read the tour diary!
mike watt - bass + spiel
raul morales - drums
tom watson - guitar + some singing
(left to right, photos by watt)
"parallel universes" tour 2006
the first tour w/my new trio, mike watt + the missingmen
wednesday, november 22
on the club 3voor12 vpro national radio show
thursday, november 23
friday, november 24
opening for the red hot chili peppers
at the colorline arena
saturday, november 25
sunday, november 26
opening for the red hot chili peppers
at the festhalle
monday, november 27
opening for the red hot chili peppers
at the schleyerhalle
wednesday, november 29
opening for the red hot chili peppers
at the datchforum
thursday, november 30
opening for the red hot chili peppers
at the datchforum
friday, december 1
at bad bonn
sunday, december 3
opening for the red hot chili peppers
at the hallenstadion
monday, december 4
opening for the red hot chili peppers
at the hallenstadion
wednesday, december 6
opening for the red hot chili peppers
at the stadthalle
thursday, december 7
opening for the red hot chili peppers
at the stadthalle
saturday, december 9
opening for the red hot chili peppers
at the forum
monday, december 11
opening for the red hot chili peppers
at the globe
tuesday, december 12
opening for the red hot chili peppers
at the globe
mike watt + the missingmen "parallel universes" tour 2006 diary
monday, november 20, 2006 - somewhere over the atlantic ocean
it's always wierd to leave town for a month, life at home is put on pause and a new life begins. it's an amazing opportunity to be opening for the chili peppers and my first time playing this kind of tour, arena shows. i usually don't have any trouble playing in front of alot of people, in some ways it's easier, but this will be something altogether different. i guess i'm a little nearvous (in a good way), but i look forward to playing with mike and raul and i know this will build some confidence for us as a band. still, i think about the things that i put aside and on hold and try not to worry. i think it's going to be a crazy new experience and i do my best to live in the moment.
i've been to europe many times but his is the first time with mike, it will be interesting to see how the tour life that i've come to know with him in the states translates in europe. i have a feeling that we wont be sleeping on peoples floors for instance. the other thing is that we will be driving a rented van, our most valuble piece of equipment and that will hopfully work out right. it's also very known that mike runs an extremely tight ship, though even though i know he's toured here a bunch the traveling and translating is an added complication and i wonder how that will go. he is normally controlling all aspects of time and transportation, but this time i think we will have to really pull together and work as a team on everything.
we fly all night.
man, am I shit-hoarder... gotta make some changes w/that - lots of boxes still to be unpacked in my new pad (I recently moved two blocks to an apartment that faces east - yeah, sunrises! and has a garage to put my van in when I take trips like these) but I've made a lot of headway... gotta put that on hold for now though cuz ok, here comes my "parallel universes" tour 2006 - I call it that cuz I got some different worlds to work w/this tour - not just little pads on our (myself, tom watson and raul morales - mike watt + the missingmen) own but big pads w/the red hot chili peppers and then having to fly to play some festivals w/iggy + the stooges. it's gonna be a balancing/juggling act for sure and I've been fretting mainly on the parts where I leave tom and raul on their own, damn I'm hating to have to do that - I can't express it strong enough. I'm gonna have the hands pretty full so I'm thinking of restricting my diary chimping I'm doing here to one paragraph a day but knowing my tendency to bag some serious wind - even if it's chimping (me using a 'puter - from that old idea about having a thousand chimpanzees in a room w/typewriters going at it, that eventually the odds of them accidently typing out all the works of william shakespeare would happen, given enough centuries of years) and not words spoken, I'll probably babble on so let me apologize for any of that right up front here. well, the first flight is a night one and my sister melinda got me and raul from pedro to the los angeles international airport (lax) about five, having left at four pm. raul later told me he was cracking up at the similarities of me and melinda w/the way we're pretty outspoken w/our feelings - it's hard for me to see that cuz of the perspective. melinda's helped me so much through the years though, I can't thank her enough. the swiss airline flight we're on took off at 7:45 pm and is ten hours long - the first half of it I was next to this cat who was liquored and sprawled all over (I had a fucking middle seat - w/my lame knees, aisle ones are more happening but fuck, I'll deal w/whatever hand gets dealt me) but going back to use the head once, raul said there was a open one right behind him in the last row and I got that - glory be! since we'll get into amsterdam at night, I reason to stay up the entire flight so I'll get right on euro time which is nine hours ahead of the clocks in my pedro town. I only brought a tiny clothes sack (two levis, two flannels - one w/no plaid on request by those who don't wanna see me in one, three chonies and two pair of socks) but since it had shaving and brush your teeth stuff too, I had to check it in (security rules now days) and damn if I didn't forget that new haruki murakami anthology I'm reading now. I do have my 'puter bag w/me though and the ipods there so I listen to john coltrane, yuka/petra, creedence clearwater revival, and go! team the whole way, that keeping me sane and awake.
tuesday, november 21, 2006 - amsterdam, netherlands
Got into amsterdam sometime between 7:30 and 8pm. Left pedro the day before at 4:30. Last minutes there where spent trippin' on a fully melted car in front of the pad. I guess the night before someone smashed out the window, and set the thing on fire. Lena, who also lives there said she heard a bunch of noise around three in the mornin', looked out her window, and saw the the firetruck arriving, and the flames just feet away from the house... so fuckin' thankful the house didn't catch... we were very lucky. The way it happened was just sorta assumed, Tony found a crowbar with a lighter right next to it hidden in the grass on the side of the house, but who knows.. not me, but what would you think. Mike and his sister picked me up, and i'd like to thank her for that, and also while i'm at it, i also want to thank bree for so much of her help the couple days before i left. She basically hooked it up by fixing all my tore cloths, stitching up, and fixing zippers on my ripped up bags, drove me around doing last minute errands, scored a parka for the trip, and on the last day i was home, she did all my smelly wash. Damn, If it wasn't for her i'd be freezing my balls off, in stinky torn cloths.... she saved the day. That mornin' we missingmen had a early practice, and then i had a supposed afternoon gig with drinkers purgatory in pomona, that didn't actually start till late, our fault though, michael g. locked the drums in the boat. So instead of playin' first, we got pushed to second to last. Doing the laundry was the last thing on my list, and i didn't give myself time to do it, she's such a sweetheart for helpin' me like that.
We left L.A.X. around 7:30 that night, so somewhere close to thirteen hours on a plane, longest ride for me. Last time, when i came over here with mike and paul to do the opera, we switched planes in philly, so i got a little leg stretch, actually a big stretch, cuz that port was hugh. This time, all the way to zurich non stop, then a little lay over, and a painless flight to amsterdam. Shit,the whole deal was not bad, shit, watt said he's done seventeen this year, so no complaints over here. Advice was to stay awake as long as possible, try and beat the lag, crash when we get there, and get on the right schedule. I think a slept for a little under forty minutes, a little after mike escaped the neighbor from hell. Tried to stay awake reading upton sinclairs the jungle, tense book. Basically about all the fucked brutal conditions of the chicago meat packing industry around the turn of the century. Mainly dealing with the awful conditions of the immigrant workers tryin' to chase the "american dream". These folks were, and still are gettin' the beat down, and are basically wage slaves, capitalist just using and manipulating people in the worst ways. Supposedly he went and visited the chicago stock yard as research, and started it as a monthly will be continued story in a socialist paper. So in a sense, he really was exposing these people who ran the yards as the bastards they were, and interlocking the corruption in american corporate and political life, making it one in the same. Roosevelt read the book, and ended up writin' Upton and promised to have sinclairs charges investigated, which even though he didn't like the socialist overtones of the book, it still hit home. Everybody, even soldiers were eating this diseased meat. The investigations proved true, and not just muckraking, and got the government to get in the middle of the scandalist crap, and got meat inspection acts passed. So thats why today when your chowing that burger, it isn't covered with maggots or all green or someshit, Good read... check it out. When i didn't want to be the jerk with the light on anymore, i ended up watching two of the worst movies i'd ever seen, one that was saved by christopher walken, a bunch of useless documentaries, and one mediocre program about underwater cave dwellers.
Once we got off the plane in amsterdam, it's already a nightmare. The bags were comin' out at a snails pace, and none of ours were to be seen.... hoping they didn't get lost when we changed flights. After we waited for about forty minutes, along with half the other passengers with the same thoughts, more bags started comin', and shortly after ours popped up, so thankful for that too. It'd be pretty hard to start a tour with no guitars right. Carlos, who's done all of mike's euro trips was patiently waiting outside for us, and it was good to see again, he's a great man. He drove us and all our shit to the hotel, checked us in, and made plans to meet us the next day to to pick up the euro boat, then go to protone in Utrecht to get us the rest of the gear, we just brought over guitars and cymbals. Us Missingmen decided to take a walk around town, and ended up down the road at koosje, and had a couple belgian beers. After that we called it a night, a long one at that. I must of been so beat, cuz during that night of the first sleep, i guess i was sleep walking, which i never do. Tom said i grabbed his pillow from under his head, and then jumped in his bed. I just remember waking up and him asking me if i'd be more comfortable in my own bed. Sorry Tom, but you gotta admit, kinda funny. The second time too, i had done the same thing to paul on my birthday in berlin the last time i was in europe.... maybe i just wanna be close as a band. So weird though, it's kinda creepy that in sleep things can take control of you like that. Maybe it was just not eatin' much the two days prior, then drinkin' some strong dubbel broc brew on an empty stomach. I know that was the reason for the time in berlin, too much cervesa. That wasn't sleep walkin' though, i just barrelled in the room, and jumped in the first bed i saw.
thoughts drift in my mind and all kinds of moods flow in and out, but it's the beginning of something new and mostly i'm excited.
the trip to holland stops in zurich and we change to another plane, we've been up all night and now the end of the next day is approaching. by the time we get to holland and our bags finnally get through it's dark and we meet carlos and he drives us to our hotel. (thanks carlos) i have a special place in my heart for the netherlands because i lived here in the early eighties for year of school. the people are great. we get situated and walk to the corner for beers and have a good talk.
sleep come fast and deep.
we landed at schipol in amsterdam around seven but it takes a long while for the checked-in stuff to come and I'm almost certain it's been lost even though there was two hours between the lax to zurich flight and the zurich to amsterdam one - when the layover time is too tiny, it's almost inevitable stuff gets waylaid but after 'pert-near an hour after we land, our bags show up on the belt. both tom and raul have big girly bags - tom w/a roller one and raul w/a duffle bag plus tom's got his guitar, raul w/his cymbals and me w/my little red gibson bass in its new ata flight case - I paid five hundred dollars but feel it's well worth it cuz it holds her perfect and I'm hoping as safe as can be. it's red too cuz most are black and I'll be able to pick it out easier. carlos is there to get us - he was worried cuz we were on the other side of the barrier, waiting for our stuff and he had no idea what was happening but all's ok now. big BIG hugs for him from me and it's the first time he's met tom and raul, I'm so glad for them to meet him too. twenty years now for me and carlos, my euroman outside the van helping me make gigs happen over here. he drove his volvo station wagon from where he lives in rotterdam and we put our things in that and he drives us to the rembrandt hotel in amsterdam. we'll see him again tomorrow. we put our things away in our rooms (tom and raul amazed by the steep grade the stairs in old euro buildings hundreds of years old have), we hoof outside in the night - it's been raining but not too bad or too cold... we find this bar/cafe called koosje on the corner and spiel over some beers - I tell them the situation w/the missingmen and the plans I have, apologizing some cuz of not being able to spend the time I want w/them cuz of commitments - we've only done three gigs and that was at the end of september when this nice cat m ward asked me open some gigs for him but I have high hopes for them and will put things right - I'm so very excited to play w/them and grow a sound w/us organically. I have this piece made up of thirtynine little tunes culled from my tripping on those little creatures in the heironymous bosch paintings (I learned that some ideas about them are that they're visualizations of aphorisms or proverbs but since I don't know five hundred year old dutch culture, I made up my own interpretations!) to make up my third opera but a much different one than the other two cuz there's no narrative (libretto!) w/a beginning, middle and end - everything's simultaneous... like a mirror inside my head that's shattered into a bunch of pieces and reflecting my current state. I have intense plans for this trio to make that piece work and can't wait! the day before I left on this tour, iggy called me and asked about the missingmen... he's asked me before about them and I think he's excited for me w/this proj too. after my spiel, I hear tom and raul out on their thoughts about what I told them, their expectations and they seem excited too. this is a trippy way to start a band off but this is the hand we've been dealt so we're playing it as good as we can. I can tell we're all excited about the gigs coming up and getting to play w/each other - making one from three while still being individuals. we go back to the 'tel and I konk really happy.
wednesday, november 22, 2006 - amsterdam, netherlands
Mike got me up a little after nine, and let me know that i had a half hour to get some chow before they stopped serving breakfast. Scrapped the crust outta my eyes, and went down to join him and tom. Had some cereal and a broodje with a little juice and some strong coffee. Over breakfast i learned some shit i never knew about the first pedro punk scene. Tom was around there at that time as well playing with a band called toxic shock, i think he even mentioned that he did his first gig there, a place called Capone's in the middle of 22nd and 23rd st. on pacific ave., trippy right. There's plans to meet carlos at two to go to diks and get the boat, then to Utrecht to get the gear. I'm pretty excited to be here, so i'm already to get the roamin' going on, so me and tom go check out Amsterdam. Good walk, didn'tmake it to the center though, kinda too bad cuz i didn't really get too much time to check it out the last time we came through here with secondmen. Maybe the next time it'd be a good idea to ask a local for some directions.... i do enjoy the wander though. Hit up a out door market place, sorta swap meet style, lots of folks buyin' and sellin'. Picked up a converter for the plug on the 'puter, and a pair of gloves. Bought a pair for a buck before i left, but the fingers were still on em', for me the fingerless one's are the way to go, or else it's just feels like my hands have turned into flippers, and it's hard to get a grip on anything. That's no good, cuz we gotta load the gear, but it's cold so you gotta keep the hands warm. During the walk i kinda start to feel a bit shakey, i think i'm sorta a little crappy feelin' from too much double boch the night before.
Get back with an hour to spare. The night before watt pointed out a mexican restaurant, and i'm curious to see the dutch take on mexi comida. Besides actually gettin' the chow south of the cali border, pedro's got the best mexican food i've had, hands down, but to each his own. No luck though, it's still a bit early, and this place is closed. We settled on a little eatery next to the hotel. Not bad, got a toastie with chips, which is a grilled cheese with tomato, and a side of fries. Food does me real good, and the shitty feelin' i had in my belly goes away. Amost time for carlos. He's shows up at 2:30, a little behind schedule, but he took a train here from rotterdam, and that's completely beyond his control. It's always good to see carlos, awesome spirit. He's got a cab waitin' for us outside, and as soon as watt wraps up his phone sspiel we're off to diks for hire to get the euro boat. Same one as last time, but this time carlos got us a tom tom go. Punch in the address, and a little play by play road map pops up, and a voice spittin' out directions to go with it. Utrect's not too far, but we get a hugh jam, and it takes us a while to make it to pro tone. Same boss, very cool man, also the same dude who drove up to the paridiso a year and a half ago and picked up his gear so we didn't hafta drive it back. Tom tom is kinda funny with the directions, she'll get ya there, let you know that you've reached your destination, and your still in the middle of the road... we've just gotta get used to it. Spend a few minutes checkin' the gear out, makin' sure it's all there, and in workin' order. Last year paul had problems with the leslie speaker, so this time we made sure we wouldn't hafta come back.... until i realized five minutes down the road that i forgot a flippin' drum carpet... what a dunce, but way better than figuring it out when i'm tryin' to set up the kit at the first gig.
First gig is on the same block as we're stayin'...right across the street. It's a soundstage called Demset, from all the photos plastered in the window on the ouside it looks like lots of t.v. stuff is filmed there. Our deal is a live radio show that is also broadcast from there every week. Playin' radio is weird, usually you gotta wear the head phones, and with those things wrapped around your head, almost zero movment. It's hard to catch a groove when you gotta sit still. Once we get inside though it's a diffrent situation. Turns out it's gonna be a gig as well, so cool, takes a bit of the presssure off, atleast for me. The d.j. has a set up on the stage, and he interviews some of the bands between sets. We're gonna play first on a three band bill. Danialson form jersey, and a and a singer/ songwriter from portland whos name my dumbass can't rememeber, he's got a few players kinda softly backin' him up. Boss says we play three or four songs, they take a little break for commercial, then back for a few more tunes. While we're waitin' for the crew to get everything ready, and get the other bands sound checks outta the way, we all head across the street to grab some food. Along with us is carlos and jasper. Jasper's gonna help us with some drivin' while watt's away, and also take the gear back to utrect, so we don't gotta make the trek all the way back down. Very cool of him. Grub is good, i got an omlette deal stacked on top of some potatos with spinached mixed inside. Once the other group comes in to eat, that's kinda our que for sound check. It's always real quick with us, and with that done the waitin' begins. Not too long though, which is good, cuz my nerves are gettin' to me, and i wanna get the first one outta the way, well the fourth technically, but our first one over seas.
First thing i noticed when we walk out to start playin', is the big gap between the audience and the stage, sorta intimidating, so i kinda hint for people to come on up, make it a little more comfortable. Like i said earlier, we're not gonna play the whole set, but we are gonna do the first three songs in the right order. From the way they explained, i thougt the break was gonna be a little longer, but we just stayed with out instruments, and went into the rest of the set just after a minute or so. The best thing for me was the older guy right up front dancin' up a storm. He put it in perspective for me, just let loose, and do what you do, don't worry about what anybody thinks, and like watt says, let the freak flag fly. I thought we did good for not playin' in a few days, plus no major disasters, maybe some little fuck ups here and there, but not anything worth gettin' bummed about, plus the folks at the show were supportive of us, and receptive of after the show, no stank eyes for stinkin' it up. A first good gig....whew!
it looks cold outside and i walk downstairs for some coffee and bread and cheese and juice... the hotel is called the rembrandt and the dinning room is proportionally huge compared to the rooms, and decorated with scenes painted on canvas walls and ornate wood carvings and moldings. all dark brown. the ceilings must be 15 feet high with painted beams, very old too. mike and i talk about the tour and raul shows up for a while too. raul and i decide to go for a walk and get our first contact with the european world.
our trip with carlos to rent the van and equipment takes hours, the traffic between amsterdam and utrecht is just like home. mike says "just in case we were getting homesick".
we have to go straight to the radio staion and it turns out to be directly accross the street from our hotel!! not an accident but a nice suprise. we meet jasper who will be helping on some long drives at the end of the tour. it's a cool situation where the radio staion has a live room with a stage and they allow a certain number of people come and watch like a gig. the show is also filmed for their webcast. it's our first time setting up our rentd gear and i'm happy with the amp i got, a fender twin that sounds better than mine. this is where i would like to thank eric at protone for hooking me up with a good one.
the radio show is strange but fun, carlos says i'm too loud. i know i can be pretty shrill, i'll take it as constructed criticism. i feel a little bad though that he wasn't more pleased with my playing. maybe it's tough love? the folks at the radio station/performance studio are fun to talk to. i have some good talks with strangers, and i feel like i made some friends. even though we only played six tunes i'm kind of worn out, maybe a little jet-lagged too. even though, raul and i got out with jasper and klazien to a bar with a dungeon motif for a little while. on the way jasper walks us by this outdoor photography show of topographical shots that are mounted on large plexiglas panels. really cool.
it gets late and the night finally comes to an end...good dreams.
pop and hose down in the shower which is part of the head w/no divider but have learned how to keep from flooding the deck cuz of prior failures to do this. whoa, eight and half bells but I needed it and it's apparent my plan worked cuz I got zero jet lag going - forcing myself to be up 'pert-near all of that flight paid off and I'm pretty sure I'm full on w/dutch time. I chow the free shovel they got down on the first floor here at hotel rembrandt. in the u.s., the first floor is the ground one but not over here - the first floor is the first one above the ground one. ok w/me, I just had to learn it - way back when I first started touring overseas. they got broo-jees (my pronunciation and not the dutch spelling, sorry) which carlos explains is "filled small breads" (he didn't like me suggesting "stuffed") but you could relate them to what we call sandwiches. there's some granola and hardboiled eggs w/those things to hold them in so they don't roll around on the plate. the coff is good and strong too. I put down as much as I can cuz I don't wanna shovel again 'til right before the gig. I also wanna get hoofing quick cuz carlos is coming from his pad and family in rotterdam by train to take us to get the boat we're renting for the tour. I head towards centrum (the town center) and of course go over many canal bridges cuz this is amsterdam. I'm in parts I'm usually never in so lots is new like the chinatown part and the dam square w/the madame toussout wax museum on it. they got this thing here for xmas called sinterklaas which is like the u.s. santa claus but instead of elves, he's got little helpers in black face called schwertze pieter ("black pete") and if you're bad, on xmas instead of presents, you get put in a sack and sent to spain. I hope I'm not fucking any of this up cuz I mean no disrespect and when later in the boat when tom and me we're cracking up on this, explaining it to raul, carlos said, "oh, we should get rid of all the old traditions then?" and I told him I was sorry and didn't mean to make things lame. it is weird though but then a lot of things about me are weird too. still, I'm sorry to offend carlos in any way cuz I love him much. anyway, to get back my hoofing, I next onto a part of the sex trip that is a little even sillier w/out night to make much of the lights of these pads - this and the coffee shops are all for a certain kind of tourist some of the dutch money is made. weird some think that's all amsterdam or even netherlands is all about but I know that that's jive cuz it's a land w/people and all kinds of trips going on like any other land... I get back to the 'tel in time for an interview for the dusseldorf gig I'm doing saturday but get only partway finished cuz carlos has a cab waiting and we gotta get the boat from "diks autovorhuur" not too far away. he tells us about the elections that are going down today in holland, maybe close between christian democrat and socialist parties or something. I told him about our elections a couple of weeks ago, some changes in the congress for sure and the defense bozo gone as a result. the cab driver says the real bad news in the u.s. is fox news - this from a dutchman, alright! I swear we're getting the same boat I had a year and a half ago w/the "el mar cura todo in europe too" tour 2005, at least it's the same ford 85 t280 transit model though this time I make sure there's a jack cuz last time that was missing. this time we something else we didn't have last time - a tomtom gps (global positioning satellite) navigational unit that uses a big suction cup to attach itself to the windshield in front of me and give me directions and a graphical layout of where I'm going when you punch an address into it. it even speaks, carlos sets it for a woman voice so we just call it "the lady" and we use it to get to utrecht where protone is. the traffic is a total nightmare - I guess it'd be a comfort if I was getting homesick for southern california but fuck this plug we're sitting in a moving only inches for a long while... anyway, protone has always rented me my equipment like amps and drum stuff when I play europe and it's great to see eric again, always is - big hugs for him. I get the same I got last euro tour - an ashdown 500 head and two 4x10 cabs, one of them eden and one ashdown - maybe last year it was a trace elliot cabinet instead of an ashdown (eric tells me trace elliot has been started up again by peavey, by the way). tom gets a silverface fender twin w/a master volume and raul has the same drum set as last time, a yamaha. we check everything out, thank eric and head back for amsterdam but shortly return cuz raul forgot to get a carpet for his kit to set up on. oops. carlos is hungry too - shit, I would've driven... I'm gonna do all the driving as much as I'm w/my guys (of course tom will drive when I'm w/the stooges but I've asked carlos to find some help w/that). more traffic plug on the way back but we get to the venue in time for soundcheck - hey, it's across the street from the 'tel! it's called desmet studios and what we're doing is a radio/tv/internet broadcast thing for a radio vpro show called 3vor12. the bossman nils (very cool people) will have me do a little spiel w/host eirc (also very happening) and then we'll do three songs, take a tiny break and then finish up w/three songs. there's two other u.s. bands w/us too that'll play after. we meet the young man (twentysix) carlos has found me to help tom w/the driving - there's a hellride between vienna to copenhagen so he'll help w/that and then when we fly home from the last gig in stockholm, he'll take the equipment back to utrect and the van back to amsterdam. his name is jasper and I like him. he's smart too, me and him talk backstage after chow (some dutch-style big sausage on top of a pile of smashed potatoes mixed w/something like cale from a bar/chowpad across the road) before soundcheck. man, is there a lot of "dink dink dink" w/my bass - this amp doesn't have a compressor so maybe I should get one tomorrow... tonight I will try hard to think "a poor carpenter blames his tools" though. the soundman is cool but tells tom his guitar's loud at soundcheck. I explain a little to tom my philosophy of guitars at soundcheck or really any instrument - go in soft cuz number one, you want this cat on your side cuz they are the main link between the band and the folks... like I tell every knobcat 'pert-near, "we're just the motor and you're the transmission" and I mean that w/all respect - like I would a bandmember cuz that's virtually what they are. I also think w/out folks, a room is always gonna be louder than it is at soundcheck cuz of bodies padding it and bodies padding it ain't such a bad thing cuz yeah, there's bodies then and hopefully not like soundcheck (empty!). tom gets my drift. I want him charging hard though and not to cower but he knows that - I've had him in a few of my bands and have always been very proud of him and the way he both expresses himself and interacts w/me. we're going on first, I'm way into that. 'pert-near eight and half bells and hostman eric asks me good things about bass, asks even about hardcore punk coming back as a parallel to this current clown we have now as executive public servant and the one that was in during minutemen times. I say a farmer would tell you if you wanted a good crop then use a lot of manure. he knows about this kelly clarkson session I did last week where I played on six songs cuz of an invite from an old friend (david kahne) doing the producing/enigneering - I can tell cuz he relates that to something about me maybe having some kind of a signature in me working my bass - he's very kind... thank you, eric. now it's time to play... damn if I ain't lost some nerve and am scared. I blow some clams... I almost panic and curl up some... I push myself back out after sucking in some... I get distracted w/"dink dink dink" on the bass and it's sound be really strange and not there, not an extension of what my head's trying to project - kind of - I don't wanna make it sound like I'm laying anything on machinery as an excuse or whatever but damn, I know it can be hard for raul if he can't hear cuz he's told me that lots. he's doing great though and so is tom - tom's charging hard. we get through the first three and I see to get a little better but the clams keep coming but not enough to throw my guys off so that's ok. man, the people are right in the face and it's like we're coming out of a cake. I do the last three w/more nerve but damn, I gotta get it together more for tomorrow. I'm sweating big time when I get off and see carlos almost immediately. he dug it but as always he honest carlos (and I love that much), saying, "the only negative thing was tom was too loud" but that's not the way I read it but hell, that's the way he did and it's ok for him to lay it on me. I've always dug his candor and respect him much for it. I'm just so relieved we got through this first gig, big time. a big hug for host eric. I talk a bunch w/different dutch dudes and a little w/a cat from alaska. I get tuckered - I am tuckered from the gig (yeah and only six songs!) and bail around midnight w/my bass and hoof across the road to the 'tel. carlos already got a train back home. tom and raul stay to be w/jasper and other folks but I'm out of gas - doing gigs sure wears watt out! I lay down for a sec on the deck and damn if I ain't right out.
thursday, november 23, 2006 - nijmegen, netherlands
Woke up at nine, went downstairs wolfed down some juice and cereal, then headed out for a walk before we gotta go get the gear from across the street. While roamin' after the gig last night, i'd found a place to rent bikes for five euro an hour, so that was the plan, spend the a few hours in the morning pedaling around amsterdam. It's on the verge of raining though, very cloudy, so that planned gets axed, and i walk to the center insted. It ends up takin' a little more time than i expected, i guess because i have no destination, and just kinda keep cutting down random streets checking out he old town, trying to lose my way but knowin' in the back of my mind that i can make it back. I do in fact lose my way for minute or two, but easily finding my way back to the pad we're at. As i turn the block, i can see the other groups are already on it, and gettin' the shit outta the club. Ohhh, hope i'm not too late. Run upstairs to see what's goin' on, and tom's just barely gettin' up, good, not late. Yeah right,actually, we're all late, and we missed check out by a half hour, oohhhh. No wonder the lady at the desk was givin' me the the stink eye. We all motor, and get ready double time and me and watt go and get the van while tom gets his bags packed.
