"il guardiano del faro"
we get my "funanori jig" together, great - good fun playing this one, lots of fun doing all these - I'm so impressed how good both their memory and their spirit is, wow. we get eighteen tunes done, enough for gig time-wise. it was a lot of hard work but worth it. every night I get back to w/ste and konk in his music room deep... I don't think I've konked this hard night after night in a very long time, that's a trip. one night I had a confusing dream w/d. boon in it - very hard to understand. when d. boon is in the dream, it's always very strong on me - the emotions rushing through me and the whole day after, I discussed it w/the fratelli at prac. george hurley came the next night a little bit - he told me he was getting back into drums - that dream was more clear but still pretty trippy, I was glad to see him again - even if it was in my head while konked! I did phone interview w/radio citta del capo on the last day of prac - they knew about my ma's people coming from italy (dolomiti! sicilia!) and my history and current stuff very well (first iggy + the stooges gig w/out ronnie and now w/james williamson was two weeks ago in sao paolo, brazil) but was important for me was tell them how I excited about underground italian music scene and getting to somehow a little part of it. they translate my crazy pedro-speak into italian. I tell them I'm a little scared, that the first gig will definitely be a pants-shitter but like stephen hodges once told me: being scared is like also being excited. I didn't have thanksgiving w/my ma and my sisters but I am very thankful here in bologna w/my brothers stefano and andrea... I am here to learn.
we prac even on gig day, ganbaro! we thank flavio much and head out for cesena, in the romagna part of emila-romagna (bologna is in the emilia part), only about an hour away. andrea had gone back to verona the night before to get the van but the idiota who was suppose to provide didn't have the fucking ride together and so no permit to drive it. he borrowed his pop's fiat which was kind of taller euro-style stationwagon (called doblo) and that's a great thing cuz otherwise we'd have to use two vehicles. another kink in the mini-tour: the init club in roma has been shut down but enrico crocce (I met him same time I did ste, five years ago) has another pad there to take it's place which is great cuz to lose both a saturday gig and a roma gig would be lame. ste says maybe some political bullshit led to the init club getting hell. crimony.
the gig in cesena is for the collateral festival and is at this pad called officina 49 - this is the gig that got the whole ball rolling... ste said I was invited to be part and so why not do some more so five more were added and fuck, why not record an album right in the middle? thus il sogno del marinaio was born. we meet the festival bosses mimi and stefano (different one), we great chow w/them after the soundcheck (way happening soundman paulo is the best ever - much respect!), mimi does bass too and so we talk some about that - he has a kramer! the gig is upstairs so load-in was kind of a shlep - up two flights but that's ok. good sounding room, maybe grain used to be up here? on stage there's an historical part of the former life of this, where grain would flow down. stefano from the spacepony (yes, yet another stefano!) wanted to take me to ravenna to see dante's grave but we had no time cuz of all the prac. he's a great cat, truly. we did a bunch of songs for soundcheck so maybe we're ready? I'm scared out of my brain! thank god the fratelli are w/me...
there's no opening act. we go on at 11:30 pm. "anxious mo-fo" is first... I clam some of the words! we play good though, great eye contact. the cesena folks are very kind. ste's "partisan song" is next, this tune has great spirit, it is uplifting. "drove up from pedro" follows - actually I flew up from pedro! we play this really well but I'm shaking like a fucking leaf. I tell my self to get it together. "punkinhed" is an instrumental w/a meters thing to I brought, I thought it'd be a trip - lots of twists and turns for this set, I wanted to make a journey, you know? then "the lighthouse keeper" which almost a piece of theatre. we do it real good, same w/the "funanori jig" which ends w/a latin jam - ste grabbing sticks and joining andrea playing a cowbell mounted where the gongs are hanging. this melts into andrea doing a drum solo to bring "no one says old man (to the old man)" - it was his idea to do the tune so I think drum solo is natural for him - I ask he think of being in the bottom of the boat (this tune was from my first opera). I doubled up the "yo ho" parts at the end. I wonder if the gig-goers think I'm insane? next we do andrea's "zoom" which is a real journey - him doing great wordless vocals, bravo! I even get the melodic bass line in the part before the last - I kept clamming that at prac, aaahhh! now for "verse IX" I pretty much soil up mister joyce's beautiful words by spacing on some. I've never done this song like this live before but andrea wanted to do it and it does have trippy parts - plus it's a waltz! "june 16th" after - now some minutemen, both this and toadies are happening but I stumble on the spiel for "black sheep" and in turn that clams a little on the bass riff - aaaarrrgggghhh... I lose a little nerve. I have version of "messed-up machine" I made for the fratelli and we then play, it is good performance - I have them improvise over the fucked-up robot riff and then we unite in unison for the choruses... good breather, gives the set some space. from there we go to "the glory of man" and some dance beat, ste is unsure in some parts for what's next but it's still good take. I do terrible count-in for "intense song for madonna to sing" and andrea is thrown off bad - baka watt - we recover after each clammed section though so I think it's ok actually... you know, kind of human quality so no buddy rich hellrage on the clam reaction but instead big laugh. we finish we wild "fun house" stooges cover, great fun! we get off-stage to the side and I start right away talking w/andrea and stefano about the gig - they must think I'm insane to get into a "debriefing" so quickly but I can't fucking help it, sorry fratelli. we go back out and do two more "double nickels..." tunes: a soft and gentle "do you want new wave (or do you want the truth)?" and then an intense "political song for michael jackson to sing" w/a big guitar solo from ste over me and andrea tacked on to the front of it - whoa, we're done. the cherry gig's been busted. BIG thanks to the gig-goers and soundman paulo - also the collateral folks for making it happen. I am very grateful. riconoceti.
