"time to cat and not mouse" tour 2001 diary - week 6

mike watt and the jom & terry show

shot of watt + the j & t show and thalia zedek in 2001

tom watson - guitar, singing
jerry trebotic - drums
watt - thud staff, spiel

thalia zedek - pointing to bullet hole in the boat's hatch
(left to right)

steve kaul - the man outside the van

tuesday, october 16 - washington dc

from tom:

   I wake up in the hotel and diana and we get some breakfast in our room and the laura comes by to bring us over to her folks place where mike and jerry are. we meet her mom and talk a little and then we get in the van to dc. we're dropping diana off at dulles airport first and jerry navagates us up to the departure dropoff and I wish her a safe flight home and then she's gone. we get back onto the highway into the city and we take some surface streets to the black cat club. the black cat moved recently but only a couple doors down so I'm familiar with the neigborhood and since we're early jerry and I hop on a bus and do some site seeing at the mall area in front of the capitol building. the smithsonian museums are so great here and it would take days to see it all so jerry and I decide to go to the air and space museum. it's a massive collection of original planes throughout the history of flying and a bunch of space stuff too. we spend an hour and a half running through the different rooms just grazing over the tons of things to look at. by five o'clock we have to get back to load in so we get back to the bus. when we get to the black cat the skies are getting dark and it's looks like rain is coming so when we see the club owner dante we pull around back and load in. the old black cat was a big boxy room with a big stage and the new one is very much the same. we get on stage and get set up to check. bernie is a great guy who works at the club and we say hello and gets us set up with some food and drinks in room downstairs. we find out that for some reason the sound of urchin's aren't on the bill tonight but we see thalia and barry and dave soon after we soundcheck. I order the vegetarian lasangne from the clubs kitchen and jryy and I eat in our little room and when the opening act goes on I go up and check out a couple songs and see an old friend from hermosa beach named phillipe who I haven't see in 12 years or so. what a surprise to see him, he's been living here for some time and saw that we were playing tonight in the paper and decided to show up. we talk a while and then I watch thalia's set and it saounds great in this big room. it's such a large room that a couple hundred people still feels kind of empty but as the night goes on more people start coming and by the time we get onstage there's a nice crowd in front of the stage. as we play my guitar is feeding back a lot and it kind of throws me off a little but I pull it together and the rest of our set turns out good. at the end we don't have ed to come on for the last few songs so we finish up just us three. after the pack up and load I say goodbye to philippe and we get in the van and go over to chris' place in bethesda to sleep.

from watt:

   pop then hose off. I put on my purple cowboy shirt I got in texas while touring w/j for tonight's dc gig. it's got a 'w' stiched on each pocket (it's made by wrangler). good, the sun's out bright. I make throatcoat tea for my tore-up throat. laura's ma, sue, gets up and makes me coffee. we talk, her husband's an engineer on board an exxon oil tanker now in the persian gulf. I will say a prayer for him to get home safe, laura told me it's almost time for him to retire. it's a trip talking to folks older than me especially about music, especially when I've just konked in their pad! kind of scary. I'm always insecure about this. she's about ten years older than me and I can tell she's concerned her daughter has picked music to get into as something she wants to do in her life. I can imagine her thinking about her little girl growing up to be someone like me - what a life! I can tell she's interested though and can appreciate the things I've seen and experienced. her man being a sailor w/him away a bunch and me growing up w/my pop gone w/the navy, we can share thoughts on that. I tell that experience was profound on me and was the main reason I never had children. I didn't dig it and didn't want to put some little ones through the same thing. it ain't fair to the ma either, having her raise them mostly herself. tour life is like a sailor's life. sue is interesting to talk w/and she doesn't make me feel judged for what/who I am. I tell her I'm at war w/what a lot of "rock and roll" has come to be. music is something important to me. the spirit of little richard and jerry lee lewis is important to me. john coltrane, roky erickson, syd barrett... I don't want to be a rock and roll caricature. I want to be part of something personal - I'm driven. like trane said, "I want to uplift people." I'm not into shit-hoarding things. it's not about dominating a herd. I don't know if I'm good example for her girl, from her point of view. I have a passion for going for it - working the towns and trying to get the little bass to speak - to laugh, to cry. is this what a ma raises her girl for? her girl has to become her own woman, ma has to let go in some ways. that's part of life. it seems laura loves drums. it probably seems to her ma that I am quite insane. I try to impress on her there are certain sacrifices one has to make for this kind of life, like w/the family thing and relationships, lots of lonely and feeling scared shitless lots. she's very nice to me though and let's me air my ideas and stories. she makes me bacon and eggs. they're good. I'm telling her all this so she can see even crazy, driven and obsessed people can have more than one dimension and maybe can add something to the whole pile that's for the good somehow. a goofy guy can find somewhere a place where his expression might make sense even w/the years pushing him down the tracks (I tell her I never thought about being in these middle years as a kid. old - well, kind of, but never the middle ones. so now, here I am). his mind can still be on fire and he can still have that child's eye and in some way, help. what I mean is maybe I'm growing more into it instead of out of it. I don't think it's just a phase. it's a life. even if it seems from mars, I'm really just from pedro - son of a sailor. I am what I am. I think her girl can try to be anything she wants to be. I hope I made some sense. thanks for listening to the strange man, sue.

   she has to go to the dentist. I chimp diary. laura gets up and goes to get tom and diana at the holiday inn. she brings me back ginger in a jar and honey for my throat. I go into their backyard. wow, no fences. lots of pretty pines. the sun warms me out there w/kind rays. I go inside and check email. someone who keeps sending me pro-war stuff sends me something about "the new masculinity" and how it will win wars, how it's attractive. it's from the wall street journal and written by some lady who wrote speeches for some republican politicians. inside my mind, I puke - it's an involuntary reaction. to soothe these feelings, I go to the boat and open rumi's "the manvasi" and pick a page at random. whoa - this is what it reads:

if the prince lacked the animal manliness of asses,
yet he possessed the true manliness of the prophets.
he renounced lust and anger and concupiscence,
and showed himself a man of the lineage of the prophets.
grant that he lacked the virility of asses,
yet god esteemed him a lord of lords.
let me be dead, so long as god regards me with favor!
I am better off than the living who are rejected of god;
the former is the kernel of manliness, the latter only the rind;
the former is borne to paradise, the latter to hell.
the prophet says, "paradise is annexed to tribulation,
but hell-fire follows indulgence in lust"
o ayaz, who slayest demons like a male lion,
manliness of asses is naught, manliness of mind much.
what sort of man dost thou think him who sports as a boy,
but who has no comprehension of these chief matters?
o thou who hast seen the delight of my commandments,
and risked thy life to perform them faithfully,
hear a tale of the sweetness of my commandments,
that the meaning of this sweetness may be made plain.

   what a trip.

   laura shows up w/tom and diana. I roust jer. I guess he was yammering late last night w/edward and needs the sleep. edward never does get up as we bail for dc. first we gotta drop diana off at dulles airport. we drive through ellicott city, what a neat little town - old maryland style. too bad we spaced again and the digicamera's out of battery charge. aaaaarrrrrrgggggghhhh. out to dulles and then back on the beltway and into dc easy - wow, that's a trip. the traffic in this town is usually one fucking nightmare. I tell jer about how when tom and diana we're riding w/me last night, I said to her I was his little girl's godfather. whoa, she laid into me, "it's not just a title - you have to make a presence and be in her life" and on and on w/stuff like that. where did that come from. w/my sore voice, I couldn't really say much but I did get in that I'd speak w/her about spiritual things when she's ready. tom laughs. this lady can be intense. obviously, a button got hit. we all laugh. we get to the _black cat_ at 2:30. I tell jer to take a bus south a bunch of blocks and see the national mall and the monuments there. I've seen that stuff many times anyway and would like to see them again but I have to conserve my resources - I'm sensing weakness in my physical being at the moment. tom goes w/him. I go to this el salvador chow pad close by. I have "sopa de mariscos de el salvadorena" - el salvadorean seafood soup. it's got mussles (again!), shrimps, clams, chilies, onions, cilantro - all kinds of good shit. they give me a bottle of pique pepper sauce to dump in it. that's good too. tom and jer get back for loadin to the pad. funny, we find it's moved two doors down. better room, better everything. great to see the boss, dante, and his lieutenant, bernie, again. I dig them both. all these cats at this pad are great. we do a quick check w/soundman phil and he sells me a new sure beta 58a for $110. I'll try it out tonight. you can always use another mic. this cat aaron comes by to interview me but seeing he's going to charlottesville tomorrow, I ask him to wait 'til then. my fucking voice... spieling is harder than singing, believe or not - you can't use your chest or diaphragm. he agrees and gives me some habaneros he just grew - great! thank you! I chow a falafel from the kitchen. I am feeling quite tired and weak. I go to the boat and konk.

