friday, february 15, 2013 - bologna, italy
I landed on Monday the 11that around 11:30 am, and I was lucky as I arrived at Bologna airport while it starterd snowing hard, and it did for hours, till about 19, so at the end of the day everywhere was frozen white. Rocco and Francesca, the two friends with whom I play with Hobocombo, took me at the airport. It always a pleasure to meet them, they are great and generous friends and very nice musicians. They took me to a bar close to Stefano's house/practice room, where there are fantastic pastry and espresso. We talked a bit our projecs with the band Hobocombo, with which we play Moondog songs and other compositions of us. Then we drove to Stefano's house, just 20 min far from Bologna centre, in a area called Dozza, where Mike and him where already in "il sogno del marinaio"'s mood, already talking about this coming tour and music. Mike is not used to the cold of Bologna, but he is wearing no socks! I'm really happy to see Stefano and Mike, I loved to work with both of them and their music.
Later in the day we started rehearsing, and we did it for four days in a row. First we did all "La busta gialla" material, then we also put new material on the set list, new compositions from each one of us. This new music made me particularly excited about the coming shows, as each one of us crafted his compositions around each ones way of playing, so that means we got to know each other much better after the first mini tour and after releasing our first album.
In four days we just went outside the studio/house (they are next to each other) for a pizza only once, we probably played almost 8-9 hours a day. But we ended up having enough material for an hour show!
First day. After rehearsing all songs in the morning, we made lunch break and bought the tickets for the ferries and the eurotunnel for our dates in UK and Ireland, so we got all tickets for the tour.
We packed up the van, picked up miss Hiyori at the hotel where she stayed for a few days, it is a nice meeting, and she is brought a lot of merchandise. Then we went directly to the venue, Freakout. The owners of the place are really nice people. The venue is small. The day before they had the japanese band Mono, and they said there were 180 people squeezed in this little room, and nobody could buy drinks for this reason...
During the soundcheck the stage sounded good to me. Later I meet Hector, a man who is coming Vodo di Cadore, in the mountain of Belluno, where the Belfi family comes from (there only few Belfi's around...). He used to play in a punnk band, Detriti, I remember I had seen their LP when I was a kid, in a squat where I used to go in my hometown Verona.
After 10:30 the venue was crowded. Sumo, a band from Modena played their set. Something reminded me to the screamo band Portrait of past.
Our gig was quite difficult, as the sound and light situation was not the best and we had to concentrate on the music a lot. At the end the audience was really positive, even if we were extremely critical about our performance. I met a lot of friend after the show.
Then we came back home, were we had the last discussion about the show.
This is the second day for IL SOGNO DEL MARINAIO - LA BUSTA GIALLA tour yesterday was the first gig after four days of practising ...up there is the set list.. in those days we have introduced four new pieces "Auslander" from fratello Andrea, "Us in their land" and "We come to Learn" from fratello Mike and "Sailor Blues" from me .. i wrote some lyrics for "Us in their Land" i really like this piece...very schizophrenic...and great drumming from fratello Andrea
so yesterday was the first gig in Bologna @ Freak out that was first time for me too to see this new little venue... very nice it was packed and we were nervous cause was the first gig of the tour ( well actually i' am always nervous before playing) Mike could not seen his bass fretboard cause of some bad red lights and also he practised for four days with another bass then he choose for my italian tuscany..a very cheap one ...assembled in china but very good neck and body...but the pick up was not working ...electronics was very bad on that...so we put the pbass split coil on the tuscany and this combination was sounding much more better in volume and tone that with the "original" fender p bass. Difficult but good gig i felt...many clamps but the spirit was good. Many friends were there: Ferruccio and Carlo from CUT, Vittoria my bandmate drummer in MASSIMO VOLUME, Massimo from THREE SECOND KISS, my housemate, bandmate in the past Bruno and Jonathan from SETTLEFISH were there too, Edoardo and Jacopo, and Rossella. Jacopo Andreini and Andrea Caprara who played horns on partisan song, Massimo Carozzi who played electronics on messed up machine, and Rocco and Francesca from HOBOCOMBO one of fratello Andrea 's band, .. and was very nice to meet Hector from DETRITI a band from the 90's from Belluno, everyone of them was big support. i was feeling very tired but happy at the end of the day. it has been really full five days of practising, prepare everything for the tour, preparing food and taking care of the house... now first day of traveling with the van.. we are going to Jesi.
I arrived here in bologna five days ago (sunday night) to prepare for this tour w/my fratelli andrea and stefano. our first album "la busta gialla" came out a couple weeks ago and now we got a small window in which to tour it in europe. I wish we could do longer here and then bring it to u.s. also but I got stooges commitments and just can't make time this year. well, better than nothing. I love these guys.
fratello ste got me at the bologna airport sunday night around 11:30 (time here is nine hours ahead of my pedro town) and he took me to the pad he shares w/five other people which is an old farm house a little bit out of town, near a prison. the pad's over a hundred years old and has a barn which is where both the prac pad and bruno's studio called vacuum is - bruno's an old friend of ste's, they were in a band together called settlefish like ten years ago. very happening how bruno converted part of that barn into a neat studio - twentyfour track two inch tape even. in the pad I meet the other cats who live here: vanni, gabriella, francesco and marie - all very righteous cats.
monday morning fratello andrea joined us after I got cooked breakfast chow from ste, real good. we go to work right away. it's snowing all day and cold as fuck but we go to it. we have to learn the stuff from our album first. damn if I ain't been so busy w/other stuff like the new stooges album and the second hand to man album plus the last of my third opera w/my missingmen so I have to work real hard to catch up w/my fratelli which thank god have prepared very well. in a way I feel like a dick but what could have I done? so much stress and no time back home - that's why I came five days before our first gig to try and get it together for them. ste's rented a amp for me by an italian company called lombardi. it's a two hundred watt tube amp and runs two cabs, each w/a concentric twelve (or is it eight or ten?) and eighteen inch speaker. he himself is running through a lombardi also, an eighty watt tube head and a two twelve box. andre's using gian-luca (he's the cat who mixed our album) ludwig drums - old ones, 1967. we go 'til one in the morning, stopping only to eat some pasta ste cooks us up (great!).
tuesday through thursday is the same w/prac going all day and night. the snow from monday stopped but damn if it freezing - I explain u.s. expression to my fratelli: "colder than a witch's tit in a brass bra" - they capito that right away! we bring in more tunes to make an hour worth. bruno had his buddies from his band gli anni luche after one prac and damn if I didn't know they wanted to meet me - I figured they had their own thing going and didn't want any budinski from the likes of me. found out later though from bruno the bassman wanted to take a picture w/me - I was baka! oh man... good people here, truly, good people. man did I freeze later - even w/five blankies on! well, I have to admit I kicked them of cuz I konk wild...
I've been using ste's fender p-bass (u.s. made one) cuz the one I used to make our album has a pickup that went belly up but thursday night we get the idea to switch out that for the one in the p. "doctor" surgery w/the soldering iron did a great job and yes, I get to play the tuscany! we do prac and get the setlist together but before we get to run it, we get an email from bookerman mick (righteous dublin cat who also drums for adebisi shank) saying that he needs our ferry and euro tunnel infos for my england work permit so we gotta book that before getting over to the club for soundcheck and the tour's first gig. so great we started prac at ten this morning, huh? gabriella cooks us a real fucking good pasta (both ste and andre have been whupping up tasty-ass chows big time for me) and then we get everything together for mick and then another andrea (not hours) brings over a renault van for us to do the tour in. looks pretty good... then we start and both a fucking warning light (some yellow wrench) and a red "service" light are glowing plus the gas tank is on fumes - what the fuck's that about?
anyway, we pull anchor and get to the pad we're playing in bologna called "freakout" and it's a short ride. very cool boss here named vitorrio and so is soundman george, beautiful cats. we do a soundcheck and do maybe half the songs - george is so kind. I meet hector who had a band called detriti - hector here's been translating all three of my opera into italian so I give him some insights about the first one - what and why this means and such, shit like that. man, what a kind thing he's doing!
we drive over to a chow pad named "jari's" and I get an "atomica" pizza which is really good. this is the second time I've eaten here it italy since I arrived - wednesday night I had one w/potato wedges and like prosciutto at a pad called the "piccolo cow-boy" [sic] and I dug it - so much better than back in the u.s. though there' good nyc peetz that's its very own thing, respect. bookerman mick actually didn't book these next three italian ones, enrico crocci did and his wife enza is who takes us here. "atomica" has ham and chilis w/a small egg in the center and supposedly chilis but I can't taste them though it's still very good.
man, it's a hobble to the boat but I meet two of los straightjackets on the way - damn if I didn't think these were latin cats (they ain't) but maybe cuz that's cuz they all wear mexican "lucha libre" masks like wrestlers there do. in front of "freakout" (what a great name for the first gig of tour cuz that's fucking what I'm 'pert-near having!) it's andrea and jacopo from napozzono (tsigoti guys who did sax on "partisan song" on our album) are here - HUGE hugs for them! we get back to the just in time to see a band from nearby modena called sumo open up. a rock quintet w/two bassists, they're good - I found later bruno recorded their album!
from the little side room is where I witness most of sumo, I'm on the deck and digging it... we got enough time to set up and make the midnight go-time, the pad is packed and then I realize the fucking whole pad's real dark w/only a couple red lights going - impossible to see any frets on my bass. now since I was on that fender p for prac all week and just started on the tuscany this morning, I have no feel for where the fucking frets are, especially the ones higher up the neck. fuck. damn, so shameful in a way about this gig... actually I don't wanna talk about but I will say fratelli ste and andre really helped weather it and even keep my humor. I blew more than a buttload of clams but I am glad to say there were really no spaceouts, just fucking having to guess at where the fucking notes were - goddamn fucking damn. shit. "freakout" - grazie big time to my fratelli keeping total nightmare at bay. actually the people were very kind also and the capo vitorrio was very glad for the gig, him and his buddies having me drink some whiskey w/them and hugs/hugs - all kinds of cats, fratello stefano from ravenna made the hellride, what a great cat. actually there was much much good feeling in the room but damn - I don't want to talk about it.
feeling a lot better riding back to the farmhouse w/the band, I tell the fratelli how I proud I was of them. man, what a curve ball to get thrown your way but there's a lesson in it somewhere. the setlist was a good one - we discuss shit sitting in the kitchen 'til lateness makes us go konk.
we broke the water, the tour is on... I fucking meet the first gig face to face w/a pants-shitter, crimony!
saturday, february 16, 2013 - jesi, italy
When I wake up at Stefano's house Mike is interviewing Bruno Germano, who owns Vacuum recording Vacuum studio, next to the practice room where we rehearsed. packed up my gear, bought the flight ticket for the end of the tour (on March 11th from Milan to Berlin), and eat lunch with Stefano, Rossella and Mike. Then I drove down to Jesi, a 3'30'' long driving. We arrive at TNT, the venue at 17:30, perfectly on time. TNT is officially a squat, made by 10 people. They are trying to get accepted by the city of Jesi, and they are fighting hard to restore the space and to keep it in order to organize concerts and other events.
One of these people is called Alessio, I knew him long time ago as I shared the stage with him several times when I was playing with the band Rosolina Mar and him in the band Sedia. The other people are really friendly as well. Their event organization is called Hot Viruz. After the sound check and the dinner we are ready to play.
Some people are waiting for Mike to rock hard as he does in the Stooges and how he did with Minutemen and with his great Missingmen, but Mike said that we want to present Il Sogno del Marinaio as a band, not as Watt's side project. The fact that we only play "il sogno del marinaio" music except "fun house" and no Minutemen music at all seems strange to a lot of people in the audience, but at the end of the show it is quite amazing how other people react differently to our music, luckily often in a positive way. Anyway, when we go on stage, at about midnight and people are waiting for us to play, a quite nice welcome. The sound on stage is quite good, even if some feeback happened here and there. I think that the concert went pretty well. The first song of the set list is Zoom, where I have to sing. It is quite difficult to start the show with it, but when we started playing it I thought we did good to choose it as the show's starting point, as it is a quite weird tune with voice but without lyrics.I composed it as an hommage to Robert Wyatt.
After the show I met another old friends, Alessandro Calbucci, who used to be a drummer of Sedia and now works as graphic designer for Raro Video. Then we went to bed at 3 in the morning.
we had a brunch at my pad in the countryside just before going on the road. Rossella helped me much to prepare this. so good. we had scrambled eggs, tomini, avocado and tomato, broccoli with seitan and carrots, some piadinas and coffee of course.
then we shared our goodbyes and hugs with my housemates Bruno, Mariagiulia, Vanni and Gabry and Francesco..and to the cats of course Anita and Tony ..still puppies...they tried to get on the van. they always like to be around cars, under the engine, which sometimes can be very dangerous. Once Vanni find them inside the "cofano" of the car like after 2 miles far from the house cause he heard them miaoing. The Journey was not very long, couple of hours. we arrived in Jesi around 17:00 ...weather not so good .. some rains and cold. the TNT was very very cold inside but we had a gas heather in dressing room. we met Alessio there, he organized the gig and also he was the sound man for the night. we had a very nice food there, cheese balls with tomato sauce, rice and cabbage... so good. MIss Hiyori cannot eat milk and derivates. so only rice and cabbage for her.
The gig started late almost around midnight and it was cold damn...for me it is so hard when it is so cold. it is difficult to get focus. the concert was ok, for some reasons better than Bologna, but strangely enough i was feeling more relaxed at the bologna gig rather then Jesi even if that was first gig and in my town (i found always difficult to play in your town, is always a lot of emotions involved. Some of the tensions was probably because of the cold as i said. i met Cristian at the gig. he took some picture of us.
we went sleep pretty late and tired at Stefano B n B, shower and konk immediately .
pop for last morning here at the old farm pad in bologna. fratello ste makes up scrambled eggs w/a melted "puck" of cheese called tomino - man, is it fucking happening, blending tiny tomatoes and avocado - the avocado though ain't ripe cuz ste got them a few days ago and w/the cold weather, shit, they're gonna be like hard rubber for a week. anyway, he tried for me... he knows about cali and 'cados!
I do interview w/bruno regarding his journey through music for my radio show (I'm gonna try and do one in the next few days) and it's really good, a very interesting cat. trippy for me hearing about people just starting w/music in the 90s - their old days! I really like bruno, good cat.
before we leave I deal w/the liner notes for the mouthful album - actually the lack of fucking liner notes cuz uncle ray got them spaced. oh, mouthful is the name of a proj I had a album recording trip in memphis thirteen months ago - trippy lineup cuz no guitar or keyboard but only trumpet, clarinet, two saxes (one of them brother steve mackay), drums and bass - hence the "mouthful" name cuz so much wind instruments involved. I wanted to do something I ain't got really a lot of experience w/and I like the cats involved much. also I never ever recorded in memphis before and west from there across the mississippi river about forty miles is earle where my great grandpa (watt side) came from. very frustrating for uncle ray cuz his email account got hacked but damn he should've had it on the hard drive of his 'puter - people be careful of this fucking "cloud" trend!
good news is getting to turn ste and andre on to the chamber brother's "time has come today" which andre never heard of (can't believe that but true!) but man, he is into it - good amount of cowbell! he knew of that "saturday night live" skit w/mr walken but this is the REAL COWBELL tune, yes sir goddamn it! maybe we try a cover down the road on this tour? might be happening.
we head southwest for about three hours to get to the town on our next gig which is in jesi. I've never been to this town before, it's about twenty minutes from the adriatic sea, near the port of acona. we're playing a pad "csoa tnt" which is a new place for this "tnt" group which is from what I gather, kind of political. you can tell by the posters in the room they're using for backstage. I think they've had only one gig in this building. you can see some acoustic treatment in the ceiling's corners but maybe not the best acoustics BUT "work the room" - very good ethic from the vaudeville days, best antidote to bellyachin' and shit like that. the soundman alessio is very cool people and a bassman too. we do soundcheck w/him and also make sure there's some white light to see what's up regarding my fucking fretboard. I think maybe I got a shot at redeeming myself.
the chow they give us is rice in a kind of thai style w/mint leaves, some egg/cheese "meatballs" (no meat though) in a thick tomato sauce and also cabbage cooked w/a mild curry. there's a hunk of blue cheese too. after I chimp diary, first entry of the tour.
we're on at midnight, no openers before us. the stage sound is a little blurry but we do good, actually I do MUCH better though I ain't w/out some clams - the first tune "zoom" has some right off the bat but just some fear shit and not the "blind man's bluff" of last night. the folks come up forward including a dog. whoa. the next two tunes are minus the clams I had in them last night - actually in all fairness I can't blame the dark for those cuz they were lower register and not up on the neck ones - should've had that in yesterday's entry, I am baka. now the newest tune we got is something ste taught us thursday ("sailor blues") and this is a tough one for me in parts, just is. I'll get it though, trust me. now it's got some blurred up stuff courtesy of my ineptitude - there's a ten cent word. I guess I boomed it up too much for "funanori jig" but there was some clams there too, aarrggghhh - not real bad though. from here out I get my nerve up way better and I can say yeah - the other thing is alessio has killed some of the feedback probs we've been having though... yeah... there some mid thing threatening a bogart but actually yammering from the folks tosses the blankie over - "il guardiano del faro" coda... we come back strong w/our "partisan song" w/me clamless for the entire time - can you believe?! here on out pretty goddamn happening. I have a little conference w/the fratelli behind our stuff (I think they had a screen of us playing on the bulkhead) and then whup one more, asking their opinion first. yeah, good one in lots of ways, I feel better. thank you everyone, on stage and off for helping me out. I'm so proud of ste and andre.
nice people talk w/me, have me sign cds they got, grazie mille. an artist named simone offers to make some art for a proj I might have, grazie to him. I do an interesting spiel w/a man named manuel right after, happening stuff he asks and free of jive and windbag, righteous.
shit, I just remember meeting steve petermeier's bro in bologna last night - damn, ok, so I tell about this now. sorry.
we pull anchor and head for the older part of town (here was by the trains) and it's a bed & breakfast w/a nice cat named stefano - yeah, so many andreas and stefanos I meet these days in italy - very common name, huh? man, is it cold - hope that don't sound too much like belly-achin' cuz I'm glad overcame some of that choke I had going last night. oh yeah, one more thing: we discovered the fucking tuning key for the d string on the bass broke off, must've happened when it tumbled, damn. we'll deal w/it.
sunday, february 17, 2013 - genoa, italy
We wake up and the sun is shining. Nice to see the sun sometimes, in Berlin in this period days are extremely grey and cold. We didn't have much time to walk around Jesi, which is a beautiful town, so we go directly towards Genova after breakfast. It was a 6 hours long driving, so at 10:30 am we are on the road.
We arrived in the centre of Genova at 16:30 and we meet Matteo, the promoter of the show at the venue called La Claque. He's been organizing concerts since 2000, and in this period he's setting up shows at Teatro della Tosse, a theatre restored a few years ago out of an old falling apart store right in the old town's centre, with european fundings and by the efforts of very motivated people. La Claque is inside this structure, and it looks like a jazz club, with red velvet curtains at the back of the stage. The sound man is called Tiziano. He's very good and fast, so we start the soundcheck very quickly. There is a wooden stage, which sounds good and loud, so when we did the soundcheck we had to think about how to deal with it, which means we had to be extremely carefull with the dynamics.
After the soundcheck we went to eat in a restaurant quite close to the venue, and we had a nice walk through the city centre. I've never really seen Genova before, as I've only been here in 2001 for the big protest against G8, and that was not a good timing walking around the city. Genova has a beautiful and big historical neighbrohood with little narrow streets.
After dinner, we went to drink a coffee on a little food store that local perople call "at Janis" because they say the owner looks like Janis Joplin...it is an old fashioned "latteria", a little store with some food, sigarettes and a coffee machine. This stores where very common in italian villages 30 years ago, I remember when the last one in the village where I grew up, Parona, closed down in the mid 80's..."Janis doesn't really look like Janis, but I understand why people call her so, she has big rough curly hairs! Then before the gig I met Bruno, an old friend of mine I didn't see for more than 10 years! We used to play togheter in a punk rock band called Superplatani At that time we were listening to bands like Jawbreaker and Grandaddy and we wanted to play that way. Bruno now plays with the band No Chappi Bourgeois, a weird rap duo with italian lyrics. He gives me the two demos and a great T-Shirt.
Before our set there played the local band called Cartavetro. They are a cool young trio, and I really liked the drummer's playing, he has a strong musical way of playing.
The audience was really quite when we played. Nice. The Second song of the set is called "Us in their land" a Mike's song. It is sometimes difficult for me to play it because there is a part wich is a sort of a Mitch Mitchel solo, very fast and loud, and it requires a good warming up before the show! This show was the first one where I think we played the set pretty tight together. I couldn't hear Stefano much, but the songs were very well played.
We sleept in this incredible bed and breakfast at a 10 minutes walkdistance from the venue, and it is an ancient house with arches on the ceiling and marble on the floor.
This is the day we go to Genoa. it is a sunny day and weather in Genoa is often good... bit windy in the air this is the city i was born and i lived here till i was 16. then i moved to Bologna where i am still living. Genoa is an amazing town, dramatically beautiful and poetic, rusty and dirty as many harbour towns and has one of the biggest historical center in europe with his little tiny road close to the sea. It is spread like a snake between the sea and mountains just behind. It is beautiful to sea the town when you arrive with a boat from the sea. it looks like two big arms hugging and embracing you. and the food it is just amazing. But i have to say it is a difficult town to live if you wanna play music start or just organizing something. i do not know why but it has always been hard since i have been there and everyone says this-one of the reasons is problem with space and also generally few people at the concerts - In fact not many bands comes here to play. That's why i have much respect for Matteo Disorderama. It is almost 15 years he is organizing concerts there, changing places and put a lot of efforts and heart in this and still keeping doing even if the town not always response positive.
So the venue for tonight is in the foyer of Teatro della Tosse. a very nice teather in the historical center.Cartavetro are the opening band. Fratello Mike has recorded some spiel on their music. Also Enrico Croci, our italian promoter, and his friend Cico -very nice guy- come to meet us in Genoa. The sound guy is Tiziano. After few words we find out we have such many friends in common from different part of italy...trippy.
i really liked this concerts. i thought it was the first comfortable one...we played well and the space was very appropriate for some of the very quiet dynamics pieces we have like il guardian del faro for example. The audience were sitting down and they were very much into the music and so we were. There were more than 100 people, which for a sunday night in Genoa it is very good.
i went konk happy ..we are sleeping in BnB in the "carruggi" -this is the way we call the tiny streets in Genoa.
pop ten bells w/some very big amount of coldness, crimony... the sun is out bright but damn if it ain't translating into warmness. b & b host stefan has chow out for asagohan but it's like powder sugar roll (croissant?) so I just chow an orange - this is what I think they call "continental breakfast" huh? he's really cool people though and learns about old roman and greek stuff in his jesi town, it's a walled city w/lots of them still up, especially the ones after the middle ages. damn do I wish I had time to spend here but I don't - we gotta bail for north, jesi being the most south in europe we go this tour.
it's back on the route whence we came, along the adriatic w/ste at the wheel. the sun gets blurred by haze/mist for a bunch before we bust out of that around bologna - we we're gonna stop at the farm house to find another tuning peg for the bass but ste found the key will fit on the broken stem and even turn it so it can tune, I'll keep it in my levi pocket. we dodge that bullet, fucking lucky watt.
we get fuel and I chow a "panino stella" (salami and lettuce sandwich) at the autogrill (gas station chow pad) - man, you would not believe the sticks of salami, cheese, olive oils, pastas, et cetera they sell at these pads! it's a trip. I get some shaving cream and toothpaste cuz you can't bring those on the plane easy and I don't wanna sidemouse on fratello andre's shit any more. there's snow on the ground. we cross on over to italy's west side and up the coast to genoa - it's about five hours and five hundred klicks for this hellride. I both chimped diary and had a good time talk w/the fratelli the whole time. not far from genoa we pass what fratello ste says was one of the first autogrills. it's costs 34.50 euros in tolls for today's drive (about $44.34 u.s.), whoa. average diesel for the boat is 1.70 euro/liter or around $8.26/gallon. just before I flew out here in my town it cost 3.96/gallon
ste grew up in genoa and was here 'til he was sixteen. it's a port town and has an intense history. I've played here only once, twenty-something years ago. we head for the old town and are met by the gigboss mateo who arrives on a scooter a few minutes early - I say this cuz there's this stereotype that every time here in italy... you guess the rest. we'll fuck that. everything's right on time here now. the pad we're playing is called "teatro del tosse" and there's some "ubu roi" imagery painted on some rolling garage doors and motif in metal near the entrance. there's tables and seats for the gig-goers and the stage is kind of theatre like, the pad's 'pert-near like a cabaret and I think perfect for what we got going in a way. mateo is very cool people. we do soundcheck w/soundman tiziano and there's a real good sound in here, alright.
the man who book all three of our italian gigs is enrico crocci and he shows up w/his buddy chico. so good to see enrico again, it's been many many years. there's openers tonight, local young men in a band called carta vetro (crtvtr) - oh, a cat named paolo from rice on the record is here too but he's not playing - both paolo and crtvtr have had me play on recordings of theirs and in fact crtvtr tonight wants me to do a spiel I did on one of those. really good cats, all these folks, all very kind to me.
we chow at a pad not far called "trattoria delle erb" and I have trofie al pesto which is the greenest most fucking happening-tasting pesto I've ever had on some kind of little stringy gnocchi pasta, damn is good. I get a side salad too which trips some of the younger people at the table - "you don't eat at the same time as pasta" I'm advised but shrug that off, sorry. same w/the hashi though the crtvtr cats had just toured some in china so they're cool w/that. I just like using hashi however, nothing to do w/asia even if I learned from there (of course). at home I use hashi, I carry them w/me. I get told to eat curry w/a spoon in japan but I don't, I use hashi cuz I like to... I'm gonna fucking do what I wanna do - why do folks get their panties bunched up about shit like this? it's not like I'm taking their fucking forks and knives away and shoving hashi in their hands. it's pretty funny. I have a real good talk w/enrico though, it's been a long time and we catch up good. I like his buddy chico too, a real music man - he corrects me on a fuckup I made w/a bob dylan tune.
back to the pad and soon enough crtvtr come on but first the drummerman joe has his ma come me meet me, much respect. him and his band kick up much dust w/their set. I do the spiel for the "we need time" tune and it's weird to be up there w/no bass on so I put one hand in my pocket. I'm very honored they had me aboard.
our turn next - oh, you know there's a "name" for this lombardi amp I'm using? not the model number/whatever but there's stenciled on it "il nonno" which means "grandpa" and what I called my nonno, carlo piaia. damn, ain't that a trip? we do the gig and damn if this ain't crowd showing us HUGE respect w/no yammering, they give us total focus and we do our best gig yet. of course I gotta fuck up somewhere and that's in "auslander" but I did keep in the rhythm and key even if the chords got tangled, baka watt. I got a good handle on "sailor blues" though - there were lots successes and like I was saying, the gig-goers were amazing. I'm just so grateful for everyone and a little surprised I clammed as little as I did... still I gotta do better and hell if I ain't gonna try to.
so this was rouser for me but damn if I ain't shaking over the scariness of what could've been a big tumbler - I guess physically too though I never felt that danger as much as the potential choke I could've stumblebummed onto. man, a big breath - some whiskey from the bar people here they offer here for me. I get to talk w/paolo more and tell him to bring some of his solo tunage if his keyboard man is tied up now and the band's on hold. real genuine feelings from folks, big hugs, BIG ones for the kindness, truly.
we get to leave the stuff here in the pad and hobble off some distance which is hard to gauge cuz of the tiny alley/roads in this medieval part of town. it's kind of far hobble for the likes of me but anna helps be a tsue (very kind of her) and everyone goes slow for me. the vaulted ceiling of the konk room in the b & b is amazing still even the old painted figures have had time whup on them. I get fratello andrea's diary up on the hoot page and we drink a little beer before I get the nightwear on and konk... you wouldn't think it would help w/this cold but damn if it don't.
monday, february 18, 2013 - montpellier, france
We wake up in this amazing house with a luxurious breakfast. Great hospitality.
Stefano an I walked up on the hills of the centre of Genova to get the van, and we pack up everything quite fast with the help of Matteo and Hiyori. We have a good amount of gear, two big amps for both guitar and bass from the italian brand Lombardi, with two big cabinets for Mike and another one big but light for Stefano. Miss Hiyori has a lot of merchandise to sell, we have one big suitcase and several other boxes filled with T-Shirts, Cd's and posters.Then we have my drumkit, plus percussion and kick pedal, plus our luggages. It is a quite hard work to load the van, but of course, it is part of the game!
