mike watt and the jom & terry show
jerry trebotic - drums
watt - thud staff, spiel (w/ dimitri's son, christo)
tom watson - guitar, singing
(left to right)
steve kaul - the man outside the van
tuesday, september 25 - lawrence, ks
we get up and do a little blow-by of the freeway and get on the road again by 10:30. the drive isn't too far to the bottleneck in lawrence, and we pull into town around 2:30 and I head over to the music shop to get some strings and picks. I also write some post cards and make a call and get back to the club to load in. we a re playing with our friends in bargain music again and after soundcheck we see them walking in from a long drive from arizona. it's good to see them again and we hang and talk for a while. there is also another band on the bill so that makes it four bands and that means it will be a late night tonight. we are supposed to start at midnight which is late fo a tuesday night. before things get started I take jerry and chris from the urchins to a vietnamese place that I've eaten at before. it is fine and light and good for playing on. at the club the first band, five ticket fraud is playing to the first people at the club. after them the bargain music guys get up to play and they have had a lot of beer and not much food so they have a little warm up time before they get cooking. then the urchins do a fine set of their songs that I am starting to really like. they know how to work the crowd and there's a lot of humor in their music too.
we gget set up and ready to play by 12:15, a little bit late start but we push on through and keep it together. I think it's a good show. after our load out we follow kevin back to his house for the night. I have stayed here with watt a couple of times and he has informed us about the stuffed pig stomach he had preparred, but I am totally burned out and I hit the sack.
no time a wasteing, were up and gone. its 4 hours to lawrence through missouri's farmland and waterways. we stop at a iron skillet (gullet) so tom and I can feed. the greasist spoon yet. truckers must gobble this shit up by the shoveload. make some thick mack pudding for the long haul. we pull into lawrence early, about 2. I'm kinda burnt and decide to lounge in the boat for a couple hours. tom and mike disappear leaving me to my own. I give kel a call and talk about home stuff. she's so good at making me feel less homesick. touring affords one much time to ponder many great things await me when I return. wanting is a good thing. we say our goodbyes and unload for soundcheck. bargain music is on tonight's bill along with the urchins. to bad josh and the fellas don't have more gigs other then the three booked for this tour. great guys to hang around. I ask tomato from urchin to come chow w/tom and I and we search out a vietnamese joint 3 blocks away. good tasty fair and not to heavy. tomato tells us of his past band life and urchins plans to expand their fanbase to cali. I told of some good venues around socal. I'll try helping them when they decide to make the journey out west.
bargain is on first and since the club wouldn't hook em' up w/din, free beer is tonight's meal. they began the tossback at about 5 w/no stopping for even a breath. zippy's feeling it most w/the smaller frame and lighter weight. determined to become completely shitfaced before their settime, 4 of the 5 are two fisted and flying high. phil the drummer is the only one holding out. can't have a drunk stickman and expect to keep to all together. the first song shows the extent of the damage as it's just a big giant clamblow. the bright side's that it can't get any worse. somehow they manage to uplift and regain composure. the urchins jump aboard next and stick to their good rocking ways. think I'll try to learn a song to jam w/em' later on. we hoist our flag and weigh anchor for this port o call. w/the large p.a. I'm thinking the levels are gonna crush on inner brain, but the sound guys have control and spare me a hard ringing. the set goes well cept' tom's amp starts fading soon after we start. I'm getting a feeling it ain't gonna hold for the tour. I peer off to the stage side and notice phil gazing on, next to him sean is grobbling w/a local younging. I spotted her and the drunken kackle of hens earlier. they took a quick liking to the bargain boys. after the show the same younging is now velcroed to zippy, lust abounds.
we get a crash pad w/mike's bud kevin. he offers up some homemade stuffed pig stomach w/potatos and sausage. delicious! I go for seconds and forego the mota. get my own bed again and watch a little news til' the sleepie's catch up. kel, rilei, and the kitties fill my head w/happy visions. good night.
I pop early and hose off quick in the shower. more dazzling sunlight outside. there's a "kum and go" across the street (what a fucking name) and I get a coffee there. a little park is across from that and I hoof on the grass there. there's squirrels running all about, I am thoroughly charmed. I sit on one of those spring-supported horses in the playground and have a good think - too much think to drink. I have kind of down thoughts about myself and must walk it off. even w/all that sun coming down warm on me, I get this way still. no cure, only perseverance in the faith I can get beyonder and into different realms. still stuck w/the same watt but not in despair. my confidence factor can get pretty low, thank god I've got the momentum of all the years still pushing me. but being in the moment has it's price: self-relization and a loss of the child's eye. I know it doesn't have to be this way. I can somehow regain the child's eye - in fact, I never really lose it - it just becomes hidden from me, covered w/un-healthy thinking. aahh, to be cured... physician: heal thyself!
I let my guys sleep in as long as they want, lawrence is only three or so hours away and we bail when they're ready. across the missouri river into iowa and down the I-29 towards kansas city. we stop to gas/chow (same thing?) and I sit in the boat to down a pimento cheese sandwich and some hard boiled eggs while tom and jer shovel at the filling station's restaurant. from there, we turn the boat starboard and head west on the kansas turnpike. we're in lawrence by three. I go directly to that outdoors store I figure I can get a sleeping bag and find one that's supposed to keep you warm down to below freezing. I return to the club we're playing, the _bottleneck_, and say hi to big al, who has a mohawk this time and jackie. I go upstairs to the heavily, heavily graffitied dressing room and plop down on the most disgusting futon ever. how many, many stains are here, I wonder? I chimp diary into the 'puter and wait for soundcheck. amanda, tonight's boss, brings chips and some really hot salsa. tom joins me in heating up the insides good w/this stuff. aaron, the soundman, does a quick, one song soundcheck. I like it that way. I sign a cat named dave's left-handed bass. anything to get cats working their machines more to get something to come from the heart.
_bargain music_ is w/us again tonight and it's good to see them. there's two other bands too: the urchin cats and a local, _five minute frog_. I go to the back of the boat to test the new bag out and konk. I wake right before showtime, damn it's pert-near midnight - the bag works great! I talk to b-hill of the urchins and ask them to give us a little more time, clearing the stage earlier to start on time. especially on a work/school night. I tell him no disrespect to them, just let's help each other out here w/this. guess what? I missed all three of the openers. well, I'm ready to go and we're off. the band plays sharp and tight - great. alex, the monitor cat, does really well w/getting my voice so I can hear it - thank you, alex. we do a good set and it's probably the best sound I've heard any of my bands on this stage - for some reason it can be a tough cookie. the crowd is really sweet and has us back for an encore despite the lateness. I'm very grateful, to my guys too. I shake more than a couple bass players' hands. that's a good thing too. john, an old friend from k.c. - who's bro, andy, a fireman, couldn't come - made a minidisk of the gig and will send it to the hoot line p.o. box later. I dig cats doing this even though I always get to scared to hear them. good to have them anyway for someday, whatever. thank you, john. we pack up and I say goodbye to all the good people at the ...neck and we take kevin in the boat w/us to his pad, we're staying there tonight on his invite. it'll be like my fourth or fifth time in a row there. he gives me a bag of jalapenos - thank you!
usually there's lots of folks waiting for us when we get there but this time there's no one. kevin's got some of that potato and sausage stuffed in pig's stomach and I chow a little of that. jer chows a lot. I don't really like chowing much after a gig, it can be a bad habit and add to "belling" (growing one's self spherically). he gives me two pears too but I'll wait to do these in the morning. hardware floors in the living room here so I konk right on the couch I'm sitting on. there's this great, fluffy longhaired cat that hops up on my chest. tons and tons of purrs. I give her rubs - she loves it - what a great disposition. even w/the lights off and mask down, the sensation of fingers kneading fur is calming. I think of the man, my cat of seventeen years that passed away two summers ago. there, good memories and I pass easily into a state of konk and rest.