   I'm out like three hours. obviously, it looks like it was raining most the time when I get out of the boat. no urchins this time, instead it was chris from _embrace_ and _faith_ and then thalia played after. I missed all of it, had to - had to re-charge. we start the gig. very much mid-range in this room, whoa. my voice is holding up. not spieling a while before playing really helps. the band is solid and we have a good gig. you know, d. boon always liked playing this town cuz it was like we were bringing it right to the man's doorstep - having our say. I still feel the same way. it seems the loud songs are louder and the soft songs are softer, the dynamic is wider. that's how I'm feeling tonight. when we get done and I thank everyone, I ask for a pad for the band to konk and a safe and easy way to dock the boat. this cat chris offers his "presidential suite" in bethesda, across the border in maryland - only a few miles away. ian from _fugazi_ says hi, so great to see him, especially these days! he offers too but I already to chris yes and don't want to make him feel bad. I tell ian I'll come by the dischord house tomorrow before going to charlottesville. he gives me his record that just came out. wow, thank you, ian. great band and such an inspiration. we pack up and load out - good, the rain stopped. we see new york plates on chris' saab and realize he's lost and doing some loops. finally, he finds connecticut (the street - the state streets in this town run at 33 degree angles and can be tricky - a mason thing, you know) and we're on the beam. we get to his pad and I go right for the couch (he's got a hardwood deck). damn, I donated my mask at laura's folk's pad. my body aches so - that wet cold outside. chris has some mota he calls "wheelchair" and that helps. the konk that comes soon does too. thanks, chris.

wednesday, october 17 - charlottesville, va

from tom:

   we wake and have coffee with chris and he makes us some food before we move on towards the star hill music hall in charlotteslille. it's all state road into town and it takes a a while to get there buck we pull up to the club and load up the stairs into the music hall. lon is the sound guy and we work out some details about the equipment and then set up to soundcheck. we run through a quick one and then jerry and I go to eat at the connected restaurant that's downstairs. we both order the pork medallions over chipotle sweet potatoes started with a calamari appetizer. the food is great and we finish it off with chocolat mouse eclairs. quite a meal, proboly the best of the tour. we see the urchins loading upstairs as we eat and a few minutes later we hear their pounding soundcheck through the floor. this is the town that dave mathews is from and when you see it it all makes sense. it's an upscale college town with very clean and restored historic type buildings. when we're done eating we go upstairs a talk with the urchins and I go down and take a short nap in the van. before the show starts I sit with barry and thalia for while and just talk, it's great to play a few shows and get to know the people we play with and thalia, barry and dave are really nice folks and I love their music. upstairs the urchins go on and walk up and catch their show and they start with a song called the alligator (I think) which I haven't heard yet and it shows an even mellowerr side to their music and a great way to begin in this clean room. tomato comments on the persian rugs on the floor in front of the stage and between songs he goes out and runs a couple laps around them and then jumps back behind the drums to rock some more. they get some great sing along on hanks on the moon and by the end the crowd totally digs them. thalia and band go on next and she sounds great in here too, lon is doing a great job with the soundeven though he has to run up to the stage from behind the mixer to do montior adjustments. after thalia is done we set up and play through our set and it feels pretty good and at the end the urchins say it was one of the best sounding rooms for us so we thank lon for his fine work and then pack out again. we are invited to a guy named mike's place and he says he has a secure pad for us and the van so we go for it. I move some stuff in the front room and put my pad on the floor and just go to sleep. jerry is in the roommates bed cause according to our host mike he wont be home and it's cool to do so, but at aout 3:30 am the door opens and four drunk guys walk in baffled by our presence and then go in the room that jerry is and kind of freak out. it was a very rude awakening and after the confusion dies down the drunk guys leave so we go back to sleep. some time later, maybe and hour, the roommate comes back and orders jerry out of his bed and then leaves again, so now jerry's on the floor near the kitchen and we all just try to get a little rest in this awkward situation.

from watt:

   brilliant sun pouring through the window has me pop early. no mask to help me here though tom did say last night laura has it and will return it to me tomorrow in carborro. lucky watt. I go to make cof but can't find the beans. chris gets up and pulls them out of the freezer - of course! he makes me a cheese omelette and we talk about the current mess. living here, he here's the fighter jets scrambled constantly. he works by the national institute of health and there's military helicopters flying in an out of there non-stop, especially since this anthrax in the mail thing. oh brother. tom and then jer pop and both get fed too. we thank chris much and head over for the dischord house in arlington.

   it's been more than eighteen years since I've been here. knock on the door and there's no answer. ian's across the street in the building where the label is run. we go over there and he gives us the tour. not to big but tight and efficient. his band's record has be out only a few days and already there's re-orders, alright! we go back to the house. he takes us downstairs into the cellar. real low ceiling, you have to get in between the beams to stand up fully. this exactly how I remember it. this is where d. boon wrote "love dance" (the last song on "double nickels on the dime") and we worked it out here, in the middle of a tour we were doing w/_black flag_ in 1983. damn, memories flood over me. the same bass amp is here that I used, the one ian used in the _teen idles_, before he had _minor threat_. that's a trip. we go back upstairs and he makes us coffee. we talk about things. for some reason, I thought he was brought up w/a military pop and I ask him. I am wrong, his pop was a journalist. we talk about things, some masonic stuff - he likes that and is curious. he's got books on word and sayings histories and found out that "getting the third degree" is masonic (early masonry had three degrees of initiation: apprentice, journeyman and master). we have some laughs and I hip him to some others like "making your mark" and "are you on the level?" he says he wishes he was on tour now so he could focus on something like that and not be bombarded w/the media hustle of the day. ian says he's a pacifist - so much so, he'll "fight" to remain one. we all laugh at this but it's kind of a serious laugh too - you just have to when the air gets so thick w/hate. he makes a great point about that though, especially when he told us there's been columns in the paper saying pacifism = evil. there's a piano by the table. I play him the only song I know on this machine, roky erickson's "stand for the fire demon." only three chords. I try to curl my fingers the way I saw elizabeth play hers but they stay straight, like I was plucking the little bass. oh well. this is the way I work a 'puter keyboard too so I don't get pain. funny how an instrument that appears as a bunch of buttons can make such beautiful sounds. I sing the words as I make the chords - all three of them. ian then shows us his office. there's a small beautiful watercolor of a sailor in a skiff and it's dated 1944. he said he found it in the trash. he's also got a poem someone sent him that he wants to give me. here it is:

in case of terror

in case of terror assemble the poets!
this is no mere conceit.
the greatest danger we now face
is to let evil set the pace.
bring out the rabbis; call the priests.
all must help us know the truth.
truth is not plumes of ugly smoke,
truth thrives on man's faith and hope.
reality is not exploding skies.
it's lives we'll now commemorate.
I call on poets, near and far to remind us who we are.
displace this evil with your words,
help our minds to be free
from corrosive thoughts.
remind us of truth and beauty.