We left Genova at 11:30 and drove throught the highway that follow the coast from Genova to Cot d'Azure. It is a horrible Highway, full of curves and windy, so I drove slow. We arrived in Montpellier at 18, we did a quite long ride.
Abel, the promoter at the Black Sheep, helps us to park the van and loading our gear into the venue. it is a two store bar, upstairs a fancy bar with fancy students chatting and drinking, downstairs the concert room. I like this venues, small and intimate, with a wooden stage and a simple bar at the bottom of the room. The sound man, Julian, and the member of the other band, Dot-Dash are really good people. The backstage looks like a little bunker.
We eat pizza made by an italian guy from Pordenone, that's why they have birra Castello, a typical beer from Friuli. Before the show here I meet my friend Attila Faravelli, with whom I play with the duo Tumble. We also did a US mini tour on the east coast in 2011, and we played New York, Turner Falls, Middlebury-Vermont, Boston, Providence, and Washington D.C. He's working on a sound art label, which produces sound devices instead of normal records. One of his next releases is a paper clover with two little speakers mounted in order to create the what so called Mid-Side stereo effect, it is a beatiful object to hold and you can use in order to listen to music made especially for this device.
The concert went very well, Mike and Ste were playing extremely good, so it was as always!!!, a pleasure to play with them.
For this tour I decided to bring snow boots for the day and concert shoes for playing, and I after this show I decided to put the concert shoes inside the bassdrum, so it is easyer to find them while setting up the next day.
We go to the hotel at around 2am.
we wake up around 10. we had some "sugar-breakfast" at the B n B -italian breakfast is almost about cakes, croissant and sugar things but i am not really into that except for chocolate ...and fratello Mike is not at all!... i much prefer pizza in the morning and orange juice. Korn Flakes with milk ok ..is always good- thats why i jump directly on the focaccia genovese... mmm... so good!..oily, crispy and salty. i took this with me for all the day.
The driving till montpellier is pretty long, almost 6 hours. and we drive all along the so called "riviera di ponente" literally the west coast cause you go towards west. During the traveling we speak a bit about magnetism and electricity and other stuff about physics which remember me about my time studies at university. Mike has big confidence with all of this concepts. i like big time to hear and speak about this arguments and thinking around this.
In Montpellier we play at black sheep. Abel the organizer come to liberate us from the intricate little center labyrintum streets we just end to be stuck in,like a fish in the fisherman net. i just break my thumbnail closing the hardcase of my amplifier... too bad... anyway i can play... i just have to adjust differently and make a different control on the strings.
The gig is nice, has a very good vibe, and especially some welsh guys helped a lot and brought a good spirit ..Fratello Mike really loved this gig...i think it is his favourite till now..for the spirit for the fact of us really being togheter...even if the sound is not so good and this fucking red lights that cannot make him to see the fret of the bass. i liked it too ..but i prefered Genoa cause i felt we could go to play very quiet without loosing audience attention...both good anyway...just different. Our Italian friend Attila Faravelli is there.. very interesting electroacustic musician.. he come to visit his brother who lives in Montpellier.
after the gig i smoke a cigarette and i start to feel very tired and sick... we end to sleep at this sun 24H hotel which i don't really like and makes me feel even more sick than i am. I cannot sleep, i have sore throat and i can hear fratello Andrea cannot sleep too cause he is always moving in and out of the little toilet in the room.
pop at nine and half and here's that continental thing w/the breakfast being a buttload of sugar. there is some foccacia ste finds though and gives me some of that. I fucking shave as soon as everyone's done bogarting the benjo (where you piss and shit in jap), been a couple of days and first trying out that shaving cream I got at the autogrill - I like it. got toothpaste from there too, it's also happening. I wear other pair of levis I brought cuz maybe one week w/the other pair's enough? yeah.
very nice weather outside, much sun but still a little cool. the fratelli have gone ahead to get the equipment out of last night's venue and into the boat - I feel bad about being so fucking weak cuz of the knee where I can't help them w/that, damn me. anyway, I hobble up the little alley w/last night's gig boss mateo and there's a good amount of working ladies out this early in the day. well, it's a sailor's town so maybe a big tradition? fratello andrea said he used genoa sea shanties to develop his vocal part for our "punkinhed ahoy!" tune.
we go along italy's western southcoast that goes first into monaco but only for a real short time cuz it's tiny and then into france. I have a big talk w/andre about electricity, trying to explain the basic concept of resistance, current and voltage to him using the metaphor of a hose w/water running through where kinks in the hose are ohms, the amount of water flowing is amps and at what pressure is the volts. I hope I got through. sure is neat these mountain pads and vineyards you see by the side of the road, much terraced land to use for farming much as possible, amazing. might be noisy as hell w/the autostrada.
we reach france and the peage (pronounced "pay-ahj") starts... I mean italy's got tolls, right? but here they seem like they're every ten fuckin' klicks! someone's gotta pay for the roads though, I understand. the cote de azur is beautiful... south coast of france has feel kind of so cal, I can dig it. we stop to switch ponies (ste now at the helm) and I get a baguette sandwich, one w/tuna, ham and egg I stuff w/potato chips (bolognese flavor!) and senf (mustard in german) from miss hiyori, the real good "lowensenf" kind.
I chimp diary and we get into montpellier around six, you can tell it just rained in these parts. the tom tom navigatori gets lost and puts on roads w/bollards (posts that stick up out of the road to keep you from going down it) and hell, we see the venue across the street we're playing ("the black sheep") and send andrea to get help - he comes back w/the gigboss abel and he knows the way (of course), he knows the back door way and we find the openers dot-dash unloading their stuff there already. I know the drummerman, he's a cousin of my bass brother tony maimone, hugauz! I played this town in the fall of 2011 (it was actually in the suburbs at a pad called "secret place") and I met him there. very cool people, they help us load in. the place is a cave (pronounced "kahv") which means cellar and really neat - real old bulkheads and huge roof (upper floor) timbers. we do a soundcheck w/soundman julien and the able takes us to a pizza pad nearby and we eat what they got there: a rectangular pan w/maybe twenty squares of peetz. fratello andre makes a statement w/a moretti beer bottle to the deck - the peetz pad man cleans it right up and says no prob, very kind - replaces the broke bottle w/a new one.
I hobble back and watch dot-dash do their set and keep thinking "it's not funny any more" but actually they finish up w/a cover of "corona" - hugauz sure sings it good, respect to him.
backstage I chimp diary. the fratelli bring me a perrier bottle but for some reason it remains on the table and not the deck. I meet the bosslady of this pad while talking to hugauz about folks he knows. ten of eleven, our to play. man, this is a fun gig tonight. I mean there's potential nightmare w/mainly red lights and not being able to see so well - maybe my eyesight is going or what? oh, before we start up I ask the fratelli to correct the song spelling on their setlists cuz you know, maybe folks might want them and... well, I ask and then we go for it and look, I ain't saying it was clammless and there was lots of risk involved w/diving in for the high notes but I did pretty ok that way - what was really happening was the feeling I got, like I had passed some equator and entered a place where it was as much a pants-shitter to do this set and damn if I don't dig that! big thanks to the fratelli for helping me out this way, grazie mille, truly. got "auslander" way together compared to last night, by the way - had to chimp that cuz of so embarrassed the night before - time to take heart in tiny victories! actually it's real fun and two cats from wales really help out w/some interaction, merci. I'm getting some nerve w/the il sogno del marinaio world of sound live!
I talk w/many gig-goers, even the peetz boss who cleaned up the broken bottle of moretti! one cat named enguerran is working on this movie of his and says he might have something I can do in it! whoa. I meet the two welsh men, one huge and one smaller and damn if they ain't the funniest cats ever, respect! we end up singing stooges tunes in alley. a native cat named sebastian too but he seems pretty bewildered... seems his english but then again folks in my own town have trouble understanding me. damn if he ain't got a lot questions about bass for me but says he's a guitarist - that's wild! so kind of abel bring us here - he asks me, "please give me a friday or saturday next time!" he's cool people, respect.
we drive towards sete to find the 'tel but begin a wander, I help w/that at one point - baka watt cuz damn if it ain't the same pad I was in w/my missingmen in 2011! it's called "sun hotel" and it's good to get some internet (had none today) and then fucking konk which I kind of feel I need. konk real happy w/the gig though, real happy.
tuesday, february 19, 2013 - la valette du var, france
We leave the Hotel close to Montpellier early, at 9 we are on the road. We must be at 12:30 in Toulon. We arrive perfectly on time, and Regis, the promoter of the concert, comes to pick us up at the pier. Regis is a musician, director and he does a lot of other things related to art. We had to be there early because Regis is filming Mike playing with the band he plays with called HIFIKlub. After lunch (the best food we had since we started this tour, sea bream and white wine, delicoius) Mike went to shoot the film with HIFI Klub while Stefano, Hiyori and I walked around the old city centre. Toulon is a port city, with a touch of interesting roughness that I like. Later on we went to Regis' house, where we chill out a bit listening to Master Musicians of Bukkake and typing some emails.
We went to the venue at about 18:40, and we start setting up quickly. It a very little pub, called Live cafe. This evening is the first concert after years of silence, so it was a new experience for the new owner. The place is so small I have to bring my cymbals and snare drums outside the venue, where they have a little wooden storage room.
HIFIKlub plays first. They mix desert rock, heavy bass lines and quasi-hard rock guitar riffs and solos, with a touch of psychedelic music.
We start playing at around 22:45 with a fully packed room. The energy of the audience is not strong, but people are interested and we do our best to play a good show. Not the best show we've done ever since, but I enjoyed this show as well.
The hotel were we stayed is really comfortable, and we have time to discuss a bit how we could improve the set for the next days.
we wake up around 10 and we go to Toulon pretty early cause the guys who are organizing the gig tonight want to do some shooting with Mike for an art project they are doing inside the navy army area.
There we meet Regis and his bandmates Hifiklub.
They take us eat in a very nice restaurant not far from the sea and then Mike, Regis and the guys go with the Captain to shoot in the army harbor while Andrea, Hiyori and me take a walk into the town center. I start to feel bit better today. Miss Hiyori give me a thing for the sore throat that makes your tongue numb but actually works and then very kindly helps fratello Andrea and i to took some pictures we need for Angela Bulloch and David Grubbs project we are involved in. This project is going to be performed at the end of march at the Pompidou Center in Paris. Angela needs pictures of us to make a 3d avatar version of our bodies and faces.
So we take this and MIss Hiyori does us a quick and personal interview she wants to put on the net. She asks me a little about my bio and few words about Dreams and Music. Thanks MIss Hiyori! she is always very kind to us and helps a lot with many things along the road: the merch, receipts, load in load out, keeping the van clean, taking pictures ecc ecc.
The Gig is a door deal in a pub. Many people comes so the door deal plus the money from the art project Mike so kindly donates to the band it ends to be one of the best payed day!
Regis and the other HifiKlub, Arnaud, Nico and Pascal plays the opening act: that are good and very nice guys too. i feel our gig ok but really not the best. We go sleep in a hotel in Toulon. i smell shit in the air and i find out had a big dog shit under my shoes which smell bad of course... so i end up to clean the brownie before konk...nice way to sweet dreams. Take shower and die.
pop at nine and I ain't got much time cuz we gotta roll real soon cuz I gotta get to toulon by noon. why? cuz regis from the hifiklub band he's in wants me to do spiel over some sort-of ambient music they're doing for a movie that has like eight pieces and I've been chose for number five. it's sunny out but a little cool when we pull anchor, fratello at the wheel. we head south east towards toulon, france's biggest navy base in the mediterranean.
man are there some big grasses on the sides of the road around here, HUGE ones! like ten fucking feet tall. we pass istres - it was at a stooges gig in this town on july 12, 2010 that my fucking port side knee went out, on the last note of the first song. that was fucking reminder I didn't need but it is the reality of that dealio. we stop for diesel and it's 1.5 euros/liter which is about $7.30/gallon u.s. and the cheapest I've seen it over here this trip. I get a salami baguette - excuse me, I mean I get a little meat and bread w/my butter.
we get into toulon around noon and regis meets us at a parking lot by the marina. his band's also w/him and we go over to a chow pad called "les tetes d'ail" and maybe it's perch I chow or whatever but it's the whole fish along w/a baked potato some whupped-up squash. as I'm shoveling, I write the lyrics to "no one ever says old man (to the old man)" part from my first opera on a napkin cuz that's what I'm gonna recite for the recording w/regis and his cats cuz he asked for something like that - we're doing it at a napoleon-era fort that got turned into a prison for nazi military after the second world war. to do this he had to get big permission from the french military and chowing w/us is thomas who's a captain in the navy and very cool people. I tell regis about the "old man" on a u.s. navy boat being what the crew calls the skipper (I learned this from my pop) but never to his face. he relates this to thomas and it's the same in the french navy though there's another term they use too, "the pasha" which actually is turk. trippy. I tell him about how the navy base where I live turned into a huge can terminal after the viet nam war... we talk about cans - he relates to me the dangers those babies pose when the fall off boats cuz they don't sink and are big submerged dangers. he says the french navy puts buoys on the ones they find.
in french "it looks like the south" is what they're calling this movie and I'm the fifth part, there's three more to go after me. unfortunately I have to leave my people cuz of the security issue so we'll meet again later, they hoof into the downtown which had the nickname "chicago" cuz it was all bars and puta casas at one time - remember toulon is a sailor town. I leave w/regis and his band (thomas had to go off cuz there was a small fire on the aircraft carrier tied up in port, france's only one) and we go into the prison. it's a long tunnel that connects the cells and there's a rail for a cart to run on which is what they're using for the camera. we do three takes, I try to keep my head in a place which at so jokey, try to hold "character" or whatever. nico played slide guitar, pascal on just floor tom and tambourine plus regis on bass. after we get done I go down the hall and check out the cells... the german prisoners painted on the walls, stuff like their home towns and nature scenes. trippy.
we go to regis' pad and meet up w/my people. I do a skype interview w/a dutchman named peter for the groningen gig next week, he's a good cat and asks me good stuff. glad to be playing that town again. both regis and his lady beatrice (he didn't know dante's lady in "il comedia" was named that) are from corsica and I tell them about my gig w/the stooges there last summer, first time for me there and I loved it.
my guys went to go set up while I was at regis' pad cuz no internet I was guessing at this venue (turned out to be correct guess) and I join them for soundcheck. it's a little bar called "live cafe" in nearby la valette du var ('pert-near part of toulon) and they got a small music room on the side... just re-opened and so happening of frere regis to get this happening. small p.a. and the mixing board mounted on the bulkhead right by fratello's andre's head - he can mix us! we get chowed some lasagna after both us and hifiklub check and not long after, they start their set. the room is packed. they do really good. each guy in the band has got his own style, it's happening. arnaud wails on these kind of shakers that use pieces of donkey hoof-nails on a stick, I thought they were mussels but that's what andrea tells me.
we go on and it's a lesson-learner for us. again I get distracted by the fact I can't see the frets in the trippy l.e.d. lights and unlike last night where it happened, I get freaked out by it some and loose some nerve. damn me. it ain't just the clams but the distraction - I got an idea for tomorrow night that might help though, I'll try. I really made a bad "experiment" w/the ending of "funanori jig" and man did that stink it up - no more but at least I tried something I was thinking about... better to get out of the head to see if it should be put to bed. the fratelli both had feelings the gig was kind of "einbahnstrasse" but I was too caught up in my own frustrations in a way to be aware in such a way. however, it bothers me I wasn't strong enough to rally them so this another thing I learn I wanna get together.
regis guides us back to toulon's town center and to a 'tel called "grand dauphine logis" and we drop anchor right in front - we have to move at nine am so I agree to so the fratelli can konk in later. better safe for the boat than anything else. there's beer in a coin machine and we each have one in the cabin and discuss stuff regarding the gig. gigs can be great classrooms!
wednesday, february 20, 2013 - geneva, switzerland
At 10:30 Mike knock our hotel room door pissed off by the fact that he woke up at 9 in order to move the van, which was in front of the hotel but also in front of a store, and he couldn't find a single parking spot. I hate this situations with cars, so I understand the frustration! So we left the hotel quickly towards Geneve. The ride was about 5 hours long. When we were about leaving Toulone, I thought it would have been great to live in a port city like Toulone,with a nice dry and windy weather. In these days only Stefano and I are driving, so we change the drive every 2-3 hours. We pass through the flat south of France and the Alps. Right after the Alps, with snow and fog, we find a beautiful sun waiting for us at the doors of Geneve.
I always liked playing in Geneve. I played there six times before this show, and it went always well. I usually play for Cave 12 which consists in a two people organization who set 2-3 show per week since 2005 in different venues. I heard that now they are getting a proper venue for their concerts, after 7 years of wandering around in different venues. In fact I saw Marion, one of the two Cave 12 people, at this gig at L'Usine. Kalvingrad is the name of the organization who promoted this Geneve show. Alex is the name of the promoter. Simone is the girl who asked Alex to set up the concert. She is also the tour manager for the band Firewater and she plays in the band massicots. A musician from Lyon, Seb, gave me Simone contact. We got this show at the very last minute, two weeks before the start of the tour. They are all really good people. We arrive at L'usine at around 16:30-17. L'Usine is a big old factory turned into a squat with different clubs in the late 80's.
After the show a guy told me that Kalvingrad was a provocative name for Geneve, which in the 16th century was the centre of the Calvinist movement, and in the 80's a punk band used this name to express the boringness of the city. This guy told me in the 80's there were thousands of people living in squats, occupying and protesting against this boring and conservative aspect of the Swiss society. L'Usine was not seen by the squatters as a good place, as it was the first one which wanted to deal with the city and the "power." Lucky the place is still there, but the other squats fall sadly apart.
Stef, the sound man, did the quickest soundcheck of this tour since it started. The backstage is really comfortable, I remember last time when I played here with David Grubbs and Stefano. We have dinner with tofu and rice with all the people. With them there is a guy called Nadan who I later discovered that he did the soundman for Pere Ubu.
The show was scary at the beginning. I did some mistakes here and there, especially in the first part of the set, but the audience was absolutely incredible, really into Il Sogno del Marinaio's music. That was a great contribution to the show. Without them we would have had a way different perception of the show, which at the end was good.
After the show we have some time to chill out with some people, before going upstair the bedrooms, very big and clean once. Before sleeping Mike Stefano and I chat a bit about Il Sogno del Marinaio, how the concert was and what can we do to help each other to get things better for this band.
Fratello Mike wakes us up to go to Geneve. He and Miss Hiyori already have been for more than one hour and a half around town to find a parking lot for the van cause it could not be stay parked next the hotel after 9 a.m... I can see fratello Mike is freaking out ... not a nice way to spend the morning i would say. Sorry fratello Mike and thanks for letting us sleep some time more this morning. We needed. At least we had "butter cross border" as Mike says... easy passage at the border with Switzerland. we always do big time conversations along the road... everysorts... History a lot and often hilarious arguments... stuff like "cocaine in the ass" and Baka hieros butter on butter shit. Mike likes to talk. Sometimes he fall asleep with the 'puter on his legs. All of us shares and teaches words in our respective languages. each others curiosity.
We arrive in Geneve around 5... weather is ok but temperature is cold. Everyone of us had played at the Usine others time before. Mike also 30 years ago with Minutemen and there is this Guy at the gig that was there at that concert ! he was 16 years at that time! When we come to Geneve are usually the great Sixto and Marionne who organize the gigs for us but this time are Andy and Simone: nice people and very good veggie food they made.
I like this gig... a last minute gig but very into the concert I would say. Stephen at the sound board did a very good job and Nadan recorded and shooted all the concert. Nadan does sounds for Pere Ubu too.
we have to figure it out a more interesting dynamic solution for the chord changing in Sailor Blues C part i feel.
We sleep upstairs, comfortable. Tomorrow we are going to have a long driving till Solingen Germany.
pop at eight and half to move the boat to what I'm led to believe is nearby parking. first though a stop a the chowpad part of the 'tel for coff but then see a little bit of cheese, ham and bread so quick I make a sandwich and then get down to the boat. it's my first time behind the wheel is this boat, a 2009 renault "trafic" and get this: I can't find fucking reverse! I keep trying, following the goddamn pattern on the top of the stickshift which is a throw-out to the left... aaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrgggggghhhhhhhh - luckily there's a little downhill I can let roll down w/the clutch in and bring her about - the "bite" comes down (frere regis enlightened me to french word for these balllard things which by the way is also slang for a dick which is also a trip cuz that's what the montpellier gigboss abel called it when I asked him and figured he was just having some fun), I get out of the tiny town part of where this 'tel is and then stumble onto how to get into reverse - there's a motherfucking ring around the stick part of the stickshift that you pull up to override the lock-out they got on the reverse gear - I am such a fucking baka! maybe more baka though is the parking sitch or actually the fucking lack of one, damn! this boat is 2.05 meter and all these fucking lots are 1.9 - fucking all of them! I can't believe it... I go to the "liberty place" like frere regis tells me, up to the train station - there's lots, sure BUT TOO FUCKING TINY and no open-air or curb action. in fact vehicles this size seemed to just put on their flashers and plug a fucking lane - some actually are unloading but others... I circle the downtown many MANY times, like an hour and half worth, I shit thee not. the plan was to let the fratelli konk so I keep looking and looking 'til it's fucking time to go and the get back to the 'tel to gather us up. well, at least I got some prac at driving this motherfucker. fratello ste takes the helm - fuck if they wanted to, I could give them a guided tour of this pad easy cuz believe you mean I kind of big time know it like the back of my hand. we head toward switzerland and geneva.
the navigatori puts us towards marseille and we stop for chow. when I was do fucking loops around toulon I discovered the windshield wiper fluid reservoir was bone dry - fuck! what if snow catches us and ices up the windshield? baka! so we get two liters worth and damn if it don't take the whole fucking jug. I also get a ham and cheese baguette w/some potato chips that have roasted chicken flavor - hah! also some aqua frizzante (bubble water) for both my fiber capsules (psyllium husks, best thing ever) and ibuprofen for my fucking knees - there was a ramp and then a step around the corner in the hall of the 'tel this morning where fucking "down goes frazer" which was me taking tumble and doing big time crumple right on both of them. fuck. well, speaking of physical things from a surprise maybe now I can mention something about the encore in genoa... when I did that UH! part near the front of "fun house" I did ready parts myself enough and blew it out - not bad and down the leg but prolly a couple miles of country road in the chonies. thank god that b & b had a shower.
anyway, the sun is bright though the air is cool but these guys really like the heater so I wear no shirt as I chimp diary on our way north. fuck if there ain't one stretch of the road where I see like six hawks - not all together of course but at pretty closer intervals as we roll past. hawks I think are good to see cuz maybe they live stuff so possibly healthy eco system? I also think they're beautiful. they look like our red tail ones. soon we're climbing in elevation and there's snow on the ground but not snowing. when we reach the swiss butter, it's a "butter" crossing and the border man even sells us the vignette (you need to buy this sticker to use swiss roads, costs forty swiss francs, almost fortythree $ u.s.) so we don't have to get out of the vehicle. we get to the venue around five, it was just over five hundred klicks.
this pad is called "u'sine" but it's also called "kalvingrad" - or am I baka? (don't answer that!) - both things are connected or one w/in the other. very nice folks here, very nice. gig was booked kind of last minute to plug a hole. I'm very grateful and get to meet the lady who made it happen, simone who also cooks our chow. alex too is also involved and he's beautiful, very kind. soundman stefan does the check w/us, we're in the smaller part of the pad, he gives me some tape so I can put markers on the side of the tuscany bass' neck so I can know which fret is which better. after soundcheck we eat simone's chow, curry tofu, big leaf salad and rice, very good, merci (geneva's in the french part of switzerland).
both my fratelli get caught up on their tour diaries while we wait for our set. twenty 'til ten's been decided and there's no opening act. it's a character builder but damn are the people most kind and focused on us. there's a cat named nadan who's recording us and that gives me "red light fever" which is a self-conscious thing that makes you fucking blow clams. I suffer from a little of this and also getting used to the markers on the side of the neck I made w/white tape (good idea though, this is gonna help me big time). they ain't too big of clams though and I have a good time, a real good one. ste and andre really played well.
we finish the gig and I talk to a real nice cat named louie originally from dublin in ireland. he saw me play right near here when he was sixteen, he found out the date was only three days from now - thirty years ago. whoa. I remember that, our first trip to europe, minutemen brought over by black flag to open for them. first time I tried to chimp diary, it's in my first book. boy, is it baka, like it was written by an idiota. anyway I played here w/my second-string secondmen (paul instead of petezo, raul instead of jerzo) also in 2005. I realized this when I we arrived but now it really hits home, the thirty years ago one. me and louie have a good rap about a lot of stuff: old punk, "ulysses" and even bass - he's got an old gibson eb he wants to start playing again. I really hope music comes back to him. later I talk w/nadan (he recorded us), he's from the istria part of croatia and cuz pedro has lots of dalmatia folks, we talk about stuff from those parts including koja, an incredible bassman from belgrade.
man, I could've shot the shit all night but we gotta pull anchor early for a hellride to solingen so konk time... lucky us, we konk up stairs and will load up the gear in the morning. I'm tuckered big tim and konk way quick.
thursday, february 21, 2013 - solingen, germany
We had to drive from Geneva to Solingen, close to Colgone, so we woke up at 8 and at 9 we were already in the van. This was the longest ride of the tour, 770 km. Stefano and I drove all the way up to Solingen, with a couple of quick stops.Around Basel snowed a bit, but apart from this and some traffic jam around Cologne, we had a safe travel.
After loading off we had a quick sound check with the soundman Fritz (very typical german name!) of the venue Cobra. Cobra is a cinema/theatre with connected with a kneipe (german bar) with a little stage. The structure is more than this, as it had an office for immigration, where they host language integration courses, and bedrooms. Solingen is a little village in the RUR region. Rur it is called the engine of Germany, for being the centre of the German industry. Still now it is just an enormous chaos of houses, industries, factories, warehouses and stores.
People from Ox Fanzine are the promoters of this gig. Thomas, the founder, started OX fanzine 24 years ago, and he's been involved in the Hardcore Punk scene ever since. Ox is a fanzine, interested in all kind of "punk" and D.I.Y. Music. They also reviewed some Hobocombo CD, that's how I got to know this magazine, as it is in German (and my German is still not so good to read long articles...). They wanted to interview Mike, but it ended up to be a Il Sogno del Marinaio interview, which is nice as they were interested in our project and not only at Mike's history, which is nice as Mike tradition is also bringing today what there is in the present, today, and not only what was in the past. Right before the interview we had a nice vegan chili and cabbage salad with orange. While on tour having just a salad instead of tons of butter and cheese is just great.
The dry sound of the stage allowed silence to be part of the set, which was very dynamic, the lower parts were really low and whispered. We had to play well for the audience, they were really silent and focused on our music!
After the show I meet an Italian guy, Daniele, who lives in Solingen area. I heard that in this area there are 4000 Italians, as they were hired as mitarbeitern during the economic boom in the 60's and 70's. The bedrooms are at the top floor of the building, so we just packed the instruments before going to bed.
it is five days i am not keeping the diary... not enough time between driving, sleeping and be focused on the gigs. we live full time. is tiring but good. Let see what i can remember. cause even after few days the memory melt the more subtle elements and information you still keep. Most of all it seems that the emotions and thought you had have developed and transformed themselves in something else...they have some sort of feedbacks in the days after but it is hard to come back to that initial moment.
