"time to cat and not mouse" tour 2001 diary - week 8

mike watt and the jom & terry show

shot of watt + the j & t show in 2001

tom watson - guitar, singing
watt - thud staff, spiel
jerry trebotic - drums
(left to right)

steve kaul - the man outside the van

tuesday, october 30 - dallas, tx

from tom:

   I wake to the sound of jerry getting dropped off at spot's, and mike is on the computer. jerry and I go out on a walk to find some coffee for me, jerry already had his hot chocolate so he's just along for the walk. we come acorss a food mart and I get some weak stuff and we head back to spot's. spot gets up soon and we hang for a bit till we got to go and bid him farewell. we go north and when we pull into dallas mike takes us to the site where president kennedy was shot and we retrace the route that it happed on. it's very intense to see the locations in person finally after seeing the images on tv so many times. the turn that the limosine had to make right in front of the book depository and the grassy knoll where the film was shot from are all so cloce together and you can see how it was such a vulnerable spot for an ambush. still it's such an awful feeling to think about it and we talk as we find the club. we are early again, we have a couple hours till someones supposed to be here and jerry and I go out walking in the deep ellum district which is where tree's club is and we stop for some pasta a place that's open a of couple blocks away. we take our time and then head back to the club and wait for the place to open. in a little while someone comes to open up the club and we load in and set up. tree's is kind of a lorge room and the stage is big with good looking monitors so it might have good sound. there's a separate monitor guy named mark working too which is a good sign. we do a quick check and then I realize that I donated the coltrane cd that we play before and after our shows in austin so the soundman russell and mike's friend john take me to a record store a few blocks away to find another cd. I find a copy of love supreme and buy it and then we walk back. I kick back in the back room with jerry and talk with mark who drums for gone blind and we wait till the doors open. it's just the two bands agin tonight and the few people that enter the club before gone blind go on are lost in this huge room, but there's an a & r guy from atlantic records here to see gone blind play so they're pumped up to give him a good show. they do their set and I watch pretty much the whole thing and it's deffinately the sort of thing that a major label might be interested in. they sound like they could be on alternative rock radio stations. when they finish the curtain closes and we set up behind it. when the curtain opens the people come up to the front of the stage and there's a good little crowd in here after all. we power through our set and it sounds pretty god and by the end we feel good about it. mike's voice is still a little rough but he spends time after the show talking to the dallas people and then we load out and get ready to follow john back to his house. we say goodbye to gone blind and then we leave. I remember staying here at john's place a couple years ago and shows me a room with a bed and go right to sleep.

from watt:

   pop at the crack of dawn and hose off. go into the kitchen - spot prepared the machine and cof stuff for me before he bailed last night after he brought his home. however, the glass thing the coffee drips into has a salty film in the bottom w/a dead mosquito dried up in it. whoa! I just let the cof drip into a cup and put another one under when that one filled. damn, this is the most bitter shit I ever have tasted so I throw it down my throat quick and then go out to hoof. gray l.a.-like morning, where's mister sun? I walk along the frontage road ("the french road" as we call it) for ben white 'til I come to a place called "dan's" and chow some eggs there along w/"texas toast." it's sort of like "halle bread" in nyc (some polish stuff thurston took me to chow years ago). I hoof back and along the way have a good think. I wonder if breaths left here in this town have something to do w/it? I do laugh out loud - I don't care if the people passing in their cars see the crazy man do that - I don't fucking care. my mind feels a little free for a bit.

   I get back and chimp diary quick for yesterday so I can post week seven up on the hoot page. jer's girl kel took shots of us playing last night so I use one of those for the shot for that week's page. jer comes to the door after being dropped off by kel - she's flying back w/baby rilei to l.a., their trip to texas is done. tom wakes and soon, so does spot. we crack many jokes together and then it's big hugs w/him cuz we gotta bail for dallas. he's gonna come to l.a. in feb so I tell him I want to do gigs w/him. I will always feel a connection w/spotsky.

   easy ride up the I-35 into dallas. not too long either. jer's really tired and konks most the way. he says on the next day off (second one of the tour, it's coming thursday after thirtyeight straight gigs), he's gonna "write his novel" - meaning he's gonna catch up w/his tour diary in one drive. good luck, jer. tom gives me a look that says "wishful thinking." coming into dallas, I take my guys down the same route jfk took on his last one: down houston and left onto elm, right in front of the book depository building and in front of the grassy knoll. I always get strange feelings doing this but I think it's important to show the guys I'm w/the physical reality of this setting. folks see it so much in pictures, movies and on tv - they should see it for themselves like most things in life. this way it gives one a much different and more personal meaning than just images spun for them in a certain way. we go to deep ellum where _trees_, the pad we're playing tonight, is. we're here plenty early so I go hoofing on my own and find the pad I chowed at in the spring when I was here last w/j. it's a mexican food place and I get a torta which is sort of a mexican sandwich. soup comes w/it too. it's really good and I take two of the habanero chillies I got in houston and drop them in the soup. I'll chow that tonight after they have a good soak in it.

   load in and soundcheck w/knobmen russell (front of house) and mark (monitors). boy, this place has changed since I last played here which was w/fIREHOSE many years ago. looks like they fancied things up to make it a rave pad or something. these cats are very nice and things go pretty smooth except jer gets a little out of hand w/giving directions about the monitors. I tell him afterwards I don't mean to make him feel small but he should give him on his spiel while he does his check, let tom do it for his and then when it's my turn, let me do mine. this way the monitor cat doesn't have all these voices coming at him at once. it's so very important to have the sound cats on your side - they're like the tranny to your engine. you can spin and spin but if the tranny ain't happening, your ride ain't rolling. we have a good talk about this and he sees what I mean. jer's a good man and hears me out on this. I have much respect for him for that. thanks, jer. john lambert comes by, we'll be konking at his pad in the north of town tonight. now it's time for watt to konk in the back of the boat. before I start snoring, I chow that soup and whoa! is it blasting w/chillie heat! stupid move of watt to put the whole chillies in w/out removing their seeds. I'm gonna feel the shit on their way out in the morning. oh well - no burn, no learn.