wednesday, september 26 - st. louis, mo
I wake up to kevin making some breakfast and we get fed real good and sit and talk for a while about everything that's been going on. we get on the road by 12:00 and head out of lawrence to st.louis. tonight we are playing at a place called blueberry hill and it used to be a place called cicerro's, which was a pizza place upstairs and a bar/club downstairs. mike says it has been expanded. when we get in to the club the sound of urchin is already loaded in and tonight we start the first of of a string of shows with our friends cobra verde. they're from cleveland and we've done a few shows together on the last couple tours. it's great to see them when they walk in, it's always nice to be able to play with friends on tour. after we check we are treated to a meal upstairs and I get some red beans and rice. time goes by until the sound of urchin start to play. they have a good set even though the guitarist scotty breaks a couple strings. they're a fun band to watch. cobra verde get up and play some songs that I remember from last year and few new ones. I really love this band and it's great to hear them again. we get up after the cobras and play the set and then cobra verde comes up to join us on the red and the black for an encore. it's a fun show and we get wrapped up a and load out and head over to guy's place nearby to sleep.
crossing missouri today for the middle city of the heartland. two big rivers on this drive, the mississippi and the missouri. good chance for photo opps. the osarks are is between the two, giving us pleasant viewing and great snaps. arriving at blueberry hill the urchin guys just finished loading and we time it perfect to pull in. it's a underground place so luckily the elevator thing is happening. I do my setup and head upstairs for some din. this place has the food inhouse and I opt for a sandwich and french onion soup. sound guy bob stops for an intro as we finish up. soundcheck is quick as usual. most of the time all sexed up is only played. the cobra verde's from cleveland arrive. tom having toured with em' previously they reaquaint with eachother and I'm introduced. all very nice people, looks like a great billing for a couple weeks.
urchins have first crack and work a tight set. next up the verdes chime in. my first chance seeing them and I dig the 70's glam rock vibe. their new guitarist derek shows great chops and strong command of the war hammer. mark the drummers bams harder than bambam. everythings a powerstroke w/him. frank holds a firm rhythm track along w/bassman ed. john's stature and presence give the cobra's their voice of seasoned rock. great tunes round it out. in front all night is this cat beetle bob. w/a rodney binginheimer doo and funky dances moves he alters the time mode back to 1973. our set goes well cept' for a shitty monitor mix for mike. why is it so tough to get a good mix? soundman bob does his best besides the lacking system.a low clam count keeps the set a flowing.
mike does the business and we load up fast. this kid named guy offers up his pad for the crash. it's only a block away, so we leave the boat at the club and huff it on foot. a small apartment w/min. room. I brush aside some clutter and stake claim to the kitchen doorway. mike takes offense to my cacoaroach crack on his pad, sorry guy. first night on hard wood, hope my back can handle it. sleep comes quick.
pop to big purr sounds from the cat. I chow the pears. kevin's got a long tub and it's good to soak in that. takes forever do fill though and I cut my nose hairs while I wait. I use my swiss army's knifes little scissors for that and take my time - it's tricky. I grow them thick there, must be in the genes. kevin gets up and cooks us chow. I have some bacon and avocado. he works at an glass pad and said he might be able to get a windshield for the boat. there's cracks all over this one from fucking trucks who don't have their loads tarpped and little rocks and shit that fly out and strike it as we're driving. well, the shop can't rustle one up 'til noon and then there's an hour to put it in. not enough time - thanks anyway, kevin. he puts the tv on and it's the first time we see all the you-know-what dumping out of the screen. another good reason to be immersed in tour mode and be able to avoid most of this crap. we're all still very sad for the insane hurt that happened the first day of our tour but to get led around by the nose by this?
off into the boat and bye to kevin - thank you, bro. we're back on the kansas turnpike and heading east towards missouri. into kansas city and onto the I-70. man, maybe seventy percent of this road must be under construction. it's pretty tedious but we drive on. we're travelling from one end of the state to the other - from the missouri river to the mississippi. on the way, we pass "biffle's" the pad that poisoned mister steve reed all the tours ago w/lame chow. well, we see the sign but never really see the pad. we pull off a little way past to get gas and the station has these fucked-up teeth you put in your mouth called "lee-bob teeth." we all right away think of righteous stickman, mister bob lee - not cuz of the choppers but cuz of the name. later, back in the boat, we decide we should've got a pair and flowed them to him in the mail. damn.
we get tonight's venue, the _bluebery hill duck room_, where I just played last spring w/j + the fog. played there last when it was half the size and called cissero's, back in the _fIREHOSE_ days. the soundman bob is a good cat. I do an interview right before soundcheck for a skateboard zine w/a cat named guy while I chow a salad. he asks good things. I try to work my bass like I'm riding a board, always have been inspired by those cats even w/them being much younger than me. one way to bridge the years w/out anyone having to look down on each other. we do the check and the _cobra verde_ cats show up from cleveland. dave and chaz aren't w/them this time - instead there's ed now on bass and derek on second guitar. they've learned the _blue oyster cult_'s "the red and the black" and are ready to play it w/us. we're gonna get them wet w/it tonight. always great to see these cats - love them.
I go to the back of the boat to konk. not too cold tonight - I only need a bunch of the tour shirts to keep me warm on the pad back there. I konk hard for three hours, good. jer rousts me and I find I've missed both previous acts, the urchin cats and the verdes. damn. well, I really needed that konk. I'm wearing a flannel someone threw up at me last night in lawrence (two pockets and a great plaid). we start the gig and man, is the sound on stage really, really bad. there's a mid-range feedback you wouldn't believe. something about how the stage and room are plus the mains hanging off the roof. it all adds up to resonance that's unbearable. all the sound of the band is collected into this one frequency that makes everything indistinguishable - it can be this bad in the front of the house. I mean, we don't pay to hear ourselves so the main responsibility for good sound is to the folks in the audience and not us so I'm praying they're not getting this din. doesn't seem like they are, they're digging what were doing. beatle bob is dancing out front. he met us earlier as we drove in and had a lot of bad news about how saint louis had crazy shit happening as a would-be staging ground for terror shit too. damn, the hell of violence as religion - so fucked up - it can never be justified in my head. anyway, back to gig time: I break a string during my solo on the little bass in "sweet honey pie" - shit, a 'd' string. I hand the string to some kid in the front he tells me he wants to someday hand me one of his, very sweet of him. then, in the next tune, "the big bang theory," I break an 'a' one. aaaarrrrgggghhh! weird too - I was thinking as I woke from my konk in the boat that I gotta change these strings tomorrow in madison. well, looks like I'll only have to change two of them cuz I'm doing the other two now on stage in front of folks! the tunning gears are really tight cuz I cranked down the screws after that seattle stuff w/them. I gotta get some wd-40 on them tomorrow. damn, I gotta crank w/my left hand and I'm right-handed - aaaarrrgggghhh again! there's some talking while I'm doing this and someone else shushs them. I say to let them talk, there's enough of people getting told to get sushed these days. I'm also feeling pretty awkward and embarrassed. soundman bob gets some of the horrible feed back out and we finish the gig good and bring the cobras on after "...tweeter" in the encore. they're not ready to go! aaahh, the trains got leave w/out them and they scramble to get on board. john does some wild selector switch "stun guitar" solos but I want him to do singing w/me too. next time. they do great. in the "down w/the bass," I finally get the solos happening at the end - it's taken this much tour for me get this together - damn, watt.