Gotta get the gear in the boat, and start toward nijemegan. As Soon as we start loadin', it's starts raining, not too heavy, and we don't have too much gear. It takes a while to get outta town, we're stilll gettin' familiar with the way the lady gives us directions. She's kinda tricky, and she can also be a bit vague as for as when to make the manuevers... she'll just say left turn ahead, so there's a little bit of confusion, but soon enough we're on the right road. Watt told me a story about an older man who also took directions from the lady, and ended up up driving thru a pasture and ran into some cows. Tom tom go, is the real name, i just call it the lady cuz carlos programmed it to have a womans voice.... it be rad if we could make it a pirate. Anyways, she gets us to the street of he club, she lets us know, like the night befoe in utect that we've reached out destination. No club in sight, and we do the first blowby of the tour... nothing like the first. It's kinda like there it is as we drive passed it, Watt recognizes it from all the graffitto on the building, and we're in the drive a minute later. Pad is called Doornroosje. A thirty five year old squat turned legit show venue.... awesome looking builing covered in all kinds of color. Pretty early still, and it looks like no one but the delivery guys are around. Park the euro boat and gawk at all the art, while snappin' some shots. One of the drivers ask where we're from, when i tell him san pedro california, he ask why we didn't bring the wheather with us. There's not really an answer, so i just laugh a little, shit though man, if i could i would. There is a couple early workers doin' some stuff around the club, so we're able to go inside and get outta the rain. Very friendly people, they instantly offer some coffee. I take em'up on the offer, and find a little table by an outlet, and try and get started on the chimpin'. It's been hard for me to focus on it, guess it's been awhile.
No openin' band tonite, and no wander since it's raining. Insted of an opener, the club is gonna show we jam econo before we play. I've done this one time before, in brussles. Sorta weird... i guess it's a hard act to follow, plus it can be bizarro being the only band playing. In a way it's also kinda neat though, i get to see little shots of pedro, and watch some good footage of earlier minutemen. As i'm writing this, i'm sittin' in the boat at the swiss/german border, and i can see my breath, the tempreture had dropped about 30 degrees since this morning, and it's fuckin' a little bit chilly. Sorry, just sharin' the moment. Dudes runnin' the show are real good to us, and bring up a bunch of thai food, and tom reminds me that it's thanksgiving.... holy shit, that one slipped my mind. After the eatin', i gotta go find the production office, and get some copies made of the set list. While on that trip, i get a tour of the whole place. Really big two story building with a basement. Some of the pad has just been remodeled, and the basement now serves as a play house, with a show goin' on in there too. The old dressing room was left untouched, so band graffiti everywhere, place is about the size of a small broom closet. After i get the copies of the set made, i grab a seat on the edge of the stage, and watch the flick. All the people seem into it, and like always the biggest laugh comes when boon is jumpin' around in those dorthy slippers. I've seen it three times, and it hasn't failed to make me bust up.
Gear is obviously already set up, so we're on just a couple minutes after the movie ends. Tonight is the second gig, and the first time that we're gonna play all the tunes, so nerves kinda got me, the first real euro gig. I thought the set went pretty good, like the night before, no major disasters, maybe a few flubbed beats, and a couple sour notes, but we held on tight. For me, the fuckups didn't begin till we got to the encore. A few days before we leave pedro, tom thinks it's a good idea for us to learn a few more tunes for such an ocassion, and he's right. We practiced five minutemen tunes a couple times before we left, not to much time spent playin' em, and we tried em' all tonite. Got thru them, and i'm not sure if people even noticed the clams, but i did, especially in glory of man...whew. After the gig, carlos let me know that he liked it. He the sweetest dude, but he'll let ya know what he really thinks, regardless if it's positive or negative. So that kinda put me at ease about tha second set, he's someone i've learned to trust. No laggin' after the set, we the equipment is in the van within' the hour thanks to willium and his crew. The hotel isn't too far, and lady does a good job gettin' us right to it.
thanksgiving!! we drive to nijmegen for our first full gig. i feel worn out from our first night of playing and i'm sure i have some jet lag still, but hanging out with jasper, klazien and raul after the show added to the draining effect. i sit in the back seat and listen to our navigator "lady" tell us where to go, and rest. our journey ends at a wall covered in graffitti. in the backstage room we wait to do soundcheck and do some writing. tonight we play our first full set of songs, it will be a good chance to practice before we play with the peppers.
our thanksgiving meal is ordered thai food but there is one dish that has some chicken in it and that's kind of like turkey. we talk about the holiday to some of the club dudes while we eat and try to explain the meaning.
by the time the show begins i'm feeling sluggish and i watch the minutemen film that they screen in the club before our show and that makes me a little sad. i'm very emotional when i think of d. boon. carlos is at the show and i become more aware of my volume each time i see his face in the crowd. we play o.k., not great as far as how i feel about my own playing. it was a hard one.
we follow carlos to the hotel and in our vintage 70's hotel room i try to get to sleep. it's wierd when i feel so tired and can't sleep. i wake at 4 am and watch some dutch t.v. and take some valerian root and try to sleep again.
I pop at eight bells to find I konked fully clothed, even in my jacket here on the deck. whoa, I was tired, huh? I go down to shovel 'pert-near the same as I did yesterday and chimp some diary. hey, I realize check out is eleven am and it's a half hour past that, whoa - time to get my guys. I take raul to the parking lot by the artis zoo where carlos put it and drive the boat for the first time - I just know this has gotta be the same one I drove last time. we load up the gear from last night's gig and use "the lady" (the tomtom navigation system) to get to holland's southeast where nijmegen is. it works great and there's not one bit of wandering. we get to the doornroosje around four - this is a venue I've played a few times now, maybe three times before. the sun came out bright soon as we started driving, alright. this cat named erik's doing the lights and I ask him if he can take us to a music store so I can get a compressor pedal and though the store he gets us too is kind of mersh, they do have one digitech dual band compressor and I get that though it's ninetyfive euros ('pert-near $120 u.s.), damn. well, they way I'm a thug about bass strings, I better. we get back and do soundcheck - wilhem on the mixing board and gonny on the monitors... when I talk about the "motor and tranny" thing, "tranny" sounds kind of weird (well, tom and raul laughing kind of helps that along) and I apologize and explain myself more, using "transmission" (as in gear box) rather than "tranny" and hope he gets my gist. I really do respect someone mixing what I'm trying to deliver to people. we get fed thai chow which is a pretty good way to celebrate turkeyday - it's thanks giving in the u.s. and w/the little internet access I get, I flow a "happy turkeyday" to my email listage buds. carlos has driven here for the gig and tonight he gets to hear every song we got but one. first the club plays the "we jam econo" documentary after I give an about twenty word spiel and then it was our turn - I stayed upstairs while that showed cuz it's always been heavy on me to see it. maybe it helped some though cuz I do better on the songs and the gig tonight. I can tom's a little tired and his body language a little beat but he still plays pretty strong. raul's really good too. I know it's even harder when their bass players having a meltdown so I know I gotta be strong for them - in no way are any of these gigs all about me. I don't know about this bass sound but it ain't as bad as last night. I do bust a 'g' string near the end and do the last songs w/only three. it takes me a little bit to get the new one on cuz this is a short scale bass (1965 gibson eb-3) and the strings I use (d'addario) are not short scale and w/no pliers, I gotta bend it back and forth many many times to snap it shorter and so do nervous banter (not on purpose) while I'm doing this and man, it's embarrassing - tom makes sounds like a tumbleweed blowing across a lonesome desert floor. ok, yeah it is awkward but what the fuck, sometimes I pull too hard... used to be worst. one thing I wish though is I would've thanked wilhem, gonny and lightman erik - damn, idiot baka watt. I did thank the people for thinking of d. boon - that was a happy thanksgiving for me and so I wanted to give thanks to them... and for him. we do five minutemen songs and damn was I out of tune or what? I was laughing the whole time inside in a way though, it was trippy to play those songs w/those feelings in me. the gig gets over and carlos tells me he liked it better than last night - he said tom wasn't too loud either. he says some really good things about raul too, he loves his spirit like I do and feels it. ok, as for me, I believe I have a long way to go for this tour but I'm thinking but I did better than the first one so maybe I can get some momentum going, especially w/the big gig tomorrow at the enormadome. we pack up and then follow carlos over to the 'tel, one you can tell was something more in the old days but fuck, I don't care that much cuz when I'm out, I'm out and hopefully no bugs crawl up into my mouth cuz I do think I konk w/it open and I am on the deck. me and carlos talk a while together about things, I talk about my ma and pop some and he asks me about me wanting to be w/someone, you know, not be alone. I know I must trip him out but he's been always been the best w/me... twenty years now and still going. we discuss the human race and have some laughs about that too. I love carlos. he bails and I konk on the deck in this huge room here. what a thin carpet, I can feel the cement under it but use two big puffy comforter whatever blankies and the blend of that being so warm and coolness coming in from below is trippy on me... I konk wondering about it.
friday, november 24, 2006 - hamburg, germany
Woke up kinda trippped out. Had some really fucked up dreams, being really angry with people who are close to me, it was very lame. Not sure how it got to this point, but It ended with me pickin' glass outta my mouth. I was very scared, and afraid to swallow.... fear that it was gonna cut my throat up. I was just spittin' it up, pickin' it outta my gums, blood everywhere. Sometimes dreams can be pretty heavy, and leave you feeling bizarre after the fact. It's good to be awake. Had a quick breakfast with carlos and the rest of the band. Carlos has gotta get back home, so we say goodbye, and start the drive to our first gig in hamburg opening up for the peppers. From what i can remember of the drive, i spent most the time starin' out the back window, reading some vonnegut, and listenin' to watt and watson riff on the cradle jokes.
The place we're gonna play is ginormous, hugh stadium that's probably used for ice hockey and other big sporting events when it's not hosting sold out rock shows. This is all new to me, i've only been in a place like this for a show one time, and just to watch. So i've never put myself in front of this many people in my life. Since it's the first gig, we don't have our passes, and that could make even gettin' in kinda rough, luckily the gate guard takes our word, and let's us pass. The boat gets parked right in front of a hugh loading door, and the guys workin' for the stadium have the gear out in less than a minute, very quick. The whole scene is pretty over whelming to me, lots of shit goin' on that is just not a part of my world, well atleast not till now. The gear is put right on stage, and we get to settin' up and sound checkin'. Like i said earlier, we don't have our passes, and this has already become a problem. The stage security lets us know that we can't be by the stage unless we have passes. We gotta sound check, and the passes are being made for us. Still the same words, we can't be by the stage without passes. It's kinda screwed, cuz chances are we go lookin' for passes, then we get stuck outside, and miss sound check, but if we don't go lookin for passes, security lady gets bummed on us, and tells us to leave. This goes on for awhile, finally jamie asks us to jump on stage and do a song, so we just kinda run past security and do the red and the black quick like. Maybe she was thinkin' we didn't belong or something. After a quick tune, we gotta get our passes, cuz besides maybe gettin' kicked out, i gotta piss so bad, and i'm afraid to go anywhere without that thing. Damn, it'd be a nightmare tryin' to get back in, i'm sure these dudes workin the door get people tryin' to sneak in like that all the time.
Finally, we're a little closer to the pass land, we've made it back stage, now it's just a matter of finding the right person. We end up in the production office, and i meet natilie. Very cool lady who helps run the show. She pulls out a polaroid point and shoot, snaps our photos, then we follow here to another room where she gives our pics and names to another, and in a few minutes we should be legit. If your wondering, i still havn't pissed yet. We're told we can hang out in the dining room and get some food while we wait. Almost everybody on the tour is in an out of here at dinner time, so this is when i meet lots of the folks runnin' the show. Awesome crew here, all vey nice folk. All these people here make up a big machine, and it needs fuel, and that's where the caterers come in. These ladies and gentlemen put out a hugh spread of all diffrent sorts of eats. It's definently not like grade school lunch line, where you get no choice, and the food is garbage... really great grub goin' on here.
It's almost gig time, and for some reason the nerves aren't killin' me, i think maybe it's cuz i'm more overwhelmed than anything else. Tom and i decide to go check out the the club while the people are heardin' in. Okay, club is the wrong word. So many folks here to see the peppers, it's crazy. I think every show is already sold out, that's a thought that dosn't put me at ease. Seein' all the people starts to make tom nerveous, so we decide to head back and just wait it out in the back. While we're waitin', the peppers guys come in to say hi, and welcome us on the tour. First flea, then john, and last chad, damn, he's a pretty big dude, i couldn't tell from the boob tube. All super cool guys, anthony didn't make it, flea said he was feelin' kinda shitty, and just resting up before the show. While back there, i get the pace on, and i'm starting to get a little nervous. I asked the first person i see for a piece of gum, something to chew on so i don't chew my nails up. That's when i meet toni, supe sweet lady who runs the catering department. No gum she says, but if i'd like she'd put some in our dressing room tomorrow, how weird is that...like i said, not a world i'm used to. Not neccessary i tell her, if i want some chew, i can pick it up tomorrow before the next show. She sorta insists, and that's very nice of her. She does have a big tub of gummies though, so i grab a few of those and start chomping.
Gig time. Tim, the stage manager let's us know it's time to get the show started, and leads us to the ramp on the side of the stage. Lights drop, and we walk on, did i mention how flippin' crowded it is. My plan is to stay focused on the band as much as possible, and try not to let the masses get to me. Just treat it like any other gig, or better yet, just pretend we're in the practice pad, which of course is impossible, but it a good place to try and get the mind. First song is a television cover, little johnny jewel. When we started to learn the tunes a few months ago, that was the one that was intimidating to me, super drummer song with all kinds of fills that where out of my league. So of course, that's the first tune we play together, start with the hardest stuff first, and climb my way out. Turns out there where other tunes that proved tougher for me to get down, and i still havn't nailed it yet. Anyway, now johnny jewel is the first song in our set, and it's still pretty intimidating, especially in front of a crowd like this. Well, we get started out alright, then outta nowhere watts bass stops workin, bunk cord.....arararghhh.... what could be a major crash is narrowly diverted, i just didn't stop playin', and once he got it together, i came back in.... a little behind the beat, but i recovered quickly. With that tune done, i started to feel a little more at ease, and just tried to be as natural as possible, and before i knew it, we crashed out the end of we are time, and that was my first enormodome gig. It went by fast like, and was pretty surreal, so maybe my time perception was all weird. It was lots of fun, and the hamburg crowd seemed to give us some respect, well i think they did... i wasn't dodgeing spit or cups of piss. I thought we did real good, i was proud of us, plus it felt so good to have the first one done. I thought a beer was in order, so i went to the kitchen and asked toni where i could maybe find one. That's when i meet simon, larissa, and the rest of the cookin' crew. I'll say it again, such sweet folks. Simon reaches in the fridge, hands me a six beers, and says cheers. After that, i go check out the first half of the peppers gig. To tell y'all the truth, this is the most i've ever heard the peppers. I never researched em', just heard the radio hits when i was younger.... it happens. These dudes put on a good show though, very impressive and i'm psyched that they asked us do this tour with them. So much appreciation to them for doing that for us, especially us being a brand new band, they could've asked just about any band and they'd jump at the chance, so thanks again fellows. While they're playing, some of the workers loaded our gear out and are watching it by the boat. When we find this out, we double time it, and open up the van so we can get the gear inside. Good as time as any to leave, we got lots more gigs together, so we'll be able to check out the whole set soon enough, maybe day after tomorrow. Those guys are takin' a day off, and us missingmen are gonna play a gig in dusseldorf.
hamburg, peppers, arena show. oh my god, the biggest show i've ever been to - not to mention play. a great first experience to meet the peppers crew and all the people behind the scenes. the whole vibe is very professional but totally cool. we get right to the set up and find our place on the front corner of stage right. mike bought a compressor for his bass and when we plug it in we have trouble getting it to sound right. turns out to be a bad cord (i think). we blast through the red and the black for soundcheck and go back to our room.
after a some insane tour conversation with mike mike and raul, john and flea come by to say hi. i'd met flea before but it's the first time meeting john and i give him a on duchamp's urinal that mayo thompson had asked me to bring for him. i know that they have repect for mike's music and that's why we're hee, but it's great to find out how cool these guys really are when we meet. it makes me feel much more relaxed to play with them.
we get up and it's like a sea of people. we pull into ourselves to keep the focus and plow through the set. i think we do a good job and alot of people seem to like us, but i know that it must difficult though for most of them to get what we're doing especially from the back. it was a cool experience and my first impression is a good one. i think, i could get into this.
after we play chad stops in to say hi, he's great too. it's going to be a fun tour. we hang out to see some of the chili pepper's show and they sound good, amazing stage and lighting.
hmm... yeah, trippy mixture w/that deck and those blankies but I did konk deep cuz it was just a launch 'pert-near instantaneously into pop w/no gradual ascent (descent?). I once more spiel session w/carlos over breakfast trough, again discussing machiavelli - maybe he will read "the prince" I hope. I bet he'd get as many laughs/tears as I got when I first did. we have sun and no rain, alright... not too cold either. we gather by the diks boat and say goodbye to carlos as he bails home - I don't know if he sees us again on this tour and I will miss him much but think of him always. "the lady" stuck to our windshield plots us the course west out of holland and then north to hamburg in germany for our first "enormadome" gig of the tour, gig number one w/the chili peppers. it's about 420 klicks (kilometers, 260 in miles) and a little past the tunnel under the elbe river is the colorline arena - whoa, is it big (11,539 capacity). on the way I put the first fuel in the boat of the trip, 1.14 euro/liter (about $5.40/gallon u.s.) and look hard for those gummi oeufs (french for eggs) I had last time I was in europe w/raul (his first time, eighteen months ago) but the "haribo" stand (every gas station seems to have them in germany) has none. funny to see the building next door called a "spielcenter" which is like a gambling pad w/the way they use spiel but we use the vaudeville meaning (the dictionary says "a quick speech that the speaker has used many times before, especially one that is intended to persuade people to buy something") and so stuff like this and "spielbank" or whatever-spiel always cracks up - use your imagination to think why... lots of phrases and stupid shit word play helps us pass the time in the boat. tom has a great talent for finding as many variations in the twists and turns a concept turning on a word phrase can have (accentuating w/accents, his favorite one now being what seems to be a kentucky gentleman) and it never seems to get played out and we're in stitches lots. someone besides us three though might find it insane or disturbing but you know what? I don't fucking care - I really dig being w/these guys and there's no fronts or 'tudes to have to suffer under... it's beautiful and I love it. we pull the boat into the venue to unload, that's how big it is. some cats I remember from the last time I toured w/the chili peppers back in fall 2003 - tourboss bill is one and I so much am glad to see him, always have been... big, big hugs. tim's now stage manager and they cat who has his former fabricator gig is big daddy. there's big dave working the guitar things (known him from porno for pyro days) and chris on the drums. walt from fishbone has a gig w/this. of course there's lis working the passes - I know so many of these folks, some from other crews, yeah but the chilis like to keep a "family" going though there's new cats too. so many people to work a situation like this. there's just us three but hey, it's "parallel universes" and much good vibe around everyone's worlds in collision or more accurately, in harmony. this is the first time either tom or raul have played a pad this big or even been w/this kind of a "production" but I'm glad I can show him it's about people and the scale of whatever involved does not have mean any nightmare as far as we're concerned cuz of those people concerned - the humanity shows through and outshines any of the shallow meaningless shit. I think what I'm saying is that it all comes down to how you conduct yourself, the content of your character. me talking about it though is way short on relating compared to them just witnessing it though. me and bill speil for a while to get caught up. I meet his new assistant natalie besides others I'm meeting for the first time - damn, I wish I had a better memory for names, they all are kind w/respect. we do the soundcheck w/greg setting us up, neil on the monitors and jamie mixing us up front. I have us setup way stage starboard and tight just as if we were on the tiniest club stage. it's a trippy contrast to the stage we're working ('pert-near as big as some of the rooms we play) but I think we'll play better being close on each other and like I explain to the crew (the same thing I tell club people), I want it to look like folks are kind of peering in on a little trio in a prac pad and playing their hearts out. this pad holds a butt-load of people and all twelve gigs we're doing w/these cats sold out in like that so you can imagine something that can deal w/that - yeah, there's boards on the deck where folks stand cuz it's a hockey rink. the seats go way up into the stands and the roof's like a hundred feet up it seems so you can imagine the physics generating the acoustics - not your best situation for sound. my idea w/my guys though is to generate some kind of spirit and try to project that, whatever blurriness comes off the stage cuz understand, I work way smaller pads and have developed more of a sense of those dynamics w/all the interplay, changes and start/stop shit. I would not be surprised if lots doesn't translate but why whine about that and take on the challenge... like they used to say in vaudeville: work the room. the only place I feel real me and my guys are vulnerable now is not having the passes cuz they're getting made up so after the check w/hole up at the chow table in catering 'til they get done. damn, when we get them, they say "missing men" instead of "missingmen" - it was saying that on the marquee and signs posted on the walls (you can get lost backstage so signs are taped everywhere), hmm... I know it might sound a little trivial and probably it is but I like the one word version better - the same thing happene w/the minutemen w/that problem though it was d. boon who made me see how one minutemen word was better cuz I actually had it in two words when I first showed him cuz I was making fun of arena rock by us being MI-NOOT as in "minute" and not the unit of time. ain't that a trip I'm working an arena stage now after getting into punk to react against our 70s teenage concert experiences, when all the bands we saw played these kind of pads - I had never been to a club before punk. anyway, here we are... I chow a salad and a little lamb and then go chimp diary before we go on. flea comes to say hi and I introduce him to my guys, big grazies to flea for asking me aboard, truly - I tell him raul's a pedaler so they talk about bicycles some. john comes by also to say hi a little later to and tom gives him a duchamp book mayo said to give him from him - great to see him again. eight bells and here's the first one. ha! a third into the first tune my sound cuts out and jiggling chords somehow got me re-going though raul had to tread water w/some rolls while I floundered - can you believe this shit? life is funny. well, though I'm scared it's gonna happen over and over, it never does. the hamburg cats are focused pretty good - those you can tell anyway cuz there's reaction to our playing - man, I'm inches from raul's drum kit and looking at him and tom ninety times for every once I look out into the crowd. I can tell my guys are trying their hardest and I'm so proud of them. I blow some clams but way fewer than any gig yet, seems like I'm on ascent trajectory as far getting my confidence up, despite the situation... hell, I'm getting to play more w/raul and tom together for one thing and then getting on a roll w/the momentum a tour can bring, it being too early for fatigue to be a factor and just playing more gets it happening more. pretty exciting really, this tiny world we got going is like some trippy kind of those "snowdome" kitsch dustcatchers you see sold at knicknack souvenir pads. the event sweats me up and tuckers me by the end just like a tiny gig but I think we did good. my guys tell me it's trippy for them, they never imagined what the reality of something like this would turn out like it did - I think us being close on stage made it like the world we're used to and neil getting monitors going w/the singing helped w/that. I don't know what it sounded like for the folks but have to accept whatever cuz what could we do? must've been trippy for jamie cuz I think it's the first time he heard of any of that - he even asked us in the chow room if we were from seattle. I didn't explain him much cuz I think it's better he finds his own way w/us, I only gave him a tiny version of the "motor/tranny" spiel and figured that was enough. we get our stuff off quick, in fact there's a whole gang of local cats they got for loaders and they move our stuff so quick we can barely keep up. whew, time to laugh a bunch in our room in the back and just trip on what went down - whoa, I don't realize those loader cats our outside w/the equipment by our boat, damn! I'm so glad it wasn't too cold - man, I feel like a 'tard about that. chad's warming up on some crazy drum playing, going off - he finishes and says hi, apologizes even but we say it's ok cuz it was wild. he says anthony's got some sickness so you know how that is on tour, I've been there much and it's fight w/our health - the voice ain't like fingers and shit, they even get sore. we watch them play though, maybe two-thirds before we bail to beat the traff and man, I'm feeling for flea cuz thoughs he's wailing, the physics just keep the bass hidden. the drums come out the best in this roller rink sound, john's guitar at times too - it's just a tough deal w/the acoustics, crimony. I give my thanks and good byes to tourboss billy (but not before almost catching fire and burning up cuz my wackbacksack got lit by a candle on natalie's desk and billy save my life plus burned his hand putting the motherfucker out - there goes my stooges name tag, totally consumed by fire) and we're off. "the lady" stuck to the windshield tells us where the 'tel is, one called motel one on a road not too far that's got easy parking close - man, that's always a bleessing. my guys talk w/me about how blown their minds got playing a place like, the whole tirp... it's new on them. we talk a bunch about gratitude. I tell them many times just how much I love playing w/them, I glad to be here w/them. I am tuckered and konk quick when all the spiel is finished.
saturday, november 25, 2006 - dusseldorf, germany
On the way to the zakk, i was telling watt how i wanted a smaller camera sorta like the one he got in rotterdam on the secondmen tour. I had bought an olympus off him a couple years ago, and it's awesome, takes really good photos. I just wanted something a little more accessable and easier to use. Turns out, he brougt that exact camera as a back up, and is gonna let me use it this tour... very cool. Takes only two battteries, as opposed to four like mine, and i can fit it in my shirt pocket, and snap shots real quick. All i gotta do is find a memeory card for it when we get to dusseldorf. Lady does a good job gettin' us to the club, no problem there. We show up with a few hours to kill before sound check, so im out the door as soon as the boat stops. Never been to this town before, so i'd like to check it while i got the chance. It looks like rain is comin' soon though, so i shouldn't roam too far. On the walk i totally luck out and find a store that has the memory card i need, i also needed an adaptor for the plugs over here, but for some reason these guys don't got em'. The club is by a bunch of public art kinda stuff, lots of graffitti, and just hugh paintings on the sides of buildings, and even some of the houses have these wild paint jobs that look like they were done by fifty diffrent artist, real neat. So i spend some time takin' a bunch of shots with new camera, figureing out how to work it.... pretty easy, point it and ckick it. On the walk i find this hugh rail yard, and while i'm snappin' photos i can feel someone comin' up behind me... pretty creeepy feeling. When i turn around this totally wasted german is standing right behind me. He starts mumblin' some shit, and i just start walikn' the other direction. He was smashed, if he spoke perfect english and not german i don't think i'd be able to understand him in the state he was in. I saw him earlier, and he was just yellin' into his phone, obviously pissed at something. I didn't think twice about it until five minutes later when i thought this dude just way wanna kill me. Kinda scarey, so like i said, i was gone as quick as possible, and he kinda stood there with a confused look in his eyes. Once i crossed the street i turned to look if he was following, but he'd already found a couple with a baby to harrass... nice man. On the walk back, i saw this little middle eastern place and went in and got a quick bite. On the menu it was listed as pizza, but it was more like a mixture of mozzarella and spinach, wrapped up in philo dough.... it's all just cheese and bread anyways, so basically the same thing. While i was eating it started to rain, luckily i'm only a half mile away.