   jer comes gets me when it's showtime. I'm thinking, "damn, tuesday night in dallas, more than three years since the last record and why am I playing this airship hanger?" I talked to russell about this before soundcheck and he thinks like me and maybe the gig should've been at the _gypsy tea room_ which would've made much more sense. too late now, gig time. the crowd is very supportive and full of good feeling so I respond likewise. never take your peeps for granted - ever. the band plays really snappy and tight. even though tom and jer were hurting bad after last night - tom w/a hole in his thumb and jer w/a blasted shoulder that made it hard for him to even hold his stick - they've both recovered well enough to roar like tigers and get small like mice w/an intense precision. I am very amazed and happy. good team. our gig is "top shelf," to quote a scot friend who lives in england. the sound in this pad is trippy, no mids - just all high end and lows. whatever, you work the room. we finish "chinese firedrill" and I tell the folks that sometimes it's hard to tell who the real assholes are so that's why we play those soft little songs so they can identify themselves w/all their fucking yammering. one cat starts yelling "fuck so-and-so" (some former cia-backed "freedom fighter" now turned "faceless coward terrorist") and I say to take that somewhere else right now. I quote john coltrane "a love supreme, a love supreme, a love supreme" and we do the _butthole surfers_ song "revolution (part two)" as the closer. I gotta run straight out the sidedoor to where the boat is docked right next to and get some rolaids going - damn, did I just get some gutwrench! those fucking chillie seeds! I go back in after chomping some and we're brought back for an encore. then I sling. the cat who was yelling that hate stuff comes up to me and says he's sorry and I tell him not to worry about it. I know how he feels but just didn't want get on that hate vibe for the gig, it was nothing against him personally or his right to speak his mind. it's what's going through people's heads w/all the mental bombardment of these times. I hope he knows what I was trying to mean. this one cat gives me his shirt - it's a good one w/those kind of pearl snaps I like and a yoke too. short sleeves like the one kirsa gave me in new orleans. a light-colored plaid, one unlike any others I got. I dig it, thank you! I sign a painting another cat made of me on wood. he painted it from an image off the wrestling record and says I don't look much like that any more - I'm too thin. I'm getting a lot of that this tour, huh? well, thanks to you too!

   we load up and it's time to bail. we gotta wait a bit for john cuz he's engaged w/some young guys who think he should support this current president cuz he's from texas. john takes a different view and makes it clear he's from texas and like, so what? weird that things should get framed in a such a way but that's how strange talk can get. we follow john to the north part of town. we get to his pad and I pull the boat into his alley where it's safe. john puffs a little mota w/us while jer shows him al eingang's site on the 'puter. lots of laughs. I'm already laid out w/the mask on. konk comes for me swift and sure soon after. tired watt.

wednesday, october 31 - oklahoma city, ok

from tom:

   we get up in john's house and he has some food ready for us so we sit and eat and talk to him for a while. soon we load up and start on the road to oklahoma city and about twenty miles outside of town jerry remembers that he left the camera in the house next to the bed he slept in. for a moment we think about getting it sent to us but then we think again and realize that's not a good idea so we turn around and drive back from memory. after a couple calls to dallas information jerry gets in touch with john and tells him what's up and that we're coming back. we find john's house agin and jerry runs in and grabs the camera and then we're off again. it starts to get windy when we cross the border into oklahoma and as we navagate to the club. vzd's is a converted drug store that's now a diner/live music room and the stage is up against the storefront windows. it's halloween today and the people working in the diner are in costumes and in the local paper the show is listed as having a costume contest. one category says "best punk legend (mike watt can't come as himself)". jerry and I sit at a table and I get tortilla soup and jerry has some hot chocolate. john from gone blind comes in with his lady samantha and they join us at our table and we just hang for a while until it's time to load in. there are people in the club eating and there's no sound person here yet so we can't do any soundcheck yet. time goes by and more people keep coming in so when we are set up and the sound guy shows up we just do line checks and don't play anything and just break down to let the first band, the american boyfriends set up to play. by this time there's a good sized crowd in the club and a lot of them are in costume in hopes of winning one of the prizes. there's a good spirit in the club and jerry and I listen to the american boyfriends do their set of pop tunes and they're really good and fun to watch. they play a short set because there are three bands tonight and then gone blind start to move their gear onto the little stage. the club is completely packed at this point and the blind go on all in black and rock very hard for the people of oklahoma city. the singer john went to high school here and his lady samantha is from here too so they have some of their old friends at the show to play to. by the time gone blind finish their set the room is packed and I think they're not letting anyone else in, and while we move our stuff onto stage the costume contest is judged so we wait till the winners are determined and then jerry and mike and I get out costumes on and get ready to play. I have a rubber gorilla mask that goes over my head and funny hat over that. jerry has a racoon hat and leather vest and mike has a plastic cape and this big dracula mask thing that's probobly imposible to see out of. soon we start and try to adapt to playing blindfolded. the show is fun and we play pretty well even though it's hard to make any eye contact. it's a good night and it's also a blue moon so it's a great halloween show. mike asks the audience for a place to stay and terri offers us her place. terri's boyfriend matt plays guitar in the american boyfriends so after the load out we follow them back to terri's and the boyfriends and some other friends of theirs come by the house too and we hang and talk for a while until it's time to get some sleep and terri goes to matt's and leaves us the run of her beautiful house for the night.

from watt:

   pop and have a deep, hot soak in the tub. not long enough to get my legs straight but deep enough to mostly submerge. then I hoof up and down the street a bit. so this is the neighborhood where mister "your w/us or against us" used to live. funny how all it takes all sorts to make up a world, huh? all the roles getting played out - scripted by who? a look inside and you find you: born alone (as a "self") and to die alone, despite the cast assembled around you at that final scene. in between, the search for how the singular and multiple are connected. symbolic bonds, reinforcing the faiths: companionship, idol worship, esoterica, economy, materialism, antagonism - all leaps to bridge that gap. inside - that same storm - the eternal one on one - acknowledged or not, pegged w/ever-changing names or futilely denied. the lies we tell ourselves to hide the truths that crush - that "truth game," to rob peter to pay paul. you step away w/a little distance (from yourself) and watch like sambo did, seeing those tigers run round and round the tree 'til they were nothing but butter, all melted. the sun is out, warm and yellow - it feels good on my face. I reflect it back into the blue of the sky.

   john is up early too. we talk. he tells me about those two young men after the gig last night who confronted him w/"c'mon - he's texas" when he took issue w/decisions being made in all our names who live in this country. he said one interesting thing was that one of them did know the koran and torah had common roots - it was a good surprise, he said. the brainwashing is not completely successful. tom and jer wake and john cooks us up some chow. it's time for us to bail.

   up to the big freeway around fort worth and dallas, then north once more on I-35. we pass a tree that's cut up to almost look like a person. interesting. jer wants to take a snap w/the digicamera and what's this? donate! aahh, it's back at john's. we find his number through the phone directory on jer's walkie-talkie and were looped back major to his pad. the donate is short-circuited and the digicamera recovered. a little more than a hour spent on the deja vu journey. we pass denton and into oklahoma, home of woody guthrie, will rogers and gene autry. man, is the clay red here! the licenses plates say "native america," me and tom have a big talk about what happened w/the "native americans." how can anyone not be sad about this? we drive on to oklahoma city. damn, is the wind blowing big time!

