"our oars became wings" tour 2002 diary - week 7

mike watt + the jom & terry show

shot of watt + tom watson in 2002
shot of jerry trebotic in 2002

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

steve kaul - the man outside the van

our special guests:
burning brides
shot of the burning bridesin 2002

monday, may 27, 2002 - milwaukee, wi

from tom:

   I wake from the best night of sleep I've had in a week. it's a warm day and I get a cup of coffe and talk with bucky as he cleans up his kitchen from a little party they had here yesterday. I meet his sweet girlfriend thuy and she offers me some vietnamese noodle salad that was left over from the party and that her mother had made. I ask her what it's called and she said it's something that her mother makes for parties, kind of like potato salad is used at american picnics. it turns out that since it's only an hour to milwaukee so bucky and thuy invite us to stay for a bar-b-q lunch which is perfect because it's memorial day today. soon we get out in the backyard and then bucky gets the coals going. we sit and rap with there friend tim and then the gig promoter tom stops by and sit in the warm sun and admire the vegetable garden they have going. time passes and in a few hours we say bye and start the drive to milwaukee.

   we move along smoothly and roll into the beer capital at about 5 o'clock and load right in. the shank hall is know for the spinal tap reference and we look at the photos of the people that had played here in past and get set up to soundcheck. it's going to be an early show tonight and jerry and I watch the end of the celtics/nets game before searching for a sandwich down the street. we get back to the club to see granpa's ghost play and they ask me to come up to play on a song and then they surprise me with a last tune that they call the watson special which is a minimal version of a song on my solo record called obsession and I try to keep up with them and we end on that. we play next and it sounds pretty good. after the gig we chat with the locals and then folow claire to her place for the night. we stay up for a while talking with claire and her boyfriend adam. amd is into minimal and experimental music which is somethind I have a lot of love for and we talk about our influences and have a nice time relaxing before I hit the sack in a comfortable bed that claire offers me. I go right to sleep.

from jer:

   today is memorial day and bucky has planned a bbq for some friends. we have a short 75 mile trip to milwaukee and have plenty of time to hang and chow some good beef products. I waddle upstairs for a shower and shave. we've got a hour or so before the food hits the grill and I find a beer in the fridge. tom's outside w/bucky and tim (roommate) sitting round a fire pit that was used last night. twee has a garden she's tending and the day is just perfect. I show twee the haircut job tom did yesterday and she goes to grab some shears to fix the booboo's. mike admires her work and asks for a cut of his own. she trims the hair on his head quite close to the scalp. a cut resembling the late paul lynde. bucky puts on the beef and my mouth begins to water. not much on the sides, but heavy on the protein. I gobble down some brat and chicken then wash it down w/a sierra nevada. after a little chimping it's time to vacate and we wish our hosts the best. the short drive is nice and soon were in town parking in front of shank hall. this place is named after the mythical venue that spinal tap played in the movie. the owner was able to get the tap to play a theater in milwaukee back in 84' and used the experience to build a club w/the theme in mind. they even have a mini scale model of stonehenge hanging above the stage. we load in and check fast. I then get over to the bar and catch the 2nd half of the boston vs. nets playoff game. bar guy lou is kicking and makes me a juice blend I enjoy. tom and I decide to eat and walk down to an indian pad 2 blocks down. the food smells great, but their full and were running out of time. the decision is to go for the sandwich shop and get the quick meal. tom has to play w/the ghosts tonight.

   I take a seat in the back room and rest a while during the ghosts set. I've been getting good and tired every night of late. the grind is taking a toll on this battered body. I listen to the music and pick myself up to watch the tunes w/tom. great rocking stuff. were up next and the crowds no too big, but they have a great vibe. we give our all and show our best to the kind people in attendance. after we finish I trot to the bar and have a shot w/tom and lou. mike has found a crash pad w/a nice girl named claire.

   claire's friend andy hops in the boat w/us and we make our way to the house. w/good parking and plenty of room I find this place right at home. claire shows me a bedroom upstairs where I can try and get some quiet time sleep. I grab a cordless phone downstairs and call kel. we talk a while and discuss the possibility of moving out of our house when I get back. we've outgrown the small one bedroom pad long ago and maybe our landlords have something a little larger available. kel's gonna check in on it and I'll just have to deal w/whatever outcome happens. I start to doze during the talk and take my cue to say bye. love ya baby, sleep tight.

from watt:

   pop and hose off and shave. room mate tim wakes and makes me oatmeal w/walnuts and raisins - it's really, really good. bucky soon pops and makes me cof. thank you both! I was going to get the boat's oil changed but today's memorial day and nothing's open. oh well, I was three hundred miles early anyway so I'll do it in the next few days. what we're gonna do today is have a madison memorial day q, bucky style!

   I chimp diary while there's busyness in the backyard, bucky q-ing up brats, pork and chicken. there's a righteous salad made w/garbonzo beans too. when I finish my daily entry, I go back there just when the chow's ready. I get a chicken leg-thigh, a brat and a big piece of pork. bossman tom has come to join us. we chow and have good conversation. it's a strange moment for me on tour - some calmness and relaxation! thuy cuts jer's hair, guess she had to fix some fuckups tom made when he did it. when she's done, she does mine. she cuts it pretty short, kind of looks my head was just painted gray and dark brown - what we call in pedro a "coconut head." sort of like that winchell mahoney ventriloquist doll. it feels good though, warmness is coming on - no sign of rain today. in fact, very nice weather - I finally get to get my shirt off (needed it off anyway cuz of the hair cutting) and some sun - whoa, is watt white! thank you much for the barber work, thuy - great. the afternoon is wearing on so we gotta bail for milwaukee. as we're about to leave, robin comes by w/his dog - whoa! he was the bassist in the first incarnation of the tar babies, along w/bucky. damn, wish I could've spent more time w/him but we got to roll. an easy hour and a half drive east on the I-94. it's probably the last time we drive towards where the sun rises this tour.

   we're playing shank hall, named after that pad in the spinal tap movie. it's right near lake michigan. lou is the man there and he's very nice. it's been like a year and a half since I've played here, sorry about that. a memorial day monday too. I got to give these cats a better day next time. we do a soundcheck w/brian. I remember him from last time, a kind of quiet guy but he does good work. in the back room, I have some throatcoat tea - haven't had much of that this tour. my ear is feeling better, much. in chicago it was kind of tender, maybe even a little swollen but at least no more blood. that was scary. what I gotta watch now w/all the sun is making sure the skin on my left ear doesn't get all boiled up and bubbly. that skin there is funky, always has been since that time my head caught fire fifteen years ago. I see bill from grandpa's ghost and ask him how he is cuz he's been looking a little frayed. he says he's doing better now, he's getting a second wind up. this is the longest they've ever been out. it's just us and the ghost and an early gig so I go to the boat to konk. fuck... I donated that happening konk mask that jimbo gave me again. shit. must be at bucky's cuz I wore it last night. at least I hope it is, I'll email him and have it set ahead. boy, does that mask get some time in the u.s. mail! I do have a mask I got at a flying j and use that. I konk quick and hard.

   I miss the ghosters cuz of my slumber, tom wakes me for show time. we're gonna try the old set list tonight, I like the way things flow w/it. this amp set up is not the best situation, the sound is so oomphless but it's much better than nothing or just having to go through a d.i. box. I'm very indebted to the ghosters for their charitable selves. in fact, they were overpaid at last night's gig but I made up for the amount w/bossman tom at the q earlier today and told grandpa ben to forget it, I'll eat the difference and you cats keep what you got cuz you've been so nice letting me and tom play on your amp and speakers. the stage is kind of dead sounding but much better than what seemed like a tangle and nest of cotton strangling the sound out of us on last night's stage. the monitors are tons better too. I'm wearing that fancy shirt kirsha gave me last year w/the silver strands in it. it's got u.s. flag colors and I wasn't really thinking when I put it on this morning (it was on the top of my clothes sack behind the boat's seat) but what the fuck? it's what I got on this morning and that's almost always what I have on for the gig later that night. kind of hard night for jer, I can tell cuz he ain't doing his keith moon stuff as wild, he's kind of staid if I may say so. I politely ask him to go the fuck off and get wild. of course, jer always gives his best try and he does good. tom's great tonight too. he's really hitting his stride now. proud to serve w/tom, always am. his playing has tons of personality and really puts forth a voice and an identity. no generic out of tom, that's for sure! I break an 'e' string and have trouble putting the new one on a little cuz of nerves made even a little worse cuz this lady is chirping up some bizarre comments. that's ok. I tell her she'll have her chance, she should get a band and do some gigs - she sure has the nerve! the crowd is sure a polite and generous one, they give us their full attention. you know you gotta do good for folks like these - hell, you gotta do good always cuz sometimes the effect is delayed if the crowd is a little unfocused - very important. we're setting up really well now on stage and I can get right up on my guys the way I like it - I can fold us up into a fist or open us up like a flower. I give a dedication to "the red and the black" for canada cuz that's where some people went cuz they didn't believe in fighting that war in vietnam. I do believe people acted on their conscience when they decided that wasn't the thing for them to do, I don't think it was cowardly. we follow it up w/"guts" and "liars beware" - all very appropriate in my mind. some use brainwash methods to get people out of touch w/their soul, a sorry state of affairs. we finish the set and I give a little spiel about maybe remembering those cats who get killed cuz of decisions that get made to send them to fight. these decisions are very important to ask people to do shit like that and it can not be glossed over w/a flag or a slogan. to question where we're sailing or why is not improper, to question is not a privilege but a right. to have such sway over folks lives is a responsibility for all of us and the whim of whatever garbage collector has been elected for the moment. those people must remember who they work for and what is at stake. this must be remembered and memorialized, I think. history has shown that decisions get made by those w/power to push common folks into corners where they have their backs to a wall, the finger pointing at them and questioning their loyalty or whatever. is this proper? should lessons be learnt from these nightmares, should those laying under those generic tombstones have died in vain if political bumrushes like that are allowed to perpetuate the same cycle of "here's the mess we made, now you go clean it up w/your lives?" those consequences touch peoples lives like no other that government has on it's citizens. the hard questions must be asked. this day is quite a personal thing too and people probably have different ways of thinking of it and that should be allowed. the thing people are being asked to die for must be lived too, that liberty concept. many voices make a choir but shrill and empty is that tone if the respect for each singer's conscience is shouted down. it becomes a mockery and sham, a force-feed. remember the country, remember it was founded on protest - one demand was that the people would not be taken for granted, each person themselves. no abstract mass but individuals gathered as a people. no easy answers but nothing short of the truth - how else to make such decisions that can bring these kind of tears, memorial tears? ones truly felt and not paraded?

   hearing people tell me how they felt the show went, this is the last public part of the gig. they come up and all have their own way of putting things. I truly want to thank them for the open mind and open heart they've shared to let me on board w/my men and our performance. tom tells me a couple has invited us to konk w/them. I'm asked by some other cats too and want them to know how grateful I am and how much I do not take the offers for granted but thank you. heartfelt connections w/the little bass operator, it makes me feel much in their debt. I meet a guy named michael jackson - not that one but the one from wisconsin. he's w/the girl w/the chatty cathy thing and how different his personality. she's alright though, they make quite a pair. the different ways to present yourself, represent yourself - even have fun w/yourself (maybe most important?). we pack up and I thank lou and the man who booked me, peter. they've been quite nice to me and everyone. good pad.