We go to Solingen Germany. It is kind of the longest driving of the tour... around 700 km. We arrived there around 6... i am very tired... so tired that i cannot quit get what Joachim and Stephan asked us for the OX interview...Joachim started the fanzine 25 years ago and he is just got back from spain. His wife cooked a wonderful veggie-chilly. so good.Fritz is the sound guy... i liked this gig... not many people but really into. we play well and i am starting to take good decisions for my solo parts.i met an German-italian guy (shit cannot remember his name) who grows up in Solingen.he speaks a very good italian with strong accent form the south. very good.we sleeps upstairs. deep konk
pop at eight and a half and have to move quick cuz we got a hell ride ahead of us, 774 klicks (484 miles) north to solingen in germany. it's real gray out... damn I hope we got weather to keep us safe. fratello ste at the wheel, it takes us a while to get out of the incredibly well-timed traf light system of geneva. soon enough I gotta get not just my jacket off but shirt too cuz these guys like it like a shvitz here in the boat. we go as long as we can go w/out fratello andrea jonesing too hard w/out coff and I use some of the swiss francs I brought to stomp on that. the gray gets more and more gray, even a wall of cloud in front when presto! there's the sun - still clouds but taiyo! still cold as fuck though... outside, not in here - here is like shvitz. andre now at the wheel, he plays me a cd by craxi which is a proj he was part of. it's real good. he teaches me about fantozzi and I wanna check it out for myself, interesting! he takes us through a tunnel maybe a little too fast cuz blam, there goes some bright light in huge flash - I think a speed camera got us which might be interesting when the picture comes in the mail to whoever rented us this van cuz I have to travel w/my shirt off cuz my fratelli like it good and warm like a shvitz - I've been riding shotgun this whole tour so that could be interesting. we reach the german border a little after noon and the zollmen are pulling cars over but when it comes to our turn, they walk away and our crossing is like butter. we get diesel and I have first german chow on this tour: reisenbockwurst, bread and mustard. we roll through the schwarzwald (black forest) where we switch ponies, ste back in the driver's seat. we have a good time cracking each other up w/jokes. it's incredible how w/in a half an hour the temperature goes from plus three to minus one celsius, damn!
we get into solingen around six pm, this town's in germany's ruhr valley where they have their heavy industrial part. it's a smaller town but part of a whole kind of suburb thing for workers here. my first time in soligen. the pad we're working tonight is called "cobra" and used to be a studio where the filmed commercials. a real nice cat name jorg is the gig boss and upstairs he's got salami, cheese and bread for us plus this is where we're gonna konk - yes, love that scene: you play your brains out and then the konk pad is just right there, w/in stumbling distance, bitchin'. the stage set up is trippy, in the corner and along the bulkhead but sounds really good where I am when we do soundcheck w/fritz, a cat I'm told goes back to the old days. he's cool people.
joachim from the zine ox comes to both interview us and give us chili and salad his wife ushi made for us, very good. his buddy thomas is w/him and in fact interviewed me years ago. these guys are very happening in the fact they wanna involve the other two members in il sogno del marinaio and not just the baka bass player. I respect them much for that cuz I have big time respect from my fratelli andrea and stefano. a few days ago we were at a table and ste was asked "why do you play w/mike watt?" - maybe it's language prob but man, in a way that sounded kind of weird. I'm sure glad the band can speak through its music as well as in conversation w/the members. joachim and thomas are really genuine people and I'm grateful for that too.
no opening band tonight, we go on at twenty of ten. there's l.e.d.s for the lights so here's a real test for the markers on the neck of the tuscany bass for the baka bassman. oh, regarding the setlist: the fratelli decide they like what we have for an order, I'm w/them. the gig-goers are most kind and gives us BIG focus. I think this my best performance of the tour, so very grateful to andrea and stefano for being so patent w/me. even w/red l.e.d. light only wailing on me at some points I can still see which fret is which and this is a great thing... now no excuses for clams! I really don't blow that many tonight, a great vibe and whatever helps me get it together. very polite crowd, the only time I hear any thing is when someone hollers once in italiano - turns out later this cat is from german-italian mix.
I got upstairs in a way to marvel of having it together the way I did tonight, yeah, I'm kind of in disbelief but fuck if the fratelli don't deserve it, same w/the gig-goers. joachim comes and says he dug the gig, saying the music drew him in whereas lots of times he feels a wall between himself and the band. whoa, very kind of him, truly.
gigboss jorg is happy and tells me about the days when he played w/his band the embryonics in the 90s. I thank him much for having us aboard. I gotta tell you it was incredible stage sound and soundman fritz did a great job from what folks told me about the mix in the room, danke. I konk big time happy.
friday, february 22, 2013 - cologne, germany
We had breakfast at 10 am. We left Solingen for Cologne at 11:30.
We were leading to a recording studio, where Tomlab people, who are also the promoters of the Cologne show, invited us to record something. Jan is the name of the promoter. We proposed The Chamber Brothers' "Time Has Come Today" and they accepted. We arrive around the studio at 12:30. The studio is called the Bear Cave Studio owned by Nicolas and Bjorn. We went to the studio just a few minutes later, where we found everything set for the recording. They set up a slingerland set for me, sparkle gold. It has great dry sounds, not exactly my type but really good for the song we were gong to play. They have an amazing guitar selection. The session was fun. Mike, who knew the song from when it was recorded, suggested the direction to take. Instead "Time Has Come Today" the song will be "Clams Get Blown Today." In the song the concept of Time is rappresented by a strong cowbell pulse. Mike suggested to substitute the cowbell with a 4/4 hi-hat figure. The version we were supposed to play is a 15 long, so I had to record almost 13 minutes of the same hi-hat figure...a minimal music exercise! Then we recorded all togheter on the top of this hi-hat, first of all the beginning and the end, and later the improvvisation part in the middle part of the song.
At 16:30 we left the studio towards King Georg the venue, which was 400 meters far from the studio. King Gerog is room with a big bar right at the centre of the room. It smells of alchool and sigarettes from some days before. The stage is a little space on the floor between the bar and some tables. The sound man is called Flo. We have time for a soundcheck at 18 then we go to buy some food at a restaurant called NudelMafia.It is quite impressing how German people have an italian/Mafia obsession, I had a lot of discussion about this clique with german people. Anyway, I buy a soup, as I had some sandwiches in the afternoon right after the studio recordings. The venue has bedrooms upstairs, which was perfect so we didn't have to move our gear after the show. Before dinner I booked the hotel rooms for the last day of the tour, a couple of rooms next to Heathrow airport in London.
When we started playing the venue was packed, the people were standing right in front of us. The atmosphere was amazing, I love when there is not stage, and people are next to the musicians. Even the sound was perfect. At the end of the show people were asking for an ancor, and it was weird as there was no backstage and the people were staring at us waiting... scary...
After the concert I cahtted with Raoul and Caroline. Caroline worked for a german music magazine, she recently interviewed Steve Shelley. Raoul is a man who lives in Frankfurt am Main and organizes experimental music shows.
Koln is pretty close. we meet Jan and Caroline from Tomlab and we go record our version of "time has come today" by the Chambers Brothers and we change this into "Clamps have come today." Bjor and Nicholas runs the cave 's bear studio. Very nice guys. They have a lot of guitars and pedals-boxes. i use a very small and beautiful tube amp (don't remember the trade right now). We just put down the structure of the piece and we do a long psychedelic dream part in the middle running down the tempo.
The venue is pretty close to the studio. no stage here. so we play literally with all the people surrounding us. the P.A is just above our heads.Very good gigs and vibe. I sing the verse of "Us in their land" without microphone cause we do not have enough microphone... just screaming... we are starting to play with confidence and more expression. Everyone is so enthusiast about the gig. they want more anchors but we have only Fun House! we meet many people: Raul, very nice guy from Stuttgard and Antonella from Milano. she is living in Koln since 15 years and she still knows about a lot of italian underground bands. David comes at our table and asks Mike to sign is skateboard and do a photo with us. he says" it is more than a moment" talking about the picture. Andrea, Jan, Caroline and I drinks some few more drinks at the bar and then we go sleep upstairs.
pop at ten bells and hose off - first w/in a few days cuz of this sitch. damn. shave too. crimony. I make toast and chow it w/the cheese and ham jorg provided us w/yesterday, good shit. many thanks to jorg. it's sunny out the windows but cold as fuck, around freezing. crimony. I let my fratelli konk, teach them "ohayo" (sounds like the u.s. state, means "good morning" in jap) when they pop. I think fratello ste is feeling better. konk is good cure for so much.
we have recording today w/the tomlab folks in cologne. it's only thirtysix klicks (around twentyone miles) to the south from where we are now. soundman fritz comes by to help us load. I try my hardest also but lookout and try to be most safe cuz of my fucking lame-ass ginnochio (knee in italian). we get loaded up and get to the zentrum (center) of cologne in half an hour, crossing the mighty rhine river and for bear cave studio, not far from the dom, a very famous cathedral. actually we had two choices and w/ste at the wheel, he chose the one that came up right - respect! jan and caroline bring us to the studio and we meet the men there, nicholas and bjorn who are very cool people. we're gonna do fifteen minute version of "time has come to day" by the chambers brothers en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page . now we don't wanna do xerox version cuz of respect for chambers brothers so fratello plays hihat motif instead of the cowbell they use, it is clock analogy and metaphor regarding time. we record this first, our "click" track. strange to do this way but this how we for "architecture" (bjorn's words) for track. it takes us a little bit... the trip part in the middle is gonna be like ten minutes long so much repetition for andrea. maybe he blew one clam but that's ok, seeing how we're gonna make some changes to the lyrics! I play ste's tuscany bass through a newer hiwatt 200 bass amp that sounds pretty good. both andre and ste use equipment here in the studio which is pretty good cuz of less stuff to shlep. we have time only to get down the hihat part and the basics w/all of us but do get the trip-out center section though I'd like my fratelli to add some more tomorrow when I come back in w/them to do the spiel.
so lucky the gig is right around the corner, crimony! it's called "king georg" and I guess has quit a history. we set up on the deck but first we take photos w/a young man named christian who's doing a photo book. he takes group shot (yes!) and after a few, asks ste to be in the middle and come up some more forward... ste asks if it's cuz of a "little man" thing - we all crack up. soundcheck w/soundman flo goes good and it appears jan is quite connected w/this pad. I have talk w/him and thomas - they're the ones putting out a double seven inch called sock-tight that's a proj of me and my best friend raymond w/drummers jerry trebotic (from my secondmen) and dirk vandenberg (took cover shot for "double nickels on the dime") plus stooges saxman steve mackay. it's got four tunes and I'm really into what we did, raymond's so creative! actually I kind of made this a tribute in a way to jaki liebzeit the can drummerman - I started out w/the drums first, added the bass to go w/the grooves, then had brother steve blow sax the day before a stooges gig in france last summer and raymond right do the spiel right after on the way home. oh, "spiel" - yeah, by the studio is a "spiel salon" or in german, "game room" but I have to explain to jan I use spiel in the yiddish way - he's pretty surprised by this, most germans are. trippy, huh? anyway, jan and thomas have a good talk w/me - actually I almost got to give thomas a tour of my pedro town but when he was in so cal that day for me I got to do a session w/organman bernie worrell so that as a shame... maybe some day though. these are good cats, I like them. I pick out the paper and design for the double seven inch sleeve, the opening gatefold has all kinds of photos raymond took of his nyc work pad. he drew the cover and asked for a shot from me so I put one of a pelican I took in my pedro harbor on the back.
no opening band and we're told there's a ten pm curfew so we'll go on at nine. first jan is very kind to go get me chow so ain't got to hobble. funny, we saw chow pad w/this baka "noodle mafia" and sure enough, that's where the chow's from! hilarious. mine is a few pieces of salmon in a pasta w/tomato sauce and basil leaves, kind of mazui (tastes bad) but at least I don't get sick. earlier thomas brought a cake! yeah, I wasn't really up for eating a cake but it sure was sweet of him. the pad begins to fill up, becomes packed...
we're right on the deck w/the folks, it's pretty neat this way. I give happy bday shoutout to ms yuko cuz it's her day, much respect! I'm a little nervous but ste and andre playing way good inspires me much. doesn't stop a full-step flat clam in "verse IX" from me but I do pretty well keep it together. I gotta say it's happening to play in freshly-washed flannel my ma gave me for last bday I'm using on this tour - miss hiyori was very kind to do laundry for us all while we're recording in the studio earlier so BIG grazies to her. the cologne gig-goers are most kind, especially on a friday for drinking kind of night - they give big time respect, even for the soft dynamic tunes. in fact they want a second encore but we finish right on time and I don't wanna jan or anyone getting into curfew trouble. only one mic for me and stefano so we have to share but this also gives him a chance to talk w/the people. I ask andrea to do some later cuz I think it's important folks understand this is a band and not a group of two backing musicians for a baka named mike watt. I think folks realizing is VERY important cuz il sogno is a band in the true sense of the word. on the personal front though, it's another great test for the white tape on the side of the bass neck technique cuz this pad had MUCH red lights and it wasn't a prob at all. damn I wish I would've thought of this from the get-go but I am baka slow learner. fratello ste really whupped out some solos tonight and fratello andre ripped it up on the drums plus both their dynamics were amazing and everyone listening so well - what could've be a shaky part in "sailor blues" snapped right into tight-ass symphonic-like trip for the coda, really happening, really. respect. to the gig-goers also.
I talk to some of the folks after, very kind, so many people. I have to wait a little bit - I used to be able to spiel right away but I put so much into gigs and don't have all that much strength so it takes a lot out of me. I really wanna show I'm grateful though and go out to meet folks a little bit. I sign a man named david's skateboard and album, he's so kind. one cat is from santa cruz (in cali) and there's a canadian who's a friend of thomas plus a scottish lady but most are from here and checking out what I'm doing. jan really did a good job getting the word out. trippy, thirty years ago I first played this town at some squat called the stollwerck which was black flag and minutemen along w/a german band called canal terror opening. I meet this cat who's sister was a girlfriend of that band's bassist - ain't it a small world? fuck! deep bows I have for everyone. so many good words from them for my fratelli ste and andre - yes! it means MUCH to me to hear this.
so righteous the konk pad is upstairs - we can leave the stuff protected here and load up the boat in the morning. the owner comes up to thank me for us playing here, so kind of him. first time this tour I think I konk at midnight... even w/it kind of freezing, this is truly a righteous thing. the room's got so much orange going too - my favorite color as a boy. I think getting less younger I've shifted a little to yellow... hmm... why? I konk not knowing.
saturday, february 23, 2013 - groningen, netherlands
I had a quick breakfast at the bar aroundthe corner before going to the studio again, where we finished the vocals, percussion and guitars for "Clams Get Blown Today."
After this we leave towards Groningen. People in Colone told us it wasa two hours drive, but it turned to be an around 4-5 hours drive, with a hard traffic jam around Colone. We arrive in Groningen quite late. The bar is in a big squat, which hosts 250 people, and it was squatted at the end of the 70's out of an abbandoned Hospital. It is quite impressive how much work people put on this building in more than 30 years. There is not much light in it though, I found this quite strange. When we arrived Arian, the promoter, is in a hurry as the dinner is ready and we'll do the soundcheck later.
The dinner is very good, and they served it in a bar which reminds me a german kneipe, as people were smoking a lot in here!
We did the soundcheck in about half an hour. The room sounded pertty boomy and resonant, and the stage has a lot of volume. The soundman is called Martjn. He's pretty tall, as many of the people around that came at the show. We shared the stage with the local band uhgah?wugah!
With started the concert with a decent volume on stage, and at the end was incredibly loud, especially on Stefano's solo on the encore, "Fun House."
The bedroom is called the Hotel, and it comfortable but strangely it has no windows.
we do the lyrics at the bears cave and some small guitar and percussions overdubs and we say bye bye to Germany. Raul helps us to load the van and got some coffee and Haribo for us and Mike. Hiyori come at the van with a bag with a lot of good stuff to drink and eat for us. Thank you so much!
we go to Holland now. Groeningen. a lot of traffic jam... we arrive late. Aryan and Jan set the gig. they live in social occupied building that was an hospital before. it is big community since 34 years. SOme people just born and grown up there. the venue is inside the building. good people really. ugahh wugahh are the opening band. what a name.
i feel we are playing better and better everyday. good interpalying and more expressive dynamics... still clamps but those are not syntomathic anymore of playing good or bad. Sometimes clamps brings some new good things -not only shit in your pants- and good human emotions.
we go konk in the building somewhere... i lost my sense of directions inside there and i sleep lost and deep...we sleep in the same room. Mike 1, 2, 3 Ibiki and snore. but i am so tired that it does not matter. Andrea give me a couple of ear plugs... just in case
pop at ten bells to find chamber much nicer cuz of small heater I guess finally getting it done... outside the window it's gray w/small snow flurries. after hose down (yes, two mornings in a row now!) I chimp diary 'til noon when we all meet up downstairs in front outside for bjorn and nicholas from bear cave studios to come walk us over to their pad to finish what we started yesterday. the "always on time" myth is shattered when they are nine minutes late - ha! seriously though, it's great to see them cuz snow is coming down. I washed a small tuna sandwich (maybe too much mayo?) w/some coff during my earlier chimping. a careful hobble and windbag from me w/our recording hosts as we make our way to what's now a nice familiar little studio, asking them for bongos or conga - they have neither but they do have cowbell. lord have mercy cuz fratello andrea's are w/his stuff (and all our music gear) in a locked-up "king georg" we were just standing in front of. cowbell's important cuz we want an echo of the original tune. our time metaphor is a hihat riff but in the middle we want an extreme trip-out. first though I do the spiel - I think they got me in a place they can handle and when finished find out I wrapped the needles around the posts so we give it another go. I get it all in that take except for a redo near the end cuz like a baka I must've counted wrong w/the basics yesterday - what a baka but not a boat-sinker, just a twist on the orig. it was big "thumbs up" for yeah, only this take and I trust them. I did wrap my spiel around what I felt for the tune, trying to channel some r and b from the baka watt way... maybe more takes would've watered that down - I trust nicholas and bjorn. then we do a gang vocal for the "hey!"s and "clams!"s w/my fratelli, fratello ste w/a little sampler box thing for a nano voice - he also uses a nano guitar they got here a "big muff" fuzz from the bear cave stomp box shrine in which they have tons and plus many trippy ones so maybe they're a little disappointed but I think not really... what they want is another guitar track for the middle trip-out part to add to the palette they wanna paint w/and... oh, wait - fratello andre first de-tunes the snare and w/the wires off, fakes like a conga for a pass and then puts cowbell for the memory echo possibilities, THEN come ste's turn w/the nano guitar - presto! we're done. I explain to bjorn and nicholas my younger days in regards to psychedelic and how I thought music from some bands we're actually for me more like into an approach where they wanted to give the listener a "safe ride" and actually this scene got huge and social where as what I took to be truly psychedelic stuff was from bands who made insane sounds and mixes that were definitely "not safe" but intended to provoke a more intense mindblow. I ask nicholas and bjorn not to go w/the "safe ride" and when they mix this, really REALLY trip it out. I hope that's what will happen - I figure these two guys just as much a part of this tune as us three and let them know that. I see this proj as a collaboration. so glad jan put it together though he can't be here cuz he's helping his ma. I think we supplied "the clay" and now these bear cave cats can throw it on "their wheel" and we'll all hopefully have ourselves a "ceramic" that kicks ass and blows minds.
we finish right at two pm and in walks a cat who saw us last night, raul. he comes over w/us to the "king georg" pad and again the "always on time" myth about this land is shattered by the club guy arriving late but no big deal but the snow is coming down now so a quick load is what we need to happen and that comes through, raul helping us, much respect. he also gives me a sack of sour gummi french fries. we get out of dodge around two and a half, a big hug for raul.
now jan said groningen in netherlands is only two hours away but a plug w/traff and the reality of the sitch makes for 'pert-near five... how many times do local underestimate fucking longhauls? MANY is the right answer! not their fault, it just happens. I usually check for myself w/the fucking maps via internet but lamed out this time so I only blame myself. much of the plug is w/fratello andre at the wheel and it wears his ass out. so does I think my baka spiel w/rants on subjects like "symbiotic relationships" cuz I see a fucking clownfish painted on a store front (you know about them and the sea anemone, right?) and then the heisenberg uncertainty principle which leads to mr heisenberg himself and the of history being twisted up and duplicitous - I try to remember the case of him and mo berg which brings on both my fratelli w/thoughts and meditations on having a conscious and taking a stand vs surviving (for example: capos in the death camps). weird stuff. and so is all the moors - not much built around and finally we hit a fuel station w/a little store (the one we saw earlier only had a pump and an awning over it w/no other buildings! totally automated) so this is where I get wurst like I did entering germany the day before, right before leaving - w/a roll and mustard. it's good. fratello ste takes the helm for the last fortyfive minutes.
we're an hour late for soundcheck (six pm) but it's ok, says the gigboss arien who is very cool people. this pad is called "okrz bar" and it's part of what used to be a roman catholic hospital (hence the acronym "okrz") that was first squatted (a term for occupying an abandoned building) in 1979 and then becoming legal seven years later - that's what arien tells us... even more amazing is him saying around 250 people live here, children have been born and grown up at this pad even! it's a few buildings, pretty huge and they do everything themselves. the decorations in the bar are from the old heating system! martin the soundman has to bail for chow at his pad so we chow at the cantina here - some great potatoes au gratin, quiche and salad all done dutch style and then we're back to check w/soundman martin and meet the openers uhgah?wugah! who are from groningen and very nice. they're going on at eleven, us a midnight.
for some reason I put the konk mask on damn if I ain't out in the little side room. guess I was tuckered. damn though, gotta play so what the fuck! well actually it's how I do u.s. tours, konking in the boat 'til one of my men comes and gets me so what am I thinking? fucking baka. soundcheck was rough w/this room (lots of brick on the walls, tiles on the floor) and even w/it now full of bodies, still pretty "roller rink" so we gotta work it right, keep tight and watch the boominess shit. I blow some small clams cuz of these nerve issues but at least keep the keel in the water. the bar's not too far and there's yammering from there yonder but lots of focus still from the kind folks. I think the sound sitch maybe to the jesi gig in italy last week (yes, this is the second of the four weekends we're doing for the tour) but the big difference is me being much more together for my fratelli and the gig-goers... man, that jesi gig was a pants-shitter for me. anyway, here in the now I blow a clam in 'pert-near the same place in "verse IX" - can you believe? the lights are crazy but I can see the frets cuz of the markers, I must have a foible in my fucking head I have to take care of. it seems every tune got a little clam in it somewhere blown by me so I can't say it was clamless but then it was good gig cuz we kept the flow good and maybe the only thing fratello stefano said when we finished is that fratello andrea need in this sitch some more drama and drive in his voice - miss hiyori later confirmed his voice being kind nano (tiny) compared to us other two... I think we did good though and there was much kindness from gig-goers, them really wanting the encore. flannel though is already stretched out again - sure wish I could wash it... we play exactly one hour, looking at my watch I see 1:04 am, ain't that at trip?
good talks w/the folks, lots of nice cats and face-to-face for first good talk w/jan-burt who I've "known" for a while - he gives me a sister's brother's daughter live recording he made - he's seen me play twice in tokyo. there's lot of good dutch cats who talk w/me. one lady had my missingmen tom and raul over along w/lou barlow when they did a euro tour w/them. I guess lou fell down some stairs of hers and got all banged up, damn. lou's one of my favorite singers in the punk scene, him and gary floyd - did I mention him recently? I am fucking baka. no peter from vera but I ask about him much.
time to konk, we go to the "hotel" part of this place which is a small hallway that connects to a little theatre if you kept going through the next door. it's got a head one side and the konk room w/five bunkbeds on the other, very comfortable. on the way jan-burt shows us his prac pad (yeah, there's prac pads here too plus artist spaces) which is pretty much the same size as the one I've had in my pedro town for the last twentysix years but maybe better dimensions - mine used to be the shitter part of the officer's head at the old for macarthur. anyway, I get into my nightwear and konk quick and hard, fuck am I tuckered.
sunday, february 24, 2013 - amsterdam, netherlands
We waked up at 11 and we were invited for break fast by Jelle who's the booking agent for Hugh Cornwell, the ex leader of the Stranglers. They're house is inside the squat, in the newer area, and it consists in one big rooms a bedroom and a little bathroom. It is a very strange house, it looks like something in between an office and a proper house. Jelle and his wife were very kind, we spent about an hour there, chatting and eating. We left ORKZ at about 12, there was no traffic so arrived in Amsterdam at 15:30 at the venue OCII.
OCII, is a nice squat, I like it a lot. It is one of the Amsterdam old squats from the late 70's early 80's. It has a very disctinctive wooden facade, it reminded me a bit of an Austrian or Sud Tirol (link) house. I played there in 2009 with Machinefabriek, an experimental music guitarist based in Rotterdam.
Sjoerd is one of the guy who is part of OCII. He is a very nice guy. He was at the venue when we arrived at the place. He helped us to uload the van and he prepared some coffee for us while we were checking our emails (each one on his/her computer staring at the screen...).
Carlos, the booking manager who booked this show, arrived later in the afternoon. He's been working with Mike since the early 80's. He does booking for Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr. and Cat Power nowdays. Carla Bozulich, with whom I recently recorded with for her next solo album, told me about Carlos. It is a pleasure to meet him, Mike told us about him a lot, and he loves him. We chilled out a bit, then it was time for soundcheck, with the soundman Greg.
The other band on the bill was the Bent Moustache, and it is the band of Ajay a sound engineer born in England but who lives in Amsterdam for many years. After a while I realized I met him in Verona, when he was touring with the american band Dead Medows. He worked with a lot of great musicians and bands during the years. Their soundcheck is very long, as they are 7 (guitar, drums, bass, two brass, keyboard and voice) and the stage is not so big, and they finish while we were already eating our dinner based on chicken peas, salad and rice. The bent moustache started playing at 9:30 pm. They played a three long songs set, Their music has kraut rock influences where the rhythm section was keeping a mid tempo beat while guitar, keyboard and reeds were floating around it. I liked it a lot, especially the drummer, who I met after the concert and he is only 17, half of my age!
We started playing at 10. It turned to be a good show, and after I spoke with a lot of great people: Max, a 24 years old guy who lived for a while in South California and played with Briant Bjorn from Kyuss and then moved to China for three years. He told me he started making music inspired by Mike's tour diary. He reads it. Hi Max!
After chatting with other friends we went to the hotel at 1:30.
we have Breakfast at Jelle at his wife house. he knows Mike since long time and We go to Amsterdam at Occii. Carlos booked the gig, old Mike friend too. This is the second time i meet Carlos. First time was in 2005 in Rome when i was helping the second men on the italian tour. Raul Morales and Paul Rossler were there. we arrive in Amsterdam early so we stay at Occii long time... i would like to sleep some but i cannot. some great vegan food before concert... then vodka and mate helps me to get some sort of awakening...fuck i am so tired tonight.