   this is the town where a federal building got blown up six years ago. violence. ideas necessitating "collateral damage" - we have to get beyond this shit as a species. that's what I think. I work the little bass, I need open borders and open minds. I was on tour six years ago and stopped in junction city, kansas to konk on a day off (what?) between a denver and a lawrence gig. it was the same town a ryder truck was rented to deliver that bomb to this town. a year later, two men from the fbi came to my apartment ("the museum") in pedro and wanted to know what I knew. I told them I was a man in a van w/a bass in his hand - not a w/a bomb. one of them looked like lee harvey oswald and he did all the talking. the quiet one looked like bill clinton, he spoke only at the end after staring the whole time at the pettibon drawings and paintings on my wall, asking, "did you make these?" he obviously doesn't know raymond's work. the other lee harvey guy kept asking things to push my buttons but what's up? I'm government-made, raised in navy housing. well, I guess tim mcveigh was trained by the u.s. army. I ask this guy finally, what's the bottom line here? he says, "I gotta make up in my mind if you're the one I'm looking for." whoa. I showed him my receipts, where I'd been and where I was going. I did have a fever cuz I was w/a little sickness so I'm kind of in a uppity mood, I guess - especially after he said that to me. my apartment was broken into while I was away the last tour I was on before this "interview" and my minutemen tele bass and the little bass were stole. my place was completely ransacked. I was in charlottesville, virginia when it happened and I was told by my sister. miraculously, I did get the little bass back a few years later, never did get the minutemen one. anyway, I say to the lee harvey looking fbi man, "my place was completely torn up and there wasn't that much took except for a couple of basses, an electric guitar, a portable safe w/money and some checks off a ledger - I think it might've been rightwing militia." now, I don't know why I said that except to get back at him somehow - I did have fever too so my mind was a little more crazy than usual. he asked why I thought that and I said I didn't know except why wasn't much more stole. I then showed him a picture of my pop and told him he was navy, he gave twenty years of his life and I rely on government roads for my touring - I hate those private toll roads - and how could I ever be at war w/the government when it's such a part of my upbringing and life? what could I fix by killing people? he then made a big point of wanting to take my picture, saying if I refused, he could go get it at the department of motor vehicles. I said to go ahead and take it yourself. I had a painting on the wall made by nanny, the lady who draws my shirts, and I said, "here, take it w/me standing in front of this." then they left. it was a strange incident.

   so there's a heavy feeling as I pull us into town here, sort of like that one I got earlier this tour when I came into manhattan - that heavy feeling in my heart - maybe one that doesn't have to be explained. tom guides into the north part of town, to _vzd_, where tonight's gig is. I've played here before and dig it, used to be an old drug store and is now a chow pad and a club. chad's the boss and a happening cat - turns out he was frat in school - that's funny, more stereotypes blown out of the water for watt! that's a good thing. they make me a salad w/a big chunk of tuna steak in the middle and it's good. soundcheck w/soundman rick is real late, like nine - whoa. tonight's halloween so he's wearing a robe. it's kind of special tonight too cuz it's a full moon. of course, a full moon on halloween means it's gotta be a "blue moon" (second full moon in a month) cuz the lunar cycle is twentyeight days and halloween is on the thirtyfirst. pretty intense. so is the light from the moon and when I go out to the boat to konk after soundcheck, I stare at it the longest time and reflect it's light east by northeast. I face that way on purpose in order to make it happen. it bathes my face silver and makes me feel special. silly watt.

   I call _flaming lips_ man wayne and invite him to the gig. I have a lot of respect for him - met him when the _minutemen_ first played this town - had us stay at his pad but said his name was luigi, not wayne. we didn't find out 'til years later he was the lips man and his name was wayne coyne. funny cat. had all this art he did all over that pad, it was great. he says he's handing out candy now to kids but will be by later. I'm beat and must konk. I miss both openers, locals _american boyfriends_ and the blind guys. I have a horrible nightmare while konked. I was trying to get down the main street in my town, gaffey street, and I had a big cookie sheet held in both hands. this I realized I soon needed cuz people were coming out from sides of buildings and alleys and swinging at me, trying to hit me. I'd get a few blocks down and then would be driven back. it seemed I'd never get to twentythird street, where my apartment is. in my own town even. damn. these motherfuckers had mean looks on their faces too, like they really hated me and wanted to take me out bad. I kept deflecting their blows w/my cookie sheet. I never got home. it was a horrible dream. my only relief was jer shaking me awake for our set. as soon as I pop, I put the costume jer got me, a black plastic cape and this "count batwingula" mask. the pad is packed and a costume contest just went down. I missed that too. when konk calls, konk calls. I put the dark glasses on under the mask - I want to wear them on each gig of this tour. I can't see shit so this bass work is gonna be done tonight by braille. of course, I blow so clams and the sound is so strange w/my head in a rubber bag. still, it's only one gig a year and I can sacrifice to honor it. damn though, there's no air and it's a tough go but I hang on. it's important to me, I want to do this. tom's got a ape head on. jer's got no mask, he's got a coonskin hat on and an open vest showing his chest - what kind of outfit is that? to each his own. we finish up the set and tear the mask off - finally, some air. I thank the amreican boyfriends, the afghani boyfriends, the iraqi boyfriends, the syrian boyfriends, the sudanese boyfriends, the libyan boyfriend - whoever's boyfriends... the suffocating in that mask has made me kind of more insane. I go outside the club for air and this young man wants me to wear a t-shirt that has a u.s. flag on it and says "try and burn this." man, more of this. I tell him, "I was raised in navy housing, I don't have to prove I'm u.s., I believe in free speech" - then I show him my driver's license where I got a big mustache and look like a member of the _village people_. this is enough for him. I say, "it's all right - don't worry, you can wear it" and go back inside to do the encore. it's a trip how folks want you to make statements for them. seems they understand the fascist power of people on a stage. I did make a statement that was asked of me before we did "walking the cow" though. I dedicated that song to a lady named krishna that was killed when she was run over riding her bike a couple weeks ago in austin. very sad. motherfuckers in their cars should look the fuck out for pedalers, damn it.

   I call out for a pad to konk at from the stage after thanking john coltrane (we're playing "a love supreme" before and after our show now cuz tom donated yet another copy of "expression" at the austin gig) and this lady named terri who's dressed like dorothy from "...oz" invites us. thank you much. some cats come up to talk to me who live here now but spent time living in pedro too - whoa, that's a mindblow. you usually don't meet folks who've lived there cuz most pedro cats never leave pedro. that's neat. they all say they want to move back! you can tell they're originally from here cuz of the accents but being from virginia myself - once you get the pedro bug, it's hard to shake it. you can visit other pads but you just WANT to come back, sooner or later. I'm hankering for it now. only three more gigs now. anyway, terri's friends w/the _american boyfriends_ band and they all come over w/us to her pad, which is one great house. split level and set stone floor - I lay out on the couch cuz I'm really beat. the guys from the band and a friend of theirs, jill, talk to me all night about things watt, _minuetmen_ and fIREHOSE, they're very nice. day off tomorrow so I rap - well, really mainly listen as long as I can but by four, I can't hold out any longer. I go out to the boat from a dry outfit - I must've sweated twelve pounds off wearing that getup tonight. then it's in the bag and mask down, I'm out.

thursday, november 1 - tucumcari, nm

from tom:

   we wake and navagate our way out of terri's place and onto the highway. today is the first day off since our drive from denver to omaha over a month ago.we drive through the panhandle of texas and into new mexico and make it to tucumcari by 6 pm. we gain an hour ove the new mexico border so it's very early for how dark it is outside and we pull into the motel 6 that we've stayed at before on a pair of pliers tour. jerry and I walk over to the holiday inn to eat some food and we watch some of the world series on their big screen tv there. after we eat we walk back to our room and I think we're all pretty worn out but we put the game on the tv in our room and mike and I fall asleep by 8 o'clock.