we finish up and I sling. dottie's there and I sign her friends b-note key from his hammond organ. she's moved from last time so we scramble to find a pad. guy, the cat I did the spiel w/offers up his place and it's only two blocks away so we leave the boat in the back of the club here, via permission of the bar manager, who's a nice cat. from a listener, I get lots of live cds of _pliers_, _black flag_, bob dylan and assorted other shows. thank you! we hoof our bags over and tom and jer flip a coin for the couch. tom wins. jer's on the deck w/me. my mind is racing w/crazy thinking, even w/the mask on and body still. john from the verdes was talking to me after the gig about all of everything - he works at a paper and he's telling me about all the writers there pandering to "patriotic pornography" and then there's that stuff from beatle bob about the hell from the other side and the fucked-up hate there to kill us... watt is not unaffected - I want to somehow to help heal the world of all of this. I cannot reason away any of the scared shit I'm feeling pounded down w/and I feel so stuck in the middle of all of the consequences. you add adrenaline from working your brains out on the little bass and it's a wonder I ever konked at all but I do though it's an uneasy and disturbed one.
thursday, september 27 - madison, wi
we get up and out by 8:00, mike and I get some coffee and then start driving towards madison. it's kind of a long drive and we pull into town at around 3:00. we load in and wait to sound check. cobra verde shows up and we sit and talk with them for a while. there's a local band called hum machine opening up tonight and by the time they start the club is filling up. they play a kind of american rock thing with two guitars, bass and drums and I watch a few songs and then hang out downstairs with the coba verdes until their set. the verdes play a few songs and then dereks guitar amp quits so I lend my cabinet so they can finish their set. it's a good show and then we get up to play. when we start I notice that my amp is only about half power which is a real drag. I go through the songs this way anyhow and play only barely hearing myself. I don't know what happened but something is deffinately wrong. we get through it okay and finish up only slightly crippled by it. it's a full club and the people enjoy the show and by shirts and posters from mike after the gig. we move our stuff and wait with dimitri until we follow him to his house for the night. it's a long day and I fall asleep immediately.
with a long drive to madison mike wakes us early. guy is up and feeling torqued by his binge of last night. we thank him and depart rapidly. I'm soon knocked out and awake only for the gas stops. madison greets us w/another pleasant sunny day, can't get enough of them. were early in so as to have a chance to relax and write some diaries. I order some cheese curds(deep fried cheese w/batter)and split it w/tom. damn good! after soundcheck I linger around w/out much to do. lots of waiting while touring. charlie watts once said "touring in a band is 2 hours of work and 22 hours of waiting to work". so i wait.
another show w/cobra and I decide to catch their set again. three songs in and dereks rig shits out. tom comes to the rescue. they hook up tom's cabinet and back to the rock. they finish up strong and we switch over for the clean up crew. tom goes and hooks up his rig only to hear less than half the juice coming out. all gig long all I get is bass and drums. the things had it. the soundguy does his best by boosting the main mix, but stage lever is shit. looks like a new amp is on the horizon. after show its kinda chilly and we have to wait while mike takes photos w/some dude that made him a bass. their inside a bus parked out back and all I can see is flashes. I start making comments about some man love photo session going on inside. too cold to wait outside so I jump in the van and crank on the motor. don't want sickness to grab hold again.
mike's pal dimetri offers up his home for our snoozing and we proceed out of town. once again I have my own room. this time his baby's nursery thats equipped w/a futon. I forego the mota and tucker down for the night.
pop and hose off. we have to bail early - it's over four hundred miles to madison. much easier ride than yesterday through the ozark foothills though. we're east over the mississippi and then north on the I-55 through illinois. smooth road, just been redone. lots of farms, both illinois and indiana have such a contrast between industrial north and rural south. we pass peoria, where my ma spent her teen years after wyoming. we stop to gas the boat and get subway sandwiches. no grease at least! I chow tuna. it's good. further north on I-39 and into wisconsin.
after seven hours behind the wheel, I pull us up to the venue, _the annex_, a pad I've never played before. the place I'm usually at in madison, _okayz_, burned down in a fire several months ago, very sad. I love getting to the gig early so there's no stress and I can be calm and relax - have peace of mind and no twisted stomach, worrying about making it in time. such a gift! I do a spiel w/a cat for the pittsburgh show on the phone and the eat a "brat" - hey, we are in wisconsin. I am one tired pecker and after soundcheck, head straight for the boat and adopt konk mode.
it must be like five hours later when jer rousts me - damn! well, I surely needed it. I missed the openers, locals _hum machine_ and our buds, the verdes. coming into the pad w/the sack of shit to be slung, I greet the boss, old pal tom layton - big hugs. tim, a luthier living in iowa, is there too. he's got my "brownie," a gibosn nonreversed thunderird IV bass of mine that I asked him to make a "banana plower." wow, what a great job he's done. it's completely yellow, even the fingerboard. beautiful. shaved the neck and made it more like "bluey" (my other thunderbird). plays fantastic. there's another bass, the one based on a fender tele that he made before but had a weirded-out neck. this new neck is like the t-birds - same scale length - but more slender. it plays great too. thanks so much, tim. problem is, my hands are sore these days to play these long things live - that's why I work the little bass for gigs. it's sad to tell tim this - he's worked so hard and did such a happening job but that's what life has brought me as the years have gone by. I can play them sitting down easy cuz you can lean over the neck and don't have to stretch the hands so much - that's why I'll use bigger basses for recording but for gigs, it's gotta be the little bass. I just can't get hurt so bad I might have to stop altogether. I can tell it kind of bums tim out. aahh, what can I say?
stage time. something's up w/tom's amp. the verdes had an amp go and they borrowed tom's speaker cabinet. now there's just tiny sound coming out for his guitar. oh well - we'll soldier on. I ask soundman lou to put him in the monitors. I'm a little shaken at first and I fuck the words up to the first tune big time - so sorry, john talley-jones. I do recover and get my focus back and more together. kind of sounds like a real "bass and drum" duo. I can tell tom is kind of down but he keeps on - now whussy-fits from tom, he's got too much heart. we actually play a good set despite all the problems. the packed house (actually oversold a bit) has great spirit for the gig. I thank them much and for being in a town that has what I think is one of the country's best newspapers, "the onion." I also give attention to the billboard oustside across the street, it says "the sustainable solution to corporate collusion" put up by a group called www.socialpacifists.org. you don't see so much advertising regarding those thoughts much. trippy town. we have the verdes on to do "the red and the black" w/us and john has to play maracas cuz of the blown amp. it's a fun romp. jer loses some sticks in a drum solo, that's ok. he does a pretty good monostick job while recovering. then we're done and it's time to sling.
one cat gives me a drawing he did of my pop culled from the cover of my opera, "...engine room." very sweet of him and sincere. thank you. another cat gives some 'dines, crackers and "melinda's" habanero sauce. I like this stuff, not much heat but good flavor. thank you! one thing bugs me though - the "security" is hollering for folks to beat it. this after I helped them sell a bunch of beers by playing here. damn, does a little authority really go to some people's heads. I ask them to leave everyone the fuck alone a little while 'til I sign all the shirts and posters they got for me. damn.