The mustache band opens the night. very good i really like them... straight and intense. the drummer is very young 17!.. the girl who plays keyboard looks very young too. Ajay the guitar player is in his forty but still looks very young too. He comes from the states and he married a dutch lady. he has been sound guy for J mascis and Mike some time ago. we met Paul another American guy from Boston which he is living in Amsterdam since 15 years. it is a pleasure to speak with him i also meet three Italian guys who come to the concert. JAn from Groeningen to see us again. very sweet person... again another good night and concert. it seems that now we can comunicate to the people and our joy about playing togheter. you can feel people is having fun with us.
we go sleep in a hotel close. Tomorrow we go to england.
pop at nine and half bells to find what seems like total dark chamber we've konked in... look people, being where it is at my age, it is hard to hold pisses of course there was a pop in the middle of the night and damn if first a pair of goddamn shoes and then a big-sack that I fucking trip over - I gotta tell these guys to leave me a piss trail which don't mean a trail of piss but a clear path in which I can get to the head w/out fucking killing myself. at somehow I made it back though and at nine and a half I figure to just fucking pop, don't know how my body knew that but I set up a chair in the little hallway of this "hotel" part of okrz and chimp fucking diary, 'pert-near looking like a sentry for the fucking head. I'm joined by everyone else at eleven and we each hose down - fuck, three days in a row for me, this might start to be a habit! actually I'm way into it.
at noon a cat I met last night after the gig named jelle comes by to take us over to his pad, he's one of the residents w/his lady adri. they got a nice wonko (dog) named zappa, a veccio like me - I think fourteen years old. only a couple of barks and then he's your best friend for life. jelle's been working w/hugh cornwell, the guy who was the main singer for the stranglers and now solo. I saw the stranglers when they first played the whisky up in west hollywood, I liked that gig and singles they had like "grip" and "five minutes" - bassman was intense, so was that first album. jelle also makes music himself and he's got a 70s gibson grabber bass, the one w/the sliding pickup. adri makes us softboiled eggs and we chow that w/toast and fresh-squeezed orange juice. of course there's a bunch of sugar things like jams, cakes, etc but I can't shovel. there's some cheese though w/a thin slicer and fresh bread - we smelled it in the halls, maybe it's baked here? pretty incredible community, really. fratello ste comments there's nothing like that in italy, he's pretty amazed and so am I. we're most grateful
arien is waiting in the bar to help us load out at one and a half, jelle w/us to guide us through the long corridors - maybe easy to get lost! we pull anchor in a gentle snow - it's cold but it could be worse and full of ice. fratello ste and the wheel, only two hours to amsterdam. I finished chimping all my diary so we have good rap in the boat - damn if we don't have a good rap in the boat every day, diary to chimp or not cuz I love these guys. it's a cold gray amsterdam we find when we arrive, the pad we're playing is called "okii" and a nice cat named stewy is there get things together from the night before. he lets us load in and takes us to a warm upstairs where we all can use the wifi (had none all yesterday) to catch up of email and stuff - I get my work permit information for england printed out even, very kind of him. my old dutch buddy carlos has made the train trip from rotterdam to see me - "dutch dude" carlos and I go back twentyseven years - speaking of which, ten days ago was valentine's day and thirty years before that was the first time I played in this land - it was in this city and at the "paradiso" w/black flag and minutemen... crimony! I remember a little gaggle of I guess fans of nazi saluting giving us nazi salutes but we would not be run off the stage like the band before us was. please understand these clowns were way in the minority, most that crowd was way happening. anyway, back in these days, me and carlos spend a long time catching up w/much MUCH spiel. so good to be w/him, so good!
the opening band for tonight is the bent mustache from these parts but the band's bossman ajay has special version for tonight's gig which includes jos, formerly of the ex and oli from detective instinct whom I've done much bass and spiel for, just getting done w/four little tracks before I left my pedro town for this tour. after soundcheck w/soundman gary (I think he's from glasgow originally) downstairs, a little better sounding than last night's room but in a way, kind of similar. gary's originally from glasgow - there's lot so cats from other lands here. on man named phil is a u.s. expat and gives me a book called "'d' train" by terry wilson (phil's involved w/some beat stuff these days) he signed to me. much respect to him for his kindness. we chow stuff a nice man here makes us that's really healthy: garbonzo beans in spinach, carrots, rice. this place is a squat but nothing on the scale of last night. it's right in town too so it has a nice facade, I hear amsterdam government pays people to keep up nice front so the town has nice image for tourists. lots of volunteers make these places happen, it's a really neat thing seeing people coming together like that. I think though the cycle for this kind of stuff is on the wane though, that's what folks tell me. well, these two pads here in holland for us are happening, I can attest to that.
the bent mustache goes on at nine and a half, I watch their set w/carlos. they're really good, a trombone plus a man on sax and clarinet even. jos is great w/his spiel, real good words. earlier at chow he told me how he felt his band the ex was like minutemen which is a trip cuz that's what me and d. boon thought of them! oli's on the bass, using my amp and the drummerman mees is using fratello andre's kit except for the snare and "blades" (what some dutch guys call symbols). this helps big time w/change over. we're on a quarter after ten but I'm read to go so I talk w/miss sally who's come up from den haag to see the gig w/her man. she's great bass player. I meet a man named max who knows her guitarman and he's got quite a story: he read my tour diary nine years ago and he said he made him wanna come to the u.s. and play w/cats so that's what he did... even said he saw me play in my own pedro town - had he's just in his mid-twenties now, crimony! pretty incredible. a lot of these people in music really amaze me when I think about how much a fucking idiot I was when I was their age... seems like I was a 'tard and grew up so much slower...
ok, time to do our last gig on the continent this tour. our tempo are kind way up there but it's a good spirit in the room, great crowd of folks. I'm kind of nervous wann do good for carlos, jos, miss sally, ajay, oli - actually everyone here! that includes ron gouda who had just helped me move the monitor at me more. for the first time I hear fratello come off the beat a couple of times, I'm wondering if he can hear me good enough but we pull back together - the band really is playing together in a very happening dynamic, I'm really into it. I really like the human component of this gig, really do. phil the expat is dancing up a motherfucking storm right up front. yeah, a lot of dynamic but it's ok. carlos told me he had to get the train back at eleven and he'd miss me cuz we play an hour pretty much close to exact - actually I don't know how we do that. it's a very emotional gig for us, I think - we're getting to that point now more easy, getting over the mechanics for just treading water, you know? miss sally comes on stage w/her rialkkuma phone, I introduce her to my fratelli...
I talk much to the gig-goers after, sign many things and get music from them - very VERY cool folks here. also from the opening band, I spend a long time w/jos and he gives me his "a mix of bricks and valentines" book and I offer up a plan to collaborate w/him where he acts as a conductor... excited to try that, whoa, can't believe it! I talk w/the opening band drummerman mees, hearing from him much wisdom about what he thinks music is and especially the idea of the ensemble. I find out he's fucking seventeen years old! damn is he wise beyond his years, DAMN! very glad to know this, makes me feel more humble which I think is good for someone less younger like me. big hugs again for max, he offers me his '69 eb-3 next time if I need it, yes! what a kind man...I get to talk w/a big man named mike who's dutch but lives in denmark and wants me playing there - I'm thinking 2014 for a real euro tour for the third opera, like 45 town. it'd be good to get to so many pads I couldn't get to before. I talk w/wouter from stoma, he gives me their new album, dig this band. maybe somehow I collaborate w/wouter, he's got some kind of online community he's putting together.
we get to leave our stuff here, there's a 'tel not too far away but it's hard for us to find so stewy helps us out. he's really happening. he says he'll come at the crack of dawn tomorrow so we can load up for the hellride to england via the chunnel. I can't remember this pad's name... damn, it was just a few hours ago! I am a fucking baka.
monday, february 25, 2013 - brighton, england
We had to leave early in the morning in order to be in Brighton at around 4pm. We woke up at 7. Ste drove all the way down to the Eurotunnel, while I was I sleeping, then I drove to Brighton from Folkstone.
We arrived at the venue at around 15:30-4pm. We loaded our gear at the venue, The Prive Albert, a beautiful old pub with a concert room on the first floor. It looks like nothing has changed for the last 100 years inside, except for the posters hanged on the wall. We soon met Sam Dook, the guy who wrote "Il Guardiano Del Faro" ("The Lighthouse Keeper") together with Mike a few years ago, and who lives in Brighton. We spent some time with him, walking around the centre of Brighton in search for food and adapters (we all forgot the adapters for amps and computers!!). Sam plays in several projects, but the main one is called The GO! Team. Really nice cat!
Later in the afternoon we meet Colin, the promoter of the show, and Steve, the soundman of Prince Albert. We did a very quick soundcheck, in 20 minutes we were done. There were two other bands on the bill: Headquarters andSoul Punch. Headquarters played first. They played loose dubby songs. Soul Punch played second. They play odd instrumental music, with Beefheart influences and Slint. I really liked these two bands!
Before the show I read the news from italian elections and I got a little depressed. I'm also a little tired from travelling and playing and a lack of sleeping, so I go on stage a little distracted, and this didn't really helped...the political situation in Italy is fucked up, damn stupid italian I would say, but what can I do, not considering myself an italian? Damn... Anyway we got on stage and luckily Stefano and Mike are in good shape and I find support from them. I blewed claims, especially on Joyfuzz, I totally forgot to bring my tamburine for this song, I was expecting another song, but I jumped in in another part of the song. Damned I think I was so tired I missed Mike's eye contact... It turned to be a good show, people reacted positively, and I think the spirit of the group was really great!
Later on we chat a bit with Sam and then we go to Colin's home in Worthing, 16 miles from Brighton, with his lovely family. He has a nice house, full of records, as he was working in a record shop and he still selling records on discogs. We had some drinks before going to bed, some whiskey and beer. Colin's soon, Bernie, knows a friend of mine who lives in London, who was playing with the band To The Ansaphone - funny, small world!
we wake up pretty early with not much sleeping on our shoulders. load in the van under some little snow and we drive toward Calais. I drive till the tunnel then as we cross the custom board and we go in the vagon i die in the back seat.When we arrive in england of course is raining. Fratello Andrea get a little bit of hard time driving on the left side of the road but we arrive with success at the Prince Albert in Brighton.There is a Bansky just on the side wall of the venue: The two Policemen kissing ... they put it under a glass. There are also some star wars murales and a pigeon and some others. we need to buy the plug in adaptors for England so we take a little walk and i recognize the area cause i have been playing in Brighton couple of years ago with In Zaire one of my band. and it ends that i buy the adaptors in the same place i have been two years ago... just a tiny little shop.Brighton seems very good. we meet brother Sam Dook. we play "il guardiano del faro" which is our version of the lighthouse keeper , that Sam composed selecting some Mike licks from a very long impro sessions . Mike proposed us to make our version of Sam composition since the first time we toured italy in 2009. we really liked it and so we also recorded " Il guardian del faro" on our la busta gialla.I really like Sam. i think would be great to have some contribution by him on the second il sogno del marinaio record. Two others band share the stage with us tonight : The Soul Punch and the Hed Quarters. both very interesting. The Hed Quarters have a lot of Beefheart in their licks mixed up with some post punk tension. they are really a good band. the two guitarist also play in "Shit and Shine". I realize i have seen one of them in Italy at the "three days of struggle" a festival organized in Vittorio Veneto during the Christmas time by my friends Nico Vascellari, Pj and Giovanni Cane di Coda. very Nice people. We play good and Brighton people is really focused on all the three sets. They are enthusiast bout tonight.Then we go sleep at Colin 's house, the promoter, near the sea. His wife Lizzy and their son and daughter Berny and Daisy are with us. They have been to the concert. Before going at their pad we stop for a wrap falafel...mmm... so good.then we go to their house when we have some chatting more... Mike-san dress his Rirakuma pijama so it is a time for a whisky more. Colin had a record shop and now still sells records through web so everyone of them knows a lot about music and record. Their Hospitality is really amazing and warm and it is so nice to be here in a real house ... it is not the usual "cold" hotel room you just want to sleep in. In the room Andrea and i go to sleep there is a column with a lot of action figures and crazy figurine characters all melted togheter. Trippy before sleeping...
pop seven bells, have to pull anchor in twentyfive minutes. hose off and gulp down shit coff from freeze dry tiny sack. elevator taking forever so I hobble down four fights of stairs, nice seventy percent grade or something, good for cojo w/yowai ginocchio. it's still dark and wet but nothing coming down... yet. what is travelling and travelling fast is fuckers on bicycles, wailing on it - yeah, there's cars and trams too but the bikes are intense, so glad at least there's paths for them - when the fuck are us in the u.s. gonna get more hip to that? it's only a couple blocks of hobbling for me, I am grateful. stewy is waiting for us at the venue, the tail light for his bike still on. what a great cat, has real coff for us. a group of like a half dozen young u.s. guys come charging by like idiots and hollering - maybe right off the train? I hear our (meaning land where I'm from) accent, I wanna hide sometimes - I look over at stewy and am embarrassed... oh well.we load out in twelve minutes, I'm very proud of our team though load around the path of the land of the bikes in full morning haul-ass, fucking scary... fratello ste takes the wheel as snow starts coming down. bye bye amsterdam.
on the highway south to coquelles in france (near calais) is where we're headed, get febo-like (you know deep-fried chingaderos put in little doors where you put the money in to open) croquette at fuel pad/coff stop for fratello andre who soon after konks anyway, fratello ste never got out of the boat. I also get bacon w/boil eggs slices sandwich cuz it's got an english flag on the package - why? maybe to get ready for our next gig pad? maybe... cross into belgium about 9:20 am, the town of gent at eleven and a half - it was here where I had my first times w/carlos (remember him from last night in amsterdam?) - there was a chow pad where me, carlos and the sonic youths were shoveling at in ghent and guitarman lee kept feeding me johnny walker red. I kept asking the waiter where the head was us and he kept ignoring me so I stood up, turned around and pissed in a planter right near that a plant growing out of it. I remember thurst walking me out and to the konk pad right near and putting me in showing w/all my clothes and jacket on. I woke up very relaxed the next day my clothes 'pert-near all dry. that was trippy. I did have regrets for embarrassing my friends though, very much so. I get bare-chested so I don't sweat to death. we cross into france around twenty after eleven, we're good and early and can even take the train before the one we booked. the way the chunnel works is you drive your vehicle up onto a train and turn the motor off. you actually travel under the english channel in your own vehicle. it's the first time for my fratelli but I've done it a bunch. a great thing is clearing customs before you leave so the work permit thing is real quick, we're the only ones in the pad and I'm the only one who has to do that kind of paperwork cuz of e.u. - the borderman asks about what I'm doing and I tell him about il sogno del marinaio, he calls andrea and stefano "the lads" prolly cuz I look like their dad. he's very nice and knows about my many crossings - I tell him about work w/the stooges. his partner says he went to festivals in the 70s, they're very kind to me. speaking of stooges, I'm told new album comes out april 30, just a couple of months from now... sometimes I find out about stuff a little later than others!
folkestone in england near dover is where we pop out of the chunnel and head towards brighton but it ain't direct cuz of the way the roads are - actually we gotta fucking hit the london ring road and then when just north of brighton, go south their otherwise it's tiny-ass shit that'll have us taking forever. we get into brighton around three and a half and find a gray brighton but at least not raining. the pad we're playing is called "prince albert" and it's right near the train station - I've been here via the train from london on days off in between stooges gigs to do recording w/brother sam and our cuz proj. he's 'pert-near done mixing our first album and I can't wait to get working on the stuff we've done for round II. the idea behind cuz is to do jams and then use that for source for samples to make tunes from - you know how folks sample stuff to make tunes from? well, we wanna do that but use us as our source material! I love sam big time, he's a wonderful cat. he helps my fratelli find adapters so we can use the plugs for ac power they use here, we need them for the rest of the gigs of the tour and were baka to not think of that when we were doing prac back in bologna. he helps us solve that hell. he also helps w/chow though the burrito pad (yeah, he says there's a burrito pad in this town!) is closed, some kind of wrap thing is procured. I like this word better than trying to call that cold whatever stuff they try slinging in the u.s. w/out any mexican taste whatsoever a "burrito" - some kind of boss comes upstairs (yeah, we had to load up stairs cuz we play on this pub's second floor) but says some other man needs to "deal" w/us and not him cuz uh... well, he has a hat or whatever. steve the soundman's here though and he's most happening and willing to be our fourth man tonight, respect. soon as we're 'pert-near set up a boss real enough to us arrives, he's the gigboss colin. he's very cool people - sets up a table of chow for us which means real good bread w/salami that's got pepper on the edges and "gerkins" but these are pickles that are sweet and not sour how I like but fuck it, I chow some and anyway, they're tiny.
the opening bands arrive for check - we say to let them use our stuff so changeover is easy and well, they didn't bring much anyway. I'm so glad my fratelli are generous and not uptight about that - it's a great thing. three's too many stuck up people in this racket, such a relief to find cats w/real heart and not front only. both these cats sound great and can't wait to see them tonight.
it was hellride for us so we're tired but the gig starts early so we get on at ten pm (there's curfew an hour after that), I get chair right up front to see soul punch which brother sam tells me has his buddy's sister on drums and this wild drummer from charlotte field now doing bass named ashley - I really like his style which coming from way but the wrap-around-thumb is actually what I do sometimes though I don't do gigs much sitting down (except dos ones) - I really like the guitarman's chording and phrasing, really good band. ashley was like I feel about myself at times, insecure but man, him and his band were really inspiring for me. same w/the cats following them, they're called headquarters and I'm digging their sound too. real sad about the keyboardman's machine failing him, fuck. wish we would've brought a keyboard so we could provide a bravo for him but he's out of the race. fuck. the band plays on, the drummer has got amazing feel and damn if there ain't beefheart in the guitars - bassman phil digging the lombardi bass, it sounds happening and punchy, yeah I dig the lombardi, dig it big time. so we got two fired up bands firing us up, what more could a chump ask for?
I'm waiting for the stage change in the little hall and there's the funanori boss ms kaori. whoa.
ten, it's time, thanking everyone, bring it. nervous and clamming, fuck, the first stuff under fratello ste's first solo is totally where... where? I bear down and get the fuck w/it. shit, almost fell apart but I rally good. fratello ste tells the folks about brother sam writing "the lighthouse keeper" and it's righteous him dedicating it to him. fratello andre has a moment when we're into "joyfuzz" but he ain't - his recovery though is most musical however, especially w/the "deer in the headlights" fucking place he found himself in. I'm sweating bullets, whoa... hard for me to see, my eyes full and flooded. tonight I have good feel for the tuscany bass and don't need to look much. man, I'm trying, really trying but hope I don't try to hard to make my fucking heart fail... or pop the fucking knee. whoa, the air out of me and 'pert-near crying in the stooges tune... "we've been separated" - these just ain't words, they are shaking me from inside - these are soul punches... I'm a fucking headcase! thank god my fratelli are strong for me, grazie dio.
many kind well-wishes from the gig-goers, wish I wasn't above them but at least the stage ain't too high. I get to introduce ms kaori to fratello andrea and fratello stefano. a bassman and his lady show me the baby she's big and heavy w/cuz he's gonna soon come. they thank me for the bass I soaked him in.
we get to leave the gear here, righteous. we get to talk w/brother sam, his sister (who's a painter), danny and vinny. it's close up time soon though, too fucking soon, damn.
we shove off w/gigboss colin and his family to his pad where we're konking, the way I tour in u.s., alright. him and his family has us follow them to a kebab pad where I have a real good shawarma (sic) and we go west along the coast through hove and then worthing where they live. they got a righteous cat keeping one of the bed's warm. the room where son bernie lived is the record archive, whoa, tons! these folks are beautiful and I get in the nightwear quick to join in some spiel but it is kind of late for a monday so I might be last down but I sure am grateful and well, a bit lit up but what went down tonight. we've made it to england!
tuesday, february 26, 2013 - london, england
I wake up at 9:30, as I had to move the car we parked in front of Colin's house. Colin prepared a big breakfast for us, and we ate all together while chatting and watching terrible reality shows on his TV. This reality show was about this junky man who destroyed his family and the family was trying to give him a second chance. What a sick plot! After a while we said the hello to Colin and his family, great people.
At 12 we went back to Prince Albert pub, were we loaded the van. Next to the backdoor there is a Banksy graffiti, now a banksy art work, covered by a plastic screen, so people cannot break the wall and steel it. We left the venue quite soon, towards the next venue, the Lexington in the north-east side of London. Luckily we didn't find much traffic, so we arrived there at around 15:40. The parking situation in London is terrible, we pay 10 pounds for parking the van for only two hours. The Lexington is at the corner of two big streets, and consists in a big pub on the ground floor, with a very high ceiling with riffles and animal skulls hanged on the walls, and a concert room on the first floor. We started loading in the gear through a narrow spiral stairs, which is not easy, as we have to carry heavy weights. Sergio is the names of the soundman, he is new there, but when he starts working on the soundcheck I realize that he's there because he knows how to work the room. After the soundcheck each one of us start working on our computers, till the dinner time. I got two sausages and meshed potatoes, a really good English pub meal. After we got the confirmation for the show on the next day at Southampton, as a support for the American band Maps and Atlases; the deal is no money, but we could be on the road towards Worcester, were we got to play within two days, and not spending more time and money in London, which is awfully expensive.
There were two other bands in the bill: dogflu and manfeet. I couldn't see dogflu as I was chatting with two Italian friends: Bruno Zamborlin and Marco Platrinieri. Bruno is a braniac, he is doing a phd at Goldsmith University. He developed an instrument called Moges a controller for electronic instruments. He is developiung the Mooges for Iphone, while doing art installations and his dissertation. He also plays with the London band Plaid these days. Marco Paltrinieri has been living in London for many years now. He does art installations and he was part of the band To the Ansaphone. Then I went upstairs to see the second band Manflu. The combination of the charachters on stage is really interesting: Willie the drummer, is a New Yorker, with a strong voice and attitude; the singer Asa, is from Kazakistan (dressed with sexy hot pants); the keyboard player is Japanese she called Saki ans she plays 80's synth pads; the bass player Sebastian is french with big moustache and his bass playing is strong and funk; Pit on guitar has a more vintage character.
When I started playing I realized that the sound was twice louder than in the soundcheck, what a difference. The atmosphere was intense, people were waiting for this show, and I could feel a good tension from Mike and Ste a little scariness I had great time on stage. People enjoyed the show, so we played Funhouse as an anchor even tonight. After the gig we chatted with some people, with Natascha and Lee (musician and caretaker), and people started drinking hard, so a guy passed away outside and an ambulance came in front of the Lexington. There was a man who told he was italian too, whose name was Pizzo, "like... pizzo, you know?" he said making the italian gesture of money, scratching thumb and index. Pizzo is the payment of mafia's blackmailing. Damn. Mike has been busy chatting with Jose, a long haired guy who seemed quite drunk. Delia, the promoter, gave a bottle of good bourbon to Mike. At Lexington they have a big selection of bourbons, something like 40 different brands, impressive.
We left our gear at the venue, then we drove to the hotel, which was not that far. At the hotel we had to deal with parking issue, wow, what a stressing issue! We parked the van on a side street, but the deal was to wake up at 8:20 an move the van inside the parking lot of the Travelodge hotel, which was, at 2 am, completely full...we go to Mike's room where we had a sip of whiskey before going to bed.
we wake up. shower, and a wonderful breakfast at Colins House : fruits, marmite, coffee and orange juice. Then we go back to the Prince Albert. we load the van -fuck the room is upstairs... the stairs are always not good when you have two tube amps and three cabinets, the drums and ecc ecc - actually i have not speak yet about our gears - We are using Lombardi Amps -italians amps- ...not very famous nowadays but they always been very good. Actually they invented the concept of monitors on stage. They are doing now all new handmade amps: Mike is using the so called "NONNO" lb1: is a 200 watt tube amps, two channels one more bright and the other one more smooth. Two speakers cabinet (every cabinet is 18" with a 10" cones on the same axes). and tuscany bass with split coils p precision pick up I am using a modified head from the 70's -80 watt 2 channels- this modified head is a prototype their are going to produce soon! and i use a 2 x12" cabinet (kind of old... i think i need a new cabinet) and my 66 jazzmaster with Novak jp 90 pick ups , volume pedal, distortion, delay, a dyna comp and this crazy soundwave breakdown effect. my bow too. Andrea is using a 67 Ludwig drums sets and
We go to London. i drive. traffic congestion in London as usual. what a city. so beautifull but really hard to live from my point of you. very expensive and too much traffic for these tiny little roads. They needs so many rules and controls to make it works that you can feel everyone is most of the time under a lot of pressure. Much better if you do not come with a Van. Anyway is a great town. My parents actually met in London i the 70's. they were living and working here for 5 - 6 years. My father worked at hotel receptions, and my Mum as a bus hostess. Giacomo, my dad, is from Sardinia and my mum,Tiziana, from Mantova -north of italy-. He wanted to go back in Italy. So they moved to Genoa where i was born. My mum is still in love with England.
So we arrive at Lexington when we play tonight. The boss at the venue is a very nice woman Delia. She is cool and very kind in guesting us. Sergio is the sound guy, he comes from Chile and is leaving in London since 12 years. Very good sound tonight.
All the three bands sounds very good. i was really impressed by the first band... Dog feet, very young... kind of birthday party... they have been intense. i like the second band too. Their guitar player Pit has a very good sensibility for guitar sounds.
The venue is really packed. The people are really into our set. listening focused and really supportive. i was expecting a cold audience in London but it is actually the real opposite. i feel London is definitely our best concert till now.
Kasha and Adam offer me a good ale - i love these beers- , we speak with Marco and Bruno two italian friends of us that are living in London, Lee and Natasha wants to offer us a lot stuff to drink... we meet a lot of people. Just before going to the hotela guy fell down just out of the venue cause of a mix of Ketamine and alcohol. Ketamine is not a drug you take to go around town at all. It is an anestetich basically and if you go above a certain dosage has strong flickering-psychedelic effect and basically does not allow your body to move. Especially is really dangerous if mixed with alcohol. Always sad to see someone demolished that way.
We go sleep in a sad travelodge. Kind Delia shows us the road. the Black Man at the reception helps us with the parking he is very nice and kind too. i am impressed by his smile. a whisky togheter shower and konk.
pop at nine bells, colin's got some coff going and the tv in the kitchen going full blast w/an england version of "jerry springer" kind of high quality material. he's a great cat, very interesting and knows a lot about music from old punk days. big respect to him. his son bernie too. the whole family so very kind to us. I don't chow anything but the french press coff he's got going is happening. I'm the last to try and get clean which means when I try the good and long tub, expecting a righteous soak, I get no hot water and kind of freeze a little bit 'til I let go the thought of hotness ever being a possibility. good long tub though, respect.
we pull anchor at noon and take a different way back to brighton - not by the sea but more north. it's gray out but at least not raining. we gotta get back to the pad we played last night and get our equipment. remember we're on the wrong side of the road w/a vehicle that's got the steering wheel on the wrong side and andrea 'pert-near do what I did before: come out of an intersection switched over but he gets us right quick before any nightmare - it's easy to happen. good quick thinking by fratello andre. there's some college students doing some kind of prac while we get the gear down the stairs and whence we loaded in yesterday and damn if I don't really but some wear on my knees trying to help out... fuck, I'm just that weak (yowai). damn, I wanna help my fratelli so much but - if I get real hurt I'll be not just a failure at loading but even worse as a burden and I can't let that happen - must be careful, baka watt. there's a banksy on the wall of this pad outside near where you load in/out, wonder if it's original. much better piece that the prince albert portrait.
all loaded up, we shove off north towards london, fratello stefano at the helm, we gotta do a turn around when he misses a get-off on these round-about trips. not for nothing though, we get shots of the country side, pretty much gray cuz of the sky but pretty in its own way. we fueled up, 1.40 england pounds for a liter (about $8.50/gallon u.s.) and I get two of these things called scotch eggs which is a hardboiled egg from a chicken which has sausage around it and a breaded coating that's been deepfried. I didn't know you could chow them cold but the counterman says you can so I do and I'm into it. the "costa" coff though is 'pert-near like it's been squirted straight out the culo and I gag. I chimp diary.
fifty or so miles and the navigatori tomtom puts us across the thames via the blackwall tunnel and we get into the angel part of london (kind of northeast) about three. this pad's called "the lexington" and the gigboss deliah lets us load-in upstairs where the gig happens. pretty happening room. downstairs is a pub that's kind of different cuz of steer/elk skulls, muskets and western rifles on the bulkheads - plus like forty bourbons! yeah, later I meet the owner stacy and she turns me onto some short batches that are happening, turns out she goes to kentucky a bunch and really knows this stuff big time - I never seen a bourbon pad in england, trippy. we do soundcheck w/soundman serge who's a great cat and he's into not using compressors and gates in role of our fourth man. respect to him! he's from uruguay. london's very cosmopolitan. the band playing before us is called manflu and the singer's from khazakstan, keyboard from japan, guitar from england and my old buddy willy from brooklyn. willy's got fiftyeight foot flat bottom boat he runs on the canals, he does boiler work for a job and came here like twenty years ago - no england accent still. he's a real good cat and I love him, solid cat. I meet jimmy, singerman for dogfeet and he's very cool people. I get two bottles of chili and nietzche book from one of the gig-goers, so very kind, same w/leni, who brings me one big bottle. hot sauces w/flavor, a very good thing in my opinion, great tool in fight against no flavor while shoveling... no burn/no learn.
jimmy and his band start the gig off w/a mindblow. all young guys, drummie on just two floor toms that thump like a motherfucker. guitarman losing string after string w/his wash, yeah - reminds me of d. boon, hardcharger! bassman using the lombardi amp and working it good - jimmy's pacing, pacing backwards! really good set from these cats, really good. manflu next and I'm up close like for jimmy's group, in front of bassman sebastian. they got keyboard as well as the stuff us other bands have and they got their own sound too which is so happening for the integrity of the expression trip, you know? it ain't a army of clones. aza the singerlady is most singular, oh my god! pip/saki/willy/sebastian put up quite a springboard of sounds to launch this woman, quite a trip, quite! oh man. "russian prostitute rock" ok... their words, they have balls like churchbells. we really have a happening setup for our set, can't thank these folks enough, respect. curfew's at eleven so we jam quick to get set up. good sharing "il nonno" w/everyone to help that. we get the gig going and man, what righteous vibe from the gig-goers, knobs from soundman serge - fratello ste gives him props over the mic. we bring the set like one big tune - I think my experiences w/my three operas has really rubbed off on me even though our set is separate distinct tunes, it's blended up in its performance sort of in that other format I've been working... so kind of fratelli andrea and stefano to bear w/me regarding this. we've turned pieces into conversation between the instruments, so happening the folks are open to it - big time focus, no yammer, flowing the respect - trippy how you think of stereotype maybe of what some might think of cats going to gigs in this london town but the reality of what's here now w/us and these folks is not some jive shine-on but truly them being kind to let us bring it. I bow deep.
lots of good raps - whoa, BIG TIME stooges gig-goer rob parteger's here! how many times have I shared the stage w/him when ig asks for dancers to come and join us and he's like the first one up?! the man, wow. so glad he gets to me and my fratelli - he says he digs it and his words count big for me, he's got a perspective of me very few I know have! whoa, big hugs. jose too - I dedicated encore for him cuz I thought maybe he wouldn't be here but he made miguelito so happy by bringing me hugs and kyoko too. I get to have not enough long spiel w/them but happy I got some. many gig-goers give me good word, so very kind, so very kind. crimony.
deliah guides us to 'tel nearby after a while folks visiting the veccio in the chair, reseting the hiza. she was so nice to us our whole time at the gig, good good people. we were give a bottle of maybe not the best bourbon but that kind, we share it while talking about our music journey this tour, stuff we've learned and we're learning. I love these guys.
wednesday, february 27, 2013 - southampton, england
I woke up at 8:20 in order to move the van. I was still sleepy, and I had to walk through a massive amount of Italian secondary school students. I moved the van inside the parking lot in about 40 seconds, I found the only park available, i was lucky, otherwise outside was 10 pounds every two hours. I came upstairs and slept for one more hour. Then Stefano and I woke up and we got ready for leaving towards London centre. Mike was invited to to a radio show at XFM radio, a well known radio station. We had to buy the congestion card, which allowed us to go into the city centre. IT was not easy, 'cause not every shop has it, and after rushing here and there a guy told me I could do it on line. At the hotel there were computers with a connection for only 1 pound every 10 minutes...Then we drove in London centre. The appointment with John Kennedy, the conductor of the program Xposure at XFM, was at 11 in Leicestersquare. It was obviously impossible to find any parking spot, so Mike and I went to do the program and in the meantime Stefano and Hiyori drove around the centre of London. I actually never thought even to think about driving in London centre...Mike and I wonder around a bit in Leicester square, because there were no number on the buildings. Finally, right after the Shakespeare statue, we find the radio's headquarter. We meet John, he seems a nice guy. The conversation was an hour long. John Kennedy knows a lot of music, and after a few atempts he could also pronounce "il sogno del marinaio" properly. Right after the interview, we meet Stefano and Hiyori again, and we drove back to the Lexington. We loaded out our gear in the van, while Billy Bragg's band was setting up for that evening show...
