we've decided about having guess what and l'oeillere join us each on a different tune) he serves us this whole rice w/a kind of tomato sauce, salad w/dressing and kofta balls. I dig much and chow it right down. we ain't on 'til a half hour before midnight so I go up to the hostel room and konk for like three hours, maybe I was tuckered?

   sort of like a u.s. gig where I konk in the boat after soundcheck 'til gig time, tom rousts me w/ten minutes to go. I rally from last night's clam bake though I still fuck up a little, for example the entire end of "thistle-headed-man" and putting taiyo and tsuki in the wrong places like last night. so embarrassing but I did much better I think than last, I rallied! thanks big time to tom and raul. also happening about the lannion gig-goers, coming closer when at first kind of scared but not cuz of a command from the idiot on stage on bass (who ain't into that shit anyway, there's enough cops in their lives already) but just cuz they wanted to - lots of respect and focus they showed us also. thanks so much truly for gigboss julien for providing happening sitch, merci! for encore we bring so what for one, l'oeillere another. I kind of pushed them into it but they're brave men and did good. beautiful. we had a good time.

   I nice cat my age w/his daughter gave me some pictures he took of me and ig doing a stooges gig, very kind of him. we get to leave the gear and I return to where I konked previous to playing. I get to hose off, shower! no temperature control but damn if it ain't good and hot but not scalding. fucking happening. I konk clean.

wednesday, february 26, 2014 - saint-nazaire, france

from raul:

   macario woke us up at 11am for breakfast downstairs in le pixie. some good juices, baggette w/ a couple cheeses, goat and another i don't know, also coffee and a really tasty fresh honey. After b-fast, tom and i take a little walk around town. Everything is still wet from rain, but it's also very sunny outside and for the first time actually a bit warm. Pretty, old style town w/ a river running through it. We don't walk too long though, because we gotta get back within the half hour to load the gear. Even though we get back in time to help, most of the gear is already in the van...doh! Back just in time to get in from the rain though, it's like a faucet in these parts, and just comes on! from blue to grey in a blink.

   Gig spot is in giant pen that once housed nazi subs, pretty weird place to play. Regardless of it's history, still a very interesting place. Tom, Axel and i made our way to the roof to get a better view of the port while waiting for soundcheck. Playing small space in the upstairs bar part of this venue, and nicholas is set up on the bigger stage downstairs. looks neat, just him and his guitar under the spotlight on this big stage. Also, biggeir crowd than the last couple gigs, but not best sound on stage. sound check was there, but it deadened once people were in the builing, the snare lost it's crack again. I started off a little out of it too, id spaced out on a couple little things i usually arrange after guess whats set. Earlier, i layed down for just a monent, next thing i knew, tom was waking me up to play. Another thing i had noticed was a buzz when i lightly hit the kick drum, i was worried there was a small rip, and sooner than later it'd pop all together. Luckily it held, and when i checked it out later, i noticed the front head had blown out. Lame, but not too big a problem. just bummed i hurt damien's kit, but he seems happy we gotta cut a big hole out, and get rid of the salto logo. The drum kit is turning into an almost replica of something id use at home. All we need now is the boom for the ride, and a snare stand for the small tom tom, which also got new skin today. Truthfully, i might look into changin' the way i do things when i'm home. I'm kinda diggin' damien's style of bringing the ride in off the kick drum, one less stand!

   After gig we pack up slowly, and have a couple beers W/ bar staff and a few folks still lingering from the gig. The plan is to take two trips to hotel. One w/ the those who wanna leave soon, and another trip for the crew who wants to stay and get their drink on. Even though i napped, and i'm up, i opt for the first train out. No need for me to stay and drink. I need to get good rest whenever possible. Nicholas does the driving, and there's only 3 left behind, axel, damien, and macario.

from tom:

   i have another night of intensely vivid dreams, i feel a little fatigued from them, and i hear macario's special yawn coming form next door, a moment later he knocks and i get up and get my stuff downstairs and have some juice and coffee. raul and i walk a couple blocks to a pretty part of town, look at a river with kayaks and head back to help load out. it stats to rain as we start our drive to saint-nazaire.

   our show is in a converted nazi submarine service bunker that's an enormous cement structure that was impossible to to costly down after the war, and is now a museum/art space/music venue. raul and axel and i go exploring and catch the view from the top of the building, and look at another one across the port's bay. it's strange to see this kind of thing up close for us americans, we don't get much of this at home. then i change strings and we get things set up to sound check. things move along slowly, eventually we wrap it up and join everyone to sit in the upstairs kitchen for some food. i eat a couple plates of salad, i was craving greens. there's shrimp, bread and  cheese (of course), and then some thin egg noodles with sautéed beef, cabbage and grated carrots that we season with the pepper sauce i bought earlier. a glass of white wine and then some yogurt...immediately followed by an intense nap in the other room.

   i wake hearing a faint bass line coming from axel's organ that seeps through the backstage walls. i wash up, change into my stage shirt, and go watch. i look around for raul and and don't see him.. it's our most attended gig since the paris show, and i don't worry about raul until after guess what finishes and i ask if anyone has seen him, , i find him asleep in another room asleep on the couch and i am relieved. i changed my amp situation again, trying to get a better sound. i decide to leave it on the floor instead of elevating it on one of the cases like i usually do, and tilt it back on it's leg's.  i'm playing more and more softly as the tour has progressed, but i think this might be a good solution to some of the issues i've been having with my sound. there is some heckling from some of the less sober viewers, all in french of course, so we can't appreciate the comments so well.

   ultimately it's a fun gig, we have drinks, load and half of us are transported to the hotel while some stay for more drinking....i join raul in one of the rooms, take a hot bath and go to sleep.

from watt:

   pop at eight bells and see rain when I lift the room blind which was total seal-a-meal which I like cuz even a little bit of sun will make me pop. finally after a couple of days I get to shave, cut myself like a fucking idiot. I gotta wear a bandaid cuz the cotton disc that I used to stop it stuck and had to be torn off but I was a lot luckier than bob-san a couple tours ago in the u.s. where his shaving accident bled for a couple of days. man, I felt bad for him. he lives in placitas, new mexico now - when him and raymond lived in so cal, we used to see the ponies run a bunch... I sure miss them, miss them big time.

   gigboss julien arrives at eleven and he's got petite dejeuner ('breakfast' in french) which for me is just bread and cheese but damn if it ain't fucking righteous chow - there's just something about the crunch of the crust (not too thick), just righteous. bail just before one, the rain stops for us as we say bye to gigboss julien and his two daughters. we stop not far away to get shoga ('ginger' in jap) and tom scores on some louisiana-style hot sauce, all right! we head south for a port town just south of brittany in the pays de la loire region called saint nazaire cuz that's where we're playing tonight.

   first spiel subject for the ride, tom learns me about the gizmotron - whoa, I wanna check one of those out. I chimp diary and we rap about these pictures taken in kumamoto city (kyushu, japan) of myself, tom and raul back in 2010 during our first tour of the third opera - man, that was a trip... I guess our hosts (they were really nice cats, don't get me wrong - they were beautiful and just the best) had found my camera and took pictures of us all yopporai ('borracho' in jap) and passed out and I found them the next day when looking through to help my chimping diary, all of us in our konk masks, pretty hilarious. around two we switch ponies, nicholas for axel and next spiel subject is the theremin and not only does he know that brest gigboss julien had one in his pad but he fucking got to play it! he said first time ever for him. well, on the radio show I got music given to me by hank rollins of clara rockmore and lydia kavina, two motherfuckers on that instrument. tonight we're like only about ten miles from nantes and that's where our buddies papier-tigre are from, maybe we see them? hope so. we drop anchor at four pm...

   like brest, the nazis used this port for their uboats and in fact the pad we're playing was one of the pens they were based in! a gigantic cement rebar monster, the roof's like thirty or something feet thick - there's one across the channel so you can get a better perspective of it cuz close up like we are you can't really realized how crazy it is.

nazi uboat pen across channel from vip club in saint-nazaire, france on feb 26, 2014

prolly was built w/slave labor... what fucked-up karma must be imbedded here but it's kind of good I think they turned this over to the arts - like the gigpad in roubaix and its ss connection... maybe some exorcising or whatever. of course it still creeps me out some. camille is part of the staff here (oh, they call this pad vip and we're playing in the mezzanine part) cooks us up some boiled shrimp, butter lettuce w/oil/vinegar, egg noodles and beef braised w/garlic. really REALLY good, love it! she doesn't hassle me about my hashi either, respect! I go to the dressing room to rest a little after and damn if I don't konk for like three hours, like last night tom rousts me just before we're to go on around twenty after eleven. damn, I miss all the music from all our guys again. what a fucking vieux ('old man' in french) I am.

   we bring the piece and the folks give us good focus, tom and raul playing really well and I do pretty ok - I get over that taiyo/tsuki fuckup at the end even. tom used the legs on his amp for an angled setup instead of putting it on a chair and I think it's happening - ain't that what leo (fender) intended? it's the way d. boon used to do for his. what ain't so happening is the monitors, sounds like my voice is trying to climb through two miles of country road, like the bottom of some too-long in the saddle chonies - christ, it's a struggle but worth cuz 'pert-near everyone here is giving us much respect. there is one lady who takes advantage of the speech at the beginning of the "pinned-to-the-table-man" part and hollers of course in french but I hold discipline good and ignore her totally and keep focus for the piece (later I find out from soundman rudy that she was bar lady here on her day off and what she was hollering at us translated to "me and my mother would fuck you but you're all homosexuals" - interesting response to our performance) which I can chimp here is something I can feel a little proud of, I did maybe the best of all tour but still I'm digging honfluer gig the best. there's a man near where I am who hummed and sang parts - he must have an album, merci to him much. our encore is once again supplemented by our tour mates and they do great - also I dig the fact this time nicholas is actually on the stage w/us instead of in the crowd. I've got a buddy who's the boss of a band called the go! team and he's got a tune called "everyone's a v.i.p." and that's what I tell the folks after telling them "start your own band!" (that's from d. boon).

   my mouth and throat is so fucking dry, the cold beer camille gives me is incredible, incredible even out of a plastic cup, holy hell, what a lifesaver. nicholas was made designated driver (no drinking) and takes some of us to a 'tel (first one of the tour, "hotel aquilon") while others stay to do party stuff. I am too tuckered, sorry.

thursday, february 27, 2014 - tours, france

from raul:

   I didn't even wake up naturally, tom had to get me going, and at 11am. Missed breakfast, but damn, i must need the rest. Slept w/ ear plugs last night, so maybe that had something to do w/ not gettin up. We shared a room, and tom had a lil snore going, but my thought was i didn't want to be woken up by the stumblers whenever our third roomate showed up from the after party. Shit, i didn't hear nothing. Tom was nice enough to grab me a tangerine and a cherry yogurt from downstairs though, and i had that while i shot a quick email home. After, had a bath and met the rest of the guys in the lobby for the 12 noon bail time that turned out to be 12:45 since one of the crew was m.i.a.

   Playing le temps machine, has the look of a community run venue, but also typical bar too. Tonight before the gig they will also show "we jam econo" the story of the minutemen. Very relaxed day, most of it for me is spent going thru pics i've taken on tour. No walking today, weather isn't too bad, but it's not dependable, and it could rain any minute.

   Weird gig for me tonight, the drums were all over the place, and hard to get comfortable behind them. I think a better carpet would help, this one dosn't give much grip. We tried hard and played well though, a couple stumbles here and there. I had trouble hearing tom too, his amp seems to lose power toward the end of the set, and i can hear the actual sound of him hitting the strings when he's next to me, just as much as i hear it coming from the amp. bass too, certain notes were lost.

   After gig and stage pack up, rudy and i play some table football game w/ a couple locals. he's super good at this, it's trippy that foosball is such a french thing, i would've never guessed it, i remember the papier tigre guys being really good too. Damien and also get in some frisbee during load-out, and after getting it down from the roof twice, we decide to not press our luck! Anyhow, it's time to go to the hotel and get some rest.

from tom:

   i'm sitting the hotel lobby waiting for everyone to come down, it's 11:30 am in saint-nazaire...annoying musak in the air. i got up earlier to get the free "breakfast", (i had a hard boiled egg (which is rare to find), bread, yogurt, tea, apple juice, and grabbed an orange for the road. i used the hot sauce i found at the store yesterday to enhance my egg.) i tried to get a little more sleep but after a shower and shave i'm wide awake. now i just sit and type till the others show up, i think most of them were out late and moving slowly today. the sky is clear blue and sunny, and a little bit warm.

   we assemble and get on the road again, not far to tours, we arrive and get it all going again, load, set up, etc. it's a nice sized room, and comfortable. we have time to chill out. i've had some trouble with my tube screamer pedal and notice that they have a work station in the back room area that looks like someone knows how to repair electronics, so i ask olivier at the club to take a look at it. he fixes it in about 5 minutes. thank you olivier! after sound check we all sit and eat, arugula with olives, bread wine, some rice and some poached fish (maybe perch?) with a light tomato lemon garnish. i notice that the venue staff are being served quiche and ask for a slice. it's like dessert to me. i take a nap for a bit, it's becoming a routine for me.

   i watch nicholas for a bit, then guess what, and it's a good turn out tonight. then nicholas does another half set and then we go on at 11:15. we get through the set, then the minutemen tunes, then pack up. i talk with olivier again about my compressor and he takes a look at it for me. the switch has been making cracks and pops and will only get worse. he cleans it up and says that the switch may have to be replaced. i wish he lived in l.a., i have so many old pedals that need help, and he's really good. we have a slow load out after some chatting with people at the gig. raul and damien throw the frisbee around outside while things creep along. we get in the van and the hotel is about two blocks away, i get the big bed tonight and wash up and so to sleep while some of the guys have nightcaps.

from watt:

   pop at nine bells, sun bright coming through the window - for how long? I go chow downstairs - hey, they got hardboiled eggs! I chow them w/short lengths of baguette and cheese plus coff down the tube to the gut sack. there's a coin machine w/a real cold can of perrier (aqua frizzante) for the topper, provide foundation for a most happening chorus of belches. we were told noon is pull anchor time but big surprise that's a taunt and fortyfive minutes later the reality of the dealio reveals itself. we begin our tour hour ride east to tours (town's name is great one for this mission!), exclamation mark in a triangle indicator lamp on the tachometer greets us - miss hiyori can read/speak german (or course, she's lived in hamburg many years!) so the manual tells us it means check anti-lock breaking system so macario says robert (the man who rented us this boat and the amps) said we can take it to mercedes dealership for servicing and that's what we'll do soon as we can... of course I'm scared shitless. we bail w/sunshine but after an hour it's rain again. there's a big wind up on us but rudy does a great job keeping the keel in the water.

soundman rudy ouazene at the wheel as we head for tours, france on feb 27, 2014

   damn if I need nails clipped, I hate working bass w/out them being short, hate it. kind of disgusting doing that in the boat so I'll wait 'til we drop anchor. tom talks about red krayola to our tourmates, he's be w/mayo twenty years now - hell, tom's been touring fifteen years now w/me - damn, didn't realize that... only in dos have I served longer w/some w/music. much respect to him for bearing w/me. nicholas, axel and damian are all twentyeight (half my age) so they aren't aware of some musics we're from but surprisingly (maybe not but for me kind of) they do know lots. we next talk about hitchcock's "north by northwest" - tom's always been a great resource for movie stuff but axel knows much also, respect. raul's no slouch either. I'm a fucking 'tard and if I ain't forgetting, I'm mixing shit up. I ask for a piss stop cuz the bottle I got is full and besides, small mouth makes it tough w/the aim. I always use big mouth in u.s. (tom has incredible talent to use small mouth PLUS filling the motherfuckers to the brim, respect!) and in fact have used the same one gallon one for like three years now. I never donate fucking piss bottles, I empty them into public heads or onto fancypad lawns. that reminds me of this story I read about regarding fucking jonesing - I mean BIG jones... these cats were raiding trucker rest stops of their donated piss jugs in hopes of swallowing some round II of any remaining methamphetamine that might be passed on (donated) from truckers who had kidney filtered it - now that's a fucking jones to get up the cojones to do that, just sayin'. we do a piss stop and damn if a lady's cleaning the men's head - it's her job, I understand but the mule's kicking at the back door and she has no problem w/that, merci. back all boarded, nicholas now at the helm and onward for the team.

   get to venue just after four and the sun's out even if the ground's wet. this pad's called le temps machine and we see posters for our papier tigre buddies, they've played here... hell, lots of cats have. the padboss nico is very kind, everyone here is. trippy how people have some weird stereotypes of this land... I wish they could get some first-hand experience before attempting to appear as experts. I tell nico what I know about tours is this is as far north as the moors got (from d. boon) and it is a great wine region (from ig). like all the towns I play, I'm glad to be here - when folks ask me how I am that's what I tell them: I'm glad to be here. the padboss nico is a righteous cat and he lets me stay up in a room where I don't have to use the fifteen stairs the other room has. this is another community center. miss hiyori brings some aqua frizzante, tiny salami "bites" and little cheeses which is good and I'm grateful to her. they got internet so I check email - mrs peak has a new shipmate named louie! 'pert-near nine and a half pounds too, she wrote me she almost died from the loss of blood, oh my god. so glad she's ok.

   after soundcheck we all have dinner, first a salad of arugula w/whole olives and then some fish poached in foil w/some kind tomato/pimento suace along w/rice. I like it much. me and tom then apply konk masks and uh, konk.

   tom rousts me for gig ten after elven, he has some tea for me - I asked macario for this earlier in the boat, don't know why it took a week for me to realize I gotta do what's total routine for us touring back home, some hot throatcoat tea before we start playing. damn if I ain't a slow learner, huh? fucking pathetic. anyway, we bring the piece - I think tom's using the green fuzz box (d. boon used one of these on "double nickels on the dime" - tom said it was an earlier modle) that a cat here fixed the in/out footswitch for him earlier. the sound on stage ain't that happening and w/the lights behind us, it's kind of a getting-cooked-up job (think "fryingpan-man") but later I'll find out the sound in the house was real good so that's what really matters. man, do I clam in the first instrumental break of "finger-pointing-man" - what a fucknut and the same for the second verse of "thistle-headed-man" - I'm most lucky raul and tom are real strong and stay the course, keeping everything from falling apart. a couple when I had to holler strong I think I blew it out some (backfire into the chonies), maybe more liquid than solid but I wanted to hold focus and dilute vision w/a check but it felt like it anway. we get done and nicholas blows no clams w/us in the encore, he's got it now, yatta!

   I'm feeling queezy when it's all done but I don't puke. this gig took a lot out of me... actually the piece always does this but it's actuented more I think by not feeling all that well. the gig-goers are very kind though and I spend time rapping w/some of them. one lady tells me she couldn't understand what was coming out of my mouth and I apologize for not being good w/french but she suggests that I might try. I feel bad having to disappoint her about that. a fellow bassman tells me he drove a hundred klicks (about sixtytwo miles) to see the gig, respect to him. another lady asks for autograph for her stepbrother and then asks to play foozball which I am totally lame at and my wrists are sore from playing (another sign I'm not well). I hate to disappoint people, really I do but a like clint eastwood said when he was playing that "dirty hairy" character: "a man's gotta know his limitations" - right? the young men ask me to do an a capella version of "big train" and yeah, I can do that so I do.

   it's a slow slow load up and maybe me feeling not that good makes it worse but it's like two in the morning when we reach where we're konking, a 'tel called "brit ho" a few blocks away. the ibuprofen and aqua frizzante has helped me feel a little better - the hot shower really does and also alows me to clean up after those blow-outs I had during the gig, lord have mercy. then into the nightwear, I konk kirei ('clean' in jap).

friday, february 28, 2014 - cholet, france

from raul:

   Deep sleep last night, when i woke up, i thought for just a sec i was home, and i could hear paloma getting ready to go to work. I slept thru breakfast, but again tom was nice enough to grab a yogurt. I chow that and send an email home, i also help mike pick some pictures for an e-book he's doing w/ photos from averill park pond in pedro. Soon after, it's time to head on to cholet.

   Playing a theatre, that is half converted to a show space tonigt. Also, there's an art show up, of linolium block prints of the same artist. Clean space that dosn't have the vibe of doing many punk gigs. Later i find out that it was rented out due to the other club having big problems w/ a recent flood. Once rudy is ready to go, we do a quick sound check, and get off for the guest what guys, dinner time is in a half hour, 7pm, and i wanna have a walk before the sun goes down. It's threatning rain, and it's cold and grey, so i don't venture too far. Just a block from the club is an old church, and just past that the palais de justice w/ a nice park with ponds that i stroll around till dinner.

   Fish tonight, w/ a tomato basil toping, also served w/ salad, cous cous and spinach on the side. Kinda neat, the chef's, matt and coralie have been reading the diary, and decided to serve something that wasn't cheese based since we've had much of that, very sweet of them. After dinner, tom and i go outside to walk off a bit of the meal and see a little more of the town. neat little narrow and windy road french town, old style buildings mixed w/ modern as well.

   Good gig tonight, not a large turnout, but not empty by any means. It's too bad people didn't wanna come a little closer to the stage. Not a deal at all, just sayin'. even though there's a little seperation between audience and band, i can still feel positive energies out there, and it helps me power thru. Band played real well, and sound on stage was very good. The guys in the other groups that come during the encores are gettin' better too. I was also stoked on tonight version of one reporters, it's a wild tune, and when it's off, it shows, tonight was on!

   Gig was originally booked for a place called bar o'uf, just w few blocks away. that's where we end up for sleep though. The second floor is set up like an apartment, w/ 3 rooms, 2 w/ many beds in them. had long sleep, and weird dreams. One was me having an apartment at the san pedro skate park, no walls but all same furniture i have now. I came home to find a couple dudes just hangin' out. One guy loungin' on the sofa, and when i let him know i live there, he tells me he knows and shrugs and makes himself a bit more comfortable, eventually they rob me, pretty lame.

from tom:

   i wake in time for the free continental breakfast and rudy and i go downstairs while raul stays in bed. i have some granola, a little bread and one slice of cheese, several cups of orange juice from a fresh juice squeezing machine, and a cappuccino from one of those push button coffee machines that turns out to be quite tasty. axel joins us and we have a brief chat about music and related subjects. i go up to our room and shower and this time i fall back to sleep for 30 or 40 minutes and have a dream about recording something with pro tools, rudy appears in the dream to help with something, the rest is hard to remember. i wake feeling refreshed and shave and talk with raul. i walk outside and there's a chilly wind blowing. i would go for a walk but there doesn't look like much is around, it's kind of a bland area, but i'm sure there is an old part of town somewhere that has interesting stuff to see, i just can't tell which way to go. soon i'm back in the hotel lobby waiting, typing, and finally back in the van.

   tonight we play in cholet, and possibly i might see frederic morellet, the soon of the local artist, franciose morellet, whom i met at the gallery i work for in L.A. during an exhibition of his. soon we arrive and get loaded in and situated, and enjoy an awesome cheese platter in the back room. maybe 8 different kinds, some soft some hard, all good. i walk to the local square, and look at the church, and walk back after a little while. i try out my tube screamer pedal that olivier fixed for me, and it really helps my sound. much more sustain at a relatively low level. after sound check we eat (again), and we have a salad with mustard dressing and garlic bread, followed by a fish dish and couscous, that the chefs say they prepared for us after reading our diaries and noticing what our usual dinners were like and thought this would be appropriate, they were right. delicious. i only eat small portions to not feel weighted down later. outside i see our friend, pierre from the french band, papier tigre, great to see him again, we talk a bit. then raul and i walk around outside to digest, after i go in and listen to nicholas' set. he plays in the entry area on a balcony and the sound is great for him, nice reverb. guess what do a good set too, then us. i feel good having more sustain with my guitar. afterwards i see my friend frederic who was able to make it to the gig. i have a nice chat with him at the bar in the venue, he's great, during this time the others load up the van and soon we head to the "bar o'uf" where we will spend the night and i hop in the top bunk in one of the rooms and go to sleep.

from watt:

   pop at nine and half, huge WARM rays of sun flooding through window - is it big dose of cali weather on us? it is good joy feeling especially after TWO nightmares last night during my konk, two! first 'mare had ig in my pedro town w/people trying to hurt him and me finding myself unable to help and going out of my mind about it - fucking torture hell 'mare, terrible. other one was me driving big-ass truck w/georgie (fireman hurley) in passenger seat and 'pert-near driving off gerald desmond bridge (the one falling apart now that connects terminal island w/long beach) and just dangling over the edge w/me feeling like the most stupid motherfucker ever... equally terrible 'mare. I get these things at beginning of tour lots cuz I'm so insecure... after getting caught up in the day-to-day of tourlife, they usually relent. I go chow ham and cheese on a length of baguette w/some yogurt and fruit from the 'tel chow place.

   the sky has turned cold and gray just like that when we pull anchor at twenty of two, only ten minutes later than told... I 'pert-near have a heart attack (just kidding). I apologize to our tourmates (tom and raul already know how insane I am) for sounding maybe like a cranky old man and even worse, maybe bringing tension to the team. the piece takes a lot out of me and I'm used to me, tom and raul loading up quick after we're done and not doing two dawdles... I will be more calm about this issue. the guys in guess what and l'oeillere are half my age (twentyeight) and I gotta remember that. after an hour of driving (heavy wind buffeting the boat), we switch ponies and rudy hands the helm over to nicholas. sun's come out but sky still real gray w/on/off showers. actually we're backtracking west - backtracking is very much not desired in tour world but what can we do? at least it's only two hours total of travel. get into cholet just after four and outskirts there's some chow pad w/the "big boy" logo character... it reminds me the time I toured w/drummerman steve hodges (you can hear him on my first opera w/nels cline) and how he would slather at the site of one of those pads back in the u.s. closer to the venue, I see a pmu pad - axel had earlier hipped me to this being france's version of off-track betting except they're like a bar also, I see a sulky and know these used as those little carts in harness racing. you don't how much time me and raymond have shared time at the track... santa anita, hollywood - oh, hollywood just closed two days after my bday back in december - I won the very last race w/two dollars (I only bet this much a race 99% of the time) on corey nakatani.

bar'ouf in cholet, france

   in this town we were supposed to play a pad called bar'ouf but it fucked up from flooding so instead the good folks here at jardin de verre came to the rescue. what they usually do here is theatre so I'm big time grateful for them having us aboard. very nice folks here and there's some neat lithography exhibiting in the entrance hall. backstage macario makes me two small sandwiches w/a length of baguette each, one w/aged cheese and called "langres" that is out of this world, I shit thee not. I meet the gigbosses joel and mousse from bar-ouf who I learn from macario go back to the 80s in the eastern suburbs of paris and found this smaller town and fight hard to bring interesting music here - much respect to them, truly. I meet helperman matt and the cooklady coralie, both very kind folks - they're the ones who brought the cheese, merci beaucoup to them very much. we do soundcheck and I notice the front of head of the kick drum raul's using is gone... guess he blew it out, crimony. still sounds good now and it's better than hearing a flapping one's that been torn.

   coralie has cooked us up some soup, made a simple salad and prepared a quiche that's more saucy than I've ever had w/lots of tomato and fish pieces along w/pureed spinach on the side, fucking really good! I gotta tell you though: I can't shovel much cuz of earlier w/all that cheese and lengths of baguette - crimony, I gotta play tonight. feeling a little like a blimp, I go to the backroom to apply konk mask and konk. I am so sad I miss l'oeillere and guess what but I have to do this konk. thank god though I get to jam w/them on the encore.

   eleven bells and it's our turn. the focus from the cholet gig-goers is incredible, so kind of them. the sound here is really good too even though usually it's theatre, rudy's got it cooking. that gut sickness I had from last night is totally gone and I really have the piece together, only a few clams from me and even they're tiny ones. for me this gig is up there w/honfluer, a week earlier. I bow w/big true merci to the folks, beautiful cats and I'm most grateful. pierre, drummerman for papier tigre was up front entire gig andI I got to do big hugs and good spiel w/him after, love this man - he gets bear hug from watt! the first french gigs where I got to do watt music was w/him, arthur and eric - most happening! he drove all the way from nantes too, more respect!

   maybe a hundred minutes after we finish we pull anchor and head for bar'ouf (where we we're supposed to play) cuz though the club part is wrecked, upstairs is good, the konk pad part. joel and mousse show us the club part, the bar is kind of a gaudi design w/tile and no straight edges, pretty lumpy and I'm digging it. sure would've like to play here but still I'm grateful for the folks at the theatre pad for letting the gig happen. tom konks right out but everyone else is in high gear, they got a bottle of some kind of brandy I ain't having any part of. there's a poster for "ginger frolic" - now that's a band name I can get by but I gotta say them accidently totally using kraftwerk's "man machine" outfits is kind of weak. I wonder what they sound like? you ever wonder what bands w/bizarre posters sound like? maybe it's only the poster that's bizarre, huh? axel's got his cassette player and is playing some 60s soul. he's really deep w/music but I'm amazed that though he knows parliaments and funkadelic, he's never heard of bernie worrell - what? axel's an amazing organman, told me he started playing in his pop's band at thirteen but don't know of bernie - I gotta learn him. trippy about this is I just got a file from bernie and evan taylor just before bailing for this tour where they want bass from me which is way big time honor. it's coming on three, time for watt to konk so I do.

saturday, march 1, 2014 - angouleme, france

from raul:

   Wake to the sound of the church clock tower across the st. hittin' 11. Brush my teeth, and tom and i get in a morning walk for half hour before we gotta be back for bail time. From what i've gathered, most of france takes a 2hr lunch break between 12-2, so most the town is shut down. no problem, were not looking for anything inparticular, just checking out the scenery, plus we walked most this nieghborhood yesterday after dinner. shortly after were back, we get our bags, and try to get the ball rollin' on getting outta town.

   playing le nef, hugh venue! prac rooms, a record store, big live room, kitchen, banquet room, bar, many offices, many rooms to hold/fix gear, and a back stage as big as most houses we stay, 3 rooms, a common room, and a couple toilets! like i said, big place. there's probably more that i didn't know about. place is well run, and staff is all very frienDLy to us. guy, the monitor man tells me the music store part is closed when i inquire about some things i need. A few minutes later though, he comes back and hand me the things i need, new snare wires, and a bottom head. He then looks at me totally serious, and says well... the best i could do, long pause...is free. Totally cool, big hook-up. Also, big thanks to hiyori for making sure our clothes get clean.

   another amazing meal tonight, steaks and garlics, scewered, fish and shrimp, also scewered, and shrimps by themselves in a garlic and butter sauce. Also, rice and beans, cucumber w/ cherry tomato salad, potatoes, snap peas w/ onions, baked tomato halves topped w/ cheese and a great salad of mixed greens. Also, the ever present bagette and vino. there's so much grub, i have both steak and fish kabobs, and little bits of everything else, i wanna taste it all.i don't do cakes or pies much, but there's a this chocolate pie topped w/ choco covered hazelnuts that i get a lil sliver of and share this w/ tom.

   Played really well tonight, every little part had it's own personality, and i felt in control of the tunes. Sometimes things have a way of getting away form me, and i find myself playing too fast, or maybe a little off. Tonight, i felt i had a good hold on it. Good sound on stage too, and that helps. By no means a big crowd, but we gave the one's there a bitchin' rendition. I was probably relaxed due to the "chill" vibe. Candle lit tables scattered on the floor 2 or 3 people a table sippin' drinks, really focused on what's going on on stage. Sometimes a situation like this can make me feel a little tense, under the microscope feeling. This vibe is dark and cozy and we roll w/ it, and i felt as relaxed as the crowd looked.

   hotel is about a fifteen minute journy, w/ a couple wrong turns thrown in. Tom and i share a room, and he calls it a night pretty quickly. We have some net here, so i take the time to write my mom and paloma, and shoot a couple emails to some friends back home. There's certain things like wash, and communication, when things like that come your way on tour, try

from tom:

   i wake a couple of times to piss, climbing down and up the metal ladder to my top bunk. i hear mike moaning in the tub, soaking his pains, i imagine. i ask rudy, who's putting his clothes on in our room, what time it is, he says 11. we leave cholet at 1:30 so i decide to commit to waking up completely, and pour a bitter cup of coffee from the sauce pan in the kitchen. i join rudy on the roof top patio in the cool late morning air. he brought a couple of his cameras along with him and we arrange some miscellaneous furniture in hopes of composing a nice still life. it's fun for a while, playing with colors and shapes, then some breakfast is served. macario is making fried eggs, kind of huevos rancheros styled without the beans and tortillas, a rasher of ham and 2 cornichon pickles. i add the hot sauce and wash it down with some oj. the protein is immediately received, all of the sudden it feels like i can think more clearly. i go out with raul on another walk around cholet, not far but nice to get air...there was a flood in the building where we slept and i'm very sensitive to mold, so the fresh air feels great. raul and i find a lot to amuse ourselves with, one of my favorite things about touring with him, everything is something to comment on, or laugh at, or be disgusted by.

   we say goodbye to joel at the bar o'uf and drive a few hours to angoulem, we play a place called la nef tonight, and it's an old gunpowder storage building from the 1800's with a industrial modern section attached a few years ago to facilitate a large music venue, with practice rooms, a recording room, record store, and a bar all self contained. the live room is enormous and very well put together with high quality sound system, lighting, and staffed with a well trained crew, and very comfortable rooms backstage. it's a little scary how big it is though, i think it's a 700 person capacity so 100 people will feel empty. after all our sound checking and set up we sit to eat what turns out to be one of the best meals of the tour. beef filets on skewers with garlic cloves, grilled shrimps, red beans and rice, a cucumber dish with cilantro, whipped potatoes with carrots mixed in and with a crust of melted cheese on top, delicious bread and wine, finished off with an escarole salad with a light dijon dressing. i shave after eating, and sit outside with raul to digest. a few people start to show up, but it's looking kind of quiet, especially for a saturday. soon nicholas gets started with his fluid nylon string dissonant guitar style, he's playing in a small booth near the bar that is probably for selling merch. it makes him look like a giant, it's cool. guess what play to a small few on the huge stage in the big room. i sit with raul and try not to be too concerned with the attendance. our gig goes well, i'm playing though the other twin tonight, and it sounds a lot better, much clearer. we play hard to the small crowd and invite guess what and nicholas to join us on the minutemen songs again, it's fun. i pack up immediately, put amps away and get things organized by the back door and go to the bar for a drink. i chat with a couple who were excited by the show and i have a cognac that alexi at the bar pours for me. we are close to the town of cognac, so it's the local drink. we talk about films and suggest that they track down soylent green, and andromeda strain for some reason. it's cold outside as the load out and pack goes slowly by. eventually we get to a motel and raul and i go to sleep.

from watt:

   pop at ten bells. au revoir february, bonjour march. there's a tub! not a big one but I make do and have good hot soak for a good long while, righteous - so much relief for my bones and joints. look in the mirror and find gray (white) curler - for a bunch of years now I've had nose hairs in need of machete maintenance but not only is this not straight, it's also not black but gray like lots of top of head hair became, chest hair became and yes, even pubes... you don't need semiotician like mr eco to understand this a sign pointing to a less-younger time. oh well, c'est le vie. tourboss macario himself cooks me up a kind of huevos rancheros minus the beans and tortilla - big gracias to him. me and axel spiel about roman empire things and mixing of cultures, most interesting.

   pull anchor at thrityone after one - ONLY ONE MINUTE LATE? another heart-attack moment for me! adios, cholet... we head south by southwest for angouleme where there was a festival I played w/the stooges in 2008 hoot_hyphenated-manineurope2014diary.html and I search that tour diary before chimping again in this one. that's a neat thing about chimping these things, especially if your memory gets more and more fucked up...

on the way to angouleme, france on march 1, 2014

   axel at the wheel, we got a sky full of heavy clouds but still the sun's poking through, alright. we move from the autoroute (highway) to some backroad way (at one round-about was four motorcycle hombres [politzei] off their bikes, standing abreast w/arms folded and sour-ass stare-down into our windshield as we pass, whoa), then back on the autoroute (I've heard of bands using only backroads to avoid peage which can big time fucking add up) - I ask for piss stop but it ain't 'til a half an hour from the venue these guys relent so in the meantime I make use of a bottle but have to use much focus cuz these ain't widemouth jobs, crimony. I'm pretty much successful though and it's better than soaking the levis. fuck, I need a widemouth bottle to ride always near me in the boat! macario says "five minutes" for the break but of course it's like herding cats and not five minutes...

   nicholas takes the wheel for this last little part and we get into angouleme just before five, la nef is the name of the pad (macario says it means the cockpit of a spaceship) we're playing. it's out of town pretty much. I found out later from monitorman guy (pronounced "gee" w/hard g) that this pad used to be an ammunition magazine - more war stuff turned into plowshares! after soundcheck (great monitors from guy, respect!) I meet laurent who has a record store in this pad - this is another community center type of deal that's also got recording studios and resources for folks to use, very happening. it's pretty new, the original one was more in town but of course noise complaints hastened the move to here. macario tells me the boss here mochtar is like the cats in cholet, from paris old days and now trying to bring adventurous stuff out to the provinces. he says he asks him for some wild stuff every three months and we're his contribution for this time. much respect to both, truly. I love ethics from the old days not just staying in the old days.

   man, what an incredible chow they trough up for us here, I shovel arugala salad w/mustard/oil/vegar dressing, steak shish-kabab w/garlic, mashed potatoes w/carrot in them, kidney beans and rice, boiled/seasoned shrimps, righteous soft cheese, snap peas, a cucumber salad and of course a short length of baguette - the cookerman trips on me using hashi, calls them baguettes (that's what they call drumsticks here in france, besides bread staffs) and wonders why I'm into them but kindly gives me no grief. I thank him so much for such happening chow. this is the most stuffed I've been on tour but didn't mean to get that way, I promise... it was just hard to stop. we're going on at eleven so I got some time to konk and let my body trying to digest some of this but please know it's not about bulk cuz the flavors were fucking bitchin' - much symphony in the mouth for me!

   I just had to konk and so miss our tourbrother's music which was a shame especially w/nicholas doing his thing in a wall niche...

where l'oeillere played at la nef in angouleme, france on march 1, 2014

he told me it reminded him of the two years in lived in amsterdam, in the red light district. character-builder big time in the big hall for us and the piece. monitorman guy's got the monitors really really good, best of the tour. I pretty ok but I gotta use more of that hachimitsu ocha (honey tea) miss hiyori made... one of the probs of me windbagging during the driving so I gotta put more a plug in the wordhole during that time, maybe chew on a sock or something and shut the fuck up. anyway, tom's kind of blurry tonight - he's ditched the silver face fender twin for the red knob one but is still retaining the angle thing the "legs" on the sillve face had and I like that, the angled-up thing instead of up on a chair and punish-fucking my ears. I put everything I got into what we bring, I can have a clear mind about that and no fear about being dishonest about chimping that - I ain't buffing badge, I swear. tom sounds a little blurry but not cuz of the amp sitch. raul though is sharp as a tack, playing great. I respect his discipline so much. for encore the guess what guys cower on one they said they'd try w/us but nicholas goes for both of his and nails them - he says he feels now like a teenager playing in a rock band!

   a man from greece talks to me right after and wonders why no greece this tour and I let him know I'm sad about that also, macario had planned for both athens and thessaloniki but those plans fell through, damn. we went on early and finished at six of midnight - it's a total mindblow for me when I find we got the boat load in sixty minutes, crimony! we pull anchor and a couple of blowbys later we're soon at the "hotel campanile" - an econo chain but what a happening shower, the head points straight down and is the size of a giant sunflower from out in kansas! I think of charley plymell (he just wrote a foreword for a new book on sun ra) and konk.

sunday, march 2, 2014 - pau, france

from raul:

   Not a strong sleep last night, maybe due to taking a nap at the gig last night. Maybe only did like 4 and a half hours. I get tom up at 9, and we walk over to the next builing where breakfast is waiting. Lots of sunshine today, but still a chill in the air. I have on just shorts and shoes w/ no socks and a thin pull-over, feels good to be outta the same clothes ive been in for almost 2weeks now. Thats usually how'll i travel, but not here and now...to cold. samey hotel food, but w/ crepes. i have musli w/ milk, and some yougurt.

   Typical drive to pau, but once we're about an hour away, the toll road turns to two laner, and hits more villages, then it turns into mtn road w/ a bitchin view of the pyrenees mountains. Playing a room in an old burnt out building. Big warehouse, that looks totally abandoned, you'd never guess this existed here. I believe it's actually a prac place, and every once in a while gigs happpen. More like playing a living room in a house, no stage, so we're on the same level as the people who come to see the gig. While rudy is settin' up moniters and micing stuff, i change out the bottom snare head, and replace the wires too. Hugh diffrence, and we're getting something that resembles a fuckin' snare drum. The old head was a little thick, think it was a rack tom head! that explains the thud sound, and no sound of the wires.

   unfortunately, we didnt play too hot. Tom was the stong one tonight. I had a hard time seeing anything, and watt couldn't see at all! lights shining right in our face. it's not the worst we've done, but maybe the poorest attempt this tour. But i think our spirit persevered, and we didn't stop for nothing, that and us just going balls out shadowed the clams that were blown.folks that were there seemed real genuine, and very pleased w/ our playing. very sweet people, club guys too. i even got to eat my 1st basque meal, a chili kinda thing that you put over boiled potatoes, called axoa i believe. i liked the simplicity of the meal too, no frill, but really tasty.

   stayed about 30 minutes from the club at a pad out in the country, small village. Some drinks were drank, and we had some fun. also, the 1st time on any tour that the host pulled out a container of wigs. So weird, but shit, let's do it! hopefully hiyori does not leak all the photo's on the web. I'm sure We must of looked pretty goofy.

from tom:

   raul and i go get the free breakfast in the motel lobby, i have granola and juice with coffee and a croissant. mike joins us and we talk about the gig last night. the drive is about four hours to pau near the border of spain. we can see snow in the mountains in the distance. we get to the venue which is in an industrial building covered in graffiti, kind of a squat type place. inside we set up on the old rugs on the floor, no stage. it's cool. i like this change from last nights mega stage thing. this is our last france show for a week or so, it'll be nice to visit other countries after being primarily in france. after a quick sound check we are treated to a nice dinner of boiled potatoes with a ground meat in a lightly spicy tomato sauce over the top, bread and wine. i have tiny slice of a chocolate cake that completes it all nicely. i'm drinking a lot of water and resisting the temptation of more wine from the box on the table...

   raul and i have a short walk around the industrial complex and down the street to a kayaking area that was built to house the growing interest in the sport because of a local kayak star that had done well in an olympics event in the recent years. it's a contrast to the abandoned building where we are playing nearby. as the sun sets a few locals begin to show up and a light drizzle forces back inside. nicholas begins his first set to small crowd and it sounds great. it's a very cozy room, no stage, and people sit on the rugs on the floor watching quietly. i sit too. after that, guess what goes on and takes the polite listeners to another world with their groovy blend of trance and tropicali space-lounge music that conjures images of psychedelic dreams of a planet in a far away place in your mind. get it? i am now familiar enough with it to know where those places are. peaceful. nicholas plays another short but sweet set, then we play. it's a really fun gig, i like the way it feels in the small room and on the same level with the listeners. i'm so much happier with my guitar sound, it helps me play better. mike has some trouble with bass because had to shorten his strap earlier, it was fraying where it's screwed into the body. also, the lights are blaring in his eyes and it can make it hard to see the frets...we plow though and do the minutemen tunes with guess what playing one more song and damien with his pocket trumpet. fun show. i pack quick and have a brief chat with a couple people, and we load and head to alex's place for the night. we have a couple drinks and i sneak away and get into my sleeping bag upstairs on an old bed and i'm out.

from watt:

   pop at nine and a half and head for the building where the trough is. I have jambon and fromage (has holes in it, it swiss?) on a good length of baguette w/some great crunch. I look over to next table and witness axel pouring like a pound of sugar on his crepe and use my fingers to keep my eyeballs from popping out like champagne corks, crimony.

pull anchor seven minutes late, twentythree of noon. axel at the wheel, we head south towards the pyrenees mountains - tonight will be our last french gig for eight days cuz next up is the iberian peninsula lands, spain and portuagal. just before one we get diesel but not w/out taking about eight or so round-abouts to do it - hey, we're on a carousel! ride started w/out a cloud and though the further we go the more the sky flies w/them, at least the sun ain't blankied over. we drive past many vineyards. nicholas last snagged the perrier waters they had for us in the rooms, such a great supplement for the boat and my thirsty ass, merci! raul carves me up some of the fresh shoga ('ginger' in jap). we get into movie talk again - tom knows a bunch but crimony if axel ain't much of a slouch either - I've mixed up all my realismo novo films and he sets my ass straight, much respect to him!

   last hour two hours is w/nicholas at the wheel and tiny roads through tiny towns, we're heading up into the hills. sun is all grayed-out but no rain. we can see the pyrenees (big time covered w/snow) when we reach a huge plain, like fifty klicks away, then some more hills winding road, through the middle and finally to the outskirts of pau and some beat up bad ruins of a factory sitch which one small part has been converted to a prac pad space, it's called "localypso" and the collective a tant rever du roi people have chosen to organize the gig for here. I meet their man stefane (he also runs localypso) who is very cool people, much respect to him. his spirit reminds me much of the old days. his helperman alex is also very cool. they got some duck pate here for us and some green olives, I stuff a length of baguette w/some and am happy to chow it. amazing how the quality of the baguettes are so consistent here in france, amazing. I guess you can call it culture, having some care. interesting. maybe we can import some of this idea - I ain't saying we ain't got good ideas back home but we could increase the "vocabulary" or whatever metaphor I'm grasping at.

   getting ready for soundcheck, I notice the strap on my bass (what I use to sling it) is really frayed and torn, about to be severed where it connects near the neck - gotta get to it now, crimony. fuck, so glad this didn't happen last night and why am I just seeing this now? baka. the strap itself is very strong nylon so luckily miss hiyor has scissors and helperman alex has a screwdriver I can use on the massive screw I myself put in when I first got the dan bass cuz I had so many bad experience of screws stripping out and be taken out of the race. I fold over the end twice, pierce a hole and screw back in the screw good and solid. I am baka about something though - you'll see a little later. it's a prac pad so where on the deck but this ain't a tiny one like my prac pad in pedro and it's not too big, I think it's just the right size for tonight's sitch.

tom watson at localypso in pau, france on march 2, 2014

while knobman rudy gets things together, tom fills in holes I have regarding his time regarding mayo thompson, informing me about recordings I know little about - of course I know about big time "god bless the red crayola..." and "soldier talk" (the later an incredible influence on all three of us minutemen) but it's real interesting to learn about this stuff, the chicago connection and so forth. oh yea, I know some about "kangaroo" and dig that too but I think that's actually "art and language" version of the band. tom has done much for mayo, mayo I'm told has promised to be there for him... tom's actually had an album he's been working on for eighteen years called _the best of all_ (no web presence yet) w/many guests. tom's journey w/music is very interesting. after soundcheck, gigboss stefane's wife has made us some basque-style chili to go w/peeled boiled potatoes that I dig much, merci. I use one of the benches to konk on, orange knit hat and mask fitted to head and face.

   so great we're on at nine bells. there's lights fitted to p.a. speaker stands pointed right into my eyes, whoa. I blow clams. a bigger reason though is the strap length has changed of course cuz of the repair job. of course I can compensate w/the plastic strap buckle but either shorter or longer to what it was means all the "feel" I've acclimated to has be lost and I keep fingering the wrong fucking fret - very embarrassing. lucky for me though, tom is playing his ass off. I don't know if it was having raul put on a d. boon sticker like we got on the other two amps or what but he is sharper than a tack and making every note and strum count like his life depended on it. he's really REALLY good, chingau. I mean I always count on tom much always but it's times like these when I gotta lean on him and what a righteous thing to have him on fire and on the money like this. raul's real good too, please don't doubt that... watt's the luckiest motherfucker alive to have these two in his corner, believe you me. the pau gig-goers are very kind to us, beautiful w/their focus, truly. I wish I could explain their language what's in my heart about that, damn me for being so baka. the encore bring two tunes w/guess what aboard, so glad they went and "broke the water" in regards to that. l'oeillere also - actually nicholas I saw on some posters for festivals here on the bulkheads... he has a connect here.

   load-up is relatively quick, I almost keel over w/that reality... another helperman of stefane's, enzo talks to me about bass while we do the final baka check and pack. we're gonna konk twenty minutes away in a village called espoey at an olde-timey pad gig helperman alex's grandma gave to him. rain came down while we're playing so it's tricky making sure the boat doesn't get stuck when we drop anchor. it's truly olde-timey in this pad and I dig it much. nicholas says he's spent much time here, even did recordings. axel gives us some "jurancon" which is a sweet wine that I can only have a sip of, I finish the last of the beam from last week in tours. we're having a good time, alex busts out a bucket of wigs - we get those happening and you know a party's on.

tom watson + raul morales wiggin' out at alex's in espoey, france on march 2, 2014

   I can't remember what time I konked but know it was very comfortable, in my nightwear on a thin blankied mattress flat on the deck.

monday, march 3, 2014 - san sebastian, spain

from raul:

i woke up, and my tongue felt like an old piece of leather, so dried out! i also had weird anxiety dreams about drums. In this one, we're home, just back from tour, and i got a gig w/ a couple of other pedro guys, todd c and sean cole. i played w/ em years ago, so maybe that makes a lil connection. Anyhow, i for some reason either decide not to bring, or forgot my kit at home, and we gotta set up to play. the opening bands were real square too, and didn't wanna help out. Eventually, i get someone to loan me a set, and i can remember the hi-hats being the size of dimes, and me being so bummed about that and really apoligetic to them, weird shit, and that was just a nano part of a bigger dream. Good note, was that i finally got to use the sleeping bag i picked up the day before we left san pedro, great bag. It's a mummy one, but not constricting, and it breaths good so not too hot for me.

   once we cross border into spain, it's starts raing like a mo-fo, buckets. So looks like no checking out much of san sabastian on foot. we left a couple hours early for this reason too. So now, new plan is to find parking outside the city, and find a place for us to get inside outta the wet, and kill time w/ coffee. We end up near the water w/ all the fishing boats, and eventually make camp at a little cafe/bar style place. really cool bar keep too. He ask were i'm from, so i tell him san pedro, ca. He looks a bit shocked, and let's me know that were in san pedro now too! what a trip. He's cool, he flows us the code to his wi-fi, and ask everyone the names of the bands theyre in, and then looks em up on the internet and plays it. we really lucked out finding this place, especially since everything else was closed. He also told us a big storm was on it's way, and they'd hafta most likely start shutting down some streets since they're expecting up to 30ft waves!

   tonights gig is great, good energy from band and crowd. i played a little fast at the beginning, i could hear tom sayin' damn, it's too fast in between parts. There's one particular place he mentioned, so i'll try and watch that next gig. i had lights in my face again, but not as bad as pau, and we played tons better than that gig too. we also stay here at mogambo, there's a back room w/ 9 bunk beds, 3 wide and 3 tall. i picked a middle one on the left. we had some fun after the gig drinking w/ tom and the rest of the crew, and also getting to spend some time w/ guillaume, merch man and driver for the french band papier tigre. He lives here in san sabastian now, and sometimes works this club. He also made a bitchin' flyer that i saw posted thruogh town. he's went on pedaling missions to flyer the city, and i think this approach helped w/ the gig lots.

from tom:

   raul and i wake and talk before a quick pack up and go downstairs for a cup of coffee. i see nicholas cooking some duck wings in a pot of water on stove. that's not very common for us, but this area is know for it's duck, and foie gras (pate), so it's common here. raul and damien and i walk to the local boulangerie for some baguettes and return for a small breakfast with beans, asparagus, corn, bread, scrambled eggs, juice, coffee, and i choose not to try the duck wings, but the others gobble them up. it's still grey and wet outsideand we slowly get things together to leave. macario makes his last calls in france for a while, then we load into the van and roll towards spain. stopping at a gas station to check the oil we try to use the wifi, but no dice. still struggling with internet, it feels strange not to be able to communicate with friends back home.

   we find a parking place near the harbor, and walk through the rain to a small tavern and wait for the club to open. they have internet and i send a couple of emails while we talk with the bar man who tells us a big storm will soon hit the coast...we soon roll to the venue and load in the downpour. when we start to load in i see our old pall guillome from the papire tigre tour. it's nice to see his face again. we are staying in the club tonight, they have three triple bunk beds in a room next to the backstage area. a little dusty, but i claim one of the beds and clean it up enough for my needs and set up my gear. i like the room, kind old school punk rock stye. we have to make do with one monitor so i'll just be screaming my head off cause mike sings most of the songs. no prob. they serve up a salad with great lettuce, onions, tomatoes, bread, wine, and then some brown rice with some sort of stew over it as well as some pasta with tomato sauce. the show starts on the early side which is great, and there is a good sized crown for a rainy monday night, obviously guillome did a good job promoting it. it makes a big difference. nicholas plays a great set, guess do too, then we go on and it goes pretty well also. the people are into it and we have a good time playing. we are finally sounding like us, to me anyway. i pack quick and have a couple beers and talk with mike and others. it's not get too late when the last of the locals are gone and i climb into my sleeping compartment.

from watt:

   pop at ten bells for good - two earlier pops but those were for pissing and I'm very glad I got stationed to konk near the head, very grateful. there's a tub but I can't find soap so I just go for hose off... fuck I gotta get a thing that holds soap that goes in my sack that carries the razor and tooth brushing stuff - by the way I shave our first gig out of france. I make for the galley and find nicholas cooking and I chow first asparagus, baked beans and duck wings w/the skin mixed in that he fixes up, coff and peas w/carrots also. next is fresh baguette lengths of staff tom got down the road w/scrambled eggs axel cooked up along w/rotelli pasta and sauce. it's a team effort and really good. we pull anchor at a quarter of noon, rudy does an excellent job of making sure the boat doesn't get stuck in the mud.

   we soon pull over to check both tire pressure and engine oil level - everything ca va ('ok' in french) and that warning light we had a few days ago regarding the brake anti-lock system hasn't reappeared, great. it's a hard go w/wind very strong buffeted the vehicle but wheelman rudy prevails. also we're lucky only two hour drive for us today. no sign of spring in gray skies but I know it's coming and also we're rolling south though now we're heading north by northeast, for the border w/spain. after an hour of driving, the sun comes out but for only minutes and now rain joins the wind and pelts us. tom plays me some of "autobahn" from kraftwerk - we talked much about kraftwerk yesterday on the drive to pau, forgot to mention that (like a baka). we get to the border (actual crossing is hard to perceive cuz of european union) at three and switch ponies, nicholas now at the wheel, he's got a tiny shift cuz where we play tonight, in san sebastian is part of the basque country (called donostia in their language) and real close. the street signs have two languages, vasco (euskal in their language) and espanol... not only on the border but also on the coast of the atlantic ocean. macario has to make calls and we got two hours before the venue's open (parking there is difficult also so we gotta wait for six we go down to the san pedro part of town - yeah, same name as my town - we park at warf where the fishing boats are - I'm surprised at seeing such new trawlers, more modern than our boats in my pedro town. they got new big tractor tugs also and in fact the pilot boat leaves right from us. the weather has turned ugly, much rain, cold and gray - I stay in the boat but others scout on foot for somewhere we might be able to do the holding pattern thing and maybe some internet? had none yesterday. sometimes having no internet is not such bad thing though, know what I mean? the team finds no internet but a cat a bar they do find said everything's closing up early cuz a huge-ass storm is on its way, crimony. well, my hope is it blows out tonight cuz we got 'pert-near seven hundred klicks (about 435 miles or a little more from my pedro town to s.f.) hellride tomorrow west which is happening cuz most winds are easterly.

   well, whatever happens will happen so I ain't gonna kvetch too much. I just want us safe. hey, this is my first time playing this town so that's exciting. there's a store right near the elevator we need to load in from (the pad's up on floor) I give euros to miss hiyori to get honey, a juice jar w/a wide mouth so I can use later as a piss bottle and four bottles of tobasco so I give tom and raul each one (sugar ain't cutting it for us as a condiment and unfortunately they got no mustard cuz we would've got that too) plus one lemon she found that wasn't soft and full of mold. alright, domo to her. six bells, here's the gigboss - I've met him before, he's guilleme (bill) and he's friends of papier tigre and did merch for them we toured w/them in france two years ago, the first time I brought my music to their land. he's from tours but moved here two years ago, so happening to see him. this pad is called mogambo and I'm told it's been happening for twentyfive years, respect. they got a konk pad about ten feet from the stage, talk about being w/in stumbling distance! can't make noise 'til 7:30 so I chimp diary... tom found an electric kettle at a shop on the street for seventeen euros (about twentythree $ u.s.) but it's something we really need cuz using microwave for ocha making is terrible - all the heating energy goes into the cup!

   gigboss bill brings chow for dinner: a green salad w/happening vinegar, oil and onions together w/fresh tomatoes, a stew w/veggies and some kind of soy fake sausage? the tobasco supplements. penne pasta w/tomato sauce - simple but good, I have two helpings of everything (not big ones, I gotta play not too much later!). nagore cooked the stew, she did real good.

   I watch l'oeillere, nicholas up on a little chair, he's wonderful w/his guitar and I wish so much d. boon could check him out... maybe he is?

nicholas gardrat backstage at mogambo in san sebastian, spain on march 3, 2014

guess what is really good also. I was worried cuz axel earlier had slipped getting up on stage 'pert-near landed on his head. I lay down for a moment for a moment, tom tell's me l'oeillere's second set is scissored so we're going on forty minutes earlier than the scheduled eleven cuz it's a monday which is perfectly ok w/me cuz earlier is always better for me, always - you're never see this peckerwood stalling to go on. raul helped me w/my tangled up bass strap so maybe I have less problems concerning last night's trouble? hope so. gigboss bill right in front of me, tourboss macario right in front of tom, we bring the piece to most kind gig-goers, lots of folks closer to my age tonight. I blow way less clams than last night but still I gotta get used to wear the bass hangs cuz even a millimeter difference brings uncertainty to my fingers finding which frets are the right ones. still, much better than last night, like I said. tom again playing real good, sam w/raul - lucky watt w/these two aboard, most grateful watt. throat's a little beat up, twelfth gig in a row but that ocha helps big time, can't believe it took a week to remember what I usually do on tour to help that, baka watt! we do good, buoyed by great spirit from the gig-goers. I ask tom to tell them "thank you" in basque language cuz I heard him say it to nagore in gratitude for the chow (eskeragasgo?) but he's spaced and forgotten but a person in the crowd assists. like a tonto I tell them I'm a tonto and know no words myself in their talk - tonto is espanol for stupid, please don't mix that up w/the character jay silverheels played on olde-timey tv. have you ever wondered about what that "coincidence" is all about? there was also a huge synth w/that name that assisted stevie wonder w/his "innervisions" album and a couple after, hmm... encore is great w/out tourbrothers, guess what drummerman damien works both pocket coronet and shaker egg for one of them, big respect!

   much good word from the gig-goers, so happening w/the good well-wishes. there's a man from the state of maine named dan who talks w/me - I tell him the story of the bass I'm working, I call it the "dan bass" in honor of the very kind cat who gave it to me after a gig at "the casbah" in san diego not long after all the stooges stuff got "donated" (stolen) in montreal. I think it's why this bass is so good to me, I think that dan put a lot of love into it before giving it to me, a 1965 gibson eb-0. I love working it for gigs.

   w/the konk pad ten feet from the stage, no huge struggle and especially for me made easier cuz I'm given a bunk on the bottom - can't imagine how the top bunks got occupied cuz there's no ladder... did our guys take a running start to do a flying insert or what? trippy...

tuesday, march 4, 2014 - la coruna, spain

from raul:

   long night last night, and maybe a little too much booze. When i woke up, i was sore as shit, and vaguely remembered almost taking a bad spill outta the bed, and rudy grabbin' me by the neck of my shirt. When i asked him, he hardly remembered himself, but did say that i had gotton off the bed the wrong direction, and was stumblin' around all lost. finally i figured it out, and was able to go piss. total bone head manuever. Tom took a spill too, and watt also got outta bed the wrong way like me, and kept walkin' into the wall like a malfuntioned robot.We are truly foolish men. We did't load up the gear last night, so first things first, and we gotta get our tools in the van. Guillaume was there to help to, solid man, and i was happy he took the time to come by to say goodbye.

   We do a stop into this 9hr drive about an hour in. I grab a egg sami, and sit in the van to shoot an email to paloma and let her know we're ok, and communication has been rough. She's been very understanding of this, and has also been keeping busy doing things w/ her band, bombon. Yesterday they went and recorded two songs for a single, and to feel out the situation to maybe do their next album there. 3 women w/ a surf/60's garage sound. NOt much rest last night, so i crashed the 1st half of travel time, waking up here and there to readjust, and scope the scenery. Then another stop, this time for a quick sit down lunch, and again, i chow an egg sandwhich, but this one w/ ham, i think my body is craving the protien, and i'm drawn to the egg. Soon after we start climbing a mtn, and it's full on snow covered. Man, the weather changes quickly, and we roll thru a thick fog down the mountain, and into flat lands, and i doze off again, and don't wake till we hit a toll booth half hour outside of la coruna. I think us backin' up on the highway kinda knocked me to my senses. Turns out axel was directed to the wrong both, and had to reverse to get in the line 4 or 5 booths over! gnarly!

   playing a place called la tomada, an old storage building on the backside of the big train station in town. We're greeted by jose and angela, two folks who help run this place, and also who today, help us load our gear onto stage, truly sweet of them both. New place, only been around for 6 months, and not just gigs, also theatre, and films happen here too. We also meet a man named adrian, who cooked us a good dinner. noodles w/ tamari or soy, and a mix of veggies, broccoli, mushrooms and red peppers. After chow, i do a wander alone, but not too far, i don't wanna get stuck in the rain far from the club. I did bring an umbrella, but its a small travel one, and not well built. I don't feel it'll last much longer.

   Most also a neat feeling being in a forgien city that i've never been to. It's a trip out on the senses, and the mind tries to place it, and maybe certain things remind you of other places. i can tell we're by the water though, there's seagulls all over, and also the tile work on the side walk that has light houses on it is a big indicator! I should've looked at a map last night. Being in this new place makes me happy... music has been kind to me that way.

   Casa tomada gig is great too, felt a little tense when we first started, but i got a hold quickly. truthfully, my mind was somewhere else, and i had a couple of moments of space out. The drum set felt a bit odd, and certain things were just a bit outta place. I got control of the mind though, and got shit together. Tom was tearing it up, and jumpin' all over the place, wild man. He later said he felt he needed too. There's bits and pieces of this piece that still get the best of at diffrent times. So weird, i've played so many times, and it's still hard to do, but only sometimes. I guess each situation is diffrent. maybe some of it is just in my head too?

   Hostel where we sleep tonight is close by, maybe 5 minute walk. So after we pack the things up, but leave them on stage, jose walks us over to the sleep spot. Tom, rudy and i share a room, and we're all out within a half hour. ia was gonna go have a beer w/ the young men of the crew, but once i hit the sack, there was no way i gettin' up again. Good idea to, cuz after last night, and the long haul today, i could use the rest. Big thanks to those who actually did the drive too, thanks for getting me here safely. Took four men to do it, biggest drive of the tour so far.

from tom:

   i wake in the dark to take a piss and lose my footing and land on my hip on the tile floor, i scream and wake up macario who helps me up. man, that hurt, but i'm okay, just bruised, but scary. i'm going to be sore for a while. i have really bad eyesight in the dark, i have to be really careful from now on. i just wasn't really awake enough and couldn't see where the floor was.

tom watson showing us the hurt he got last in san sebastian at casa tomada in la coruna, spain on march 4, 2014

i go back to sleep. when we finally get up it's 6-ish and we still have to load the van, so when guillome comes he makes coffee and we pack out. it's pitch dark, but the sun is starting to rise and by the time we start to roll it's almost daytime.

   we have a long drive today, longest yet, and the windy drive makes my stomach feel a little queazy. i have to keep my eyes open to keep from feeling sick. we travel for a few hours and stop at a gas station with a little restaurant attached and get some lunch. i have an egg sandwich with ham and an orange soda kind of like orangina. it's satisfying. there is a strong wifi connection so i do a couple emails and eat my sandwich. the food makes my stomach feel much better. back in the van for a few more hours, and we drive by some snow that's on the side of the road. it's still pretty cold outside. we have a 10 hour drive to coruna and when arrive we find that the club is in an old building at the train station in the middle of town. it'a a cool old storage building converted into a performance space. very nice people, jose, angela, and adrian are very sweet to us. adrian made us some food, it's like soba noodles with a mix of vegetables. we add our tabasco and i have a beer and piece of bread with it. very delicious. today is the last day of their carnival and a couple people show up in costumes, a frieda kahlo, and a day of the dead type one...nicholas plays up on a loft and everyone watches from down below, looks and sounds great. guess what play a nice set too...the cozy crowd is kind and i can communicate a little better in spanish, which feels good. we play well, i feel good, there are a couple moments where it feels a little disconnected with our tempo, but maybe i'm the only one who feels it. overall we are getting better with our onstage communication, eye contact, etc.. after we pack up, a young lady buys one of my records and she has me sign it, that doesn't happen very often, but it always feels good. eventually we stack all of our stuff on the stage to leave it for the night and walk to our hotel that's a couple blocks away. rudy, raul and i share a room and i jump into bed and i'm asleep in seconds.

from watt:

   pop at six bells, we gotta move early this morning cuz of the hellride we need to make to do tonight's gig. during the night I had to piss (big surprise) and got out on the wrong side and kept walking into the bulkhead - it was totally dark and I thought if I just kept trying I find my way but after the fifth head-thump, I do a one-eighty and find the way out... what a fucking baka but my shit was nothing compared to tom's - he was a middle bunk totally hit the deck in a free fall, I think his mask was still on! damn, I feel bad for him. pull anchor at twenty of eight, rudy at the wheel - we leave a squalled-out san sebastian for squalled-out parts due west. at least no thundering and lightning last night but there is wind and tom is warning he might have to puke soon (there's some winding road involved, axel also is queasy)... quarter after nine we have piss stop, switch ponies and now nicholas at the wheel. gray skies and drizzle but nothing like last night's storm. a little more than an hour later the sun comes out, we have brightness and we leave the rain. travelling west has worked like I was hoping, yatta! eleven bells and we switch ponies again, I think it's good we spread the helm amongst the men and put not too much weight any one of them. the switch is made in a little pueblo called melgar de fernamental that's got pads made of mud like adobe - like in our southwest, kind of...

a part of melgar de fernamental, spain on march 4, 2014

me and my missingme tell our french brothers about all the abandoned stuff you see on the interstates back home, the ghost towns - in fact the town my ma was born in (called "dines" in western wyoming) has been no longer for a long while... her and her brother (my uncle david) went and saw the ruins of it a few years ago, it was a "company town" and when the coal ran out, the plug got pulled.

   we drive past bilbao and in catabria. not long after noon we drop anchor to chow at a "repsol" gas station. at the chow pad connected to I have a "number nine" which is three fried eggs, three slices of grilled ham, a salad and french fries for nine euros. damien now on the conn, we continue west, about two bells we're in snow! it's raining on us but snow's on the ground - maybe it's our elevation? lots of misty haze also. sure enough, we lose some altitude and the snow disappears but the rain doesn't... it does go down to a drizzle though. we drive through asturias, very hilly... as is galicia - this is where our next two gigs will be, the first one in a coruna, a coastal town like last night but on the west side - yeah this drive is from spain's northeast to her northwest, the whole enchilada in one haul! most everyone in the boat's konked... more than a couple tunnels through the mountains. an hour away from our destination, a coruna (la coruna in spanish), we switch ponies, axel taking the wheel making for all four drivers having a turn today. meanwhile in our boat's the two rear benches both cuckoo bird brood paraticism and the dao are discussed but not at the same time although one I think did inform the other in ways... we get into town a quarter of five, it's gray and drizzling and we're by the main train station... in fact where we're playing is behind the station at a pad called casa tomada which means "taken building" and it started as a squat and now's gets support from the town. jose and angela are here to meet us and get things happening, they have a great spirit. we notice some young people in costumes, two girls like cats and two other guys w/their heads spray-painted orange - I shit thee not - back of their ears painted even... our hosts tell us today's a holiday - of course, it's fat tuesday - baka watt. anyway, this region (galicia) is autonomous and they got their own dialect of spanish along w/heavy portugal influence, the got the x for the sh sound much, interesting. jose is the gigboss and a great cat. him and his compadres spent a year getting this pad together and we're part of its first days, respect and great honor for us! I dig what they've done, even the head is way happening, respetar!

watt pissing in the head at casa tomada in la coruna, spain on march 4, 2014

angela is musician and has me sign a spanish translation of mike azerrad's "our band could be your life" which is a trip, I'm very happy to - so glad young people find it relevant. tough situation for young people in spain now, actually in all southern europe. angela tells me she has two master's degrees from university but teaches english to survive, however she says she's still happy, has priorities in other things than just material. we do soundcheck and then this real nice cat named adrian comes w/chow he's for his us, kind of thai-style noodles (and flat, not round ones) w/veggies mixed in it. especially w/the tobasco, it's really good. mucho mas to him, big time gracias.

   it was nine hours in the boat to get here and I didn't konk during any of it so damn if I ain't tuckered big time so down w/the mask, I gotta konk and unfortunately miss everyone's set. sorry. our turn is to be at ten but ten minutes early ain't such a bad thing so we do it then. I want us to have connection w/our tour mates and that's one reason for them joining us for some encore tunes but also playing close to their sets instead of having big spaced-out in between makes for what I feel is kind of a "moat" between us and them and I ain't into that. I want folks to see you share so much even if you don't copy each other's style of music, the human connection, the essential human fabric where immitation really exposes itself as shallow. also the generation divide being bridged - they're half my age but still we relate on so much, so fucking much. same w/the folks at this pad too, I feel big kinship and are thinking of them as I bring the piece w/tom and rual... maybe a little too much cuz I totally get the verses confused in the first part, baka watt! I bear down though and get it together - also more together is my body's sense of where the dan bass hangs on me since the strap repair in pau so less clams cuz of that. the a coruna gig-goers are righteous to us, much respect and focus from them. we get done and I thank gig-goers, one is sad cuz I didn't do "big train" and I explain I'm here to do my third opera and encore songs that influenced it but he said he heard me do it in chicago in 1995 and wanted to hear it again. I tell him I'm very sorry... I don't even think tom and raul know how to play it. lots of thanks those for us coming to play for them, so glad we got to play here.

   I go back to the dressing room w/my head totally soaked, like I had a fever but it's cuz there's so much moisture in the air. nicholas is back here w/me, he tells me he is great fan of "the tower of babel" painting by bruegel the elder and we talk some about roman empire history stuff, great mind nicholas has - like all these cats we're on tour w/and sharing thoughts is really easy w/out belig shit or ego crap. respect to these tourbrother, respect! our gigchef adrian comes w/another pot of his chow - we can save for tomorrow. adrian's only twentysix but he knows all about "we jam econo" - not just the doc but the actual philosophy which is kind of a mindblow, respect to him. I can taste the care he put into the chow.

   we hoof (I hobble) to konk pad called "hotel liste" a few blocks away, some kind of family connect w/the gigboss jose, macario tells me. man, am I tuckered but grateful to be part of a happening team. tomorrow us three so cal cats begin our third week away from home...

wednesday, march 5, 2014 - pontevedra, spain

from raul:

   The three of us seemed to wake at the same time, 10:30 or near there. I showered after tom, and the 3 of us hit the streets to check out the little nieghborhood part of the city la caruna were in. We split pretty quick too, tom and i want to get some coffee, and rudy wants octopus. There's a bunch of these seafood pads since were right on the water. He dosn't drink coffee anyow, so not a deal at all. Best coffee of the tour so far, perfect espresso, w/ just the right amount of milk. Like something i'd do at home. Somewhere along the way, i've become particular about coffee, i'll drink most any kind anyone has to offer, but if im gonna make or buy, i've become more into quality, i know, totally sissy! We find rudy just down the block getting served up his octopus, and he offers a litle taste, good shit. Tom and i go back to hotel to get our bags, and spend the remainder of the time before we meet back at casa tomada exploring what little side streets we can next to the main road that'll lead us back.

   Short drive to ponevedrea, two hrs or there abouts. Beautiful scenery that is reminissant of the pacific north west of the u.s, one of the prettiest places i've seen in my travels. Pontevedra is beautiful itself, and the place we play is just a block away from the marina. From what i hear, this is the first day in 4 months that it hasn't rained. It's nice and warm, and the sun is shining, so i take this opportunity to walk, and check out the town a bit on my own. quite nieghborhood just a block from the water. A couple blocks more in, there's a river that runs thru the city, very cool. There's a trail that follows it, so i walk along that scoping out the old now abandoned houses all overgrown w/ various greenery. Plants sticking out of in between the bricks, and lil succulants and moss all over. It's neat how the old stays side by side w/ the new. The river lets out in the marina, and next to that is a big public walkway and another old part out town that i don't get to explore much, i don't wanna be gone for too long, where supposed to chow at half past 6.

   No chow at 6:30, since it's an early gig, we're gonna chow after we play. Berto, the dude running the gig offers me some coffee though, and takes me to a place next door, small cafe worked by a sweet little old lady. As a walk in, she gives me a big grin, and starts talking to me like we've known each other for years, reminds me of paloma's grandma. I can understand very little spanish, so i need berto's help. Turns out just last week she was sick with cold, and someone staying here at liceo mutante helped her w/ medicine, and she thought i was that person. I brought the coffee back and sat in the sun, and had just about the perfect moment w/ my surroundings, the juggling electrition gave it a sureal quality. He was taking bites out of the fruits as they passed his face.

   While nichoals played, berto had found me on the roof watching from above, and offered a tour of the empty building next door. He said it used to be a church, and before that a big reception hall that his grandfather was a cook at in 1950's. They trying to get the landlord to rent them the space, but he's a little reluctant, waiting for someone to by the waterfront property. I have my fingers crossed for them, i see nothing but positive things for them and their town if they can expand their operation. There's a big ballroom w/ many windows, and his idea is to do cinema in this rooom that over looks the marina.

   We're gonna stay here tonight, the front of the show space is basically a house. Fron the outside you wouldn't suspect this is what the inside looks like, but they got 3 bedrooms, kitchen and bathroom, and two rooms dedicated to screen printing, one for tee's and the other for paper, from the looks both gig poster and record covers, and various other sizes of art prints. while i'm laying down for a bit just relaxing it the light went out, i figured maybe someine walked by, saw the tom and i laying here, and hit the switch. Nope, all the power is out in the building. The two us lay there listening to the rukus and the voices from the kitchen, and little flickers from lighters. I think to myself, well atleast we had a great afternoon w/ these folks, gig is over, but soon enough, the lights are back on, and guess what starts their set. I'm not sure if we thank bob for the juggling electrition, or if it was him fooling w/ the power box that caused this outage. Either way, i'm glad he decided to hang around for a bit.

   great gig played by all, and very gracious audience. We playesd on the floor, and it was great the way the crowd was circled around us. felt a bit more intimate than some of the other gigs. I could only quick glimpses though. there was a light as bright as the sun behind watt, and just to the right of his head, so when he moved, it was blocked, other than that, totally blinded. I played half the gig w/ my eyes closed, had a paranoia, it would fuck up my timing, especially the beginning of tunes, just had to go for it, and hope for the best.

from tom:

   i wake from a restful sleep, i had a dream of repairing the toilet and trying to attach electrical wiring to it in some way. it's a reality dream because our toilet really is broke, and we had to take the lid off of the tank to flush it manually. i get up and take a satisfying shower with real hot water and good pressure. after raul and rudy get up and showered we all go down to walk through the city a bit before we have to meet at the venue and load up. raul and i get a couple great coffees and share an manzana (apple) tart. rudy goes a bit further and gets some pulpo (octopus) down the street. we walk more, get another coffee, talk about the show last night, critique. we continue walking and try to find the nearby port, but fail to. still we walk for a of couple miles and luckily my hip feels a lot better. we stop and see the others in the hotel lobby eating some of the leftover noodle dish from last night. we join in and it's even better now, cold and i add more tabasco. we decide to walk around a little more and then meet the others at the venue to load out. jose and adrian are there and we pack and roll to pontevedra. i listen to some music that i have been working on, i need to get back on it when i get back home.

   we get to the liceo mutante club and berto and andres meet us and open it up. we load down a driveway to back area with a nice open space of grass and trees put our stuff into the venue on the floor where we set up to play. i like this kind of situation, relaxed. there's sun pouring in through the palm trees. i spend time talking with andres about all kinds of things. he's a great guy, he plays guitar, and does illustration. it's such a beautiful day that we just sit in yard and talk for a couple of hours. it's an early show, and we stay upstairs from the live room in an apartment, a comfortable situation. nicholas plays outside in the yard, and it gets cold as the sun goes down. a good crowd of locals tonight, and i see jose and adrian from last nights gig who made the drive from a caruna. the show is fun and feels good, one of the best attendance so far. i have a hard time seeing mike because there's a bright light behind him and pointing right at me, still it goes pretty well, the set wraps up and i pack and have a beer, talk, and when most of the people leave we sit down to have some food. i was starving, almost too hungry to eat, but i do. there's pasta, and bread with some potato chips, and i have a glass of white wine. i run out of gas and go to sleep.

from watt:

   pop at ten bells. this 'tel room has a tub but no fucking stopper so I gotta improvise... I use heel of my foot as stopper and fill not so long but good and deep tub for great soak on my fucking sore bones. get to do internet stuff, let folks back home know we start our third week of tour ship-shape, in good health and w/minds getting flooded w/many eye-gifts plus love very much the french team we're sailing w/this part of the journey. chow for breakfast the noodle/veggie chow gigchef adrian cooked up for us last night

gigchef adrian's chow for breakfast in la coruna, spain on march 5, 2014

(tourboss macario shlepped over the second pot he made), he gives me fork - I use hashi whenever possible - has nothing to do w/asia, I like this device for shoveling chow - I have my own pair and a red case I can carry them in my wack back 'puter sack... I remember someone telling me "there's nothing more dangerous than a good idea" and I take that to heart when I think of hashi. I emailed autobiography of benvenuto cellini (you can get it here), raymond turned me onto this years ago and it blew my fucking mind, such a trip - bigger than life, like mr minugs' "beneath the underdog" or something for a renaissance man! highly recommended. the 'tel lady here in the cafe part offers to dry my gig shirt and nightwear, muhco gracias for her from me!

   we bail from the 'tel at one and a half, make the hoof (I hobble) to back of the train station cuz we left all the gear at casa tomada for safe keeping, parking the boat somewhere else I don't know but rudy brings it in a few minutes for the load-up. casa tomada jefe jose arrives to let us in along w/casa tomada gigchef adrian - adrian has me sign his copy of "our band could be your life" by mr azerrad, whoa. respect. gray skies but at least not raining or w/crazy wind, we pull anchor quarter of three. heading out of town, we pass a prison - still in use? I don't know. the boat's tranny gets stuck in low gear going down a hill... nicholas at the wheel, I ask him to pull over quick as possible - the engine all wound up, we can easily blow the head gasket, fuck! rudy tells us this happened w/him once when he was driving - not a good sign. this ride has an automatic transmission so maybe a 'puter problem (new vehicles have this stuff), I ask nicholas to shut the motor off to reset it. that works and we're on our way... fuck, I worry about this shit, you know? I have much experience w/terrible road shit and care much about this kind of thing - I use much maintenance on my boat back home, a ford econoline e-350. can you believe that fucking company is gonna stop making them? fuck, I can't. anyway, it's less than two hours south to our next stop, in pontevedra which is still in galicia. the sun has come out and the best weather of the tour so far greets us, 'pert-near don't need my coat but I wear it anyway cuz I gotta watch for myt health. this pad we're playing is called liceo mutante and used to be part of a church, an "inglesia evangelica" the gigboss berto tells me. he also says it's the first day of sun and no rain in a month - I tell him I'm glad to bring that from my pedro town. he's very cool people and a cartoonist as well - lots of the bulkheads here have work from him and others... interesting.

berto at liceo mutante in ponteverde, spain on march 5, 2014

in july it'll be three years they've had this going and they're allies w/last night's cats in a coruna. there's a very nice garden in the back and you can see the river easy. berto tells me the "santa maria" (boat columbus did new world foist w/along w/two others) was built about thousand feet from where we are. he tells me there's evidence columbus was not from genoa but from here - san salvador is the name of a place near here and that's the name he used to foist on the first new world land he stumbled on to. interesting. out here in the garden, I do an interview w/cibran for the "revista porno" zine he's part of, berto's also there to help w/translating (his english really good)... cibran asks very interesting stuff. he's very skeptical of lots of current hipster trends - he's a young man but even skeptical of internet, the superficial use there of, interesting... he's most curious about what REAL IMPACT do-it-yourself culture can have - I like this critical mind, the urge to dig deeper and not just settle for glad-hand jive thinking. please know these are my words cuz he didn't put like this but it's how I interpreted his expression and big time welcome it. I'm very proud a cat like this is a member of the next shift.

sunset at liceo mutante in ponteverde, spain on march 5, 2014

   nicholas sets up to play outside under a lemon tree, he begins his l'oeillere set as the sun goes down, beautiful being bathed in this kind of light. I watch w/orange hat on and gloves, it's cooled down big time but this coat and shit keeps me warm. he does only one set tonight. when he finishes, I meet two nice cats, luis and jose - luis saw me do the first opera in 1998 w/joe baiza and bob lee in madrid, whoa. he asks me questions for a zine he has but has interesting way of doing this, he uses no recorder and writes down nothing - apparently he commits everything to memory, whoa. he's also a bassman and he can relate to lots but still he's eighteen years younger than me so he wants to know about the old days. he also has suspicions about the good now days, I understand. I think every moment of human existence is fraught w/hell but what I get from his perspective is that in times that are a little relatively easier, shitty art and expression will result. there might be something to that. actually I think ciban was hitting on the same kind of thing, ain't that a trip? maybe that's why the attraction to the old days when the scene was tiny and tougher to be in a band. hmm...

   all this spiel w/luis and jose takes up the whole set of guess what so unfortunately I miss them. we're to go on at nine and a half but a quarter after I ask my men to bring cuz fuck, it's a work night, right? the system is kind of toy but I ain't bellyachin' cuz the folks here are just beautiful to play for. we're on the deck and they're right in our faces - I'm very sorry and some my stupid fluids might've showered them cuz I really had to put out w/the tiny amount of monitor, 'pert-near miming it but like I said, the vibe is righteous and it's one fo the best gigs of the tour I think. believe or not, last night's jefe jose and gigchef man adrian are here - they made a hellride to catch the gig, HUGE RESPECT to them! we finish the piece and I ask tom about some miscues (like in "bell-rung-man"), there was a huge orange light next to me that had no effect my way so I fail to have understanding like a baka. however, when we start the encores and I move behind raul it's most obvious that's sitch was totally blinding... it reminds me of the old saying "walk a mile in another man's shoes" - for the longest time I though it wasn't about empathy but rather after you walk away that far from the dude, you can kipe the shoes w/no prob - fuck, is that stupid. I apologize big time to tom after, what a fucking idiot I am.

