"our oars became wings" tour 2002 diary - week 3

mike watt + the secondmen

jerry trebotic in 2002pete mazich in 2002
watt in 2002

jerry trebotic - drums
pete mazich - organ, singing
watt - thud staff, spiel

(clockwise from upper left)

steve kaul - the man outside the van

monday, april 29, 2002 - columbia, sc

from pete:

   Awoke to the sound of bubbling water (there was an aquarium next to the bed I was sleeping in); I had a good conk and no bad sueno. I went downstairs and watt was chimping diary. Jerry was still asleep so I decided to take a shower while I still could; some cats had offered to take us canoeing on an old rice plantation and we had some time to blow before they were showing up. I took a lukewarm one as the heat was still at a swelter and by the time you get out of the shower you're already wet from the humidity. After I cleaned up, I went downstairs to have a little of the breakfast that Kevin had graciously made us then I packed up my stuff and piled it into the boat. Kevin was taking his dog Igloo for a little walk so we thanked him for his wonderful hospitality and waited for Brad and Garrett (the two cats who were taking us on the canoe expedition). They showed up soon after and we followed them to the old rice paddy area called Caw-Caw, which was in the woods a bit. I decided last minute to stay behind in the boat as I had some diary chimping to catch up on and I wanted to clean up the boat a bit (I also needed some quiet time). I took some snaps of watt and jer putting on their life vests and getting into the canoes and of the surrounding area (it was beautiful), then went back to the boat to TCB.

   The crew was back from their adventure quickly as we had a few hours of drive-time to Columbia. The trip was uneventful (I read and conked most of the way), and we steamed into town around 4:00 and pulled up to the pad (a place called the New Brookland Tavern) We went inside and were greeted by Cole and Leslie, the pad's bartender's (and some very kind folk) and we did the load in, then sat around waiting for the sound cat to show up. I was reading the local music rag and found a real nice article on watt and us when the monitor guy James shows up (James also was playing with our first opening band, Fling), and he told us that the FOH cat (Benji) would be there shortly; he was.. and miked us up and we did the check. Everything sounded very cool so me and Jer went next door to grab some chow. The food was very welcome and we chowed w/ fervor. Jer went back to the pad and I stuck around, ordered a capuccino (I was feeling a european vibe) and read the local paper and people watched. Around 9:00 the first band started, so I wandered back into the pad to conk a little in the back. I listened to them for a little while; they were kind of like radiohead, but w/ a softer dynamic (really nice cats too). I drifted off a little and woke up to the sounds of Spot (Il Spotto as I refer to him now). I really love spot; the cat is an extraordinary musician and has done some real amazing shit w/ some real groundbreaking bands but couldn't be more mellow or down-to-earth. I listened to the last part of his set and rapped w/ Jer and James (who I also found out shares my black sense of humor). Totally nice cat.

   We hit the stage and steamrolled thru the set (which was becoming tighter as the gigs progressed); watt was really on and the crowd was very enthusiastically into it. My left leg kept twitching; not as a result of nervousness, but probably due to the half-quart cup of capucccino that I had consumed. Once I broke into the sweat the body turned off the shake mechanism and everything was cool. I think I'm finally finding my voice (or coming out of my shell) on "Amnesty Report" and the other songs I spiel, and my playing is becoming a little more inventive to me altho' playing the piano-action keyboard is ripping the shit out of my fingers (watt calls it a character builder) and the constant playing doesn't always allow the wounds to heal ( the callouses and cuts are constantly opening up) However "no burn, no learn" as watt says, and my character continues to build. BTW, much respect to James and Benji for doing a pro job on the sound.

   After the show we got many good vibes and comments from the crowd (some had even been at our previous nite's show in Charleston); S.C. people have a very southern, hospitable vibe and very open minds and I dig them very much. A girl I was rapping with by the name of Sam Smith (she was a flutist) even gave me a lighter as a gift (much appreciated Sami). Wonderful people. We were crashing at James' pad that night and his girl Abby (a very sweet woman and also a flutist) was going on before us to get things proper and asked us if we needed anything (see what I mean about the southern hospitality?) We loaded up the boat and headed on over there (he was very close to the USC campus). We laid all the stuff out then me, Jer, James and spot went down to a little deadhead pad called "Tavern on the green" for a few beers and ruckus. The joint was nearly empty and we were all beat, so we just downed a couple and went upstairs to conk. The deck welcomed me w/ open arms and I drifted out post haste. Laku noc' sviraci

from jer:

   in my upstairs room the heat has grabbed my body and emersed it in sweat, it's 10 am. my bladder is totally full and I stumble downstairs to open the draincock. mike's on the couch and I do an air paddle to indicate if were going canoeing today. some cats from the show last night invited us out at a wildlife refuge near town. around 12 is bout' when they're posed' to come. kevin has some eggs and biscuts cooked and I nab a glass of hawaiian punch to wash it down. after showering I load my stuff and hang on the porch. not two minutes pass and I get bitten three times by them bastard mosquitos. shit! I hate them things. I get up and walk next door where the pad had recently burned up. kev says he used to live there til' someone fell asleep w/a cig and torched it. don't smoke kids, it's dirty and dangerous habit to break. kev's got to go to work so we wait in the shade for brad and garrett to show up. soon were off and we follow them to a place called caw caw wildlife refuge. it's an old rice plantation built during the slave days of the 1800's. we park and grab a couple canoes next to the canals. I hop in w/garrett and mike's w/brad. pete decides to stay in the boat and chimp/read/clean/swimteam. I get the low down on the history of the area and have questions answered by garrett on the birds we see. I ask about a large bird I spotted on the last tour near st. augustine in the wetlands. I think it was a stork or large herring. just then I scope a big bird circleing overhead. It's a stork! I'm told this is rare to see and we enjoy it's graciful mastery of the skies. some bald eagles also have nests nearby, but they elude us this day. the paddling makes a welcome change to a typical road run in the afternoon. soon were back and saying so long to the guys.

   driving northwest about two hours we make columbia by 3:30 pm. we get loaded in and pete and I have a beer. cole and leslie are at the bar and make us very welcome. I set up my kit and sit at the bar chimping til' the sound guy arrives. mike's seems a bit apprehensive, so I feel the need to stay focused for the night. soon the soundguy benji arrives and we check. I ask cole about dinner and were allowed a meal next door. pete joins me and I order a philly steak. I save half for after the show and go inside to chimp some diary. the openers flirt are hanging out before their set and I talk some w/james the bass dude. we noticed earlier some fliers of his old band making him out to be a homosexual in an attempt to embarrass and tarnish his ego. I guess he got booted or quit w/ill feeling of something. I really don't know the details. anyway, he seems totally cool along w/girlfriend abbey. I listen to em' from the back room and chimp away w/spot kicking next to me.

   our turn again and the crowd is pumped for some tunes. we have a great vibe going and keep the flow working throughout. I love this atmosphere for playing, and it brings the better player out of me. I don't really get too nervous anymore so my energy is focused on playing good. the set goes well and the encores hit solid. I see james on the side and he offers his pad to crash tonight. I point him mike's way and he agrees to it. as I'm packing up some cat approaches me on stage and says he enjoyed the show then asks for 4 bucks. huh? never had that happen before. my pockets are empty and he moves on to mike. w/his soft spot for others mike give the cat a poster and sends him on his way. I get to pack up quick so we can have a drink inside. mike says ok and we BUY a drink. I'm glad to say no bad vibes from the club tonight just good people hanging out. james is ready and we pull anchor on the boat.

   outside his apartment building theres a bar that pete wants to check out. we throw our stuff upstair and go down. I'm just there to babysit pete in case he gets bellige. I sneek away to call kel and for the first time in a two weeks I feel cool air. she wishes all of us her best and says missing me is hard, but her strength is keeping things well grounded. great job your doing baby, keep it up just a little longer and I'll be back before you know it. I return to the bar and the deadheads occupying the place have been ingoring pete and spot for a half hour. we've had enough and return to the pad. it's dark and I slither in next to the window. I hear spot in the other room on the phone calling some chow pad in austin ordering breakfast to go and trying to have it delivered. ah, the magic of alcohol. we all crash and wait for the dawn.

from watt:

   pop and hit the head - hmm, no place to hose off or soak in, except this little white tub where you dump the piss. I'll pass on that. go out and hoof. wow, perfect weather - like cali and I think of pedro. yellow sun travelling through clear blue when I look above me. quest for cof. south a mile on rutledge - nothing here. back the other way. whoa, what a fire that was right next to kevin's - took these two houses out - terrible. further north. pass a prince hall lodge, must be the black part of town. at a market called jabers, I get some cof and some boiled peaunuts. hoof back and chow the peanuts, they're really good, mmm. kevin's phone's not working so no 'puter linkup. that's ok and I use the 'puter to chimp diary instead. kevin pops and cooks me up biscuits and eggs. thank you, kevin. he tells me about the restoration politics of charleston. he does stained glass work and gets employed by people fixing up the old pads. he hips me to the cycle: use the race line to drive down property values, move in the college kids to create 'hip' zones and drive away families, then boot the college kids and re-sell the pads for multiple times what they were recently paid for. gentrification. he's been in ten or eleven different pads over the years and has seen the same process. right now the house he's in is up for sale at a quarter of a million dollars. time to move again. he's got a little studio here in everything, oh well. maybe the fire that went down next door will hold the boot at bay for a bit. he's part italian and talks about hoping to see italy one day. he's been to europe once, he tells me about his trip to paris. there were some frustrating parts, he tried to ask this one cat where the head was and the guy misunderstood and tried to make him a pizza w/mushrooms. whoa. my guys get up and we're waiting for these two guys from last night, brad and garrett, to come by and take us paddling in canoes. they gave me a little note after the gig w/the invite and I told them I was way into it. only less than a two hour drive to the next gig in columbia - we got time.

   brad and garrett arrive and we follow them down the road we came into town yesterday on, us-17. we stop for gas and I get some 'dines. good price, only $1.09 a tin. alright. some pears left too and I have a small chow fest. continuing, we turn in at the caw caw swamp. it's an "interpretive park" now but it used to be a rice plantation. brad and garrett manage the canals and habitat to increase and protect the birds and wildlife. we follow them through the woods and up to where there's some canoes. pete's scared of his skin getting all burned so he's gonna stay w/the boat and chimp diary. I have a long sleeve flannel and use this jagermeister hat some kid gave me (his "favorite one," he told me) to go over this bandana I'm gonna protect my ears and back of neck w/cuz no shade is out there over the canals for cover. first I use a marker to black out the stupid logo - no shilling for jagermeister from this goof. pete completes the job by writing "il duce" above the blacked-out part. in early 1987, my head caught fire the day before a tour when a volkswagon bus motor went up in my face and my left ear's skin has always been a little funny. it's gets really weird when it gets too much sun. maybe this is one reason for that lymph gland being kind of swollen. I gotta watch out. in the back of my mind, I always have the fear that cancer's gonna get me, just like my pop and all my grandparents. anyway, back to the paddling - I get in one w/brad and jer gets in one w/garrett. we ease the canoes into a canal and start the journey. righteous dragonflies zip by in threes. hmm, why threes? they're dark blue w/light blue, beautiful. shrimps jump out of the water every now and then. I see a little blue huron. love the blue on the blue, like w/the dragonfly. brad tells me about the history here. this is great cuz just yesterday I was thinking about what these plantations were all about. seems this area, besides the conservation of the nature, is here to not to glorify the big white plantation house and all that (in fact, he says this plantation never even had one) but rather to recognize the contributions by the people who worked and built it, the slaves. see, rice was farmed here and it was done using techniques imported by these folks from their original homes in west africa: the ivory coast, gabon and such. the system of canals and using the caw caw swamp as a fresh water reservoir and natural tides to regulate the flow in the fields came from their way of life back were they originated. it was all forest so first they land had to be cleared. then the canals had to be dug and control gates, built w/cedar, put in. cedar is related to redwoods and is very strong and resilient stuff. the same material mike mcguire's bay pad in la porte is made w/and why it's lasted so good so many years. we paddle on, pulling our canoes out of one canal and putting them in another that's in the waterfowl area. the water levels are changed to expose chow the birds like during different types of the year. lots of birds about: small flocks of sandpipers, yellow legs and whoa, what's this? a huge stork flies over us. wow, magnificent bird. that's a trip! there's semi-submerged tree stumps - brad says they're like hundreds of years old. I dig the paddling, two strokes on one side and then two on the other. it is pretty hot out here but I'm digging it just the same. see little ramps built to let the gators come up to the shore but not any gators themselves. there's a bald eagle nest and a box built for a white owl. seeing the groups of sandpipers dart as they do, I'm reminded of the wild parrots we got in pedro (who I call the loudmen) doing the same behavior. I ask brad about this. he says it might be a way the group tries to separate out the weaker ones, leave them exposed for attack. he said he once saw this happen and a bald eagle get a slow one that couldn't keep up. some cold-blooded shit, for sure. severe way to maintain a gene pool, huh? to think some people reason humans should act that way. w/my knees, I'm glad that way of thought hasn't come to prevail. we finish up and get back to pete at the boat. big thank yous to brad and garrett, some nice bros.

   back up the road to the interstate and we're west on I-26 to columbia, south carolina's capitol. been a little while since I played here. we're at the new brookland tavern in west columbia. I get some soda water at the bar and the shins are playing on the stereo, this band from albuquerque. I dig them. some local guy, about my age and probably not a music person - just some guy off work having some drinks - tells us about this guy dressed in a black santa claus suit that climbed up the pole on the capitol building and burned the confederate flag there. he starts to have a talk w/me about the civil war. oh boy, I try to tell him I didn't think it was too civil, period - whatever side you want to take. he starts to go on about why he thinks it was fought and waits for me and I say whatever the reason, it was just terrible - brother on each other and though I know we're going to have arguments about things cuz it's the was us humans are - I just hope to god it doesn't get as insane as that again. he says we both agree then. that's good. he then wants to talk about whisky, how there's kind you drink for yourself - like econo kind and then stuff you drink to impress people, like jack daniels or jim beam. trippy man. damn, do I miss whisky... really miss it - just gotta stay healthy though. inside and outside the club, there's posters put up everywhere for this last gig for a band called the sinators, saying their homosexual bass player, james touzel, is really ugly and such like that. damn, nice going away present from your band. there's posters of me too up and they used a shot when I was really gordo, all bloated, w/a beard and looking like a dork. quite flattering, thank you. we do a soundcheck w/benji who survived a three story fall by landing on a rail, face first. damn. he's a real nice cat and so is the monitor man, james, who's also in the band going on before spot, fling. I check the online scene w/the ibook and get this disturbing email from a cat who's buds were cheated by the owner's son here. hmm, it tells me to be wary. can't imagine why someone running a club in the long run would want to do that, especially when word can get around. the email said there's lots of good people working here - some are from the pad I played last time I was here, the elbow room but to watch out for this guy. he charged the band for drinking thirtyeight beers. I enlighten my men to this. hopefully, there won't be any problems. I konk on the bench seat w/the windows open. the weather is pretty moderate. I konk deep and wake when jer pops the hatch and tells me it's spot's last songs. well, I missed him and the openers. sorry, bros.

   I grab the little bass and the slinging stuff and head to do the do. good crowd and quite w/the spirit. thank you. our gig goes good, I'm getting a little braver w/the newer stuff but still find it hard to look at folks. I want to do this and let them see the light from my eyes. I have a lit brain and want them to see, not to hypnotize them or anything like that but maybe more to illuminate what they got going - does that make sense? there's a low ceiling over the stage and man, are the drums loud - especially the cymbals. ow! these folks are really nice and are quite attentive - a monday night too. I have to say, for the two hardest days you can play in the week, sunday and monday - south carolina has been very happening this tour! thank you. I tell them a little about my paddling adventure earlier. pete and jer play quite good and I'm very proud of them. we get done. I thank john coltrane like I do every night. I tell the folks to write their own book, paint their own painting, start their own band - don't let any motherfucker put their boot on you. I thank them again for having open hearts and open minds to check out what a fortyfour year old punk rocker is doing these days. I get lots of hugs. many folks talk w/me as I sling to them. I feel so shy in ways, so grateful that they're so kind and open-minded. it melts up a bit. a guy has me sign a poster for his ex-girlfriend, who he still loves much to inspire her w/playing - she's on bass, like me. other cats say they've been listening to me since they were kids while others say it's the first time ever but they want to come back. 'pert near the only words I can get out are thank you, thank you, thank you. I truly mean it.