   we take adam in the boat w/us and he directs to our konk place for tonight which isn't too far away. we teach him some nautical directions (port = left, an easy way to remember is both those words have four letters and right or starboard don't) - he learns fast and is soon guiding us like an old sailor. I get the boat into the alley driveway, tight but doable - so important to have a safe place for the boat - the center of our tour universe - can't stress that enough (more stress, watt?). from the hatch I see the couch which will cradle the konked wattster. it's the living room and there's cat life, one is reading all my "newspapers," the coat, the gig-stenched fancy shirt, the levis, the konk sack, 'puter bag - everything. quite curious. there is a great sense of peace I get in this room, a good spirit. art is all over the walls, simple things to make this place special. trippy about living chambers and the way they're adorned. sometimes the spirit will make itself plain and impact me immediately. weird how that works. like a person in many ways. almost seems it's more sensitive than the consciousness I'm bringing to it. I try to be likewise. sometimes it imbeds itself inside me and I find it radiating out of me. it can be quite pleasant and brings me a peace that seems beyond me. it humbles me and makes me think thoughts the would be otherwise lost or undiscovered. the lady here, claire, talks w/me about things. I have tea for the second time today, this time it's chamomile. adam comes and brings a cd he's made, "the tallest jockey in town." he put a d. boon sticker on a percussion instrument he invented. much respect to you, adam. music is the link that brings watt into their world. claire brings something out she's just got, a bass. I do something I rarely do, I give a bass lesson. whoa, funny to work the bass this way - not so common for me. I show them the physics of the string, how basically what we're doing w/this machine is trying to get it to sing by making the string longer and shorter w/one hand while we coax rhythm out of it w/the other. these different lengths of string, in their own little places of time, collect together to provide the expression one tries to let bloom. claire wants to learn. here's some scales, some theory. here's the third from europe, the thrid from africa - "father john" (from "frere jacque") and "spoonful" (willie dixon) - makes a little more sense. hmm... how do I explain "feel" or what makes a groove? here's the "radar love" (golden earring) line - showing your age, watt. I show her the lick to "psycho killer," that talking heads song. she digs that much. it amazes her to play it herself. alright. to learn your balance, I tell her that one must pedal. theory is only so much, inspiration will keep you on the path. it's nothing short of divine.

   softly konk, now watt...

tuesday, may 28, 2002 - duluth, mn

from tom:

   in the morning I get rousted early, about 8 am. we have some coffee and talk and then move on for a long drive to the top of minnisota on the edge of the great superior lake where duluth is. it's my first time I've been here and halfway we stop and pick up bill who'll be joining us in the van for the next three days with a video camera to document the minnisota shows. we find the norshore theater and load in the back door. the lake is only a couple blocks away and the weather is nice and clear but I s[end my time getting set up and ready to check. the soundman isn't here yet so I sit at the little bar and meet a couple locals. I talk to laura who gives me some insight into the lifestyle and she say's she just got back from madeline island (wi) where people go to party or to escape for a three day weekend. she say's that you take a ferry over in the summer but in the winter when the river freezes over you can drive across in a car.

   steve m. is the promoter and he's always a nice face to see. he helps us get some food from a thai place and we stop to eat before soundchecking. the norshore theater is a turn of the century building with two big rooms for movies and a little terrace where they have live music and where we're playing tonight. we get a tour or the place from corri and she shows us the secret tunnels that run under the building and down the block. it feels haunted down there and I'm sure that there's a lot of history to this place.

   it's an early show tonight and there are three bands so it's not long before grandpa's ghost goes on and blows out some intense drones. there's not much of a p.a. so it'a a little hard to hear ben's voince but later we realize that one of the speakers wasn't working. the local band giljunko played next and played some minimal punk rock with some velvet bendings. there's a cozy little crowd and we play our show to the locals. when we're done there's a little time to hang with the people and then we get escorted over to marks house, he was the guitarist and singer from giljunko. a few people come over to the house and we stay up a while and talk and finally I go up to a room and sleep on a futon with jerry. there is no shame to sleep with your bandmates as long as they don't want to spoon. zzzzzzzzzzz.

from jer:

   I wake to mike tapping a stick on my head. bastard! I wander down and hop in the shower. claire's got some oatmeat going and a gulp a bowl. after a little chat we pack up and hit the road. today we pick up a passenger in the way of a videographer named bill. he'll be traveling in the boat for the duration of the minnesota gigs. there's three in all. he's waiting for us at a gas station in northern wisconsin. w/o any trouble we stop and load up our new rider. on the way he does an interview w/mike and I snap out the pass. window. what a great drive through the northern midwest. soon were coming upon lake superior and the minnesota border. the view of the lake is grand. this is the largest fresh water lake in the world and deluth lies at it's southwestern tip. it's a port town that lays claim to bob dylan and the famous wrecked ship 'edmund fitzgerald'. we cross a bridge over the harbor and enter downtown. the club is a theater called the norshor. were not playing in the main room, but up on a balcony overlooking the lobby. steve mcclellan the promoter for all three minn. shows greets us as we unload and set up the gear on the middle level. the sound is obviously going to be tunnel drone. steve suggests that I move the boat to a lot up near the club. I walk down the hill to the spot it's parked and open the door. I one quick move I whack my knee on the edge of the door. shit that fuckin hurts! I try to rub it off and pull the van into the lot. back inside I sit and nurse the pain w/a drink. we wait for the soundguy at the bar and steve offers to get din. at a thai place in town. we check the sound and are blown by the echo. damn! only a mic on the bass drum and two tiny monitors for mike. character builder show. the chow arrives and I gobble all I can. the ghosts enjoy a meal w/us for a change. I ask about a phone in the lobby and they direct me to a casino next door. I walk the short way and enter the gambling floor. I notice a couple blackjack tables in the center area and investigate further. I cautiously take a seat and begin my assault. I lose a quick 40 then bust out the benjamin for the real attack. soon I regain my losses and get up 35. not much time 'til the gig, so I get to the phone and call kel. everything's great at home and kel tells me to bail the casino now before I drop into the red. I agree and say my good byes.

   I re-enter the theater and hear the ghosts jamming. I decide to chimp downstairs in the lobby. corrie the girl who works here is courious as to what I'm writing about. I show her some earlier weeks writings and she finds it amusing. I also show her a pic of rilei I have as my desktop backdrop. she's spiffened w/her. the sounds from upstairs is deafening. they could use some curtains to baffle some of it. the ghosts finish and a local act called giljunko take over. their a pop guitar quad w/a straight ahead sound. I sit and watch their set then work the set up for out show. I think the people filling the room helps some, but not much. total ice rink. we end the set and huddle near the drums. the sound is hard to deal w/and I can't hear any vocals. mike had some trouble w/the fender stack moving during the set. the top cab is vibrating off. I tell mike to watch out this could be trouble. we climb back up for the encore and the ghosts join for sister ray. w/all the sound being made the top fender cab takes a tumble. the result is my bass drum gets pounded and so does mike's toes. ouch! I sip down another driver and pack up the stuff. mark from giljunko offers up his pad for the night. it was promised to be mellow.

   corrie the club girl rides along for the short trip to mark's house. we get inside and the party's in full swing. the old switcharoo. I crack a joke to corrie about a strap on and get thumped in the gut w/a hard right hand. the girl can punch. mike pop's off his shoe and the toes are swollen up good. I grab some ice and give it to him for the swelling. there's a couple beds upstairs and mike has one already. I take the other and fall asleep soon after. I lightly awoken by tom using up the bed space left next to me. good bandmates always share. I fall back again to my sleep.

from watt:

   pop at six to find the cat still checking things out, what curiosity! I get out of the konk sack to find sister sun's fingers coming through the windows and putting the warm touch on watt's face, thank you! w/the konk mask down, it never reaches me 'til I raise my blind. my hosts are up and in motion. into the dinning room w/me and what's this in a big glass box? it looks like a big horny toad. adam says it's a gray bearded lizard. whoa, beautiful. such a stoic stance he has on his stick perch. I tell him good morning. into the kitchen now w/me. claire makes me some cof and adam offers some chow. he finds an egg in the fridge but after attempting to fry it, asks instead if I'd like it scrambled. of course! thank you, adam. he supplements that w/some "fake bacon" and claire gives a scone to go w/the cof. nice folks. there's a big poster on the wall w/a map of russia and red octopuses all over it in different regions, it's to describe how russia went communist. I tell them about my idea about lenin getting the jump on the other revolutionary groups against the czar. my thoughts are that the germans were intent on closing their eastern front so they might launch a last try at getting france and england before the u.s. got fully in the war. they put weight behind lenin as things were collapsing for imperial russia from within and on the battlefield. the first thing lenin does when he seizes power is make peace w/germany as well as start the insane terror on his own people (emma goldman wrote about this sad state when she was exiled there from here). he was shot and seriously wounded by a woman socialist revolutionary - the bolsheviks did not represent all the forces of revolution and intrigues within it's own party eliminated many who were sincere about bring something better to russia. a war strategy for the germans w/sad consequences for the east. lenin wouldn't help revolutionaries in germany, more evidence of complicity. things of course were not that simple but it seems to me a big factor. there was great anger for how shit was being done. people had enough of it. no one wants to be pawns though, no one. such a fucking backstab, so sad. like the betryal of the spanish republic by stalin, strategic powerplays stomping on people trying to get out from under the boot. there's many examples of this from non-leninist sources too - to point to them as the only perveyors of these traits would be hiding the truth. sad how liberation aspirations are used and then choked out by those who fancy themselves puppet masters. not just whoever is deemed enemy of the moment either, there are those who weild power like this everywhere. it might make one uncomfortable to find out the truth behind some homegrown strategies, make them ashamed and seriously question what is being done in their name. my kind hosts politely listen. like joyce said, "history is a nightmare I'm trying to wake up from." such serious talk from the older punk rocker. I want them to know things still need to be shook up. there's serious lessons though to be learned about what happened in russia - also, everyone's hands are not so clean as some would have others believe. all the lands have something to teach us, this one we call our own too. thank god for pettibon, how much bullshit has he sliced through to let make my mind up about things? much. still many miles to go, the biggest hellride - the tour that's life. he teaches lots though, packs in much w/each "lesson." what I've learned though that in the end, there's love and a way to celebrate it, art - this is what I've come to cherish. we struggle to find a way to breathe enough air to make this possible. this is the necessary struggle, the struggle to wake the fuck up and stop the lies. struggle to keep from getting strangled or becmoing a strangler yourself. I'm through w/my speech. now not just a little embarrassed, I go to hose off and shave. I don't know what gets into me.

   whew, time to bail for duluth... let's take a picture - wow, such little ones, they each fit under an arm! into the boat w/us and we retrace our route to madison but continue northwest on the I-94 for eau claire. pretty dairyfarms everywhere among the rolling hills. from there, we head north on us-53 and pickup someone in new auburn who'll be w/us the next three days w/a camera, bill. he's working for some old friends, phil and russ, who want to capture what it's like to be w/watt w/a camera for these upcoming minnesota gigs - two of them in towns I've never played before, even w/all these tours I've done. bill films us as we approach and the camera runs lots - he has me spiel about being a minutemen and where I'm at now. what's still the same, what's changed and what I'm trying to do w/music, which has not really changed even after all the years. all those ideas I shared w/d. boon then are still my ideals. I spiel as I drive, many monologues for watt on this day! we sail towards the border and the town right across it on lake superior, duluth. seven and half hour hellride, whoa. neat town though, right on the water. older than pedro w/much more brick but still I'm reminded of home. the lake is huge, seemingly an ocean - you cannot look across it. we use the atlas on the 'puter to find the norshor theatre, an old art deco pad that's gonna have us playing in the lobby, we'll be facing this righteous bas-relief workers mural on the wall. reminds me of the painted mural in our post office in pedro which was built in 1935. steve mcclellan is here to welcome us and get everything right. he's doing all three of these minnesota gigs. I'm very glad to see him, always am - one of the highlights of a watt tour. we load the stuff in and wait for the sound system. I go across the street to a used bookstore and get virgil's "aenid" (fitzgerald translation), a bette davis co-authored autobiography, "mother goddam" (w/whitney stine), benvenuto cellini's autobiography, ben franklin's autobiography and a biography on charles bukowski by neeli cherkovski.