I quickly get my shit packed up and then go drink a whisky and beer, local cats talking to me about their visits to cali - very nice people. space pony stefano and his bandmate (this cat's a longshoreman! he's gotta leave right away cuz of work - big hug to him) give me a theremin they've built to look like a devil in a way, inspired by dante's "inferno" they explain to me. w/it is a book on ravenna. that's beautiful of them. I look around: 'pert-near everyone in black... only watt in giallo. this yellow coat my ma gave me to keep safe when pedaling my bike at the crack of dawn (four days a week - the other three I paddle kayak), quite distinctive among rock people, no?
we finally get going after much good spiel w/the folks and head back to bologna, rain's coming down. I give huge spiel to andrea and stefano about gig and my feelings towards - what a great job they did, a great job! I ask them their opinions too. it's a great spirit here in the fix-it-again-tony ride. we stop in palesio so ste can drive the monitors back in his car and finally get back to his and barbara's pad at three bells. whoa. me and andrea have do spiel fueled w/a bottle of wine for an hour and then I konk. hard.
saturday, november 28, 2009 - roma, italy
we go to Rome...i don't feel very good ...kind of tired.
on the Appennini mountains we finnaly see the sun..is a beautifull light
Bologna is under fog and rain from a month almost...always grey and the sky does not have any profoundity.
Rome's gig has been relocated in locanda atlantide at the last minute cause init- the venue where we were supposed to play- has been closed by the orrible right politc wings on in these days- these are very sad days for italian democracy..and not just for init-..
we arrived in rome around 19:00 in the evening...very long trip.
i was starving so we went to have some food close to the venue...a pizzeria al taglio..
we eat in the dark cause the electricity went down.
then at the venue we wait for 2 hours cause the "band of the night" Mammuth took the longest soundcheck time in the history...on the bill also ZZZ from holland.
so we decide to not have a soundcheck...not enough time...too much stuff to move..not toilet paper in the bathroom..rock and roll does not mean having a dirty ass to me. we drink some of the "spoken beer"...it tastes like dirty water...impossible to drink...finally then dinner at sottosopra...verygood pizza there.. but i take a salad.
i met my friend Donatello and his girlfriend Claudia..very happy they come for the concert.
we were supposed to play at midnight but we start around 1:30 in the morning.
...the sound was hard to balance...playing in that situation has not been easy..
i could not even hear Mike's bass very much and he could not hear my guitar as well...but we did it..kind of good i guess
Alberto the soundman from ZU really helped in that diffcult situation and he did a good job for us....we finish at 2:30...i just want to go sleep...hard day...we had to cross the disco to load the doblo.
pop at eleven bells - insane for someone like me but that's what happened (not only thing that happened). we don't have the usual toast like I've been having w/ste in the morning (yeah, that's what's his morning chows are like - mine in pedro are COMPLETE opposite, usually the biggest chow of the day... I do it very early, like four or five and am and then the other chow is around four pm... only two chows a day for ojisan watt), we stop and get "toast gigante" (big toasted bread w/cheese and ham inside) and head south for rome. it's like all the other days I've been here: foggy and gray but once we cross in toscany, the clouds open up and I see the sun yellow against blue for the first time of my trip - yatta!
it's a four hour drive on the autostrade (and like $30 u.s. in tolls!) and we have good spiel - they both do great english for idiota watt. I also begin this diary - I got a new macpurse last summer: a thirteen inch macbook pro. our tomtom gps navigator's power plug fucks up cuz of poor design but we find a substitute at a gas station and once we're in umbria, the route to the gig in roma is not difficult but still andrea misses two turns so we're delayed some but you know what? it doesn't matter... the situation in roma is this for us tonight: we're at a pad called locanda atlantide cuz the place it was supposed to be (one called init.) was shut down cuz of some fucked up shit. I'll get into that later but anyway, this roma band called mamooth is having their album release party but has agreed to have us and a dutch duo named zzz (the original init. bill) play on either side of their set. this is great cuz to lose both a saturday and a roma gig would've been lame. the init. promoter johnpaulo is a great cat - he did my roma gig in 2005 at a pad called zoo bar. I really dig him, have much respect for him. doing sound for me again is alberto too, wow! so glad he's still around and in music though he also drives a cab - it's parked across the street! well, the local band is doing like a three hour soundcheck so it don't matter much for us worrying about be late for a soundcheck - we decide for the sake of the dutch cats we should scissor our check. andrea tells me of this beer they have here - called "spoken beer" - in a green can... it tastes green, yecch... mazui. we chowed a little when we first arrived cuz andrea was starved - I had a great chicken kebab but now it's time for a full-on chow and alberto takes us to "sotto sopra" (upside down) and man, have I been jonesing for some burn so I ask for the spiciest thing they got and I get 'nduja pizza - everyone's convinced I'm gonna shit fire but sorry to tell them this was way tame for me and my tolerance. I hope I don't sound like I'm trying to come on macho but that's the reality. fuck, I do habaneros daily! the crust is so oishii, crimony! great GREAT pizza. I get greens too, a big salad of ragoula and mushrooms, very natural. like every chow I've had here, it's righteous. alberto tells of the hell of politics and extortion involved w/johnpaulo's pad getting closed - what a fucking hell, what a fucking bunch of pricks he had to deal w/and I feel much for him. hopefully soon it'll be re-opened. alberto is a crackup, a great cat, very open and wild w/his feelings - like a lot of people in this land... I can relate!! I love it. we get back to the club just as zzz finishes and there's no backstage so I just hang where the folks are in a sideroom and listen to all kinds of cats who come up and talk w/him, all really nice, truly. I wanna play good for them! manlio's here! he's an incredible guitarist I played w/last time in 2005 w/his squaretet band. he gives me his new cd from another band of his, neo. I'm so glad he's here.