   I meet dave, a friend of kevin (who we stayed w/last night) and I find out he booked the show. his home phone number was accidentally flowed to me but mister kaul (the man outside the van) and wound up on the tour flyer! sorry, dave. time now w/the boss, let's see how this goes. he's a young man but everything's straight - there's few words but no weirdness. thank you. we pack up and follow the monitor man, james, who's invited us to konk at his pad. we go over the river to downtown columbia, near the school. up to the third floor of this apartment building and his bro is konked on the couch. he gets up and vacates it for watt. thank you. james' girl, abbey, gives me a banana to chow and soon I'm in the bag ready for konk. there's a bar downstairs and pete wants to go, so jer says he'll baby sit him. my guys are funny. I'm too tired to go anywhere - I'm out real quick, even w/out the mask to help. I do miss it though - especially when morning comes. gotta find one somewhere...

tuesday, april 30, 2002 - atlanta, ga

from pete:

   I was awaken by the dilligent verbal prodding of the chief along w/ another strange sound at 8:00 AM: some hack had set off the fire alarm in the building and watt didn't want his crew dying an ugly, flaming death so groggy and half naked, we plodded downstairs to street level (interestingly enough I didn't smell any smoke but I did smell a rat). The fire dept. cats had just arrived and went upstairs to scope out the pad.while we waited for the "coast is clear" signal (funny tho', me, Jer, and James were the only ones down there; watt had gone into the boat). After a while the fire cats came back down and told us it was a false alarm and that we could go back up. we climbed back up to James' pad and I tried to go back to conk mode but to no avail. James and Abby had finals to go to so they bid us goodbye and bailed; we cleaned up and had some chow, then did the same. Many thanks for the cool vibes James and Abby..

   We hopped in the boat and sailed onwards towards Atlanta; I was again sitting shotgun so I was in charge of the camera and the navigation and I took several snaps (albeit blurry ones) as I was pretty groggy still from the lack of sleep. Me and the chief rapped about the tour and his method of touring; I think it's a great way to travel- very econo and no time wasted and I've met many cool people and seen some very cool places so far. There's very few cats that still do this kind of gig; it's very akin to travelling like the old vaudevillians; no big tour buses, no roadies, you do your own schlepping of the tools (altho' the fans almost always lend a hand). It's not for everyone but Watt wouldn't have it any other way. I've grown very accustomed to it(actually I like it a lot), and I love the efficiency of it ; you know exactly where your money's going and how much is coming in and if there's any fuck ups, you only have yourself to blame. Truly, it's the best way to go and it keeps you busy,but it's not for everyone. Me and the chief also got to rapping about the balkans again (many of our conversations veer in this direction as I am very passionate about this), and it still irks me that for so many years I tried to placate and win the approval of the croatians in San Pedro thru my band; I truly love all of the music and I worked hard to expose myself to all of its forms (folk, pop, rock) and learn how to play it and sing it correctly, and to speak the language correctly (I have heard some of the more hardcore croatians in Pedro and elsewhere speak it w/ such a lack of articulation that it makes me question if they did come from over there at all). My elocution is not perfect in itself but I can understand several dialects of the language and I take great pride in the fact that despite not really being croatian (I'm actually Irish but I was adopted by my parents who were croatian; My mom made it a point to tell me this early on in my life, god bless her bohemian soul) I speak and sing it very well (I can also do Italian and spanish) and I've made sure that all my children can speak it well too( I wouldn't have it any other way) I still love my adopted culture and I will continue to play the music for the people (albeit not as much), but I vehemently refuse to get involved in the political bullshit as this is just a mental hamster wheel and I have many other more important things to do before I go. I love and care about people whatever their color, social background or religious beliefs are and some day (probably not in my lifetime but maybe my children's), maybe a few will stand up and say "fuck this, this needs to be buried and sealed over". It will happenOI have faith in humans.

   We pulled in to the pad (a place called the Earl ) around 4:00 and it was raining dixie cups (a welcome change in the weather after the swelter.) The place was open but we didn't want to pull out the tools yet cause' of the rain so we went inside and scoped out the pad; cool vibe and a nice PA w/ a stage down close to the floor. I was in a down mood as I had stupidly donated the Coltrane CD to the previous pad and now I had to come up w/ a replacement quick. I felt really bad and broke the bad news to the chief who surprisingly took it in stride (Tom had made a donate of four of them on the previous tour, so I wasn't in the shit too bad). There was a record store right next to the pad but they didn't have any coltrane ( but if you needed some import George Michael you were in luck). I tried to get ahold of the previous nite's pad so they could send the CD a few gigs ahead of us, but again no luck so me and Jer went inside to grab some chow and scan the local music rags. We got the food (I had cajun chicken salad and red beans & rice), and it was very very kind chow w/ big portions; we welcomed it w/ open gullets.

   The rain let up so we quickly moved the tools in and set up; the stage was round around the lip so we changed the angle of the usual setup but if I made one wrong move I would fly right off the stage so I had to be careful. The soundman, a cat named Palmer, showed up and he miked us up; I told him my coltrane sob story and he said that he had some coltrane at home and he lived right down the street and would be glad to burn us a copy (he made my day). He went off to do the CD's and Jer went w/ him for a hop to the post office to send off the pay to Kel while I finished my setup. Jer came back followed by Palmer who had graciously burned four! copies of Coltrane's "Blue train" and affixed blue labels on each w/ the album title and "please return to Mike watt and the secondmen". What a very cool gesture. You the man, Palmer, I owe you one big time. We did the soundcheck and the monitors and FOH sounded cool so we retreated to the dressing room to chimp some diary. We met one of the waitress's, a young nubian princess named Modula who plays bass in a local band and wanted us to dedicate "Burning Up" to her. Cool lady.

   watt went to go conk in the boat and Jer conked in the dressing room while I chimped diary and rapped w/ Il Spotto. I finished an entire day's worth in a couple of hours, Jer had popped by then and spot had hit the stage to start his set. Before and after Spot another band called "Ladies Night" played a little on a small stage that was next to the main one. It was an all instrumental trip, kind of metal cum jazz and the cats had some down grooves going. I dug on em'.

   I popped and went into the restaurant part of the pad to get a shot of Bushmills (my favorite poison) to bring down my nervous nerves. Modula decided to have one w/me as it was her favorite whiskey too (she is the first woman I've ever met that likes bushmills) - Moo the bartender set us up right and we elbowed up. Moo also gave us a couple of shots of something they called "grape juice"; a witch's brew of different alcohols but tasty nonetheless. I also met a young lady named Heather who said her ex was a Danzig guitar tech. and she'd never been to a watt show. She liked the shirt I was wearing; a gift from my sis which says "If I gave a shit, you'd be the first person I'd give it to"- not the most profound statement but it's a head turner and I love inducing reactions.

   We hit the stage and wailed on thru the set and the people loved it; much love was shown and we played tight. Watt was nervous and had a confidence break due to our setup change; he was isolated more by himself on his side of the stage and this very much worked against his playing psyche as he depends on our interaction very much (don't sweat it chief, we're very much w/ you). Somebody gave me a healthy ass grab during one of my solos and I kind of smiled and moved away but a few minutes later I feel a finger in the crack of my ass! (never found out who it was). All in all I felt the gig was very cool and I was happy; We dedicated "burnin' up" to modula as promised and she was into it (had another shot of BM w/ her after the show). We rapped w/ some of the fans while watt did merch , then we broke down the tools and loaded up the boat. We were crashing at this cat Lance's pad right down the street so we hasd a short way to go. He hopped in the boat w/ us and led us to his pad where we laid out the bags. We rapped w/ Lance and his wife's sister Rose who had downed a little Jaeger prior to our arrival(she's a bartender) and got a little bellige w/ Jer who went to sleep immediately. I rapped w/ rose; she was actually a very nice person after she sobered up a bit (I think the bad-ass trip was a facade cause' Lance told her we were some super famous punk rockers and she had the stereotype image in the head). When she saw that we were actually quite normal, she relaxed a bit. We rapped a little bit about our lives, family and jobs and I finally started feeling the sandman so I hit the deck and conked. Once again I learned a little from a person I'd met. Laku noc sviraci.

from jer:

   clang! ding! buzz! awake! what the hell is that! mike's up and opens the door. "the fire alarm is going off guys. wake up! come on! it's the fire alarm!" exclaims mike. it's 8am and the buildings going like a giant clock gong. I rise and gather my stuff staggering to the door. downstairs the fire dept. has arrived and are on the way up the elevator. we wait outside w/no sign of mike. the firemen return and say false alarm. totally lame. well, if it was a fire it's all good of course, but that's not the case. I return upstairs and shower then chow some honeycombs. abbey has to go to work and james is getting ready for school so we bid farewell and go to the boat. mike's at the wheel and we shove off for atlanta. the drive is somewhat trench like w/trees lining the highway, though the terrain is lush and full. we pull up to the earl and the rain starts coming down. I go around and get the rear hatch open to load in. soon the rain lets up and we throw. the soundguy palmer is there early and we get sound up fast. I ask about a post office and palm gives me a ride round' the corner. pete tells palm of the fact he lost the coltrane cd in columbia and palm offers a copy from his collection. I get the mail stuff done and walk back to finish check. palm returns and brings 4 copies of blue train. were grateful. try not to lose all of em' pete. after check I head to the front for some din. the manager hooks me up and I get the grilled salmon salad. great food for the buck here, I'm quite fulfilled. the magic and hornets battle on the tube from orlando, but the tired self overwhelms and I grab the couch in back for some konk.

   I wake and pete is chimping. I ask bout' the time and were up in 20. ladies nite, the side stage band, is jamming their grooves. I heard the licks and the licks were hot. were up for some wailing. mike yells over at pete and doesn't dig the fact he's too far away from us. the stage set up is all wrong, still we do our best. I can tell mike's nervous w/not having pete closer to him. I think our set still holds up to the challenge. after the encore pete tells me that someone grabbed his ass and stuck a finger up the ol' crack. I asked if he got the guys number? in the back stage room the ladies nite dudes are drinking up our beer, I'm lucky to get the last one. same shit as last time, but their nice folk and I forgive. we get some help w/pack up by lance the guy w/tonight's pad.

   at lance's he warns up before entering that his sister-in-law is a yapper and likes to drink. ok. I plop my gear in the living room and lance pulls out some sleeping pads for pete and I. mike takes the futon. lance's sis-in-law rosey starts pacing and talking 200 m.p.h... we sit and I have a beer while listening to her drunk epitaph. somehow the subject turns to trolls and midgets. she voices her disdane for the little people and take a light counterpoint to the negative pole thats planted. pete is cautiously neutral, yet sympathic to her plight. then she dumps her purse all over the table. this is a sign is some deeper issues I don't need to know. I grab my sleeping bag and take some floor space for the pass out. I can still hear em' outside yammering up, well I hear her more that anything. soon I'm snoozing and they drift away from my ears.

from watt:

   pop and hose off. that feels good. nothing like tour and gig grime scrubbed off. gather up my konk bag and head for the door. whoa, what's that sound? look in the hall and see fire alarm lights flashing. I stick my head back in the hatch and tell my men to pop up and get the fuck out of the building. I head down the stairs. no smoke so maybe it's a false alarm - hope so. I hoof down the street to simultaneously see the fire trucks coming and my guys coming out the front door. still no flames or smoke, that's good. down to the big street, I see the elbow room, where I played last time I was in town. it's closed now. right near it is the five points diner and I chow some eggs and grits there, kind of a once a tour thing - I don't each much greasy stuff in order to stay healthy. you need a little though to keep up the resistance, sort of like a vaccine uses some of the bug it's protecting you against. I then go to the boat and chimp diary. james and his girl abbey come out to say bye, he's got a sight reading exam (for music) at school. he gives me his house key to lock up w/and tells me he's in the apartment under the name james touzel. well, maybe I'm spelling it wrong (sorry, james) but he's the guy on the poster we saw stuck all over! damn. he said his brother printed them up. whoa. I thank james for the niceness and my guys show up shortly. we shove off.

   pete hasn't had much experience navigating and since he's in the shotgun chair and that's the duty of the cat sitting there, I have go at it. ok pete, let's get us out of dodge. he's perplexed. sort of like tom watson or steve reed - the deer in the headlights thing. well, the off and on ramps are coming up quick and I gotta know. c'mon pete! he'll get the hang of it. luckily, names on the signs help me out and we're on our way, west to atlanta on I-20. more talk from pete about balkan politics and the shit his wife, ljil, had to go through w/music business crap over there which was pretty much related. you can tell why pete has a bad taste about all the mess. he tells me he likes it in the boat, working the towns the way I do and keeping things pretty low to the earth and simple. the other shit was pretty foul for him. probably would've been for me too - hey, there's plenty of that here too, you just gotta steer clear and not get tangled in the falseness that permeates lots of dealings. luckily, I'm from a tradition that never needed to or could tolerate bullshit. a fine tradition, I must say. punk was so little then, if you were in this to get big, you had to be one sorry motherfucker (and believe it or not, there were!). a lot of it, you did for the love. well, that still holds w/me.

   a little hillier of terrain here than near the coast and florida. the weather's cooled and in fact, I can see dark rain clouds up ahead. I eat a tin of those 'dines I got yesterday, the ones w/the lousiana hot sauce. funny how they call it "hot" sauce, must be for very tame tongues. thank god for the dave's insanity sauce to make it right. that swollen lymph node under my ear is much smaller now, great. I'm very much relieved and grateful for this. jer is typing in the boat instead of bettering himself w/'puter games. he hates chimping while the boat is rolling. I've asked him to finish the week up so we can get this latest one on the hoot page. thanks, jer. I know it's a big sacrifice for him but he's a very giving man. we cross the border into georgia and it looks like rain for sure. oh well. first rain since the tour's first day, huh? better than swelter, I have to say. we stop for gas and I get one of those walkie-talkies (cell phones) that uses pre-paid cards, just for an emergency if we have one. it costs seventy dollars but then you can send in for a forty dollar rebate. that's pretty econo. I'm never gonna use it unless I just have to. those things are a fucking leash but I can see where they might save your butt. pete's at the map again as we approach our destination. in fact, he's at the 'puter, using the mapping software. he's confused. georgia is changing over from the absolute exit numbering system to the more contemporary (and more logical) mile marker exit system and they don't match the 'puter's atlas. we gotta use a little ingenuity. I tell pete he can do it, he's a very capable man. atlanta has really grown now, it's like the l.a. of the south - miles and miles of freeway and suburb. still a lot of trees though, that's good. the one basic thing about using a map is that to get where you're going, you gotta know where you're at first. this is an intense challenge for pete. it was the same for steve reed and tom watson too. pete hangs tough though and doesn't get flustered. however, as we get closer, I go into a big spiel about emma goldman cuz tomorrow's mayday. pete gets taken by the spiel and we blow by the exit. my fault - no fault to pete. I realize the blow-by and we loop only two blocks west of where we needed to go. we're in east atlanta and at a pad called the e.a.r.l. which is where I played last time. the rain's coming down now and I got the coat on for the first time since tour's start. I notice the right blinker isn't working and sure enough, the rear tail bulb is shattered. hmm, the tire iron was loose and maybe that whacked it on a load out or in. I go down the street and find a hardware store and they got the bulb. they got on of those leatherman type tools that go on your belt, only w/a bigger set of pliers and this is good for me cuz I have to shorten strings for the little bass by breaking them off w/bendings. this will make it easier and it has a new sheath - the one on the old tool was so worn, I had to keep it in the little bass case. on the way back, there's this veggie place where I get a spinich salad and some split pea soup. good shit.

   back at the pad and get the diary that pete and jer have chimped into jer's machine. we use a floppy to do the transfer. we've found a way to stupify all those quotes and apostrophe characters in jer's word processor so it's easier on me bringing them over to my ibook and then the web. who needs that shit anyway? fancy shmantzy - fuck it. we do soundcheck w/palmer, a good cat. turns out that pete donated the coltrane cd to the pad in columbia but palmer goes and burns four copies of trane's "blue trane" for us, very kind. thanks, palmer. after the check, jula, a waitress here comes and talks w/me. she plays bass too. I tell her about the paddling we did on that rice plantation near at the caw caw swamp and she tells me she just buried her pop in africa, where he was from. I want to go there some day, I would love to see africa. she wants to hear "burnin' up" and I tell her we'll dedicate to her. the folks here then make me a salad w/some seared tuna. damn, I've eaten a bunch today, huh? I then go to the boat to konk.