   the p.a. man is like three hours late, oh boy. there's a theatre room behind the room where we're playing and I go in there to rest - there's three couches on the stage where the screen is. I get a little konk in. finally, we're able to check and whoa, the sound system is pretty much toy - the only thing that gets mics is the kick drum and the singing. not that the drums need anything cuz they are way loud in here. we get done and chow some thai food steve has got us. I have a thai version of chicken soup w/veggies in it. when that's consumed, I'm back on a couch in that theatre room. the show is starting early and the ghosts are on first, a local band called giljunko will be in the middle. the sound comes through the walls really loud so I hear the ghost's set pretty well. tom's on guitar w/them for a bunch of their set, I can tell by his style. I hear the giljunko guys too, they have a sound similar to frank black and the catholics - what a trip. when they're finished, I go out to find the place packed and take my place, fore and starboard of jer. we start the set and man, is there some ringing. it's especially bad w/the low mids in the vocal. the monitors are two little boxes in front of me - tom has nothing so he's screaming his brains out. the feed back seems to be really intense in the soft songs, so much so that I do the last part of "chinese firedrill" off the mic. no matter, the duluth folks are quite enthused - they started out sitting and soon after a couple of girls begin dancing, they're all up close and very much getting into it. I can imagine what the sound is like for them. I try to make up for it by becoming very emotional and shake it up quite crazy. the duluthers respond in kind, they are a very happening crowd. there's a problem though. a couple of times, I catch the top cabinet of the two that are stacked together I'm borrowing from bill from creeping off the edge of the bottom one. we're playing on a carpet that doesn't allow these guys to sit so steady. when we go into "sister ray" and as it goes more manic, the top cabinet tumbles and lands right on two of my left foot's toes, the two biggest ones beside the big toes. ow! damn, does this hurt! I can't believe it. I turned around just as it was tumbling and couldn't back up enough to clear the way for the crash - the carpet kept the box from being hurt so that was a relief cuz I would've hated for anything to happen to bill's stuff but man, the throbbing was intense travelling up my leg. we soldier on though and finish the gig. the folks are quite nice talk much w/me. many are very grateful to me for coming to play their town, it's quite a sincere vibe. of course, I'm very happy to oblige them and will return again when I can. quite nice folks.

   mark, a cat from the giljunko band, has invited us to konk at his pad. there were two other gigs tonight besides our own which was a shame cuz we should've all been playing together. I expressed that from the stage at the end of the gig. next door was a gig w/three bands and the singer of one band, the leavealones, who's mindy (same name as my sister) and she trades me her band's cd for a dos one. a lady who works here at the norshor, corrie, who've I met before at the crystal ballroom in portland when she worked there, rides in the boat to direct us. jer talks some foul shit to her and she slugs him good in the chest, good for her - it's not like jer didn't deserve it. no couch here in the living room, just a little piece of furniture that's like a half of one but I try to accommodate to what I need which is to elevate this foot w/the bashed toes. I remove the chuck taylors and boy, "what purple grapes you have for two of your toes, batman." they hurt and throb like motherfuckers. I'm pretty beat, that was a seven hour plus drive I did and mark takes me and my konk sack upstairs to a room w/a futon thing on a frame but I'm afraid of rolling out of beds so I drag it to the deck. damn, I forgot my wallet so I go back down to get it. back up the stairs. on the way back, I stop in the kitchen and mark gives me a tortilla and rice, thank you. now, I have no shoes on and this lady w/big shoes, natalie, accidentally steps on the two purple toes. holy shit - you can't imagine the lightning bolt that goes up my leg. back up the stairs real slow and that lady natalie comes up to apologize - it wasn't her fault but she tells me this great story about fireflies. when she was little, her and her bros were camping and they wanted fireflies in the tent w/them when they konked so they went searching for them in this tall grass and got three jars full. they let them loose in the tent and the little ones lit the tent and made it magic-like. she started feeling something itching though and it didn't seem right. her ma and pop were in the camper outside the tent and she went to have her ma check out what was wrong. her ma pulled off thirtyseven ticks. damn. she must've got them going through the tall grass to get the fireflies. the price of a piece of beauty. "for everything revealed, something is concealed" - that's part of what mister hanley told me once. the other part was "for everything concealed, something is revealed." start to konk - damn, forgot my jacket and it's got important stuff so back down. up and down, up and down, up and down - fucking idiot watt.

wednesday, may 29, 2002 - saint paul, mn

from tom:

   I wake up at about 8:30 and the house cat jumps off the bed. I do a quick shave and wash up and get in the van. steve m. comes by and we find a little cafe to get a quick bite. corri comes along and cameraman bill too. after we eat we drive down tto the edge of the lake where the landmark lift bridge is letting ships in and out of the port area. we all walk out in the warm sun to the end of the break wall where theres and old lighthouse and wait to see the bridge go up. the whole time being video taped and informed of the geographic and local history. it's nice to get out and stretch our legs but soon it's back to the van and with one stop to pick up the cd that I left at the norshore theater we are on our way south to st.paul.

   we pass the town of nopeming and make jokes about that for a while getting all we can out of that word, I wonder if bill got any of that on tape cause that's really how it is in the van most of the time. we donit have any radio or music in the van so we must entertain ourselves with word games. it's not such a long drive but with one more person it's much more tight and the heat is getting to me a little bit. we roll into town and find the turf club and load and say hello to the people at the bar. we are early so I do some diaries and then lay down on a bench seat to take a nap in the air conditioned bar. when I wake the grandpa's ghosts are already loaded in and sit and talk with them for a while till soundcheck time. the usual routine.

   after check and before the ghost's have to start jerry bill (cameraman) and jack (ghost drummer) take a taxi to a japanese restaurant to get some food on the house from pat who runs the place. we have an excellent feast and as we are leaving someone calls my name and when I turn around I see and old friend ernesto from l.a. and we are both blown away to see each other in such an off the wall place. I guess he lives here now and I invite him and his friends to the show and get in the taxi back to the turf club just in time for jack to get onstage and play.

   the club is pretty full and the ghost's do a great job and then the local band tvbc does a high powered instrumental set to a hometown crowd. they pump everyone up and the we go on and do our thing. mike has to play through an svt and I can tell he's not into it. so can everyone else too. we've had so many equipment issues on this trip that we learn to just roll with it and do the best we can. no excuses. after we sign some posters and shirts and stuff and then load and head to steve m.'s house to sleep. I find a couch downstairs and make my bed and that's all I can remember.

from jer:

   mike rousts me and tom and tells us that steve in on the way over. it's a chow wagon train to some diner downtown. corrie joins and grub up. the drive is not bad today, bout 3 1/2 hours. so we got time to explore the canal area near the harbor. corrie acts as tour guide and both mike and myself become the gimp parade. we stroll and pose for snaps w/some statues of a seamaiden w/many fishes. at the streets end is the canal into the harbor. the old counterlever bridge lies at the mouth. we walk along the water towards a lighthouse at the canal entrance. the weather is perfect. corrie and bill talk some w/myself and tom. mostly of music and tattoo's. steve has mike's ear or vice versa. tom remembers that he left the coltrane cd back at the norshor. corrie offers to open the bar up and get it for us. I take the opportunity to use the toilet to brush my groody teeth. back on the road again and south to minneapolis/st. paul metroplex. the weather is changing to hot and sticky again. we park and load in from the back. the club is cool w/a.c. and invites a good nap. I first decide to cash in my pay for a couple money orders to send home. we can't check 'til the ghosts bring their amp for tom to use. this place is called the turf club, but I see nothing to relate it to horses. only about 30 posters of neil young and loads of christmas lights adorn the interior. I sit and type for some time to catch up on the diaries. this is the last day to finish for last week and mike won't wait any longer. the ghosts show and I set up for the check. sound guy rob helps to make it easy. steve m. arrives and mentions a sushi pad that offered to feed us. I gather myself, tom , bill and jack for the taxi ride to the joint. when we get there pat the manager greets us and says order whatever you want. we take out seats and proceed to shovel big time. great food! times running out for jack and we get another taxi for the return trip. I hang out downstairs for their set and rest up for our show.

   I'm awoken by some cats from the second band tvbc. nice dudes in the local scene. I promise to watch their set when I hear the music start. tom's lingering around w/us and heads up as I go to view the rock. an instrumental group w/good licks and a strong drummer. I take in maybe half the set then return downstairs for some rest time. the tour grueler is starting to hit harder as the gigs wear on and I need more nap time everyday. they play a long set, round an hour, and finally get done. I do a quick set up, taking into account the ghosts backline for the sister ray jam. the room is full and we get a good set flowing. the tightness of the stage helps to keep us locked together. not many clams, but the house amp mike's using start to wither. didn't sound like this in sound check. the other bands bassist used it before us and torked the head out. its better than taking a chance the fender stack will tumble again. we finish and group outside where me and mike feel the aches of our injuries. the gimps then shuffle back on stage and do an encore. great crowd here. this was mike's first show in st. paul and it went off fab. I run back downstairs to get a drink from the tender cleaning up. he hooks up myself and jack w/a cocktail. I run back to the stage and break down the gear. the upstairs tender offers a shot and I take a bushmills down the gullet. it's working!