                  - ralph steetle (sep 11, 2001)

   thank you, ian. big hugs and then we gotta bail. back on the surface streets to the freeway, we pass an old masonic lodge. I wonder if ian knows what this is? we're west on the I-66 'til we hit us-23 and then south on that. such a pretty drive through this northern virginia countryside, really, really beautiful. it reminds me of a boy living in virginia even though I was mainly in the navy towns of portsmouth and norfolk, on the coast. the rolling hills and dales are lit up wonderfully by the sun, like we're driving through the most incredible postcard scene but it's all 3-d and full of depth. even thoug this is a secondary road, it's four lane divided and not much traffic. we stop for gas and get a tuna sandwich. we pass james madison's montpelier. I think of his federalist papers and what attack those ideas are under now. thomas jefferson's monticello is near charlottesville but on the other side than the one we enter in on. maybe I can take my guys to see it tomorrow. soundcheck is early, like 3:30 w/load in an hour before that. we're playing the _starr hill music hall_ and some type of manager of the pad is talking kind of angry w/me, saying why aren't we sharing equipment and why is there three bands. I tell him hold on and listen. thalia's band don't even have drums and they use keyboards and viola - what's to share? the urchins have their foot pedal boards and big mesa boogie amps. he says the stage is too small. we get up the stairs (third load in upstairs this week!) and find the stage not small at all. the soundman, lon, is up there getting things together and he's much more calm. well, that's enough talking to this guy, I'm dealing w/lon. I ask him if this other guy is from around here cuz usually southerners are a lot more easy going. this cat has one of those definite northeast 'tudes you sometimes run into. he says he's alright, he just in the middle of a bunch of agent bullshit and is kind of snapping. I say ok, I don't want things all mean or anything, we're really easy. the soundcheck times were early cuz downstairs is a restaurant, that kind of thing. we setup and finish our check real quick and it seems lon is good people and we work w/him easy. the club boss, nicki, is very nice too and she's originally from boston. shows to go you, as they say - it's not where you're from, it's where you're at. amen, brother.

   I do a spiel w/this cat, aaron, who has an internet radio show. he asks some interesting things. when we're done, he gives me a book, "towing jehova" by james morrow. thank you. he's the cat that gave me the habaneros he grew last night. I go have some bass (the fish) in the restaurant here. it's really good - w/green beans and red taters. then it's into the boat w/me and I chimp diary, then do the pre-gig konk.

   after almost a three hour konk, jer wakes me and it's up the stairs w/the sling bag. onto the stage and what's this? no pick. I use a quarter instead. it works. tom's kind of distracted. his guitar is whining w/this constant squeal. I think the pickups have gone microphonic and tomorrow I'll ask him to use the backup tele he got in denver. he hasn't had to use it this entire tour! changing the strings every gig has certainly worked. we plow ahead and there's a good spirit by these folks so we return it. my guys are playing well and help me big time. my voice somehow holds on even. god, what I put it through - tonight's the twentyfourth gig in a row, thirtyfifth total. lon had the montiors good and that helped. we do good and the crowd has us back and I want to sing "...tweeter" towards washington dc but don't which direction it is (a lot of these eastern towns are older ones and not built on north-south grids). someone helps me but it's after the tune, oh well. we do "down on the streets" for the first time in a while, just for aaron cuz he asked for it. sometimes I'll play the human jukebox. lots of good words from folks after the show, one guy says he got a piece of a bass string I broke last time I played in this town and he's very excited. I see the promoter from that last gig, aaron (another one apart from the dude I did the spiel w/earlier) - good to see him. I see kyle from richmond, the "trans-gender wrestling champion" - hey, brother! tom tells me this cat mike has a pad we can stay at where the boat will be safe. I turn down offers from aaron, somebody who's got their apartment free and even the boss nicki. I feel shouldn't make this kid mike feel bad since he offered first. I settle w/nicki and can see she's italian heritage by her last name and we talk about that and the tour joe d gave me in providence. I got the shirt joe d gave me on now cuz the flannel I wore on stage is soaked. then it's load out back down the stairs.

   we get to mike's and it's some kind of college kid housing. he says he plays in bands and konks at people's pads and so this is his way of paying back. thank you, mike. we lay out to konk and about an hour later w/lights out and everyone in snoresville, four drunk coked-out young idiots barge into the pad - one's mike's roommate, who he said would be gone. what a roust. they want to use the living room for guess what? damn, we got to check on these things first be we accept otherwise hospitable offers - no crazed grandmothers or loaded roomates who are on the unawares. I tell the roommate who I am and I was invited and he knows who I am and says sorry. I was really mad and even wanted to throw blows - especially when one jerk went right in my face "I don't know you." well fuck, I don't know you either, asshole. I kept myself in check though. these guys finally leave. I start laughing even at the absurdity of it all. then the roommate and one other come back an hour later and jer gets kicked out of the bed he's in. I heard some of these guy's buddies calling him queer and shit for having someone in his bed before they bailed the first time. guess he got feeling weird and had to prove he was straight. they leave again. now I'm really mad. whatever - fuck, what a bunch of shit. we never asked for any of this. I know it's not mike's fault but damn. jer konks out in the living room by me and tom. these cats leave and I konk not knowing what's gonna happen next. pretty shitty feeling, let me tell you.

thursday, october 18 - carborro, nc

from tom:

   we all wake for the uneasy rest and we get out quick and on the road to north carolina, I think that was the worst sleep we've had on tour but that's always the gamble of staying on floors. we always appreciate the shelter but it is very important that it's cleared with all who live there first. we go on to north carolina and get to the cat's cradle by 4. we load in and get right on stage and soundcheck after the soundman does some work to the monitors. after the check we see the urchins and they go to eat somewhere and then we ed crawford and hang with him a bit. grand national live here so they're going come up and play with us tonight again. at ed's suggestion jerry and I walk down the street to mama dipp's for some real southern fried chicken and even though it takes some time to get our order it turns out to be well worth the wait. on our way back from the restaurant we stop by a practice place where ed, jenny and laura from grand national are practicing with the neil diamond all stars with whom they are doing a show on saturday with. I guess the front man jack does this performance once a year or so and this is the first time with grand national backing him. there are other members too that we meet when we get in the practice room. we sit and listen to a few of the songs and it sounds like it's going to be a really fun show. at about 9 I walk back to the cat's cradle to watch the urchins play another fine show. then thalia's band plays and I watch them too. when our show starts we have some monitor problems but we push on through the feedback and try to ignore it. it's a fun show and tonight we have the entire grand national come on for the red and the black as well as the sound of urchin plus baby new year (jason the mech man) for a total of eleven people. it's a fun time and we finish with ed on our last tunes too. after load out we follow jenni from grand national and neil over to their place for the night, and I lay down on my pad and am out like a light.

from watt:

   pop, wake my guys and we get the fuck out of dodge. one thing really bugs me besides those idiots being real assholes - why didn't the guy who invited us over, mike, speak out and stand up for us - where was he? why would someone do something like that, was he scared of these dicks? we all agree to make sure things are very kosher first before we accept any invites. we really don't need this kind of shit. fuck. we get in the boat and notice the car next to us. brand new - still w/paper license plates - it's got a huge bash in the front from obviously running into a tree cuz there's bark all over everything. it's like it was plowed right into one. typical. spending mommy and daddy's money on an "education." like those shitheads last night, three in the morning on a wednesday, coked out of their heads. good to know these are the future whatevers of our land. makes me feel real positive. there's lots of good people at colleges, I don't mean to sound cynical but there's a lot of fuckups too. on the whole, they are not "better" people just cuz they got a paid vacation from the real world doing "the college thing." motherfuckers, wake the fuck up!