from watt:

   pop and make cof. there's three cats about and they're hungry so I feed them w/cat chow from the garage. I go to the boat to put my bag in the back and find a suv w/a rear door open and one of the _american boyfriends_ konked out, legs hanging out to the ground. damn, w/the door open all night - that's really burning the dome light. sunny skies once again. we're very lucky regarding that this tour. tom and jer get up but they're the only ones so there's no one to say goodby and thank you to. oh well, bye and thanks.

   soon we're done the road and heading west on the I-40. after thirtyeight straight gigs, we have the second day off of the tour. we're headed toward albuquerque but will probably stop in tucumcari, forty miles inside new mexico. there's quite a headwind and I gotta give the boat much pedal to push us through. we pass through yukon, home of garth brooks. you can tell cuz they got it on the town's water tower. we roll on. at the next gas stop, tom gets me a tuna w/pickles and onions at the subway place along w/something for him while I fill the tank. jer takes care of jer. he never seems to help out at fueling breaks, not even to wash the windows. tom's real good at that when I got my hands full. it's ok, like I've said before, I brought him really to do drums. he's fallen off the diary train all together - after announcing to us all day before yesterday he was absolutely going to "get everything up to date on our day off," he's now saying a fly kept him awake last night and he must konk. ok. to reiterate: I brought him to do drums. funny, w/all he doesn't have to do when we halt to fill up - he's still the last in the boat when it's time to bail. this jer is a funny guy. I must do stuff that drives him crazy too. we're all nuts, just in different ways. I will say he's been doing great drums this tour, having also conquered the eye contact and focus problems we were kind of having. these other things are just tiny and trivial and are specks of dust in the big picture of things. weird how they find their way into my diary though. I am wack. it does give me a vent and that's good prevention.

   after texola, we cross the border back into texas but this time through it's panhandle, the thinnest part of the state. the big town in these parts is amarillo and there's signs leading all the way to it advertising this "free" seventytwo ounce steak ("free" if you can eat it in one hour). we kid jer about it the whole way. he doesn't take us up on going for it, awww... (smart not to, really. even d. boon tried and couldn't do it. even if you did - how would you feel after?). we get to talking about "recycler bands." the "recycler" is a free paper full of ads in so cal that has a section where folks advertise bands that need folks. I tried one in the 70s when at first d. boon wouldn't make a punk band w/me. I can't remember their name but they were nice folks. kind of a boyfriend/girlfriend thing w/this drummer who's pad they practiced at. it was on santa monica boulevard up in hollywood and I remember going there to tom and jer. all these cats were hitchhiking on that street and I was thinking to myself, "where are all these cats going?" when I blew by the address, I circled the block and a bunch of them came running up to my car. nobody told me where they were going, they just stared at me like they were waiting for me to ask them something. I just drove on and parked and went to the drummer's pad. I think his name was chris, in fact, he would later join the _f-word_, rick-l-rick's band. well, I ask chris where was it these guys were heading and he says, "man, they're whores - they'll go wherever you want them to." remember, I was from pedro, down in the harbor, and didn't really know these parts. all three of them laughed hard. also remember, this was before aids and that business was much more wide open. they had me play _the stooges_ "I wanna be your dog" w/them for hours. it was fun but I never went back - d. boon started _the reactionaries_ w/me soon after. I think he got the picture I really wanted to be in a punk band. to this day, I can't imagine why I wanted to join a band w/out him after so many years of us playing together. I guess I really wanted to get in on that scene and wanted to force the issue w/him. jer tells us about all the "recycler" bands he was in, tons of them. in fact, he found out about the _madonnabes_ that way. rondonna (ron dinkins), the first singer, ran an ad there advertising my name as bait w/out ever asking or telling me. it all worked out though - look at things today. we get to talking about "mercenary musicians" and that kind of stuff. I say I like cats who play for the love of music and aren't trying to angle some hustle. tom is like that, he has a true love for music. I respect him much for that.

   we pass the "cadillac ranch" - an art installation that has a bunch of old cadillac buried from the driver's door down into the ground, all of them one after another in a line. they're at like a twenty or thirty degree angle and all painted up trippy. onward and through a town called wildorado and we're across another border into new mexico. we also cross into mountain time and pick up another hour. we pull over at the first rest stop for some dumping and there's some funny signs like "watch for snakes," "don't chip off wood" and "how do you rate this stop?" (w/two buttons you press to cast your vote). we get to tucumcari and pull in at a mo-six. second ho of the tour. I am wrung-out tired big time. I talk w/thalia (from _li'l pit_) about our town, pedro. there's a sikh family that owns two food marts there. the one on alma was just firebombed. this is fucked. in my own town now. this hate shit is out of hand. why? just cuz of their hats? I mean, there not muslims - not like that would be right either. see how this violence shit just seems to spiral. it upsets me to think about this. I wonder what I can do in the place I call home to help this sick shit. I'm alone w/these thoughts, jer and tom are shovelling at some chow pad. to ease my mind, I chimp diary. when they come back, I'm on the deck. they're watching the yankees play the diamondbacks in the world series, game three. the yanks are losing. it's not even eight - I don't even have my mask on but konk comes on strong and grabs the consciousness from me. for the first time in over five weeks, it's trippy not having a gig first. adios.

friday, november 2 - albuquerque, nm

from tom:

   we awake at the motel 6 in tucumcari and jerry and I run next door to the dennys and have some breakfast and then back to room 111 and on the road. it's only a three hour drive into albuquerque and we take the I-25 to the launch pad where we've played before. it's a cool club on central ave in the middle of town and jerry and I walk around to eat up some time. it's friday and there are a lot of people out and it's a great afternoon. when we get back to the club they're cleaning up from last night and jerry and I play some pool upstairs, I think we tie at two games each. at around 4 o'clock we load our stuff in and the gone blinders show up and load too. we have a couple hours before the sound person gets here so we set up onstage and then jerry and sean from gone blind and I walk across the street to a place called pearls dive and sit down to order food. the rest of the gone blind bunch comes in and joins us in the back and we all place our orders. it's been a fun a time hanging out with these guys. by the time we're done it's time to get back to the club to do souncheck and so we do it qick and let gone blind do theirs. I go out in the van and take a nap before the show starts and when I wake the first band, pilot to bombadier is playing so i watch them. people are starting to fill up the club and when gone blind go on it's a good crowd. gone blind play a good set and the club has some crazy lighting that they have going for them. I say to the light man to keep the lights simple for us, and no smoke. after they're done we get on to play and the club is packed and some people approach me who have seen me play with watt here before, it's a nice feeling when people remember me. when we start I have some difficulty hearing myself and there's nothing in my monitors so that throws me off on the first couple songs but we work it out and things start to come together. there's woman on the side of the stage near me who starts to take off her shirt and dancing wildly and it's really distracting but the bouncers come by and help her get her things back on quickly. the wonders of alcohol. the rest of the show is really fun and the crowd loves it so we come back and four more songs and then we're done. we ask for a place to stay and laura and nichole offer us a place so after the load out we follow them slowly to nichole's house. it's about 3 in the morning and mike and I sit up talking to them for a little while longer before going to sleep. it's really cool to meet nice people like them.