   I get most of the gear outside w/some help from a local. tom's inside still talking w/a very tanked girl who's thinking about driving home. bad idea girl. I hope someone takes her home. we have directs to steve's new house and head out as soon as the ghosts come up behind. at the pad steve's waiting outside to guide us in. it's a big house w/many rooms and a basement konk center. I let tom and the ghosts go downstairs as I grab the attic bed space. it take me a few minutes to figure out the phone line mess then I'm able to call kel and talk a while. it's real late and I soon become groggy. kel wishes me a good night and I pass out.

from watt:

   pop and get chimping right away. no hosing off this morning, don't know why. after an hour, I call steve mcclellan at the hotel where he's staying, he wanted to come and take us to the water. go to drop the konk sack off in the boat and find the blue of fair weather sky above me. when steve arrives, I gather my guys and we load in the boat, corrie comes w/us. we follow steve in his minivan. it's got a good bumper sticker, "plants and animals disappear to make room for your fat ass" - a tender sentiment. on our way to the water, we stop at this chow pad. tom asks what's the special occassion (we hardly ever chow together) and I tell him that steve's w/us. me and tom both get "the pile" which is fried eggs, diced ham, onions and cheese all in a big pile on a plate. there's toast too to help shovel it down w/and that we soon do. chowing w/steve is great cuz that means we're going to spiel about at least a hundred different things and he has an excellent way of blending in heavy w/funny - he's such and inspiration. we finish and then it's down to the water, only a few blocks away.

   duluth is sort of like pedro where it's a harbor town. some tiny differences though like they got lake superior here and we have the pacific ocean. this is one big lake though, huge - both the biggest and the most north of the big ones. I can imagine what winters are like but you wouldn't know if the righteous weather that's happening now. there's not really the container facillities like in our harbor. seems to be more here about grain and taconite, an ore of iron. we walk down the waterfront to right next to the aerial lift bridge. duluth has the northwest side of the saint louis river and the town of superior (which is in wisconsin) had the southeast. the aerial bridge is above the entrance to duluth harbor and it's one tall baby. it works w/counterweights, lifting the whole center section - which it does for a tourist boat, sounding some big horn blasts before that middle part starts it's way up. that's where the contol house is too so the cat working the bridge goes up w/it. must be a trippy ride. they don't have to go up too high for this boat. there's a pier w/an automated light house for the harbor entrance here (there's a lighthouse on the other side too, they're both kind of little ones - they used to be run by people cuz we saw the lighthouse keeper's pad as we walked out this way from where we parked the boat). we walk out to that. you can see the whole town of duluth from here and I-35 climbing it's way out of the town along the coast to the right. steve says that's one righteous ride. I can truly believe that. the town's built on hills coming up from the shore and you can see 'pert near all of it from here. behind us is park point, where bob dylan was born (he grew up in hibbing). it's got sand like a beach. I am reminded of the pedro town I miss so much, especially six and half weeks into tour. I'm so glad I got play up here cuz that's the primary way I get to see things in this world - I play them. I've never really had a vacation before. I remember going to new york city to stay w/jimbo once or twice when I had nothing planned. that was so bizarre for me. I don't know what got into me to do such a thing. I walked so much I sprained my achilles tendon. I wanted to pack so much in. on tour, the primary focus is the gig and you work in the sights around it. w/no gig, it kind of felt awkward. I did take a boat ride all around manhattan on the circle line w/juan rosenfelder. that was great cuz it gave me a real perspective of manhattan. you can take in sights but things can fit and make sense much easier in your head if you got the big picture too, the one that's bigger than the eyeballs and is mapped out in the mind. I have to say that I loved it here by the water but have to admit I was hurting w/these two toes the way they were cuz of that fucking cabinet falling on them. I mean, I am lucky cuz it could of come down on my whole foot and broke it. a good thing too was that it also it jer's kick drum first, breaking some of it's fall. we stop by some old anchors - big ones - and take shots. thanks, corrie. we hobble (I mean "I," the rest walk) to the boat and say our byes to steve, we'll meet him in saint paul. we drop corrie off at the norshor (where we played last night) and she gets the coltrane cd ("expression" - one retrieved from a donate last year) tom spaced on last night. thanks you again, corrie. we say bye and take the I-35 south out of town.

   I love when indian names are used for towns. we pass one called nopeming. this gives tom no end of material for jokes, tom is great on the ad lib of making everyday things funny and interesting. that's why he's a righteous guy to tour w/and I love him dearly. jer's good to tour w/too but he can get a little complainy. it's easy for things not to be a hundred percent perfect and you have to weather some rough spots and he's prone to flirt w/princess mode which is very much a hair trigger for me, I can't handle it. understand this about tour: you take three guys who have their lives they live their way and then you put them in the boat for nine weeks and they have to combine to make one life for that duration. humor is very important cuz it's a release valve for pressures that buildup cuz of frictions in where everyone's coming from to make this in the now. jer finally goes to back bench (trading w/tom), rolls over and bathes us in the farts that seep continually as he sleeps. that's his way of letting us know he loves us. jer's a great guy though and please don't get me wrong - he's hurt too like me w/a knee he bashed getting into the boat last night. he keeps talking about tour ending and him returning to "slave boy" so I sense some dysfunction - people don't bring just blank slates w/them when they sign aboard. I want him to play the best he can but it is very hard for watt to play the asskisser. I can be very direct and to the point. that part from growing up w/navy chiefs can kick it's way into my interactions quite quickly is someone's wasting my time adjusting their tiara. touring w/watt is not for everyone, probably not for most people. I have a lot of respect for those who like coming aboard my boat and working the towns w/me. I am trying to get better w/the human relations thing - this is not the fucking military. I'm a slow learner so jer and tom, hang on. I have to say though that when jer talks about his experiences w/other bands, it's much calmer w/me than what he's had in the past. he told me about a fist fight he had w/a band member in the van w/them both in sleeping bags - it was sort of a constricted thing. there was another band where he had to gather and tend to the other member like a baby sitter - and he was the only single one, it drove him crazy. our shit never gets near any of that. I got good men. pete was great too during his shift. I've been very blessed w/very happening souls.

   bill is filming lots but I have to say he's spieling too so maybe he's not too invisible. pretty minnesota farms as we head south into saint paul - just one freeway, easy and we're there in a couple of hours. this is my first gig here. so many just a few miles away in minneapolis but I don't know why I've never played here. oh well. this pad, the turf club, has been here since the 40s. we load in early but there won't be soundcheck for a long time. there's daytime regulars at the bar, it's one of those pads that's not a hundred percent rock club but a combo deal. I like the combo deal better, more real. my guy's are laid out on benches in the club, konking as I chimp. there's a young man who's car broke down so he's waiting here and playing stuff on the jukebox, good stuff like stooges. there's these two not so young guys, one looks pretty seventies and wants to know about this mike watt guy (there's a flyer of me on a wall where someone wrote "I'm having an orgasm" while I'm working my little bass). tom offers up this trippy description of what we might be like. the hippy-looking guy says he has a fifteen year old daughter who likes "old school punk" so maybe he'd like to see this. he says he never got into much punk before. it's funny cuz this used to happen so much more in the old days w/people genuinely curious cuz all they knew is what they read and it scared them kind of and they would ask you the trippiest questions, most of the time not knowing you're in the band. I rather keep it low key and let them not know. they both say they're coming tonight. ok, some first-timers - love it.

   rob's the boss here and he let's me into the "clown lounge" to chimp diary when he shows. nice folks here, him and dave. they say I can use the house ampeg svt bass amp tonight, I'm kind or reluctant to ask the ghosts to use their stuff after that cab tumbled. for soundcheck, the amp doesn't sound too bad - low volume and the amp's not hot. let's see about tonight. some cat has invited me to eat at his sushi restaurant and this is very nice but Imust konk in the boat. I apologize cuz that's so nice and righteous of him, I hope he can understand. I send my guys in my place. I chow a little leftover thai from what steve got my guys last night - some rice and veggie thing that had raisins it (wild!) and then I konk hard, missing the openers, grandpa's ghost and a local tvbc - steve likes these cats a lot and I wish I could've seen them as well as the ghosts but my tank had it's needle wrapped around the 'e' and I just had to shut down in order to do a decent set. man, did some dark clouds just blow in from nowhere - a little rain too, how kooky.

   tom wakes me and I follow him inside. whoa, a good crowd for my first saint paul gig. the stage is kind of high up and hard for me to ascend w/these two plums for toes. ouch. looks like the tvbc cats used the bass amp cuz it's all hot and the sound so squeezed - sound like the same not no matter what I play. I ask the soundman, matt (actually, I heard wrong and call him "max" like an idiot 'til I'm corrected by him at the end of the night - I feel like such a dork) to run mainly the bass through the direct box cuz it sounds so bad out of this amp. oh man, what a fucking drag in a way but the saint paul crowd is very emotional and supportive. they help me weather this machine shit much. they love saying the name of their town, "saint paul! saint paul! saint paul!" very endearing. I tell them that my town's name translates into english as "saint peter" so there's kind of a link, huh? I'm so embarrassed by this bass sound though, damn. for my first saint paul gig, I want them to hear watt's fingers working emotion from a machine, not miming some shit. this tour really has been hard for me, amp-wise - a total nightmare where I can just barely get by. my ideology (for lack of a better word) is so counter to such reliance and subservience to machine but I guess the reality is something else (wake up, watt). I love the boat dearly and rely on her so much - I guess it's the same way w/music stuff. it was so hard to work that fender in chicago - damn, I wanted to do so good there, that town holds much significance for me. I wrote a poem about once after playing there. I had to use a pick w/the little bass for j but I did ok, it fact I was quite lit. to really think about it though, all my gigs hold significance - how can I think otherwise?! anyway, I'm apologizing much at this saint paul gig and it probably sound ridiculous. aaaarrrggghhh... tom and jer do great though, have to say. they really help make it a good gig, them and the folks who came to see us. much kindness when we finish, much. lots of hugs, lots of sweet words. phil harder, who's having these three minnesota days captured on video, has me sign a poster for his boy, otto. great to see you, phil. that hippy guy has me sign a poster for his daughter. he tells me, "I think I like punk better live." thank you much, brother.

   I'm really worn out from this baby, boy. I thank everyone working here and nate, steve's lieutenant at the first avenue is here to give me directs to steve's pad, a house he just got in the south part of minneapolis - not too far away. damn, the ghosts still haven't loaded up. not to say anything bad about them cuz I love them dearly but damn, do I gotta get konked quick. they get their trailer stuffed and then follow us over to steve's. he's there waiting and has a full house to deal w/cuz he was just counting on us three and now has seven, counting bill, the "invisible" camera cat. steve gets his big minus thirty bag (old style - no new synthetics here) for me to use as a pad on the deck. thanks steve, thanks for everything. down w/the mask and the sore man sinks into a sea of konk.

thursday, may 30, 2002 - minneapolis, mn

from tom:

   I get awaked by mike who's already been to the oil change and now we must head out to montrose which is about 40 miles west to the eden factory to get mike's speakers fixed and a new amplifier. it's another hot day and a bit humi for my taste and in the back seat of the van I sit and sweat. it's a beautiful drive though and we go through little towns and by lakes and countryside. when we get to eden mr. david eden gives the tour of the office and then we follow him to the factory. eden make the best bass amps and to see the shop is very cool and we meet some of the fine people working there. we put mike's new amp together in a road case and then they repainr one of his cabinets but the other one we have to come back for tomorrow.

   when we shove off we back track throught the same pretty countryside and then into the city and pull up to the 1st avenue/7th st.entry club where we play tonightwe load and then jerry and bill and I walk a couple blocks for some pizza. when we get back I change my soiled clothes and sew a button on a shirt for tonight and then sound check. tonight is our last show with grandpa's ghost and they ask me to join them again on the last couple songs. we will be sad to have to part with them but it was a joy to have played with them and get to make some new friends.

   before they have to play jerry and I join them for some thai food down the street for our last supper and then back to the 7th st. entry to chill for a few moments before their show. as they play I watch and then realize that jerry isn't there to take pictures of them onstage so I run out to the van and get the camers and when I get back they are calling for me to go up and play with them so I ask andy the sound man to snap a couple if he can. it's a blast playing with them and I get a chance to to noodle out on their tunes and then we're done. I'm sweating from just 2 songs cause the lights are supper hot onstage. next up are the midnight evils and they remind me a little of ac/dc and I check out the rock until I run downstairs to get a water. I see grant hart downstairs and we step outside to chat a while till it's time for us to play. we do the quick change over and plow through a new set with mike's new bass amp and we are finially back in buisiness with mike's new gear. I can tell he feels good about it and it shows with his playing. I feel really good about the show and lost a few pounds from sweating so hard. it's a good show and many people come up to thank us and ask for signatuers on posters and stuff. we give the ghost's hugs and say goodbye and follow steve back to his place. I creap downstairs and sleep on the air matress and fall into the darkness of deep sleep.

from jer:

   I thought us having our gig tonight in minn. would mean I 'd have a day off for a movie, but mike wakes me and insists I join him in going out to the eden factory to replace his rig. ugh! were only three miles from the 7th st. entry and I could easily find my way to the club in time for load in. it's not to be. everyone including bill file in and we set out for montrose. this is a small town about 40 east of the city. the drive is nice going through the countryside. I snap up some good shots and wonder if I'll have any time to see a movie today. in town mike find's the eden offices and is greeted by david eden himself. I go inside to escape the heat and talk some w/david's wife judy. we then follow david to the factory a couple blocks away. mike's picking up a new amp and getting some speakers reconed. I grab the dig cam and snap shots of the operation. tom gets to work on the amp box. the weather continues w/the muggy onslaught. from the shop the bad news is only one of the two cabs will be ready for the show tonight. eden guy bill offers the use of a cab for the show and we thank him much. we'll have to return tomorrow in the morning for the second cab. this will make the drive a true hell ride for sure. we thank dave and load up for the back track to minn.. getting to town there's no time to do the movie thing and we opt to grab a bite instead. docu guy bill joins tom and myself. after a slice of pizza and a couple beers itis time to get on back for the check. soundguy andy is waiting and we do our thing fast. I walk up to the offices to use the phone and internet. their phone system is digital so I can't hook up to my computer. booker nate is kind enough to let me wrangle an office unit. I make some e-mail connects and check a couple odds and ends for a while. docu guy bill is crashed next to me in the desk adjacent to myself waiting to use the computer. I finish and wake him as I leave. in the main room I find the ghosts guys and convince 'em to chow w/us. we go to a pricey thai joint I've dined at before. I order enough food to have left overs for the after show chomp. we return quick so the ghosts don't feel rushed to play.