   monticello is just west of charlottesville. it's the pad thomas jefferson built to live in. in fact, he started the university of virginia, which is what charlottesville is all about. I ask my guys if they want to see it and they're into it. we drive on in and take the shuttle up to his pad. pretty amazing. on top of this hill in beautiful virginia countryside. it's the pad you see on the back of the nickel - the first one built in the u.s. w/a dome, roman style. jefferson taught himself architecture through books. he dug this one renaissance cat name padillio. shit he dug all kind of cats w/good ideas. his big three were locke, bacon and newton. this older virginian lady gives us the tour she's really great. we go through every room on the first floor (you're not allowed up in the second or third floors cuz of the tiny narrow stairs being fire hazards) and she explains every item, 'pert near. I like her spiel for the most part except for one thing, kind of. she tries to put sort of a contemporary spin on things by quoting benjamin franklin saying "we must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." lots of heads nod sheepishly. I am tempted to ask her if she knows of another quote of his, "they that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserves neither liberty nor safety" but I hold still. I don't know exactly why I had that reaction so I don't feel secure enough to pipe up. back to the tour: it ain't that huge of a pad and a few of the rooms have eight sides. no room is the same. the first one, right inside the door has stuff from lewis and clark's trip (he sent them west when he was president - there was this crazy theory white people had that there was a water passage from the atlantic to the pacific. the idians had told them there was such a thing as the rockies and all this desert in between but they wouldn't believe it). there's maps of the americas and europe, one indian one on a buffalo hide. there's elk and moose horns and a rams head. a big clock is above the door that rings a chinese brass gong and all shows the day of the week by where the weights that run it are hanging. he didn't plan the room high enough so saturday is indicated in the cellar - he had to put a hole in the floor to fit the whole length! there's a room for his oldest daughter, martha, who ended up running the place. she educated the children here. see, jefferson's wife died after "ten years of complete happiness" w/him when he was only thrityeight and he never remarried. martha had eleven kids though. the next room has some of his books. this cat had more than eight thousand of them and ended up writing over nineteen thousand letters - he was sure into the word! he read in seven languages. I see a multi-volume set of cerantes' "don quioxte" on a shelf. I read this while touring w/perry and dug it much. then there's his room where he konked. he had his bed in a little space between his "instruments" - astronomical and surveying things, a machine than attached two quills together so he'd have copies of his letters, all kind of mechanical things and a place for paintings, mostly portraits of cats he admired: franklin, washington, lafayette, adams, locke and others. one thing I notice is that there's no religious items anywhere. the lady doesn't say anything about that but I notice it. funny when folks try to invoke all kinds of religious stuff w/the founding fathers. jefferson definitely had a free mind. not that it wasn't torn. he said he though slavery an "abominable institution" yet he had up to 180 slaves. it seems he was afraid to set them free cuz of the revenge they might exact. he said the practice was like "holding a wolf by the ears." his words about freedom are dear but I wish he would've had the guts to fight that fuckedup way of living w/your brothers and sisters (but then he did have nerve enough to take on the english king). the lady makes it sound like it did bug him a bunch and she does talk about the possibility of him having kids w/a slave of his, sally heming. she said a dna test has proved his uncle's dna is in a descendents of sally's but there's no way that the science of today can say for sure he had babies w/her. she said there was lots of talk in jefferson's day that it was true. he did set two slaves free in his will and one was a relative of hers, john heming. we move on through the pad. he's got tons of stuff from france. he was ambassador there for a while and you can tell it had an influence on him. clocks, wallpaper, silver, busts, paintings - all kind of things. even automatic french doors that had a bicycle chain under the floor to open the other door as the other was opened. then we go to where they chowed. the lady said up to twentysix folks chowed here twice a day - damn, this room must've been jammed! there was an all-weather passageway under the pad where the chow got wheeled into from the kitchen much further away. jefferson dug peas - grew twentyfour different kinds and there's a big silver bowl full of them w/a pretty huge spoon beside it. the lady said it was "his favorite vegetable." on each side of the fireplace there's two small dumbwaiters to bring up wine - probably one to send down bottles and one to bring them up! we go into the bedroom called the "james madison room" where him and dolly madison stayed. lots of the furniture was made right here by jefferson's people - one was that cat he freed in his will. most of his businesses lost money except one - the one that made nails. folks from all over around here bought them at the time. he loved his gardens and orchards. loved flowers and especially trees. I walk through the all-weather passage and see two big cellars where the wine was kept - damn! then there's the only head I've seen in the whole pad, it's called a "privy." I walk out by myself and down mulberry row, where the slave quarters, smithy's and saw mill were. damn, tiny. monticello ain't so huge but compared to these foundations (all that's left), well... I get to the graveyard at the end of the row. it's fenced up and locked. lots of his descendants buried here. that's where the fight is today w/the descendants of sally heming is about - who gets to be buried there. jefferson's grave is at one end and while lots of the other graves have crosses and stuff like that, his is a big obelisk, taller than a man - like the washington monument on the national mall in dc. the inscription on it is one he wrote himself, something like "writer of the declaration of independence, u.s. president, secretary of state and author of the virginia statute of religious freedom." he said he wanted no more or no less written on it. he died on the fourth of july, fifty years after writing that declaration, where he said "all men are created equal" when he was eightythree. I take the little trail through the woods to the parking lot alone, under these trees he loved. seeing and being around all this has a profound effect on me and makes me think much about things. I thank this fellow virginian for rocking some think-boats in my head and giving me stuff to chew on. too many simultaneous parallels to spiel on here but let me just say my mind was full and I felt quite singular about those moments. like to dancing to that creedance song and memories of d. boon flooding on me. I think of him again - and mister jefferson - and this world at this time. some weird kind of sense seems to click. I get some lemonade, piss in the head by where you buy tickets (it cost eleven bucks to do this) and then in the boat, write that passage from "the mansavi" that I read by random yesterday.

   tom and jer come back to join me as I finish that last line and we're west on the I-64 towards richmond. from there, we head south on I-95 by the phillip morris cigarette factory. at petersberg, southwest on I-85 and across the border into north carolina and on to durham. from there, the south us-15 to carborro and the _cat's craddle_ for tonight's gig. we soundcheck quick w/soundman ray. seems he's kind of new at this. I say hi to boss frank heath, one of my favorites in the whole circuit. he's a good man, always has been there for me. thalia and her cats show up and us j & t peeps take a shot w/her at the boat's aft w/her pointing at the bullet hole in the hatch. violence is never a new thing, same as it ever was. I go do a spiel w/this young man kyle who writes for a skateboard zine. like I've said before, I always dig doing spiels w/skaters. then it's to the boat for some konk.

   I miss the folks we've played w/all week, the urchins and thalia due to konkage. jer gets me and it's show time. right away, in the first tune, I realize my voice is gone. sure, the monitors are wack but hardly anything is coming from my throat. it's a fucking webcast too, damn. this blows my confidence out of the water and I go on to a horrible gig, probably the worst of the tour. tom and jer are doing good, it's watt that's letting the team down. fuck. I feel like a real bozo up here on stage. I clam and I gag, aaaarrrrrrggggggghhhhh... the urchins and edward's _grand national_ (him, jen and laura live here) join us on stage for the b.o.c. song - damn, eleven people on stage - an out and out orchestra. I do better for that one. edward plays all the tunes he did w/us when were just on tour together and he's blazing. good work, edward. repeatedly, I do incoherent spiels that reflect the turmoil of fucking up so bad in my head. aahh, I can't wait to get done and this is bad. I sush one heckler, saying I'll give him the mic next and then later, I find out it was edward himself! what a fucking idiot, watt. we finish, I apologize for the lameness and then sling. lots of kind folks w/kind words for me. I feel very not worthy. the twins, jumbo and tahred hand me up some righteous care packages w/'dines, pear juice, apples and homegrown habaneros - all great stufff. jumbo's wife, laura, gives me three cakes of soap she made herself - what a sweet thing to do. tim, j's helperman from the last tours I did w/the fog and who's also the bass in _cursor_ says hi and we have big hugs. robert too from the old sst days is here - last saw him in lawrence. what happening vibes from everyone and yet I feel so bad about fucking up in front of them all. aaaaarrrrgggghhhhh. a nice good bye to frank and we load up.

   we follow jen to her and her boyfriend neil's pad, not too far away. jen has the mask I donated at laura's folks' pad. that is a blessing. I lay out on the couch in my bag while jer chows and yammers w/them in the kitchen. the gig keeps going over and over in my head and I can't shut that internal movie projector off. it's driving me crazy. somehow, something relents and konk frees me from the incessant rounds of self-criticism. buried deep in my minus twenty bag, I'm buried deep in feelings of worthlessness. regrets, regrets, regrets. aahhh - bad night.