I settle w/tom and he tells me a great story about opening his pop's mind up w/maybe some different thinking w/approaching this war thing. trippy about pops and sons and how they realate or learn how to, even in the most insane situations. I then go see tim and we take pictures w/me holding the basses. I thank him again for all the care and work he put into them. he'll mail them to me in pedro when the tour's done. dimitri, a cat who's seen me play since the minutemen days, invites us to his pad for the night. thank you, dimitri.
we follow him it his home in the woods (trippy how like seven miles from the state capitol, you're out in the woods!) and he's got a "don't tread on me" flag - something from our revolution. I like this flag, the best one I've seen all tour. he brings us to his "bavarian room." there's two new ducks on the wall since I was last here. tom and jer konk while me and dimitri talk 'til like four - damn. I must get to sleepytown and recharge the battery within. thanks dimitri for everything.
friday, september 28 - minneapolis, mn
we awake and dimitri is making some food and I get an omlete with chilis and coffee. after that we're packed and ready to roll on to minneapolis. it's about a 5 hour drive and we pull up to the 7th st. entry at about 4:30 and we get loaded in. my amp is still messed up so we wait for the cobra verdes to get there so I can use franks amp to sound check. I'm going to have to get another amp for the rest of the tour so tomorrow we will go out to look for one. we are playing here tomorrow night too and tonoight the sound of urchin is also on the bill and they show up soon after the cobra's. after sound check jerry and I go get some thai food and I get some fried rice with tofu which suits me well. we get back to the club and wait for the sound of urchin to play. the urchins play a hard rocking set and derek from cobra verde gets up to sing on one song and it's a great show. cobra verde plays a great show too and the club is starting to fill up. the 7th st. entry is a nice little place and it sounds good when there are a lot of people in it and when we get on to play it's good and crowded. I play through franks amp and it sounds good so I have an easy time hearing myself and we play a strong set. we are playing here tomorrow so we can leave our equipment in the club tonight so there is no load out. after getting out and on the way to the promoter steve's place for the night.
I must have woke up three times to go to the can through the night. must be from the water I gulp after every show. up and down the stairs w/creaks and cracks trying not to disturb the sleeping family. about 9 and up again to pee, but this time dimetri is up w/his baby christo. and adorable little 5 month old boy just 2 weeks older than rilei. I'm drawn to him instantly and begin playing little baby games to get him to laugh. dimetri asks if I'd watch him while he cooks us breakfast, how could I refuse. that short time helps me fill the void in me w/missing rilei. I so miss her. kel would be proud of me for showing up my fatherly stills. after some great chow I get a small taste of mota and go for a short walk in the hood. it's very beautiful in this part of the country, but they do have some brutal winters. after some photos w/dimetri and christo we say farewell and throw out the bow lines. as we leave the flag on his house reads 'don't tread on me'.
I sleep again for the ride and suddenly(well suddenly to me) were in minneapolis. its a two night stand at 7th st. entry. this is a small club connected to a big club. the big one being that place in prince's purple rain flick, 1st avenue. the main room shows happen early so I'm able to catch the other acts before we gig. tonight is thrill kill kult w/some other goth rock spoof band. not really my thing. I catch 1 song from kult and trun and run. they sorta caved for the size of the venue. tonight the urchins are back after a day on their own and I miss em' cause I'm in the office doing emails. cobras get on around 10:30 and I make it down for the set. frank from the cobras loaned tom his rig, so no lamemo git sound. another good set thanks to a full round sound. tom will try tomorrow to find an amp. I say solong to the urchins until philly and we leave our gear set up. another show tomorrow.
promoter steve kindly invites us to commandier his living room for the two night stand. tom and mike grab the couch and floor space in front of the tv. I'm left to the dining room. steve's kitty comes by to say goodnight. wish I had some oh's cereal to munch.
dimitri tucked me into his couch good w/blankies. I pop toasty. get the second week's tour diary coded and loaded up to the web while dimitri cooks up omlettes w/sausage fresh from a pig he had slaughtered a couple weeks ago. great cook - damn! thank you. we bail northeast for minneapolis. gray morning, like in cali - kind of cold though. jer bundles up in the back and konks on the bench. he seeps fumes constantly. tom anoints the air w/peach scent to spare us a foul drive. jer needs to get that o-ring fixed.
beautiful hills and dales of wisconsin dairy and farmland pass by us as we take I-94 into minnesota. first through saint paul, back over the mississippi and then minneapolis. there's a little bit of a plug on the freeway and we're cured pretty quick of some l.a. homesickness. we make it to the _first avenue_ at four. we're playing a room on the side called the _7th street entry_. I've worked this room many, many times and dig it. conrad greets me at the hatch and it's great to see him. he lost his cat of thirteen years, "truman," and that's very sad to hear. I think of my man. we do soundcheck and then I do a spiel at a chow pad w/two cats who have a web zine. it's a good one, they ask some great stuff. back to the venue, boss steve mcclellan is there. so, so good to see him! _gov't mule_ is playing a few blocks away tonight and I've been asked to meet drummer matt at some meet and greet. me and steve go over there and I give matt big hugs. I recorded the _ccr_ song "effigy" (mixed in w/parts of a couple other creedance tunes) w/them just before the last euro leg of j + the fog tour. still haven't heard the finished thing yet but can't wait. warren's at the venue, prince's old club, _grand salm_ (now _quest_) and we go over there to say hi. after big hugs, we both agree these are heavy times. I tell him I'll think of him tonight when I play. they have oteil burnbridge on bass and it's quite a honor to meet him. we go back over to the steve's club. I call nanny back in pedro, an old friend and the lady who does my shirt drawings. I tell her about all the scaredness I've been feeling all tour, all the fears and anxiety. she is much stronger than I am about these things. I'm glad she took the time to talk w/me. I'm drained. w/staying up so late last night and all the driving, I'm tuckered and must konk. steve let's me use his partner jack's office. on the deck there w/blankies from the boat, I'm out like that.
the urchins and verdes both open the gig but I miss both of them. sorry, guys. I pop just in time for our set and head downstairs. the room is stuffed w/folks w/good spirits. tom's using one of the verdes' guitar amps, a fender tone master w/a generic 4x12 cab and sounds good. the monitors are clipping pretty bad, whoa. I troop on. our set is really good, the band plays tight. I'm wearing the purple cowboy work shirt I got in texas while on tour w/j - it is the club where prince made the "purple rain" movie. it's really hot on stage and this thing is sweatier than a flannel! so what, I'm glad to be working the little bass for folks. again in the encore, we have the verdes on for the b.o.c. tune and this time john is playing nothing but handclaps. I told him the lyrics I want him to sing w/me in the middle break of the song, "hornswoop me bungo pony - dogsled on ice," but when it comes time he's singing something I can't even begin to understand. oh well, maybe tomorrow night. mark does the ending w/five hits instead of four - I tell the crowd about the "law of fives" which is for every two things you reveal, keep three concealed. I read that in the "illuminatus trilogy" years ago. I thank everyone, including ron, who did the sound knobs.