   I go back to the garden area to get some air, luis and jose join me and I let luis work the dan bass some. a veterano from the scene here joins us, a nice cat who speaks no english but I can understand a little of his spanish - luis and jose help also. I talk about a dream me and d. boon had since we started the minutemen, to do a "real" american tour which to us meant north, central and south america. I'm talking about by van, not just flying into the big towns but taking the pan-american highway the way I do a u.s. one. "one day one way" I keep telling myself.

   now this is a trip but chow has now arrived - I shit thee not. we have for dinner noodles kind of like last night but a little different - oh, there's some ground meat in it... tastes good, I dig it. I know a lot of people in the music racket like to chow after gigs but I really try to avoid it, not good for me I feel, don't dig it. I do it tonight seeing the only chow I had all day was gigchef adrian's in a coruna this morning. berto shows me some of his work on the bulkhead - he knows about s. clay wilson, a friend of my friend charley (I hip berto to the fact charley put out the first "zap comix").

some of berto's work at liceo mutante in ponteverde, spain on march 6, 2014

we get to konk here, upstairs - I'm out just before one. such a good time tonight, respect.

thursday, march 6, 2014 - vila real, portugal

from raul:

   I slept in till 10, actually it was watt who rousted us w/ some strong black coffee. Shortly after we're on the road to portugal. Beautiful drive, very good weather too, clear and warm. We left an hour earlier to get light replaced, but also to get the van serviced. The van isn't ready to be serviced, according to the dealer, so we're in and out in like 20 minutes. Macario thought we'd be there minimun an hour, so i starting the man alone trek, so glad i decided to come back, i would've felt like a putz if everyone had to wait around for me to return.

   We show to club vila real a bit early. and we're able to load in, but they let us know that we can wonder for a couple hours and just make sure we're back by 5 to get it together on stage for the sound check. Tom and i take a a walk around the old part of vila real, to ofcoures explore, but also to forge for some food, we're both have a hunger. Unfortunately, most cafe seems to have sweet breads and coffee. We settled on a lame spin of equally as lame american fast food, called big bob's. I went for something thats pretty hard to fuck it, a tuna salad w/ green olives, onion and tomatos. I was psyched to see the women go in the back and actually bring fresh veggies to slice up too! i lucked out. This place was around corner from club, and we're back quick.

   Shouldn't be to tough, there's no mics for the drums except for one in the kick drum. Something seems to be up though, and rudy needs to make some repairs to the house equipment.No prob for me, i let him be, have patience, and take the time to reconnect w/ home after a couple days with no way to get in touch. Felt good to do this, i don't want any one to worry or wonder. Once rudy is ready for us, we cut soundcheck short too, just arrow pierced egg-man, and that's it. We're trying to get the ball rolling so we can get everyone together to do a proper meal. guess what wrap it up pretty quick too, and we all meet up across the st. at a small family style restaurant. A little old lady is in the back stirring up a pot w. octopus tentacles dangling out, and another women, maybe twenty years younger helps her out. There's a b bunch of tables all lined up together for us, maybe 15 total seats, and a big group of guys behind us too. These two women are non-stop! Our table is reacing ditance for the window where all the food is placed for the waiter man to grab it and get it to the tables, and he's non-stop too! these girls are jammin back there, food was flowing like crazy from this tiny kitchen, un-believeable. Great food, first, Chicken livers, and breads to eat em' with, vegetable soup after that, then pork and potato, w/ a a little veg, onion and pepper i think, also white rice. After this chow down, i went top our room next door to digest and relax a bit. Ended up crashing for an hour, damn, should've walked it off insted! woke up in my stinky gig shirt all sweaty from a weird sleep.

   Tonight, i was into the no mics on teh drums, and just having the amps face me like usual, more like a prac. Im some situations like this, you gotta play really hard to compensate. This room was ok to me for drums though, and they were real comfortable to play. The big anxity for this one was hi-hat clutch. Just as we were about to start, the clutch i used stiped out as i tried to tighten it. Totally weak, i have a back up, but i'm not really into the design, it dosn't seem to be as strong. And if it' goes, i only have one chance in the piece tighten up again..aarrghh! I'm extra light on it though, and it holds good and i'm grateful. Actually, it was looser in te cymbal, and i liked the over all feeling better, not so ticky. too bad i can't find one that fits like this, but is designed to hold like the other. Oh well, shit breaks eventually. I thought the other guys played great too. There was some drunk talk during quite times, but for the most part, the folks were respectful, of the tunes, and very gracious after we finished.

   Most of the crew went to sleep shortly after, but i wanted to hang w/ the locals, especially pedro, a kid super psyched on music and life, Also i wanted to use net, and make sure our things were safe, this place didn't close till 3am, and there was some drinkin' going on. Not saying i didn't have trust forthese folks, but it only takes one, and i'm thinking better safe than sorry. Finally the bar clears out at 330am, and tom and i, along with guess what ended the evening out front of the place in a little plaza with twenty or so locals, all extremely sweet people.

from tom:

   mike opens our door to wake raul, rudy and i, he says he made some coffee and we have to roll soon. it's another nice day, great. it takes a while for everyone to get organized, then we start loading up the driveway and to the van. we begin our drive to portugal, but stop in vigo first to have the van checked at a mercedes dealer. it's a quick stop, headlight replaced. i join some of the others for a coke at a little tavern across the street. back in the van i try to write diary, but i feel a little empty in the head, i need protein, i eat some trail mix. by the time we pull into vila real i am fairly starved. we load upstairs to the live space and raul and i walk to find a sandwich or something. it's 4 pm so not much going on, and the cafes that usually have sandwiches in glass cases are all out. we settle for a place called big bob's, basically a lame fast food joint. i get a sad slice of pizza and an iced tea, raul has what looks like a salad with tuna and onion, with egg. we were very hungry, it'll do for now.

   soundcheck is delayed by certain issues, one is that i left my small bag of cables and pedals in the van which has been parked somewhere far enough so that i have to wait for the others to show me the way. on the tiny stage, we have small tables with speakers stacked precariously on each side. i have to be mindful of them when i pogo not to knock the heavy boxes over or to bounce too hard. somehow i like these obstacles when i play, it forces me to develop strategies in my stage dancing, stabbing my guitar neck in and out to get to my mic or pedals. the old upstairs hall looks like it can hold 150 people max, there is a nice bar area attached through some old side doors and narrow doors open out onto thin cement balconies overlooking the streets with a grassy meridian dividing them. there is a tall grey statue with benches just in front, and the air is calm and warm. i hear that this building is 500 years old, and it has been a venue or club of some kind for the last 125 of them. it is by no means a "rock club", but the young folks running it now are doing their best to breath new life into it. i have a coffee, beer, both hit the spot differently. pedro brings some local pastry that seems to be very popular around here, it's like crispy cookie sheets with a sweet cream thinly layered in a stack of eight or so. he has a glass of vila real red wine with his slice and i have one too. we plug in and do a quick line check in the echoey hall, and then guess what do theirs too. raul and i wait outside on the benches by the statue and i roll some tobacco while we wait for everyone to come down to have dinner across the street at their usual spot. they connect three or four tables in an L shape to accommodate our party that keeps growing as we sit and start up delicious empanadas which i spice up with my tabasco, some chicken parts that smell good by i pass on, there's bread and wine that's consumed a refilled in a constant flow, then some vegetable soup with carrots that i add some garlic spinach to. i have to pace my eating, but the food keeps coming. potatoes with pork in a winey broth, piles of rice, thin slabs of grilled meat. i stop eating and start drinking glasses of water to flush my system. it's hiyori's birthday today, and there is a cake with two candles lit while the portuguese birthday song is sung loudly by the friendly club guys as well as by the large group of men seated and eating at a neighboring table. it's one of those moments, people sharing joy with strangers. i stay for the singing, but i can't eat cake now and go outside with raul again and wait for macario to show us to our room at a small hotel a few doors away. we are four in the room tonight, macario joins raul, rudy and me for a change. raul and i share a double bed and i close my eyes while he does emails. i fall asleep from the long day and stuffing of food.

   when i wake, raul is still on the computer, and i shave and meet raul next door at the club vila real. guess what are already playing, i check on mike upstairs in the cold room above the live space just to make contact with him and get in sync before we play. i feel good from the rest and shave in the crispy chill of night, sober and relaxed. about 40 people are grooving to guess what and another 15 or so in the bar area or combing though the merch where miss hiyori is stationed tending to potential clients. nico played a longer opening set tonight instead of doing two shorter sets so we make a quick change over to go on directly after guess what. still we wait for people to return to the hall from their smoke break or whatever before we kick into the opera. the wobbly PA reminds me to be careful with my river dance, but i push it as far as i can anyway. my amp slides down off the wall where it's tilted on its back and rudy is quick to prop it up again. it's fun, little out of tune by the minutemen tunes but good spirit onstage. after we pack up some, rudy helps a lot with the flow of things, he's great to have with us. since we are leaving our gear here we don't have to load out, and we can have a couple of drinks with some friendly locals who offer shots of various customary liquors. one is with a slice of lime that has one side dipped in ground coffee and the other in brown sugar that you bite into before taking a shot of a whisky of choice. regina and edwarda who entertain me with funny conversation and try to help me pronounce certain Portuguese phrases, i meet regina's boyfriend, rock (sp?) and talk about music and other personal informations. the night goes on this way with short chats with nice folk, mario shares some of his fathers rum/grappa that is too strong for me at this point, but his kindness is so strong i drink as much as i can. i feel a little tipsy when we all file outside onto the grassy median for final socializing and long goodbyes as raul and i leave axel and damien and ascend to our room sometime in the early morning. this was an incredibly long day, i have no trouble falling asleep.

from watt:

   pop at eight and a half, gigboss berto gave us towels before he bailed last night so I seize opportunity to hose off - a look out the window first shows bright california-like morning sans any cloud but it's fucking kind of frio ('cold' in spanish) - so glad for nightwear getting cleaned last night, amen. I look for power to recharge macpurse battery and BINGO, find coff - fucking righteous. I use one of the bottles of agua con gas to prime it and make a strong batch, yeah. I also down three caps of psyllium, essential fiber therapy for watt! I make a batch for tom and raul w/water from the tap, no difference - I thought they're might be. I roust everyone at ten bells - I misunderstood tourboss macario's instructions that one hour earlier cuz of the boat's transmission sitch but what the fuck? why not bail soon as you can when you still got good weather which can change in a moment and who knows what awaits at the garage? what's wrong w/getting in earlier.

   load up and pull anchor at eleven and a half. we head towards a nearby town called vigo where the mercedes garage is. cross the river vigo on a big suspension bridge ('ponte' is bridge is spanish - a connection w/last night's town?), there's many of these piers built out to the middle, far from shore - what's that about? miss hiyori thinks it's for drying fish. we blow through vigo and have to bring it about - the three companeros up front try to hide this inconvenient truth from us. it's only a delay of a few minutes and soon w/find the mercedes dealership - I didn't realize we had the starboard headlight burned out so that's getting taken care of as well. there's a little chow pad about a block away called "as naves" and I get a tortilla w/chorizo - the spanish kind which is a big cake-like trip potato and egg, nothing like a mexican one. I also get pulpo (octopus) and potatoes, really tasty chow - good ones! especially w/tobasco from my pocket.

spanish-style tortilla, octopus and potatoes watt chowed at 'as naves' in vigo, spain on march 7, 2014

tom arrives and says their almost done w/the boat - what? so fast? I hobble back and ask macario why not service the vehicle, like change the oil - why just have the headlight changed while we're here? well, we've done 3800 klicks (2360 miles) and he says usually it's every six thousand klicks so we can wait 'til return to france which is tuesday. he said they did check out the other probs via the 'puter analysis whatever and I guess both anti-lock brake and stuck in low gear probs were anomalies. I sure the fuck hope so... I gotta get tom and raul safe no matter what, no matter what. quarter of one we bail for the border w/portugal and a half hour later we cross it. same time zone as england here, we gain an hour. we talk about "the manchurian candidate" - tom tells us he was behind angela lansbury once in drug store and she was buying foot powder that fights fungus, trippy. again rudy shares an odor w/us, very generous man.

   we get to the venue around three, it's called club vila real and damn if it ain't a hundred and twenty years old, the building itself been around for like five centuries, crimony! that's what we learn from padboss mario, a great cat who's ma's from goa in india. he's got a warm heart and makes us real glad to be here, in the middle of this town vila real (surprise name!) in portugal's north and damn if they weather ain't again bitchin' like yesterday. very cool people nuno is on the sound and it takes him and rudy a little bit to get the things together, we do only the first part of the opera for check - less cuz damn it ain't 'pert-near seven and a half already... we're on at thirty after midnight so chowing now won't be so bad. right across the road is a churrasqueira called "lopes restaurant" w/a cojo (like me) on an olde-timey motortrike working the flute for some guys just off work. a tiny cooklady whupps up some righteous chow for us - I'm next to a nice cat named pedro that brought a "cookie" cake to us at soundcheck and his english is pretty good - he explains to me the sitch that's going on over the tv behind us on the bulkhead - folks in lisbon demonstrating at the parliament building w/cops beating on them. the economy is heavy in southern europe for the last few years, things rough and even getting desperate... you can day-to-day so much on tour and kind of isolated - I know there's real heavy stuff in ukraine and now real intense w/the crimea and russia but on tour w/your guys, the focus is more on trying to deliver good "hyphenated-man" performances, does that make sense? it makes me feel weird in a way, especially being a minutemen... we first chow chicken parts (axel says maybe they were lungs, what?) that tasted great actually, kind of empanadas w/meat stuffing, spinach w/garlic, a potato and pork stew - all really eating and I get stuffed. we get back to the venue and mario takes me to the top floor, lots of stuff from the old days of the club, pictures of the former members, interesting... there's nothing but chairs up here but I'm really tired so I get the konk mask, gloves, orange knit hat plus coat all zipped-up going and konk literally on the old wood deck. it's fucking cold but konk wins and I'm out for a couple hours - I think my 'puter wack back sack somehow served as a makura ('pillow' in jap)... I pop to see axel in his guess what get-up, it must be there turn now - I hear them through the building's insides cuz I went back down but w/out konk. their sound is really dreamy...

   tom brings me up hot tea and says nicholas did only one set - damn, I missed l'oeillere tonight, damn it. I was just too beat, fuck. I do the slow-go to get down all these stairs and kind of olde-timey rail but am successful and it's about ready for us to bring it, twentythree after and I decide to go a little early. first thing I tell folks is happy bday to miss hiyori which is kind of baka cuz now it's after midnight and the next day but I'm glad I said it anyway - should've last night, baka watt! rudy gave me both monitors which helps big time, merci merci. I hit the 'd' string tuner and get it out of tune like a baka. I don't wanna stop the piece so I make the tune-up during my speech in the "pinned-to-the-table-man" part, it was driving me crazy. I like playing as close as I can to raul but gotta watch shit like that. actually tonight the stage is really tiny and the p.a. speakers on these little tables - yeah when we got here we found many tiny tables w/marble tops but w/four chairs around them (also olde-timey), reminded of the dining room at mr montecello pad in virginia... anyway, there's only one light, a big led one but I got such a good feel for the dan bass now, I don't need to see anything to keep from clamming - that's a good thing. the gig-goers here too are very kind, and those there's some yammering, it ain't a fucking total blankie on our tiny parts. it's so great when you see the boss people (mario and nuno) right up front and getting into it, so great. I can imagine the piece being nothing what folks expected but I think that's ok - kind of a minutemen tradition to be strange even if not on purpose. tom and raul played really great, they help me off the stage. whew, like in a coruna there's some moisture in the air and I've got soaked hair like I had fever but I feel good at the same if not a little week cuz damn if that piece don't take a lot out of me. somehow my crippled ass can still navigate the tiny ledge behind raul and I can get where I like to be w/tom singing (rudy like a champ moves the other monitor for him) and we do real good w/our tourbrothers. much respect to the vila real folks, truly.

   mario gives me a drink of his grandpa's grappa... fifty years old, he says it's be thirty years in the barrel. the bar is his grandpa's and he brought it here, a hundred years old, he tells me. I give him a big hug. he says it's real hard in portugal now, the economy bad and no work for young people - so many people leaving and he said he thought about it but decided no, he's gonna stay here and help somehow. fucking big hug for him from, big one. a guitarman came from many klicks for the gig, hugs from watt. I had let another guitarman work the dan bass some. I'm so glad me and my men got to play here. big hugs for nuno too.

   konk pad close, about two or three doors down called "encontro" where the rooms are small but very nice and also have shower for hose-down which I do so I can konk in clean nightwear clean.

friday, march 7, 2014 - lisbon, portugal

from raul:

   rudy's has this air raid style alarm that jolts me at 930 shop. I'm thinkin' he made a point to let it go a little extra longer to kinda bug tom and me. Tom accidently turned on the wrong ligth when we got back last night, and he seemed miffed about this. He also opened all the shutters to let the sun in, and blasted the t.v. I was ok w/ the sun though. Everyone goes down to breakfast, andi take the oppertunity to shower, and sit out front and have a coffee.

   Weather is beautiful today, and loading the gear down many stairs isn't tough like it sounds. Bitchin' sunshine, and the steps are outside, really wide and not too steep. There's just as much merchandise as there is equipment, and this is what takes most the time. Every box has it's place, and it seems this balance can't be disturbed. So i'm happy to keep schleping stuff to and from, and let those that know, deal w/ the placement. I was not wise, and didn't think to go to the market across the st. from where we were parked for a half hour. I find myself buying a pack of salamis and some potato chips about an hour into the drive shomewhere that we stopped for gas. I must remember to seize good food oppertunities, so i won't be a slave to shit eating!

   Lots of windy road down mountains, and green everywhere, beautiful scenery that flattens out to big green fields spotted w/trees and small villages every few miles. Along the way we make plans to go see a bosch painting in lisbon, and figure out who'll stay w/ gear and load at venue, and who'd like to see the triptych of the temptation of st anthony. It dosn't sound ideal to be rushed at a musuem, but who knows when i'll get a chance to see any bosch paintings in person. Also, i'm playing this piece of music based on 30 of the characters in some of his paintings, i gotta go see the real deal up close. It was bitchin', so glad watt suggested this idea.

   Compact place, things are just stacked, and side by side, so many people. I could not imagine having a vehicle in this city. Like s.f. or manhatten in n.y. i suppose. Way more hassle than maybe it's worth for the average person. Plus, just the manuevering seems near imposssible on these tiny roads.Walking back from the musuem is intense enough. some of the guys took a cab, and i was able to walk the mile or so as almost as quick as they drove it. Shit, the van was parked so far, that damien had to take the bus to get back to the club once he'd found parking! beautiful place though, very old and some parts beat but very pretty, with character like i've never seen. Trippy all the diffrent hand painted tiles that cover more than half the buildings, even if the places look the same w/ a quick glance, they all have their own personality in the tiles. I'd love to come back w/ more time to explore, and also see the coast.

   Such a tough gig for me tonight! Aside from things breaking, i was facing a window looking out toward the street Big window, felt like i was being stared at and inside a big tank! It was a new orleans frat town vibe, dudes w/ backwards baseball caps humpin' the glass, shit like that. I later found out that the locals who come here don't much like it either, and call it the fish tank. I guess it's just as distracting to the gig goers, damn, i wish i would've thought to close it before we started!. met some super sweet folks though, who really enjoyed it, so that made me feel a little better about our performance. Maybe the suck was just magnified in my mind, but i do know that we can do much better. It was nothing to do w/ anything related to the club, just my own trip. All the club people were great, and very helpful. tom and i eneded staying up real late drinkin' w/ them after everyone had left. Real personable folks who made you feel right at home.

from tom:

   rudy's alarm goes off at 9:30 and he opens the windows and turns on the tv in a kind of retaliation for waking him when we came in last night, just kidding around, kind of. raul and i got 5 hours of sleep, just enough, though more would be nicer. i feel fresh in spite of the alcohol last night, i am relieved. i wait for rudy to use the bathroom, then raul is next in line so i go downstairs with macario for the complementary coffee and pastry breakfast, and most of the others soon follow and we sit and devour the sweets while mike and hiyori reheat some leftovers from dinner. raul and i walk up to a small music store in search of a wing nut for a piece of his drum hardware, but no luck. it's very warm outside, like L.A. after a little sit and a coffee for raul, i get my things from the room and head around the block to help load out and pack up the van. we are hoping to go to a museum in lisbon today to see a hironymous bosch panel with creatures that are featured in some of the hyphenated-man opera, i've never seen any of his work in person. we say our goodbyes to mario and nuno and start our trip. i read and write in the van for a while.

   as we enter the city we make a detour for a few of us to be dropped at the museum of arte antigua, mike, raul, hiyori, nico and i hop out and the others carry on to the zdb club to load. there are floors of ancient portuguese treasures jewel encrusted urns gold eating utensils, so on... we walk quickly move through rooms filled with large portraits of leaders or aristocrats and various religious scenes from the golden age of portugals past, and by elaborate furniture to the furthest rear corner of the museum to view bosch's incredible triptych that a some others are already camped in front of. i walk up to it with raul to get a close enough look at the creatures that we sing about in watt's opera, belly-stabbed-man, jug-footed-man, etc..i kneel in front of it like i'm praying to get as close as i can without blocking it for the others sitting on the provided bench. it's hard to describe, but it's so much more intense in person. after our time there mike and hiyori and i take a cab to the zdb club and nico and raul walk. we walk from where that cab drops us up a narrowing path/road along tiled walls on the fronts of dilapidated building faces and find it. i played here with the red krayola some years ago, i remember it being a good time. the inside of the club complex has been totally redone since i've been here, there are rooms for us to stay the night and a bookstore in the entryway. there is also a newly redone disco in a downstairs cavern with arched ceilings with crumbly brick. there is also a shower and a washer and dryer. i claim my single bed in one of the rooms.

   after soundcheck we are led by sergio to an amazing restaurant down the windy black cobblestone streets and white stoned sidewalks. mike struggles a bit with his knee and we do our best to accommodate him but i know it's a drag for him and i wished we had thought to get him a taxi. soon we are joined by christian and daniella from the venue and the guess what guys. sergio suggests certain specialties, i get the green peppercorn sauced carne with papas frites and a tiny salad, two glasses of red wine. it's hard to resist the wine, but i have to stay focused on playing first, still, it's hard. i almost never have deserts but i see a cheesecake that someone ordered at the other end of the table and it is so bright white with drips of what looks like strawberry syrup and i have to try it. great meal. we walk back and soon nico does his one long set tonight, excellent, the people listen closely and quietly. i clap loudly. guess what has a good set too, more people come and when we play it's to a 3/4 full room it seems and despite trouble with the stage lights blinding us to the point of some sour notes it's a good gig. there is some chatting with folks afterwards, packing of gear, and raul and i speak with the sweet door lady, joane who tells me she was very tired from teaching and dealing with young children all day, and now having to deal with all the old children. she's funny, i like here cynical nature, it's a little challenge to continue the conversation for her i think, so i have fun just trying. as the club is closing up we meet other people who work here at the little bar room the center of the zdb complex and talk about movies, music, and daniella and rodrigo pour us a couple vodka lemon juice shots and raul convinces me to stroll down the drunk populated path to find some form of food. i get a limp slice of pizza and raul opts for the "meat" sandwich. we walk back, avoiding the occasional call out of "my friend" (which totally creeps me out) and soon return to our room and beds.

from watt:

   pop at nine bells. at the 'tel's chow pad downstairs I have leftovers from last night's dinner. I go out to the square where this monument is celebrating some confrontation w/a german submarine in the first world war maybe? across is the chow pad we shoveled at last night. so nice and warm - not sweaty, like the best weather even, sitting on a bench and waiting for everyone... after a half an hour I realize I'm on the wrong side of the the building - what a fucking baka I am! oh man. everything's 'pert-near packed up, big hugs for mario and nuno, big hugs for two righteous dudes - we pull anchor just after twelve and head south lisbon, nicholas at the wheel in a wife beater - we're told they're called a "marseille" in france. an hour later w/stop at a "repsol" station for gasoleo (what they call diesel here) and I get a chicken sandwich and a small sack of chips in which to add crunch to the sandwich by stuff it w/them, it's pretty fresh for this kind of stuff. forty minutes later we switch ponies, rudy now at the wheel. weather getting hot now, twenty after three we have piss stop and switch ponies, damien now on the helm. pull anchor and rudy in the back w/us realizes the consequence of no air and IN FRENCH kindly tells our up-front brothers to GET THE FUCKING WINDOWS rolled down.

   axel tells me the story of that monument I was sunning next to earlier today, he heard it from the barman who was part swiss, a nice man named alex. he said this statue was in honor of a skipper named carvalho araujo who was from here that put his boat in between a neutral spanish passenger boat and a german uboat during the first world war and took the torpedo in order to save the passengers but losing his own life in the sacrifice.

monument to carvalho arajuo in vila real, portugal on march 6, 2014

on the back of the monument there's words from the german uboat captain praising this man's bravery. I chimp diary as we roll towards lisbon...

   the plan for today besides do the gig is try to get to the museu nacional de arte atiga in the old part of town before it closes in order to see el bosco's "the temptation of saint anthony" - something I've spaced on all three times I've previously been to this town (each time to work bass for the stooges) like a fucking baka, it's important to me cuz ten of the "men" in my "hyphenated-man" opera are in this painting. arriving five minutes after five gives me fiftyfive minutes to have a personal experience w/it, completing all thirty of the "men" of the piece - I've seen them all in person and not just knowing them by fucking pictures in books or on the web, hallelujah! the museum ticketlady lets me in for half price cuz she says I get senior discount, what? I think that's the first time that's happened. anyway, on the way to the back where the painting is, I see a couple of painted room screens from like four hundred years ago that japanese painted up to describe their first experience w/people here from portugal. really amazing, them tripping on the boats, clothes and faces (both african and european) of the gaijin ('foreigners' in jap) - beautiful work from these artists, beautiful and incredible. then I get to el bosco's triptych, crimony - there it is, whoa... no glass and you get as close as appropriate which means no touching but no heavy guard presence (very kind of the folks here), I can see his brush strokes from five hundred years ago... I start identifying the men I appropriated for my piece:


bosch's tryptic of 'the temptaion of saint anthony' in lisbon, portugal

   el bosco's triptychs seem to always read left to right: past, present and future. understand I use his imagery for my story but never intended to bumrush or superimpose any kind of sidemouse trip regarding his work. it is real mindblow for me and I 'pert-near need a drool bucket to contain myself. I could write a million words on this but I gotta move on or I'll get behind on chimping and that'll be a nightmare.

   we take cab to venue but two can't fit, the cab can take only three (five of us made saw el bosco). lisbon is hilly and has street cars - like s.f. in a way but all its own w/tiles on lots of bulkheads and much oldage, roads w/cobblestones - where we're playing is in the "alta barrio" at zdb and believe it or not I once played as a sideman to brother steve mackay and kamilsky along w/some portuguese musicians from porto back in the summer of 2011. the gigboss sergio is a beautiful cat, much respect to him and crimony, I find out twenty years now for this pad - fucking right on! we even chow where I did back three years ago - it's a hard hobble for me... can you believe w/this fucked-up knee it's harder down hill than up? much more and pretty dangerous, I have to take tiny geisha-boy steps. I make it safe and sergio reminds me I had sea bass last time so I have it again, grilled and w/lemon, so fucking great - love it! I have a little green wine too, maybe the frist time I've had it... to me tastes like white wine but then what the fuck do I know? I still am pretty igornant so please forgive this slow learner. in the sea bass there's lots of bones so I'm careful but that's what's righteous about hashi, you can work chow w/great detail. I ask sergio about what was on the tv in vila real last night during chow and he explains it was huge demonstration here in front of parliament - actually cops on cops in some cases, very heavy situation in portugal and like mario up in vila real, sergio says he's staying and trying to do his best for the folks here, respect.

   I hobble back - like I said, easier up hill. we're on at midnight but damn if guess what? ain't done w/twentyfive minutes to go... man, I don't want all the vibe they've built in the house to dissipate but ride on it. we go early cuz of that. trippy there's a storefront size window to my starboard for folks I guess to get the free show version of the gig. in my mind I wanna do the gig for alex of dirty beaches - though he's in hawaii now, his plan is to live here. he's a great cat and a few months ago I got to both give him a tour of my pedro town and have him as a guest on my radio show. something unforeseen though hampers my focus, the light situation, bright orange ones (orange was my favorite color though that's evolved into yellow) from behind and the side in such a way that it's really really distracting - funny how I was saying I know the feeling of the dan bass but I'm sharp and flat so many times tonight, it's really bad and I'm so embarrassed. baka watt. there's times when I could just pull my hair out w/frustration cuz of this kind of shit. the gig-goers deserve good gig, this is my ethic and I hate to let them down. luckily the lisbon folks are most kind and forgiving, I am most grateful to them, "wheel-bound-man" final solo maybe was worse one I've done ever, crimony! so sour! for the encore one lady comes up and moves the most blatant lamp, turns it aside, thank you so much big time obregado ('thank you' in portuguese). let me chimp this and admit now though - all these clams ain't just from the lights, I got some psychological distraction also going on. I am not the strongest person but still I feel that's no excuse.

   I meet boris, a bassman from here who leant me his bass when I played w/brother steve last time I was here - great to see him again. I meet the organman nash from the s.f. band wooden shjips, they just ended a tour of theirs here yesterday, nice cat. I meet shub, alex's bandmate in dirty beaches, respect - so glad he's here. same w/pedro, beautiful radio man who had me on the air last time I was here, so glad he could see the piece - goddamn me for not bringing it better, aaaaarrrrgggghhhhh... tomorrow night in madrid I make secret commitment to myself to make up for tonight's clams for alex, I am determined... for alex! I do an interview w/a young man named antonio and his writer friend works the camera. they ask me good stuff which is a good thing cuz it helps me get my mind off that clam-blow I just did and the psychological wringing putting weight on me. I thank them much for their kindness and interest - so maybe young people these days are really happening about the arts, it's bizarre how so you hear so much cliche about these being the "bad now days" - what a load of shit. anyway, I can't remember a lot after that. I know I must've konked at some point...

saturday, march 8, 2014 - madrid, spain

from raul:

   not much sleep, aside from gettin' in the sack way later than expected, there is much chaos in our little house.

   It's ok though, sometimes things get that way. While we wait for damien to get the metro back to the van, i walk the nearby streets to snap close up shots of all the diffrent tiles on the buildings. Paloma had asked me about them in a letter, so i'd like to show her the one's i saw. It's a very calm atmosphere outside, complete oppisite of the bourbon st. style insanity from the night before. I watched a lady on a third floor balcony water her plants, and another next to her put out the wash to dry, and i felt for them both, living w/ this much insanity all the time would maybe break me. Once in the van, damien does an excellent job getting us out of this hood that was not meant for driving anything this big in!

   Many hours to madrid, bits of sleep for me, and one chow stop. Restaurant behind fuel station. We all get sandwhiches to go, and hit the road. Mine was a bacon con queso, and that was it, very dry. i doctored it up w/ honey mustard and tobasco sauce, this helps it go down a little easier. Spain is a big beautiful land, w/ many diffrent geographic styles, and lots reminissent of california. Fertile land, lots of grass and trees. Peaceful, but long travel day, and we're not at moby dick till around 6pm.

   Today's flow was easy, convinient load out of the gear...no stairs and an almost straight shot to stage from parking space. We do a quick one part soundcheck, that way guess what can get 'er done too, and we can go next door to the irish style pub and eat. I get cheeseburger w/ fries and a guinness, damn...i've eaten more bread in 3 weeks thank i would normally in months. it'll be nice to hit the bicycle once i'm back in pedro.

   One of my favorite gigs of the tour so far, i thought we played well, and bitchin' sound on stage for me. Also, nacho, the promoter called up one of his buddies, and ask to borrow his hi-hat clutch. Saved the day for me, it was one like i use, and in good shape, so i had no anxieties waithing for this thing to give like i have the past two gigs, big relief, i'm raelly hoping i can find a music shop in barcelona, i'll pick up a new one, and a new back up. I also, had a weird clam were i spaced on a part, and left beats out, tom noticed, but watt didn't mention it, small space out for only a sec anyhow. I flowed the clutch back as soon as were done, i didn't wanna space out and have the karma of theft on me!

from tom:

   my recollection is hazy for some reason...., i recall that we have to leave early and drive at least 6 hours...i remember getting to the moby dick club and in between soundcheck and gig time we go next door to an irish bar and i have a cheeseburger with salad and fries and a murphy's stout. it was a good show, medium turn out. i feel run down and we head to the hostel and i watch some of the shmengies last polka with raul on his computer and go to sleep in the overheated room.

from watt:

   pop at ten bells - damn, that wasn't mazui wine I drank after that spiel w/anthony and his buddies but fucking brandy - no wonder it tasted fucking strange and mazui and got all borracho. I guess I was hollering near the end there, prolly scaring our whole team... what a baka I am. there's internet and I get relief emails, much of the psychological stress and weight I felt last night and was kind of in ways tearing me apart is now relieved - oh fuck, speaking of internet at the konk pad - before we bailed yesterday morning from vila real I answered an email question for next three gigs starting w/tonight (same promotion) where they ask me:

What are the songs from Minutemen that can't be missed? Can you please write a brief explanation about why you pick every song?"

and I answer:

* "corona" for me had beautiful sentiment and feeling from d. boon and did great tribute to our mexican neighbors and their mariachi music

* "this ain't no picnic" was d. boon again w/lyrics that spoke most his inner need to be expressive in every day language

* "anxious mo-fo" love how econo d. boon did w/his guitar solo, same w/the instrumental "june 16th"

* "political song for michael jackson to sing" was a very ernest attempt to try and communicate what I felt was the message of the minutemen via somebody who was very huge in u.s. culture

* "the tin roof" had very interesting arabic-influence guitar figures from d. boon

* "history lesson - part II" was my attempt at trying explain something very personal me and d. boon shared in the context of being in a band that was part of a community, part of the punk movement

* "the anchor" had a great narrative from drummer george hurley w/lyrics that spoke of a dream he had - our first tune to go over two minutes also

* "beacon sighted through fog" was my attempt at rimbaud-type imagery while also trying to make the bass become very lyrical w/its figures

* "I felt like a gringo" mixed a funk feel w/a latin motif while trying to explain in words what d. boon called "thinking out loud"

   I just saw it fit to chimp this in the diary here cuz you know there's a minutemen connect w/my third opera, right? actually this town we're playing tonight is also involved w/my "hyphenated-man" in a very important way - it was here in madrid that I first conceived the idea of the piece - there was a stooges gig in la mancha in 2005 and we were staying at a 'tel right next to the prado museum and it was there I first saw in person work from hieronymous bosch (actually it took a while cuz they call him "el bosco" there). now for some reason I dug pictures I had seen in books of his paintings going back to when I was a boy and I don't why but I did also dig dinosaurs and astronauts much too so maybe there's some kind of connection? I don't know. anyway, prior to being there at the prado I had helped keith and tim w/the "we jam econo" doc, doing spiel w/them for it and of course I had to hear minutemen again so I could stuff straight... see, after d. boon got killed it was very hard for me to listen to minutemen w/out getting really sad but by then (twenty years later), it made me interested in what we done - I got the hankering to wanna do stuff like that again! well, seeing el bosco's work in real life blew my mind - understand there's no glass in between you and his painting, only five hundred years of time! "the garden of earthly delights" middle panel made me think of all these little trips to make one big one - kind of like a minutemen set... it's then when it hit me, I could make a third opera dealing w/where I am now in my life so it wouldn't be just nostalgia but I could make it relevant to me in the moment.

   we bail at ten and a half. damien's at the wheel. they got nests for storks on the towers for the high voltage lines, I'm into that. cross the border into spain just before one pm (lose that hour we got two days ago), pull over to get chow at a little pad behind a gas station called "san martin" - I got a bocadillo ('sandwich' in spanish) bacon con queso which gets confused w/axel's bocadillo loma con queso, both are pork and cheese but mine was supposed to be belly fat and his meat from the back so we trade half of each. he then takes the wheel and we continue on to madrid, I put on konk mask and konk. twenty after four I'm woken up by our boat pulling over - pony change, nicholas now at the helm. nice and warm still, sun cloudless in the sky w/a landscape looking like more and more like our southwest - bye bye the woody hills of the portugal we've been driving through. things I can make out through the filthy windows: a couple of castles, a couple of plastic factories, a few apple orchards and a lot of open spaces - oh, a couple of powered-paragliders as well. there's mountains w/snow on them but they're way WAY out there... it's all spring where we're driving, righteously mild weather. passing a bullfight arena (they still do that here?), we get to the venue right at seven, whoa that was a hellride but we did it and got here safe.

some art inside 'moby dick club' in madrid, spain on march 8, 2014

   this pad is called moby dick and I played here once before, 'pert-near sixteen years ago for my first opera, on the hola marinaro europe tour '98 w/joe baiza and bob lee - the first time actually I ever played in spain. this pad is great, total boat theme running throughout - perfect for me! nacho is the gigboss and willy is the padboss, both beautiful cats and I dig them much. brother of my buddy gomezbueno, andreas is here, big hugs, so good to see him again, so good! he volunteers to help us load in. nacho goes and gets some mahou beer after I mention it and willy brings me a cheeseburger and fries from somewhere that doesn't taste like crapdonald's, has a taste different than what've I had and it works, the fries too. gracias. I do interview w/two great cats ivan and his helperman pedro for a doc dealing w/how music is made and recorded. they're way into "we jam econo" philosophy, respect. from what I gather they're trying to pull away the shroud and let folks know anyone w/cojones enough and a story to tell can let that freak flag fly - amen to that!

   cuz of the spiel, I missed nicholas, axel and damien... damn it. on at eleven, there's a curfew cuz of maybe a sabado noche dj thing? well, early is good w/me. tom and raul help up the stairs and on to the stage. psychologically I'm in a way more happening place tonight and rudy helped w/the light people to get that together for me. so many people help me, do I make that clear enough? the tea w/the shoga and the lemon right before from miss hiyori and the kindness from the gig-goers before we even hit the first note of the piece, crimony! 'pert-near makes me wanna cry right now as I chimp this. anyway, we bring the piece pretty strong, I am doubled-up w/determination like I chimped earlier and the deck feels trippy, like I fucking am on a boat! I remember that first opera I did here, the one where I finally got the nerve up to deal w/losing people: d. boon, my pop, k... I don't let it dilute the focus I bring to the folks here or tom and raul but it's there... alex from dirty beaches also. even sergio and pedro in lisbon, I think of them - there's a messy tangle in watt's head but even w/all the fucking parts and shit I gotta remember and deliver for this opera, there's a purpose of mind I get where I don't really find I get much - ain't that a trip? fuck is it hard to figure out... figure out? the knowing in the doing maybe is better way to deal w/it if I'm grasping to try explaining. it's a happening gig, I rallied. mercy. the encore's a blast though yeah, the whole trip beats me up good but that's it: beats up good and it ain't goddamn beatdown.

   good cats w/much hugs from the folks when I get helped off the deck, I mean stage. I am really grateful, really sweaty and really grateful. more hugs for andreas, we say bye. I meet a couple amigos of my valenica friend jose who's live in london a bunch of years now - he's gonna be at the last gig of this tour. a bass brother named marcos gives me his standup proj album - BAJO!

   our konk pad for tonight is called hostal ('hostel' in spanish) falfes not far away but dawdling w/the slow-mo anchor pull made even more insane but battening the hatch neglect (were these young men born in a manger or what?!) plus at least half an hour of trying to get the boat into a garage where it can't fit (I feel so bad for wheelman rudy - why wasn't that eye-balled ahead of time?) prolly sounds like I'm the crankiest viejo cojo ever but the reality is I love these our french brothers so much - I know tom and raul do too. our third saturday of the tour is a happening one!

sunday, march 9, 2014 - tarragona, spain

from raul:

   Played a roman cave underneath a street in the old part of town, right down the hill from the big cathedral basillica de tarragona. Day went by quickly, and i did a night hoof to digest the meal we had earlier w/ salvador, the man who put on the show. Walked up to the church at night time, was really quite and peaceful evening in this old part of town. I made it back in time just as the gig started, and got to watch both nick and guess what do their thing in a cave.

   During soundcheck, i noticed the kick drum had a wingnut that wasn't being used to hold anything, and i thought, shit, maybe this'll fit, and i can frankenstien the cluth that was busted in vila real, try and keep it alive a few more gigs... It did too. I still played a lil easy on it, because i'm still afraid it's gonna go again, but it lasted the gig, and that's what's most important. The thing, is, i lose a little focus if i'm worried about this stuff while we're playing, learn to forget.

   Good gig too, the guys played real well. The guess what guys thought maybe our best performance so far on this tour, i dont know about that, but maybe? After the gig, we were rousted out by the door guy, so we quickly got get everyting on the side walk before we load, one minute having the coldest beer i've ever had, the next, quick schlep. The hostel is close, maybe 5 minutes from club. After we're all checked in, axel, damien and i grab a coulple beers from the lobby fridge, and take a walk down to the water front. We can't get passed all the railroad tracks, so we settle for a windy stairway that over looks the mediterranean sea.

from tom:

   i wake in our overheated room with dry sinuses and a scratchy throat, possibly feeling allergies. i take a quick shower and clothe myself and meet macario, mike and hiyori by the van where macario slept last night. it's another clear day with just a hint of morning crisp left in the air. we ride out of madrid and stop for a bite at a roadside restaurant and i have one of their tasty tortilla sandwiches which is actually scrambled egg and potato. i add my tabasco and swig my coffee con leche and feel alive again. we have a medium drive today to terragonna and i read as much as i can while intricate rock music blasts in the front seat and mike and raul crane to get shots of the crumbly remains of the castles and monasteries on our left and right along the way. when we hit the mediteranian sea we follow the road south and pull into town and park near a ruin of an ancient roman amphitheater while we wait in the sun for club man salvedor to guide us up a small road to load into the cav (cave) which is a cave. carved rock walls curve down the straight tube-like venue to a stage at the very rear. it's dank and cool inside and smells like apples, we get gear onstage as we do. raul and damien place their drum rug in the middle on the stage and we work everything else in as tight as we can, cozy would be an understatement. today nicholas' lady friend agnes is here from lille, france, and he seems especially happy and fresh smelling. they will travel together for the next couple of days, meeting us at the next towns via train or bus since there isn't enough space for her to come in the van. i sit and write a bit.

   we have a walk to a cafe with salvedor, it's a beautiful town and must be crowded with tourists during certain times of the year. we enjoy the tapas type meal, salad bread olive oil wine quiche mushroom and ham croquets and an espresso. raul and i walk back another way and meet up with the others at the cav. nico plays another solid set as i watch sitting on a stone in the corner. people trickle in and nico agnes and i watch guess what while mike dances like a prehistoric bird behind us. it's nice to have him in the crowd for a change, he's usually napping or writing diary. our set goes well even with my plugged up ear, very few clams tonight. we have a drink after and pack and load as quickly as is possible with this crew and roll towards the hotel. raul and rudy and i are in room 213 and climb into my cold bed for a nights rest.

from watt:

   pop at quarter after nine - common bano so hose off there... peligro ('danger' in spanish), one millimeter shift in temp control means either scald or freeze. gather at the boat at ten to find sixth straight day of happening weather, glory be! tourboss macario konked here last night cuz of street parking. axel and nicholas are five minutes late. I make note and up a few more beatings-to-be-had to their tab. I also beg our french tourbrothers to wash the boat's windows especially w/spring coming and bugs squished and making for a crust that builds and builds... I am so adamant about this I spend four euros to buy our own squeegee, put my name on it even. fuck. tiny shit things like this and for example, leaving the hatch open for no reason can lead to some fucked-up things but these guys are oblivious to this, it amazes me in some ways especially w/all the touring tourboss macario had done. whatever though cuz they're all really good guys, really good ones. they just gotta learn to pay attention to little stuff. damien at the wheel, we head northeast towards catalonia via aragon. tom's feeling what he thinks might be allergies on him, oh no.

   an hour and a half later we drop anchor for kind of a fancy pad for road chow called "area 103" and I get a bocadillo jamon iberico which is a sandwich w/ham from a pig leg put in a contraption to allow shaving the meat off. the leg itself looks like a weapon, you can see these hanging in stores for sale. nicholas asks me why so many bottles labeled "son of a bitch" and I have no answer but figure they're some kind of liqueur that prolly tastes real bad and easily brings morning head thumps - just guessing though.

bottles of hijoputa liqueur at 'area 103' shop on the way to tarragona from madrid, spain on march 9, 2014

   we saddle up now w/rudy at the wheel and continue on. many old castles and monasteries we pass, yeah - it's like arizona or new mexico w/castles... I've heard this is where a lot of "spaghetti westerns" were made and it totally makes sense. just past zaragossa, we switch ponies w/two and a half on the clock. nicholas takes the wheel. me and axel talk about giuseppe garibaldi - an interesting cat and not just for italy. trippy abe lincoln offered him a command, damn. macario plays on the radio prog stuff, a band he took on tour called united states the monster - gotta check them out. an hour away from tarragona which is we're playing tonight we switch ponies one more time, axel at the helm and we're heading for the coast but not one on the atlantic, instead the mediterranean. we pass many almond tree farms, I know these from back home when driving to s.f. - trippy how so many people don't realize how much a farm state california is, huh? I hear so much talking about how it's just hollywood!

   it's 'pert-near five when we get into olde-timey part of tarragona where a roman ruin "circ roma" is a drop anchor - the pad where we're at, el cau is nearby but access is complicated so I just continue chimp diary like I was doing when we were driving to get here. nicholas' lady agnes is here to accompany him for next bunch of gigs. gigboss salvador arrives a half hour later to direct axel on where to get the boat where we need it. salvador reminds me we played together in la roca (he was playing in the band pupille) - near barcelona - it was nine years ago and I remember "karate punk" on a banner on one of the pad's bulkhead. it was during my second opera europe tour in 2005, w/raul and paul roessler. the venue very much a cave (literally, hence the name), under the street we rough stone insides, I dig it. shotgun shack style, we play at the back, very interesting. quick soundcheck, only the first part of the opera - what is that, a minute nineteen or something? maybe our tourbrothers will get a hint regarding this soundcheck strategy, maybe they won't... it actually no big deal cuz when it comes down to it: different pokes are for different folks, right? si.

   there comes a time when they do finish though and we follow the gigboss salvador to his chow pad, it's kind of a hard hobble for me but not too many hells so I'm grateful for that. it's a slow-go and I feel bad about slowing folks down. the chow makes for good shoveling, oil/vinegar on salad, salami slices, ham slices, potato pieces for dipping into three sauces w/good flavor and croquettes w/shrooms but no calcot - I asked cuz got recommended but gigboss salvador said he had none at his pad here, I was told it was local specialty and he agreed but... I discuss what significance "tarragona" has in my life - nothing to do w/this town but rather what happened in my pedro town and w/the man who got me into playing music, d. boon. I came to san pedro, california from norfolk, virginia at nine cuz my pop was a sailor in the navy (machinist mate chief) and it was closer to vietnam which there was a war w/us in it at the time, we moved into the navy housing there (no abandoned) that was across the graveyard on western avenue but then orders came for him to be stationed in alameda (by s.f.) but my ma said "fuck it, we ain't moving" and so having to leave there, we moved into a part of pedro called park western where some econo proj was just built called "park western estates" which was next to older proj, actually older navy housing turned into proj for econo people - d. boon lived on battery street w/both our pads near peck park which is where we met when jumped out of a tree and landed on me thinking I was a friend of his nicknamed "eskimo" but anyway, this proj was eventually plowed under and obliterated, even the streets getting rerouted/renamed and tract homes fabricated under the name of the "tarragona" (understand I think some developer just made that name up, nothing to do w/the catalan town) which was kind of a trip for us but then the making of strip malls where lochmann's dairy was and all kinds of blight foisted on pedro through then and the 80s was in full-gear... well, the punk movement inspired us to write our own songs for the first time instead of just copying ccr, blue oyster cult, t-rex and other records in d. boon's bedroom - one of the first tunes he ever wrote was called "stormin' tarragona" and it was about us somehow metaphorically leading an "assault" on this pad, re-taking it like it was part of a crazy war movie! I can still remember the guitar riff which was very jagged syncopated but can't recall my bass, damn. it had only two parts, verse and chorus but I remember d. boon singing it so fucking passionately, so very much. it was subject very dear to his heart, I know! we never recorded it and maybe never even showed it to georgie. I do know we played it w/original minutemen drummer frank tonche.

   I hobble back and find the only place at the venue near power for my macpurse who's battery was low is right next to chair nicholas is going to bring l'oeillere from which ain't a bad thing cuz I love what he's doing w/guitar and music - I know d. boon would've dug it too. anyway, I chimp diary as he starts to bring his first set and damn, being this close is total trip, getting bathed in his sound and dynamic like this, whoa. same spot for me for guess what and they not only bring good set, they provide beats for nicholas and agnes to dance, my misssingman tom joining them also, alright! I see raul seeing me seeing them, yeah. another set from nicholas - I'm done chimping diary and get round II from him, righteous.

   our turn at eleven. character building but inspired much cuz of preceding good sets from the team, I thank the folks if you're gonna cave, do it in a cave, right? the gig-goers are most kind and focused - well, there's two in front of tom that seem to be having their very important not-too-much-intimate conversation interrupted by lots of our piece but not all cuz we provide tiny moments that allows them to share what they have between them w/the rest of the pad. I keep focus, maybe it's good test to see if we really believe in what we're doing, huh? both raul and tom play great and though I got a little challenge w/the mic stand having its front leg propped up on a road case lid and sliding around - incredible strategy but maybe too difficult for a clumsy watt, it feels real good w/us bringing "hyphenated-man" to tarragona here. the encore is cramped cuz of the sitch but a fun one, real good all us together.

   much good word from the folks when I hobble down to the deck, a young man w/a different accent talks w/me after a while, he's from sheffield in england and teaches here, teaches english. he saw a poster after getting off the train and just decided see the gig, right on! he learns me some about political coalition situation in his land cuz I'm curious about mr clegg. this man's name is johnny and when I finally gotta bail, he trips me out when I ask him his age... he's only twentyone - crimony! man, I think about being that age - I was still a year away from being a minuteman, holy cow! cats that are younger sure got some fucking minds, respect! everyone's got something to teach watt, everyone - that's ok, I'm into that.

   I ain't into making everyone wait though and that's what happens cuz of my windbagging... please don't blame johnny. respect to the padboss juhan (did I get that right? fuck sorry if I didn't), so kind to me. like a bozo I'm holding up the show which is such a fucking stupid thing for someone like me to do - aaarrgghhh, pissed at myself for this and won't let it happen again. I can't remember fucking 'tel name but it had word "express" in it... I am way tuckered and konk after hot water hose down, whoa - I was "stormin' tarragona" in a way as far as remembering d. boon... d. boon d. boon.

monday, march 10, 2014 - barcelona, spain

from raul:

   cold sleep last night, only a thin sheet, and a little blanket. I did't think to look in the closet until it was pretty much near the time to rise. We woke to rudy's alarm, and i jumped in theshower first. We set it for 45 minutes befroe we had to leave, so that gave us each fifteen minutes in the bathroom. Short drive to barcelona, but we bailed early so watt could do a talk Q & A dealio, at a space called hangar.

   Once we're there a few of the guys decide they're gonna walk the 50 or so blocks to the water. A walk sounds good, but i don't think i'm up for that much of a hoof, plus there's a couple things i need to pick up, so i go solo to see if i can find these things, and not hold these guys back. I need a music shop, and elctronic's pad, cluth and bigger memory for my camera. I do find a chip pretty easily, but the music store i find is mostly acoustic guitars, so no luck w/ the drum shit. After this, i choose a random direction and start to head down with no particular destination, just scopin'. Great pedestrian set-up, There's a big public walkway with bike paths on both sides, and then next to them are the roads for cars, seems practical.

   I made it back just as mike was wrappin'up the Q and A, shortly after we drove to a near by artist compound, and had a fantastic japannese meal prepared by one of the artist named rina ota that has a space there. She went above and beyound for us, many salads, very fresh! Fried tofu, tempuras, fried chicken pieces, seaweed salads, rice ballsw/ miso and potato. It was a festive atmosphere, with some of the artist there working joined us too. After lunch, i excused myself so i could explore the space more and get some shots of the diffrent art that covers this building.

   Rough gig, it was all geared up for a great night, lots of folks on a monday and everyone in great spirits, but it wasn't clicking for me on stage. I couldn't get it together.i was having trouble hearing both the guys, and when that happens, i end up playing to fast, maybe because there's not enough bass for me to groove with. I got it together for the senond half, then the floor tom started to ring. It's really hard for me to play while also having my hand on it to stop the ring, actually it's impossible. Plus, i couldn't hear it anyhow, so it's also near impossible for me to know when to stop it. Pretty much, the end of the gig went to shit because of this, and i was a little embarrassed in front of the barcelona people that this got the best of us, i left the stage w/ a sad feeling in me. We talked about it briefly backstage, and just said fuck it, we learn from this and have a go to plan the next time this issue comes up. We ended on the up by doing a good job on the encore. Later someone also told me they enjoyed the tension on stage, made a good gig for them, that's good i guess, but not for me. We brought it back on the encores though, and ended on a more positve note.

   Once back at martha and rodrigo, i quickly find a space in the downstairs part of the house to set up camp. It looks like it's normally set up for an office space, but they've put a mattress down on the ground, and tom and i share this. I stay'd up for a little while longer talkin' w/ martha and tom, I'm real tired though and shortly sneak away and wrap up in the mummy bag, and i'm out quick.

from tom:

   we have to get up and out a bit early today to get to barcellona for mike to have a discussion about raymond p.'s artwork and it's relationship to him etc.. we arrive and i decide to sit in on the class talk in the corner of a dark space and call out to tell mike to speak into the mic. his slang and soft voice might be tough for the spaniards to interpret, i'm thinking. i think to speak up here and there to make a comment or to ask a question but refrain for some reason, help get the discourse going between the listeners and the panel. it's enjoyable anyhow, and after a brief interview i get behind the wheel of the van for the first time this trip and drive a few of us to another art space where we have a lunch prepared by a japanese artist in residency there. tofu, rice cakes, bean sprout and seaweed salad, tempura mushrooms and chicken parts. i have a pineapple juice to flush it down. very delicious, thanks rina! we have a short tour through the converted factory art studio building and then i drive us to the venue situated by a large museum complex. we load and set up and there is more food being set up in the back, spanish this time. tortilla (spanish stye/like a quiche), beans and sprouts, hummus, and several sauces of various tastes. i have a plate after soundcheck.

   it's a large room and mondays are usually so i am prepared for the possibility of a cave. nevertheless i'm in a good mood and as nico starts to play a steady stream of people start entering the multitiered theater. when guess what plays i have a brief chat with kike (keekay) who conducted the art lecture earlier, we talk about art and common interests. he's someone i will keep in touch with i think. we play to a good crowd of folks who seem to be familiar with the opera and we play pretty well for them. i scream my head off on the minutemen tunes at the end. i had a good time. it's not long before we have to exit our gear and head to promoter man rodrigo's home for the night. cool place, we chat a bit on the back patio and then i put my sleep bag on a mattress inside and go to sleep.

from watt:

   pop at eight bells. I'm hosing off now instead of last night cuz... well cuz I didn't hose off last night. there's a little chow pad and I get salami and bread plus a couple wedges of spanish-style tortilla. nine and a half bells when we try and pull anchor but it's a slow-go cuz we ain't all assembled and it seems the boat is blocking the tiny street we're on w/folks a little bit pissed and waiting... our team's gotta organize a little bit better, I believe. I suggest maybe we have everything ready to go, THEN get the boat and make the saddle-up move - just something to think about. damien at the wheel and yeah, we plug the tiny road in front of the 'tel and have some drama. damien is always cool as a cucumber though and gets us out of tarragona w/out a hitch. much respect.

   another great day of weather and not too many klicks to cover to get to barcelona which is the big town in catalonia. I talk to everyone about my idea regarding anti-cave devices... in a perfect world we'd travels w/a massive yet totally collapsable curtain rod dealio w/huge black curtain that'd be adjustable in height. this contraption could be used to augment any gig-space in order to reduce the amount of character potentially to be built by starting flush w/the rearmost bulkhead and then moving it closer and closer to the stage, thereby reduce the amount of reverb-inducing volume. sure, some building of character would be sacrificed but imagine the improvement to acoustics and feelings of well-being! the big problem though would be how to get it around... it'd prolly need its own boat, huh? but maybe one day consciousness might be raised to a level that every gigpad would have their own anti-cave device - of course it could be disabled for sessions of willing character-building, especially when combine w/either apathetic or non-existant gig-goers.

   we see two wrecks, both trucks on their sides maybe twenty miles apart - my guess going too fast for the sitch. I ask everyone if maybe we can learn something but see stuff like that, maybe those who take the wheel even? in u.s. I let three things humble me at the wheel: white crosses planted at the side of the road, burn marks w/pools of melted glass near the emergency phone boxes and finally tire skid marks cutting across the road at interesting angles

   we get into barcelona twentyfive ahead of new, to a pad called hangar and meet tonight's gigboss rodrigo who's organized a spiel for me to do here in connection w/martha from "la escocesa" and kike - pronounced "key-kay" - he runs the talk and does a great job, I can't tell how glad it makes me to talk about raymond even in a trippy context like this cuz I can't do anything but celebrate the man that along w/d. boon has influenced me like no other. I am so grateful to kike, so grateful. it's the ethics of what to me seems to count most when I think about all the seas I've sailed - and still more I need to cover, voyage w/out end. so great rodrigo made the connect w/kike this way. next he's set up a spiel for a zine (boston pizza) spiel w/pablo and pilar (he's got a label I can't wait to play releases from called boston pizza records - is that a label name or what?) which I do from the boat, still here at hangar. he knows tons of where I've been and even has a good picture of where I'm at, much respect to him to pablo, much!

   the only work of m gaudi I see this trip to barcelona is a drive by the sangrada familia:

anonti gaudi's sangrada familia in barcelona on march 10, 2014

however, I do get to see some other righteous art in this town... tom at the wheel (first time for him this tour) follows rodrigo's directions to the la escocesa. ('the scottish place' in catalan), an artist collective where we're to chow. much original expression on the walls, I truly love.

art at la escocesa in barcelona on march 10, 2014

art at la escocesa in barcelona on march 10, 2014

art at la escocesa in barcelona on march 10, 2014

art at la escocesa in barcelona on march 10, 2014

art at la escocesa in barcelona on march 10, 2014

art + raul morales at la escocesa in barcelona on march 10, 2014

art at la escocesa in barcelona on march 10, 2014

art at la escocesa in barcelona on march 10, 2014

art at la escocesa in barcelona on march 10, 2014

art at la escocesa in barcelona on march 10, 2014

art at la escocesa in barcelona on march 10, 2014

art at la escocesa in barcelona on march 10, 2014

art at la escocesa in barcelona on march 10, 2014

   a very kind lady artist named rina ota has cooked up some great chow for us - I have miso on top of rice cakes, mackerel in a spiced sauce, tempura mushrooms, potato wedges and fried tofu - very oishii, I also love.

chow cooked by rina ota at la escocesa in barcelona on march 10, 2014

art at la escocesa in barcelona on march 10, 2014

art at la escocesa in barcelona on march 10, 2014

art at la escocesa in barcelona on march 10, 2014

art at la escocesa in barcelona on march 10, 2014

art at la escocesa in barcelona on march 10, 2014

art at la escocesa in barcelona on march 10, 2014

art at la escocesa in barcelona on march 10, 2014

art at la escocesa in barcelona on march 10, 2014

art at la escocesa in barcelona on march 10, 2014

art at la escocesa in barcelona on march 10, 2014

art at la escocesa in barcelona on march 10, 2014

art at la escocesa in barcelona on march 10, 2014

art at la escocesa in barcelona on march 10, 2014

art at la escocesa in barcelona on march 10, 2014

   man what a mindblow, I wish I could get to know every artist here. we gotta get to the venue though, tom again wheels us not to upload barcelona which is where we're playing tonight and part of something built for the 1929 world's fair that showed off the different regions of spain. black and white checked decked, I do a spiel w/xavi from ruta 66 which again is most happening cuz like w/pablo earlier, this man brings much interesting stuff to watt for him to spiel on - kike, pablo, xavi and rodrigo himself tomorrow (that's when he wants a spiel himself), beautiful men, truly. I am most grateful cuz this in a way ain't a typical gig but an insight into folks that got lots of the same spirit I came from and still work hard to have. a photo portrait w/luis next (speaking of shots of the gig later tonight, check out what this cat eric took), he took shots of ronnie james dio and so I talk about the two experiences I had w/that man who was truly a mensch. one was a setup to have him made fun of w/both of us holding up lighters at an awards show (I stooped down to defeat that stupid shit) and another time at a studio we were both at by coincidence, both doing other projs but he spent a lot of time talking w/me about working hard on tour and being on bass when he was younger - treating me w/much respect. he had good pipes too and a strong work ethic.

   I gotta catch up on the diary however cuz of all these things and luckily rodrigo lets me in a room upstairs to do that. I can hear our tourbrothers loud and clear through the deck so in a way I don't miss them. when it's our turn we bring the piece and damn if I ain't inspired by everything today and the focus the gig-goers bring now, respect to them! tom and raul too, real good playing and supporting me when I'm weak. there's a challenge w/a ring (low-mid one) that bogarts so bad in the piece's last part that I can't even hear it's key and have to go back and mute his floor tom w/the fucking hand but still we persevere w/out compromising the piece. I should deal w/those frustrations a little better on stage though.

   the encores are a blast and then trying this new method, I go straight for the merch table and meet w/folks there. so much kindness for me from them, I give right back best I can - am again grateful, fuck yeah to good cats here in the town, MUCH RESPECT!!!

   we pull anchor for the konk pad which is rodrigo's... it's kind of a haul but still in barcelona. we get a shake-down at a checkpoint, a lady policia in charge but it's a no-blow into a breathalizer (remember that's what happened for nicholas in belgium?) for our wheelman who at this moment is axel - mucho suarte and also tourboss macario had calming spiel (of course he can do spanish along w/french cuz his pop was venezuelan) and the policia ladyboss was most kind and let us right through. we get to rodrigo's (interesting old pad) and I choose the part where the head's close and there's no stairs cuz there's a part available like that. whoa, what a day in barcelona, what a day/what a night... crimony!

tuesday, march 11, 2014 - perpignan, france

from raul:

I woke, and went straight for the shower, i wanted to get my shit together quickliy so i had time to pedal to the music store before we were ready to go. Martha had offered up her bike to me so could get it done quicker, but over breakfast, milo, chillian bass man in rodrigo's band, offered me a lift on his scooter. well, he's got a extra helmet, and i'm still not fully awake enough to be scared, so fuck it! I grabbed on to a little side bar, and we started jammin down the hills towards the shop. I'm in luck too, they have the style clutch i'm lookin' for, and also wing-nuts to replace the stripped out one. I decide to also pick up some sticks while i can too. No gels to kill floor tom howl though, but still a total score, and now i have piece of mind, and four hi hat clutches, two strong one's, and 2 that are not too dependable, but i can use for prac back in pedro.

   Playing a little cafe/bar called ubu in a little quarter in the gypsy part of town. Rudy and i spot a music store on the way in, so we hoof it quick to see if maybe they have the drum gels there. On the way he explains to me that it's a some what poor part of town, and he's not so into it. For me it's still beautiful. Anyhow, i do take his advice to be safe, and once we're back at the club, i didn't go for a big walk. I started to roam a bit, and got an un-easy feeling from the groups of guys around. Nothing happened, just a vibe, and i thought it better to stay close by my people, and not be caught alone.I do regret not having the time to explore the city more, i know i would've enjoyed it.

   The club had set up tables outside, and we all had a beautiful dinner together in the little plaza. quiche, w/ potatoes, and a salad, also bagette and wine. My bread style is to open it up, and make a sandwhich, mexi style like we do at home w/ tortillas. I noticed tonight that the french way is to pull a piece off, and it sits next to your plate, then it is used at the end to mop up whatever sauce and mixture is left, i like this style too!

   Kind of a wild atmosphere tonight, and folks are here to party. Unfortunately, we didn't think much about the set up, and later realized, we fucked up, and watt had to stand right next to the door of the toilet, weak spot. I could see his frustration as people keep passing by to piss, and i felt for him. Not the best connection for us, but we played hard. I know some people really dug it though, i saw some smilin' faces in the crowd. After i packed up the drums, i hung around awhile with the sweet folks that worked there, while the guess what guys spun reggae and soul records, much fun w/ them and some locals, just being goofy. At one point though, didn't see any familiar faces and i needed to get to bed pronto, but it dawned on me i didn't know where that was exactly, i'd only heard second hand. Honestly i felt a bit alone suddenly. Luckily, nicolas came over w/ the key and showed me where it was i could crash for the night. Mine wasn't a horse stable though, those were all taken, insted i got a half size couch, the arm rest as the pillow, and my feet hangin' over the other side. beautiful night, much fun!

from tom:

   [losing my car key, cel phone dying, a tornado, being thown to the back of the room, kissing someone]

    {EDITOR'S NOTE: these things in brackets tom watson begins each spiel w/mostly starting w/this diary entry refer to things he has dreamed of the night before, this is what he told me}

   i awaken on a mattress with raul beside me, i was snoring from allergies i have that make me breath through my mouth all night, i think about my abstract dream. i go upstairs in my sleeping clothes, toothbrush in hand and sit for a coffee and eggs with croissant and hummus from last nights meal. i also enjoy the pina colada pineapple juice cocktail. after cleaning up and packing up to make a quick exit. raul and i walk around outside but find no coffee for him. alas, we load and bid farewell to our kind hosts and shove off again toward france. it's a moderate trip with not enough time to zone out for sleep or reading. our arrival to perpignan is through a tiny maze of one-way alleys that the van can barely squeeze though and we load all of our crap into a very small cafe/record store called _ubu...the suite_. time goes by, we cram it all into our corner of the room and resolve space issues. we stay in a nearby storefront that was originally a stable for horses with each bed area a former stall with feed troughs still anchored to the walls. just fine with me. back at the ubu, there is a dinner served outside on a little plaza area in front of the venue where we are treated to a nice mushroom omelette potatoes and small salad with bread and wine. kind of perfect. i reluctantly add my tabasco as not to offend the chef...i just like it. i have my coat on even in the mild evening climate, just to stay warmer. i'm being aware of my health, pacing my energy, keeping a handle on my intake. i finish with a short coffee and listen to nico's first blast of nylon stringed fury. i think about home. then guess what, and us. the small room seems to thin out by the time we start playing and mildly rowdy crowd is a little distracting but i try to keep focused and not become irritated. our set up is odd because i am not able to feel connected with raul and since we are set up on the floor people with iphones flash photos in my eyes. it's tough but we get through it. my voice is stressed from no monitor and whatever this allergy thing is. after we slowly pack we leave pur gear in the club ubu and i walk 50 yards around the corner to the stables converted into sleeping stations and roll out my bag and hit the sack.

from watt:

   pop at eight and a half bells. no hose off but of course piss and dump - right away! interesting layout here, benjo ('the head' in jap) right next to the chow table, I mean right next! interesting sounds from your guest to accompany the chow, even a little window up top (no glass of course). there's a can of other odor that's got the fragrance "pink sweet pea" on the label, hmm... when rodrigo pops, he cooks up some eggs kind of scrambled w/cheese in it and on the side is what they call chorizo but we back home would call it a skinny stick of salami, I mean this ain't even got the kind-of-orange color sausage trip, like full-on skinnier salami - it's great tasting, please don't get me wrong just cuz I'm tripping on what different people call different things even though they're all speaking spanish - I mean look at me and w/cats from england or those from outside of my pedro town or look at me w/other pedro dudes - do you think people in my town talk like me? good chow from rodrigo and great vibes.

   rodrigo's buddy milo (they're two-thirds of familea miranda) while he does a spiel w/me, he says, "you know what I like the most about last night? when you get behind senor morales... and you PUSH HIM real hard!" I'm guess he mean metaphorically w/the bass, right? milo's a good cat. like rodrigo, he's from chile and though they almost went to hamburg in germany cuz they got connections w/cats there, they ended up here and made a new life. there's also three cats from argentina living here too. w/milo on the camera, rodrigo begins asking me great questions his buddy back in chile came up for me, one of them is if I know chile musicians and I'm ashamed and have to shake my head, fuck... he tells me about victor jara and milo says he had twentyseven bullets put in him - I'm so embarrassed not to know, what a fucking baka I am. I have research this stuff, I wanna play on my radio show... speaking of cats w/words for the people in their tunes that I'm too baka to know about, leo ferre is one tourboss macario hips me to - he saw him as a kid and said the cat did gigs to 'pert-right up to dying as an old man. I think I'd like to go out like that - elvin jones did.

   just before two w pull anchor, big abrazos (hugs) for our most kind hosts. good bye to the iberian peninsula, we're back to france for the next five gigs and wouldn't you know but it's the first time in 'pert-near a week... the blue skies are gone and here comes gray - no rain (yet?) but gray. forty minutes from the border w/france we pull over so tom can get tobacco but they only got already-rolled kind so nothing for him but a sandwich w/egg and ham w/potato chips for crunch for me. rudy at the wheel, he takes it from axel and wades through the plug as we slowly get into france - never did find out what that (the plug) was about but hola, france.

heading east and crossing the border into france on march 11, 2014

the next big town is perpignan and that's where we're bring the team and the third opera tonight. I played a stooges gig once nearby here at a festival but never in town and never w/my music. we get to the venue right at five, load-in's gotta be quick cuz parking sitch is nada but lucky not too busy bur what a fun time through tiny toy town roads built for horses w/out fucking boat. this bad is real neat, a tiny one next to a little record shop... next to that (but not connected like the record shop) is a "temple protestant" - france and spain are real catholic but in tarragona I heard some jams coming from a "inglesia evangelista" a few doors down from we played.

the venue tonight is called l'ubu and it's got a record shop connected right to it. the padbosslady valierie-anne likes our sacks we're slinging so I give her one. she is very cool people, much respect to her for having us here. a half hour after load-in, gigboss lionel arrives (he runds the record shop too) and a few minutes later miss hiyori brings me a donner from a pad called "moustache kebab" that's fucking good, I shit thee not. she said it was halal pad run by a family. so fresh and good, all of it: the salad, meat and bread - really good! sometimes I crave this kebab stuff so much and then when you get a really happening one, oh man! as soon as I came into this ubu pad (by the way, you know about ubu, right? not just a righteous band from cleveland in the 70s!), right starboard of the hatch was the most righteous olde-timey couch that 'pert-near had my name written all over it. I park my ass where it was to become my dock most the time here tonight except for when I had to work the gig. valerie-anne has some meters playing (incredible kickdrum from zigaboo!) and on the nearby table there's cd comp of ? and the mysterians from 1966-67, whoa there's some organ here! damn right. for some reason I get to talking to organman axel about this organman korla pandit who raymond took me to see back in the 80s in hollywood. he was interesting and unique man, never saw a trippier gig... I got to talk to him after even, he told me about him working on helping w/the b-3 designs and showed me "karate chop" technique for getting percussive w/working the keyboard. he also knew the novachord which was WAY ahead of its time though right now is when I'm first finding about that, axel too. seems the only thing new is you, finding out about it, huh?

   a tiny soundcheck is the only thing that pulls me off the couch and it's only for a tiny time. I'm too stuffed from the kebab to chow what they got here which is fucked cuz it smells good but damn if I can big ball guy and still work the piece. I get back to the couch and the down goes the mask. I'm out.

   I was told we're to be on at ten and a half but when I'm rousted there on the couch I find out it's 'pert-near elven - what??!! damn, anyway, I get right to work get on over to where I gotta be which now I realize is right next to the benjo! this makes it tough for bringing the piece cuz I'm afraid for me knee... I complete space on the first words to the second part - aaaarrrrrggggghhhhh. our set up also makes for raul behind me and tom which none of us dig, kind of tough but actually at the end of the gig knobman rudy will say it's one of his favorite of the tour. I threw some tiny fits trying to shut that benjo's hatch but at least I didn't totally blow it and got pretty tight w/my guys - didn't tumble or have the knee buckle either, thank god. I'm so glad I didn't tumble. a little embarrassed, I cut the last of the encores which is only 1/6 of it so not that much plug in the jug. lots of nice cats here so I'm glad we could bring, even w/a few kegs.