Our plans were to meet back at four, and i got back with a half hour to spare. Also while out walkin' i came across a music store. More classical kinda stuff, but both watson and watt need cords, and maybe they got that sorta thing there, worth a try. Once we're back from gettin' that done, someone's opened the club, and it's work time. Everyone i meet that keeps the place going is real cool. Like lots of places i've been to in germany to play, this place used to be a squat, and has been hosting gigs for years now, something like twenty five i think. After the soundcheck the promoter, miguel, let's us know that dinner is ready. In the space there's also a sorta fancy pants restaurant, so very good food goin' on. Hugh spinach salad, and a couple options, one vegi with a side of little roasted potatoes mixed with slices of red peppers and mushrooms. There was the language barrier between the cook and i, but i think she got the picture when i rubbed my belly and smiled... that's pretty universal. One opener tonight, they're called horns, and are a electric guitar duet. They were tellin' me that they got the band together just for the occassion, and only had two practices, pretty brave. They did a really good job playin' together, but also it be cool to see em' with some drums and bass. The two guys playin' tonight also have another band, but the rhythm section and the singer couldn't make it, so maybe that's the real reason for the horns birth.
For me, the show went good, hopefully it did for the rest of the guys as well. The crowd seemed to dig it, pretty responsive, even had some folks dancing up in the front. It was a total sweatbox, i played as hard as i could. After the first set, we came out and did the rest of the songs that we knew. The audience still wanted more, and we couldn't deliver, it sorta sucked... hopefully they believed us, and just didn't think that we're dicks who don't care one way or another. I would've dug playin' more for them, but we really couldn't do it. Once the gear is and the van, and the goodbyes are said, it's off to the hotel. Richie is also stayin' at the same place, so he's gonnna ride shotgun, and tell us how to get there. The hotel isn't too far from the zakk, but it looks like it's in the most populated place in the city.... right down town. I don't even think that we can drive the van down some of these tiny streets. There's taxi's and drunks everywhere....aaarrgghhhh, what a nighgtmare. Parking anywhere near the hotel isn't even an option, there's just no room left, and it dosn't look like anybody's leaving for a long time. Whoever had the idea for this one wasn't thinkin' about the band, or maybe they where, and thought we'd like to be in the most happenin' part of dusseldorf. I thought zakk was pretty happin', and this was just silly....way to many people. After circleing the place for pretty near an hour, it's just time to give up, and go look elsewhere. Watt says he's proud cuz there's no bitchin' going on, we're all just laughing it off. What the hell, whineing in this situation, or any for that matter will just do no good. That shit just isn't very good for moral, plus i'm not doing the driving, he is. I think he's the real trooper. Finally a little luck, there looks like there's spot underneath an on ramp bridge about about six blocks from the hotel. It's pretty crowded and tight though, and the olny spot is the second to last space... it's gonna be a real tight fit clearence wise. There's olny about a quarter inch of room to spare on top before we start scraping, and since it's a bridge, it bows, so every lurch forward it gets a little shorter. Whew, after a good ten minutes of little turns, he finally makes it. You couldn't fit a small book inbetween the space. It sucks to leave the gear out here, especially when it's sorta exposed. Like hotel location, whoever thought it was good idea to put a window looking in the cab where the gear goes didn't think it thru.... atleast we've found a place to rest the boat, just hope she stays safe.
dusseldorf, kraftweks home. after a cold drive south we find the zakk club and wait for it to open. by the time we load in and check it's dark and wet. we have a nice meal and hang with richie who's one of the promoters. it's a solo show for us and another chance to work out our songs. the horns open for us, two guys on guitar. florian and jovan (i think), nice people and great music with a subtle sound that is a good contrast to our intense set. also some great people that share their thoughts with us after the show. probobly our best set yet.
after our load out the trip to the hotel is insane. we finally realize that it's on a pedestrian walk street and there are people drinking everywhere and no parking. we find a place under the highway and walk into the walkstreet area, it's a wierd scene and i can't help worrying about the equipment. i miss my girlfriend. i shower and sleep.
pop and chow the two rolls and butter they got for trough here. it ain't as bright and sunny as yesterday but at least there's no rain yet... I can imagine gray rolling up the sky and bringing it on like that though. 'pert-near the same number of klicks to drive today as yesterday so we roll south whence we came except for more south to get into the rhur valley where dusseldorf is, by the rhine river. on the way I stopped again at a "rasthof" - a service island for cars w/chow and fuel to look for gummi oeufs but find again find nothing so instead I get "saure pommes" which are sour gummi french fries (no potatoes involved though). they're trippy. on to dusseldorf... I've never played this town but have done nearby cologne many times. "the lady" navigates us to zakk, a club we're playing w/a band called horns opening up - they're a two-man one-off, each playing guitar. there's a few rooms to this pad and the one next to us is having a "fifty-plus" dance... hey, it's good know there's still some things I'm too young for! oh, I forgot about some funny shit before soundcheck (w/killian and sebastian - like a fucking idiot, I forget to remember their names when I wanna thank them at the gig's end though that didn't prevent me from thanking them anyway) - we got in at like three bells and tried to find a place w/cords cuz I think the problem w/my bass going out last night was a shitty cord and I found two of them (only five euros each) after a hearing the salesman being very intent on whether it was a bass or a guitar I was using... I ended up just pointing to the output jack of a bass hanging on the wall and he said, "ah, cable" - hey, he knew better english than I knew german so much respect to him, even w/all the verbal run-around but talk about "run-around" - across the road at an mersh electronics pad (really hoaky, tacky like a u.s. chain thing), two different shills give me 'pert-near the identical speech about how crazy it is that they would carry a england input/europe output ac adapter (tourboss billy got me two walkie-talkie leashes in england to try and ease my mind when I have to leave my guys for stooges gigs) and I'm looking at these guys each time and can't believe I'm hearing this (they have two different "stores" across a parking lot from each other), "yeah, we buy electronic devices here and use them outside of here - not the other way around" which cuz it being both times word-for-word makes me think either they get asked for this shit all the time and JUST DON'T HAVE IT or it's part of the moron training cuz no one could possibly reason something like that on their own, could they? I wasn't angry, just baffled - as was tom cuz he got to witness one of the "performances." us humans sure are trips. after the soundcheck, we chow w/the gigboss richie and talk about the old days cuz he's been going to gigs a long time and knows some about the pads I played when I was first doing europe so it's good to hear about that. he tells us about germany too and the changes going and what's happening, very cool cat. the chow's great too - cooked right here, some curry chicken and veggies I'm dug big time. the layout of the gigroom is great except for the backstage door being on stage so I gotta hear openers horn from the dressing room but they're good and I'm inspired for our gig. it's sweaty but good sweaty and the dusseldorf cats are great to play for, lots of dancing and energy to give back. they are quiet though when I mention kraftwerk was a band I really liked as a teenager and learned were from this town. tom even made a lonesome coyote sound. we do every song we know except the minutemen's "love dance" - I don't why but I wanted to get into "funkier than a mosquitos tweeter" and that went really good - tom smokin' on the kalimba. the whole gig went really good, both raul and tom tearing it up w/the sound happening as well. before the encore, I tell the folks, "I just wanna say I love my guys" and you could hear a pin drop - even more intense than after the tiny spiel about kraftwerk. I immediately went into a song though I was not sorry for what I said cuz I very much meant it - I just don't know how it fell out my mouth like that... maybe that's a weird thing to say in that situation or whatever. anyway, they weren't bumming cuz they kept cheering for more when we finished though we had no more and after a bit I came back on stage to thank them and say we're still a new band and I'm sorry. it was really a very happening gig and the least amount of clams yet for me. raul said it was his favorite so far and I know tom dug it too. alright! I thank the local gigboss miguel (german cat but spanish name!) and richie goes w/us to find the 'tel. it's called "hotel abode" (!) and the "the lady can get us only there so far cuz we discover it's in the middle of a pedestrian mall - who's fuck idea was this?! life is funny. anyway, saturday night in parts full of bars and the drunks that result from it w/no parking anywhere... oh yeah, 'pert-near nothing but tiny oneway streets too. we wander for over an hour and then I find a space under a highway on rap but the narrowness of the space available coupled w/the overhead clearance makes for some whiteknuckle walking it in back forth and just as I get it done, three cars pull out so it takes just ask much to walk the boat out again, angling and angling for a few inches at a time... I knew I was going to have to do it in the morning anyway and who knows what the sitch'd be so why not now. when I clear the wedge-in spot, an easy back-in to a space w/way clear headroom lets me breath easy at last, whew. we hoof into the pedestrain mall which swarmed w/many borrachos and find the hatch to the 'tel. man, why couldn't we get a pad that was on a road to frankfurt - something w/lots of safe and easy parking for the boat! I know, I sound like I'm whining, sorry. a dear good night to richie and then to my room. raul comes over and we spiel for a good while, I tell him how much I believe in him and dig the spirit he brings. there's twenty years between us but music is trippy that way. whew... I'm tired, huh? tired but grateful to be lucky to have happening cats in my life. lucky watt konks.
sunday, november 26, 2006 - frankfurt, germany
Woke up a little early, and took a walk to go check out the rhine, a hugh river that runs all thru the west side of germany. The lady who worked at the front desk told me that there are atleast five deaths a year in that river. Usually drunk guys who get all bravado and jump in trying to swim across it. Right in the middle there's a hugh current, and usually they go under and never make to the other side. That sounds absolutely crazy to me. Walked around the old town for a bit, mostly people cleaning up from the party the night before, and groups of old folks goin' to church... if the old folks only knew what this place looked like the night before, total debachery. Spend most the ride to franfurt tryin' to catch up on diary, i'm way behind. I get so far behind, that it becomes impossible for me to remember anything that happened, maybe i should start takin' small notes to remind me of the shit that goes down from day to day. Tom Tom is pretty on the money, except she can't tell us how to get in, and you don't just drive in and park, sometimes just finding where to load in can be be a process. After a couple failed attempts, and a couple loops around some early peppers fans, they must of thought us a bunch of dopes, we decide to try a new route kinda far off thru some construction...luckily it ends up paying off. It's kinda like in a convention center garden, and there's a bunch of these places hugh places, but we can see the buses right next to the festhalle, so that's a good indication of where to go. We park the van right near a loading door, and the gear is in the halle like that. I get right to settin' up the drums, it's way better for me to do it early then on the stage. It dosn't take up a bunch of space, and it saves a good amount of time, plus it's a respect move for the crew, these guy are so busy, the last thing they need is to be waitin' for my slow ass. After settin' up i go on a search for some trash bags to cover up the gear in the window. Walt helps me out with that, thanks brother. If we can cover it up from the inside, from the outside it'll look like the windows are just coated with black, and you can't see the gear. Folks don't usually want to take what they can't see.... right.
Playin' our second big show with the peppers. It's cool to see their crew again, all such cools folks. They all had the day off yesterday, and seem in really good spirits. On the way to the backstage there's hugh posters for the gig, and of course our name is wrong, not spelled wrong, but there's a space in between the words. So it reads toatally diffrent, like missing persons or some shit...blaahh. Oh well, what you gonna do. Playin' was ofcourse a blast, and we changed around the set, so we're gonna play tweeter to this hugh audience. That goes good except for the little drum solo part in the middle. Eight bars of fills, and i seem to get progressively faster with each one, so i kinda start runnin' myself over. As long as i go back to the beat at the right point though, i don't think it's that noticeable. Shit i don't know though, from the crowd prospective it might sound like i'm throwing my kit down a flight of stairs. I like the set we're playin' too. Watt calls it the workin' man's set. He's right, it's a total sweater. I think the only exception is tweeter, that's the calmest tune for me.... besides the drum solo. I'm definitely not a soloer, but i'll keep tryin, and who knows, maybe one day.
Tom had invited some friends from frankfurt to the gig, so after the show we all end up going out to hang with them for awhile at some supposed austrailian style bar... I'm in germany, so there's no way i'm drinkin' a fosters... i don't even think that make that shit in australlia. Good company though, so where we're at isn't even an issue. After a bit of that place, Michael and kristine, watson's pals, invite us to their place. By now it's just watson and me, and we accept the invite. We're only a block from where we're staying and we're still all adrenilined up from the gig, so it sounds like good fun. We didn't stay too long, just had a couple beverages and some cheese, damn these germans love their cheese. Watson and michael caught up with each other, then we huffed it back to the hotel. MIchael has a gallery just a couple more blocks from where we're at, but it's way too late to check it out, and we got an early rise in the morning, so it dosn't look like we'll be seeing it this time.... maybe on the next euro tour.
festhalle, frankfurt. we loop the city center and eventually locate the entry through the convention center buildings. the venue is a serious reverb chamber, like a blimp hanger. there's a dome of glass on the top that only adds to the infinate echo. it will be a struggle for the sound people for sure.
i have some friends here, michael, christine and nick. i met them last spring when i was out with alexis from the gallery i work for doing some art related things. michael is an artist and has a gallery space called gutleut15 in frankfurt that does some great stuff. it will be good to see them all again.
before we go on anthony comes by our room. he say's "i found the missingmen". it's my first time meeting him too, and it's always kind of strange to meet someone that you've seen in the media and find out how normal they are. it's starting to feel like a family now. soon we get onstage and wrestle with the echo and reverb and behind the clapping and cheers i think i hear booos. the first ones i've heard on this trip. no problem though, i think it's understandable that we don't translate over that distance very well. even though it's a hard show, we do our best to play together.
after the peppers show we head to the hotel and all of the sudden i start to recognize the area. it turns out that we are booked into the same hotel that i had stayed in last spring which is right around the corner from where michael and christine live. i call michael and invite him over. we talk and drink beer for a little bit and then with mike and raul we walk around the corner to meet up with christina, nick, iris and cristian at this australian bar that i had been too only a few months before. deja vu, all over again. we do alot of talking and stop off at michaels for a snack before heading back to the memphis hotel. the man at the desk engages us in talk for a while till we break loose and head upstairs.
i call caroline and hit the sack.
pop to a phone ringing and when I answer it, this loud voice hollers "raus!" (german for "get out!). whoa, I go "what" and get a soft reply of "I'm sorry" and then a hangup - obviously there's been some mistake made, pretty funny. it's eight bells anyway which is kind of late for me. I hose off and then go out the 'tel hatch to find some sun but a gray blankie try to get heavier on the sun, taking away the yellow and making it white. sometimes it's like this back home in my pedro town... I think of my pedro town and how I'm already jonesing some to paddle my kayak! aahh, focus on the moment at hand! it's weird to see a landscape on a sunday morning after it was pummled w/saturday night drinking, a weird atmosphere permeates things. I go back and eat some soft-boiled eggs that's at the check-in desk for frustuck (german for breakfast) along w/some coff. my guys come down and we hoof back to the boat and are relieved to find it intact - there's a glass window between our person part and the back where the gear is so you can the drum cases. I make it a point that when the gear comes out for tonight's gig, we'll tape up plastic trash bags (not clear ones!) to block that view - tape them from inside. someone once told me "they don't want what they can't see" and I find some wisdom in that. it's only a couple of hours south to frankfurt but getting in early is never lame and anyway, you never know what's up... like the construction outside the next big city, cologne and "the lady" doesn't know about this and we're directed right off the autobahn she's telling us to take. I got tom up front beside me and it's so great carlos gave us a road atlas (trippy, the blow up they got on the cover for an example of what's inside is the dalmatian coast and there's the island of vis, where most of the slavs in pedro came from) so tom has me go right in the center of cologne (we go near the dom, which is a famous two-spire medieval cathedral - I've been there, I was so tripping on it that I forgot I had my knit hat on 'til a father asked me to get it together) and hop on an alternate autobahn that gets us where we need to go. we're playing a huge (12,440) pad called the festehall that's next to an even huger convention center and for the life of us, cannot find the entrance... we drive round and round. "the lady" can't help us. finally we find a place where a bunch of kids are gathered and I have tom jump out to find what's up. we need a gate way the fuck out and make it to the pad finally. everyone's glad to see us which is great, much respect to them. we load in and do soundcheck - damn, this pad has a really high roof and then a glass dome on top of that! the echo is mega-enormadome sized but what the fuck, "work the room" and do the best you can. if anything, there's a comedy to it if not the challenge to the human spirit which I think is a good thing. there's the love of playing w/my guys and working hard for the chili peppers cats and the crew too - they're really good cats. big daddy was telling me he dug the hamburg gig. tourboss billy always makes time to talk w/me and he shows me his hand healed up too. man, that catching the backwacksack on fire was a trip! tim o'shannahan too is really nice to me, I respect him a lot. I know billy does too and he's a great skipper. man, does he fill me w/the spirit. what I got to offer has a lot to do w/d. boon's spirit - I know I have some in me and it makes me wanna push and push 'til my gig is done. I don't wanna stupid about it, I wanna learn and learn but I know I gotta push and keep things simple... ha! what does that mean in a watt world?! but what do I do - stop reading books... stop w/music? both those things make me wonder about shit so much... I am not ashamed to admit too that I fucking VERY MUCH dig it! I have people tell me - someone I consider a great sensei in fact say, "when we get done w/our thing, we just shut our brain off, we're done" - well, ok but if I'm gonna be honest w/myself I have to say I am not like that, it's just the way it is. but then, shit - I get things pretty country simple too... what do you think the pedaling and paddling is about and I do that every fucking crack of dawn I can. aahh, I don't why I'm making a case out of this... what happened next is we did a soundcheck and knobman jamie asked us to play three songs - I never like doing more than just that blue oyster cult tune me and d. boon started playing when we're boys ("the red and the black") and man, my bass is distorted and I'm thinking - is this amp shitty or what? you know, stooping to the "blame the equipment" thing. baka watt. I bet jamie is tripping on what we're giving him to work on - much respect to him for his patience. that's it! what I'm most grateful for is folks generous enough w/their patience for me and thus my goal is to not try them so on that - there's a clarity there I can wrap some thinking around and then hopefully, some action. thank god for raul and tom. I chow some salad and a steak (whoa), then use the 'puter to chimp 'til gig time comes at eight bells. since we did that tune tina turner's sister wrote last night at the end of the gig and I was digging it and when I asked my guys, the said they dug it too, I put it around where that old traditional "walkin' boss" was and put that now where the stooges "fun house" was. that might be trippy. I love the idea of tom working an enormadome w/a kalimba - I mean, just the concept of it even! we're here to make some kind of reality however but fuck it, let's blow some minds - even if it's only our own! is that a bogart? hope not. we go out and work the gig, hmm... not as much momentum w/us as w/the folks in hamburg. the battery in the compressor stompbox is dead so I had to go straight into the amp so that was kind of bloomy/unfocused but I think my guys played great and there was less clams maybe even from me but when we're done, raul and tom tell me there were boos. hell, I never heard that - I thought that was the "acoustics" of the venue maybe. ha! fuck it, I never stopped the train and felt we never fell off the tracks so what can I say except for we did what we did and that was that - folks gotta make up their minds about it themselves and that's ok, even if blows on our part are to be taken otherwise no envelope gets pushed - no real hint of where the wall is w/out a hand to touch and press against it, leaving only a concept on what might be is all we'll have... or even worse: pandering! funny to talk about stuff like that anyway - w/all the shit that's been thrown at me over the years. ok, raul hard a space out in the beginning and seemed to not know how to come in on the first song. I gotta a little out of tune in parts, maybe my voice has some wear (too much off-stage spiel!) and tom might've been a tiny bit stiff w/some body language but I thought the boat was chugging so fuck it. I had good laughs right when we got done and all the way into the room where I could drink some water, guzzle it - then more belly laughs after too so I ain't gonna have a cow over anything except commit to trying even harder next gig (tomorrow). me and tom watch half the peppers set then round up raul to load up the boat and miss the rush of traffic from the thousands of gig-goers. pepper john asked us to join them for chow after the gig but I am tuckered and tell my guys we'll do that tomorrow night in stuttgart. it's just tough on me - like when we get to the 'tel and tom wants me to meet some of his frankfurt friends. well, let me keep things in order... "the lady" gets us to the memphis hotel which ain't too far away and in fact near a gallery he played solo at last year. checking in is pretty funny cuz the young korean man behind the desk is really intent it seems on practicing his english and there is much much spiel on getting the paperwork together for getting a room. then tom has that gallery's owner michael come over to visit some and he's very cool people - even know the guy from der plan which was a german band from like twentyfive years ago I really dug (along w/d.a.f. and abwarts among others). he's got buddies nearby drinking so I agree to go to this bar w/an australian motif and drink a fosters w/him and his buddy nic - nic's into books so I spiel w/him about james ellroy (the chili pepper's personal managerman gage is way into ellroy too - alright!) who he knows but turn him onto another writer - actually, this cat wrote only one book, "the sand pebbles" (there was also a movie made from it w/steve mcqueen in 1966 - me and d. boon's favorite movie when we were boys) and his name was richard mckenna. there's a writerman there too from a paper but he's at the end of the table where raul is so they talk, unfortunately I didn't get to spiel much w/him but raul later tells me and tom this cat said there was booing on his too at the gig. again, I don't give a fuck cuz we were trying hard and in my book, doing good - I was very proud of tom and raul! man, the minutemen got it twentyone years ago opening for rem and then w/fIREHOSE w/beastie boys, me w/nels/vince/preussner - all down the years when cats I respect dig what I'm doing and put me in front of their big crowds, there's been trips like that but hey - oh, I forgot minutemen days w/black flag even and all the shit thrown... not just words either. life is funny, people are funny. I guess you can take it as mean maybe but then in a way, some people are getting hitting w/what they think is weird for the first time and don't know how to react or in fact do react w/a huge wretch your (my) way. my philosophy is to continue to plow. I have enough insecurities to worry about that weighing me down as well. maybe it's foolish but hey, I know people got a lot of peer pressure on them, especially young ones are those who have only mersh experiences maybe - I don't know... just a long time ago I told myself I was gonna let that all go or I'd either go more crazy or never ever get the nerve up to play in public - or fuck - even play, period. anyway, maybe fortyfive minutes of spiel left in me cuz damn do gigs tucker me so I walk back to the 'tel and use many many english words w/the young korean desk man to pay the bill in advance - he's a nice cat and it is quite a singular experience to be w/him. finally though I get to konk, bringing the glass water and apple up to my room he's intent on wanting to give me. thank you!
monday, november 27, 2006 - stuttgart, germany
Guy who's runnin the front desk at the place we're staying is a crack up. He's tryin' to be real nice, but it's almost over done. I get a total kick out of it though. The night before he wouldn't stop with the fruit and water offerings, i finally had to break and except the water... he wouldn't give up. And he was at it again this mornin. As i'm walikin' out he let's me know that watt's a very nice man, and i should let him know that he told me that. Time to start out for stutgart.