I get a book, "the journal of albion moonlight" by kenneth patchen and a cd, "the johne coltrane quintet w/eric dolphy" from buddy steve, who's pad we stayed at last year w/the pliers. thank you much. lots of nice words from folks. grant hart's here, he was at my starboard the whole time. happenning. after the crowd clears out, I see betsy's been working a bar. she just bought a house. she says she's bringing her niece tomorrow - that's right, we're playing the same pad again tomorrow night. that's kind of unusual for me, I usually just do one-nighters. I couldn't think of a better place to do that, I dig it here. steve has us follow him to he pad in the northeast part of minneapolis, just over the river by the old mills. we camp out on his living room rug. he gives me his sleeping bag to konk in. lights out but I must've laid there for like a hour and a half w/my mind racing like a whirling machine. damn, what a torture session - in a tug of war w/my own thoughts. somehow, I'm shown mercy and finally allowed to let go of consciousness and slip onto that train to sleepytown. thank god.
saturday, september 29 - minneapolis, mn
it's day 2 in minneapolis and we get up and mike and steve and I head out to change the oil in the van and also look for a new amp for me. after a little search we find a jiffy lube and get a cup of coffee and talk about mikes navy family life. I know the whole story by now but he and steve compare information on the subject till the van is done. then we go off to hit a couple music stores to find a fender twin. the first place has a couple without master volume knogs so we move on to another place with no luck either. the third place has a good one and I plug it in and it sounds fine so we take it and head back to steve's place. steve has to take off to some prior engagment and we hang out at his house till it's time to get back to the 7th st. entry. we are already set up to do a soundcheck and that goes fine. el vez is playing an early show next door at the 1st avenue space and jerry and I check out a few songs. tonight we are playing with cobra verde and a band called cursor and we meet them when they get in.
the club is start to fill up and by cobra verdes show it's a good crowd on a saturday night. we get up to play and start the set with the stooges song down on the street, and then go through our set. it's a good sound on stage and the room is very hot so we sweat it out and wrap it up with the cobras joining us for the red and the black. we load out and say goodbye to cobra verde until they meet us again in nashville. then it's back to steve's to get some sleep.
get up early, don't know why. playing the same place again and theres no need to. cept' steve offers breakfast. I guess reason enough. the first place is too crowded and small, so we settle on another. a limited menu leaves few choices, but steve assures me the foods good. laura the waitress is very nice, and I come to find out she used to play drums in babes in toyland. saw them once open for white zombie. mike's constant foot tapping starts buggin me and I speak up. didn't know steve was also tapping, and I sorta feel bad. I mean not only cause I pointed the blame at mike, but I sometimes do it myself. sorry mike and steve. back to steve's and I'm left while tom, mike, and steve go amp hunting. nothing to do but watch tv. steve's wife returns from a trip to the park w/her girls. we start talking about music and I inquire of her past. much experience w/many well known players and I'm intrigued by her accounts. the guys finally return and its back to the club for the soundcheck.
after soundcheck tom and I wander over to this pizza place we ignored yesterday. it's worth the stop this time. great food and cut rate beer prices as well. we depart stuffed and happy and head back to catch el vez's set in the big room. his show is very vegas loungey and a bit fluffy. the sound could be much better and the material is somewhat bland. glad I didn't buy a ticket for that one. back to 7th st. for ths show. looks like maybe we might cave this one judging by the early crowd, but a late fill settles that concern. our set is strong and the verdes once again help out w/the red and the black, as they have on every show w/us. it's getting tighter everytime. we put mark the drummer up front and his pounding is right behind me, man can that dude pound!
after a quick pack it's back to steve's and under the dining room table again. hello kitty! back to wish me good night once more. I give him a purr back and turn over and out.
pop early (I don't know how - I got maybe three hours of konk in) and hose off. man, is steve's son into hair color - it's all over the shower and throughout the head. wild colors too. I get a really great email from charlie thompson, who's digging on the tour spiel up on the hoot page. he has a great idea for touring himself. here:
"...over the years Nebraska has really grown on me. When I was a baby my family saw a big UFO in Alliance, Nebraska. Thought it was the end of the world. Some day I'm gonna do a tour called THE GREAT PLAINS TOUR. Just the plains. Ghosts of Indians and all that. I'm getting closer to my other dream tour...THE MISSION TOUR or EL CAMINO REAL. Just 101. Near to the missions, all 21 of them. I got a song called 21 Reasons as in why I don't care much for Christmas, and for the 22 toungues that got wiped out by the Spanish. I guess that's why I started on the mobile recording rig. I want to be able to set up shop for a few days in places like the Knights of Columbus Hall in Kern County if you know what I mean."
steve's up soon after as is cindy. she makes me coffee. a little later, tom and jer rise and steve takes us to chow at a pad called the modern cafe. laurie, who used to drums for _babes in toyland_, great to see her again. she's still just as positive as ever. I get this menu item called "pampered eggs." I have no idea what it'll be like. when I chow it, I find it's scrambled eggs w/onions and cream cheese mixed in. it tastes really good. rye toast too. I always shovel the main deal w/the bread provided to make it one symphony, I dig the harmonies that get created. along w/the habenero chili sauce I carry in a holster on my belt too.
it's a trip - no drive for the boat to the next town. we're already in "the next town." we go back to steve's pad and wait for grant to call. supposed to do the oil for the boat there and maybe some q too. steve goes to do errands. the tv's on and after this shitty movie about 70s whatever (I think it was called "the ice storm"), there must be like two hours of a documentary on al capone and the saint valentine's day massacre. trippy how much gangster shit in chicago revolved around flower shops and funeral floral arrangements. a way of buffing badge and one of the biggest north side bosses even ran a florist pad himself. after a while, there's still no ring-ring from grant. hmm... just gotta get the oil changed so steve looks up some pads in the yellow pages. tom got a list of pads that might have an amp he can get so we'll do that too. we find a jiffy lube and do the boat. we wait next door at a donut shop and I tell steve about my pop's work in the navy, all that nuclear reactor stuff w/engine rooms. we then go on the amp search. I tell him about my pop's thoughts on the military, how their main job was to defend the constitution and not really just be a mindless war-making thing. it's one reason he really hated the oliver north guy when that whole contra thing broke. that really surprised me cuz my pop voted for nixon both times and then reagan - but the first time only. he couldn't vote for that guy for re-election on account of what shit his "boy" pulled. pops can sure trip you out sometimes - they change too as their lives go on. thinking about one's life and what's important is not just for young people. we visit three shops and at the third one, we find a fender sliverface twin reverb (maybe from around the early 70s) that's just got new tubes and eighty watt celestion speakers. tom tries it out and it sounds great. very productive, we both tasks done. we get a call from grant on steve's walkie-talkie, he had stuff to do w/his son. too late for anything now but I truly understand the priorites. we head over to the entry for soundcheck. there's a different soundman for us tonight named andy. a short check and then I'm upstairs to chimp diary and konk on the deck in jack's office.
the verdes are w/us again but there's a different first act than last night. it's _cursor_ from chapel hill, tim (dancer) herzog's trio. dancer was a helper and then soundman for the most legs of the fog tour I just did w/j. unfortunatley, I konk through both of these bands sets but I have seen the dancer unit before. they're good and he works a mean bass. _el vez_ is in the big room but I miss that too. damn. oh well, I pop just in time for the j & t set.
we start off w/the stooges' "down on the street" tonight and cut "big train" out. other than that, it's the same. I like the flow of the way these tunes on this tour go so we've been sticking to same program for each show. there's something funny feeling inside me as we work the gig. maybe it's cuz we are at the same pad twice in a row. I'm really not used to that. maybe I should've changed things way up, huh? this time the monitors are a little better - andy found that only one of the boxes in front of me was working and fixed a bad cable but they're still pretty underwater sounding. one good thing about the set is tom's amp - he sounds better than he has all tour - I can actually hear him big time and my playing is correspondingly better. it's just that way, I don't have it that together playing "solo." it is after all a trio and I like it sounding that way. makes me feel more of the "glue" component I like about bass. last night he sounded happening w/the verde amp last night but tonight even more so w/his new one. great! the verdes join us again in the encore. great to have john on "stun guitar" again though he still spaces on the words I want him to sing w/me. damn. this time, I have mark play drums up front and not all hid away in the back like what's been happening. john's the brains of the verdes but mark and frank are definitely the heart of that band. gotta move frank up front next time too. when we get done, some cat gives me a bag of fresh habanero chilis - orange jewels - thank you! thanks also to a cat who gives me pictures of the show he took last night - whoa, that was quick!