   I go straight to the boat and konk for 2 hours. many voices outside the van wake me and I gather up to get inside for the second band. the people hanging on the street are going to the 1st ave. venue for a salsa night. I enter and watch the rock band (can't remember their names) for three tunes then walk down to the green room to wait. as soon as they finish I'm back up and setting the kit on the stage. mike's new rig will get it's break in under fire. so far it sounds great. man what a difference to the last three weeks. the set goes well and I get a full suntan under the heat lamps that double as stage lighting. musta lost at least 7 lbs. on this one. after the encore I rap some w/the folk and back up the stuff. bill from eden greets us and gets many thanks from all. also, one of the amp tech's from eden came out to see the rig in action. he doesnit go to shows much we appreciate his presence. it's getting late and the drive is long tomorrow so we gather the troops and get the boat loaded.

   a short drive to steve's though this time minus the ghosts. it was their last show w/us and I wish them a safe journey back to missouri. you guys were very cool, and canit wait to jam again w/ya! back at steve's I heat up the left overs and chow everything down. then I'm back upstairs were the phone is out of order and I just go to sleep w/no call to kel. sorry honey, we'll talk up tomorrow. love ya!

from watt:

   pop and think about why I just pop almost always at seven all the time. now in pedro, I don't use the konk mask so I figure mostly it's the rising sun. but here on tour, I'm always w/the mask yet still I pop early. I think it must be having to piss. maybe I can only konk as long as the bladder holds out. after the gig is the time I drink the most water of the day cuz of all the sweating I do while I play. I don't know, I'm just wondering about this cuz I can't really figure it out. since the sickness, when I pop, it still feels weird down there - like there's newspaper or cardboard stuffed in me and the blood don't flow so well. whatever, I'm up so it's off to the shower to hose off. whoops, gotta use the basement one cuz lulu got sick and the upstairs one has bedding in the tub. it's a trip being around young families, I've never had one but have been around so many it seems very natural way of life. I can't imagine what it would be like for me though but I don't mind being amidst it at all. weird uncle mike. I hear cindy trying to wake steve's boy cory, he won't budge. it takes many attempts. I almost feel like going up there and giving that young man a prod of my own. c'mon, g - cindy's got enough w/the two little ones, you can help get it together. I go out to the boat to get fresh duds cuz this outfit from last night is soiled. there's a couple of squirrels doing their run around and act nervous thing. god, w/the little hands and everything, you'd think maybe they'd like to spiel about shit. those black clouds from last night are completely chased away and brightness prevails.

   there's some pulp rag w/a story about kurt cobain's legacy or rather the band he was in and I don't why I read it but I do. I love the two guys left much and it's sad to see the hell that's gone down w/the music they did in those days w/kurt. I think he could've done trippy things if he could've just held out and made some changes but that's easy to say, I think he got really down. one catholic thing I like is no dispair or fight it at all costs. I don't think they invented it or have claim to it but that's where I learned it. life's gonna throw you intense shit and somehow you gotta hold on cuz you never know how things might change to make things bearable again. I'm not saying bad things about kurt, I just miss him and wish he was here. he thought I was a funny man. I saw him as someone curious. he was good w/music too.

   I'm going to do something about this amp shit. luckily, my eden stuff is made in a town forty miles west of here, montrose. I endorse this stuff much. there's no other gear I've used that can translate what I'm thumping on the little one as well as the eden stuff, it's righteous. I take my guys in the boat and head west on us-12 to montrose. this is a little town of a thousand people and I go to where I first went when I was just getting into their gear. the factory is now a couple blocks away so this is more the office and stuff like that. there's some loud dogs, real loud dogs and then david (eden founder and boss) answers the door and welcomes me. I go upstairs and meet judy. this company is small and down to earth and is free of hype and bullshit fronting. david shows me designs of new stuff to come. it's really an honor to shoot the shit w/the man that has made it possible to really allow me to try and get what I'm doing w/music and the bass out to people. it makes me feel good like I got an organic connection and things aren't so removed. we go over to the factory and david give us a tour - tom and jer are digging this too. it's a real efficient little operation, no filler. I meet the workers, this is righteous too. one cat, who's an engineer named earl, wants to come tonight and see the gig - he's a big fan of punk and he's older than me - alright! there's a young cat here named bill who wants to come too and bring his younger brother brandon. bill knows my music for some time now and he's gonna lend me his speaker cab since we can only get the d410t cab happening today. that sunn amp dumped dc down into the 410xlt cab and burned up all the speakers so they'll all have to be re-coned. we'll pick it up tomorrow on the way to nebraska. thanks much, bill. david explains to me how to use my new preamp, the navigator and the wt-1000 power amp it's gonna work w/to get the bass into folks' faces. tom mounts both of these along w/the tuner and line conditioner from my old rack into the one I bought in columbus. thanks, tom.

   we head back to minneapolis and to the venue, the seventh street entry of the first avenue. man, has things changed - a building is now across the street that was not here last time, damn. now it's going to be some hard crock blase or some such shit among other crap too stupid for me to remember what steve told me. it's a fucking eyesore anyway. this pad here though is happening, it used to be bus depot 'til the late 70s. good people work here too. I go across to this irish pub o'donovan's and get some potato soup and a salad. it's good. back at the entry, the soundman andy does a soundcheck w/us, he's a good cat and talks about duluth where he's got family. I get to try out my new stuff and oh my god, what a difference - shit, you wouldn't believe it. I don't want to seem like I'm gadget worshiping cuz I ain't. what we got here is good art, crafted pieces that get the shit done and allow you to try and bring human stuff to folks w/out this fog of mud hiding most of what you're trying to convey. tom and jer digs it too, it was a hard going w/what I've been trying to make do w/and this is like night and day. when we get done, I go upstairs to steve's office. he had to get back home cuz of some family stuff and he's gonna let me konk on the deck there. it's funny, this office is like seven feet by three but I can just fit. I'm out for like two hours. I get up to piss and nate says I can go to a couch on the side of the main room stage cuz there's no band in their tonight - it's latin dance night. I go into that room and some security comes to see what's up - "I'm just watt and was told this was ok" - they say ok. thank you. I chimp diary instead of konking, I don't know why - I just feel like chimping. that's why I kind of like konking straight through in the boat but it's getting hot now in the midwest and it makes it tough in the boat. pete's leslie speaker is bogarting up lots of back space and that's where it's easier for me to get naked when it's sweaty like this.

   I missed the last ghost gig and the local cats, . ok, it's our turn and I get the sling sack and go into the entry. whoa, pretty warm here on this stage. the little bass is sounding great though, I can actually tell what I'm playing. the audience is very responsive and andy's got it sounding good up here so I gotta say this gig is going pretty good. my foot hurts pretty much though, that's one lame thing. only time can heal things up, I gotta soldier on in the meantime. it makes me have to stand kind of goofy so I don't put pressure on them, it's kind of awkward. I have to say that the pain I was having in my middle finger of the plucking hand is much better now - no more hurt there. the ear's healed up too so I can't complain about everything - some things get better while other things take blows. still, I'm also very lucky that cab only nailed two toes and not my fucking foot cuz that would've truly been a nightmare. I gotta take heart in the litttle victories in spite of the setbacks that almost seem inevitable. back to the gig - we're set up real tight and I dig that. damn, does this eden rig sound good. after so much halfass this tour too, huh? I'm way grateful. thank you, david - thanks to all the cats there at the company. we do roky's "sweet honey pie" and me being here in minneapolis and sometimes being sensitive to ghostly traces, my head fills w/wonderful visions but I have to say they're more like smells than actual images. what I do see (inside my mind, while I'm simultaneously working this gig - wild!) are more like colors, sort of like the inside of a pear, a peach, a plum after you put your mouth on them and remove a bite. it's a trip and last w/me through the set. it stirs me so that for the last tune of the set, I ask my guys to do it again! this time I get more physical w/the bass solo and put my voice more through the chest so I can shake my heart w/it. we're done but the folks have us back, I want to do "little doll" and I stretch the ending out like I'm want to do lately. I close my eyes and try and let some of the dream part take over, some parts of watt that are private even though I'm writing words about it here. I try to make it physical w/my voice and then physical w/te little bass - one more time w/"sister ray" along w/grandpa's ghost. even jack's aboard, pounding on a floor tom.

   many thanks to these kind people w/the open hearts and minds. bill from eden and his bro say hi and look at this: earl, an engineer at eden, came too - whoa! he says to me, "you make our shit sound good!" I am quite flattered and it makes me blush. I shake his hand much. someone's ideas to help another cat realize his and then the first cat digging on that realization and it in turn making the user of the first part quite beside himself! thank you, earl - may the circle remain unbroken! and like tom says later, "no age barriers either." it was kind of the other way around cuz usually I'm the older cat. thank you again, earl. I feel arms coming up from behind me, grabbing me up front on the chest like I was a girl - it's grant hart. mmm... big hugs on him. he's looking really good too, good shape. we can only talk a little bit. he says my eden rig looks like a gas pump! good to see you, grant. lots of good spiel w/folks, there's lots of sweat in my eyes thhough and makes it tough to see - even boys from girls (women from men). though I have thickness on my hands cuz of all the years w/bass and I don't have a lot of tactile feeling there, I can sometimes guess if someone's a drummer or a bass player - or just fooled cuz maybe they do construction. believe it or not, there's guys w/soft hands too, like a lady would have if she wasn't doing bass, drums, construction or whatever. sometimes it's the slender part of the fingers but that can mislead too. what usually let's me know is where the nail comes on the finger - it's just different mostly and though the sweat is stinging my eyes and making them mostly closed though this person is tall enough to look me in the face pretty much (it is a low stage here at the entry and I'm kind of bending down a little to compensate - I hate looking down on people really), the uncertainty has me embarrassed cuz I knew it but didn't want to let myself be caught taken like that. it was awkward for me and I could feel the blood make my face red. aaahh, I'm not so good in public - too goofy. sling more, watt and hide yourself.