We left London quickly, towards Southampton. We arrived in Southampton before the opening of the venue, so we went to see the pier and the walls next to it. We drove back to the venue, just on time to meet the other bands, Maps and Atlases,Bewilderand Farewell J.R., who were setting up. We had a quite nice evening, even if it was a little difficult because the stage and the venue in general was quite small and there were four bands on the bill. Bewilder a local band which was playing a emo mellow rock, with a taste of scremo. Then we went on stage, we had half an hour so we reduced the set. It was an ok show, I'm glad that in the audience there were people who went to the Brighton show two days before, so they followed us!! Mike, the soundman, is a gigantic man, he compressed a bit too much my tom and floor tom, but Hiyori told me that there was a good sound, so that's good. Farewell J.R. played love songs, very drammatic songs I have to say, sad sad love songs! One of the guys of the band is really interested in knowing more about Berlin, but he has a venue in Cork.Maps and Atlases play an weird combinations of intricate guitar riffs, polymetric rhythms, strong drumming, folk/americana voice, heavy bass lines. Quite interesting band I have to say, warm music but with a strange cold feeling. Right after their show we are ready to go to a travelodge hotel on the way to Worcester, were we had the last sip of whiskey left from the other day...
Andrea wakes up at 8 to move the van -you know "London take it easy human rules"- at 10 we meet to go for an interview at XFM close to trafalgar and leicester square. We just figure out that the radio is 3 miles away... we are late and Mke cannot walk fast at all with his damaged knee. i can see is always struggling with this and make him suffers cause ha cannot do all the things he would like to do. So we decide to take the van. The entrance for the traffic congestion cost 10 pounds and basically there are not many possibility to park a van . So i still keep driving with Hiyori while Andrea and Mike go for the interview. i try to stop in what it seems to look safe and not in the middle of the coglioni-cojones but a "take it easy" policeman arrives kind of immediately..lukly he does not tip us. so we keep moving and we stop in some park for residents for a while hoping some "take it easy" will not arrive. Miss Hiyori and i agree on the fact that a taxi would have been probably a better solution. Maybe expensive thought. In the meanwhile we speak about Japan and Italy and music. she does not like Japan and i understand the why of her position. Every place have their good and bad and you end to be very critical about the country you come from even if you still love it. i have to say i'm really fascinating by Japan and their culture. i hope to go there soon.
Mike and Andrea come back, we pass chinatown with the van. We go back to the lexington to load the van. Mike is the guardiano for the van and Andrea, Hiyori and I walk the stairs. "Oh Stairs i love you so much! please more of you". we do it ok. Finally we can have something to eat and a coffee and we go to Southampton. in Southampton we walk a little bit up the city wall and we breath a little bit of open air. Finally a shy Sun shines the Sky... the color of the clouds is always intense and beautiful... so many tones of greys here... i like england skies.
Tonight we play with others three band. it would have been a day off for us but throw Mick Roe they kindly offered us to share the stage for the night for half an hour. Mike the sound guy as a lot of work because of all of us.
i have to say i am very tired tonight. It is a good gig but i not really have the time to enjoy it deeply as the others gig... some problem with my amp too and the 30min flows very quick compared to all the "casino" of the night - though it 's always great to play with Mike and Andrea... they are great.
we go sleep in another romantic travelodge 30 min away along the motorway, shower and 1,2,3 sleep.
pop at eight and half which was the time my fratelli said they'd pop and move the boat cuz of last night's parking sitch - damn, I could've done that. it's gray looking out the window - I see the boat, they got it done. I sure am grateful, my fratelli work really hard and never bellyache, much respect to them. no internet at this 'tel free so I gotta use chump-ass coin machine in lobby... maybe fifty grade school kids from italy for maybe their first trip to england ever - intense but ok, I'm glad they can have a visit - I want everyone to visit each other's lands, more and more... we need more first-hand experiences of us tripping on each other and see how it gets done w/out preconceived prejudices, that's what I'm thinking!
we've been invited to do radio show spiel - john kennedy at xfm wants us aboard so first we get a ten pound "congestion permit" (middle part of london uses this to cut down on the traff) and then get down to the capital radio building by the shakespeare statue that's getting restored at leicester square. of course no parking in these parts so fratello ste will have to do what I did in toulon and just keep rolling, damn but what can do? fratello andrea comes w/me and we'll make it a twofer for john. "capital radio" is a clash song I had to learn back in december for a strummervile benefit - did I write about that already? anyway, john tells me the story of that tune being a protest song against capital radio cuz it was pretty much jive and was trying to come on as something happening. john's hip to a bunch of stuff, a very interesting man really great to talk w/and being so kind to us both. what a great thing him having us aboard, such a genuine man w/an open mind to my music journey and me now playing w/my fratelli in il sogno del marinaio. this man is the real deal, that's what d. boon would say. fucking amen right.
we say bye and thanks and get back to our boat which has been doing both roaming and bolt from the cops w/fratello andrea and miss hiyori. yesterday we got the word from bookerman mick in dublin that we can fill the only hole we had in our tour sched (which was tonight) w/a support slot in southampton. we jumped on it, fuck yeah - let's do it, brother mick! fratello ste still at the wheel, once we clear london we head southwest, it's about eighty miles away and is a harbor town. once on the motorway, chow "brunch" at a roadside chump area called "moto" - the chow pad is actually called "eat & drink company" and this brunch consists of two fried eggs, some thick fries, two sausages and some baked beans. not a lot to fuck up and I don't get sick so it's ok. I also used the "yucateca" chili sauce brother sam gave me in brighton to bring it something. I chimp diary 'til we get into town, a port - hey, first sun in five days! we go down to the water and hoof around some medieval wall stuff, remaining parts of oldage they've preserved from the days not soon after when william conqueror came through here on his way back to france and then changes up to the second world war. of course there's a big-ass mall nearby but also the old freemason lodge. we get to "joiners" which is the pad that we're play around five. it looks like it was an old hotel. the bossman ricky says it was a whorehouse in the forties but started being a venue in 1968. so kind of ricky making this last minute gig happen for us, so kind. his partner danny is a trip, lots of mota jokes - I like him. later I think he tells me his name is "onion" - I think I heard right. the soundman mike is very cool people, saw me play w/the stooges in hyde park last year and wanted to know why we were louder than the band after us - why?!
actually this gig belongs to chicago band maps & atlases and they sure are cool people - cuz of them ricky letting us on and letting me chow the rotelli pasta and salad here for them (handmade and real good) but also cuz of just rapping and hanging out w/them is a kick... I kind of windbag (so embarrassing - I admit to them but they forgive me), I do get to see local openers bewilder and dig that - pretty inspired for our set, thanks guys!
we got only thirty minutes which is pretty fair and really kind of everyone letting us going on second - we didn't even ask and would've went on first. we actually do the first part of our regular set and then pull some out to make sure we don't bogart on anyone's time. the gig-goers are way focused and kind to us, damn, HUGE respect to them. we ain't used to the second part of this shortened set but I think still handle it real good and I have a hoot, a very grateful watt thanks everyone - hearing bands new to me, playing a town new to me, I am truly grateful, yep. and w/that hole in our tour plugged too, happening!
back to windbagging w/the chicago cats, I only see some of farewell j.r but talk w/their twentytwo year old managerman george, he says he signed a band to a major label when he was twentytwo. anyway, I really like the singerman nick and wish I'd seen more. it's the map & atlas turn and w/them on stage, I connect w/them now as a gig-goer and not just a windbagger - their turn. damn if rob parteger didn't come to see this gig too (he was at the london one last night also), wow, that's something else. that's really kind of him.
bossman ricky and his partner danny onion help us load out quick after big byes and hugs to everyone, very happening unexpected night for us, righteous. we head north for about fifty minutes north to barton stacey and a "travel lodge" chump roadside 'tel and finish off the rest of that bourbon, fratello ste having to miss that and konk. his health is much better now though, so grateful for that.
thursday, february 28, 2013 - worcester, england
On the way to Worcester I drove in the first part of the travel. We had some spare time, so we could go to Stonehenge. I never went to this place before. It was cold, the wind was blowing and it was cold, while sheepwere wondering around. Apart from the excitement of being in such a great place, I really loved this moment, which was the first window of the tour where we were all together doing something else. After visiting Stonehenge I slept a bit in the van before arriving, so I practically woke up in front of the venue, Marr's Bar. The owner is a biker, he has a motorcycle parked inside the venue that he uses often to go to the north of UK and back, just to test it and to keep it "hot". He has another bar in Norway. Willis is the promoter. We loaded in and I went parking, which was a challenge, as there were no parking spots available around and it was the rush hour! I spent almost 45 minutes driving around Worcester centre's little streets, then I got a bit upset and I parked back in front of the venue, which was forbidden till 18:30, but Willis and I thought risking a fine was better then spending more time trying to find another spot. The soundchek was quite quick, Willis did also sounds for us. Upstairs, at the third floor, the owner of Marr's bar has an apartment, which is also the backstage for tonight.
Howard, the drummer of the band the broken oakduet, cooked for us a veggie chili, with rice mushrooms and peppers.I never eat peppers at home, but now that I'm on tour and people cook vegetarian food most of the time I have to eat them; I love peppers but not easy to digest for me...I had to work with my computer so I missed the first band the broken oak duet. I listened to it only from upstairs. I had to write this diary too (!!), but the time to do this is always very little, as I have to drive, load in and out, play, sleep, and sometimes eating without doing anything else (like working with emails...). The whole tour is intense, but at the same time extremely energetic.. Stefano told me they were a good band, bummer! I see a couple of songs of the second band skewwhiff and some songs of the band virals. When we went on stage a lot of people was already drunk. In out set list we play a 12-15 minutes quite part , which consists in the songs Funanori Jig, Il Guardiano del Faro and Auslander. This part reveals when people are focused on the music or not, as there are many moments of silence. This show at Marr's Bar was quite hard for us because the chatting and drinking of the people at the bar created a pink noise background we had to deal with during the whole set, especially in the quite part I just mentioned. It was a so called character builder. On stage I had the feeling that the three of us agreed on keeping the set list as tight as possible.
After the show we drove around the city centre in order to find the travelodge hotel. I knew were it was, but things got confused as the tom tom couldn't really help us and the direction Willis gave to us were insufficient, so we spent half an hour to find it.Before finding the hotel I found myself trapped in a cul de sac, next to an old church with the old city centre in front of me. I thought about these streets, and the way that they were made, not really good for cars actually, or let's say for this amount of cars. Well, Italy is a lot worst, so I learned how to keep myself cool in little streets with a van...
We can sleep till late. Wrocester is close and we have time today. We decide to stop at stonehenge. we walk in these "bunch of rocks" for half an hour. It is wind and the sun is white behind the clouds... many crows fly around... suggestive... Incredible place... even the turistic touch does not make it less powerfull to me.
in Wrocester Lizzy opens the door and Willis there is the promoter and sound guy for the night. Three other bands before us. we have some rest upstair before the show and some vegetable chilly Howard has prepared for us. Howard is the drummer for Broken Oak Duet. they opens the night... drums and baritone guitar... tight and good they play down the stage with great and precise energy. The venue is crowded and noisy cause of many people drinking and chatting loud but a lot of people is there to listen too... a guy even says "shut the fuck up" without positive results...but we don't care much... we are their to play our set, we do our best and we play good anyway and a lot of guys in the front are very supportive and enthusiastic about the concert. we drink couple of beers that Lizzy and Anya at the bar kindly offer us and we go to look for our travelodge...is close but we have an hard time to find it... we cannot understand much from the map Willis give us and the gps does not recognize the address. but of course we find it.. Mike get nervous about this and cannot take it easy. They can go to sleep, Andrea and go to find a parking for the van.
pop at nine and try to soak in too tiny tub but give up not cuz of just that but also cuz fucking soap in this chain of konk pads is very hard kind of greasy-like shit. I need showa part to fucking water cannon the crap off my skin. bullshit. next door is a chow pad called "little chef" and I go there for the free internet and to shovel some asagohan. the "olympic breakfast" w/coff filled again once costs me twelve pounds - just over nineteen u.s. dollars - what the fuck?! I get caught up as I can and then join the team at the boat, them getting "chef nano" crap boxed to go.
fratello ste spent three weeks in salisbury when he was fifteen to learn english and suggests us checking out stonehenge so we drive twenty minutes west and pay seven-fifty pounds for what perk (banyan drummerman) said tommy lee called "a pile of rocks" hollered out when he had the tour driver pull over so he could have a look-see. I'm really glad we stopped here. the sun's out but it's cold - many sheep graze right nearby. I can see why maybe they picked this spot to build it... maybe five thousand years old? people ain't decided on lots about it. I guess they used to let you right up on it but now it's fenced off so I circle it from the path they got. I tell my fratelli in a way I believe it's like a "la busta gialla" for the people who built it, a document of their culture in a form of a work and also it's a calendar, a calculator. also big time it's a mystery - I have HUGE respect for it.
we go two hours north to worcester, taking tiny carriageway roads, andrea taking the wheel from ste. they got some trucks w/fuck cans riding on their trailers coming opposite of us, crimony - not just that but hedgerows instead of fucking shoulders - whoa nelly! fratello andrea does good. we go by an raf airbase out here in the country. there's an old oak by the side of the road w/a trunk more swollen and full of holes than you can imagine... big enough for a private little bone pad maybe?
"the marr's bar" is where we're playing tonight in worcester, my first time working this town - the folks here calling it a small town (soundman willis and barlady vick), birmingham maybe fortyfive minutes away - these parts is what they call in england the midlands. the room is happening, low ceiling and lots of wood, from the stage actually wider than it is deep. soundman willies does the soundcheck w/us and then we head upstairs where the drummerman from the opening band, the broken oak duet, cooks up his notion of chili sin carne which I dig much, along w/some rice. there's a neat gato w/tuxedo markings that holds sway over this domain here named rufus... he "reads the newspaper" by smelling everyone's coat, etc. damn if it ain't all noisy as hell 'til fratello andrea get all einstein and hits the off button over the stove and damn if much more sanity returns to my head. I get to mee the owner brian, his harley motocycle is right near the stage - he's wrecked it a couple times I'm told and was even a coma from one of them, crimony. I to down and watch howard play w/his buddy on baritone, damn they're really good - smokin'!
I go back upstairs (workout for the ginocchio!) to chimp more diary, have to catch up cuz of all that windbag I did w/the good people in maps & atlases night before... I let skewwhiff bassman sam use the lombardi bass amp (everyone loves using this nonno) and they're on now so I go see them. I run into clyde who does lots of stooges wheelman stuff - he's from stratford where shakespeare's from which ain't far, he brought his daughter to come see watt do something that ain't w/the stooges - so glad to see him, I really dig him, a real solid cat. I meet mark, sam's guitar man - he put me on the cover of the music zine he does, so kind. virals are next and gets the packed place working off the alcohol - trippy it says "no dancing whilst with drink" painted on some of the roof beams, that really took to me when I first got in earlier today - hey, that's reminds me. even brother sam greeted me w/this "you all right?" greeting I've been hearing since we got to england and maybe I ain't used to it but to hear that makes me right away think about what impression am I giving, do I look something wrong? is there mocos hanging out my nose all real huge or what? am I giving marty feldman eyes in a serious way too intense to handle? it is trippy colloquial. I remember first hearing "no worries" and getting unsettled feelings like that. waves of literalism having their waves w/me which is a maybe a trip seeing how I use baka metaphor and analogy all the goddamn time.
we're on at 10:30 and that's 'pert-near here as I finish up chimping yesterday's proceedings. rufus the cat has planted himself on my coat so I'm gonna trust him guarding it and go down w/just my back wack 'puter sack. my fratelli got everything up, time to give the go. let me just say all character builders ain't gotta be caves but I'll tell you, so glad for this gig really making me find a solid resolve I know I now got w/stefano and andrea - there was nothing gonna shake me from being there for them or losing grip on focus for us. this has bound me w/them. I also know the gig-goers deserve what we need to bring w/out some kind of issue deflector or what could easily be thought of such by an insecure way of puffing out the chest, I won't give in to it and in that way believe in my fratelli as we pull together - yammer not w/standing. I keep the spirit, my fratelli push their soul our way, much respect to them!
much kind one-on-one later from folks, soon as I'm packing up after a wildass whup-up on the encore. yeah, there are many kinds of character builders and shake inducers and they ain't just products of the roller-rink void, nope. I hug my fratelli hard, meaning in much. I get to meet a couple of the virals, very nice they are to me as is slap/skewwhiffman mark whom talks to me about the movement. big hugs for soundman willis too, howard as well. people genuine w/you is truly a precious thing. I get to grab the arm of many a man who wants to bring it - thank you good folks here for us tonight.
the map to the 'tel (another "travel lodge" - crimony!) is one beyond our meager thinking and thank god for bookerman mick flowing the address so I can target the navigatori (I found how to switch to english and be more of help, sorry about being a 'tard w/italiano) and damn if it ain't in a pedestrian mall put in the old part of downtown but we eventually do it - again fratello andrea had echoes of my toulon looping at soundcheck and finding distant boat dock but he is successful and we're safe, dio caro.
friday, march 1, 2013 - newcastle, england
We woke up in Worcester at 9,as we needed to be on the road at 10:30. We tried to use the map Willie gave in order to find the two caefs suggested by the map, but they are marked with a big red star, which covers large parts of the streets nearby the place. So at the end we didn't find these places and because of the fact that Mike can't walk around too much we went into the first place we found. Stefano and I went into a cafe where I had a good cappuccino (English style but but honest) and a scone with butter and marmalade; I love scones, even if I added more fats on the top of all the fat food I've been eating since I started this tour. Mike and miss Hiyori went to a greasy takeaway place. We went back to Marry's bar were we loaded our gear in the van. The technique of loading the van has become very precise from the beginning of the tour, now it takes only 10 minutes. We drove for 4 hours, before reaching Gatheshead and then Newcastle. Newcastle looks a bit rough, with old buildings and Churches melted together with houses and factories; we didn't have much time to walk around though, so we went straight to The Cluny, a two stories club next to the river and under a very high bridge. Joel, the promoter, is waiting for us. We eat a huge Hamburgher at 17:30, weird timing for eating. IT was good, but what a weird timing for eating, as it is no lunch, but neither dinner...I feel so Italian regarding the food issue but I have to adapt my lifestyle while touring, I have to follow the wave, and I'm happy to do it. We did the soundcheck afterwards, and I had time to relax a bit and work on my computer. Before the show I meet Arnaud, a french friend who I met in Berlin one year ago when I was doing the sound installation dubbing&doubling at the Kunstraum Kreuzberg. He is a strong worker and a positive man, he studied art and he did performances like this one.
The band who played before us was called Fret!. Strange instrumental band, non of them where looking at each other. The drummer was struggling with the drum kit, he was beating it really hard, and he cut his hand with a cymbal and later I found blood on the rack tom! When we start playing I realize that the bass is much louder than before, but well..we are also playing louder. It is still good for my ears on stage, I don't have to put earplugs except when we play Funhouse at the end, where I play much more cymbals then in the other songs. In Auslander Mike brought a new idea, that we just talked about while driving to Newcastle, but that we didn't really rehearsed before, so when it came the moment to do it during the concert I had to be ready and we did it: a welcomed surprise! This song is growing. After the show I met good guys, all connected by the Gateshead College, so to my friend Arnaud. We left the Cluny after midnight, and we went to a travelodge hotel, where, before going to bed, we had a last beer and chatted for a few minutes a few words on our set list, which is always worth.
In the morning we wake up around 9. We look around for some breakfast. everything is close around but Mike is still impatience about us wondering around some place for a coffee and a breakfast. we do not know the place and the map is bad. His knees hurts and it is dangerous for him to walk in this condition. i can feel his impatience has lot to do with the frustration of not being able to do the way he was used to and also the fear and the anxiety of hurting himself badly. Somedays ago i suggested him to have some more patience about this. Like Rilakkuma, the japanese relaxed bear, our hero of the tour. i can see how must be difficult for him to deal with his knee in this condition. When it is the time to go he just want to go even if we have time... waiting some minutes more makes him very anxious...bit of hard time but i try to take it easy and do not care so much. Mike is a strong guide to me, big inspiration , great musician and most of all a big Fratello and i want to be there ready to learn and to do the best i can for him and Fratello Andrea. Even when he got upset i can feel he want to be close and togheter with us... he never makes a distance... Also just in a second a culero fart, real or word, can makes everyone smiles. Big Time this la bust gialla tour. when i feel tired i try to think how special experience is this tour for me. i am very happy how we are playing and how much we are developing in such a few time. By the way we stop into different places one in front of the other for have breakfast and then we go at the venue and we load the van. We go to Newcastle. about 4 hours driving. Finally i have some time and energy to write the diary along the traveling The venue there is the Cluny... very nice place. we meet very nice people: OLiver and Arnaud, Joel the promoter and Kev the sound guy, and FRET the opening band. We play good and i really have a nice time talking to Oliver. He plays bass and drums and works has assistance for a big scottish artist (i cannot remember his name right now). Concert is very good... one of my favourite i have to say. I speak on the phone with Roxie about the gig and the tour very enthusiastic .Actually i speak with her everyday thanks to the technology . i miss her very much. We play very well. We go sleep again in a travelodge. This is actually better than the others. more warm.
pop at eight and try for soak... knees all bent up, this is not comfortable. I have liquid soap to use instead of this "hassle bog" hard pressed-together fake-ass prolly fucking recycled used toilet paper soap substitute and feel clean and not greasy. fucking gig flannel is foul and kusai though... must sink-wash after tonight's gig for sure. tonight's gig is only repeat venue of european 2011 "hyphenated-man" tour, I realize... really like this pad, "the cluny" really dig it and the folks there. can't wait to work it again. we're four hours south of it now though - prolly longes england hellride of this tour. trippy how that's just over half a ride from my pedro town to s.f. - tiny lands make for tiny hellrides if you're staying inside them... remember netherlands? like our rhode island! actually it's pretty ok.
what ain't so ok is this map we got to find chow - like last night, there's only a few roads marked and we're talking old timey twisted spaghetti maze no-fucking-way-there's-a-grid-involved shit and then the star graphics to "x marks the spot" are so fucking big that they cover over what traces of what might be crawl paths and such. crimony. don't mean to bellyache cuz old timey pads and roads are most interested but for crippled cojo rolling his man sack it is dangerous and risky. miss hiyori helps by just asking workerman who's got a breakfast chow sandwich and he points to this pad called "daisy's kitchen (freshly prepared food on the mooo've)" and I get a "breakfast box" which is sausage in a box - I don't chow it 'til we get to the boat and man is it good... I'm thinking this lady who was working there all by herself (tiny pad, just counter, seats out on sidewalk) and but much care in it. I point out a welsh license plate to my fratelli on the plates of a car in front of us - they can't understand how "cymru" means "wales" but I explain they have their own language. it's bitchin' how they both are interested in my fucking baka trivia windbag done up in 'pert-near barely intelligible baka slang, they are truly generous w/me, truly. I chow the contents of the breakfast box w/my hashi, best way for me. no one has to have a fucking problem seeing it either - the other day at that "eat drink & fart" or whatever pad, these two motherfuckers at a table nearby wouldn't quit fucking foisting their sourass stinkeye on me - please leave me the fuck alone! you don't have to use hashi you assholes but let me have my goddamn right to do it if I please! crimony.
fratello ste at the helm, we head out of the midlands of england to what they call "the north" and at a piss stop I see a sack of worcester sauce flavored chips and remember we say worcestershire sauce in the u.s. I think curly from the three stooges had a shtick about that that minutemen drummer george hurley would riff on every time he saw a bottle of the stuff... good ol' georgie. we pass sherwood forest, home of robin hood? what was little john about anyway? it makes me think of brother lou's "walk on the wild side" and I explain to my fratelli that the cats in those lyrics were based on real ones:
little joe never once gave it away
everybody had to pay and pay
a hustle here, a hustle there...
and this leads to rap about great guitarist mick ronson which leads to drum sounds to 70s records which leads to me using my fucking ipod to let fratello andrea hear "the slider" and "ballrooms of mars" from t-rex... this is how the spiel works in the boat when we roll from gig to gig and I am BIG TIME grateful these two dear men can bear w/that kind of shit and not go off. they have GIANT hearts, deep souls - are curious about shit. andrea takes the wheel as we head out of white rose yorkshire and into england's northeast big town newcastle, home of the geordies.
this pad used to be a bottling plant for a whiskey from france called cluny. the gigboss joel greets us and when ask him about this "geordie" name for folks here, he says it might have something to do w/some support in the old days for a king w/the name george. they do have their own accent here for sure, a neat one. we're w/in minutes of load-in time (five pm) and get the stuff setup and check w/soundman kev, a cat from ireland. happening accent there too - accents are happening, fuck yeah, much respect! this pad really has it's own character and not just the same-ol' same-ol' box or shotgun shack. it's really distinctive. they chow us here from their kitchen and I get a lamb burger - never had that before, trippy like a big matzaball between the buns. there's a little salad w/both olive oil and black and green olives I love, vinegar for the thick fries.
in the back room I do interview w/young man named calun who asks very interesting things, he's written a paper on u.s. hardcore and he says his opinion about the whole scene was not the content as much as the act of expressing it. I have to agree. actually this young man says a bunch of stuff I agree w/cuz I think he really has got a sharp mind - a good sense of humor too! so glad I maybe help him in some way. I chimp diary and after a while "we jam econo" gets shown on a screen for the gig-goers as I guess kind of first act. chimping the diary helps me focus on the gig last night and what I wanna get happening tonight so I got earplugs in. a local instrumental trio called fret! (bassist from new jersey) comes on after the movie and I watch them. nice cats, I feel fired up, thank you! there's sage advice in the form of graffiti on the bulkhead near the back room hatch: "show the dick" is what it says.
we're on at ten sharp. whoa, completely another vibe last night and kind of like the vibe the night before that - sure I was here fifteen months ago but folks don't know what to expect cuz this ain't tom and raul... they hear us out though, they're a real good crowd. happening sound on the stage and I can see 'pert-near everyone in the room - great body language from fratello ste, fratello andre still in his red sweater even though he found the purple one in the boat after thinking in was donated. I think I fucked up some by goofin' at the end of "funanori jig" which set up a lame atmosphere for "il guardiano del faro" which followed it... I'm a fucking baka (I talk to my fratelli after about this). we're doing good though, really - as a team the shit's smokin' and you know someone like me wouldn't just be saying (or chimping) that. for "auslander" I try the idea I was telling my fratelli about when andrea asked what make we could do about this tune - my suggestion was in the bridge to take out the one of every four figures the bass does to let the baby breathe some, have andre put some work w/the gongs there since they're only used in the "funanori jig" end section. I think I clammed the time in one of the breaks but they bear w/me and we've got a new development cuz later right after we're done both my fratelli say they're into it. "joyfuzz" has me clamming like a motherfucker right out the gate - are we back in jesi or what? no more once I break that up w/a stick and get it down the shitter but I gotta admit what I did. after fratello ste first does it, I repeat title of next to last piece, "messed-up machine" and someone hollers "fuck the police!" and I said something like "geordie named icecube" and it's a hoot - real good time tonight. we rallied, a great thing - big thanks to the newcastle folks of course but I gotta thank my fratelli as well. it's a very happening gig - we're all three so happy for the rally. so important I think to bounce back from something challenging and not let it start to whittle way at your sprit.
gigboss joel brings his pop backstage - he's a bassman too and we have a common friend in syd griffin. he's a real nice cat and we talk much about james jamerson, respect! joel gets me a glass of butelin's then we load out - this man is in an il sogno del marinaio tshirt and no coat - what?! incredible. the man has got balls like churchbells - either that or slightly acclimatized for the parts. big hugs for him and his buddy, we pull anchor.
not as much a wander as the last 'tel but confirmation number's missing... only for a bit - bassplayer in this band needs to learn some fucking gaman (patience in jap), what a fucking go-off. I wash the tour flannel in the sink, water turned so dark and flithy by it, much rinsing and then hang over the tub. we discuss for a little but maybe two am now so put a fucking cork in it. I'm out...
saturday, march 2, 2013 - glasgow, scotland
We left the travelodge hotel at 12. We saw the signs for the Hadrian's wall, so we drove though another street towards the rest of the roman wall, the old border between England and Scotland. We saw some rests of the wall along the way. It is impressive how this wall was built. These sings of history hit me strong, I'm really impressed by the signs of ancient cultures, especially the ones which are not placed in museums. I don't like walls and wars, so it is a little bit controversial, but at the same time who knows what was really happening at that time... we spent great time walking around empty fields and all around us only sheep and farms. The sun was shining and the sky amazingly clear, what a great welcome from Scotland! We left the countryside streets in order to take the highway. We stopped at a gas station, where I had a soup with broccoli and a sandwich with bacon. We left the gas station in 10 minutes, and after 5 minutes of driving I realize I left my backpack at the gas station! That was scary, I had all my personal stuff and other band's items...we came right back at the bar, and my backpack was there, intact. I think those were the worst minutes of the entire tour. I assume that if you take the tour too easy things like that happens. Mike and Ste were not yelling at me, so luckily they understood. We arrived in Glasgow right on time in order to get lost in the city centre. We found Mono half an hour later. Mono is a nice venue, it is a bar, art-book shop and records shop all together. Dep, the guy who hosted us overnight, runs Monorail, the nice the record shop, which is great, as it has only high quality music. I was tempted to buy two "the alps" records, I didn't, but now I regret...