as we pack up, john writes me the words to "every god for himself," a verde tune I want to do. derek writes me the chords. big byes to nate at the club here, I dig him much, then we bail for steve's. on the way, just before the hennipen bridge, I see conrad on his bike, pedaling home. I wave out the window and holler "I love you conrad" and "truman" as we pass him by. he's a guy at the first ave I dig very much. he puts such a good feeling in me every time I come to play. thank you for that, conrad.
back at the pad, I thank steve much for all time he spent w/us w/everything. I feel truly grateful and feel so lucky to know him all these years. it's all about good people that makes life bearable and a good reason to suck air in and out of the lung. lights out and I force myself to konk w/some mota someone donated to me after the gig. I gotta go under soon so I can handle the boat's wheel good tomorrow. we gotta bail early cuz it's more than four hundred miles to chicago. my prayers are answered and my plug gets pulled quick. thank you.
sunday, september 30 - chicago, il
we get up early and hop in the van to drive to chicago. it's about an 8 hour drive and we get into town at 5. I've played the double door a couple times with watt and it's usually a good turn out. tonight we play with our friends bargain music again as well as another band called slightly stoopid. we load in and get situated and relax for a while. we pass some time with the bargain music guys until it's time for them to play. the double door is a good sized club and people are coming in while bargain music are playing. they have a good show and I have a good time watching them. slightly stoopid do their set and it's getting pretty packed and looks like a good turn out for a sunday night. our set goes well and we play strong through out. I'm still getting used to my new amp but I feel pretty good about it by the end. I see my friend doug after we finish, he lives here and plays bass in tortoise and few other bands. a very nice guy. we talk for a while and we load out to stay over at brians place. he has a nice house and plenty of space for us and find a futon upstairs and get some shut eye.
another hellride to the windy city and I make camp on the bench seat. the body takes a beating on the road w/many road miles and giving it yer all night after night. sleep is my friend. I get 5 hours rest and switch w/mike for the final leg into the city. I keep asking mike "where's downtown, I can't see the sears tower". he informs me the suburbs of chicago are spread out like l.a., but everything spokes out of central chicago. w/some slowing from an accident coming in to town our drive is otherwise smooth. not normal, mike says of this city. we pull up to the double door and have front and center parking saved for us. always makes things easier for loadins and b.s. parking space hunting. right on time for soundcheck, yet another perfectly timed arrival. after check I wait around for the bargain boys to show up. its their last show w/us on this tour and I wish more were booked. great dudes to hang with. slightly stoopid from san diego is also up tonight. both bands have a sublime like reggea feel going. I go downstairs to our kick room and chill w/the bargain boys. w/enjoy the fine choices of tea offered up by the club. somebody trades a couple beers for a bottle of absolute vodka and some redbull. I pass. w/abondant fruit and chips I decide to blow off din. a choice I'll come to regret later.
I climb back up for tonight's fropaw. bargain's set cruises ahead at full steam and I hear zippy sing for the first time. not bad little man. slightly stoopid bat second and I like what they lay down. very sublimey, but full of good vibes. back downstairs I tell josh of my limited time home before I leave for hawaii to get married to kel. "no time for a bachlor party w/only one day" I said. josh says he, zippy and sean will plan one if I get an o.k. from kel to do it. hope shes understanding. they continue w/thier butathai mota stick session as I pass until aftershow. we get on and I start to feel kinda slow and weak. no din comes back to haunt me. getting through the set takes all my energy. mike can sense it. I explain after of the wear my body been under. "gotta pace yerself jer, not having din was probably good. couldda taken you down further" says mike. I'd rather eat, so no more missing chow.
I kind gent named brian hooks us up w/a bunkhouse. no parking for the van as it wouldn't fit in the garage. its left on the street for the night. inside I once again get my own room and bed. this is a true pleasure for me and I'm always very grateful to those who give so much. I call kel and fall asleep w/phone in hand.
pop at seven and hose down. we'll bail at eight. that hour comes around and we leave w/steve and family konked so no chance for verbal farewells and thanks. I leave a note however. thanks again steve for everything. we search for the freeway, passing the football stadium. damn, this early and the parking lot is full w/purple people (viking fans) already tailgate partying, whoa. blessed again w/amazingly clear weather, we find I-35W but blow-by the one we want, I-94, to go back to whence we came on friday. we have to loop around the beltway so this adds a half-hour to what is already gonna be a hellride. "no wine before it's time," so it goes. better than a wreck, things must be kept in perspective. we find our way a re-trace our steps back to madison - it's like deja vu all over again. sights just seen a couple days ago now revisited in reverse order. we stop for gas and I get a bag of turkey jerky on jer's recommendation. it's good. I also make a call to my ma and she's sad for me after reading the last week's diary. she says it seems I'm having a hard time. I try to reassure her and say my emotions are full of hills and valleys and not to worry - I have my sights set hi and want a net positive to aim for. I just want to be honest w/my feelings w/the tour spiel. it's not supposed to be a hallmark card or anything, just a record of where my emotions have been. the bottom line is that I want my men safe and to work the little bass as good as I can for the folks. this is paramount and everything else secondary. happiness is relative anyway, moment by moment. if I get those two goals as gifts that I consider myself a very lucky man and am grateful. I call jimbo in nyc. he says we'll get searched coming into manhattan so get ready for maybe a two hour delay. ok. he says he's glad too I'm shaving this tour cuz you know the way I can look and some people are making some pretty rush judgements these days. he clears up some rumors I've been hearing about his town too. thank you, jimbo. a call to thalia from _li'l pit_ too and she says to keep doing the music and think of that cuz it's positive - I was relating all this fear and worry stuff I have rushing through me on this tour. we're gonna do more songs when I get back - we recorded four w/perk and petra just before one of the last _fog_ tour legs. it's the band where I play standup bass. the j & t show is doing one of the tunes this tour, "only you will know."
we turn east at madison for scenery not yet scene on this tour and just before milwaukee, I hand the wheel to jer - can't get too burned out. he does a good job and brings into chicago through the north side, it's been I-94 the whole way. some plug coming in, any homesickness for l.a. is cured w/all this traffic shit. damn, it's sunday too. we make it to the venue, the _double door_, ten minutes before load-in, pretty good timing. bobbie, the lady running things, is very nice and has some parking reserved for us right by the door we need. nothing like a good place to put the boat. I get some soup a couple pads down, potato and mushroom w/bread. it's good. check email in the venue's office after and one of the people there is reading orwell's "1984" so we talk about that for a bit. kind of a bleak tome, really - not much hope. that's ok though cuz writing is for exploring all kinds of trips. if you can imagine it, you can write - let the reader decide whether they want to eat what's been writ. gotta keep expression open. the next book might bring you joy, who knows. quick soundcheck - both monitor and front of house cats are named mike and then it's to the boat for me. I chimp diary and then get in the bag for some konk. I'm wrung out. first, this cat named dustin has me sign his bass. he actually wants me to play it for the gig but I relate to him the conditon of my hand joints and why I work the little bass live these days. he gives a cd of a pliers gig from lasat year where he made some great artwork. thanks, bro. steve kind from l.a. is right there too and gives me a bottle of "da bomb" concentrated chili sauce. chemical tasting but it does have the heat. thanks, steve. I look for those lyrics and chords john and derek gave me last night and their lost - fucking idiot, watt. aaaaaaarrrrrrggggghhhhh...