   bye to the ghosts, great giggin w/you guys - ben, bill and jack - both the twofer and triad versions. we'll do it again. they go to konk at lori's, who was great to see too - I hope she gets drumming again w/some folks who aren't flakes and want to do gigs. I settle w/nate and thank him much. you're a brother, nate - truly. we follow steve to his pad. our "invisble cameramen," bill has stories of woe and the three days has tore him up soon. he tells about his modeling debut, wearing a chin-fitted dildo called an "accomodator" (hard for me to picture this). hmmm... we've come to learn alot about bill - maybe we should've had the camera on him! thanks for sailing w/us, one more ride tomorrow to the border w/iowa. I'm glad he filmed last night at steve's and some more again w/just us three at steve's cuz that's the way it usually is w/us on tour when we go to konk, w/a couple or a single person and not really a party like up at mark's house at duluth - most the time it's much more lowkey than that.

   only four of us w/steve tonight but I still take the same spot cuz I like it. his boy cory is going to texas w/his girlfriend and has all the luggage laid out. good luck, cory. I hit the deck and konk.

friday, may 31, 2002 - lincoln, ne

from tom:

   in the morning we have to get going out to montrose again to the eden factory and we pack up and say goodbye to steve, cindy and their little girls, lulu and veronica. veronica explores the inside of the van as we pack up and then we're off. the video man bill is still with us but the plan is to drop him off at the iowa border and he'll tape us as we drive away. the trip out to get mike's other bass cabinet takes us 80 miles out of our way and plus the seven hour drive to lincoln makes today the longest drive of the tour so far (at least for me). we pick up the cabinet and say thanks to the good people at eden and then back track to minneapolis where we begin to drive southward. st the border we drop off bill and I wave as we pull away.

   our trip gets warmer as we get further south and by the time we get to omaha it's 7 pm and we're still an hour away. we call to let them know we're running late. tonight we begin our tour with the buning brides from philadelphia, we did shows with them last fall and it'll be cool to hear and see them again. when we get to knickerbocker's it's 8 pm and about 85 degrees, we say hi to the brides and load in. it's air conditioned inside so there's relief from the heat. there's no time for a soundcheck and I have to play through one of dimitri's amps tonight (guitar/singer of the brides) and he has two half stacks with four telve inch speakers in each and that's not what I'm used to so I'm a little nervous that. no problem though, we learn new things every day.

   the opening band is called drive by honky and I sit with mel (brides bassist) and listen as people start to fill up the club. they have a full sound with two guitars and I say to mel that I think it's radio friendly music. nice guys. the brides go on and turn up the intensity a couple notches with their raw power. they have a new drummer named jason on this tour and he's got a good feel and even though I miss mike from the last time we played together the sound is a little tighter. dimitri wails and screams and mel plays solid. the people like them a lot. we go on and I struggle a little bit with the new amp sound and volume but the feel is good and over all a great show. I'm drenched with sweat at the end and before load out jerry and I order some food from a sandwich shop and then we chad's pad for the night.

   it's still 80 degrees outside and when we get to chad's his neigbors start to show up and we talk for a few minutes until mike's sleeping mask gets pulled down which signifies the end of the party and jerry and I find floor space to put our sleeping bags and a fan to blow on us as we try to fall asleep. I have a hard time falling asleep and go in and out of sleep all night.

from jer:

   I wake and pack up for the long haul today. first we have'ta get back to the eden factory then retrace our tracks to minn. and south for nebraska. docu guy bill is gonna ride 'til the border w/iowa then we stop and he films us crossing the state line as ender to piece. I think he wore himself out in only three days. it's all about the pacing. the trip is an all day event and I rest up for the most part. we do an alt route around des moines to avoid a traffic jam then finally into lincoln around 8 p.m.. I run into the burning brides for the first time on this trip. dimetri and mel are at the bar playing video games and it's great to see familiar faces. they'll be doing the last 15 shows of the tour we us. all the way to santa barbara. we donit have time to check 'cause of the late arrival and I just kick inside to watch the bands.

   a local act opens w/some poppy kid stuff I kinda enjoy. next is the brides w/new drummer jason. he fits into the band well and I like the new tunes their churning. some girl gets up and starts dancing during the set and tom is standing close to her. she's flailing her arms and body around w/no regard to others standing nearby. I get a look of concern on my face as I watch her spin wildly around. the bartender taps me on the shoulder and hands me a note. it reads: HER NAME IS ANGEL AND SHE GIVES A LOT OF PEOPLE BLACK EYES & BRUISES. SHE'S ALWAYS COMPLETELY SOBER. A LINCOLN LANDMARK. tom is lucky no punches landed. their done and we set up for our show. a short line check is required since there was no normal check. it's a great crowd and we give 'em a good show. not as hot as last night, but still a bit sweltering. after finishing tom and myself find club boss aaron and order our dinner we missed earlier. I pack up my stuff and wait for the food. I arrives just in time and we load the boat for a depart.

   a local kid chad offers his pad for the night w/the stipulation that it'll be quiet and no friends will come over to party. he's looking way drunk and not all together. we pour him in the boat and get the directs to his house. he seems confused about what street to take and mike corrects him. it's up to the sober guys to help the drunk guy. we make it and park. at his door is a couple friends waiting to get in. here we go. inside it's boiling hot w/little air movement. I sit and chomp my sandwich while more friends arrive and start up the party. I grab my bag and find some floor space in the one bedroom. chad's pal comes in and turns on the a/c. that ends up not doing much. soon they get the clue and move the fun upstairs. tom was gonna us the upstairs couch, but returns in a minute and plops down next to me. we have to screen the offers more carefully in the future to avoid this scenario. welcome to tour life.

from watt:

   pop w/barking from the little crazy dogs. go to hose off in the basement head. some cof from cindy next. thanks for everything, the two days here at your and steve's pad. so nice. we're gonna leave early cuz I gotta go pickup that cabinet at eden in montrose and then we got quite a ride to lincoln, maybe the whole thing is like five hundred miles. "invisible cameraman" bill's last ride w/us. I give steve all the thanks I can, can't wait to see him again. we load up the boat and then retrace the road travelled yesterday to montrose, on us-12. we stop for gas I get a bag of cherry sours. I try to get jer to try one, he goes into total baby mode but then grudgingly agrees to bite just a little bit off one. he never gave it a chance, never got any of the innards. oh well, he gets contrary like that. all three of us are idiots and forget to get ice for the cooler. damn.

   on the way I see a beautiful swan in roadside pond, wow. on the ridiculous side, there's someone trying to sell some beatup 60s sedan, maybe a bonneville for twentyfive hundred dollars - the "for sale" sign is a huge piece of plywood put leaning up against the cars front end to hide this huge bash, like he plowed a pole. this ride is not in good shape, rust all over. will he get the $$$ he's looking for? we all discuss this much in the boat, such is tour life and the attention to detail! it reminds me of one fIREHOSE tour where we were in richmond (virginia) and after soundcheck, georgie asks me for "fourteen hundred dollars and a flaslight." he went and bought a 70s porche. man, was it a rustbucket - the floorboards so gone you could do the fred flintstone thing w/the feet. I don't know about looking at a car east of the rockies at night w/a flashlight - they do salt the roads out here and that's murder on the metal. anyway, we get to the eden factory and bill's there to greet us. I thank him again for the use of his cab last night and get two speakers for my top box and one for the bottom - just in case, to have some backup or what my pop called it, "a bravo." david shows up and we get my bottom cab in the boat, everything in order. man, too bad this is w/just a little more than two weeks left! better than nothing though, I was frayed to edge w/the current sitch. earl comes out to shake my hand and say how he liked the gig. thank you again, earl. you too, david - your stuff's the best. last thanks for bill too. we're on our way south.

   back to minneapolis but around the southwest side on the belt, I-494. at I-35w, we head south and say bye to the twin cities. the I-35w joins the I-35e to make the I-35, the same way it splits again north of south of denton in texas to fork for either dallas or fort worth. that symmetry is trippy, huh? last chats w/bill, he's kind of worn after three days w/the jom & terry show, kind of beat up. there's a car w/a cat named mike riding behind us that's gonna take him back after he films us leaving minnesota. there's much construction so his plan to drop him off and then circle back around is improvised to instead pull over on the side of the freeway near the "thank you for visiting minnesota" sign and then let him out to film us rolling away from him. I wonder what the footage will look like, I hope he got good stuff. by that I mean I hope he got shots that will give some sense of spirit of how a watt tour is and not just generic rock life cuz who needs another lame reinforcement of that cliche? and for me to be the one delivering that? aaahh, I'm trying my hardest to fight all that shit. I guess the real deal will be w/the editing. phil and his partner rick will be much involved in that. curious to see what happens. of all the stuff filmed of me over the years, I don't see too much cuz I get too embarrassed. let's see what happens w/this. I trust phil much.

   so, w/our three day "invisible" passenger now gone, we are back to our threesome, rolling through the cornfields of iowa. pretty for the eyes, I try to take in all these different vistas that present themselves each day from the lands we sail through. here, there's lots of corn farms. the iowa license plates say "fields of opportunity" - that's a good spiel. the weather's kind of warm but not too humid which is a definite break. getting near des moines, the traffic slows to a stop. there must be a wreck cuz the police are leading people off the interstate for a detour south. iowa is laid out w/tons of parallel state and county roads so it's easy to circumvent these kind of plugs. we're led off to ia-210 west but instead of turning south at the next major road like the rest of the pack, I take us further west - we're going to cut out the entire trip through des moines. for one thing, it's getting near rush hour time and that town doesn't really have a beltway to bypass the downtown hell and who knows how much plug is involved w/this wreck? kind of neat seeing the small town life off of the interstate, little town like slater, madrid, woodward (big dog leg here cuz of the whole town putting in a new sewer). then south on us-169 and through gardiner, minburn and adel 'til we hit the I-80, the road leading west to coucil bluffs, across the missouri river and into the state of nebraska. a truck in front of us at one point shreds a tire and it makes a huge explosion as rubber flies. I dodge the pieces. it's one reason to keep a good buffer between the boat's front end and the vehicle in front of us. tailgating is so fucking stupid and this is one reason why. still, I give thankful prayers to myself for us staying safe. at a gas stop, a call to the club to say we'll miss soundcheck but get there right at doors or a little before. I hate doing this, I'm never late but w/the the eden trip, all the miles plus the plug north of des moines, it's over nine hours in the boat, whoa!