we don't go on until 1:20 am! worse than that, I totally clam the first two tunes (same set as last night). I get it together for "...pedro" but man, I feel lame about coming out of the gate like a fucking baka. I wish I could've warmed up a little before we played but I don't wanna make any excuses - I'll try better next but in the meantime, I'm here to work this room now. "punkinhed" is good and sharp but we could use more guitar on stage - man, is the stage sound difficult - I ask ste to please come up. I tell the folks I'm a little nervous (I am!). "the lighthouse keeper" is a little rough... there's folks from the other band's crowd that wanna maybe talk though most of the crowd is VERY supportive and big time respectful. I've got my nerve back for the next bunch but I hear one or more of the bass amp speaker's rattling in "...old man" - I'm glad alberto has the bass only direct and that fucked up speaker not mic'd up! in the middle of the bunch of minutemen ones I can't see the set list clear cuz of low light on the stage, aaarrrrgggghhh - oh, there it is, "black sheep" and hey, I got the words pretty much together this time, how? "verse IX" was like that too and damn, I didn't write out lyric sheets like last night (they got took after we finished)... maybe I'm learning them? remembering them? another good "messed-up machine" - I try real hard to look at the crowd but can't see their faces, just can't. I wanna though... and that's better than me being fucking afraid w/my eyes clothes. there's lots of cats who have been giving support all night - big grazie to them all. it's just a hard stage to work, kind of difficult. I'm was in tune more though, a littlle... the g string got flat - and that was before we finished w/the "fun house" blowout. the music from the dj (I think it was whiney voice "boys don't cry") instantly comes on so chance for encore is nada but that's ok - damn, it's 2:33 am now!
many roma folks talk to me after the gig, after I quick pack my stuff up. they are so kind, so many of them - actually everyone that comes up to me... lots of hugs for me. I promise them all I'll play better next time! I am very greatful to them, truly. I meet a guy named andrea (like our drummer man) and he's from sardenia (like our guitarman's pop) and he thinks I'm from england! whoa... do I sound like someone from england? maybe I am confusing person... although he tells people around us I am "simple and pure" which is very kind of him. grazie. he organizes festivals in sardenia and maybe we can play there, yeah! grazie again. big hug and bye to manlio ("not roma... I'm from terrechina!"), big respect to him. il barca (the boat) loaded by us, we try to follow johnpaulo on his motobike (going a hundred miles an hour it seems) to a b and b pad and I konk very hard and very fast.
sunday, november 29, 2009 - bologna, italy
i wake up at 9 cause a guy from the hostel asks me to move the car...i feel better so i take a shower and i go to a bar to have some breakfast and reading the newspaper...capuccino orange juice and croassant with crema...Francesco from radiocittadelcapo calls me for some questions and a small interview for the bologna gig.
we leave from Rome at noon ...direction Bologna..
long trip back...
Mike always have great energy ...he can always speaks a lot about everything..Andrea and I seems in a way the olds of the boat..i vecchi della nave... i often keep myself silent..dealing with my thoughts ..somtimes of paranoic kind...
we play at lokomotiv..i live in Bologna so many friend and people i know will come at the gig.
it's a big emotion and great pleasure on one side but is always difficult playing in your town more than everything else...and also i'm still afraid about forgetting pieces parts!
we had dinner in a restaurant close to the venue with Giovanni "Sciabola" Gandolfi and Barbara who joined us for dinner...a nice guy at the restaurant bar offers us some limoncello and whisky to digest the dinner...i got pasta and bean soup and grilled vegetable..
two very nice and good bands before us..a duo from modena guitar and drums, a girl and boy, and a band from Portland Oregon...they play down the stage..we do not understand if this was something about their decision or something imposed from the venue..we don't like.
..when we go on the stage MIke wants to say to the audience that he did not liked the fact of us playing of on the stage and tthe other band down cause we are not the stars of the night...
we get into the music..i'm shaking...but as soon as i saw MIke and Andrea smiling i feel happy and much more comfortable...i cannot hear myself very well and my impression still is that my fraseggios has not been very good that night..but in general great energy and atmosphere...during the Madonna bowed guitar solo MIke come close to my amp just besides me with his big smile...great!
People really liked that night...more than one gutys told me was one of the best concerts they saw in many many years...shit i cannot believe that...but the most important are my friend Andrew Hooker words which i will not write cause they were so special in the moment i read them.
we go home very late cause there is a long interview with videocameras set on..
it's four when i lay dawn...we have to wake up around 8 to go to Polesella to start the recording sessions.
eleven bells and I flood the deck w/the shower cuz who the fuck built this pad angled w/the deck like it is? man, I tried to keep it together but the water just flowed - I stop it up w/towels but not before some of it gets out through under the front door! aaaahhhhh... no rug though so maybe it's ok. I'm on my knees sopping the shit up. I meet the fratellis and we're off but say bye to the dutch guys in zzz (they konked at the same pad) - they offer me a chance to jam next time I'm in amsterdam, very kind of them! very nice cats, big respect. andrea has a little bit of challenge getting il barca clear and away (knocking over a scooter ste quickly gets back up and some "touch-feel" method of knowing what's where when we're backing up but soon we're done the street but not for long cuz they want some coff so we stop at a little chow pad and I get a tonno (tuna) sandwich and stuff it w/potato chips for texture, like at home when I'm touring and chow at a subway's. it's windy and the blue sky gone... a few miles up the autostrada and it starts raining (yeah, not much in the town and no sights to see but luckily I've had time before on other trips). back whence we came, four or so hours north before we get to a wet bologna, much good spiel between the three of us and me also chimping diary - I think ste was too... andrea was driving. I'm w/two righteous guys. riconoceti. beautiful countryside in tuscany on the way too.
we go right to the venue, locomotiv, to do soundcheck. this pad used to be a place where they played bacci ball! we had one in pedro but it was outside, I remember see older italian men playing it when I was younger - back near the old "big c" lumber yard before they built track homes over it. the "compound" this is located at is a social center for workers after-job recreation. we're w/two other bands tonight: a local duo called same old song and a u.s. cat named eric from oregon (portland) w/his ghost to falco band. he's been on tour a long time. w/him is bob log (tristiano), a nice guy I met on my 2005 tour who opened for me and my secondmen when we played that castle that was in dante's "inferno" featuring paulo and francesca (the circle where lust was punished - in fact the owner of the pad we konked at together was at the roma gig last night... what a small world! andrea (another one) is the soundman and he has ghost to falco check on the deck in front of the stage, hmm... we go to chow w/stefeno's barbara when she arrives and walk a few blocks to this little chow pad. giovanni from unhip records joins us, he's cool people. another incredible chow ahead - I shovel spaghetti del sarda which had amazing pesto and tiny breadcrumbs w/fennel and this little bottle of olive oil I use on the salad is mama mia! intense!!! I could really do a chow-only diary of this trip and it would go on and on so really, I should keep this chow spiel down a little bit maybe? I just fucking dig this chow here in the land so much! before leaving, the fratelli have a shot of some kind of liquer stuff they say is for digestion - I see bottle of jim beam on the shelf... it's the first I've seen since getting here. mostly if there's u.s. whisky, it's jack daniels, you know? I have some, a little. on the way back I ask for us to go wild some for this gig of ste's barbara and it being his town. I think he might be a little nervous cuz of playing in front of his friends. I wanna do good for him.