for the third and final time this tour, _bargain music_ opens for us. I miss both them and the other opener, _slightly stupid_. it pains me cuz I dig my bargain brothers much (I produced their debut album) but if I'm gonna play my best, I just gotta put in the time for shuteye. it's hard decision but it's gotta come down on the side of what's best for tour. they're long beach cats and I can see them easy on home too. oh well, sorry. I have trippy dreams about my pop while I'm konked. strange things about purgatory (like in dante's poem) w/me and him together, working off some big penance. after he died (february of 1991), my sister melinda told me he always wanted to start an air conditioning company w/me, work he did after the navy, in fresno but never had the nerve to ask me. hard for me to imagine my pop not having nerve for anything, he always seemed very strong. it would've been the first time he would've got to work for himself and not another man. I wonder how I might've answered him, being so immersed in music and all w/d. boon. it's something I never had to confront. I really miss those last years w/my pop cuz we just getting to really know each other, not really being able to grow up w/him as a boy cuz of the navy and shit.
jer comes gets me and our set starts. the sound is bass heavy up on this stage, making things muffled. we play good though. no verdes w/us so I put the b.o.c. tune back where we had it at the front of the tour. someone says "god bless america" and I say "god bless the world" before we do john cale's "guts" (is god a nationalist - is she?) and hope that don't trip the crowd out that much. you don't know what to expect these days and it's one reason I'm not saying much of anything this tour. they're already getting spiel galore from the tv, I imagine. I said it in response to something that was yelled up at me, you can take a guess at what they said. still, a good spirit from the crowd. good turnout too, I'm kind of surprized cuz I haven't done a sunday in chicago in a long time. thank you, folks. a good set though about two-thirds through, jer seems to get a little sluggish - I can tell he's struggling a bit. it is sweaty on stage and that might be adding to it. he's playing good however, as is tom. I've perspired my entire outfit. we finish and I asked jer if there's anything wrong and he says there's still residue from his sickness lingering and challenging him. we get an ecore and come back. there's another weird thing I react to on the mic. I thank everyone for taking time out on a work night for seeing the show. someone yells "work, smerk!" I take this kind of badly, like they misread my intentions and ask them what that's about. no answer. I'm kind of disappointed in my reacting this way, I should let that shit roll off my back - aaaarrrrgggghhh, I'm not the most together of people, I must confess. I do feel glad people liked what we did. it being a sunday, you didn't get the usual "dressed in black - who cares who's playing - we're gonna yammer away at the bar" crowd and it's quiet for the tiny songs like "walking the cow" and "chinese firedrill." thank you. of course, when I'm settling in the office, I hear a waitress complain that her alcohol sales were "slow." oh well. everything has their tradeoffs.
I get some neat gifts from the crowd: several packs of backwoods 'gars, five different chilis grown by the cat who gave them to me and a cd w/a song of mine this cat covered. thank you all. I ask for a pad we might konk at where the boat is safe and this organ player named brian offers his. it's in the ukranian village part of town, not too far away. springa's here to say hi and he takes my picture for some young guy who stands w/me and the guy from the jim croce song, "bad, bad leroy brown" - he's an actual person! a very nice, tall man w/a great handshake. I wasn't much of a croce fan but d. boon was - dug his guitar playing, all the arpeggio stuff w/the finger picking and all. we have brian pile in the boat w/us and head to his pad. he thought we could fit in his garage but no way - his minivan just does it. oh well, say some prayers for the boat as we park it on the street. damn, this makes me worry like a motherfucker. not his fault though. he's got a nice old house and there's alexa there to greet us and make things cool, she has a bedroom ready for each of my guys. thank you! hardware floors down here in the living room but there's couch from the old days that'll work for me. a firm one is fine. unlike a bed, there's a sort of a wall (the couch's back) and that keeps me from rolling off of it, like what does happen w/a bed. I wedge in there. I gotta get naked in my bag cuz the gig thoroughly soaked me. nothing worse than konking soaked. I speak a little w/brian about what I'm trying to do w/my gigs and music: trying to make things safer for people to get crazy and try stuff that's wild w/their own art and expression, trying to up the spontaneous and vital thing and down the contrived, robot shit that's cynically xeroxed for herds. a tough order, I know but I wanna die trying. what else do I have to live for? night, brian.
monday, october 1 - bloomington, in
we awake and mike says we got a parking ticket which sucks but it's better than being towed. I give my friend doug a call and wait for him to come by to get some breakfast together. he shows up and we say goodbye to brian and drive to a little place for some fine food. it's great to spend a little time talking with doug, I missed him the last time tortoise came through l.a. so it's to catch up a little bit. we head off after that and get on the road agin to indiana. there's some traffic on the way but the weather is clear as we get through indiana on some state roads and through some smaller towns along the way. the weather is warm when we get into bloomington and to the club. we load in and get things together and soundcheck. jerry and I head over to the malibu grill to eat and we sit with a friend of mikes named kemp. we have a good time talking and eating. when we get back to the club I get some rest in the van for a little while and actually missed the opening band called three minute mile. we get up to play and there is good little crowd there for a monday night. I'm still working out the bugs with my amp but the show goes well and after we ask for somewhere to stay and a nice lady named julia offers her place for the night. by the time we get there I am totally beat and bring in my sleeping pad fall asleep on the living room floor.
tom wakes me a little late. I needed the rest after last night. mike pops in a says the boat got a ticket for parking in a rushhour zone. 50 bucks! shit, well at least it didn't get towed. tom's pal doug of tortoise fame came by to take us to break chow. after thanking brian we zip out through the crooked streets of chicago. the break place served up killer scrambles and tatos'. good fair. doug talks of being in n.y.c. during the nightmare. I can't even imangine the feeling of being there. fear would be heavy for me in that situation. we follow doug back to I-94 on ramp and wave bye. this time the interstates a total shit fuck and backed up for two solid hours. not until indiana did it clear up. smooth sailing from here on out. bloomington in sight w/time to spare. load in and set up quick w/dwane as the soundguy helping. gets us great sound and mike's happy for a change w/the monitors. an old friend named kemp stops by to see mike. he owns a music store about an hour away. mike suggests I use his services via the internet if I desire any gear. i show him my recently broken hi-hat cymbal and make tenative plans to remedy the situation. tom and I invite kemp to join us for din at the malibu grill. tom and I order up but kemp decides to watch. I get a mahimahi plate w/pesto pasta and grilled mushrooms. i guess I'm making up for no din last night. feeling tired I head for the boat but tom's taken the bench for his konk and mike's got the back so I opt for the backstage room. inside I take two little bus seats and put em' end to end to make my own bus bench bed.