Brian is the promoter and Dougie the soundman. When we set up the venue is crowded of people drinking late afternoon's beers. The setting up took about an hour, so pretty long time but Dookie was very precise and careful. Stefano and I had a nice Hamburger made by Joe, who tells me he knows my solo record on Room40.
It wasn't the first time I heard the Glasgow accent, I played once with Paul Baran and I got to know a bit the sound of it, but I had hard time to understand what people were saying!
Before going on stage I woke up Mike, who was sleeping tight on a couch even if the band which was playing before, Orphanswas so loud. The stage of Mono was indeed difficult, but the crowd was really supportive. 180 people came. After the show we went to Dep and Kirsteen house, in an amazing part of Glasgow. Their house is carefully designed, and they took care so much of us, serving wine, amazing cold cuts, whiskey and cannoli siciliani (good ones!). We were so pleased to be there in good company that we went to bed at 3:30 am, even if we would wake up at 9 in order to take the boat to Ireland.
we wake up at 11 . it is a bright sunny day. we slept good and close to the airport so we go directly on the road. Mike asks us sorry for his temperament of the day before. no problem Mike. We go but no time for breakfast ugh... which make me kind of broke for all the day long and not in the mood to speak. So i feel myself more inside my brain today... kind of difficult i would say cause you are kind of slight apart from what happens around you. maybe i am tired? maybe but actually physically i feel good today and i 'm happy about the tour...maybe i am just moody today... maybe i took it from Mike... maybe sometimes you need your time
Glasgow is a couple of hours far so we take a parallel way road to the motorway to make a visit to the Hadrian's Wall: the northern line of the Roman Emperor. A wall that cut Britain, built to keep the highlanders out. This road we take is amazing, pure countryside nature, hilly and green and yellow. a lot of sheeps. The colors of the threes and the grass and the sky are powerful with this sun. it is really amazing. we stop in a point close to a lake with a little rocky hill to admire this piece of wall with a small vallum. The ground is wet and dirty, kind of slippery so we have to keep attention. i go on the highest point of the wall and the cell rings. Is Brian the promoter of the Glasgow show. He just want to know if we are fine and ok and on time but i hardly understand what he is saying cause of the wind, the bad line and the strong scottish accent.
we go back on the road to Glasgow, and finally we stop for some food. It is three o'clock almost and i'm starving, Andrea too... i take a sandwich with Marmite and cheese and finally this first coffee... we go back on the motorway and after few miles fratello Andrea realizes that he left his bag at the gas station. bad time. i drive back fast. Very luckily he find the bag where he left it. we are tired i guess. normally we don't do this kind of think. i mean it can always happen of course but this is the classic things that you do when you have to rush but you do not have enough focus to rush. we have been lucky really
we arrive in Glasgow kind of in time but we cannot find the place. Actually we do not have the adress... phone calls with Brian...i cannot understand barely anything of what he is saying on the phone... too difficult for me... so this takes us a little bit more to arrive at the venue. The mono cafe is nice, we eat good food and very good gig. Hiyori thinks is the best till now. To me the best are Newcastle, Koln and London.
Andrea got the money. many people paying and we have not been paid enough i think. the less paid gig of the tour. So i'm kind of disappointed and i ask explanations trough mail to Brian. he kindly explained me they had many expenses. Ok that's why. But still i think some venue policy are not fair with band profit... they can sell a lot of beers because of the concert so the expenses should not be all on the tickets. Anyway it has been a good night and i actually i feel very lucky we are going to stay with Dep and Kilrstine. They are wonderful, sweet, kind and hironic. really cool people. they guest us in their beautifull house and great food. i am tired but it is a pleasure to stay with them. so we stayed up till 3! no much sleeping
pop at nine bells, pull the curtains to find window full of only blue and sun - not one cloud... first time this tour like this! no soak, just shower and fucking remember to shave. outside, the thermometer in the boat says fourteen degrees celsius (about 62 fahrenheit), I can't believe it... crimony! I chimp diary, there's no fucking internet in these jive-ass "camel dodge" dumps so I can't check for potential glasgow wander - so maybe wander we will. oh well. I find a note under one of our windshield wipers, it's a handwritten note that says "this is a parking ticket" - crimony. I do mea culpa to the fratelli about bellyachin' about wandering, it is not good for morale for bellyachin', pissing and moaning. I apologize for being so baka. I put sink-washed flannel which is still wet in back - maybe it will dry? if not, I will wear tonight wet cuz it is "the" tour shirt.
we pull anchor at noon, head northwest for scotland w/fratello ste at the helm. every ride on this tour I've been shotgun, couldn't tell you what the backseat feels like and only toulon had me in the captain's chair to do ninety minute looping of that town. at haxan I ask my fratelli if they wanna see hadrian's wall - miss hiyori saw it fifteen months when I did w/tom and raul but here's a different section and anyway, I think my fratelli should maybe see how north the romans got if they want... they do so we turn off. of course I lead us in wrong direction at first, to a fucking golf course but then get us on track for the cawfields part of hardian's wall. it's twentyfive miles on a tiny road, lots of sheepherding here. on the way we saw the ruins of a big fort and many parts of the wall but here we can park and actually get to it easy enough for my crippled ass. there was some mining quarries here in the old days that destroyed much of the wall but some was left - parts of the wall was also appropriated by people for their own walls or pads, baka. now england tries to preserve what's left. hardly anyone else here besides us, that's what I like and it's ok there's no visitor center like where I went to last time. this part of the wall has what was part of a milecastle (number fortytwo), I can just imagine cats manning this pad, especially since it's on a pretty steep part of the hill - how did they konk here? the concrete the romans used to w/the rocks for the wall was truly amazing, so strong and lasting. I remember doing a stooges gig in an outdoor sports arena in belgrade that was all chipped away and tore up and it was like only sixty years old - this wall here is 'pert-near nineteen hundred years old and strong as shit! damn. my fratelli know very little of hadrian so I tell them stuff I learned about him - he was a caesar w/a beard, very distinctive for his days. there's steepness I have to be so careful of, mud being a hazard so I use both the wall itself and some modern fence besides the shoulder of fratello andrea to make sure I don't tumble cuz that would be a nightmare. there's some barbed wire - I explain this stuff to my fratelli, explaining the range wars in the u.s. caused by this stuff, the musical "oklahoma!" involves this. yes, more on musicals!
about 2:30 pm we cross into scotland. we do a chow stop soon after it's maybe eighty minutes to glasgow so I'll hold off rather than swallow this shit... come all the way to get poisoned at a kfc? nope. fratello ste gives me some almonds as continues driving us. whoops - fratello has left his backpack where he chowed! we gotta bring her about. boat is silent except for me giving baka directions, fratello ste drives really really good and gets us back quick as we can - maybe ten pants-shitting minutes for fratello andrea but he has big success in retrieving it from whence he shoveled, whew. it's just a lesson for us all to help each other w/baka checks. I relate to everyone all the fucked up alzheimer-like shit I've waded through via my lameass 'tard way of trying to be conscious. at lanark, we switch for fresh ponies, now we have fratello andrea drive the last of what we think is fortyfive minutes to go but in fact taking much time to wander cuz the fucking tomtom navigatori doesn't know this pad's address, it's called "mono" and it takes asking people ("you're only a minute and a half south" what?!), many leash calls (music in the background drowning out the speaking), fratello ste jumping out and running into a music store (he couldn't understand the scottish accent) and some cat actually getting in the boat w/us to guide us, fucking crimony. I vow to make maps of the next gig pads when I get internet, not putting all eggs in the fucking tomtom basket.
the gigboss is brian and a very nice cat. this is kind of inside court kind of trip built und a train trestle and there's a bar that also has a kitchen plus a righteous record store called monorail music that my buddy dep works at. we do soundcheck w/soundman dougie right after I chow some tasty porcini risotto from the bar, really good. I meet the openers, locals called orphans who's got a new bass player, this being only his third gig ever. damn! of course he can use the lombardi amp, I tell him not to worry when he says he's not very good - I tell him we're bass brothers and I support him! there was supposed to be another band but they had to pull out when a lady in the band hurt her back. I hope she gets better soon. I do an interview w/a young man named ryan who's really good people, he makes the spiel interesting and is very engaging, respect to him.
we go on at a quarter of ten and the pad both full of folks and full of yammer gives us good focus despite acoustic challenges of how it was built - man does the room love the 'd' note! actually the yammer ain't that bad in my opinion, especially for the sitch. later dep said there was too much, especially at the bar but then he was also at the newcastle gig where it was much quieter... hell, he was at my missingmen gig doing my third opera in this town fifteen months ago at a pad called "nice and sleazy" where you could hear a fucking pin drop so I understand his perspective. however, in my view this was no worcester or jesi, no way. I should admit some clams I blew also: I made a chord move too soon in the c part of "sailor's blues" - the free part in front of that part though I actually made shorter cuz of the acoustics problem. in "we come to learn" I did a fifth instead of an octave in the first disco part we do, what a baka... I think this ignites a response w/clams of his own for fratello andrea. oh, last night I had no set list and had to go by memory - was ready to do it again but here was one written out for me on the deck... somehow I konked right before we went on for a tiny bit (strange I mention that now, huh?!), maybe it got done then - I don't recognize the handwriting! anyway, it's a great gig. at one point I told the folks between tunes that we passed james watt street coming here and that was my pop's name, they dug that! his people were related to the inventor, my uncle mike told me when I was younger. yeah, real good spirit here, real good. I feel big time grateful to the gig-goers and my fratelli.
much good word after, one cat tells me about this writerman/artist from here named alasdair gray and his book "lanark" - he knows I know dep and says I should ask him about this. ok. I talk w/a bunch of nice folks, one of them an old friend of my secondmen drummer jer who lives here named carolyn who I've I now known for years. a cat named mike says I gotta check out some history on someone named james connolly since in his words, "you seem like someone into rebels and working class" - something about the shipyards here in glasgow in the old days.
fuck, I spiel so much my fratelli get the boat loaded w/out me - I am baka, sorry! dep and his lady kirsteen ride w/us to their pad not too faraway. I've been before, it's righteous how they fixed it up. dep breaks out cheese and little meats for us plus there's a bottle of jim beam black that gets drunk. both our hosts help me learning about mr gray (lives in the neighborhood! they give me a copy of "lanark") and more infos for my fratelli about both hadrian's wall and also on organemen day and doing prac for it... yeah, hadrian built the wall to keep the highlanders out and the other stuff w/the parade sounds painful. none the less we have a hoot, dep and kirsteen are beautiful - I lose track of the time... maybe it's after three? this pad is so comfortable, I'm like a light and konk hard as a rock.
sunday, march 3, 2013 - belfast, northern ireland
We woke up at 9, a little stoned by the party we got a few hours before. I drove all the way down to Cayrnryan, through amazing landscapes along the coast south-west of Glasgow. The sun made the travel even more enjoyable. At Cayrnryan we took the boat, a fast one, only two hours between Scotland and Larne in Ireland. I slept a bit, as I couldn't really work on my computer or read as I could feel a bit the movement of the boat. Such a shame for a member of the sailor's dream! When we arrived in Ireland Stefano drove down to Belfast, which was a quick ride, about an hour. The venue was inside a university, it is called Bar Sub. It was a Sunday, so it was really quite around the University neighborhood and inside the venue as well, especially as it is a basement with low ceiling. We spent a few hours in there, and after the sound check we went eating in a small restaurant while Hiyori was kindly KINDLY washing our clothes. I was very tired from the other night, I didn't have much energy to listen to the other bands,psychojetand like statutes, so I went directly on stage after spending some time in the backstage relaxing a bit.
The concert was the most difficult for me so far. I was really tired and I could feel it in my body more than in my mind. I didn't say anything to Mike and Ste, and they enjoyed the show despite the blurry sound on stage. I couldn't hear Mike's bass lines clearly, and I couldn't hear my drums properly... after the show we left the gear locked inside the venue, and we went to the apartment.
The apartment was nice and comfortable. Before going to bed we had a glass of beer and Hiyori and I had a few chips with a hot sauce called "christ on a bike", a present made by a lady from London. It was the hottest sauce I've ever had!
we wake up early. i'm still crashed, i cannot speak much. we have to take the ferry to Ireland. It is a couple of hours driving. such a beautiful landscape and color and weather, cloudy and sun togheter... i take some pictures here and there and sleep a bit. we got on the ferry. Mike asks us if we are sick about the tour. he is at his 66th to. We are tired yes -driving, loading, playing but not sick at all no!...next time we want to do more.The problem about being tired is that you can loose focus in what you are doing or get moody with your emotions. You can see all this much better in retrospective. that's why is so important while you are touring to learn how to rest when you have the possibility..it takes some time to get into the loop. Human body and psych needs their habits. You need to adapt to the tour modality. So i sleep on the ferry.
i'm in Ireland for the first time in my life. we play Belfast. the weather is grey. Graham is the promoter. nice guy. The venue is strange is in the basement of cultural university house.This place is very dark and there are aluminum barriers to separate the audience from the stage. strange. strange atmosphere. Is Sunday and people usually always is slow after saturday. we are slow too. the gig is not bad but kind of cold i would say. Also the sound is not good in that room at all. of the other bands i can hear only drums basically. The guitar player form Like Statues gives us as a present three t-shirt of his band. Thank you! We meet Rory and his girlfriend and his band mate. Very nice guys. Their band is called "and so I watch you from afar."
We go sleep in an apartment. We smoke a cigarette on the balcony looking this Belfast street in the night. i think about what happened here. We speak about the human sick desire of being egoistic in control and superior on other people, attitude that usually bring problems and bad time around. We think about the partisans. Belonging to some part and have an identity is a reality and a necessity but that does not mean you have to be necessarily antagonistic whit who come from another part. You need to be able to fight if you need but also you have to looking forward and try to live togheter. it is very difficult. it is not just a matter of words and it takes time. i think of Sly song "everyday people" great song, great records and great musicians.
pop at nine which is good cuz dep really wants us on the road at ten am cuz he says the road south along the coast to cairnryan (where the ferry will leave to take us to northern ireland) is small and winding one, maybe two or more hours worth and we're to shove off from there at one. I guess I bogarted the head some trying to use the hot water to loosen up my fucking froze joints, scusi. dep cooks us up spicy sausages along w/scrambled eggs and tomato halves - really good, thank you brother dep! such kind folks but we gotta take leave and pull anchor - kirsteen leads us out of town, we follow her and then give in to our tomtom navigatori, bye bye glasgow - "haste ye back" is what is says on the back of scottish welcome signs as you leave town. fratello andrea's steering us down some pretty coast, the irish sea to our starboard. a couple of times kiji (pheasant in jap, the italian word is fagiano) running in the road - andre has to swerve to avoid! they're pretty big ones too, crimony. that sun we had in glasgow didn't make it to the night time yesterday and it's gray here as well. not rain though, great.
just before hitting the p & o terminal, we stop at the wrong one... it's another ferry line, whoops. no big deal, we bring it about. we're half an hour early, drive right up into the boat on a ramp but a little drama first: fratello andrea misunderstands the secuirtycheckman's "fine" as a command to go when he motioned his hand down to mean "halt" - it's small misunderstanding and no big deal but you know how now days people are kind of nervous it these kind of sitches. the ferry ride is two hours long and pretty calm, I spend the ride chimping diary. alright, in the pocket I carry the 'd' string tuner I got a piece of wool that came off a sheep I found on the ground near the part of hadrian's wall we visited yesterday, I am superstitious sometimes and am hoping this brings me good luck.
the ferry docks at larne in northern ireland, fratello ste at wheel. the navigatori puts us at the queen's university of belfast where we're supposed to play at the student union so I have ste pullover next to a young man who looks like a student and bingo - the pad's across the street, in the basement hence prolly the name "bar sub" though we thought it was another part of this complex (there's a room w/snooker tables, etc) w/a different name. its four when we drop anchor and I meet the gigboss graham - damn if I ain't met him before - he's also the tourboss for and so I watch you from afar who are great cats me and my missingmen played w/them in vienna and budapest fifteen months ago. we wait for soundman john to get things set up... great little backstage, I investigate these two poussin paintings again (it's been so many years!) and also that man I got turned on to in glasgow last night - fucking wikipedia brings back childhood memories of the world book world I use to bounce all around through, tangent to tangent. after soundcheck we go chow nearby at "maggie mays" and I get the bookmakers sandwich (steak strips in a french roll) along w/what I thought I ordered a salad but turned out to be mashed potatoes w/what I think was scallions mixed in. they're both real good but I can only half so I won't puke on stage - I take the rest back in sack. fuck if I don't don the konk mask and am out like that, missing the first band psychojet and seeing only like statues last tune, discovering I still had the konk mask on my forehead. I met the cats in both bands earlier and they were all really nice, fuck am I tuckered lame-ass sometimes.
we're on at quarter after ten and there's barriers at the front of the stage - maybe this is to keep me from stage diving into the crowd? it's a character builder so maybe that'd be risky in the form of hitting the fucking deck anyway. earlier I couldn't get into the pad cuz of not realizing you had to turn a handle and fratello andrea set up his drums maybe a little too far back - I like the drummers I play w/right up front w/me and not hidden away in the back. even more baka though is I don't check the tuning and the fucking 'e' string is like four steps flat when we begin "zoom" - like that I tune it up cuz I don't want us to have to start over again... aaarrrggghhh, what a baka. we get things together 'pert-near quick after that and though there's some trippy acoustics, I really like how we work the set. it seems fratello andrea has a little bit of a challenge but I think he's fucking right on as is fratello ste. I thought maybe no encore tonight but the folks want one and when I ask graham if it's ok, he gives us the go. alright.
I'm talking w/gig-goers, much kindness from them but somehow I fucking lose my fucking bass strap - the thing that holds the bass on me. it's incredible how it just goddamn disappeared, man... can't believe it. I mean it was only moments cuz I like to pack up soon as I'm done. anyway, they ain't that expensive but I don't wanna do the dublin gig in chair. guitarman rory and drummerman chris from and so I watch you from afar are here - so glad to see them, so glad - righteous cats, I can't help myself, I fucking start windbagging big time spiel after spiel 'til my fratelli say it's time to pull anchor. man, these guys are beautiful and I could yammer forever - they've invited me to be on a tune for their new album, so sweet of them. I will try my best! somehow the last spiel I foist is one about "glen or glenda?" - they've never heard of this ed wood movie, I implore them to check it out if they can. I feel a resonance w/my involvement in the punk movement w/mr wood.
the konk pad is what they call over here an "apartment" and maybe it kind of is but you can rent it for a night. I remember w/tom and raul last euro tour w/them in liverpool, phil getting us the same kind of dealio. miss hiyori washed everyone's clothes and they're drying all over the place - so very very kind of her. me and my fratelli go out on the balcony and can't see any stars, a big blankie in the sky is covering them all. still we are happy.
monday, march 4, 2013 - dublin, ireland
I woke up at around 10:30, as we had to leave the apartment at 11. After loading the van at the the venue, we drove towards Dublin. Close to the venue we saw an old graffiti representing terrorists, this one from the protestant side. Scary!
Stefano and I shared the driving to Dublin and even this time was nice, we saw beautiful landscapes. The centre of Dublin if quite cahotic, but we arrived at the venue, Wheland's, quite early, about 3 hours before the sound check. We finally met Mich Roe, the booking agent who booked this tour. It is a pleasant meeting, nice guy. I had some time to walk around the city centre, in search for souvenirs...I found a good bookstore called "the secret", with a lot of great books and vinyl (but too expensive). I went back to Whelan's after an hour. Whelan's is a old and famous venue, with four bars and two (three?) stages. We played on the first floor, on a small worn-out stage, all made by wood. The soundman is a french called Chris.
There were three other bands on the bill. The first set is Simon Bird, second Ginola (a lot of minutemen influences I suppose) and Hot Head Show (Primus oriented band?). There were many teeneager in front of the stage for Hot Head Show, it seems they have a good fan group there, and it was funny watching these kids trying to dance with their weird music, made out of odd rhythms, stop and go, and accents in odd places. I liked the drummer, he has a nice style.
During our show there were a few kids analysing our movements and sounds, aiming at Stefano's bowing and laughing. I think they were having good time tough they were talking during our quite parts. This was difficult for me as I still felt a little tired from the other night. We didn't play our anchor, Funhouse, so we packed up quickly and started bringing it downstairs, when Stefano realized we got a fine because he parked on a wrong parking spot. The van was clamped Bushie The guys of Hot Head Show helped us loading the van, then we left for Bushie's house. Bushie is a drummer, and funnily enough we have some common friends in Italy, people with he toured with Ireland and Italy Ovo link and Fuzz Orchestra. His wife does Roller Derby, as well as my friend Chiara in Berlin, what a coincidence! Bushie offered me some good hot soup with bread, in these days I needed a lot of food/energy. We went to bed at 2-3 am. Stefano shared the same bed with two sleeping bags, but the springs of he bed were so soft that we were practically stumbling one on the top of each other.
Hiyori makes us some Breakfast, she did all the laundry for us the day before. She takes much care of us, thank you Hiyori!
We go to Dublin, lot of green but still grey weather.
Finally we meet Mick here. smart guy. He booked this first il sogno del marinaio european tour and i have to say it has been a very good tour till now. Well suited for our size. good job, i cannot complain. we play upstair. beautifull venue and pub. Three bands plus us, curfew at eleven. We go eat noodles with Timo and Mick.
i try a real guinness watching the other bands. the bands are late on the bill. Even if there is not much time Mike always introduce me and Andrea to the audience like every night . he want il Sogno del Marinaio have its own identity as band and not only a Mike Watt project. We have to be quick in playing and loading out cause tomorrow early morning we have the ferry back to England.
we finish. we play ok but not the best at all in my opinion. i go to take the van. Fuck! the van has being clamped. merda... my fault. i understood from a guy at the venue that parking is free after 6... yes is free but not in this area... so maybe i understood bad... fuck... Bushie helps me to call the police. we pay through the telephone. we load the van walking down the road with all the gear waiting the service to take the clamps out. so we end to go sleep late at Bushie, very funny and nice guy.
Andrea and i sleep on a bad which is a sort of big spoon so we are always falling one against the other. i cannot sleep at all. so i go on the floor. at least this way the gravity force is not a problem.
pop at nine, try to soak but it's terrible not cuz of tub but cuz of tepid water. at least liquid soap and not cake of fake. miss hiyori has hardboiled eggs and there's bread to make toast and cheese to go w/plus also juice - she's very kind to do all this. there's a washing machine/dryer (same machine) but the dryer part is incredibly slow so there's clothes on all the radiators to dry them. even w/the extra half hour we gotta pull anchor at eleven and a half so it's a jam to get everything up and packed. we do it though and head south from belfast into much gray but at least no rain. it's hard to tell where the border is but gaelic on the signs and klicks instead of miles means republic of ireland, we pull over to diesel up at one of those roadside service centers, back to euroland one more time. damn, this pad has no squeegees so I can't clean the fucking windshield. this is lame for not just ojos but for shots from the camera but at least no rain - hey, rain would clean things, right? maybe I should not be such a demando. we pass the skerries - this is where I stayed when I came out here for three days for the "ulysses" hundredth bday - the book "happens" on june 16, 1904 and I had no gig, just came out to trip on the town it's wrapped up in. my irish buddies anto and nez guiding me and kristin around stuff in the book that's still around. we'd take the train into dublin, passing all the windmills the skerries are famous for.
we get to the venue at 2:30 pm, it's called "whelan's" and is much a legend here. I was at this pad once before, it was 2005 for my second opera and it's where I met the great cats in estel when they opened for me. tonight we're upstairs in a trippy little room (I was downstairs back then) and it's happening to be able to just sit and trip, no one for me to windbag to, it's a good break. our tour bookerman mick comes at four, my fratelli finally get to meet him. he's a great cat and also adebisi shank drummerman - so happy to hear they got a new album coming but damn if mick says their bassman vinnie has what he says is third degree burns and can't come tonight - he might need a fucking skin graft if these antibiotics he's taking now don't wipe out the infection, damn. I'm praying for him, dig vinnie much. a bartender here at is a bassman named mark has me sign his bass, much respect to him. mick's helperman dan comes by w/a strap for my bass, much respect to him too for coming through for me. man, was a baka to lose that. this one's silver but any color's ok at this point. after setting up, I catch up w/mick and tell him how much of a good job he's done setting up and doing this tour. we check w/soundman chris from france, training a cat named colin - I like chris very much, he does a great job. after check mick takes us a few doors down to the "old town cafe noodle box" and I get a hot box which is noodles w/chicken and chilis to make it good and spicy. I like it much. joining us is old buddy timo, love him much. he's just getting better after hurting his back from a tree fall. he looks good however. he's back to his umack gigs after trying to work w/a mersh pad. it's good catching w/him too. timo is much much happening people.