I watch same old song, the local italian duo opening thte gig and they're great. the drummer's a lady but at one point she grabs the mic and sings, tumbling to the deck and rolling all over while her partner continues on guitar. they both got a neat way w/their pad, a celebration. next is eric and his ghost to falco but before I marco, a cat who used to write me back like twetnyfive-plus years ago, wow. so great, he's full of energy - I'm so glad to see him. big hugs. the cats here have been so warm and friendly. this one younger man earlier gave me a big talk about how he thinks the only thing that divides humans is language... I suggest maybe geography too (and fucked-up politics) but he had a point and he seemed so inspired to try and make things better through music, it put a good spirit inside me for sure. I think in fact he works here. much respect. eric's songs a really happening, not trying to hide his feelings - the tunes being like journeys. his drummer bud is right w/him - all the way tight and I can't believe the italian bass player samuele learned the tunes so quick, whoa... but that's what eric told me. young people w/music always trip me out how happening they can get their thing on these days, damn. much respect to them.
now after seeing both openers play on the deck, I'm feeling a little weird... like, what these cats who just played there asses off are on some other "level" or whatever? I ask andrea to translate for me when we get on stage... my tradition of ethic is not about hierarchy - I ask "this is a working class town, right?" I don't wanna sound like a fuckhead making w/a lecture but had to say that little spiel cuz I felt kind of weird, like I said. we kick off the gig and whoa, turns out to the best one yet. I think it's kind of watershed for me, getting over the hump somehow of being self-conscious like I can get at these things - especially new situations (but not always!) and though clams are blown (lots by me!), the spirit is great! the bologna folks are very supportive, very much. fuck, I'm way lit up to work this gig - so are stefano and andrea, they're playing their asses off, very VERY happening - holy smokes! like I said, there we clams so I'm not gonna get into a play-by-play call of that shit cuz overall those clams were made way more insignificant by the vibe and emotion of the set, righteous. a few times I went over to stefano's side to play between him and andrea - kind of like I do w/my other trios to show the bands I'm in are not all about me, cuz to tell you truth, they're not. the sound was so good on stage too, whoa... really good. man, what a great gig for me and andrea and stefano dug it too.
we got encores... I pack up and talk to folks - I talk a while w/bob log who is great, really great. many tell me the sound was quality - thanks much soundman andrea, grazie. then after these spiels I was asked to do an interview w/giovanni (we chowed w/him) and it was an interesting one - he's low key and doesn't ask typical questions, grazie. man, such a good feeling when I don't feel I choke and stink up the gig so much but even better when I'm thinking maybe I did good for stefano and andrea - and of course the gig-goers.
we pack up and it's a little drive to ste and barbara's pad. I keep talking about the gig w/the guys and how happy I was to have "breakthrough" - to get over being out of my head w/fear and be more together for them on stage. I really think this was a watershed gig for me for this il sogno del marinaio mission. I konk very happy.
monday, november 30, 2009 - varano borghi, italy
i wake up at 8 receveing a phone call from Francesco "Burro"- the sound technician that should work with us for the recording sessions- to tell me that he is feeling very bad..hot fever and vomiting a lot...very bad for him and for us too cause we don't have a studio at this point.
So we spend all the morning try to find out another good solution for our two recording days. Luckily we found Gianluca "il Turro" deus ex-machina.
he is free and he booked a studio in Varese for us...he comes with us ..we go with two cars : doblo for Andrea and MIke , my pa agila for Gianluca and I.
we arrived at La Sauna in the evening...very beautifull place on Como lake all sorrounded by alps mountains covered with snow...in the studio we met Andrea and Marco who has worked togheter with Gianlu for our recordings.
..great atmosphere here ..everyone is very nice and the situation is perfect and very professional...we set up everything for the recordings...i decided to use my fender deville trough a bassman fender cabinet...this combination sounds perfect with the jaguar...so i asked Gianluca if he could built a cabinet like this for me.
(Gianluca is very skilled and has many secrets in his hands!) actually he built the 8 speakers cabinet MIke is using on stage for il sogno del marinaio tour.
for the recording..MIke uses the Bassman head with a new ampeg cabinet and my tuscany bass, Andre his beautifull old ludwig.
we go to sleep after having a very particular rosmarino and chilli peppers grappa!
tuesday, december 1, 2009 - varano borghi, italy
we wake up around 10:00...i feel good.. i like the situation and i really like in general the studio work...we are very prolific and focused...we record 6 pieces till the end of the day..then we try a new one from Andrea titled Joyfuzz..
really like the way we arranged this... we go for eat in a restaurant close to the studio..pasta al al pesto and grilled vegetables..good red wine.
i learn something abouth calling Ralph from the big white telephone...shit i die smiling...so funny...creative almost as our italian bestemmia.
wednesday, december 2, 2009 - torino, italy
. we still have to record thema one...we did not have much time in the past days
..moslty we worked and reharsed for the gigs...
and Thema probably needed some works more than the other pieces...cause the guitar part gives strong direction on armhonic and melodic elements but nothing specific about the rythm...cause is basically a strumming guitar..so Andrea and Mike have big responsability cause they had to figure out their way to get into the piece...actually MIke already founded out several melodic temas and Andrea needs to follow his changing and mine too. i thought it would have been a good piece to play togheter cause it leaves a lot of spaces for their ideas and interpretation of the piece.
..at the end we did it...and i think is very good ...i'm very happy about what their parts and playing and how the all piece come out....MIke wants to redo his bass in san pedro later...very great work from both.