friday, october 19 - atlanta, ga

from tom:

   in the morning we are treated to some breakfast from jenni and we chat with her and neil for a while and then hit the road for atlanta. it's a long drive today and the roads are clear but we hit some serious traffic outside of atlanta and it extends our trip for a couple more hours. it's an eight hour trip by the time we get to the club. we pull in the back parking area of the e.a.r.l. and I remember playing here a couple of years ago with the red krayola. it's a nice place with a bar/restaurant attached in front and a live music area in back, so after soundcheck jerry and I get a bite to eat in front. we watch the urchins souncheck on the t.v. that's linked to the back room as we eat. jerry and I go down the street to look for a halloween costume for jerry and we see dave and barry of thalia's band and shop in a used clothes store for a while and find a couple things for jerry and then head back. the urchins start the show and I watch them rock out the crowd, and then thalia does her set but it's a short one tonight for some reason. we go on and jam through the songs and people dig it. at one point watt's monitors go out and palmer the sound guy gets it working again and does an over all good job on sound. we're just plagued by monitor problems though and it has really taken it's toll on mike's voice. the urchins come up on the red and the black and we finish up with a good energy. after the show we talk to some people we've met before and some new ones and then we have to load out again. tonight we only drive a few blocks to grace's house and I do my usual pad on the floor and immediate konk.

from watt:

   I pop still thinking about all that suckass I blew out last night at that gig. man, does it eat on me. I hose off wishing those feelings could was right off me along w/the filth right down the drain. we got kind of a hellride, almost four hundred mile to atlanta so I get my guys up at 9:30. neil makes me coffee, french-press style. he's got trane's "love supreme" playing on the stereo. thank you, neil. jen makes us bagels w/scrambled eggs, cheese and these sausage pucks on them. it's a bright and sunny day so I concentrate of being thankful for that and try to shake off last night's grief. we pile in the boat and jer immediately konks. we're west on I-85 through greensburough, charlotte and gastonia (lake james worthy's home town). eye pleasing sights through the windows and the freeway's way happening. this route used to be so tore up and lame for so long. it's a smooth ride now. over the border into south carolina, we pass the bmw car plant and then greenville. over another border and we're in georgia. that's where soon the plug starts. we're bumper to bumper for like two hours. damn. I stay calm though, that's why I left early to allow for this kind of shit. this town can get like that. people are driving all crazy and angry though, it's pretty disheartening to see your "fellow american" treat each other like shit on the road - flags displayed for show cuz what's that all about anyway if it appears nothing but a pose when your actions say so much different? oh, I get it - it means they dig a war - one oversea and one w/each other.

   we finally pull into the back of _the earl_ at 6:30. my friend gracie and her sister-in-law, andrea (big w/a baby coming), take me to chow at somewhere called "the flatiron." I get tomato soup and a falafel. good gig chow. we're in east atlanta and it's one of those places where young people are fixing on a beat-up neighborhood. I think that's a neat thing instead of running to the suburbs and letting the older parts of town crumble. we talk about you-know-what and I get carried away w/myself and really start going w/what's running through my head these days. all those little lines of thinking that's been playing on me day to day in one big rap. I try to stay to the point but so many tangents wheel off and spin me out and then I try to gather myself back in again - all this has got me unravelled kind of hard. I don't feel scared about talking about w/gracie those cuz she's very giving but it must kind of seem like crazy talk. I'm just fed up w/pablum spoonfed easy answers. what I got going on in my head is big questions. I tell her I would make a very bad fuhrer. if some insane reason I was put in charge of something and had to issue "requirements" or "directives," I would ask for two things: in order to graduate from school, every kid would have to (1) visit all over this u.s. and at least half the other countries in the world BY THEMSELVES and (2) learn drums. that would be it. well, I bogarted our whole meal w/what's on my fucking mind and I don't get to learn anything about what's going on my friend or her sister. what a fucking nutcase I am. this is one reason I spend so much time alone on tour - I hate doing this to people.

   I do a spiel w/a cat who asks me some good things. he plays bass too even. he asks me if one can still write a protest song "after sep 11" and I say fuck yeah, you can. it's not a traitorous act to speak your mind if something's bugging the fuck out of you the way things are going down. shit, I'm a minuteman. always will be. back to music - he asks, "how is your bass playing different now days?" I wonder if it really is. I tell him it's like riding a bike: after a while you don't fall down so much but how do you get better at the actual riding? I think it's more about where you take that bike. he has his bass and asks me to sign it w/my name. of course. he shows me a book he's reading: "peace in the middle east?" I thank him for all the good questions he asked, none of them were cliche. I go back to the club and we do soundie w/knobman palmer. he's cool peeps, very reserved and not a go-off. this is a good thing. trippy low stage here at this pad. I think I'm going to like playing here. I sign this cat matt's bass. it's a little one too but the kind miss koko played in her last days in the _leaving trains_. once, in a gig w/them and the _madonnabes_, I had to use it cuz of something went wrong w/mine. it was made by gretch and played good. matt said it was econo. he gives me a backwoods too.

   I go get the email off the phone line and then retreat to the back of the boat. looking through them, I get the neatest letter. my whole mood changes. I can't konk, I just lay in there, thinking, thinking, thinking. I got a hankering to chow some pork bad. it takes up all my thoughts for an instance and then I'm calm - calmer I've been all tour. my thoughts turn subtle w/no jumping about. I'm floating on water and cool breeze is gently pushing me about. it's as though I have no body. the time slips by like that as I'm in this suspended state. it's quite bizarre for me. tom opens the hatch and says it's time. the pad is packed. the monitors are fantasatic and the sound on the stage is amazingly clear - almost like the practice pad I got in pedro where I can hear everything accurately. what a trip. my voice is back. not all the way but it's there and I'm not as scared and have got some nerve up. we do a great gig. thanks, tom and jer. I did have to have tom bring his amp in closer and turn it towards me. I really lean on tom for playing tight and intense, he's great inspiration. jer too can now look at me more and let me know he's right w/me. thanks again, both you guys. true brothers. I have to say I'm real tired cuz of no konk beforehand but I feel I've recovered from last night's hell and did good for the folks. I notice I have the same flannel I wore last in nyc - I'm funny about my shirts, they have big meaning for me. the monitor amp blows out at the end of "the big bang theory" but palmer runs over quick and gets things fixed back up. thanks, bro. the urchins join us for "the red and the black" and tonight scotty plays actual instead of "air" guitar. jason sings a little too. great. encore for us. this time when we do "...tweeter," I make sure I know which direction washington dc is before we start it and direct it there. we do "down on the streets" for a final encore. the cats from c-11 are here and they are full of good wishes. lots of the crowd are, as well as the club people. the boss john gives me a hundred dollar bonus. this lady has me sign a poster for some guy who lives in s.f. now that somehow was helped by what I do. some trippy connections. I stayed w/those c-11 cats before and saw the shrine they'd built for d. boon - it was beautiful. their bud tom from the _rent boys_ says hi and gives me megahugs. this was a mindblow of a night. I'm glad I got it together and did the gig good. thank you.

   gracie gives directions to her pad, it's only blocks away. good. safe place to dock the boat too. her brother stephen is there and talk gets to... of course, I start to get into it by I'm so beat. gracie saves the day (night) and says, "stephen, we should let watt sleep." lights out. me and jer first have to have laughs about tom sucking the paint off the walls w/some snoring then we too konk and probably joined in w/him in some twisted sort of harmony. I couldn't tell for sure - I was konked.