   I am beat. however many good cats came here on a worknight so I sign and thank all those who wanna see me parked one final time on that couch (damn is it comfortable!). gigboss lionel deserves a lot of credit for getting things happening in this town, respect. he plays a bunch of his soul singles - so SO good but after a little while I am to tuckered to hear more and so must bail, the konk pad a former stable nearby, trippy to see the dividers, wrought iron to hold hay, troughs for the water and names above each for the horses like aida, sir lee and ourasi... there's a shower w/hot water so I hose off. many different levels to the deck so I gotta be careful...

where we konked after gig at l'ubu in perpignan, france on march 11, 2014

wednesday, march 12, 2014 - toulouse, france

from raul:

   great place tonight called les pavillions savages. collective kinda place w/ a playground for kids behind in the middle, trippy, maybe the city gives them help, and it's part of the deal. Great idea to expose these kinds of things to young humans, and not have it be a forbidden deal. There's diffrent arts all over the buildings too, paintings of creatures cut up, and put back together, a funny one of a bear and a stork playing chess on a tree stump, pretty trippy, things that were not at the playground when i was a boy. Really good turn out tonight, and all the bands are well recieved. I later found out it was a free gig, so lots of diffrent folks showed up. In a way, very cool, nothing to lose for them. I met a couple diffrent people who came just because we were from the u.s. but knew nothing else about us. again we stay just next door to club. I like this, it's very convinient. And again we stay up talkin' w/ those who stick around, and it becomes a fun after party. I love the guess what guys, they are kinda there own party,and whenever the club shuts down the music, they pull out a tape machine, and a box of mix tapes they have on hand. We have much fun listening to afro beat stuff and dub while having spliffs, and talking about our favorite records and diffrent music and ways we've stumbled upon it by chance. tom and i sneak away to our room for some rest shortly after that though, he's feeling shitty, and i'd just like some good rest.

from tom:

   [breaking strings, heat and darkness, anxiety..]

   i wake feeling weak and a hoarse from last night. i slowly rise and gather my things, we have a couple of hours to kill and raul and i walk a few blocks down the narrow streets in search of coffee, no dice. we opt for bread from the market and i splurge for some YOP (yogurt drink) and return to our stables to wait to get our gear out from the club and eventually get in the van to maneuver out of the windy roads and onto the highway. i read in the van till we get to toulouse, and load into the collective club space and i find a room to share with raul and then do set up and soundcheck. damien's brother nico brings some duck with bread and salad and i have a glass of rose and soon we are treated to a vegan dinner with squash quiche, lentil salad, mashed beets, and salad. before nicholas starts to play i shave and rest on the bed in our room. then i catch nico's set in the smoky main room as many local folks fill it in. guess what do an intense set and we do a fairly good show. i have a hard time singing high notes and transpose as many harmony parts an octave lower to keep on pitch. after we play i pack and join the others in the other room and have a cup of scotch that manoui had brought for us, he designed some great posters for the gig and talk with him and certain others who wish to chat. i speak to a young lady named diane who is a stage actor and we have a nice time for a short while then i feel tired and retire into our room next door.

from watt:

   pop at nine and hose off again - first time this tour I hose off both at night and at morning. very dangerous for cojo like me, this pad w/several different decks maybe three or four inches in difference so I'm real careful and believe or not, never tumble. outside I hobble and explore cuz we're in olde-timey parts and there's interesting things I ain't gonna find in my pedro town or maybe other parts of town. you'd never guess from the outside we konked in a former barn, that's a trip. europe's got lots of hidden stuff, lots of stones of years... interesting. I return and miss hiyori goes and gets coff plus some grocery store stuff like moutard, salami, cheese and baguette which makes for great breakfast. even more significant she found safety scissors I can use to cut the tarzanelli-like fucking nose airs threaten to overgrow like wildfire. this is one of the gifts of middle age, having to mow the fucking nose lawn. tom's allergies are acting up, damn - I feel bad for him.

   one bell and we get back to l'ubu cuz vallarie-anne has arrived to open up. she's a great lady, so much I wish would've played better last night!

vallerie-anne + mike watt at l'ubu in perpignan, france on march 12, 2014

   pull anchor at a quarter of two - the last road out of perpignan we take has like eight pizza shops on the same side of street w/in a block or two... what the fuck is that about? we're headed for toulouse that has mucho mas history, rudy at the wheel and we got some clouds but sky blue instead of yesterday's gray - yatta! the sign on the autoroute says "entering cathar country" - you know about cathar maybe? it where we get word "cathartic" and they were purged by the church for being dualists but of course there were others (other bosses from the north) ready to pile on and pluck what they could. trippy parallel to cathars is in balkans is bogomils - I'm surprised tourboss macario doesn't know of them... actually I'm the only one in the boat that does, hmm... maybe nicholas does but he ain't in the boat, he's going gig to gig now w/agnes by train. on a side note, miss hiyori said he wasn't happy w/his performance last night, too blurry or something. man, that cat can play his ass off, let me tell you... sorry to hear that. I know he'll rally tonight.

   at the aire (rest stop) north of corbieres we switch ponies, axel now on the wheel and I'm hoping for calmer seas? a little bit... we get into toulouse and to a bank at four and a half so rudy can do some kind of bank trip. a half hour later and in a kind of (kind of?) residential neighborhood where the venue is, a former military barracks where horses were also kept - the rudderman julien (he didn't dig the honorific 'boss' which I understand) here told me he found some old horseshoes in the dirt in the back was first a squat (bumrushed building) and now the city council is working w/them while they still have autonomy. it called les pavillons sauvages and getting ready for a soundcheck, guess what's damien's brother nicholas (same name as our l'oeillere man) brings us some duck, trippy taste and damn if this is maybe raw in the middle? only a little bit though, he didn't bring much and don't wanna bogart on rudy... he says I like shit food. ok. it must be cuz I chow gas station crap but I can't eat a gut full of doughnuts, jam and sugar for breakfast - different pokes for different folks. funny thing is I've never forced him to eat anything. anyway I love him and he's great fourth man for gigs for us - much respect to rudy.

   I go to the room julien's got for us to konk in and finish chimping diary about yesterday, get it uploaded and then konk hard. we're to play at twenty of eleven but tom says it's too packed to get the long way and the way we were using has the hatch battened w/no way to open it. I have no idea how it l'oeillere or guess what did but I'm hoping it was the best for them. I just needed konk or I'd be terrible at the gig and then maybe even get sick. I hope I don't sound like I'm making excuses. I do my usual thank yous, the ones I do before we even start playing and also warn them about us doing one fortyfive minute song in thirty parts - I hear someone holler "we need little rests!" but I don't wanna debate it, I say to the folks the can give middle fingers if they want cuz I believe in free speech - it was either that or I told them I was an old punk rocker and used to taking shit... I start the piece and thank god after a few parts a couple cats up front say they can't hear the guitar so I turn down the bass. the gig-goers are really good for a packed room, real kind w/focus for us. we do good, I'm less scared cuz no one's coming behind me to use the head but I do get a little afraid when we start the encores and a lady from this pad brings up beers in cups for us - right away one is knocked over and so there's a wet deck by my mic but luckily most of this part of the night is behind raul. I notice axel doing a "96 tears" tribute during the verse of the second tune he does w/us - remember yesterday finding the ? and the mysterians? whoa! I survive the whole dealio w/out slipping and out to the merch table and that's a little adventure cuz of all the folks. nice art in this room, I met the lady who did lots of it earlier. these collectives seem to help this kind of thing thrive? she was also a helperlady here.

   many nice folks talk w/me, stephane who was also at the pau gig twelve days ago is here and says we've come a long way since pau, whoa - I can believe that but that gig at "localypso" was still a very good one in my mind. there's a cat who's both a drummerman and part of the army corp of engineers in new orleans. he's really nice people. there's a couple of other u.s. folks ("I detect an accent!") and lots of very cool natives - one's got a brother in nashville and learning audio engineering there. there's a righteous frere w/a mike watt flannel - whoa, respect! one asks me "are you obnoxious" w/real heavy accent and cuz of the intent and the care for me cuz I'm soon draped w/a sweater ("can you change your shirt?"), I think maybe the wrong word was getting used. I swear I try not to be obnoxious, tuckered in my chair and all sweated out, I'm most grateful to people experiencing how we bring the peace. I get to meet the artist man behind the poster made for this gig, manoi - man, what a happening job he did - big hugs for him!

gig poster by manoi for watt/guess what/l'oeillere gig at les pavillons sauvages in toulouse, france on march 12, 2014

   I am tuckered, levis sweated out half way down and of course I've already chimped about the shirt. that cat who kept singing me the black flag songs and calling me old man w/a laugh sure was a trip. I'm glad stephane was their to explain some stuff I was saying back to him in french. sure wish I could share his spirit w/his own language, he had the fire... and stephane sure has a good heart. rudderman julien made for a great time for us here - a humble man doing the work and helping things happen, HUGE respect from watt. I konk most grateful to him.

thursday, march 13, 2014 - marseille, france

from raul:

   We all gathered in the gig space for breakfast. Baggette, and eggs prepared by julian, the man runnin' the show. I also have some really good russian tea. After chow we get the gear back in the van, another perk of staying at gig spot is loading the gear the morning after. We make way to marseille a little early, macario is worried about big city traffic, and rightfully so, i remember our last time there, packed city. Luckily, the folks at the u.ppercut are waiting outside the venue, and have saved us a space right out front, so thoughtful.

   Cool place tonight, restaraunt upstairs, and gig spot downstairs. Mellow vibe, and i don't have the feeling that many punk gigs go down here. It's ok though, let's bring it. folks who work here are very nice, and make us feel right at home, so they bring it too. it's a trippy thing doing gigs for work, everyday you work with a crew diffrent people at their job.

   Tonight, they cooked us up some duck and mashed potatoes, I'm not the biggest duck fan, but this is seasoned and prepared very well, and i dig it. after the duck they do a cheese platter w/ intense and tasty cheeses, and still after that for desert, little cup filled w/ fresh cake, also espresso. I do a pretty big walk around club, and also around the near by marina. I had to cut it short though, the mule started kickin', and i made it back to club just in time, and also just in time for nicko's set.

   Trippy gig tonight, more party scene, but we play good. A few tech problems though. Tom had a jack or cable that is either busted, or has a shitty connection, it buzzes and crackles at the parts he's needed big time. Watt and i gave no reaction though, and plowed thru like we couldn't hear a thing. I liked that, we showed love for tom by not reacting, and letting him work through it. I think thats a good habit, don't break charactor, and stay in the piece reality. Also, rudy had to come up and throw a blanket over the kick drum, he later said it was too much uncontrolable sound for that curvy room.

   We load gear, but stay for an hour or so having drinks at the bar. I also use the time to email home too. Met some gratious folks here tonight, and they're genuinely happy we came to play for them. New club too, only 6 months now...i wish them only the best in what they do.

from tom:

   i feel crumby today, mold is hard on me, dust too.. i get myself up and join the others in the gig room next door for a quick breakfast and then we load and bid farewell to club man, juliene, and to nicholas' girlfriend agnes. agnes is a fine artist, drawer, printmaker, and a very sweet person, funny as hell too. we had a little time to chat about art. our trip to marseilles is kind of long, but the club has saved a parking spot for us right in front, funny cause i was just talking with raul about how clubs don't seem to do that much in europe. the u.percut is an awesome bar/restaurant/live space that reminds me of something one might see in japan, very space conscious and zen-like. kind of the perfect sized place in my opinion. they play the minutemen film before the show tonight, i'm feeling about 65% tonight so i conserve energy best i can. i have a coffee after our nice meal, we are served duck, mashed potato, bread and cheese. awesome place, wish i felt better. it's a fun show, my adrenalin helps me cope with my stuffy head. club lady sarah leads us to a flat where we can stay tonight, the tenants are out of town and gave sarah the okay for us to spend the night here, thank you. i sleep with axel near a window.

from watt:

   pop at quarter after nine, blue skies through the sides of the shutters, ohayo! go into this pad's backyard to check out the art painted on the bulkheads, interesting. les pavillons sauvages rudderman julien greets me w/some eggs and bacon he's cooked up, merci from me to him!

julien, agnes dubart + l'oeillere at les pavillons sauvages in toulouse, france on march 13, 2014

   it was final gig for agnes last night, she has to go back to brussels in belgium so now nicholas will return to travelling w/us... HOWEVER like a total idiot I didn't realize this I'm thinking I'll see her tonight so it's not last goodbye but it is! telling her "see you in hell" was not fucking best words to part w/I soon realized and felt very baka - what a fucking idiot I am, a total idiot. I beg nicholas to please apologize for me to her, please. in my mind I make sure to remember for diary (what I'm chimping now): "like a bozo I say bye to agnes weird" - I am baka.

   it's anchor pull at quarter before eleven, rudy at the wheel. fortyfive minutes to get out of town including two gas station taunts (price to high, I don't blame those who control this boat for the decision. we get on the autoroute des deux mers ('highway of the two seas' in french). just past the aire de repos de pech loubat rest spot I see the jacques tissinier sculpture to the cathars is but only get this kind of lame shot:

lame shot of jacques-tissinier's 'the cathar knights' on march 13, 2014

(a monument I first saw on the euro tour I did for my "the secondman's middle stand" second opera eruo tour in 2005 while driving between italy and spain) we pull over for diesel. the fucked thing is we can't figure out how we could've seen that on foot cuz it seems you can get to it only by going in the direction we did yesterday - the opposite way. we were oblivious to it but our french brothers in the front saw it but thought it was the work of this kook who has some kind of cult, something w/the name "rael" in it. they are surprised when I tell them what it's really about. not far down the road is beziers and it was here 805 years ago it was burnt to the ground w/everyone murdered (twenty thousand, it's said) for not having handing over the cathars. you understand why "man-shitting-man" had to stay in the piece? I'm glad though at last minute I decided not to end it that part but I had to acknowledge though I've reconciled a bunch of stuff down the years, this is one thing is fucked up beyond belief for me: man inhumanity to man. fuck that shit, let's leave it behind forever.

   twenty after two, axel's feeling tired so switch ponies time and nicholas relieves him. I tell axel he's real man and beautiful for thinking of all of us aboard and safety - some egoed-out asshole would keep going and daring potential fatigue konk, killing us all. I thank him kindly. at this stop I get "la box gourmande" which of course rudy reminds is a "box of shit" - it's got some potatoe chips and a poulet casear sandwhich. I try to be careful w/chow, I swear I do but rudy's right even though it don't tast a week old, maybe a day or two - who knows? back at sea, I give macario my ipod so we can try and play some schoolly-d... we get about ten seconds in before they scissor it. the frontseat fascists relent some, we get a braile-like sound level and of the compromise is windows up so no air. not to sound like a bellyacher but me and my missingmen have to have some way of pressure-relief this weird distribution. these guys are righteous people, truly.

   we've already brought the piece to marseille (I tried hard for no duplications but this will happen four times this tour) so this will be round II. get to the venue which is called u.percut just before five - there was plug w/traff getting into town in fact so much, tom had a chance to hop out of the boat, run over to an arefucks to blow it out (easy to do just thinking of that swill they sling) and run back to get on board seeing we had moved only half a block in that time. so great two folks from the pad have held a parking spot for us tourboss macario was preparing for what he calls a "total chaos" load-in. sara's one of these folks (the other is house soundman fabian) who saw us do "hyphenated-man" when we did it at "l'embobineuse" back in 2011. this pad's performance space is in the cellar and it's got a righteous aesthetic. very curved bulkheads and overhead, lamps w/shades w/small reeds to give "shafts of light" feel. they got absorbing material panels to help w/acoustics too... a lot of care has gone into this pad, I was told it was six months old and four ladies are partners here, sara is one of them.

   I go upstairs after soundcheck and chimp diary, put up stuff from tom and raul who are now caught up which I dig cuz man-alone mode for the tour spiel in my mind has not the depth it does w/my men aboard. we get chowed some duck (connected leg and thigh) I could've swore was chicken w/mashed potaoes, macario bringing me over some little bits of cheese and a couple of little bread pieces - downstairs is a couch w/my name written on it in the corner and I'm out quick as I can get the mask down, plugs in and jacket zipped up.

   I'm rousted at eleven and nicholas is just finishing his second set, damn, missed most of it. I feel sickness attacking me, oh fuck. well, buck up - I gotta fight to bring all I can, thank god I got tom and raul w/me. we do the opera real good and though there's a technical thing like tom's sound cutting out in "pin-to-the-table-man" we bring many good things and I use all my heart, even w/the sickness hell pounding at my hatch. I hold focus pretty good too I gotta admit w/some distractions too bizarre to mention here or rather I don't wanna make anyone feel bad for something about the way they are cuz it wasn't abusive but damn if I had to kind of cancel them out of my focus cuz it would've been them bogarting what's meant for everyone - not on purpose but I think that's what've resulted so I held true to the piece w/my men. very sad about axel's great grandma... tom told me she had passed away so I tell the gig-goers about her but fuck up and say grandma cuz tom had given me wrong info. I do the last tune especially thinking of her, yeah even though I never met her,

   there's soreness after - so it goes but what's real great is after I get to meet vincent, the man that did the poster for tonight's gig:

gig poster by vincent sojic for watt/guess what/l'oeillere gig at u.percut in marseille, france on march 13, 2014

   he's the first cat to visually work in "the farm hands are the lion, scarecrow and tin man in the movie version of "wizard of oz" movie w/judy garland as dorothy perspective" which I used to bring in idea of a woman coming of age (but not romantic) view of what men do to prove to each other - and themselves - that they are men. the minutemen and bosch angles were only two of the roots, this one here that vincent nailed is the other one. well of course there's the middle-aged punk rocker thing so there's four... actually there's five but I've chimped too much about that. vincent's really happeing people, a mind that knows stuff w/much grasp, respect! there's a dj man who's very hip to a lot of music stuff from the old days, a lot. he's very kind but damn I forgot his name like a fucking idiot but he's most sincere, geniune. artist/bassman enzo gives me the good word, a man w/much heart and the drawings he shows me he's done are beautiful. finally there's regis and his hifiklub brothers, driving all the way from toulon to be here, merci merci big time. he's editing the video he had shot w/me and the hifiklub in his town, says it's coming soon.

   we're konking tonight at a pad in industrial building they call "le grande domain" that belongs to a couple now in columbia for vacation, julien and cosima - what generous folks to be so kind, they even lent sara their car when they heard I was coming to town I'm told. man, that's beautiful, truly. I have to konk, have to fight this attack from sickness shit trying to get me.

friday, march 14, 2014 - saint-etienne, france

from raul:

   Woke up a bit sore this morning, i opted for layin' out some blankies on the cement floor insted of sharing the pullout bed w/ damien. It looked just a bit too small. No thing though, and i'm happy we had this place to stay at all, much thanks to the people who opened up there home for us while they were out of town. We had a 9am wake-up call, and sarah, boss women, had said she be here near then to bring some food for breakfast. Great basic chow, bacon and eggs, with ofcoures bagette and fromage. I also made a little bit of coffee in an old style perculator. It makes it real good coffee, but brews only a little bit at a time.

   Nice chill drive to st-etienne, with damien at the wheel, so we get great music that's not so rock, he's more into rock steady and world beat stuff, great call, makes time in the van driving way more chill. We gotta do a stop about 20 minutes form gig spot, macario has gotta drop of some vinyl to his distro guy so we can get the new 10" available thru mail order. He pulled a kinda bonehead manuever, and didn't think to pack the 6 small boxes last, so we gotta pull out all the gear, personal shit, and half the merch to get to them, and right in the middle of the frakin street!. They were the first thing loaded in last night!! aarrgghh! It's cool though, but we should think some things thru a little better.

   Playing a pad named la gueule noire, great collective syle pad, bar/cafe, w/ boxing, gigs, and library, but also a little office where people with certain problems can help get them solved, things like folks form diffrent lands with no papers, also they help people w/ no money with clothes and food. The women chloe who works here tells us it's not run with city help. Mostly the money comes from the 10 or so bands who pay rent to use the downstairs as a practice spot. Pretty awesome, she basically explained that they didn't feel the need to wait for city funding, and they took matters into their own hands to make this place happen 3 years ago.

   Great turn out, and over all around good gig. I wasn't way into the sound of the drums, but that's not the end of the world, and i gotta work it just the same. Rocky start that we came out of quick. First notes of the piece, tom was not there, somewhere in between us settin up' and then playing, a cable of his got unplugged. Right after that, i saw someone out of the side of my eye going to where our bags were, and got scared, i turned to see what was up, it was nico, and macario re-arranging things. it's weird when i feel people behind me though, and it got my focus long enough to miss a part. The drum sound may have something to do w/ the gels chokin' the sound, but i'm not sure, so tomorrow i will try and find the time to tune them. They've been taking a beating for awhile, 2 hrs a night, i'm sure they could use some love.

from tom:

   bonne journee.

   i awaken to loud snores, maybe some of mine too. i stumble towards the toilet groggy and blind without my glasses. i put my earplugs in and go back to sleep for a while. sarah brings us food and we have eggs and bacon and coffee. i have to blow my nose 10 times before we even leave. we get to st. etienne and load in and have time but no internet so we just get our stuff set up and hang out till some vegi food is prepared for us. soy links with boiled potatoes and a huge helping of sour kraut. i add some tabasco and eat as much as i can but i save some kraut for rudy cause it's just too much for me. i feel about 58%, not to good, and lay down on one the couches in the hallway in this punk community center in a coal mining town. the outside air is cool and getting cooler, i feel the chill but there is a lot of cigarette some building up so the open windows are a good idea. i meet some of the folks at the venue, chloe is a friend of macario's from many years of shows together and various other connections. i look through the free clothes for a sweater but i don't take anything. at some point a friend of axel and damien's named alix brings a delicious vegan chocolate fudge cake with beautiful decor depicting the tour line up, all the band's names and a big skull,,, kind of day of the dead style. i complement her on a job well done and i have a couple small pieces which is unusual for me. i wash it down with coffee.

   at gig time the room is a cloud of dense smoke, but the outside is too cold for me to get away from it. i choose to stick it out inside and applaud nico's music and dance with raul during guess what's. there's as much talking as there are cigarettes burning, but nico marches on through another set before us, he has gusto and give in when even when folks aren't the most respectful when he plays his delicate parts. the people are nice though and i don't feel like they aren't into it, it's just a different scene, more hardcore. we do an alright show, mike likes it the best of tour even though i have a false start at the top due to one cord not being plugged in all the way and another point of just spacing out on my part. my head a little clouded from the smoke and my congestion. afterwards we chat a bit waiting to get a ride to the "punk house" where we stay tonight and i find a mattress on the floor in the attic and after a couple of emails i close my eyes.

from watt:

   pop at quarter after nine, sun coming through the window - this might be sounding like rerun but damn if there ain't another happening sky to start us. sara comes at ten w/eggs and bacon and cooks me up some, very good, I love along w/my tobasco supplement. coff too, I make some for tom also. all of us around the table I ask about maybe helping us idiots who only know english if the rest of the team can use some english so we can be part of the spiel. it's weird cuz it's not like I'm trying to make a big deal out of it, just putting it out there but I tell them maybe there's a benefit, they get to prac their english, even w/them being good already, maybe they'd like to prac more and me, tom and raul would feel less isolated - we ask them about their words all the time, love french but damn why don't they teach more other languages in our schools back home? it's not like we're gonna fucking unlearn english to do it! fuck, we got some backward-ass non-thinking going I think. I would give my eye-teeth to learn to know french and I know tom and raul would also but reality of the dealio is that were fucking handicapped in that area big time. anyway, I just ask them to think about it. I can imagine our fucking slang though making it difficult for them - crimony, it's now halfway w/them and they've been so good to us. aarrrgghhh a little frustrating but it's their choice - I think they understand my frustration, they're really caring guys.

   pull anchor at eleven - of course the navagatori doesn't know about the construction or is just plain confused (like yesterday) so we have some looping to do - I suggest we also common sense and not rely totally on herr gps, like use the big fucking blue signs that point to the autoroute - navagatori seems to work much better on big highways instead of city tiny spaghetti roads. I said the same thing yesterday - not to be a know-it-all but just trying to help. actually this wander is only about twenty percent of last one so really no big deal. funny almost predictable morning drama: how the fuck to get out of town?

   a quarter 'til one we pull over at gas station but for water for tom and not diesel for the boat... I never unhook my seatbelt. damien still at the helm, we pass a nuke plant (turns out it was this one: tricastin) and it's not just the cooling towers you look for cuz oil/coal ones use those too - what you look for is the building w/the roundy hoods and this pad's got four, just like fukushima - that's still a nightmare, by the way - big one. france I've read is like seventy percent nuke for power, scary. we hear moondog - macario's playing some of this amazing cat I found out about cuz of il sogno del marinaio dummerman andrea belfi - he's also drummerman for hobocombo and these cats celebrate the music of moondog. respect! somehow we get to talking about santa... paul macarthy's incredible work in rotterdam comes to mind - or that image of santa laying on his belly naked and saying "just roll me over darlin' cuz I'm laying on your present."

   damn if I ain't gotta fight this sickness threatening me. I felt it last night before the gig so maybe infected in barcelona? it can happen anywhere so no disrespect to that town I love. it's my first time to saint-etienne and I'm looking forward (like what ain't I looking forward to on this tour? NONE!). keeping the nose clear, I did get to hose off this morning but forgot to bring soap and this tub was abunai ('danger' in jap) cuz it being way high and me having to step in (damn, I wish it didn't have some protecter thing over the drain cuz it would've righteous soak though believe me, I am grateful and don't mean to sound like bellyachin'). hose down w/no soap is better than hose down at all (like yesterday). we get to talking about man-alone band seb and the rah-dicks (great cat seb, he's putting on the lyon gig for us later in the tour), nicholas tells me about pedro de la hoya, a one-man-band where this cat plays guitar, trombone, kick/snare and singing - he does this all at the same time wearing boxing gloves, crimony!

   'pert-near three when we get about twenty klicks from saint-etienne which is where we're playing tonight - the reason we stop here (town's name is rive sur giers) is so tourboss macario who is also labelboss macario can re-stock the distribution company doing online sales for him. now why last night we didn't think during load out to put this stuff last, I don't but maybe if we would've done that then we wouldn't have to unload the whole boat now. same thing w/getting to this place, we took these spaghetti tiny streets really hairy for this big sprinter when at the destination I see a big-ass road that would've been no sweat... hmm... life is funny. I mean no disrespect though, I swear. it's just funny and fuck if damien didn't do a great job get this boat around.

   axel at the wheel, he gets us to la gueule noire which is a first time for everyone pad. axel says he did a one month radio internship in saint-etienne and rudy worked a festival here but tourboss macario says saint-etienne is famous for being not famous. ok... this pad is actually an autonomous community center - I find out saint-etienne is a steel town w/big working class beaten down by factory shutdowns. there's folks w/their kids here when we load in. they got a small boxing ring that's in a room they've made into also a theatre - they're gonna play the "we jam econo" doc to start the gig off. lots of anti-fascist literature everywhere. I like this place. adrienne cooks us boiled potatoes, sauerkraut and veg sausage which supplements the snails (welks?) axel brought earlier, I guess he bought them somewhere nearby. tom ain't having but raul and I do - I've had them before and dig them much, the hashi makes it easy to liberate them from their shell houses but please know they ain't alive. we use our tobasco to supplement. tastes like octopus mixed w/clams/oysters, kind of. axel also brought some blood sausage but I'm like tom about that - so is raul. after chow I meet chloe, one of the worker people here. she says learns me her name is greek for "sprout" and it was uncommon when she was young but now fifth most popular name in france, trippy aside. next up is soundcheck. we play together for one minute nineteen. a cooker lady named alix made us a cake, oh my god is it good - and this is from someone who digs only sweets that are like gummi and/or sour. fuck is it good but only little rich piece for me.

cake cooked by alix at la gueule noire in saint-etienne, france on march 14, 2014

   I get the diary up after chimping watt installment for yesterday and then wait for couch to clear - I've been eyeing this one close to their library room cuz we ain't got a place really to be separate but I figure like in perpignan at l'ubu, I can just don the konk mask and folks will know what's up. w/ear plugs and the orange knit hat plus even gloves, I'm very comfortable once laid out and konk comes quick. man, I need some air - I pop and feel a weight on my chest and on my legs... there's dudes using my feet and calves as a buttwarmer (human kotatsu? maybe they wanted to help warm my feet and calves?) and on my chest is parked an ashtray! well, I guess that's what konk masks are for.

   I pop and watch the l'oeillere second set, right near where the merch is and my place of konk. then it's our turn, ten minutes ahead of our scheduled midnight downbeat. the gigroom is a gas chamber so kind of good I got acclimated during my pre-gig konk smoke bath. the first thing out of my mouth to the people is "tabarnak" cuz I saw it in the head earlier when I was taking a dump. it's total quebecois (french canadian) but what the hey, at least it got tom and raul's attention cuz tom 'pert-near fell over and actually when we start the piece, there's no guitar so maybe it even popped a cable out! I fucking shot it out of nowhere to help clear my throat... I've got a fever and it's gonna be a tough one... but you know what? it ends up being my favorite gig now so far on the tour. my voice is really rough and beat up and the fever makes things blurry - speaking of which, tom's sounding a little blurry but even w/that (thank god though raul's slamming like a motherfucker), I really get into this gig and dig in w/all I got. I ain't just saying this, I fucking 'pert-near go down as we finish the third from the last part but somehow or someway I hang on and get the shit done. I am so grateful to both my men and the gig-goers, the gig-goers gave us great focus especially for packed social scene and all the cigarrettes that had to be puffed - no, I'm kidding cuz these folks have a great spirit and I love them. a scary thing happens during the encore though. damien from guess what jams up on stage to join us where he does and like a bozo, I didn't leave enough room and he runs into my knee - the bad one (port-side), lord have mercy... somehow it doesn't collapse and I stay up, fuck. I think the bass went flying when my arms flew out - the strap kept it on my of course but I think it still hit him in the head, totally not on purpose, just involuntary reaction from my body learning so much hurt w/my fucking knees. I steady myself on raul's shoulder and give major thanks inside my fucking head. I find out late that painted on the bulkhead behind us is an image of shattered miner's lamp, of course... I know d. boon would be glad I worked the piece, I know he would've wanted to be here himself.

   tourboss macario brings me a beer up on stage but I ask him please no, too abunai ('dangerous' in jap) for my baka cojo self. I go like I've been doing now for a few gigs, straight to a chair by the merch stuff and drink a beer there where it's safe for me. lots of kind people shared the good word w/me, merci. one cat's from scotland and said he just moved here to get going on his music, his person most genuine to me - HUGE surete to him. a man who did trippy flyer for lyon gig, actually I met him do fanzine spiel last lyon gig, so good to see him. a man w/his band volstead akt here in town along w/his FORMER bassman - I tell him he needs a new one! I get to meet and thank the cooker lady alix, deep bow to her, respect.

   very kind man colin drives part of us to his pad (he's making two trips) and gives me his chamber in fact cuz no stairs involved and the benjo (head) is close for fucking viejo me. this pad is called punkhouse and frere colin is so kind to put us up, many konk places topside for the men. I feel better and I don't think it's just adrenaline rush shit you get after gigs but bringing the piece the way it happened tonight really socked it up. whoa.

saturday, march 15, 2014 - bellecombe en bauge, france

from raul:

   stayed at total oakland or portland style punk house, flyers all over, and things painted trippy colors. Very clean though, and there was a great spot for most of us on the 3rd floor, the peak of the house was set-up just for travelers, real comforable for us. I had a good sleep, but a little cold. My fault tough, i crashed before i zipped up the mummy sack all the way. Also, little scratchy throat, people were puffin' like crazy in the club last night, windows all closed up, you could hardly see thru the smoke. I hosed off real quick, got my shit together, and went downstairs to have some fruit and coffee before the van made it back from the shop.

   Mellow drive, we're two down though, axel had family bussiness to deal w/, and damien is with his girl and some friends. Nicks at the wheel, no tunes, just conversation about peoples trippy ideas mainly. Lots of traffic towards the last half though, at some points a slow roll. It's the weekend, and a holiday i believe, so lots of families on the road traveling to and from. The last forty five minutes on way to bellecombe is beautiful, up the mountains thru many old villages. Bellecombe seems to be at the top of these hills at the base of the snow topped french alps.

   Playing the local hall of this village, this should be a trip. Folks are already there settin' up for the gig, The main guy is seb, the reason we're alble to come play here tonight. Before we loaded in the gear, they brought out some diffrent local cheeses, and some chile con carne that they've whipped up. After the feeding the frenzy, we get the gear in and get to work. After we check, we gotta get the gear off stage, there's some young men w/ a rock band opening up the gig.

   Weird gig tonight, or atleast for us. Great crowd though, many locals from lots of near by villages. All ages too, so there's very young kids, to folks who are probably their grandparents. Anyhow, here's why there's weirdness. Tom is having trouble w/ his sound that he can't figure out, so basically it's a duet w/ me and watt, with tom squealin' here in there at starnge volumes, i felt so bad for him. Three guitars later, and once the piece is done, he's figure's it's actually a bunk cord! It was a hard test for us, but i think we passed, he pulled thru really good, and ended strong. people seemed real understanding though, and later, some told me they found it funny. We brought it for the encore's though, and ended on the up. I really liked one's reporters opinion tonight too, felt relaxed on my part,and like we all played together. I spent maybe an hour after gig packin up and talking a bit. Oh, i also chowed dinner, more chile, but this time i got a mix of the carne and soy-bits, and served on some white rice. Soon after though, i walked across the road to the pad, laid out the mummy sack. Sleep came quick for me.

from tom:

   [recurring events, school, going in circles, bad memories, bitter taste]

   i have a lot of congestion so i wake with a sore throat, i have a quick shower and get back in my bag for a little more rest after which i pack up and go downstairs and have a cup of coffee and two small pieces of tough bread with sliced banana and jam on top. i feel crappy again, mornings are the hardest it seems. we say good by to the guys in the punk house and board the van to head towards the french alps and the windy roads take us to a different landscape in the rocky countryside and to the space we will play. we move our personal bags to a house across the street and claim our sleeping stations. back at the venue we set up, i help raul by tying a rock to one of the legs of his hi hat stand to accommodate for the uneven stage floor and after some time we go through soundcheck. we have an opening band from a town nearby and we meet the young dudes in it and have a little conversation. we have to figure out our strategies for the gear change over to keep a smooth flow during the gig. we are treated to chili con carne, bread and great local cheese, very satisfying in the chilly mountain climate. there is snow on the cliffs that we can see in the distance. i lay have a rest before showtime trying to conserve some energy for later.

   the venue is surprisingly crowded in this mountain village, locals out on a saturday night, mostly. all goes well until my guitar starts to go in and out randomly, sometimes completely. it's very frustrating and i struggle to find the source of the problem during our first few tunes but have no luck sorting it out. there is no time to stop to change things, so i just play and sing whether there's sound coming from my guitar or not, the show must go on. finally i try nicolas' acoustic on one part of the opera and that has some of it's own strangeness too, then rudy brings a guitar from the opening band for me to try, a les paul that i have to sit on a chair to play until he gets a strap around me, all the while raul and mike just charging through the piece as normal (which is good) but so many variables in tone volume and scale of the guitar that it's like i'm playing this music for the first time, learning as i go. once i get to stand up to play i get some sound out of the foreign instrument and realize that it's in a D tuning,,,,man, what else can happen i'm thinking. i clumsily get to the end to the piece and embarrassed about my performance though glad i didn't give up. i felt that it's possible that on of cords is bad so i change it out and grab my guitar and we go through the minutemen tunes without any problems. a relief to end that way and that it's only a bad cord, probably the easiest fix, so i just put it behind me knowing i did my best under those circumstances. however, i know i'll remember it as one of the most frustrating gigs of my life. it's freezing outside, i say hello to some locals and go to my sleeping place and let it all drift away.

from watt:

   pop at nine bells. I look for shower but can't find - I hear shower running but am afraid to try different hatch handles cuz of possible bumrush on privacy, I am guest here at punkhouse. no prob, maybe I can hose off tonight. good thing is I'm feeling better from sickness - not total but some which is good sign. loogies I hock up are clear too and not green, hallelujah. no chow but some good hot coff, we'll chow down the road. we thank colin and wait outside punkhouse for the boat to return from the garage. hallelujah for the boat also: I'm told one new headlight, two new tires and standard maintenance (oil change, etc.) - I feel safer for my men and the whole team. actually smart for robert who rented us it cuz it won't get driven into the ground which I've learned through experience is the best way to float a boat. twenty after eleven, the boat w/nicholas at the wheel - we're two shipmates light cuz the guess what brothers are in a different place, axel going to his great grandma's funeral and damien w/other sitch (lucy).

   raul thinks of great idea: we've just learned there's four bands tonight (local band added to tourboss macario's surprise) so why not have them receive the honor of headlining? no good, a call to the gigboss says they got some carpool arrangement they gotta stick to and can't go on late... oh well, we'll strike our stuff anyway cuz it's the right thing to do, show respect. the fucking navigatori gps puts us on a path that goes to a tiny road w/a bridge way too low for this boat and great thing nicholas realizes this and we don't do what happened to scotty-san (original stooges drummerman) in the early 70s when the truck he was driving hit a too-low bridge w/some speed going and the guys riding w/him flew threw the windshield, fucking nightmare. I suggest we don't use the fucking navigatori gps 'til we get to a big road and force it to calculate route from that point instead of from tiny town spaghetti roads that can lead to fucking major hell. by the way, today is the ides of march so I should not try to think I'm some kind of know-it-all, it is healthy way. we get back to where we played last night cuz that's where we put our gear cuz the boat being at the mechanics overnight. gray skies but not rainy or cold so I can dig that. we're all on the ricola now, thank you to miss hiyori for providing. heavy plug traff as we drive north and approach the alps - it's a weekend and the herds are clogging the roads. it's become really hazy. ten of three we pick up axel in a tiny town called la motte - the baka navigatori gps puts in the wrong place AGAIN, axel finds us but nicholas just bolts from the bolt and w/the engine running and in the middle of the street next to the police station - I shit thee not - he told no one anything but when he does return w/medicine stuff so maybe he needed that but I ask him very kindly to next time pull over especially w/motherfuckers honking horns behind us and no one at the wheel!!! he's a beautiful man though so please don't get me wrong. rudy tells us about a dream he had last night where I had blue hair and it dawns him it's maybe cuz I wear this scarf to keep the sun from fucking w/the scar tissue on my port-side ear. tiny roads to get up and over, we pass a lac aix les bains, I sailed across this lake once w/the stooges from where we were staying to play a festival called "misilac" nine years ago - I can tell everyone some details about, why? cuz I fucking have it here on my macpurse in the diaries, so glad I started chimping these but I still break a leg off up in my ass regretting not starting it w/first minutemen tour - fuck am I a slow slow learner. baka.

   just after four the tiny road up the alps gets us to bellecombe-en-bauges which is a village and I'm thinking a righteous way to spend the fourth saturday of the tour - last night was actually the first gig past the halfway point of this continent part of our journey. I meet gigboss seb, very cool people. the pad is called "salle des fetes" (kind of 'party room' in french) and being put on by this collective called underground family - yeah, another one of these associations you don't see that much back home but where lots of what we've worked this tour is happening it's stuff like this really making things possible for us to be here and I'm most grateful, truly I am, most grateful. they got some big hunks of real good cheese, huge loaf of most fresh bread plus some chili con carne that gets good support from my tobasco but brings it's own good flavor too. righteous welcome, merci to the good people here.

   just ahead soundcheck get to meet a rare thing: another band w/us on this part of the tour cuz the unit's a package that we're bringing: l'oeillere, guess what and me/my missingmen. these are fifteen year olds from nearby seynod (thirty klicks north) called energun'men - can you imagine what me and d. boon were doing at fifteen years old? mainly trying to copy creedence and blue oyster cult in his bedrooms but here's a story: we we're in a band that tried to copy songs in a garage - chris key's garage, a drummerman near dodson junior high where we went w/dale caldwell singing and danny salvador on guitar. we were called the bright orange band and it was the first month of tenth grade for us when this band of guys a couple years older asked us to open for them at some kind of rally after a pirates football game (pirates are the name of our san pedro high school team). they let us use their amps and drums, the stage was one of those portable ones that unfold from a trailer out near the jetty at cabrillo beach. I remember I found an army uniform jacket and had my ma sew big orange letters on the back but forgot to also include dots (you know, like b.o.c. = blue oyster cult, very original of me) so it looked like my name was "bob" - what a fucking baka. anyway, our team lost big time to I think carson so everyone was already in a bad mood. then we played and we were fucking terrible, ruining songs like "jumping jack flash," "hot rails to hell," "the ballad of dwight fry" and everything else we tried to play. the people started throwing everything they could find at us - I remember d. boon wearing a long fake-leather coat and a fucking coolie straw hat, he looked like a rocket, kind of! the singerman dale in the middle of the alice cooper cover started spitting up fake blood he had brought and the school eventboss thought a rock had hit in the mouth so he cut the power and things got even uglier. luckily d. boon's pop drove us pickup truck up to the stage (he was careful and not being an asshole but being very safe w/some horn toots) and we jumped in the back and made a get away before our asses got lynched or whatever. the next monday I heard people in homeroom talking about seeing the lamest bunch of assholes in the world trying to play as a band... I hung my head real low, hoping no one recognized me and was lucky for that w/these other tenth graders but I never told anyone I played music in high school ever the whole three years I had to go. I kept music a private thing between me and d. boon.

   while rudy and the guys get things together and ring out the system, I get a notion to go look at the two new tires - good, they're at the fore (it's a front wheel drive) and yeah, even better they're fucking michellins - the best! I only trust michellins on my boats. they're fucking happening, eighty k of miles sometimes and never EVER had the tread separate - I could tell you some stories about tires from other bullshit companies and their crap on my vehicles. learning the hard way is still learning in my book. amen.

   the chow for dinner is more of what we had when we came which I dug and so dig again. I see the energun'men do their set soon after and get a kick out of them, great cats. wow, seeing some early days of the next shift... respect.

energun'men at salle des fetes in bellecombe-en-bauges, france on march 15, 2014

I am beat though and so get back to the konk pad ahead of when it's our turn which is a shame cuz of missing our tourbrothers but I just ain't strong enough. there's some drama on my mind I gotta resolve too so I go and do that.

   we're ten minutes ahead of our schedule 11:30 start time and bring the piece after I tell the folks about tonight being the ides of march... it ain't but the second part of the piece when tom's guitar starts cutting out but I plow on - and I mean plow on and on and - so does raul along side me cuz at this point the band's a twofer w/tom fucking mostly miming it. this is the worst ever he's had material fail in the all the times we've done besides breaking a string maybe five times and for three of those I know we re-started (in fact it was a single gig, one at "valentine's" in albany a couple yeas ago!) and the other one's he borrowed a guitar from nobuyuki of lite... anyway, the only suggestion I give him is to borrow nicholas' guitar when we got 'pert-near the middle. when he got a guitar from one of the young men from the energun'men, I did go up and turn up all his amp knobs and that was kind of a freakout but mostly I played real close w/raul and just tried to plow - tried to? I did plow. also making this maybe even tougher was no monitors, very frustrating the sound from them so tiny, especially w/my voice where it's at now - now? thinking about this gig now and actually it hit me just as we finished, this gig was really important. what I mean is the struggle between the spirit and the material, manifesting that dynamic not as an abstract or something like that but rather wrestling in real time the reality of the dealio, there dealt to us by the sitch and demanding an answer to that fucking big time question of the moment: what is to be done? especially w/the ides of march on us - when I hit the piece's last note and said on the mic to the gig-goers, "hail caesar!" it was cuz the irony of dealio had just hit me upside the head and knocked it out of my mouth. tom figures it out: a bad cord from the amp - nothing to do w/any guitar - we do good w/the encores w/our tour brothers. no wonder they call laughing real hard busting a gut and getting real scared shitting a pecan log. amen. et tu, brute? yep, as long as I'm here to learn - everyone's got something to teach me and it really getting put to the test is honest wage for honest work. most legitimate classroom tonight, thank you good people of this pad, thank you tom and raul.

   I slowly make the move across the road to the konk pad and notice the moon... it's full so ok, both ides of march and full moon, no wonder... I get into the tub have great hot soak and then into the nightwear. me and tom chase damien and lucy out w/terrible impersonations of "spinal tap" tunes though damien did like tom's england accent kind of. I take this as a cue and head downstairs to konk.

sunday, march 16, 2014 - luzern, switzerland

from raul:

   Woke up to a stack of clean clothes next to me, hiyori was nice enough to offer to deal w/ the whole crews laundry. It's all nicely folded too, so sweet of her. Psyched to have clean clothes again too. I packed a littlier heavier. than i should have, but mostly w/ a few t-shirts i havnt used. everything else has been needed though, i've had enough to not hafta be filthy during stretches of no wash. Maybe I'm sissy, but i like clean socks and underwear, when younger, not such an issue, and i'd wear the same shirt till it was starched with funk, these days, not so much if i can help it.

   For breakfast, we have...you guessed it, chile con carne, but this time with bow tie pasta mixed in. Really good leftover. I like chile lots, simple and easy food that goes w/ just about anything. Today we have a border into switzerland, so we get out quick after loading gear back in van. You never know what'll happen at those passes . Today we're extremely lucky, and the border gaurd waves us thru, no looking at equipment, or checking passports. Smooth as butter.

   Playing a place called industriestrasse, Was once a storage place for cheese, and our gig will be in the basement, Luckily, there's a lift, so we won't have to battle the stairs and corners to get the gear down. We do sound check, and i'm diggin' the way the drums sound, so maybe i'll wait to change snare head until italy or croatia, depending on free time. After check we eat w/ club folks and their friends in the upstairs part where we will also be sleeping tonight. 3 to a room, i'm bunked up w/ tom and nicolas. Dinner is real good, vegan dish w/ tofu and beans served on rice, w/ a salad with olice oil for dressing. After eating, i laid on the bed to do some chimpin' and crashed for hour and a half, two hrs maybe. I think all of us did actually. Tom was still there, but nicolas was gone. I looked at my watch, and it was just a little passed nine p.m. I made some coffee for me and tom in a perculater. I'm beginning to enjoy coffee more and more this way, not a big cup, but real strong. After getting caffed out, i went down to the basemant to check out the last 5 songs of guess what, set up the drums how i like em', and also watch nico''s senond set.

   Great gig tonight, all the guys played great, really together. The show had a good flow too, as soon as nico's second set was done, we were ready to go. We played hard, and only had one space out, but we rolled w/ it, and i don't know if the crowd noticed. Tom's stuff worked well tonight too, big come back from last nights gig. Lots of kind people for a sunday night too. It may sound funny, but i think maybe a more attentive audience on a sunday or most weekday's, not really party/drinking days for most. For us though, we have many beers after the gig w/ the club workers and some gig goers who stayed around. Atleast me, tom and nick, and the guess what guys, i don't wanna speak for the others, and their going on. I sneak away while they're still down there. I got i lil hunger, and i know there's leftover chow upstairs in the kitchen. I have a bowl of the tofu and bean medly w/ out rice this time, and maybe half a beer while i write home. Soon after, i'm in bed and asleep in minutes.

from tom:

   [water, dry air, drunkenness]

   i awake in the middle of the night in the early morning darkness completely congested with my head sore from allergies and the dryness in the room and have a hard time getting back to sleep. i try not to wake anyone but i have to get up and walk around to shake out of my hyper state. i get more uneasy sleep and get up and organized and join the others for some left over chili mixed with bow tie pasta, coffee and juice. the bells in the church nearby ring a few time before we walk over to the space we played and pack out, damien says goodbye to his girlfriend who drives back to nancy. we have to cross the boarder to switzerland today, it feels kind of strange to be leaving france after so many gigs here. we get across the boarder no problem. the terrain is beautiful, the alps stick sharply into the sky and green land and blue water look very clean. after a few hours we arrive at the venue in luzern, a one hundred year old building that was originally used as a storage depot for cheese, we use the elevator to get our gear down to the cellar where the live space is. it's a nice sized room with a small bar attached and have a local beer with the locals and talk a bit. we get to stay upstairs in the converted living space for the night, there is food being cooked the kitchen and i find my place in a room with raul and nico. we are served a dinner at long tables that is similar to last nights, a vegi-chili over rice that i add tabasco and minced onion to and a tasty salad with thinly chopped roasted almonds. i lay down for an hour or so before heading down to catching nico and guess what. mike and raul and i have a heavy moment of focus before our show tonight, i feel very fortunate to be with them, we channel our emotions into the piece and it goes very well. cathartic. afterwards we pack up and raul and i have a little time to meet the nice people of lucern that came out on this sunday night. i get into bed a little later and sleep.

from watt:

   nine bell pop though weird strange series mind flood for maybe an hour had me semi-conscious... anyway, the reality of BRIGHT BRIGHT sun cutting hard into this alpine mist resist is interesting dynamic - especially seeing were heading for alpine land switzerland today, having to say bye to france for is it eighteen days? think so, we'll return to finish the continent leg of this tour. while we load up the boat I shave in the venue head so I could look more together for luzern ('lucerne' w/french spelling), not that france doesn't deserve that but I space sometimes on tour w/shaving. hell, in the old days, I never shaved on tour but you about beards these days... actually I never liked them, just hated shaving on tour. all I can tell you about my mustache phase is finding an old picture of my pop w/one on tour w/the navy and wanting to look more like him... I kind of did! for asagohan ('breakfast' in jap) tourboss macario mixes bowtie pasta w/chili from last night which I dig - you know something's tasting good if it's the third round.

   quarter of noon, we pull anchor for parts out of france, rudy at the wheel. there's warning signs lit up on the autoroute - axel tells me they've been up since friday, they're what we'd call in so cal "smog alerts" and they ask the drivers to go twenty klicks/hour (about twelve and a half mph) slower to help reduce the pollution. they don't have the smog laws in europe as heavy as back in california and I gotta say, having experience from the 70s, those laws have cleared our air big time from then. it's not perfect, of course BUT... ? in a half and hour, border w/switzerland... an older borderman approaches and tourboss macario speaks w/him (first he used german cuz of license plates)... very kindly he allows us through, merci beaucop. I tell our tourbrothers (my men know this), we call what just happened "butter" - the most gentle treatment and always are most grateful. you have to remember you're a guest in this other folks' lands and must be respectful - I hope that doesn't sound corny but it's what I truly believe.

   it's fortysixth anniversary of the my lai nightmare and the guess what guys don't know what it's about. they know a little about dien bien phu.

   seatbelt check at the gas station by gendarmes (we got those laws too but I'd wear them anyway), we switch ponies - I buy nothing cuz it's swissfranc land and euros prolly can be used but at terrible exchange rate. we continue on, nicholas at the wheel and the bow of the boat headed northeast and though it'll be more klicks we decide to stay on the rather a more direct route via some heidi roads. at bern, we pass bern - we're in the german speaking part now. a little after three w/switch ponies, damien now wheelman. just after four he gets us safe to an industrial part of luzern and to a pad called industriestrasse cuz SURPRISE that means 'industrial street' - hello.

   I ride down a kind of scary elevator to get to the keller ('cellar' in german) it doesn't have to have the doors closed to work, whoa. I meet a very nice cat name uti and he tells me the club here's been going four years. I meet another man named orfeo. I last played luzern in 2005 on bass w/the stooges at kkl (cultural and convention hall) downtown. the gigboss is justo and he gives me a "hell" lager. everyone very cool here, so glad for them having us aboard. after soundcheck w/chow a chili that's kind of like the one we had yesterday but tofu instead of meat. there's a great salad too w/lots of garlic. a nice man named ralf sits next to me and gives me a book on a punk scene that was in wolfenschiessen at the "parkhotel eintracht" which happened from 1980 - 1983. I knew/know about zurich's "rote frabrik" but not this pad. across the table is another cat who tells me there's a fight w/the city to save this place cuz big money wants to knock everything down and put up some headquarter buildings - there might be some other land they can migrate to maybe but it's a struggle. I wish them luck and dearly mean it - you see so many of these fights and the funny (maybe not so funny) is how the gentrifiers so much covet scenes cultivated w/artistc folks and then sterilize them via commodification, like sort of a "thank you, I mean fuck you very much - now please bail and stop wasting opportunity!" motherfuckers. I go to finish my chimping and get the diary up. then I go to a couch to konk some cuz an earlier night for us cuz of sunday (ten pm start) but maybe I check email first...

   it's an email from stooges tourboss henry... scotty-san!!! I give the macpurse to tom and raul to see - last night stooges drummerman scott asheton passed away. it is terrible blow to me and of course everyone else who loves stooges. too hard to really write about it now but I will say tom and raul did real strong and helped w/the piece. we told no one, we just brought it. both my men played incredibly strong and were so much there for me, there I was shaking apart w/all thoughts of scotty:

   bring down that backbeat hand
   righteous drummerman
   swinging grooverman
   steel driving crew
   beautiful man

   I don't know how except for tom and raul there for me how I did it... I almost flounder in the middle poem and when we got closer and closer to the end... by "hill-man" I had no idea where I was but somehow caught myself and rallied for the ending - a long lonely highest 'd' for the bass before the lowest 'g' for the final note.

   gig-goers most kind, thank you much to luzern folks, I want them to know. too emotional to say though. thank you, good people danke. upstairs a teacher lady from sicily is confused about our talk w/comparing differences w/stuff like bourbon and slivovitz and w/what's better or worse in a macho way. scusi for my poor language skill but it does get my mind a little off of total sadness and focused more on an understanding.

   must konk. man, I never get used to this... losing people... now I lost scotty-san... love him... love him...

mike watt + scott asheton in sydney, australia on january 25, 2006

monday, march 17, 2014 - bologna, italy

from raul:

   I must of got a solid sleep last night, it's unusual that i'm the first one up. Shortly after me, macario gets up, and starts gettin' b-fast together, he also make some rocket fuel coffee that i cut w/a little hot water to stretch it out. Easy chow that i like, fruit and cereal, my breakfast of choice at home. Beautiful day, and great vibe in this old kitchen having breakafast with most the crew, Tom is still asleep, and i'm not sure about watt and hiyori. After food, i head down to the basement to do some last packin' up on the drums, damien had taken care of everything except rollin' the hardware up, so i get that done before we gotta bail. The mold smell really hit me as i walked thru the door, not something that i can remember buggin' before, but it seems i've become more sensitive to this, and lots of thses old euro pads have it, especially in a dank cellar like this. the smell throws me into a coughing fit, and my eyes water up immediately, luckily it dosn't last and i'm able to stay down, and be the dude who loads the elevator w/gear to be shipped up to the guys waiting to load the sprinter.

   Visually amazing drive outta luzern, snow topped mountains around a lake, and little villages scattered at the foot of green hills. this scenery last all the way down and through the italian part of switzerland, beautiful country. Once we're into italy, the weather changes drastically, and it's pretty warm. about two hours outside of balogna, we stop to get fuel. Me, tom,watt and axel get some packs of cheese and meats, and make some sandwhiches in the van, we got mustard and hot sause to doctor them up, mike also got some pickeled peppers for us.

   We get to gig spot a little after 5pm, and get ready to do our check. I do a little walk while rudy gets the mics set up on the drums. Not to far, just check out the nearby hood. After our check, we get some pizza ordered,i go for one topped w/ sardines, and mozzarella. Not the best i've had, but not as shitty as some pie we have in the states. I ate quick, and soon after took a walk to the center of town, just right over the bridge out behind the club. Trippy surreal walk. Intense drivers everywhere too, i have been here once before, and have a memory of an old man on a bike being hit by a car, totally sad. I can't quite describe the city. It has some really old parts, even crumbling walls, and pillars, but also not so old as that, but old tile work thaT made up a lot of the sidewalks, you could tell it was done at difrent times though. Maybe that's why it seemed trippy, there was a distint timeline of diffrent works done, and it was all represented here in these few blocks. I've seen people hang out side of cafes, or people in there apartments sitting at the window smoking cigerettes yelling down at the street, but something about this was very italian, and hyper real, all these diffrent stories going on inbetween each other. Also, on my walk back i was able to look in on brazillian style drummers doing prac. As i walked across the railraod bridge back to the club, i heard a sound that i thought must be a train, maybe stopping, or a crash of cars connecting, i really didn't know, mixed w/ traffic it sounded weird. when i got closer, i could tell it was drums and percussion. I tried to peek in building, but the window was very blurry. When i turned to leave, a man came speeding up on a bike and w/ out a word motioned for me to come in and check it out. He rushed in, grabbed what looked like a rack tom, and joined in. i think he was late for prac. I didn't stay long, but was happy to get to check this out. there's was a guy on a platform conducting, and this was kinda wild, so i think they had just begun to learn these pieces. maybe 20 folks all together making this happen, so when he'd put up his hands for them to stop, it'd slowly taper off and everyone one would laugh, he seemed like a good teacher though, and smiled and laughed along. You could tell these people knew rhythm and could play for sure. Big floor tom style drums, but w/ out legs, and real long. Big cowbell racks to, like a dude playing 10 diffrent bells, also memorable was the women w/ the giant shaker she had to hold with both hands. Was a treat to get to see this.

   Aside from the lights right in my eyes, this was a great gig for us. I tried to play hard for steffano, Italian man i'd met years ago, and he now has a group w/ watt. So good to see him again, he was right up front, which made me both nervous and happy. He later said he really enjoyed our playing, very kind of him. I tried hard to stay focused even though these lights were blastin' me. Watt was only a sillouette, and the drums had big shadows all over em'. We did good though, and it was packed for a monday, super grateful for that.

from tom:

   [swiss visitors, lanai pool, m.b. vista, laughing, neil young]

   i wake at 8 on this st. patrick's day morning, i didn't sleep very well, and raul and i try to get the hot water heater going for the shower, but i'm sure how to do it, so i lay back down and i have a hard sleep for a while longer until raul gets me up for coffee and a bowl of corn flakes. we have to load gear and get going soon, maybe a 5 hour trip to the italy gig today. the vistas are incredible on our journey southward through central switzerland, houses that look like tiny models on expansive green rolling hills that meet bases of craggy silver peaks with snow shinning high on the faces of the mountain ranges. we drive past lakes so clear that they shimmer with the reflection of the blue sky and varied colors from the country side. we travel through a 10 mile tunnel where it separates the north german side of switzerland from the southern italian side and when we exit the long tube all the signage is in another language, like a portal to another world.

   it's a long day by the time we arrive at the freakout club on a alley/side street in bolongna, it's my first time here. i like this type of place, tucked away in a semi industrial area where loudness is no problem. the nice guys here help us with our stuff and to feel welcome. it's sounds good in the square room and we order pizza's which we stuff ourselves with on a picnic table out in front of the club space. i have a ham and olive pizza and save one slice for after the gig. time creeps by, we set up nico on the stage tonight, using the pa for his amp. he sets up little lights to make his space more intimate, and it looks cool. he plays a great set that i watch from the side on a small bench in the cozy room watching his shadows cast on the ceiling and floor like moving silhouettes of a picasso painting, then guess what play and raul and nico dance while seated in the same place. it sounds really good. we go on right after their set because nico did one long set tonight and we quickly change over. it's a good show, i feel alright about it. it has been a long day again, i'm a little tired but begin to load out and speak briefly with stefano, bruno, and alex, and help pack and notice that someone ate my slice of pizza that i was saving in the side stage room, and which was clearly marked TOM'S twice on the box. i feel violated and mad from hunger, what's worse is the culprit didn't even finish it, just ate the good part and left the tainted carcass to rub it in. dirty bastard. probably just some drunken dude so i try to let it go. we head to a hostel which resembles the psychiatric hospital from One flew over the coockoo's nest, or a first year dorm at a military school in east canada. i make up my cot and go downstairs to hook into the wifi for an email and at 3 am i go to sleep.

from watt:

   pop at eight but actually just opened eyes... I had terrible konk, not real one. so strange about ides of march night when gig got finished and I went to konk pad - so strange I didn't chimp it in the diary the next day... I think of scotty-san all the time but it was trippy that after the bellecombe en bauges gig for some reason I went up on the web and looked at his wikipedia page which is so strange cuz I know lots about him and I know I didn't it to try and find anything out but... I don't know why I did it but for some reason I swear remember seeing his age (sixtyfour) and then under that was the date 2009 which was when his brother ronnie passed away - what? what the fuck was that about? did I really see that or is it faulty memory? it fucked w/me so hard after the luzern gig that I forced very hard to bury that thought but now I'm helpless to do that and it's got twisted and tangled up in it, damn... gotta get my mind on something else - very kind folks here in this pad that's actually behind the pad where we down in the cellar to do the gig. a cat soaking up sun w/weather totally like my pedro town, way over here in switzerland...

   after hose-off, yank the man sack down the stairs (I put it forward always and don't drag it behind cuz this way I can use it like a walker) and join everyone out on the idustriestrasse. pull anchor just after eleven. saint patrick's day. we head south now over alps but through them, longest one: gotthard tunnel - seventeen klicks, about ten and a half miles. come through and now in italian swiss part, now gottardo instead of gotthard get diesel w/swiss francs. nicholas still at the wheel, much beautiful swiss landscape out the window as we continue south through the big town lugano and then back to the e.u. (you know swiss ain't e.u., right?) and over the border w/italy about a quarter of two. much warmness - hotter than my pedro usually though I heard yesterday it was 'pert-ninety! takes us like fifteen minutes to get through the pedaggio ('toll' in italian), crimony - one machine! I guess they want folks going for the cards, huh? I was given a drink by justo before we bailed, it's called "club-mate" and I gotta say it tastes like shit. sorry. we pull over for chow at filling station highway pad near como (first big italian town across border) and after raul entertains me some

raul morales exploring travelling aid options at filling station near como, italy on march 17, 2014

I get a pack of mortadella and a jar of chilies and olives in vinegar, going in thirds w/tom and raul w/a sack of rolls. the land of the bread I like, france and her baguettes but this crumbly baby will suffice and along w/the mustard we already got, it's real ok and I like. axel now at the wheel, the navigatori gps says two and a half more hours of driving to go. some of the farmland we pass has an odor to it but it's nothing to some of the odors we got back home - tom enlightens rudy about cowshvitz next to the I-5 up on the way from so cal to s.f. - south of parma it really gets going, winding it up. filthy fucking windows on the boat... next stop I gotta wash them. I chimp diary now though as we roll towards home of europe's oldest university.

   I remember from last year being here at the freakout club and remember some stuff... get us close but... ah, maybe the guy waiving the hands and pointing to us where to go is a hint? maybe. five and a half bells, still pretty warm here in bologna but it could be a lot sweatier cuz it gets humid. yesterday at soundcheck rudy had me trade basket screen on my mic w/the uti's (house soundman) and there was huge difference - I pull out the foam rubber and it's completely thick and hard from phlegm over the couple years I've had it. also there's rust on the metal. we used their's for the gig but had to return. today though I gotta use mine and though rudy last night before he konked washed out the foam rubber and it's nice and clean. raul has an idea for the metal basket - put it in a cup of coca-cola. I ask the gigboss gian-carlo... big hugs for him, by the way, great cat and so glad to see him. anyway, it gets rid of a lot of corrosion but there's still a bunch left. hey, there's a paint store across the alley and a kind man there sells me a wire brush for two euros, grazie! I clean it up real good. hector has spent three hours on a train to get here, much respect to him. he's translated my three operas from english into italian and is now collaborating w/a new york lady to make adjustments to his work. we catch up on stuff since I saw him last year while we make some sandwiches while soundcheck is being prepared. after the soundcheck (the pad's acoustics are much better now w/a curtain behind us and some absorbing stuff on the bulkheads. I do an interview w/a cat named miroslav in zagreb for the gig there saturday via tourboss macario's leash...

   il sogno del marinaio guitarman fratello ste arrives w/fratello bruno who is mixing our next album "canto secondo" at his vacuum studio and they want me to check out the mixes they've done using something better than macpurse speakers or earbuds, fratello bruno has brought some akg cans to use as reference. we do the listening in the boat. I like them much and the only comments are a couple I think could've had fratello andrea's drums up a little bit. fratello ste tries out tom's jazzmaster that I gave him (first j mascis gave it to me) and he likes which is happening for our il sogno tour u.s. tour this fall. he has hurt neck and back, damn... I hope for him to get better, get healed somehow want it quick, I love this man.

   for dinner there's personal pizzas, I get one w/chilies and ham and dig it much, oishii ('good tasting' in jap). then back to the boat and I konk hard. I'm rousted when it's our turn, thank god I got that konk cuz I really needed it. we follow guess what, no second set by l'oeillere - maybe I'm rousted a little early? no matter, the bologna gig-goers are incredibly focused and respectful of us and the piece, I tell them before we begin it's for scotty-san. I keep it together pretty good though I think it was tough for tom and raul cuz of the lights situation. these folks have got to be the most attentive audience we've played for all tour, I shit thee not... you could hear a tick fart. much respect to them. the encore had one moment of drama: nicholas falling into my bad knee and I thought I was out of the race for sure but no, I am granted reprieve and am still able to hobble. I hug him, not his fault - we need to figure each sitch ahead of time cuz they're all different.

   gig done, I head for the merch table which is by the front hatch, hugs for co-gigboss victor and a goodbye one for gian-carlo who might come to so cal to visit a brother there - I wanna give him a tour of pedro. they got a list of the bands coming here... fuck no wonder he's tired!

list of upcoming gigs at freakout club in bologna, italy on march 17, 2014

a real trip is all the revival scene for old punk bands - some of it real bizarre like how can you haver a christian death band w/out roz? crimony! both stefanos from the chronics are here to talk w/me respect to them - they came all the way from ravenna. we have a split seven inch coming out: me and my secondmen (pete mazich and jerry trebotic) on one side doing the urinals' "surfin' w/the shah" and them (the chronics) doing "she don't know why I'm here" by the last. I'm so excited to see them I propose a plan for a second one next year in which I will write them a tune on guitar (I hardly ever do that, almost always write on bass though I did write the entire "hyphenated-man" opera w/d. boon's telecaster) and the bassman stefano will write a tune for us on organ. fuck yeah, we have a plan!

watt + both stefanos from the chronics at freakout club in bologna, italy on march 17, 2014

   enrico crocci's here, good to talk w/him some - I'm glad he got see the third opera and of course same w/hector since he translated the libretto. yeah, about enrico - he actually got il sogno di marinaio going by putting fratello ste in the boat w/me and my second-string secondmen for my second opera euro tour in 2005, ain't that a trip?

   we load out and head for an ostello ('hostel' in italiano) in a thick fog. we make it safe and konk w/out hosing off cuz that's how fucking tuckered I am... not just in the body but mind also, thinking of scotty-san much. I can hear his voice, always calm one... I remember all of us around him once after playing a festival in maryland, charley plymell and the go! team people there too and him saying to everyone "a poor carpenter blames his tools" - amen.

tuesday, march 18, 2014 - rijeka, croatia

from raul:

   I had plugs in during my sleep, so i didn't hear the crew get up, no sweat though, i could use the rest. I find out thru hiyori, that breakfast is just sliced white, and marmalade, so i skip out on that, and insted, while mike is doing his phoner, i make lil meat and cheese rolls stuffed w/ greeens from yesterdays leftovers. Today we have a drive to rijeka, little coastal town in croatia, and to get there, gotta go into slovania for a bit. Never been before, so i'm stoked for this.

   Long drive, and easy borders, Tom is the only passport that gets stamped going into slovania. I just recently got a new passport for this trip, the old one only had 1 page left for visa. Anyhow, for some reason they select his, which is almost full for the stampage. Hazy day, so it's hard to see adriatic sea when we pass, but we can scope just a little, and have a good good view of the sea town triste. Then it turns to two laners almost all the way to rijeka. Lots of truckers have to take this route, and every time they pass, it's within' inches, so i face my head to the right in case the big side window gets busted out.

   I think for all of us, gig is a good one. We played a cellar of the bar, really low stage, which i like, and also packed w/ many people. I have good energy too, earlier i laid down in the van just to close my eyes for ten minutes, and woke up an hour and twenty mins later. I'm groggy at first, but i have some hot green tea as i set up, and slowly come back to reality. It was hot in this place too, so i had a good clean sweat! One of the lame things i guess would be the amount of cigarettes that were being smoked. This litte windowless room was hot-boxed, and i was having to cough up loochers as we're playing. I'm sure the crowd liked those visuals...kinda sick and gross, sorry. Oh, also tom had the toilet on his side, and a big sick scent was coming from there too.

   After gig, we hang for a bit trying local beer, explaining to the bar man man that i did not prefer "buttwiper"

   We do not stay here though, so we must get gear upstairs, and into van. Some of us do decide to stay behind to have a walk back to the hostel. From what we've heard from locals, it's a close and beautiful walk. I don't know the next time i'll be here, so i take to oppertunity,and stay behind w/ guess what and nicholas. Also there is the other raul, the man who got us here, and put on this gig, great guy. He gave us a tour around the club, and took us to an old castle from 15th century. Rejika is the word for river here, and he also showed us the vally that the river runs through, and told us the other side used to be part of italy, and each side had a big beef with one another. Great view of almost the whole city though, the castle is at the top of the valley, and there's diffrent stairways that lead to the bottom. this town has a lots of streets that push traffic one way, so even our drive to the hotel, which took 20 minutes, was a shorter walk using all these alley ways and side streets that are inbetween the roads.

   We took the stairway that follows the valley thur the nieghborhood, and lets out to the harbor. Beautiful night, somwewhere along the line, we didn't take the left soon enough and ended up on a one way that looked like it didn't have an end. I thought maybe, instead of walking the distance to where we got off track, maybe we should try and cut thru a lumber yard we were next to, to get up the couple streeets we needed to be on. They were kinda bridges built into the side of a hill, so you couldn't just cross a street to get the next one, they were stacked, and inbween, there were passage ways, and diffrent sets of stairs that led to where you needed to be, very unique set up, i've never seen any city set up quite like this, it reminded me a little of the way some n.y. city subway tracks are set up, diffrent lines for diffrent routes stacked on top of each other, or maybe some seattle streets...wish i could better describe what it looked like, was awesome! going thru the yard ends up being a solid idea, and were back on track in no time. Axel was a afraid maybe there was a guard waitin',but i thought, if we didn't have to climb a fence to get in, why would this yard have a guard dog, wild dog maybe? Anyways, luckily they didn't, and i believe it's set up that way, so you can get thru instead of having to walk acrcoss town just to get a block over! Great adventure w/ these guys though, so glad i decided to stay. A perfect way to see this town, and maybe the best walk we've had on this tour.

from tom:


   the breakfast is a cup of coffee and a cup of juice, at least there's internet. i'm up at nine and the rest of our team eventually assembles in the hostels lobby area and after a quick chow of leftover bread, meat and cheese from yesterday we board our vessel and shove off to rijeka. it's a drive though the middle of the top of italy and through a sliver of slovenia along the Adriatic Sea and finally to the coast of croatia to a little city on the water. when we arrive we maneuver through the windy one-way streets and find the bar/venue and are greeted by the gig promoter, raul, and we load in and get situated. the strong wifi is nice for a change and we sit and make our contacts with friends, loved ones, etc. time crawls, we check, then get in the van to go to the hostel where we will be staying later and sit for some food that raul supplies us with. when we get back to the club raul and i lay down in the van and we both konk out hard until raul startles me out of deep sleep and we go inside to check out where we are with the gig. the small room downstairs is 85% full and upstairs is crowded too, gig man raul asks me if i'll do an interview for an internet music program and i splash cold water in my face and go outside and do the best i can to answer questions of our tour and our futures. i amaze myself a bit at how much i have to say, it turned out to be really helpful for getting my brain focused. it's not long till guess what and nico wrap up their sets and we go on with a packed room and an intense oder from the toilets on the side of the stage. i feel glad that my sinuses are stuffed up for once. we play well, i have to turn up my high end and turn down my low end because the bodies are soaking up the guitar, but it ends up really well. i have fun playing and with only minimal clams. after the show the kind folks of rijeka have nice words to share with us, and i have a nice conversation with a young lady named natasha who's an art historian and works in the contemporary art museum here and so we have things in common. strangely she has been to manhattan beach, where i live, freaky. wish i had time tomorrow to check out the exhibition there...next time. finally i join mike, hiyori, macario, and rudy to head to the hostel and i take a shower, write an email and fall asleep.

from watt:

   pop at eight and a half, I hose off w/no towel in the communal hose off place and drip dry, shaking like a wonko cuz forgot to bring towel. no chow here so chimp diary instead up to the ten and a half point which I was told was when we... never mind, I discuss some of this difference in traditions regarding touring and do spiel w/a lady named lana in zagreb for the saturday show (like last night miroslav) but here questions are different than his - he wanted to know if punk was relevant now and I said of course it is if you think of punk more as a state of mind and not some kind of style of music or way to dress. he sounded worried about movements w/integrity getting co-opted and so am I but crimony, pat boone sold more "tutti frutti" records than little richard and that was like fifty-whatever years ago. this other spiel wanted to know how I knew what she thought was the balkan equivalent of madonna, ljil. of course it was cuz of through petezo, my secondmen organman and the madonnabes was a band I did to keep in shape, never meant to do a gigs. I have to say I'm glad both people want to speak w/me, very kind of them - just trying to explain the different perspectives and not make judgements. I can imagine having to interview some kook who gets up at the crack of dawn three days a week to paddle kayak.

   axel at the wheel, we pull anchor at quarter of eleven... get diesel. more expensive in italia cuz different taxation. the fog recedes but ain't gone. same w/the sickness - it still wants to get me, damn. I will fight it. I chimp diary, add raul's - he's a little behind us but that's mostly cuz he wants to proofread (what?) before handing it over which is ok - late chimping better than no chimping (just ask secondmen drummer jer trebotic). just before one we pull over for a half an hour to a "ristop" highway chow pad spot and I have a plate of pasta o al burro which is butter, penne and parmesan - trippy, we passed parma on the way to bologna yesterday - this is good chow, me and tom talking about middle parts in both "fryingpan-man" and "mouse-headed-man" - fine tuning stuff. the sun is out nice now. damien driving after we saddle up, forty after two we pass trieste (where mr joyce wrote some of "ulysses") and into slovenia, no border check. where we're playing tonight is a region in croatia called istria and the borders have changed many times so italian and slav are mixed. coming into croatia has do a passport check w/a borderman in a booth but only the u.s. passports get the 'puter check and only tom's gets a stamp. the borderman is very kind to us. of course he tried to talk in german first cuz of the license plates on this boat. some more mountain road, we have great luck being behind a two-trail tractor rig and a car-carrier truck on two lane winding road. we talk about playing the rock star game and losing at big time cuz I asked axel how is it for him in london these seven years but he's found out the way around it is just to avoid it and get part of a scene created more to what he's doing rather than trying to "fit in" or whatever. this man's wise beyond his years (half my age), respect.

   rijeka is right on the adriatic and they come some hammerheads (they share that w/my pedro town but for adriatic boats and not ones in pacific like ours) for can boats plus a dry dock

part of the port of rijeka, croatia on march 18, 2014

right down from a castle on steep hilltop. lots of tito-era crumbled up dwelling apts mixed in w/newer stuff. we blow by the pad around four and a half. it's on a one-way so we wait for the gigboss raul (same name as missingman drummerman) to help w/directs - I enlighten tourboss macario about how I tour and almost every time I put in this sitch, I send a cat out from the boat to get local help. we finally drop anchor and I 'pert-near crumple crossing the street... two blows on the knee that's fucked up I think is adding up to a wake call.. I better be careful. this pad we're playing is the beertija a bar w/the music part in the cellar. our knobman rudy's gotta work a while to get the system going and it's way worth it cuz it would've been total toy w/out his effort, respect. gigboss raul is very cool people (I find out later he's a kindergarten teacher, him telling me I should've had kids cuz I got a good heart - what?). he says the pad he wanted to put the gig on is called "palach" but it's being renovated now. I think this pad's ok though and I'm honored they're having us here - actually my first croatian gig which ain't zagreb! he's heard there's lots cats from his land in my pedro town and I tell him a lot are from this island off the dalmatian coast called vis. after soundcheck he takes us to the hostel called "omladinski" we're konking at and that's where we're also chowing, some great spaghetti-like pasta and tomato sauce w/ham and also a dumpling dish w/a gravy filled w/celery, carrots and cauliflower - really good... I think the cookerlady was named orliana or something similar - so sorry if I fucked that up. I go konk for a couple of hours.

   gigboss raul comes and gets me - forgot to tell getting here cuz of the one-way streets is like a big-go whereas if you take this foot path short-cut, it's nothing but me and this knee thing? had to take the ride. anyway, very interesting odors combing - I mean it's a gas chamber in the sense that saint-etienne was but mixed w/this is I think some trying climb back out of the head which is stage-starboard, where tom is and where I climb up on - fuck, 'pert-near knock me down, that powerful. all I can do is whole my breath and keep pushing. there's a great spirit in the room though and we bring the piece, I do my dedication and then there's the four slaps on the bass strings to kick it off. yammering lots but not real loud and not belig either. my men play really good, really focused. it's a sweaty gig but a good one and somehow I make it through w/out keeling over. the encores go good too w/all those fucking clams I blew during last night's - man, was embarrassing - I wonder what people thought I was thinking... not too together for that. anyway, I was conscious of it so tried better. I tell the folks what a big fan koja I am, thanks so much to stanislav for turning me onto him.

   done w/playing, I go over to the mersh place and sit my ass down and thank folks who wants stuff signed and whatever. one cat asks me about the poem in the middle of the piece, the "loss and liberation" the spiel in "pinned-to-the-table" part - I think he's the first to ask me about that and I tell him about having to reconcile some stuff, like for example scotty-san now being free of hurt but me losing him. trippy I thought of that for an example but I can't stop thinking about him. many many kind people, hvala to them. one cat saw me in 1991 when I had to play through a d.i. box only cuz the amp blew. damn.

   back to the hostel around one, on the way I crumple again but this time I do go down and roll w/it, spinning and landed right on my feet - no hurts. I think it freaked our french brothers out though but what can I do? they say roll w/it, right? I think it's the only way w/my condition. I hose off at the hostel and get in the nightwear. I am fucking tuckered, I konk.

wednesday, march 19, 2014 - fucecchio, italy

from raul:

   Woke at 830, jumped in shower, and headed down to the lobby for breakfast, and web, i wanna know if paloma made it to mexico city safely. I have Corn flakes mixed w/ musli, and also a couple of coffees from the little machine in the dining hall. Shortly after we're out, and headed back the way we came for another italian gig. We have the border again going back, and today not so smooth. Nothing intense, just a little game where they make us pull over and wait awhile for our passports. Maybe we sit there for half an hour, not knowing what's going on, no sweat though, i'm just glad they didn't have us take out the gear. The border guard did open the back to see what we had, and he also opened the side door to see what we we're lookin' like. Our band all looked him in the eye, not to vibe him, but to let him know we had nothing to hide, not sure what the others reactions were, but this guard had a mean stare.

   Lots of flat land plains type scenery, farmville. Once we pass bologna again, turns in into rolling hills, and small mountains, very pretty. Playing a smaller town today named fucechio. I'm into it, easier to get into town, and usually an easier loading and parking situation. Our one dilemma is not knowing the autual address to space. So the plan is to roll into town, and go from there. Either find net to get into contact w/ promoter, or i think just find cafe, and either ask or look for posters. Turns out to be very easy, and a young guys escorts us on his bicycle to the foot of the towers we're playing near.

   Beautiful plaza space on the top of a little hill overlooking the town. The room is a rectangled shaped box w/stage in the middle, and a bar next to it. Maybe the easiest load of the tour so far, even easier tham moby dick.This is a straight shot thru double doors right to the stage. Once sound check is done, it's dinner time. I've noticed these checks are gettin' longer and longer, but it rudy is on it, so i know there's a good reason. He's great to have around, and all ways does his best for the sound. Dinner is pastas and raviolis, really good, but also really heavy for pre-gig food, its hard to play all stuffed up, most energy going towards digestion. To combat this, i do an hour walk. First down the backside of the towers, to a little trail that leads to a park, then around to the front and into the little plaza in the center of town. Very quite place, and most places are closed up. Way off in the distance though, i heard drums and horns, marching band! it sounded like a full on parade, and i wanted to find it. I followed the sound through little streets and alleys, and spotted it. No parade at all, but still a marching band in regular clothes, slowly walking down the empty streets. it was trippy, and i had to double take. I stood there and watched and listened kinda shocked, seemed so outta place. I stood there until i learned the floor tom pattern, then continued totally happy to have stumbled upon this music by chance.