   a lot of driving for watt this ride. it does though give me a lot of time to think cuz the throat's getting beat up after all the gigs in a row and talking's kind of hard. I think about things. I got motherly thoughts. not in the biological sense but in regards to the closest things that are my babies, my songs. I'm feeling those mother urges. I really want to make a lot of records in the next upcoming years. it was a tradition formed w/me as a minuteman but strangely, I've become much removed from it in these last years. that frustrates me much. I have some wonderful cats I can record w/like the black gang, pair of pliers, jom & terry show, secondmen and I have strong ideas for each of them - bringing out what I feel are the different personalities of each unit. of course, there's the parallel world where I'm more of a sidemouse (though I do write a lot of music for them) like dos or banyan. dos has been my bedrock, a constant in my life now for seventeen years. funny how fIREHOSE songs used to grow right out of dos songs. let me talk about songs for me a bit here. there's the idea world, the abstract way in which I interpret how I'm seeing things and it dynamically working in my head to get a handle on things. this is like water, running over concepts which I've taken hold of, sort of like rocks. none of this exists outside my mind, it's all inside and prone to all kinds of different emphasis, depending on kinds of emotional factors. tunes for me are real consequences of all this mental stuff. biologically you might have two people at something and they see each other, their eyes meet or whatever, there's some kind of courtship or maybe not - "I want to be w/you, father my child" or "she's up for easy sex, I'll play this for as long as I can" - whatever, what I'm getting at is then there's some physical stuff and then the physical consequences are sometimes a baby. w/tunes and the way they get formed up in my head, I kind of play both roles but it seems the mother one comes out strongest, especially these days. I truly feel these little ones have lives of their own, especially when I show them to my guys and they live through them. they allow me a sense of family in a way, my brood of kids - my songs. I don't feel so much like, "twist them off and let them fly" - maybe like a guy thing might be. I really feel attached to them and there is a mother-like pull I feel to birth these. in a way too, I think even if I played all the parts like I do w/the little demos, they still have lives of their own, little personalities. it's how I make abstract physical in a creative sense. more than descriptions too cuz there's a feel and mood in playing them, letting them play themselves. like a girl too who wants to be a mother, there's only so big a window in which bearing babies can happen. especially since the sickness, I feel there's only so much time and that's why I gotta really get going and do what I'm setting out to do and have this brood. it's another reason I tour the way I do, playing as much as I can - packing in as many gigs in the space I've made for the tour. were you're down on your back really sick, you're so weak and helpless - all those things you wanted done are impossible cuz you have no strength. I've found I've got to make what I want done happen w/every moment I got in the now. this is a middle part of life position maybe, the hard reality of thinking of time w/out end is seriously tempered. it doesn't make me cynical - far from it. what it does do is bring home the realization of the importance of making every second count. motherhood naturally puts a sense of priorities in a woman that society has kind of muddled for men. we've lost touch. art is what's bringing me these sensibilities and in turn, I'm finding my way through my art through these strange thoughts about the roles I'm playing out - I don't think it's a problem I'm not feeling so masculine in the traditional sense. on the intellectual plane it seems bring me an appealing logic to it - I want my thoughts born out into songs, made real through birthing and raising them. I see them less as a way of planting seeds in people's heads. I think that's what this diary stuff has become more of, more of my man side in a way. it's very assertive for me to do this, even w/me going on about my insecurities and misgivings - I still make it clear they're mine and belong to me. I just throw them out there, lots of times they have no period to gesticulate or grow - I let the passion of the moment pull them out of me, like lots of what I do at gigs. that's why I want bring in more of this other thing I've been talking about here, I have to admit I feel it calling out strong from within me. I'm feel the need to be more and more like an oven and not just a radio antennae. you have to realize I'm not speaking for humanity here, these are watt thoughts regarding watt and they're like dreams where the associations might not be as concrete as the analysis I'm chimping here in the tour spiel may appear. you take all of what I've been living through, put me behind the wheel of the boat rolling through iowa, ready to do my fortyseventh gig in a row and here's some thoughts that may have resulted from this... maybe. lots of times I don't know why I think what I do even though my mind seems intent in making guesses or drawing conclusions.

   trippy thoughts like this all the way up to omaha. I then ask tom to help w/the map to plot the next fifty miles to venue in lincoln. he does good, tom's really getting a handle on this road stuff now and hardly ever gets flustered like he used to. this place is called knickerbockers and I've played here once before. there's a huge budweiser poster w/me on it in the window, it's pretty funny. the bud part isn't that big so I don't seem so much the shill, looks like it's more for the club. this pad has a giant guitar inside on the wall - I mean, big (like twenty feet long) there's a new opening band w/us since grandpa's ghost has left, phily's burning brides, who have a new drummer, jason. tom's gonna use dimitri's amp - thank you, dimitri. that was a hellride, I go to the boat after trying to chimp a little during the opening band, a local one called drive-by honky. they play tight and aren't a redneck satire camp thing as their name might suggest. I am a little dizzy w/fatigue though and have to beat it to the boat. I chow some of those great crown prince 'dines (from portugal) that this nice cat in madion flowed in a care package. they're really good w/no oil at all. then I konk hard. it's pretty warm and mysteriously, I pop a few minutes before showtime and just sit to cool off w/the hatch open. I grab the sack and then enter the pad.

   no soundcheck but I did have a talk w/soundmand brian about what's up w/what we're doing. he seems like cool people and is very willing to help - the best kind of cat you can have doing your sound. people on stage have to realize that they're only the motor, the soundcat is the tranny and it's them that gets the power to the wheels, no matter how hard you're torquing. the lincoln folks are both expressive and supportive. I did talk to some omaha cats earlier so some of them are you too. together, they make a great crowd to play for. even when I break a 'g' string and have to talk a little, I have a little fun w/them cuz they're calling out old minutemen song titles. it's very dear what they're doing though and I mean them no disrespect. dimitri does "the red and the black" w/us and we get off the beat though we do find it again and finish strong. I give a little spiel to the crowd about the concept of "rhythm section" and what it means to me but I mean jer no meaness. he's a great drummer. a culture has developed though where the drummer only listens to the guitar - what's that about? I evoke the name of the great james jamerson to bring the idea of rhythm section that I dig. things can bounce, shake and have fun but there's still a unity in the hearts of the bassist and the drummer. I dig that much. I also dig playing lincoln cuz d. boon's pop was from a little town near here - that means a lot to me, a lot. I think it's been over three years since I was last here - gotta make it more regular. tom had some trouble getting the dynamics down w/dimitri's hiwatt amp. especially as my voice gets weaker w/tour pounding on, he's gotta be tender w/me that way. it's the one really hard thing about doing a lot of gigs, keeping the voice together.

   finish up and I'm deep in spiel and slinging w/the folks, they're great. like almost every single person I've done this w/after the show, the feel is quite genuine and sincere and for this I am forever grateful and promise to work my hardest for. much congrats to soundman brian, he did really good. there's a strange thing said to me, this lady calls me beautiful. I've said that to some women and my life and now to hear it is a weird thing and maybe I should think about say that before. it's always just popped out of me really w/out thinking about how it might affect the other person but now me hearing that makes me feel pretty insecure and not at all worthy of it. it was very nice though. I can't but think of myself of anything but the goofest fuckhead ever when I'm in front of mirror - one reason I try pretty much to avoid them. there's a lady who tells me her name is carla and her husband paul is the best drummer in town. he's too shy to come over so she speaks for and about him. it's very sweet, what a nice couple. they want to have us over but tom has told this young man named chad that we'll konk at his place. it's nice when later oustide, I actually get to talk w/paul - not much but a little. I bet if we konked w/them he'd open up more. his wife did give me a cd of his - something for "the watt from pedro show" when I get back!

   we take chad on board but jer has given him a case of beer to take w/us. hmm... he said it was just gonna be him at his pad and we could just konk. maybe jer and tom have plans? we get to chad's - it's near the capitol (you know how all the state capitols have domes like the capitol building in washington or something similar. well, nebraska put there's on like a twenty story skyscraper that has had people call it "the penis of the prairie") and I lay immediately out on the couch. seems chad's got lots of friends in the building here and in a little bit, there's like ten people around the couch. I give them as much as I can, maybe fifteen minutes of spiel and then down goes the mask and in go the earplugs. I'm just drained, sorry folks. they're really nice people and chad was so happy to have me over but I'll get sick if I don't get the good rest. I hear tom say, "when the curtain's lowered, the show is done." I think everyone left but who really knows? I was on my way to sleepytown and thousand miles behind.

saturday, june 1, 2002 - lawrence, ks

from tom:

   it's about 85 degrees when I hear mike come in the house at about 9:30 in the morning. he said he did a little ride on the bike that was in the living room and I get up and shave in the cold water only bathroom sink. I didn't mind so much cause it's so hot and humid. I tell mike about the dream I had which was simply that there was a woman in my bed with me, not doing anything but just making it too hot to sleep. it was an anxiety dream but not as bad as some of the others. we pack up and get in the van and drive on to lawrence. we back track a little towards iowa and take a state road through the country till we hit the interstate into missouri. it's hot and I sit in the sweaty air on the back seat when we hit stoped traffic outside of des moines. we get re-routed off the highway and continue on a small road to avoid the backup. it's cool to go through the little towns and see the life outside the cities and off the main roads, it's pretty much what I imagine it to be, old houses, pickup trucks, no curbs. we hook back up to the interstate and pull into lawrence at about 2:30.

   the humidity is very heavy and it drains the energy out of me but luckily the bottleneck is open and air-conditioned and and we all go in to cool off. we're very early but we load in anyway and then jerry and I go for a stroll to a music store and a couple of thrift shops. mass. ave is only a block away from the club and that;s the main drag in town, and since it's saturday there are lots of people out. we decide to get some food at a greek/italian restaurant and I order the spinach and ricotta raviolis with mushrooms and tomatoes in garlic butter. a very satisfying meal and not too heavy. on the way back to the club we stop to pick up more vitamin c.

   when we get back to the bottleneck our friend robert from the old new alliance records days shows up. he has lived here for a while and we always see him when we're through. it's great to talk with him again. the soundman aron shows up at about the same time as the burning brides and I help them load in through the back door. robert takes off to get food and we do our check and then I watch the brides check and then there's the waiting period.

   when tha sun finally goes down and robert gets back, jerry and mel and I join him for a walk outside in the warm night. when we return the club is starting to fill but itis a pretty large room and it feels spacious when the brides start their set at about 10. I have the camera and take a bunch of shots of them as they rock. it sounds great and they wail through their songs with a lot of energy. we go on and do our best for the good people that came out to see us. I see the guys from brannock device, a band that we've played with here a couple of times and I meet a few new folks after the show. I wish I could remember everyone's name because one of my favorite things abourt touring is meeting so many different people along the way.

   the night is ending here and we load out with the help from robert and kevin and kevin's friend. we say goodbye to the burning brides and to robert and then kevin takes us over to his house for the night. I've stayed here with watt at least three times before and I know it's a comfortable place with beds. he's always some kind of food for us too which makes it a complete luxur. I fix myself a sandwich, talk for few minutes and go to sleep in an air conditioned room at 2:15.

from jer:

   I wake to see mike miming the words "I'm sorry". I look over to the bed and chad is a totally konked drunkard. we just get up and go. it's gonna be another hot one, but the drive is only 4 hours. nebraska road 2 east then I29 south to I70 west and right into lawrence. this is the last time we make any treks east 'cept in chico which is not very much. man the heat is all encompassing on us. in town we park next to the bottleneck and I enter to a welcome cooled room. for a good hour I chill and get a beer. my hunger begins to overwhelm and I coax tom into joining me for a walk to chow. we first hit up a couple thrift stores 'round the corner. I pick up some shorts, but tom has no luck looking for any polyester shirts. we continue onto the main strip and find a greek joint w/an affordable menu. just sitting anywhere cool is fine w/me. the food it happens turns out to be good and our waitress was very accommodating. we stroll back to unload the boat for the check. I examine my new hardware to find it already has a rip in it. someone last night helped w/moving the gear after the show and carried it lop sided. this is how the last bag got ripped. I bought a sewing kit from a truck stop 3 days back and break it out to do the repair. the brides finally arrive and we go ahead w/our check. I grab the labtop and do some game play while the brides check up. friend rob stops by and chats some w/tom as I do my gaming. I soon grow anxious to wander again down the main strip looking for some ice cream. rob takes us to a shop, but the line is too long. we have mel from the brides tagging along and talk some of our travels. we hit this pizza place and I get a slice. mel has to return to get ready and we make our way back. I'm feeling burnt and take the bench seat for a napping session. no ice cream tonight.