saturday, october 20 - athens, ga

from tom:

   we wake and I get up and clean up and gather my stuff and mike is talking with the people of the house so jerry and I decide to find some food down the street near the club we played at last night. we have a standard breakfast and then we walk around the corner to where a music store is and I look into a replacement pickup for my guitar and they don't have one so we just brwse and then walk back to the house. mike is in the van and so we hop in and then roll towards athens. it's not too far away and we are on some old country roads through some beautiful landscape and as we're driving through a little town we see a music store and I run in and they have a pickup so I buy it. I've been putting a lot into my equipment this tour but that's what happens when play hard every night. when we get to the 40 watt club we load in and mike helps me put the pickup in my guitar and we try it out and I still have some problems with it so I'll proboly play my other guitar tonight. jerry and I get something to eat nearby and we get back to the club to wait for soundcheck. the 40 watt has a nice sounding system in ti and we hear that iggy pop played here a couple nights ago and if it can handle him it should be just fine for us. soon the sound guy chris gets things rolling and we do our check and then I hang in back for a while. the urchins are here and it's our last show together as well as with thalia, barry and dave, so we it will be sad to see them off at the end of the night, but right now we're just getting ready for the show. before the urchins start jerry and I get hot dogs from jb the sausage man out front and then listen to tomato 11 explain his band/audience philosophies to the crowd before they kick into hanks on the moon and then their great zen magic marker that sadly will be the last time I hear them do live for a while. they stop to explain a few more things aout the tour together and try to get some audience participation where tomato asks the audience "what's the worst thing that's ever happened to you?", and one guy answers when someone fell off a ladder on top of him. from there the powered through their set and thanks to an additional smoke machine that the club had the stage was totally smoked out for the solos. tomato even did an extended drum solo for a change and jerry got up to free tomato up to sing the boys are back in town. it's a great show and a good way to remember them by. thalia and her band get set up and start to play and the sound is really good so I hear everything very clearly, her songs are very moody so it's great to be able to hear all the words. I sit and watch with thalia's friend julie and it's nice to talk with her about the songs cause she's known her a long time. the show goes well and the people really like it and thalia plays a long set so she must be feeling good about it too. after thalia's done we start to move our things on stage and we get started. we have good sound onstage and we can communicate so that helps us play well. when we get to the red and the black we get all the urchins and all of thalia's band up for one last jam out. it's a blast and then we finish up with tomato 11 playing floor tom on funkier than a mosquito's tweeter and then we're done. we have kind of a long pack up mingling with the people of athens and the urchins and thalia, dave and barry till we are finally loaded and say a final goodbye to everyone and make our way to the club owner barry's house to sleep for the night. her house is a beautiful victorian mansion and really kept up nicely, and her friend doug shows us each our rooms with real beds and I go right to sleep.

from watt:

   pop up early and hose off. trippy setup here, two knobs but one is for flow and one is for temp even though it looks conventional it's kind of a euro thing. trippy bar of soap too - it's clear w/an alien in it - whoa! I go out and hoof down the street, soaking up the warmness of burning yellow sun pinned against a cloudless bright blue sky. I return to almost the same spot we played last night and chow at a pad called "good news." no paper for me though. I chow a denver omelette - no toast though, is that how they shovel stuff here? no complaints from me though, I'm here to learn. I hoof back and see a black mason hall - the "smooth alabaster" lodge. prince hall, you know (what most lodges w/black men are).

   I return to gracie and craig's pad and they're up now along w/stephen and andrea. seeing that lodge and relating it to them finds them wanting for more info about esoterica and arcana so I start getting into that: relating all the templar, masonic, jesuit, u.s. founding fathers, trippy sayings, layout of dc from the air, umberto eco books. leigh and blangent, "the hiram key," 23-skidoo - the works. well, as much as my tore-up throat can handle. they're fun to talk at. like I said yesterday, gracie is very giving. what I really want to talk about though is her and stephen's little brother abe. see, he's a bass player who's been to college and got a degree in music. abe wrote me for advice on what to do w/music and this has perplexed me. I want to explain now to gracie and stephen the problems I have w/my "telling abe what to do." in order for one to find their own voice, is there any "one" path one can take? when I think of my own life in music, I can't imagine a more tangled path and series of accidents and coincidences. it boggles my mind to contemplate it. even as I go along these days and I have such a systematized way of touring and such, there's still so much improvising and living in the moment. in some ways, I don't think what I do is really just about music. I try to mix in all kinds of ideas. what punk did for me in the 70s was blow my mind and I'm trying to bring that tradition to others. not in the same terms w/the same device but something that's of my making. that's my intention. if it takes notes, fine. if it takes rhythms, great. if it takes symbols, ok. if it takes gestures, then yes. stories, ironies, flannels, beards, dark glasses - whatever! this makes me feel weird and a little unnerved about trying to talk about "music" w/someone schooled in "music." sort of like trying to tell a literature graduate about writing just cuz I chimp out these diaries! I feel kind of insecure about it. outside, w/just gracie - I tell her maybe abe might not dig this life anyway. the way I live and the price for working the towns and trying to make wild tunes is pretty intense. it's very lonely. it's very scary. there's no security. you keep having to go up to bat, night after night and find some self-worth somewhere. you can't believe the hype or else drown in bullshit. you can't ever "take it easy" or the world will roll on by and this week's brigade of robot puppets will stomp you down and wipe you out. like mister jefferson said, it's like "holding a wolf by the ears." you can't let go and you gotta live like if you're going down, you're going down swinging. there's nobody to coddle you, to take care of you and deep down, you know you don't want that - you know nothing intense can grow from that and you just gotta find where that wall is by pushing on it - not relying on others to tell you where it must exist. I am driven to this. I can't expect most folks, especially "musicians" to be any part of my crazyness. what advice can I really give? I tell her to tell him to read the spiel in my diaries and have some good laughs. hopefully, he'll find his way his way. I think that's the only way. I was lucky - I learned music w/d. boon and I'm still his bass player. always.

   we make the short hike east on us-29 to athens, the college town - home of the university of georgia. go dawgs. they're playing football here today. on the way, we see a music store and tom gets a new pickup for his older tele - a duncan quarterpounder. nice and easy drive and we're at the _40 watt_ by three. good navigating, tom. I borrow a soldering iron from the tattoo place in front and put the pickup in tom's tele. still howling but much better tone. I'll have to replace the caps and volume controls, might be some resonances going on there. I go down the street and get a falafel. good gig chow. load in and jer puts the collection of pissbottles I got going in the back of the boat in a box and dumps them, says it's now become a health issue. we do soundcheck w/monitorman dan and front-of-house man chris - both great cats. last night the c-11 cats wanted me to go to friend of their's pad, "transmetropolitan" and I stop bye to say hi. due to the big game in town ("go dawgs"), there's hombre (cops) all over and this makes me want to get back to the venue quick. there's an older black cat outside at a bbq thing selling hot dogs (his style) named jb who talks to me a little about the current climate. he says to me he senses a lot of supericiallity w/so-called "being united" and he wishes for a more caring vibe, especially if they're talking about god and stuff. good words for me. I say thanks and go to the back of the boat and konk.

   it's hours of konk and it was so sweaty starting out, I had my shirt off but now it's cold and I'm shivering sort of. oh oh. one more final gig w/the urchins and thalia and though I miss the urchin set, I do hear thalia's through the bulkhead. very pretty music and uncannily a little like carla bozulich - she even plays a hangstrom guitar. still much her own thing though. it's our turn. latest gig of the tour, we;re starting at 12:20, damn. kind of hard on my throat but dan does good w/the monitors to help me out. I fuck up "caroline says" so bad I have us start over. webcast too - damn! oh well. my men are playing like champs and help me much. the crowd too. we bring up everyone for the b.o.c. tune, thalia and her band too - one massive jam. one last blowout w/everyone. great! thank you all so much. I ask which way to dc so I can direct "...tweeter" that way and knobman chris helps me out. thanks, chris. I should get my fucking bearings before I get on stage, huh? since iggy played here a few days ago, we do "down on the streets" in his honorr instead of "what gets heard?" for an econre. good word from the folks afterwards. some cat has a little bass like mine and wants me to sign it, I'm very honored. work it well, bro. one cat wants me to sign a poster for his wife in his army that he says is getting trained for the war afghanistan. I write "bass, love and peace" - I don't know what else to say. I hope she'll be ok.