A couple of days ago i found these little chocolate eggs called kinder uberrachung. I picked up three of em' for us, kinda like fortunes, to relate the little characters inside to yourself or tour. Since then i've got a little obsessive about them. The first one i got a little dwarf named speddy, and that fit me kinda perfect. I liked his kind so much that i buy a couple at every stop, tryin to get the whole crew of seven. I thought that'd it be easy, nope so many diffent little creatures. Sometimes you get a shitty suprise, like a dumb magic trick, that blows. Anyway, we had just stopped to get gas, and we're all into em' now, so we each got a couple. Back on the road, we're puttin' em' up on the dash with some tape, building a litttle familia, and a car pulls in front of and pops a little sigh that says halt. I've never seen this before, but watt knows all about this, and pulls the van over. One second havin' a good time, next second pulled over by the fuzz. We have nothin' to hide, so we're not worried on that front, watt's just tryin' to figure out what the hell he did wrong. The first thing the cop asks me is if i'm carriing any narcotics, and if i am, i bettter just hand em' over cuz it'll be the best thing for the both of us. Nope i tell him, none here. It must be the Nederlander plates, they're probably thinkin' that we're smuggling something. Well, regardless of what we say, they search the van anyway. While one dude gives the van a comb over, another checks all of our bags while we watch. Like i said, nothin' to hide, so i let him do his job, and don't nerveously hover over his shoulder, the sooner we're gone the better. Man, he went thru every little piece of crumpled up trash, and would get an excited look on his face when he came across someting that looked weird to him. They seemed satisfied after going thru the bags, and luckily didn't make us bring out all the gear. So glad they didn't do something fucked like plant shit on us. The whole deal took a good forty five minutes, but whatever, they let us go and we're back on the road to stutgart.
Do a little wandering tryin to take the tom toms direction. Not to bad though, and i get to see the outside of the zoo, and the big park that surrounds it, also some of stutgart that i wouldn't of got to see otherwise. Another gig with the peppers, so another hugh place. This ones so big that we can actually drive the van right in thru the loading dock and load out from the inside, so weird. I snapped a bunch of shots, kevin will trip on this. Like everynight, we play as hard as we can. The communication is good, and i know that not everyone can even see that, how could they... to most the folks we probably look like ants. Even though there's a big barrier in between us and the crowd, i think the kids in front can see it, and it seems to win em' over. As for the ones to the right of the stage, who knows what they're gettin' besides the back of my head. I packed all my stuff up right after the gig, feels better to get it out of the way and not hafta worry about it down the road. The helpers at the venue rolled it all outside, and are watching it by the back loading dock. Insted trying to back the van up to the door, it makes better sense for tom and i to roll it while watt gets the van. Quick load in, and now time to go back in and watch the last half of the peppers set. The highlight of that was watchin' flea bring out the trumpet and do a solo... pretty awesome. Watt tells me he's been playing trumpet longer than the bass. Those guys put on a good show. A couple of days ago john invited us to have some dinner with him and his band after the gig, cuz those guys do the dinner thing after they play. We were greatful, but couldn't except due a hugh drive the next mornin', but tonight we've been invited, and we can accept. I'd never thought i'd be eatin' sushi and wasabi in germany... crazy. Very good food, wayneo and salim did a damn fine job gettin' this spread together. Thanks dudes, and thanks peppers for the invite. A weird thing when we made it back to the hotel, as soon as we walk in, some random dude who i had no idea he he was, said my name and said they'd been expecying me, kinda weird right.
on our way to stuttgart we get pulled over by an unmarked police car. they stop us because we have a rental truck from holland so they expect that they will find hash in the van. we comply and help them go through everything and they realize we are being upfront about not having anything so they let us go. just another experience on tour. our compulsion for chocolate eggs with toys inside has excellerated and we pick up new ones at each stop. our collection is growing on our dashboard and it's becoming a shrine of small creatures.
before getting into stuttgart we have a string of wrong turns and loop through the outside of the town. i think it's from our manic photo taking but we manage to find the arena and drive into the cavernous building to load in. it's wild to see how the stage and lighting goes up and how many people are working on it. it's like a circus coming to town creating it's own environment. i find our room off to one side of the stage and sit and write before our soundcheck.
chad comes in and hangs and we talk about his session with john fogerty, what a trip. he's a great dude, funny as hell. it's really cool too that our room is near his drum room so we can hear him warm up before their show, he's a wailer. flea comes by too.
we decide to hang after the show to eat with the peppers and wayne-o, their personal chef, and saleem (another great dude) prepare some amazing food. we sit and talk with john and flea and basically just mellow out. it's a blast to watch them play and then to see them after, they are all so cool to us. i want to tell anthony that i really liked his singing tonight but i keep it to myself instead.
I pop at seven and half bells and forget to hose off, baka watt. I chow downstairs some of the trough they got laid out, some yogurt on granola-like cereal and salami w/herring in a roll. coff of course too. I had to be here early cuz the only parking was on the street and the machine for the parking slips don't open 'til eight so I wanna be there to make sure the boat ain't ticketed. the sun's out pretty bright but how long will that last? we're going further south today to play our last german gig in stuttgart. I go across the road and find a car/wall charger for the walkie-talkie leashes I got... I find a england-to-europe plug adapter too w/no weird spiel from the man who sells it to me econo (five euro each for all these things). people are different, huh? I'm thinking of yesterday's trip-out in that mersh electronics pad. I chimp some diary then me and my guys fire up "the lady" and she directs us towards stuttgart. raul's been getting these "kinder uberraschung" (children surprises) things at the gas stations - they're little plastic capsules in a chocolate egg that contain either a little plastic creature (usually belonging to some family of seven to ten members) or less frequently, a vehicle or magic trick. these are going to make great mascots - I got three "homies" one tour back in the u.s. w/raul and pete mazich and stuck them on the boat dash. looks like we're gonna need some tape though cuz these are sliding around. the one I got was some dick-nosed dude (I swear that's what him and his "family" look like - there's papers to show you his kind that come w/him) w/big glasses and he's walking what looks like a pretty big caterpillar. well, first I got a little car but that's so happening. actually, I first found one of these things in its capsule - no chocolate egg (maybe it got chowed) in the paris de gaulle airport going to some stooges gig and knobman rik told me something about them. that was a pirate at the helm and I really dug that. you know, the san pedro high school athletic teams are called pirates, our colors black and gold. anyway, we're laughing our heads off w/these things (raul got one called speedy w/his eyes all pinned) when this mercedes passes me and out waves a paddle from the passenger side - what? there's a rest area up ahead - well, first I flashed my lights at him cuz he kind of swerved like a nut in front of me and a little fog had come on us - the sun going from yellow to white... I remember twenty-something years ago when a guy in a porche waved a paddle at mugger, how was driving us minutemen and black flag on our first tour here and that ended up in a speeding ticket - he was a policeman. well, I see two guys come out and they're in plain clothes but have guns - they identify themselves and ask for drugs - when did I come from the netherlands, the one tougher mustacheman asks me - the other bald one watching from the passenger side. I let the man search me and tell him I'm a bass player and have none, that I've been in germany a few days and rented the van and my gear in holland. out come my papers, I'm nervous looking through the van book and wondering which is registration and which is insurance - which paper says I have permission to drive this vehicle and stuff like that you never think of 'til the situation demands it - I drop my wallet and shit flies, there's a chinese fortune cookie fortune I kept for some reason and he reads it "trust him but keep your eyes open" - damn, I wonder what he thought of that - he sure has some cold hard eyes... hey, I'm a little nervous cuz I'm thinking how was I driving wrong but obviously it's not about that. the other man has tom and raul's hatches open and tells them drugs are legal in the netherlands and to hand over what they have, sayiing "we can get the dogs" but we have nothing and they can do what they want (like they won't anyway!). everything and everywhere gets the thorough search - the bald man's a little nicer but this probably the way the script they're trained from reads. tom's got golden seal capsules and mustacheman breaks them open and does his sniff test. I open up the back and show them the equipment and they go through tom and raul's girly sacks (mine's smaller so it stays by the bench seat and the bald man already went through that. they find nothing cuz there is nothing. mustacheman asks raul what kind of music we play and he answers "jazz" and the guys face shows some interests but then sours quickly when I say "jazz fusion" - we're given no other words except "ok, you can go" but they're the ones who get in their mercedes and jam off. I wait a little before driving. all three of us think out loud... well, it does say dutch stuff all over the boat and it's obvious it's from the netherlands... I hope those two guys weren't disappointed cuz we definitely are not. life is a trip. you know, if you think about it, they could've been a lot more meaner so I'm grateful it wasn't that. life deals you a hand... the venue tonight is called the schleyerhalle (12,437 capacity) and it's by some big porche center - stuttgart's a big carmaker town and they've put money into this huge convention/festival complex, the hall we're playing is one part. it's so fucking big though that stagemanagerman tim has me drive the boat right in to where the audience are going to be and we unload there, one of the local helpermen can't believe I'm mike watt but of course I am and show him I'm nothing special. I roll the boat out and park it - time to change all the strings on the bass. man, I wish d'addario made a short scale w/regular gauge so I wouldn't have to cut them. it's just if I have to change them fast that it kind of fouls me up, makes things slower. good to see tourboss billy and I tell him of our adventure. dave rat is here at the desk - yesterday I chowed w/him and w/talked about people from the old days that we run into - I first met dave when he was doing his first p.a. stuff w/black flag's tours - one van and now look, semis and semis. he's making a diary now cuz maybe he's gonna not be on so many tours any more. cuz of the after-gig chow we're gonna do, I only shovel a salad and go to the dressing room to chimp diary. pepper dummerman chad comes in an raps w/us a while, I remind him of telling me about recording a song once w/john fogerty and he relates that to raul and I'm digging all the details he adds that I can remember from last time. he in fact kind of gives us a pep talk cuz damn if I don't feel up to wail hard tonight, flea joins us and him too - he talks some about what he's learned w/yoga and t.m. to help him - I really wish I could try some of that but my discipline that way is so weak... the closest I think I come is to my pedaling and paddling and even then I don't exactly quiet my mind but I know what he means. anyway I can tell my guys too are fired up w/the talks from both peps so when we go out there, we wail on it. I think the missingmen are on fire w/me tonight - I even have a battery tom gave me so my compressor pedal ("trash compactor") is working. the crowd is kind of unfocused the further back you go maybe but I don't know really cuz I'm giving like ninetyeight percent of my attention to my guys and I hope that don't seem selfish but man, working a room like this is tough - shit, working any kind of room for me can be and is tough- "where's d. boon??!!!" I've said to myself so many times. I get so wound up near the end of some tunes that I 'pert-near keel over on their finish. whoa, one time I fall into raul's cymbals but throw myself back to clear them and grab my amp (actually, I use my amp all the time to prop me up when I lose my balance) w/one hand but the hand pulls down my bass too fast, bringing up the headstock and the 'a' string tuner hits me in under the eye and cuts me some but not bad. kind of hurt but I'm not going to baby out and continue. I'm really close on raul, right in his face and I'm urging him on. I think chad and flea really did charge me up w/their talks cuz I'm throwing as hard as I can. chad was telling us about a band he saw that never once made eye contact the whole show and all of us agree that's not for us. I really first learned it from playing w/porno for pyros and have asked all my guys since to do that. my voice is a little rough but I'm not hoarse. man, the gig seems like it's only five minutes long instead of the fortyfive that we're doing. I thank everyone I can think of on the crew and the peppers for being so generous w/us - I don't know if the acoustics of this bad even allow any of that to be understood but fuck it, I mean it and want it said. I see the strings fly from the little bass when I pluck them, I'm putting as much as I can into it, truly. if I owe anyone anything, it's my guys plus this crew and band we've been asked to share some of the gig time w/and of course the folks who came but I wouldn't feel right if it was spoonfed - hell, I don't know if I could get a spoonfeed thing together cuz I just ain't used to it. maybe these rooms ain't what I know much but the way to get the three of us to make one in a certain way is maybe something I might have a little hint of... I don't know, seems there's so much to learn and maybe the best I can do is let go on questions like that, just do and not end up sounding like I'm trying to pontificate. I dearly hope that's not what this spiel I'm chimping ends up sounding like. we finish up our set and clear our shit as quick as possible... trippy, there was like an hour in between us and the peppers for changeover on the first gig and then it went down to half that since so I think that shows the crew knows we're there to help them however we can and not be a burden. I'm paranoid and bring my coat and 'puter on stage w/me, taking it off and putting it behind my amp and then getting them back on we're done - I even play w/my passport in my right shirt pocket w/the flap button (one reason I dig flannels that have that). my mind's scattered and I gotta do things like that to try and keep it somehow kind of together. whew, do I get wrung out from working a gig! I take a shot of my face w/the digicamera to capture what the hurt under my right eye looks like - you know, for posterior's sake (I used that word on purpose!). like usual, me and my guys discus what we just did and despite whatever clams any of us blew, I always commend them on a job well done cuz that's in fact what they always do and never let me down - much respect to tom and raul. we watch the peps do their gig and then join them at their table after for chow and spiel - maybe a little too much spiel from watt cuz we get talking about music and my love for that gets me way excited (always has) and they get into too. I know it might sound weird but a lot of cats in this racket will let you know music's the last the thing they wanna talk about and get into but not the peppers and I really dig that cuz fuck, that's why we're here! we talk about session stuff - I tell them about the kelly clarkson thing I did just recently, playing on six songs I never heard 'til I did it and having to work it in the moment and what a learner that was for me. flea's done much more of that and john just did the whole last mars la volta album (omar directing him w/his parts) so it's interesting for me to hear their perspectives since it's something I don't do much of though I was just part of the last stooges album that was recorded in october. the chow chef wayne cooked up is very happening, these turkey meatballs are wild. time to bail and "the lady" directs us to the hotel am wilhelmsplatz not too far away... there's no traffic and in fact parking right in front - very happening! one thing trippy is when we come in to the reception desk, there's a bar right by w/a couple guys drinking and one says "raul morales" - whoa, does someone know raul? he doesn't say anything else and we go up to our rooms w/out incident but all three of us wonder about it later. life's a trip. I konk like a load lumber dumped right out of a truck.
tuesday, november 28, 2006 - milano, italy
Carlos couldn't find us a gig today, so we got the day to make it to milano via switzerland. Before we get started on the drive though, we need to get some minutes for the phones carlos got us to keep in touch when watts gonna go play the stooges gigs. So of course the place is in the most populated part of the city. After finally finding parking, watt goes to track the place, and me and watson stay behind. Pretty funny, the place we parked is in front of some sex shop, so we look like a couple of american perves pacing around drooling over the smart balls. Finally watt makes it back, and we're off. Had a pretty eventful kinder/ gas stop, but you'll hafta read watts diary to find out the details.
To get to Italy, we're gonna go thru switzerland, hit zurich, then head south to Milano. This proves to be a problem with the tom tom. Heading into zurich we hit lots of tuunnels, and she looses all reception, and starts to go haywire. She tried to re route us so many diffrent times, she had us going in circles, so retarded. We ended up right in the middle of downtown cruising by the hugh local train station, commuters everywhere, and we're stuck in the middle of it all...definetly not the fastest path to lugano. Finally, after about an hour and a half of not knowing where the hell we're going, we seem to be on the right path. It still dosn't seem like the best way, she has us on all these tinest mountain roads, but as long as we're headed in the right direction that's alright by us. Real clear night, beautiful skies, but aside from that, we can't see any of the scenerey. Even though we left stutgart by noon, we're only halfway done with the trip, and it's pitch dark. Earlier in the day we had to do border crossing to get into switzerland, and tonite we're gonna hafta do it going into italy outta switzerland. Border crossing, like today isn't a hassle. Tom and i waited while watt spoke to the officials. Didn't take longer than fifteen minutes, very awesome. I don't even remember the guards taking our passports.
I loved being in germany, but im excited to be in italy, such a great place, even more excited because i've never been to milano. Tonight, just like today, is spent with all kinda wrong directions from the lady. We try to see her thru, and follow her, but she just dosn't have a clue where she is. Must be that the area we're in hasn't been mapped well, and she can't get a hold of where we're at. I know where, a big industrial area with no auto strada in sight. Fuck it, we'll let her direct thru side streets all the way to the hotel. Finally some sucess, auto strada. Even more success, after ten minutes of drivin', she lets us know we've reached our destination, and the hotel is right in front of us. Whewww, she put about two and a half to three extras hours on our drive,but who cares, we're here safe, and that's what matters. Can't wait to check out milano and then play for the italians tomorrow.
in the morning we have to locate a vodaphone store to get activate the phone. it becomes a little journey unto itself. finally we find it and mike walks up the street from where we park and raul and i sit tight for at least an hour. by the time we get on the road to milano it's about 11 am and we have to navigate our way through switzerland which requires a stop at the border and a customs check. it's good for me to check out how it's done because i have to do it without mike on our trip from zurich to vienna. we make it through and try to get the right directions ffor milano. the roads are wind throught the alps and some are closed from snow and that plus the long tunnels cause our navigator to send us on wild routes through the hills and then straight through zurich's downtown at rush hour. it's insane and we can only laugh about it. the hours go by and we improvise on dark winding alpine roads till we get to the italian side of switzerland. it's a reliefe but still hours to go. we find the border of italy and have yet more navigator issues, luckily it's a day off and we only have to get to our hotel. we find it on a highway outside of milano but vary near the arena we'll play tomaorrow. we sit down after 11 hours of travel and i have a glass of wine and we talk about our insane day.
pop at seven bells and find sun bright out the window, alright. I hose off and then shovel the tiny trough (tiny but still way good enough) downstairs - oops, there's parking required like in frankfurt so I go out to the boat across the road and use the machine to make those things happen... don't want any parking tickets to pay that we don't need. today is the only day of the tour where I don't play. we head off to the middle of the old part of town which now has a big mall built there and right close is a vodaphone store so I can get these walkie-talkie leashes activated w/sim and top-off cards so I can have a little piece of mind when I'm away from my guys when I have the stooges gigs (first one is saturday in macedonia). the only parking I can find for the boat is in front of a sex shop (europe is way less puritan than the u.s. about these) so my guys have windows full of things like "smart balls" ("be good to yourself" the box says) to study while I get these phones happening. a test call to carlos makes sure I got it right and so we're off to milano, in the north of italy where the next two gigs will be. we drive south through the swarzwald (black forest) and about an hour from the swiss border, stop to fuel the boat. I calculate the mileage and damn, twentysix and half miles a gallon (yes, I made all the conversions) is fucking happening for a tour vehicle! must be the two liter sewing machine motor, huh? one challenge that comes on me I have to face is while I pumping in the diesel, I felt a fart coming and thought it was safe to let it blow but nope - I think the diet change (euro chow is very good and healthy but it is different from back home) brought on a miscalculation and I ended up pumping turd in my fucking skivvies, goddamn it. luckily though, these rasthofs have showers for three euros and though the attendant - trippy how they wear something like a lab coat - had a weird look on his face (actually, tom said I had a pretty weird look on my face when he asked me to unlock the hatch.. he said it was a look that said something like, "not now, man"), I get shit (!) together and am all clean for the border, whew. the swiss border arrives as the sun goes down, it was getting smothered by really heavy fog anyway... we make one more stop on the german side not for fuel but for one last batch of "kinder uberraschung" and now our dashboard family is complete, we got like twenty of them. at the border, I get to show tom how a carnet works cuz he's gonna have to do this a couple of times, the first will be when him and raul leave after the zurich gig, when I have to fly for a stooges gig in lithuania. this one's a transit since we're just going through switzerland to get to italy. I show him about going to first the german side (the customsman upset at how the dutch had the "unprepared" document prepared) but we get the very much needed stamp from him and then the swiss side (very nice customs man there). I show him about the road vignette (forty swiss franc highway tax) sticker we have to get right after crossing at a gas station cuz austria has their own version too. now I let "the lady" navigate us cuz I've never used one before and she seemed to help much w/tiny streets in towns but man, does she get mixed up near zurich w/all the tunnels we have to go through - she keeps losing her satellite link, then re-calculating and getting all flustered... I can't tell you how many times we saw signs for luzern, chur and zug - we even get put right in the middle of town at the main train station - rush hour traffic too! it was insane. finally we end up on a tiny "heidi" road and we're thinking we're gonna end up in even tinier "ricola" town but she finds her bearings somewhat and we find the tunnels through gotthard which was very happening cuz two of the five mountain passes were closed. looking back, I should've went to the way I've done it in the old days - use the road atlas carlos gave me but I wanted to give her a chance. I'm just glad it didn't have a male voice cuz somehow there's something somewhat soothing from that though for some reason she was silent and we had only visuals - maybe tom disabled her spiel part when entering in the milano 'tel address. we pass from the german-speaking swiss part into the italian-speaking swiss part (unfortunate it was night cuz it's beautiful land around here) and then at the border in chiasso, do the carnet thing again but it goes by way quicker, both swiss and italian customsmen very helpful, bordermen too waving us on. whoa, ten hours total I was behind the wheel when "the lady" calculated five at our start... so much for blind faith in machines! maybe a healthy lesson though, huh? she gets lost in milano's industrial outskirts again but then as I get on an autostrade (not autobahn in italy but autostrade), she finds her way and the 'tel carlos got us is the alga hotel, southwest on the edge of milano and only about a mile from the venue we're playing tomorrow and the next day. whew, so glad to have my guys safe and where we need to be, grazie dio! it's ten bells and we're tuckered. we have some beers in the bar next to the lobby and some good laughs at our adventure. the only chow we had was peanutbutter/jelly sandwiches raul made us (super huge thanks to brother tourboss billy for giving us that stuff at the gigs) and chocolate from the "kinder uberraschung" but not too much cuz you could feel how you could get really sick from that. oh, I remember eating this weird lock "bockwurst" that stuck way out of the bun where we fueled - I think I chowed that in response to wanting to fill what had been so quickly emptied... yeah, my mind works fucking weird. anyway, I konk both hard and grateful... grazie dio.
wednesday, november 29, 2006 - milano, italy
Tried to wake up as early as possible so i could get to the city and have enough time to check it out before going to the arena rock show. The night before the desk clerk gave watson a map, and some directions to the bus that intersects with the train. Also, watts been here before, so he points me in the right direction. Once i get to the castello just head down dante, and i'll hit the duomo and a bunch of other neat sights along the way. The train is only a half a km. from the hotel, but there's really no way to walk, there's a bunch of construction and it looks way harder than it's worth, so i gotta bus it... there's a stop right in front of the hotel and the wait is only fifteen minutes, so pretty convinient. The train stop is the next exit of the autostrada, and the driver takes me without a pass, this bus didn't take coinage, but he was very cool about it, and let me slide. I'll tell ya, the italians have a very interesting way of talking besides their language.... with their hands. Some dude on the bus was goin' off, karate choppin' all over the place. The train line is pretty easy to follow, it's four lines and there all differinciated by color. I hop on the green line and get off by the castle five stops up. The trains lines are real neat, kinda beat in a good way, not all shiney and clean.
The the center of milano is amazing and very populated, trains and scooters rule the streets... you gotta be very careful where your next move is gonna get you. I take a walk around the castle that's surrounded by a hugh park, so massive. The middle of the castle was under some kind of renovation, so i couldn't check the whole deal out, but what i did see was beautiful. Only a few blocks away was the duomo, what an incredible cathedral. Third largest church that strarted to be built at the end of the fourteenth century, this thing is massive, and can hold up to twenty thousand people...yarrr. It's kinda built in a pyrimid shape, and goes to a point that must be over ten stories high, with an enormous dome in the back.... very impressive. Ridiculousy beautiful spires, and stained glass windows, and it's covered with atleast a hundred statues, what a job that must of been. The inside is equally amazing, i didn't snap too many shots of the inside though, just some sly ones here and there... i didn't wanna look disrespecful. The plan was to meet back at two and bail for the show a half hour later. I had to book it back to the station pretty quick, the trains where every ten minutes, but the bus back to the hotel came every half hour, and it would suck to miss one and hafta wait. In the staion, i went in the same way i came out, which turned out to be a mistake, cuz i caught the train going the wrong direction. No big deal, and by the next exit i was back on the right track. Taking the wrong train made me miss the bus though, so i had to wait the half hour with about two hundred pepper fans on the way to the gig.