   I konk hard and get woke by jer right before the gig. I missed both the local openers, ladies night and spot. sorry, guys. watt just gets tuckered. now it's our turn. damn, I didn't realize how we set up at soundcheck. the stage here is semi-circular and we've set up along it's edge. jer's a little too forward w/the kick drum not going into my leg and pete's not across from me at all and at a weird angle. I feel all alone. I feel like I'm coming out of a fucking cake and a stag party. very scary for watt. I lean my guys a lot for confidence. I lose my nerve and forget all kinds of words in the new stuff, I feel very terrified. oh fuck, it's another one of these. I can't let this happen - I try to gather reserve strength and make me it work, make me get it together. aahh! what a fuckhead I am. I'm starting to sweat w/the nerve thing so I put the fan on. I get a little more together. I silently call out the letters that spell the magic words I use when I'm getting desperate, the ones that come w/out me even thinking of them - the ones that fall out, almost like crying w/them as tears, silently from the mouth instead of the eyes. not the greatest way to lead your men, huh? they're strong though and do as good as they can w/such a flake at the helm. I even go over and tell them how I fucked up w/the stage setup and why I'm clamming all over the joint w/no nerve. shit, it starts to make me mad and this stops my shaking and first helps w/the playing and then w/the words. fucking finally. I really go for the solos in "sister ray" and call upon john coltrane much. please john coltrane, please john coltrane - let the music take me like it took you, let it fucking free me - free me from my fucking pathetic safe... get me beyond here and out there. somehow, we get an encore and I feel pretty chump-like for that happening. they're very nice to us, how can I ever pay them back? by getting it the fuck together, that's how, you idiot watt.

   I sling and a cat named lance says we can konk at his pad, thanks lance. he says it's safe to dock the boat there too which is really important. sometimes I think it's more important than our accommodations cuz w/a donated boat, tour's done. paul, from the c-11 days and the d. boon shrine says hi. I always love seeing him. some nice talk w/the young men in the ladies night band too. we pack up and I talk a little w/patrick, who's settling w/me for the gig. he's glad to have me, a very nice man and says he just read the "our band could be your life" book. man, cats are reading that book, huh? I think of d. boon. tomorrow's mayday and I'm gonna play extra special for him, make up for the weak shit I blew tonight too. mandatory, watt. man, is the salsa good here. homemade and lots of habanero, love it. best on tour yet, thank you. lance gets in the boat and we're off to his pad, not too far away. that's really good cuz boy, am I tired. we get there and I'm in the bag like that. lance's wife is a teacher and she konks quick but her sister, who's a bartender, has had some drinks and draws pete and jer into a yammerfest. no mask, what a fucking idiot I am for donating that. I go all the way into the bag w/my head covered to block out the light and some of the yammering. I hear something about trolls or whatever and tiredness just jumps out the waken part of me hard. I'm out.

wednesday, mayday, 2002 - athens, ga

from pete:

   I woke up around 10:30 and went to go wash up; Rose had graciously bought us some Krispy Kreme doughnuts and bagels so we chowed happily (thanks rose.) We loaded up the boat and I rapped w/ Lance for a while; He 's an English teacher and just got a job in San Marco (near San Diego) in Cali after spending three years in Atlanta; His wife Willow and Rose are originally from Cali and they're quite looking forward to moving there. We bid Lance and Rose goodbye and snapped a pic of Lance, and as we pulled out Lance's Australian shepard, Alice (Alice in Chains I called her) sat on the porch and watched us leave. Thanks Lance, Rose, Willow and Alice.

   The drive to Athens was a short one (just under two hours) so it was cake. We pulled into the pad (the 40 watt club) and parked the boat. There was a very cool little music store next to the pad that had many cool CD's and records so I decided to check and see if there was any Coltrane and success! they did. I bought a killer double CD called "The Major works of Coltrane" and it had much cool stuff on it; Ascension 1 &2, Om and Kulu se Mama (the one I donated). I also picked up a CD of BOC's greatest hits (w/ the orig. version of "the red & the black), The Minutemen's "Double Nickels on the dime" and "Otis Redding's Greatest". I was happy as a clam and wanted to just tear everything open and listen to it, but we had regular duty to pull and went about it. Unloaded the boat and set up the tools in the pad (big room, big stage, big PA), then me and Jer went in search of chow. Athens is a college town and there's all kinds of bars and pads to eat; so after legging around for a while we settled on some Mexican food . The chow was very average(actually very bland), but we were ravenous so it was more a means to an end than a pleasurable experience. We headed on back to the pad and Jer wanted to chimp diary so I went to the dressing room to give a listen to my newly purchased treasures; watt was chimping diary, so I put on the headphones and popped in the B.O.C and leaned back to absorb. Our version of the Red & the Black is quite a bit faster than the orig. but otherwise much the same (re: more balls to the wall). I finished up the B.O.C and put in "Double Nickels"(this was my first exposure to the Minutemen); it was different than what I expected; My initial exposure to punk had been Black Flag back at the Pedro high show they did in 82' and The Germs at the anti club in 81' (the angry, and the angry and the sloppy). This was much different; more jazzy and funky w/ these great lyrics that were a bitch slap to just about everything. I really liked it and definitely will listen to it many more times in the coming weeks. I then listened to some Otis Redding (this is the shit that really speaks to me; I've been a stax/volt and Motown fan since I was in junior high), and I drifted off to the strains of "try a little tenderness". That stuff will always be the sun and the moon to me...

   I woke up and Jer wanted to schlep around a little and see the sights so we once again legged it into the center of the town to people watch; earlier on we had gone to this cat's house in the middle of town so he could take a look at our ailing Peavey amp; he had deemed it reasonably healthy save for a couple of bad tubes. We bought a couple of replacements in town and tried it out but the amp was still not breathing- I presumed it was a fried preamp section so we would have to wait til' we got to NY to fix it proper; either way the extra weight keeps the ballast right on the boat. Anyways, we walked around and decided to get some chow; we stopped at a little cafe and wailed on some pasta and it was very good. With renewed energy we legged it on back to the pad; the backstage and dressing room were empty; watt had already gone to conk in the boat and Jer was feeling a little groggy so he conked on a couch in the outer backstage area so I opted to conk in the dressing room. I drifted off to the first couple of notes of Spot's set.

   Jer woke me up right before Spot's last tune and I tried to shake off the lead curtain; splashed some cold water on the face and felt better immediately. Jer went to go wake the chief as we could hear the all-encompassing strains of Coltrane's "Ascension part 1" on the PA (our cue to hit the stage) we went up and watt gave the customary " Hi, how ya doin'" audience greeting and we were offO. We set up real close to each other so me and watt could maintain good communication on stage and it really helped the show out; we were all on that nite cept' for the first couple of tunes as me and Jer had not quite shaken off the groggies yet (we have to remember to pop at least a 1/2 hr. before the show to wake up fully). The gig went off great and the people gave us a lot of love, near the end of the set I noticed two cats who had been at the previous nite's show (Tom and Eric if I remember correctly); they had done a 1 1/2 hr. hellride just to come and check us out again; much respect to you guys and good luck on your new singing gig Tom. we loaded up the boat and headed on over to the pad of the 40 watt club boss Berry Buck, an absolutely incredible house that was built in the 1890's and fully restored; many cool rooms and a very comfy vibe. watt went to go konk on the top floor and he sprawled out on the deck up there and showed me where the big dipper and the north star were. Berry gave me a little tour of the house and I inquired about the doors and walls not being completely parallel; she told me that the house had settled over the years and sank slightly- it really looked trippy, like a Dali painting. I bid Berry goodnite as I was exhausted and retired to my room (once again I had my own bed!), and drifted off happily. buona notte nostri amici.

from jer:

   I awake to take a leak and mike's already milling about. he abandons the futon which I nab and konk for another hour. finally up I take a shower and chomp some krispy kream donuts and a bagle. lance says farewell and we start for athens. it's only 1 hour and 15 min. drive so were out after 12pm. I take the snapper seat and look for subject matter. pete says he stayed up til' 5 talking to rosey. many issues to deal w/there. I start our final approach guidance and get confused w/the roads on the map. they twist like noodles through town, some road numbers criscross in different directions. I tell mike to take the exit that says athens and were stuck in no time on the loop. mike barks. I figure the crap out and we find the path to the club. whew! it's early so me and pete take a walk to eat some food. we find a mexican food joint by the university (hint: when not near mexico DO NOT EAT MEXICAN FOOD) and get some chow. I don't know how they could call this mexican, more like school cafeteria leftovers. I leave feeling shafted and gut wrenched. we walk back to the 40 watt club and I ask the boss barri if the soundguy chris, who worked sound last tour, is working. she points him out at the bar and I approach him about looking at the peavey amp that got blown in new orleans. his tried to fix tom's amp on the last tour w/no success. he agrees and says he'll wait while I make a call. I take some time and he already split by my return. mike has a map he made to his house and pete joins me in the boat to venture across town. at chris's he tears down the amp and checks the tubes for life. both are bad, so we assume that could be the major problem. chris is thanked and w/amp in hand we head to the music shop. I get some tubes and sticks while pete eyes some new merch. the cat at the counter shows me a book w/stats on the boat from the firehose days. I scan the list of options listed and start scratching off what ain't no more. no radio, music listened, mota, and 4.5 passanger average. walking back I grab a paper and find a couch in the back to lounge on.

   spot's set is near the end and I wake a bit startled. I find pete in the dressing room passed out and wake him, then outside to wake the boss. gotta shake off the tired grip. pete's splashing water and flapping arms in a vain attempt to circulate blood. on stage and we look burnt, it shows. the first five songs are drowzy, then mike starts pushing us to jolt out and get the drive to ride. even though we draw 175 the place is so big you can't tell. looks more like 50, they still get into the set and we finish strong. some nice folks rap after the show while I break down. we load the boat fast and head off to berri's house.

   this pad is a rare pleasure I truly enjoyed staying at last tour. a turn of the century home w/great character and awsome decor. each room has a theme and paint scheme to match. high up is the tower room w/two beds nesseled under the roof deck. a narrow winding stairway leads up to the windowed top. I lead pete up for a view and crack my head on a cross beam. damn that hurt. I ask berri if I can have the 'happy room' once more and she ablidges me. it's very happy. I bed down and give kel a call. we talk til' I can't stay awake no more. I wish her much love and rilei too then hang up and sleep tight.

from watt:

   pop and soak in the tub here at lance's. my bones ache so. not such a good konk last night. I had a really bad nightmare. it was like I was living some horror movie, I'd seen though I couldn't recall it's title or anything much about it now. I knew I had seen it cuz I knew very well the outcome - I was the main character (or rather, my attention was centered around a character the movie was following through its entirety) and by the movie's end, to be killed in some terribly vicious way and all I could seem to do was to follow the events that led up to this and live each moment in that moment. it was though I was being held hostage to this inevitable destiny and helpless to shield my senses to any of it, the foreknowledge not an aid to help avoid any of it but instead an additional level of terror and torture I had to endure. it was unbearable, a fucking full-on hellride. I think one reason contributing to this was the fact I had konked on a bed. well, sort of a bed - more like a futon on metal frame and this allowed me to roll about and toss but w/the fear I might go over the edge and plummet. this is why I like the deck cuz you can't fall off or a couch, where there's something to lean against and reassure myself. I know that sounds insane but guess what? your call...

   I need a shave, my face feels like emery cloth. there's a razor here - what the fuck, huh? looks new. hell, I'm naked and wet and fuck going to the boat. the shaving cream is really weird though, not fluffly and light but thick and oily and you squeeze out of a bottle instead of spraying it from a can. I wonder if it's for a woman? never tried this before. fuck it, it let's me shave really close - like some top layers of skin came off w/the stubble. I feel really awake and sensitized, whoa. very much a baby-faced watt now. no blood or marks though. lance has got this great little dog named alice and I dry off just like she would, shaking very briskly and just letting myself have the shower water evaporate and dry off. when I get out of the head, lance is there and makes me coffee w/one of those french press machines. I was looking at it but had no idea how to make it work. thanks, lance. he offers some bagels and cream cheese too - great cat. he says he just sold this pad yesterday and him and his wife, willow, are moving near san diego soon. he wants to take me across the street and introduce me to this construction worker/skater/artist name raymondo. raymondo and his girl, julie, have a great pad. it's full of sculptures and paintings he's made and is stuffed w/personality and uniqueness, which I dig. I take many snaps w/the digicamera. he's got all kind of skateboards, real old ones too - like when I was a boy - the ones w/steel or clay wheels. a funny thing is the mtv people have him make sculptures for awards they give for extreme sports. he makes them like the sculptures he did before of skaters but w/their letters added. they're little but intense - all metal and stick like but embodying much movement and dynamic in them. he's a great welder, visionary and artist. his composition is right to the point, no filler. you can tell he has skating in his blood. his art is as physical as his sport and both are to the brim w/life energy. I really dig his work.

   I wake my guys late, it's a short ride to athens. I code up the week's diaries and get them onto the hoot page. my guys are ready about 11:30 and we say bye to lance. a good man. he told me once he was in long beach and just had to come over the bridges and across terminal island to see pedro after hearing the opera ("...engine room"). I tell him that after he moves and if he ever makes the hundred or so miles north my way from the san diego area, I will personally give him a tour of my town. I'd be proud too. folks being so nice to you while you're working that towns is such a gift - I wish I could find good enough words to express this. ok, we're off.

   atlanta has got a lot of freeway turning up in the shape of our l.a. paradigm. we take the belts and spurs that get us to us-29 and take that east to athens, a college town that's the home of the university of georgia. hardly any traffic on the way there. the weather is kind of like l.a. is lots - gray but not cold, not hot. my cats tell me about spieling w/lance's sister-in-law, rose, last night and I guess it was issues glore w/her - it was kind of sad and kind of ethanol soaked (on her part). I didn't get to talk w/her, I hit the hay on arrival. it's like that a lot w/me now on tour - the gigs just wear the fuck out of me and force konk on quick. I feel weak and sense I might get sick if I succumb to yammering all night, it's not like I'm trying to be rude. I think it was it dirty hairy who said "a man's gotta know his limitations." clint eastwood as dirty hairy.

   we get near athens and jer, who's usually great w/the map, fouls up a move we had to make. a trip around athen's loop and we make it to the 40 watt club, a pad I've played a multitude of times and love it and it's people dearly. it's mayday too and I'm going to make up for my cowardice last night. d. boon would want me strong this day and be an example. well, he'd want me strong everyday but he knew me better than anyone and knew that I'd stumble. that's why he always had that strong hand there for me, to help me up if I'd be strong too and give it another go. there's a book shop next store and I find a book of some essays written by emma goldman. I buy that and go to the next pad which sells falafels. I read 'per near all of it while I chow one. I dig it - words can sure move one, emma goldman sure had a gift for that. she made things clear, made them passionate. on the other hand, words can confuse too. maybe this is where I'm at. there's a great weekly here in town called the flagpole and they ran an article on my show tonight here in town, written by ballard lesemann. he writes it in "pedro-speak":

   "mike watt is a u.s. punk rock journeyman and living proof that regular dudes are capable of great art. watt jams econo on his thud stick with poz
'tude. as a young square john, watt humped gear and spieled in minuteman and firehose right in the heart of the la punk scene alongside x, the flesheaters, the germs, black flag and other sst records crews. both bands jammed hard in the broisters and neither ever went mersh, boozh or pretendo... and only did the pomp for shits and giggles. neither band earned a sizable government art collection, although both deserved it.