Marco cooked a pasta for all of us we eat and then we take the road for Torino.
we arrived at United around 18:30... i have to convince the sound guy about the set up we use on the stage...he do not want the drum in the front but in the end he accept .....a band plays before of us...very loud!..another giallo in the night..cause the singer has a yellow tuta like fratello MIke jacket...is kind of impossible find an italian guy with a yellow jacket!.
so we got a new nickname for MIke son: " il Vecchio Giallo" which to me sounds somthing like "Gandalf The White"...
great chow-dinner with Mario who prepared for us special things.
pasta with tomatoes and olives and arrosto with spinach for eatmeater and carots chese and cabbage for vegetarians..so good...MArio is very funny...the way he dress the way he speech...very strong man from the old days...so is the guy-i do not rememeber his name- seats in front of us from Tuscany who has lived for several days in Georgia usa.
we play at 11:30...i feel very relaxed this time...i can hear everything very good.
we had some problem during the performance...some feedback from the flor tom microphone...kind of bizarre light...almost dark in some point...too much...we cannot even see the set list on the floor.
Andrea forgot the paper with the italian version of the Lighthouse keeper-il guardiano del faro-...so trying to find them there are music papers flying everywhere ...he improvise ...i thought it is kind of funny performance in a way...in the end on funhouse i got some problem with my pedals too ...signal went down and they stop to work ...
..but i think we played great......Mike think has been good but not like Bologna...
i loved this concert ...i could hear all very well and i felt very relaxed and with strong energy....we did an incredible version of messed-up machine that night i love this piece.. it's a Mike one...he plays a bass tema on dmaj7 and amaj7 ..kind of a broken machine style while Andrea and I improvise in more abstract and loose way..we met strictly three times for a unisono part...
then we load out our stuff as soon as possible on the doblo and we go to the hotel.
..we have a triple...we drink some whisky and we die lay down after some talking......we switch off the light ..just 3 seconds and Mike snore ...but i cannot really hear him cause i'm already jumped in to the Orfeo world of borrachos.
popped at eleven bells on monday - crimony! this room is pitch black like a tomb w/the shudders down and I guess I still got some kind of sleep debt maybe? even after a week and a half?! I don't know, that was an intense gig last night and all... anyway, there's some bad news from andrea: franchesco "el burro" suddenly last night became very seriously ill and can't do our session so the recording in polesella is off. damn. I sure hope he he gets better, that's the main thing. both andrea and stefano start working the phones, calling all over to muster up something to salvage our album hopes. andrea gets a hold of his and stefano's buddy gianluca and he recommends recording at a studio named la sauna in a little town near varese called varano borghi. alright, all is not lost! good work, guys. we'll take two vehicles up, gianluca will drive back to bologna in ste's car when we're done recording and we'll continue on to the next gig in torino. we pack up both boats - we bring ste's tuscany bass cuz I wanna record w/a full-scale bass, I'll be sitting down so it's easier for me to do that then w/a short-scale like the gibson eb basses I use live. we go to get gianluca and on the way see an incredible sight - I'm in andrea's fiat w/him and what do we behold? some nut motherfucker turning is car about all the way around across all lanes right out of nowhere in full-on wailing traffic, right in front of an oncoming bus and then BACKING down a one-way street the wrong way! it's a total god damn miracle there was not a accident, a total miracle. mama mia. even andrea's amazed.
so it's ste and gianluca in one vehicle and us in the other on our way to salvage our album dream. parallel to us on some of the road we see the freccai rossa - this fast train goes 155 mph, milano to bologna in sixtyfive minutes! just the opposite for us soon enough... north of milano is verase so that means it's fucking plug city having to go around berlusconi-town's beltway, aaaarrrgggghhh. no rain the whole drive but kind of gray (surprise!) and it's night dark when pull up to the studio. we meet andrea (another one! common name in italy, like stefano) and marco who run this pad. the tell us it use to be a spa (sauna) right here on the lake so hence the name. it's a great pad, lots of good equipment (they run nuendo, not pro tools but what the fuck). we load in our stuff and I first try a ampeg v4 head and it's ok but there's this 60s black face fender bass amp I wanna check out even though marco says maybe something's wrong. there's some probs but turns out replacing tubes fixes things. we got it through an ampeg 4x10 cab and it sounds great. ste uses his deville amp going to an old fender 2x12 cab - both our speaker boxes are in separate rooms from the large main room andrea has his set-up in, his back to one of the far narrow side wall. of course he's using his old ludwig kit. gianluca brought his great assortment of mics and his great sound skills and wisdom. it's like 11:30 pm when everything's up (while they were getting that together, we chowed just a little way in a restaurant, I had happening cotoletta alla milanese which is lots like a beef version of tonkatsu!) and we try some takes on "funanori jig" but I am so tired, I ask if we can scissor for tonight and konk. they put me in the control room - trippy all the lights from the outboard gear and stuff... I have to use the seat cover to supplement the tiny blankie cuz man, it's a little cold... we ain't too far from switerland and the alps...