The place we're playin' wasn't too far from the hotel, i don't even think we took the autostrada to get there, just an access road heading towards Assago. The first sight when we hit the datch was the bootleggers, man, these guys these guys go all out... looks like they had more shirts than the legit merch sellers. Someone's gotta be pissed about this. The datch is kinda like the stadhalle, and we can drive the boat inside. Tim there's to let us know where the gear should go, and i get to settin' up. It's great to see all the crew after the off day, there all steller people. I don't know what it was... low tide somewhere, but the datch would start smellin' like a big fart when the wind would blow thru the loading dock..blaaahh. That night, after dinner we're all shittin' back stage, and gibby from thhe butthole surfers walks in with his wife missy, they just happen to be on vacation in milano. Old watt friends, but i've never met him, very genuine and funny dude, and his lady is very cool as well. Within' minutes, the idea to do revolution pt.2 comes up, it's an old butthole surfers song that firehose used to cover. I know it from the live e.p. they put out from the palomino club. I've never played it, but it's basically the same four on the floor beat repeated thru out the whole thing, so i think i'll be able to do it no problem. Where playin' the same place tomorrow, and he'll still be in town, so it's decided that we'll learn it at sound check, and do it tomorrow. Show for us was good, we've had some weird spots here and there, but it seems like we're on a pretty good streak as far as playing together goes. From where i'm sittin' i can also see everyone who comes to watch from the backsatge. I get the most intimidated when chad or chris his drum tech come out, those guys are both great players who are way outta my league, so that kinda makes me nerveous, like they're making a mental check list of all the mistakes i'm makin'. At the same time though it's cool, cuz they usually have a hugh smile on there face, and it's just nice to know that they support us. John and flea also come out and watch, and that can be equally as intimidating, but neat too. The milano crowd was warmed up to us, and seemed to enjoy it. A bunch of folks i met on the bus where rigth up front, and where kinda like my cheering section. At first i thought i was hallucinating people saying my name, but i turned to my left, and there they were. It was a very cool gesture, and somehow made it feel a little more personal.
After the gig we had some food with the peppers, and i got to meet fleas little girl sunny, so cute, her mom frankie is a sweetheart as well. Dinner with peppers is always cool, i learn lots about bands that i may be familar with, but don't know too much history about. This time, it's kraftwurk and the velvet underground. I know lots of both bands tunes, afrika bambata is the one who turned me on to kraftwurk, he used trans euro express, and made it into a legendary hip hop break beat, and the velvets, i know more of their earlier history with warhol, but i always wondered who played the drums on loaded cuz there's no credits. For sure i knew it wasn't tucker, it just wasn't her floor floor tom/snare style. John solidified my belief by tellin' me that she was preggers with her first, and wasn't able to do the record. I also found out that kraftwurk got to busy with the bicycles to concentrate fully on the band...who would've thought. We're playin' the same place tomorrow, so tim and the club crew help us load the gear to the back room. This i'll make tomorrow flow a little better, for me atleast, cuz we leave all the drums set up, and the load in is already done. Lock door, grab the chips and the luke salsa/ketchup, and say gooodnight.
milano show. we play two shows here and when we pull up to the datch forum we see the crowds and bootleged t-shirts packed in front of the arena. we locate our point of entry and load in. it's just a little smaller than the last few places we've played and the room seems like it will sound better, less echo. our sondcheck goes well i think and neil does a great job with the monitors, so that saves us so much. walking around the forum before the show i notice a side area that has an ice skating rink with figure skaters practicing their spins and jumps. it's so fun to watch because their are so many of them and it's total chaos and it seems like they are going to slam into each other at any minute. i shoot a short video on my camera.
our show is good and the italian crowd is very warm to us. maybe the best show for me so far. i look forward to another one here tomorrow. gibby haynes is at the show with his wife missy and we talk and plan to do the butthole surfer's song, revolution part 2, tomorrow with gibby singing. it's great to meet them and we watch the chili peppers play and then sit down with them and john and flea to eat after the show. i eat some amazing salads and an artichoke.
I pop at nine bells - man, I was tuckered and obviously needed the konk. I hose off and chow a sliced-up hardboiled egg in a roll w/chees and thin-sliced meat plus some yogurt w/museli cereal at the trough downstairs and then head up to chimp diary cuz I got a little bit of catch-up to do. raul took a bus and a train to check out the middle of milano where the duomo is. I explored all that back in september when I was here for a stooges gig. the gig is close so it takes only a few minutes to drive to the venue, the datchforum (11,218 capacity) in nearby assago - an enormadorm that's more circular than the elongated ovals of the one's we've done in germany and it seems the roof's a little lower so maybe some better sound? luckily, we stumble onto the entrance gate pretty quick - it's just starboard from all the t-shirts and merch hanging outside the front lot (trippy, is it bootleg or is this just how they do it, outside the venue?) and stagemanagerman tim has us once again drive 'pert-near right in to unload. the pepper check is a little late but no matter cuz I like tiny ones anyway so we don't need long and plus, I don't wanna make any bother whatever - hell, I'd go on w/no soundcheck - these cats are getting no whining whatsoever from the missingmen... oh, natalie shows us the sign the local italian promoter people had four us: "mike wyatt and the missing men" - pretty funny but no big deal and anyway, she fixed that right up. I go into the office where her and tourboss billy hold fort, accountant man liam w/temp walls to make his space - billy shows me how they rumble up some thunder when he shakes them. I tell my pump and dump story - hey, he's getting on w/middle age too and understands... he is dearly a brother and much resepct to him. I visit w/walt some and then head to our dressing room which is down a tunnel in a locker room - there's chips w/some kind of "salsa" (totally catchup though) but there's chinese hot sauce we at least get some heat up by spiking it. when keith, greg and jamie are ready, we do our soundcheck. hey, the compressor stompbox battery is still good, alright. what's not alright though is the bridge pickup on my bass cuz it's mount has snapped underneath - it's loose so the pickup travels up and down but not far enough to touch the strings so that's good. I'll just put the blend control (the black chicken-headed knob) full to the other pickup and just use that. you gotta play the hand you're dealt the best way you can. chef toni (she does the catering chow) has cooked up some great chowder (sort of new england style) and there's boiled pieces of octopus tentacles in bowl - I load them up into the soup and tell raul about the "pulpa" (spanish for ocotopus, I think japanese is tako?) cuz I'm surprised he's said he's never had it - he doesn't eat red/white meat but does eat fish so he tries and likes it... alright, raul! there's some tiny lamb chops that are in three but I have just one of them - don't wanna puke on stage. toni offers tom some turkey kind of thing cuz she says it's good for singers. we then go back to our room and chimp diary when gibby from the butthole surfers and his new wife missy come say hi - wow, they're in milano! I've known gibby for years and toured w/him even - I think one of their first so cal gigs was w/the minutemen at a pad called the grandia room. he lives in brooklyn now w/missy though they're both from texas. we have some good spiel and go over some good times, it's great to see him again. tom suggests to me to put in some minutemen so I add "anxious mo-fo" and "the glory of man" to the set. 7:45 pm, gig time so I charge hard for gibby and my guys. hell, I know my fratello carlo is in the crowd (at least I hope he is) so I'm charging hard for him too. lightman chad has got our tunes pretty wired and his lightwork is 'pert-near like a fourth member of our band, whoa! I mean, they're moving right along to the parts and the dynamics of the music. raul really gets me lit w/that intent look he's got - it's also got a lot of joy in it too, righteous. I think I got this amp sounding better than when I was first wrestling it - so weak of me to blame the hardware, huh? "a poor carpenter blames his tools - so fucking true! my fingers are getting a little swollen but the hell w/it, I throw in some more abandon to compensate for it. I almost tumble a couple of times - I'm not the most nimble w/the feet. I just feel like I got shake it out, wrangle up whatever is rising up big time in me and conquer the fears - hey, I cut the john cale "fear" tune to make room for the mintuemen... tom got pretty lost in "the glory of man" but I didn't do much better either - raul played rack in a floor tom part... sorry, d. boon... we tried hard though! I was the weak link in "...mo-fo" but my guys carried me out ok... I actually was alright in the end part. man, if I was to go over all the clams, it would take forever! I'm just hoping some of our spirit gets across - you know, suggest a sense of possibility to folks out there witnessing, especially if they got the open hearts and minds to give us a shot. I really push hard, damn do I give it my all. I do holler for tom's attention once - not a scold but just to see some ojos (eyes) cuz it really helps me w/some springboard. we finish up and stageboss tim gives me a "yeah!" and that means much, thank you. we get our stuff off quick and stage starboard on the deck I hear carlos holler for me - alright, fratello! so good to see him. alexander from leper productions gives me two boxes full of his cds w/his projects, alright again! much respect to my italian comrades, truly. I go to do paperwork in the office and big daddy tells me about a van he's getting for his pad in western new york - snow country but he tells me it used to be really big snow country but not in these recent years. I lived a little bit up by schenectady cuz there was a nuke plant my pop was trained at for engine rooms on boats using that. the peppers are playing tough - I can hear flea's bass a lot better in this room - I know he's been working it every gig but I can hear what's going on way better and it's not 'pert-near just mime. he told me he felt maybe he was getting sick the last gig but now feels he got it whupped before it got further - I'm glad for him cuz there's nothing worse than gigging sick though we've all had to do it. the people watching them know all the tunes and are w/them the whole way. john rips some mean leads but he does real good rhythm too, kind of trebly even. they get done and we chow w/them again, flea heaps risotto on my plate, saying "you don't eat like a bird, do you?" john tells me about him meeting eddie hazel - wow! I'm the hugest eddie hazel fan... john said he had the hugest hands. I really love the music that came out of eddie hazel's guitar, truly dug it w/all my heart. gibby and missy are there w/us too and man, he's a crack up - always has been! trippy to see him in a pullover sweater w/a necktie... so good to see him though. thinking about eddie hazel again... I get to spieling about how I recorded a version of "maggot brain" w/j mascis and bernie worrell - bernie said I was dragging it some so I told him it was cuz I wanted it like a dirge - I heard he was told his ma died but john tells me he was told to play that solo as if his mother had just died. well, one more thing I got wrong, huh? anyway, I love that tune and john told me a reissue of that album now has a version w/all the band, like it was recorded - george clinton muted everything on the mix we hear on the original album. I tell him I used the feel from the intro of that black sabbath song "war pigs" for my take on "maggot brain" and flea and me get to talking about black sabbath, I say how much I learned from geezer butler and really dug those first four records - I got way into them when they first came out and I was a young teenager. flea said he didn't hear them 'til around 1993 - we talk about billy higgins, which he did hear young - man, I wish I would've heard him when I was young as well as sabbath! it's trippy where we come from, huh? I did see mister higgings many times w/raymond pettibon. man, I'm tuckered... so glad the 'tel is just down the road so me, raul and tom say bye 'til tomorrow and we're back quick to the hotel alga. buona notte to tom and raul... to my chamber and I konk like that, thunk.
thursday, november 30, 2006 - milano, italy
raul and i decide to take a trip into milano to check out the duomo. it's crisp but sunny out, perfect weather. it's alot of walking around and there's alot to see so we take lots of pictures and walk fast. a couple guys recognize us from last night and we have a short conversation and i take their picture, pretty cool people. we see many sculptures and churches and finally head back to the trains. we left our equipment at the arena so we dont have to load in, which is nice, and we set up and get ready to play again. it's so wierd how we only play for 45 minutes but we seem to constantly busy. after soundcheck we eat some food in the catering meal room and toni, the head caterer for the main crew kitchen gives mike and raul and i a cookbook of her recipe's and says how much she had enjoyed our show last night. she's so sweet and the food is so good, we have only great things to say about her. thanks toni.
our show is good again and gibby comes on to sing. i don't know if the people in the crowd have any idea that they are seeing gibby haynes singing a butthole surfers song but it's really fun for us to play it. we have a little chill out time backstage and then watch the peppers again. i find raul back by the catering hanging with larissa and her crew and wayne-o shows us a $300 truffle that he's using in the peppers meal tonight and invites us to stay again to try it. mike wants to leave before they're done though so the van is loaded and we shove off. we have a long drive tomorrow and get back to the room to get get some sleep. i call carioline and we chat for a bit.
pop at eight bells and hose off but stay under the hot water a little longer cuz damn if my bones ain't sore. I think the only pad on this tour w/a tub was nijmegen though I don't wanna sound like I'm whining... I can hang, no problem. I shovel muesli w/peach yougurt - man, I love peaches... my favorites of fruit to put my mouth into is peaches, plums and pears. man, we had some good pears in germany... tom comes to join me at the table and I tell him this fucking green flannel is stinking it up big time, damn I gotta get it scrubbed. he says he'll ask the desk dude what's up for washing clothes somewhere and a little later he tells me the guy says there's a pad across the autostrade from the enormadome that has a lot of shops and one does laundry "cheap and quick" so I take him up on that. it's called "carrefour" and when I get there (tom and raul took a bus and a train to see the duomo - like raul did yesterday), I see it's a fucking giant mall, like back home. what a great export we got to europe from the u.s. these more recent years, track homes and malls - too much! life is trippy. I wander and wander and finally find where the do the wash - it's a fucking dry cleaner and when I show the lady my levis, she feels a part of one pair between her finger and thumb and says "about three or four" and I say "three or four hours?" and she says, "no - three or four days." what?! I'll be in austria by then. fuck, I get back to the boat and get back to the tell w/my sack of filthy clothes and wash the three fouled chonies in the sink, using the liquid body wash soap for showering and then hang them in the window - though it won't open sideways, it does tilt open some and I hang them from the window's top. hey, the sun's been out yellow and bright and I'm sure they'll dry out. I then konk, right on my little 'puter keyboard - I think some fatigue's caught up on me and there's a konk-debt to be paid. I pop a few hours later and continue chimping - hey that would've been funny to have filmed - that instant when it happened, huh? tom and raul return and we head on over to tonight's enormadome, again the datchforum. it's a quick ride and us knowing the gate makes it even easier (though we did luck out big time by just gambling on the one road that said "theatro di la luna"). we locked up our gear in the locker room we were using last night but what's this? I don't need the key cuz the hatch is open and some cat all in black w/a matching overcoat is tapping on the drums... I say to him "batteria?" ("drums" in italian) and he smiles so I smile back - is he the capo of the cleaning crew or what? I laugh - we both laugh. nothing's missing, it's ok. I talk w/tourboss billy and get a bunch of laughs we always get together, tripping on stuff. I tell him tonight we're gonna have gibby do his "revolution (part two)" if he's got his nerve up and I sure hope he does. we do our soundcheck w/jamie and get a mic ready for him. chef toni has some tuna steak and a salad w/sundried tomatoes and artiichokes plus these tiny mushrooms that's way good - she gives us a recipe book she's written too, yeah! billy shows me a three hundred dollar truffle so I take a picture of it. I learn they grow around the roots of oak tress and they used to use pigs to find them but they were chowing what they found so they're using special trained dogs now. whoa. back in the dressing room, gibby and missy show up - alright, gibby's into singing that song w/us though he's not sure of the words but raul had a fIREHOSE version from "live totem pole" that helps some but they ain't really right so somehow gibby gets someone to find them online (I say somehow cuz the internet is hardly happening, frustrating us missingmen but hey, you just gotta let it go... I wanted to put these diaries up too, oh well). he's got the same outfit on as yesterday, it's a trip. we talk about some friends from the old days - some still around like gary floyd (best singer ever!) and biscuit (who passed just last year)... I'm so glad to see gibby happy and healthy. time for us to go - stageboss tim comes w/five minutes to go, I'm happy to do anything for him and my guys are way fired up. man, I plow hard. I'm 'pert-near right on top of raul's drum kit - real real close and eyes almost drilling right through him, a huge crackup from his face and he let's it wail - tom too, earlier billy told me he was digging on the way tom gets his guitar "out there" and he could hear some d. boon connect too. we push and push, I blow some clams on a technical level... take the mic in the teeth once... I think I'm trying to overemphasize cuz of the challenge someone like me has at working these rooms. I have to admit it, I am comedy if I really think I can analyze this and make sense. I can admit it is maybe more like rolling fucking dice for me, ha! gibby comes on after "walkin' boss" and does really good - so do raul and tom... it's the first time the missingmen have ever done this tune! I thank gibby and then introduce my guys. I hear lots of hollering at times but I think that's cuz john's come out to watch us. we do the two minutemen ones better than last night but I think I can still get it together... trippy to think I wrote those twenty-something years ago! I leave out some riffs on purpose for "...tweeter" and raul gets a little lost but tom's strong thumbing of the kalimba keeps me on keel - both me and raul laugh so hard. I laugh in some of my clams too, especially word ones. hey, I think we do pretty good here w/this set - I go jam tom's knobs all the way up when he does his man-dance for the finale and then tell everyone to start their own band ("what's w/that weird old punk guy?" you can read in some people's faces while others have super big grins) and my last words are JOHN COLTRANE at the top of my lungs... big fist in the air - but a gentle one. whew, time to put the yellow coat and wackbacksack on (damn, the fucking zipper broke but tom found a way of binding it so the aluminum purse don't fly out), we got some bubble water backstage and I down that, always have dug it cuz it burns out the loogies. again: whew, that was intense on me but I'm happy intense. gibby and missy talk w/us at the gig, gibby saying something about opening bands getting less of the p.a. but I can't tell I don't care anyway. what we are is what we are at some level and getting all paranoid will kill the spirit I think I'm trying to work up. I think everyone's working really hard for us. or even still - like those people talking about booing - even that email where the gig-goer apologizes to me for his fellow gig-goers... it's can't put a damper in my pamper... w/all the years, I like to think the only one who can do that is me so that's where the real struggle is: w/myself. I've learned you gotta pick your fights and that's where I'm trying to dig in and pick mine, not slough them off onto something external and deflect the personal responsibility I feel I gotta have. life's a trip anyway - then you get there... right! shit, I'm here to learn, it's ok. stageboss tim helps me get our get later down the ramp to the boat... I watched a little peppers and it sounded good but I am tired and though the chows w/them after are good and I know they dig me there, tonight I'm gonna get back before closing time. I get the boat situated when these young guys climb the fence and try to get up to the venue - I'm only here cuz I'm waiting for tom to find raul - these young cats run all over the boat trying to evade security but fail. damn, that was crazy and I'm hoping no one got hurt... I think no one did but I did see cats thrown out by their collar, 'pert-near like a cartoon almost. my guys come and we go back to the 'tel and have a little beer, sitting on the deck listening to creedence's second half of "willie and the poor boys" and all of "pendulum" - like almost an hour but a good hour... we discuss all we're hearing in those tunes. I know d. boon would've dug that! I konk happy.
friday, december 1, 2006 - zurich, switzerland
today we play our final show by ourselves, and we have a long drive to get there, so we get up and go. at least we are driving in the daytime so winding roads are less confusing. the scenery is so beautiful and we snap lots of picture on our way accross switzerland. we make a stop and we find more kinder eggs...the collection grows. we finally drive through bern and head south to dudingen, a tiny city a few kilometers north of fribourg. we have trouble find anything that even resembles a club so we stop and ask a youngish looking guy if he speaks english, and he says "not really". we say "bad bonn"?, the name of the club, and he points down the street and then says "where the hell is bad bonn?" in perfect english. strange. anyhow, we drive down the little road which then becomes a single lane country road and finally off in the distance there's a house. as we get nearer there is a sign on the top of the small building that reads "where the hell is bad bonn?". okay, got it.
we get situated and meet daniel the main man here. he brings us some food to snack on, bread, cheese, artichokes, sundried tomatos, wurst, really good stuff. my favorite cheese, gruyere, is made in this area. we have internet access, thank god, we didn't have any in italy and that's a problem. we all check our mail and then we load in. sam the soundguy shows up and we do a check. the opening band had cancelled which sucks so we have like five hours to wait before we play. also, we only have an hour max of music so we don't want to play too early.
before we play larry makes some great food for us. a great salad, and chicken breast with a sort of risotto. we talk with the nice people of the club. it's a tiny town something like 7000 people, so the crowd is tiny too. probobly 50 people. quite a difference the mega-shows we've been playing and it's maybe even a little harder. i like it though, being able to directly react to the popeple and they cheer us on. we give them everthing we've got but they want more. so mike goes out to say thank you sand we would play if we had more to play. we walk around and talk to some of the locals before breaking down. mike has to go to the airport tonight and i take over as driver for the first time so we have a meeting on what's going on and make sure we have everything straight. the weather is feezing outside and there's frost on the windshield, so after saying goodbye to daniel sam leads raul and i back into the tiny town and shows us our hotel for the night. it's more like a boarding house and we get to our room on the top floor and talk for bit and get some sleep.
pop at seven bells and hose off - I think what a trip to be at the same 'tel for three nights and it's not a stooges deal. hey, speaking of stooges - I play w/them tomorrow, huh? yeah! I sure am gonna miss tom and raul though... and worry myself sick about them being ok - damn, I hate the thought of having to leave them... hate it! I can't go crazy (more crazy) over it, the plan is set and stone and now we all gotta follow through the best we can. tonight is the last gig me + the missingmen do w/out the chili peppers. we're going to a town in switzerland I've never played before though it's not far from fribourg - just a little east and it's called dudigen. after shovelling some cherry yogurt on muesli and heaping on top of that a couple of little rolls w/half a boiiled egg on each w/some chees and paper-thin ham, I study the road atlas and ponder whether going whence we came tuesday and then cutting east is better than riding west through italy and after taking the montblanc tunnel, going from france and get there from the west. I ask tom and he says the former except to go through interlaken instead luzern. plugging in the pad's address into "the lady" brings up my route, whoa! I just figured those little red roads involved in tom's route might be risky or making for a slow go and it's mainly what we would call a freeway in the u.s. to go from lugano towards luzern and then to bern to get there. I'm at the wheel six hours to get there so I'm really glad the guys agreed to leave at nine bells. we head north through como and then to the border town chiasso and I do the carnet thing w/doanga ("customs" in italian). there's a little confusion, I ended up in the wrong office but then get everything straight, first w/the italian side and then w/the swiss side. I haven't had much experience w/the italian canton of switzerland - man, would I like to play this region someday. I get the carent done and the borderman says "ok, goodbye, mister" and we're off the same way we came in though this time it's in full daylight (bright yellow sun out for us - yeah!) and w/can see how pretty all the little towns and mountain valleys/lakes are. the italian part of switzerland ends after this ten mile tunnel at gotthard - that's a tunnel! all the signs change their language from italian to german when we get though it and we're really at some elevation. no snow on the road though but the peaks got it and it's a little chilly - tom asks for some heat but not for long cuz all three of us agree there's nothing worse than heat drying out your lungs. we stop at gas station for "kinder uberraschung" eggs (there were some in italy too, they were called "kinder sorpresa") and we end up w/a airplane that raul sticks to the windshield - we got like four tiers of friends making up our dashboard family now. I also found some gummi oeufs but they're twice the size of the haribo kind. the store lady laughs w/her friend as they see us taking all kinds of pictures of stuff like "proper meister" (it's marketed to us as "mister clean") and big gummi hamburgers. we follow instructions from "the lady" and get into dudlingen about three in the afternoon. tom did a lot of konk in the back seat but he'll have his turn at the wheel soon as I'm gone for stoogeland. this town has only seven and thousand people and it's a little hard to find the club but down at the end of this road that goes into farm land is bad bonn - we've found it. actually, some young cat at a warehouse help us, saying "where the hell is bad bonn?" as we drove off and sure enough, there's a big banner out in front of the club that says just that. the bossman daniel is really nice, he gets a couple plates full of goat and cow cheese along w/bread, wurst and these capers the size of marbles - biggest I've ever seen and there's stems on them. oh, some sundried tomatoes w/olive oil on them - man, do I dig those things! the urinals in the head are funny, they have little soccer goalnets sitting a green strainer-screen w/a little ball you can piss on to practice scoring. the ingenuity of mankind, huh? daniel says the club name comes from some old submerged ruins of baths (bad = bath/pool in german) that were fed by natural hot water springs nearby. I have slang from when I was a boy where "bad" actually means really good if you say it a certain way, like "man, she's bad on guitar" (w/a little kind of rise in the voice on the word "bad" to denote your totally dig it). I use it so much that way, I don't know sometimes I confuse people... actually, a lot of my talk is that way, when I stop to think about it... shit, I don't mean it to be that way - I just wanna emotional connect w/my spiel that ain't all convoluted and flows, does that make sense? we do soundcheck w/soundman sam pretty quick and then all of us chimp diary in the room on the side of the stage. this pad has music on one half and then a bar on the other. I get all my things together for my stooges journey cuz I'm gonna leave for zurich right after the gig. I make a test call to stooges roadboss eric to test my leash and make sure he has my number. he says a bunch of bags got missing from their flights but my blue gibson eb-3 made it, alright! I do hope the other guy's stuff shows up though. there was supposed to be a local band called "good enough for us" opening but they've cancelled so it's just us. when I played my sickness opera in friborg at the frison club a year and a half ago, I met some good folks there (I'm very lucky to meet all kinds of good folks at gigs) and one cat that was named named larry is here tonigt and cooks up some great salad, chicken and risotto - many thanks to him, me and my guys loving it. I get all the diary tom and raul have and then put the fist of the tour diary up on the hoot page - sorry for the delay. it's pretty busy for me this tour but I do dig getting those up for folks to trip on. my guys like writing them too though I tell them here's what I think is the priority on this tour: number one - get home safe, number two - play the best we can and number three - do diary, so it's not the main mission here. we gotta hear some pretty irritating music going over the house p.a. however... can't wait 'til they fire up the coltrane cuz then it'll be 'pert-near time for us to go on... that time comes at 10:30 and we get on the stage and do our set, playing everything we know except the minutemen's "love dance" (don't know why that keeps getting spaced, sorry!). a very enthusiastic audience, even a few energetic dancers up front fires us up. my mind wandered on the second verse of "fear" but a big thank you to tom for helping me out - the battery in my compressor pedal died in that tune too so I yanked it out of the signal chain and did the set w/out it. it's pretty much the same set list as dusseldorf cuz I gave raul that list but he never made a copy of his own so I had to strain to look but mostly remember cuz I don't really like playing w/my glasses on. so familiar to be a little band on a little stage - it's a wild set and a blast to play - a lot of fun. we play our hearts out and finish the set before much much applause brings us back on for more. we do put the butthole surfer's "revolution (part 2)" in for the beginning of the encore - it's funny as we went out to do that, many comments from the audience like, "is it now time for the quiet part of the set" and "play creedence" in the most special swiss german accent you can imagine followed by "do 'keep on choosing'" which I take a guess at him meaning to say "keep on chooglin'" - I ask the people what's one of the neatest things about that song... it's all one chord! love that creedence, ain't that a trip me, raul and tom were listening to all of that last night? damn, we gotta do one of their songs. actually, tom did suggest we try "it's just a thought" and I think that might be really happening. again like dusseldorf, the folks wanna us to play more and more but we just don't have any more songs so I go again and apologize for that but promise we'll get that togther and have lots for them next time. what a great gig - I thank both knobman sam and gigboss daniel for being so righteous to us and of course, these gig-goers here in front of us. I meet the "club cat" they have in the kitchen who's being patient on a mousing mission - a nineteen year old orange tabby named bliss that they do a festival once a year for. great gato - reminds of this dear gato loved one I had for fourteen years... I give one last briefing to tom and raul and then hug them up much and tell them hold tight and I'll be back sunday. I love my guys... marco, a young man who works for daniel drives me and his friend thomas about eight miles northeast to zurich w/me going in and out of konk some cuz that gig really wore me out. we also have a friend of raul's who's actually from pedro but lives here now that gets a lift to bern on the way. marco and thomas love that band tool and that's playing on the stereo the whole time - I try to answer as many questions as I can. thomas thinks my gestures when I talk are funny and I tell him about my ma's people being italian. marco says he understands cuz his pop is from sicily and they tell me about visiting the volcano etna there. we get to the flughafen (zurich airport) about 2:30 am and wander some but help out a little (my turn to play the role of "the lady") and we find the welcome inn right close and that's where I'm konking so it'll be easy for me for my flight to macedonia come morning. I thank them both much and konk quick when I get up to my room. I give a little prayer for my guys - it was tom's first time at the wheel of the diks autovorhuur ford transit ever. I just want my guys safe, just want them safe...