   "unlike most choads and major nobodies in the pretendo world, watt and his buds rhymed and wailed in caves and dives, happily shoveled pucks and dumper during hell-rides without being bellig. for years. if and when watt ever choked on the thunder broom and threw a clam he'd recover with a pop of the e and a look. while hauling, watt habitually konks in the boat.

   "with watt's new sailor trainwreck, the secondmen, the bottom tool master enlisted organ player pete mazich and drummer jerry trebotic. the crew jams 61 shows in 62 days for its current "our oars became wings tour 2002," featuring tunes and spiels from the next slab, the secondman's middle stand.

   "much beloved knobman spot opens."

   now here's the translation into common english:

   "mike watt is an american punk rock journeyman and living proof that working-class guys are capable of great art. as a lifestyle, watt plays from the heart with sincerity and positive attitude on his electric bass guitar. as a young man, watt handled musical equipment, practiced, composed and performed with the bands minutemen and firehose right in the heart of la's early and late '80s punk scene alongside x, the flesheaters, the germs, black flag and other sst records groups. under hot, stuffy conditions, both the minutemen and firehose practiced and played diligently. neither band aimed for commercial success, avoided bourgeois notions, and the increasingly heinous world of mtv... and only occasionally mocked the clichˇd "rock star moves" of their idols for pure self enjoyment. neither band earned a sizable income, although both deserved it.

   "unlike his hesitant colleagues and various has-beens in the mtv world, watt and his bandmates wrote music and performed high-spirited protest songs in large music halls and small venues, happily dining on hamburgers and other roadside fast-food cuisine during tours without belligerence. if and when watt ever made mistakes on the bass or missed an accent or a note, he would immediately come back with a percussive pluck of the low-e string, flash a familiar facial expression and then move ahead. during most tours, watt habitually takes pre-show naps in the tour van.

   "with watt's latest ensemble, the secondmen, the master bass player features organ player pete mazich and drummer jerry trebotic. the band is playing 61 shows in 62 days during its current "our oars became wings tour 2002," featuring tracks from the forthcoming album, the secondman's middle stand.

   "much beloved audio engineer spot opens the show."

   this cracks me up as I read it - to hear oneself as others hear you is an intense form of comedy. thank you, ballard. one can get so internalized, it's hard to realize how insane you must acutally appear. there are many sweet people who try to relate you to other folks, it's nice of them for trying.

   I go to the record store right in front of the 40 watt, whoa! I find a cd of television w/richard hell doing a gig at cbgb's in 1975. the boss there gives it to me for five dollars! an old friend, hiro, wanted to say hi to me here but I can't find him, oh well. we do soundcheck and then I chimp diary back stage. the nice folks here have given us some bananas and there's one pear that I relish chowing big time. spot arrives. I've read some of his diary online this morning and ask him about his questioning of my use of the term "chimping." I relate to him the concept of having a hundred chimps in a room w/typewriters and going at it non-stop, that it was very probable they would churn out the entire works of shakespeare, given enough time (millions of years?). this is what I mean by "chimping." he says he knew that. I then ask him why he wrote what he did then. he searches his 'puter for what I'm talking about and says he can't find it. he's surely grabbing for a fig leaf. I love spot though, just wanted to call him on this. when I finish w/my chimp duty, it's to the boat w/me for some konk. first I get a dog right outside the club from jb, who has a stand there. it's really good, covered in his "come back sauce." I guess the 40 watt boss, barrie, told jb about the stuff I wrote about him in last tour's diary and he thanks me kindly. likewise, jb, I meant what I said. I'm glad she told jb, cuz he has no 'puter and would've never known. ok, now to the boat to konk. the hours I'm out seem like only a moment when jer gets me for the gig. onward...

   I get up on stage and say, "happy mayday." then I read this quote from emma goldman:

   "has not some american ancestor said, many years ago, that resistance to tyranny is obedience to god? and he was not an anarchist even. I would say that resistance to tyranny is man's highest ideal. so long as tyranny exists, in whatever form, man's deepest aspiration must resist it as inevitably as man must breathe.

   "...that so few resist is the strongest proof how terrible must be the conflict between their souls and unbearable social iniquities.

   "high strung, like a violin string, they weep and moan for life, so relentless, so cruel, so terribly inhuman. in a desperate moment the string breaks. untuned ears hear nothing but discord. but those who feel the agonized cry understand its harmony; they hear in it the fulfillment of the most compelling moment of human nature."

   we begin the set. I am very determined to keep it together - very, very much so. I gather all I got in me. I blow a clam in the little bass solo in the first tune. this threatens to unravel me but I double-up and become even more focused. I will not let fear win over me. I'm reaching down in me for everything I have and trying so hard. I even look at the folks some though I look at my guys more. they seem a little like they're kind of sleepwalking a little. what's this? I ask them to come alive and let's cook it up! they respond and we kick it up good. we're set up close and I can draw on them easy for support, we're like a tight team flexing close and tight. makes all the difference in the world to be close w/my dudes there in front of people. I have so many little boy fears inside always kicking to dominate and drown me. my cats aren't just collaborators but life preservers too. jer breaks a snare drum head in the big "sister ray" wail and I wish he would've just went ahead and played our last tune, the soft "chinese firedrill" ballad on the tom or something. the delay of him scrambling on stage lets the air out of the momentum balloon and this kind of lames me out. I dig that big dynamic waterfall of so-so-loud to tiny soft is intense. sometimes littleness like that is way louder than the biggest big. I have to jer about this. it's not always about the right notes like we were player-pianos, it's the big picture of the whole river. shit, I have to get through my thick head too. jer did great though mostly and so did pete, they really shined. we have a good gig, I think. the folks are quite nice too. this artist, cara shows me her drawings. there's one of a man w/a horse head and tail working a bass. trippy. paul and tommy, who were at the atlanta gig are here too - thanks for the hellride here! I say bye to all the 40 watt staff, who are so great to work for. bye to josh, the manager, who said in regards to mayday that he hoped "my evening was revolting" (in the revolution sense). it was, josh - thank you much!

   we follow barrie's map to her pad. she's soon there via her bike. that's great, she pedals too. I go up to where I konk when I'm here, the top of the tower room. the door's open and I lay out on the deck up there and look at the stars. the big dipper is out bright and the two end stars are pointing clear at the north star, polaris. I let the starlight fall into my eyes, there is no need to struggle and grab for it. I let them fill w/it 'til they flow themselves w/tears. trippy, dante ended each of the three books of his "commedia" w/stars. even in "the inferno," where you can't see them (cuz hell is inside the earth), he believes they're up anyway, shining away freely. this makes me think of something else emma goldman said in that book I got:

   "free love? as if love is anything but free! man has bought brains, but all the millions in the world have failed to buy love. man has subdued bodies, but all the power on earth has been unable to subdue love. man has conquered whole nations, but all his armies could not conquer love. man has chained and fettered the spirit, but he has been utterly helpless before love. high on a throne, with all the splendor and pomp his gold can command, man is yet poor and desolate, if love passes him by. and if it stays, the poorest hovel is radiant with warmth, with life and color. thus love has the magic power to make of a beggar a king. yes, love is free; it can dwell in no other atmosphere. in freedom it gives itself unreservedly, abundantly, completely. all the laws on the statutes, all the courts in the universe, cannot tear it from the soil, once love has taken root."

   body and brain spent, I go to the sack and konk.

thursday, may 2, 2002 - nashville, tn

from pete:

   woke up after a very restful sleep in that beautiful house of Berry's; watt wanted to get going early, so we washed up and loaded into the boat- Berry was still asleep so we could not bid her goodbye but I'm sure we'll see her again and then she can give me the thorough tour of the pad. I took some snaps of the pad and the surrounding area and we were off.

   I had been to Nashville once before w/ Tone; we had done a hellride from Memphis as we were there to see E's pad and decided to go check out Music row . It was very mersh (as expected) , but it was cool to see it anyway. This time however we were clear across town (close to Vanderbilt U); more of an indie vibe but still polluted w/ some strip malls (it's hard to get away from em') The rainy weather had followed us from athens and it was coming down in torrential sprinkle. Watt went to go check out a book store down the street while me and Jer went in search of some chow. I also needed to find a Post office to send some MO's to Lil the kill but the rain curtailed my search. We stopped into a little soda shop called Elliston's for the chow and we were ravenous so we ordered the meatloaf w/ two sides (against our better judgement ) and wolfed it down (we would both rue this feast later on). Having sated ourselves from the southern feedbag , we headed back to the pad (a joint called The End). Bruce, the boss man had arrived along w/ Brad the sound guy and bruce gave us some posters he had made especially for the gig (it said "Mike Watt and the secondmen" w/ the date of the gig and a fishing boat w/ wings and "San Pedro" written on it). Very cool gesture bruce, much respect. We loaded in the tools and set em' up and Brad had us miked up in no time at all; He's an old school soundman from way back and has worked w/ just about everyone you can think of. Very pro and a real nice cat too. We finished up the check and there was a dude checking it out close to the entrance; he came up and introduced himself after we finished the song , his name was Chris, a local musician and he rapped w/ us for awhile. We had about 5 hrs. of down time before the show so Chris suggested we leg it across the street to this English pub he often frequents and continue the gabfest there. This seemed to be a viable option so we went over to partake in some ale and conversation. We rapped for about two hours and downed a few Guiness and Bass; Some of Chris's buds showed up (Jeff, a local and Rich, an east coast transplant). We talked music over a few more pints then me and Jer bailed in search of chow. We ended up going to the local TGI Friday's (not our first choice but the chow ended up being really good; Cajun chicken pasta w/ a lot of garlic). We got back to the pad and it was already filling up; Spot was just getting ready to go on. Watt was already conked in the front of the boat and Jer sprawled out in the back. I felt pretty well rested having conked during the hellride so I decided to hang out by the FOH position and take in Spot's show. The crowd was very much into Spot's set and he was in good spirits. I stepped outside to have a smoke and was rapping w/ the door guy and people watching when this bald cat dressed up in leather walks up to me and asks me if I play w/ Watt; I say yes and introduce myself, and he tells me his name is Cheetah Chrome and he knew watt from the old days and watt had told him to come and sit in w/ us on "Little doll" (watt had told us about him in the boat on the ride over; Cheetah used to play in the "Dead Boys" w/ Jimmy Zero and Stiv Bators and watt had not seen him in a few years). He asked where watt was and I told him he had conked in the boat. " I come to see him and the fucker's asleep"?, "I been waitng for him for two hours!, wake his lazy ass up"! I reply that this is not a viable option as watt really needs his pre-gig conk time or the show will suffer. "What the fuck does he need to sleep for? I'm older than he is and I ain't sleepin' "! I tell him that I am not going to wake him for another hour and he can talk to him then. Cheetah seems satisfied w/ this answer and asks me if I'm the one that likes Bushmills in the band." Sure do" I say and he proceeds to drag me back across the street to the English pub to buy me a few. Chris, Jeff, and Rich are still there swilling brews and are pretty well oiled by this time and I wonder if they're going to make it to the show (they assure me that they wouldn't miss it for the world and they didn't god bless em'-they are very cool peeps) The cat at the bar doesn't have any Bushmills but he does have something called Powers whiskey which he insists is the Glenlivet of Irish whiskies so I down a few. Very smooth, much like the Black label Bush and it goes down w/ no fire. Cheetah, (obviously borracho from some previous intake) proceeds to give me a slurred lowdown on the early punk scene in New York. Trippy cat that Cheetah (just how trippy I would soon find out). We walk out of the pub and Cheetah goes in to the pad next door, where there's some pretty- boy techno-pop band doing its thing. This not being my trip and w/ time running out, I head back to the The End to see whatis up. Spots's in the middle of his set so I hang outside by the boat ready to wake up Jer and the chief when the time comes. A woman comes and taps me on the shoulder and introduces herself as Kara (watt knows her; she used to work at SST in the old days and watt warned me about her as she tried to bogart his last few shows at this pad by being very borracho and belig) She seemed relatively sober (albeit a little too bubbly) and asked where watt was. "In the boat conking," I say, "Oh he's not receiving an audience yet"? she replies w/ no small degree of sarcasm. (great, I think to myself, a sober female Cheetah Chrome) I say no, he's ASLEEP because he has been DRIVING all day and he's TIRED and has a show to do and I WAS NOT going to wake him up. "He's changed hasn't he? "He's weird now". I do not answer as this seems pointless at this juncture but I am nice to her about it. Five minutes later Cheetah shows up from across the street and he's obviously eaten a bag of gorilla cookies washed down w/ a bottle of kickass. He lumbers over and starts rapping w/ Kara and invariably the subject leads to watt sleeping while they're waiting; "watt up yet"? he says, "nope". " you got the keys to this fuckin' van"? "I sure do brother, but I'm not opening that goddamn door, and I'm not waking him up yet". "what the fuck! I don't do this for Mick fucking Jagger"! and he proceeds to shake the boat and bang on it. "I wouldn't do that brother, you're hurting the boat and there's cats sleeping in there". "What the fuck! I been here since 7 o'clock and that fucker's been sleeping the whole time! (at this point he pulls a switchblade out of his jacket and waves it in front of me in full view of everyone) "well how about this, you open up the van or I stick you w/ this" (funny enough I wasn't scared at all at this point; I figured he pulls this kind of shit all the time), I summon my best longshoreman's glare, look him straight in the eyes and say: " You better kill me w/ that brother cause' I'm going to come after you". Not sure what he was dealing w/ or not wanting to stick a member of watt's crew, he backs off and says "I just wanted to talk w/ the motherfucker," I say " wait a few minutes and you'll get your chance." I wake up watt and jer but Cheetah had already gone inside. How unfortunate.

   The gig went very well; the people were very into it (albeit a tad reserved-other cats I spoke to tell me this is normal) very nice people and spoke w/ many afterwards. Cheetah never made it to the stage; Watt had called him up twice but he was rapping w/ some cats in the back of the bar so we went and did the song w/o him. Afterwards, Cheetah comes up to me and says " I've got two words for you man" - "Steppenwolf" (this was obviously a veiled apology) He wanted to take me back across the street and buy me some more drinks but I told him I had to stick around and load up the tools. He looked a little dejected and I really would've gone w/ him but I had some regular duty to pull and I was really tired. We loaded up the boat and got in- Ben, whose pad we were crashing at that nite got in w/ us and led the way. We got up there and I hit the bed in his roommate Bennet's bedroom and went off to suenoville. Laku noc sviraci.

from jer:

   I expected to get an early rise as the drive is 4 1/2 hours to nashville. I scurry downstairs to meet up w/the guys and shove off. I feel a bit bad about not making my bed and rushing off. sorry barri for not doing my part, next time a good guest I will be. the road to nashvegas is scattered w/rivers, lakes and hilly terrian worthy of many good snaps. we pass chattanooga and on towards the End club near vanderbuilt university. mike parks the boat and all depart. I take pete to the soda shop on the corner for some home cooking. meatloaf and potatos thick as a brick. this stuff sits heavy in the gut. back at the club brad the soundguy shows early and we load for check. I change a snare head that broke last night and get the kit in order. we check and a cat named chris (fan hanging out) invites pete and myself for a beer at the sherlock holms bar across the street. his friends arrives soon after and we yap for a couple hours. all very cool folk. we say farewell til' the show and get some salad food up the street. I catch another nba game and pete reads some nash music rag. feeling tired I return to the club and crawl into the back of the boat for short nap.