from watt:

   last fridays of the tour - only around fiftytwo fridays a year. damn, did I konk early - maybe eight and as a result, I pop early - like four! shit. I chimp diary in the dark. I go get some cof next door. my guys pop at like 6:30 - they konked early too. jer tried to stay up for the world series baseball game but couldn't make past the seventh inning. he puts on the tv to see what happened and it seems the yanks came back in a miracle move to win the game. I shave, still ain't used to doing that on tour and I let it build up for two days. outside, more fantastic weather - we're a lucky crew. we roll early.

   lots of white crosses along the freeway, many deaths in cars marked by them. each one makes me think and say a prayer for everyone having a safe ride on the road. how those thoughts can be so scary - the way I lost d. boon. kind of a slow go cuz we're climbing. well, not real slow but the speed limit is 75 mph and we're not near that. who cares though, huh? better safe. you leave early - you don't have to rush. we get to the _launchpad_, in the old downtown part of albuquerque like at noon. damn! I go to the post office and mail my apartment rent for november in. we're going to make up the first gig we had planned for s.f. monday and that's when it's due. I can't get a regular envelope from the postman cuz of the anthrax scare but I can get a bigger one. ok. I have to get another one for this article I want to send too. it was a nice piece done on me for an oklahoma city paper. you know, thinking about it - that full moon actually came at midnight on halloween so the blue moon is actually the first one of the next month - november, not october. it was still a righteous night anyway, so bright were those moonbeams beaming. I go get some kachina dolls like I always do when I play here. I get a clown and a bear one. the clown is chowing watermelon and has a piece on the end of his knife. clowns are striped black and white. the bear is a dancer w/a big bear-head mask over his head. they're great - love 'em. I then go chow some grilled trout at "lindy's" - an old diner pad. this is tasty - a whole fish, both fillets. only five bucks too. econo.

   we load in way early. we do a soundcheck w/soundman mike - whoa, are these monitors gonna be tough toight. no matter, comes the end of a tour and nothing can be too tough! I go to the boat to konk. brrr, I wake up and have to get the minus twenty bag going - man, has the temp dropped. I konk and having another scary dream. I'm in some area of shops along a shore, like on two stories. I keep going from shop to shop. one has canned pears for sale. I look closer at the cans - extra thick candied syrup. there's different sizes. I want to get the big giant can and I read the price - twentyfour or something. whoa, this is a lot and then I realized it's in pounds so maybe one and half times more! so I go for the little can instead. I'm already carrying a lot in my arms: my pea coat and some sacks of stuff and it's hard to handle the pears. I keep dropping things. the people at the shop keep looking at me kind of angry, I move on to the next place - some kind of chow pad. I'm dropping and picking up, dropping and picking up and the people there are pissed. I'm trying to get it together but they're getting impatient w/me. I feel so tiny and lame. the dream goes on like this, over and over 'til I pop awake in a sweat. damn, am I relieved it was only a dream - it felt so real, I was convinced it was really happening and I had no hope of doing good or making things right. kafka to the max. man, two bad dreams in two days and this is the end of the tour too! I usually get these kinds of things at a tour's start. wonder what's up?

   I get up and go get a salad and fries (I like mixing these together w/a little ranch dressing) at a chow pad called "pearl's dive." there's a shitty movie called "dune" on a tv that's parked in front of the only empty seat at the counter. damn. at least the sound is down. there's subtitles however and once when I fuck up and let my eyes on the screen I see this choice bit of dialog: "when politics and religion mix, there comes the whirlwind." whatever. I go back to the boat for a bit and soon it's our time. I missed both the blind guys and the openers, _pilot to bombadier_, a local band. this is a gig after a day off and they can be tough - a hiccup in the natural rhythm of the way I tour. our focus is kind of off. tom is futzing w/his amp and his guitar. I lean heavy on tom for confidence, especially at the beginning of a set when I'm most scared and this shakes me. I holler to get it together - just play and fuck the small shit. tom's a champ and comes on strong, in turn, so does watt. jer's tempos are all over the place but that's ok, he's making good eye contact and we're changing the tempos together. that's really what I want from us anyway, playing tight together. it doesn't matter if we all speed up or slow down just as long as we do it together. that's what I like: a tight musical conversation between three personalities. the crowd has a great spirit and moves us much. the monitors are horrible and soundman mike is trying his best - a mic on jer's rack tom falls and I gotta stop to put it on but my two guys carry on admirably. good men. even w/the clams and the stutters, I understand this cuz of yesterday having no gig, we do fine. I have some voice back cuz of the day off, one thing that something like putting a kink in the gig-after-gig flow that can bring a benefit. we end up doing every song we've done this tour but "big train." guess that one has fallen by the side. oh well. the gig's done and I sling. some cat gives me a book called "suez to singapore" by cecil brown. looks like it's about war, maybe the second world war. d. boon loved history and got me to read lots of it. we read a lot on war as teenagers. it always seemed so abstract: the dates and numbers, the miles or feet gained or lost. I know why I outgrew reading that stuff. the guy who gave it to me just handed it over and left, like he was making a statement. hmmm. well, I'm here to learn so I will get to this book. not tonight though. when I get paid, I also get two articles in the newspaper that were on me. one calls me a "slimmed-down survivor." that's very nice. the other one's good too. thank you!

   these two ladies, nicole and laura invite us to konk at nicole's in the east part of town. they're very nice and when we get there, nicole wants to look at hoot page so we both spend time at her 'puter there looking at the watt shots in hoot gallery. it's embarrassing for me but funny to watch her notice how I've changed and not changed during the twentythree years of pictures here. I'm tired anyway and have to konk. I go to the couch and get in my bag. laura comes to talk about things. she works in a psych ward and tells me about it. she has a young patient, about eighteen, who's very creative and intellegent - she calls him "doctor" - but he's schizophrenic and get out from his hurt. she tells me how the mental thing in this state is very neglected, hardly any monies put this way. kids coming out of bad situations, the drinking thing is really heavy here. she tells me after ten at night, only one driver in five on the streets in a car is sober. damn. the total number of intersection collisions is second only to the whole state of new york - many times the population of new mexico. again: damn. good folks like laura though, trying to help. this is a good spirit and something I think is really patriotic, something that'll really help the people here. it's something I can get behind. our people helping each other to make things better. not w/gestures and posturing but actually doing something. I hope her "doctor" someday gets better.