saturday, december 2, 2006 - skopje, macedonia
from tom (in zurich, switzerland):
we wake and eat some frustuck (breakfast) downstairs and the lady searving us gives us a little jar of hoeny that she says is from her farm. that's cool. bread and cheese and coffee. we get ourselves together and get on the road to zurich. the van drives nicely, kind of like my bug back home, and the road is easy to navigate. that's great for my first leg as driver. it's strange not to have mike with us, he usually runs the show and now i'm at the helm. we make it to our hotel and sort out the resevation and kick back for little while. we have the night off because mike's in macedonia playing with the stooges. we decide to take the train into zurich and walk around. we head for a small bar near the bahnhof where raul had played with mike last year and have a beer as the sun goes down. there's a band soundchecking and we talk with richard the guitarist and singer and gives us a couple of his records, very cool guy. another local, janina trys to tell us were another club that raul and i heard about is, and then she says that she can show us where to go. after a walk though some of downtown zurich we end up at a cool bar playing reggae and we sit for a couple more beers. the night goes on and we meet a couple other folks and talk about all kinds of stuff and they show us how to get back to the train staion. by this time there are about 6 or 7 people and they take us by a kareoke place which is just getting started near the station and they want us to stay but we think clearly and leave to get back to our hotel by the airport. tomorrows another day and we need to stay focused.
pop at twentyfive minutes past seven bells and beat the wake-up call (acutally some kind of chime from the phone - or is that a ring cuz when I answered it, there was nothing on the line) that came five minutes later. I hose off and get it together to hit the shuttle to the flughafen zurich airport only minutes away but we had to loop back cuz business suit man left his passport at the desk. I stand in line in the wrong line (business - the stooges always fly me econo unless the promoter is springboarding and feels it fit to put me up a notch) and then am told to use the kiosk but that machine won't handle my ticket so the lady says go to the help desk... that lady says the machine didn't work cuz the ticket's actually through macedonia airlines. I go find that ticket counter way over in the check-in two area but the lady there says I gotta go to the airline services counter where there's a big line but a nice man puts me before him which is next - much respect to him - and that lady finally gives me the ticket. I go to the gate - security checking out the "old spice" deodorant from my only luggage, the backwacksack w/my 'puter in it (the sack w/the broken fucking zipper but at least my 'puter is tiny enough to go way down deep in) but let it pass... there's heavy rules about bringing shit like that and liquids in the cabin when you fly now. the plane we board is actually one w/www.smartwings.net painted all over it so I don't how this is organized - all I want to do is get to skopje (capitol of macedonia), play the stooges gig and then get back to tom and raul. now you see why I called this the "parallel universes" tour?! one fuckup can cascade into all kinds of hell so I just gotta keep my eggs lined up in a row. I'm just praying it all works out ok and at the very least, tom and raul are safe. the plane's half an hour late taking off - we get the gee ohh when a minibus w/big-coated head-scarved older ladies arrives and they board. trippy, there's a "fly in europe starting at seven euro" on the back of each seat - damn, that's econo! the sun is out bright once we pierce the cloud cover and not only do I have a window seat for righteous pictures but I have the two next to me open too. incredible views of the alps which opens up soon as we get past some white carpet covering where we flew out of and of the tyrol and finally the balkans. I discover the digicamera's spring return on the zoom control has broke so the auto focus has problems as well as working the zoom period, damn it. well, maybe a new camera in either zurich or vienna for me cuz I dig snapping my shots. I do what I can to get as many as I can from the air and the two hour flight puts in what looks much like a former yugoslavia airbase cuz of the su jets, hind helicopters and fortified hangers. it's been changed over to be "airport skopje" though the main alphabet seems to be the cyrillic one I saw a couple years ago in serbia. I think it comes from the greek one but is for slavs. their flag is kind of like the japanese navy one but w/yellow instead of white and less rays plus a smaller sun - ain't that trippy? I stand in line for passport check and see a sign that says "welcome to the world's first wireless country" - whoa! it is a small land, the most south part of the former yugoslavia - I was told it has about two and half million people. it is a new country though and kind of econo cuz they're just getting started and things are kind of econo but man they have centuries of culture which maybe a consumer market oriented mind might not even pause to ponder. coming from the land I do, I think you gotta keep that thinking in check - not just here, might be healthy to have it back home too! the passport guard asks me to take my glasses off and studies my face hard... for a good while. I have a mustache in my passport picture but I shaved that off back in august... he accepts I am me finally, thank you thank you thank you. outside in the bright sun is a cat I find out is named pasha and he drives me straight to the gig for soundcheck - it's coming on two bells in the afternoon. on the way, he tells me lots about macedonia - as much as he can in pretty good english - I wanna learn as much as I can. they got a lot of neighbors and a really old history... fuck, alexander the great was born in this land! skopje is in the country's north so I didn't fly over a lot of here... shit I wish I had more time and could explore... that's the thing about touring, it's gigs and gigs so visiting these different pads can become not the deepest experience. pasha's got a great philosophy though - "people are people" and I say this cuz lots of the only info you get in the u.s. about the lands in this region is a portrait of partisan/ethnic belig (belligerence) on each other and nothing else. there's lots of neighbors for macedonia: greece, albania, bulgaria, serbia and the kosovo part and they have gypsies too. the slav I hear reminds me lots of what my secondmen organ player pete speaks w/his folks, probably very close. pasha tells me "politics is politics - what it really comes down to is the money" - even w/the religion thing. I'm glad I get to see and hear at least something firsthand rather than just spun pablum from the idiot box. stooges roadboss eric is there to meet me and so is merchman bob - I last saw bob a month ago in santa monica at a hellride (perk and peter distefano from porno for pyros plus myself) gig in santa monica! tourboss henry comes w/the asheton brothers and steve mackay in a few minutes and we're ready for a check. big hugs from scotty after a pelvic thrust from his drumstick bag, big love to him. helperman chris brings me "bluey" - my 1968 gibson eb-3 that's painted blue... it's close to the red one I left w/tom and raul but not the same so I gotta get a little used to it. good to see jos again - he brought bluey for me so I could travel easy, we talk a bit and I tell him about pepper tourboss billy saying hi to him, saying he dug his boat (a longboy mercedes sprinter van). I see knobman rik from the stage, way out there behind the desk and give him a big wave. ok, that's everyone but ig... I'll see him come gig time. I got two svt-II heads but only one cab - it's sitting on top of two hartke 4x10 cabs... I am not a fan of these boxes but "a poor carpenter blames his tools," right? I don't even touch the controls, leaving the volume where it is and helperman chris has the eq flat. we run through two old stooges tunes and then play a new one twice - we're gonna try two from the album we just recorded during october back in chicago w/steve albini. I'm told it's gonna be mastered right after the england gigs at abbey road and released in march, whoa. can't wait to hear what it sounds like. we get done w/the check and then are taken to the aleksandar palace hotel. I always like to learn the word "thank you" in the land I'm at and am told it's something that sounds like "bla-go-da-ram" but something that sounds like "fulla" is a shorter way to say the same thing. I've had no chow (the airplane was charging two euros just for a coke so I got nothing) but was given some bananas and oranges so chow them in my room and chimp diary. whoa, there's a tub in the head - second one I've seen this tour... I can't resist and do some soad even w/water not cold enough to float icecubes but not what you'd call hot either - fuck it, at least some soak on my bones. I brought jos' epiphone bass that's kind of like my gibson ones but only a couple years old and practice the bass solo for "little electric chair" cuz I fucking forgot to brush up on that and our last gig was september 22 in buenos aires. 9:40 pm comes and we go down to the venue - oh, it's a big room that's wider than it's longer but nothing like the enormadomes w/the stooges, it's called the "skopje fair hall" and holds about 5,000 though there's no seats which I think is a good thing. there's a band I think from serbia playing as we get there and you can tell their quite popular in these parts cuz of the crowd noise. they sound pretty much like what you'd hear on kroq except for most of the words but I not pop-punk, more metalrock. I should've went out to see what they look like but I wanna spend the time w/the stooges band people. ron tells me than him, scotty and ig met the macedonian prime minister yesterday, wow - I wish I could've been there for that. they said he was a young guy and very happy to have us play. iggy comes in our room and says hi, we go over the set list. I tell him one of the new tunes needs me to detune my 'e' string down to 'd' and he likes to run the tunes together so I'm gonna have to move fast - I assure him I can do it, I just wanted to let him know. I got a t-shirt on that was given to me by a drummer from one of the bands that was recording in the b studio of steve albini's electrical audio pad in chicago while we were recording the ablum, a nice cat named jason who also worked at the fieldmuseum and got me in to see the king tut exhibit and he told me his parents were from macedonia. it's for his band called suicide note. our onstage time is about ten minutes later than planned cuz of the band before us being a little late off... the place is packed and there's mtv cameras on cranes and on dude's shoulders. I'm not going to go into the song by song thing like I usually do when I chimp stooges gigs in my tour diary cuz I'm trying not to windbag as hard but let me say the gig started off kind of scary for me cuz of it being the first one in a while and my confidence shaky. I just kept telling myself "don't fuck up and let these guys down, watt - get it fucking together!" my knees were trembling big time and my fingers on the strings, especially in the first tune were kind of tepid but at least that got better as the set went on. iggy was incredible and the asheton brothers smokin' and slammin' - holy cow! I wish there could've been more of ig's singing in my monitors but what is is what is so I must deal. there's points where I smile big time and even laugh out loud cuz I can't believe I'm part of this, it's really incredible on me - even after three and half years. I used a little more bridge than middle pickup (the neck pickup I don't use at all, even pulled it out of the little red one) but after a few tunes, use a little more middle than bridge, reversing their roles. I don't blow many note clams and do get the feel going better as the set moves on - well, I think there was one bad note in "dirt" maybe but we're all cued pretty right on - scotty didn't hear ig holler his first "ram it!" in "tv eye" and doesn't slam w/me and his brother but all three of us key in and all cut out together when iggy's expecting us to, alright. ig's not digging the barriers keeping the folks away up front and though it's not a really high stage, his pissed at that situation. he calls for dancers where we usually have them and the macedonian cats come up in ones but then it's pretty full-on and they're wild - many of them trying to sing every word w/ig into his microphone. a couple take off their shirts to be like him. I got one guy playing to my bass parts at the end of "no fun," kind of bent-knee interpretive thing. big hugs w/him when we finish - good job! damn, I missed catching scotty's eye when iggy hollers "I came to play!" in "fun house" but a little later he's looking over and I see him smile at me big time. I spaced a little at the beginning of "skull ring" - damn, for a sec there I fucking 'pert-near know what I was supposed to play!!!??!! we do the new song pretty good though ig smashes the fuck out of the mic stand - it gets all bent up and pieces fly but I survive from being hurt... ron high-tailed it for behind his amps cuz it was pretty scary. I'm detuning for the next one when ig hollers "double dog!" so it's apparent to me to get back to regular tuning cuz the set is ending earlier than we planned but not too much and we do go back on for a two song encore... I clam up my bass solo at the beginning of "little electric chair" but do pull it out a couple of bars in - damn, I lost my nerve - baka watt! like I said, I get it together and as I finish up, ron looks over, smiles and nods his head to me - man, you couldn't imagine a more happy watt in that moment. we go to our rooms and roadboss eric brings us these four sacks of broasted half-chickens, a sack of fries, a sack off paprika and a sack of salt. there's like five small-medium pizzas too but I go w/the chicken and paprika. iggy comes in for a brief debriefing (the cigarette smoke is tough on him) and seems pretty happy - ron said he had a real good time though I think both me and scotty had a little workout - hell, we do anyway cuz like scotty says, "it's a workingman's set" and that's for fucking sure. ron likes my gray flannel shirt - I get back into that after stripping out of the sweaty t-shirt jason gave me (I had saxman steve take a shot of me in it right before the gig though so I can show him some proof!). our greek friends yiannig, themis and vangelis (well, the cousin is from norway and the other two are brothers). they have t-shirts they made up special for us, world tour ones w/like the whole month of august in athens! my town is too and I get a note w/"san pedro + halandin = brother cities!" on it. the stooge guys have to bail for their flight to riga at like five and half bells so the leave early but the band after us has me totaled enraptured... man, you would not believe how it sounds for me - a total trip and minblow - maji yabai! I find out they're called kultur shock and though they live in seattle, one cat's from japan, one's from bosnia, one's from bulgaria and the other two are u.s. it's balkan music mixed w/rock - I know of balkan gypsy music a little from doing a song for a "balkans w/out bombs" benefit album w/"masina" which was a one-song band I had w/pete mazich and his wife ljil (jer trebotic did the out of time bongos too) that was pretty tough on me, being in seven so I kept saying "taco taco burrito" in my head to keep me on board w/pete, who played accordion. ig gave me a bottle of "t' ga za jug" wine before he bailed (man, the cork was hard to get out - me and scotty both failed but it was no problem for henry) and I have a little bit, trippy tasting (yeah, like I know wines!) but I dig it. I so wish I could talk w/the kultur shock cats after their gig but the second boat's gonna leave w/the crew so I have to bail but I did take in a lot of their trip, wow! I ride back w/the crew and tell them how much I'm digging the chili pepper crew cats, how they've helped me and my guys much. we get to the 'tel and I say bye 'til riga - oh boy, I konk way tuckered... dropped to the deck like a stone.
sunday, december 3, 2006 - zurich, switzerland
we rise and eat and try to figure out what's happening with mike. he is supposed to arrive at the airport at 3:30 but he texts me that there are delays from fog on his end. finally we decide to go to the arena and load in and set up and mike will take a taxi in. luckinly everything works out and mike shows right in time to check the bass. it's great to have him back, but it's stressful for all of us that he has to go off and play other gigs. too bad to because we could be doing more of our own gigs if wasn't busy. no problem, i'm really glad he's doing the stooges thing want an amazing honor. he deserves it.
we do a good show. i'm happy with my playing and big billy gives me a very appreciated compliment. it's such a good vibe backstage, the best i've ever experienced. mike, raul and i hang together and talk till the peppers go on, kind of the usual ritual. i go out to catch the show and try to stay out of the way of all the goings on near the stage. the people love the peppers and they give them a great show. after their set we are invited to dinner with them again, we accept and the food is is awsome. fleas little girl sunny is so cute and his girlfriend, frankie is super nice so it's fun to all hang together. i eat two small steaks, yummmmm.
we are playing here tomorrow night too so we don't have to load out. we lock up our little room and roll to the hotel. mike and i have a beer in the hotel bar area and talk about our next driving day when mike plays with stooges and raul and i head to vienna. i make a call and go to bed and have trouble falling asleep. i guess i'm feeling a little homesick.
pop and eight bells - I was tuckered and do a short soak in kind of cold water before heading downstairs to shovel fruit w/yougurt, a trippy pre-cooked fried egg w/a couple short slices of grilled hotdog pieces and some slice from a brown loaf of bread... it's good eats. three doses of coff too though I was looking forward to that unfiltered turkish kind I had when I was in serbia - I thought that would be here too... maybe it's at other pads - there's a lot of "look to the west" at the 'tel, I can sense. back in my chamber and since I didn't bring a razor and shaving cream to make travel easier, I use what's in the head here - stooges saxman steve warned me about the perils involved but I go for it and he was totally on the mark: the tiny tube of "shaving cream" is like some kind of lotion and the razor though seemingly new in a plastic wrapper is too dull to cut butter and dragging it on my face is more intense than rubbing it w/sandpaper, crimony! a few painful rounds eventually takes a little off each time to actually get a pretty smooth save though, believe it or not... whew. I think about it and realize all the stooges people are gone - I hope they have a safe trip to riga, I'm fraught w/fears for everyone cuz of my stiuation - I'm here by myself, I'm supposed to bail for the 'port at noon to start my journey back to missingmen/pepper land in zurich. I chimp diary 'til then, even getting checked out ten minutes early and wait outside in the fog. it's lifted some cuz when I first looked out the window when I popped, it was really thick... hmm... no ride to get me at noon so I try out this leash thing and it won't let me call, damn it - just weird tones and a hang up. a chime next comes up from it and a text message is reported as just coming in. actually, there's a few - some from stooges roadboss eric and one from the leash my missingmen tom has. eric's is pretty panicked, I guess the fog was wailing on them at the flight got pushed back and that cascaded into them missing a connecting flight and things were all chaos. I use the reply thing to try if that works for me and say I have no ride for the airport. I also do reply to tom to tell him to call my euro man outside the van carlos... I soon get a call from carlos - I guess people can call me - I tell him my flight will probably be delayed and let tom know. to my most hugest relief, pasha shows to give me a ride, a text message from eric telling me to ask pasha to get me through the ticket counter cuz the airport for them was chaos. no prob for pasha, he's all help and kindness for me. as we roll, he tells me the fog's lifted enough for flights to get it out but yes, it was crazy early in the morning for the stooges folks and all the other people trying to fly. I tell him about how much I dug that band kultur shock last night and ask him what can he tell me about balkan music. he says the big macedonia band is this one that just re-united, their name translates to "bread and salt" and he really likes them. I tell him about me doing that "balkans w/out borders" song and how pete told me it was from a famous gypsy singer and he knows all about her - everyone around here does, her name was esmera something and even young people wanna record w/her cuz her touch is intense, she's the big momma of this kind of music scene, since the 60s. I wrote an email to pete mazich before I left this morning asking him if we could get our masina project going again and trip on trying to play this kind of stuff cuz for me it would be a gigantic mindblow and I'd have to learn to play my ass off in a different way - very healthy for watt, hu? you fuckin' bet! I got really inspired last night. I remember pete playing me that old esmera cassette and me kind of getting the same kind of excitement but the kultur shock gig really put it to me... man, music is such a righteous thing. playing in sevens, fives and nines is going to be a motherfucker for me to get a handle on - I know pete can help me cuz though the croatian thing is more austrian oompah, he's got a least a head start on it. I got yet another music project to look forward to but man, w/out music I don't know how I'd live cuz I love it so... just fucking fires me all the way up and excites me like 'pert-near nothing else. ok watt, get off your cloud and back here in panic time - god, if I fucked it up for chili tourboss billy, I'd kill myself... also my missingmen guys, shit! carlos calls text messages though and says things are ok for them... my text got through to tom cuz he replied to me so I'm connected w/him that way too - he suggest him and raul go to the venue and setup instead of getting me at the airport and I can take a cab when I land - great idea from him, right fucking on. pasha gets me my boarding pass - big hugs and byes to him... damn, I should've given him a "man in the van sticker" - I'm always spacing on shit like that... sorry, brother pasha. soon I'm in the departure part for international flights after getting my stuff x-rayed and my wackbackpack searched - "you have a lot of wires here," says the security man but he lets me though after examining all the cables and adapters I need to keep shit charged and connected. the "gates" are two doors in a medium-sized room w/a bar and a duty free shop - smoking is one side of the room and non-smoking is the other. this is a young country and coming together, it would be lame to make fun of how econo everything is and things are getting done. there's none of the chaos for me that eric said they had and the flight will be delayed only an hour so it's very much ok. we walk from the hatch of the gate to the stairs of the plane - this one actually has "macedonian airlines" painted on it - and I'm sitting next to one of those big coat older ladies w/the full head scarf I saw on the flight coming in - she wants to sit in the other aisle where the seats are empty but the stewardess won't let her... I think she thinks (knows) I'm weird but I make sure to give her all the room I can and after finding one of her straight pins (a big one w/a plastic bead on the end) on the deck where she was forced to move, I give it to her and she smiles. I just don't want her afraid of me, I mean no harm and don't mean to be weird either. it's a newer plane, one of those md-80 ones and room is tight but I get to chimping more diary on my 'puter and have the ipod plugged into my head - it's playing this new band I got turned on to called migu - I have just four songs but play them over and over cuz they intrigue me much, trippy... again I wanna say, ain't music the shit? a righteous reason to be alive! we land in zurich and by five bells I'm the first one at the passport check place... a wave-through and I'm right out the hatch and I'm in a cab fifteen minutes away from the venue - it costs like thirty dollars in u.s. equivalent but what the fuck though, switzerland is spendy and anyway, it's worth just to know I can see my guys and not let billy, the crew or the chili pepper brothers down and be fucking asspain. it's a great feeling/relief, I can't STRESS that ever enough. I go right to the stage and big hugs for tom and raul - man, am I happy to see them safe, fuck yeah! real tight handshake for stageboss tim too, much respect - fuck, I made it! I wire up my amp that's already been set up by my guys and we do the blue oyster cult song we do for knobman jamie - boom, we're done. I go say hi to tourboss billy and natalie in the office. we spiel some about my gig yesterday and billy shows me some of this "borat" movie off of a dvd - whoa, that's a trip. I meet the gigboss marco too, someone I've heard is one of the only ones in the big leagues that actually likes music! he's nice to me and we rap about stuff. it's so good to see everyone again even though I was gone just a day - I think it was just the risky parts of making it that making me pour out a little more emotion to be so grateful. also on the music level, hearing those kultur shock cats play cuz when I see first anthony, then chad, then john and finally flea - they all get the big spiels from me on how I got lit by them trippy sounds, the quarter tones in the scales, the sevens-fives-nines tempo things - all that... I'm 'pert-near foaming but don't mean to be, just fucking plugged in on alot of levels. I don't even chow... I'm really excited to play w/my guys again. we go at 7:45 - there was some fuckup and billy apologizes but I tell him not to worry one tiny fucking iota cuz it's me who owes him - him and everyone alive - some good bass wrestling if anything. man, am I ready to go when we hit it. we sound tiny compared to what was in my face last night but there's also a feeling I have tonight that I didn't last night - I'm tight and together w/my guys, it's hard to describe. I love the stooges - love them and love that music but it's different playing w/them than it is w/my guys, just is... please understand that different doesn't mean better/worse, just different... but man, I'm loving this much... man, it's my guys and their here for me and playing their hearts out. even though I'm just ten years younger than iggy, I'm twenty years older than raul but still feel closer cuz to the punk we share is different than the scene iggy and the asheton brothers come - I know the punk scene owes 'pert-near everything to the stooges - I don't know if it would've even existed w/out them but I feel much more than outsider and feel I've shared much different experiences w/them than I have w/raul and tom. everyone's got something to teach me though and that's why I value so much everyone who's generous enough to share w/me. different is good too, I like different - it seems natural for me to be that way. this pad were playing, the hallenstadion (13,000 capacity) is an oval hockey arena and for the first time I hear what I think might be one kind of negative thing (but maybe it wasn't, now that I think about it) and I try and focus "walkin' boss" right at where I think the voice came from, like singing it right to the dude (it was a dude voice) but not mean, more like d. boon would do - like he meant it! tom spaces some between "anxious mo-fo" and "three girl rhumba" which kind of wrecks the link I'm trying to show between the minutemen and wire but hell, it's no big thing - it's a new idea and we'll get it next time... tom's playing really great and tourboss billy has told me that already a few times and comes backstage when we're done to tell tom himself. I think that's great cuz tom does really good but he's insecure like me (raul too) about just how the hell do we translate in a place like this. man, I feel really good about the gig when we're done, just full of joy to be playing w/my guys again. I watch lots of the peppers gig and flea gets to play for his little baby sunny, turning starboard and jamming hard. at one point he's gotta piss and does what I would do, piss in a cup behind the amps. problem is though that it falls over and the piss shorts out the front end of his amps so he's only in the p.a. the peps wear ear monitors so he can still hear what he's playing but I know he can't feel it, like an amp does when it's pumping air behind you. he's a champ though and keeps jamming it up hard - I've had to do that too though in my case, I had no ear monitors so it was basically like I was miming it for myself - not hearing one note - but I realize the sound is mostly for the gig-goers so you gotta work it for them and just deal w/it. I wonder it's like to do gigs w/those kind of monitors? les claypool told me he digs them. anthony's has whupped his sickness so his voice and dancing are back. john's really wailing some lead guitar, great rhythm stuff also. chad too is drumming it up, I'm digging it. he warms up across from our room and apologizes but I like to hear he w/his snare workouts and presses. the chili peppers seemed to me like the dig playing w/each other. we chow w/them later, some maki like things and wasabe that I don't much tolerance for so it whups me up good... different than chili, an aromatic. I ask anthony about rubs cuz he's talking about massage stuff and I don't know that much but I sure do get soreness in my forearm-hand-wrists, knees and sometimes ankles from either playing or pedaling... mostly I think it comes from swelling. he says tumeric is a natural inflammatory so maybe I'll try that. I tell flea about richard hell - he's been playing w/patti smith and one of the guitarists is tom verlaine. richard hell was my first punk rock hero. d. boon digged his voidoid guitarist bob quine much (so did I!) - I even got to record once w/bob which was really something for me. that record "blank generation" had an incredible effect on the minutemen (georgie was into too), flea says he'll check it out. I think everyone should, it's wild. I tell the table (tom and raul's here w/me - tom's a huge tom verlaine fan, so is nels cline) about meeting richard hell and him letting me play his bass and us talking about dante. when I put a picture of richard hell on my bass in 1977 it was a big event in my life, it was changed forever. I gave flea that bass like eight or something years ago - it's the one I recorded the minutemen's "paranoid time" w/and had "pedro" spraypainted on it. it got stolen from a storage space flea had it in between moves, damn. another minutemen bass, my 1968 telecaster (that old one was a late 60s gibson eb-3l) bass was stole eleven years ago from my apartment while I was on tour, I was playing charlottesville, virginia when it happened (I was born in virginia!). I just hope wherever those basses are that someone's playing them! time for us to bail, I drive the boat the short way to a novatel 'tel. trippy to drive her again. me and tom talk a little about his drives and border crossings (carnet dealings) coming up. I believe in tom and am so grateful he can help me. I am tuckered and konk comes swift, this is not a worried konk - not too much.