   I wake an hour w/the pounding of some chump on the side of the van. "where's watt, I've been waiting for two hours to talk to him man!" this voice wailed. I get changed quik and hear pete heading off the dude. as I open the rear hatch the guy pops his head in and thinks I'm watt. "ain't no way in from here" I tell em'. he disappears. all I remember is a bald head and drunk shuffle. I wait inside and pete goes to wake the boss. all the people outside surround mike and he hastily packs the merch sack then up to the stage. we get kicking and the crowd seems somewhat reserved yet compeled to hang on every change. I dig the show, as mike and pete show the same acceptance. after playing chinese firedrill mike tells pete back stage that he set up to far again. it made him somewhat nervous, though not as bad as atlanta. the encore goes well and I'm pleased once again w/a nice rock show. mike's friend cheetah from the deadboys is lingering around the stage and leads pete over for a talk. he's the drunk cat that banged on the boat earlier and now is so tanked that the paints peeling off the walls surrounding him. I avoid the mess. bennett the guy we stayed w/last tour is hanging out and offers up the same apartment two blocks away to crash in again.

   spot follows as we pull the boat into the tight underground garage space for safety. I grab some stuff for a morning shower and walk up the four flights to the space. bennett makes some room on his bedroom floor and I stake the same turf and last time. in the living room pete tells of chettah pulling a switch blade on him when I was sleeping. he wanted to talk to mike and pete wasn't budging. "your gonna have ta kill me, cuz' I'm gonna come after ya if not."pete exclaims. cheetah backed off and bought pete a shot instead, (see pete's diary). I reach for the sleeping bag and knok hard and fast.

from watt:

   pop and look topside out the tower door. gray, like l.a. in the morning lots of times - makes me think of pedro. I go hose off, trippy soap - it's in a bottle and really thin, like water. I go downstairs to make the cof barrie put out for us last night. I trip on the neat stuff in this pad, it is truly righteous - a major "museum" compared to the roadside attraction I live in down in pedro. it's an old pad and built unique and special. I dig it much. w/cof in me, I chimp email. not many chances to do much w/tour being so full on me and having everything so occupied and in need of my attention - lots of emails get neglected. I try to catch up as much as I can - like for three hours! I roust my men at eleven, we'll pick up an hour going back across a time zone line. it's only for a day, tomorrow we'll be back in east coast time.

   barrie's still konked so we bye and many thanks to her spirit and the pad. thank you much, barrie. we re-trace the way we came from atlanta except this time there's no spaceouts and we make a clean getaway. there's a plug in gwinnett but after we clear that it's pretty flowing around the virtual l.a. of a freeway scheme around north atlanta. glad we hit this area now cuz you can just tell it's total morass just a little while before or after. I take the boat north on I-75 to chattanooga. the terrain becomes much more hilly and forested. the wind picks up big time too. over the border, which is the tennessee river at chattanooga. I put the boat on I-24 and there's some grade to climb. you can see lookout mountain, there was some heavy civil war fighting here. all this thick woods and ridges everywhere plus this huge river, what a nightmare that must've been. well, it was all fucking nightmare, wasn't it. there's a tiny piece of georgia to cover and then back into tennessee. funny how these fireworks stands are on the borders. this one is fucking huge, I mean really big. it's a fucking ammo dump. we're northwest now on the I-24 and the wind is fierce. trees are knocked down all over, it's a mess in some parts. we get gas and the newspaper in the stands talks about this little town east of here called calhoun that was hit hard but a tornado last night, the downtown stomped. oh boy, the forces of nature. we pass a road going to lynchburg, where the jack daniel still is - I took a tour there once when I was w/fIREHOSE. we pass a road going to the george dickel still, man is that sign all tore up. wonder what's up w/that place, I've never been there but have done plenty of that whisky. those cats from marietta who used to come to the minutemen gigs in atlanta were way into that. I remember playing in nyc once the night after merle haggard played at trampps and he left his bottle, 'pert still full and the folks of the pad there gave me it. anyway, onward. the sky is real heavy and rain starts to fall but it's real light. we get into nashville and jer works the map good and we get to the end, where we're playing tonight - near vanderbilt college. damn, the falafel pad ain't open so I go get a tuna sandwich a little further down the street at this old timey kind of chow pad. some girl got the wrong flavored shake and complained so when she got the right one, the lady behind the counter said, "you like strawberry?" and gave me it. I had some in the boat while I chowed the sandwich. it was good. I go to that old bookstore I always go to when I play the end (this venue used to be called elliston square) and get a signed by the author, limited first edition of "home to tennessee" by alfred leland crabb. he wrote in it "for my friend flo bottari - those whom peabody has had no choicer spirit." cryptic, huh? wonder if my chimpin' comes across that way?

   the boss, bruce fitzpatrick, is here. he just this pad after running for the longest time. I've been doing gigs w/him in this town a long time, a long time. he's great and has always treated me righteous. he's had some posters done up in blue w/a tugboat on them that says san pedro. really neat. thanks, bruce. I move the boat right next to the pad so it's a real easy load in. I mean, I'm right next to the pad - maybe three feet from the front door. I backed the boat in so the doors are right there. brad the soundman is a character. he's fifty and has worked for everyone. some stories about journey from him. nice things in the paper about me for tonight's gigs. much respect to the cat who wrote but fuck if I can't remember his name. sorry, bro. I mean, it was generic, it was a good piece and he's curious about my secondmen and how they sound w/me. thank you. a quick check w/a run-through of "the red and the black" (our usual soundcheck tune) and I'm out to get a falafel now that maybe thay liberty pad might be open - it's after five (they close three to five) but damn, if they ain't closed but there's folks in there cuz I'm looking through the window. this lady comes running up to me and asks me to come chow across the street at the nashgrille. she's got a menu in her hand and I see some new orleans style pasta and say ok. it's really good and the cat who owns talks w/me a while, he's very cool people. there's a young guy who w/him who's lost his voice but wants me to sign his driver's license. trippy picture, like his hair's getting blown in the wind so I show him my cali driver's license - I look like one of the cats in the village people cuz of this big mustache I had then cuz of this picture I found in my garage of my pop on the enterprise in viet nam w/one. pretty funny. people always laugh their brains out when they see that. after eating that good chow, I go to the boat to chimp diary and then konk.

   I konk hard and deep. I have dreams of the boat actually in the ocean w/wind blowing and giant waves. I'm at the wheel and feel it rolling and rocking about - waves pounding on the sides. my knuckles white w/the tight holdin' on... I'm agonizing on how long this storm is gonna toss me and I can konk right, feeling safe. I kind of thoughts of letting the wheel go just to see what the real big hellride is like, like do I get tossed for the longest time, perception stretching the moments into years or something. I seem to ponder on this, somehow detached from the hell of trying to hold on. it's a weird, tormented dream. I come out of it when pete pops the hatch and shakes me. I hear kara outside. she lived in pedro awhile, worked at sst and has been to almost all my gigs since coming back here. she's not drunk though, is ok to talk w/and I'm pretty proud of her. she was in bad shape the last times I was here. not much time to chat, I grab the shirts and head for the stage. cheetah chrome, from the dead boys, is here and we talk a little. I had emailed him and asked if he would play "little doll" w/us but he's got no guitar. damn, cheetah - I told you I'm w/an organ cat and don't have that stuff. he's a little miffed I wasn't around to hang out. shit, bro - I need the konk. I'm not that good w/the social thing close to playing time. especially this tour where I'm shitting pecan logs most every gig. I sling the little bass and we start the gig. my guys play good though pete seems like miles away. right from the start I make sure in my mind I'm gonna tell him about this. I need him tight on me for confidence. I think my determination to tell him this helps me from hairing out and getting too scared though it is creeping in a little. I stave it off and try to hold my course true. pete's pretty animated tonight and I dig it, gives me nerve to lay into my little bass. no well-oiled machine but I'm getting some grip on this. I can look at the folks in the crowd more too and not roll my eyes too far back inside closed eyelids and cower. a little bit, anyway. I feel such a lack of strength in that regard for this tour, like that first mike watt as solo chump tour back in 1995. man, where things easier that way w/d. boon and even ed fROMOHIO. so much different these days and especially w/this hellride. this crowd is really attentive and study every move. much respect to them. I get a little out of tunes in spots, especially w/the last number but I improvise and stay away from the string that seems really whack, the 'g' one. they have us back for an encore but first, while we're in the back room, I tell pete about being so far from me on stage. I use three apples on the table to illustrate what I mean. it's my insecurities were placating here, not pete's lack of ability cuz he's tough and is doing fine. we finish up and sling. this couple who was in front of me the whole gig, thanks me for chimpin' the tour spiels - that's a trip. very kind of them though, thank you. that young man at the chow pad tries and talk w/me but his voice is just too gone. he's very emotional and I feel glad I could play for him and not be a total foldup. I finish up and bring my stuff to the boat.

   cheetah's out there and talks w/me some. he tells me of getting cheated by sonny vincent and how he had to drop him w/a punch. damn. wish shit wouldn't of had to come to that. I ask him why he didn't bring stuff to play w/us and he says he practices close by but I don't think I ever got an answer why he didn't come ready to play. oh well. duane dennison says hi, he lives here now and it's so great to see him again. been quite a while, since helping the porno guys in australia and duane was playing the same festival w/us w/the jesus lizard. since then he did some tours w/hank williams III and now is w/mike patton's tomahawk. we talk about the cat playing bass in that band, kevin from the cows who uses a slide. that's a trip. he tells me about david yow's solo record in the making. he hasn't heard it but has heard from people that yow's played it for over the phone and they say it's like prokiev w/him whispering in the back. what a trip. duane says he's doing graphic artist stuff but keeps threatening to moving to l.a. and become an actor. I know he's done some stuff for some movies carducci put out. good luck, mister yow. you are a true original. hope you do make that record though. I give duane my email address cuz I'd love to do music w/him, he's quite a guitarist - pretty incredible.

   the cat we stayed w/last time, bennett, offers up his pad again and he's only a couple blocks away. thank you, bennett. it's a tight squeeze for the boat in the parking structure but I ease her in. much easier these days of no whisky for watt. I wish I could say I was more sane in some ways. funny about that. I've fought of all kind off chemicals and bad shit but my mind still seems not the healthiest. from an intoxicated nut to a sober one. hmm... well, I need the body healthy even if the mind won't go that route. I've got work to do. I talk to bennett some about bass when he kind of laughs at what kind he has. sorry I can't remember the make or the model now but I tell him that's not that important anyway. if you can make it sing, then you're in business. period. fuck all the surface shit. a great man once said "a poor carpenter blames his tools." hear! hear! I agree. spot's konking w/us and I talk about my trip last tour to monticello and get going w/my ideas about jefferson and stuff. spot has some interesting ideas regarding this too. bennett says he went there in high school and can't remember much. I tell him the same thing happened to me and I was there while I was a man, in the 80s! the way you perceive things changes anyway as you change so it's never gonna be the same, I think. that's why it's good to keep dipping your head in the experience well and not rely too much on the back catalog cuz the way you interpret things is pretty much determined by where you are at that moment - like dancing on a moving rug! I talk a little about the old days and how punk was so much about being friends, this scene of outsiders finding friendship w/kindered spirits. me and spot get kind of sad how all those folks are now pretty much gone and not in our lives anymore. that's sad - they all had such an effect on me. glad spot's still here to absorb some of my insanity! pete and jer flee to bedrooms to escape the encroaching snoreathon me and spot are going to get going. it's pretty late but spot starts chimping diary! I'm on the deck and start the symphony w/out him or rather, before him. good night, brother spot.

friday, may 3, 2002 - knoxville, tn

from pete:

   woke up a little disoriented and walked into the front room where watt and spot were crashed. On the way I noticed that somebody was laying in the hallway; I ask who it is and watt says its Bennet. This poor cat had unselfishly given up his bed so I could sleep on it! I felt really bad and never would've taken the space if I'd known it would've put him out. I apologized to him but he wouldn't hear of it; I told him I had the bag and would've been very comfy on the floor but he still wouldn't hear of it. I still felt very guilty for putting the guy out but I am always heartened by random acts of human kindness- It reminds me to pass it on.

   We piled into the boat and watt attempted to pull out of berth; we had a spot in a parking garage that was right next to a wall so he had to inch it out (it was a tight squeeze); it was just like the scene in the Austin Powers flick where Austin is in a golf cart trying to turn it around in a narrow corridor- The chief had it under control however and we got out in under 10 minutes. I chimped diary most of the way as I was way behind and Jer was behind too; we share his laptop and puter' time is at a premium so I usually chimp in the boat and Jer does it at the pad. I took a few snaps of Jer and watt downing some dines' in hot sauce; somebody gave the chief a bottle of Dave's insanity sauce-Special reserve (it's made out of red savina peppers and tops out at 650,000 scoville units), I applied a few drops of this to the chief''s cracker and down the hatch it went... I put a little on my sangwich (I dig the hot stuff too) and bit in -sweat appears on forehead, nostrils flare open and the afterburn kicks in and wipes out any trace of sangwich taste, it's a very liberating and ethereal experience(akin to the burn of the ink needle), and I love it. Watt berates us for taking one-hand snaps on the camera; the pictures are coming out blurry and we should be using both hands so I make a mental note of this.

   We pull into town early and the pad (The Blue Cat) isn't open yet so while watt stays behind in the boat me and jer decide to go do a little sightseeing. I take the camera along and snap just about everything in sight; the rain had let up a little so I got many cool shots (the part of Knoxville we were in was sort of the red light district at one time and there was a lot of cool old buildings and monuments). We came upon an old railroad museum that was closed but I took many pix of the restored pullman cars and the caboose. We head on back to the pad but it was still closed so we went across the street to partake in some beers at this micro-brewery joint. We read some of the local music rags and found some nice blurbs and articles about the band ; at this point one of the cats from the club (Chris) comes in to get us for the load in and soundcheck so we bail from the brewhouse to pull some regular duty. Plum, the soundman mikes us up real quick and we do the song; everything sounds right and we are hungry so we head back to the brewhouse to indulge in some chow. I have some jerk chicken salad but Jerry decides to really strap on the feedbag and orders up some lasagna and a big plate full of garlic rolls (he would answer for this gluttonous folly soon after). I gave Lil the Kill a ring and she's working hard as usual (she told me she pulled 50 hours this week); I was still feeling a little bummed and very self conscious from my waking trip so she put my little man tony on the phone and he talked to me for a bit; He told me he loved me and asked when I would be home; I told him soon and that I loved him and to take care of Mom (I knew he would). Lil the Kill got back on the phone and offered me much encouragement (she had done the touring thing before w/ her band but there schedule was a bit more grueling; 3 shows a day, seven days a week for 3 month stretches!- she knew very well the mental rollercoaster it could be sometimes). We've been together for over ten years now and she always knows how to make me feel better. I told her I love her very much and miss her a lot, then we said our goodbyes; It made me feel homesick, but my head was in a much better place (thank you bebi).