I wake after the openers finish up and these two guys burst into the room looking for mike. sometimes their a but aggressive though well meaning. I tell em' he'll be up for the show and to wait til' after to talk. they ablidge and leave some camara stuff and books in the room. I wouldn't, good way to donate the shit. you can't trust people everywhere. were up and i dig the sound in the monitors as does tom and mike. the set goes well and the crowd in into the tunes. dwane works the board to a tee, great job compadre! I go to get the van out in back of the club and some guy comes up to me w/a bag of peppers and some heath bars. he's a bit bit loaded and won't stop taking. I take the bag and thank him as I begin to back the van up. just then mike starts yelling at me to back the van and the guys still taking to me, the pressure builds. as I begin to maneuver mike starts getting pissed that I'm turning the wheel w/o moving foward and opens the doors of the boat to grab me out. I barely have time to put on the brake when I'm yanked out. he's ranting about the p/s hoses busting and I just walk. what a moron I say as I walk back up the alley. sometimes he has no patiences for things and rather than argue I turn away. the same cats from before the show help out w/the loadout and I thank them graciously. mike speaks to me again, this time more calmly about the steering. I mention to him I was unaware of the situation w/the hoses and that he didn't have to get physical about it. he apologizes and all is well.
a kind lady attending the show invites us to stay at her home. julia is her name I believe. I'm pointed towards the basement where floor space and privacy is available. once situated I turn on the tv to catch up on world topics. my ears are ringing strong tonight and it becomes hard to crash immedately after the gig. according to the "news" the war on terrorism is in full swing, if only they could find the enemy. I give up and knock out.
the start of a new month and the last day of the third week of tour. pop and rush outside to check on the boat. I'm very paranoid of the potential donate mode we put her in. I find a ticket in the door which, considering, is ok cuz it appears we parked in a tow-away rush hour zone! oh my god. we're really lucky. sure, fifty dollars gone but better than a towed boat! damn. guess brian didn't realize what kind of street this was. it's called damen and it looks like a pretty main artery. I give big thanks for preserving us. I go back to the pad and then hose off and get into the dry clothes I brought from the boat. brian wakes to operate his hardly used coffee maker for me - looks brand new. he then goes back to konk. I take the 'gar he gave me last night, a cubano hoya, out of the bag and put jer's bones for the week in it. tom already got his to get that fender twin in minneapolis. I dole their bones once a week. now time to rest my nerves w/some hoof and a chow scour.
east down augusta, past a hungarian church. lots of old neighborhood. not much open though. a turn down to division and then west, I find some catering pad but they do sandwiches too. I get one that's albacore and capers. capers, whoa. tart kind of things that's sort of english, at least that's what I think of them. it's a trippy combo - no mayo, just them two things on some good wheat bread and red onions. an hour more of hoof and I'm back at the pad to do receipts in the 'puter. tom gets up and I show him the machine to make coffee. we get jer up at ten. brian's got some minutemen and fIREHOSE records in his living room plus a page from a zine that has an old picture of me, d. boon and georgie. it's a trip - it's a shot from our first photo session ever, at the korean bell in pedro and taken by frank gargani. must be more than twenty years old. it's kind of a mindblow to look at. tom calls doug from _tortoise_ to come chow him and jer. I've already done that but will drive them. bye brian and thanks.
doug takes us to a chow pad and I chimp yesterday's events into my diary, sitting in the boat while tom and jer shovel at the pad w/doug. when they're done, we're back on the road we took yesterday, I-94, heading east into indiana. not so easily done as said. we'll catch the I-65 south just eleven miles across the state line (crossing another time zone) but it'll take like an hour and half! whoa, what a plug on this road, damn! very much l.a. style w/tons of crawl and lots of stops. herds and herds of trucks, damn. so relieved to leave the industrial gray and choking air of polluted factory and traffic land for the farmland of indiana. whew... when we get on the loop around indianapolis, we get quite a treet having to deal w/some of the most dangerous and asshole driving of the tour. some real idiot moves. every town is like this, you just have to be lucky enough to be there at the right time. finally on to state road 37 and down to the college town, bloomington, home of indiana university. lots of race car trailers on the road, a race must be coming. we pass lary bird's car dealership in martinsville then we're at our destination, _the bluebird_.
kemp meets me as the boat pulls up. he's an old bud from vincennes, about an hour and half away, by the wabash river. really good to see him again. nobody's home but the doors are open. some cat comes in to put up sidefills that later will never work. oh well, turns out we won't need them - the soundman duane will do a great job, some of the best monitors I've had all tour. dave, the boss, shows up and he's a nice man. while my guys set up, I go down the street to find some dante in a book store. I got re-read stuff to bone up for my next record. I find a musa translation for "inferno" (I'm told he's local talent here) and two sinclairs for the other two volumes (they have the italian too). ok, econo too. I first tried a pad run by younger folks called "the secret sailor" (I love that name for a book store) but they didn't have it. they looked like punk kids, maybe vegan/e.l.f types. of course I looked old and straight to them so they were scared of me. funny how these cats are in college towns. they get very defensive cuz all the frat and jock shit thrown at them. they don't realize that they might find a kindered spirit in me even though I don't wear the baggy/pierced/tattoo uniform. oh well.
I get some chow down the street, I guess it's seafood day for watt cuz this greek pad has "poseidon's feast." kind of lame, like canned crab meat (it is the midwest) w/blackeye peas in lettuce. soggy, like it's been sitting. ok, at least there's not that much of it and there's some big cucumbers and tomato pieces. I'll be more careful next time. back to venue and do soundcheck. I go to the boat and start to konk but hear a band playing - must be the openers. I go in and meet them, they're called _three minute mile_, three young guys w/two of them originally from cali. the bass cat does the most talking and is curious to what I think punk is. he says one of the first bass magazines he ever got had me on the cover and wants to know where I came from. I tell him what I know, think and believe about this trippy scene I've been part of for twentyfive years. I tell him it's a style of music or even clothes - it's a state of mind. it's the only way to keep it free and truly alive. I explain how things were before for me and then after. I tell him to wait and watch my gig and then make up his mind. I don't know if even then if any of it will make sense. it's just what I feels inside me. I like chaos and accidents in expression. I like wailing on it from the heart and surprising things w/tinyness too. I like musical conversations and intresting shit that makes you curious and curiouser, makes you want to somehow join in. I go back to the boat and konk.
it's a long konk, almost four hours. I miss those youg guys' set. I come in and get on the stage and we start. happening gig, we're pretty much on though tom seems a little distracted w/his amp. I think it's more of the room and him getting nodes and cancellations that make it sound like he's using tremola (that effect on the guitar you hear on the creedance song "born on the bayou" or "run through the jungle") cuz of such a live room. I ask him to focus on the playing and forget about that. I think it's like the sixth or seventh gig he's worn the same shirt - we definitely gotta do wash tomorrow. one other kind of lame thing is that my mic got moved since soundcheck and jer's too out front and not facing me. this makes eye contact lame and I have to holler at him a bunch of times to get his attention. we gotta look out for that more in future gigs. I like the gig though and the folks who came much cuz they give up big loves to us. thank you.
I ask for a pad to konk at and this lady julia says we can at hers. while I sling after our playing, this cat and his wife, who's pad I stayed at w/my playing w/fIREHOSE comes up to rap and gives me a picture of billy cox and jimi hendrix signed by billy cox. he's a professor now and "double nickels on the dime" is part of the syllabus he uses to teach - he shows me that. thank you! some good presents from others: heath bars (complete w/bio material - "...the brothers declared their formula for 'english toffee' to be 'america's finest'") and habaneros from footman bob and some microwave popcorn packs and a paperback called "the book is called counter" by muna norman from the bass cat of the openers. he's a real sweet kid and I wish him the best w/his music. he's got a real tall buddy who is very kind to me too. thank you both. I think the image they had of me before, then after my spiel, then after seeing me play was kind of mindblow for them - a good one. you never know what folks are going to think or what they themselves are bringing to it. that's why I just try to work things from heart and keep the spirit full-on. one little disappointment tonight: no freda (blake babies) or jake (her husband). I know they live in this town but they do have babies now so I understand. I miss them both.
we follow julia to her pad and there's puppy full of love named otto, he's great. hardwood floors again so I'm on the couch. a few minutes of talk and then mask down, sleepytown here I come. glad the ride's kind of little tomorrow.
read week 2 of the tour diary
read week 4 of the tour diary
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