monday, december 4, 2006 - zurich, switzerland
i wake early from a restless sleep it looks cold outside again and i go down to the breakfast area and have some coffee with mike. we discuss our travel plans a little more and think about all the details regarding the trip to vienna. my brother will is going to be there and i have to work out the guest list to include him. raul goes into town and i head upstairs to take a shower and work on my diary. got to keep up, no time to waste. we are planning to get to the arena early to take advantage of the great food they make in catering, the lunch stops at 3:30 so we make a plan to get there before.
back at the venue we get set up and eat and do more diaries, the usual. noting glamorous but we always find the fun in the mundane. wanyne-o (the perppers personal chef) stops by to tell us about the mexican feast he's preparing tonight and reminds us that the peppers enjoy it when we eat with them. raul and i are drooling with the thought of tacos, salsa and organic guacamole. they've got the good hot sauces too. gibby shows up and we confirm another time with him singing, great! we have him ask john f. if would like to play guitar with us too. john says sure! time goes by quickly and we get up and do our thing. we try to keep the dissoriented audience from turning on us by playing hard and when gibby and john come up we get more back from the crowd. at the end of our last song, time, i do a freak out on my guitar and mike turns my volume all the way up and i throw my guitar (gently) like it's flying out of my hands and it clangs on the floor. i am concerned a little about it because it's a cheap telecaster and isn't the most durable. i think it's ok though and we pack up and get off the stage.
the peppers rock out and mike feels the need to go soon because he's flying very early to latvia. so we load out and get ready to go. raul and i are trying to figure out how to stay for the mexi-feast but we decide that we should stick together and go with mike. damn! they probobly made extra for us too. when we get back to the hotel we have a little pow wow before turning in and getting some good rest for our long drive to vienna tomorrow.
pop at eight bells and get to the first floor - that's right, this is europe but for some reason the elevator has for a "1" on the ground floor button like in the u.s. and there's a pretty substantial trough for the early shoveling and I get a bunch of quarter-cut shrooms (no trips from these though) w/scrambled eggs, put some salmon w/onions on top. I then get a bowl w/canned pear and plums, pour muesli on that and then cover w/yogurt, that's my frustuck (geramn for morning chow). tom joins me and we talk about the upcoming mission him and raul have: a border crossing and then all across austria for the zurich-vienna run, their first big drive w/out me. I try to go over everything I can think of once more - worried watt but not from lack of confidence in tom, just cuz of care. I tell tom he's wagonmeister now cuz the only drives I'll have here on out are tiny ones from the 'tel to the venue maybe. I believe in tom, raul too. raul just can't drive so he can't help tom there... jasper (the cat carlos found) will join us thursday and be at the ready for the real hellride of the tour, vienna to copenhagen. I need to get the two filthy pair of levis washed (I forgot to mention yesterday raul had washed the green flannel I've been wearing for every gig in the 'tel sink... man, I swear it seemed like it weighed way less after he did that cuz of the filth purged - many many thanks to him for that) but when I go to the desk and ask, the lady says laundromats don't exist in switzerland - "what?!" I ask her "for the whole country?" and she says yes... my mind flashes back to asking for a plug adapter in the electronics store in dusseldorf... I go back up to my chamber and soak in the tub, my joints are digging on that - water as hot as you want in this pad. then I chimp diary. though we're not far from the venue, this 'tel is actually in glatbrugg and though I wanna get top-off cards for the walkie-talkie leashes (I found out there's less than three euros on my phone - like thirtytwo euros got mostly used yesterday!), the desklady (another one, younger) said there's no stores so the airport's a better place to get them. I use the two fifteen cards - one for mine and one for the one tom has - man, we wonder how much does a text message cost but can't find the pricing anywhere in the book that came w/these, shit. it's gray and a little drizzly out so fuck it - my camera's all lame anyway so I just chimp diary while raul takes a trolly into town, returning around two bells in the afternoon so that's when me and tom get him in the boat and I do my first drive since leaving for skopje the ten or so minutes to the hallenstadion, same place we played last night. all our stuff's still here and no local capo playing on the drums either - that was funny... hey, what's really funny is me finding the key to our datchforum (italian gig) room still in my pocket - fucking idiot watt. I go into the production room to give it to tourboss billy and visit w/both him and natalie, billy has me chow some almond butter w/jelly on some happening swiss bread - almond is a little like peanut butter but maybe I like it more - first time I've chowed it. big daddy's back - he was sick w/food poisoning and is much better, good to see him again. billy asks me about kayaking, saying he wants to get into it up in seattle - man, I bet there's good places to paddle up there. I explain to him why I think a sit-on-top is a harder go if you're going be a morning regular paddler cuz you get wet and w/it colder in the am, I'd go for the capsule kind like I got - not a little hole w/a skirt kind but a big hole cuz your legs are inside and most times I paddle I never get them wet, staying dryer and as a result, warmer. blood gets pumped though your body anyway when you start wailing on the paddlestrokes but it's the sitting there wet that lames things, in my opinion. the positive thing about a sit-on-top is that they don't sink cuz they can't take on water like one you sit in. I have yet to flip a 'yak yet except for coming in, right on the shore when a wave has tumbled me but mostly I come in/out from the harbor so there's not that kind of risk. anyway, the paddle acts as a balance bar and keeps things pretty upright if you don't take a big breaker on the beam - it takes a few times out or the first even to realize this. anyway, I think he'd dig it big time and I hope he goes for it cuz I love it. we do soundcheck and neil sets up another channel for tom's kalimba but using the same mic which is I think a better idea than tom having two mics in front of him. we do our one tune check - I find some black duct tape right after and tape that bridge pickup on my bass to its mounting frame cuz now it's starting to flop up and down cuz of the broken mount under it. oh, I put on new strings today cuz I saw tom doing it for his guitar and thought about how kind of dead mine were last night. we go chow and chef toni has some schnitzel cooked up so I some of that w/a little pasta/avacdo salad. there's some english crew guys it sounds like by the speaking at one table where stageboss tim is so I sit by them and I don't know, I'm chowing schnitzel so why not tell them about how my pop told me pigs were castrated at a farm he worked before joining the navy... wait, that came after talking about sheep cuz of it being rural, cuz of sheep dogs - cuz of seeing them at where I did some england all tomorrow's parties festivals before at camber sands and it was next to a sheep ranch (is that what they're called?)... then it's about sheep getting "bloat" which I learned from a new zealnder and who also told me why there shepherds wore rubber boots (to stuff the sheep's rear legs in) and... well... yeah, they probably now know I'm out of my fucking head. oh, I forgot to mention that dave rat came by and for pictures w/us - he's got an online diary going and he's probably one of the cat's I've known longest on this tour - he got his sound company going by doing tours w/black flag around 1984. yeah, when you opened up for black flag, you helped load in and load out the p.a. which was alright cuz especially in those days, the house sound you had to deal w/in a lot of pads was not very happening. dave's had some pretty good piss bottle stories to share w/us along w/pissing right out the hatch of a moving truck... weird though, he keeps saying "pee" instead of piss and I guess it shouldn't bug me but when I was a boy in navy housing, pee was a word girls used for piss. to hear a guy say pee involuntarily weirds me out which is insane, I know but I have to admit it does. like, "what the fuck is up w/that?" hmm... early experiences can sure be a sensory shaper, huh? maybe changes come from w/in but then so does all kind of shit, especially when it came from not w/in but outside. when I first met d. boon, I had never heard of george carlin. he had, his half-bro jim had given him a george carlin album. the first time I walked to my pad w/d. boon, wanting to show him where I had just moved to from navy housing (this right after he had jumped out of a tree on me, thinking I was a friend of his named eskimo), he started reciting all the bits from that record and me not knowing who george carlin was believed d. boon was making all this up on the spot (though he never said he did, he was just reeling theme off the top of his head) and I was thinking to myself, "this has gotta be the smartest dude ever in the world!" man, it blew me away and I wanted to be his friend right then forever. anyway, the next day he took me to his pad and played me the record - hah... baka watt! one of the bits though was george carlin explaining why women didn't like to say the word piss and used words like tinkle and pee-pee instead... that was a trip for me cuz I was thinking how that related to my experiences w/other cats in navy housing. man, I'm off on a tangent - let me get back to the gig... oh, gibby showed up and I had his "revolution (part two)" in the setlist anyway so I say "come on" like what was w/flaking on us yesterday but he said he had to miss the gig cuz he was cooking some italians fried chicken. he asks john fruchante to join us (shit, I asked him to) and w/minutes to go before we're on, it's all set. stageboss tim says it go time so we head up but for some reason I just start our set off w/out tuning... baka watt! luckily, only the 'd' string is really out and I get that on the fly after tripping on the sour-ass it was making (I kind of was thinking "man, is their even trippier acoustics in here than usual?" - dumbfuck that I am!). shit, no matter how hard I stretch strings, I'm always going out of tune w/a new set cuz me playing (or more accurately: wrestling) is way more intense than any stretching, even I'm pulling them even harder than someone pulling an arrow back on a bow. the set is intense though on sprit/vibe level. some wads of paper and even a small box of mints gets thrown up at us - first time ever on this tour for shit to ever come flying but man, is that tame compared to the old days when all kinds of spit, cups of piss, paper bags of shit and/or puke, used rubbers, lit cigarettes, coins, batteries - whatever would fly on up at us - it just gets me more going and for really the first time I look more into the crowd than I ever have this tour. I'm laughing too though, it's not an arrogant anger thing, I just wanna be polite and give back what I'm getting but w/bass and singing. gibby and john come out to do that butthole surfers song and do really good, much thanks to them. me, tom and raul play really close on each other and try to bring it as intense as we can, keeping the momentum a flying bowling ball from the little corner of this huge stage. after we're done, knobman jamie said he thought it was our tightest and best set ever but I know my tuning was kind of wack but am grateful, especially from the man putting us to the folks! we go by the chili pepper hatch and I shout in thanks to john for playing w/us, anthony comes up to me and says "great singing" - whoa. I mean I know was pretty intense playing w/the stooges has the bass fingers moving but the voice does get a rest... thank you, anthony. I was pretty driven, I will admit to that. flea comes out, warming up on his bass and he tells me he's feeling a little rundown again but I know he'll try hard despite that however I know that feeling it does make it hard. I hope he gets better and tell him that. I also say we can't chow tonight and have to bail cuz I got a real early flight to get to the next stooges gig in riga, latvia. we spend spend a little time w/gibby before bailing cuz he's a totally fun man and has us all busting our guts. his next concept is to get a haircut called "mustaches of the world" and instead of on the upper lip, have mustaches cut all over his scalp. he has an idea for "tiny head" too - a haircut that's way on top w/small little sideburns and everything. in return, we realte our al eingang informations. fair exchange. we load up the boat w/our stuff and billy says he wants to talk w/me before we bail... did we do something idiotic, some fuckup me, tom and raul are thinking? man, I would be so mad at myself if I did anything to foul things... I go over to billy and we find a quieter place behind the stage... nothing's wrong, he just wants to know if my guys have it together for the first big drive alone - he knows I'm worried and wants to help me. man, is he a righteous man... I am so lacking for words to express that even a tenth close to how I feel inside. what a brother. big hugs for billy... he's worried about my broken-zippered wackbacksack so natalie gets me a chili pepper "wheelie" backsack that my fits totally in - many many thanks from me... I run backstage, securityman dave helping baka watt find the fucking hatch I just forgot where it was. it's raining out but the 'tels not too far, my last tiny time behind the wheel... I go wash my green flannel in the sink and then bring that, the "wheelie" backsack cuz it's too big for under the front seat of the planes I have to take and my man sack (I have a tiny clothes bag but call it that to differentiate it from both of their big ol' girlie bags). we talk for a bit how lucky we are to be working w/the peppers and the great team billy and tim are running, all those cats and how together and individually they all give us respect and help us out. we try our hardest too to help back - it took only four and half minutes for us to clear that stage of our shit when we finished playing. come the time in the set when I try and thank everyone - the peppers and all who sail w/her - I'm always fucking up and forgetting someone's name and it frustrates me to know end. I hope they forgive me and know I truly mean it when I am thanking them. same for me and my guys here, tom and raul - I'm gonna be worried sick about them when I'm gone but I also have confidence they can do it, just like w/the crazy music I give them. I thank them both so much before heading up to konk in my chamber. it is weird for me though tonight, I don't know... nerves, nervousness... I lay on the deck in the dark for how long, I couldn't chimp it here accurately but do know somehow konk did come...
tuesday, december 5, 2006 - riga, latvia
from tom (in zurich, switzerland):
i get a wake up call at 8:30 and take shower and grab some coffee and juice before checking out and behind the wheel. we've heard that it's a 10 hour drive so we get on the road at 9:30. our navagator sets us on our path to the swiss border and raul and i settle in for a long drive. the weather looks good which is awsome, we've been so lucky this whole time and i hope it continues. it's just the two of us and that's a little wierd, it's so much better having mike with us. i'm glad though that he trusts us enough to keep it all together.
our trip to the border goes by quickly and i do the border check and get the necessary stamps to bring our rented gear out of switzerland. all goes well. we drive though a little bit of austria and then into germany to go through bavaria before heading back into austria. we make pit stops here and there and take pictures of the incredible vistas of mountains. the weather is perfect. we are making good time and i feel fine so we just keep driving. 5 hours, 6 hours, 7 hours..... the sun goes down and i try to stay focused, i want to make it all the way. we make to vienna at about 6:30 and hit some traffic into the center of town. our navagator gets us right infront of the hotel at 7 pm. 9 1/2 hours, not bad. i go into check in and my brothe will is at the internet terminal in the reception lobby. he turns and looks at me and then turns away, he didn't even recognize me. i go up and grab him and say hi. he has a room in the same hotel which is great. raul and i drive the van to a parking garage around the corner and walk back and drop things in our room. then we all get outside to find a beer and see some of the town. it's cold outside and we find a couple little places to grab some nourishment. we walk through some strange parts of town, ladies with very tall boots and not much clothing. we stay clear and find a laundymat. cool, clean clothes. i'm beat so i go back to my room and get to bed.
I pop at five bells and am ready to go cuz I was so nervous, I konked in my outfit: the gray (no plaid) flannel shirt and this only clean pair of levis - I should say less-filthy cuz they ain't clean for damn sure. I gotta find a laundromat in vienna... anyway, the shuttle from the 'tel to the flughafen is bailing at 5:15 so I hurry and make a sandwich out salami, salmon, onion, capers and cheese and stuff it one pocket and then make another w/scrambled eggs and 'shrooms but the roll's a big triangle so I can't get in my pocket. the driver says no chow's alowed but if I'm careful, I can hold it so I do. we get to the 'port in minutes and I use one of those kiosk machines to check in, this time it works. it's so early the security x-ray machines aren't open yet so I wait and chow those sandwiches. I look for somewhere to get a vodaphone top-up card for the leash but the one shop that's open that has those kind of things only has the ones for swisstel and orange - not vodaphone. shit. at least I got about seventeen euros in it though. I got two flights to get to the stooges gig, first to vienna and then to riga. kind of risky cuz one screwup on the first flight and it's a cascade fuck. it's raining but no to hard and we get off on time. I am so nervous I can't chimp diary. what I do is use the ipod to listen these four songs by a band I got turned onto called mi-gu, it's trippy shit and diverts my mind some from worryhell... I'm worried about screwing up the stooges gig, I'm worried about my guys driving in this rain and tom doing his first border carnet... aahh! the airbus 319 plane (trippy, it's got no row thirteen - like elevators in the old days!) gets me to a gray and rainy vienna after an hour and a half a few minutes ahead and I get to the gate for my other plane, a little canadian regional jet (that's what they're called - number designation) that holds like fifty people, two little jet motors near near it's tail. the last lady to get on is supposed to sit next to me but she's got a buddy and tells me - I say "oh, good" and she goes "you don't want my company?" and I tell her I didn't mean that way, I'm into not being squished up w/my fucked up knees (that's one reason why I like aisle seats). about ninetyeight percent of the flights I have I'm in the back w/the salt lick (cattle call) but I don't wanna sound like a whiner - any discomfort's a small price to work bass and see different pads. hey, I'm crossing time zone and it's one hour later than it was... the stewardess gives me a herald-tribune newspaper, a u.s. paper put out in europe about europe. believe it or not, I get pretty out of touch w/the news on tour cuz the day of devoting my life to takes 'pert-near all my focus. I asked ron asheton in skopje about this ex-kgb guy alexander litvinenko getting poisoned and killed w/polonium I had heard about and there's like a whole who-dunnit now about it - he accused russian boss putin and there's big oil people from there involved plus their gangster scene and other kgb (wasn't putin kgb?)... what's really sad for me is this part that might be connected, this lady muckraker from those parts named anna politkovskay getting shot to death. I keep playing those four mi-gu songs, looping them... one's called "oshiro" and it's got what sounds to me like philosophy lyrics, ethics maybe. worry runs me over so much. yuka wrote me an email to tell about her getting into spinoza and free will questions, I have to read him again cuz it's been a long time. on some plane I know I have no control and so worry is insane but it can't get its fingers out of my brain, I can't reason it out and seems sometimes like I'm nothing but fertile soil for that shit to grow healthy and tall right out of me. man, do I fucking fret - this is why one of my heroes is rilakkuma cuz to be him for me is for goddamn sure an impossible dream. fuck it, two hours of flying and I do land safely after the plane breaks through the clouds and I see a lighthouse at the mouth of a channel w/a big boat entering it - I look for hammerhead cranes and cans but no luck - this ain't pedro... there's lots of fir trees right outside of town, like finland and riga airport is surrounded by them. these little planes have their stairs right in the hatch and I come down and after showing passport to yet one more variation of border police uniform (someone should get a fashion show going w/all the ones there are, huh?) w/a person in it... I come into the lobby and see no one w/a mike watt sign. after a few minutes though this young man comes up to me and sure enough, he's recognized me (who else has the bright orange hat and yellow jacket? maybe roadboss eric elightened him to my uniform). since I'm gonna be in this land I've never been before maybe twentyfour hours at the most total - just like macedonia - I start asking this cat who came to drive me to gig (he says his name is andi) everything I can in order to learn everything I can in such a tiny time - I dish out some spiel to so maybe it'll be likewise for him. damn I wish I could spend some time in these newer lands but that's not in the cards for this tour. I learn latvia is not just latvians, forty percent is russian. I knew they had the boot on the people for like fifty years and this is a new land, like fifteen years now on their own. he shows me where their president lives, we drive past it and it's yellow. andi knows our white house wasn't always white, he knows a lot about outside latvia as well as his own land but he doesn't know black flag cuz I tell him about my best friend raymond pettibon's ma coming from nearby estonia (there's three baltic countries: latvia, lithuania and estonia), thinking he might know of all those black album covers that used his drawings. same w/the gigboss gert, another young man but not knowing much about old punk - hey, that's quite ok and understandable. lots of things are probably new for them, it's a new country. there was some big deal in a building across from this one we're playing last week, our head executive branch public servant was part of it along w/some other parts of the g7 junta or whatever it's called. I don't know what went down but should I pull a chavez and say I smell sulfur still smoldering? I heard he just won his land's big beauty contest, the herald-tribune says it cuz he's in w/the bankers and their stock market's been digging it. when it comes to this stuff, I ask raymond cuz he educats me much on this and has no program to push except anarchism... it's hard to explain... you have to know both him and me or... read some emma goldman! I see merchman bob trying to do internet and say hi - esepcially on tour, I've learned to let that stuff go. soon the stooges guys come (no ig but then he never does soundchecks ever) and we do that, ron hurrying us right up cuz he wants those things short which is ok. this pad is called the arena riga and that's just what it is, holding about seven thousand. a big deck with seats bleachered up makes for a high roof and lots of echo. there's lots of great tiny chow on the dressingroom table, like herring, salmon - even fried calamari... finger food. I can a couple of mouthfuls but ron wants out of dodge and back to the 'tel. I learn "paldias" which is latvian for thank you. we're at the radisson daugava hotel which is on the daugava river which goes into the baltic sea. I lay on the deck and just be still for a while, very grateful to be safe and send one of those text things on the leash to tom/raul. I get one back from them saying they're ok and have three more hours to drive. I have bigger relief getting this. I chimp diary 'till time to bail for the gig (we're on at 9:10 pm, an early one - great!) but first henry comes by to give me my work permit for the england gigs coming up (all tomorrow's parties). he wanted to know who's doing the chow on the chili pepper tour and I show him the book of all the teams involved in the one big team. the gig's not too far away and we take one room while ig takes his own like usual. here I can do some catch-up w/them cuz it's the only time really I can w/the parallel universes I got going. I'm wearing a black t-shirt eva gave me of a band and her best buddy gabby had called the grimes. gabby was killed last summer when a drunk driver head-on collided w/her on the freeway... her and eva both twentyone just last spring and it's been really hard for eva, so very very sad... gabby was a great lady - very independent, creative and strong - I have the best memories of her even though I didn't know her all that long... me and kira w/dos are part of a benefit for gabby's ma in downtown l.a. (at the smell) a few days after this tour ends. there's two bands who I think are latvian that go on before us and since the first one bogarted some, the second one played shorter to keep everything on time - that was very kind of them. I feeling big worry though cuz it's been past the time tom's text said he'd be in vienna and still no word - more messages go out to him and one to billy, shit am I worried... billy called and said he got a message machine, they must be in an area w/no service. well damn but I've still gotta keep it together for the stooges and it's their turn to play now... "alright, motherfuckers!" ig yells to us and I run up the stairs w/scotty and ron behind me (I don't think they ever run up), the gig's on! again, I'm not gonna go song by song like usual cuz I truly am trying to keep the chimping spiel down but just let me say I'm a lot more confident tonight than in skopje which was no fault of the macedonians but it was all watt not being used to the blue little bass and also not doing the tunes w/their creators since buenos aires on september 22nd. I've got a surer hold on how to work "bluey" again - the muscles have remembered (where most the memory is for this kind of thing, I think) more. I will admit I blew some clams though - ig did a great thing by switching the new song where I tune in a place where there's lots of time for me to do that... and then tune back for the one after but I started the solo part in a chord a whole step down - backwards but got back after the two bar bumfuck, whoops. I stayed on a chord one too long in dirt too - both these clams weren't out of key so much as they were just clams. I'm chimping this now while wondering how I could do something so stupid cuz I was focused so much on iggy. by the way, early in the set he launched himself like a total javelin - I saw the bottoms of his boots as he shot out, amazing. shit, the whole is overwhelming on me the way he sings, dances and just conveys the glory of just being alive w/no jive shit or front as far as "I'm going off!" being put to work in the total moment. I do the solo better in "little electric chair" but using the pick in the new tunes is kind of tough, got get up on that by doing prac on it - can't wish it there. we get done, do an encore - I should say the riga folks were great to play to even though gigs might be a little new for him... I'm much grateful and I know so are the stooges cuz they said so. the greatest relief though is getting a text message finally from tom - roadboss eric even gives me his leash having tom on it cuz I made a message that way too. yeah, their safe and I'm so happ and relieved, I holler it over to scotty and steve and they give me the fist ups that mean "yeah" - whew, what a weight off my mind... I am so grateful! I tell tom he's gotta let me know when they get where they're supposed to cuz the last message he left was so open-ended... I just want them safe and they are so please understand that I'm not saying I was mad at tom. ig comes in and talks to us a while, I like hearing from him. we get back to the 'tel and I get to spend a little time w/steve and scotty while scotty waits for a sandwich to get made for him. big big hugs, I see them again in england in a couple of days. damn, how much of riga did I see? tiny bits... I saw an are w/some beat-up houses w/bonfires going on outside and then here's a 'tel w/a "kazino" (casino) in it... I konk being happy I got better handle on my blue bass... when you got a bass you make a little part of you, it's kind of something... love music - w/out it I'm nothing... I'm hankerin' though to read some spinoza again too... music... nature... konk.