   I'm so beat, tour has worn me down so I just gotta konk. we're in the final straightaway now. damn, it's four and do my bones ache. be still, watt - let konk take you. it does.

saturday, november 3 - tempe, az

from tom:

   mike wakes us at 7:30 and we switch on the coffee for a quick cup and then we leave. we find our way to the I-40 west and roll through the beautiful new mexico landscapes to the arizona border, the weather is still clear and perfect for driving. it's a pretty long drive and when we get to flagstaff we head south towards phoenix and at a gs station we see the gone blind truck and run in and say hello. after we gas up jerry takes the wheel and we get back on the road. the scenery is great along this drive and as we drop in altitude it gets much warmer but it's still perfect weather. phoenix is a sprawling area and the traffic gets thicker miles outside of town and it doesn't help that there's game six of the world series here tonight. we go through the middle of town and south east to tempe where the club is and we pull in at about 4. we're a little early but nita's hideaway is open and we go in and get something to drink. this was technically the final show of the tour but we have our make up show in sanfrancisco on monday because of the terrorist attacks. a little while goes by and our friends bargain music walk in the club and they tell us that they are playing at another place in town with el vez and dick dale and hang out together till we have to sound check then jerry and I go with them to see them play and then they'll drive us back afterward. we join the bargain boys for dinner at the club they are playing and the bartender thinks jerry and I are one of the bands that are playing and feeds us without question and jerry and I accept with gratitude. everyone is watching the baseball game and arizona starts to kick ass on the yankees and we can hear the cheers come from the bar next door. soon bargain music do a soundcheck and then we wait for the doors to open. at his point I'm pretty worn out from the whole day and I take a little break in their van and then I go back in to see them play. there's a good crowd inside and the sound system is very good so they sound great. they are opening so it's soon over and jerry and I help them load their stuff out. it's cool to get to see them again and after the pack up they give us a ride to our club to see us play. when we get to nita's it's crowded and gone blind are playing so we all check out their set. this is our last show with gone blind and it was great to get to know them, I hope we stay in touch. unfortunately we missed the first band vin fiz, I hate to do that. after the blind's move their things we put our stuff on and get ready to play. I go out and get mike and before we go on the gone blind boys present us with some honorary cigars which we accept greatfully. we then start and on third song mike breaks his e string but it's quickly fixed and we continue and get stringer with each song. I feel really good tonight and we are all playing well so it's a good night. we finish up the set and get called back to play some more and by the one o'clock curfew we finish and mike sells some shirts from the stage and I meet a couple who offer us a place to stay tonight. it turns out that they are some people I met at our show in seattle and I remember them telling me about knowing my cousins in pueblo colorado. brian and jennifer live here now and they wait patiently for us to break down and get packed and after saying goodbye to gone blind jerry tell us that he's going to get a ride home tonight with bargain music so he pulls his bags out of our van and gets into there van. time passes and mike finally emerges from nita's hideaway and we get in the van and follow brian and jennifer to their house that's in south east tempe. there's a free bed tonigth so I crawl in and fall asleep thinking about getting home tomorrow.

from watt:

   I pop at eight and hose off quick. I roust both tom and jer. tom and nicole set the cof machine up so we get some of that quick. I check to make sure the coolant's bleed in the boat, I use the garden hose out front and let all those bubbles come up w/the radiator cap off. seemed to warm up just a little yesterday on the climb from ok city to tucumcari. I coil the hose back up when done and we're down the road, west on I-40 (the old route 66). when we stop for gas, we get some subway sandwich - I get tuna w/pickles, I'm digging that taste these days. the weather is really nice, no heavy wind today and the boat handles fine. no prob w/the coolant temp either. I give big thanks. great sights going across the continental divide. the road is really, really straight - you can see it up ahead for miles. we cross the border into arizona and past the "chief yellowhorse" stop. man, the pissers there have a stronger ammonia smell than almost anything I've ever experienced - except maybe that alley next to the mahubay in s.f. where you'd load the gear from. that was god almighty! every band that ever played there must've pissed there loading out after the gig. anyway, we roll through the painted desert, the petrified forest (well, by it) and some neat dinosaur sculptures. there's brand new ones that look realistic and some older ones that are hilarious - they got people's legs hanging out of their mouths and shit. we pass a tiny town called two guns and then one called twin arrows. I like the second one better cuz there's two giant arrows stuck in the ground. the desert fades and soon it's all fir trees. we finally see a car w/cali license plates, don't know when we've seen one last since the start of tour. that's very weird but it's a sign of these times. at flagstaff, we stop for gas again and I hand the wheel over to jer. I'm beat. jer brings us down the mountain into phoenix. whoa, does it warm up. we head a little east and we're in the college part, tempe. arizona state university is here.

   I've played the pad we're playing tonight many times, _nita's hideaway_, and get us there easy. look who's here - it's the _bargain music_ guys: josh, jeff, phil, zippy and sean! wow. they're opening up for dick dale and el vez nearby. what a happening surprise. josh tells me bud quit the _long beach dub allstars_ and is now in austin, jamming w/kurt kirkwood and krist noveselic! what?! we do a soundcheck w/soundman john. after that, I go for a walk in the back lot, where the folks here are going to have an outdoor gig w/_built to spill_ and _superchunk_ in a few days. the cat who designed the d. boon stickers I sling, robert, comes by and gives me some 'dines and stickers he made of the _minutemen_ logo and the _secondmen_, the name I'm using for my bass-organ-drums band - the one I'm using for the next record. thank you, robert. he puts one on the boat's back hatch, using the bullet hole to replace the 'o' in it. the boss is a great cat named charlie. he goes and gets me a big salad and some soup. I chow this in the back of the boat and then konk. though not humid, it's still sweaty so I get naked. I konk good.

   tom gets me for the gig and I've missed the last gig the blind guys have w/us. good crowd and we're ready to go. in the third tune ("ex-lion tamer"), I break an 'e' string. seems when I've broke that string this tour, it's always in that song. I do use a pick in it and probably come down too hard. I have been pretty good w/strings this tour, maybe breaking the least I ever have. older hands? whatever, I spiel a little while changing it, and that's pretty fast. I've had a lot of practice even w/having to use the pliers to twist and cut the string down to size for the little bass. our gig goes good, even w/the weak monitors. we really need strong ones cuz we set up so close together, the drums are 'pert near right on me. I like that, it gives me confidence have the pounding right in my face, almost the same way I lean on tom for nerve. we finish up and lots of good word from lots of the cats who came - there's a lot here seeing me for the first time. an old friend comes up on stage when the folks clear, it's jeff pinkus, who used to do bass for gibby and paul in the surfers. it was seventeen when he joined them. he's got a band called _honky_ now and he's in town to get an engineering certificate w/'puter music stuff like protools and the like. so great to see him again, it must be like eight years or something. I go back to settle w/charlie and there's soundman john and barlady amy. they all want to hear about pedro and my old punk days so I tell them. it takes a little bit.