yesterday morning and andrea brings me a piece of pizza for breakfast! ste brews up coff but only tiny maker (you know those aluminum ones w/many sides you put directly on the stove) and only shot glasses to take it down in! good enough though. first tune we is again "funanori jig" and in just a few takes we get it. the "tuscany" bass (that's the name on the headstock) is a lot like fender p-bass but w/a music man style pickup near the bridge which sounds horrible so I turn it off. ste's "partisan song" is next and three takes for that - I changed what I did in the "c" sections and got more wild. we used the last take for both of these. again three takes for "punkinhed" and again keeping the last one, we go outside to look at the beautiful lake only yards from the pad - some alps visible on the other side... I think of maybe juxtaposing something trippy - I ask andrea about italiano versions of sea shanties we could overlay somehow - ste was talking about adding trumpet for his tune and fuck, I don't know - the lake and that maybe? andrea calls these "gatti di marinaio" and says he'll check it out and come up w/something - great! so happening working w/these guys, so VERY happening! I rename the song "punkinhed ahoy!" piadinas to chow next - like a quesadilla. andrea's "zoom" after chow - just one take, yeah! we use that one, of course. a couple of incomplete go's for "il guardiano del faro" ("the lighthouse keeper") and then we get a take all the way through so I ask andrea to do the words to make sure we left enough space in the music so they can all fit. hell, we end up w/the real thing! why not? that's how spontaneous this proj is. like a dumbfuck, I came out of the head too early (hard to hear andrea's spiel cuz he's packing in some drama - the tune's about being shipwrecked and alone on a raft) and creaked the door but gianluca likes that (creaking raft sounds) and comes out to record first creaking chair and then flapping pillowcase to make like sail canvas in the wind. genius. bravo, maestro. next on to "messed-up machine" w/two takes having me too up tight and not "messed-up" enough - I want to be passive enough to let stefano and andrea have an improvised dialog w/each other. the third take has it but there's a 'puter crash and five seconds in the middle are lost. only equipment malfunction of the entire session - like I said, this is a very good pad... anyway, I'm glad we get another shot cuz I wanna play even more "messed-up" in way - yep, take four and we got it. it's nine pm now, we've been recording all day but I wanna try one from andrea's "il busto giallo" - his yellow folder of compositions. he plays for us what he feels are two possibilities and I suggest maybe the second one cuz though it's 12/8, I think I could wrestle it easy into six and give it somehow some kind of "at sea" feel. the other one suggests to me a march and "partisan song" has positive perspective already on that. I voice to the fratelli and they say ok, very generous of them. I've already had my say w/my little works so I'm thinking whatever they decide. andrea shows us the chords and even changes his drums to fit in w/my 'tard bass. stefano does righteous guitar swells... it takes a bit to get it together (I bogart the 'a' part w/a melody on the bass - original demo has andrea doing lots of wordless singing melody along w/piano and drums... maybe midi bass too?) - and that's w/me and stefano kind of mangling the original's feel (ok, mostly me - stefano is playing to me!)... I don't wanna disappoint andrea. you know the feeling of disappointing a friend? for me it's one of the worst feelings in the world. andrea though is beautiful about it and open. he calls the piece "joyfuzz" which has something to do w/his lady he tells us. we stop for chow, we'll record it after. we go to same chow pad a few blocks away and I have pizza frutti de mare - oysters, shrimps and mussels - so fucking oishii!!! really good. we go back and get through one take but we can do better. I fuck up a few not far in... I tell myself to get it fucking together and discipline myself as hard as I can. it really sounds like us three all really playing together. I'm into it. I am relieved. it is mindblow. hugest grazie to andrea and stefano, they are beautiful. so are the studio cats and of course gianluca. we knock off, I konk happy... we try one more song tomorrow.
it's gig day but torino being only an hour and a half away, we can try to get song eight which is actually the first one of the proj - one stefano wrote called "thema one" that I wrote bass for w/only hearing his guitar. it's a journey even w/the rhythm staying pretty consistent. it's the harmonic content that I was playing off of. now andrea will compose drums - I chart out what I call the little themas I made, from melodic to rhythmic. stefano wrote a very interesting voyage, truly. I put some work into it but damn if I can play the same... we've only got a few hours but go at it. once he gets the map in his mind of what I laid out, the thematic stuff, he's ready for a go. we get two and ste decides to keep both. I'm gonna fly my bass in from pedro so I don't soil this w/chokes, I play along to help but man, especially the melody things, stuff I've even written out - I just ain't got the nerve. the big thing though is E FATTA! (we did it! in italiano). studioman andrea and marco makes us up some pasta and we all take pictures in front of the lake before packing up before heading off to tonight's gig. we got about fortythree minutes, eight songs - that's an album! whoa. there's gonna be some overdubs - besides the real "thema one" bass, stefano and andrea are talking about stuff they're planning and I'm pretty sure they're gonna mix it here (at la sauna) soon w/gianluca.
we are a happy crew, happy fratelli! fuck, we did it - e fatta! seems like no time in we're at the united club in torino. the capo is mario, reminds me a little of alberto in roma - one of the older cats of punk larger than life. I can tell mario's been around, he's something else - from the el paso squat here in torino from many years ago, many miles under his belt. we got stairs to bring the stuff up but there's help. there's openers called the uncles - I think they're from the old days and the singer laura has a yellow jacket - yeah, finally some else at a gig in this land w/giallo! capo mario's got two tables downstairs and after soundcheck w/paulo (yes, another soundman named paulo but not the cesena one!) and man, some great chow - penne and great sauce (yeah, more pasta!) and righteous spinach w/roast, whoa! there's a cat w/a southern accent I detect when I ask about these chilies I found here in a can on the table... yeah, chilies! finally. I chow many many of them while I shovel w/the hashi. anyway, I ask this cat his story and he says he's tuscan but went to college in georgia. I ask him stuff and yep, sure enough. he came back to italy and now sells wine. he tells us of his adventure - what a trip, really.
I go outside after chowing to move some! damn if it ain't VERY cold but I meet a bass player from here and he's cool people - oh, so was this younger cat named alex who's way south of here but now doing school in torino - so many nice people at these gigs, you know? much respect. I think maybe we'll be a little unfocused when it's our turn but man, it's understandable w/all the work we've put in building the album. hey, here's carlo prosperi - an old old friend from milan, damn! he sure is good people. and the some younger friends, ones I read a poem of theirs on a new recording, from genoa: cartavetro. whoa, gotta play good but I understand if there's some clumsy... and yeah, there's some clumsy - weird lights (dark between songs is very difficult!) and weird feedbacks but we get things together before stumbling some - whoa, "partisan song" had three folks (us) going different ways. andrea forgot to put stefano's "il guardiano del faro" translation up where he could find and papers go flying. I got maybe one line of "black sheep" right but it was good gig still in ways, my spirit never dipped and I was not once disappointed in my guys, we can get more focus tomorrow, I know it. when I started sweating really hard, the chilies came out mixed in my sweat and burned my eyes so that I had close them it 'till 'pert-near just the end. we come back to do encore - I dedicate last one to capo mario!
the cartavetro cats help us shlep our gear down the stairs, huge grazis to them. many nice folks again, such nice things, most most MOST grateful watt, truly. outside at the fiat boat... hard to drive away from such niceness! capo mario gives us a bottle of whisky. we get to the 'tel and drink half of it. we are tired. I wash only shirt (one I wore, purple one I used for every prac) in sink and hang it to dry. then I konk.
thursday, december 3, 2009 - firenze, italy
we go for Florence...we arrived in town still with the light.