   When i get back, gig is suprisingly packed for a wednesday, and guess what is halfway thru their set. Pretty soon after, it's our turn to do our thing. There's a weird lack of lighting thats been going on lately, and tonight adds to that. Half the lights aren't even on, and the others are about as bright as christmas lights. It was bright enough for me to see the freakin' half pound loogie watt gobbed on my right hand side crash cymbal I didn't hit it again, for fear it'd become airborne and land on my head. As soon as i had the chance, i took it off the stand, just the sight of it was makin me almost dry heave! i knew it was accident though, so how could i trip? For encore, we did did fun house w/ watts buddy jacobo on sax. It was jammin' fast, but i held on! great way to end the set. I thought we did good, considering light sitch, and heavy pastas for dinner.

from tom:

   [art building, event, broken heel]

   i wake at 6:40 with a dry throat and try to go back to sleep, but finally get out of bed at 8 and go downstairs to the breakfast room, i have a coffee and bowl of cornflakes and check email. i am less that awake and decide to go back to bed for an hour of so. i shave and pack and join the others in the lobby and soon we depart to backtrack the same road as yesterday all the way to italy. we stop at an autogrill truck stop off the highway and i get linguine pesto that's a mountain of shiny green ribbons for 4 euros, massive stomach bomb. perfect to hold me over for a few more hours in the van.

   we ask locals for help finding the venue, we are directed up a small gravel road to an open area with the remains of an ancient castle on the left side of a low villa type structure and meet the nice folk there. we position things like usual and go about our mechanical routines, i chat briefly with mariel who's working behind the bar and generously treats us to snacks and beer. there's an amazing view out the window behind the bar that i sit and savor for a little while. nice place. rudy fine tunes the PA system to his liking. after sound check we sit a a long table in the club that's put up to accommodate our large party and a few locals and we sit for italian food, pasta and some sort of baked casserole and a cup of wine. i'm careful not to eat too much. slowly time passes till doors are open and folks begin to appear and i watch nice in the country bungalow with a few italianos and frenchmen, then guess what do their thing, both play well, then we do too, and sax man jacobo soloing on our first time playing funhouse on this tour. good time. in the end we have a relatively slow load out and get to the hostel at some point and mike and hiyori have the room next to where the other 7 of us choose a bunk and konk.

from watt:

   pop at eight and a half, go and shave for return to italy. they got some slices of bread and tiny tubs of liverwurst-like stuff (pate?) and likewise w/creamy cheese. the coff machine shoots a concentrated syrup in the cup and then cuts it w/hot water - modern version of nescafe crap and tastes like it. don't blame croatia though, not their fault. on the bulkhead I read nyc mayor mr la guardia was born here and it's also home of the world's first torpedo factory (is that good thing?). rijeka raul arrives to see us off... man, great cat - so glad to make the connect, so glad. you know this gig was last-minute add for the tour? yeah, that's the reason for the strange routing and why we're backtracking west but am I way into what went down so it's way worth it. thank you hvala big time, brother rijeka raul!

   pull anchor ten after ten, rudy at the wheel... twenty minute wander to get out of rijeka - we got fog like yesterday in bologna but not as heavy, more of gray sky and can't sea - oh yeah, we won't see sea or ocean again 'til english channel... at slovenia border it's not butter but have to pull boat over while passports get the third degree. he has wait pulled over to the side for half an hour, serious young man checks the back and then opens the side hatch for a look-see... thank you, sir - we're allowed transit through his land, hvala ('thank you' in slav). slovenia now uses euros so we diesel up cuz it's more econo than Italy, more like french prices. I get a can of ricola lozenges. then my imagination is captured 'pert-near beyond words to express... I foam at the sight of not half a gallon but a TWENTY LITER totally-perfect-for a piss jug... break out the drool-bucket, oh my god!

most incredible ideal potential piss jug ever discovered at slovene filling station on march 19, 2014

I mean ok, it's got fuel for spacer heaters in it now but that prob can be solved in a single purge (maybe for a personal butthole surfers gig re-enactment to educate some our french buddies to something from the old days?) and then, fuck... I gotta admit I'm feeling all the buttons pushed: wide mouth, orange color, TWENTY FUCKING LITERS and A HANDLE - I can operate and still have one hand on the wheel, we ain't pulling over ever! it takes an INCREDIBLE EFFORT but somehow I pull myself away and get myself into the boat... don't ask my now how I did cuz I swear I don't have any idea how but...

   the cold sweat I got put in finally broken about a quarter after noon, we pass into italia, no border stop, no border guards - e.u. like last one but... anyway, the fog's lifted some, hello taiyo ('sun' in jap) - so great to see you, love it! chimping diary I get day before yesterday done - fuck, still got another day... I hate when I get one behind cuz memories start blending into a shmoz. twenty after one we stop at a "autogrill" roadside chow pad and I get some risotto and linguine pesto cooked up right there for me, good eating. back on the road and a little more hazy, axel now at the rudder. more diary chimping for me on for yesterday's adventure. three and a half we switch ponies, nicholas now wheelman. rudy's incredible method for taking a dump when the anchor drops. through the mountains and on high-up trestles, south of bologna is much different than the plains there and north and of it. south we continue though 'til just after five and just outside of fucecchio we try for internet cuz the fucking navigatori gps can't make the address we feed it and no answer on the leash. no internet at this gas pad even though they got a sign that says they do so we do what I've learned to do many years ago, drive into town and look for some one who looks like they might know. we come up on a sign for "kimy ama american bar" (or is it kim yama - 'mr kim's mountain' maybe?) and we pop the hatch to let macario make pop the question - yes! some young guy w/interesting hair and smoov sunglasses has his ladyfriend jump on his bicycle and we follow them to a hill road where sure enough at the top is where we're playing tonight, an interesting pad called la:limonaia w/an olde-timey fort next door accessorized w/some but-it-it's-new AHRT. the pad itself has the stage right in front of the front double hatches - no mystery and a high open-beam roof gives it kind of roadhouse feel. I dig it big time and also the man in charge, mariel who is a righteous cat. actually we meet all kinds of folks here to help, really nice men like manuel and mateo from firenze - this town's between there and piza. also glad to shake hands w/the band in zaire (il sogno del marinaio guitarman is in this band) bookerman jacopo who's gonna get enrico crocci (remember him from bologna?) from the train station. the actual padboss is a man named tommy - whoa, it's complicated! I'm just glad to be here and everyone's so very cool, respect! it takes rudy a few hours to get the sound setup but it's well worth it, I trust rudy big time w/the care he puts into his work, this man has principles. after soundcheck this nice man carlos gave me a bottle of wine, grazie! in zaire (il sogno del marinaio guitarman fratello ste is in this band) bookerman jacopo brings enrico crocci from the train station. we do soundcheck and then chow right there at the venue, not far from the stage. it's a lasagna like I've never tasted, really soft. then a pasta penne w/ragu and shrooms and then some ravioli. man, it's good - oh, earlier I had a sardinia beer called "ichnusa" I liked. such nice folks here, truly. I go to the boat and konk.

   twenty after eleven when I address the gig-goers... I'd be rousted a few minutes before, trippy dreams of hearing scotty-san, the sound of his voice more than understanding let alone remembering what he said - I loved the sound of his voice on me. we bring the piece and right away I'm feeling I chowed too late and all that great chow what's to come up through the in door - I am somehow granted reprieve though and the puking never comes but damn if it didn't feel like it at times. crimony, I 'pert-near keeled over but I think the smallness of the parts and the constant shifting of gears required for this opera helped me out big time. I did space on "belly-stabbed-man" spiel, damn it - it was like white circles in front of my eyes for moments... no excuse but maybe I ask to chow earlier - it's hard to resist the good chow, damn - like tearing myself away from wanting to acquiring that twenty liter piss bottle in slovenia (how would've I cleared customs anyway?) but whoa, what a challenge tonight from that angle... 'pert-near blew it out the other end also, especially on the really strong spiel points where I gotta pop them out. for last encore I have us do "fun house" cuz jacopo has come straight from a tour w/his alto and I know I was pushing it way too fast, I thought of scotty-san big time and even just did mantra on the main riff w/out a fill for some time towards the end there, only a tiny distance from bawling my head off so kept my eyes closed and head down, just thinkning of him w/that groove and the snare moves and tom fills - oh man, oh man... jacopo did beautiful as did tom and raul, much much respect to them. same w/the gig-goers tonight, most happening focus even w/a few borrachos/borrachas who way into their own world anyway - I apologize to them for interrupting their most important dialogues w/each other.

   I go over to where I go now after gigs and damn if me handing over my sack begins a chain-reaction that knocks a beer over - gotta be more aware that way and I will. just cuz you do that actual baka move doesn't mean you couldn't of been more aware to help w/keeping that happening. I talk to a bassman named ufo who is just the sweetest cat, very sincere and I hope he basses it up good and wild like I know he wants to make it. he has drive I like sharing w/him. another bassman enrico blows my mind w/the news that the 10,000 lire note (maybe about seven dollars u.s. then) up by my rearview mirror in the "double nickels on dime" album cover photo was given to me by a buddy of his, crimony! whoa, that's intense. my first gig in italy was in milan (black flag and minutemen) on february 22, 1983 - for some reason I thought the pad was called "disco 2000" but I think "odissea 2001" was its name, fuck my lame memory. all these cats coming to talk to me now in italy, in fucecchio - they're most genuine and really beautiful, such kindness and I am most grateful to them. the third opera is a weird piece - all my operas are weird, I am weird - I don't think for a second I have anyone convinced of anything and all I can do is work my hardest and let them have their own thoughts about it. for them sharing such kindness really is a gift from them, I mean it.

   as the pad clears, the tiredness really comes on and righteous man mariel from the venue (now he has great plaid shirt on, sharp!) uses his car to get me to the ostello (hostel) "ponte de medici" not too far - the most comfortable old pad ever - hot water hose off and into the nightwear, even firm mattress, whoa. man, it's folks like him that most precious, so kind of the heart and sincere. buonanotte.

thursday, march 20, 2014 - milan, italy

from raul:

   Last night we stayed in a hostel a couple miles from the town we played. As soon as i shower, i walked across the river into the little town square where a cafe was supposed to hook us up w/ coffee and breakfast. Some of the crew was sitting outside already eating when i arrived. I got a sami w/ everything they had, mozzerella, basil, tomato and ham, on focacchia bread, and a foamy coffee. Cool scene w/ the farmers market and a couple of diffrent food vendors out selling to the locals villagers.

   Club in milano was in the middle of a more industrial part of town, so not much hoofing. Tom and i do do a bit though, we forge for small food a couple of hours before dinner. Pad we play is an old squat called leoncavallo. Trippy place covered in spray paint, there's defintly a few cool things, but mostly scrawl, the outside has some giant pieces, some really intense stuff too. One of a little girl who looks like a doll getting pust through the meat grinder, and all the inside coming out in bright colors, and a piece done by an italian artist named blu on side of building that i like too, it's done using rollers and brushes. i was lucky in bologna as well, and saw some of his stuff near freakout.

   Long sound check again, two hours of p.a. check, and we get up and do our usual 1 minute plus part, and are out. It changes once folks get there anyhow, but i understand rudy wants to do his job as best he can. Dinner is shortly after, tom and i did have a snack, but i'm still hungered. Good food too. There's a cafeteria here, and a dude servin' it up to you. There's beef w/ a choclate sauce, that's much like mexican mole, also polenta, potato's w/ veggies and rice. I ofcourse finish it all, before i think that it may be tough to play so filled. After dinner, a group of us walk to the next block where we're crashing for the night. I take an hour or so nap, and head over to the club shortly after tom to check out the guess what set. Was good to get a little rest in, it's been a long couple of days, and i was feeling beat after dinner.

   Again, very dark stage w/ big shadows all over the drums that make it hard to see em' right. Also, there's a a barrier in front of the stage, so there's a 4 ft gap between crowd and front of stage. These two things make me feel disconnected at times. I think we do good, maybe a little fast at some parts, but it's live, and has a life of it's own too, so things change from time to time, sometimes it's more comfortable than others. Posible that it's watt reading the situation too, so i gotta stay in the moment, and be on my toes. after set, he brings up a couple of things that maybe i could help with, not pertaining to the music, but to the space on stage, and things that get over looked. Tonight, there was a big bump on stage, that we hadn't noticed, and he had almost tripped walkin' backwards over it. Basically i said to him that he's gotta look for these things too. It's funny, neither of us were mad, but both hyped from just playin' so it may of sounded like an argument to others. I did not take this to heart, and felt bad for mini exploding anyhow, it was me being defensive, which is not a good stance to take. After we did encore's which were good by the way. i especially liked one reporters tonight, anyhow, we talked it out like dudes, and both explained our position. I just wanted him to know that i didn't mean harm by it, and sometimes, even though i make it a point to check shit out, sometimes there's so much to remember before playin', i can often overlook these things. i have much love for him, and would never want to put him in a situation where he could be harmed. I wanna be there to help, but i forget shit, it's just that simple, and he was just askin' for help with looking out for things like this, and that's pretty simple too.

from tom:

   [wandering, talking, working]

   i wake at 8:30 in the big room and shower in the communal WC across the cold terra cotta tiles and the view from the small window there is of a peaceful green river and with grassy banks and a low fog in the distance. i lay down again and fall asleep for and hour and wake, pack and walk out of the old building and down the street to a small square and join mike, hiyori and macario for a coffee and croissant and wait for the others to assemble and sit with us. we head to milano and i feel so much better today, no sinus pressure or sore throat. milano is another world entirely, busy city, traffic, not as picturesque to say the least. we arrive and drive into a converted industrial complex covered with many styles of graffiti and position the van for an easy load in in the former auto garage live room. it's large with cement walls and i think (i hope people come to soak up the sound or it will sound like a roller rink). kenny brings us coffees and teas and set up on the platform stage at the end of the room. i'm hungry.

   hours pass, rudy does his thing with the sound system, we do our check, raul and i walk off our hunger in waiting of foods to be offered in an hour or so. we find a bakery and we each have an apple tart to quiet our growling stomaches a bit. at the venue i get onto internet via a terminal in the large lobby of the main building and send a couple emails, and then we have a meal in the connected cafeteria. it's a beef dish in a mole type sauce and potato vegi mix and a scoop of brown rice. it's tasty and i add my tabasco to spice it up and have bread with olive oil. afterwards i would love to find a place to relax, even lay down but there's nowhere like that here that i can see anyway. i sit outside with raul, digest and damian says he'll ask macario about our hotel accommodations tonight and amazingly it's only a block away!! we make the 3 1/2 minute walk and check in and raul and i get our double room and lay down for an hour and a half snooze then shave and head back to the venue. what a relief that we could do that, it will make such a difference when we play to have had that rest. back the space it's 11pm and hear nico playing and figure its his second set, meaning we go on next, so i ask macario how long nico will play and he says 15 minutes...!! i panic a little cause raul's still at the hotel and we have move some stuff around for our set. so i go to the stage to start our change over from the guess what guys, and i see them half in their costumes in the side stage area and figure they're taking them off, and go about my business of moving my monitor and mic, rewiring the amp and levels, and rudy comes up and says "what are you doing"? i realize then that it's only nico's first set, and guess what are getting dressed and not undressed and the show was just pushed back a little. ooops. it was kind of funny, no harm done, just shows how programmed i am. guess what plays to a thickening crowd and rudy makes regular visits to the front to hear how it sounds because the sound board is way in the back of the room, and i hear him making adjustments and improve the deadening sound several times till it sounds pretty damn good. raul and i sit and bond while they play, observing people, shoes, rudy, the sounds. we go on and blast through it, mike freshly woken out of slumber, and though i feel a little loud onstage i trust rudy to make it right in front...fun show. guess what and nico join us as always on the minutemen section and then it's done. there is a little come down after the show, we pack up and i walk back to the hotel and raul and i decide to spring the 7 euros for internet in the hotel just to make some family contacts and watch some scare tactics and insane pranks on youtube, also the salsa dancing dog. we laugh, then sleep.

from watt:

   pop at eight bells. most comfortable like I said last night about this hostel converted from a fortified bridge and lock over the usciana, it being ordered by built by the powerful medici florence family in the 1500s and it was built strong. you gotta remember waterways in the old days were the real highways. though old, there's no mold and the high make for good air. I don't why I got such nice feeling about this konk pad compared to all the others on tour but I do. I hose off again, a good hot one. I think about italy in those days cuz I've read some about it and damn if it wasn't a lot of conflict w/in cuz italy wasn't a real country 'til mr garibaldi helped get it together in 1861 - the nearby river arno I read about first in mr dante's "commedia" and damn if there if that wasn't mentioned in many hells. so nice here now though, no nice.

   go chow at great little chow pad called "bar cappiano" and I have on focaccia pull anchor at eleven and a half - "get out of town drama" for today is trying to get boat over bridge where ostello is which is impossible cuz it's olde-timey and tiny-not-wide-enough SO we gotta do a fifty-point turn to bring us about and find a big road... goddamn I wish these guys would let go of the fucking navigatori gps 'til we reach a road system it can deal w/cuz this happens every time but like w/a lot of shit I say, it's ignored which maybe is a good thing cuz it keeps me in my place which I guess among this group of people is the crazy old man who just makes noise contributes no wisdom whatsoever. no really but I have to kvetch a little here to let off some steam. great weather reminding me of my town though as we head whence we came yesterday, to firenza and then to bologna - you can see a haze everywhere. we pass a rail yard w/a buttload of cans stacked up way high - we're inland though, by the appenninos which is the north-south spine that runs up and through italy. quarter of two and we've descended into sun-blankied haze gray-white. pass bologna at two (fratello ste's town), taiyo tries to peek out. after some e.s.g. (excellent choice), axel asks if anyone has any music... !!! ??? !!! after us three recover from our heart attacks, we hand up front the ipod so they can play creedence. twenty minutes later we're on the same page (floating in the same jug?), we need to pull over to piss. rudy ready to bolt, ready to burst!

watt at autostrade filling station on the way to milan in italy on march 20, 2014 (photo by nicholas gardrat)

   panic over, now nicholas at the wheel and we can continue. I give the bottle of wine I got from carlos last night in fucecchio to axel cuz I wanna contribute to their fight against liquor drought. amazing the creedence is still allowed to play or maybe not so amazing but rather I am amazed. is this baka writing? I'm trying to think out loud cuz god, I wish I could do that more and have it sound interesting. sometimes it (thinking out loud and thinking it sounds interesting) sure seems that way but I don't know.

   get into milan at three and a half but fortyfive minutes to get to the venue, olde-timey squat pad named leoncavallo I'm really honored to be part of the thirty or whatever years I hear they've been around.

tom watson at leoncavallo in milano, italy on march 20, 2014

art at leoncavallo in milan, italy on march 20, 2014

padman tony opens up the place for us and I meet gigboss christian (damn feel so sorry for his starboard thumb - it got broke in a window getting closed, oww!) who's friends w/guess who? enrico crocci - he said he got a call from him and enrico said I was tired. well, maybe I'm tired I tell him but I keep fighting! he tells me he's got a label called offset and he put out an in zaire album - we know the connect there, right? fratello ste! small fucking world. christian's a real good cat. I have a small glass of "ichnusa" beer - they got here too like in fucecchio. tom says this pad reminds him of "arena" in vienna and in a way I agree w/him - more like a compound than a building. they got machines in one room for internet that are the oldest I've ever seen still being used but they work. no internet yesterday, I get to get the hoot page caught up on our diary chimping. I get going w/some emails w/nick from tera melos for our _big walnuts yonder_ proj that includes nels cline and greg saunier of deerhoof and is gonna get recorded at tony maimone's studio g (the new room!) in brooklyn third week this july. nick's a great cat I met through our lite brothers in tokyo and asked me if he could meet nels and responded w/if you wanna know him, play w/him (same thing I said to mr shimmy which resulted in nels' first visit to japan!) and an email to nels later, the proj plan was born - I told nick to pick a drummer and he picked greg who's a buddy of nels, ain't that a trip? actually first time I saw greg was a deerhoof gig nels took me to in wilmington! damn. oh, the wilmington next my pedro town, not the one in delaware (though it's named after that). I wrote nick eight tunes on bass for him to develop guitar parts for nels and greg to bounce off plus nels and greg themselves are bringing a piece each for us to pile up on. that man who recorded my "hyphenated-man" is recording this, brother tony - righteous! man, music is a beautiful thing, the fucking adventure of it if you push right.

   rudy has to do two hours to get the sound shipshape but it's worth it cuz the gig-goers are worth it. our check is one minute eighteen seconds. we chow at the collective cantina are fabio serves me some sauteed veggies, rice, polenta, beef in a gravy that's got some chocolate in it - what? I'd hate the idea of that right from the start but it tastes really good, I taste no sweet but just good trippy gravy. gigboss christian brings a bottle of wine. there's a big picture on the bulkhead of a red army flag going up over defeated wwII berlin. you know mussolini ended up in the piazza loreto in this town, hung by his heels, right?

   the boat is anchored in the courtyard and I go konk there. we're supposed to go on at midnight so I got some time. using the mini konk sack as a blankie assures I'm good and warm cuz the heavy coat I got don't cover the levis part of me. I have trippy dreams of working gigs on stage w/scotty-san, between tunes our fists tapping knuckles over his kickdrum. I get woke up by the last few tunes of guess what which is shaking the boat, whoa are they loud! I stuff the konk sack in its own little sack and miss hiyori brings me tea, l'oeillere just finishing second set as I get ready w/my men on the stage. I thank the milano folks for being here at our last italian gig of the tour. I thank the good cats here at leoncavallo and then we bring the piece after I warn them it's fortyfive minutes in thirty parts. we bring it pretty good w/much less clams from me than last night and though there's an uneven part on the stage that almost has me go down (never backed up that far again after that!) and my amp head at an angle causing my glasses to tumble and 'pert-near get lost (after the gig is when that gets realized), I keep it pretty together though cuz of those two things I just mentioned getting mentioned (mentioned?! stucazz?!!) by me to raul after getting done behind a curtain, it's a misunderstanding that he somehow has to know about these hells cuz of my weakness. ah, I feel lame about that - it had no effect on the piece cuz it was after it and actually no effect on the encores cuz raul is fucking righteous drummer and dude, very professional - you can count on this man w/out but c'mon he's only human and ACTUALLY (actually actually actually) I was little bothered by blowing it out some in my levis - some notes I got wail on in the piece can make that very fucking possible. crimony, the shame. what's important is that both raul and tom played their asses off and tore it up along w/the milano gig-goers giving us incredible focus, like the bologna gig - plenty of respect in fucecchio too, don't get me wrong but there everyone at here at leoncavallo and the freakout club were here to see us work this and at la:limonaia there were some folks who had no idea who the bozo w/bass was doing there but that was only a few. much respect to all the italian folks we got to play for, grazie big time.

   I go to the merch table for sit down, a bassman brings me his 70s gibson eb-3 bass and he says I looked tired up on that stage, crimony! maybe it's not bad to look tired if I am tired but I got tired working that opera so if I appear tired and am truly tired should there be something I do about it? should I not work as hard? I wanna work hard to make sure I give I got for this piece - what if tonight ended up my last gig and I somehow could look back and see that I went only half way? now that would be a buttload of regret in my book, I'm sorry. I don't wanna go out w/my last gig anything but - fuck, I'm beating this into the ground, ain't I? tonight was gig twentynine and that's twentynine in a row. I am proud of my men and the french brothers. I am sorry I look so tired. look who's here - carlo prosperi, an old friend who's driven many miles and brought his wife. this is an olde-timey connection w/carlo, he's been writing me for years - I'm so glad he got to see the third opera live. giuseppe is here from bari - big surprise to me, big hugs for him. he says he's living here now. I've done bass for him before and wanna do more - I tell him to bring it, please. big ciao to the great leoncavllo cats tony, fabio and gabriel - much respect to them, truly. finally before I bail I meet this beautiful cat named abdinur who tells me he "doesn't know me from adam" but said he heard something from me during the gig that was honest. he tells me about where he came from, somalia and it's very interesting. there's a connection w/there and italy but he said young italian people don't know about that. he says he's learned five languages w/no schooling and I tell him I believe he's learned from the school of life and that's where I wanna be. he tells me he hopes we see each other in paradise. I don't think I've ever been told that before.

   ok, time to bail for the 'tel - tom says it's right over the wall if I could hobble through it but in the boat via the one way streets it takes a little more to get the konk pad, a kind of straight 'tel called "idea" and I hose off, cleansing my body of shame and I guess some in my mind too cuz fuck it happened just cuz I was trying to hard and not cuz of being borracho or a bad lifestyle choice. I konk happy about that though sore as hell and... tired (not just looking that way).

friday, march 21, 2014 - ljubljana, slovenia

from raul:

   Woke at 845, 5 minutes before our wake up call, so when the phone went off, i picked it up before the first ring had finished, that way tom could sleep until i was outta shower. I quickly checked mail to see if there was any word from paloma. There was, and also a pic of her at frida khalo's pad outside of mexico city, and a grasshopper she was about to eat! happy to know she is enjoying her time while i'm away doing these gigs. She wants me to go really bad, and i'm more than way into that idea of visiting mexico city. After we're cleaned, both tom and i go down for breakfast. i have a big one, eggs bacon coffee and juice, but also a bowl of cereal after, i'm seriously gonna hafta hit the pedals hard when i'm home, my appitite is develpoing a mind of it's own, and this is not good while sitting in a van for 7 hrs! The one positive, is that i'll be so stuffed, i won't hafta pay out for lunch whenever we stop, and this'll curb any hunger it till dinner tonight.

   We loaded gear last night, but left it in the van parked inside leoncavallo. It's gated, so maybe safer? Also though, maybe locked in, after breakfast macario and i walked over to find the guess what guys waitin' outside a locked gate. Macario had also called 3 diffrent people, no answers. After a few minutes of waiting, we have success at gettin the attention of someone inside, and shortly after we get outta dodge, and start heading towards ljubljana. This will round three of us heading on this same route.

   The gig tonight is in a club called menza pri koritu, part of a bigger collective pad called metelkova. Basically, it's a big walled off compound where all the old builings are turned into bars and venues for music and diffrent arts. It looks like anything goes, and there's paint, wheatpaste and sculpture through out, also mosaic and iron work on lots of the buildings. I set the drums up, and after, walk the perimeter of the compound and snap shots of some of the more ineresting things i saw.

   After soundcheck, me tom and the guess what guys had a great meal meal w/ club boss natasha. We wakled just a couple blockes to a pad called valter, and all of us except tom got the poa poa, or half and half. It was 5 chvapcici sausages, also w/ a minced meat sausage, serverd on soft airy bread, kinda like a pancake w/ diced raw white onion on the side. Super fuckin' good, i like chivapcici lots, it's very common in pedro. After dinner, we part ways, and tom, rudy and i walk another block over to park hostel where we have a room for the night. This situation is just as good, for me atleast as stayin' at the club. I got a safe place for my backpack, and i place to relax if needed within walking distance of the stage. i do relax for a lilttle, and lay down for an hour. i made it back in time to see the second half of guess what, and watch nico's set while i changed over cymbals and moved the drums around a bit.

   There was a little loss of connection due to a load bearing pole right in the middle of the stage. I had set up to the left of it, so tom and i were buched up, he did knock me in the head w/ his guitar, and watt had the other side. We played good though, and tried not to let it bug. Also, sound for me was tough, stage had a very dead sound. I just thought about how good guess what had sounded, and hoped for the best. I didn't over compensate by playing to hard or fast either. It was nice to be able to be in the moment, and relize that it would be a mistake and downfall of my energy to do that, this action, for me atleast made for a good flow. During quite middle part, i did feel a bit exposed, but i quickly pushed that thought out, and got it together. Sometimes it takes more balls to play as quite as you can.

   It was a big party scene after, but i wasn't much for it tonight. I stuck around for the load out, i didn't wanna bail on the team, though, as soon as the van left to take some folks to the hotel, i gave away the un-opened can of beer i had to two grateful strangers, and walked straight out and into the old part of town just a few blocks away. I had a solitary but beautiful walk along the river that runs thru ljubljana. It was pin drop quite and very peaceful outside, complete oppisite of metelkova.

from tom:

   [a royal family situation, an inheritance, just out of grasp]

   i wake at 9 and shower pack and scurry down for the breakfast and they have scrambled eggs and bacon!! yay! a couple cappuccinos and juices and I'm good. we have a longish ride to slovenia, my first time here. at the border the lady in the booth comments on the condition of my passport, it's a little beat up and they don't like that much. i just always keep it in my pocket because i'm afraid to lose it somehow. i'll try to flatten it between some books or something. we arrive to the artist commune complex where our gig is tonight, in one of the many live spaces throughout the converted army buildings left from the past unrest here. we stop at a door where the walls are covered in crazy sculptures and mosaics, layers of paintings and graffiti, almost a hippy/punk amusement park. we meet the sweet club-lady natasa who is friends with the guess what guys and she makes us feel very welcome here. i love the way she talks, her accent is very distinctive and her english is perfect. we have coffee and beer while we set things up.

   after the sound check natasa leads us to a small restaurant down the street to the place that i imagine all bands would go to when playing here. i order a "pita" and everyone else go for the pol/pol (or: half & half) that is a sausage plate with two kinds of local sausages and a flauta type flaky bread thing to wrap them in, there is also some paprika sauce and a raw butter to add to things...my dish turns out more like a low bready quiche with a glass of sour yogurt drink. very tasty and unusual. we chat about travels, music, politics, just eating and talking. then raul, rudy and i break off from the rest to check into the hotel and we make up our beds and lay down for little while, me on the bottom bunk again, and i fall asleep for about an hour.

   when my alarm goes off at 10 i get up and shave and leave raul and walk across the museum plaza though a little corridor and into the courtyard of the complex of art and music spaces now filling up with young party goers priming themselves on whatever they might be holding. i walk into our space with a light crowd listening to guess what and i get a drink and then talk with hiyori for a few minutes until the music stops and a different music begins, nico begins to scrape at his nylon strings in a manic flurry as if to tap the shoulders of the slightly dazed listeners and force their heads his way where he is seated upon a table in front of a wall mural to the left of front door. this diversion is deliberate and useful and gives raul and rudy and i our window to change over the stage set up from guess what. we play to cozy crew of considerate local folks and with only a few imperfections the gig flows strong. immediately following our last song and the break down and load out of gear the doors are "opened" to the public for disco time, them all now in full-flow party mode, kind of irritating though necessary for this place to stay in business and i have a vodka and little while to talk with natasa whilst being pressed between the bar and an army of drunken dancers. finally natasa's boyfriend arrives we say goodnight and i walk back to the hotel to where i expect to find the plastic card/key on top of the door jam like raul and i had planned. it's not there so i wake rudy with the softest knocks that will suffice and decide to go back over to the venue thinking that i missed raul there, or maybe he's waiting for me..? i see damian with axel and his sweet lady friend, molly, and macario too, having a drink and talking with the nice fellow from the venue whom i didn't get a name from. he gives our group a walkabout in and out of the various spaces of dance clubs and drinking rooms each with specific characteristics, us just popping our heads in to observe like some sort of alien inspectors. i'm burnt out and go back to the hotel and crawl into my bunk, and with my mind racing with thought i shut down like someone pulled the plug on me. zzzzz....

from watt:

   quarter of eight pop, downstairs shovel - there's gigboss christian so we can have a good talk but actually I didn't realize he was the gigboss - I was baka! he's a good cat though and interesting man. he knows about p2 and you know who's town this is, right? actually some great cats (one in particular) lived here too. so it is w/humans, mixed up stuff. there's scrambled eggs w/out milk in them, yeah, bacon too (also w/out milk - or sugar!) and I also get some canned pear halves - love that shit. trippy the coff machine is a belgian one but no prob w/getting stuff to throw down my gullet from it.

   pull anchor at ten, boat's loaded so we begin journey east but first diesel stop and I wash windows - why just be a complainer? my job. an hour out of milano we hit traffic jam right as we're passing just-manured farmland, time for watt to breathe through while others on boat whine. soon the traffic clears and that drama's out of the way, same w/the coff lid I spilled like a baka and then threw into the wheel-well - like they say, "where drama's none, why not create some?" right. our skies are hazy but taiyo's up there... sort of like my pedro town early in the morning cuz of marine layer. axel once again asks for music and when no one volunteers, I offer up mi-gu from my ipod... it's accepted and lots gets played before the turn-down which might've been cuz the navigatori gps puts on a detour cuz it says there's construction... we're driving down tiny roads through tiny towns - maybe wheelman damien and tourboss macario are nervous w/the reroute and find a need to focus? look, if we're gone this far w/its "orders from on high" then we better ride it out. we go past a big lake, maybe a suburb kind of thing cuz there's tract homes, yeah, guido versions of tract homes! we divert to venice and from there head for trieste. rudy gets some good konk shots of konked tourboss macario. just after one we pull over to switch ponies and some chow - I get a salad of arugula, olives and balls of mozzarella that's really fresh and damn if this ain't a happening idea: the oil and vinegar in the same squeeze sack, like two sacks you tear at once and they mix as you squeeze, voila! happening. we're pulling anchor w/axel at the helm when the side hatch flies open - rudy's gotta piss! ok, so be it. onward eastward after.

   we enter slovenia about three and a half, gotta get a vignette (highway toll sticker like in austria and switzerland) before the border - whoa, forty euros. looks like that clown pruner from southern france has gotten loose here among the trees along the highway - either that or some strong motherfucking winds. it's nice now, only high wispy clouds and late afternoon soon, lots of the haze we had in italy gone.

   get into slovenia's big town ljubljana about four but some traff plug means another half hour to get to where we're playing, menza pri koritu which is right near the train station in the middle of town and a former jugoslav peoples army base. the padboss natasha tells me the name means "pig's trough/mess hall" in slovene, I like that - use "trough" much for my own chow descriptions. samo is the house soundman and linch is the helperman - all very cool people and I really dig getting to play here. I'm told there's probs w/maybe getting shut down or status changed - something about inspectors showing up later - what? I hope all the trippy art I see around ain't from twenty years ago but things are still vital that way here. you know how people can take for granted stuff that had much struggle to bring forth! us humans can be so strange that way.... rudy takes two hours to get system together for our tiny check but it's worth it. the john coltrane "a love supreme" before/after music for my set has been wrecked so he's asked to use my ipod - no prob. damn I wish I would've brought some blank cd-r disks, I am baka forgetful! after I chimp diary while everyone goes to a halal pad called "das is valter" but I get brought back a to-go dinner of real good what they call here their bbq w/a bread that's like a big real soft english muffin, kind of. w/the mustard and tabasco on the meat w/it, damn right it's happening, whoa. after that I konk on the couch up here in the little room up stage-port, a nice couch they got.

guess what at menza pri koritu in ljubljana, slovenia on march 21, 2014

   I somehow fall out of konk to hear some of guess what but then konk again before being wakened for our turn to play which is 11:30... we're ten minutes early, so be it. I've already chimped this was a military installation so yeah, lots of buildings and "courtyards" that are filled w/young people (trippy lots of posters up but NOT ONE up for our gig) but in our little chamber (I think this is used also for theatre) it's not total but kind-of character-builder time, what? life is funny. it makes no matter when it's time for downbeat and even w/a fucking pole separating me from my men, we fucking bring the piece - nine years after this town got the last one. one lame thing about lozenges is though they bring cough relief, they also put a syrupy blankie around your vocal chords and that ain't happening. doing the opera actually shakes lose this shit and about a third into it I start hocking up some thick ones. we have some small sync probs but actually do pretty good, so proud of raul and tom (by the way cuz of this review of our recent fucecchio show I introduced tom as 'paul thompson' the man mentioned on guitar there - hey, it just got change to 'tom watson' - ain't that the magic of the internet? still ain't bold like raul's name is though... I think fratello elija was most kind to us though, beautiful writing even via baka google mangler) who really tear it up, I try my hardest to do my part also. I have existential moment (fuck, when don't I) when it comes to middle part poem in "pinned-to-the-table-man" and I hear someone comment "it is not possible" after I say "loss and liberation" which to me is kind of strange since can't being liberated mean losing chains either literarily or figuratively? whatever, it gives me reason to really drive this baby home, not only cuz now I'm doing these performances for scotty-san but cuz maybe it's gotta be w/all I can give every time or else deep down will be a feeling of jive and I just don't EVER wanna have be there w/that, just don't. I have to thank this cat somehow but it'll have to wait to the end when I thank everyone. I know this is a weird thing for folks to try and put together and I don't blame them any if they feel it ain't worth their time but it's something I really gotta emote w/all I got now in my life and I'm so glad tom and raul are w/me - same w/brother rudy on this tour. man, what a great cat to be our fourth man night after night. I dedicate our last number of the night to the man that first brought me to this land, igor vidmar cuz I'm most grateful to him and always will. my world of punk is about authentic connects between people and maybe for some that's a weakness but that just what I believe.

   I go to the merch table (damn I wish natasha would've let us set up next to the hatch instead of by the head) and dario from the crazed farmers gives me their lastest album, so great! I remember when I did my second opera here he learned me a bunch about this area. good to see him again and he's amazed I ain't gone under yet, glad I keep pushing. I talk for a time to a cat from pula named neno (he's got a band called tito's bojs) who's very interesting people. early thirties but many experiences in different lands (including mine) and much push in his life for truth. john coltrane once said all musicians are after some kind of truth - I really like that. he says pula has a collective scene in an old austria-hungarian fort that's really vital, respect to them! linch the helperman here also gives me music from his nevem band, solid cat. I meet a couple who know the cats in ponteverde we worked w/earlier in the tour back in galicia, righteous... and there's hvartski dude who's got a cousin who lives in pedro, whoa! man, I wish I could've met igor though... been so long since I last seen him... I hope he's ok.

   time to bail though and after getting it together upstairs (wish I could thank natasha for having us aboard but I do get to thank brother linch), I come down to the pad now packed dancing to new wave, out to the hatch to more squarejohn - I can't believe this is happening in a collective but so be it, that's showbiz. we drive not too far to a 'tel called "park" and hose off, fucking three or even later for konk time, damn.

saturday, march 22, 2014 - zagreb, croatia

from raul:

   Woke up at 9am, but decided to try and rest for another hour and skip out on breakfast this morning. I was still a bit groggy. I wasn't back till half past 3 last night, and had a 2 and a half hour roam, getting lost along the way. Luckily the hotel was tall, and i was able to see it's lit sign from a distance..whew!

   We're not leaving till 'bout 2pm this afternoon, so this gives me plenty of time to get shots of most the places i saw last night, and maybe even find some shoes to replace my blown out one's. No luck with the sneakers, but Tom finds me near a farmers market, he was lured in by the street musicians, and i just happened to be passing by, great timing! We stick together, and roam a bunch, have coffee and some fresh falafel before going back to meet up w/ the rest of the crew to head out to zagreb. Some grey sky and small rain in ljubljana, but once we get ot of town, it's lush green and clear skies. Border is not too bad either, but a little slap on tom's hand for having a beat up passport. Luckily she found a space to stamp it, and we were cleared to pass.

   Club is on the outskirts of town, next to a river, pad called mochvara. These guys got us a big spread laid out for lunch. olives, pickles, diffrent salami's and cheese's. thanks much for this. Damien also makes some strong coffee that really hit's the spot. sound check has got to be done quick, they got a theatre thing starting ay 7pm, so no sound after that. I set up quick as i can while i'm also chewin' on a sandwhich. Rudy, dosn't seem to be in a hurry to much though, so there's atleast an hour wait while he dials in his game plan. We do our quick check, and one half of guess what starts their soundcheck, damien is waitin' for his guy to show up, he's a little late, so damien is tryin' to get his keyboards atleast plugged in for axel.

   After check, the chow that was ordered was delivered to us. Most of us got zagreb staek, me, i got it because i wanted some simple protien, and not something too filling or fatty. I was suprised when i opened the box, and there was a breaded deep fried fillet, i was just as suprised to find that it wasn't staek at all,but slices of ham seperated by melted cheese. It was good, but intense, and totally oppisite of what i was thinkin' it'd be, i think the others were just as shocked. Soon after a group of us took the short walk to the hotel, so we could drop off some bags, and chill out for a few minutes until gig time. A few minutes turns into almost two hours! i showered, and closed my eyes, next thing ya know,time to go. I made it back just in time to see guess what play the last song of their set. The past few days, stage sound has been hard for me. The guitar hasn't been present in the quite parts, and the drums have sounded more like cardboard boxes. Sometimes this makes it hard to play, but tonight not so much, but it takes my attention momentarily. I just think back to how good guess what sounded earlier, and know rudy has our back. Also, remember not to overcompensate by trying to hard, and eating up energy on the wrong things. Good gig though, and great crowd. The only weird thing that comes to mind, is the monitor man is on stage w/ us, and insted of doing his job, he's got his feet propped up eating peanuts while looking at his phone, this was more than irratating, but i let it go.

from tom:

   [like the night didn't end]

   i wake and rush down to realize that i missed the breakfast, damn! however, the kind young lady who's cleaning things up allows me to have a couple coffees and juices and i eat a stale croissant before i go back up to our room and down the hall to the communal showers to clean myself. i extend our checkout time with the front desk like we had discussed yesterday and head out into the saturday morning air for a walk along the river nearby. it's a refreshingly mild day, not cold at all, but the breeze is cool and sweet and i see many people about and follow the flow across the bridge to a square where vendors and buskers and displaying their goods and children on small bikes or scooters slalom though locals and tourists with strollers and dogs and i stop to listen to a duo performing some kind of folk skiffle music and i drop one of my orange thumb picks in their opened guitar case along with the few coins and bills they'd collected thus far. i see a tourist with a camera pointed at one of the melty bronze sculptures speckled along this old town walking path and realize that it's raul. we pick up our walk together and compare thoughts on this town and the good vibe we feel, we both really like this place. we slowly weave through narrow streets around and back in the direction of the hotel and stop to say hi to nico whose peering into a jazz record store window, we continue on, him going the opposite direction, and raul and i stopping for a cappuccino in a cafe. in our obvious americanness a dude named serge sitting with a glass of beer at the bar asks in english how our day is, we exchange basic friendly talk and he knows about our show and mikes music, etc.. he's very cool and raul and i leave with this continued sense of positive energy surrounding us. we stop again for a falafal and again friendly chat with the kind falafal maker there. we get back to the hotel, pack up and sit in the lobby while our gang regroups and we head off to croatia. in the van i think to myself, why didn't i tell anyone that i had a band called slovenly whilst being in slovania?

   entering zagreb we make a couple of wrong turns and loop around and navigate the unpaved road along the sava river to the venue. loading in i feel a headache coming on, a feeling i dread because even though i don't have them much when i do have one it can be catastrophic. i try to will it away but take a couple of aspirin, lay down and cover my eyes, hoping it will not continue to grow. i starts in my neck and shoots upward into the back of my skull, kind of more on the outside of the cranium than in the brain. it continues into the front of my head, my temples and eye sockets, around my ears and forehead and then to the crown. i become quiet in my meditative state, i drink water and tea. more aspirin. we sound check and then theres food and i feel okay, but not hungry. finally raul and i ask to go to the hostel that's a short 10 minute walk through this landscape that we think could be many places, St. Louis? Mississippi (if it were warmer), Pennsylvania? we turn a corner and then it could be a rural neighborhood in japan. strange. we lay in our single beds for close to 2 hours, hot shower/rinse hair then back to the venue. we arrive in time to get situated and the change over our stage and i have tea and a tiny cup of beer, my head feeling much better - 87%, and club man kornel is in back with mike and presents a cool record to him that i only glance at before i take my place on stage and ready myself to play. the large room is pretty filled, we play to spirited folks and in front of me some talk aloud as if in some kind of cone of silence, laughing and pointing, i turn my head into mike and raul to keep our energy dome strong. it works and we tear through it pretty good. mike struggles with his monitor sound, that's always a drag on him cause he does 90% of the spiel. as we pack down, i do my best to be fast and get to a refreshment in the humid and sweat drenched chamber, feeling like i lost a couple of pounds from the workout. nice folks say kind things, i have short discourse with a few peoples, tea, anita, darko, ivan, christian, then with boss man kornel. in the smoking patio i chat with axel, molly, nico, raul, damian, a couple of couples have their pics taken with us and we sign a few vinyls before we head to the hotel and shower and raul entertains me with some silly youtube clips. the end.

from watt:

   nicholas at the wheel, we pull anchor at two it's gray and sprinkling. well, first we gotta saddle up and there's bikes going by w/our fucking hatches wide open - fuck man, I was doored pedaling in my pedro town when I re-started at thirtyeight, I got a helmet the next day along w/some gloves cuz I flew twenty feet and landed on my palms. I ask our young tourmates to please think about fucking others - it's what tom and raul do w/me in my boat on a u.s. tour. I love these guys but man, what's up w/that kind of stuff? I'm thinking I prolly did stuff like that and learned the hard way. actually, I think I was WAY MORE STUPID at their age then they're even close to. sorry for kvetching about this. we get diesel and fuck it, I wash the windows anyway, even w/the sprinkling. we're one light for this ride - we head towards croatia.

   fortyfive minutes later the sun comes out, ok! grazie hvala. nicholas lasts one hour at the helm, rudy takes over as we hand passports over to tourboss macario cuz we have a border to cross soon... thirty minutes later we're at the border and there's two booths - first booth is butter, second booth the borderlady advises that tom's passport is too beatup and invalid. whoops. still, she lets through but understandable she's got a little scowl... we next get asked for toll in german - it's the boat's license plates. next rudy gets off on wrong road so we gotta bring it about... guess I gotta help out - if they would've copped to it then ok, simple mistake but talking in french and trying to hide it... we're gonna ride there ass the rest of the tour! just kidding. we correct our course and get into zagreb but still need a couple more blowbys on smaller roads before tourboss macario's memory comes back cuz he's been here before and we arrive at quarter after four - drop anchor, right next to the big river in town, the sava. some folks are flying these huge kites, I mean I've never seen bigger ones every flow, damn!

   this pad we're playing us to be a factory that made pumps and it's called klub mochvara. pop the hatch and padboss kornel greets us, real nice cat that says he saw me in the old days, the first time I ever played this town, I was w/georgie and edward. we were very late cuz of border stuff (the nightmare hell was coming) and I had to play direct cuz the rented bass amp went kaput. kornel's got great chow laid out for us: cheese slices, salami slices, pickles, olives and hunks of good bread. no mustard or hot sauce though but we got that. while rudy builds a gig (he's mixing from what looks like could be a space ship. I talk w/drko, the righteous cat who did the posters for tonight's show.

gig poster by drko for gig at klub mochvara in zagreb, croatia on march 22, 2014

he hips me to a lot of stuff about the balkans - he's from sarajevo in bosnia actually - stooges were gonna play there in 2008 but were told it was cancelled due to a gay parade getting attacked by thugs. that did happen but he said the gig actually was promoted band and was gonna cave hard. instead of that being the last gig for that touring season, ljubljana was it was the last time ever I played w/ronnie... very sad. I remember that gig well - the only time that version of stooges played the song "raw power' and only the "a part" of it. the gig was in gymnasium. aaarrrrrrrggghh, it's hard thinking about that stuff. I remember the dressing room was a locker room... aahh, gotta stop remembering for now - drko tells me about a 70s yuko band called white button in english. they were huge then and he says the main man is stealing gypsy music now, says his whole career was about kiping other folks stuff. I think petezo back at home (secondmen organman) was into them... drko says his hero band for him when he was young was magazine - pete's wife ljil was the singer. I met petezo through jer trebotic (secondmen drummerman). petezo, jerzo and ljil along w/glenda, miranda, daniella (dancers) were in the madonnabes - a band I put together to keep in shape basswise after fIREHOSE. ok, history lesson done... we do soundcheck and kornel brings us dinner - I'm given zagreb steak which is breaded pork cutlet w/cheese in it along w/french fries. oh, right before chow I did an interview spiel w/leo, a real nice cat that knows a bunch of stuff, I mean a bunch... he knows about the "stormin' tarragona" song d. boon wrote! damn. it's a good spiel w/none of the questions are same ol' same ol' - respect to him. amazing about how much stuff young people know about days before they were born. I think people around my age can get full of themselves and dismiss everyone younger as ignorant tools, what a load of shit... lots of cats their age shouldn't be so cynical - I plead w/them. remember, they're the next shift and we gotta have faith. anyway, I'm most proud leo is a member of the next shift, a real good cat. the seats here in the backroom got big cushions on them and are good for konk so that's what I do, mask down and plugs in the ears - I'm out for a few hours. it is well-needed konk.

   I pop w/someone pulling my mask off and telling me it's time to pop, can't remember who but it's a good thing cuz I need a little time for the tea to help w/my throat - padboss kornel says go on at a quarter after eleven so that's what we do. I work in a few words of slav I learned from school (a lot of the cats from this land in my pedro town are from an island here off the dalmatian coast called vis) which I think might surprise some, there some laughs. we bring the piece and it's intense - actually when hasn't it been? man, that was stupid. I wanna do it good, do it for these zagreb gig-goers, do it for kornel, for drko, do it for leon - this is the acute sitch but then there's scotty-san, d. boon, my pop, fuck - actually right up close is my missingmen tom and raul. I set high goals for myself w/this stuff but then at the same time I feel distracted by little shit like the fucking terrible eq on the monitors - a low mid that's bogarting and even a little painful, crimony. rudy can't help cuz the monitors are worked by a side guy on stage and who apparently ain't aware of it... I can't take away focus from the piece or my men so just a glance over at him and I see him chowing so he's busy and I shouldn't be interrupting him, right? I plow on. I seen a young man in a wheelchair being wheeled up to the front of the stage right in front of me - this must be ivan that drko told me about who's ma drove him from a town a bunch of klicks away. I let him know I know he's here. I wanna do the opera good for ivan. I just block out the sourass overtones coming out of the monitors and have confidence rudy's got good sound for the gig-goers. the gig-goers are younger people but they give good focus and respect - respect back to them. for the last encore tune I dedicate it to koja - tomorrow I play in his town and I'm building my nerve up cuz he's a bassman I much MUCH respect. people here know him - in fact drko told me there was white button for one kind of listener and disciplina kitschme for the other kind!

   we get done - good job to tom and raul - and I head right for the merch table... folks wanna take pictures and so do I but I wanna get there cuz it's right by the hatch and you know what? I can take pictures there, no prob - sign stuff too. damn if dario from last night's gig here again, yatta! I rap w/a lot of the cats who want to me sign on the stuff they got - one cat is a bassman from vis, he's invited me there - whoa, one day/one way I'd like to do that big time. so much good genuine feel, a young man who knows "one reporter's opinion" keeps quoting me lines from it - we both laugh. it's a long time at the table cuz there's a lot of cats but that's no prob. the gear's gonna stay here overnight w/a 'tel called "fala" only a few blocks away. kornel gives me a disciplin kitchme album, their second one "svida me se da ti ne bude prijatno" he says is rare. I have the tunes on mp3 from by buddy stanislav but this is the real dealio. much respect to him. nicholas is most kind to drive the little way and though it ain't a hot shower, it ain't ice cubes falling out either so I konk clean.

sunday, march 23, 2014 - belgrade, serbia

from raul:

   Woke at 8:15, laid around for 10 minutes and sent an email to paloma. She's still in mexico, and had written me that she got very lost on a 6 hr drive, but finally made it to the pyramids. Short shower, then beakfast. This was a pretty small hotel, so insted of having just a bucket of chewey scrambled eggs , their was a women in the kitchen cookin' them up fresh! I got 2 fried over medium, exactly how i like em', not too runny, but still yolk. I didn't ask for this, she just cooked em perfect for me, also a couple slices of ham on the side. I toasted a couple slices of wheat bread, and made some instant coffee that wasn't half bad... i used 5 spoonfuls! After food's done, i decided to walk back to club for the gear load, there's some paintings under the bridge next to river that i'd like t get some shots of. While we're loading gear, the rain starts. Not that this would make me happy in any travel situation, but i'm a bit more bummed, my shoes are splitting at the side of my right foot, maybe a combination of my feet being wide, and also kick drum for 30+ days straight.

   We got a border today, so to be safe we left an hour and a before we have to be at gun club, just in case we run into anything that could hold us up on the way to belgrade. Well, i guess somewhere inbetween, zagreb and the border, that idea gets nixed. We make a stop for fuel, and end up staying and having a fucking picnic behind a service station. It's food we have left over from yesterday, and could've been chewed up while on the road. I'm all for picnics in the country, but maybe after the border, this dosn't seem like the best way to use the spare time we gave ourselves, but just my opinion, so i don't push. Luckily for us, the border only takes us 15 to 20 minutes. Iv'e had some long anxious waits, and one horrible canadian experience, and from that i've learned not to take it too lightly.If these border police wanted to, i don't think a couple sweaty shirts are gonna keep them for pulling everything we have out of the van. We've lucked out again on this trip, and i'm very grateful for that.

   really good turnout tonight, I'm very suprised for a sunday night gig. I thougt we played pretty good for em' too. My only big ditraction was the cymbal gettin' slapped over during frying pan, took a big tumble of the back of the stage. Luckily axel was up in teh wings off the side of the stage, and was able to come down quick and help me out. Got dented pretty bad too, it'll crack there sooner than later on that spot, hopefully it'll last the tour though. As soon as we're done, the d.j. started to crank the music louder than the bands...aaarrgghh! it was painful, and almost unbearable anywhere in the club, and totally impossible to talk w/ anyone without yelling. We had a little time to hang out, but within' the hour we started the load out. macario made it possible that there'd be oppertunity to stay for those that wanted, but i was beat and took the first train out w/ most the guys.

from tom:

   [science fiction, television program]

   i wake 5 from minutes before my alarm goes off at 8:15, i clothe and jam down for breakfast, scrambled eggs and ham, instant coffee, juice, toast and tabasco of course. we pack up our gear over at the venue and jam to belgrad.. again my first time. many of these places are brand new experiences for me, and i'm really diggin it. we hit the border of serbia and with passports ready and and all at quiet attention the guard motions us through without a shake down, a big relief because touring bands can be a real mark for searches. we did allow for more time just in case we would be asked to pull over and get our stuff out and do whatever they want us to do, we are always at their mercy and they know it. we play it cool, have things in order, and it goes well. we have more travel to get to our destination, and we meet promoter guy alex at the train station and he guides us to the gun club a few blocks away. the gun club is a shooting range during some of the time and a rock club other times. hopefully not at the same time. we load down the curvy staircase and into the shoe box club space.

   we do what we do and then promoter guy aleksandar takes us to a falafal place called hummus market (belgrad) and the owner personally makes us some tasty falafals and we chat about his business and then raul, rudy axel and damian and i walk back to the club down the main road. at the club we wait a bit till people start to show up and nico does his first set in a side bar area with the joy division movie playing on the monitor behind him. guess what play to a growing crown of locals and i dance with myself for most of it. then nico again in the middle of the dance floor with people surrounding him. sounds great. we hear some coltrane before we begin to play and we get though a pretty good show. it's a good turnout for a sunday night and afterwards i have a drink or two and i talk with the sound guy alex for while while they crank buzzcocks and neu over the pa. when the van leaves i stay on with mike and hiyori.

from watt:

   pop at eight bells. hose off - not hot one but not freezing either so ok. I shave too, real good - I gotta tear it up for brother koja tonight! gray skies like yesterday morning, sprinkling as well. 'tel lady cooks me up two fried eggs and some really ham slices. very good. I have tea also cuz the coff here is instant (that's only for times of jones coming down). we go back to the venue (after a short wander) to load up the stuff and pull anchor at ten. there's nine of us now in the boat again, bye bye to molly (she drove axel to zagreb yesterday). at the morchava, I get pictures of the side of the pad I never saw yesterday. somehow we make it to the highway w/out getting lost and head east by southeast for serbia. quarter after eleven: windshield wipers on but I see clear skies ahead, happening. we pass much flat farm land, different than yesterday. buy noon the rain is gone. a half hour later we stop for fuel to use kunas (about five and a half kunas to the u.s. dollar) from last night but these guys wanna do "pause" - fuck, why? getting across the border should be main focus and then fucking "pause" but we're in the minority here. anyway, here goes the dice roll. back on the road, they all speak in french, us who can't speak are silent - weird vibe. I talked to them about this before in marseille but so it goes, I guess. maybe things will be better if we get across the border ok. classical music at tiny volume from tourboss macario calms things but we're still mostly silent. at two pm we reach the border - first a croatian check, hmm... rudy's give tom his passport protector cover and I think it helps this borderman's kind, hvala but the butter. next is the serbia borderman who also kind after passport check/stamp, hvala for the butter. finally customs borderlady who asks in german where we're going that stumps nicholas (he relieved rudy after the "pause") but miss hiyori lives in hamburg and it's "where are you driving to?" she's asking: "belgrade" replies nicholas... hvala for the butter. hvala.

   I tell rudy about the monitor sitch last night and at least he was able to get the sound good for the gig-goers. he had no control w/the monitors and that man had important calls on the leash to make so I'm glad I didn't do anything to interrupt that but maybe we have the man up on stage in that sitch before hand (rudy couldn't make check w/him cuz he didn't arrive 'til we were already on the stage). serbia has sunniness for us even w/some puffy clouds - it ain't gray or hazy now. hard for me to get good snaps cuz like a fucking 'tard I forget to wash the windows before the "pause" while we were refueling. a quarter after three we get into belgrade but must wander some - again we blowby and loop and the crew up front won't acknowledge... axel mans up and asks a cat on the street where the train station is - I guess that's where we're supposed to go but us children who've toured many more fucking miles than our "leaders" up front could imagine aren't interested in allowing us to help... bizarre behavior. I guess I don't ask them to help me work bass so maybe it's quid per quo. sorry to bellyache. I just have a different way and always involve my men in the journey and trying to keep getting lost to a minimum. four pm now and still no man to meet... I hear a text is sent. the gigboss aleksandar arrives and has us follow him in a taxi - the pad is only a few blocks away - what?! I find out the navigatori gps had bad info, maybe cuz of serbia's "status" w/rest of europe? I meant this ain't a tiny street and I find it amazing but maybe I'm a baka for being harsh on their wander but I do wish they'd include us in helping out. tiny issue. what a crazy thing to wast so much chimping space for... I think I'm becoming petty. terrible.

   gigboss aleksandar tells me he saw me play in zagreb twentysomething years ago (just like last night's gigboss kornel), hitchhiking all the way to get there and after the gig he said I came up to him and said he had a nice flannel - I think I remember that, yeah, I think I do. he said he waited many years to get me to his town. I am very glad to oblige. the pad is called the gun club and yeah, it's a target practice place for hand gun shooting but at night they do gigs. the back of the stage has many shots in the bulkhead that didn't hit the targets - there's some of them up too. only an hour too, attached to chains that are driven by motors back by the bar and soundboard... speaking of soundboard, rudy only takes an hour but maybe there's not much he can do cuz the p.a. has to be mobile cuz the pad's other manifestation. no bellyachin' though, glad to be here - "work the room" like they used to say in vaudeville. we get done w/soundcheck and who's just arrived? fucking brother koja, crimony! so good to see him, so good. we start talking and right away I go get my bass so he can check it out.

koja w/the dan bass at the gun club in belgrade, serbia on march 23, 2014

some folks from the local tv are here to do interview w/me, the cameraman bored but the interviewer (forgot his name, damn it - real nice cat, his named started w/a d, I think...) really into it and asking great things. I next do an interview in the sideroom office, the lady's from the local radio (fuck, forgot her name too - sorry!) and her show's name translates to "dream time" and the theme is to tell what your first dream-goal was and how you got to where you are now so that's what I do, tell her my story about first wanting to be an astronaut and ending up a bassman, trippy. she says I told it very passionate. everyone does pretty good english here that I've met, real good. me and koja talk more, talk about the last poets - he met jalal, fucking crimony! koja's had many adventures, many incarnations of his disciplina kichme band and he's just started a new one, this time he has a cat on harmonica in the band, a friend of gigboss aleksandar's even! I decide I'm gonna konk on the deck here in the office cuz even though there's a couch outside in the club, you know what happened in saint-etienne... first I get brought back a pita filled salad and beef burger w/spicy ("real spicy" I'm told but c'mon!) sauce. I use my back wack sack for pillow, orange knit boshi, gloves, ear plugs (getting soft now cuz of many insertions) and mask and konk for many hours - I thought I had a dream of seeing the guess what guys change into their outfits.

   there is no hot water - our kettle went kaput a few days ago and the bar person was not so kind w/providing us w/any except warm from the tap so I have that after I'm rousted and head for the stage. kind of tough getting through the crowd but the folks are kind and eventually I get up there w/tom and raul to begin our set. a lot of squealing w/the monitor for the opening spiel but rudy gets that under control. I'm very nervous, playing in front brother koja. I clam in the second part - not big one but the moment I start becoming aware of the sitch I'm out of the moment and it's really scary, like if I actually know what to play next so I key in on raul and tom much. the belgrade gig-goers are very kind and focused on the piece. we can do the "mouse-headed-man" part w/out anyone yammering but tom clams on the middle part, too tiny and tons of wrong notes but maybe that's what people think is supposed to be played - I don't know how familiar folks here are w/it but they are really engaged w/us. oh, I think I knocked raul's ride cymbal over in "belly-stabbed-man" - whoops... sorry raul. I'm talking about cats really connected in what we're bringing and at the same time, there comes moments when again I realize brother koja's checking this trip out and damn if another clam don't get blown. they ain't any boat-sinkers but damn if I don't wanna bring the best so I guess I try my best but stay in the moment w/my men. I almost keel over but somehow make it, oh lordy. so great of rudy for playing "acknowledgment" from john coltrane when we get done, so great. it means much to me.

   I head straight for the gig hatch (this pad's downstairs so it's at the bottom of a twirly staircase. so much warm heart for these gig-goers and so much good english, better than mine! dragon's here and he's got a mike watt throbblehead for me to sign, no prob - I love this man, I go back to the 90s w/him. I guess someone got this for him, we have big laugh about it - actually he has me sign the box, on the goofy face the doll is based on - I tried really hard to get the doll to be as goofy as the picture, too tough, my real-life rubber face too hard for artist to capture I was told. I finally get to meet some of the pndc cats, have played lots of their music on my radio show so that's a mindblast when the cats behind the sounds are in your face, much respect to them! I eventually get though meeting all the folks who wanna meet me, am most glad to - I then go back and rap w/brother koja for a good long time, it's bitchin' for me and the only interruption is somehow I got onto the dance floor and w/the padboss pedja of this place and maybe one or two other folks, I disco dance in my hobbled way to a bunch of disciplina kichme songs the dj is blasting, brother koja's jamming wah-wah bass fucking kicking the shit out of my lameness and some how I find ways to work my fucking body into some steps and moves I can manage w/out tumbling. I do what I can and then get back to the room w/him for more spiel (the man has very sharp mind, intense focus, good humor and righeous insight) 'til I run out of gas and damn if I ain't gotta bail - there's still more tour to do. this is the most fun I've had after this tour for damn sure, man, what a trip. final hugs and then in a cab w/gigboss aleksandar (big grateful hugs to him for making this happen!) - so glad he made this happen, so glad. the konk pad is an apartment-like thrip up many stairs but well worth it, I do the slow-go and the hot hose off, into the nightwear and then fucking konkland - can't believe what fucking happened tonight... BASS!!!

monday, march 24, 2014 - skopje, macedonia

from raul:

   We got an early call today, so i got up and threw some cold water on the face, no time for shower. We got a border that can be potentially tough. It does prove hard too, and for a minute, i don't think we're gonna make it. we didnt have some papers in order. At one point macario asked what we could do, the guard looked at him, and said nothing, except turn around and get back to serbia. He didn't budge for awhile, but somehow macario convinced him to let us pass for for a day. Trippy situation, hopefully getting out won't be a hassle. Once in macadonia, the gig pad is not more than an hour drive from the border, and we have a easy drive w/ beautiful country side along the way.

   Playing a compound style space on the river called mkc. Pretty bitchin' set up for touring bands, The gig space, food place and sleeping spot are all next to each other. This makes things much calmer, and tom and i are able to get our bags secure in our room, and then we go to downstairs to set up. Since damien was nice enough to load in, i tell him to go ahead and deal w/ his bags and i'll get the drums set up and ready for soundcheck. All club the club folks are really nice, and sweet to us, i feel very comfortable here.

   After our check, tom and i went to the room to chill before dinner, which was just upstairs from the stage. Great food tonight, diffrent meats grilled up bar-b-que stlye, sausage, chicken and beef, i think maybe there was pork thrown in there too, a bacon wrapped something or other? i get a little bit of everything, and also some of the diffrent salads, tomato, cabbage, and beets, and also some steamed veggies, mostly brocoli and little mushrooms, very good eats.

   Again, great turnout for a monday, the place is packed. I unfortunately missed the guess what set, first time of the tour. The gig started way earlier than was mentioned to me, so i showed up just as they finished. I liked our playing tonight, i couldn't hear drums well, but it wasn't the wet cardboard feeling where i play too hard and try to pound so i can hear them. Also, i think the first four count watt does to set it up perfect, it wasn't a jammer, so we started at a good pace. It's important that count be solid, it dictates the flow. Just remembering not to play too hard really helped me out too, and most parts seemed easier to pull off. there's is a place though, where i just can't do the part right!!! it happened the pass two gigs, hopefully this goes away quick, and i re-remember. Shortly after gig, i'm back upstairs and in bed. We were invited to go out drinking w/ some locals, and the guess what guys. I gottta pick and choose my battles though, and get rest when i can. Tom had the same thought, and within' the hour we're both sawin' many logs.

from tom:


   i wake at 8:10 on the couch in the large living area with the others seated at the dining table. we have to get rolling towards macedonia soon and the border can be difficult. someplace before the border line of macedonia we stop and have a "burger" at a tiny roadside grill and the huge beige patties are at least 8" in diameter and it's hard to tell what kind of meat they are made from....dog? the nice lady grills them up for us and we add different toppings to them like cabbage, peppers, onions, mustard. at about 4/5's through i lose my taste for it and toss little bits to one of the saddest looking dogs i've ever seen. it's very frowned upon to do that, but it's so hard to resist helping the poor creature. once we hit the border we are stopped by the guard who is very clear that we will not be crossing into macedonia without certain papers which we don't have. macario has conversation, we sit for a while, just let things settle a bit, and eventually they let us through. strange how little power one has in those situations. it is a psychological interrogation of some kind for sure, they want to see what we will do under pressure. from much experience we know that we need to play it cool. when we get to skopje we weave through busy streets to the MKC space where we play, it's a theater with a large lobby where there is a stage set up for us. to mine and raul's extreme pleasure there's a hotel attached to the building and we are relieved when we find out that that's where we'll be staying tonight. it's my mom's birthday today, so i'm glad that there is wifi here so i can send a birthday message. happy birthday mom!!! i love you.

   after checking we hang out in the room upstairs and do some internet. we all sit down to eat some variety of grilled foods, meats, salads, cheeses, fries..i've learned not to eat too much these days so i resist thirds. back in our room, raul and i try to rest in the chilly little beds with the sound of a band practicing downstairs blasting through the unclose-able window makes us laugh at the aburdity of it. back at the gig space guess what is wrapping it up early tonight. then nico plays to an enthusiastic group of skopje-ites and raul and i set and play early too. i like the show, it's a very live room, a lot of high end which feels good to me for a change. it's fun. after we pack it up and we have brief talks with folks then back to the room and watch some of the shmengies last polka on youtube till i turn off my little light and sleep.

from watt:

   pop at eight bells. bail from konk pad at eight and a half, have to wait for boat from where it was docked... it arrives and when the hatch pops, I am relieved so much big time. I had hollered at tourboss macario earlier about this - separating me from the back wack sack. I bring this motherfucker on stage w/me. tom too was freaked out last night when he couldn't find his sack... and get this he said he was konked on the sidewalk w/no passport, holy fuck! well, I gotta say in a way w/tourboss macario - different management styles for sure... I know tom's a full-grown man but fuck, what do I tell his ma and pop if I don't get him home safe. it'll break my heart. I tell tourboss macario he's just that, the tourboss and when it's time to bail from the gigpad, then we bail - not leaving us and taking our sacks. I tell him he gives the word and we're gone, no prob ever from me about that. popping and not knowing where my sack is was a fucking heart attack. same w/bajo. I don't a fucking babysitter. tourboss macario's a good man though, he says he understands. he asks me not to holler and I say I'm sorry. sure I love koja and could talk w/the cat forever and yeah, a little disco dancing but still, the tour comes first and the safety of my guys - tom said he was konked on the sidewalk for a while! shit. not happening. aarrgghhh, another issue but I think we all know now what's up that way. hmm... so much diary being chimped regarding these baka drama things. we drive out of a rainy belgrade somehow w/out incident. we head south for macedonia and in about an hour the rain quits. much farmland out the window.

   ten and half we pull over to switch ponies (axel gives up wheel to nicholas). and I go to benjo for dump, I hear tick tick on cubicle hatch and answer "salute" but get no response... when I finish and flush and pop the hatch, there's like twenty guys in fancy pants and boots crammed in the benjo but they ain't belig, very calm and most young - get outside and see the bus they're riding in - tom is tardy cuz he got bumrushed at the counter but he found out they're presidential guard. continuing south, there's some wind but sun also though not clear skies and at least no rain. we drop anchor twenty after noon for "pause" and I get burger from a pad next to the gas station (I use some of the water from axel's bottle - sorry but it's been three stops w/out cleaning them! we did check the oil though) and it's good, it's spicy and home made - big kind of puffy bun, just 220 dinars (about two dollars u.s.) - this pad is called "fast food" - I shit thee not. we're not out of the flat farmland and into hilly stuff and the skies gray up also. damien takes over, there's much construction cuz at this point the highway used to end and it was just divided road. we switch ponies around two and the way they do it is to stop at the pump w/out getting fuel - what? this is ridiculous. already at the last fuel they did put in diesel themselves and I think the law here in serbia is like in oregon and washington where you're not allowed to pump - what's w/them, why do they put us all in danger like that? the fuellady twice tried to do her job but they wouldn't let her and this time the young fuelman is look at us like "what the fuck?" I feel a bad omen about this w/the border coming up. rudy's now at the wheel. it just started raining... there's a problem. the macedonia borderlady we have to buy a "green card" which ain't what you think it - it's auto insurance. tourboss then has to do some talking w/a borderman. onward after a while, stop for piss - do blowby and miss exit for skopje (that's the big town here and where we're playing)... it's kind of quiet up front... we're all in good spirits though, getting over the border has lifted everyone's morale including this idiot doing this chimping.

axel oliveres + tom watson konked on the way to skopje, macedonia on march 24, 2014

   we get to mkc about a quarter of five, that's the venue (mkc = "mladinski kulturni centar" = youth culture center) for tonight and koja told me gigboss grga is good cat. right there to meet me right when the boat's hatch pops - it's grga... and he IS a good cat, big time! I also meet a few others and their righteous: ivica, sasha and vasko - they give me music they're involved and from the scene here. actually this is my second time to skopje - I was here eight years ago w/the stooges - I had to fly here from a tour w/the missingmen I was doing at the same time, the parallel universes one and man, was that a pants-shitter cuz flying between gigs w/tom/raul and then w/stooges w/out any days off... I still can't believe I didn't miss one show, crimony! let me tell you who can throw spiel like fucking no one you know - this badass brother vasko. man, this cat is learning watt on shit you wouldn't believe regarding these parts, past and present - also goddamn future which he ain't a cynic and in fact if there ain't a spirit more alive than I don't know what's erupting from this man. respect. he knows drko in zagreb, holy cow! yeah, it's like the old days where lots of each other knew each other in the scene. me and ivica are talking, I tell him I sincerely believe punk ain't a kind of music but about people and in a way it's like all these cats taking turn learning and teaching trippy shit to prove they're alive. we do soundcheck and my new macedonian buddies get to realize I wasn't bullshittin' when I said our soundcheck is a minute-eighteen, "I hate long soundchecks" is not an empty slogan w/watt.

   upstairs gigboss grga has chow for us, macedonia bbq - grilled meats, salad, their kind of cheese here, fries. I get a sausage for a bread stuffed w/onion and tomatoes along w/that cheese plus moutard ('mustard' in french) from our boat, merci miss hiyori, merci. I do an interview w/vasko, sasha and ivica for the radio here - they say "blagodaram" for thank you here and that's what I feel for them letting me answer what they wanna know - vasko especially brings it, this man has fire I feel d. boon had, damn. he talks w/hands like an italiano too, respect - he brings it. cool people, strong anarchist sensitive man - raymond would dig him. there's some couches nearby so the leave me to konk and I do (deep) but I slide off the patent leather and onto the deck - I guess cuz I don't know for sure cuz I was konked but I did wake up on the deck, being rousted for the gig around a quarter of eleven.

   downstairs tom and raul both helping me up on stage (we moved the stage up cuz damn what's this about having like six or more feet between us and the folks? fuck that, so glad gigboss grga got that happening for us earlier. a weird thing is toilet paper or something taped around my mic - what? look if it's to protect against shock, that ain't gonna help once it gets wet, no way. I dedicate tonight to scotty-san and we bring the piece... vasko's got me lit up pretty good, I bring it w/all this cojo body will let me - I mean w/out going over the side - rudy like a good man put tape where the unevenness is so I can see where to put my and be safe. tom and raul play really fucking good and tight though I think tom put new strings on his guitar w/out stretching them cuz damn if he ain't way out of tune by the piece's end but fuck that, not so important in the big scheme of things - how many times did me and d. boon get out of tune (especially by the end of the set) cuz we were working the hell out of our machines? plenty, I shit thee not. the macedonian gig-goers are fired up - you can tell... fuck is that a picture of brother koja up on the bulkhead to my starboard? don't get distracted, watt - keep at the piece, keep w/raul, keep w/tom - keep w/the gig-goers cuz you owe them, you owe everyone: the french tourbrothers, tourboss macario, stooges, punk scene, mr bosch, judy garland, minutemen - everyone. damn though if this toilet paper on the mic is soaked and making like I'm trying to sing through chonies w/them looking on the inside like two miles of country road - I tear the shit off w/my teeth cuz my goddamn fingers won't do it. it does give and damn don't things get clearer. aaarrrggghhh, sorry for so much spit and loogies coming up w/the spiel when I open my goddamn mouth!

   we get done and I get by the seat by the gig hatch and get the good word from many good folks, so very kind of them. one man tells me about sharing "in the moment karma" which I feel is excellent comment - this can be righteous aspect of art and expression, trippy about that. damn I wish I would've got this man's name - he tell me very interesting and at same time very inspiring things in most humble way - incredible talent... respect for him from me. I get final spiels for the night from vasko and ivica, bows from watt in respect to them... safe seas, brothers.

   the konk pad is right next door... many stairs but I do the slow-go to be safe. it's cold hose-off but that's better than no hose-off, brrrrrrr! I am beat but not beatdown, I had big time spirit boosts from the good cats w/the generous hearts tonight... blagodaram.

tuesday, march 25, 2014 - sofia, bulgaria

from raul:

   Cold sleep last night, we weren't able to fully close the window to our room, so we had a draft all night. No hot water either, so no hot shower to warm up in the morning. its ok though, we gotta get out quick anyhow, so i'll just power thru w/ the help of coffee. We're meeting downstairs in cafe part of where we played, and to get there, i gotta go around our building, and thru a pack of wild dogs that are laying in parts where the sun rays shine thru. They seem content on staying warm, so i'm not too worried about getting rabies. I think the folks here feed them, so thats whay they stick around and don't seem to bother anyone. At cafe, i asked the women at the counter for a triple coffee, three shots of espresso in one cup. She then pulls me 3 seperate shots in 3 seperate cups! i felt like a dope, and she wanted to throw them away, but i suggested i put em' in one cup then add some milk, we both laughed at me.

   We got a border into bulgaria today, and two lane highways to get there, so we jam on it, only makin' one mistake w/ directions... we almost went back to macadonia border to say hi to our friendly border guard from the day before..aaarrghh! luckily, these guys figured it out just in time to get the last exit before the border, and turn us around in the right direction. The bulgaria border is up thru the mountains, and it is actullay snowing just a tiny bit once we get to the top and cross over. It's pretty butter by the way, we have 3 hurdles to jump, and we clear all of em' fairly easy. The one thing that stresses me a bit, is some of the guys pick this time to talk and giggle, and it gives me an un-easy feeling when being scutinized by border security, maybe i'm the parinoid one, but i'm not interested in getting searched, or waiting hours in an office to be granted or denied entry. I'd rather play the game, and laugh about when we're free of the stress.

   Same kinda 2 lane highways going down the mtn, and many semi trucks jammin' on these. The roads are tore back, and there's many speed traps when we hit the villages, so we take our time and drive slowly thru the tiny towns. Axel is hungry, and suggest a food stop, we try a coule places that are closed, and eventually end up n a lil beer hall/restaurant on the highway. The 2 women team whips up simple sausage sami's, w/ cucumber and tomoto, and charges us a euro a piece, pretty good deal. We're in the cuts for most the drive, and most of the towns feel and look pretty desperate. No commentary on the folks living there at all, and no question to their happiness, they may be the most content folks you could ever meet, but just visually rough and hard. Very old pads that look abandoned w/ families still there. Makes me feel lucky for simple things i have in life right now, and reminds me not to take shit for granted.

   Once into town, streets turn very tiny and also one ways, but there's not too much roam before we find the maze. We got a long windy staircase going down to the basement, but not so much a problem w/ all these hands. The bigger problem is the big square 4x4 foot post right in the middle of the stage. A little strategy is needed to figure out how to set up. I end up getting behind it, where i get a good view of the dizzy G. picture taped to it, and also a straight shot to mike, no tom, it's awkward, but'll its gonna have to do. After soundcheck, we take a short two block walk down the st. to do a traditional bulgarian meal. We're lead to a basement part of the restaurant, and take up two tables on a little raised platform. There's 3 chains hangin' from above the table, and hanging from the chains, is a carved wooden dish about a Two ft in diameter. On it is a bunch of diffrent fresh vegetables, beans, dips, and salads. Once this is done, and we're pretty much stuffed, out comes the main course!! many diffrent grilled meats! one table has the pork platter, and the other chicken, chow insanity! Really good, but we all over did it just a bit! i ended up leaving early, and taking a few laps around the block to aid to the digestion.