   I finish w/that and we load up. jer's gonna ride w/the bargain cats tonight so he can get to pedro sooner. his wedding trip to hawaii's coming soon. in fact, he's gonna fly to the lasat gig in san francisco so he can fly back and get things ready for that. tom's got two friends, brian and jennifer, who invite us to konk at their pad. it's in the southeast part of phoenix so it takes a little while to get there. funny thing on the way - me and tom are convinced that we're behind brian and jennifer and it seems like they're getting a little ahead of us so I speed up. the car we're following takes an offramp and we start to follow. that's when the actual car brian and jennifer are in comes up along side us and they look at us like "what's up w/you guys?" me and tom laugh like loons - what a couple of mooks! it must've been some kind of optical illusion or something - damn. we get to our host's house after a bit of a meander and it's very nice w/high ceilings and such. I get out of the wet clothes and into my bag. the days of tour have pounded watt up pretty good. I'm even feeling a little infection pain coming on in one of my ears. tours ending just in time. brian lets me have a puff of mota and we talk a while but it's hard for me to hold on cuz I'm just so wrung w/fatigue. jennifer makes me some throatcoat tea. I bring down the mask and that's the signal. can't tell when the lights got when out but I know the spiel from my mouth stopped a little after. I konk.

sunday, november 4 - san pedro, ca

from tom:

   we ake early and mike and I have some coffee and jennifer makes us some food and then we get in the van. we find our way across tempe and phoenix and start our way out of town and towards california. a few miles outside of town I see my first california license plate since we left almost two months ago. there are a few clouds and it keeps the desert weather mild, about 80 degrees outside. it's only 183 miles to the border and when we get there we're let right in without any search, just 250 miles to go. I take the wheel in indio and we roll on through riverside and anaheim on the 91 freeway and by 2:30 we're in l.a.. p to my folks house and get some of my things out of the van and then mike takes off. tomorrow I'll meet mike at his place and then it's one more drive to san francisco for our last show. I take a bath and watch arizona win the world series and then go to sleep exausted.

from watt:

   I pop early and tom soon does too. we're heading home today. it's a trip going home before the tour's done but it's a better route to get to san francisco via l.a. rather than to follow a direction more as the crow flies. the tour was supposed to end last night in tempe but since the first gig, which was to be in san francisco was cut cuz of the september eleven nightmare (attack on the wtc), we're making it up here at the end. just have to in my mind and my men share this view. jennifer cooks us up eggs and bacon. we say thanks and bye then head west on the I-10.

   it's overcast but that's ok w/a desert run in the cards. more beautiful sights for the eyes. the saguaro cactus are righteous as are the mesas and bluffs. the desert is wonderful but then all these regions we've been through this tour have their charms. what a varied and interesting land this is. so great to be able to experience it all by rolling through it. even though I've done so many tours through this land, it always strikes me deeply and makes quite an impression. I take it all in and love it. the only pain comes when I see polluted or abused parts, evidence of so little respect for what's so obviously such a gift to all of us. the same when I go to other countries - this earth can be such a wonderful place and can send the mind so. there's always something that reveals itself new for me and I dig it, makes one humble and eager to learn and find out. your understanding of it changes as you get older and have taken in more and more. for me, it's brought me more and more respect for how rich a life of journey can be. working the towns too and meeting the people. lucky watt.

   past quartzite and there it is, the sight I've been waiting for a long time: the colorado river. this is the border and we cross into cali. the agriculture inspection checkpoint has us to stop to answer questions. only one: "where do you live?" I'm very happy to answer "san pedro." we pass through blythe. me and tom both get a kick out of offramps signs for two streets, intake and lovekin. what a combo! we continue and cross the mojave desert. I think of good things, inspiring things. in thousand palms, I hand the wheel over to tom and take a shot of myself w/the digicamera. whoa, seems this tour's added some gray. the tour and stuff around it. we see a small car and a pickup weaving on each other, aggressive driving. middle finger from the guy in the small car, he really wants to fight. the driving is crazy, risking everyone on the road's life. what stupid shit. road rage is intense - all reason out the window. challenge after challenge from the little car and finally the guy pulls off on an offramp and dares the pickup guy to "come on." the pickup starts for the offramp but the veers off. good, that's ended. what stupid fucking shit. me and tom just look at each other and wonder about our fellow humans. we sure can get angry and mindless, huh? I konk as tom takes us into the inland empire - on the pomona freeway, then the artesia freeway and finally, a little bit north on the san diego freeway. I wake to find us in manhattan beach, heading for his folks pad. his ma and pop come greet us we pull up. great job tom. I tell his folks that too. I tell them we'll take the all-land route tomorrow to san francisco and avoid the bay bridge cuz there's an alert on it (the vincent thomas one in pedro too). of course they're scared cuz of everything but I tell them about the shooting in baltimore near the boat and that insane shit we just witnessed on the freeway to remind them that all the danger out there isn't just foreign.

   I drive to pedro alone. south on the harbor freeway 'til it ends. comforting sights of the port are good on my eyes - I love my town. drive by the fishermen's memorial (some cat hefting a big tuna) and the merchant marine memorial (one cat coming down a rope ladder, stretching his hand out to pull up someone shipwrecked) - I advert my eyes to the bizarre display between these two, a fucking gun from a battleship. down past the depression era post office (workers mural inside on the wall), past our little fishing fleet, up around two giant anchors from ships sunk a hundred years ago, past slav hall, past our oldest graveyard (the smallest one) which has our first church and then up into my driveway. man, to soak in my own tub again! I go to my ma's after (she's only about twenty blocks away) and she's made me a baked chicken and some pasta. damn, a big ol' plateful, piled up! ain't ma's like that? I shovel. thanks, ma. then back to my pad. only eight but I am thumped from a tour's worth of thumpin'. onto my own deck at last and... out.

monday, november 5 - san francisco, ca

from tom:

   in the morning I meet diana for breakfast and talk a litlle while before I have to get going down to mikes and then back in the van to san francisco. I know this drive very well and it's a long one but not a bad one. today we are going to cut across from the I-5 to gilroy and then up the 101 to the 280 to avoind using the bay bridge. jerry is flying up and meeting us at the club so it's just mike and I in the van and we keep ourselves entertained over the grapevine and into the san joaquin valley. the weather is still with us and the fog from coast burns off by the time we drop into the central valley. we keep rolling and I take some pictures as we cross the halfway point and then stop for gas somewhere south of los banos. miekkeeps driving and we cut across the pancheco pass to gilroy and then join the 101 and the 280 into sanfrancisco. it's 5 o'clock when we finally pull up to the bottom of the hill club and mike and I load in and get things set up for soundcheck. jerry shows up and sets up his drums and after the soundman lars arrives we do a quick check. jerry's friend dina stops by with her friend tom and we go up the street to a nice restaurant for dinner. the food is great and dina treats us which very sweet of her and then we go back to the club. the first band is just starting and I hear a little of them and then relax in the van till the second band, slender starts and then I go in and watch them. they play kind of garage power rock and they get a good response from the crowd. after they finish we set up for our last time on this tour and mike comes on and we get started. we are playing really strong and it feels like we're playing really relaxed. it's a great last show and the club is sold out and by the end we feel really good about it and we go back on and play four more songs ending with down on the street and that's that. we spend some time talking with people after the show and eventually load out and head over to kenny and lisa's place to get some sleep and I fall asleep on the couch.

the final drive home:

   I awaken to the sound of some heavy machinery outside that starts pounding the street in front of kenny and lisa's at 7 am sharp. we all are up immediately and I walk downstairs with lisa to get some coffee at the corner shop. we go back and get our things together and get the van out of their garage and then we say goodbye to jerry whose flying back to l.a. and then going to hawaii to get married. we say goodbye to kenny and lisa too and then mike and I are on the road by 8 o'clock. as we drive south on the 280 towards san jose I think of how great the tour was and how much fun it is to play with mike and jerry, they definately bring the best out in my playing and push me as far as I can go, I'm really going to miss doing it. we had a lot of great shows and played with some great bands and met some great new friends and saw some old ones and I feel so lucky to have been part of this band. that brings me to this point as we just cross the los angeles city limit and it's a little sad to know that it's over for now but I have a lot to do to get things in my life back in order so I would like to say thanks again to everyone who came out to the shows and everybody who helped us with a place to stay and especially to mike and jerry for making it the best tour I've been on.

from watt:

   pop at like four - ha! no gig last night and my whole rhythm is all wack. I sit and think for a while. sit in my pad, in the dark and just think. the ending of a tour calls for some of that. whew - I can still my body pushed by the momentum the tour built up. at five, I go down to "canetti's," which is by the fishing boats and have some fresh halibut and eggs. it's really good. pedro chow. old smells too, I dig it. I go get the oil changed on the boat - yep, just over a week and three thousand miles gone already. big country, this u.s. of a. tom comes in his vw at ten. we're off and north on the harbor freeway. bye pedro.

   kind of gray w/low cloud cover - that's good for driving up the grapevine actually. waiting 'til ten clears most of the early rush hour plug too so I road is nice and clear up and over the 'vine on the I-5. once we're in the san jacquine valley though, the sun forces it's way through that overcast and were lit up bright. lots of grapes for raisins and much cotton are growing alongside the freeway. at los banos, we head west on cali-152 towards gilroy ("garlic capitol of the world"). from there, it's us-101 north to san jose and then the I-280 through san bruno and on to san francisco. this adds a little more time than taking the bay bridge but I told tom's ma I'd do it. if you leave early enough, you usually have enough time. all of life doesn't have to be a race if you think things through a little. helps w/stress on the gut too. I was going to hand the wheel of to tom once on the road over pachecko pass (ca-152) but for some reason, I got a second wind and just rode us all the way in. we get to the _bottom of the hill_, tonight's venue just before five. a good time. no jer around so me and tom load the gear in ourselves. I got some photos to take w/a couple of folks soon so I hope jer shows. he does after a little while - he went and got chow (I have a tiny blowup at him, asking why he couldn't of done that earlier when I told him when we plannedd to get here but then let him know it's ok, we've made it this far and things in the big picture are really ok - I just had to let off a little steam. that navy upbringing I have seems it'll never wear off, huh?), so we do a quick soundcheck w/knobman lars who's very cool peeps. I like playing this place. I do photos w/rachel for an spiel I did right before tour and then some w/mark for a skateboard spiel I did in saint louis w/guy. they both take them w/me holding my little bass and I dig that. tom and jer go off to chow but I'm beat and go to the back of the boat and konk.

   I miss both openers, locals called _all about evil_ and _slender_, I must've been out for like three hours. I grab the sling sack one more time and head in. the place is packed. thank you, s.f. folks. carlos guitarlos is here and says hi. kind of hard for me to get through w/the sack but I make it up to the stage. once more we start the wheel up. I changed the other three strings on the little bass so I got all four new ones now. I can go crazy. funny thing, while I'm playing a song, it's like my body has something to torque on, something to pivot off of but when the tune's over, I almost keel over, like the invisible strings that are holding me up go slack or something. I have to hang onto my amp a few times in between numbers. damn. it's ok - on the last gig, nothing can go wrong - right? my guys are playing great, even w/yesterday off. my voice is ok, I give it my all knowing this is it for the tour. so beat up in a way. it's ok. what I should've done is stretched the strings a little more around their posts. I go a little flat about a third into the set. not bad, but some. the audience is really happening and full of life and spirit. it was so important to make this gig up, not let it just be another casualty of that shitty day. I think of those folks killed, all of them and want to uplift them w/the little bass, move some cool air very slowly their way in some form of love. for the folks here too, alive. us here on stage, we're sweating up a storm but my guys are very impressive, playing righteous for me - such dears. I've been quite lucky this tour to have them. tom and jer, I love you both much. us three sailors, toiling these seas - life is such a trip! I couldn't have had a better crew! facing both of them, delivering the tunes - we're laughing the whole gig - damn, we did it! did the tour! we close the set and go on the patio to talk about the set a little. sure, there were some clams but it was a great last gig. I thank my guys tons. we go back out and I tell the crowd, "the tour's done and now these dark glasses can come off!" it feels great to do the encore tunes w/out them. I give thanks to "these two fine gentlemen, mister tom watson and mister jerry trebotic." the last song of the tour is _the stooges_ "down on the streets." it's the ten year anniversary of the _bottom of the hill_ and I thank ramona, the bosslady, for having an independent pad to work tunes from. it's that spirit that I think is righteous to celebrate. I tell folks to not be afraid either, even in these times - "write your own story, your own poem, paint your own painting - start your own life!" I sling for a while after, lots of good words and feelings for me and I return each of them. thank you, good people. I thank the cats from the two openers and say I'm sorry I missed them but am happy we got to share the stage w/them. same for all the openers on the tour, I wish them the same. I meet some cats from the watt list, good to see them. old pal richard riley says hi. he has a friend named jamie who plays bass and he's always asking me about "the business." he doesn't have a 'puter so I tell richard to print this diary up and send it to him. that's the best advice I can give him.

   we load up, then head for lisa and kenny's pad which is not too far away. lisa works right downstairs and they let her let me dock the boat inside the building. very nice. we go upstairs and I get out of the soaking wet outfit. tour is done. the adrenaline has me up for a bit so me and lisa talk about pedro - she was born there but moved here maybe seven years ago. I've known her twentythree or twentyfour years. we worked at the parking lot for the catalina terminal in pedro, under the vincent thomas bridge. I had just quit the jack in the box on sixth street but d. boon was still working there (we both did graveyard shift there together). her sister nanny (who makes the drawings on the shirts I sling) worked at jack too and they used to talk about these "weird punk rockers" they knew at each other's work. they thought it was so strange me and d. boon had so many things in common - they never had a clue we even knew each other! it blew their minds when they finally found out, it was funny! they each thought they knew the only insane person in pedro who would be a punk rocker! you have to remember those days. ok, I'm out of gas. one more hellride and w/no soundcheck to make, me and tom will retrace our tracks casually back from whence we came this morning. jer will fly to hawaii and marry kel. the "time to cat and not mouse" tour 2001 w/the jom and terry show is done.

   I konk and dream of the first pedaling I'll do back in my town, I dream of the salt in the air, the roar of the sea, and the "eye gifts": the pelicans, the spangles on the ocean, the tree where d. boon jumped out of on me from...

read week 7 of the tour diary

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this page created 9 nov 01