I go back and rap upstair w/two of the opening acts, simon bird and a band called ginola - all young cats and interesting, simon's actually from somerset in england and the trio are dubliners. mick said eleven pm curfew so that means he wants us on at ten. I watch both of these guys' sets, good stuff and I enjoy. there's a band from london on third called the hot head show and I guess there was some mixup cuz we have to go on late - the bassman apologized to me. he plays good - they all can really play and I think they're friends of miss hiyori's. work/school night and curfew can make stress on things - damn if my fratelli ain't up in eight minutes! I feel stress to get us underway so we don't get choked out for time - damn if my fratelli ain't playing like motherfuckers too. it's really a happening thing, the last monday of the tour and shit running late but I think we bring the set really good and not just saying that in a way like "it was ok if you put it in perspective" but I was really proud of ste and andre bringing our music to the dublin folks and it inspired me to try just as hard and also bring. old buddy bushie, estel drummerman, stood right in front of me - damn if I didn't wanna do good for him especially and also bookerman mick and his lieutenant dan. hell, I wanna do good for every person there! it was great to get out of the stress mind... this is a great gift of music, when your fratelli can help lift you out of a mood and help you up and over fucking nightmare, you know? it's a quarter after the curfew when finish - yeah, things kind of quick but at least we still put in "messed-up machine" cuz I very much thought we'd have to scissor it. this is the only gig this tour in which there's no encore.
big hugs for bushie, writerman chris who's a buddy of my tokyo irish buddies andy and seamus. folks most kind, truly. "whelan's (upstairs)" means just that so we wanna get out and load quick - bushie's having us konk at his pad in the rialto part of town and we wanna pull anchor at a quarter after seven so we'll make the ferry smooth but we gotta a hitch... the boat's got a denver boot on it or what they call it here: clamped and that means a call to the police for a eighty euro (just over a hundred $ u.s.) ticket to free her up. fratello ste misunderstood infos someone told him earlier. meanwhile my crippled ass plays il guardiano (guard) and that's when hot head show guitarman jordan first asks what I am right in the moment I'm in to - this on a smart leash I think is filming and I tell him some about those two poussin paintings and of course hadrian and his beard but the talk turns into him wanting advice w/the music racket and all I can tell him from heart is what I know and that's to play from the heart and give it what you got. it is a trippy thing. I tell him maybe a farmer might tell you if you want a good crop, use a lot of manure. how do you reconcile the reality of the dealio concerning some sense of justice equated w/effort in this racket? I ain't gonna get all high-handed about the shit. what he asks me is genuine. his buddy is kind too. all of individuals and yet all of us sharing much common ground and where is the connect? in the acute, how is expressed musically? man, it's tough asking someone who got into this just to be w/his friend. it ain't jive though.
bushie rides w/us to his pad and he puts out some cushions on the deck and an irish army konksack for a blankie and this is good for me, I konk like a rock after some of that jameson mick gave us w/fratello andrea. I thank him for some great drumming. konk's already claimed fratello ste.
tuesday, march 5, 2013 - liverpool, england
I woke up at 6:45, and I see Stefano sleeping on the floor, maybe because the bed was a little uncomfortable for two...Bushie made some tea and coffee for us, and I had some bread-butter-marmalade, an unusual breakfast for this tour. We had to wake up early because we had to take the ferry to Holyhead, in the Wales at 8:45, and be at the port one hour before the departure. It was a hard waking up. We left Bushie's house at 7 and arrived at the port 40 minutes later. The ferry boat was extremely fast and comfortable, we had time to relax a bit. We arrived in the Wales at 10:45, and then I drove all the way up to Liverpool, for about two hours. Once we arrived in the city we met Phil and Emma, the promoters of the gig. They are a beautiful and energetic couple, funny guys, both shiny blond and pale white (like me...). Phil plays with Super Fast Girly Show, who shared the stage with us. We went together to the apartment they booked for us, a nice a comfortable one with three rooms right in the centre of the city, so in one of this 5 stories tall buildings. Liverpool has a unique character, quite rough I would say. During the afternoon I was exhausted, so I tried to sleep but I was too distracted, maybe too tired! I found a bit of relax watching a program about the different variety of English garlic on BBC...we arrived at the venue, Eric's bar, at around 17, and we did the soundcheck at 18. I met the other members of super Fast Girly Show, Pashaand Alan.Eric's bar is a basement in the street famous for being the " the cavern" street, where the Beatles played 292 shows in the 60's. Eric's bar has a strong reputation though. The sound was a little blurry though, a lot of reflections on the bass frequencies. Before the show I walked a bit with Stefano and Emma, who showed us the docks and some interesting buildings around the docks. Then we met someone who came to the Lexington as well, and that's were she gave "christ on a bike" chili sauce to Mike.
Super Girly Fast Show gig was really funny, a rock n'roll power trio with two bass guitar and drums. Eric's bar ceiling is very low, and in front of the venue there are metal barriers against mosh I suppose...these barriers are horrible, they disconnect the audience from the band. We had these barriers in Belfast as well. I'm not sure how this show was, so and so, but there was a good energy, Mike was really into the music, and Stefano as well. The sound on stage was so and so. During these last UK shows my drumskins are detuned everytime I bring them on stage, probably because of the extreme humidity. In fact all around UK houses, trees, stonewalls, ceilings are all covered by green mold.
After the show we pack up quickly. We always pack up right after the end of the show, then we chilled out 10-15 minutes and then straight to load the van, or to the hotel...well it depends on which conditions we have, sometimes we have an hotel next to the venue and the venue can keep our gear inside till the next morning. In Liverpool we had to load the van, so Stefano went to pick it up and we brought all the equipment with the help of Super Girly Fast Show's people, who are used to extensive tours so the know how to handle heavy gear like the one we have. Stefano and I went parking the van, in a little garage, with an automatic metal fence. WE couldn't get access to the right side of the road, a narrow road, so Stefano decided to enter in the other direction...damn I so paranoid about cameras, and in the UK they have hundreds of them at every street corner, entrances, parking lots, everywhere. There was one in front of the garage, probably for keeping the garage safe. After parking the van in the garage, we had a small party in the living room of our apartment with Phil and co., were we had some whiskey, beers, food and chats. At around 1 am I went to bed exhausted. In the living room Mike and the other guys were talking loud, so I couldn't sleep, so I went to them asking not to scream, thanks. I was really sorry for them, as they were having good time, but Stefano and I are doing a lot of work, playing, driving, loading gear, so I needed to have a good sleep.
Stand up from floor at 6:45. We go to Dublin harbor to catch the ferry for England. We at sea for a couple of hours. There is wi-fi free connection on the boat. So good time to do some e-mail works. Then we have a couple of hours to drive to Liverpool. First time in my life to this town. i like the center with these big brick buildings. a lot of large one way road. You can see is a working class town. i like it.
Phil and Emma are the promoter for tonight. They are great. they help us to park the van, find some food and we can have some rest at the flat they booked for us and Emma took Andrea and i out for a walk around town.
We play at Eric's which is just next to the Cavern where the Beatles started their career. So this road is very celebrated and there are a lot of Beatles gadget all around. i look at some of these memorabilia and i think of this september while i was on the african express tour accompanying Rokia Traore. In London Paul Mcartney joined us with his bass and John Paul Jones too on mandolin! we played "Dunia" one of Rokia's song. kind of a surreal situation. So when we went down the stage Paul says "it has been good, was 'n it?" and sort of embarrassed i say "yes! very good!, thank you so much for playing with us Paul such a big honor" and he says "oh it's a pleasure... you never know how is going to be till you up there on stage." Some experience from Sir Mcartney. we take a picture togheter. We met John Paul Jones before cause he is a huge Rokia fan. So in june he joined us for the Barbican concert. He played mandolin that time too. Such a great musician. I started to play bass when i was thirteen listening and studying John Paul Jones and also Steve Harris (iron maiden) bass lines. i went more into punk rock and experimental music , and the guitar years later. So to me, meet JPJ, has been like meeting a hero of my childhood (like batman), very humble and kind person... and so focused about music. he is still continuing to make really great music stuff.
The acustic at Eric's is terrible... it is more a garage kind of buildings but many bands are playing there. Pere Ubu soon. Super Fast Girlie Show opens the night: Allan, Pacha and Phil. They are great! they bring such a positive and tough energy. really strong! very good. They makes all of us very happy with their concert. It is a tuesday night kind of difficult. And there was someone came from London to see us again playing, very kind.
Kind of tricky to load and park the van but Allan, Pacha, Phil and Emma helped a lot. After then we go at the apartment and we spent a couple of hours all togheter eating drinking and chatting. Marmite and blue Cheddar. Then shower and sleep in a comfortable bed.
pop at six and a half. no time for hose off. bushie's got coff and also like a pound of butter in the form of a stick I can only gawk at. he brings on two little dogs w/much life in them - "I want you to put your paws in the butter and..." bushie's just the best, I love him dearly. pull anchor at quarter after seven, find both the boat safe and the sun all orange and actually visible. big hugs for bushie, fare thee well.
fratello ste drives us to the port where the ferry's are. for a while we drive along the liffey, so central to mr joyce's books. we're on the irish ferries line and the ferry is a smaller one called the "jonathan swift" which is just that, fucking swift, crimony! leaving dublin ferryport at 8:45, arriving two hours later at holyhead in wales. eighty miles of wales and another twenty in england to reach liverpool... only the second time I've driven through wales and I've never played here - I met a cat in glasgow who said he put on gigs there... damn, I wanna do a gig there! shit, so many lands actually I've never played, so many... fuck... and to think people say I play all over - actually that's bullshit if you look at the big picture - it's mostly the same pads over and over. actually though, I'm grateful to get to play at all so I hope this don't sound like too intense of bellyachin' cuz no one needs whining which in a way I think a sick kind of chest puff if your fair about it. I do wanna play more lands than I have though - I have this dream of a real american tour: north/central/south... one way/one day. I gotta make it happen somehow, I hope I have time. quarter of eleven, we disembark and find the sun still out - how much longer for today?
we pass a sign for somewhere called pwllgwyngyll - how do you say that? the sheep here have white faces, the last couple of days we've seen black faced ones - some scottish ones had horns. still have rheinfurst aqua frizzata from solingen. off goes the shirt, fratello andre drove us off the ferry and he says his feet are cold even w/the big boots he's wearing. just out of wales we pass chester and this is where I met phil after a stooges gig at a festival there. he sure is good peeps. he's the one that got both this one and the missingmen gig in liverpool fifteen months ago together.
the tunnel going to the liverpool's center is a pound and a half toll but my fratelli are convinced every machine gives you a receipt cuz that's the way it is in france and italy BUT I see it's like the u.s. where only certain manned turnstiles give the receipts and the machines just take money w/giving nothing back. both fratelli say this is not the way it should be but I counter w/what it is - not to be a smart-ass but just to you know, by the way... fratello ste speaks of seeing many rules in london and that england must be very organized but I ask to really look, like w/my land: there can be the appearance and then there is the reality of the dealio, just is. fratello andrea threw me a two euro coin and me like a baka threw it in the basket w/out thinking (remember he's driving on the wrong side of the road for this vehicle here) so I pony up my own pound and a half and we're through this drama. every place has happening and difficult things, it's ok, we can learn to navigate this stuff. I love my fratelli.
we get into town around one and a half, make a call to gigboss phil (he's also in the opening band, just like the old days!) so he can get us happening w/parking and he does more than that, him and his lady emma gets us into an "apartment" which is where we're gonna konk after the gig. here we can rest and I chow seafood ramen from right bellow us in a chow pad named "mei zhen noodle bar" and it's real good. we are wore out from the early pop and I want my fratelli safe from fatigue bringing sickness and worse on them. phil comes gets us at four and a half, rides w/us to where we're playing.
the venue for tonight is called "eric's" and is in what's like an alley but is called mathew street - this is where the beatles played a pad called "the cavern" and it's been all touristed up, lots of kitsch - I think the original club ain't even in the right place, it being torn down and then rebuilt further down the street. the padboss is ethan and he's cool people, curious about what we sound like - saw me at chester w/the stooges only. he tells me about another band at that festival, some about "the australian pink floyd" - don't know if that's the right name but he says it's a tribute band that sells out huge pads, copying some other band. of course there's kind of the same thing too w/the beatles, people dressing up like them and playing their tunes but this is kind of another level. well, to each his own. we do check w/soundman jay, it's stuff he's not familiar w/but he's got a great personality and into the challenge.
no internet at this pad so I go upstairs (actually the venue is like on a deck below ground level) and into the alley cuz I remember a sign for a chow pad that said "free wifi" but I can't see it anymore. there's a hatch to a little kind of mall (lots of beatles kitsch) and there's a chow pad called "chantilly lounge" where I chow a "ploughman's" which is cucumbers, lettuce, cheese and ham slices on a plate w/a little roll - it's good, fresh and econo plus the lady there gives me a code and I get my diary up on the net. another lady from the london gig last week I guess sees me and talks w/me, it's the same person who gave me the nietzsche book and the chili. I figure the mics are all set up now and so go back to check. I go to the dressing room and emma's brought some incredible avocado dip for these hand cooked tortila chips - really good! I then put on konk mask and konk on the couch they got here which is a good long firm one but I only got the hard armrest for a pillow... seems easier for me to konk if my head is elevated. it's as cold as an ice box in here and I pop after an hour, put on orange boshi and gloves, get konk mask back down and konk for another 'pert-near two hours, fuck am I tuckered. there's a sound coming through the bulkhead... I pop and hobble quick as I can towards the stage - it's the super fast girlie show and it's a sideways thunderstorm! I want it in my face so I go right up to the barriers, in front of pasha. fifteen months ago his band opened for me and my missingmen at mello mello but this time he has a new drummerman, allan and phil's on the bass like he is and in fact is playing the eb-3 of phil's he showed me last time. yeah, the double bass blast along w/the slamming drums makes for an incredible power trio w/both pasha and phil singing their hearts out. this really fires me up and raises my spirits. near the end the do a version of my "bob dylan wrote propaganda songs" where they changed the last line of the tune to "mike watt wrote inspirational songs" which is a big time surprise.
so much to make tonight a character builder, I can't thank these cats enough for yanking my morale up and flying it from a flagpole. they're just the best. I go get a banana bread beer - yeah, I shit thee not, banana bred beer and jam it down my hatch in one pull, crimony. I'm ready... no prob w/curfew tonight, we're at 9:33 and bring it. we do a really good show though there's some acoustic stuff inherit cuz of the sitch and damn if in the tune I dedicate to brother phil, "partisan song" ain't all clammed up in first time I supposed to solo (spaced on where I fucking was, what a baka!), I make up for it some (I don't think I could ever totally make up for such a fucking goof!), come the second one. damn if I don't owe phil for all he's done for me, truly. my fratelli andre and stefano play really really good too, such happening vibe and w/no hand-wringing or distraction or burden bearing bum-out from these true music men, yeah, I am blessed to be in their band.
after the encore, much hugs from me for the gig-goers. one cat shows me the tattoo he made of the signature he asked me to put on his arm last time I was here, damn if it don't look like I just took a sharpie to him! really, much kindness, much. can't wait to play liverpool again. I get to meet phil's pop and his ma, I thank them much for raising a boy like phil.
we load up the boat w/big time help from the super fast girlie show cats and before they join us at the "apartment" I get a donner kebob from right next door called "fab 4 pizza" - the kitch never ends. we get back "home" at eleven and a half, fuck yeah! am way into that. miss hiyori's bday is at midnight - congrats from everyone to her for that. phil/pasha/allan plus emma come by and we have a great time - even w/fratello andrea later shooshing us - much spiel about sheep, romans, thin lizzy, et cetera... even foul sainsbury-branded bourbon can't sour this righteous time. big love to our brothers here.
wednesday, march 6, 2013 - hebden bridge, england
I woke up at 10:30, I really needed a long sleep. I had a nice shower and a hot instant coffee in my room, watching some news on BBC and some butter cookies. Phil and Emma went to the apartment to say hello, then we left for Hebden Bridge. It was just an hour long driving towards the centre of the island, in the York region. We arrived at Sowerby Bridge at around 13 where Geoff, a tour manager based there, hosted us over night. This part of England is amazing, all hilly and punctuated by small old villages made out of old grey, dark stones from that area. When we crossed some of these villages the weather was perfect for a mystery crime story plot, fog and rain on moldy stone houses. We went to Geoff house, then I went to Tesco with Miss Hiyori to buy some food to cook. I started my cooking mission happy, I wanted to cook something really good for Stefano Mike and Hiyori, but I had only a couple of receipts in my mind and none of them were suitable for the situation, as Stefano is vegetarian and Hiyori has dairy intolerance. So I bought pasta and a good simple tomato sauce and cooked pasta al dente, which turned to be a good choice. Then we realized a bit at Geoff. His house is a very old one. Geoff has been working with musicians for many years, so I could see this from his behaviour with us, very calm simple and warm, and by the type of the apartment where he lives, very simple and clean. He has a very well equipped kitchen, he likes to cook, as there are a lot cookbooks next to the kitchen.
Ben, the young promoter of the gig and bass player for The Nice Sharp Pencil,came to pick us up at 15:30. We drove through beautiful villages with tiny bridges and a lot of narrow canals. Ben said that a lot of hippies are living in boats up there. Hebden Bridge is a little town, made out of the the previously mentioned grey-black stones. The venue, the Trades, is a two stories early 20th century pub. The stage is at the second floor, and it in a big wooden room with high ceiling and big windows. After the soundcheck we could eat, so Mike and Hiyori did, but I had still the pasta floating in my stomach. Before the show I had a nice walk around Hebden Bridge. What a surprise, I had never seen this kind of old England villages, medieval I suppose. I heard that here were a lot of mills, which started closing after the Second World War. When I went back to The Trades I eat rice and chili beef made by a girl from Tibet, extremely spicy. Too much garlic for me tough, I can't really digest it...I met Dep who came down from Glasgow to see il Sogno del Marinaio for the third time! What a great surprise. Dep brought me some information about a 1997 Moondog record he found at Monorail, he was so kind as we spoke about Hobocombo, the band were I play Moondog's music. I missed the two first opening act for that, Kieran Leonard and Black Lanterns.
During the concert I had the feeling that the stage was drying out a lot of frequencies, so when we had to play loud we couldn't "blast" when required. I had problems with hearing bass especially. I liked how Stefano played, in fact he said it was the best show for him. After loading the van and saying hello to Dep, we went back to Geoff's house, were he made food for us: humus, olive pate, alioli sauce and salad. This was a great surprise, and we spent about an hour chatting with Ben as well before going to bed at 2:30am.
we can sleep till 11. Hebden Bridge is not far, just one hour driving. we say hello to Phil and Emma and we go on the road. we stop for a coffee on the motorway.
after few miles we go through a dense fog. we go out of the motorway and we drive through the Yorkshire magic hills. Magic and Supernatural countryside. Looks like another time another era. i'm completely fascinated by this land. We arrive some hours before the load in. So we can have some rest at beautifull Geoff house. an amazing Hospitality. Ben comes to pick up. he is the promoter for this gig, great guy and great musician. We play at the trades club. the Stone outside says that was put there in 1924. Trees all around this building and this road. It is a two floor great Brick house with a pub and a sort of a small feather stage up there.he helps us a lot with the load in.
i have some rice with spinach and paneer very good and a couple of ales for dinner and meet Richard on the stairs. he comes for an interview to Mike and il sogno del marinaio. We go on the stage and i realize that my delay's transformer does not work anymore... So i have to arrange some parts differently... like "joyfuzz" for example
...i really liked the vibe of this concert. i think we play very well tonight. After the concert we have a very nice time at Geoff house. he has been the tour manager for B.B. King. What a kind and hironic person. He has prepared delicious round potatoes, salads, olives, mayonnaise, wonderful humus and very good red wine. The quality of the food is so good that we just stay there eating and talking till late.
pop at nine bells, no fucking hot water so I avoid hose down, ok, I'm coward - sometimes I let myself down so hard. only freeze-dried coff but it helps w/caff jones plus you also get terrible taste, I choke it down. no internet, I chimp diary 'til bail time at eleven - two cleaning ladies in the hall sitting and waiting... I apologize and tell team to get the fucking lead out. we wait outside for phil and emma, we get to say good byes before shoving off, big hugs for very good people, big love. there's some sun out.
fratello ste needs stop for coff so soon on the highway we're at another "welcomebreak" (sic) - home of the "welcometoilets" (sic) the same type of "services" pad fratello andrea left his back sack at the morning of the glasgow gig. this time he forgets to bring the sack in to forget it - I was gonna try to hobble over w/it so he could do just that but remain in the boat like a lame-ass. when he returns we talk about a revision to "auslander" - he wants me to scissor the last break in the bridge. he said I did that by accident in dublin and he liked it - I had no idea I clammed like that... what a fucking baka I am. we talk about drogas and addiction. bad scene, fucked up.
weather's getting gray and then big time fog, dangerous. sowerby bridge fiftyfive miles northeast of liverpool - you need tiny roads from the highway to get to what used to be mill towns along the river. this part of england's called yorkshire, the white rose is their symbol and I've heard the accent before cuz stooges helperman jos has got it. the big town is leeds, about twentyfive miles east of where we are now. w/the fog and the tiny steep roads, it's a little bit spooky looking but neat. we stop in a parking lot for a testor supermarket and from there call geof, a friend of tonight's gigboss ben so he guide us to his pad. it's beautiful, geof says it's probably from the late 1600s, damn. it's very personal, the way he has it, very individual and very comfortable. geof is also beautiful person. he's older than me, been a tour manager for a long long time, jazz and blues. trippy he doesn't drive but he does everything else. fratello andrea cooks up happening pasta shells in sauce w/cheese, simply oishii! everyone rests while I chimp diary.
gigboss ben comes at three and a half to guide us to the venue. geof's pad is here in sowerby bridge but where we're playing is across the valley in hebden bridge. still foggy and kind of slippery roads, fratello ste spun the tires on one steep intersection but handled the sitch well, letting us roll back down a little where the grade was more gentle and the tires could grab easier. this pad where we're playing is called "the trades club" and I'm told it was organized for working people, built in 1924. there's some gero (puke in jap) on pavement on the way to the load-in stairs, very yellow - kind of like deviled egg stuffing, I take a picture. unfortunately, my fratelli avoid it every time they pass. I refresh their memory w/a view of my camera, enlighten gigboss ben w/it. we check our sound w/soundman jason and I chow stir-fry from tibetan cooklady that's very good, excellent chili. a nice cat w/a mike watt flannel on gives me a bottle of "trees can't dance" habanero sauce, thank you much! we have a good little talk and then richard from a zine called "one way ticket to cubesville" interviews me downstairs. he is very cool people, respect to him. however I miss opener kieran leonard cuz of my windbagging (so very sorry, damn) but get to see the black lanterns and I enjoy them much. their bassman really dug the lombardi amp.
we're on a ten pm. again I am baka and begin the set w/out checking the tuning - of course 'e' string is out of tune. kind of blurry in some parts, I could've been more precise but I still had good feel for our stuff and the gig-goers are most kind - maybe in the back is some yammering but great focus from folks I see and they really want us to do encore when we finish. I had some senses of blurriness in some transitions that I think were my doing but my fratelli hang good and give much heart in their playing - it shows. I know I clammed the bridge before the singing in "joyfuzz" and there was a deer-in-the-headlights moment but we got back in the saddle and rode it home. many grazies to andrea and stefano from me, many.
some u.s. people at this gig, probably the most I've met at a gig this tour. they're real nice and so are the other folks who come up to talk to me, kind words and hugs - I love the respect so many share w/me about my fratelli, it's means much to me, really. I met the padboss mal and he knows mrs elizabeth but lost contact so I help him w/that. I'm so glad gigboss ben brought us here, so glad. oh yeah, dep saw us again, drove down from glasgow - much respect! that's three times he saw this tour, what a brother!
we load up and I forget to examine the gero one last time... well at least I have a picture. bossman ben w/us, we go back to geof's in sowerby bridge and he's got a table of chow laid out for us that's really good: roasted potatoes w/herbs, a salad w/a caesar dressing (I love!), hummus pomegranate seeds, olives (black and green) and the rest of the beam - it's righteous, geof is a righteous man, much much respect to him.
thursday, march 7, 2013 - sheffield, england
I woke up slowly at 11am, as the appointment with the other people was at 12. I took a quick shower and I had an instant coffee with a piece of Hiyori's birth cake (with raisins but with no dairy!). Before leaving we said hello to Ben and Miss Hiyori gave Geoff an "il sogno del marinaio" T-Shirt, Geoff was a great host! I drove down to Sheffield, along narrow carriages and later on a motorway. Sheffield welcomed us with a foggy weather and old abandoned factories. There are no high buildings here as well, except the old chimneys. The venue is a "flatironed" building, at the corner of two streets. The promoter max and other very young kids (in their early 20's!) helped us loading in the venue. The venue, the Harley is a pub with a small stage. At the front-left side of the stage there is a bar. Upstairs there is an hotel a little beat down, but useful for us. After loading I hate a huge and good hamburger, but probably too big, as at 20 I was still talking with it. Setting up my drum kit I used a rug that they had at the venue ('cause I donated mine on the first gig of the tour in Bologna) which was disgustingly sticky from tones of beers poured over it. We did the soundcheck early with soundman Brett, so at 4:30 we were already set.
While Mike was doing an interview with professor Mike for his book 33 ?about Dead Kennedys first record Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, I decided to take a walk and to go to a close records and books second hand shop the soundman Brett suggested me, rare and racy. Stefano went with me. We found this shop very interesting. They had a record player, and when we got it was playing a Terry Riley recording on the stereo, an old one that I never heard before, with a voice which reminded me a bit of Robert Wyatt's once...they have great taste for music, so the next record they played on they're stereo was a Captain Beefheart record called "Doc At The Radar Station" - Stefano and I were amazed by this music...so I was inspired and I bought a few second hand records a d books: two Congolese soukous LP's from the late 80's (usefull for my african musicdj set as DJ Loningisa), one copy of the Plast ic Ono Band first LP (my copy at home is almost gone) , one American folk songs record played by Burl Ives (just because I liked the cover), a book for Veronica called "the Lives of the Muses",about women who had been muses for artists and writers like Man Ray, Lewis Carroll and others (I'd like to thank her for inspiring me for composing Joyfuzz) and a 1981 fan Talking Heads fan book with nice old fashioned interviews and cool pictures (for 3 pounds). I talked a bit to the owners of the shop, and one of them knew a musician named Mike Watt, but a Sheffield one!
When I got back to the venue it was already 18, and I wanted to go and relax upstairs in our room, but I had no keys, so I ordered a local Cyder (I love it), and I talked a bit with Denis, who took picture of us and came to see Il Sogno del Marinaio's three times during this tour.
After a little while the venue starts getting packed, so I had no real time to do anything else than drinking a small beer before the first band, Collider, started playing. I really like this band, all members were very young and the music they played was a tight punk-rock (Jawbreaker?) with an almost screaming voice. Nice drummer. I shared the kit with him, and he liked it very much.
We went on stage at around 10. The show was fun, the stage a little blurry, and my voice not very clear on stage, but ok it went well. I'm always a bit insecure while singing, but I also think that Stefano are improving our choirs (sailor's choirs!) as the time goes by.
After the show we had to pack up in less than 10 minutes, as the dj set had to set up for the evening. We brought all our gear in our rooms, on the first floor, in a hurry with the help of Collider's people and the promoters. Then I ate a bit with miss Hiyori in her room, some bread with Chorizo and hot sauce, and some cheese as well. Then I went downstairs where I met Mike while was talking with Stefano, soundman Brett, and a young professor in political philosophy with whom Mike started a conversation about philosophy, and Mike the man who di the interview in the afternoon. I got to talk with him a it, a very intelligent and pleasant to talk with man. At around 2 we went upstairs and talked a bit about the show drinking some beers, while the dj set was shaking all the room. In fact, after leaving Mike's room, Stefano and I realized we were right on the top of the P.A. During the dj set. Our bathroom was literally shaking, with buzz from plastic objects and walls everywhere, it was hilarious! I thought It was impossible for us to sleep in this condition, but as soon as I put my earplugs in my ears I started sleeping immediately.
During the night I heard the music quitting abruptly, and some people going back and forth their rooms...
i slept very good but i wake up a bit smashed... too much drinking probably yesterday night. i take a shower. Hiyori shows me where the coffee is.
i go at the tesco to buy some batteries for the delay we say hello to Geoff and Ben and we go on the road for Sheffield. We stop on the motorway for a coffee.
And we got the first rain of the tour (kind of incredible) in England!