wednesday, december 6, 2006 - vienna, austria
at 7:15 we are awakened by bells, there's a church right next to out hotel and i left the window open so it's like an alarm clock going off. i grab my camera and shoot some video of the the great sounds. the sun is coming up but i go back to sleep for another hour.
we get up and eat a little viennese breakfast and meet up with will and go for a walk. we stop at a toy store to look for some kind of noise making device for my guitar. i want to use it on my freak outs. i find a little fake cell phone that says something in german, cheesy. we walk all the way to the palace and museum area, amazing architecture everywhere. we take pictures and walk around for a couple hours. i decide to go back to the hotel to get ready to go to the arena. mike's going to meet us there again, i hope his flight is on time.
raul and i get the van and head to the arena. we get in and situate ourselves backstage. we catch the end of lunch and then clean out the van and load in. i sit at the computer and write for a whil and wait to hear from mike. chuck from the peppers crew stops by and talks with us for a while. he's from albequerque and has mixed a gig i did with watt there a few years ago. very cool dude. billy, the main man behind the scenes here checks in and we talk about my brothers situation as far as passes. he's great and i just don't want to make his life any harder than it already is, but he says it shouldn't be any trouble. man, he's awsome. thanks billy.
our wait is short and we get up to play...the vienna crowd is receptive and i feel good. john comes on to play revolution part 2 and the crowd goes nuts. it's a fun show, i use my new noise maker to moderate effect and we get off the stage. my friend martin is off to stage right and mike and i go over to talk with him for a minute before he has to go. i wish i had more tome to spend with him and his girlfriend viola. after a bit i walk out with will and his friend katrina and watch the peppers show. it sounds good though not as loud. larissa comes out from behind the catering wall to watch some of the show with us. it's a fun night and we stay for the peppers dinner and chat with john, chad and anthony about throbbing gristle and kraftwerk. i give my solo record to john and we talk more about music until we get up to walk back to our hotel. we spend a few more minutes talking and then to bed. another vienna show tomorrow.
pop and shovel pretty much what I have at other 'tel troughs this tour though this one is pretty decked out - I need the fruit/yogurt/museli to be reg and there's fish to go w/the eggs so yeah, I'm into that (it's the salmon-herring-mackerel kind like at other pads that have it)... I chimp up the diary from what happened yesterday though I'm also reading up in the britannica encyclopedia I got on my aluminum purses' harddrive all the tangents that spin off from first reading what they got on spinoza - now I remember some of the points some folks say he was trying to make... I think I remember thinking he was kind of a tripper and even now I think so but I gotta read more again, his "ethica" again for instances. look it's a trip to read shit you read younger anyways for me cuz even though the words you read back then are the same, it's you (well, maybe I should "me") that's changed and that can be a fucking trip, maji yabai. it happened just last year w/me reading kerouac's "on the road" for example. twelve and half bells rolls around and I go out in the drizzle rain and get some pictures of the daugava river out front and some of the buildings across it plus a pretty modern bridge near this lone modern skyscraper by it. a bike messenger comes by and he eyes big time - he's got a raccoon tale hooked to the back of his helmet. his bike has fenders and mudflaps, trippy. andi comes to get me and it's one more chance to spiel w/him, one more chance to convince I'm fucking totally out my mind even if that's not my intention cuz actually I'm trying to relate ideas and observations. he's a nice cat and gets me to riga airport and I thank him much - "you made the diary," I tell him. I get my ticket easy, even standing in the business line cuz I couldn't find a line for "economy" and after security, I find a little duty-free shop (a young country, they have not that many yet has a digicamera I can replace my busted one - a panasonic lumix lmz-3 for 250 euros (about $310 u.s.). it's great for a little tour camera: six times optical zoom and five megapixels. I can use the same aa ni-mh cells and sd memory card from the old cannon. the little fokker 70 jet ("operated by tyrollean airlines") gets me through the gray drizzle of what's hugging the ground of latvia and to the bright sun blazing above it around three bells. the time zone changes back from whence I left wednesday morning and I'm chowing weird shredded bologna mixed w/little sour potatosalad-like stuff which I stuffed in a little roll I sliced in half. two hours of those four mi-gu songs over and over while I chimp diary and I land safe at vienna airport at four bells in the afternoon. the fifty euro cab ride (yeah, fifty euros - about $62 u.s. - my most expensive cab ride ever!) takes an hour in traff plugged up to the yang - this does not make me homesick for so cal but hey, I get to the stadthalle (capacity: 16,000 - biggest gig we're doing) and see the gig boss paul, who's done my austrian since fIREHOSE days - whoa, he does these gigs too! hmm... I remember him doing a festival the stooges did near vienna a couple of summers ago, of course. anyway, he's a good cat - always the best for me and we spiel for a while, him saying mark lanegan was in town w/greg dulli (not afghan whigs but twilight singers) and mark was looking good and healthy which is always great news for me cuz I think he's got one of the best singers ever. I've known him since his screaming trees days - I took them on their first two u.s. tours and dug them much... the connor brothers as well. I think about them from time to time... all the people I've known doing music, I think about them time to time for the trippiest reasons, something seemingly random will come up and just trigger it. when I think I about, I owe so many so much for helping somehow/someway w/whatever I've got to show w/music - d. boon first off but then so many cats after... and continuing! it's a trip. I go right to the stage from the hatch and there's greg and neal getting things done for us, much grazie. we do our song for knobman jamie and then I go chow what looks like it was sliced from a three inch diameter beef cylinder and some zuchinni w/a few of the lorrie (truck) drivers, they're from england - I think I mentioned them before and well, they're interesting cats. I then go talk some w/billy - he gives me dvds of the "jake the snake story" (a u.s. wrestler) after I give him mp4 movies of "the sand pebbles" and five of the "zatoichi" movies from the 60s plus four kurosawa ones. billy asks me where I got reading books... what I can make of it is this set of worldbook encyclopedias my ma got from a travelling salesman when I was a young boy and I just started w/a and went to z and the arbitrarty way the infos were organized (alphabetical) just got me curious about how things were connected and though those infos were not the deepest - you know, "worldbook" shallow - it made wanna read more and more. coming to cali and stumbling onto science fiction, I dug that even more. then I and met d. boon and he dug history so I got into reading that. then w/high school I got back into fiction w/huck finn and the first time I read the "comedia" and w/punk and meeting raymond pettibon and blown away by his brillant mind, I wanted to learn more and connections so I started mixing both - taking L only convinced more me I could learn in word worlds and not be able to it up by butting and interrupting... when watt reads, he has to listen! a good antidote for someone like me. tom's younger brother will is here and will be w/us for for the rest of the chili pepper gigs. our set is really intense - again I'm just glad my guys are safe (fuck, forgot to write the first thing up on stage was big hugs for both of them - and a little scolding for not letting me know right when they got to vienna that they were ok - really though, I was just so glad to see them... almost in tears cuz that was very heavy worry on me - that whole stooges gig frettin' - hey, maybe that's why I blew those clams, huh?), that I blow it all the way out and really take what I got to the big hall weird world. john comes up and does most of "revolution (part 2)" and I thought that might happen, my spirit getting even more up, all these things coming together for me and my guys in this part of the tour - not like we hit a high point and just playing it out but more and more twirling the twine tighter. I meet a friend of tom's named martin who has a schloss (castle)! he's a nice man, a big man - he towers over me. he's from the art world, tom says. that's really nice he came to see us. the chili peppers do an intense set as well, flea being really up w/chad - the whole band wailing on it, john firing up great guitar for his guys. we chow w/them after (just a couple of tiny lamb chops and some olives for me), me telling chad about iggy doing that javelin toss in riga, calling it a "sailor dive" - yeah! john has an incredible mind for music and I stumble on trying to remember kraftwerk stuff, my mind confuses things I thought I knew so well as the teenage times I was living through them. aahh, it's embarrassing. he's got exciting news too, that damo suzuki has done a record w/omar's quintet - hey, john doesn't know about mx-80 sound so I get to turn him onto that... hope I got most my facts straight! I think I did, tom helped corroborate some. speaking of can, I saw them w/the first can singer (damo was the second one), malcom mooney. we hoof back to the 'tel, the boat being parked here safer and easier to park that at the 'tel (thank you, tim!), we hoof back to the 'tel, the furstenhof not that far away. inside I recognize it and memories flash - I've been here a bunch, one time talking to randy california... I remember the most faraway look even in his eyes... so sad he drown but I heard he did saving his son or something... man, my memories get tangled up - I konk wondering about that.
thursday, december 7, 2006 - vienna, austria
we meet for a short breakfast and we plan our first wash day. we decide to stop by the arena to pick up some of mikes clothes and raul and mike and i get to the laundrymat and get started. it's always interesting learnig the directions in another language and we eventually get it right. we keep ourselve entertained and the locals look at us and laugh. mike takes his shirt off and thows it in the wash and that brings a laugh too.
after our wash we head over to the wiener kunsthalle to see raymond pettibon's show. it's cool to see how much he's respected and we see some new stuff along swith tons of things we already know well. there are some animated things that i had never seen berfore and a couple foor displays that recreate his foors back at his place. stuff piled on top of other stuff: books, records, paperbacks, etc. lots of stuff but not enough time. we have to get to the venue for soundcheck. we walk a quickly paced mile or so through the afternoon crowds on the street and get to the stadthalle in a sweat.
we spend our time writing diaries and talking in back until we play, the usual. our show goes well and john comes on to play on three songs tonight. i feel pretty good and play as hard as i can. it's a fun show. we decide to wait till 9:15 to load out, we have to get out early because we drive mike to the airport at 4:30 and then start our marathon drive to copenhagen tomorrow. 19 hours. we get to the rooms and say goodnight by 11:30.
whoa, I must've been really tuckered cuz I pop at nine bells and soak in a really tub - knees almost up to my chest but fuck it, I'm sore. it's not so much narrow (like the one in skopje - man, you'd be stuck if you were bellin' much in that one though lack of hot water would've probably kept one from settling to deep in) as short. into the chow room downstairs, off of their lobby which has got books shelved like a library - I'm into that better than any artsy kind of trip and I shovel a couple rolls stuffed w/salami and cheese plus some muesli and yogurt. yesterday, tom and raul told me they spotted a laundromat not far from the 'tel - the first one for us this tour but I forgot to get my sack from the boat last night and even left my gray flannel shirt in the dressing room so we first hoof back to the venue and then the boat to gather my filthy garments - not one thing clean, have I (don't think I've written like that much - being w/tom means hearing your spiel spun and re-arranged, quite a creative man). it's four and half euros for a load and all I got that I'm not wearing goes in, even the yellow jacket and orange wool cap. oh, I did put the purple flannel on so I could wash the green gig flannel and some young man laughs at me to see me change in public like that though it was just a shirt. crude watt, huh? an older lady comes over to us while were waiting to get our stuff done and asks me and tom something something in german which at first doesn't register cuz though I know some words, I'm not at all used to conversation. she then asks raul if he speaks german and when he shakes his head (I've figured out she's saying she wants help getting her wash in a machine), she pushes away both her arms towards the ground and does a resigned "pffffftttt!" and stomps off. whoa, though it's probably more frustration on her part than disgust. pretty funny to us though. it takes another three euros to dry but man, a really yellow coat again - and a really orange hat again! levis not all stretched out and soiled too though I'm gonna get one more wear out of the ones I got on now and wear these a just-cleaned pair tomorrow. we bring our sacks back to the 'tel and then head for the kunsthalle more towards the zentrum (center of town) cuz tom found out there's a raymond pettibon exhibition there 'til february. oh man, what luck - hot damn! I love raymond and his work, we've been close for twenty-five plus years - when we get down the many blocks of mersh outdoor mall-like street consumer culture, a qucik turn off to the port brings us to the kunsthalle and then raymond's stuff. not much is new, lots of it from the old days, like a retrospective and maybe five hundred pieces! there's drawings I remember being in the room when he was drawing them. one superman one I even framed cuz I didn't want it getting yellow from the sun. there are painitngs on the walls like he does when he's got a show in a pad, stuff that's gone when the time for it is gone. it's a big room/hall w/a wall dividing it but not up to the ceiling. on one side he's painted a big wave and the other side has several images w/words in his script... some indirect stuff (I know cuz we talk and so I know some of what he identifies the current u.s. regime ringleader w/back home), some lady imagery in the center of it and then onward to some schwarzenegger-isms (of course, me and him being california and this kunsthalle here in austria... acutally, austria is where raymond got his foothold on showing art in europe). this is current. there's also an interview in one room w/headphones - one from a few months ago and then one from 1992 where raymond never takes his eye from the camera and you never see the guy asking the questions. really weird but then not terrible cuz raymond is very handsome. raymond's not the most comfortable and being questioned though he never gives comtempt, just is shy and a little nervous. I love talking to him, we can speil for hours cuz he is forever interesting and insightful. he's taught me more than anyone in my intire life, I owe him so much. there's some upstairs parts - one w/a series of stalin themed drawings (raymond gets into the mood w/series of things, like gumby or vavoom, trains, baseball players, dicks, whatever) and then album covers he's done. one "shrine" is all the black flag ones where his work was used. another has minutemen and stuff from me but there's two fuckups - one is "buzz or howl under the influence of heat" but joe baiza drew that and the other is "the politics of time" where d. boon drew that. raymond'll laugh when I tell him. there's some stuff I've never seen before, animations done of his work, not full-on cartoons but more minimalist in the motion and what's moving, pretty simple but I like it. there's voices too, saying the text that would be in the drawing maybe - sometimes it's raymond's actual voice though mostly in other people. there's even some floor boxes that are meant to be representations of his deck and they're have some resemblance - raymond uses lots of sources to bounce ideas off and springboard trips for his works. we're gonna make a movie version of shakespeare's "richard II" when I get enough time to do it - I've been part of movies he's made before, shot w/video and scripted/directed by him. well, we spend as much time as we can before we gotta bail to do soundcheck so we return whence we came and onto the venue, do a quick check, then I chow some tiny ribs that toni's cooked up w/broccoli on the side. I like sitting near the truck cats so I find them and we rap some again. tonight we're gonna have to bail 'pert-near after we play cuz of having to pop at four am so my guys can get me to the airport for the stooges gig tomorrow while the get a good early jump on their hellride to copenhagen. oh, I forgot about jasper! damn, I'm an idiot. dutch dude jasper, the cat we met the first night we played this tour (in amsterdam) showed up earlier at the 'tel after our laundry adventure and went w/us to raymond's thing. I'm gonna have him drive first tomorrow so I can see how he does and tom can get some konk - when I'm gone, I told tom he's the wagonmeister. his bro will is going too, that wasn't in the original plan but it's the way it's working out - that and kind/generous nicknames for him like "burden" and the such. I'd like to get to know him more but damn, I'll be gone. I bet raul will w/at least twenty hours in this first ride will, same w/jasper. anyway, seven and half bells ring out and it's time for us to work the stage. john said he wanted to play w/us again and that puts fire - puts a little more fire cuz really, I'm more and more getting braver w/tom and raul to springboard my own dance of life via the bass w/more freak flag flying. I've gotten to the seventh revision of the set list too - john's onboard sure enough after we pretty much put everything we got into the first five tunes, great focus from my guys and it just eggs me on. we do the butthole surfers song but instead of leaving after, john gets in real close w/us and does "the glory of man" and "anxious mo-fo" really good, right in their w/tom, right in there w/me and raul. he really is an awesome music man, damn! now I'm really lit and play my brains out - some spiel too I haven't done this tour, telling people about "the red and the black" and even volunteering the idea of "no borders" but not in too many words, just some hollers. I used to love it when d. boon would holler things on his mind before we'd start a song. we finish up strong after starting strong - it's hard for me to talk like that about my own music but tom and raul deserve it. lots of crowd people give us good response. we clear the stage of our shit in four minutes - big thumbs up from stageboss tim... hell, he was helping us - always is! an old friend named hans comes to visit as we're packing the shit up. he helped raymond get his art going here in austria and that's what helped him springboard into other parts of europe. he says he knows this cat who runs the donaufestival here in this land and that he wants me to curate it in 2008... whoa, I've never curated anything before. we have to bail in minutes (no time to see the chilis but I get to rap to flea a little about a proj he's got planned using like six bass players and one drummer to hook up a bunch of classic bass lines that have been done down the years into one big medley - he's asked me and kira to be part of it, can't wait!) cuz I'm getting us up at four bells so we can hoof back here to the boat (parking's too tough at the 'tel and stageboss tim has arranged it for us to park here again) so soon it's big byes to billy - he tells my guys, "when watt worries, I worry so DON'T fuckup." billy is all heart, I love him. we hoof back to the 'tel (past a pad called "pub, 'by carles'" - is that a name or what?) and hit the hay early after some spiel, about ten and half bells. I think jasper's a good cat. tomorrow I'll check out his driving on the way to the flughafen. jasper's konking in the same chamber as me and trips a little on how I konk on the deck. well, it's what I do. lights out now, I konk.
friday, december 8, 2006 - minehead, england
from tom (in copenhagen, denmark):
the wake up call comes at 4 am, i shower and get downstairs. we walk to the venue and load into the van and drive throught the early morning darkness. we get mike to the airport and then we begin our journey west towards nurnberg. jasper has the first shift so i am trying to get some rest. will is with us now too so the van is full and we all just sit there deiving along for a couple hours till the sun comes up. we pass some sights that i remember from raul and mines trip from zurich a couple days ago but the weather is foggy and colder and not as pretty. by the time we get to germany we've been on the road for hours, and we try to stop in nurnberg for something to eat. jasoer drives into the olld part of the city but the roads are so small and there are no parking spaces wo we decide to get back on the highway. after a few more kilometers we stop at gas station/restaurant for some quick food. i get behind the wheel for a while. more hours pass. i have to pull over for coffee, i haven't really slept in the van and it's catching up with me. jasper takes over again and we push on to hamburg. the sun goes down and we decide to go all the way to copenhagen. i take over for a couple hours till we get to the ferry town of puttgarden to take the boat over to denmark. it's about 10:30 and we have a moment to rest on the 45 minute ferry ride. it has been about 19 hours on the road and when we get on dry lland we have another couple hours into copenhagen in pitch darkness. we feel okay though and just glad to be geting close. we don't have reservations at the hotel we stay at tomorrow night and they don't have any vacancies so we are just driving into the center of town hoping to find a hotel. we stop at one place and they tell us no and say that most of the hotels are booked because of the christmas parties going on in town this weekend. bad news. every hotel is booked and we are getting tired and cranky. i think we might have to sleep in the van or drive back out of town but we luck out and find a hotel at about 3 am. it's over priced but we need to sleep so we take it and park the van around the corner and end our 23 hour trip.
now folks, I chimp the day you're reading the day after so that means I'm actually writing this on december ninth cuz during the day things are happening, I'm busy living out those actions. well, today is hard to chimp diary for watt cuz I had 'pert-near no konk and the travel hectic. I'll do what I can though. I popped five minutes before the four am wake-up call I don't know how but somehow my body did and that's what happened. I roust first jasper and then tom and raul next door, soon we're at the desk to give the keys and out the hatch but we gotta wait for tom's brother will... damn, a few backhands would fix that mosey, huh? we hoof back to the venue to get the boat and I'm all worried some bus or truck will block us or a gate locked. we get to the pad (this early but plenty of cats on the street still hoisting cervezas - "good morning to you!") and the gate's been opened a crack and there's no one around even though the securityman last night said there would be. there's no busses or trucks either even though we were told another band (someone called "muse") was coming. what's up? well, at least the boat's back where we left it and we get the airport loaded into "the lady" but it takes her a bit to find her satellite connect. I got jasper behind the wheel and he's doing real good, alright. we make for southeast of town where schwercet and vienna international airport is - no wonders there's no shuttle but I get dropped off at the austrian airlines part about five and a quarter - my flight's at seven. big hugs for my guys, jasper and will - can't wait to see them again tomorrow. I'm on a packed airbus 321 for london-heathrow and we get there in two and half hours - I listen to all of wire's first three albums on the ipod. there's a great cat named slouch who's a good bud of stooges helperman jos and his wife debbie is to pick me up - minehead is 165 miles west of heathrow and that's where tonight's gig is, part of the all tomorrow's parties festival which is curated this time by dear old friend thurston moore. it's a three and half hour trip for us but debbie drives good, she had trouble getting to the 'port when I did but we got it "sorted" (I learned this how they say "getting it together" in england) and she stops a third of the way so I can chow and piss. I get these things called "scotch eggs" which are deep-fried battered sausage balls w/like egg salad in the middle. I get a "three bean mexican wrap" but let me tell you, this is no burrito and tastes nothing mexican. we get to minehead, lots of pasture (thurston later tells me someone told him it was "hard cider country" - where making it got started) on the way and then the sea, sort of southwest of bristol. the gig is at what's called a "holiday camp" and it's named "butlin's" - these kinds of things were made for working people to have econo vacations away from the cities. for seven years atp (all tomorrow's parties) was at one called "pontin's" at camber sands on the dunes a hundred miles south of london and I did a couple there. this one's fancier. it's got little "chalets" people stay in, little apartment-like things and cabins - I'm number two and check it out, thurst is across the way in number eight and I see him and spiel for as long as I can w/him (I always do that!) before I have to soundcheck w/the stooges. they're staying an hour away at some 'tel but for me, it's better to be here on the grounds. it's fucking called even w/the sun shining, the wet wind aching my joints much. I see byron coley - alright! he's the best, an old friend and writer. I see tom surgal - he's got nels cline playing w/him w/his and wife's band white out... yeah, I see nels - whoa! big BIG hugs for him, I love nels much. can't wait to do another black gang record w/him. thurst wants me to see some band who's got ashtray in their name but I lose him cuz some lady documenting the festival w/a video camera wants me to spiel... I do meet a band on his ecstatic peace label called "be your own pet" who's from nashville - me and their bass player nathan get talking about old minutemen and stuff cuz even though he's real young, he knows about that stuff. I find lots of young folks very open-minded and knowing of all kinds of things we were all stupid about when I was that age - it amazes me. I see gigboss barry hogan, he's always been the best to me - so good to see him. carlos is here too! big BIG hugs. he is euro bookerman for sonic youth. I know he wasn't gonna have a chance to see us missingmen at any enormadome gigs but it's so great I get to see him here. I see lee ranaldo w/him, alright. "hey lee!" we speil some. gigboss barry takes me to see "nurse with wound" which is four guys making trippy sounds w/machines on desks they're standing behind but the fatigue is catching up on me and I go back to chalet number two but damn if it ain't cold - moist freezing air gets conducted right to my lame joints and I ache much, my age seeming to mulitply many times... whoa, I notice in twelve days now I'll be fortynine! that's a trip. anyway, I'm feeling it much so I go to that frigid chalet and discover how to light up this gas-powered fake fireplace trip in the living room and crumple myself on the deck real near it and somehow konk. fuck, I miss the flipper reunion band w/krist novoselic on bass but do see the new melvins w/the new bass cat and second drummer - both of them from a band called big business. man, they are great, really good! I dig it much but in the last song I gotta get back stage cuz I know iggy wants me there. he gives me the scoop on the set list order - I space a little and confuse the ending of "tv eye" w/"dirt" and he tells me to focus - he's right, I gotta focus. I take off my gray-flannel shirt and put on the t-shirt for tonight - a dark blue one w/a cat face drawn on it for this great dublin band called "estel" (by the way, I ran into this cat named paul earlier - he put on all my irish gigs a year and a half ago, happening that happened! good cat). we're on in fortyfive minutes. scotty sure is hungry he tells me. everyone's in good spirits though but then there's a delay cuz the hall to be cleared - only half the folks can fit in the room where we're playing so that's why we're on sunday too (sonics also), so half sees us tonight, half sees us tomorrow. I got the little blue gibson bass slung and am going over the "...chair" solo many times. will I clam it up? "get it together watt - 'sort it"" I keep thinking. ok, finally it's time and here we go. for some reason, I feel kind of relaxed and play pretty consistent, especially in these first few songs. the pad is going crazy and iggy is a total mindblow to watch - I never take my eyes from him except to "pop tart" (scotty's phrase for me to cue him). a new one comes and I tune it down right but can't get the pick out of my pocket. I have to use my fingers and my failure flusters me some - I can play fine w/my fingers but I fucked up getting the pick together. I even screw up tiny parts a little bit, loose some nerve but then the kids up on stage dancing help get me back together. I think though in most tunes I did ok, the best this short run of gigs but then there's other times when I wanna break my leg off in my ass, like clamming up my "..chair" solo - losing all the phrasing and even coming out short but I did stay in key and like steve mackay said, "kept bumpin' on the beat" but damn, I did all that prac even - ha, I am a silly man. kimmie (thurston's wife), who's a bass player I truly dig was way into the show though and I take her right to ig so she can tell him and he's really into that. I go out into the crowd for the sonic youth set which is next but first thurst wants my john coltrane pin so of course I give it to him, I'd give him anything but that's really something to be able to give a bud, I think. out in the crowd I see my friend from j mascis + the fog (hey, I see j and murph, yeah!) and the stooges both in japan, eiko! wow, that's something! bob teagan's there too, right w/his camera. happy watt. the gig is blazing, kimmie dancing up a storm, maybe inspired by ig? thurst is singing really good too plus him and lee got the dualy guitars realing on the wail... and steve shelley's dumming - damn! I've never heard him pound harder and grooves so slamming, it's just moving me, moving me, moving me... I don't konk much but the lights are off... it's very intense for me...
photos by peak - september 28, 2006
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