   We went back to the pad and Jer was feeling groggy so he conked in the dressing room while I chimped diary in the FOH area. I zipped thru the better part of one day when a couple came up to talk to me to rap (eddie and angie). Eddie had lived in Cali for about 17yrs.and he knew a bunch of cats I play w/ and know in the Cali dead scene; Craig and CW from Cubensis, Andy from the band I'm in,The Maykers- a bunch of people. We also rapped about our kids. What a small world. I went back to the dressing room to chimp some more and I actually finished up a day. Spot started his set and I layed down to get a little shut eye. As spot wailed on the banjo for his last tune, I went to go wake the chief up and stopped onstage to fire up the Leslie. We hit the stage and initially we couldn't hear the monitors but Plum pumped up the gain and everything fell into place. Very raging crowd, and nice people. We were staying at this cat eric's pad and after the show he came up and introduced himself to me; he had gone out to dinner w/ watt and gotten a little borracho but he was in good spirits. I was packing up my tools when I hear a scuffle going on onstage on watt's side. It appears eric had gotten into a little bellige altercation w/ plum and one of the bouncers and they wanted to throw him out; Watt tried to calm them down and kept telling them "no violence" (he told eric to stand against the wall and wait for him - eric did so) Some other cat obviously didn't want poor eric there at all and the fiasco continued outside (I wasn't witness to any of this but I heard about it from watt), evidently someone called the hombre,and they ended up searching eric and found some mota on him so he ended up spending the night in the pokey. Too bad, it's never cool when these things go sour like that. We ended up crashing at this cat Matt's house and he had his whole crew over at the pad. I met and rapped w/ some really cool peeps (Eric's wife Abby, Henry, Pap'al, Laurie, Dion and a lot of others that I can't remember) Very down-to-earth people and very hospitable. They all made me feel very much at home. Much respect. I was exhausted (and not a little buzzed) so I bid them all goodnite and crashed on the deck. Hard. Laku noc sviraci

from jer:

   we have another time change to eastern time (we lose an hour) and mike gets us up for an early depart. I still have time to take a shower and shave. up and onward. no more that 4 1/2 hours w/the time change it'll take today to cross the state. the countryside passes by and I ponder the trip so far. sometimes one day blends into the next and you lose a small sence of reality. streaming past through a glass partition and tired eyes the world blends together w/images of home. I think of driving back to cali and a happy homecoming w/friends and family. I couldn't think of a better way to see the country though. soon were in knoxville and I go for a walk w/pete to scope the surrounds. after a circle of downtown and some good snaps we head back to the club. on the way I see a railway museum next to the road. we detour and investigate futher. they have a well restored cabboose along w/many pullman passanger cars from the 30's to the 50's. I always dreamed of having a cabboose as a prac.pad/office in the backyard of the house I buy. all of rilei's friend's could come over and play on it. unfortunately it' s closed and I can only look in the windows. pete snaps up the cars and we make our way back. the bar cat at bluecat's suggests the pizza place across the street for some beer and chow. inside I find an article on our show and read up. this one has a big photo of the three of us. press is great for the show and almost always gives a good assessment of mike's past and present play on the musical malstorm. I finish a beer and return to check. the load in is easy, right to the stage. soundguy plum is on top of the shit. I get the buy out and we head back to the pizzaria for din. I choose a veggie lasagna and salad. it's proves to heavy for me and I dart straight to the backstage room for some konk.

   as spot starts I wake and see pete chimping in the room next to me. I go to the bar for a small drink and get a shot for pete. the crowd is filling and I foresee a good show. w/spot done we don't have to move the gear in place (spot's the only opener) and walk right on. the beginning is good, but I start having some cramping in my left hand and it's not going away. around 6 songs in I throw a stick, damn! no time to shake it out so I do my best. on red and the black I crack a stick and barely hold on. the cramping gets worse. I break another and finally make it to the end of the reg. set. we gather back stage and I tell the guys I'm cramping hard. just hold on a bit more jer. on the encore I, of course, lose three sticks and all griping strength in my hand. uuugggghhhhh! I enter the backroom and dunk my hand in a bucket of ice water, then straight to the bar for a double screwdriver. I see some commotion near the stage and plum is irate. seems that some guy started something on stage w/plum and they booted the man out. I follow outside and see him being thrown into the cop car. returning inside plum informs me that it's the dude mike had dinner w/earlier. I think were supposed to stay w/em' tonight. I tell mike whats up and then go and look for his friends. I search and find matt the cat were crashing with. all is well and we pack up the boat.

   at least twenty kids arrive at matt's and the party is on. upstairs the cig. factory is operating at full cap.. I venture downstairs and use matt's puter' to check e-mail. thanks much matt man for being helpful. I ask to use the phone to call kel and talk a short spell w/my lady love. she quit her job finally and got a modeling gig already. I'm very pleased she's happy again. mike's in the living room w/the eye shades almost down and the kids take the clue. they head downstairs and I make my nook in the corner. soon spot starts the symphony of nasality w/mike joining in. being so tired I konk to their mellow rumble.

from watt:

   pop and hose off - no towel, so it's the dog shake when I'm done. venture out and the sun is out but clouds still fill most the sky. get some cof at an (cough) areclucks' - there's no other choices (probably right what they want). hoof back and chimp diary. pete pop's and apologizes very much to ben (bennett's roomate), who's konked on the deck outside his room. ben says not to worry. pete feels bad about bogarting the cat's own bed. I tell pete that's the spirit of giving there, unselfishness - it's sometimes in the smallest of things. we talk about stuff like this for a while. ben pops and puts some of this french band on called air. I know the kind who plays drums for them when they tour but it's the first time I've heard their music. ben's talking to me about things and then he asks if I've worked long w/mike watt. I say, "a bit - when he's not being an asshole." we all laugh and he's kind of embarrassed. it's ok, I've said before I like being kind of incognito. I get jer and it's time to bail. whoops - ben gives me the ac cord and power supply to the barbie purse (ibook). damn. last tour I donated the ac cord here in nashville but at the club. thank you, ben, for preventing a rerun.

   we hop in the boat and pete almost drinks from the bottle of green tea he finished yesterday. I have since transformed it into a pissbottle and tell pete to look at the cap, where I wrote "no drink." I would never let him drink of that. you watch what you drink out of when you're in the boat! now we're parked tight and getting the boat out is a little tough. I start out w/a wrong move and get real close to the fire alarm. this is why I take this shit slow and easy. I get her back in and start over, this time setting us way better. damn, I almost had us wedge in good - what a dumbfuck. I have to think further ahead w/this shit. w/any kind of tour shit, tour is that way. you have to take care vigilantly. it's only two lefts and onto the I-40. this freeway will take us straight into knoxville. after a bit, some drizzle from the grayed-up sky. oh well, at least the winds calmed down from yesterday. we stop for gas and chow blimpie subs. I get a hat to replace the shill camp that was holding the blue rag on my head to keep the sun off the funky ear skin I got. there's an orange baseball cap w/no logo and I get that. of course, if you're from around here, you know it's for the vols. anyway, it's not so obviously shillware. the counterlady gives me the coffee I get for free. thank you. we're back east on I-40 and cross back into eastern time. hillier and hillier gets the road but really pretty w/the wildflowers they plant by the road - reds, white, purples against the wet green of the farms and forest. right before knoxville is stripmallworld. you would think it was del amo or o.c. if you didn't have a road atlas to tell you where they plopped this thing. into the old city part of knoxville and we're at the venue round three. it's called the blue cat and is kind of fancy. it's been almost ten years since I've played this town last, some place called planet earth. I remember the boss getting so drunk, he gave me the door at the end of the night and said "here mike, you count it." my last memory of him is driving away from the pad and seeing him in the rearview mirror, hollering and whuping it up in the middle street. he was a funny guy. wish I could remember his name. damn. I am beat and my guys go for a walk. there's trains wailing by so there must be something like that around. this old section of town used to be the whore house part and there's some brothels left that are now bars. I tell them to check it out. me, I use that new mask to help me konk on the bench. I am tuckered. I pop for soundcheck. this guy named plum does the knobs. eric moon, this young man, had emailed me earlier in the week to ask if he could chow me when I had time and when we finish the check, I go w/him, his wife abbey and friend george across the road and eat this spinich salad w/artichoke hearts. I love artichoke hearts, especially the marinated kind (though these aren't, they're still good). eric's from greenville, maybe sixty miles from here, which has a history of being a part of the lost state of franklin - a part of this area, w/a western part of north carolina that did not want to go in w/the confederacy. he wants to know about the old days of punk, the new york city kind and the part me and d. boon were part of. so I tell him what I know and some books he can read about it like "please kill me," "our band could be your life, "american hardcore" and "we got the neutron bomb." he writes down all the titles on a little pad. he listens intently. these are nice folks and to be this interested into something I would think would be so removed from them but then, I have to say there's a lot of young people who want to know where punk came from before it got mersh and sold at toys r us. there's a weekly entertainment paper that's got an article on how it's writer missed the chance to talk w/me. I flowed him my number but I got no call and then tour came. his story is quite kind though, even w/the regret he has for not getting to spiel w/me. I have to make a point of talking w/this mattew t. everett, maybe next tour. there was no jadedness in his writing, this happens when you play towns where most bands pass by for the bigger pads, same w/the cats who come to the shows. I mean, there's genuine people everywhere but these folks seem to have fewer of those who think they know it all though of course they must have that too. I hate to gerealize, it's stupid. what I mean to say is thank you to eric and matthew for being kind to me.

   I go to the boat to chimp diary and then konk. I miss spot. sorry, bro. jer comes to wake me. I wait a bit and see people looking through the windows of the boat - I'm behind curtains so they don't see me. all of them point and laugh. all right. time to weild the broom and I pop the hatch when the coast is clear. the stage is kind of high and you're looking down on folks. oh oh, this is scary in a way. I focus as hard as I can and say some courage words to myself and we begin. we're set up tight and this helps. I'm so glad I got the fan w/me this tour cuz I'm sweating bullets. jer's having some trouble w/cramping, sticks are flying out of his hand. it's ok, jer - that shit happens - just keep tough and weather through it. I see a little panic in his face but try to reassure him w/some monkey face. lots of folks are right up on the stage's front and very intent on what we're doing. there's one couple who very much want "walking the cow" - wish pete knew it, I have to show it to him. this is an ok gig though, the fear was there but didn't stomp me down so much, I kind of kept it bay sort of. I wish I knew a method to make that work instead of just praying for the best. I don't know, I think there's so many intangibles and then there's my mental state on top of it. ok, not to dwell on the nightmare parts, I'm thankful for a good gig. I got even a little carried away and played behind my head and a little w/my teeth. pretty funny. I wasn't really thinking, I first just shook real hard and then I lost my conscious part of my head. I have to be careful w/this cuz my knees are so weak and fragile. if I make a stupid move, I'm gonna really pay for it. careful, idiot fucking watt. don't want to do the rest of the tour in a chair. "little doll" has the bass sounding real strange, really garbled up sound - wonder what's up? I'll have to look into that. I dedicate "little johnny jewel" to those who got shit in school and... one guy finishes my sentence w/"... at the prom!" this makes me laugh much. who the fuck at one of my gigs went to their prom? shows you on insular my thinking is. I thinking it might be happening that there might be prom people at the gigs. the more diverse, the better is what I'm learning to believe more and more. well, I always thought that, I just in a way couldn't believe people who weren't weirdos would like what I was doing. maybe everyone's a little bit of a weirdo in a way and seeing one on stage makes them feel a little less self-conscious about it. I mean, I don't try to be a weirdo but I've been told that so much of my life.

   lots of talking w/these warm folks when we're done. really, really nice people. one cat has me sign his bass. there's some gov't mule posters to sign too - these guys know me from the creedence song ("effigy") I did w/them last summer. I was very proud to do that, warren and matt were the best, good souls. they tripped when I told them I wore flannels cuz of ccr. there's some problem though. it looks like the sound man is into some altercation w/eric moon. I tell the guy he's my friend and I don't want any violence. the guy, plum, says, "no one on stage." I ask eric to wait there next to a wall. then I go back to slingging. I get done and someone tells me eric's been arrested and is a paddy wagon. shit. damn. he's such a nice cat too. I feel really bad for him. I go to settle w/the manager and he says more fighting went down and people were on the sidewalk, then the cops searched eric and found mota in his pocket. fuck. his wife and friends are really tore up. one friend, matt, tells us we can konk at his pad. I tell him thanks but first I have to say hi at this club down the street, the pilot light, cuz the boss asked me to have a beer there please. I tell her I'm not drinking but want to give my regards, it's my kind of pad - where a lot of my gigs get done, same spirit and all. damo from can is playing there in a few days so I tell them to say hi for me when he's there. much respect to both him and them and their little scene. we leave the gig a little sad. I know eric wanted so much to come and hang out.

   we get to matt's and a bunch of folks have followed us there. I lay my bag out on the couch. my outfit is total soaked from gig sweatin' and I have to get out of them. it's raining out so I can't go back out to the boat. I'm there in my underwear w/all these cats around me talking to me about things, many thanks for coming to their town. I tell them that the thanks should go to them for having open minds and hearts to give my stuff an interest and a listen. abbey has a picture taken w/me for her husband eric - he so wanted to be here. everyone tells me eric's the nicest guy and would never start trouble. damn, I wish I could've been more protected of him or somehow could've stopped things from escalating to what it did but I was too self-involved w/the slingging. this is a problem w/me sometimes - I fail to get the big picture in time. I have to learn from this. this cat, alan, shows me pictures of his family and his new baby, creed. he tells me he's not named after the band but his grandpa, who's a big inspiration to him - this man lost his leg when he was sixteen and though he's in his nineties now, still gathers all his firewood cuz even though his pad has central heating - he won't use it. alan played baseball and looks like someone you would call a jock but through his talking, I find him to have a more open mind and respect for people than almost anyone I've ever met. so much for appearances. thank you, alan - thanks for inspiring me. he even blew off a bass fishing tournament to come to the show. whoa. I answer as many questions as I can, these people are wonderful but I do run out of gas. one good thing about the mask is that it's a pretty good indicator to folks that my waking time is on the wane. they move downstairs and I'm swallowed up into the warm arms of konk quick.

saturday, may 4, 2002 - raleigh, nc

from pete:

   Watt woke us up early as it was raining and he wanted to get on the road. Laura had waken up and made us some coffee and we guzzled it down and took off. I tried to sleep on the way in the boat but it was eyes wide shut the whole trip. We stopped at a Flying J and I bought some eye muffs but to no avail; at least I rested the body a little. We pulled up to the pad (King's) around 3:00 but there was no one there yet. Jer had to hit the head really bad so we decided to leg it around a bit and try and find some chow and a bathroom. A few blocks away we found a sheraton and went in to scope it out. The restaurant was closed (places aren't open here too much on the weekends) but the head was there so we had minimal success. Next to the sheraton there was some kind of open air corporate festival going on (in the rain!) and there were many bands (Cheap Trick, Molly Hatchet, Gin Blossoms, Smithereens, et al), Me and Jer were going to go in to grab some chow but decided against it as we had to get back to the pad for load in. Got back and did the load in and the soundman Eric set us all up thru the house PA(it had some real old horn loaded bass bins that sounded kinda cool). My monitors (Sunns) were adequate but watt's (Peaveys), were crap and his mic was squealing incessantly and it was a losing fight for eric to keep the gain up sans ear bleed. He miked up the Leslie and it sounded killer so I knew he had his head on straight (he had told us himself that he was an asshole but in our case he would make an exception). A cat named Todd (aka Mustard jar) that has been coming to Mike's shows for years showed up and invited us over to his brother Tim's (aka Jumbones) house for some dinner, so we hopped into his car and headed on over to the pad. It was very beautiful, out in the woods and relatively isolated, a very charming abode w/ a log cabin like interior. Tim was already firing up a roast on the smoker and Todd's wife had made a veggie chili for us, while Tim's wife Laura made us some great care packages w/ snacks and soap and bath crystals that she had made herself. We also met Tim's friend Nicky (aka the guy who wears a bikini onstage and set's his dick on fire; I'm not making this up, todd told me so). He plays guitar in a band w/ Tim; really nice cat. Laura pours out a nice cab and we attack the chow. It was really really good(We all tried not to eat too much of the meat for obvious reasons discussed previously), and the vegetable chili was awesome(Todd said he would send me the recipe). Fully sated , we rapped for a while and watched a video of Carla B. and Nels doing Willie Nelson's "Red-Headed Stranger" live. They're touring it as we speak and if they happen to pass thru your town, go check it out; It's a very cool musical experience and made me realize how sublime that album is. Carla's vocals are ethereal and Nels lays down some cool steel guitar. A must see. We had to get back to the pad for some chimping and conk, so we bid Tim, Laura and Nickey goodbye (they were, however coming to the show later). Thanks for the chow, soap and good vibes guys.

   Todd dropped us off at the pad and I went to do some conk time in the dressing room. I didn't sleep much (I was eyes wide shut again) but I did rest the body a bit. I woke up just as the first band was starting; they were called "Baumph" and played a kind of instrumental metal trip w/ two drummers in the mix. The bass player susan had made us some little scented flower arrangements for the boat (very kind gesture). My only peeve is that they bogarted the time and started late; very uncool and disrespectful towards us, Spot and the crowd. They came on an hour late so we didn't come on until 12:40! People pay money to come and see you; you should feel fortunate that they're there at all and it's fucking absolute bull-shit to make them sit and stew while you prance around doing nothing. Some bands like to milk this time shit as they think it adds a mystique and/or anticipatory quality to the gig. Fuck that! Get real and leave that kind of shit to the "Guns n' Roses" of the world. Watt took the delay in relative stride as it was a weekend, but that never would have gone down on a weeknite. That said, the band sounded pretty interesting and were pretty cool peeps too.