The venue in Sheffield is the Harley. Brett is the soundman. When i just got into the venue is listening to a Rokia Traore alum. He loves her so much. So I invite him to see some of the english gigs this spring summer coming. Brett is a very good sound engineer.
I really like the sound tonight. maybe a little bit blurry on stage but i could feel that outside is well balanced. Jim and Max are the promoter for tonight. they are so young! Jim studies Politics and Max studies History. Some of their Professors are at the gig tonight!!! Colliders are the opening band. they are from Leeds. good band. very bright and loud guitars they use these old british amplifiers. When they play i spend some time with Denis... third gig for him of these il sogno del marinaio tour. he is taking some pictures of us and he is a huge fan of all Mike projects.
After the gig we have immediately to move the gear cause in the venue is starting a club night. so we take everything upstairs in the rooms where we are going to sleep. all the guys helps us. Then we drink and talk with Mike a professor who is writing a book on the first Dead Kennedys record and come tonight to interview Mike. We spend time to talk al togheter. we go sleep upstairs... everything is shaking cause of the tim tim clubby kick drum but we can sleep pretty quick.
pop at ten bells, no rush cuz we can bail at twelve and a half - our next gig is 'pert-near two hours south tonight in sheffield - still in yorkshire but south yorkshire. fratello andrea the wheelman, he's getting much from dickhead truckers give him no breaks and nothing but squeezeplays. I chimp diary.
load-in is 2:30 pm cuz of pad's sitch w/neighbors - it's called "the harley" and is a pub on a corner like a flatiron trip, it's got a 'tel above it which is part of it - yeah, this where we konk tonight, some stairs involved but still in stumbling distance and I'm way into it. gigboss max and his peeps help us unload from big time righteous parking we find right across the road, fuck yeah. weather is gray, getting into town here we pass much for industry include a hugh foundry - I guess this was kind of an england pittsburgh that's now a school town and supposedly very green cuz of the rebuilding of the rusted-out former crumblings. respect to them for getting the town happening like that.
after load-in, I do a big spiel professor mike who's now a co-director at the centre for peace history at the university of sheffield is doing a 33 1/3 book on the first dead kennedys album. actually I do two big spiels, a second one after soundcheck cuz his recording machine failed to do just that, record. his thought was maybe pilot error. during the first one I chowed a hamburger and some fries but didn't get to finish cuz of the check (and cuz I was also windbagging) and it getting cleared out while up on the stage, checking w/soundman brett who's very cool people - he knows about gg allin - I helped him remember the name whilst (look what word I learned!) enlightening a buddy of his. about the spiels w/professor mike, he wanted to know about the political sitch in the old punk scene, not scene politics but social activism concerning people who were also at the gigs, in the bands. he wanted to know about the minutemen regarding this - a connection maybe w/dead kennedys concerning lyrics... were we influenced? I tell him about my first time seeing those guys which I learned last december was their first so cal gig cuz klaus flouride came to my oakland third opera gig and then I chowed and spieled w/him a month later when recording w/james williamson for new stooges album. I tell professor mike I saw them thought they were kind camp, kind of funny like lots of 70s punk. I enjoyed them. I didn't know a whole lot about the s.f. scene but there was good bands - the dils moved there for a while and there was the sleepers, flipper and chrome. the zeros moved there too. actually s.f. had a stronger scene earlier than hollywood. for us, hollywood scene was very strong influence for us minutemen and so were the records we found at zed in long beach from bands in england. eventually we played w/dead kennedys in torrance and then wilmington - both towns not far from our pedro one. the wilmington one turned into a riot w/the police going off. by that time hardcore was in full swing and the scene was nothing like when I first saw those guys. I am happy to say jello's been very nice to me. so glad to reconnect w/klaus too - last time was sharing a bill w/his proj tragic mulato. professor mike asks me lots about the dynamics of the minutemen and I hope my spiel wasn't too fucking clumsy and sounding like a total 'tard. we really dug the punk movement turning us on to using music for expression, "thinking out loud" is what d. boon called what our lyrics were. I agree w/that. I hope I helped professor mike some w/his proj.
there's a opening band tonight called collider and I meet the four guys, them telling me their band is only six months old. they're nice cats. I go upstairs and recharge digicamera batteries and get my diary uploaded, coming back down to see the collider set. I like it. a man named mave mills introduces himself to me - he was the bassman for chumbawamba when dos played w/them in our pedro town in the early 90s. eve libertine from crass and her son nemo was on that bill too. so good to see mave, I completely remember him and his band, big hugs! really nice cat. turns out gigboss max is doing his dissertation on a "green anarchist" zine and mave might have connects that can help him - very happening.
we're supposed to go on at quarter of ten and w/a slight pause w/ste in the benjo, we do just that. I realize I got no chonies on - I'm freeballing tonight, damn... ain't done that in years. anyway, I make sure the bass is in tune. there's two blue and one red small lights on us, we're 'pert-near in the dark up here - sure glad it's the end of the tour where I'm used to this tuscany bass! the stage is kind of in a cupboard so there's some mid in low and low mids, I compensate w/the lombardi's eq and just have faith in soundman brett to have it good for the folks. I think I'm playing tighter than last night and that was my intention for this gig. some little clams but nothing too bozo. fratello ste has some different explorations tonight, he's about that and maybe we lose some drama at points, it's maybe better than have everything so planned and deliberate. someone hollered out for a dose of nostalgia but we only bring il sogno del marinaio. the sheffield gig-goers actually are very respectful and give us much much focus. there's a post by where I am so I can get help getting up and down - VERY important cuz of hurt hiza. we bring encore. I try for my first beer but all ours got drunk - quickly the collider guys bring more and apologize. no prob, they're really great - they help us get the stuff up the stairs and into the 'tel rooms so the rave stuff can start.
professor mike brought his friends and really liked the gig, that's great. he wants me to do more w/this band, I tell him I will - maybe record second album this summer... many of the folks give me the good work, want picture, signature - no prob, I'm very grateful they brought open minds and hearts to share w/us, such a precious gift. denis gives me his cd which is dedicated to ronnie, huge respect to him. also, he saw me and my fratelli three times - multiple gig-goers are so SO very kind, truly. it's the last show for gigboss max cuz he's graduating - very proud of him!
a man slinging collider shirts who's very cool people talks about stuff w/me that somehow leads to mr hobbes and his thoughts - actually first there was talk of his (not mr hobbes) trip to napoli and fried chicken in leicester and lots of things... turns out he's a teacher or lecturer? we're all out on the porch: soundman brett, my fratelli, professor mike and his buddies... I bring up mr kierkegaard, what?! I should've listened more close but out of the sweaty gig flannel (good) but w/out coat (baka) and using macpurse up against my chest w/both my arms... like kind of a okama? I feel foolish and apologize for being slow learner here.
one more check on the email... from fratello jacopo:
"you can play a shoestring if you're sincere"
- john coltrane
this hits me right in the heart.
big rave sound coming through deck as me and my fratelli discuss song stuff from the gig, thoughts on certain approaches. it is loud thumping but I can konk cuz I am tuckered, konk hard.
friday, march 8, 2013 - leicester, england
I woke up at 10:30, and out of the window the weather was grey. It rained all night. We loaded the van in 20 minutes, and we went on the road again at around 12. The driving from Sheffield to Leicester was an hour long, but, as in Italy as well for example, the two towns are very different and with their own different worlds. We arrived in Leicester early, at around 13:30, and Mike wanted a fried chicken badly, as fdifl suggested him to check out Leicester fried chicken. He and Hiyori went to a trashy once, I'm always skeptical about chains in general, and this was a local chain for street food. While they were eating I made myself a little sandwich in the van with Marmite and ham. As far as we got there early we went to the Travelodge hotel the venue in Leicester, the Cookie Jar, reserved for us. This hotel was quite good, compared to the other travelodge. I slept an hour, then a refreshing shower. We went to the venue at 6. It was in a pedestrian zone at the very centre of the town. We met the owner of the bar, Tinny, a smart man with a good savoire faire. The venue is an old bar recently restored, with a stage in the basament. The soundman is called Matt, a tall and skinny guy. At the very end of this room there is another bar. Miss Hiyori set the merch table next to the bar while we set up and did the soundcheck quickly. We had three songs we used for the souncheck: funanori jig (medium level, instrumental), verse IX (very quite with mike's voice), punkinhed ahoy (loud one with vocals from both Stefano and I). The dinner consisted in baked potatoes and beef chili, with baked black beans.
The opening act was the band we three and the death rattle, a punk rock band with guitar drums voice and theremin.We went on stage and I had no voice in the monitor for the whole show. Somehow it helped me to get my voice louder than the other days; Stefano and Mike suggested me to project more the voice in order to make it more direct to the listeners, more communicative. I couldn't hear Stefano, the stage emphasized the bass frequencies and I was working tighter with Mike. People in the audience were a bit colder than the other days, but they payed a lot of attention. Tinny was more than happy, so after the show he started offering us a lot of drinks. I only had a shot of Jack Daniels and a god pint of Cyder, while Miss Hiyori, Mike and Ste had whiskey vodka and beer. At the end Hiyori was quite drunk, she was laughing all the way down to the hotel, which was at a 5 minutes walking distance from the venue. I went to bed at around 1:30.
i wake up and i can feel that the bourbon of the night before kind of poisoned me.
we take all the gear downstairs and we load up the van and i drive.
We go Leicester, the town of Richard III... i'm just reading these days the Shakspeare novel! so good. Mike tell he has some drama time with Paul during 2005 second man tour in town. We arrive early. Mike Hiyori and Andrea go to eat some fried chicken. i stay in the van and try to crash while they are eating but i cannot and i just end looking out the window the traffic and the people walking. These area seems to be kind of depressed and beat up.
We go to rest in the usual travelodge hotel and after that we go at the venue the cookie jar. Tinny owns the bar-coffeshop and pub and he books gigs every night there. Matt is the sound guy very tall. During the shows I could not go to loud with my guitar cause Andrea microphone is feedbacking... it is to loud cause he asks for the monitor but Matt probably just turned up only his monitors and in the cave where we play is just filled up with people. play less volume the usual but after a couple of songs i can adjust some of the high frequencies and have a better and at least control punch. Anyway is still a good gig and People are happy.
We end the night with many Booze Tinny offers us. He talks me about Rory Callagher which i have not heard before and he plays some of his records. thanks Tinny. we go sleep kind of borachos.
pop at nine bells but I think awake or semi-awake before so maybe more like "open eyes" rather than true pop. no hot water and I guess I'm a little bit of a coward so I scissor the hosedown... we gotta get the shit out the 'tel rooms into the boat so some stairs involved - my fucking weak-ass knee makes feel big time useless, aaaaaarrrrrrrrgggggghhhhh. fuck I wanna my fratelli w/this fucking part so bad, being deadwood is big time burden and I guilt on it heavy... frustrating so much. we pull anchor at eleven and a half. rained all night and there's still some but not much. gray and foggy as yesterday though. it's a wet cold, much moisture in the air so it can be intense on the joints and my bones. it's a taunt at the first "services" but the second one we pull over is yet another chance to donate a back sack or whatever - I don't get anything cuz I was told by jack aizlewood (yeah, that's his name: the man explaining stuff regarding mr hobbes after the gig last night, great cat) that he's into fried chicken in leicester, the "trashier" the better, he explains so that's why I'm holding out for. found out he's into this too, interesting...
seventy miles south to leicester takes ninety minutes, through nottingham and robin hood country - we see neither friar tuck nor little john or even anyone in tights. we hit the rougher part of town not far from the shiney new mall and it takes some cruising before I see fried chicken painted on the window of chow pad called "mexican hot" and fratello ste (he's been at the rudder) parks and konks while we forge. I get across the road and though the door to this pad is open and I walk inside, a group people in there look all afraid at me and so I say "guess you might be closed?" and they all nod their heads but w/tripped-out eyes, whoa - hobble out quick, watt. back across the road w/go where we're told there's some but after many blocks we find what looks like a chain, something called "benny's" and though fratello andre goes and checks many blocks further, it appears this is the only pad around here to get fried chicken - he passes on the potential poisoning and returns to the boat and ste while me and mss hiyori roll the dice. for two and half pounds (about four $ u.s.) I get five of the most tiny chicken drumsticks ever, the size of my pinky - I shit thee not! there's skinny fries (crapdonald's style) and some kind apple-flavored soda that comes w/it too. I'd still say the colonel's worse but not by much. crimony. there's a chinese medicine pad next door and through the window I see where the reflexology point for the knee is on a foot model they got there and take note. leicester is very mixed town, I heard almost half immigrant... very interesting. like so cal - I think a very good thing. we shove off for the 'tel after some wandering... at least we get to see the city bus terminal at least four or five times before - you got it, a "travel lodge" comes into sight. ok, last one of these for the tour. not to bellyache though - there's free wifi in the lobby first time we found that in a pad like this AND... there's hot water so I do a soak but the tub's both too shallow and too short so the knees can't fit in. at least I get washed which is kind of good for someone who's missed a couple of days of that kind of thing.
we can only park in this 'tel lot 'til six cuz then it's for the casino next door (what?!) but that's ok cuz we got load-in then. we get to the bollard where a code's supposed to open him up but the gigboss ian runs up and tells us it doesn't work. fratello andrea brings the boat around another way though and we load in to the basement floor of the this pad, it's called "the cookie jar" and the padboss tinny and his tallahassee wife kate are very cool people. so his soundman matt, a real tall cat that also drums in maybe she will which toured w/tokyo brothers lite - small fucking world, huh? the gigboss ian brought scotch bonnets chilies, holy cow! these minced up in the salsa provide for some kick and the chili (as in chile con carne) on a baked potato that kate made for us is very happening also, real tasty and gets my blood good and hot, digging it also for antidote for the wet cold. I chow this cuz I ain't into long soundchecks and figure when I finish they'll be ready for me downstairs.
there's one band other than us and I'm told they' cats from here but now in london called we three and the death rattle and they have no bass! they have great singer, guitar and drummer though, very good. they get the room ready for us to follow at ten. the sitch kind of reminds of a live house in japan where the stage is only a few inches hih and you got bulkheads on all side but where the peeps are, the bar in the back. this makes for some good connect w/the peeps but there's some feedback from fratello andrea's singing mic when he asks for more after "zoom" and fratello ste can't get his amp louder. I'm watching both my volume and my boom cuz I don't wanna bogart but I need guitar to interact w/so it's a little "feel it up some" for the first stuff - by "winds of may" it was sounding good for me and ste could get good and full for "sailor blues" but I don't know if the crowd is involved w/the same stuff we are cuz soundman matt is probably making it good for them (I find out later that's exactly what he did) - you can't mix a band from the stage and for sure not bass cuz the wavelengths of the frequencies are pretty big and devlop much further away from their source (the bass amp). this is why I always ask our soundperson for the night (by the way, it's international woman's day - respect) if they'll be "our fourth band member" for the night. I can tell you these folks in lecister gave boque big time focus and respect - oh man, a motherfucking buttload. they were beautiful. on the other hand, again I blew the part after the bridge in "joyfuzz" but fratello andrea counted me right in so it wasn't exact repeat of last night. I did get good energy inspiration from both the peeps and my fratelli and did pretty good w/the bass, ste and andre really REALLY good and we're brought back for the longest encore of the tour - still just one tune but a long version of it.
while packing up. a young bassman tells me he got to see and not just hear how I work this machine, so very kind. there's a ct from the old days too, saw me at the fulham greyhound way back. this lady has her man take a shot of me and, I got my hands full of cable which I think is fitting.
we can leave the stuff here, hoof (hobble in my case) back to the 'tel a load up the boat tomorrow - padboss tinny's offered us breakfast here at ten. he's very kind people. him, gigboss ian and soundman matt join us at a table upstairs and up comes some drinks. I try that new honey jack daniels which I'm glad is a little bit cuz it's big time mazui, awful taste. he's got a rye wodka I ain't had before that's trippy though and I'm glad for the peroni beer. tinny loves rory gallagher and puts that on the stereo, I love it - you go, rory! I saw him blow away jethro tull at a stadium gig once as a teenager. about one am, time to yank the cord and hobble (the rest of us walk) the short way to the 'tel for a konk that comes my way "like that" once down.
saturday, march 9, 2013 - exeter, england
I woke up around 10:30, then I took a quick shower and we went to take breakfast at Tinny's bar. I got a proper English breakfast, a big one with sausages, poached eggs, bacon, baked beans, french toast and a potato cake (!!!). We met Tinny again, as he wanted to check out the situation and say goodbye. After loading the van, we left the venue at around 12, towards the venue Cavern, in Exteter, for the last gig of the tour. I drove for the first part of the travel, until Bristol, then Stefano drove till Exeter. The weather was a grey and rainy, we just had a bit of sun while we were driving around Bristol. Mike offered us some Sh?ga, raw ginger. The sharing of pieces of ginger was a sort of leitmotiv for the whole tour, as it is healthy and refreshing. We arrived in Exteter early in the afternoon, around 15:30. We parked right in front of the venue, in a posh street in the city centre next to fancy shops and bars. The Cavern is in the basement of a very old building, and it is running since 1991. It is very famous for the punk, punk rock scene. The stage was small, and the stagefloor was supersticky as the rug in Sheffield. They have punk bands posters hanged on the walls. The promoter is called Jon. The soundman Mike arrived at 17, then we did the soundcheck. Rob, a Stooges ultra-fan, came to meet Mike and us for the third time in this tour. He came to London, Southampton and Exeter. A girl called Maddie is making a documentary about him and his passion for Stoogees; Mike said he saw him at more than 60 Stooges shows! He is very kind, and he offered us Indian food he brought to the venue for us. At the table there were also a couple of Australian friends Robert Curgenven, a sound artist and experimental music musician who did also a record for the u.s. label line and Kat who works as speech therapist. They live inCornwall, so it has been nice to see them as they drove for more than 1h30min to get to Exeter. We ate all together, then while Mike was doing an interview for Rob's documentary, the first band of the evening started playing. They are called Arteries and they are welsh. Their music is a intricate post-punk, very loud and full of polymetric rhythms. They are a young and good band I think.
Before the show I took a quick walk with Robert around Exeter. Robert cannot listen to loud music for an ear problem he had after a strong sinusitis. He told me about a festival he's organizing in his town with great experimental musicians and great people like Matt Pogo and JD Zazie.
We went on stage at 21:45, while Mike, the soundman, was still making the line check before the show. We were in a hurry, as we had to leave the venue straight after the gig towards Heathrow, were Mike had to take his flight the day after at 9. The gig was a quite wild I think, a great last tour show. I think at the end we did the best Funhouse version of the whole tour. We were all very happy and at the same time a little sad when we realized we did the whole tour, yatta!Immediately after the show we packed up quickly everything. I also cut my finger with the kickpedal cog...When the van was loaded Mike was still downstairs in company with a guy who just turned 40 and wanted to talk with Mike, and I hear things went sentimental so he spent some time with him recalling the old days...we left the Cavern saying goodbye to the promoter, Robert and Kat (who kindly helped us to load the van!)at 11:15. The GPS planned a 2h45min long drive. Stefano did the whole driving, while Mike and I slept exhausted. I woke up at Thistle hotel next to Heathrow airport.
It was time to say each other goodbye before going to bed, as Mike had his bus to Heathrow terminal 4 at around 6:30am, so after 3h and 30''! I said goodbye to him, and to Miss Hiyori. I was already missing them when I went to my room damn! The plan for the following day was to get ready at 11. Stefano and I had to drive for two days in order to get to Italy. I had to drive to Milan together with Ste, then to take a flight from Malpensa to Berlin. I was so exhausted I slept within a minute dreaming about il sogno del marinaio new songs.
Last gig of the tour. We go Exeter. It is a four hour driving. Hard to believe this the last gig. we play at the cavern. we arrive early and we wait there Jon the promoter and Mike the sound guy. There we met again Rob and Maddie. Rob is huge stooges fan . he saw more than 60 stooges gigs. Almost every time he jumps on stage. Maddie id doing a film on him. They are very kind and nice people. Rob brought us some indian foods. We met them also at London and Southampton gig. Robert and Kat join us for the dinner and the night they are australian but they live in england. Arteries opens the night. good quintet from Welsh!
We play the last show and then we pack and load the van immediately. Just the time to smoke a cigarette and we go for Eathrow airport. Mike has a flight early in the morning. i drive these 3 hours in the night thinking a lot about this tour. last 50 miles kind of hard. i stop couple of times to piss and go out of the street loop night.
i think it has been the best tour of my life. Everythings just worked so good. We met a lot of nice people and we got better night after night. This tour has been also so important to take consciousness of the identity of the band and our music. Il Sogno del Marinaio is a trippy music journey done by three people. The resultant is spontaneous and unique. It is something i could have never been able to do alone or with someone else. We never had before such a long time to stay and play togheter so i feel it is only now i'm really starting to understand what is this project about. i feel very inspired by these days, by Mike and Andrea. Fratello Mike teached us a lot with his experience and with his hilarious humanity. There is so much i want to explore with them.
We arrived around 3 :30 in the morning.. it is cold... we sip a last drink in the room... i feel moved... we give us a big hug... we are one thing... thank you Miss Hiyori for helping us so much. it would have not been the same without her. i go sleep... i am tired and happy. I wonder when can i see my fratelli again. hope we do not have to wait other three years hope to see them very soon...i felt sleep thinking of some new ideas for us. i am still resonant and there is something precious i have with me now.
pop at eight and for some fucked-up reason give another try at another soak - why? did I think the fucking tub was gonna get longer, get deeper? slow learner watt! I end up standing up and hosing off. one good thing about these pads is the huge handles they got for cojos like me to get out of the tub/shower w/crumpling - I am very grateful for that. looking out the window, you can see it's just been raining, way gray sky. I chimp diary in lobby - only "mr sleep" pad like this for us this tour. I get the parking ticket stamped too so it's only five pounds instead eighteen.
just ahead of ten bells and all of us are gathered to make the little trek back to the pad we played last night. ground still wet, I make it a slow go, ki wo tsukemasu. ten was the non-negotiable time but tinny ain't there for us. the nice folks working there now though both turn down the blaring sounds and let us order. by the time it's ready, tinny and kate arrive to see us off though we spend an hour chowing and doing web work we can. tinny is great w/spiel, much respect to him. what I shovel is there version of full england breakfast cooked real good. tinny's got a lamp where the shade's made from actual cassettes... we talk about cassettes for a while, the old days...
my fratelli go get the boat and we load up - well, I've tried to but only making myself weak and then exposing myself to big time danger so it "il guardiano" (guido for guard) for me. I feel fucking bad about the foist on the rest of our unit, it's fucked up. aaarrggghhh. frustrated - thank god for the kind hearts and no bellyachin' from the others about this lame-ass sitch I foist on them.
fratello ste at the wheel, it's two hundred miles southwest from here to exeter, about three hours. the rain comes as we pass through worcester - remember here? tours can make gigs feel years apart! actually we played this town only nine days ago. its probably the most southwest I've been in england tonight, further out than even minehead where I've done a few all tomorrow's parties. it ain't as far as cornwall though - that's where robert newton was from, the patron site of pirate talk. one day I just got play there, maybe in plymouth. one day...
we pass through bristol - this is the home of the pop group which was incredibly influential on us minutemen, them and wire were the two biggest influences on us from england. trippy about this tour: over forty percent of the gigs were in england, kind of neat, I've never spent so much time here and around. bookerman mick really did good. tours for me ain't just gigs, they're educations too. very grateful to bookerman mick and also those here I'm sailing w/cuz their spirits never sink, they might bob from some weight but never swamp, they're beautiful. last gig gives me sad feelings some - I got grateful feelings we've made it this far w/all that could go wrong but sad we have to yank the plug. I am sentimental...
taiyo came out just past bristol but silvery/white/light blue and not yellow - still, dry ground... I think up front and starboard here (shotgun) is the hot seat cuz everyone else is bundled up and the blasting - we me, the shirt's gotta come off... w/in minutes gray returns and some rain, trippy. we stop for a squirt from the culero - I mean a cup of the fucking lame coff and that's where I think donated that piece of sheep wool I found at hadrian's wall cuz I used just "shrapnel" (slang here for coins) to pay. what a fucking baka. damn it.
back on the road, then out pops sun again - a welcoming one get into exeter at three and a half. first time for me in this town, we are lead by the navigatori for the tiny street center which of course it tries to put us down wrong way streets but we use our common sense - close enough, fratello andrea runs out to get someone from the venue (it's called "the cavern") and a good cat named ben comes to give us directs to right in front of the load-in stairs (it's underneath the road). trippy, there's a coff pad name "the boston tea party" next to the entrance, my fratelli ain't that familiar w/that history so I hip them to it then play "il guardiano" again as they pack mule it. damn my weakness.
soon comes the gigboss jon and he's very cool people. he wants to chow us but I tell him to save the bones cuz rob pargiter has volunteered to chow us - same w/the 'tel cuz we gotta bail right after playing for heathrow and konk what we can before my flight 9:20 am flight to austin via houston for stooges land - two days of prac and then sxsw gig - this is why this tour's not thirtytwo gigs, I had to shave off the last nine shows bookerman mick was planning for but we'll give a bigger next time. I meet the opening band for us tonight, the arteries from swansea in wales. they're all real nice and we offer sharing stuff. bassman jamie is really kind to me and says he'll use the lombardi. I was telling my fratelli in the u.s. there ain't a lot of that and it's something I think is lame. in japan they share too. I think it's good to share.
we do soundcheck w/soundman mike and then I do another interview w/josh edwards. I did one w/him before for my third opera but that was via skype. he sure is a nice cat. I do spiel w/rob w/maddie who's doing a doc on him being a big time stooges gig-goers, sixty-plus gigs he's been too, crimony! first though he wants us to chow w/him at a india chow pad but then cuz fratello andrea's got buddies coming, he gets it to go and we all chow it at the pad while me relating how stooges have had profound effect on my life, much of it before I ever played w/them. we go into the little back room to film me spiel after, it's a neat little thick-walled stone room and I go 'til the gig starts and it gets too loud (even in here), I go over all the stuff when we were boys and then the twists and turns w/the sickness and the resulting j stuff w/the asheton brothers (blew our minds - getting to share gigs w/the asheton brothers!) ok this doc's about rob here being a GIANT fanster but then I am too - I can't even imagine we'd have a punk scene w/out the stooges and ig's has really helped me become a better bassman, his work ethic and commitment to music is incredible on me. he is tremendous inspiration for me, I see it show in my work big time. also james williamson has been very kind to me these years I've gotten to play w/him, very. I get to talk about dave alexander too, his bass, stuff I could really feel.
I get to see the arteries play after. we're on at nine and a half, so good cuz of our sitch. last gig of the tour, let me flow you the set list we did every gig except southampton cuz that was a last-minute where were lucky to get the add-on:
us in their land
il guardiano del faro
we come to learn
and then "fun house" for an encore. the stage sound was a little scary w/low end threatening to bogart from toms and bass but me and fratello andrea handled it. we needed more fratello stefano but he said he was already too loud. whatever, I really liked the gig and what was tough for me was it being the last one, very emotional for me. in "il guardiano del faro" I got overwhelmed w/feelings and forgot the form some but my fratelli were right there w/me and bent into what ever I gave them, truly dynamic, aware and listening. there was some yammering way by the bar but what I got from the gig-goers was much focus and respect, so kind of them. it is a very emotional gig for me, I wanna cry.
in the tiny bunker back room I listenen a teacherman named ben who wanted to a spiel w/me - we'll do it later via skype but he tells me very heartfelt stuff about why he teaches and how music connected stuff him from edward, georgie and me and then finding out about d. boon and lots of parallel universe stuff actually even though he turned forty tonight - john coltrane lived to forty I tell him. rob helps us load out and I windbag a little too much, not realizing the anchor's ready to get pulled but not too long.
big hugs, we gotta bail. the weather's not too bad for the three hour drive we gotta do, fratello ste again at the helm. crimony, he's strong and so is fratello andrea. miss hiyori did such a great job also, she did really REALLY good.
heathrow's two hundred miles west and the weather holds for us, 'pert-near three am when reach this "thicket" hotel that ain't far and they got a shuttle I take myself and let the team konk. I can only konk a couple of hours but I have some of what bookerman mick gave us in dublin and we have out last little talk about our journey together... it was righteous being part of il sogno del marinaio and working the towns here in europe, I loved it. respect to everyone who helped make in happen, truly.
soon I take off for stooges land...