...the sky is grey...Exfila is a nice place in the first Florence suburb.
in the same building there is Radio Nova a very nice local station.
Jacopo Andreini joins us..we drink some wine all togheter and we go out for dinner...the Restaurant is kind of mariner's pub...we eat on a table wich is actually a real small boat...perfect for il Sogno del Marinaio.
we go back a.t the venue and on the wall is projected a documentary on the amrican punk and hardcore origin
...MIke is in it obviuosly...and Kira too.
we play at 11:30...we are the only one....good gig... but not my favourite...i did not really like the sound of the stage...people in Florence nice but kinf of cold.
we leave our stuff at the venue cause the hotel does not have a garage and also we can load in the day after in the morning.
so we go for the hotel very light...it's raining...we still have our bottle of whisky...
and we stay up talking ...nice time...this is ont of the two moments i prefere during the day ...when we talk after the gig...the other one is when we start to play on stage..
...MIke really moves me with his speech tonight ...he told us how much is happy about this italian adventure and how D. Boon would have liked us ...D. Boon is always in his mind i guess, in his speech.. in the way he play ..
just the night before Cesena he told me in the morning about the dream he had in the night with D. Boon ..a strong musical figure for him.
and how much he felt the tension and the fear for the first gig and the tour..incredible after so many gigs and tour...i understand him cause in this we are very similar ....we spoke about many things...about fear, diversity, tollerance and what learning means for us ...we do late and kind.
I pop at nine bells and hose off. the purple shirt is dry, good. I go out and hoof around... haven't done much of that this trip at all, no time! I love being here but I do miss my bike, miss my kayak, etc... looks like rain is coming. I get a toothbrush at a store - everything like that is at ste and barbara's in bologna - baka watt to forget! I get back and we shove off for firenza (florence), it's a five hour haul. yes, some of this road is getting familiar, south of bologna! I chimp diary and we recount our recording adventure and think about stuff like what a hell it would've been if we did use that van we were originally gonna use (too big for our needs) and how nice la sauna studio was... situations that seem at first actually became very happening - ain't that a trip! we listen to the latest squaretet album. whoa - manlio is incredible guitarist, hot damn!
we get to where we're playing, exfilia and damn if there ain't an elevator and we don't have to use the stairs to get up to the second floor where there's both the second and nova radio which is a great station I was on four and half years ago but different location. actually I did spiel on the phone over the air a couple of days ago. vanni is the soundman and I recognize him from opening for me and my secondmen last trip here, his band is called obo but I had mixed it up w/ovo, another italian band. baka watt. vanni is very happening people, big respect to him. he asks me to sign his "what makes a man start fires?" album, no problem! and it's great about the gig posters - it says "il sogno del marinaio" and not "mike watt trio" like last night in torino. big respect to capo mario but this band has a name we chose! I put the theremin-devil box stefano from spacepony built for me on top the bass amp. after soundcheck jacopo (from the band tsigoti) joins us to go chow dinner. he's a friend of andrea's that was going to help us record when the buro got sick. by the way, he's getting better now - that's great news. the chow pad is close by and is called the "bounty" - it's done up w/much old nautical decor, our table is in the stern half of a small boat! yeah! I chow spinach-stuffed ravioli w/salmon in cream sauce, righteous! such fucking happening chow in this land, I must be gaining some weight - I need to pedal/paddle bad...
we get back and there's no opening act, we're on at eleven. in a way the room we're playing is like a small theatre w/no seats. very low stage too. there's curtains behind us and on the sides so the sound is good w/out being dead. I tell the crowd we've come to avenge dante (he was exiled from this, his hometowne) and we start the set. it's a good one, andrea/stefano on fire and me not scared! I'm having a great time. sure, there's some clams but so what. very happening spirit. the crowd is paying attention, no yammering (some of that last night). our gig focus is back. I still like the bologna gig the best but this next. grazie firenze, grazie il sogno brothers.
there's no backstage so we go through the crowd to the next room. again, so many nice people give me good words. I get cds from local bands tops the great and bad apple suns plus the new one from vanni's obo too (I promise to send him the "we jam econo" doc... they were showing the "american hardcore" one on the wall of this other room). I will play this stuff on the watt from pedro show tomorrow. we had thought about doing it today but jacobo invited his for lunch before we leave for padova and that'll be great. I have big talk w/luca, he had me on the radio last time. he is a great cat and I have much respect for him.
we drive to the 'tel not to far away and finish the other half of the whisky left from last night. we have great talk about everything in the universe. I think I konked doing big ibikis. I will ask the guys in the morning and tell them sorry if I did.
friday, december 4, 2009 - padova, italy
the last days of the tour
we wake up around 10:00 and we go for lunch in Nipozzano at Jacopo's and Andrea's Place (another Andrea).
a very nice countryhouse on the tuscany hills...the house is big on two floor...
we have very nice conversations all togheter.and MIke do his watt from pedro radio programme with all of us...3 hours...he interviews Andrea and I and Jacopo and the other Andrea too...
i forgot to speech about 3/4HadBeenEliminated and Massimo Volume...my bands!!!..such importants in my life!!!...and i just spoke about Iron Maiden and Led Zeppelin and stuff i liked (i still like) when i was 13teen and i started play...well i kind of loose myself....but it has been a pleasure...and very nice to hear Jacopo and Andrea stories...we have lunch and drink wine speaking...i have a terrible stomachache since the morning that kind of distract me time by time.