   Good one tonight, and despite our weird stage situation, and also the trippy lay out of the club, we do good. We were being filmed for web too, so i think that mellowed us out a bit. It felt good to play w/ all i had, but not over push and go balls out! It was that kinda vibe too, folks surrounding us from all sides, but some sittin right up front w/ legs crossed diggin the show. I did my best to not be to insecure about the camera pointed directly at me for the hour we were up there, and also remembered to enjoy taking it easy w/ the situation. Not any crazyness aftre gig either, i think we were all a bit tired. Usually the guess what guys will go out after the shows, but once back at the hostel, we finished the carne leftovers, and were all out within a half hour.

from tom:

   [being in line, waiting for food]

   i wake in the chilly room, put my sleep mask on and go back to sleep for another hour, then the alarm wakes us at 9. raul jams to the shower and we find out there's no hot water, bummer. we just pack it up and head downstairs and see the sweet young lady at the bar from last night named emily and makes us coffees and tells us not to change, she means that in a very nice way. our group assembles in fragments, all in need of some form of beverage, i have more coffee from emily. i feel good, rested, and sun is out, so i jump on the load out and packing process with some of the dudes and say goodbye to our new friends in skopje.

   we have a windy ride through a mountain pass at the border to bulgaria, snow is falling in light tiny flakes. they keep us in our van as they go over our papers and finally let us go on our way. i rest on our way to through some rough lands with broken down structures, and we snake around the streets of sofia till we find the maze club/bar and load in downstairs into the lounge area and onto the stage that has a large cement post right in the middle. we have to work around it so we spend time on our set up strategy. before check raul and i have a short walk around, sit, talk. after check we are brought to a nearby bulgarian restaurant where they have hanging platters of mixed salads and vegetables that we devour. then they switch the empty trays with ones piled with various grilled meats and vegis that i only sample small bits from. back at the bar i lay down on an empty seating pad and listen to nico play in the adjoining room, then guess what play, then nico, then us. i have to squeeze around the cement post in order to have any contact with mike and raul, kind of a drag, but i make the best of it and i have a good time. again, i like having to work with obstacles on stage. after the gig we pack up and load out like usual, maybe you notice a pattern here. at our sleep space in get in the lower bunk and go to sleep.

from watt:

   pop at eight and get hot hose off, turning on the water heater worked! they got internet so I can update tour diary after chimping up the last of belgrade entry. man, that was some night for me... vasko's here to help w/us w/load-out and after spilling part of his coff on my converse, gigboss grga gets me some black coff of my own to drink and it's really good - I get three hits and it's good on my sore nodo ('throat' in jap). everyone greets me w/great weather greetings and I agree and am glad I brought it from my pedro town (just joking). I am most gratefrul for happening weather always. I get one final round of righteous rap from vasko, love it - the man is a treasure. he gives me good news: though he only goes as west as saint lousi maybe still he's coming to the u.s. so I hope as many cats back home as possible get to meet him. you will not be disappointed, good people - this man is a total affirmation of the human spirit - he would blown mr joyce's ulysses-ized mind. this man in his heart holds the tradition people like and me d. boon came from, it's a fucking trip, crimony!

vasko + grga in skopje, macedonia on march 25, 2014

   we get out of town ok cuz gigboss grga gave us happening directions. the problem is getting out of the country... we 'pert-near end up at the same border crossing we went over yesterday, crimony! tourboss macario says something righteous: he asks if we all can help w/directions, watching for signs letting us know which is right way. this is fundamental policy in my boat and I'm so glad it's getting adopted here. we mean no disrespect, we love these guys but there are some differences in the way we tour and I don't think all our ideas are lameass ones. we bring her about and macario finds the smaller road that heads east instead of the bigger one that goes north (whence we came) and it's a good thing, not that much time lost. big white puffy clouds but lots of blue and bright sun above also. they got cats here sweeping the highway, it's a trip - miles apart but at least it's work. sweeping the highway, trippy - especially when we saw yesterday landfills on both sides of the border w/garbage blowing from all over the place. pretty landscape, like new mexico in some ways. we get to talking about mexican chow and how we love it, us cali guys but axel know cuz he went to mexico city seven years ago - the chow is great there but of course a little different than our kind, more country style from baja, oaxaca, jalisco and michoacan - love it so much. tom's going crazy cuz we had no chow and he's very hungry... many tiny towns we pass through and trippy kind of poplar trees around. then we go through parts like our west virginia w/folks living in narrow canyons... interesting. just after noon we fuel up (station name in english: "magic shops" - slogan above hatch: "thank you for your confidence") and switch ponies, axel now at the wheel - a search for a chow pads but too close to the border? yep, one stop twenty of one we we're at the douane, slight snow on us... we get through the macedonia side - "ok, mister" from the borderman and then w/the bulgarian side... butter, thank you so much to the borderlady and borderman. they got fifty klick speed trap zone for many klicks so we do the slow go - pass one speeding checkpoint, policia in the middle of the road. some macedonian cats last night warned damien about revenue stream setup here but I think it's good to always respect host country rules cuz you are guest. about twenty of two we pull over at a chow pad w/only "non stop" on its sign in english - chilly but sun out bright poking through clouds (some black) and snow flakes were only border thing. the benjo is olde-timey (no seat but hole in the ground w/traction kind-of grippers on each side for the feet) and since it's really clean and has a hose just in case... I go for it, using the wastepaper basket to hold me steady cuz of my fucked-up knee and cuz of that weak knee, I have to squat as far as I can go (gravity wins), thank god I somehow cleared my levis - some unko gets on the tile deck but the hose (has a fucking shower head!) gets everything ship shape. I leave this pad maybe cleaner (if not wetter) than when I arrived, e fatta! I have their version of a donner kebab which is a grilled sausage on a big roll w/cucumber and tomato, yeah it's good.

   axel still at the wheel, we continue on to sofia and see some way econo tore up pads - but w/satellite dishes? horse-draw carts w/car tires, one lady walking her herd of goats on the road's shoulder... interesting. then it's up through some mountain beatup road, whoa - I can imagine this w/ice and snow, crimony! we brainstorm a new trip for the encore - great idea from macario... we try and implement tonight. the sun out bright now and everyone konked, we see the communist industrial blight and beatup - fuck, it's hard to believe this power station is still fucking working! and what's w/the shitty concrete? everywhere you see "good old days" soviet architecture it's always w/the fucked-up and crumbly lame shit. we discuss though the alternative, a shiny casino building for new ruling class (how many were "good old days" connects) and tycoonery w/everyday folks w/down jackets, cell phones (leashes) and satellite dishes, billboards for material salvation planted in beat beat beatdown. I'm glad all these communist governments fell and all the posturing but why substitute it w/whatever you wanna call it - man, I think things might be right for nationalist clowns bringing fascist shit back - we gotta make things more inclusive... I guess things take time but man, my heart for these folks, empathy level and not feel sorry - I imagine myself w/them like back home when I see our beatdown, when I see cats in the fields, picking. axel was talking to me back where just chowed about "demagoguery" - he didn't know we use that in our language and I tell him to please see a movie called "a face in the crowd" when he gets a chance.

   we get into down town and the maze of olde-timey streets, tom talking about alternate universe theories regarding black holes w/raul and it makes me think of the quantum perspective on that which is a fucking mindblow to conceive for a stunad like me but it interests me much but anyway... 'pert-near four bells when we drop anchor (ALL OF US in the boat helping w/finding venue - raul spots first, good man) and the name of the pad we're playing is called the maze and the gigboss ivan and his cousin atanas are there to greet us - we get to park right across the street. this pad is downstairs and is a maze w/a trippy layout including the stage - another pole sitch but we set up the best we can w/out raul behind me and still being able to make contact w/the fucking ojos - it's really important for this band. tomorrow's gigboss kosta raps w/me before/after soundcheck - he's been in the bulgaria underground scene seventeen years, respect. he plays me some tim maia - whoa, great stuff - so glad to get turned on to this, damn! atanas talks to me about bourbon - he got a bottle of "four roses" for after the gig - mazui for me but I'm not ungrateful, he's very cool people. I talked to him outside and learn about some hard stuff here - many years of tough communist rule and then criminals now providing the hell here (he says the have old secret service connections). he gives me half-pint of jim beam and takes back four roses - fair exchange.

   we do soundcheck and then I chimp diary in between rapping w/kosta as the other parts of the team go shovel at a chow pad somewhere... it's better for me to stay at venue and have chow brought to me cuz of my fucked-up knee, just is and I feel less a burden on everyone. remember I can't even fucking help on the load-out/load-in except for guardiano role. what I get brought back is fucking happening, a think pork cutlet w/sunflower seeds on it, a salad made w/grilled pimento chili, some kind jalapeno-like chili, eggplant, lettuce and tomato - fucking great. there's this other like "braid" of a "rope" of grilled chicken and a "rope" of grilled beef too. trippy, I like much. oh yeah, paprika on everything too, tasty. I go find a place way in the back of the "maze" where there's big long cushioned seats - bigger than a couch actually and konk there. oh, first I put out word on the net that this gig is being streamed cuz it is, I just found out from cvetan, the cat who interviewed me last night from skopje on grga's leash for the national radio here - did I mention that in yesterday's chimping? fuck, I space on so much goddamn shit, aaaarrrrgggghhhh...

   no going early tonight cuz everyone's expecting the eleven pm go-time w/the webcast so that's a little different, 'pert-near it's been a little earlier than tourboss macario tells us at soundcheck which is way ok w/me and my men. I tell the folks great honor to finally get to play their land and dedicate piece to scotty and also make a stupid joke about that four roses bourbon and atanas - some cat in the audience yells "shame for him" and I feel like a total idiot - fuck, he's very cool people and I didn't try to embarrass him - stupid fucking watt. anyway, we bring the piece... trippy w/this pole between me/raul and tom but that's the sitch and at least tom can dance around out front (he's actually the front man tonight, big time) and help make things better. I just need to be w/raul and totally not have him behind like that perpignan gig a couple of weeks ago - man, did that lame me out big time. right in the first part I get self-conscious cuz of being aware of the webcast but catch myself after a clammed word and double-up my resolve to hold focus. the sofia gig-goers are most kind and channel a great energy our way, lots of dancing up front - yeah, dancing to the third opera, trippy... lots of change-ups... I do pretty good except for the "hill-man" part which I clam in certain parts like you wouldn't believe - I don't know how I lost focus but luckily raul and tom are way solid and I can get back in there and maybe cuz of this part of the opera is kind of absurd it might be ok. I get it back together for the rest of the opera and we try something a little different for the encore. I thank "mr pole" for joining us on stage, "tovarich" ('comrade' in ruskie) I tell the folks. actually, tom did a great job dealing w/it.

   the merch was put in the worst place and I'm kind of just sitting all alone but no matter, people come up and are very nice to me. one man said my voice "washed over him" and thanked me much. I don't think I've ever been told that. a bunch of musicians talk w/me - I find out the gigboss ivan is a fellow bassman by one of them - he is such a modest man and humble man, I would've never known. he's just the best. I think about his cousin atanas... I sure hope I didn't hurt his feelings. I shouldn't of said anything about that fucking bottle of four roses, stupid watt. much kindness from the sofia gig-goers, truly.

   we pull anchor and travel not far to a hostel called "canape" and it's very nice pad to konk. hot shower in an style of shower/benjo I remember in 80s europe, all one room. I am tuckered, whoa... thrityfourth gig in a row, we're three-forths done w/these guys - we can do it!

wednesday, march 26, 2014 - plovdiv, bulgaria

from raul:

   We don't bail till 2 in the afternoon today, short drive ahead, so no rush. I get the chance to sleep till 10:30, and still have time to hoof it. No towels though, so no shower again, soon i will start to offend the other people i'm traveling with, for that i apoligize. Tom and i, decide that after breakfast, we'll take a walk while watt does a filmed interview. We hang w/ the others for awhile, aimlessly roaming, and end back up near club. I spot a shoe store, and actually find some that'll do. I need em' for insurance, the one's on my feet now will be useless soon. So even if i don't sport these instantly, they'll be there when the rain comes. Plus, ive been outta fresh anything clothes -wise for awhile now, and it'd be stupid to ruin a new pair of sneakers w/ foul socks! Hopefully, i can find laundry in the next few days, that'll hold me till we get back to christine's, then one more wash to start the last two weeks fresh!

   What should be a short drive, turns into a very long one mentally. The guys in front were blasting something that sounded like shock jock radio crank calls, all in french, and at max volume. The ear plugs were no escape either, i was very glad when we landed in plovdiv. Finding the club was a bit difficult too. We did a blow by, but past an entry that was no more, their were little cement stumps stopping vehicles. If someone whould of hipped everyone else in the boat, i think we could've spotted it a bit earlier, there was a big banner behind us that read stage 51, the name of the venue. Us in the back had no idea that maybe we were lost in the first place! with some more neck cranes and eyeballs, i think we could be a stronger team, our own hybrid creature. I know that we for sure could've found this club quicker!

   We're a couple minutes late, but no big thing, we get loaded up the single flight of stairs into this old tabacco drying facility. The wait comes w/ the sound check, rudy seems to be having lots of problem's w/ the monitors squealing. Two hours later, i do 10 minute drum check, and we do our minute plus sound check. After that, i'm quickly out the door, and headed wherever this road will take me. The inner hood seems a little twisty, and kinda confusing, so i find as much grid as i can, only making 1 right, and 1 left at a big plaza, and luckily into the old part of town. There's a public walkway thats just shops and food places, but just past on the streets that it follows, there is very old nieghborhoods, and roman ruins being re-worked into the more modern city. Great walk, but i spaced, and after an hour and a half, it dawns on me i gotta get back, i don't even know when nicholas starts! i instantly start running, not much though, it think it was just natural reaction, pretty funny. Once i'm back, he hasn't even begun yet, so i have a little bit of the leftover dinner, grilled chicken w/ lemon, and salad w/ out dressing, also braeds, but i don't have those.

   Trippy gig tonight, i could hardly see any of the crowd due to bright lights facing the stage, so i try and focus on the guys and not get too blinded. Set goes good, except for my jinxed problem part i don't even wanna voice too much, in fear i'll give it more power. but during these monents, i get a floor tom that just collapses outta nowhere, but is quickly noticed by stage man, i was able to reposition the leg in the seconds between songs, but he came up to try and fix placement, but put way too close to me. Half a minute after, a cmybal stand collapses due to hard blows by watt.The stage man also comes up to help w/ this, he secures it back for me, but i can't get it good till pinned, the olny time i stop for a minute. After the gig, we do our pack up quick, and i have a beer while we wait for macario to get his many boxes of merch packed up. Some of the guys seem a little amped up, and a ready to go out to continue the party. Me, i'm super tired, and want nothing more than to get to the hostel, and get a shower, it's been four days now, and also some rest. Tom and i share a room again, and within the half hour, i'm finally clean, which feels great, and we're both out cold till morning!

from tom:

   [chinatown scene, steve, dr. seuss house, d.j., vinegar]

   i awaken from crazy dreams, i find the toilet, i go back to sleep. rudy walks into our room with the alarm on his phone playing a tap dancing tune to wake us out of bed. !!today is caroline's birthday!! i send her a note, and a warm thought. down the tiny staircase we are offered apple pie without apples and an apple without pie which we eat in alternating bites to create the complete experience in our mouths, and we drink luke warm coffee in the basement room of the hostel. the sun is out but it doesn't look like it will last so a small group of us wander out and down the city street just to stretch or legs, joking about anything along the way. i think about how strange it is to be on a street in bulgaria like this and remind myself to soak it into memory for future reminiscing. raul and i stop for him to try on some shoes at a skate shop and i support his choice of new foot wear and then we walk back to the hostel. mike is busy with a video interview and i write some sitting on a chair on the porch. we board our vehicle and cross town to a radio interview and i stand outside on the corner with raul, damian, hiyori, and wait for our next move.

   the road feels long and the skies go grey when we pull into plovdiv, the old capital of bulgaria that was previously called phillipopolis after alexander the great's father who conquered it long ago. there are still roman ruins in the center of town, but the club is in a less interesting region of some run down buildings and sex shops. the stage 51 club is in a renovated building from communist days, and used to be a tobacco drying and storage depot. we enter and get organized and i try to find somewhere to relax and read, which always seems to be a test. rudy gets the pa sounding good, we do our mini soundcheck and then guess what and we eat. kosta brings us bulgarian grill with chicken and beef, little pita type breads and green salad. perfect. we also have some croatian wine which is a brownish purple color and leaves sediment in the bottom of my plastic cup like little coffee grounds. time goes by. nico, guess what, nico, then us....i feel like our timing is a little off tonight, kind of like we are equally detached from each other and i think to myself that it's because i didn't have rest before playing, even just sitting quietly really helps me when we play and i know that helps us with connecting onstage. it's a rough one, but the people are very spirited in the audience and they keep our energy up. for the amount of effort made i don't feel very sweaty for some reason, it's odd. we dilly dally during load out and then kosta guides us to our hostel and raul and i share a room and grab extra blankets from the cabinet and go to sleep in the refrigerated room.

from watt:

   pop at eight bells. have good strong coff I make in the little kitchen here w/simply-operated machine. I then chimp diary, update hoot page. big clouds mixed w/blue sky out the window - coming into the window is many kodomo ('kids' in jap) sounds from school across the road, interesting. I give myself closest shave of the tour and don't cut myself, yatta! nice little kitchen here, in fact whole pad is really happening - I make coff, they got strong turk kind, great. back to email... crimony! I get this email from koja and he says:

   it's was one of those rare occasions when people who are sharing same values can talk to each other and that's what we should be after.

   carry on!

words from the man, big respect from watt for him, truly.

   hostel boss niro cooks me up a couple of fried eggs w/some goat cheese topped w/paprika along w/some toast, really good, blagodaram (they say that here too like in macedonia) to him. at one I do video interview w/cvetan for the national tv and then do spiel w/krasi for the national radio rock channel - I got axel w/me for team support - good spiel w/krasi, he asks me in my opinion what are the roots of punk and I tell him stooges, captain beefheart, last poets, jerry lee lewis, john coltrane, little richard, wood guthrie, dada... he knows what I'm talking about. just like the other spiel w/ where I hurried it up, kind of for nothing cuz we gotta wait and wait - after the radio one it gets kind of long - I guess a key wasn't returned so nicholas and macario had to loop back to the hostel so just to keep the spirit up cuz kosta (he's tonight's gigboss) is getting kind of nervous, I ask him what street the male prostitutes work and very seriously he queries me "why did you ask me that question?" - I'm just yankin' his chain and he gets it... I keep forgetting english ain't folks over here's first language even though they're very good at it, well... kosta then tells me he really doesn't listen to music. he says it's like potatoes, he tells me "macario brings me potatoes, I know they're gonna be good potatoes - I don't have to eat to know." whoa.

   the boat arrives (nicholas at the wheel) and now the next mission is to find a vignette for the highway to plovdiv which is where we're playing tonight, an old thracian and then roman town, bulgaria's second city but a fourth the size of sofia. it's gray skies now, weather changes fast. only two hours drive and a good highway (that's what the vignette's for), much different trip than yesterday's from macedonia. up front they play mp3s of french comedians really loud so we start listing off the most unfunny fuckers ever like pauley shore, carrot top, gallagher, dennis miller, et cetera. then it's queen, what?! torture and again unequal treatment as far as music as a tool of dictatorship, our only defense: earplugs. after some wander, blowby and loop we find the venue which is in a beatup part of town also by the sex shops and nicholas does incredible job get the too-big boat for these kind of streets w/dumpsters at dangerous angles and cars parked all over - good job. a local man w/notebook and pen, "thank you thank you thank you, collecting - thank you thank you thank you" I sign his book, everyone else weirds out on him. ok. this pad is called stage 51 and seems to have some kind of music store (or rental?) connection - it's the second floor of an old warehouse building (tom tells me he was told it was a former tobacco wharehouse) but the space ain't too big to be a boom hall. kosta's the gig boss but he's still in sofia and will arrive later. there's a whole band setup on the stage behind us, trippy. very nice folks working here.

rudy ouazene orgainizing soundcheck at stage 51 in plovdiv, bulgaria on march 26, 2014

   two hours for soundcheck, my part maybe two minutes including the first of the opera where we all three play. soon kosta brings chow which is grilled chicken and beef, salad a pita quarters, I like it. tom gives me a little thracian wine, trippy color but I like it. someone's bogarting the one big sofa out in the club so find a place on the side of the stage that's behind a curtain - tom finds me a big thin blankie to bundle up and use as a pillow and I konk on the deck. I konk through l'oeillere's first set but am waken by guess what and though laying there the whole time, I am conscious and listen to them... damn, have all these gigs in a row really tightened them up, whoa. same w/second set w/l'oeillere, really really tight even though he's man-alone, he's really gotten his "program" together, excellent flow and expression.

   our turn at twenty after ten. it'a a chrarcter-builder, for some reason I let the people know it ok to disco dance - I've never said that before... I dedicate the piece to scotty-san after explaining what were gonna do in ten words ("we're gonna play you a fortyfive minute song in thirty minutes") - right away lots of the gig-goers fly into crazy disco-dancing, unbelievable. I am totally surprised the monitors fart out after the first part and are nothing but terrible distortion and crap-out, oh well. they're the worst but still I can blame it on blowing "hill-man" once again, damn it. tom blew some clams but that has nothing to do w/me two gigs in a row fucking up the "hill-man" part so I gotta think of what I can do about that, get it solved... I don't want it three gigs in a row. I think tom had light problem, lights in his eyes. I have to say it was in all the times we've brought this baby, like three and a half years now, I've seen so much disco dancing so BIG respect to the plovdiv gig-goers, BIG respect to them. they bring us back for an encore. a young man calls my bass a "sg" and I try to explain it's an "eb" bass, a 1965 gibson eb-0 given to me by a man named dan after a gig in san diego at the casbah maybe five years ago now that I modified by replacing what he had modified which was the pickup - he actually put in two but I took out one of his and replaced the other w/a rio grande pit bull plus I replaced the pickguard (custom made by greg at "world of strings" in long beach - fuck, no longer there) and the bridge w/a schaller one. one of the fiercest dancers says, "go easy on him, he's a junior" and of course I don't want him to feel bad, he seems like a great cat. someone actually jumps on the stage (same guy?) and hollers into tom's mic "elementary my dear watson" - what? trippy. good spirit though, great folks, truly. I'm so glad kosta brought us to plovdiv, respect to him.

   I go to the table, very nice people - one man brought his son, "hey, big man!" I tell him. beautiful. the most intense disco dancer guy, very articulate and great w/english and knows all about our music scene, respect to him. a lady journalist named ania does an interview w/me, she's most genuine about wanting to know stuff - a man's been waiting so I ask for a few seconds after answering some - this man tells me I offended him and first I tell him I'm sorry but how? then I say I can give you your money back cuz I am very sorry and didn't mean to... he asks why didn't I play more? I reply I can to do my third opera and then the encore of that other stuff and he says, yeah but why not more? and again I say I'm sorry but I'm not strong enough actually, it takes 'pert-near all I got to do what I'm doing and then I'm thinking that english ain't his first language and maybe "offended" was the wrong word he was searching for, maybe it was "disappointed" or something. I still feel bad and shake his hand and apologize. I then finish the spiel but feel kind of lame for making that man feel that way. shit I wish I was stronger. aarrgggghhh. I start feeling real weak, really weak and it hits way down. everyone was very sincere w/me here tonight, everyone - please no one thing I blame anyone except myself.

   I'm most grateful when kosta gets us to the kind of guest house thing where we're konking - the hot hose down and then getting under the blankies feels real good on me and keeping my health force still intact - I was feeling it slipping... crimony. I can't let any of these guys down - my men or the french brothers. no monitors did make pushing so hard tough but houseman harim was so kind and said, yes, he did know about them being not together, but that's just part of working the room. I didn't mean to offend that gig-goer but I did, I gave him the impression of doing a poor job. now I'm feeling weak but thank god I'm in this konk pad clean and in nightwear and maybe I can rally my being and in turn effort and stuff. whoa, trippy lessons always in the school of life. gotta circle the wagons for now, thank god for these blankies...

thursday, march 27, 2014 - bucharest, romania

from raul:

   On second thought, i did wake up once in the night. I must of heard something in my sleep that got me up, when i opened my eyes, i notcied the door had been opened, First thought was that i was dreaming, second thgought, maybe the guys opened the wrong room when they came back from the bar, and my next thought was arrgghh!! we were robbed! then i notice, tom wasn't in bed, and in that monment, he came back in from using the toilet that was upstairs...whew! That's a trippy thing, walking up so spaced out, and seeing that. We got a big drive, so we're up and at it early headed to bucarest romania.

   Nice weather on way to border, like california spring. Border isn't tough today, we actually had a officer who seemed in a great mood. He checked our passports w/ a smile, got em stamped, and waved us thru. The trouble comes about two miles after we're in. Everythng seems fine, gay ol' time, then axel makes a left turn, and we see a paddle go up. From the looks, it's a police doing a traffic stop, but as we pull up, things seem a bit strange pretty quickly, the civilian car is a give, and second, he's got a side kick that is just sittin' shot gun, and i didn't see this, but some of the guys mentioned seeing a set of eyes in the back seat. We'll at this point he asks us to pull to the side, and he takes all our passports w/ him, which seems strange, seeing as how we just had em' stamped a few miles back. Eventually, he gets axel, who was driving outta the van and juices him for whatever cash he has in his pocket. Said he was speeding, and could either take the ticket, or pay it off the easy way. So lame, but in away we're very lucky to only have lost 40 euro, it could've of been a far worse outcome, i thought axel handled it well.

   Playing a place called control, right in the center of the city. Great place w/ much space, and a easy load, no stairs and straight form the street. Good size box w/ a cafe and patio connected to one side. We also stay close, around the corner, 2 blocks down, and 2 more to the right. After sound check, we ordered some food, i got grilled chicken, and salad. Im digging these parts we're in, they're way into simple grilled meats, i also had the same thing at a roadside stop this afternoon. Anyhow, after i chomp quick, standing up and using my hands, kinda cave man, but i was hungry, and was done before everyone else got there napkins and plastic forks handed to em'. i guess i wasn't in the mood for "civalized" meal time, sorry guys. I also opted to not have the desert, and ofcourse, rudy a.k.a sweet tooth was all over that. i waited for tom to to finish up, and we took the short walk to the hotel to sit down for an hour before the gig started.

   Really fun and inspiring gig for me tonight. Good sound and feeling on stage, and both the guys played great, no half-steppin'. Generous crowd too, that really dug the music, and showed it w/ big ol'smiles while dancing, that was the inspiring part for me, it's always a treat to get to play for folks like that. It all had a great vibe,from the promoters, the house sound guy, and gig goers, everyone was in great spirts. It's a been a hard and tiring couple of gigs, they have just takin' it outta me. We slammed it in belgrade, and played hard in skopje, and the couple after that were real good too, but my energy was on the down slope, tonights gig brought it back for me, i felt refreshed, and it was good to be able to play w/ true energy, and all these things comng together brought that out.

from tom:

   [superman, running, hermosa, dinner party, d]

   my alarm goes off at 8:15, i push snooze and drop back into deep sleep for 9 more minutes. then i have a shower in a closet with a small sink and a hand held shower head and am pleased that it has such hot water. then raul and i go out for a walk to check out the roman ruins a few blocks away and the amphitheater is still in great condition along with some modern reconstruction it still functions as an outdoor theater more than 2 thousand years later. mind boggling. back at the hostel we regroup and say goodbye to kosta the promoter and meander through the cobbled streets onto a small highway, this goes on and then the gps routes us onto smaller and smaller roads, finally dirt paths with potholes and it takes a little while till we are reunited with a relatively modern road. we stop at a truck stop/restaurant and i have a plain omelette and share cheese fries with raul. i dowse it with tabasco and have an iced tea and a tiny cabbage salad, all for about $3.

   made it to bucharest by 6, long drive. quick load in, set up...nice room at the control club here. we are met by mate outside and raluca greets us and makes us comfortable in the upstairs backstage area. we have food brought to us in the venue, i have grilled chicken breast, steak fries and another small cabbage salad, and i wash it all down with some romanian red wine that immediately soothes my achey aches. raul and i step outside and then walk the 3 or 4 blocks to the hotel opera, a 3 star hotel that is very comfortable for us and we take an hour to chill out before heading back over to the gig and watch guess what and nico play. they sound really good tonight, and nico perches him and his amp on a stack of pallets in the middle of the floor and plays from there. looks great. we go on soon after and have a good time, we play tight and strong, much more than last night. it reminds me how that little rest time before playing can really benefit the show. we meet a few local folks and chat, raul and i talk with another raluca and her friend simona, and greg about music mostly. it's always nice to meet very cool people like them. the load up and out is sluggish but no problem cause the hotel is nearby and we're just going to go to sleep soon anyway, we have an early call in the morning so that's what we do. after a brief but nice stroll back to hotel we say thanks and goodbye to raluca and mate and raul and i go to room 102 and hit the sack by 2.

from watt:

   pop at nine and half - fuck did I need that but I find out I'm holding up whole team - pull anchor time I was told last night was ten am and I guess it was changed to nine - fuck, how was I too know? I'm always the earliest... but not today. we pull anchor at 'pert-near ten - cuz of me. I am sorry but I didn't fucking know, I was told other information. anyway, enough kvetch about that - let's talk about getting lost and getting on wrong road to where we need to go: out of bulgaria and into romania. I really enjoyed my two days here but it's time for this part of the tour. same problem as whole tour though - we ignored this for weeks but now it's fucking really getting to be a pain... up front in language that keeps out, they wander - look, it's tough in eastern europe cuz they're still coming on and the navigatori gps makes lots of wrong moves but why not include us? we've toured for years and many many miles - I always involve my men in making sure we're going the right way, no second class citizens in my boat but here it's a different story and so I read the riot act again. I hate raising my voice but this is kind of ridiculous. there is an understanding. we find the right way - fuck, it was raul from the most back bench who spotted the venue yesterday after looping around three times... crimony. we can be huge asset, not just after the fact complainers and bellyachers. tourboss macario says we're here to learn - so I am, I like his statement. everything fine now, storm clouds from watt pass. I respect much these guys ability to speak english and feel so stupid for not knowing french cuz I love that language. curse me. grayskies out the boat's window but no rain... like so cal morning marine layer.

   lots of bulgarian farmland and hardly any urban as we travel first east and then north. before we bailed I told tourboss macario I think I was wrong about some diary I chimped a few days ago where I said maybe too much beatdown might make things ripe for stupid shit like fascism. this street we're on has got some tore up shit but folks have good spirit. I mean no one is into have beatdown on them but maybe happiness ain't just things - maybe happy is about something else. I know unhappy folks w/lots of shiny things, w/no beatdown - they got sadness. I think it was superficial of me to try and explain things so simple, like a reductionist thing just to push through an argument and that's weak. what we need is healthy trip, whatever it takes to get healthy - whatever it takes to lose to get healthy - healthy spirit, healthy bodies, healthy minds and healthy hearts (love part).

on the way to bucharest, romania from plovdiv, bulgaria on march 27, 2014

   axel asks if there's captain beefheart on my ipod, i have him play some outtakes from some of his 60s albums. the fucking navagatori gps puts on a broken up sidewalk-like road through a village called yagoda (you know about that motherfucker named yagoda, right?) and this leads to smaller and more beat road - huge potholes 'pert-near threatening to put us out of the race cuz this is not the right vehicle. I think the folks who live here know the right vehicle, not some huge big-city bakawagon not knowing where the hell they're going. twelve and a half, we stop for fuel in a town called gurkovo but the pump looks too beatup and maybe rust in the tank so tourboss macario says lets do chow next door - however we don't park next door, what? the fuelman looks at us strange, I ask for us to please park next door. aaaarrrggghhhh... at chow pad I whisper to tourboss macario I will not say one more word about driving. if I don't this it will be very counterproductive. I just let go. I have kebab (their version is a little salad w/two long "kebab" sausages) for two and a half bulgarian lev which around two u.s. dollars, real tasty and I like! damien now at the wheel, we pull anchor and soon pass a funeral on the way out of town, folks walking in front and in back of the hearse. we pass respectfully but wouldn't you know some motherfucker behind us tries to pass first? unsafe fucker, we let him go - happened to us earlier today as well. good to know there's peckers on the road here like we got back home, good to know. stay vigilant. up through some hilly road - the main road but it's a little rough. the sun has come out and it's nice. about fifty klicks south of ruse, the last big town in bulgaria before romania, many MANY signs warning of... THE ROUNDABOUT (it's written in english) - five klicks: THE ROUNDABOUT... one klick: THE ROUNDABOUT... five hundred meters: THE ROUNDABOUT... one hundred meters: THE ROUNDABOUT! actually it's a twelve o'clock move for us so it's just like it was straight through... I'm waiting for the sign that says (in english) behind you, one klick: THE ROUNDABOUT! just outside of ruse, around a quarter of four we fuel up, I piss in an olde-timey facility - axel now takes the wheel. ruse is a town w/lots of gray cement box housing... a half hour later we're over the danube (bridge toll but no exit passport check like the other balkan lands we've just been in - actually the beginning of the bridge had interesting situation w/bakas coming the other way IN OUR LANE so it was kind of tiny game of chicken, axel handles it right and uses calmness. the romanian borderman has good smile and lets us over after a passport check... twenty minutes down the road we get pulled over. passport check again but the borderman w/our passports (he's an olderman) brings axel across the road... I look back at the car and it's not official one - there's a soccer trip hanging from the mirror and in the back seat... I see a set of creepy eyes looking over the seat, darting in and out. axel comes back w/the passports and he said he had to pay forty euros cuz he was speeding and this was to avoid a ticket. looks like a shakedown but you know what? we got our passports back and got down the road... look, axel was not speeding, the guy had no radar gun on us and we had just turned the corner but you know what? forty euros (about fiftyfive dollars u.s.) is lame but it could've been lamer - tourboss macario gives axel a talking to (not rough, gentle one) but I say I have another opinion and it's ok he handed over the money and got us out of that sitch. it's another hour to bucharest.

   more beatdown gray boxes as we come into town but lively scene on the streets. then five minutes to the venue we turn onto a street w/buildings all together and painted bright green like it was holland! damn, that's a trip. these don't look like fancy pads but just for whoever - not that shiny "bought people" casio look but yeah, like maybe you'd see in holland. it's a few blocks worth, whoa... onto the center of town, the buildings have facade of olde-timey but you can tell if you look close enough still communist stuff dressed up that way. I guess that last boss ceausescu was into being butch w/the soviets on some levels but ain't it a trip he ended up being the only headclown liquidated (their fucking word) when the east bloc crumbled. we're met in front of where we're playing, control by a young man I recognize cuz I did a huge spiel w/him not too long ago in england, he's got a john coltrane shirt on - all cats anointed to help us get where we're going should be in john coltrane shirts, right? what a simpler world it would be. tourboss macario's confused - same team but different location but actually much more happening, they even got a parking place for us!

   this building I'm told by gigboss raluca used to be a casino where hypocrites got privileges the people they pretended to support never got. the dressing room is up a few floors of stairs but the slow-go up it is well worth it cuz it's most comfortable for me, matei rapping to me about romania since second world war past. he tells me about the securitate where it got to the neighbor spying on neighbor level for luxury stuff like oranges - he asks if the huac trials in the u.s. during the 40s - 50s, the "naming names" was like this... I think it was a little different where that was in hollywood among writers and stuff like that and maybe not on the neighborhood level though the "red scare" I think did have a suffocation trip weighing heavy on every day people, it was more a threat than what was more the concrete reality I understand what was happening over here. like everyone who's talked to me about the "bad old days," they were terrible but lame also was a criminal class replacing it, "kleptocracy" (yeah, maybe a reason for tiny bursts of "ostolgia" maybe) and of course this latest stuff w/the boss over in ukraine, russia and crimea has matei (and watt) scared. I have to tell him though I feel weird about talking about "world" questions when not once we don't mention asia or africa - you know, more than half the world... these big things are difficult to pretend you can be an expert about. I don't think it's healthy to sweep things under the rug and be afraid to talk about stuff but there should also be some humility to keep the know-it-all and the "short cuts to the truth" horseshit in check. we do "hill-man" for our soundcheck tune, going to one minute-forty marathon check. I unlearn the wrong-learned shit I fucked up w/the last two gigs.

   back upstairs I do email regarding the upcoming england and scotland gigs. then matei brings up chow: spareribs w/no heavy sauce, very natural and tasty along w/potatoes w/parsley and tomato wedges. oishii chow, thank you, matei (pronounced 'mah-teh'). I tell him about visiting john coltrane's grave in my fortieth year - I ain't been to many graves... not d. boon's or my pop's - been to walt whitman's though. time for me to konk now, we're on at midnight at the latest, I'm told.

   I'm rousted w/a half hour to go, damn if I didn't need that konk - most grateful for it. down all the stairs real slow, nicholas gets done as I finally make it down. I thank the bucharest gig-goers for having us aboard, all of us our first time ever, dedicate to scotty-san and then we bring the piece... great monitors, I can hear my voice - hallelujah! this helps my spirit much. I let tom see my bass more for "cherry-headed-lover-man" (his idea) and it's just such a good time tonight - there's some dancing but I would say it was disco dancing like last night. I'm pretty animated myself, I mean for a cojo but I make sure to take care. for "funnel-capped-man" part I do baka faces!

watt making baka faces at control in bucharest, romania on march 27, 2014

there are such serious parts of my third opera but there's also many funny ones too, I should express more that dynamic w/my face I'm thinking. the folks here are so kind to us and a big part of the gig, they show so much heart, thank you! we finish w/our tour brothers helping us w/the encore and then I get on over to the merch table as quick as possible. I talk w/a group of young men for a bit, their english real good. interesting conversation w/them, they have many questions and I'm happy to answer.

   upstairs ONE MORE TIME, raluca helping me... I get to meet padboss florin, I real nice cat close to my age. I talk both about the safe that killed mr jack daniels and one more zeitgeist blast at some current affairs before quoting from captain beefheart: "we'll all be brothers on tomorrow!" big hugs for him and mate, big hugs. I am tuckered, it's ok to have the piece take all it can from me but my spirit's more lifted... however an early morning anchor pull's been called so ride w/raluca in a cab not too far to "hotel opera" konkpad and hose off w/nice hot water, hit the hay and fucking konk.

friday, march 28, 2014 - timisoara, romania

from raul:

   Tom's alarm crept into my dream, and as i'm coming to, it was hard to pin point what it was making that noise. Soon after, i'm in the shower, and soon after that, 7:15am, we're down stairs having hotel breakfast. I do a little open faced egg and cheese sandwhiches on wheat toast, and also a small bowl of cereal w/ coffee. We parked out front of the club, and across the street from a military building that's well guarded, safer for the van and the equipment. On the walk there it threatens rain w/ a few sprinkles, and on our 45 minute drive outta town in rush hour traffic, it becomes a full on pour, that last until the highway ends. There's only one road that runs through this whole country, the rest are small two laners that connect town to town. Once we hit the small guys out in the country the rain stops. Got some hours to spend in this van today. More than the miles though, it's about the actual roads, our lack of well paved ones.Our miles per hour average is about forty!

   Long time spent in van today, about 10, we also had a couple stops, so an 11 hour travel day..whew! By the time we get to daos, i'm all pretzeled up, and am more than reday to get outta the van. I'm also happy to find that's its relatively easy load from parking lot to the stage. Earlier, macario had mentioned there being lots of stairs to a basement style place. The club has been moved since he was last here, and this one is on ground level w/ only three stairs going up the stage. We're late, so we double time it while hiyori deals w/ ordering food for us. She does real good, and gets us all salads, 3 diffrent grilled meats, cabbage rolls, and diffrent style potatos. I guess the upside to spending most the day in the van, is not spending most the evening waiting to play. After dinner, i take a little walk along the canal next to the club, which leads to a nice park close by. Had a nice walk, and i make it back to check out the last half of nico's set.

   Rough gig tonight, for us a tleast. When we first started, i thought maybe the chain of the snare was off, or maybe the bottom head had blown out, so during the first part, the first moment i had i was feeling around to see what was up, nothing, it seemed fine,but the snare sounded and felt like butt. Much diffrent than at sound check, all the balls from the drums had shriveled up! i didn't know what was up. I think, maybe the bass is even too loud for me, and its drowning the drums out, i'm baffled. Its not hurting my ears though, and even when it's just snare, it booty. Ok, push on! Things seem to go good, up until frying pan man, and it's just too fast for me, and can't hardly keep up. It's a combination of things, Yesterday, i fell off the stage, and landed on my wrist, i didn't feel it then, but today i can feel the muscle above it has a minor pull, and is sore, also, i'm just pooped tonight, and got into that ditch, where i can't hear the drums, so i try and play harder, and tonight, like most nights, it dosn't help. This is not the last of it though, and, i didn't get it the worst. Aside from that part,i can pretty much exucute everything else, tired or not. The biggie was tom busting a string a little past half way! He powered thru like a chmap, but this must of been really hard, trying to relaearn or make up new parts on the fly. I felt for him, he manned up big time and made it through the whole thing w/ out pause, and against many odds.

   After gig, it's another disco, and macario is guest dj of the night, and he's gonna stay till 4am. As"fun" as that sounds, im totally pooped, and opt for the first train out, along w/ most the crew beside axel and damien. The bar man was nice enough to ride along w/ us to give directions to the hotel were staying at. Tom and i are gonnna share a 2 bedroom apt style place w/ axel and damien. Since they're still there, he and i take the back room and share a bed. I'm done, and in a deep sleep in a few minutes.

from tom:


   alarm goes off at 6:45am, raul takes the first shower then me. we get downstairs asap for breakfast; eggs, potatoes, toast, coffee, juice. we hop into the van and begin our trip by 8am in a wetter and colder morning than we've had for a while. in the van we spend 45 minutes in rush hour traffic before hitting the highway north. rain is steady and skies are grey, i am forced into fetal position in the middle of the back bench seat between raul and rudy with my knees against the back of the seat in front of us and i think 8 more hours of this is going to be hard on my legs, this is when my sciatica pain can really get bad, so i'll see if i can switch with someone for a while on this trip. glad i got good sleep last night even if for only a few hours. we stop at another truck stop restaurant like yesterday and i order the same thing as yesterday from what could be the exact same menu. this time my omelet has little bits of ham in it and is a little bit more browned and crispy around the edges, i add what little tabasco i have and drink iced tea again. then back in the van and i switch places with damian and get to stretch my legs along the trough of the sliding side door, which is nice though less warm being next to the metal side of the van. i actually drift off during part of our 8+ hour drive, and i wake as we are passing along one side of the danube river and take in the scenery juxtaposed against the crumbling communist era structures. we ride through the mountainous wooded passes and windy roads through towns and villages that reflect lifestyles from another time that i have never experienced before, but also just how i imagined it would be. it's good to remember that an important part of tour is the view from out of the van window, everything moving across your sight line in a continuous change, like glimpses into another world for maybe the first and the last time. besides, i believe we will be passing through the transylvania region today.

   i think about home and what's going on there. i think that the mike kelley opening at moca in Los Angeles is tonight, i was asked to dj the event and was very sad not to be able to do it, but honored to be invited nevertheless. i'll definitely check it out when i'm back. it turns out that we only ride past the foothills of where the transylvanian mountain range begins to our east, instead we chose a route that skirts around the base of the area and stay on the relatively flat two lane highway. according to our gps our trip will be 10.5 hours today, long even for u.s. standards. when we get an hour outside of timisoara the sun melts small fissures through the late afternoon gloom showing warm pinks and yellow cracks in the blue grey sky. we arrive at the daos club and load in through the back door and onto the high stage in one end of the large rectangular live room. during our time we have food brought to us at the venue and i pick chicken and fries and a glass of wine, just like last night. tonight we will attempt to play a part of a guess what song when they are up with us as well as one of nico's, so we talk about it and figure out parts in the side stage room until nico goes on. there's a lot of loud talking for nico's quiet parts, a little annoying, but he continues to play well. guess what do a nice set too and then nico caps off his second set strongly. we do our thing but i have a hard time hearing myself over the bass tonight, so maybe i overcompensate and play too hard on my strings, then i notice that my high E string going out of tune, i try to find any moment to check it but it's almost impossible, i just know it's out of tune. i do a quick tuning during the spoken part of "pinned-to-the-table-man", but at the beginning of "jug-footed-man" i can tell that it's pulling out of it's winding at the tail piece and yank it off the guitar in a motion so that mike and raul can see what's up. i have to fight frustration at this point, not having that string changes a lot for me and for the music. i struggle with parts, the other strings go out of tune as well when a string breaks so there's a period of sourness that when mike hears it he gives me a scowl not realizing that i had broken that valuable string. from here on i am in constant readjustment of bendings and finding other ways of playing parts, and just keep playing to keep the vibe going for the show. still im mad and embarrassed and at the opera i jump off and put on a new string and we go on and i try to redeem myself, cleanse my performance. i think it was alright. i pack up and have a drink, this time more to sooth my anxiety from the hard gig, probably not the best way to do that. we are lead to a hotel somewhere and raul and i share a queen sized bed and i'm asleep in minutes.

from watt:

   pop at seven bells cuz we gotta bail at eight. downstairs there's a free trough w/scramble eggs (no milk in them so not soupy, yeah!) w/potatoes mixed little sausage pieces the I roll up in some bread slices and wash down w/some coff and bubbled aqua. I hobble from the 'tel to the boat which is safe cuz parked next to the big military administration building, I see many parking tickets being written, whoa. cars jamming around and tiny sidewalk plus lots of construction so I gotta be really aware. so lucky I got the man sack to use as a kind of a walker, pushing it in front me. tourboss macario is last to arrive, we pull anchor at 8:13. damien at the wheel, it takes fortyfive minutes to get out of town but hear this: NOT ONE FUCKING SINGLE WANDER! damien is the man. no just talking in other language up front, wheelman damien enlists our help to keep eyes peeled for shit like twice motherfuckers snake us side-starboard w/motherfucking reach-arounds, assholes. this happens back home too, no fucking patience and incredibly stupid risk-taking for no fucking reason. anyway... what was just gray and drizzle is now rain and grey and we take one of romania's few (only?) motorways, towards timisoara via pitesti - pitesti is where the motorway ends. about eleven the rain stops which is good cuz crazy motherfuckers - I actually see this one dumbfuck tailgating the police, crimony! we do piss stop at eleven and a half - sun trying to break though, no rain and road though going through tiny towns is pretty much flat, the hilly way now gone. looks like tom and rudy are switching seats - first time one of us have left our seats (we'll tom did drive two times in barcelona) axel now at the wheel, just a couple minutes on the road we're 'pert-near front-ended by a motherfucking bus passing a horse drawn cart on a hill - what the fuck? good quick thinking by axel to slow way the fuck down w/not a second to spare - that was a pants-shitter big time, fuck. we do see a policeman giving some tickets at one point but... hey, you know what? romania's got some fancy headstones in their boneyards, let me tell you - they're white and have crosses at the top, pretty involved. the bumpy roads though keep me from getting a good shot of one. still getting used to the roman letters-only signs... we've been in the land of the cyrillic alphabet since serbia, was 'pert-near getting used to it, saying the letters all wrong in my head! the call this the danube plain, much farmland dotted from time to time w/communist-time beatdown factory rusted ruin or just about to get there and somehow still going. incredible skills w/our drivermen keeping us safe, much MUCH respect for them. I read back to everyone the diary entry from our 2012 u.s. missingmen tour where I found the boat (my boat!) in the morning w/the window all the way rolled down by some baka, that baka was me - that's what kind of an idiot I am and why I worry about security right after I worry about safety for my men. it's not like pointing fingers, I swear. it's about taking responsibility and doing shit like this like adults, just fucking being careful. we're all gonna make mistakes - that's gonna happen and that's what we're all looking out for - but really gets on me is this blatant disregard for these safety and security issues. we fucking take enough chances already, fucking wake up! over and over I've tried reasoning w/them about this but fuck... it's like a brick wall.

   a quarter of one we stop at a chow pad called "ali'n" in filiasi, I get three short lamb kebabs w/mustard and fries. for nine folks it's twentyfive euros (around thirtyfive u.s.), econo and good! nicholas now on the helm, the skies get back to gray but stay dry... I do five psyllium capsules... nicholas lasts only seventythree klicks but hey, if you're tired, a real man will admit it and give up the wheel for the safety of the team so I say fucking right on. axel takes the wheel and soon we're up against the danube, serbia on the other side. it's a big fucking river, let me tell you, crimony! damien has switched w/rudy so now he's the socketman between raul and tom, a new switch in the boat's dynamics. I can compare some of this route to the one I've taken between boise and missoula back home as we're running along the river timis. some truss bridges w/the truss underneath and not above, what? I wonder why? four and a half we fuel up, about four and half lei to the euro so at six lei a litre, that's about seven dollars u.s./gallon which is cheaper that most parts of europe. damien back at the wheel (I feel safest w/him driving)... tom goes back to his old seat (middle far back bench) and tourboss macario is now next to him. the drizzle that came back is clearing up a little. a big reason this is gonna end up a ten hour drive is cuz of a couple things: one is we gotta slow down every time the road comes to a little town (which becomes their main street, like back in u.s. w/non-interstate highway), the speed limit goes to fifty klicks (about thirty mph) but the other thing is the terrible drivers who "share" the road w/us - so dangerous, crimony!

   we get into timisoara at six and witness some a beautiful sunset

senset in downtown timisoara, romania on march 28, 2014

but also witness the fucking navigatori gps not know the road we're being sent on ends cuz of construction, crimony! keeps us humble about machines though, right? after a brief attempt that landed us 'pert-near four-wheeling it, I figure we gotta think and improvise... I know we gotta get over this canal and at the same time force this navigatori gps to re-calculate. damien is excellent wheelman and we find both a way over the canal and making that machine do it its thing (motherfucker kept saying to do a u-turn) and though we then blowby the pad it's only a block (fucking street number "5" was like four inches square!) of loop to do so pretty fucking good, respect to the team. this pad is called daos club and I meet the gigboss marius who seems like a nice man but I never meet him again... always trippy when it's like that - you never know where you stand at the end of the night and whether they want you back. everyone working is most kind - I get explained a "daos" is a mythical creature that's got the body of a snake and a head of a wolf. we actually chow before soundcheck which is ok w/me cuz it's good eats w/grilled chow again, diggin on the cole slaw as well as pork cutlet w/mustard that's very calm w/the spice but still tasty. I then get taught "meteor belt" version of guess what tune by axel and then nicholas teaches me a bass line made purely of harmonics, trippy. I have them both write down a general outline for me on a piece paper (one on each side), then me and my men do soundcheck, even getting to play w/damien and axel w/their version (actually it's a version of a tune in their set where they've spliced a part of "pinned-to-the-table-man"). then it's back to the dressing room and time for me to konk on the couch... it's slippery stuff this couch is made of and end up sliding right off an onto the deck - fuck it, I konk on the deck.

   twenty of twelve, I'm rousted and tea brought to me. love the fact we can go from this room right to the stage and the stairs ain't too tough cuz of my condition. more older audience, not as less-young as me but... after saying the piece's is for scotty-san, we bring it and do it pretty happening, like last night though some stumbles but nothing too lame, stage sound good too (rudy happening even w/out the usual time he has, respect). the in "jug-footed-man" I feel something go way weird and even say over to tom to play tighter or something like an cuz I don't realize he's broken his high 'e' string. the rest of the piece must've been a motherfuck for him but I think he really REALLY did great, improvising like he had to compensate for the string-break cuz it's very important for me to keep the integrity of the piece so we don't stop. actually I finally realized in "lute-and-dagger-man" what was up (I'm a fucking slow learner) and I bow my head low in great praise and respect for tom, even w/some sour-ass w/the tuning, what he coped w/was commendable big time. it must've been like that gig we 'pert-near two weeks ago in beaucomb - so good to have a man like tom watson on your side, let me tell you, so good. you wonder why I've toured w/him for fifteen years? and a man like raul morales - wonder the same thing? ten years w/him I'm so grateful to say. I fuck up the two tunes w/try the first time w/guess what and l'oeillere - I could not read one thing written on the paper w/out my glasses on so I know I gotta commit to memory their stuff. we try again tomorrow... at least we broke the water.

   I go out to the merch place right quick and tell your welcome for kind people giving thanks. I meet an artist named bus who's very passionate about expression and wants contact info for his friend who puts on a jazz festival to get my buddy nels cline part of it which I think would be most happening. very kind people greet me, thank you. I heard the 1989 revolution started in this town...

   tourboss macario is gonna dj here but we're allowed to choose to bail to konk so we do. we go in the boat to a 'tel called "pensiunea vlad" and though it's a bunch of stairs up, I do the slow-go and make it safe. though the head has no light, if you wait long enough the water does heat up. so glad to be able to but you know I would konk filthy if I had to - I love these guys I'm w/and wanna make sure they know that, somehow I gotta make sure they know...

saturday, march 29, 2014 - cluj-napoca, romania

from raul:

   Fuck! over slept by a half hour, so i missed breakfast, and worse, no coffee! Nick knocked on the door, and let us know we were late, so i put on my shoes, and ran downstairs and jumped in the van. People are still eating and drinking coffee, but i'm still half asleep, and don't realize this until it's too late, no biggie, there's fruit in the van, and that's better for me anyhow. The bigger bummer is my watch band busted in my sleep, so when i woke, and looked at my wrist to see the time, it wasn't there, i was still in half sleep mode though, it didn't register w/ me, and i fell back in. Another long drive today, not like yesterday, but still we take routes the gps can't locate, on long and damaged windy roads thru tiny villages to get there.

   From the little bit i get to see, it seems to be a beautiful city, and we go to the hotel before we go to gig, lucky for us it's next to club, and also in the center of town across from a bitchin old cathedral. Macario decided this would be a wise idea, we bail at 5am tomorrow, so to get checked in a our shit situated will save time after the gig, plus it's been a long couple of days, and some of us wanna place to lay down after sound check and dinner. The flying circus folks order us some thai food, really good too, tom and i slpit our meals, chicken curry and pad thai, simple but not to adventurous, but tasty dishes. After chow, i go back to the tel to shower and write home. I love being on tour and seeing all these places, and meeting great people, but i miss my homebody routine as well, dinner at home and bicycle rides on pt. fermin, soon enough though, i'll be back in pedro, and anyhow, i know that once i'm home, i'll be itching to travel some place else!

   Trippy crowd tonight, very young kids here. It's a free gig, in a town full of collages, so it's not odd, but not the usual crowd for us. I didn't quite know what to expect from them, but in the end, it seemed we won lots of them over w/ the music. I thought we did much better than the night before, and a little rest before the gig goes a long way, and made for good energy. We also did slightly better on the encore's but there's much room for improvment in the next 7 days of this part of the tour. Soon after gig, we papck up and do the schlep thru a thick crowd of youth, and up the steep stairs, we get it done real quick too. After half the crew bails for sleep, me, tom, nick and the guess what guys stay for a few drinks and table football in the middle of the insanity. It's a d.j. thing, but they're playing some reggaee, and rap, ice cube, and public enemy, and that's all right by me. We didn't push too hard though, and within the hour we're back at the hotel for a couple hours of sleep.

from tom:


   nico comes into our room and wakes us at 10, the others are already downstairs and have had breakfast and ready to get into the van, so we just throw things in our bags and jam. i see a piece of scrambled egg and a hot dog-like sausage and put it on a piece of bread with mustard and jump in the van. the drive is long but pretty and the skies clear up and the terrain is rolling with hills and woods and old towns. we pass through a village named Turda, we have fun with that for a while, of course. like: what do they call the people from Turda?, and so forth. the simple pleasures of tour life. we pull into town in the afternoon sun early enough to check into the hotel before loading in at the flying circus club just around the corner. we scramble to get situated and hiyori tries to organize a desperately needed washing of clothes which turns out being denied. i wash a shirt in the bathroom sink and run to the club to help load down the 45% angled stair case and into the gig space. i meet the club man marcus who is very cool to us and we order some thai food to be brought to us after soundcheck. the venue has an interesting layout that has many levels to stand on to get a view of the stage from, and snakes back and forks into two caverns at the other end of the club. it's a nice size, 400 capacity or so. i meet raul back at the hotel and take a shower and lay down for 45 minutes then put on my cleanest dirty clothes and walk back and hear nico in one of the caverns playing part one of his show, then guess what performing all the music i've learned so well, enough to play air organ and air drums to. i have a shot of absinthe and dance with myself and clap at the appropriate times. then nico and then us. the club is filled with primarily young locals who aren't necessarily there for the bands, most have no clue who we are, and probably don't care. however, there are others that are very much there for the gig, kind of 50/50 i think. i changed my strings today so i feel confident and i'm fresh from the little rest i had, so i play with a strong energy and mike and raul seem strong too. we get through an almost perfect feeling set, meaning no serious clams. we run through our last set of tunes and quickly pack up because we need to load out and get to bed as early as we can, but it's already 1:20 so thats almost a moot point. we have a couple drinks with our tour mates and then we play some table soccer, which i am quite terrible at and the euro guys are always great at, and chat with marcus and micayla (sp?) and i have a short but nice conversation with helen christmas and her friend, (i'm gonna get this wrong) alina? such nice people, i feel like i could make some good friends here if i had more time. i consider them friends anyhow, and maybe we'll meet again, hopefully. we load out and pack the van and at 2 raul and i walk back to the hotel, check emails and konk.

from watt:

   pop at nine, we're to bail at ten but tom and raul are konked too hard, so we pull anchor twenty minutes but I understand, my men are tired. I got good konk but for some reason it doesn't help me deal w/the stress of find the boat's front and side hatches open which makes me go off, using strong voice. these guys are inside, no one watching the boat and after getting the talk about "this is the east, please guard everything" (actually that rap started in italy) then what the fuck is this about? another inconsistant buch of wind from the bag. me and tourboss have a serious blowout about this - I'm really fed up. he says they're tired of the hard voice and I don't like the hard voice but don't they realize it's their behavior bringing this shit on, making it worse? I have asked kindly w/soft voice about these safety and secuitry things but they just get ignored and now I've had it up to here. I have not toured for years to be treated like a hostage to risky fucking whims and for sure that's not the case w/the safety of my men. maybe it's good thing to clear the air cuz this shit is really festering w/me. the 'tel lady brings me some little hotdog-like sausages w/a thin omelets but w/no cheese. I put this in bread w/mustard and it's good, gets me to quiet up. the weather is nice and sunny though and in the boat, we calm things down and all help w/getting down the right roads to get where we're going which is kind of a back track - our gig tonight is northeast of timisoara so we gotta get up on the carpathians (the west ones).

   from deva to sebes, very nice weather and not much traff plus not just kidneybelt road but smooth highway. alba iuli we head for next... five minute stop there for piss turns into half hour then bye-bye (at least the boat got purged of rotting fruit - "a clean boat is a happy boat"), our next target is where we're playing tonight, cluj-napoca w/damien at the wheel. first we get a bumsteer from the fucking navigatori gps and after a flipping a louie (motherfucker deadend), we sally forth. between us and there though is a town called turda, I shit thee not. here's the town welcome sign (obviously someone stole the wrong letter):

approaching welcome sign for turda, romania on march 29, 2014

many bumsteers from fucking navigatori but we get good tour of downtown turda - interesting... I tell about a fantasy georgie (minutemen/fIREHOSE drummer) had when I see a bucket truck. he'd describe a sitch where the controls the bucket weren't in the bucket but at the truck and this truck is parked under a road overpass w/a dude in it and he's got the controls and just going up and done w/the contols, doing the bam-bam the man in the bucket's head. I don't know why that busted me up then but it still does now. georgie's a hillarious cat besides being one of the most unique men ever on the drumset

   damn if we ain't getting in early (a half hour), glory be... four-thirty. a little windy but bright sunny skies. we go to the 'tel first ("hotel melody") cuz it appears five in the morning will be pull anchor time for tomorrow so we wanna after-gig tonight easy as poss. the gigboss markus comes to meet us at the boat, parked in front of the town's old big church (one of the biggest gothic ones in romania, saint michael). he's only in club-napoca five days a month, he's actually german and lives on a farm near munich! a cosmopolitan world, huh? I can dig it! flying circus is the name of the pad and I meet the bosslady mia is most kind. markus brought some liqueur from his land he said a farmer makes called "inferno" that's got chili and I can dig it - maybe the only liqueur I've ever dug? I think so! a helperman here named patrick talks to me about younger folks here, ones after the wall fell - he says they have no urge to make things happen, he said in the older days (he was only three but said he was schooled from people who went through that) if someone here wanted something to happen, they really had to make it happen - no shortcuts on that truth. I think I understand maybe some... u.s. punk in 70s was very tiny and everyone it seemed hated it so we had to try hard - all the squarejohns hated the stooges then but even worse, most the rock and roller musicians or whatever, they hated us more! I'm thinking about romania... tonight's my fourth in this land gig ever, I don't think I mentioned in these chimpings I played a festival in targu mures w/the stooges in 2011 where ig broke his foot in the first tune and kept fucking going... total mindblow, that man, incredible! anyway, these three are w/mike watt music so that's kind of intense for me too BUT it ain't stooges, it ain't ig... I've had very lucky life and that's why I ain't afraid of working hard. patrick also solves the "drum bun" riddle ('good road' in romanian) and helps remember what I already got taught in bucharest - multumesc, pronounced mult-zu-mesk ('thank you' in romanian).

   I use hashi to bring down thai chow described as "porc calit cu busuioc" from a chow pad called "lotus" here in cluj (how I hear people call this town). this a pile of rice on one side and next to it pieces of pork w/chilies, mushrooms and garlic - really tasty, I like. real spicy (what I asked for) is still kind of mild but this is europe way. it's good chow though, really. I update the hoot page w/diary from tom - I try to always get mine up the day after but my men sometimes get behind. this is closest we get to ukraine, it's north of here, like seventy miles - online I see mr putin called mr obama and I guess there's a vow or something made that russia won't attack ukraine - I'm glad those guys talked, they need more talking, please! I find a sofa way in the back of the pad and w/a pillow I konk, so glad it's big enough. I use earplugs and face mask.

   I get rousted for our gig and I'm feeling a sore spot in my nodo ('throat' in jap), oh oh... this herbal tea w/tea and lemon helps but I need something more - I got two sacks I've been saving of throatcoat tea and decide to use one, fuck it. I really need it. the spot is like the diameter of a pencil and it's like at one-thirty if my adam's apple is twelve on a clock looking up at the sky (like how we give each other sighting directions in the boat). miss hiyori makes it up for me and I get it as I get up on stage - man, does this stuff help. raul helps me tune, putting the battery in the snark tuner and then holding it as I get the dan bass right. you wouldn't believe how good this baby stays in tune, I tune it only once for the gig. same set of strings too, I changed them at home before I left for tour. I have to remove the battery to the tuner cuz the power button turns on really easy in the bass sack and I'll run them down. usually tom's been helping me but raul does tonight though tom does get to stick the little cord I use w/it in. it's a three man effort! I think it's a good way to be together right before we all play our brains out as an ensemble. the gig-goers are all young college students I realize as I doing the opening spiel and dedicate the piece to scotty-san, we bring it. the room's got a big bump for the 'e' notes and it makes tom's guitar muddy. he plays well though and I'm so glad he stretched the fuck out of his strings cuz he changed them and you know how sour they were in bucharest. raul plays really good too, fucking smokin' though I ask them not to dog the beat too much for "mouse-headed-man" - they play really good and the crowd is pretty good - you know there's yammering for sure but they're checking out what's up and god it must be scary for them seeing this middle-age punk guy going to town w/his brothers. maybe it well help them get over the hump if they're on the fence on whether to get a band going or write that book/poem or paint that picture. trippy, after the encore lots of them bust out w/hollering "one more song" which I don't think I've ever heard before... the can't mean another opera?!

   I get through the crowd and get to my seat by the merch table and rest the keester. that was really intense but I made it. we gotta bail soon so after some good word to the folks I go to find markus. there's many steps in this pad and in the crowd damn if I don't see one but don't go down cuz of a very kind young man - he holds me up and keeps me from tumbling... very kind! I hug him and he says no problem. I see markus and have another one of those chili liqueur shots, thank him much for everything. I think he dug it, I saw him standing on the bar while we were playing w/his arms in the air!

   the 'tel is only a couple hundred feet away but there's some steep stairs going up from the pad (forgot to mention earlier it was in the basement of some big building done up a little bit dungeon-style? interesting pad) and I had to make the slow-go of course to be careful. well, I'm so slow someone going the other way had time to pluck the beer I had in a sidepocket on my back wack sack! pretty funny. a wrong turn and half a block the wrong way - can't blame it on the navigatori gps cuz I'm hobbling - and I'm up more stairs real slow to the 'tel room I find very comfortable as far as spending three hours in it, first having a real good hot hosing off. this is the only rough pop left of the tour, no bellyaching from me.

sunday, march 30, 2014 - vienna, austria

from raul:

   This may have been the earliest bail time of tour, but also the last of the big drives too. I'm very thankful that macario called our room to get us up, we're already 5 minutes late! There was a time change last night, and neither rudy's, or tom's alarm were set for the right time..aarrggh! the crew is understanding though, so there's no freak out, too early for that shit anyways.. everyone is still foggy from only gettin a couple hours sleep. Before we roll, some of us take a litte nip, hair of the dog kinda thing to stay tired, so we can try and sleep on the way. I actually got back in the mummy bag in the far back corner seat, and zipped it up to the neck, making my own cocoon. Worked to, and i slept until our first fuel stop. We stayed for a few minutes to eat as well, i think most everyone needed something in their stomachs.

   Playing arena in wein tonight, been here once before about a year and a half ago. Didn't spend much time though, we opened up the gig on borrowed equipment, and bailed right after to make a gig in amsterdam the next night. Tonight we get a room upstairs w/ nine bunk beds, 3 sets and 3 high. I secure a midddle one, not too high up in case of roll out, but i don't wanna take a low one either, better to leave it for some of the others... tom's already taken a tumble, and watt's got the hurt knee. good to be staying where we're playin again, also, a nice plus is they have a washer and dryer, and hiyori is sweet enough to take care of our filthy clothes while we deal w/ the sound check. Oh, man it's been so long since i've had fresh stuff, this is great! These parts have energy saving washers, and the cycle runs very slowly for 2hrs! The first time i played in germany i found out the hard way, and had to play in a pair of shorts and tshirt because the machine took so long. Tonight, just no socks, but that's ok, the weather is great anyhow, and not cold at all.

   Packed gig for a sunday, folks right up to the front of the stage too, intimate feeling. We had a shaky beginning, first i think watt had is volume turned down, so when he did the count in, there was no sound, and once that was quickly corrected and he did a 2nd, We came outta the gate w/ out tom.. his guitar was unplugged! These two things almost put a fear in me, and i thought fuck it's gonna be rough gig in front of all these people. Truthfully, it was a little hard, i don't know about the others, but i had a terrible stage sound. I felt like the volme was on one, and no matter how hard i tried, it stayed. Just the stage i guess, people later said it sounded great, thank god we have rudy helping us out so much! Things also felt a little sped up in parts too, and i don't know if that was me playing too hard and over compensating, or watt just feelin' it out, and wanting to speed things up a bit. I'm sure it's not noticable to others, but this being our 38th gig straight, i think i got a hold on when it has a good flow, or when things feel rushed, and in timisoara, and tonight, i felt some parts were a littel quicker than usual.

from tom:

   [oh what a day, oh what a night]

   wake at 5:10 am! we overslept, or the alarm didn't go off, or i don't know what. in a daze we scrape ourselves together and get to the van 5 minutes later. it's as dark as when we'd left and i recognize people loitering outside the flying circus which is still open or in effect, and we cram into the red time machine and start to roll towards vienna. another long drive and it's an early show because it's sunday, which is fine with me, but that means we need to get there earlier than usual. i fall asleep in my tiny back row space as i guess most everyone else does, except damian who's first behind the wheel. i am woken as we pull up to a gas stop/cafe and we all get something to put into our systems and continue on to the border of hungary and say goodbye to romania. we drive the entire width of hugary and are routed through the middle of budabest and along it's beautiful avenues framed with huge ornate buildings.

   as i get about 20 pages from the end of cormac mcCarthy's "blood meridian", an incredible novel, we arrive at the arena space in vienna, a large multi venue complex that was originally a slaughterhouse (i know i wrote that the last time we were here). the air is warm and a little heavy and the sun penetrates my skin and into my bones while we stand out in the parking lot waiting to load in. tonight we get to stay here upstairs in a common room with, luckily, 9 beds in three stacks of three. this is nice because of the rather long day, and i look forward to having a rest before gig time. we are served a corn curry soup and salad and i have bread and butter and beer but resist the pork filet and potatoes that i see some of the others chomping on...it looks great but i know it would weigh me down. i lay down after that. when i rise at some point i notice nico and macario still laying down too and wonder what's up with the gig and find out that start time has been pushed back a half hour because they are screening the minutemen film in one of the other rooms. i go in and watch the tail end of it. nico and guess what play, i see my friends sofia and joshka and a good dude named randy who i met in Los Angeles when i played a show with jr robinson and he screened some of his films. it's great seeing them, so cool they came. we play a good show, i'm a little quiet but i trust that rudy has it sounding good in front, and i pogo and at one point step through a hole in the stage and down a couple of feet to the floor. no problem, no harm, i feel even stronger tonight, i have fun playing. the last tunes go well also and then i pack up my stuff and converse with my friends and make some new ones, sign things, get good vibes. this is my favorite gig so far. continued discourse till they close things up, i say goodnight to my friends, go to our room upstairs and climb into my bunk. long day.

from watt:

   confused when I pop cuz the 'tel clock is an hour ahead of my watch - what? no matter, get down the stairs careful to find in the lobby tourboss macario, I stand outside for a half and see drunk people trying to stumble to get to where they need to be - I'm ten minutes early but my men are twenty minutes late... we pull anchor at ten and a half... I have both my men and me take a swig of the jim beam we got from the kind people at the daos pad in timisoara - we all konk hard.

   stop at eight in a town called oradea at eight bells, just before the hungarian border. I get herbal tea and the hot is good for the sore throat plus a sandwich in a package w/cold breaded chicken cutlet... filler but no puke so I guess it's ok. axel at the wheel, we do the border dance and the bordermen there are most kind. we get a vignette for hungary that's a piece of paper - is it real? hope so. I konk w/aid of mask and ear plugs again. a quarter after eleven we swich ponies, rudy now driving. it's been sunny all morning, good weather. damien enlightens me to the fact day light savings started last night and that's why my watch changed! actually there's a one hour change at the border cuz now where in -1 europe time zone. ok, now my slow-learning ass understands what happened... thank you, damien. just before one we hit budapest and damn if the navigatori gps don't dump us right in the middle but that's kind of ok cuz we get tour and even get to go over danube so it's easy to see both the buda (hilly) and pest (flat) parts of town. I spent a few days here for a stooges gig and that was when my knee wasn't as fucked up and hoofed all over the place. onward west, good job w/rudy and nicholas working together map-wise, two pm and time for a final switch of the ponies. been seeing lots of nests for storks on power poles like what I saw in spain and portugal, interesting... must be a e.u. thing maybe? nicholas takes the wheel at a rest stop, a half hour later we're at the austrian border but only have to stop to buy an austrian vignette for the road use - no passport check, no borderpeople. for sure the industrial scene changes from where we were back east. it's only about forty miles to vienna and where we're playing ain't really in the town but more on the outskirts... it's coming on three bells now. I first played this pad thirtyone years ago as a minutemen, opening up for black flag - it's a former old ceramics factory called arena and where we're gonna do our gig is the in the "drei raum bar" which is where we did "hyphenated-man" before in 2011... yeah, this is one of those "repeat towns" for the piece which I've tried to avoid but what the hell? maybe we play it better now. actually, the last time I played here was the big outdoor stage w/the stooges last summer. as we were playing an electrical storm broke out and I saw much lightning as I was working the bass, chow ('scary' in jap). this will be my four time playing here, each time a different stage. so great to have "institutions" like this, so great!

   the productionboss is a lady named judith and she helps us get things going as far as where to get the boat in (yeah, it's a compound so you drive right in) and stuff like that - actually I'm surprised tourboss macario doesn't have any experience w/this place since it's a squat from the old days but I guess there's alway pads to discover no matter where you've been. that's good for me to remember also. I know where the chow room is here and go make myself a sandwich w/really good fresh stuff and... senf ('mustard' in german)! there's cold cuts and salad parts - what's really good is raw onions - man, do I wish I could chow raw onions every fucking day on tour cuz I do at home along w/cooked ones which is w/everything I chow. I sincerely believe they keep you healthy - them and all their cousins, like garlic et cetera. I have two of these sandwiches in fact. after chow a kind lady name natalie interviews me about dream stuff and music, she's very insightful. there's parts where I answer her questions w/questions which actually ain't fucking answering her - what a fucking 'tard I am. damn. oh, in between our spiel I tell her I got soundcheck and it's only one minute-fourteen (we're back to "arrow-pierced-egg-man") and she trips on seeing that was no bullshit from me. she asks about political lyrics and I ask her about art used for politics in the case of elections, billboards - I just a bunch in hungary and it was trippy to see some guys w/the flag behind them, some looking like yuppies, an older guy talking to kids - stuff like that. I tell her about seeing a billboard here in vienna some years ago where it said "he does what we think" and showed a bunch of immigrants and that makes her gasp and whisper "that was put up by the fascists" - I didn't mean to scare her like that. I'm proud of minutemen lyrics, d. boon called it "thinking out loud" and I dug the way he could spiel about power cuz that's kind of what I think politics is: humans dealing w/power. I brought up that billboard shit cuz I think people should be responsible for their foists. art can be used people w/some fucked-up ideas in my opinion. I ain't for censorship, no way - let these turdminds let everyone know just what they are.

   we're konking up stairs from here so I go there for konk. ten hours of driving even w/some little konks still has left watt a little warn plus we had to leave so early... better than leaving after a gig though, I think that shit's too risky unless you have a dedicated driver that had a real good konk before he takes the wheel. it's risky though at night so I'd rather not. I konk big time, thinking we're going on a ten cuz that's what tourboss macario told me. I have to miss guess what and l'oeillere - I mean not even subliminally cuz you can't hear anything from the konk pad. anyway, usually I get rousted like twenty minutes before gig time but tonight I actually pop myself right at ten - how? damn. I wonder why we ain't playing yet? I put raul's diary updates up on the hoot page... ten-thirty miss hiyori comes w/tea, one of the last of my throatcoat kind from u.s. I get my stuff and leave for the gig room...

   every gig left on the contient now will be the last one of the tour for this leg, this is the last sunday show. tom's there to greet me, rudy helps me through the crowd to get up on the stage and raul helps me w/the tuner stuff. I do the intro spiel w/dedication to scotty-san and then boom, we're off - I mean tom's off... me and raul are making sound but tom ain't cuz a cable's unplugged. whoops. we start the piece again, it'd been going only a few seconds anyway and I apologize. it's a hard gig for me voice-wise and kind of fever-wise but the vienna gig-goers really help intense focus and much respect for my opera. tom and raul are tearing it up too, whupping up a storm. I blow some clams but not real bad ones - I screw up the solo in "jug-footed-man" and some of "hill-man" but the real bad one is during the end of the second verse tom singing in "spillage" - man, that was some real fucking stumblebum, so glad raul held the fort. the vienna showed much heart, really truly dear of them. I fuck up the guess what tune but not as bad as yesterday, same for l'oeillere.

   I make my way to the merch table and here's my old buddy peter - gave this young man a tour of my pedro town like fifteen years ago or something, big hugs for him. I meet the man andy who made the gig poster, he's beautiful.

poster by andy for arena gig with watt in vienna, austria on march 30, 2014

so many kind folks give me the good word - two cats have mike watt throbbleheads, two other cats have the mike watt flannel, crimony! respect to them - and to those who only shake my hand or say thank you or keep on keepin' on - I take it all to heart, truly.

   only a little after midnight when I hobble to the konk pad, righteous. so great to hose off w/the hot water and konk, lucky watt.

monday, march 31, 2014 - linz, austria

from raul:

   Great sleep last night, me tom, and guess what did stay up for a little after the gig and have some drinks, but it was an early gig, and i think by the time we made to bed, it was still earlier than the past few nights. Plus we don't have a butt crack of dawn call, and we can all wake up naturally. Everyone seems well rested and in good spirits, i think this place helped lots. Great homemade soup, and nice and welcoming people can have that effect. We don't bail till 130, so tom and i take the chance to have a good walk to stretch out the legs. We're on the outskirts, so there's not much for the eyes, but half way thru we do stumble upon a locals cafe, and get a really good coffe w/ some foamy leche on top.

   Drive to linz is a breeze, and we're there in about two hours. Playing a gig spot called kapu, cool little place hidden away next to a church at the end of a cobble stone road. Right out in front of the space, there's a dude welding bike frames together. He's got in an old container of some sort, and it's been converted into a work shop for bicycles It's got the words bike kitchen spray painted on the side of it, pretty bad ass. We have a little time before the house sound man shows, so i do a little hoof to check out the hood, and see whats near by. I still need a watch band, so i'm kinda looking for a repair shop, but instead, happen upon a big old cathedral just a few blocks away, and find the path into the center of town, which i'll go check out after soundcheck.

   I'm beginning to think rudy is just havin fun w/ us now. The sound checks seem to grow and grow, i know he's really not, i'm just being goofy, but today we wait 2 hour, and forty five minutes to do our 1 minute and nineteen second part, which most likely drives him crazy too!!! After check we chow really good food made here for us at kapu. Fresh meatballs, and veggie curry w/ rice. I try a bit of both, also another killer homemade soup and salad for starters. Thanks so much mo, great job. After this i take a walk in the near by center of town, which maybe isnt center at all, but more like shopping center insted! I start to get tired, and have a bad pain in my lower back, I decide to cut it short, and go back to club to lay down, this pain sometimes comes after sittin at the drums lots. Tryin to sleep proves pointless, and no rest is had, most the guys seem to be in a social mood, and also there's many friends of club people hangin out backstage drinking plum schnapps provided by tour boss macario, yuck!!!Once the gig starts, and hang back upstairs to get some piece for a sec, but also again is pointless, the beer fridge is up here,and there's people in and out every other minute, makes me wonder if the bags are safe!? I shouldn't be so paranoid, but after nick's lame situation in lisbon when he got his money taken from back stage, i've been a little more cautious. When we play, i take my bag down to merch table, and macario puts it in a safe place where either him or hiyori will be while we play.

   Packed gig for a monday, lots of puffers to, and the place is filled w/ smoke. I've been doing some rolled tobacco on this tour, but once am home, i will stop for sure. It was trippy, i was on stage while nick was playing, and i watched a dude in front chain smoke 3 ciggies in about 10 minutes, and he looked so miserable, no enjoyment in it, just bad habit! I'm not judging though, just an observation. Tonight, i really liked our set, had a good flow and tempo. Also a better sound on stage than in vienna, a little more live. Same goes for encores too, not too speedy. Damien said he thought it was a better feel too, he's felt in the past week everytime he gets on stage to do shaker, he's playing faster and faster. All the guys do really good tonight, and play real well. There was also some familiar faces from the night before, and it seems folks stuck around longer, and i was able to chat w/ some of them, and exchange address so i can get some photos from the past two gigs.