   We did the show and the crowd was really into it; Watt's monitors were squealing from the get-go and it was a little unnerving, but sometimes you have to go w/ the flow. We played well, but my hand cramped up after the fourth song and the rest of the set was an exercise in bruxism for me. Very nasty feeling. Afterwards, all the people were very appreciative and we signed many posters and shirts- All in all a good show, save for the pain. We were crashing at the pad of Bill, the cat that does t-shirts for watt , so we followed him over to the homestead where we laid out the bags and immediately conked (I read a little as I was still hyped up some) Buenos suenos

from jer:

   mike wakes me and advises we bail now. the rain that was falling all night will be following us to n.carolina. I take the bench seat and konk hard. didn't get any good sleep last night. the kitty was playing around my head and goofing in a basket next to me. we stop for some subway and I wake to eat and fill the gullet. back to the konk. 3 hours later I wake and the rain is still falling. mike is cautiously handling the wheel and keeps the speed down to a safe level. good thing we left early, the fog and rain hindered travel and added an hour to the ride. I switch w/pete and take what few snaps I can. soon raliegh is in sight and the rain continues. the king is the pad for the night and we park right in front. pete and myself go looking for food and a head. I hear some rock band sounds emminating from up the street. we investigate. looks like a street fair w/many old rockers of days past. molly hatchet, .38 special, smithereens, and gin blossoms graced the bill. only $5 to get in. we pass it up. load in is a five so back we track. todd, a local friend of mike's, is hanging and has din waiting at his brother' pad. eric the soundguy get in and the checks a rolling in no time. mike has some trouble w/his monitors, ain't no level t'all. we settle for what it is and finish up to go eat. todd drives us to his bro's house just 5 mins. away. itis a nice one bedroom cabin on a sprawling property in the woods. brother tim (his twin) greets us at the driveway and we take refuge from the rain inside. I meet tim's wife laura and friend nicky as we sit for a glass of red cab. on the tube tim's got a home video of nel's and carla doing willie nelson's 'red headed stranger'. the sounds ballroom echoie and a shakey cam don't do justice to the performance. I refill my glass and self serve the meal prepared. veggie chile and hickory smoked roast. delicious. time flies and we must return to let the men sleep. I elect to stay in the bar and chimp. bar guy paul lets me use the phone and I speak some w/kel. laura king from ed fromohio's band grand national called her and she forwarded the club # so I we could speak. they have another band together called the neil diamond all stars. unfortunately they also have a gig tonight and can't make the show. I talk w/her and jenny the bassist for a few and wish em' good luck. maybe next tour I'll hang w/ya.

   it's getting late and the opener hasn't taken the stage yet. paul says itis a late crowd, but 10:30 and no one on yet? what's that about. I start pressuring paul then eric the soundguy, and finally the girl from the first band. she tells me how great it is to play w/mike and what an honor and all that. I'm thinking, if ya want respect get on stage and don't bogart the start times. at this rate we'll be on by 12 fuckin 30! of course they get going at 5 of 11. pete returns from the nap and we hang w/todd and tim and laura and nicky. nicky tells of the time he did a gig in girls bikini bottoms and lit them on fire w/lighter fluid. nicky the dickO long may he reign. spot get's on and plays his set to a good crowd. I check my watch and were on track for 12:40. ugh! finally rock time and right from the beginning mike's monitors are total crap. I think they cut out completely for some time. he struggled w/hearing himself and might have had better luck listening to my stack in back. still we forge on not showing any dismay. the sets through and I see many of the people bolt for the door. can't blame em' it's fuckin' 2am. we pack and say bye to the twins til' next time.

   bill the shirt guy mike uses for the tour is a local and has a bunk house set up for us. we follow him about a mile away and march upstairs to the one room eingong estate. it has a tub in the middle of the room, two futons and a couch. just right for the squad. I park my ass on the bed and shut down for the day. kel and rilei float thru my thoughts - goodnight.

from watt:

   pop and hose off, trippy soap - liquid red stuff in a bottle, hmm... works though. look out the front hatch, drizzle and gray paint the outside. a lady w/only one up to the knee boot on (besides the rest of her clothes), wakes. it's lori and she makes me some instant coffee. we sit on the deck and talk. her husband's a machinist mate in the navy, like my pop was. they have a new baby, madeline, and he's at sea for six months. he's stationed in seattle but lori didn't want to stay there all alone w/the baby while he was gone so she came home while he's gonna be away. this brings back memories I had as a boy, my pop always gone. it was sure fucking lame. I tell her about the nightmares about raising a family navy, how my ma had her hands very full it almost made her insane. lori knows it's gonna be tough. her man, josh, is up for re-enlistment in a couple years and I tell her they should both think hard on that decision. the navy's offering him twenty thousand dollars to do it. damn. I wish baby madeline could be in on deciding too. I guess we all have to grow up in some situation - I just something about the navy one. it's tough. it takes incredibly strong women but maybe's she one. good luck to all three of you - I hope you keep your family whole and strong.

   we bail early, like 8:30. the rains incessant and we gotta cover almost four hundred miles via the smokey mountains. I'm taking it careful and steady. too bad there's all this rain too cuz these smokies are beautiful. it's been a while since I've been on them. it's a one road trip to raleigh, east on I-40 but we have south a bit to ashville to make the mountain pass. there's some fuckedup driving but people taking some incredible risks, especially when we some fog for a bit that closes the visibility down to fucking nada. people seem oblivious to the consequences of rolling the dice in these one to ton metal, glass and rubber sleds flying on slipperyness at over a mile a minute. what the fuck makes it so worth it? I've got two pops w/him that I'm resolute in getting back to their babies. this is one of the biggest priorities I have on this tour, even more important than the gigs... just is. wish we could see more of rock top, as we go by it, that's what that old song is named for. we pass a sign for "dollywood," dolly parton has some kind of theme thing here. that would be funny to see but no time. a lot of the mountains here are called knobs: kelly knob, baker knob, bill's knob, peaked knob, sunup knob, turkey knob,, etc. - you get the picture, that's a trip. these are old mountains and not pointy but all rounded-off from the years of nature's way. past davenport gap and we're into north carolina. at poison cove, we're due east again. a lot of the towns here end their names w/"cove." that's what you think you'd call towns harboring boats but where quite a stretch from the ocean. I think about how towns get their names. you know, all these pads are were not just built to go by the boat's window as it's on a hellride. they all have lives and histories. it's a giant thought to comprehend - all the parallel universes. asheville's the big town in western north carolina. around here some asshole almost plows into us "merging" from an onramp. I put "merging" in quotes cuz this is only an illusion to the reality of how most fucking idiots treat the rules of the freeway. it really gets me fucking steamed. they get up to freeway speed on the onramp and just force themelves in, most the time w/out even fucking looking - like this brain surgeon did. now the way I understand it, the cat already on the freeway has the right of way and you enter when it's safe, watching speed and distance to keep things kosher. why don't fuckhead realize the consequences of such stupid risky shit? sorry to go off here but it gets me pissed. I wake this prick up w/at least a minute and half horn blast and he stirs enough to turn his fucking head (oh, the energy needed to commit to such a maneuver) and avoid the imminent collision. I usually slow down and let these pricks in but this cat was coming from behind! like he racing up to cause the shit. it was probably wasn't conscious, just more of that trendy herd behavior that people can easily fall into. a little bit later, he passes and there's his little girl in the passenger seat. how could he be so careless w/her there? surreal. there's another thing that pisses me off. motherfuckers who want to get off at the next offramp w/it coming up close but don't want to stay behind you for those last yards - they just have to speed and pass you, then cut you off w/a dumbfuck lane change, finally have to hit the brakes right in front of you so they don't miss the offramp. what the fuck is that about? how many seconds get shaved in that great gamble? fucking unbelievable. I ask jer give me some chewable vitamin c, which we call insanity pills, to calm my shit down. the rain starts really coming down. spinouts all over the road - some solo, some not. horrible. we pass into the cape fear river basin and onto winston-salem. I stop at a flying j's only a few miles from where we'd just gassed cuz these pads for sure have konk masks and I want pete to get one - he's had trouble w/sueno. now the big towns come up fast - greensboro, burlington, durham and finally the nc capitol, raleigh. there's a school here too, north carolina state.

   we pull up to kings, tonights venue and right near the capitol building. that's funny, the poster for me in the window advertises the "our wings became oars" tour. whoops. I've played here once before, it was the first time I saw ed fROMOHIO's band, grand national. they were good. it was also where I saw frank doll again, a cat I last saw thirty years before in pedro's navy housing. it was sure great to see both of those cats from my past. this cat from around here, tahred, comes by - he wants to takes us to chow at his bro, jumbones, after soundcheck. the sound man eric comes and we do a check for him. this pad is kind of weird cuz a lot of the club is around the corner from the stage. the roof's kind of high too, it's like a big cinder block building. it's cool though. some righteous homemade salsa for us. some habanero chilies diced-up pieces for additional kick and of course, that's very much needed. jer is kind of freaked out - I tell him I would never fuck w/him by sneaking chilies down his throat. there's enough for two batches here. he tells me his brother and an old girlfriend both did that shit to him. I try to reassure him I'd never do that. like letting someone accidentally drink from a pissbottle, just won't do it. the boss is a real nice guy named paul who plays in a band himself. we talk about bass some. then it's time to pile in tahred's ride and get over to jumbones. he gives me a shiny little green rock his daughter gave him for good luck. thank you, both. jumbone and laura's pad is not too far but still in some woods and the land is really pretty. the pad is a righteous, a one giant room kind of affair. jumbone's wife, laura has made me the best care package, full of soaps she's made by hand. lots of my favorite too - lemon lime. they sent some to me in pedro a few months back, they are righteous little cakes to bring the clean on. their friend nickie's here too. him and jumbones are going to record over fifty tunes in five days, whoa. I tell them about how us minutemen did fortyfive songs for "double nickels on the dime," half in two days and then the other half in three days a few months later. ethan james mixed all of them in one night. that was a trip. I paid eleven hundred dollars for the whole thing. I sit jumbones down and tell him where I am now w/my music, what some of this next record's about - that fucking sickness that almost killed me - and what my life's been like the last two years. I also try to explain to him the anxieities I've been having trying to do these gigs this tour. he's very kind to let me say these things cuz it puts an order to them and in a way, lets them settle a little in my mind instead of letting them twist and fly all chaotic in my head. it's therapeutic, as one might say. like I said, he's a kind man. I've been lucky to know folks who let me do this kind of word flow on them. I can just imagine how crazy it must sound. in a way, I feel more and more feminine as I get into these modes as I get older. I don't why but maybe it's cuz I feel so vulnerable but letting this stuff out. why should I consider that girly? maybe it's some of the culture I was raised in, navy and all where you never let on to any kind of weaknesses you might be harboring. whatever, I feel fuckall about having to put the "man image" on much as time goes by. if I'm getting girlier, than I am. better than going insane via a costume party thing. my body still says I'm a man. I truly do too wish I had more woman sensibilities anyway, probably would help me more w/both the bass and my life. I have don't have to prove shit - I've been so immersed in the guy thing, it seems like so much puffed-out chest pose anyway... get me a fucking shovel. we do shovel the good chow here. tahred's wife's made this happeing stew w/garbonzo beans and lots of roma tomatoes. there's some marinated roast beef and salad too - all really good. thank you so much jumbones, laura and tahred - really, so kind of you all. jumbones even lets me use the tiny sharp scissors on his little knife to cut these fucking nose hairs that seem to get more and more out of control as I get older. thank you, bro.

   we get back to the gig and I konk in the boat in front of kings. that was seven and a half hours of tedious driving through all that today and I'm just wrung. the spiel too wears on me. it's harder to talk w/people than actually do the gigs cuz you can't use your chest. I'm out for like three or more hours. pete comes and gets me and it's 12:30 - whoa! we were supposed to be on at 11:15. I guess the first band, baarmph (or something like that), went on late and everything cascaded from there. at least it's a friday or I would be really pissed. just not fair to folks who have to work or got school in the morning. inconsiderate. right before I go on, mac from superchunk comes back stage and says hi. I'm always so glad to see him. the gig is a kind of hard but it's mainly for for technical reasons - the monitors are not there at all except for squealing every fucking moment of the show. I hold on ok, w/the emotional stuff - thanks again, jumbones. my guys do good and I pretty much nuts in my bass solos like in knoxville - I just want to get the fuck out of my head w/that shit. it does help me do that for a bit. I feel like I have no body except for vibrations to sense it and my mind is heat vapors, shooting out through the roof. names come out of my mouth. in "little doll" too, at the end, I let those shakes and rattles take over and let emotion ride over me and lose all logic. one chord things are good for that. I can get ecstatic.

   when we finish, I can't believe how late it is though. shit, this ain't new york city. I've never seen a pad empty out quicker though a group of cats wants to talk w/me. this lady and her friends come up and ask me about the term "chimpin'." well, I tell her I did in fact write about that (or chimped it in) in the tour spiel. I relate the story about the monkeys and the typewriters. trippy, I thought everyone knew about that. there was a lady w/her who looked at me like she knew I was out of my fucking mind. she had on chuck taylors though, I think. the lady I was explaining the chimpin' concept to was trying to follow my words but I don't know if I had that together. there's always this gap between what's clear in my head and what's getting related. my perceptions are so insular it seems. my goal is to be understood though and not be so cryptic. I am just so clumsy w/all this. it happens w/almost everyone I try to communicate with - even those I care about most (probably more). maybe I have a better chance w/sound (music)? seems just as much as a conundrum. the bass lady in the first band, susan, has me sign her bass. that's nice cuz I love signing basses - I had james worthy (the forward who play for the lakers) sign mine. I do it in hopes they'll strive to find their own voice, that song within them that can help them express what they feel. that's what happened when I put that picture of richard hell on my bass, even though it wasn't a signature, it fired me up much. that's what the compass on my little bass does now. on a sad note, this man tells me his ma was just diagnosed w/alzheimers and this gig helped him out. it breaks my heart when I hear anything sad about their ma or pop, it kill's me. I wish I could do more for him. a prayer for his ma from me.

   the boss paul apologizes for the lateness when we settle. that's ok, paul - like I said, I'm glad it was a saturday. bill, who does my shirts, is konked in his car, ready to lead us to his pad. I say bye and give my love to tahred, jumbones and laura - thank you again. bill's got a little guest room above his garage and I'm in the konk sack quick. I lower the konk mask and can hear pete flipping through magazine pages. that's the last thing I remember 'til exhausted watt is through w/the waking world.

sunday, cinco de mayo, 2002 - richmond, va

from pete:

   I slept well and Barbara (Bill's wife) made us some coffee and apple cake for breakfast (muchas gracias for the hospitality). We also picked up some more t-shirts as our supplies were dwindling. We had a relatively short ride and I chimped diary most of the way, but took some snaps of the cigarette factories as we came into Virginia (They're shaped like cigarettes!). We pulled in to the pad (a place called Poe's Pub) around 3:00 and did the load in. This would be the smallest place we would play on the tour but I had a feeling this show was going to be a winner as the joint was kind of like a roadhouse (capacity was about 100 people) and the people there were very nice to us (and we'd just gotten there). The soundman, "Z" miked us up and did his best to make the sound right (The PA was very small: one 15" and a horn on each side ) but the monitors were more than adequate and we could hear ourselves just fine. The stage was about 4 inches off the ground (gives a new meaning to the term "intimate performance") but I was sure the show would be memorable. Me and jerry were hungry so we ordered up some chow from Kyle, who was putting on the show and a friend of watt's (Kyle has the distinction of being the US champion of intergender wrestling; a title held previously by Andy Kaufman). One of the waitress's, Heather, brought over the chow and we dug in something fierce (sometimes we don't eat for hours and it creeps up on you)- A girl from the kitchen staff, Nicole (she's an inker) comes up and introduces herself while we're chowing and she's excited about the show and tells us many people will be coming- I happen to notice that her zipper is down (I also noticed something else), and I'm trying to figure out a diplomatic way to tell her. So I say "Nicole, check below the belt" a couple of times but she doesn't get me. Finally, I just tell her that her zipper is down and she flushes a little and says "Goddamn!, nobody I work w/ said anything to me, but a stranger who I've just met, does." -"And how embarassing, I donit even wear any panties"! "I know , that's why I told you" I reply. Having inadvertently broken the ice she asks us if we want to do shots. Not being party poopers, me and Jer agree so Nicole brings out 3 shots of Bushmills and a Goldschlammer shot for Heather and we link up w/ elbows in the air and down em' . Me and Jer could foresee an interesting evening indeed. Nicole tells us that she hasn't slept for 3 days(except for one afternoon where she nodded out while crapping on the toilet), and all kinds of other snippets, stories and details (at this point both me and Jer see the tweaky bird in mid-flight). Heather had to leave and she couldn't come to the show so we bid her goodbye; Celine and Eric (who also work at the pub), had to leave also but they would be coming back to work the show later on. I am feeling majorly tired and a little nervous due to my cramp situation the previous day, so I decide to get in some conk time. I rapped w/ watt in the boat for awhile; he told me to eat bananas and drink lots of water to alleviate the cramps - (I made a mental note of this)- tried to sleep but once again, eyes wide shut. it was good to rest the body tho' and I did get a few minutes of solid conk in.