...we do kind of late ...it's 16:00 and we still are not on the road for Padova.
it's raining and it's freezing...we say hello via skype to Eiko son for the last time... it has been a pleasure to know her...she seems a very sweet person.
the weather is horrible and it tooks us a lot of time trough the appennini to join the motorway...as soon as we got in we are stock in line...it's start snowing....we talk a lot... very long trip.
we arrive in padova very late...almost 21:00...we met Veronica and his father who knows so much about MIke and music.
we do the check...eat a pizza and is almost the time to go on stage...
great concert i think ....for me the best one of the tour...i think we really played great.
everything so precise and togheter into the music...but it's the last one!
we load in in the car as soon as possible...and we go back to bologna...it's late when we arrive...MIke leave the day after ...his playing is 12:00...so we pack-up something.. we are very tired....MIke go to sleep but after 5 minutes he comes back with his eyes already closed saying something like: "shit is the last night"..so we stayed some more up talking...very special!
i'm very happy about this first il Sogno Del Marinaio chapter.
pop at nine (lots of round numbers, my pop times this trip - why?) and hose off, only to put the same stinking out fit I've worn since we drove to varano borghi to record our album. I wore this purple shirt all the days of our prac for luck but these were from being a baka tonto idiota. we'll konk in bologna tonight but that'll make for twelve of the fourteen days of my journey in this fucking purple shirt! my marinaio brothers sure are tolerant - eccentric is much too kind a word.
it's raining here in florence... were going to a little town nearby to the north called nipozzano where jacopo lives. a wrong turn off the highway and we're instead in san francesca - three times round the first round-about and a salute to the cement factory and were back on track and arrive at this old country house - even w/the rain coming down it's amazing, the views of the neighboring scenery a total fucking mindblow. we first go into their basement studio/prac pad, yeah! then upstairs to the kitchen, it's a big one so hell, we'll do the radio show here while jacopo and andrea (yes, another one!) cook up lunch. my plan is to have everyone tell some of their musical journey one at a time and that's what they do. also discussed are ideas about what is happening w/music in italy. it's all very interesting, I really dig them. their english is good too - expressing their thoughts well. and the chow is awesome, pasta and mushrooms plus mashed potato and cauliflower in some kind of sauce soup - really great. we chowed during the show and I can't wait to hear what that sounds like but you know, it's a perfect metaphor on my trip here, spiel in a italian kitchen w/chow sounds. I do a little skype spiel w/eiko-san - it's the last one from italy for me, I want stefano and andrea to say bye to here... she knows how much I love these guys and am really grateful for all they've done for me.
we drive north through little towns an hour or more - that's what tomtom gps robot tells us to do and it's apparent once we get on the autostrada why cuz it's total fucking plug... and snowing! it takes us four and half hours to get to padova but I tell andrea and stefano that nothing can go wrong on the last gig. andrea tells me not to say that too loud and to touch my balls - some luck custom but I think he doesn't understand what I mean. when I say that I mean if something does go wrong on the last gig of a tour it's ok cuz if we made it this far then it's truly a blessing - just thing of all the nightmares that could happen when you start one of theses things - that's my thoughts. I am always so very grateful when the last gig of a tour comes, so grateful. if something goes wrong, then so it does, it's alright! we're going home! I tell him and stefano the promise I make every start of a tour is that I'm gonna get my men back safe to their ma's or girlfriend or wives - that's priority number one, above all else. it weighs heavy on me but I believe it the only honest way I can think. we have the wrong address in the gps robot so it's a little detour in padova to get where this club unwound is - no sign for it, just a hatch in an industrial are where there's inside a pretty neat pad, great sound system... the soundman luca is a good cat and so is the bosslady roberta. they have salami and incredible mozzarella for these fresh rolls in the dressing room, very good. then some pizzas, nothing like the u.s. kind or I should so most of the u.s. kind. there's some good peetz back home but man, are there good ones here and they're just kind of different - you'll have to come over and find out! andrea's town verona is north of here, this was the closest gig so his lady veronica comes w/her pop. turns out he gave andrea a cd of my first opera - he is very cool people and I sure wish I had time to talk w/him more. I get so nervous when I meet my guy's people, like their parents or ladies cuz I'm always kind of thinking that they're probably thinking "what the hell is this fucking nut doing w/my son (or man)?" I always try to show my appreciation that they're w/me and just the best, so much respect I have for them.
no opening act - we go on at fifteen after eleven pm. it's really a great gig. I have lost all my fear w/playing w/stefano and andrea so there's a relaxed kind of a feel w/them like last night in firenze but w/even more communication w/the music making the dynamics really happen... the stuff we're doing really breathese now, really is alive and connecting it to the audience is more intense. I improvise lots in some parts I haven't before - I'm have a good time! I really love this band and love these guys. what a great way to end this adventure, truly.
we gotta kind of pack up and bail soon cuz bologna is an hour and a half away (we're konking at stefano and barbara's cuz I flight out of marconi airport early tomorrow) but I get to talk to some folks - there's a couple u.s. guys, nice cats - one has lots of questions, like an interview! he's curious about stuff in my life. there's a nice man from austria too, drove from innsbruck for the gig. I sure am grateful to kind people... and I get sometimes why I play and hard keep going - that's a big reason why, I think I owe these folks big time!
we drive back through some rain but it's not bad. we've had a great journey and discuss future plans. first we focus on getting our album mixed and finished. then more material to compose, more gigs! album first though. we get back and first thing I do is shower and put on clean clothes barbara in her kindness washed for me - grazie!!! then we drink some whisky (we were given a bottle at the gig) and one last pow-wow for the night, maybe a half hour worth of how important I think this episode came in my life and how I super super appreciate brother stefano and brother andrea so much for making it happen for me. I say I wish I could be stronger for them but I did try as hard as I could and so much didn't wanna disappoint or let them down. they are beautiful and I hug them both hard at the same time.
saturday, december 5, 2009 - bologna, italy/san pedro, ca, usa
we wake up at 10:00...Barbara tooks us the last shoot...the one is here at the end of the diaries...we go to the airport...we say hello and a big HUG... i think i will really miss him...we split...i turn around couple of times and i see MIke go slow and stands in line waiting for the security control...never looking back.
i'm very gratitude to both Andrea and MIke for this wonderfull experience...THANK YOU...YOU REALLY COME HERE TO PLAY..a BIG GIFT.
(uhhh... mike's last entry got spaced but for sure he loves his fratelli, dug this trip much and got back to his pedro town safe!)
this page created 6 dec 09