   We're staying here tonight, big room just off the kitchen upstairs, 7 of us in one room filled w/ beds. We still decide to load equipment into van tonight though, clean get away tomorrow. After the gig, i stay up for maybe an hour, i had a beer and one of those rolled cigerettes i was talkin' about. Then i noticed that a jamacian lady i had met earlier had a table set up in the bar and was slingin' hot wings for 5 euro. Way down, i grab a plate of these w/ the extra hot sauce, sat outside w/ another bottle beer, and got down on the wings. After the wings, my night was over, and i was ready for bed. The guys were upstairs taking care of a bottle of good bourbon got for them. I did a quick mail home, and soon after curled up under my little blankie that was too short for me. When i laid out straight, my feet were stickin' out! Damn, wish i would've brought up the mummy sack.

from tom:


   i wake at 8 and jump in the shower in our communal apartment loft and have some coffee and corn flakes with hiyori. she has kindly done all of our dirty laundry in the venues washer and dryer, i can't even express how wonderful that is. hooray for hiyori!! after another lay down on my bunk i clothe myself and go out for a walk with raul. we walk following the signs to: Town Town, thinking it might be the center of town, but it turns out to be a condo/business type building and continue on though some relatively uninteresting neighborhoods and shops and stop at a locals only cafe for a cappuccino, then we walk back. in about an hour we load up the van and start our trip to linz.

   at kapu, a venue with other spaces including a common sleeping room. that's always nice. there's food cooking in the kitchen and the smells are wafting through the hallways as we load in. i claim a bed and then go downstairs to set up my stuff. mo prepares the meal and we sit and eat. i have two bowls of delicious garbanzo bean and leak soup, two meat balls with tomato sauce over basmati rice, salad, bread, and beer. then i lay down on my cot and rest a bit. when i come to i hear people talking loudly at the table and i get up and have a coffee and chat with mo before going downstairs to hear nico, then guess what, then nico again. it's a good turn out for a monday and we play a strong set, then we break down and hang with a few of the locals, and one dude invites raul and i to a screening of the new jim jarmusch film which we ultimately decline. there's and attached bar area next to the live room and the dj is rocking some old tunes, then i hear something that sounds familiar, a slovenly song called muddy puddle that i havent heard in years, funny to hear it so loudly, it sounds good. time passes this way for a while, though eventually i climb the stairs once more to get some sleep. from watt:

   pop at eight which might seem early but I konked early (relatively for this tour). man, did I have a nightmare or maybe just very strange dream but I for fucking sure I was painting the wall - I was right up against the bulkhead and for some reason felt trapped there. I shave and cut myself like a fucking total baka, going too fast. it's not as bad as earlier on tour but fucking right near the same place. idiot, total idiot. no chow this morning except a banana and one small cup of coff... don't know why but that's all I do. a sickness is trying to get me. I gotta blow my nose like a motherfucker and the first round was green so the fucking bugs are at the gates. three days back is timisoara and you know what? I did something I never do, I drank off someone's bottle - they kept asking me to try their special schnapps and I said no no but then ok and only a tiny one but fuck if that makes sense cuz bugs usually take three days to get it going in your body. what a fucking idiot I am - me, the nutjob that puts his name on bottles so I don't hit anyone else's did that stupid fucking thing. outside it ain't as bright and sunny as yesterday, there's haze but then it's better than cold and rain. the people at arena told me before yesterday it was terrible weather in vienna for a long time. vasko in skopje wrote me an email saying that cali weather we brought to his town lasted only as long as we were there, he said that horrible cold and rain as well. weather is an acute thing for watt on tour! living in pedro makes you a little oblivious to extremes nature can bring you.

   we pull anchor at one and a half, nicholas at the wheel. we get diesle and damien does a bitchen job cleaning the windshield, respect. we get out of town w/out a wander! well, we weren't actually in town... only two and a half hours northwest to linz and I chimp diary the whole way. I have much sniffles and coughs - so glad miss hiyori has box of kleenex, so glad. we get near linz... there goes linz - after a blowby - I was talking to raul but miss hiyori said something as we went udder the centrum in a tunnel and the navigatori gps got lost - then there's the corrective loop and the offramp actually is the road we need... had to abort baka parking try but drop anchor just after four at kapu - they got a railroad car out front that's fixes bicycles call the "bike kitchn" (sic) where a cat's doing some spot welding. the padboss is andy who is very cool people. so is soundman phil. this pad's been her thirty years I'm told. speaking of long time, it's been twentyfive years since I last played this town - what the fuck is that about? so sorry.

   up to the third floor where we're gonna konk is also a kitchen and the cookerlady there named mo looks surprisingly like maux from pittsburgh, trippy! man, what she's cooking sure smells good. my guitarman tom asks mo and andy about what's this town known for and of course it's embarrassing adolf hitler was born nearby and lived here but I go to the wikipedia page for here and find out it was an industrial town, a train town and they've four universities so it's not all about scheisse stuff. the czech border ain't too far away, they got czech beer here and also their own, "freistader" and I have one w/my chow when we get done w/soundcheck after 160 minute setup - yeah, padboss andy and me have a a good piece of time to discuss art stuff, I explain the whole third opera to him and what I'm trying to say w/it besides what went into it and how it got made. he's righteous people - the punk I dig is all about people, always has been. first part of chow is delicious soup of leeks and garbonzo beans, then comes a garden salad along w/rice and meatballs - mo gives me seven! very VERY good eats, everything hand made and from the heart, you can taste it - respect to mo, RESPECT. the guess what guys come to chow after their soundcheck which is after we're through shoveling but I stick around - earlier they were saying they were used to everyone eating together... I tell them I never hardly chow w/my men on tour and at home of course I am always alone. I like it that way actually. I spend a lot of alone time, it's part of this part of my life. when I was their age and younger, yeah, I was more social but things change. sometime the only people I see all day that I know are my men at prac - and that's not every day! that reminds me, I got a bunch of dos prac I gotta do cuz me and k are going to houston to do workshop w/high school and girls rock camp, a kind of benefit thing brother dave dove has got happening for us through his nameless sound non-profit in the middle of may. anyway, I tell the french guys while they''re eating about my days as a meterman, I even wrote a poem about it as a minutemen:

I never gave a damn
about the meterman
'til I was the man
who read the meters, man

I had a lot of time to think about it. I had to read four hundred meters a day and would see like a hundred dogs during a shift. now this was in the 70s and before the pit bull thing, thank god. I only got bit twice and it was only by little ones: a dachshund and a terrier. I never once maced a dog, never. I did mace a paper wasp nest once but that was cuz of a freakout when I opened a meter box and it was on the other side of the door and all lit on my face. I maced the nest after beating my face w/the stick w/a tennis ball at the end they gave us I guess for some kind of protection. I am invited one floor below to the max andersson exhibition while it's getting taken down, amazing work and I dig much! wow. then I go back up (hard doing stairs but worth it!) and do real deep konk, very quiet up here helps w/that.

   I'm led up the stage after getting rousted but l'oeillere is playing second set. I feel like an idiot standing there w/everyone turning their back on the man playing his heart out and looking at me so I don't take my eyes off nicholas so maybe someone might understand I respect him much and this shouldn't have happened. I feel like a total 'tard. I was so embarrassed I said nothing in my intro spiel, only big claps when he finished but damn, that man deserves respect. I instead apologize for not being here in so long, dedicate piece to scotty-san and we bring "hyphenated-man" to the good folks of linz. we work it good, raul really swinging, tom strong and me not blowing too many clams but that threatening sickness makes things kind of tough but fuck it, I push and push. some man uses quiet part to weird out on raul some but he relents (turns out he's a drummerman himself and raul got him lit, he talked to me later!) and there's much focus and respect from these most kind people on our last monday night gig on the continent. I have to spit up a few times and do farmer blow technique on clearing the sinuses (palm against one side of nose and plugging that nostril and forcing huge exhale out the other nostril) so I hope that didn't gross folks out, it wasn't for drama, it was just to work the gig better, I swear. we finish up w/encore done better on my part w/our tourbrothers - I am the weak link among everyone w/this stuff still.

   the chair waiting for me by the merch table is real close (it's a nice tight room here kapu). I meet many many very nice people. some of these cats were at the vienna gig last night! such warmness to share. this one cat shows me a tattoo he has on his wrist - it's an anchor w/the letters "TWFPS" above it, a tribute to my radio show - whoa, I've never seen that before! respect to him. I have a good long rap w/the man who worked w/gigboss andy to make tonight happen, anatol - he tells me about his wild adventure living in buenos aires and the improvised music scene there. andy discusses w/me "poster culture," something him and some artists are trying to promote more in austria.

poster for kapu + arena gigs with watt in linz + vienna, austria on march 31, 2014

   this is really a great night, respect for everyone.

   I don't hose off, konk kind of early. I think the gig burned out that sickness threat - it's not just adrenaline feeling but I think I put a dent those motherfucker's assault.

tuesday, april 1, 2014 - innsbruck, austria

from raul:

   I'm up today twenty minutes till 9am, not the first one though, cuz someone is in the shower. It's macrio, and once he's out, i'm in for a quick clense. Breakfast is at 9, and bail time 10. club boss shows a little after 9am, and whips us up an omellette, fried up scrambled eggs, no other ingredients like our omlettes in u.s. stuffed w/ veggies and cheese. He also lays out some meats and cheeses and big mustard tubes, and many diffrent fruit juices...great spread. Damien brewed some thick and gritty perculator coffee, i like these makers, maybe i'll get one once i'm back home in pedro, perfect for a couple cups of strong coffee. Soon after, we're out the door, and on our way to innsbruck, w/ damien at the wheel. Axel had voluntered to drive earlier, but i think realized he was maybe still a little buzzed to do it safely, very glad he came to this conclusion before it was too late! Quite start on our travels, most the guys are asleep in minutes, i think maybe because up to late drinkin', which makes me glad i got the wings and kept it tame and crashed early, i gotta pick and choose my battles.

   There's an office space next door to gig spot that serves as a backstage area. This is where we do chow, and max and some of his crew whipped up 66 of these dumplings, called "knoedle" it's served w/ the fuckin' best sauerkraut i've ever tasted. There's 3 diffrent kinds of knoedle, spinach, cheese, and one w/ diced ham. I didn't do the cheese, but i did chow a second spinach one, and also some more kraut. Realy good foods tonight, glad we ate these early, it could be tough to play w/ dough balls rising in your stomach. After gig, i grab the key from macario, and lay around in the van reading a book tom flowed me called blood meridian by a guy named cormac mccarthy. I've seen a couple flicks that have been made from his books, so i'm eager to get to know his writin', plus i read the little pocket book i brought in the first week! fuckin' stupid of me to not bring something else, so thanks to tom for the flow.

   Trippy gig tonight, good crowd, and very sweet folks who work here, but i let two things bug me, and it was tough to let it go. First it was the photo guy who kept pushin' me outta the way to get shots of guess what. It was really weird, there was a four foot gap in between band and the audience, i think partly because this guy was crowding the stage back and forth. i decided to go right up to the stage to watch, and it seemed everywhere i went, this guy wanted to be there too. He would totally push me outta the way even though there was plenty of space next to me in every direction. At one point, he even squeezed in between me and the stage even though nobody else was there, this being in the way thing when there's much space weirded me out. So, once we played i could see him doing it to other people. Then, there's a dude who's filming us w/ his phone, and this was very distracting, he was trying to get it in my between the hi hat and snare, floating this thing around like it was a toy plane, and he was all crossed eyed because of looking at the screen. kinda funny if i would of been feelin' jolly. In the end though, i felt really stupid for not being able to let this go, i could just see it ruining the gig for lots of the folks there too, and after they even told me so. It was the selfishness that made me upset i guess.

from tom:

   [h-b, d boon!]

   i wake and eat some eggs and drink coffee, juice, etc.. we load our gear, do last minute emails then get on the road to innsbruck. it's a medium sized drive south/west across austria and through a tiny part of germany and then austria again. i finish the last few pages of "blood meridian" and it leaves me feeling a strange satisfaction and a little sad that's its over. it's my first time to innsbruck and the mountains surrounding the city are incredibly high and very beautiful. they are green and grey with white fluff still on some the highest slopes. it's like being in a bowl with jagged teeth along the top edges of the brim. the sky is exactly how you might see it in some kind of advertisement to promote travel, or on a butter carton, or in a movie. we pull up to the pmk club at 2pm and christina lets us in and i go to a bookstore to find a new book for tour and in the small english section i have a few choices of books that i have read but would like to read again like "brave new world", "catcher in the rye" but go for a revised edited of "a clockwork orange" which i've actually never read though and then walk back to pmk skimming my new book as i go. we meet daniela who helps run things here, chris who is the main dude, max whom i have met before and knows about my other music and bands. we do soundcheck, simon makes food and we eat knoedle and sour kraut with intense flavors that are new to my tongue, and then i join raul in the van to rest before the gig. they are screening the film tonight and i walk back into the club right as the credits are rolling then watch nico run though his first set in the bar area to a handful of respectful folks and fire fly's of clicking picture takers. then it's guess what's turn up and nico suggests that i go on instead of him tonight at the point when he does his little guest trumpet solo on one of their tunes, and as a surprise for the guess what guys. i say sure and he helps me put on my uniform to join the band onstage for my freak out trumpet part. i'm not sure how it was for anyone else but i had fun. then nico plays again to a thickening crowd. we go on and play well, i think it's a good gig. i do my best to stay connected with mike and raul, and we overcome some onstage distractions. afterwards we talk briefly with several people, raul and i consider opting to walk to the hotel instead of riding in the van, but finally we all go together and we leave our gear onstage to pick up tomorrow. in the hostel/hotel i'm in a room with raul, axel, and damian and i am out in seconds.

from watt:

   pop at eight bells, have the hardest time hosing off cuz I can't find the right spot between scald and freeze w/the two knobs, fucking frustrating for me and prolly my faul, not kapu pad. I was told yesterday chow at nine so at nine of nine I find only raul awake... gigboss andy arrives w/food stuffs. I have two sandwiches made w/rolls w/salami and cheese and mild light green chilies - I ask him for senf ('mustard' in german) and he gives me two giant toothpaste tubes of it, I mean giant, 'pert-near a foot long each. we clean up the konk pad, big hugs for andy - I promise not to wait another twentyfive years before coming back. damien at the wheel, we pull anchor at nine after ten - he gets us out of town w/out a wander! we head southwest to salzburg. sunny hazy blue-white skies. no swollen eyes or constant sneezing/coughing like yesterday - I think I've broken it off in that sickness bug shit, good riddance. after salzburg we have a little bit of germany to do as we continue toward innsbruck cuz that's where we're playing tonight... I think the last time I was here was for my first opera w/guitarman joe baiza and bob lee on the drums sixteen years ago - I worked my moon bass for that tour, only time I ever did that cuz since I use it only for recording, actually my main recording bass. made in japan, it's like a fender jazz. it's moon's larry graham model so the fretboard is white like the rest of it, trippy. I replaced the single coil bartolini pickups w/four coil ones and put in a blend control. I also gave it an aguilar preamp/eq but always bypass it, keeping the battery compartment empty. inside germany, a small town we pass I see through the window polizei searching a big red van - there is no border check, in and out like that, viva europa! we stop at rasthoff w/a huge "booger fling" - such fine thing to import from u.s. here! I remember reading an interview from a band from our land saying if it wasn't for these kind of dumps europe, they would've starved to death on tour - what bakas! nicholas takes the wheel after saunter. back into austria just after one.

   yesterday there was another thing I was talking to axel and damien about back in linz... this idea of the barber shop in black community or in older days, the shvitz w/jewish people - where young and old people could be socially and not have hierarchy so much. I think it's important in some instances to have different generations in the same sitch to learn from each other - maybe not hang out so much but some kind of interaction, for example this tour: me w/these guess what guys, me twice their age (they're twentyeight so exactly). they tell me that they like that kind of stuff too, that some pubs in england have that but sadly there's a trend for bars these days that cater to only certain age "markets" or whatever. it's a little sad, I think.

   we get to innsbruck before two but a wrong turn leads to leads to some wander - tourboss macario remembers slightly the neighborhood cuz he's been here before, it's an area where pads are made from the arches in a train viaduct, there are many, from bars (ones called "the shakespeare") to tabledance, disco and chow pads. we find the one we need, it's called pmk (which stands for "platform music culture") and drop anchor under warm and sunny skies, beautiful. I'm thinking fuck, it's been sixteen years since I played innsbruck... it was at a pad called "utopia" I hear now is gone... the padboss chris is very cool people and I tell him to day is d. boon's bday, april one.

d. boon + mike watt in madison, wi on may 2, 1985

   I always celebrate this day and never the other one. rupert has been to many of my gigs over the years and has always been interested in my work and wants to interview me regarding my third opera so I hobble w/him through the kaiser's old pad and past saint jakob's church to what he says is the oldest building in innsbruck his record store "arcustik music" that he had to close about two months ago, very sad. anyway, he asks me about mr bosch and my third opera and I tell him I used these images of his "men" to help me talk about myself going through mid-life trip. I like using non-musical influences for my tunes (or operas) so I can try and imbed the abstraction it takes for me to create the associations, be it w/either lyrics and/or music. he explains to me theories about mysticism in mr bosch's work but I think he's missing the metaphorical aspect of me appropriating the little figures for use as "men" in my piece. I explain him the dilemma I faced w/myself using minutemen-style elements (not wanting to either be a rip-off or a nostalgist), the profound experience of seeing mr bosch's works in person at the prado in madrid and the use of my take on the character dorothy's perspective in the "wizard of oz" film (what men do to prove to each other they're men) but I don't know how much sinks in. it's kind of like when he brings up this tune I wrote for the "what makes a man start fires?" minutemen album called "bob dylan wrote propaganda songs" - it seems he ascribes to this opinion from a spex (german music magazine in the 90s) article where it was put forth I was criticizing bob dylan for being ingenue which was not the case at all. for me, that tune was about having confidence w/expressing myself via song lyrics inspired by bob dylan's example. I though if bob dylan was brave enough to write what he did then I should man up and be brave also. I try to explain this to rupert but damn I wish I could do it in german cuz I think I only confused him further.

   soundcheck at five, I get back from rupert's pad w/four minutes to spare. we do our check, very quick-like as usual, rudy doing a good job and then I go to backstage part to answer more questions from rupert 'til finally he tells me he's confused. damn am I sorry. we chow knoedel handmade from cookerman simon who cooks it up right here at the pad. man, these are great, oishii! and the sauerkraut served alongside I swear is the best I've ever had, I shit thee not. much respect to cookerman simon!

knoedel from simon at pmk in innsbruck, austria on april 1, 2014

for d. boon's I drink no alcohol on his bday. I konk on the couch here for like three hours.

   I roust myself somehow during the second l'oeillere set. I go to the gig room but do not get on stage and instead wait for nicholas to finish. I get up on stage and raul helps me w/tuning the dan bass, meanwhile miss hiyori holds up a "happy bday d. boon" sign she made and everyone in the pad sings "happy bday" to him, righteous. I tell the gig-goers thank you for remembering him, do the scotty-san dedication and then we bring the piece, kind of a funny version w/rupert up front w/his leash and filming the whole thing - at one point one cat films him filming us - I see gigboss max up front laughing his head off. I tell you what's difficult about this gig, it's my voice. doing spiel for hours has really worn my throat out, really has. you can't use your chest for spiel, you have to use total throat and it's fucking tough for me. I have no pain - that spot the size of a pencil's diameter that was intense w/itai ('hurt' in jap) is way gone now, it's just worn out. tom and raul play really good, I mean like champs - what a fucking happening present for d. boon and I'm really proud of them. w/the encore I actually followed the chords pretty good w/our tourbrothers stuff, me still the weak link but less weak maybe.

   we get done and many kind folks give me the good word, tom has me meet a young man who lived in turkey named sezgin who asks me about a song from the minutemen's "the punch line" called "fanatics" from 1981... whoa, that was a tune I wrote that had no guitar part, d. boon would just sing it and dance his brains out. there's a trippy version of that song on the "politics of time" minutmen comp of early stuff. this cat from a band called the "soldier dolls" in england sent me a cassette of minutemen playing w/black flag at the brixton "ace" in 1983 and the postal service x-rayed the package and obliterated the recording except a faint "fanatics" you could hear d. boon holler at the tune's end. it used to crack us up when we heard that. I actually a few years ago met that "soldier doll" guy, can you believe that? this is a pretty trippy meeting too, glad to have brother sezgin.

   a good bye to rupert, his stepdaughter has dream he told me where he rides a horse from texas to my pedro town, crimony! big hugs to the pmk crew, such great folks, everyone. a couple of klicks to a 'tel called "garni technikerhaus" and fuck if I don't just konk w/out a hose off after thanking everyone I can for thinking of the reason I work bass: d. boon.

wednesday, april 2, 2014 - winterhur, switzerland

from raul:

   Woke up early, had breakfast w/ the band and went for a walk along river w/ tom. The river walk was great, and the weather also beautiful, we're in a valley surrounded by snow capped mountains, really sunny and warn down here though. I Was glad that tom and i didn't end up staying last night, i would've most likely felt lousy and not have been up early. Afterwalk, i get a shower in, and use the remaining hour before we bail to write home, and and to carlos, one of the guitar guys in chicano batman. We're trying to get them to play our homecoming gig in pedro the week after this tour is done.

   Gig spot tonight is cool, old place w/ wood floors and beams, and some of the furniture made from olde machie parts and tractor seats. I get the drums set up quick, and get pointed to the directions of the place we crash tonight. I'd like to de-foul, and leave my bag somewhere during the gig, so it's off my mind. Me and tom go together, and it's not too far, maybe a 10-15 walk along the train tracks, our pad for the evening is right across the street form the main station. We don't stay too long, and head back w/ more than enough time before sound check. After check, we do dinner in the upstairs of this building. There's a house chef named dominic who whips up a mean veggie meal for us. Red and yellow bell peppers in a celery and carrot puree w/ pan fried tofu fully coated with seasme seed, risotto, and also tasty arugala salad w/ radish and carrots sliced up in it, great meal.

   It's not always good to speculate what will happen at a gig, tonight i had no idea, but a weird feeling about how it would turn out. I was trippin on he sound, it was dead as it gets, and also not many folks seemed to be into guess what and most were sittin' at the bar drinink' while they played. Even when we started, i thought it'd be a rough gig w/ the lights. I had asked rudy not to blast me too much, but it was really bright, and pointed straight at in my face, and there was a big glare from the skins. During the 2nd part, the lights started to dim, and change color, i was psyched for that, and also happy to be able to see a crowd dancers and smilin' faces. It was a real giving crowd, and i thought we played well tonight for em'. Aside from watt, we all stay back at the bar, and have much fun w/ thomas the booker man, and his friends.

from tom:


   i wake and walk into the hallway of the hostel/hotel with a towel around my waist looking for the shower room and to my surprise daniela from pmk is at the front desk..?!! she lives nearby with her husband and works here from time to time, cool, it's just funny, like she's everywhere. i'm still groggy after the shower and throw some pants on to catch the frustuck in the food room. raul and i have a short walk around outside in the clean air along the river. laughing at people, then laughing at laughing at people. we have to go to the club to pick up our gear so we say good day to daniela and depart, drive to pmk, then load out, pack up, i get a slice of pizza and we say goodbye to the pmk folks and roll towards switzerland. at the border they ask where we're from and as soon as they hear "american" they say "go" and we go, laughing that they probably thought that we play jazz fusion.

   we find the kraftfeld venue in an area that was a train depot storage area years ago and now transformed into bike shops, vintage shops, and a couple of bars nestled in a business district near the main train station. it's a nice place, clean, functional, swiss. we meet thomas and beat, and load in after having some bread, cheese and drinks. it's warm and a touch humid, nice weather. time expands like it can when going through the motions of tour. we have a great meal and then walk back to the hotel to chill for an hour, take a shower and head back to the place at 9:45. the show is running early and after guess what play we have a little time before mike is up and onstage and we do a good show. after the gig raul, axel, damian, nico and i walk back to the hotel and raul and i have a snack and go to sleep.

from watt:

   pop at eight bells and hose off right away cuz I didn't last night like a baka. it's good warm one w/liquid soap dispenser - don't have to worry about dropping anything. I get a lot of stuff done for the england and scotland leg of this tour cuz of excellent internet here, danke. there's chow and I see gighelperlady daniele at the desk - she works here too, besides pmk pad! I chow two rolls each w/cheese and ham in them, washed down w/coff. tom was told to pants on by daniele cuz he was wandering 'tel w/just top and towel... what's that about? we pull anchor at noon, dead tori ('bird' in jap) right near the boat that 'pert-near made me puke - tree limbs right above, must've died and fell right down. I have to turn quick and move away... daniele says "it's nature" and she's right. nicholas at the wheel, we go back to pmk to load the gear, great weather is w/us again. gigboss max comes to see us off, great cat - I love him. hopefully I can come back w/the trio I got w/stefano and andrea, il sogno del marinaio when we do a euro tour for our second album - it's being mixed now by fratello bruno in bologna. axel now on the wheel (very short shift from nicholas!) after a fuel stop and filling up w/what's called "eco diesel" - does it mean ECOLOGY or ECONO? we travel west towards switzerland, going through many tunnels. then we have to pay toll for the autobahn that has these roofs (not tunnel), very expensive road but good one. again were assaulted by crap music from tourboss macario's 'puter so I apply earplugs and chow a stick of real skinny salami miss hiyori gave me. switch ponies time (nicholas helmsman now) and I use opportunity for dump at rest stop where we pause. get to the swiss frontier at three-twenty... the borderman is very kind and crossing total butter. we pass the bodensee on the starboard, axel speaks of intelligence versus knowledge - he's very right on in my opinion regarding the difference, most hip cat, axel, respect. I remember the fortress of poenari built by vlad tepes had something like fourteen hundred stairs - man, that took a few fucking days to remember, christ am I slow learner!

   the navigatori gps gets lost but nicholas steers us right into winterthur (about twentyfive klicks northeast of zurich) solid then w/the fucking machine recovered, gets us to the gigpad kraftfeld ('forcefield' in german, this part of switzerland speaks german) about four and a half - the gigboss tomas right out front to greet us - he's got the same outfit on tourboss macario's been rockin' all tour... did one of them call ahead to the other to coordinate or what?! I really like the vibe of this pad, lots of handmade stuff to give a trippy aesthetic.

serious secret plan found at kraftfeld in winterhur, switzerland on april 2, 2014

the padman beat (pronounced bey-aht and not beet) is very cool people, says this was originally part of big industrial complex building train and ship motors. we tease gigboss thomas a little bit cuz of poster saying "only swiss gig" when come on, what about luzern two weeks ago?! it's a good laugh, we're very happy to be here and him bringing us. actually tourboss macario says it's his third time here. we chow some good swiss bread w/cheese and crudo.

raul morales and tom watson (l to r) at kraftfeld in winterhur, switzerland on april 2, 2014

rudy ouazene at kraftfeld in winterhur, switzerland on april 2, 2014

   as rudy readies things for soundcheck I use internet to set up for the last to open up for us for our first gig back home april twentysix at the warner annex in my pedro town. I saw joe nolte and his band first at the whiskey w/a band called the nerves back in 1978. his "she don't know why I'm here" is a live staple for both my secondmen and missingmen live gigs. much respect to him. cookerman dominic whups up great meal for us: salad, polenta, fenil, yellow/orange bell pepper, risotto, carrots and tofu coated w/goma - really really good, respect to him! there's a room very dark w/huge worn-in couch that is very nice to konk in and I'm out for hours.

   I hear the last of guess what coming up from the deck (I'm up on the second floor) and they end a half hour before I was told they would - very much ok w/me though cuz early is always better those who have to go on last. I make my was slow down the stairs w/my back wack 'puter sack, bajo and coat... nicholas did a long set first w/no second set so that's why we're following guess what instead of him. "for scotty-san" then we bring it... big curtains all around make for a very tight sound, I really dig it. tonight's the strongest gig I've done since belgrade. the winterhur gig-goers show big time respect and focus but at the same time have some dancers going at it. what's really bizarre is a smoke machine blowing big steamers over our heads - breathing that shit made me hack and cough some when it went off... really strong gig for me though and I got both tom/raul, fourthman rudy and the winterhur folks to thank for it. I even do ALL the chord changes for the guess what tune w/them! also, I make up for the TERRIBLE clammed-out mess of "spillage" on d. boon's bday (last night) I was too embarrassed in yesterday's diary chimping to mention so that's a good kind of redemption. blue luftballoons flew up on the stage as well - what?

   good people help me down off the stage and then are kind to me when I sit at the merch table. whew, this one beat me up a little but it was a good beat-up. there's some cats who have a band that rap w/me as a, yeah, as a band. nice cats... and lots of very kind folks, I'm truly grateful. I am very glad to meet a guitarman named hansi who's played all over, even in nyc, respect - I would dig playing some of his music on my show. it's so great when interesting cats share interesting music w/me, helps broaden my circus tent of a mind!

   raul says him and tom hoofed to where we're staying, "hotel wartmann" and it's too far for my hobblin' ass so gigboss thom gets me a cab. very nice hose off and then a scrub of the gigshirt in the sink. that w/a firm mattress makes for a good solid konk.

thursday, april 3, 2014 - lyon, france

from raul:

   Woke up to rudy's alarm going off. Went for a while too, when i gave hime the scowl, he apoligized, and said he actually liked the sound. He bailed, and tom and i got our shoes on and went down to eat some breakfast. Decent spread, and i do a little scrambled egg, and a piece of bacon. I recently read a quote that said your first meal of the day is a reflection of how you want your day to go. i don't wanna have greasy day, so i guess that's why only 1 bacon. My throat is feeling a bit scratchy too, so i do like 3 glasses of o.j. Also, i'm not too hungry, tom and i got dried noodle packs from the pre-breakfast set up late last night, and i got a paper cup full of hot water from the coffee machine in the lobby. That may have been why rudy let his alarm go on this morning, a little revenge for us comin' back so late last night. We were talkin' in whispers, but sometimes that can be just as annoying, especially w/ someone slurppin noodles next to you at 3am.

   Packed gig tonight, real tight, and smokey as all hell. Because of this, i only saw the last 4 songs of guess what, i just couldn't be in there then, it was real clostrophobic. No mics on me, except for the kick drum. It was a little hard to hear myself, but it's pretty common, seeing as how i don't use a monitor anyhow. I got used to it quick though, and away we went. This place was a sweat box, and i was drenched within the first 10 minutes, the people right up againt the stage make it fun for me too, especially when they're there w/ you, and not iphone filming, or pushing others outta the way for pictures, they were puffin' right in our face though! It was a good moment in time that was captured in the memory, and felt like playin' a party in someone's living room. Had a vibe simalar to liceo mutante, where there wasn't big crowd/band seperation. Here, there was people off to the side gettin their view from behind the amps next to watt. This is probably the biggest sweat of the tour for me, today all my clothes, including pants are completely soaked still, felt good to sweat like that.

from tom:

   [hot bath]

   raul and i jam down for the free breakie, we look over the offerings and scarf up the eggs, bacon, coffee and juice like happy dogs, tho' sad i forgot my tabasco this time. then i fill up the bath for a soak. my leg and back appreciate the effort. raul and i walk through the town on the other side of the tracks and then meet the others at the venue to load out and pack up and say goodbye to thomas from the kraftfeld club. nice weather and we roll towards france. at the border we aren't even stopped to have our passports checked or stamped. it's a medium drive and late afternoon by the time we wind through the old streets of lyon.

   at the bar we see our buddy seb and are directed into a parking spot and load into the bottom floor gig space and get ourselves acclimated. geraldine is very kind and has food and snacks for us all, and rudy goes to work on the tiny PA system and i help him rearrange the speakers to get the most out it. we eat chili and salad and cheese and bread and wine and water and there are cakes that i might try later. i choose to rest in the van before gig time, i'm feeling run down again, i have to be careful with these last 2 weeks of tour, stay as healthy as i can. even though i don't think that i ever actually sleep i know that the lay down will help me later. when i gt up and out and enter the now smokey club i see that guess what are ready to perform and i fight through an overcrowded room of lyonians to the back bar room to piss and drink more water, mike still laying on the couch with his sleep mask on like a performance piece in some art exhibition that no one pays much mind to. smoking, drinking, talking all around him. i drink more water then meet Damian's father and chat a moment until i start feeling the claustrophobia kicking in and have to get the van key again for another lay down in a smokeless zone. back inside for nicos second half i slither through the patrons and set my gear for playtime. it's hot and heavily humid in this cavern-like chamber, and i'm worried that i might throw up from stomach cramps and smoke inhalation. i drink more water. mike asks me to turn up to cut through the dampened density of the thickly dressed listeners and when we play we are instantly sweating and by the first quarter point of the opera my legs are stuck to my wet pants and my fingers change from sticking to goop on the neck to slipping from slop on the fretboard. my fingers make tiny mistakes and get confused by this moisture, my stomach threatens to unload right then and there, by any means necessary. at this point feeling like a gatoraid cooler of warm salt water has been dumped over my head and stinging my eyes.. my fingers make little accidents but we hold it together. a relief to arrive at the end of the set, purged of many toxins no doubt, probably 4 or 5 pounds less as well. after "john coltrane!!" i run to the toilet and ask for cuts to see if i need to let go, but the sight on the toilet floor corrects that impulse and i just rinse my face and go back to work packing and shuffling stuff. the room quickly clears out, a very nice thing, the temperature drops and i towel off a bit and have more water, not able to put alcohol in at the moment. less smoke and more air helps me to regain some normality in my dripping clothes. i wring out my shirt bottoms and sleeves like a wash cloth, and in a short time we begin our load up and out into the street. i have changed my shirt by now but i still feel like i'd wet my pants as we pack, and some more time goes by until we are organized into groups, some going to damian's bro's place, we join seb who directs raul, hiyori, mike and i to geraldine's apartment for the nights sleep. i strip out of my wretched pants and clean up some and join the others, i try g's fluffy carrot cake with a small glass of bourbon while we have small chat in the livingroom. i sneak away and crawl into my sleep bag in one of geraldine's boys room, who so kindly surrendered it to our team for the night.

from watt:

   pop at nine bells. I shave, fuck I should do that more regular, damn me. chow w/many workingmen in the 'tel's chow area. I get the last of the scrambled eggs (yes, no milk in them!) and a hard boiled egg w/some bacon and these tiny white sausage along w/a little... swiss cheese! coff too. cab back to kraftfeld (gig pad) cuz too much for watt to hobble, sorry. big thank yous from me for gigboss thomas, great cat. he has me sign gig poster - whoa, not just "only swiss gig" error but he spelled name of his own pad "krafteld" - WRONG! we have a good laugh. so long, brother thomas. the skies have traded their yesterday sunny blue for gray-white...

   pull anchor just before eleven - very quick load out, congrats! I show rudy about tilting back the bass cabinet on it's wheels cuz I seen dragging it and sure enough it's tearing on the bottom. I really don't dig the mentality of "it's a rental" and then treating it like shit cuz you know what? someone's gotta use after you're done and how would like the same thing done to you? it's just human consideration. the morning talk is about language - so many words ours and the french share, it's amazing really. I sure wish they would teach more languages along w/english in our schools as kids, I really wish they would. you're given the example of problems caused by different languages in canada w/quebec and belgium w/the flemish and walloon thing but to me that's straw argument cuz there it's about one language or the other - I ain't talking about that, I'm talking about inclusive and not exclusive. anyway, being europe makes me appreciate these cats who know more than one language, great asset in my opinion. soon we gotta pull over, just before kloten so tourboss macario has to puke. kind of dangerous move, right onto the small grass shoulder but fucking better than in the boat. he does it pretty quick and there is quite a bit of volume involved, maybe he could've filled a sparklett's bottle worth (five gallons)? I think it's better he's got it out then keeping it in. trippy too he's not sitting in the front but maybe he knew it was coming so wanted to be close to the hatch. me, raul and miss hiyori have not changed our seats once the whole tour. we go through zurich, bern and then head for geneva, it's there where we'll cross into france.

   my sniffles are much more subdued. I show the tourbrothers pictures of my boat... and the one before it, the one I sold to raul for five hundred dollars - it was his first automobile. when I first played w/raul he only rode bicycle. we go from the german part into the french part of switzerland and soon pass lake neuchatel - the only place I've ever paddled kayak in europe except w/brother sam once in brighton but this was the only time I've paddled in a lake ever. it was weird, the paddle being just a big wood plank and the kayak itself was for white water and so had no keel... I was all over the fucking place but the water was way calm and incredibly clean, you could see down to the lake's bottom. today the encyclopedia britannica says in 1948 mr truman signed into law the marshall plan and I think some good things came out of this but of course... these guys don't know about what mr eisenhower called "iron triangle" in his goodbye speech so explain some about what he was talking about...

basilica of notre-dame de fourviere in lyon, france on april 3, 2014

   we get to geneva twenty of two, skies still gloomy but no rain. two bells we do piss stop, 'pert-near at the border and switch ponies. rudy at the wheel, big time butter for the border, merci merci big time. first aire we see, we drop anchor for big "pause" - this venue for tonight in lyon is called la triperie and from what tourboss macario says, is not all that happening and maybe no one will even show up 'til six or something. it ain't the organizers, it's the pad that's the problem. actually one of the organizers is brother seb, a buddy of mine a met a few years ago in this town. lyon is also big in my mind for being the first gig I did w/the stooges after the injury that's fucked-up (port-side one, torn ligament) my knee ever since - it was at an old roman amphitheater in 2010. lyon also got the third opera in 2011, one of the few repeat towns this tour. at this roadside chow pad called "l'arche" I have what I had last time I was in lyon when papier tigre took us to chow: andouillette which is a sausage made of chitterlings (like soul food!) that I have w/mustard. I go out to the boat when done and me, tom and axel talk about shearing sheep when axel notices tom's mustache is gone - he's been shorn! axel's on the helm as we do last leg to lyon. very pretty countryside but really gray sky... no rain though. we cross the rhone (big daddy river) and there's some blowby (of course) on the steep tiny roads (we're in lyon's center) to a part of town tourboss macario said was all squats and avoided by squarejohns - even the police but now is becoming gentrified. the gigpad is tiny and not even a sign out but it's neat. many righteous funk record covers are on the bulkhead behind the stage. there's only two rooms and one has a couch next to a table where brother seb radix (also gigboss) has brought chow cooked by his girlfriend geraldine - yes, baguette and cheese for me, love it! so great to brother seb again... last time was in november maybe? it was in eagle rock (part of so cal) w/my secondmen - he asks about them, when can I bring them? I really want to, original secondmen pete and jer have never toured europe. I meet the padboss, he's nice to me - gets me some toiletpaper for the head. damien tells me that tripe used to be prepared here and hence the name. the p.a. is total toy, prolly the most toy of the tour but fourthman rudy gets it happening as good as it can. on the couch in front of the bar and next to the chow table (the other room, the one where the stage ain't) I don my mask and konk but it's strange one cuz the couch ain't exactly long enough and so much body shifting but it is a rest anyway and it's something I really need to work the gig ok.

   I pop to find the pad totally packed and in gas chamber mode cuz of cigarette puffing. miss hiyori is plowlady to help me through the crowd and up on the stage. after explanation and dedicating to scotty-san, we bring the piece... first couple parts I'm fucking miming it but damn if fourthman rudy gets the one monitor (I think it's on the same path as the mains!) cranked enough for me to hear the note. something I noticed about guess what was the bass really bogarting so I had tom turn up his guitar all the way and really kept my bass down, rolling of the low end also. I think this helped. the gig-goers were really kind to us and for the sitch, much discipline from them about yammering though I did get some cigarette puffs down the throat when doing spiel (there was no distance between the folks and us w/the stage only inches high) I think those were accidents. trippy, real sweaty gig but I think we did pretty ok. it wasn't a recital, pretty buckwild but at the same together we gave it to the people pretty fucking together, sento ('steambath' in jap) style. this gig was right up there w/toulouse for french gigs this tour - good focus from my men and same from the gig-goers. I'm really grateful for brother seb getting this gig together, really grateful.

   I get to the merch table and there's a stool for me, whew. very dangerous w/shirt like you get when you jump in the swimming pool, levis sweated to knees. a drummerman who says he can't speak english well says he can teach me french. he gets me to repeat vas te fire enculer ('go fuck yourself' in french) a few times and says I will appear very clever if I use it w/french people. what?! I don't think so. much good word from many kind folks, merci. one lady says me and my men look like pillows, the plaid shirts we have on makes us look that way. raul tells me later she was the one blowing cigarette puffs into my mouth during the gig. there's a bassman w/a "what makes a man start fires?" shirt on, gotta pop some fist w/him. seb's buddies rick and pedro are very cool people also. for a goodbye maneuver I do a little bit of slo-mo careful disco dancing to the funk getting played.

   nicholas drives minus the guess what guys and macario to geraldine and brother seb's pad, righteous hot hose down after being in this wet fucking outfit for so long (actually very dangerous to health). into the nightwear and have a good time spieling w/brother seb 'til konk time.

friday, april 4, 2014 - royere de vassiviere, france

from raul:

   Wake up in seb's kids room to the sound of nick's alarm. Last night, tom and i shared this room w/ him, and our other two somewhere else in the apt, not sure where the rest of the crew went. I was out pretty quick last night, after a shower, i had a beer w/ a bowl of left over veggie chile that gerildine had made for us and brought to the gig also w/ some local cheese that she brought out once we went back to her and seb's place. This hit the spot, and i was crawling on the little mattress on the floor soon after. Only one wake up too, i had to piss but the wc was flooded w/ "something" maybe toilet over flow? I had to brave it though, so i stood in a cold puddle of mystery fluid trying hard to only stay half awake so i didn't wonder too much what it actually was i was standing in, and i thought, well atleast it'll potentially take care of any fungus i could have on my toes.

   Takes awhile to get outta town, we do two fuel stops within fifteen minutes, that all have little dramas within dramas attached to them, and we also gotta stop at the distro guys pad again, he's outta 10" for mail order. Us in the back part of the van wonder quitely if macario was clever enough to not pack all the records under the equipment this time around? We don't ask though, just figure we'll wait and see, luckily he was wise this time, very cool we don't hafta pull everything out on the street again. Easy stop, the records are easy to get, and some of us guys use the time to get some food. I got a pre-made chicken curry sanwhich that was pretty good actually, it was a bit after lunch time, so i think made recently and pretty fresh.

   lots of small two laner windy roads on way to gig place. Very pretty green scenery, also grey skies and rain, sometimes drizzle, and other times pour. As we arrive, it's starts to drizzle, and once we are ready to load the gear to the stage, we have big rain. We relaxed for a few moments before loading in, so maybe our fault, some had beers, and some had espresso, i had two espresso shots w/ milk poured in. Cool place tonight, that serves as a locals bar and restaurant, also in the same small building is a women's clothing store, but also dry goods store, trippy. While we did soundcheck, they had setup a table for us all to have dinner at. tasty spread tonight, for starters, leafy green salad w/ red cabbage on top. Then we got thinly sliced potatoes layered w/ cheese in between and baked till the tops were charred, along w/ this there was fish w/ a creamy butter sauce, and also stewed chunks of beef cooked with lemon quaters. I at first thought they were yellow peppers, but got the suprise when i chewed one up.

   For me tonight, hard gig physically. This is the most tired i've felt all tour. I did lay down in the van for a bit before gig, but didn't rest much. I think i just got a chill in the bones thru my feet that i couldn't shake, even w/ playin. We try hard, and do good i think. At first i get the feelin that not a lot of folks are diggin' it, but we do have a few dancers up front. When we play something danceable, more people join in. I had this feeling maybe because there was a bright light right in my face. Beacause of this, i couldn't see too much of anything, except the couple moving bodies up front, and i got this feeling that most people were bored, and it got the best of me, and also there was much chatter during quite parts too. Soon enough, i realize that this shouldn't concern me at all, and people should be able to enjoy things how they'd like i suppose, to their defense, we're layin' a big trip on them too, and it might take an exhausting amount of focus from someone who isn't prepared. During encore though, we whoop it up, that along with some dance songs, and all the guys getting on stage seem to really open up a positive vibe in the room, and folks had nothing but nice things to say after the gig.

from tom:

   [legal matter, walking a long way, waking relieved]

   i wake with nico's phone ring-ringing the chimes of 8:30, up we rise and i rinse last nights memory from my tired body and re-robe and sip coffee and chomp the remains of the carrot bread with seb being generous host during our mornings adjustment of things. we travel to a small cafe to collect the rest of our party and where geraldine is serving up the mornings baked goods with their fresh roasted coffee beans bitter in the moist lyon air. outside tiny snowflake leafs drift down in fairytale fashion in the small stony square, and then we board and roll on. we weave around highways that turn into less and less paved roads, then onto rural country paths finally finding our destination in what looks like a stereotype french village center with a water fountain (more as a water source than as decoration) in the middle and a big stony church looming over it all. everything in duotone grey/brown. we invade the small tavern/local meeting place with a community vibe, nice folks inside, and get to work trying not to be too disrespectful of their world here.

   it's a dreary and wet with a spring chill making a nice french country mood that i really like. the folks here are nice enough with a friendly indifference to what we're doing in their place. like, who are these foreigners and why is it so loud. i understand that in the summer they have many shows but only two this winter sofar, so maybe it will be a good turn out. however, it will be memorable.

   after an amazing meal of salads, potatoes au gratin, a beef dish a la morocco, fish filets with a lemon creme fresh sauce, wine, bread and a very tasty yogurt with home made black berry jam underneath.

from watt:

   pop at nine and fuck it, another hose off - we were told nine and a half anchor pull to meet the other guys so time just for coff from brother seb, he says macario revised to ten but we have to get them so maybe fifteen minutes - ha! it's very funny all this w/these guys... only two gigs left - tonight's the last friday of the tour w/them for us. brother seb rides his bike and beats us but man, he's gonna have some hills to pedal up to get back. he gives me his latest record - usually he's a one-man-band but now he's in a power trio (yes!) and on... BASS (BIGGER YES!!!) - fucking right on!

seb radix in lyon, france on april 4, 2014

   gray morning here in lyon, even a little drizzle. damien in the backbench bologna seat, switching w/tom. I notice big streaks on the windshield - no more washer fluid, I'm thinking? tourboss macario says nicholas (he's the wheelman now) ain't pushing the button hard enough - what? I ask to lift the hood to check and find the washer fluid reservoir bone dry. these guys are too much. we stop just to get a little diesel cuz there'll be down the road a big supermarket where they sell fuel for much cheaper but I ask tourboss macario to please spend the four euros-twenty (about six bucks u.s.) to get a bottle of windshield cleaner. it's fucking worth it. nicholas forgets to remove the plastic piece of the lid that ain't the lid and it drops into the spout! tom thinks fast and gives me a branch. I pull the leaves off and fish out the plastic, whew! the drama doesn't end here though. I got a tuna sandwich and some chips (both tasted terrible but I didn't puke so I guess it was ok) plus a can of energy drink which for the life of me I don't know why I got cuz fuck if I drink that shit - I think I wanted the bubbles and couldn't find any aqua frizzante. anyway, as I was getting in the boat my hiza ('knee' in jap) buckled some and I dropped the sack w/the just-purchased shit and then my ass landed on the sack and get this: I burst the fucking can - everything wet! what a baka, what a fat baka, huh? I have never burst a can w/my ass before! we get the econo gas and then drive not too far to rive de gier - remember that town earlier in the tour? it's the home of cd1d, the cats who do labelboss macario's distro for online. this time though the stock was loaded last night (smart), we take big roads to get to the pad (smarter) and even park in a space instead of block the whole fucking road (even smarter) like last time. like tourboss (labelboss) macario says, "I am learning all the time" - same thing w/me, good good words, merci. also good news for people wanting mail order of me and the missingmen's "missing the minutemen" - it's again back in stock. there's a open-air market nearby and the guess what guys get some chow for the "pause" we're gonna do later. we have drizzle from the gray skies. I tell axel about the "pillow book" cuz he's never heard of it. we're in "dome country" there's volcanos even around but w/this weather you can't see shit. we do a twenty minute "pause" and sure enough the head's being cleaned but thank god for piss bottles is all I can say. nicholas still at the wheel, pull anchor and onward - right into fog and rain. not only we go back to france, where the tour started but back to crummy weather. oh well. the last sixty klicks are on tiny roads through the woods but the fucking navigatori gps wants to put us on even smaller ones, stucazz?!! twenty of five we gotta bring about cuz of wrong turn. in europe I've found it's more town-driven, how you get around is to know which town you're going to where as in u.s. we have a lot more numbers on our roads: county road number, state road number, us hwy number, interstate number, etc. sometimes the same road has many many numbers, different systems sharing it. pass signs for towns like "st merd" (I shit thee not), "millevach" and "faux la montagne" - trippy. we're in creuse ('hollow' in french) region, the most sparsely-populated area in france. we pull into royere de vassiviere around five and seconds later we're l'atelier ('workshop' in french) which is kind of a community center. the gigboss ann says he was looking for us coming from the other way... again our frontbench commanders made (w/the cooperation of the baka navigatori gps) made a mess of finding a good route... sure wish they'd get us involved. that's what I get for learning axel about sei shonagon and stuff like that. my fault. axel's interesting cat though, so is damien but he was tuckered and had to sleep much. he learned me some stuff though, always does.

   can't update the diary cuz of the internet connection here, sorry - tom got all caught up too, oh well, maybe tomorrow. two hours to set up the p.a. for the one minute-fourteen soundcheck song and about eight bells I start chowing by myself, a great salad w/a vinaigrette dressing and sunflower seeds w/endive and cabbage. great w/the chili sauce from the bottle raul gave me last week - a big thank you to him for that. everyone else comes (guess what doing quicker and quicker checks - nicholas telling me he has to do long checks w/an acoustic band he has but shows up only for last five minutes, saying he hates long checks) and padlady nadja brings on potatoes au gratin but not over done and sopped up w/cheese like I've had back home. I get to sit next gigboss ann (boy name here), he apologizes for his english but I think it's pretty good. anyway, then comes beef chunks in a brown gravy w/quarters of lemons, fish and boudin but not like louisiana kind - very mild (not spicy) and very dark (not white) but very thick yet tender. really REALLY good chow, oh man! much MUCH respect to the cookerman fabien! I then go upstairs to konk, but no couch... only real low padded chair but you know what? it works for me - I just keep the coat on, apply the konk mask after stuffing ears w/plugs and the orange knit hat on after that: done, I'm out.

   the roust comes at eleven bells. l'oeillere is finishing up second set (nicholas later told me second set was "catastrophe" - people only there to party and not listen) and I go up to get my bass tuned, raul helping me. I do real short intro, after "this is for scott-san" we bring "hyphenated-man" royere de vassiviere and dancing from a few cats bursts out immediately, especially from mr flowerpants. I would not call this disco dance but more like either jitterbug from some or electroshock body tremors from others - trippy to see them change up w/the parts. oh, "pinned-to-the-table-man" brought some waltz from a few couples. we deliver pretty clamless but acoustically there's a low mid thing but not too bad and aesthetically on our part, something I feel a little in the way of feel w/the guitar, something a little blurry - not really a clam issue but... there's lots of good listeners in the crowd, most polite and though some yammering, not an overwhelming thing though like we have had to do back home at times. the encore has us really tighten up and that blurriness I was feeling is now gone, I'm right next to tom's amp but making sure not to block it.

   over to the merch table, I meet some guys who do music - one saw the stooges back ten years ago he says. I get some music from his buddy - but then he's got buddies he's got a band w/also - yeah, also cuz he's also playing w/his buddy - just not the cd I just was handed. everyone's playing now days, I think that's a great thing. I meet a cat named ronald who does animation talks to me about doing a road trip in the u.s. and he finds the country here in this part of france sort of like kentucky but more cows here than race horses there. he said he also tripped on seeing signs for "hooters" right next to ones w/big letters saying "hell is real!" we have a good laugh. france ain't just paris and u.s. aint just hollywood. lot of genuine feeling here, "I just wanna shake your hand" a man tells me, very kind.

   it's raining but we gotta to the konk pad, just a couple of doors down. it's a slow careful go for me, wet uneven ground and all rainy but I make it w/out a tumble. there's some tub that looks tempting, fucking deep tub even but how much hot water? this is an old pad so I decided against dice roll and go for just short hose off, bitchen they got a bottle of liquid soap here too so I get good and kirie ('clean' in jap) and right into nightwear and onto too-soft mattress but not nightmare and temp is just right for good konk which I do like someone flicking a switch. done.

saturday, april 5, 2014 - orleans, france

from raul:

   When i crashed last night,i was in a room all alone. Id come back early from the after party, and made some freeze dried noodles i'd got from the swiss hotel a couple nights before. This is really soothing on the sore throat i have develpoing, and also helps to get the chill outta my bones. When i wake though, the beds are full of those that stayed behind at the dance party, and even some layed out on the floor. I got outta bed when i heard tom and watt talkin in the kitchen of the old place, i guessed that watt would have the coffee going, and luckily for me he did, tom was also boiling water for noodles like the one's i had last night. After coffee, i'm up and decide to walk back down to gig spot to use internet before we bail in an hour. The same women who had prepared dinner the night before is back at work early this morning. She seems really cheerful, and w/ out me asking she brings me another double coffee w/ foamy milk, and also a split baggette w/ butter and local black berry marmelade on the side. Man, the french have mastered this style of bread, it's perfect. Not long after, the rest of the crew shows up to load gear, and head out to our last gig together in orleans.

   Not to far a drive at all, and really good weather once we get there. I'm able to do shorts, and shoes w/ out socks.

   Playing the fourth floor of a city run arts compound that seems to host diffrent events at diffrent times. The music part is at the top, w/ one big stage room, and one that is smaller w/ a bar in it, that's the one that we're in tonight. Lots of space here, and that makes things easier on everyone, there's places for all the cases, and nobody is in anybody else's way. I stored my extra things on the big stage in the next room. Lots of sweet folks that work here today. Fabien being one, and a big part of this gig, he lso prepared the food, and made it possible for us to stay at his folks house tonight. between soundcheck and dinner, i took a walk to the center of town, and to the orleans gothic cathedral just a few blocks past, but unfortunately did not have the time to make it inside, but very intense lookin' up close from the outside.

   Rough one tonight, for me atleast. I usually will tape things off after i do a sound check, that way when things are moved for someone else, i can easily get pretty close to how it was when i left. When i got behind the kit tonight, i noticed things were way off, like half a foot, baffled, i figured maybe the whole thing had to be shifted while i was roaming, and damien was doing sound check. So, i payed no mind, and got ready to do the gig. Half way into the first part, the kick drum is slidin' like a mo-fo, aarrghhh! i instantly understand what happened, and what kind of night on stage this has become..total bummer. They're filming and recording segments of tonights gig too, so we'll get the chance to watch this lame situation over and over if desired. Also, earlier a filmer asked if he could out one of those lil helmet cams on a stand in front of the drums, no problem. Well he decided to mount it to some hardware on the kit, and my cymbal kept smackin the shit out of it, and there's no way he was gettin' any footage from this. During my one pause, i snapped it off, and laid it on the floor leaning on hi hat stand facing up towards me, maybe this worked! hopefully his camera, or the cymbal didnt get damaged! I had a lack of energy too, I've had to use these gels on the drums to kill rings, and tonight rudy had me use one on the snare to, so i felt the little energy i had went to trying to get some life outta the drums. They sound dead w/ those things, plus these heads have seen about forty gigs, w/ two sets a night, and they've just about had it. Some guys like em, and it works for diffrent sounds, but to me, sounds and feels like playing soggy cardboard boxes, i'm not whining, just sayin! After gig, and pack but before we go to fabian's to crash, we must say good bye to damien, drummer for guess what. His lady came to collect him before we make way to christine's in erquery. he's a way beautiful spirit, and it was a big pleasure to get to do this trip with him. Axel will stay behind to get his car that was here gettin repaired during the tour, and also to get us to brighton were we will resume the last 10 days of the tour.

from tom:


   i awaken in a lower bunk in a room with four or five of us sawing away the last of the nights zzz's, i walk to the common kitchen and make some coffee with mike, make my noodles that i've been carrying around in my backpack for days, spice it up with tabasco and then lay down for 15 minutes more, then rise and shine pack my pile of stuff back into my bp and walk down the half block to the bar/cafe to wait till we load out and go. i sleep while we drive, i have dreams. we stop and i get a sandwich and we drive more. it's not a bad trip or anything, i'm just a little tired i guess. we eventually get to orleans. we pull into a carport on the ground floor of a large building that houses the venue on the third floor. we load in and get down to business.

   the venue has a very large stage in one room, and a smaller room next to it that we play tonight. it's a good size for us, and the nice folks here accommodate our needs and offer snacks and a place to rest. we have a group sit down dinner with red sauce and little sausages in ginger and cilantro salsa, shredded carrots and salad, wine and bread and cheeses for desert. i rest a bit until i see damian's girlfriend, luce, and then hang out with them because it's the last night together. we watch nico play his long set tonight, the guess what play and luce is the secret guest tonight in costume holding rudy's iPhone into a mic with that familiar rudy alarm going like some cartoon tap dance or like video game when entering a small village. we go on and do our thing to a medium sized crowd of mostly quiet listeners with the exception of a chatty at stage left and a heckling rocker at stage right. it becomes a bit irritating and mike stops in mid bell-rung-man to stare down the chatty one. it's a little awkward, but the guy gets the message, the rocker is oblivious and keeps spouting. even with these complications i feel like we played well, strong and in control with good dynamic and feeling. sad that it's our last time with this group and the final songs with guess what and then nico and finally macario are especially fun and we all thank rudy for his amazing help with sound and keeping the show on track all these days. after some conversation with flo and her friend victoria, about lord of the rings and local orleans life, we have to say goodbye to damian and luce, and we wave to them as we roll towards gig man fabien's parents place for the night. the house is very well suited for our group and i get a double bed with raul and go to sleep.

from watt:

   pop at eight bells, tori ('birds' in jap) singing very loud - beautiful. the rain has stopped but very gray much haze. tonight is the last gig of this leg of the tour and is very much on my mind... it is a relaxing thought. this konk pad it turns out is the town library and childcare pad but originally it was a 'tel built in 1899. I know the deck is from those days where we're konking cuz damn were those floorboards talking w/every step. I hobble over to where we played and I have the only chow for breakfast is bread and butter but it's french bread so that's way ok by me - even the butter, something I never use at home. a guy my age or even older comes up to me and gives me the thumbs up saying "last night" w/heavy accent. great cats here.

   pull anchor at eleven and a half, the sun has come out - yatta! axel at the wheel, we do tiny road, get fuel and then do tiny road - after an hour though, here's the autoroute ('pert-near made wrong turn just before but what's more important is we didn't roll the van in moment of freak-out) - good rudder from axelonian wheelman, good rudder. at one we pull over for piss stop and I get a tuna baguette from the chow pad which is a "paul" one - you see these at the airport - I mean not fucking righteous eats but for damn sure head and shoulders over that shit I choked down yesterday during our drive. again rolling, axel on the middle bench w/konk mask and fourthman rudy at the wheel as roll north. tom's traded w/damien on the backbench. before we halted I asked these guys to try and speak english so we can be a part - I tell them you know I'd speak french like a motherfucker w/them if I wasn't so stupid and didn't know it but c'mon, when the joke's about you (we dropped in a handicapped zone and they were telling each other it's ok cuz if the police came they could show them I was crippled)... fuck I wish I knew french, I swear I do.

french countryside on the way to orleans from royere de vassiviere on april 5, 2014

   when we start rolling again, they don't talk in french, they don't talk at all but instead put on the radio real loud w/some guy speaking french which of course makes sense this being france! I think the main problem is my incompetence w/french, these guys are not to blame.I chimp diary. oh, I'd just told them about my elliptical trainer I got back home and being away from going on seven weeks. this is one reason I'm getting weaker cuz limping around does not work my muscles right and the port-side top thigh muscle has atrophied big time, half its size now. I know this had made me a little frustrated too. hobbling around peg-legged is not like really working my legs out w/one of those babies. we're playing tonight in orleans where I find out 'pert-near half of france's vinegar is made in orleans (thank you encyclopedia britannic) which no one here in the boat knew. an hour after our last stop, rudy is through and nicholas takes over - slight pause at a rest area... and sounds change from spoken word from radio over to stuff provided by tourboss macario's 'puter. the encyclopedia britannic also learns me about the name of the pad we're playing tonight in new orleans, l'astrolabe - it's a device going back to mohammed's days for navigation and stuff like that and here I though was laboratory for space dudes - I am a baka! first tune from "superfly" soundtrack - I love this album! tourboss macario plays the next tune also, RESPECT!!

   nicholas pretty much drives us straight to the venue w/out a hitch 'cept a few doglegs provided by the fucking navigatori gps, we drop anchor at three and a half - productionboss clement there to meet us, help load up via an elevator three floors (back home we say ground floor is first floor, different in europe usually) and damn if he don't bring in salad fixings like cucumber, cabbage, arugala, pickles (good ones - sour!) and a great vinaigrette - by the way, clement knew half the vinegar in france is made here. I meet the folks who made this happen, gigbosses fabien and ania - ania brings in a bowl of these strange brown small sack-looking things, doesn't know english name so I get brave and tear it open - fuck, they're called ground cherries, never realized what these were before, crimony! fabien has cooked cooked up this sauce w/tomatoes, ginger, chilies and sausages - after our last soundcheck for this tour w/fourthman rudy (one minute-fourteen supplemented w/nervous gender songquote) we belly up to the table to dig on this righteous chow, I shovel it w/gohan ('rice' in jap) and fucking get off big time on the flavor explosion in the mouth. fucking happening slice of blue cheese to alloy w/a little wine, I use hashi to get every little bit down my throat and in my gut. then I go to backstage where there's a nice couch to konk on so that's what I do.

   I think l'oeillere did only one set but didn't see that or guess what's last performances for the tour which is lame but I just need my strength for this final throw w/my men w/these guys. the last performances I will witness by them will be those w/us in the encore. I make my way to the stage one last time in france for now... rudy told me the monitors were toy as far as power goes so I turn the bass down - should've done at the amp instead of the bass itself but... I thank the people we've shared these fortyfive days/gigs w/by name: macario, nicholas, axel, damien and rudy. then I tell them this is for scotty-san and we bring "hyphenated-man" one more time to a town on the european continent. some orleans gig-goers really make it one of the most challenging gigs of the tour in the sense that a gig-goer could do that... actually it's just two individuals. the one starboard of me is a drunk rock and roll guy I give no attention to at all, I'm thinking it would be useless and maybe even egg him on more. the other person is a hipster and uses the quiet parts to try to impress his buddy who's giving us good focus, respect to that guy but the yammering is so close and so annoying, I give him all the eye I got and by the time we're in "bell-rung-man"I'm even using gestures and fucking w/the pacing of the tune (tom missed a cue and jumped ahead at one point, damn - not his fault though - I was really fucking w/this part to drive home this very personal "message") to try and keep him from hijacking the gig from the other people who are big time being very kind to us. this guy deserves himself, no one deserves him. I've never dealt w/a heckler like this w/the third opera before, not this intense but it's really pissing me off. finally he relents and leaves, thank you so very much. the man who was getting his ear chewed off stayed though, thank you also so very much. another trippy thing about this gig was raul for the first time all tour seemed to be a little tired. I say this cuz it is surprising cuz every gig he brings it. he prepares himself w/so much focus, never plays borracho or even buzzed, just an incredible man I can always count on, even when sickness is trying to bring him down. now please understand this doesn't mean he played terrible cuz he didn't and in fact when I asked him he did feel tired, he speed up the tempos for the encore tunes! I know sometimes tiredness shows in my playing, I know it. the drunk rock and roll guy makes for a very interesting ending way to the end the piece - I have yet to end this way but hey, that's what the sitch seems to need and so I pause it way out 'til he has say... and say. most last gigs of tours are anti-climatic but I still have a positive attitude cuz if one has made it this far w/so much that could go wrong then for me it is huge victory. I think maybe too big expectations are put on final gigs... AND ANYWAY - we (meaning me and my men) still got eleven more gigs in england and scotland to do, I can't wait!

   we do the encore and then I go to the merch table and a nice man named cyril talks w/me - actually he also helped me off the stage. he has great philosophy about "keep on keepin' on" and we gotta be in the moment and keep pushing. man, what a kind cat, truly. tom converses w/the rock and roll gig challenger (not on purpose) guy. lots of nice stuff from a man in french and I'm too stupid to understand most of it but I can tell his kind man to me. merci.

   trippy to believe that for next three days now we don't play for people but then we reignite for england and scotland - a man can doubt himself after that long w/shore duty!

   fabien in his volkswagon takes us to his parents pad. hot hose off for watt, merci! fabien has roots from his folks in madagascar and that's why the ginger in the chow and man, was that happening - there's more left and the french part of the team arrive and start shoveling and watt resists EXCEPT for small hunk of righteous salami... damn, I got hankerin'!

wednesday, april 9, 2014 - brighton, england

from raul:

   (sunday) Being here at christine's having dinner makes the six weeks in between seem like a blink, so trippy, but it feels like we were hardly gone. Macario and his family make us feel such apart of theirs, and make everything so comfortable for us, very gracious of them, and something i won't soon forget. Our band is in the upstairs loft part of the house again. It's rearranged just a bit, but i still have the same bed, but this time it's circled w/ fold out partitions. It's surrounded on 3 sides, and the head is facing a wall about 4 feet off, so it's like a room within a room. It's neat, and reminds of being little and building a fort, and ofcourse being here, it's extremely cozy. After dinner last night, some of macarios friends show up, and the party really gets kickin'. We do a 6 dude chess off. Me and axel, watt and masai, and the two buddies at the end of the table. I'm not sure how the night ended for the rest, but after axel and i wrapped it up, i hit the sack, and didn't wake till 11:30 monday morning. I was tired, and figure since we have the time to rest, i'm gonna get as much as i can.

   he next morning (monday) , is super relaxed too, and i don't feel the need to get right outta bed, even for coffee...why get all caffed out to lounge around the compound all day. i did have some really bizarro negitive dreams, but nothing worth mentioning, but i layed in bed and thought about those for awhile, then decided to get up and join the team. Christine did make some coffee, so i did a half cup after shower to get the sleep out of my head. For breakfast, i had a bowl of fiber cereal, w/ rice milk, and bananna sliced up in it. Most the early afternoon i spent laying in bed and reading, and trips out to the backyard to check if my clothes had sun-dried on the line hiyori was kind enough to hang them on, easy day, the good life as tom would say. I also get a chance to hear nicholas live for one last time this trip, watt has him do a performance for a radio he's doing here from christine's in erquery, really nice piece, one i recognized, and one i havn't heard yet. Later on, i was just returning from a walk, and on a whim, as the car was leaving to take nicholas to the train station, i decided to jump in to say goodbye, but also curious about the vehicle we'll take to ferry tomorrow. Everything seems to be fairly solid, and it drives real well, also it's axel's ride, so he's real comfortable driving it. Once we're back,he suggusts that maybe we get the gear loaded, that way we don't hafta do it tonight in the dark, or first thing tomorrow morning. Good call too, beacuse this took more time than expected, trying to figure out how to get the bottom cover of his car to fit in between bouts rain was a bit challenging.The dudes who did his engine while we were on tour, didn't put on the cover to the engine underneath the car, insted, they wrapperd it in a giant plastic sack, and left it in the back of the van, and w/ out the bolts to reattach it! lame and lazy manuever, so we gotta tote it inside with us. I went to bed maybe an hour after dinner, i think i hit the pillow near 10, so i was up early enough on tuesday to watch the sunrise from the small attic window. I layed in bed until i heard the others up, and i jumped in the shower, and after, Tom and i pack up the van w/ the rest of the crew's bags. Big thanks to christine and her two boys, they made us feel so at h

   We roll into brighton 5pm or so tuesday evening, great weather, and not too much traff. We're staying at brother sam's sisters house, awesome corner house next to a park, just a few blocks from the beach. Sam is in a group called go team! and he and watt also have a project together, and have known each other for years. Ive only met sam once years ago, but great to see him again, and also bitchin' of his sis to let us stay here while she's on vacation. Big 3 story house, so plenty of room for everybody for the next 2 nights. The afternoon we arrive, we don't do much in way of seeing the city, but i did ride w/ sam to help him w/ groceries for dinner. He whooped us up some great food too, roasted two chickens, w/ carrots, potatos, parsnips, leeks, he made a mash outts something or other, another root style veggie that i can't recall..aarrgghh! all really good, we tore it up too, i don't know about the others, but all id eaten all day was a crappy sami from the ferry galley on the way over. Soon after the big chow down, i went upstairs to get a sleepin' spot situated. There was a short day bed that had two mattresses stacked on it, i pulled these off and laid them side by side on the floor, this was very comfortable, and i slept great.

   When we had gotten things for dinner the night before, sam had also picked up the fixin's breakfast, eggs and bacon, he also refried the taters up from the night before, good shit. Oh yeah, i've spaced, tom and hiyori had gotten me a double chocolate cake to celebrate my birthday today. Very sweet of them, and they sang me the birthday song w/ candles for the wish blowout, fuck i didn't even make a wish, i'm pretty content anyhow, so it didn't cross my mind to wish for something i don't have, but i did blow out the candles, and tom took a shot so i could send it home to paloma to see. This was really sweet of the both them, and i was way suprised, i did not expect such kindness, but they're both beautiful, so no reason to expect nothing but sweetness from them both. After this, tom and i went to the museum and sat at the cafe there to have coffee, and after the caffine kicked, we took a big walk around brighton, ending up on the water front, and then loopin it back around to sam's sis's place. The rest of my afternoon is spent toally relaxing, and enjoying the vibe of this beautiful place.

   Today is wednesday, and first gig day, so we also meet our new driver man tom, he's bringin' himself, his van and the gear will be using for thed next 10 gigs to sam's sis's house. He arrives about 330 this aftrenoon, and i suggest he takes the room that i was in, and i can bunk up w/ tom tonight, seems like a total straight shooter who takes his bussiness seriously, this is great news for us, and it's good to have him on the team. Soon after we're off to the gig spot, not too far away, maybe 15 minute drive, even a quicker walk, but in the van we gotta follow the one way system here. playing a place called the green door store, old storage building built into the bridge above it, trippy. i'm eager to get the drums out to see what i'll be workin' w/ the next week and a half. It's a red ludwig kit, i'll find out the model soon, i spaced on that too. Big cannon of a kick drum, a rack tom that connects to the kick from a ring around drum. Not the best design, because of the way it's attached, it has the tendancy to bounce around, but this is ok, also a free floating floor tom, sometimes they connect these to cymbal stands, and that's a horrible design. The only issue w/ this floor tom, is that someone, who maybe dosn't play drums, put the heads on the oppisite ends, so where the the legs fit in are way up on the drum, so i gotta put the legs in to past the tip, but still where they can grip, kinda funny! It seemed strong though, but tomorrow if i have the time, maybe i'll switch the heads back. Also, strong hardware, and a maple snare that seems like it'll be in good shape w/ some tunin'.

   Not a bad gig for 3 days off. The stage work is totally diffrent than the past month and a half. Everything has for the most part been set up, and i was just changin' out cymbals, tonight i gotta jump up on stage, get all the mics off, reposition the kit, and go from there, then i switch out cymbals, and do the hieght adjustments, no thing though, it gets the blood flowing and the mind goin' before we play. There's definitly a couple of things that'll need some work on this kit, and some things top get used to, but it feels pretty good for a first one, and with out tuning either. Not alot of space outs, two that i can remember, i thought we came out on top of this one. Great crowd too, felt like they were truly there w/ us. Was trippy to not do our encores w/ the rest of our euro tour mates, made me miss them. As soon as we're done, new driver man t.c. starts collecting the drum cases, and as i'm breakin down the kit, he's getting the drums and hardware in their cases, such a big help! The drums are ready to go in 10 minutes, and the van is loaded and ready for merch in 20. Shortly after, he gave us the 5 minute heads up, and i finished the last of a cup of beer i had, and hoped in the van. On the way back to sam's, him and his buddies pick up some red stripe, and we have a couple beers along w/ oven baked peperoni pizza's, filler to soak up the beer. I was up for atleast two hours, but i think i may have been the first man down, and i snuck away upstairs to mail home, and end another day w/ sleep.

from tom:

   [someone falling into a lake, scared to walk across a bridge, metal cables and brackets]

   sunday we wake and have coffee and juice and breads with fabiene and anya and our crew. this is the morn of the first day of no show for two days. we drive to drop off rudy at his pad in a suburb of paris, hugs and kisses and then to the airport to to pick up robert, the van and equipment guy from germany, and then we continue to christine's castle compound north of paris for a two day rest before shoving off to the uk leg of our euro tour. i am reading the restored version of a clockwork orange and digging the nadsat language. more ultraviolence continuing after the blood meridian novel. we arrive and settle into our peaceful downtime in a comfy place. food is cooking and whiskey flowing and a mattress to lay on for however long i feel, kind of paradise.

   when we sit to eat it's night time and the generous meal is country style french, a potato and onion casserole with sweet and sour smelling cheese all crispy burnt on the top, a leafy butter lettuce salad, some corny bread fresh baked, and red wine. we have a plum cake at the end and i go outside to view the stars and see the Big Dipper and jupiter and saturn and polaris....it's amazing how nice it is to be staying in one place for more than a day, and how relaxed it can feel to the brain. i am drained in a luxurious way and i lay down in my sleep nest for what feels like days but is only an hour, then rise to be with the others, watch them playing chess and watch some funny youtube movies...laughing and drinking whiskey. again i crawl into the sack, and this time for good.

   [disagreement, hallways]

   monday: i have vivid dreams, most of which evaporate just as i wake, but i roll around with my sleep mask still on and drift in and out of wake-ness, then i rise at 8:30 to take a hot shower, drink coffee and sit with mike and talk about Einstein-y things. in a mode of greedy luxury i lay back down for a little while resting my bones like i have't done in months it feels. i gather my possessions into order, make the bed and down the stairs again for some cereal and coffee. the day is fresh and the air is gentle and sweet, bees and birds and an occasional sheep bah-ing from someplace near, i think i hear wind chimes too, but that might be my ears ringing from the continuous gigs. even the sound of a distant jet going by is pleasant to the ear. everyone arises at their own pace, no need to assemble like an army today, no time schedule to adhere to. i can sit and read or write or whatever, nothing. i have the chance to take a nice bath in a room where the sunken tub has a picture window looking out onto a meadow and across to a horse stable where someone is walking a beautiful grey/brown horse in circles. later raul, axel, and i take a short drive, we have to drop nico at the train station and say so long and bon voyage and give him a last hug and then we drive off again, stopping for provisions on our way back.

   in the evening we sit together to eat another creation by christine and masai, a curry soup with garbanzo beans and onions that we put long grain rice into and mop up with that corny bread and sheeps cheese. there is also a berry cake that i wash down with wine. i'm quite relaxed and my muscles are ready to absorb more rest, so i accept this and lay down on my sleeping pad unashamed to just fall into an early sleep.

   [truck in reverse, on a skateboard]

   tuesday i wake early and roll around and doze off again, then jump in the shower at 8. coffee, cereal, juice, email, do a final packing of stuff into axel's blue vw transporter van. we have to say farewell to christine, macario, masai, and eva and poncho the german shepherd, and we find our new seats for the trip to calais to catch the ferry to england. the weather is spring-clean with off/on rain droplets. it was a great time to have those two days at chrisine's farm but it's also nice to be back on the road, and back to work. we travel to the coast to catch the ferry from calais to dover, england. it's all just mechanical now, driving, sitting, walking, driving, sitting, talking. great weather though!! on our way to brighton where we have a place to stay the night, and someplace i've never been to before. i'm still a bit hazy in the head from rest, and not routine gig life, though feeling healthy and aware of it. axel is pilot in his blue van, we are now driving on the england side of the road, opposite from u.s. and continental europe...it takes some effort to get used to it, but i'm glad axel is and is the man behind the wheel.

   when we get to sam's sister's place we find a parking spot in front and load out of axel's transporter, have a coffee with sam and then axel hops back into his van and continues on home to london. we all get ourselves situated and comfy in our little spaces. sam is preparing food for us and we drink whiskey and talk and then his buddy ian from their band, the go! team, comes by and we sit and eat and talk. i'm exhausted again and soon i'm in my sack and konked.