   Two hours and three piss-bottles later, I step out of the boat while mike initiates his pre-gig conk. I go back in the pad in search of water and Nicole asks me if I am OK (I must of looked really out of it), I say I'm fine and I go splash some cold water on my face to shake off the conk-grog. I sit by Jer in a booth; he's been chimping diary and watching the Laker game- The pad has really started to fill up and I could feel a little of the excitement. A cat named John (watt show-goer from way back) introduces himself and hands me a book that he had brought for me about the early punk scene; he had been reading the tour diaries and noted that I was an avid reader. We rapped a little until spot's set began and I thanked him for his major kindness. Much respect to you john (I will definitely pass it on when I'm finished).

   The crowd had been swilling for a good two hours by the time spot's set rolled around and they were in a partying mood. They were very enthusiastic during his set and enjoyed his quirky melodies and prowess on the frets (I never get tired of listening to him). We hopped on stage and did the set (the crowd even sang along w/ some of the songs) and they gave us a lot of love( there was a woman behind me who very enthusiastically patted me on the back after every solo). This ended up as the best show of the tour so far and we would definitely be back (much respect to everyone who came to the show- Richmond and Poe's is the best). After the show me and jer engaged in some minor ruckus; Nicole and her friend Jeannie (aka "meanie jeannie",who also works at Poe's and has a very cute tummy) lined us up w/ some cocktails and then we took some snaps w/ all the girls for the Poe's wall of shame. Nicole made it a point to grab mine and Jerry's ass many times but it was all in good fun and all the people who worked there went out of there way to make us feel comfy and at home. Much love and respect to Nicole, Jeannie, Celine and Eric, Laura, Heather, Big Steve at the back door, RJ behind the bar, the Betty Page waitress (can't remember her name, sorry), Chef Don in the kitchen (major good chow brother), Bartender Bob, Z the soundman (great sound g..) and the Chuck the boss man (congrats on the new baby). I wish every gig were like this. We were crashing at Kyle's pad so we loaded up the boat and followed him back. We were greeted by his three BIG dogs and I of course got the lengua wash from each. I laid out the bag on the deck and conked. hard. Laku noc sviraci

from jer:

   in a foggy haze I skantly recall the splish splash of a twink in the tub. it could only be the boss. I return to a light rest til' he's finished. morning toilet humor gets bounced and I rise to the new bright day. the rain has left and I opt for a bath session myself. the soak is refreshing and replenishing. pete takes the bathroom and does a rock-n-roll bath (sink wash) as I shave up in the tub. bill had left a shard of mirror for the purpose and I try not to slice my hand in the process. I dry up and gather myself downstairs for some juice and coffee cake. bill and mike are loading the second batch of shirts in the boat and I chat some w/barbara, bill's wife. they have a 6 month old boy named oscar. I don't get to meet him (it's nap time) but we exchange baby notes. all loaded and we make headway for virginia. the drive contains the usual east coast tree trench highway stretch. I snap what I can and rap w/mike about the local history. richmond was the capitol for the confederacy during the civil war. many battlefield's dot the landscape leading to the capitol city. I always enjoy the lessons learned from watt. he'd make a good teacher if it ever became a calling. we near richmond and I guide mike in for a safe landing. blocks from the club is the edgar allen poe museum and birthplace. we slow for some snaps and take the turn for poe's pub down the street. arriving I find it to be a humble roadhouse setting. the stage is tiny and the p.a. minimal, but the vibe is right. I partake of a bass and watch some nascar. the race is in town today and no bigger event happens during the year. I ask bartender bob if the lakers play today. "5:30 tip off" says the man. right on! I get a full laker dose, none could be better. we order up some lunch and I choose the broiled catfish w/pilaf. damn fine fare! we get greeted by nicole, a waitress working the pad. mas energy this one has. she's all pumped up for tonight, though the chems might wear off by then. she brags of not haven slept for 3 days, cept' a 1/2 hour on the toilet. eyes like frying pans. I grab the computer and chimp in a booth w/a view of the laker game. soon spot joins me and we double chimp a while. I order some snacks from laura the bar girl and share w/spot. the lakers, bless their hearts, pull out a 4th quarter comeback. the blue and gold attack is back. more chimping while the men take a snooze. soon the club's filling and I quit writing for the day. some cat wants our booth to video the gig. I ablidge. nicole, still racing, asks for the dig cam to snap the show. I retrieve, but the battery's dead. no shots yet of us jamming, we need to have a plan for some to get done.

   I wake mike and prep the stage w/water and set lists. the crowd is packed in tight. this place is only supposed to hold 130 and we got 250. their right in our face, just the way I like it. the tiny p.a. is doing the job well enough, though I don't have any monitors. the show has a great vibe and we feed like pigs in a pen off it. I notice a small black kid in the front dancing his ass off, and when we get to the red and the black mike calls him up. the vibe knob gets cranked up two more notches w/the add of his presence. the set runs smooth to the end. we take a step outside and I chug a bottle of h2o, then back for the finale. I feel it's the best show of the tour so far. many folk gather at the stage to engage w/watt and I proceed to the bar for a refresher. the kind people working here gladly serve me a bucket of screwdriver along w/one for pete. nicole comes charging and starts in w/the ass grabs. I get serviced w/a full reach around, and w/her boyfriend hanging in the bar to boot. must be used to the hi-jinx by now. jeannie, another bar girl, has my attention w/a polaroid of the show. more ass grabbing. if only I was a single man again, but we can't have that. I got it too good already. more buckets of the juice and I'm getting hammered. haven't even broken down yet. the boss starts up and I sprint to do the kit. "come on married guys, the single man has to get the married guys away from the girls" yammers mike. no more drinks thank you. we must be going now. final ass grabs occur. we pack up and follow kyle (employee/pro wrestler) to his pad.

   over at kyle's I'm offered a room of my own w/dig cable and quietness. the booze have kicked in full force and I crave some water. I must have made 6 trips to the toilet in 1 hour. I stop in the living room on one trip down and get a mota jolt. that helped. back upstairs I turn on the weather channel and slowly fade to sleep.

from watt:

   pop and get in the little tub here in the guest pad. it's behind some blinders and is ok deep but kind of short, gotta fold the legs up and tuck them in. I feel like a little puddle duck as I splash around and wash myself. not really conducive to a relaxing soak but that's ok. there's a long sliver of a broken piece of mirror and I use that to help me shave. shaving w/out a mirror is tough - you miss all kinds of spots and are very prone to nicks/cuts. ouch. I then sally forth into the outside on a search for cof. sunday morning in the center of raleigh is a town that's pretty closed up. after a fruitless search, I hoof back to use the boat to aid me. no luck here either though I do see a bizarre monument put up by the daughters of the confederacy. it's a ma w/her son and he's sitting in her arms, checking out a sword in it's scabbard. hmm... a little park nearby has a sculpture of this huge acorn, as tall as the boat. whoa. back to bill and barbara's and I go to their door. barabara's up and pours me coffee. silly watt. bill brings in their new baby oscar, he's adorable. we sit and talk about gentrification versus urban sprawl and the forces driving each. they're very intersting folks and have many insights, they're quite well-read. it's sunday so I call my ma. she says the move for pedro to succeed from l.a. doesn't look like it's gonna happen cuz of the expense involved. good, I think it's a developer's landgrab anyway. so much to lose, like the harbor and what's to gain? we'll even lose the name san pedro if it happens. I hope people see the picture when this shit comes up for a vote, I think it might be in november. my ma's doing ok and she says my sisters are too. that's good news. I know they worry about me out on the hellride but I worry about them too back in pedro. we're all we got. I call nanny, the lady who does my shirt drawings to see how she is how the town is from her eyes. it's the first pedro person I've talked w/all tour besides my ma. she used to take care of the man when he was alive and I was on tour. me and nanny go back twentytwo years and she's helped me tons over this time. she knows things about pedro my ma don't and it's good to hear what's up via her too. I guess the town is pretty quiet and ok.

   my guys come down from the guest pad and it's time to bid farewell to bill and barbara. thank you much! I drink a can of pear nectar that jumbones flowed to me and we all three share a tin of bumble bee 'dines, also from him. never had this kind before but they're good. we gotta backtrack a little and go west on I-40 before heading north on I-85 and into virginia. the weather's cleared up and very cali-like, no humidity and mild. pretty country along the way, poplars and greenery make the roads almost like corridors w/who knows on the other side of them. trippy. at petersburg, I-85 ends and we hop on I-95 north into richmond. we pass the big philip morris offices in the south part of town. the gig is by the saint james river part of town on the old tabacco row at shockoe bottom, across from the old lucky strike factory. it's called poe's pub and on the way we pass the poe museum on 20th and main. whoa, I'd like to check this place out big time. god, I read everything of his when I was in my early twenties. very sympathetic to my mind state, which coincidently got kind of formed in my early years growing up in norfolk, the navy town in northeast virginia. poe was very much into the world of the imagination and when I was a boy there, I met some guy around the same age named paul or philip - it's hard to remember now. anyway, he taught me about pretending or what he called "pertank" and I would spend hours daydreaming and creating worlds inside my head. to help seal me from the outside world, I would run diagonally in my room, one corner opposite to the other w/my eyes closed, bumping into the corner and then flying back the other direction. this would be me in quite a state and made my daydreams very dynamic and vibrant. I would do this for hours. my ma thought I was insane, she'd hear this 'boom' each time I'd hit a corner w/my shoulder. her poor insane boy, I can imagine what was going through her head. I missed my pop a lot and maybe this was a refuge I created for myself w/the help of that kid. there was some swamp by the pad we were in too and I remember falling into that shit and thinking I was gonna get pulled down and drown for sure. that had a huge impact on me. there was a nightmare fire I lit too accidentally after playing w/matches - burned my whole room up. so I have some intense memories of virginia. I have nice ones too though - cardinals, honeysuckles, fireflies, crabapples - stuff you don't find in pedro. I remember falling in love w/dinosaurs and the space program too in school too. I would read all I could on that stuff. don't know why it interested me so but lots of my daydreaming was about that.

   my buddy kyle, the intergender wrestling champ (the belt first held by andy kaufman - kyle's had it the longest now at twelve years), is putting on the gig. I played for him once at a pad he had called humphrey j's a few years ago w/the pair of pliers. he's great and has quite a sharp mind. this pad poe's is like a more modern version of a road house, the stage is like four inches up half of it is a bar. there's some funny stuff on the wall, there's this picture of an older man named captain tony and his quote written over his head is: "all a man needs is an incredible sex drive and a great ego - brains don't mean shit." before soundcheck, I chow some catfish w/dill the cook grills up and it's real good. I also get treated to some heavy windbagging regarding nascar. nothing like hearing ten thousand words describing one big three hour left turn. funny how these guys relate the human condition to stock car racing, everything from perosnal character ("he's got class - he's a good christian," "the way he ran his car through the pit area - that shows me he's a hothead" or "I met him - he's an asshole and I'll tell it to his face") to popular ethics ("if the ayatollah was racing and he was winning, they'd cheer him - people just want to get behind a winner"). of course, the more beers, the louder the seminar but I have to cut it short and get this soundcheck done. we do it w/this nice cat named z who's got a horn and a fifteen each speaker on each side of the stage on stands but he says he can put the whole band through it and make it sound good. alright. a run through "the red and the black" and the locals are pretty tripped out. time for watt to hoof. I head west to the poe museum we passed on the way here. damn, it closed ten minutes before my arrival. fuck - stupid watt. it's actually in the oldest house still standing in richmond, built in 1737 and I take snaps of that w/the digicamera. there's a trippy thing I find on the hoof back, half-burried in the mud: a piece of a brick that has only the letters "you" on it. alright, virginia - your native boy is here to work some bass. in the boat, I chimp some diary 'til I'm tuckered and then do my pre-gig konk. before that though, a young man from norfolk, who's driven down to see the gig wants to know how I get my sound w/the boom stick. instead of talking about equipment, I tell him more about my philosophy regarding it and what I'm trying to do using it. he hears me out but I wonder if it makes sense? I wonder if I'm ever making any sense sometimes. I just want music to take people somewhere other than the cash register at the mall, let it try and transcend shit.

   I konk pretty hard and unfortunately miss spot. jer gets me for the gig and whoa, is this pad packed. the folks can look me straight in the eye cuz of the low stage and this is kind of scary. I've done tons of these gigs, especially in the old days but I still never seem to get over the fear part. I keep my eyes closed most of the gig. the one real scary physical things about these gigs is not being able to guard against the mic coming right into your teeth when you play but these cats are pretty protective of me getting any of that, thank you. it's a very, very enthusiastic crowd and the spirit is very high. I break a 'd' string but change it pretty fast. so much easier when I can just whip the string on but I'm getting better at breaking it off w/the pliers at the right length, twisting it up and then letting it fly. nothing like killing the momentum to let the air out of the gig so I work hard at getting better w/this. jay, another cat who drove from norfolk want's to sing the b.o.c. song w/us so I bring him on to my mic. he's kind of a little bit shorter so I bring the mic down to like where the vestigial mammaries are planted on me. it's a funny scene, jay's got quite a dance, complete w/hip swivels and all - very original. the p.a. works great and it's a good sound in the house - thanks, z. he said he's never done punk bands but a cat w/no 'tude or prior prejudices can give anything a decent try and much respect for him to not pre-judge and write us off. much respect to you. this lady's been calling for "chinese firedrill" the whole night and when we do play it, she comes to tears. whoa, hope I wasn't do it that bad. I was a little out of tune after putting the little bass through some pretty major paces. my guys play this gig great and helped me much. wish I could come up to their level, I'm trying though. we got done and lots of spiel w/the folks, they are quite, quite kind. I sign one cat's stand-up bass. I sign another cat's chest. a guy my age or even older gets a poster - that's a trip. I always dig on that even if it does make me feel awkward. shit, I feel awkward about the whole thing. I'm quite grateful to the open minds and open hearts I'm lucky enough to find, doing these journeys. kind, kind virginia spirit for one of their own, thank you.

   as we load up, I talk to a couple who's been helping all day, eric and celine, who live here but are originally from norfolk. we get talking about that town and it turns out that celine knows meadowbrook, where I went to gradeschool. I've never met anyone who's known that, what a trip. she knows the theatre where they play rock horror picture show. I tell about the tiffany and where it showed in hollywood in the seventies, how crazy it was. I guess they still do all the nutty stuff, bumrushing the movie and all. turns out I saw it before she was born! that's funny. parallel universes. it's a long time loading up - I have to gather my guys a couple times. there are a lot of nice people here. kyle introduces me to this lady w/the last name watt - whoa, I'm only virginian cuz of the navy - no blood here. trippy though. we eventually get the gear in the boat and follow kyle to his pad, his three big luggable dog loverbabies all excited up and doing the laps of the living room. kyle gives them dog ice cream, something called frozed paws and they calm a little for that. kyle puts on the tv to hear this weird tyson interview but it's only the tail end of it. I'm on the couch anyhow, faced the other way. please kyle, press that mute button I've already had punched. he's heard the interview already and tells it to us himself. damn, is it weird - shit like "I'll crush your children's testacles." I've got the konk mask applied and am soon down for my own count. out.

read week 2 of the tour diary

read week 4 of the tour diary

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this page created 09 may 02