   big hugs to thalia and her crew - I ask if I can tour w/her again in the spring. hugs too for the urchins and a shot w/them outside the boat w/me inside at the wheel. fitting. we load out and jb, the bbq cat, says he came into the venue to watch. he asks, "mike watt, are you sure you don't have black men blood in you cuz you work that bass that way." I say I'm sure I must cuz that's the way I feel and who really knows? maybe I got some of sally heming's blood? that was a very nice thing for him to say. I tell him "much respect" and shake his hand good. he gives me a free dog. damn, is it good - his special sauce, the "comeback sauce." thank you, jb. what a very righteous man and very kind. the boss, barrie - a very sweet boss, has invited us over to her pad to konk. a righteous pad, I've konked here a few times before - maybe the most righteous pad on the tour - all very unique and special. I sleep up in "the tower." I'm very weak from the gig and jer makes me some echinacea tea. thanks, jer. I roll out the sack, get out of the wet duds and crawl inside. I am so beat. I'm under attack too, I had fever most of the set. I will beat this shit back though, I will not let it take me asunder. I must submit to konk though and quickly do.

sunday, october 21 - jacksonville, fl

from tom:

   we get up early and get in the van to start our long drive to florida. I think we all got some real rest last night but jerry's still tired and konks out on the back seat and mike and I get some coffee at a place called jittery joe's and then to the highway. as we get closer to florida it starts to warm up and by the time we pull into jacksonville the air is thick and sweaty. we're alittle early to load so we park around the corner and do our laundry and watch a little football in the air-conditioned laundrymat. at 6 we can pull in front of the club and park and then we load, set up and check. tonight we playing our first of six shows with the phily band burning brides as well as a local band called the cadets. when the brides get to the club we meet them and and talk alittle about getting them on to play the red and the black. before the cadets go on jerry and I walk down the street to get some food at a little place in the middle of a beautifully restored plaza area and I get a little pizza and eat quickly to get back in time to see some of the cadets show. they have a kind of surf-wave pop thing with synth and abstract guitar parts and some high pitched vocals and I think they're really good. they don't sound generic to me, like they are only playing for themselves. then the burning brides go on and they're a three piece with dimitri on guitar and vocals, mike on drums and melanie on the bass. they have big equipment so it looks like they'll be loud but when they start it's just a full kind of sound that isn't too much for the little room of jack rabbits. thay play guitar drivin rock songs a little like the stooges and a little like mc5, and one song reminds me of the soft boys. they're fun to watch and even though it's a small crowd tonight they play all out. when they're done we move the amps so dimitri's amp is still on stage and then get ready to play. our set goes well and we call dimitri and mike from the brides up for the red and the black and then dimitri plays down on the street with us too. at the end we load and get in the van towards mikes friends place in st. augustine that's about 45 minutes south and he has places for us to sleep and that's what I do.

from watt:

   pop and hose off. hellride to jascksonville so we have to bail early. us three bail silently while those in the rest of the house are konked. bye barrie, very kind of you for such nice hospitality. another brilliant fall morning w/the sun out shining bright, lighting up the righteous colors painted on this likewise righteous pad. we roll. there's some coffee pad called "jittery joe's" and we stop to get cof. I get a "crackaccino" (their word) and hot cocoa for jer (he drinks no cof). we're south on the us-129 for macon. sunday morning makes the ride easy through what's posted as the "antebellum trail." pretty peach orchards all along our route. I want stop for boiled peanuts but drive on we must. at macon, we try a radio shack for parts to replace all of tom's old tele's electronics - he's still getting howls out of it - but this place isn't open 'til one. what? we roll on, south on I-75. at valdosta, we get gas and jer finally wakes, he's been konked the whole time. he's hungry. I've been chowing on some 'dines and crackers w/some bites of the fresh habaneros I got in between and the belly is well taken care of. I get some zinc cough drops to fight this sickness attack. I will scattered these bugs that assault me. over the border into florida and then east on the I-10, the same freeway that starts in santa monica, back in cali. one very long road, from pacific to atlantic - damn. all the tourist traffic that was jamming us w/cutoffs and crazy driving on the I-75 is now gone and the sailing into jacksonville is smooth. rain clouds have appeared in the sky and the humidity has climbed to the sweaty stage. damn, it's almost the end of october too!

   we're in early enough to hit the laundromat a block away from where we're playing tonight, _jack rabbit's_, in the san marcos part of town. really dig pad's the have laundromats close by - wish everyone putting on shows could organize their venues this way. being sunday, I call my ma - everything ok in pedro - I call nanny too. paul, the bartender, opens the pad and we load in. tim, the boss, arrives and gets me hot water for the throatcoat tea, that helps w/the soothing of the worked throat I've got. damn, what I gotta do is minimize my spiel but being watt, you can imagine how hard that is. he gets some melon fruit for us too and it's really good. thanks, tim. we do soundcheck w/soundman keith - he's never heard my stuff but he's gonna get learned fast. it's always funny w/folks new to your sounds that end up being the fourth wheel of your ride. they don't know what's coming but you can tell they're interested. that's good - if it's working on them like that, you know they might get a little inspired and not just think it's just the same ol' same ol'. that's a very good thing, keeps things in the moment. your knobman is like the tranny if you think of your band as the engine - it all filters through them, no matter what you're trying to get happening on stage. that's why it's very, very important to start good right off the bat w/a good rapport w/them. either that or get a big dose of the "suck knob" during your set. a lot of what you're doing is in their hands and you want them trying their best.

   we have a new band w/us this week, the _burning brides_, from phily. I met them when they were opening last year for _the fog_ when I was helping j. they're an intense power trio in the _stooges_ vein. they have an intense frontman, dimitri. the openers tonight are _the cadets_, local young men who sound a little like the old _feelies_ (from hoboken) or the more recent _peglegasus_ (from austin). this is what I gather, hearing their soundcheck. when I talke to them after, they don't know about those bands really - ain't that a trip? things relating w/out a connection. funny thing about music. the bass cat has a boom stick similar to kim's (sy) from the old days. you don't many of them, an ovation - it looks like a boat oar. hugh manatee, an old friend says his hellos - great to see him. rob too, my buddy in saint augustine. we'll spend the night at his pad after the gig. I go out to the boat to konk.

   the boat is right next to the pad. this means the sound of the gig is blasting right through. that and all the sweatiness make it hard to konk but even so, I lay still to replenish energy - that was a seven hour drive from athens. both openers sound great from inside my sanctum, I dig it when bands have their own style and it's very distinct - that makes for a great bill - lots of breadth. who needs a world of clones? I grab the sling sack and head for show time. whoa, maybe the smallest crowd of the tour but no matter - I'm gonna play my brains out. I'm hoarse but still manage. tom and jer are essential w/super playing. really, really sharp tonight - we're like one organism w/different brains but in sync and in the moment, bringing out the different dimensions of the sound in a conversation type of mode, the way I like it. much respect to these two men. I have a little trouble w/going flat - I put new strings on at soundcheck and fogot to really give them the stretch. the way I wrestle this little machine, that's a must. stupid watt. not too bad though. the dynamics of our set are really good, we get very tiny and then very big - we got the whole room drawn on our playing. tom and jer's performances are really making me smile. thanks, guys. we bring dimitri on for the b.o.c. tune. he does great. we get an encore and brike the bride drummer mike for "...tweeter." he's never heard the tune but plays jer's floor tom right in step. alright! we bring dimitri back on for "down on the street" and I make a motion for him to sing the second verse. he sings a verse from "tv eye" - whoops! he also leaves his amp on and guitar ringing for the last tune, "down w/the bass" and tom has no chance in hell of hearing himself singing w/the feedback drone drenching the stage. keith forgot to turn his monitor back up after his bongo wail too. tom still gives it a great go though. amazing how his voice has held up. tom's really helped me out w/that asset. the crowd, though little is big w/spirit and I'm so glad I did this gig like I was in front of ten thousand people. gigs are that important - everyone of them. you never know when you're last one's coming so you can't pull any shorts. never. that's one heavy sin.