   [motorcycle accident, mike]

   gigday i wake at 6 and take a hot shower then lay back down for another snooze. up at 8:30 and it's sunny and clear and i drink a coffee. it's raul's birthday today, hiyori and i go walking in search of a small b-day cake and find a chocolate one and get little candles to light on top.. we return to a nice breakfast that sam has prepared for us, and sing to raul with the cake all lit up and watch him blow it out. we eat and clean up. raul and i go for a walk around the town, check out the museum, some banksy art, we walk through the streets with shops and bars and foods, and then to the water. the beach is mostly small stones with a sort of dirt like sand. the pier reminds me of quadraphenia and i hear the music in my head. we do some people watching on our way back to sam's sister's place. mike's doing a video shoot in one of the rooms upstairs and lay down with my sleep mask on and chill for a bit. later i go upstairs and have a bath in a claw foot tub and soak myself while jimmy scott sings to me from my iPad.

   at 3:30 our new driver man, tom (tc) shows up and we meet and talk and then load up into our new vehicle for these last few gigs. we wait a bit till it's time to roll to the club. tc rolls us up to the place, an old english brick building not so far from sam's sis's place. we do our first load in with this new line up, and check our our new, rented gear. i have a roland JC 120 amp to play through, one of my least favorites, no tubes, kind of mushy with thin and ringy high end, usually. however, they are very sturdy and i like a challenge, so no complaints. mike tests out his ampeg SVT, one of my least favorite to move around, but it looks solid. raul's new kit looks decent, also solid, and sounds loud and fresh...overall, we are pleased with the gear. tonight we use the house sound man for the first time on this tour, so we brief mr. james and set up and check quickly. then raul and i walk back to sam's sis's place because i forgot the coltrane cd in my backpack and we check emails then walk back to the pad. i catch the tail end of airfix, a duo with a drummer guy playing a tiny child's drum kit, and voicing beat boxy and swooshy sounds into a mic that his partner processes through his modular synth and embellishes with a sequencer of arpeggios and varying filters. i was mad i missed the first part of their show. then the trio, shudder pulp plays a set of songs that are very section 25-y to my ear, and that's a compliment. at times i hear hints of this heat too. however, i'm not sure if these young lads even know those bands, thems being mere childs and all. i'd say they're barely 20 years young. i see ian and meet kaori and kai (sp?), other _..go! team_ members, but soon have to go to work. before getting on stage i run through the words to "politics of time" because i will sing it tonight. i adjust the amp accordingly and the shows goes well, i think. i feel fresh from the days off and not too stiff and even get the new singing parts pretty good. we pack up quickly, like usual, though even more so because there's a dj thing happening right after us and they want to clear us out to get that going. tc and i, and raul get the stuff outside with help from sam, and do our first pack of the new van and gear, then wrap up the club stuff and stop by a liquor store before arriving back at sam's sis's pad. we hang in the kitchen with a few friends, clown around, make two frozen pizzas, polish off the "western gold" whiskey that had been provided to us earlier and i put my sleep clothes on to share the double bed upstairs with raul (who's already hogging most of it, but it's still his b-day so i let it go), and that, as they say, is that.

from watt:

   sunday pop at ten bells - whoa for watt! actually cuz of alarm clock tourboss macario w/his pull anchor proclamation. pull anchor fortyfive minutes past tourboss macario's "MAXIMUM ELEVEN O'CLOCK LEAVE TIME" taunt. so sad to have say farewell to our kind hosts, BUT...

ania + fabien in orleans, france on april 6, 2014

less than a mile from fabien's folks pad fourthman rudy remembers he forgot his leash so we go back to surprise gigboss fabien w/a quick return. of course fourthman rudy jumps out of the boat w/the fucking motor running - these guys! I lean over his seat and turn the ignition off even w/macario right next to driver's seat... he tells me he only drives construction equipment and not road vehicles (except back in venezuela). looking for econo fuel, we find a station CLOSED cuz of sunday and I guess up front they decide to say fuck the autoroute and take a n road to pantin (northeast suburb of paris) where rudy lives. kind of gray skies but no rain. big plug once we get into paris, should've stayed on an n road I'm thinking. we get to near where rudy's pad is but I never see it. I do get to hug him though, two times like the french way and hold his hands tight one more time. he tells me to take care of my body... bye fourthman rudy. we drive next to charles de gaulle airport to pick up robert, the man who rented us the van and the amps for the tour, he's flying in from germany, I think he said he lived in dortmund. we pull over at some rest area (kind of) on the autoroute - fucking crazy but there other idiots doing it too - I guess the parking's expensive (the main reason my sister got me a leash was she got fucking tired of looping around lax to pick me up from flights) so then we do a little loop game at terminal 2f - some motherfucker just left his car abandoned in the lane! in u.s. that vehicle would've been towed in minutes. robert arrives and asks about the vehicle and the amps during the tour and we brief him on that stuff. he did really good by us, the gear and boat did good - I told him it's worth in the long turn to have good van maintenance and especially for safety good tires. I am enlighten here at the end of the tour by axel and tourboss macario that that tranny prob we had was cuz of tourboss macario hitting the stickshift w/his fucking leg! why didn't they tell me that weeks ago? these guys sometimes... anyway, we get piss stop, very frugal setup for dump and damn if it don't flush! the sign says automatic... maybe there's a delay? I hobble away kind of shamed.

   we head for erquery, a quarter after five we arrive at christine's - so good to see her again, so good! she is incredible host. first thing is boat's gotta be totally unloaded for last time so robert can drive it back to dortmund. if you look here in the bellow shot and see the middle bench seat by the port-side window, that's where watt parked his ass for the last fortyfive days, maybe sixteen thousand klicks worth. raul was right behind me on the back bench. tom would move around and trade places w/people, especially near the end.

van of robert's we used for contintent leg of 'third opera europe tour 2014 on april 6, 2014

   robert has some coff and talks w/us before he has to start his drive-home mission back to gate to hell land... very cool, people - I both dig him and am forever grateful for his gear and wheels, big respect - I tell him he's the man and I mean it. tourboss macario's brother masai gives me robert tomb's book on the paris commune - righteous! he now has a french translation so he says I can have this english one (original), bitchin' - I haven't read about this stuff in a long time. masai has cooked up a big tartiflette for us all to chow along w/some salad and a plum cake from christine. me and him play chess after, second game too blurry for me cuz of this laos whiskey he gave me (good stuff) so we split a victory each. he plays for me situationist film can dialectic break bricks? and I don't why but I immediately think of what's up tiger lily?... we watch something else I think, maybe some "shreds" stuff from dudelubed? I don't know, I konk in the fucking chair 'til I popped enough to get to bed (hours later) - I was baka.

   monday morning and I pop at eight and a half, the sun is out now, yesterday's gray gone. tom saw something on the internet (masai's let me use a direct ethernet connection and then I set up my macpurse's wifi as a hotspot so everyone can share it - we had no internet here at christine's before) about testing einstein's relativity theory and I think what he was trying to describe to me was recent attempts at detecting gravitational waves. man, it'll be kind of mindblow when (if?) that happens, huh?

   I finally do an edition of the watt from pedro show (the only fucking one from this tour), first doing an interview w/nicholas of l'oeillere before he has to leave for the train station for the first hour and then the next two w/axel from guess what after he gets back from bringing him there. I got to give big hug to nicholas before he bailed...

mike watt + nicholas gardrat in erquery, france on april 7, 2014

he did two never-before broadcasted l'oeillere tunes! my men, axel and miss hiyori get axel's vw bus amazingly tetris-packed w/all the stuff - I mean it's really stuffed, incredible job, truly. what ain't incredible job is the motherfuckers at the garage that did repairs on his vw (remember it broke down on him on his way from england to here at start of the tour) leaving the entire bottom protector plate off w/none of the mounting bolts - fuck, what assholes, what very very poor work standards. so much stuff (this a front wheel drive) is fucking vulnerable cuz of this - bastards... I wouldn't want their karma.

   christine makes us what she called a sweet potato omelet and some garbonza bean and leek curry soup. really really good, excellent. we are most fortunate to be here. it is very relaxing and great mood in this pad, these vibes. me and tom get talking about movies and now he's convinced I gotta see two movies called "american psycho" and "the last tycoon" but now w/all the video stores closed in pedro, how? raul says there is one left open in pedro, by the library. I gotta check that out. I am so big time not a desert person but christine has made this pie thing made of berries and it's real sour which I really dig - I dig sour big time.

   tuesday morning I pop at eight, christine gives me some of that soup w/rice for asagohan ('breakfast' in jap) right after I have huge soak on the big tub she's got. so so kind! it's leave the continent day and though another night off, we have to say bye to france. we go to england to play there and scotland for the last part of the tour. big hugs to macario, masai and christine - big ones.

leaving erquery, france on april 8, 2014

I answer email questions for interviews 'til it's time for us to bail at ten bells - that's what we guessed at getting to the ferry in calais by its 1:20 pm departure time it takes 'pert-near three instead of goog-fuckled two hours their crap maps taunted us w/and also there was stuff like running over a traffic cone and having to pull over to remove it from underneath (w/out the protector plate too, fuck we were totally goddamn lucky!) the vehicle plus the sky opens up w/rain from time w/real great windshield wipers axel's boat is packing... oh my god, total fouled up brittle and weak, how much do new ones cost?! this is not smart econo! (but please know I love axel big time) then there's search for non-existent gas station and at theferry pad there's like two hundred kids from holland on busses who bumrush border control while we're getting our work permits process so we gotta wait an hour for the next one. it could be worse of course so I an't complaining and it's great riding w/axel cuz he's happening people. as we wait I play him the buddy rich pep talk tapes I thought for sure he'd know about cuz damn if he ain't deep in lots of shit. two hundred little kids from holland and england join us on the ferry ride, we have won the lottery. only a ninety minute ride on the p & o ferry though along w/us getting an hour back for crossing into +0 time zone so that makes it about three when we drop anchor for dover.

on the way to brighton from dover, england on april 8, 2014

it's now a 109 mile drive to brighton (where we do our first gig here in england wednesday), axel truly is righteous for being so kind to us, hefting the whole wheel job himself, respect. I'm in the front seat next to him as navigatori - he has now navigatori gps - what, there's no wander? we drive right to brother sam's sister's pad, only a few blocks from the sea at a quarter of six... only a few minutes to wait from to arrive, big hugs, what beautiful people he is. we got this proj called cuz we been working on forever and now next month the debut album is finally coming out! we unload our stuff from axel's vw, he has some coff before his ride home in east london. man, am I so glad I've gotten to meet him... I owe tourboss macario much for that.

part of 'duke of yorks cinema' in brighton, england on april 8, 2014

   brother sam cooks us up some righteous roast chicken, leeks, parsnips and carrots, swede, cabbage and horseradish- great fucking eats. his old go! team bossman ian comes over and we have a good rap about stuff but I'm a little blurry. tiredness has got me... maybe some things I said made sense? maybe steps up to where I'm to konk but worth it.

   gig day and I pop at seven. incredible pedro-like weather out the window, can't see a cloud and so blue the sky, damn it's happening! it's raul's thirtyseventh bday!

raul morales celebrates 37th birthday in brighton, england on april 9, 2014 - photo by tom watson

   brother sam cooks us eggs, bacon, toast along w/bubble and squeak from last night's chow. righteous. as I check mixes for "canto secondo" (second il sogno del marinaio album) of his sister's pad's sound system and not fucking macpurse tiny speakers or earbuds, he then sets up video shit upstairs so we can film stuff for three cuz tunes off our debut album "tamatebako" which will arrive may fourteen (special version on record store day, april nineteen). he has me do lip-spiel for "w/no bee sting," "france gnarl" and bass-mime for "houdini" which is a little tough for me but I would do anything for him. go! team bossman ian comes by and takes me and brother sam in his car (it's got a baby seat - that's right, he's a daddyo!) and he says he's got a pounder going on in his head cuz of last night's drinking...

the good ship 'ocean dawn' in hove, england on april 9, 2014

down by an old boat in nextdoor town hove he takes shots of me and brother sam cuz our cuz "promo" shots are like six, eight years old, crimony!

cuz (sam dook + mike watt) in hove, england on april 9, 2014 - photo by ian parton

he takes some w/blue sky behind us too - he's got a good ear for music and a good eye for art, he's an interesting cat... took his family on a california pacific coast highway drive trip last year, told me he dug the elephant seals near san simeon.

wheelman/tourboss thomas clements in brighton, england on april 9, 2014

   we get back in time to meet our wheelman roadboss thomas who I'm gonna call him t cuz missingmen have a thomas also (mr watson). he's most cool people. my tom wants have a powwow so we can talk about how we do things - something we forgot to do on last leg of tour (still we love those cats though, please don't worry) and he impresses us much. we load up his ford transit and we head for the venue, really close and under the brighton train station, it's called the green door store and the man working there named mason is most cool people. I meet the soundman james and do what I do back home: explain what we're trying to do and ask him would please be our fourth man. he's into it. I meet who's come from holland to see us but he' u.s. guy named gaetano, he tells me about the first time he saw me play, a real nice man - gotta play good for him, gotta play good for everyone... gigboss colin arrives - he brought me and my italian brothers last year to this town and so righteous he brings me and my men here to do third opera. he has chow for us on a table, sandwich stuff and couscous plus of course a brick of butter.... and weird bourbon called "western gold" - what the fuck? he's a beautiful man though, he's from the old days like me. his son barneyis in one of the opening bands tonight, shudder pulps and is also very cool people, respect. I know the drummerman of the other opener, his name is ashley and is incredible cat w/sticks in his hand - actually he worked bass as an opener for us last year (soul punch) in this town but in this band airfix he works a tiny kid drum set, interesting...I get to meet gareth of the carousel project and he's asked me to become an ambassador for the charity him and brother sam have for learning disabled kids and I'm most honored and way into it. I go to the boat and konk - my first konk in t's ford transit. my first time in europe was in a ford transit, an orange w/black flag and minutemen... us minutemen in the back bench w/seats w/no headrests so our heads against the back window: bam bam bam... wonderful journey though, wonderful - helped make me who I am now but don't blame any of those great brothers.

   I'm rousted from konk in the boat and head inside, many kind people tell him hi as I work my to through to the room w/the stage and then up on it. a little early for me cuz 9:30 is go time so maybe ten minutes up in front everyone w/my dick in my hand so nervous watt talks a little w/tom and raul so at least I can kind of hide behind them. go time arrives... first time w/this stuff rented for these final eleven gigs. tom's got a roland jc-120 (bob mould's favorite husker amp is what I remember!), raul's got a ludwig kit w/a pretty huge kickdrum and I got an ampeg 8x10 cab driven by a ampeg svt-4 pro (piece-o). I thank the brighton folks for being here, bring the scotty-san dedication and then cuz my men yank this opera out of the memory hole... me and tom's amps are sounding pretty spongey and raul's kick is kind of boomy (I had soundman james stuff some sweaters in it at soundcheck but what the fuck. "a poor carpenter blames his tools," right? I'm pretty amazed I didn't forget the whole fucking piece but I do fuck up the end of "mockery-robed-man" and the beginning of "hill-man" but tom and raul are right there for me and no train wreck results - incredible dexterity and commitment to both my third opera and the performance we're engaged in - beautiful men. my voice has come back some, that's the one good thing about the three days off. I almost tumble a couple times - raul now has his ride cymbal on a stand and not off the kick like damien's kit and then my cable for my bass got wrapped around the mic for the bass amp and another time I stumbled on the singing mic stand - fucking clumsy motherfucker. I somehow stay up though and do pretty ok... the brighton gig-goers are beautiful, truly. you know what? I think I clammed some "stuffed-in-the-drum-man" and maybe the bridge of "blowing-it-out-both-ends-man" plus maybe I reversed "real men" w/"better men" in "hell-building-man" and... well, fuck maybe I should kvetch so much, huh? tom did good w/the first time him ever singing "the politics of time" and I'm very proud of him, raul too - big time - I gave him "play it like man" in "jug-footed-man" part for bday present.

   I go by the merch table where there's a chair and the only time I tasted terrible san miguel cerveza - I think cuz it's in a clear bottle some bullshit has to be added to it (I don't like biru in clear fucking marketing-gimmick bottles, crimony!) but the good part is getting to rap w/so many kind cats, so many and very genuine. some are bassmen. one man had his lady play my bass before the piece, says she has a gibson eb-0 also... yeah, he didn't say "sg bass" but eb-0, MUCH respect to him! someone from orange county (so cal) w/an accent from here? yes, I guess that can happen. she's so kind to say hi. there's a sicilian man w/his buddy... whoa, there's funanori boss mrs kaori... she saw my third opera. I want her to meet my missingmen.

   t is real good about taking care of stuff that's happening when done soon and done well, respect to him. big hugs for gigboss colin - cuz of being at brother sam's sister's pad we ain't konking at his pad like fourteen months ago w/the fratelli but I'll be back and we can do it again, have some kebab on the way. outside go! teamers chai, brother sam and bossman ian - I've been too scared to ask any of them about my crazy piece cuz I have much respect from them... actually I have a hard time asking anyone about my stuff except the cats I do it w/just, well, just cuz, to awkward feeling. shit, I didn't get to apologize to ashley for missing his airfix band, damn it. I really like ash, really do.

   we get on over to brother sam's sister's pad and find brother oli w/him (also his lady romy) there. I get hosed off (good hot one) and get in my nightwear quick as I can - only eleven and a half bells, yes! chris from bleeding heart recordings has also arrived, time to sign the contracts for this debut cuz album and seal the deal! I like him much and honored to be part of his team. he drinks a beer called "the bishops finger" - says he can't konk w/out drinking two.

mike watt + chris davies in brighton, england on april 10, 2014

   raul heats up two horrible refrigerator premade horseshit pizza-frauds in the oven, why did I put any in my mouth?

   first gig in england is fucking happening one - thank you good people!

thursday, april 10, 2014 - exeter, england

from raul:

   Woke up w/ the feeling someone had stuck a sponge in my mouth while i was sleepin' Turns out, it was just my own swollen dried out tongue, seems someone had turned all the heaters on in the house last night, and the place was all dried out, plus the giant blanket i was under probably didn't help. I needed to cool off and hydrate, so i hopped into a semi chilled shower instead of a steamer one, felt good, and helped w/ waking up too. It's been a great couple days here w/ sam, but today we gotta head out, and get to exeter for the 2nd gig of the england part of the tour. Sam sends us off w/ a massive english style breakfast that he whipped up quick for us. many eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, bacon and sausage. Good man sam, so glad i got to meet him aagain, and get the chance to spend sometime w/ him.

   On the way to exeter is stonehenge, ancient man made struture dating back to 3100 b.c., and since it's just off the side of the road, we decide it'd be a great idea to see it up close. I've never been, so i'm psyched, turns out though, that in the past year they've tripled the price to see it, and you now have to take a tram there. Some of us decide to ditch the tram, and do the 2 mile walk along the road that'll lead there. Watt stays behind on account of his hurt knee. Once we get to where the trams are lettin out, there's another ticket taker there, but we have no tickets for him to take! Luckily, he points to a little green barn, and says to go behind that, and thru the gate behind it, and we'll be able to see nearly just as good as everyone who's payed, i guess the catch is that you gotta walk thru a field of sheep shit to get there! No problem though, and once there we get just as good a view as anyone else, and w/ out the crowd! We don't have much time though, the stop was supposed to be a half hour, and we took 45 minutes gettin here. As we walk back, we hit some more luck, and are able to blend in to a group of tourist gettin' on the bus back to the main gate, way quicker gettin back than the miles we walked to see it!

   Playin a place called cavern tonight, it's pretty much what the title says too, and we gotta load the gear down a flight of stairs to an old underground spot turned punk club. Great space, and all the folks we meet who work there are real nice to us. Soundcheck wasn't pressing, so i was able to find the time to switch the heads around on the floor tom to get it right side up, and clean off all the dried up loogies on it from the first gig in brighton. Hopefully tomorrow i can try and tune the snare, i'd like to take the head off, and start over again, it's got a loud ring that i can't seem to get out. After our soundcheck, gig boss walks t.c. and tom and i to the place we will sleep tonight. Hotel's about a 5 minute walk down the street that we're playing on, and one left at the first round about, easy to reach. Tom and i both stay for an hour, and make it back to the gig about fifteen minutes after it started, he goes down, and i continue to walk around this part of exeter a bit to get my blood flowin'. Today we had great weather, and tonight it's very clear, but i can feel a sharp chill in the air. I make it back just in time to see the 2nd of the groups, the fair weather band, local youngsters who tear it up w/ a noisey pop sound. They do a quick 20 minute set, and then it's our turn. Early gig tonight too, we play at 10pm, and the place is packed, very cool.

   A bit rough around the edges for me, but i think it was a more personal thing. I couldn't see anything due to really bright lights in my eyes, and two were l.e.d., and those are real bunk when they're aimed at you. I don't like not being able to see the audience, aside from tom and watt, i lean lots on that too, if i can't see them, i feel disconnected from the gig somehow. I knew i was trippin though, and shouldn't sweat it, so i did just that. Still eye contact w/ the guys was hard, and i was blinded a few times. When i knew watt was singin, i either had to play w/ my head down or eyes closed. Afterwards though, folks had good things to say, so that was nice of them, changed how i felt about the gig, and reassured me that we didn't totally blow, maybe? Again tonight, t.C. is way on it, and is helpin me get the drums loaded up quick, and right after, just to get er' done, he and i schlep the bass box back up the flight of stairs. I got ice cold quick, i came up w/ no jacket, and sweaty shirt, so before we start w/ the rest, i gotta change into something dry, and get the cap on, i do not wanna get sick this last week of tour! Boat load w/ only the 3 of us, tom is there too, is pretty quick. Tom and i decided that we'd walk back to hotel later. We wanted to stay and have a couple drinks, but didn't want to hold up the others. We didn't stay too late, and it's always nice to burn off excess gig adrenaline with a walk.

from tom:

   [strange sensations]

   i wake early and re-mask myself and get more sleep until i finally rise at 8 and shower, the first one in i believe. i take a long one, shave, etc.. i drink tea and write in the patio with the warm sunshine on my face. mike is up, hiyori too, but the rest of the house is quiet for a while. i enjoy the peace and then go up to the room where i slept and pack up my things, raul is on the computer, tc is up, sam goes to the store for breakfast fixins, and i see someone asleep in the living room so i don't go in there. instead i join mike in the kitchen again until sam gets back and plays the chef for an awesome english style breakfast feast. sunny-side up eggs, thick toasts, bacon, sausage, sautˆ©ed tomatoes and mushrooms, tea, orange juice, as much as we can stuff down our gullets. we digest our sacred meal in sam's sis's sweet and comfortable home and then soon we hug and shake hands with our generous host and friends and hop into our while transporter for another days journey. kind of sad to leave brighton, i really enjoyed it.

   mike, raul and i situate ourselves in the back seating area and mark our territories. we drive a couple of hours then we see the arches of stonehenge on the side of the highway, we pull into a parking area and decide to brave the 2 mile walk instead of paying the 15 pound ticket for the tram. mike stays with the van cause he's seen it before, and raul, hiyori, tc and i make the trek to the site only to be stopped and asked for our tickets. we are informed that we cannot enter the fenced off region surrounding the stones without the 15 pound admission tickets, but we can walk around the outside and view it from the outside the fence. so we do. it looks exactly how i imagine it would, from pictures and movies, and spinal tap of course. "...where the banshees live and they do live well". so we jump on the tram with others who'd payed and sneak a free ride back to where the cars are parked, and find mike in the van and continue on to exeter. we pull up to a loading zone which is taken and double park to load our gear down a flight of stairs in the cavern, which is like a, cavern. as i come up for another load, i see a parking cop writing a ticket, crap! i try to talk it over with them, annoyed that there isn't another way for us to load with out stopping but they say: "it is already written". downstairs we get things set up, and have little egg salad sandwiches and a beer, we do a sound check and then the gig man walks raul, tc and i down the street to our hotel and raul and i lay down for an hours rest. i fall into a deep sleep and awaken 2 minutes before my alarm goes off, we clean up and walk slpwly back to the cavern. we missed the first band, but we catch the fairweather band and i dig their tunes. guitar singer man, rory plays a tele just like one that i have and love how it sounds. good songs with jangley twang guitar. then we get ready, the dj plays coltrane at the appropriate moment and then we play. it's a tough start, our sound is weird onstage, bass too quiet, then too loud, my guitar feels like mush, almost like i can't feel the strings. we push on through and it comes into focus somewhere in the middle of the opera, for me at least, and get through without too much struggle. the final tunes go well, people sing along to old mm songs, and then we're done. tc helps with keeping things rolling in a timely way, we load out and into the van and back down for a couple of drinks and then raul and i walk back to our room down the street and call it an early-ish night.

from watt:

   pop at eight bells and do the biggest soak ever in brother sam's sister's olde-timey tub (the kind w/the feet) up here on the third floor - well worth all the stairs I gotta hobble up, it's a good hot soak. get in the gig outfit (washer/dryer here so I'm happening clean duds-wise. outside's blue skies but like yesterday there's not the warmest temperature involved. tom makes me some tea, my first tea in england. brother sam cooks up an incredible breakfast chow for us: eggs, toast, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes and juice. we're a half past the eleven pull-anchor time t asked for but he says we're still ok to make stop at stonehenge. one fifty-point turn later, we eventually leave incredible-brother sam. I'm already missing him now...

   we proceed toward england's southwest. I chimp diary, it's a big entry cuz I gotta chimp about the three days off besides gig day in brighton. tom's caught up, raul ain't. just us three in the back w/miss hiyori up w/t at the wheel, it's like our old way of tour, just us guys and our private language. we spend much time cracking each other up. we discuss the change in tour dynamics. we're grateful for everything though, it's all been very interesting... to us! around three we drive alongside stonehenge and damn if there ain't a new way to park and see it - just only fourteen months or so ago I saw it from a different kind of way to do it, one where I could hobble right under the road and not have to go too far. this new facility is miles from the actual site and w/my fucked-up knee I just can't do it so I go back to the boat after fouling the head and chimp while everyone else makes the shlep. I got a shot as we passed from the boat window:

stonehenge from the highway in wiltshire, england on april 10, 2014

you can see some pigs (it's them and some folks way in the foreground that makes the rock formation appear so small in this shot, kind of tappian!) - lots of pigs and sheep are being raised around the stonehenge site. I do think it's a remarkable piece of humanity, incredible. it makes me ponder different kinds of stuff, just the thought of it. on the way to the boat, I pass a trippy car, this mitsuoka viewt which I guess is a "tribute" to 60s jag sedan styling? first time I think I've seen one... I think I've seen a stonehenge tribute at shank hall - a pad in milwaukee I've played many times. trippy.

   I'm rejoined by the team and we pull anchor and drive a couple more hours, get into exeter a quarter after five and pull in front of the cavern cuz that's where we're playing tonight, my second time here - last time was w/il sogno del marinaio, the last gig of that 2013 tour. my exeter friend ben told me about one of england's oldest books being in this town but the stonehenge stopped made for no time to see that... still I'm glad we did stop cuz though I've seen, tom and raul never had and even t who's from parts not many miles from there hadn't either. anyway, where we're parked, we get a fucking parking ticket - fucking thirtyfive pounds worth (about sixty u.s. $) - damn. the spot for loading was being bogarted by some brain surgeon yammering to some lady sticking her head in his window while his motor was running for like fifteen minutes and we had to load in - he only bails when he sees the officer coming who just points his machine at t's license plate and 'click' - a pictures take and ticket automatically written and sent. crimony. tom tries to reason and I explain about the fucking bogart who thought of no one but his flirt mission but they (a lady officer joined and explained) said the ticket was already entered and nothing could be done. damn. t backs his boat into the legal space and I check underneath cuz I'm hear maybe a universal joint going out - he's got a two piece drive shaft so that means three universals and I think the middle one is going, I can hear at when he shifts. I don't think it's critical - yet... I just hope it ain't the differential! rides are a trippy thing, a dharma unto themselves, I swear.

   gigboss jon is there to meet me, great cat and I'm so glad to see him again. this pad is in a couple flights down, hence the name and I like the layout plus it's got one of the most unique tiny dressing rooms ever, respect! still has a head though. I meet soundman richard and go through the "fourth man spiel" w/him and he's into it. kind of cupboard sitch w/where we play but I did good w/the fratelli here and so I ain't worried. he has probs w/his direct box so we gotta go from my amp again. there's two openers tonight and one, the fairweather band wants to borrow our stuff, no prob. other band has no bass, cycle schmeichel - I'm told their only drums and guitar w/their drummer bringing his own stuff (other guy said he had only "bits and bobs" - what?). pepper ann (spelling?) makes us pizza, salad, french fries and garlic bread. earlier we had some trippy sandwiches made egg salad and tomatoes that were in the tiny room so I'm full. I go out to the boat and t locks me in. he told me about the pillows up on the shelf so now it's easier for my head ininsidef my back wack 'puter sack which has grown kind of hard w/all the cds of music kind folks have given me. I konk really deep like I plummeted right down to the ocean floor if we were far at sea.

   I'm rousted and brought inside, some gig-goers help me w/the dan bass as I ki wo tsukemas ('I take care' in jap) down the spiral stairs... great crowd - damn I'm so sorry I missed the openers - I thank from the stage, thank them for sharing it. I dedicate the piece to scotty-san and then we bring it - I forgot to check the amp settings while tom helped me w/the tuning - what a baka I am! the lady on the bass had it turned to tiny, aaahhhh - I get over to the after a few parts and get back up but damn, the eq might be different also... oh well, let's work this w/what you got, watt. there exeter gig-goers are wonderful, dancers breaking out up front and you can tell some cats even know the opera - those that don't give good respect and focus. a good thing about this gigpad is there's 'pert-near two sections so those who yammer at the bar don't fuck much w/what's being done on stage, there's a kind of autonomy about it. I clam some but not as much as last night. tom and raul play like motherfuckers, tearing it up - respect! man, I wish I could've done as good for funanori boss mrs kaori last night, ha! life is a trip that way. there's cats singing the encore tunes from the crowd 'pert-near louder than tom does - whoa!

   I go over to where the merch stuff is and sit down to talk w/wants to tell me stuff. jamie from wales is here, righteous - much respect! a niche lady named jo jack (also known as bobo barefoot) gives me a box of cornwall beers and some skater stickers, she asks me to sign her "rock action" (scotty-san) tshirt, no prob. then she says to pass on a hug to brother matt (my partner for the watt from pedro show) - actually a few shows before I left on this tour brother matt had me chow some brownies and damn if they weren't from jo jack herself, crimony! we talk about robert newton cuz that's how I know cornwall - he's the man who invented pirate talk! everyone knows september nineteen is talk like a pirate day, right? I'm waiting for the time when there's only one day a year where we DON'T talk like a pirate - one day one way. respect to brother robert newton! a man w/his lady who's very much w/child has me put my hand on the baby bump and I say bass prayers to the soon to arrive shipmate, much respect. a very tall man tells me he drove a hundred miles for the gig (big time thank you to him!) and want's to know about a gig I was part of in vancouver, bc at the commodore ballroom in 1995 - he wants to know who supported who? I say all I can tell him is hovercraft went on first, foo fighters second, third was ed and dave w/me and pat smear, william goldsmith helped on some too. I hope I support everyone I play w/and ain't no burden on them. there's many kind people... the ma of one of the young men in one of the opening bands tonight has me sign a "hyphenated-man" album cuz it's his bday. there's another cornwall person who raps w/me, he says he runs a little festival there so maybe I can play there some time, that would be righteous. finally I talk w/a man more my age and he asks some intense stuff about getting less younger and still being intense, still pushing. "engaged autonomy" - I think that's an important idea, expression w/integrity - fuck, it's still a work in progress w/me... I hug him hard.

   one last thank you to gigboss jon for making it happen, same for soundman richard for being our fourth man tonight - big respect to both. we pull anchor w/out tom and raul who will stumble back later - we head for a 'tel called "the bendene" and though you share the head and shower w/the other rooms, it's no prob and the hose off is a good hot one. a trip about the konk room is it's got a painting of john coltrane and what looks kind of like eric dolphy which is a trip cuz I don't think I've ever seen a painting w/trane at a konk pad but interesting is my buddy ray farrell just turned me onto this recently found vid of these two guys (maybe from 1961?)! the drummer is this painting though ain't no elven jones however but... damn, it ain't even one when I finish one of those cornwall lagers bobo barefoot gave me and then konk, a happening thing.

friday, april 11, 2014 - bristol, england

from raul:

   Tom and i woke up to the alarm at 8am, this place has a small window for breakfast, and we wanna try for it. Not bad, typical english breakfast that seems like it's made pretty fresh. Not too long after breakfast, we head out toward bristol. The drive isn't more than 2 hrs, so we're way early for load in. it's not one yet, and we don't load in till after 4. T knows of a breakfast spot that he wants us to try across town. We end up settin' up camp there for the four hour wait. Having had breakfast not too long ago, i'm not hungry, but i do get a mixed berry smoothie that's pretty good. The staff dosn't seem top mind our extended stay, and it's a good place to be, coffee is a little pricey though, so besides smoothie, i only do one coffee. There's net here, and much space, so i think it was a good call on his part to camp us here for the wait.

   Once we get back to fleece it's easy goin' for out load in. T is able to park the van in the alley right next to the side entrance, and the stage is just 5 ft from that, great! It's a high stage, but has stairs on both sides which helps much. Also, they have an extra set of stands which is also bitchin'. That way i can leave the stands i use set up w/ cymbals on em'. Especially in a situation where 3 other bands will be using the kit, this'll make change over way quicker for me. After we chowed the chinese that was ordered, i got mixed vegi w/ tofu that was very tasty, i watched a bit of the first band, milo's planes. Young kids who tore it up big time, reminded me of rites of springs, especially w/ the vocals. A third of the way thru their set, i went out for a walk around the bristol center. Neat small town w/ a canal that runs thru the hilly city. I think i must of walked around and thru it twice, getting turned around on the windy roads, with no particular place to go, but soon enough figured it out the lay.

   Was very suprised how good this gig turned out for us. It was a pretty early gig, and when it first got going, it seemed a little light in attendance. Also, we're in a pretty big room, so even if lots of folks show up, it still looks empty. i was totally suprised by the turn out, and for the attention they gave us, really sweet of them. Also, since were in the town that the pop group came from, we decide to do a couple of pop group songs that we know, amnesty report, and we are time. We had a a bit of space-out on amnesty, Tom had forgotten how to come in w/ the guitar noise, and then forgot the words. I couldn't see what was goin on behind me, so i just kept playin the drum lick longer than its usual times around. we are time was a little weird for me, it's a tough tune to keep consistent with the kick and hi hat, especially playin' it so fast! I didn't have the seperation of limbs needed, so every couple of beats the hi hat would fall out, no biggie though, and maybe gave it an interesting beginner style twist. After gig, jen, big fan who's been to a few of our england gigs, is nice enough to get me a ice cold grolsch. i sit outside w/ this and talk w/ guy a bit about what he's been up to since i last met him 9 years ago. I also meet a dude named big john, local bristol guy who's at most every gig in town. His arm is packed w/ maybe 50 gig braclets, guy tells me he's become a way for the local guys to judge how there band is doin', rather or not big john is there. John also tells me that he came from a gig to make ours, and is now on his way to another, and also that he went to over 300 last year! I thank him much for making ours, and also for his dancing, and positive energy to help me play.

from tom:

   [opening the door to a hotel for a woman, a young lady lifts up her dress, raul and i look at each other]

   my alarm is set for 7:45 but again i wake a couple of minutes before it goes off, strange. the free breakfast is from 8 till 8:30 which is an unusually small window, so we throw on our clothes and go down to the eating room and we have their english styled breakfast with the eggs, ham, sausage, beans, toast, coffee (or tea), and i snatch an orange for later. i give my sausage to raul. mike,hiyori and tc are all in attendance and chomp our bits of foods and dash back upstairs for another hour of rest before leaving at 10. we ride in the back sitting chamber of tc's white transit and talk some nonsense to amuse us, then other topics such as the pop group, and look at pics that mike has taken along this tour. we roll past grassy countryside with sheeps and cows and calfs, puffy cotton ball clouds and patchy blue skies all the way to bristol.

   we arrive before noon!! crazy early, and park outside the venue for a moment, then we make a plan to venture to a place called Boston Tea Party for a snack and a place to sit in the sun and kill some time before load in at 4. i get a smoothie, something i've been craving since brighton, it's called a breakfast berry blast, or something like that. it's alright. we all sit and do corresponding or writing. i use the toilet, as i've come to call it. i hardly ever use that word in the u.s.. we sit and sit. it's still only 1:45. wish i had more pounds, i could go for more food, instead i eat the orange i snatched. the clouds drift past the sun switching it off and on, i take my jacket off then put it back on again along with it. little kids are playing on the stairs in this courtyard area, people have their orders brought to them and now i'm waiting for something else to happen so i can write about it....i stop writing.

   hours later we pull up to the fleece club and load into the large black gig space, big stage, big room. a bit too big for us it seems. we will remain here till we are done with the gig tonight. there are 3 other bands on the bill, and we eat chinese food and i close my eyes for an hour or so on the couch upstairs while the first act plays. i walk down to catch some of the second group, and a bit of the third. gig friend jen brought me a bottle of vodka for after the show, that's very sweet, it's the only thing i can drink after playing now. we play a decent show to a very spirited group of locals, listening closely and also getting involved from time to time with shouts and funny comments. i feel alright tonight, not too tired from the long day of hanging around. i was worried about that earlier. we play a couple pop group tunes that we used to play but haven't for a while, them being from bristol and all. i space out on the words to "amnesty report":

   "it was as if all of the sudden i was like lost touch with reality, my face all twisted in confusion as to why i cannot remember these words which i had sung and sung so many times before. my eyes all criss crossed at like mike and raul, me pogo bouncing to see if that might like shake the memory loose to retrieve the information from my like "Words" section of my brain. this did not help, O brothers, in fact i felt even more lost when i just turn to face the wondering eyes of the nice folks who payed good money to see a real horrorshow like show. me a melenky bit embarrassed by this time, no doubt, mike and raul equally curious as to why the words did not like come out of my tongue tied rot. finally i just dive in with any words that i can remember, but i miss the very important cue of "karate chops chops chops!". what a bezoomny version i do, my appy polly loggies."

   ...and i play "we are time" pretty lamely too. after the show we have to pack up quick like, there's a dj thing starting soon and we must be off the stage and packed out asap. it's a clockwork load, and after getting the gear to the van i run upstairs to grab the left over edibles and whatever water i can hold, see mike, sign a couple posters, then we jump into the white transit and roll the the travel lodge and raul and i watch a little of the wayne's world movie, which is pretty funny, and then i pull down my sleep mask and i'm out out out.

from watt:

   pop at eight bells. man, did I have a weird dream about perry, perk and peter (the porno for pyros men, the first cats I ever sidemoused for)... in this dream we were like getting ready for something and now I can't figure out what it was but were intense about it but at the same time laughing our heads off and having a good time. I could see each guy's face clear as a bell when each spoke, it was trippy. I felt so sorry I could help more (I had a fucked-up knee in the dream even though when I played w/them it was eighteen years ago and that's how they appeared!) but they were so kind to me, like my missingmen tom and raul... I was both so grateful and at the same time full of big inadequate thoughts. the background was trippy, always bright forest and lost of tori ('bird' in jap) sounds. whoa, what a dream.

   the two ladies of this 'tel cook us breakfast here, everyone getting the full england one which is a fried egg, baked beans, tomato half, shrooms, bacon (england style) and a sausage plus toast that comes in a holder, the slices cut in half diagonally. coff also. it's good. it ain't hot but the sun is among the clouds in the sky and there's bunches of blue. we pull anchor at ten, first I have raul reach under t's boat and grab the drive shat and try and turn it. this boat's rearwheel drive w/a two piece driveshaft and I think this u-joint is going, I can hear/feel it when he shifts. I remember when tom was w/slovenly and they were touring w/fIREHOSE in some piece-o chevy beauville that burned up a u-joint so georgie and me knocked it out and put in a new one, back in the late 80s. that was the same tour I remember waking up in ann arbor, mi (where the asheton brothers are from) at a konk pad where I saw tom konked in a fireplace, huddled in the little hutch - I mean it hadn't been used in a long time but still, it was a fucking fireplace! tom said he couldn't find any other spot... maybe I was a bozo and bogarted the couch? can remember some things but also space on lots.

   only seventyeight miles to where we're playing to night which is bristol which just happens to be the hometown of the pop group which were one of the biggest hugest most-gigantic influences on the minutemen EVER, I shit thee not! I'm told banksy is from this town too, hmm... a quarter of noon we're at the venue were working which is called the fleece but load-in ain't 'til four so t drives us across town to a chow pad called "the boston tea party" (man, this pad has some giant-ass hatches for the head, crimony!) - trippy there was one of these in front of the gigpad last night in exeter but much different stylee, interesting. I chow a portabello mushroom "hamburger" (no burger paddy but there's a slab of england kind of bacon on the shroom) that's got battered zucchini w/tomato and cole slaw on the side, lots of good raw onions. damn I miss raw onions and think they do wonders for good health, love the fuck out of them. I ask for mustard and the helperman brings me a brand new bottle of "american mustard" which means none of the hot horseradish kick of their "coleman's" kind which I dig much BUT yellow vinegar kind is better than no mustard at all in my mind. I dig mustard. wheelman roadboss t says he digs mustard too, he mentions whole grain style - yeah, I'm into that also!. the sun keeps coming in and out from the clouds and when it's out, you can't believe how hot it is and then bam, right to cold when they put the blockout on - our t has a good konk on the bench. guess what axel says frenchmen called england cats "roast beef" and you can see why cuz the sun when it comes does get them a little pink like roast beef middle parts cooked towards rare. I don't think it's a rude word, I hope it ain't.

   I chimp diary, raul flows his and I get him caught up on the hoot page. we go back on over to the venue and meet soundman matt and give him the "fourth man drill" and he's it, respect. big pad for us and damn if there ain't a lot of bands coming, lots from the old days, whoa. stage pretty high up too but very happening there's a hand rail. I meet the gigboss dan and he's cool people. there's a club night after so we're on at 9:45 pm which is way happening. there's three bands opening before us: olanza, ulysses and milo's planes and after chowing some to-go chow mein from a china chow pad I don't know the name of but like pretty good, I do an interview w/a very interesting cat named guy for the louder than war site. knowing a bunch about me (did a hand to man band interview w/me, interested in the second album that's coming along) he want's to talk about cuz but then gets into lots of trippy stuff - he knows about the _big walnuts yonder_ proj even, knows about il sogno del marinaio and wants to know how that second album's also coming along, whoa... he let's me know of a real good scene here in his bristol town where there lots of energy for new bands is coming - I ask him to flow music for my radio show, I got a real hankerin' for it. see, this is why zines were so important in the old days and why the ethics that made them happen then are still very much I think now! I watch milo's plane do their set, ending up w/a cover of "heartbeat" by wire. I watch a tune of ulysses too but gotta konk if I'm gonna do good so I go upstairs and t still ain't given up the couch so fuck it, I konk in the padded chair next to him, d. boon style (d. boon could konk in any position, respect!) w/konk mask donned, earplugs inserted and coat zipped.

   I get rousted w/fifteen minutes to go, cut the boiling hot throatcoat tea (I gave miss hiyori the two boxes I was so very generously gifted w/in brighton) and that austrian hals ('throat' in german) tea was good, this I like even more, maybe cuz I'm used to it - it's the kind I use back home... I was baka not to bring any. I go down to find the character-builder character of the gig has pretty much changed and t helps me through the crowd. so glad they got a hand rail for the stage - how many pads are this enlightened? I give respect to the pop group and I thank the bristol gig-goers for being so kind for being here to witness us doing my third opera for them and scotty-san, we then bring it. this is a tough stage to work. you're way above the folks here so the feel is a little isolated but at the same time I could feel them, lots of projection of spirit from them of course along w/disbelief w/some of what we were bringing - part of this is supposed to be a little outrageous or something to both showing us three working tight together and yet trying to blow some minds some w/the gig-goers. you see, this was (still is!) a big thing about what I liked about punk, not having it all figured out and getting surprised kind of or at least a little shaken up and having to ask myself certain things to make sure I actually heard/saw/felt what I did or... yeah, or... ??? there's pretty good focus even w/some bar yammer and the bar right there - a couple of heckles like "wake up, mouse!" and "and the mouse sings!" in you can guess what part of the piece but I'm really grateful for kindness folks show us. even w/the toy monitors which made singing pretty much mime and the terrible sound my lame-ass amp (rented one, remember) is barely making (what a fucking piece-o) but there is a direct box before so maybe soundman matt's doing something w/the dan bass signal before it's get to the goddamn emasculator. there's a point where I get so frustrated I yank the 'e' string (the big lowest one) flat w/my thumb - I have to do the last part pretty much w/out it. like all three gigs in england so far, we can actually get off the stage when we finish the piece. people ask why I look like I'm ill or whatever in the last parts (not the very last one though) and I don't think how hard I push then, I try to give everything I got so they understand what I'm doing ain't just going through the motions, I really REALLY mean what I'm trying to say w/this opera - just like the other two, it's very important to me. thank god I got tom and raul w/me to bring it... and what's a great bonus is opened-minded/open-hearted folks who let us do this to them. we pad encore w/two extra tunes, both pop group originals, tom soiling himself pretty big time in "amnesty report II" - actaully it was a pretty interesting "version" of the tune... let me try to explain my perspective: I was behind and between both him and raul like I like to do w/most the encore stuff except of course where I have to use my mic for spiel, of course. anyway, raul starts the pop group tune up (our take is on the "we arte time" comp one) and I'm waiting for tom to do the guitar intro over raul's drums like he usually does (raul loves this baby's main drum riff - he uses it for soundcheck always, by the way) - he does some knob-truning on the amp and then just looks at me w/that face the scooter character (richie lee) had in raymond pettibon's "sir drone" where jinx (mike kelley) tells him "we wanna be alone" referring to duane (me) - I mean, it's the exact same face, trippy... he hits a couple of tiny notes but nothing like the skronch he usually delivers... he then starts hopping up and down in front of the mic - I'm waiting for spiel from him cuz that's when I come in on the bass but he just keeps hopping and hopping, staring into the mic for what looks like some kind of guidance or what? after about rounds of this, I jump on the lick and someth comes out his mouth but I don't think it was what it was supposed to be, raul finally breaking into the disco part and so I change w/him, tom totally missing the righteous "karate chops, karate chops - KARATE CHOPS!" part that sests up the second verse. from the bridge out he does ok (in my thinking, hell, I'm a huge tom watson fan) and then pretty much gets it together for "we are time" even though he's got no wah or stuff like he interprets it back home... also I think the last time we did these songs was on my bday along w/the secondmen. turned out to be a pretty good gig, much respect to the people of bristol and also my men, I am most grateful.

   heading right over to the chair by the merch table - people come up on stage to rap w/me there (even t came up w/a beer for me!) or on the way but it's better for me w/my fucked-up knee if they're there but it's better w/me to be sitting down and my hands free. I sign most everything tonight w/the added "loves pop group" cuz of it being bristol - even the guy who asked me not to cuz he has some baggage regarding them but I sneaked it in when he wasn't looking cuz man, I really feel us minutemen owe them a huge debt for getting us to be brave and find trippy ways to express ourselves, they were HUGE MORALE BUILDERS for us corndogs in pedro, MUCH! many many kind folks talk w/me and give the good word, thanks to each and everyone of them, I try to return all the respect I can, even being patient w/the fucking "take a picture w/the leash" thing that can be forever time, I swear to god. lots of bass players, big respect. one guy who saw me first w/j mascis + the fog has me sign his guitar even - he said it was he used working in a cover band for the who! by the way, lots of advertising for bands that do that, cover a band w/not just songs but... there's a u.s. guy w/kind of an england accent and the w/one that's kind of not, he's very genuine to me w/his kindness - so many good cats! a married from wales are here (fuck I gotta play those parts soon as I get a chance cuz I never have - just across the water here too) and the man's got a real good looking flannel (I dig it much) the got yesterday and a story to go w/it - first he told me about his buddy turning him onto "double nickels on the dime" and then he gets to this flannel and "hyphenated-man" and he's totally on the money about the connection, incredible... and his buddy (the turner-oner) a good man plus his wife so dear also. I gotta bail for the baka check cuz the pad is turning into a place for power ballads now... the orlanza drummerman shawn helps me up the stairs one more time, he did a poster for the gig but they arrived only today - better than tomorrow I tell him!

poster by shawn for gig at the fleece in bristol, england on april 11, 2014

   out at the boat I gotta get inside, wet clothes a real threat to my health. tom's tying up chow and has got a drink on the step which is dangerous for to try and avoid cuz of my fucked-up knee and just being lame and unstable so I kind of make it difficult for him w/some hard words. I makes me sad and very sorry. I'm glad wheelman t took us in the boat instead of the plan hobble cuz he was given the wrong address and the wander would've really been dangerous for me. at the "travel lodge" (big 'tel chain here) when we do find it, I get hosed off good w/warm water, clean watt into the nightwear and I go to the rooms right next to me (first one and then the other) cuz that's where I was told tom and raul were there but not answer at either which later I found out was a good thing cuz they were in a completely other room - oh my god. I was frustrated though I have to wait for morning to reassure tom and let both him and raul know I appreciate them working so very hard cuz they do and they are HUGE in my life. I love them. a good thing is I konk before one, that's a good thing but not as important as having my men w/me.

saturday, april 12, 2014 - leicester, england

from raul:

   for breakfast today, we go back to the same place that we camped out yesterday. Today, i decided to have some breakfast though, chorizo and hash w/ portabello mushrooms, and two perfectly poached eggs on top, really tasty food. It was pretty crowded though, so after i chowed, i went outside to wait for the crew, i was in a spot that i felt in the way of the waitress tryin' to do her job. There's a big chill in the air, not at all warm like it was yesterday.

   We're in town early today, so it's decided to get the hotel shit outta the way before the gig. Trippy we're right in the middle of an army buddy reunion, so there's old soilders all over w/ their wives and families. This is a pretty big place though, so it's hard to tell anyhow. Tom and i get room 72. It's on a middle floor, and we get lost for a minute tryin' to find it in this maze of a hotel. We got some time before we gotta be there for sound check, so tom and i take this oppurtunity to relax in our small room here.

   We all meet in the lobby 2hrs later, and take the 12 mile country drive back to leicester to the gig spot. It's on a pedestrian walkway, but we're able to park out front the pad temporarily to load the gear. the path is passing diners though, and also down one flight of steep stairs w/ a table right in front of them. Once in, it's small basement room w/ out windows, or any other exits for that matter, total tomb. I feel really comfortable here though, and even though it's a bit louder than what we've been used to on stage, i feel the sound is real good up here, atleast for me. It was a little difficult to reign in during quite parts, but we did what we could and came out on top. For me, sound and playin' wise, it was one of my favorites of the tour, had good feeling.

   After gig, T helps me get packed up real quick, he's on it, and has all the cases opened and laid out. As i tear apart the kit, i hand him pieces, and he gets em' in the cases. We're way on top of it, and me, him and tom load up in 10 minutes it seems. This gives up time to hang out w/out stress for a bit and have a couple beers and chat w/ some sweet fans who are here to check out what we bring. Had lots of fun on stage tonight, and it felt good to do a clean sweat, i was dreanched, head to toe. I think we all were, so after the small hang, we get rollin back to the hotel for a hose off and i have a cornwall pirate ale brought to watt by jo jack, a.k.a. bo bo bare foot!!, thanks much to him for that!

from tom:

   [my h.b. home, m.b. sky view, swimming at a power station]

   i wake to my alarm at 9, raul shuts it off and lay in my mask as i hear the aquabats streaming from the television. i jump into the handicap accesable shower and let it wake me up. we pack and slowly gather downstairs and roll back to the Boston Tea Party place where we sat all day yesterday and order english styled breakfasts and i have another smoothie. in a little while we split to leicester, another place i've never been.

   we are early enough to check into the hotel first and have a couple of hours rest before heading to the gig, awesome!!! the bosworth hotel is in a town outside leicester called market bosworth, an old english building with many rooms, bars, reading rooms, fireplaces, and packed with british veterans assembled for some sort of reunion. old guys with hats and patches on their coats, some with medals, some holding flags. their wives with them. friendly chaps, one starts a conversation with us. in our room, raul and i relax, i take a hot bath in a long tub and then we watch hitchcock's 'rabecca' on tv, perfect movie for the moment somehow. and then we meet the others in front and hop back in the van. we pull into town in mid-late afternoon driving into the walk street area of shops and bars, and load our gear down the stairs into a smallish live space. the crumblin' cookie is a restaurant/bar upstairs with entertainment in the basement which feels good to me. we meet sound man matt, and promoter man ian, and we put our orders in for food and do sound check. all's well, i get the chicken BLT and a bowl of red pepper and basil soup and share some potato wedges with raul and we sit in the upstairs eating area with tc and hiyori eating, talking, and computerizing. it's getting a bit chilly outside and when raul and i decide to have a walk around it starts to drizzle so we go back in and wait till the show begins. the first group, echo location, have a strange combination of sounds, guitar, trumpet, bass and vocals, with a computer playing drums. they do some minimal melodic tunes with the singer man delivering his words not unlike mark e smith, or steve anderson. i like it. the next group has a similar effect on me, but i don't get to hear as much of them. They have two guitars, violin, and a guy playing a Travis bean bass. Interesting. there are more than enough people crowding into this basement space, though that's not to say that it's crowded, just a smallish place. we play one of the best shows of our tour thus far, i think, matt does a great job with sound and we play well. we pack quickly again, mike does his thing at the merch table and tc helps greatly with the load out. i speak to kate and tony, whom maybe i've met before from old sst days, and meet new people too, and then we saddle up in our transit and head to the next town where the hotel is and i take my second bath of the day and climb into bed.

from watt:

   pop at eight bells - my body seems to be in a habit about that, huh? well let me say that seven hours of konk w/only one piss break in the middle is pretty fucking happening for a most grateful watt about that, believe you me. I shave scuff up that place I've cut twice on tour but not too bad, no need for toiletpaper blotter. I even fucking cut fucking nose hairs, do trim w/them special scissors w/rounded ends. they got bunk instant coff here so I put two doses of them in a cup w/a fucking tea bag, boil water in the kettle I got here, cut that w/some bottle water from the gig last night and take that down. out the window is big clouds and lots of gray but no rain - damn if it don't look like it wants to though. I put on other pair of levis, others for stench sack w/used chonies cuz they got all beered up from that young man from the first band that went on last night... he didn't realize he had a beer in his arm so when he bent down to get his fucking leash camera going so his girlfriend could get a video of us, all the beer poured out his cup onto my knee, the port-side one that's all fucked up. he's a cat, it was just a borracho accident and I'd be a total bullshiter to say I never did stuff even way more baka than that. I chimp diary 'til pull anchor time at ten bells. we head to the "boston tea party" chow pad we were at yesterday for asagohan. I get "west country breakfast" which the only diff I can see is scrambled instead of fried eggs (maybe some milk to make them fluffy which I'd rather not have) and the tomatoes are three little ones on a vine and yeah, the toast is kind of different - more thick. one thing I was tempted to try though was something I've never seen on a europe menu: SOURDOUGH FUCKING TOAST - I mean this shit's hard to find in the u.s. outside of california... I fucking love it. only u.s. bread I really am into (don't eat bread at my pad).

tom watson w/his ipad mini at 'the boston tea party' in bristol, england on april 12, 2014

   we go back to the boat to leave for leicester at eleven and a half and damn if wheelman t has got the wheels turned in on the curb cuz of being parked on a hill going down. in cali that's the law but we were tripping on no one was doing that here. parking uphill you "block" them the other way, turning out. the sun finds us as we get into worcestershire around twelve and a half, yeah! then back to gray w/in a half hour. I get to to talk to tom and raul about last night and any misunderstanding that might've been regarding me being paranoid about wet outfit and wanting to be in boat vs their incredible value to me as good men and tourmates, brothers - how I wrote "hyphenated-man" for them to play, them tom watson and raul morales, those two men only! they have helped and helped and helped me tons and tons and continuously have been, there's been no shirking on their part. we have stumbles but then that's all - me the biggest stumbler. fifteen years w/tom, ten years w/raul I have trusted them w/my life on the road - that ain't no short piece. I love these men dearly. I have my first fresh plum of the tour. a quarter of two we drop anchor at the "bosworth hall hotel" in a town called market bosworth (I notice a connection maybe?) which is about thirteen miles west of leicester and home of the the cookie jar which where we're playing tonight - gigboss ian made this happen for us cuz the 'tel we used last time is all swamped w/construction cuz they found richard III bones under a parking lot, I shit thee not. anyway, all older folks mostly here, looks like there's a convention for veterans going on. the tub is good and long and ok depth but damn it won't hold water long and after a few scalds I give up and go for the hose-off and then some be-still time.

   five bells and we head east to the big town for load-in... I did this pad last year w/the fratelli so I know it's in a pedestrian mall where someone's gotta come out w/a code and lower the bollard so we can drive on in and make our moves, get in w/the boat, dump the shit and get out. it says "the cookie crumbles" but where you play here is in kind of like the cellar and that I guess is "the jar" - soundman matt, tall soundman matt's here like when last time we worked here and I asked him to be our fourth man and once again, he's into it. righteous. gigboss ian (magic teapot) brings a sack of something I've never seen here before in europe, a sack of fucking habaneros - crimony! for chow after check I chow a pulled-pork panini (first time I've had one of those!) and stuff pieces of the chili in it along w/one floating in a soup they give me... the burn is righteous - "no burn, no learn" as they say! padboss tinny arrives - I ask him to get me a pironi cuz the cooler got another clear-bottle mazui ('terrible taste' in jap) piss called "sol" and man, I swear I ain't a snob but fuck that shit puts a stiff aftertaste on me. sure is nice tinny lets ian bring me in to do a gig here. sure digging the habaneros gigboss ian brought me, 'pert-near wanna chomp them raw w/out any chow but better be a little careful! kenny is the man making lots happen back here to get shipshape, he tells me about when he worked for a london agency booking stuff, talks to me about the eastern europe gigs we just did and how he was getting into that but w/france too, how a lot has changed and folks are coming together on different levels. respect to him.

   I do a video interview w/a young man tom who's interested in punk now w/punk in my day and I say it's still about people, it will always be about people and I dig that. he's got a good spirit. he tells me he's a student of harvery, the guitarman in echolocation who along w/another band lazarus clamp are opening the gig tonight. I get to hear them both at soundcheck which is good cuz damn I hate missing the cats who let us share the stage w/them cuz I have to konk before I play like a totally less-younger man. it's difficult for me but I feel I have to err on the side of rallying enough strength to bring best I can for gig-goers, even at expense of missing out on some potentially great stuff. I do get to hear both of these bands and dig what I'm hearing as I chow the rest of my panino (panini is plural but fuck, they do it to salami too!) w/these chilies. I'm in the side room and can hear good. I use the couch for konk place, do what I do to get that going and I'm out.

   I'm rousted and given two cups of tea, what? both t and miss hiyori made me one. it's good stuff and I'm grateful and become two-fisted tea-drinking man. I look at my watch - a minute after ten, what?! roadboss t tells me everything pushed back ten minutes, ok, ok... he helps me through the crowd. tom helps me w/the tuner. raul was righteous to block out the square (using L-shaped white tape pieces for the corners) to help me see where NOT to step cuz of the sunken deck and that means I'm pretty way stage-starboard but it's the way I gotta work this room tonight, I can't afford to go down. soundman tom has the monitors real great from the git-go and after thanks and scotty-san dedication, my voice has more help than any gig this tour monitor-wise, thank you much, soundman matt, thank you much! the bass amp is still terrible, the room can't change that but my guys do a righteous job w/the piece and the leicester gig-goers and way happening to bring it for, much respect to them and my men - fucking big time lucky watt. I knocked the 'd' string out of tune cuz the overhead's so low but got it back happening. it's a real good gig.

   back to the back and in the next-to-table chair, I meet tony and kate who are a married couple I gave a tour of my pedro town years ago and they still remember much of it - they give me a cohiba cigarillo... they're both so very sweet, good good people. I get the good word from many kind people - those cats in the opening bands that I meet are beautiful, just the best - big respect to them and their spirits. I get a wonderful tiny book of poetry from a nice man named adrian manning - so kind of him... I'm reading the poems now... there's a poem for mr bukowski - whoa, his last fourteen years were in my pedro town and now he's in the same boneyard w/d. boon there. a young man w/the last name watts lets me know that - hey we must be connected... tom too (watson) - crimony, whatever about last names, we're all fucking connected! I spend my last time in this pad w/gigboss ian, he remembers raul nine years ago as a second-string secondman at a pad called "the charlotte" in this town and now he's the man who brings me here. life is a trip and like I've already said - I am most lucky, truly. big hugs for brother ian, big ones.

   the boat's all ready for me as I hobble up and in, wheelman t gets us back to the 'tel and there's still lots of older folk we pass having a good time, about midnight when I pop the hatch and the hose off... another nice early konk for a tuckered watt, amen.

sunday, april 13, 2014 - manchester, england

from raul:

   Great sunday gig in manchester, bitchin' sound at club, and lots of very sweet folks in the audience. These england gigs are proving to be some of my personal favorites of the tour! Got to see emma and phil too, played w/ his band super fast girly show. Heavy rock band w/ two bitchin' bass players and a pounder of a drummer, no guitar, but he takes it's place with a lead bass style and many effects, awesome night.

from tom:

   [sailing away, with long hair]

   we wake to get the complementary breakfast and it's packed with the veterans and their wives, i put us on the waiting list but figure out that we can just get the food and eat it elsewhere so we don't have to wait for a table. eggs, baked beans, potato things, ham, mushrooms, juice. no tabasco. Kind of tasteless. i take another bath, my third in this hotel, that might be a record for me. we meet in front of the old bosworth hotel and get started for manchester, i've been there with raul when we played with lou barlow a couple of years ago. there's a lot of music history from there.

   once we're in manchester we stop to see a small plaque to commemorate a massacre during a pro-democracy demonstration in the early 1800's, and also a where a building stands that was the venue for a couple of historic bob dylan gigs as well as the first sex pistols gig. we get a parking ticket in the process, shit. we are early and can check into our hotel, so we do. and hour later we go and load into the downstairs gig space. thank you elevator! it's a nice space and the folks are very cool and helpful and tc makes it even easier by keeping it all in a good flow. after check raul and i try to find a subway sandwich place because we saw a few on the way to the gig. we are also trying to locate the hotel which is supposed to be close by. we wander and wander, up and across streets, some are familiar but then not familiar. we do a windy cloverleaf walk and loop back to where the Ferris wheel is and look at a map, walk in another loop, then find a subway sandwich place that closed 4 minutes ago, hmm, we walk more find the britannia hotel, except it's the wrong one, hmm, we see another subway a couple of blocks away and shoot for that. to our extreme relief it is open and i get a foot long tuna with my usual toppings but they only have honey mustard which kind of sucks as far as i'm concerned. still very happy to have food sorted out, now to find the hotel. we consult another city map at a train stop and see it there but the directions are not making sense to us. we walk the way we think it could be and soon it looks all wrong again, we stop to ask a man smoking outside of another hotel, someone who works there, and he points us in a direction of the wrong hotel with the same name again. it's laughable how lost we are in such a small circumference of town. finally we just keep narrowing it down like in a spiral inwards until we see the stupid looking balconies that adorn our hotel and to our shock it is only about a half a block from the gig place. it's ridiculous how close it has been this whole time, literally a one minute walk from the club. now, all we can do is laugh, then we go to our room to eat and watch a little tv and do emails, and rest a bit.

   back at the gig i cut my finger tip on my right hand when i reach to open the front door, something sharp, a nail, or a piece of metal did a nice slice right on tip of the ring finger. i use that finger a lot, shit. i tape it up and watch some of buzz or howl who are playing buzzy rock and howling vocals that remind me a little of husker du, cool and poppy. then the super fast girly show pound out a two bass one drummer grind fest of high testosterone angular freak out punk. these guys are cool, we've played before and it's nice to see them again. pasha, phil and alan, and emma too. great folks, i wish we had more time to hang with them. great show. we do our thing, it's feels a little dead onstage at first but i trust emilyn has it sounding good out front so i don't change anything on my amp, but my cut finger hampers me a bit with the subtle stuff. overall it's a good show, and i think the people like it, they are one of the most attentive crowd we've ever had. really great. after we pack up and organize our stuff, tc helping very much with getting stuff from here to there. i have a chat with a few of the nice folks and i meet a young lady named chloe who's birthday is tomorrow and we have a nice though brief conversation. finally, it's load out and pack up time, emma helps us too, a very kind lass she is. raul and i stay a few minutes more to talk with gig boss, jay in the loading dock, and he tells us of the manchurian development in the area and the gentrification of this part of town...raul and i walk the one minute trek to our hotel and we buy a kitkat that we share before bedtime. i have more energy to burn tonight, oh well, i'll save it for the gig tomorrow.

from watt:

sunday, april 13, 2014 - manchester, england

   last sunday of the tour, I pop at seven bells. eight and a half is when the chow's on and I'm guessing a buttload of people and damn if I ain't right when I hobble the huge chicane, coming from the furthest cabin ever from this 'tel middle-parts and getting egg/toast/a sausage/bacon hunk/beans/hashbrown triangle/shrooms on the plate but damn forgot to bring the chili sauce. I get it down though it's kind of tasteless but I don't puke so I guess it's ok. I chimp up yesterday's events in the diary and update the hoot page I realize this is the quickest this tour I've been to what went down and when it got chimped, damn. I write my ma an email (it's sunday) saying I'm ok and in fact prolly the best health since starting the tour (hardly ever in need now of cough lozenges and no sneezes), I'm good for the home stretch. eleven bells we pull anchor, the sky sunny only light clouds though not real hot. as we're saddling up, an older man asks raul if he's the fossil collector and I tell him no, he's my drummer. the man smiles. folks here very kind here, really. I got lots of nice little talks w/them, a man helped w/the sack even. I think gigboss ian did good by putting us here, interesting pad. I don't make fun of oldsters, I've always been into finding out about stuff only they know cuz they've been around. I worked for an old lawyer in the early 80s, mr handley, up on crenshaw in the leimert park part of l.a. I could ask him a million things I had no idea about cuz of his life from another time in life. I really liked him. I put him in the eighth part of my first opera. he was the first freemason I ever knew was one. he never told me anything compromising though so please don't worry, he never asked me to join (I don't thing he was allowed to). he walked w/two canes, I know he had a lot of hurt. but in his 90s his mind was really sharp - he always call me mr watt and showed me much respect. I'll never forget mr handley.

   northwest of market bosworth about a hundred miles is manchester and we go through stoke-on-trent to get there (it's about half way there), that's a good name for a town - one day I gotta get a gig there. I see a sign for newcastle-under-lyme and I wonder what that means. I've played in newcastle-upon-tyne where the last two words mean on-such-and-such-a-river but what does "under" mean as opposed to "upon" I'm asking myself? maybe more interesting is wheelman t getting us into manchester w/out incident (saw a wreck going the other way on the m6 that must've just happened) about twenty after one and checking out the "free trade hall" downtown... this morning I asked him if it was possible to do this and he made it very fucking possible, thank you much roadboss t. there's some history to this building. first of all, it's built on a filed where the peterloo massacre took place in 1819, read the plaque:

peterloo massacre memorial plaque on the 'free trade hall' in manchester, england on april 13, 2014

there's actually a campaign to get what they're calling a fitting memorial to commemorate the folks beat down - I think some people back home don't realize england actually has big dissident tradition and there's roots in how we got consciousness that way from their struggles. it a great thing about tour to let me see this stuff first hand, get my mind opened more (I find out the fight to get women the vote in england started in manchester in 1903, also the first co-op (on toad lane) to begin that movement began here... intense) the "free trade hall" is a fancy pad 'tel now but for years they did music here... it's where bobby dylan got called judas at 1966 gig where he went electric and the "lesser hall" part is where the sex pistols played ten years after that. the mindblow of history where I'm hobbling, I get many pictures of stuff on this building.

some bas relief on the 'free trade hall' in manchester, england on april 13, 2014

great bands from this town like the fall and buzzcocks, I think I remember someone telling me they were at that pistols gig... I always tell folks "start your own band" after I get done playing cuz that was a d. boon philosophy thing. the gig ain't too far away and neither is the 'tel (it's called "sacha's") so we go to check in, the desklady give roadboss t a hard time, for what? ain't there enough hell in this world for trite shit like that? crimony. luckily her shift is up and when the internet sitch screws up I don't have to deal w/her and instead w/some very nice people who reboot the modem and get things squared away. after something so negative it's good to get a affirmation concerning humanity, ain't it? yep.

   rthis pad were working tonight is called the ruby lounge and it's in the basement of a business and residential building. the gigboss jay meets us at the loading hatch... that's after wheelman t squeezed way past an idiot plugging a dead end alley, having to back it out the same moments later - I tell t we usually drive up near the pad and then send someone out to the venue and find out what needs to be done instead of just guessing - how many times did that happen to us w/the frenchmen last month on the continent?! anyway, brother jay is righteous people. brother ben over in sowbery bridge got the gig together w/him, the last time I played manchester was thirteen years ago doing bass for j mascis + the fog! I'm so grateful to both these good cats for making this happen. soundman emilyn is also righteous people, he's way into being fourth man w/us tonight and even asks us to do and extra part for soundcheck. this pad's got the best soundsystem we've had w/these gigs in england.

   roadboss t gets me india chow. I loved that spinach w/the cheese cubes w/garlic nan bread but for the first time I have it w/chunks of chicken in it also along w/onions pickled red but sweet instead of sour - I like sour better, like oshinko ones but these are alright and the other flavors go so fucking good together... a symphony in my mouth. I meet the guys in the first band for tonight, buzz or howl and they're worried I would sue them cuz of the minutemen twelve inch e.p. that has the same first three words as their band name but I enlighten them to the fact I appropriated that record's title from a "scientific american" article (not "national geographic" like the wikipedia page says). these are some great cats like the other trio w/us tonight (both from liverpool, by the way), super fast girlie show w/brother phil packing the bass used by the man in steeler's wheel... "stuck in the middle w/you" was their big hit and that was a good bass line if I remember right. good to see him, pasha and al again, solid cats and so glad to share the stage w/them and the howlers too. instead of like in bristol, roadboss t gives up the couch and lets watt konk on it. I get a couple of hours of good ones in when I pop to the of sound of buzz or howl - I go out and see one of their tunes before going back to konk like that again... same thing happens w/the super fasts, what? I go out and see them do a tune, right in front of brother phil like I did w/buzz's bassman - both bands are fucking great and I love them... damn I can't see everything of all they do cuz I just need the konk before I play at this point in the tour, I just gotta do it.

   I'm rousted w/ten minutes to go (quarter of ten start time). I pour a little water in the hot ocha ('tea' in jap) cuz damn if I didn't feel a blister on the roof of my mouth from getting burned some a few days ago. there's a hall on the side to get to the stage and this makes it easier for me. tom helps me w/the tuning and we're ready to go after thanking much everyone for being here - can you believe the gigboss (jay) is right to my starboard, right up front? what a brother - talk about getting support from the man, crimony! you know, it's really happening when you're w/good people, truly it is. I dedicate to our set to scotty-san and then we bring it. amp sounds terrible like it has been but I got a direct box ahead of it so hopefully soundman emilyn can make it happen straight from my bass. monitors are really good and the manchester gig-goers are all lit yet focused, you wouldn't believe the quietness, you would not believe it. they are truly most kind, truly. raul is cooking, oh man but from tom I get a little bit of a disconnected feel but not always, only at points... it's later I found out his picking hand got an owie, some kind of sliver from a hatch jamb or something. I do ok tonight though I almost but the dan bass' headstock through the overhead cuz I didn't realize how low it was - what a baka. tom does the encores really good, even w/the distraction of that owie. respect.

   over at the merch table I get to meet brother ben of the nice sharp pencils, a great band and he's an incredible bassist and singer. he's gotta get a train so fuck, I can't get time to rap w/him. I do get to rap w/gig-goers, so many righteous cats w/the good word, very generous. one guy named fletcher is from knoxville in tennessee like larry who I played w/in the stooges. one cat's got a flannel w/just one pocket and I tease him about that, sorry. I'm glad he forgives me, didn't mean to sound like an idiot. many kind folks, really - I'm really grateful to all of them.

   I get to talk w/the buzz or howl guys once more, a spiel about "double nickels on the dime" cuz they wanna know stuff about that even though they do know a lot about it, beautiful spirits in them. brother phil too, gotta spiel w/him before he's gotta bail like those guys, back to liverpool. he's beautiful, much respect. can't wait to see him again. one last talk w/gigboss jay... his coat has velvet feel so I speak w/him about marc bolan. very interesting brother jay, respect to him.

   the 'tel is in stumbling distance but still it was smart idea of tom's for me to get out of the soaked gig shirt and into the other one. hot hose-off in 'tel is good one and I am tuckered, whoa... where's the pillow?!

monday, april 14, 2014 - edinburgh, scotland

from raul:

   Havn't been here in 9 years, looking forward to it. I remember it being a neat city to walk around and explore. Lots of stairways leading to diffrent roads stacked together on the side of a hill, there's a castle and many cathedrals on the top of town. Playin' a tiny pad called ruby lounge, after an easy load and quick sound check, tom and i walk around the block to a place called under the stairs suggested to us by the man runnin' the show. We're joined by bass man howie, who'll play solo before us tonight. Good chow, i go simple and get a burger w/ bleu cheese, and some sweet potato fries to go with it. After chow, those guys walked back, and i killed a 2 hour wait with a walk thru edinburgh, and up top to the castle. Unfortunately i missed the opener, but made it back just in time to catch howie's set. Intricate solo bass songs played w/ fire, and also some comedy thrown in, one liners inbetween songs to get the crowd laughin', great spirit!

   Again, another favorite for me, it was all there. Great connection w/ the guys, good sound on stage, and a packed house of extremely attentive people, right there with us, and giving me lots of energy, i dug this one lots. Tonight, we're gonna drive howie and his friend claire back to glasgow, but also dep is with us too, the sweetest man you could ever have the pleasure of meeting. The 3 outta 4 times ive been in these parts, ive stayed w/ him, and this time we get two days w/ him and his family. His lady kristeen just recently had a baby boy they named bill, so stoked for them, and so good to see him, it's been a few years. So, shortly after gig we head out to make the hour drive to glasgow, and i crash out on the way. Once we get there, i get a bit of a second wind, and have a beer that dep offers up, a local ipa/lager hybrid called ceaser agustus, my new favorite beer. I also chow down a bowl of lentil soup that kristeen made fresh for us, so nice of her. Having the warm soup gets me a bit sleepy again, and i sneak off to the bedroom that tom, T.c. and i will share these next two days. It's got a sofa sleeper that folds out, me and tom take that, and t.c. takes the floor mattress.

from tom:

   [center of a rural town, raul with racks of office supplies, fixer upper shack, paloma and jerico jamming prog in the other room]

   i wake in a dark room. no windows in this chamber, i feel for a light switch and turn off the bathroom light where raul is showering, then i figure things out. i shower and i have tea and a banana and a tangerine and pack up and sit in the lobby watching old devo videos and wait for the others. we roll to edinbugh today. we stop at picturesque service station for a leg stretch and a cheap ham sandwich. we take a small road through the roliing hills and come across the roselyn chapel where all the masonic architecture is loaded with illuminati coded messages in the stone carving and masonry work. mike springs the entry fee for all of us to check out. it's really amazing. a little later we arrive at sneaky pete's and get into the small club around 5, we check and raul and i walk around the corner with howie who's playing with us tonight, we go to a place called under the stairs from a tip from nick at the club, and i order a hamburger with sweet potato fries and a pitcher of cucumber water. it's a cozy place, good vibe with good food, something i wish we had more of back home. i go back to the venue and stretch my strings for a while, then tony from _versechorusverse_ helps stretch them more. tony plays a nice solo set of sing song guitar pieces and works the crowd a bit, before howie does his one man bass and voice thing that's kind of vaudeville to my ears. a lot of interaction with the people. we go on early tonight and play well, maybe one of our best gigs. soundman did great. dep from glasgow is here, and we talk a bit about him seeing mayo thompson across the street from where we are at a talk he did there a few years ago. i meet david and kirstin from aberdeen and david tells me about a gig he did where he fell over a monitor and broke his elbow, the bone all sticking out, it sounded horrible. nice folks though. we load out and dep, howie and his girlfriend, clair join us for a ride to glasgow about an hour away. we climb deps staircase and raul and i share the pull out double bed in the record/book room like last time, we have a couple of drinks and i go to sleep.

from watt:

   pop at nine bells. I get all yesterday chimped up and hoot page updated, parking ticket on the boat's windshield wiper, in it's own sack that reads DO NOT IGNORE! damn. we pull anchor at eleven, head north for scotland. at twelve and a half we stop at "westmorland services" - the only independent "service station" in england, wheelman t tells us. there's an outdoor grillpad called "the shed" where I get a burger from local steers, an inch thick paddy! they also got cans of san pelagrino blood orange which I dig much so get one of them too. there's big clouds above and some wind but lots of sun too. about an hour later we pass through carlise - I see the first swan for me this tour, swimming in a pond at a roadside farm and then into scotland, where we're doing our next two gigs. my name watt is scot, my pop's pop's people. lots of ewes w/their little lambs w/them, lots of those laying on their sides - very cute. some sheep here are trippy, their faces mixed black and white instead of just one or the other.

   wheelman t has taken an a road for a short-cut and damn ain't it a trip as we get nearer to edinburgh I see a sign for fucking rosslyn chapel - crimony!

rosslyn chapel in roslin, scotland on april 14, 2014

found on the outside of rosslyn chapel in roslin, scotland on april 14, 2014

remember I was talking about working for mr handley in the early 80s, that old lawyer man I liked very much? well, cuz of the freemason thing, I was looking out for books and this one had just come out called "holy blood, holy grail which at the same time I found the principia discordia and that led me to find out somehow about this scottish chapel dangling w/dualities that get some dudes (like this guy) really pissed off or maybe inspire people I respect like umberto eco to write a trippy/funny/tragic book like "foucault's pendulum" which I dug much. my sister's into that mall and tract home version mr brown sells at airport "book" shops and I guess that's why there's a visitor center and it costs nine pounds to get it. I think it's neat seeing all the stuff in their first hand and in fact pay everyone's admission among our group to do it just to do it. why not bathe in symbols from time to time, maybe it's just okashii in a way - and I mean the sei shonagon way, not the modern way - for me. even words like arcana and esoterica ain't good enough - I sure wish I could've spoke w/her...

pigeons flying in edinburgh, scotland on april 14, 2014

   it's three bells when we get into edinburgh and arrive for load in, about a block away from the gigpad which is sneaky pete's, I found a plaque on a bridge arch...

james connolly plaque on cowgate in edinburgh, scotland on april 14, 2014

I continue more on cowgate into downtown and get more shots. I gotta get back and right as I'm about to come by the plaque for the hammermen, this car driven by an older gentleman crashes across the road into the pedestrian crossing rail, demolishing it, fuck! if he would've been driving on the side of the road we do back home, he would've killed me for sure. his whole portside at the fore of his car is ruined, he rolls a few feet. he gets out ok so I'm glad he ain't hurt but damn did he take that rail out and came on fully onto the sidewalk. my fucking heart skips. I hobble quick as I can to the gigpad and I meet padboss nick, very cool people - thank god cuz I'm kind of freaked out... he knows folks I know, respect! he's got tony who used to be (and help start) in a band I dig called as I watch you from afar and now goes under the name versechorusverse opening for us tonight - not just me and my men but howie reeve also, a great cat who lives in glasgow. we do soundcheck w/soundman lindsay who is bitchin' people and way into "fourth man" job for tonight. love cats excited about doing work together, us on stage are only the motor, we need a transmission to get torque to the wheels. we get done w/check (I think padboss nick thought I was kidding about short one), roadboss t tells me they got a nearby 'tel room for us cuz there's no backstage. I know there's internet here but when you go to a pad and even if people tell you it's happening, it's still a dice roll so I plant myself outside the hatch on the sidewalk and do the last of my work... a man passes me w/hair gray like mine and recognizes me, says his name is angus and he saw me play a pad called "the venue" like twentyfive years ago (first time I ever played in scotland) and what am I doing on the deck like this. I point in the direction of that plaque I found and tell him if cowgate was good enough for james connolly then it's good enough for me - he asks "what?" and I tell him to go look. he comes back and said he didn't realize that man was born here but he said where we are now was the irish immigrant ghetto part of town, he tells me a lot about james connolly... I remember reading about him regarding wobbly stuff... angus is a great cat, says he'll come to the gig tonight. much respect to him for enlightening me, staying w/me all these years, crimony! howie comes out the hatch and I ask him if he knows about joe hill cuz he lived some in my pedro town. he knows lots about james connolly - damn if they both weren't tied to a chair and shot by firing squad. what a coincidence - like finding fucking rosslyn chapel earlier today, huh? me finding that plaque, damn.

   I go to that 'tel and ain't sure enough their internet's kaput - ha! thank you roadboss t for letting me park my ass on that sidewalk for a few minutes. he gets me some pasta carbonara (I rolled the dice w/scottish italian chow) that's kind of like pasty alfredo-kind-of sauce on spaghetti but hey, I didn't puke it up so I guess it's ok. on stage is nine bells so only twenty minutes for konk, damn. I still go for it - shit though, I missed tony, fuck! damn I wish I was stronger. I only see one tune of howie's also - fuck fuck!! well, I gotta work this for the folks - tom put on new strings and I really leaned on him to stretch them out cuz usually the gig he does that is a fucking sour-ass stunad one. he told me he even got brother tony to stretch on them, whoa! tom helps me tune the dan bass. raul's made a good path for me when after the piece time comes. I give cowgate shoutout to james connolly, dedicate "hyphenated-man" to scotty-san and then bring it w/my men. fuck, I'm tuckered but my guys are playing so fucking hard and happening that they loft me over the fatigue hell trying to yank me down. a little scary w/cables near my feet and the drum rug on the other side but I don't go down. amp is still sounding really terrible but enough about that. tom really comes through w/staying in tune pretty good for brand new strings, big thank you from me to him and brother tony helping him, helping me! I'm surprised how much I had to give - I try to give all, fuck, I had 125 months to learn that from ig! the gig-goers and my men really help buoy me, really helped me tonight, I am so grateful.

   I go sit by the merch table, roadboss t helping me out and I talk w/the gig-goers. there's two cats from poland and they're surprised I know "dziekuje" ('thank you' in polska) but I remember the gig in wroclaw I did w/the stooges, it was my first time ever playing in their land. they're very sincere w/their kindness, like everyone who takes time w/me, 'pert-near. whoa, there's a cat from bowling green, ky (where they make corvettes, been to the museum there a couple times) who's wearing what I've always wanted, a replica coat from "the prisoner" like number six wore! I've never seen them in person, trippy feel. also trippy is he didn't richard hell is from kentucky (my first punk rock hero) but he says him and his bands wants to open for us if we ever play bowling green - I wanna take him up on that! there's a young man who talks to me quite a while about mr bosch saying his pop would take him to all kinds of art stuff but all he ever dug was the work of el bosco and at the same time, his pop hated all his music so maybe my third opera and mr bosch's work make for some kind of reconciliation between them somehow. that's trippy and makes me think. there's a couple of brothers - one's named vic (a cat I met a good while ago, he had me on his radio show), both most happening but the one I spaced on his name knows all kinds about me - but you know what? vic knows lots too though - hell, I invite both of them to pedro and say I'll give them a watt tour of the pad, I've done that a bunch and am glad to.

   it's a good rap w/some many kind folks - I wish I could spend more time but actually we're konking an hour away in glasgow so when roadboss wheelman t gives the word, I yank anchor - big hug for brother tony and gigboss nick as I bail. riding w/us is howie, clare and dep - dep's a dear old buddy who's seen my music for years and years, he's invited us again to his band. claire knows lots about art and there's talk about futurists and david bomberg - she's got vast knowledge but tom knows art too and talks about being around david lynch who I didn't really know did music - only really know "eraserhead" which I dug much. I have so many holes in my art knowledge, I feel like a fucking idiot so much of the time but I try to keep learning more... fucking trying to learn more about everything. howie knows lots too and dep is deep w/music. I don't even notice it takes an hour, wheelman t gets us safe to glasgow, drop off howie and clare, then drop anchor at dep's pad: two minutes after midnight, alright!

'the two toms' (tom watson + thomas clements) in edinburgh, scotland on april 14, 2014

   dep and kirsteen have a new shipmate: bill - much respect! she's konking w/him (I think he's like five months old) so we keep it down and rap w/dep, I join after a good warm hose-off and into the nightwear. I am so tuckered though. fuck, I'm so tuckered I konk in the head w/the hatch locked - tom said he had to wake me handclaps. fuck, I am very sorry.

tuesday, april 15, 2014 - glasgow, scotland

rom raul:

   It's a good feeling wakin' up in the town your gonna play, no rush to get out the door. I have a very relaxed morning here, and also get to meet baby bill for the first time, adorable, and looks just like pops. Kristeen makes us a killer breakfast too, smoked maceral, and poached eggs on rye toast. I even poached my own eggs, and it came out really good. They're creamier than a fried egg, which i usually do, but this is a good way because no grease. I ve done it like this at home, and had success, but i get a couple tips here that help out big time! After breakfast, and a couple cups of strong tea, tom and i take a walk thru the botanical gardens just across the street, and we find a bridge that leads us to the walking path along the river, beautiful place, good exercise, and calm way to spend the afternoon. Back at the pad, i take the time to write home to paloma. She's helpin me make a dental appointment for the first monday back(we land easter sunday) On the way to leicester, a filling popped outta my tooth, so i need to get it taken care of asap once i'm back, I do not want more teeth problems. Luckily no pain though, just hole for food to get stuck in and cause infection

   Playing broadcast tonight, Just next to nice and sleazy's, the pad we played it at a few years ago. Pretty much the same lay out, w/ the show space in the basement part of this bar/restaurant. Atleast we got a spot outside, so we don't have to load out double parked on this busy street. After our sound check, tom and i get a table upstairs and order some food, i got a chicken burger w/ a super foods salad w/ quinoa. I should've ordered the chicken w/ out the bread, and just had that w/ the salad. After the big chow, i went for a long walk to help digest, and get the blood flowin', it's great weather here in glasgow, and i don't wanna let that go to waste. I still have a coat though, there's a litle chill in the air, but some of the people out are dressed like it's the hottest day of the summer. On the way back i'm walking toward the sun, and it's setting just right in the middle of the street i'm goin up, totally blinding, but beautiful sight.

   Again, and again, these u.k. gigs are kickin butt. Don't get me wrong, they all have, but these have something special for me. Also, dep is right up front tonight, and i feel like i'm doing the gig just for him, actually in my mind i am. Really nice folks besides too, and all very respectful. Maybe it was the couple days we spent off in equery that recharged us, but i feel we're all on top at these gigs. One shitty thing that does happen that's not anybody's fault is the beater on the kick drum pedal coming loose. It was during our re-do of amnesty too, as soon as it snapped, i whispered to watt, kick pedal busted. Luckily for me, t.c. is right behind me, and after a couple screams to get his attention, and let him know whats up, he comes to the rescue quick, and has it tightened up in time to finish the tune. Soundman sam suggest that we move our van around back for load out, it's a straight shot, and no windy stairs, good call on his part. I think i played hard tonight, bacause getting the gear upstairs seems to take it outta me, and i get a big sweat again, and soak the dry shirt i changed into after the gig.

from tom:

   [thinking about home stuff]

   in the morning i take a shower and kirsteen makes a delicious breakfast, dep is holding their new little boy, bill, very cute. i'm a little groggy from last night, but we have all day to relax for our show which is really nice in such a great flat. raul and i go for a walk through the nearby park and through the botanical gardens there, and then down to the river, all the way along the edge and under bridges and by old stone ruins of structures until we take the stairs back up to the street level and start to walk back in the direction of dep and kirsteen's place. a little ways along we bump into hyoroi, kirsteen, and dep with bill in his arms. they just put a load of wet clothes into a dryer at the local laundrymat. we have a brief chat and then continue on our separate ways until raul and i decide to stop and sit on a wall in the sunlight and talk and rest our legs. we talk about home, etc, and about 10 minutes later we see dep, and crew coming back our way and we realize that we are sitting right next to their car where they parked to drop off the clothes. very odd that we would stop right there. we didn't even know they had a car, or that there was a laundrymat there. soon kirsteen takes the car to do some errands and we walk back to dep's place slowly talking in the warm spring afternoon. we have a little more time to chill at the apartment, and then to the gig. we load down spiral stairs into the broadcast club right next to a place called nice and sleazy's where we had played a couple of years ago. this place is almost identical to that, gig downstairs, with a bar/restaurant upstairs. waiting to check i find the green room upstairs and i'm very happy to see how comfortable it is. i sit in one of the low modern reclining chairs and rest a bit, then go back down to do soundcheck. afterwards i order food with raul, a hamburger with onions, salad, fries and a coke. then i lay down in that chair again for an hour until the gig starts. howie does his thing, i see our friend, carolyn and meet her friend aiden, and we try to see some of the show in the crowded downstairs room. i decide to go back upstairs to conserve energy. we go on at 10:10, we play strongly, the monitors are great and we do the pop group tunes again and do them much better tonight. tc helps with raul's kick pedal during amnesty report, very cool. great show. thanks soundman sam. seb, the gig boss is very nice too. we load back up the stairs and out the back of the club and into the van and say goodnight to the locals and head to dep's place again, this time i am too wound up to go to sleep easily, and talk with dep for a while then climb into bed where raul is sawing some logs, i put my earplugs in and try to shut down. it takes a while.

from watt:

   pop at eight bells. bill's been crying but it ain't bad at all, not for me - it ain't the reason I popped, it was the sun - we got sun again, yes. kirsteen cooks us up some eggs, sausage, toast and tomatoes, very good and most kind of her. dep tends to bill, keeping him hoisted. they both love their little man very much, I can feel it. we talk about the referendum coming in september, scotland's voting to see if they wanna be independent. last time I was here (fourteen months ago w/the fratelli) kirsteen said she thought it was a bunk plan and a weird kind of nationalism but now she says she's changed her mind will vote yes. she the debate has turned from a knucklehead to more nuanced and it's looking interesting in regards to possibilities. roadboss t says he just doesn't wanna have to show his passport to come here but that's what the e.u.'s about, right... I wonder how it will go?

   I stay in the fucking nightwear 'til we gotta bail, why not? dep's pad is up four or something flights of stairs so I'm just gonna camp out here and do work. fratello bruno has sent il sogno del marinaio "canto secondo" (our next album) mixes and I'd like to check them out on the system here. they got something called "sonus" that has software on their ipad but not kirsteen's macpurse. she can't get the sound files onto the ipad though she can on the macpurse cuz I put them on a usb stick. I think about it... tom brought on tour instead of 'puter an ipad mini and the way I get his diary off of it onto my macpurse is to use itunes so I try to do the same thing w/her macpurse and her ipad... I can tell by the notifications coming up on the macpurse she's never done this before. using the itunes I bring the il sogno del marinaio sound files over and can play them via sonus over their home system. fratello bruno's mixing sounds real good. it took a little time but persistance paid off and now she knows some new ways to use her stuff also. that's small potatoes though - you know what's really amazing? this: thirteen year old golden eagle huntress I stumbled onto while checking out the bbc news site (been worried about dangerous stuff in ukraine). this took my fucking breath away. gadget nerdery one thing but being the only young lady hunting these days w/an eagle, crimony! talk about skills - you gotta keep things in perspective.

   back on the internet, this guy michael flows a link to a video of a stooges gig where on the last note of the first song is I got the hurt w/my knee in istres, france on july 12, 2010 that I'm still struggling w/now... you can't see much but it happens around five minutes-nine (or is five-o-eight? I can't fucking look again)... I could watch only once, barely glancing - I'm looking right at scotty-san. fuck, I can't think about this any more - change the subject, baka watt...

outside dep + kirsteen + bill's pad in glasgow, scotland on april 15, 2014

   three and a half bells, time to shove off for the venue, a pad called broadcast but it's right next one I have, "nice and sleazy" which is a trip in a way, huh? it takes us a good while, the glasgow traff sitch kind of plug, especially near signs I guess for a hosp (lots of ambulances around), these signs say "plastic surgery outpatients" - what? the sun's out but there's some wind. I meet the gigboss frankie, very nice cat. so is soundman sam who shows up just as were setting up - like next door, the gig part of this pad is downstairs w/a bar topside. there's a pillar on stage but it ain't at the front but at the rear so though we're kind of in a line, we're still together and not separated. soundman sam cares about the sound, he's into being fourth man and does a thorough check w/us though we only give him the first part as a band. I just hate long soundchecks. things are gonna change drastically when people come anyway, especially in a pad like this. howie comes and has me do a little spiel for his video camera - he has miss hiyori film it and sits next to meet - he wants a spiel from me for his kickstarter campaign for his next album. actually we're gonna do a two bass seven inch (don't tell k!) w/each of us writing a tune, should be neat. I really dig howie. he told me he just did a retreat where he didn't talk for ten days. I call that a good investment in the self.

   the backstage is a couple of flights up so I make my move after check to minimize the up and down for me cuz of my fucked-up knee. there's a kitchen here and the cookerman (nice cat) makes me a burger called "the tone" and I like it, especially w/the peri peri sauce and hot england-style mustard he brings me. I finish chimping up my diary for yesterday, some trippy coincidences to try and recount at least a little coherently. I chimp so baka! sorry. big couch here and we ain't on 'til 10:15 pm so I got a few hours to konk and damn if I don't use all of it! I wanted to see howie's whole set only make it for the last two tunes, damn. sorry, howie. they were two great tunes though, beautiful. he works the acoustic bass (not a standup or double bass but like an acoustic guitar) really good, respect.

   he should've went on later though cuz I was told quarter after ten earlier and that's what I told folks via shitter so I don't want any getting bumrushed on the piece. roadboss t said ten is ok but... you know earlier is what I always like but fuck, I put the word out otherwise. work night too, damn I hate making folks wait... do the preliminaries, letting folks know that three years ago w/did the third opera right next door (hardly any towns get repeats) but I think we know it better - I know we do! I'm sure I see that cat angus somewhere in the back and thank him for making the hellride. I pretty much know the guy right in front of me is dep. I dedicate the piece to scotty-san and here it comes, the third opera for the second time. the low overhead makes for prolly best bass sound this piece-o has given us in the week of using it but man, that don't make for all that much. actually first part has me w/the dan bass volume way down - pilot error. now dep was worried cuz of this pad's low stage, folks in the back wouldn't be able to see and would be prone to yammerin' but this is not the case tonight, nope. the glasgow gig-goers give us as much focus and respect as in edinburgh last night, so very kind of them. tom and raul are at the top of their game but what makes it better for me is that I'm rested way more and chowed way more ahead of playing than last night. it was really rough for me last night cuz of that. there's some red led-type lights that make things tough but I don't hear anything that bad from tom and mine are only little ones - well I have some bigger ones in the encore... oh, for the encore we do the pop group's "amnesty report II" to try and make up for what happened in bristol - tom does righteous, really good but half way through raul loses his kick drum pedal! roadboss t is sitting right to the side of stage port and charges up immediately and it's just the beater that came loose... damn if he don't fix in time for the tune's ending w/raul playing the hole time around him, missing his head w/the sticks and shit. amazing alertness and response from roadboss t, much respect to him. we end the gig w/the pop group's "we are time" which do real good in my thoughts and then I head upstairs for the merch table up the back stairs cuz there's a good hand rail for my cojo ass.

   jerzo's (secondmen drummerman) buddy carolyn is here, I've known her for a long time, very good people. she told me she's acting now and we talk about how hard is to remember stuff, me w/this piece and her w/her lines. I tell her muscle memory really is the only way I can do it. a bassman named martin says he ain't heard a bassman like me but I gotta tell him about a scotsman who had a huge influence on me: jack bruce. I let him try the dan bass. I hope he does good w/bass. get this: he tells me his pop's favorite bass player is jack bruce! damn. a cat who's very close to becoming a pop for the first time (that's why his wife couldn't be here) has me record a message for the new shipmate - he has me call him/her "megabit" cuz don't which boy or girl it's gonna be. I invite him to a tour of pedro when he tells me he's got relatives in the val. good cat. the writerman grahame talks to me about stooges and wants to know stuff but I say that's up to ig and not my place otherwise to ever speculate... I do know I had 125 beautiful months working bass for that most righteous band and music. respect.

   wheelman t gets us back to brother dep's two minutes after midnight, respect! we talk about the gig quiet in the kitchen and dep explains how surprised he was... I explain something about the quiet parts in the opera, I explain in a way those are parts where folks can have a voice back. if we ain't working the piece then they can let us know w/yammerin' BUT if we are working right then we can hold their attention. I like that even w/it being risky. I think people on stage get a little too self-important. there has to maybe humbling factors put on some of them - "like a mouse" like I say in the piece. it's not always about coming in second in a one-horse race... or maybe it is! I'm most grateful for people giving me and my men respect at the gig but I also feel we gotta earn and that's why you gotta give all you got every time you get up in front of people.

   I forgot to say I hosed-off and got in the nightwear w/in minutes of arriving which kind of tripped out dep but damn if he ain't just the most beautiful spirit ever, such a good heart. the way I was standing on stage and w/my bad knee I 'pert-near did the gig personally for him. inside actually I did. big love to brother dep.

wednesday, april 16, 2014 - leeds, england

from raul:

   Got up a couple hours before bail time, and hopped into the shower. After we had another great chow provided by kristeen and dep, poached eggs, and vinison sausage, and hagus. There was also an option for vegan hagus. I'm fairly adventruous with tryin' out food i havn't before, but i wasn't vibin' w/ the hagus, so i opted for the vegan one, diffrent seasoned grains in a little casing, i guess made to resemble a stomach, really good though. It's a a great stay here, and hard to leave, but we gotta ramble on to leeds, Thank you to that family for everything they've done for us, truly special folks. We got a four hour haul to leeds, and aside from our fuel up in glasgow, we do the whole trip w/ out pause.

   Playin brudenell social club today, working mans pub here in leed's been here for over 100 years, also kid friendly too, w/ a big gameroom in the back. I got a buddy sam who lives here, his grandma had a house just right across the street, and he said he'd been coming here since he was a little dude. Great layout, and very easy load to stage. This is our first place in england w/ parking lot, most places are on busy city streets, or pedestrian walkways, but brudenell is in the middle of a nieghborhood, surrounded by apartments. We meet the boss man nathan, great guy, he gives me and watt a tour pad, and tells us that him and him mother run the place. I also find out from sam later, that he was also a professional footballer. He had some scotch bonnet chili's for us, and offered to make up some salsa. It was great too, the best salsa of the tour, but poor nathan paid the price. He was diggin' out the seeds, and spaced and wiped his lip or nose, and got the oil on his face!! oh man, it was liked he got peppered sparayed, coughin' fits, eyes all watery. Ive doen it myself, so i could only chuckle from experience, i felt for him though, not something he'll forget soon though.

   playing w/ ampline, american band form cinncinatti, they're on tomorrow's gig as well, nice guys and great band. Remind me of built to spill, and foo fighters w/ a little wipers thrown in. It's a two band bill, and ampline is gonna use their equipment, so i gotta get the drums outta the way once we're done w/ check. No sweat off me, it's actually easier to build it back quick than rearrange everything w/ mics and cables everywhere. Great turnout for a wednesday, the leed's folks came out for us, also showed us much respect. My only gripe for the gig would be my disconnection from tom, i felt like i had my back to him the whole time. I got the feelin' that it had an negitive effect on him to, and he also felt the disconnection. tonight we had a third go at amnesty report, and no break downs or big space outs, we did we are time too, which is still trippy for me, i feel like i'm relearning the song in a different way, and it's only 2 parts! All that said, it was a solid gig, and great to get to play the brudenell social club.

from tom:

   [rough sleep]

   i wake at 9:15 and take a quick shower and talk with kirsteen and hiyori in the kitchen where another scotish breakfast is being created for our enjoyment. haggis is on the menu today, venison sausage, baked mushrooms and tomatoes, poached eggs on a potato scone flat bread, coffee or tea and juice. it's great, such great people these folks. i have to say that i'm very sad to leave. i finally finish "a clockwork orange" in the van, sad to say goodbye to that too. it's my first time to leeds, 4 more gigs, trippy. we drive into the parking lot of the venue and load in.

   we get into check mode do the thing. nathan here at the club mixes up fresh chillies into a nice hot salsa which we proceed to ingest rapidly. the best salsa of the whole tour. i drink tea and write. the kentucky band, ampline is playing with us tonight, tomorrow night too. nice dudes. we order indian food tonight. i eat spinach with cheese and chicken and take a nap in the back room. i watch ampline play their second gig of their euro tour. they have a textured sound, guitar, bass drums trio with big amps. i dig it. we do our change over, then do our gig, it's alright. a little struggle with my volume here and there, i foul up the first part of the big foist. i m also held down by the hot lights and the full stomach. i so my best not to fold under pressure but it's hard at the end of the show, exhausting gig. we pack and then we go to a holiday inn for the night. i shower and go to sleep.

from watt:

   pop at seven bells and find gray outside the window. the baby room they got here is so bitchin', like a turret w/many windows overlooking the town. beautiful place, this pad. from the email I receive six more il sogno del marinaio "canto secondo" mixes and check those out many times, 'pert-near but I flow the fratelli baka stunado fratello comments. much respect to them for hearing me out, truly. when kirsteen wakes up she cooks us all eggs, tomato, big shrooms, venison (deer) sausage, fried flat bread and haggis which I've finally had and it tastes good. some kind of chili called they got here glasgow megadeath to supplement the mix. funny about stuff printed on bottles/packages by the people slinging them, for example: "simply salted, packed w/crunch" which I can understand for tortilla chips but "crisp and fruity" for a wine - who writes this shit? the hospitality shown to us by dep, kirsteen and bill is incredible and beautiful - much, much respect to them from a most grateful watt and I know my men and roadboss wheelman t feels the same, miss hiyori too. they "wave us off" as they say, coming on eleven bells - can't wait 'til I see them again.

kirsteen + dep + bill in glasgow, scotland on april 16, 2014

   we make like a baby and "head out" of glasgow southeast, the gray slowly getting drowned out by sun. up to carlisle it's the same route we took to get into scotland. wheelman t has music blaring that inspires us to mime to mime it on the ride.I pluck out a piece of a chipped off molar which is a relief, been killing me the last couple of days. tom and raul are horrified - raul's dealing w/a filling that partly fell out. I toss it out the window, a souvenir for here - you know my pop's first and last names are the same as belonging to james watt? true. just before one, we cross back into england, good bye scotland. we get into leeds just after three and it looks like the venue is in kind of a neighborhood, it's a pad called the brundenell social club, the padboss nathan welcomes us as we drop anchor in the back (very easy load-in and parking, righteous. he tells me him and his ma run this place and it's been around a hundred years. he shows me the snooker tables in another room, little card tables in another. I'm embarrassed to tell him I ain't played mike watt music here in like twentythree years - it was a pad called the "duchess of york" which he says now is a clothes store, whoa... wonder if they sell flannels... not one-pocket kind - I mean what are those about? gigboss nathan shows us some chilies he's gotten for us, fresh scotch-bonnet (kind of like habanero), he's gonna go chop them up and make us some salsa... we don't see him again for hours...

   soundman archie is very cool people and is into being "fourth man" for us. we do check w/him and then meet opening band, cats from cincinnati called ampline and they're nice men. we're waiting and waiting for chow, it's hard to play if you chow too soon before w/me... I get flowed this trippy thing, a cat making a list of minutemen songs he likes more down to ones he likes less - he says minutemen had 153 original songs, I didn't know that but he says he's also considering cover songs and different versions so he says 180+ but 153 will be his list number? I don't understand. I'm grateful for him remembering d. boon though. respect.

   gigboss nathan arrives w/the salsa he made and it's really good, the best of the tour by far! it's really good and hot also. damn if he ain't all burning up though, the chilies got on his hands and he wiped them in his eyes and stuff, he's really hurting. man, I feel for him. once in portland I cut up some habaneros to spike up some tame salsa and my eyes sealed up for hours. I had dinner chow w/richard meltzer where I couldn't look at him the whole time, couldn't see anything - eyes all shut and tears constantly flooding down. roadboss t orders us india chow and I have nan spinach mixed w/chicken again, like in manchester but not as good (no garlic in the nan bread this time) but I don't puke so I guess it's ok. I go back to konking on the couch - I had been earlier waiting for the chow.

   it's time to go on at 9:30 so I make my way to the stage, a little bloated. fuck, it's hard to fucking play w/chowing so close but I gotta bring it for the mekons cuz this is their home town and I loved their first record so much ("never been in a riot" b/w "32 weeks" - incredible!) plus when I owe these folks much for being negligent w/not working their town - hmm... I did do bass for j mascis + the fog in 2001 but anyway, first thing I do is apologize for that, second I mispronounce this pad's name a bunch of times 'til good cats in the crowd help me w/learning to say it right (I am a fucking baka, so sorry good people of leeds) then dedication for scotty-san and finally four slaps on the strings to cue my men to bring it. difficult w/that chow in my gut so recent, 'pert-near puke a few times but I hold on. amp sounds terrible but soundman archie's got the dan bass ahead of it via a direct box. the leeds gig-goers really treat us good, most kind of them so I double up everything I have. every gig I try to push as hard as I can, I feel I really owe it to the folks, to my men. how can I ask them to put out if I don't keep on keepin' on? tom's a little blurry in his playing, raul tearing it up though and he helps him out mostly (after tom will tell me the late-eating hurt him too, like w/me). I think we do good though considering, really. encore time has tom spacing pretty big time w/the pop group tunes and even a minutemen one but really the only thing that really kind of was tough on me was missing his mute when I hollered "kick drum solo" at raul, to me that was really untogether, not w/us but in the big scheme of things I love him big time, give him big hug after. oh, before encore I ask who's bad bassman from cinci, one cat knows - says "bootsy" - you are correct sir! I then give small talk regarding working bass is search for right notes not most notes. it's what I truly believe. everyone has something to teach me, even someone brand new to bass... or painting... or poems... or...

   off the stage, 'pert-near kick roadboss t's hand when I boot a water bottle I felt a threat in my path, damn - luckily it's ok and he gets me through the crowd to the merch table, I talk w/many folks including mave who is a righteous man I dig much. he's got family w/him too, his sister and her husband, just beautiful cats. I rap w/a man w/a husker du shirt, respect - he tells me to keep pushing, I will! the dj man who played "the 15th" by wire just before we went on knows that I did a version w/the pair of pliers, a trio I had w/tom watson and vince meghrouni - damn, can you believe? crimony! a lady named geraldine from this town give me here "geraldzinbe" zine plus a framed drawing she did of me, so kind. several bass cats talk bass, I sign a bass pickguard, looks like for an old p or a tele bass - the brother says it's for a frankenstein. many folks from the old days here, one named tony going way back. young cats too here, one bassman (says he just started) says someone just turned him onto me and he's glad he saw my cojo self work this gig. I give him big grateful hug, truly.

   wheelman t gives me the pull anchor signal as I say bye and thank you to gigboss nathan. gigshirt got sweated out so I just go barechest under the jacket. roadboss t gets us safe to a nearby "holiday inn express" (singing to black flag's "tv party" the whole way) ten before midnight (fuck yeah!) and I get good warm hose-off and then into nightwear. whew, I'm tuckered big time...

thursday, april 17, 2014 - sheffield, england

from raul:

   Woke up late this morning, 11am, slept thru breakfast too. We had eaten late last night though, so i wasn't hungry when i woke anyhow, plus it will not kill me to miss a big breakfast or two. We don't bail till noon today, short drive to sheffield, a little over an hour. doing gig at a place called the harley, a corner spot near the center of town. Watt was here last year, and says we also eat there, and stay in the hotel upstairs, bitchin'. We arrive before the sound guy, so no hurry in loadin in either. I also missed coffee this mornin', here they have these little personal french presses, that make 1 cup of coffee. Really tasty, and strong too, i had two of these before we loaded in the gear. 4 bands on tonight, so the plan is after we sound check, our stuff comes off till after the 3rd band. There's also a 1030 curfew, so we gotta jam on it big time. After soundcheck we chow right in front of the stage where the tables are still set up. I get a chicken burger w/ jalapeno, and guacamole, no bun though, and i ask em' to just put it on top of the sweet potato fries, great chow.

   I tried to have some rest before gig, but the strong coffee had me up, so i took a small walk before the sprinkles started, so before it started to come down, i decided to maybe start on the way back before i get the soaked. Once i get back though, the clouds part and we have sunshine, no warmth though. All the bands before us do really good, Ampline was great, and liked blood sport too, trippy band w/ many effects on guitars and vocals. The drummer played along to a drum machine, and it sounded like 3 drummers, pretty trippy though, i was curious to what the record would sound like, so i picked one up after the gig, knowin' there's no way i'd be able to find it in the u.s. I know that sound was weird for watt, and i myself could hardly hear him during the loud parts, but i had great sound for me, the drums had a good sound on this stage, and i could hear tom well too. After the gig a few peole did tell me they thought the guitar was too low, though , we just have a diffrent reality on stage i guess. My feelings though, another solid u.k. gig. lots of very nice folks here on a thursday night here for the gig. It was a small stage though, so hard for the guys to move around, but it did make for better connection w/ me and tom, and there were certain parts of tunes that felt like we hadn't played as locked in as tonight, weird, all these gigs, and this is the one where it feels right, Im just talking one little part, but still trippy, when it happened we both felt it, and looked at each other and smiled. I did feel for him durin' his singin part during encore's though, he had no monitor, and i could see him screamin', but could not hear anything! Also, i liked this version of forever/one reporters opinion, had a good feel and tempo, and it locked in real nice once watt cranked the bass up.

from tom:

   [landing a jumbo jet, flying over water, smashing an iMac]

   i wake at 8 and go down for the breakfast and i have scrambled eggs and baked beans with a croissant and juice and coffee. i see hiyori and mike and go back to the room when i'm finished and lay down for a little doze. i slept strangely, not restful with heavy dreams. the outside weather has turned grey and moody, and i get up and shower and pack. three more gigs to go, i think about how to do my best for these last shows. i feel alright, maybe a little pre-tour-end depression. i push on and stay focused on and in the moment. today we drive a short way to sheffield to a place called the harley. mike played here with the italian boys not long ago, and he says we get to stay upstairs from the venue tonight, great. we load and get settled.

   i order a george frazier, which is a double grilled chicken burger with bacon and cheese and "special" dressing and fries and cole slaw. then i go up the 6 flights of stairs to our room with raul and tc and lay down, and dream of being on a boat going out to sea, but there aren't many people on the ship, strange vibe. i take a nap and then i wake up (in my dream) and walk through the ship again, this time there are lots of people on the boat, like a festival going on. there's gravel on the walkways around the boat and a dj at one end, then in another area some guys are building a big stage. i keep walking, up and down stairs, i see a door that drops off into the ocean going by, then i wake up. it's 6pm, i shave and go downstairs to what's up with the gig. tonight there are 4 bands and there's a strict curfew of 10:30pm when we have to be done, so we need to keep things running tight. the first group is a two piece from here called che go zebra, they do minimal guitar/drums kind of dissonant with open tunings and drum pattens. then ampline again, they play really well, i like the textures. then locals, bloodsport do a trippy afro-groove thing with british stylings that make me think they could've been a factory records band like a certain ratio or something. cool, and we're on schedule too. with help from the ampline guys and gig boss max we do the change over and start at 9:30 sharp. it's a little weird sounding on stage but we play well tonight, the last tunes go much better for me also, even though i don't have any monitors and can't hear my voice at all. strong show, we pack and load into the van and have time to talk with some folks and raul and tc and i hang downstairs for a while before heading back up the six flights of stairs to our "penthouse" apartment for the night.

from watt:

   pop at eight bells. there's chow downstairs, a free trough. I have scrambled eggs (no milk in them, good), sausage, thin cheese slices and toast. I wrap the sausage in the cheese then wrap those in the toast and chow it w/the eggs. I was baka and forgot my chili sauce though so kind of marlon blando, kind of gut sack filler. I gotta do much work for fall il sogno del marinaio u.s. tour, it's being put in stone now by my longtime bookerman steve kaul and his helperman eric. first ten gigs will be w/brothers from tokyo, lite and those will be west coast ones - understand that this tour will be big clockwise loop around the country so of course: cali, oregon and washington state first. their last gig w/us will be seattle, first one will be san diego. I asked them to pick any part of the tour to be on and that's what they decided. I love those cats dearly and for my italian fratelli, it'll be their first big u.s. tour ever. I'm so glad I get the chance to make things happen, make good on the debt I feel I owe the movement for letting me be a part.

downtown sheffield, england on april 17, 2014

   we pull anchor at noon, only an hour south (skies gray to sunny the more we go) to sheffield where again I return to the harley after just thirteen months (was there w/the fratelli). the gigboss max is really good people. the pad itself has a 'tel upstairs so konk is w/in stumbling distance. I spiel w/max and his buddy a bunch about first separation of church and state (I agree w/mr jefferson on this one) and then they explain to me the regarding young people and work in england, interesting and scary. I ask for a moment pause and after meeting soundman ash and getting the good word from he's happy to do "fourth man" job for us tonight. gigboss max showed "we jam econo" a couple of days ago and I tell him both thank you much and about how that doc was important into sparking up the idea in my mind for the "hyphenated-man" opera. I explain him the whole process, how it was helping keith and tim w/the spiel by listening again to all the minutemen records and then at the same time was doing a stooges gig in madrid where right near the 'tel we were at was the museo del prado and I saw for the first time in person some of the works "el bosco" (that's what they call mr bosch there) and it came to me that somehow combining metaphors based on these images contemplating my middle age journey w/a perspective on masculinity the way I imagined maybe the dorothy character was experience being around all those strange men in the "wizard of oz" movie... I wrote it all on d. boon's tele and then taught tom watson all the parts (he did have three tiny solos of his own in the second part) while working out the drum w/mouth sounds to guide raul to what I wanted. I then had them record together in the middle of a tour w/out the bass and spiel, in fact I wouldn't let them hear any of the bass or spiel 'til I put it on a year later. I was doing these weird things to keep it from sounding "too much" minutemen in respect to d. boon and georgie. talking w/gigboss max, I think about stuff that inspired minutemen in the 70s punk world and I remember one of those bands came from this town, sheffield - they were called cabaret voltaire and man, did we dig the shit out of them when they were a trio. the early singles/eps and that "cut up" album were just the best. hell I even got to see them in so cal, the were the young marble giants and I was in a cast cuz of knee surgery... I tell him about all the strange and beautiful records I'd get from "zed of london" record store in long beach back then, not know what anything was 'til I heard it first. very trippy. only two dollars a seven inch, well worth the gamble - I'd pick records by the band name or the cover art... sometimes it'd be tame suck-ass but mostly they'd be mindblow. I leave the couch (drinking pads in england have couches, they're 'pert-near living rooms!) to do the check, then return to chow "the smokin' joe frazier" chicken sandwich they made here for me, real good. I use some of "henderson's relish" to see what that's like and it goes good w/mustard to supplement the mix.

'henderson's relish' spicy sauce at 'the harley' (gigboss max in the background) in sheffield, england on april 17, 2014

nick from blood sport joins us and I tell him I heard "blood sport" the word from the name off of the first killing joke album. I saw those cats when they played the whiskey in west hollywood, very trippy band... the bassman looked just like syd vicious, the singerman had paint or grease in his face, drummerman looking rockabilly and the guitarman's sound was totally copied by all these (oxymoron word here) smart metal ball-less unrock - but the original (this guy) made w/the other three a trippy thing even w/every song having same formula (sing tune's title four times for the chorus) - I think "blood sport" was an instrumental though and kind of funky, maybe copied by sports metal (what they call it in japan) bands later in 90s? I think killing joke changed after that album but can't remember what exactly - maybe tribal. that black and white album that just says killing joke is a strange album, sticks in my head... maybe it was on eno's label? fuck, I can't remember good. nick's cool people, plays baritone guitar through a selmer amp - yeah I see another selmer amp this tour... john coltrane's tenor was a selmer mark VI, I didn't know they made amps - same logo (a lyre) even! trippy they got into amplifiers. this one here nick's got is a p.a. model w/like four channels. getting back to little label records that had huge influence on us minutemen (pop group and wire's first albums were actually on big labels?!) like cabaret voltaire, the fall, alternative television, lemon kittens, desperate bicycles, scritti politti (first two only!), they must be russians, mekons, throbbing gristle, soft boys "can of bees" and other stuff - not to get all nostalgic but damn that shit had a powerful effect on us guys brought up on creedence and blue oyster cult. like switching shifts, now the ampline take the place of gigboss max and blood sport nick - I ask their guitarman where their band came from and he says he doesn't know, he's the guy - came aboard like fifteen years ago. bassman kevin says he doesn't know but had a list of names where it was on (what?) then points at his nose, "lines" - you gotta be kidding me? band sames are trippy. in leeds we some winners on a poster for an upcoming festival like nose. I remember back in villa real (portugal) there was a band on a poster called silly boy blue, whoa. I finish chimping diary (I was pulling a dually, doing two things at once), I go upstairs to my room to get some konk, fuck, I'm tuckered from all the windbagging.

   I get rousted and get up on the stage after throatcoat tea drinking, we got three minutes to go which is cuz there's a 10:30 curfew, we got sixtythree minutes. I fuck up and not only space on the first band che ga zebra name but can't pronounce it right - I feel so stupid, they deserve respect, fuck I am a baka. I get the other band names right and thank everyone for letting us share the stage w/them, gigboss max for making everything happen, the good people of sheffield for being here and the w/a dedication to scotty-san, we bring it. tom's playing really good and sharp tonight, so is raul - fuck, I accidentally hog a loogie on his ride cymbal, wasn't try to do that. I'm doing only one or two lozenges for my throat no a day so no real big syrupy shit strangling my vocal chords like in the middle of the tour. actually I'm pretty good health here in the home stretch of the tour. the sheffield folks are much respectful our way, even w/the bar only feet away - respect back to them. the piece-o amp I'm using is sounding the worst it has all the gigs we've doen since coming back across the channel, it's just terrible. we do the old style encore and end right on time. both tom and raul really playing good tonight, really good.

   over to the mersh table, roadboss t helping me w/my hand on his shoulder. I sign stuff and talk w/the gig-goers, so many nice people. some guy asks to take "selfie" w/me - am I total baka to think if he gives camera to someone to take a shot of both of us (of course they don't know how to operate his camera, he doesn't know!) then it ain't really a "selfie" thing? it's not important, I bear w/it cuz people are so kind and deserve some gaman ('patience' in jap) from me. a guy w/a beard ask me if I said "and no fears" at the end of one the opera's parts and I tell him (he's got a big beard) it was "and no beards" but it's in reference the buddy rich tapes where he goes off for a guy in his band wearing a beard on stage and not me myself being "anti-beard" or anything insane like that - though mr rich going off sure sounds pretty insane - I was using his wig-out as a metaphor of some parts of my character that are prone to freakouts and nothing about anyone else, it's about not having enough gaman. I think people should do anything they want referring to beards. I've worn several. if I wear one, I don't trim them but then that's just me. I remember the whole fourteen months I tour my first opera, I never shaved that whole time. lots of nice people. I sure appreciate the folks who made a big hike to get here, truly. I give gigboss max a big hug and then hobble upstairs after saying my final good byes and thank yous.

   last time (thirteen months ago) there was no hot water but not the case this time, feels good to have the hose-off and then into the nightwear. there's a little music coming up through the deck but not much. I am tuckered. I konk pretty early, early for tour - just after twelve, into it.

friday, april 18, 2014 - southampton, england

from raul:

   Woke up on the floor in the frontroom of this apartment, last night i decided to give tom some space, so i gave up the bed. He seemed to be having trouble sleeping the past few day, he said i was snoring at deps pad, and i was also stealing covers. so i brought up the mummy sack, and laid some extra blankets down i'd found in the closet, hard wood floor made me a little stiff, but after a hot shower, i couldn't much feel the sleeping on the floor. Longer drive to southampton today, over four hours, it being a holiday weekend we hit a bunch of traff too, it becomes more like a 6 hour trip. One stop along the way, t wants to stop to piss, but when he comes out 15 minutes later w/the greasy bag, it becomes more apparant why he choose this place, crap donald's, ofcourse he catches a bit of shit from us, but not much.

   We load in as soon as we land, and sound man mike gets us checked quick, starting w/ vocals. Watt makes a joke to soundman mike about liking this way because he's always waitin' on drummers, i later find out sound man mike is a drummer...doh! Playing w/ a butt load of bands tonight too, so we gotta be quick w/ change over. Shouldn't be too tough, i just left the 3 of the drums on stage anyhow, and the rest of the bands will supply the rest. I also gotta figure out how to get the floor tom from dancing all over, ofcoures tape is suggested, but how do ya tape legs to floor, Not the best solution, Insted, i got 3 pieces of board, cut into small strps, and put holes in them to fit tom legs, i'll get these on, then tape the cardboard to the floor, hopefully it'll work, if not tonight will be very challenging. There's many parts where i rely on that drum, and if it sliding all over, that'll blow, we'll see.

   time between our start of the gig, and our set seemed to drag, i think i just had anxiety about makin sure things ran on time. shouldn't though, it's totally outta my hands, i can't control the flow. I do make sure i'm ready to go before the band before us is done though, so i watched the last few of their tunes from the side of the stage. Soon as they were done, i hopped up and helped their drummy w/ his stuff, so he didn't hafta keep making trips back and forth. it was actually a pretty painless change over, and these guys were off pretty quick. It's a friday nightbar crowd tonight too, so that may become a bit of a challenge for us. We do have a couple guys in the front who try to take over the gig by talkin', but we did good by not letting em' get our attention too much. I think i was the weakest one, because i was starring daggers at these dudes, but they didn't even notice, so it was a double waste of energy, plus it's not good for the soul to put out negative feelings. In the end, it turned out to be another good one for me, the floor tom even though a bit outta place, a bit rushed, i didn't set it up right before before i taped it down, but it didn't move, so the lil boards worked well, and it stayed in it's place. Also, i thought the guys played real good, and last tune of the night keeps getting stronger and stronger. The only place i felt off tonight is the beginning of mockery, it seems it's been tough for us to lock in, maybe i'm playin' it too fast!? We did a quick load out w/ the help of t.c.'s two buddies, ed and ben that are there, and bullshit w/ the good times charlie's and dearly beloved till it's time to bail.

from tom:

   [jim o. and 2 girlfriends want to go to disneyland]

   i awake at 8 and lay there till my alarm goes off at 9 and jump in the shower. i gather my things and raul and i go downstairs for coffee and an egg sandwich thing that has a sausage patty and deep fried mushroom with a poached egg on top and between two english muffins with sauce. i remove the sizzling mushroom. mike and hiyori come down and a dude at another table says hello and it's an old friend of mike's from minutemen days, also a sonic youth promoter in the early years. he says he was at the gig last night with one guy from the sheffield band cabaret voltaire. that's cool, they talk, tc comes in and we finish up with food and talking and get started for southampton.

   we get to the pad and load in, i change my strings for the last time on this tour, and soundcheck. then we get a pasta dish and salad which i have 3 small plates of and 1 glass of beer. i try to rest but i can't. i shave with the tea water cause there's no hot water in the bathroom. i watch the dearly beloved from toronto start the gig off, we played with them once when were there. nice folks, cool band. lots of bass notes, kind of minimal rock guitar, and a bunch of tambourine. there are two other bands playing too, so i watch the show and try to keep an eye on times. we play only a few minutes later than we are scheduled, so that's good. i get through it alright. the new strings stretched a bit.

from watt:

   pop at seven bells... the fucking heater's control was hidden behind the hatch for the head and the motherfucking heater itself was a foot from my face and dried my lungs out as if they were leather sacks all cracked up like an old baseball mit, crimony.

   the harley people at the bar cook me up a chow of an egg sausage and u.s. kin of bacon w/a tomato and damn if it ain't at the table across from me (only other cat besides my men in the pad) it's paul smith, whoa! I feel like a fucking 'tard for not recognizing him earlier, baka watt! he was even here at the gig, was w/the cab mr kirk. me and paul go way back, back when sonic youth brought me w/fIREHOSE to england some twentyeight years ago - he was the guy to bring them first there, sonic youth actually toured europe many times before they did u.s. he's been involved w/throbbing gristle (hit me hard when I heard about peter passing a few years ago), suicide (he told me alan vega got beat up by some idiots on a nyc street and had a stroke after, fuck!) and said he even helped the pop group get back together. paul says he lives in west ireland the last fourteen years, the village has six pads, a room in one is the pub! damn. as far as music, he's still in the ring w/his blast first petite label.

mike watt + paul smith at 'the harley' in sheffield, england on april 18, 2014

so good to see paul again. we pull anchor at ten and a half, sky full of clouds but they're puffy ones and there's a good amount of sun making for no gray.

pad that once was in yorkshire, england on april 18, 2014

   we head south - when people asked us about next gig and we said it's in southampton to a one of them they'd say (even paul smith!) "oh, you got quite a drive!" well, if we didn't hit this fucking gigantic plug about twentysomething miles north of nottingham on the m1 it should've taken about four hours - how about salt lake city to denver, a drive I gotta do 'pert-near every u.s. tour (or the other way) which is ten/eleven hours easy. anyway, this plug is fucking bad. also some 'tard 'pert-near plows us at like three miles an hour - right at our hatch but we miss by like an inch. just after noon we finally get off the fucking m1 (it's fucking closed!) and it's kidney belt time on tiny roads, getting tossed about big time in the back here for a half hour before rejoining a much less-plugged m1. one and a half we for what wheelman t says is a quick piss stop but how does the cripple dude hobble back way before, this cojo battening the hatch so manly that the car next door has it's alarm set off? he wasn't even there to witness that. on the sign next to "crapdonald's" I see the sign "choadchafe" so maybe he was lured to yonder to trough and could not pull himself away? he comes back w/a sack w/a crapdonald burger in it saying he's the skinniest amongst and he's very much correct about that. the point is - well there is no point... we love roadboss wheelman t and are gonna miss him big time. as we continue south to southwest, us guys in the back (miss hiyori rides up front w/wheelman t) talk about how we chow back home. what I do is buy my meat stuff in econo family packs (like seven - ten pieces) and then use freezer sacks to make individual servings. zucchini and romaine I get fresh but all my other vegetables I get frozen on the field. of course onions, garlic and chilies are fresh and those three go into every meal I make. in the freezer I got a stack of pork sacks, a stack of beef sacks, chicken ones, turkey ones and fish ones. I rotate my meats, never chowing the same in a row. I chow twice a day: crack of dawn and at four pm. my breakfast is bigger than my dinner and I scissor lunch. I usually cook the meat first 'til about half way or a little more and then bring in the vegetables. I cook as one big smoshz, one pan to clean. it's good, econo and healthy. it's what I do. in the boat here tom reads "a clockwork orange" (50th anniversary edition) and raul reads "monster" as I chimp diary.

tom watson + raul morales reading on the ride to southampton, england on april 18, 2014

   at three w/hit the ring road around london, the m25 - it's plugged but not as bad before earlier in yorkshire. tom's using his imagination, he comes w/a character name "stubsy craddleton" that will serve his purposes. I'm into it. as we leave london behind us, we go southwest and through winchester which is where wheelman t is from. the weather has gotten good and sunny but that don't mean it's all that warm. it does mean no rain though and you know england had total opposite what we in so cal (we got worse drought in five hundred years). some final plug to deal w/and then finally we get into town and back down the little alley at the joiners twentyfour of five - six minutes late. good job from wheelman t, he had much road stress from plug and idiot drivers. maybe cuz today's good friday? why is it called good friday anyway?

   gigboss ricky is right there to meet us, very cool people - he got il sogno a last minute gig to plug the only hole we had in last year's tour. big hug for him, big respect. brother danny onion also - he hips me to the idea of "glass ceilings" and I'm way into it. his spirit is righteous and he cannot be suppressed, much respect also to him from me. I meet the main two dearly beloved folks rob and niva, very kind people. soundman mike lets me borrow one of his mics for singing cuz the filter on my is loogied and filthy again, thank you much to him. he's also into being "fourth man" for us tonight, fucking right on.

   upstairs there's a room w/a bigger and smaller couch - gigboss ricky said this pad before the 60s was a casa de putas so maybe this was one of the pump room? I don't know, I like it, nice enough for me. I get to meet two of roadboss t's buds, ed and ben - real good cats. the chow is made up from a cookerlady who's downstairs which is a shame cuz of my fucking knee going up and down the stairs is too tough which makes me sad for the fact I don't get to thank her for TWO plates of her pasta, sauce (red onions in it!) and salad w/coarse grated cheese covering all of it, man is it good. gigboss ricky talks to me about how he feels hardcore bands ain't like ones in the old days - he tells me about the reforming thing, bands getting back together - he's fucking way deep in knowledge about the scene, let me telll you, crimony! respect. he's gotta bail to man the door and I start hearing some trippy bass coming up from the deck and damn if I don't get down those stairs and into where the band's playing - it's the dearly beloved folks and whoa, why is everyone standing way far from them? I go right up to bass brother ben's port-side and really dig their stuff, especially the first few that really had some good licks going going dynamic w/the guitarman's great econo-style and also happening him/her singing tambourine slapping/hopping, niva's voice cutting through yet cradling rob's when needed - he takes the coat of at some point. they get done and I realize I'm tuckered and gotta konk hard to do good for the gig-goers, do good for my men and bossman ricky. back up those stairs but careful slow-go, persuading roadboss t to make couch trade cuz like he said when he got that crapdonald to put down his pie hole, he is the skinniest amongst our people so maybe little couch fits him better than it does svelte, supple and willowy watt (right, figure like a fucking football standing on its end) who is most grateful for bigger one. konk mask, ear plugs and orange hat to isolate me, so sorry other openers bamboo vipers and the good time charlies got missed by me but I just ain't strong enough.

   I get rousted w/just minutes to go - fuck, I had the weirdest dream in a real deep konk... thought I had a stooges gig somewhere in so cal and I had spaced and forgotten where it was, breaking my leg off in my own ass for letting ig and stooges down - what a relief to pop and realize it wasn't actual, fuck! "let's do this" says roadboss t and helps me w/the bass and through the people. raul said it was hell to get everything ready to keep to the 10:10 downbeat but they did it, BIG respect to him and tom. tom helps me tune up and we're ready to do it. I do the thank yous and put our there for scotty-san then we bring. there's tons of yammering - there was during my opening spiel but I pay no mind and most of the yammerers get it and put a cork in it. I ain't gonna play cop and ruin the piece. tom and raul are playing good but tom's got some tuning issues, brand new string - I asked him to put them on though so we could have them good and stretched for the last gig tomorrow - remember we ain't got brother tony to lay into them like he did in edinburgh. tom does good as he can though and does good eye contact. raul's good too. I make things a little rough for both of them by trying to use the quiet parts and start/stops kind out of a time to embarrass the yammerers which works good except for one cat which is just oblivious. I find out later he's challenged so I'm real glad I didn't say anything. I mean no opera of mine is gonna be used to hurt someone who's already got enough hell w/them. now as I chimp this I totally realize what was up. it's obvious now to me why he was oblivious. I take full responsibility for clamming up the bass in "finger-pointing-man" cuz I know in my heart you can't blame this man for my man-alone clams. it is a trippy version of the piece for this tour but that's w/life is, chance and spacey things "getting in the way" of premeditated tv dinner routine/sleepwalking. when I found out later what was up, it really made me think of my humanity or a disregard for such in a way cuz of "my piece" or "my performance" shit. I feel so lucky I never let my reaction get too off and just maintained trying to work the opera w/my men and get it to the gig-goers which were actually really really kind. towards the end I saw a man about my age and his lady bail and I almost lost my nerve, I don't know why - everyone else was so kind, even the yammerer by this point. why did I look over at the hatch at that point? very strange of me. I've learned from the old days to ignore that stuff so why... hmm, strange thoughts out of strange mood watt YET I was really happy to be here and play the gig. weird of me. my guys do great for the encores as are the audience folks joining in w/the spirit. so many cats hollered "d. boon" - HUGE RESPECT, good people of southampton, HUGE.

   roadboss t helps me through people, I thank them much all I can 'til I get the table of merch and the chair next to it, plant myself. kind people talk w/me, lots here tonight not as old as me (although some and lots close) but not a lot of young, tonight was a lot of cats maybe a little past high school! gigboss ricky though is kind of a young man, age is a just a suggestion! a man named grant has this intense proj he's put out there for himself: until 2033 he's gonna release an album every six months he tells me, whoa - fucking crimony! much respect to a man w/such cojones! inspiring! respect! he's very kind and gives me care package. there's a man here who saw me play w/minutemen at the 100 club in 1983, he's raised a family since and we both trip on the concept of time... damn, so glad to shake his hand. a man named pete is just getting into bass and he's also gonna do a big road trip w/his pop across europe. there's a man who shows me a picture of his son - his wife takes a picture of us, last time I "saw" his son was when he was still in his ma! we all three laugh.

   all loaded up, roadboss t gives the word to pull anchor, we pony up... one more hug for danny onion - "glass ceilings" he tells me, fucking right on, we put our fist through them. gigboss ricky comes and brings a cup of whiskey for me to down before hand to hand and then then hatch batten - see you next time, brother! not too far away is "the star hotel" where we drop anchor and a cat at the desk doing like he's reading lines from a movie script goes through the motions. trippy. he ain't mean though, it's just trippy - I think I sound like that sometimes, maybe even in these diary chimpings... crimony! hot hose-off and I'm out 'pert-near quick in the nightwear. tonight was the tour's double nickels gig, tomorrow's our last throw down...

saturday, april 19, 2014 - london, england

from raul:

   Tom and i had a basemant room in this old hotel, i was first up which is unusual. I had a good rest, and psyched to get to london and get this last gig of the tour under our belts. It's a wild feeling, the hectic day to day of the past two months, and now here we are, the last one. We decided to leave an hour earlier on account of the holiday, and potential traffic, so we meet up at the van at a couple minutes before 10am, better anyway since the parking pass will expire at 10:01. Short drive to london town today, a little under two hours. We go straight to lexington, but are way early to load in, but it's ok, atleast we're here. The lex is open, so some of the crew grab a table, and tom and i go forge for good coffee, but insted get the worst i've had of the tour! Mostly milk,making my stomach cramp as i'm drinkingit. i asked the dude for very little milk, and he goes no problem, i won't make it too hot!! say what? I'd already paid, and didn't wanna make a stink about it, so i took it, and grumbled and laughed about it to tom, he got the same treatment. We had got shoddy directions to a local coffee pad that was "impossibel to miss", we ofcourse missed it by a half mile. After this, much time passes us while sitting in the lexington, four hours. Not a bad thing at all though, very glad they're open and we're able to be here at all.

   Last load in of the tour is up a coule flights of stairs, ofcourse, really no deal though, and we got some extra hands to help too, nick, all the way from mississippi is here early to lend a hand. Lexington has a good vibe, and i get the feelin it's gonna be a good venue for our last gig. Sound lady sophie has us miced up quick, and sound on stage is real good, this is a good sign. I'm feelin hyper aware of eveything, or paranoid since this is the last gig, i just want things to go how they have been recently and run smooth. I have the thought, we made it this far, so why shouldn't they, and that's what spooks me, because really anything is still possible, i cannot dwell though. After we do our sound check, i grab a table downstairs and order up a cajun chicken sandwhich w/ a side of fries.

   Man, packed house tonight, near impossible to move to get the front of the stage to see manflu. I also caught the last four tunes of hysterical accident, pretty wild, women and man bass and drum duo. The stage is packed too, there's gear everywhere. Will from manflu has half a kit, and lots of hardware, he had 9 diffrent cymbals on stage..whew! also looks like everyone brought their own amp. Ofcourse since we sound checked first, and was set aside first, most the stuff i'm using is buried in the corner of all the gear, aarghh! it's pretty chaotic on stage for a good 10 minutes, which felt like an hour, but once the dust settled, and manflu had traded places with us, we got it together quick, sound last sophie helped out much, and was quick w/ all the mic change overs. The one thing that she spaced on though was tightin' the kick drum mic. I didn't know what watt was fidgeting with most the gig, he just kept reaching for the kick drum, later i found out he was tryin to tighten it! Thanks man, i didn't think to even think to check!!! Gig was tough from all the nerves, but we did it good, and people we're real supportive, even when we fucked up big time on confused parts-man. 2 false starts by the guys, and w/ me not playin because watt asked me to put a tone gel on the floor tom. I didn't hear it feedin' back, but i trusted him on it. I just heard it loud in the tiny mouse parts, i think she was tryin to push it since i was playing so soft. I couldn't put on the gel and play the beginnin at the same time though. Maybe one day i can be that slick, but not tonight My plan was to do it during next tune when i had a free hand, but i couldn't find away to articulate that in the 1 second between parts, but what's done is done, and shit like that happens sometimes. So i guess that was the big fucked situation i was waitin for, and after we got thru that,it's smooth sailin'. So glad we got it together, a couple of very scary seconds.

   i thought real good for a last gig, and people stayed w/ us too, which is also something i was thinking about too, if we lose em' they'll let us know for sure. I was relieved when it was over though. All the gigs were great in there own way, but it was all leading up to this last one ofcourse, and once we were done, i had a sense of relief. Still not completely over though, we have the last disco load of this tour as well. The d.j's bum rushed the show quick, so fuck it, we charged hard and got the shit together and loaded fast, w/ big help from missisippi nick. We hang for 20 minutes maybe, watt waitin for a glass of bourbon, and me drinkin' a beer w/ axel, really good to see him again. Also, i'm able to give him back a piece of his hi-hat stand that's been in my drum bag for the past two weeks. We have two guest in the van tonight too, jose and his wife kyoko, they wanna come back to the hotel to have a couple of drinks w/ us. Watt suggest my room, but i'm not up for drinkin' too much, or being up too late, i got a bit of packing to take care of, just consolidating my shit basically. I suggest the hotel lounge next to the bar, which i think maybe a better choice. They're able to bring in personal whiskey and wine, and i got a couple of guinesses from the hotel bar for hyori and i. Soon after beer though, i quitely excuse myself form the end of tour social, i went up to the room, got flight clothes out, and shoved everything else i had into my yellow sack, and my back pack. I was out cold till 715am easter morning. We all met in the lobby at 8, had a quick breakfast, and soon rolled to drop the gear off, and get ourselves to the airport. It was good to drop equipment off first, this gave us just a little more time to get our shit together, clean tom's van a bit, also i stuff all the lp's ive picked up along the way into a watt tote bag that i can carry on w/ me. We did arrive early at airport, but better early than late. The wait was not tough at all, not crowded, and seats right next to the baggage check, very cool. Having more than enought time made everything seem painless. Plane too was comfortable as far as air travel goes, maybe one of the easiest big flights i've been on, and i didn't think twice till we hit the lax ranway pretty rough, i got startled, and grab on to the head rest in front of me. Customs was pretty usual, long lines and second glances from border guards, but we got thru w/ out incident, and since the wait was long, our bags were waitin when we got to the claim.

   Watt sister melinda is there within 5 minutes of us waitin' out front. Tom takes shot gun for directs to his place, and watt and i cram in back w/ bass and cymbals, and both our backpacks. Once tom is home, i hop in front, to give her directions to the new pad, she knows the 15th st house i've been at for the past 8 years, but has never dropped off or taken me from this new one, more in her nieghborhood though, and we still take the harbor exit to 17th st, which i like better, less neon light and billboards, it's my favorite way to come into town from this direction, gaffey is too populated, and sometimes pacific can be a little bleak this time of night. From here we pass the battleship iowa, ports o' call, and then at the tug boats, take a right, and get a good view of the marina, way calmer. They drop me off right in front of my pad, and i gotta be quick, it's a busier st, and traffic is comin'. Before i bail though, i give watt a big sheke, and thank him for everything, and tell him i'll see him thursday for prac, i ofcourse thank his sis agin for gettin' me home! once i'm in the pad, paloma meets me half way down the stairs..., reunited! Very good to see her, i went in the pad, and laid on the floor on the soft rug, and she laid next to me w/ her head on my shoulder, great to be home. She had just got back from easter dinner w/ her family too, so her aunt was kind enough to send a plate of food for me! tri-tip, ham, mashed taters, and brussel sprouts! After a quick shower, i chow just a littel bit of this. Since i stayed up the whole flight, i'm very tired, and it feels like i may be back on pedro time w/ ease. She's gotta be at work 6am too, so shortly after i'm down until she's up the next mornin'. I got up w/ her and made some strong coffee... i wanna force assimilation! Great to be home, but what an adventure w/ these guys! They both played so great, and i feel we did the best versions yet. Thanks to every women and man who cooked for us, gave us a place stay, and came out to see us do our thing! i'm truly grateful to them. And thanks to the men we traveled w/ for the first 45 days of this trip, and also to all the great folks who helped us in he u.k. and really can't thank everyone enough!

from tom:

   [. . .]

   easter morning, 7:30 am, i knock on rauls door to wake him then i take a shower, dress in my semi clean clothing, pack up and go down to the breakfast and have a final english one before getting into the van one last time and head to drop the gear off and then go to the airport. we get our stuff out and say so long to tc (great chap), and enter heathrow sometime before noon, our flight isn't till 4:15. we check in, i change my seat to a place that's next to a non-seat so it's almost an aisle, good for the long flight back home. we finally go through security and find comfy seats near a food area and i spring some pounds for a small sushi box and a beer. we wait. when we get our gate # we take the tram to the C terminal and wait for a while until we start to board the giant double decker plane. we have to say goodbye to hiyori now, she was so important to our trip, more than i can express here...it's not a long goodbye, but kind of sad. we board the plane and i find my special seat and chat with the young lady sitting in the seat behind me, who's actually in an even more preferred location, and she explains to me about this strange seating spot. she has the lowdown on what the missing seat is all about. it turns out that where the empty spot is is a small hatch that leads down to a galley for the flight attendants to chill out during long flights, and is like an alternate way of entering the space below in case of an emergency, or something like that. that's cool, it gives me extra space on my left side and helps to feel less claustrophobic. the plane taxis and the wheels leave the uk soil in the london rain and we begin our 11 hour trip though the air and back to our home in Los Angeles.

   i'm prepared for our journey with water and a snack and the idea to get back onto west coast time that's 8 hours earlier from here. long flights are a surreal experience. i read and finally turn on my little video monitor and watch the movie "the counselor" that cormac mccarthy wrote the screenplay for, and ridley scott directed. it's entertaining in a hollywood movie sort of way, drama, violence. i eat the roast chicken and vegis, and have some wine. i close my eyes but don't really sleep. i'm more or less comfortable. i think about things i want to do when i get back. i turn my little screen on again and watch a few "curb your enthusiasm" episodes, some i've seen before, some that are new to me. i laugh with my headphones on. time goes by, but we follow the sun across the globe and it stays light for most of the trip. when we land i pull down my guitar from the overhead storage and gather my objects and we single file out of the plane and into the customs maze while i chat with tara about england and photography and make up and music. it all goes pretty smoothly and i meet up with mike and raul at the baggage claim area where we get our things. we go out onto the familiar airport sidewalk and wait for mike's sister, melinda. she pulls up to the bradley terminal and we cram into her white prius and i take the navigator's seat and we ride south from lax to manhattan beach about 10 minutes away where they drop me at my folks place. this is the official end of tour, i open the door of the prius, raul comes round and we bid farewell in a sleepy sort of way, i knuckle bump mike in the back seat, grab my shit out of the back and turn to walk to the house. it's about 9:15 and my mom opens the door and i hug her hello and then dad and my brother will appear and we have a group greeting and we sit together around the half eaten easter dinner and mom opens a negra modelo for me. success.

from watt:

   pop at seven bells. windows are screwed in so I can't open them, no fucking fresh air - seal a meal. oh well. also no control of the heat so kind of bad konk near the end there but nothing nightmare. downstairs they say the chow ain't included and at the desk is the same man from last night who gives me some kind of runaround and I tell him it's ok, I can do w/out - you know how long I've been away from elliptical trainer? I'm fucking bellin' a little and for sure my port-side leg has atrophied some. anyway, if I miss a chow I ain't gonna wither and blow away. we pull anchor at ten head northeast to london and find some plug but only tiny ones prolly cuz of easter being tomorrow or maybe cuz it's a weekend or maybe cuz we shoved off earlier or maybe just cuz we're lucky but whatever, I'm into it

we get to where we're playing, the lexington at nine after noon. using internet in the pad (tom and raul go hoofing while wheelman t does konk map in boat parked a block or so away), I let people know about record store day and our il sogno del marinaio seven inch (the cuz special edition album missed out, damn) while miss hiyori brings way fresh happening shish kebab from a turkish chow pad by here called "uppers" and the kind barlady at the lexington here says it's ok to chow it cuz their kitchen ain't open 'til five. and let me tell you this fucking great chow - I shit thee not! check this pad out if you want good eats.

watt's lunch at the lexington w/chow from 'uppers' in london, england on april 19, 2014

   trippy, a big gang of real squarejohn cats come in and get some booze, like a drink each and a huge amount of noise and then bail pretty quick - the barlady says they're doing a "pub crawl" think but crimony, it ain't even two in the afternoon yet! anyway, we're playing up on the second floor and at four begins that shlep. roadboss t is very happening about that especially considering my fucked-up knee. eric from mississippi is here but w/out wendy (very sad she couldn't be here) though he's way into helping us w/the shlep, what a kind cat he is. real good to see and have him aboard tonight. I met the soundperson - damn, I ain't said that all tour or what? yeah our "fourth person" for tonight is soundlady sophie and she is very cool people, very motivated. respect to her.

   starting at four-thirty (right before I have to check), I do interview w/imelda for rock shot, do check then do interview w/ayisha for post punk music and then film a spiel w/charlie waterhouse for his book on punk philosophy. all three of these folks are fucking happening and although I'm trying to hold back and save up energy for the gig, I can't hold back cuz they're most genuine. all three are different too, not same ol' same ol' - I wish I could be more creative w/my answers! trippy thing too - 'member back in brest, france where I did that spiel w/john clavert of the quietus back in february? well, their offices are upstairs in this building, ain't that a trip?! I go out to meet tonight's first band, the hysterical injury who I know only from their cuz... I've played them on il sogno del marinaio tour last year, yeah I was at this same pad thirteen months ago! but you know what? I don't mind cuz I dig this place. same second band last year is second band this year: manflu w/my old brooklyn buddy willy on drums. they are one trippy band, respect!

   the gigboss is real kind man amos who gets me a burger for chow and I like it, raw onions w/it that crunch and miss hiyori went and got the senf ('mustard' in german) to help it really happen. there's some bad news though. drummerman willy tells me jimmy, that young man in dogfoot who opened for us both last year here is now dead cuz of herion, fuck. that breaks my heart. oh dear jimmy. fuck. I get the konk mask and ear plugs going, draping myself w/the fucking coat and konking hard. I have to pop to piss and did I see manflu bassman doodoo in the head or was that a fucking dream? I know I konked right after, was fucking tuckered from the spiels - I wish so much I was a stronger man. I miss the people who let us share the stage w/them tonight, embarrassed watt.

   I get rousted w/minutes to go for the quarter of ten downbeat that's gonna be a ten one but goddamn how did my men get that happening w/a stage full of shit like that? they did cuz they can and eric fucking was there to help w/the shlep, much respect. I thank the good london people much - the gig is clean ('sold out' in vaudeville talk) but I don't talk about that, I talk about being truly grateful for sharing their saturday w/them cuz I truly am - only fiftytwo of them (mostly) a fucking year! respect. I dedicate the piece to scotty-san and then we bring it for the last time in this journey. the london gig-goers are big time focused, there ain't any chin-stroke but instead big time heart. I pull together tight w/my men, sister sophie the tranny - we're only the fucking motor, right? we gotta get it to the gig-goers cuz they're the fucking wheels, much respect! they work all week and pony up the bones, we better do our fucking hardest, this is a philosophy I can get into, kind of existential, right? the way I understand it it goddamn is! I gotta tell you though there was a REAL HUGE clam moment in the piece. we're working the "mouse-headed-man" part and damn if I ain't hearing a ring on raul's floor tom. we get it done and I point as one of his gels sitting on the hoop of his kick drum (we learned from the barcelona gig, right? s'right!) and so he get's that happening but tom misreads as a cue to bring "confused-parts-man" and crimony if it ain't totally a real life confused parts, I shit thee not! we're off beat, off sync - I can't even think what the words fucking are - oh my god, a fucking pants-shitter! but then we snap the fucking trip back, it snaps right back into place and maybe only a verse was soiled, holy fuck. I tell you THESE ARE GOOD MEN! I'm thinking about those rugs in islam where the leave a corner w/a mistake so as not to mock god... I ain't trying to come w/some rationalization but like tom says later it was meant to be. me and raul both later said thank god somehow shit got back together. definitely it was a "life is a classroom, let go of you ego and open your head up so cats can teach you" moment for sure. "confused-parts-man" most definitely but we snapped it back, kind of like a loop after a blow-by, kind of. we finish the piece, it was a fitting version for the occasion, the way it worked out. the london folks are most kind and bring us back, we do our last encore of the tour, tom doing real good and the same w/raul - me right between them 'til the last one of the six "double nickels on the dime" songs we've been doing - I hooked a dos song to that one so it's fitting maybe I do the spiel on it, sure like the way tom sings the other five though - him and raul did so good this tour in so many ways. I don't care if I sound like a broken record about this cuz fuck, just thinking about it blows me away how fucking happening these two men are... RESPECT I HOLLER, RESPECT!

watt cheering on raul at the lexington in london, england on april 19, 2014 - photo by marco simoncelli

   oh yeah, tried to thank roadboss t one more time but damn if he wasn't on his leash and it reminded of that latest work by banksy, the one he put in his home town of cats in an embrace but still glued to their leashes! there's some kind of drama over this work now. I put my fist in the air for brother banksy. for the last time this tour after the last note I put my bass in the air and quote d. boon: "start your own band!" the tour's all done.

   roadboss t helps me off the stage - ah shit, I lost the mic sack but you know what? I need a new mic anyway and they come w/a sack. how much hollering and loogies can a mic take anyway? roadboss t helps me to the merch table, my hand on his shoulder 'pert-near like he was a tug which is good cuz there's many steps and lots of folks which can be scary for me so clumsy and lame. I can sit right by the table which is right by the hatch. miss hiyori did real good this tour too, she did a real good job. I talk w/the gig-goers, hell, I meet chris from position normal - I can't fucking believe it! I've loved this guy's music for years. whoa, glad to shake his hand, respect. axel from guess what is here, I've been missing him already big time and it's been less than two weeks! he gives me music, "the prisoner" background stuff and things from joe meek, whoa, respect. marco and bass fratello giancarlo from re-wild are here, hugs! they moved here from italy for music, balls like church bells, I tell you! I get quizzed by a good man: "who's this bass player?" him pointing to his shirt but I misunderstand the hint he gives regarding t-rex like a 'tard when of course it's actually the cat from slade. fucking doof watt ok but he also screwed up some by saying he's slinging a gibson eb-2 and well... he said eb-3 right after though! respect. by the way, "the dan bass" is 1965 gibson eb-0 that's been modified w/a schaller bridge and a rio grande 'pitbull' pickup (original removed). more important then equipment though is people - man, am I amazed a young man tells me he flew all the way over from durham in north carolina to see the gig, whoa, most kind. thank you truly truly!! a few other u.s. folks too, one from mass, one from kansas - she took pictures earlier and knew all about the outhouse, a roadhouse that used to do gigs in the old days. another young man who was wearing a suit when he saw me w/the fratelli at the very last all tomorrow's parties back in december - he's got the "mud puddle" seven inch and I see it in person for the first time.

il sogno del marinaio's 'mud puddle' seven inch release for record store day 2014

he's tripping on the date it was recorded cuz it was the very next day after he saw me last. well, so many nice people, man, so many kind people. it's totally worth working for cats like this, I'm way into it. actually d. boon and ig both taught me it's always worth to working it your hardest, damn straight. oh, let me tell you about "the dan bass" - one set of strings for the whole tour... yeah, I never had to change or replace a single one. just thought I'd mention that now. I brought two extra sets but they each stayed in their appropriate sack all tour. I did tonight donate my mic sack but then I need both a new one of those and the mic to go in it cuz this baby's taken too many loogies and hollers.

   old london friends jose and kyoko (originally from spain and japan) come see me as dancefloor time becomes where the gig was so downstairs we go for a few a little bit and wait for the word from roadboss t to pull anchor. there's gig-goers down here too and they talk w/me. I offer up some pedro tours if cats can make it my way, a man named nick is one and he brings a bourbon. a big kind man from scotland offers me a whiskey but gigboss amos brings me one after he finishes his apple and then we get the word from roadboss t and cuz of the boat in the road we gotta move so I never get to see the big man... the tour is done but not for wheelman t who's got two two more bands to roll w/and I ain't gonna make it anything tougher for him so jose and kyoko saddle up w/us and we drop anchor at a "travel lodge" not too far and w/easy parking, can you imagine? we talk w/jose and kyoko for a bit, jose saw the very first third opera gig this side of the atlantic back in 2010 (only in japan did they get it earlier) and he said tonight was different cuz it was "more punk rock" in his words. well, it was a total pants-shitter in those days, trying to get this baby whole has taken all three and a half years we've been doing it but it's where I kind of wanted it to be now, the whole trip realized, the reason I picked tom and raul to be the missingmen, the reason for the missingmen. what jose said for me makes total sense cuz it affirms what I've always believed, punk ain't a style of music but a state of mind. big hugs, oyasumi. one more tour hose-off and into the nightwear, I am sore a little bit, sore and tuckered. worth it though, worth it - no bellyachin' from me about it.

   easter sunday and I pop at seven bells. the son has risen and prolly so has the sun but you can't tell w/the haze, 'pert-near white-out. eight and a half have last breakfast shovel w/roadboss t, gonna miss this great young man - righteous work ethic and very fun cat to be w/so I give him deep bow of respect, big fucking hug. goddamn if this chow ain't fucking "marlon blando" in the flesh though, crimony. makes roadboss t even gag and this the cat that was slinging a sack of crapdonalds the other day for christ's sake! we load the back up of the boat w/the man sack for the last time this tour...wheelman t rolls us through easter-empty london streets for to where he get gathered the stuff we worked the last eleven gigs of this tour w/while me and my men have fun w/wordplay we love getting going, digging on drummerman willy from last night - actually digging on that trippy set manflu brought the folks last night, since I was konked it's beautiful to hear tom and raul reenact it, play by play - man do these men have a fucking eye for detail or what? respect. these days in england and scotland w/just me and my men together in this boat's middle chamber really resonates a vibe we got in the u.s. when it's just us three in the econoline - I trust these men w/my lives, I wrote my third opera for them to play, FOR THEM TO WORK CUZ THERE WAS NOT OTHER MEN RIGHT FOR THAT JOB - goddamn do I love them and owe them much.

   we get to high barnet which is in the north part of london at ten and nancy meets us in the back of her pad to open the hatch so we can return the equipment we rented. I use her wifi (show her how to use her macpurse keychain to find hew passwords) to find our terminal cuz I had a hunch roadboss t's guess at terminal three and nancy's guess at terminal four (she's originally from boston) sounds maybe not right and sure enough, the american airlines website says terminal five - the flight's "operated by british airways" so that's why it's there. good to check, huh? we're always learning. nancy asks me about her tub where the water won't shutoff and I know the prob but I ain't got either the wrench or the time - I show her what's gotta come off and get shipshape but please turn the water off ahead before you start or you're gonna have a geyser... I have to say bye (she knew about old bost hahd koa, damn!)... we roll southwest and get to london heathrow at ten bells just like wheelman roadboss t planned it, respect. final big hug and much gratitude - he's gotta shove off and pick up some australian cats and ferry them on tour for twenty days and then has twentyfive days w/some brooklyn ones - whoa, glad we could help him get broke in for this shift!

   last ride w/us for wheelman t is him toting our asses to london heathrow - we got some time but fuck if early don't BEAT THE SHIT out of being late and growing an ulcer over that - bullshit like that is for amateurs and posers. the future belongs to the efficient and how many fucking hose-kinks do you think it takes to make a nightmare? curtail the flit and saunter and mosey and prance you fucking burdens for babysitters womb childs! terminal five has a north and south security places to get the search - they light up how many peoples each has so look up there - though south was closer to us, it had five "person icons" where the north one had two, we got through very fast, I voted SMILEY FACE on the voting box they got for job rating. raul did too - the security man there saw his vinyl and said "best way to hear music" - respect to him! my last meal in england is kind of jap one but not really - "itsu" is chow pad name but for three and a half pounds they got fucking gohan w/goma, aka shoga, edamame, niwatori salad that ain't all dried out. tom has something else from there but likes it too. I even use their fucking hashi. raul passes but goes to get a souvy for paloma back in pedro - thank god he don't come back w/an eight foot tall stuffed rilakkuma! I think he got her some kind of socks. terminal five is happening in a lot of ways, from the terminal train we get to our gate w/no hell or separate room shit. the rain's coming down now - damn if we didn't have very kind scotland and england weather but I guess we're taking it w/us now back to so cal, sorry.

airbus 380 watt + missingmen took to fly home from london heathrow, england on april 20, 2014

   what we're flying on is an airbus 380, the new double-decker kind and people, can I tell you prolly my most comfortable econo flight ever for watt? I got an aisle seat (they clumped us altogether but we were allow at kiosk check-in to try different seat), I got an albert ayler (had a window) but not just that but the TWO seats next to me got empty and NOT ONLY THAT but the seat next to that clown in front that wants to lean back and put his whole shit in your face and chest does what he does IS ALSO empty so I can move over and have both empty on each side AND IN FRONT - que chingau, MOST HAPPENING. also 380's have ac power and a usb socket also to charge the leash I ain't used in two months so I can call my sister melinda when I land. after reading england's "independent" and "financial times" newspapers I chimp what you're reading here. I wanna stay up cuz we're supposed to land at after seven pm - that's night time and I wanna get back on pedro time quick cuz I got a buttload of work to do so I work on getting the il sogno tour and album web weaving going, that stuff's coming up soon... so good to have the ac so the 'puter can go and go as long as the brain can, a little brutal to have to have it the other way. a bunch of young kinds from cork (ireland) are by the windows and all up in them to point out stuff they see below like las vegas and the hollywood sign.

   the skipper puts the 380 down kind of hard just before seven-thirty (we're eight hours behind london here in so cal), I have kind of scare but everything smooth after that includeing immigration/customs 'cept hour hour wait in line but there was a lot of people. my sister melinda is here pretty quick to scoop us all up, tom in front seat so he guides her so she can drop him off in manhattan beach - we got prac thursday but I tell him I couldn't have done the tour w/out him now... same w/raul, he gets in front seat so he can guide melinda to his pad in more south part of pedro - I tell him I couldn't have done the tour w/out him. my sister brings me to my pad, we stop at the "el gallito" mexican chow truck so I can get a burrito carnitas on the way. nine bells when I pop my own hatch. I chow part of the burrito - man, is it good but I gotta konk, not even a hose-off but damn does my own deck feel good... feels righteous, bedecked and blankied.

   it got done: my guys home safe and many pads we got to bring the third opera and work it for folks w/everything we had. thank you merci grazie dankuwel gracias obregado danke hvala blagodaram multumesc big time everyone, truly.

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this page created 20 feb 2014