   we pack up. I ask jer to make the drive to saint augustine cuz I am just drained. and weak. jer does a good job, following rob south to the oldest town in the u.s. 1565, damn! we get to rob's and it's immediate into the sack for watt. I'm more sore than you can imagine. some mota helps ease me. konk soon comes swift and sure. thank you.

monday, october 22 - orlando, fl

from tom:

   we ake up and rob is making some food already and he makes me a cappucino with his espresso machine and we talk till it's time to eat. I've stayed here before when the pliers toured through and rob makes the stickers for mike and he knows that I'm into tile and so we talk about that for a while. st.augustine is the oldest founded city in north america, 1565, and it's a beautiful historic town to see with a lot of ceramic tile like the stuff that diana makes. there is deffinately a lot to see here but today we just hang out on the deck and eat and talk and waith for the burning brides to come by for some food. after the brides show up and eat we all follow rob to his shop to pick up some shirts that he's giving to us and then ot's back to the road southward to daytona and then west to orlando. when we get to the club we load in and get ready to soundcheck. the brides show up and load in too and then jerry and his friend steve and I walk across to the club owner, jim's restaurant and get some food. the brides join us in a few minutes and we sit and talk and eat. I have some stew. back at the club the first band, sunset valley is playing and I remember playing with them when the pliers played in portland oregon 2 years ago. apperently they've moved to bozeman montana now and they're touring on their own so it's cool to hook up with them again. we're playing tomorrow night with them too. I listen to the show and they are really cool, good songs. then the brides go on and rock hard and play a fantastic show. we get on after a little bit and play hard too and even though it's kind of a difficult stage to communicate on because it's wide and shallow we do pretty well and we get dimitri and mike on again at the end and finish the show strongly. we head over to jim's place after we load and flip for the bed and lose to jerry so I'm on the tiny couch for the night.

from watt:

   pop early and hose off. last day of the sixth week. rob's up early too and has an espresso machine on the move. he makes me two of the little cups quick. I chimp diary as rob cuts up stuff for chow. nice easy day ahead, road-wise. only two hours to orlando and cuz of the situation there w/the parking, getting in early is not that advantageous. also, what's to do in the land of disneyworld? we'll camp out here at rob's 'til like three and then drive right in for soundcheck. rob makes up one giant batch of 'taters and cooks us up each an omelette. really, really good - thanks, rob. we have a talk about things, rob printed me up the "who cares what you think?" stickers that tom throws out in the middle of "the product." he's very aware about things political. we're joined by the brides, who stayed at some other pad and they shovel the same good chow we had earlier. it's humid again but there's more sun then yesteday afternoon when we arrived on the atlantic coast. the clouds are puffier and whiter too - not so dark and low. maybe we won't have rain. rob has this dog, murray, who must show us all who's pad this actually is. lots of curling the lip and showing of the fangs - funny, he's like two feet in length. his breed looks sort of jack russel. it _is_ his pad, however. lots of spieling in this relaxed and calm atmosphere. the bad thing is I'm gonna pay for it tonight w/the voice. fuck. the subjects are interesting however, from regionalism to interpretations of history by the people who win conflicts and those that lose (that comes up a bunch in the south but has another dimension cuz dimitri relates to us his visit to auschwitz) to the music talked about in michael azerrad's "our band could be your life" book. funny connections. rob's buddy, dieter, has some good perspectives - seeing he's kind of the only native (rob's originally from orange county in cali). it's the brides first time south and like most northeasterners (or for that fact, anyone who's never been here), they have some wack preconceived perceptions that pretty much dissolve w/the reality of actually coming down here. that's the great thing about physically going somewhere and checking things out w/your own eyes, a righteous thing about touring - besides making music. funny how stereotypes are just so fucked up - a mindblow to make the reality check that can clear shit right up.

   time to bail and we follow rob over to his screen printing place. I notice that we're on the rear tank and it's under the quarter mark. aaaaaaaarrrrrgggghhhhh... I told jer this is one cardinal sin w/me. I had a van that sucked rust through the line and things were a nightmare ever since for that ride. I tell him again that we gotta switch tanks (the boat has two tanks) or if that one is there too, pull over for fueling. not his fault entirely though cuz he's very much not used to driving. it's the first time I've given over the wheel since we were out on the plains, many weeks ago. rob's give us a bunch of shirt versions of those stickers cuz we've tossed all them thought the shows so far. then it's south on the I-95. man, are there tons of assholes driving like dicks on the road. see, florida has a lot of tourists and lots of them in rentals and there are some really bad performances on how to handle a motor vehicle at high speed on the freeway. fucking idiots. I keep lots of cushion in front of the boat and when one motherfucker keeps tailgating me, I just go slower and slower to have him get out from behind me. I just won't get into nascar mode, way too much fucking risk and for what? I ask you, what? I see no sense in the foolish shit that gets foisted on these roads. makes me really wonder about some things in this life that I have to share w/my fellow beings. the road is sacred and not to be flaunted. that's what I think. it deserves big time respect. ok, end of sermon. west on the I-4 at daytona beach and into orlando.

   the clouds in the sky are making for one righteous watercolor painting - tom gets some snaps. we pull into town and in front of the _sapphire supper club_, right in time for load in and a choice parking spot across the street. yes! young bryce is there to help us and there's a friend of jer's from pedro too. great. damn, still sweaty w/humidity but not so in the club. soundman casey has us checked quick and then I'm across the street at bossman jim's restaurant, "barako" for some kind pork. damn, is it good. it's a tenderloin rolled up around cheese and pieces of apple - what a trip. honey dripped on the outside too. there's zucchini and mushroom veggies on the side and some good garlic mashed potatoes. some really good chow. damn, ain't jim something? we're working his club, shovelling at his chowpad and later, konking at his crib. what a kind hearted and righteous man. when I think about things like this, I sure feel myself one lucky man. truly. thanks, jim.

   into the boat for pre-gig konk. it's one big shvitz back there. I have to get naked to stand it. only way. I do konk and miss the openers, _sunset valley_ but do pop to hear the last couple of brides' tunes through the bulkhead. I played w/the the valley cats once at the _maritime hall_ in s.f. once - maybe there was another time too. you know the one good thing about alzheimers? you're always meeting new people. our time has come now to play. whoa, what a midrange ring coming off the monitors - it's killing us up on stage. tonight's a really tough gig. for one thing, my voice is really crippled up. this just kills my confidence and makes me feel like a fucking idiot in front of people. affects my working of the little bass too. finally, casey gets a handle on the drone but I'm still blowing clams. it's not just me, ton amd jer are having a rough time too and as a result, it's hard for us to play together well. man, is john cale's "guts" bad - so bad, I personally apologize to him when we get done w/it. the bright spots of the set are dimitri coming up for "the red and the black" and trying some of the singing too - he does great! mike's good on the floor tom too. this time in "down on the street," dimitri sings the right words and scorches some hot soloing on his guitar. mike brings in his some cowboy w/his tom for "...tweeter" and we have a dimension added unheard yet for this tour. thanks mike.

   steve from _precious_, a local band here I really like come by to say hi. I'd like very much to tour w/him and his band - they're really good. see gave too. he's got a hellride back to tampa cuz his truck is overheating - good thing it's only a little more than a hour away. we'll stay at his pad tomorrow night - thanks, gabe. we pack up and head for jim's not too far away. he's got a righteous pad. we all konk quick. well, it's dark and I'm laying there but my mind won't let me go under. I kvetch on myself and feel intense recriminations, some really bad feelings. these happen on me time to time, I think playing a tough gig kind of brings that on. much wrangling in my head, I wrestle and wrestle w/big self-doubts and thoughts of lameness on lots of levels, not just bass operating motions. a trip how these torture sessions will not just let me be and I have to keep coming out of my corner, round after round and duke it out w/myself. somehow, someway - I do manage to konk though I have to say I have no idea how. maybe the fumes from the tank I'm running on, finally ran out. whatever, it is certainly one reprieve I am truly thankful for. amen.

read week 5 of the tour diary

read week 7 of the tour diary

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this page created 23 oct 01