   I can hear the brides jamming in my twilight sleep and keep an ear on when their set ends. I always try to get up and shake off the tireds so they don't follow me onto the stage. I set up my kit and prep for the show. waters and setlists are in order and we begin. it's a good set and the people dig the songs. local friend kevin is right up front enjoying every moment. he's our hitching post for the night and a great cat. dimetri joins again for the red and the black. this one goes off well. we go out for a couple encores and get a great response from the folks in attendance. I take some time to talk w/folks at the stage side and welcome their good comments. there is this one dude that asks if I'd take a picture w/him and sign a poster. I say "sure, I wouldn't mind at all. it's one of the parts of the job I dig." he responds "actually I don't want to, I'm just messing w/ya." fucking whatever bro! if he thinks that's some kind of funny, well maybe he should take a butt plug up the ass. now I think that's funny. the magic of alcohol. we pack the gear and load up the boat. w/kevin on board the funny guy returns for one more insightful message. he approaches the window and says to mike "you guys must get your asses kissed so much your all buttered up." go away! bonehead.

   we soon arrive at kevin's and he's got sandwich fixings waiting for our gullets. a make a turkey sand w/special crustless bread. in the living room I enjoy a couple mota loads and take a shower to get the grime off. I throw I stuff on the same bed as last time and thank kevin for all the generosity. after a little weather channel viewing to check the drive deal for tomorrow I find my sleep.

from watt:

   pop and damn if I don't feel achier than an one hundred eighty year old fucking man. I can't believe it. I was feeling achy after last night's show but nothing like this. man, is it bad. I go and hose of in the head - no hot water here (the landlord neglected to pay the gas bill) but that's ok cuz it's really hot and it's only seven in the morning. hot lincoln! the cold water feels pretty good even if at first it brings on pretty much of a heart attack. you do in deed feel very much alive. I forget the aches for a bit but then they come back on. there's a bike here in the living room so I take it out to pedal. wow, my first time pealing since I left pedro, I love it! the handle bars aren't quite my style, they're too low and the weight of my body is on my wrists. that's why I put a little girl's bike's ape hanger kind on mine at home - moves the weight to your ass where I can handle it. working the bass makes my wrists vulnerable. I pedal past the capitol, a couple blocks away is the masonic lodge which has a mural w/three men on it: first a boy, then a young man riding a horse and then an older man w/a beard - probably the same cat at different stages of his life. I get cof at a little store, swallow that and get some more - and a toothbrush, I fucking donated the one I've been using. you need to keep the toilet mouth scrubbed. I pedal back and chimp diary 'til my men wake all sweaty. I guess there was some issue w/turning on the air conditioner cuz chad has his bed where his head is right in front of it. both tom and jer konked in his room w/him. I woke up sweaty too but cuz of these aches, I'm thinking it's more from a little fever cuz there was a roof fan blowing on me. my guys have not the nerve for a cold shower so we pile into the boat and head out of town. never got to say bye to chad but I'm saying thank you here. ok, june first - we played every day of the month of may, it's usually the same w/october too. it's a trip when you think about it.

   we get some ice for the cooler and then it's east on state road 2. it's a little backtracking and probably our last eastward move of the tour but taking the interstate to get to lawrence is an easier way in the long run. we have to cross back the missouri river into iowa to get on I-29 but it's runs right along side it and we roll south, first down the iowa part and then the missouri part 'til a little past saint joseph where we take the I-435 belt to avoid kansas city, missouri (the big one) and head into kansas city, kansas (the little one) and take the I-70 (kansas turnpike) east. the ride is pretty w/lots rolling hills and farms. the only thing ugly is these aches that make it hard for me to hold the wheel. it is pretty sweaty too. I feel fucking decrepit. at the toll booth, some dick cuts us off and jer get's very belig, giving this guy middle fingers and hollering. I take it in stride but when the toll lady asks how I am, I tell her, "that guy in front of me is an asshole." she says she's sorry but I tell her it's not her fault, smile and ask for a receipt. some people really are pricks w/their cars. however, letting their assholeness escalate things into something crazy isn't too smart either. we get to the venue at three. it's a pad I've played many times before and dig much, the bottleneck. I hoof to a pharmacy to get some ibuprofen and some cough drops - my throat is feeling sore on top of everything. oh boy. I find a juice pad and get their eight vegetable blend w/wheat grass and a detox formula added in. I look for a pad w/soup but can't travel far, I'm feeling really weak. back to the club and lie down in the upstairs, one of the most graffiti filled backstages ever. I put on the konk mask and am out quick. I wake up two hours later soaked to the bone. I think I broke the fever and that makes me feel better, the aches are softer even. still is going to be a hard gig tonight. when I get like this, it's hard to think right, get any train of thought coherent and together. the aches make it a nightmare to play and the overall level of strength you have to ration yourself is painfully tiny. let's see, three days back was duluth. I've never been to duluth before and therefore have no resistances, makes sense - it usually takes three days for the fucking bugs to incubate. if you're in good shape thoughh, you can fight this shit off before it fully takes you down. I usually get assaulted at least once or twice a tour. it is a warm day today. amanda's the manager tonight and brings me some salsa - quite good w/a heavy garlic presence - I dig it. heat from outside, heat from within - this is good. I will cook these little fuckers out of me.

   the brides show up. since tom is using dimitri's amp, where kind of beholden to them showing up early enough so we can check and still leave time for them. I appreciate them understanding this. if you look at this tour, seems if you open up for watt, you better be ready to share your stuff! no, truly, I'm grateful for all the help our friends have passed on to us this tour w/the lame situation w/the gear. thank you all much. we check w/soundman aaron - he was here last time and is a good cat. I can tell by doing just one tune this is going to be a hard gig. hold on, watt. I go back upstairs to chimp. tom asks if this lady can see me, I say ok. her name is sunshine and says she's a clairvoyant. she says she can see hurt inside of me and ghosts that need to be exorcised. she's on a honeymoon w/her husband and they're travelling across the country, looking through thrift shops and saw I was playing here. she met me years ago but I never knew she did this. she asks how I feel and I tell her about the aches and the two bruised up toes but she says the problem is deeper and gives me a card. she says I should call her after the tour and she'll try to help. mel comes up after she leaves and I ask about this, any opinion? mel is skeptical but it does get me thinking. I very much have the feeling people can look through me. I feel transparent especially in the eyes, like all my insides are open to anyone looking in. I think this is why it's hard for me to play w/my eyes open sometimes. mel ain't having any of it though. still, it makes me wonder and I think about this much. sunshine said I have to change the way I'm doing things cuz it's bringing me hurt. I think about what has changed in my life, what has stayed pretty much the same. it weighs kind of heavy on me. funny how something can set that off in you, huh? I can be susceptible to these kind of things, even w/some thick skin developed over the years. there was no meaness in it, I'm sure but the result is watt yet again doubting in himself. aaarrrrrgggggghhhhhh...

   this young guy named moses comes up to talk w/me. I was taking pictures of brides drummer jason's shoe stretchers in action on his "travelling slippers" - have to admit that I've never seen anyone on tour w/these before when moses comes to talk to me about his favorite band sublime. he never got to see them but did see a video made about the band by josh fischel where I do some spiel regarding them and this got him to come and see me. he wants to know about me, about what I know about the band - it's quite endearing how music can have such a powerful connect w/people. he's had some rough knocks but wants to make music himself, his brother does bass. I hope he wins over his obstacles and gets on the road to where he wants to travel. I stop to think about brad, the sublime singer who died. pretty sad about that. he was a cat w/a gift, for sure. so much about rock and roll is such shit and fuck all. transcendence, all we can hope for is transcendence - however that might come. I know, it's a tall order but what the fuck, huh? robert, who ran new alliance when greg got it, is here to say hi. he's been here a while now. last time he came w/two young women from japan who couldn't believe their professor would go to a music gig w/them, they coming from a culture where things are much more strictly departmentalized. they thought the whole adventure was quite a trip. robert said one of them told him after the show, "now I know what I think." whoa. this time, robert is here by himself and jason gives his opinion about long hair - he hates it. robert's got a shaved head now but wore long hair for a while and tells him about it. jason keeps hammering home his views on the sissified nature of long hair - robert, like a good cat though, just lets it roll of his back. tom's a little weirded out. we both dig robert much and don't want him hurt. I don't think jason means anything by it. I ask him about his shoe stretchers he uses on his "driving clogs" - nothing sissy about that. jason's funny. he knows quite a lot about the old scene in some ways too for younger. I ask him what happened to his old delta 72 band and he says, "drugs and egos." sorry to hear the all too familiar story. that's stupid.

   the spiel has wore me down, I must konk. I go to the boat and am out quick. a summons from jer means it's gig time. do I have to write here I missed the opener? ok, I did. sorry. go to get up on stage - there's andy and john, my kansas city buds from back in the minutemen days. it sure is righteous to have folks stick w/you so long, see you go through your crazy changes and still be open to see what else you might come up w/and the current way you have to deliver it. it's a very gracious thing really. I think there's a human tendency to experience something, give it a label or put it in a category and then abandon it. in a sense, that "thing" dies for them, becomes static - it no longer holds a mystery or an intrigue that keeps them wondering, keep thems rapt. it's like "move on, there's a million like this." they catch you at that moment and you're forever in their mind static and fixed, even if you do grow or change - they will be oblivious to it cuz for them, you're figured out - played out. folks that let you keep coming back to show them what you're about are very generous and are quite open w/the heart and the mind. in return, you just gotta be creative and keep trying to expand where you're from. it's like intently wanting to hold a conversation w/someone you're struck so by - small talk is just for taking up ticks on the clock. you gotta engage your spirit, give just as much heart back. these are some reasons why I do what I do the way I do. back to the gig, this one's tough w/the aches and my voice is starting to take the powder, so many gigs in a row are apt to bring that on. it's trippy about the voice thing too, it holds up pretty good and then whump! everything is 'pert near gone and getting through a gig is such a struggle. I've stretched it to seven weeks though. maybe next time I can get it to eight. anyway, back to this gig: the lawrence folks are righteous and throw us up much exuberant spirit. even w/all the hurting, I'm proud to get the chance to play for them. my band's doing great, jer and tom are punching it up good, even w/this stage being a little dead like it is. tom's still getting the hang of the dynamic thing w/dimitri's amp but he's tons more responsive. this helps w/the soreness I got on the throat. we do "sister ray" for the encore, I just wanted to blast it cuz of my frustration w/my little setbacks - trying to use the gig as some way of fighting back against these probs thrown up in my face. tom's a little too calm in his solos during "sister ray" so I ask im to go crazy for a song like that, that's where I feel it's coming from anyway.

   we finish up and I sling. warm hands shaking mine, warm hearts sharing niceness too. thank you, good lawrence folks. andy and john want to come to pedro again - I tell them to c'mon. a couple of the branock device guys say hi, they've opened up for me a few times here. there's these cats, like five of them, counting their girls, that drove three hours. I talked to them earlier before the gig and while I was playing, they stood right in front of me. this touches me much that folks are this open about seeing what I'm up to and are not jaded enoug to feel they've got me all figured out and I'm done and should move. I feel much beolden to them for this and want to do better for them. there's lots of good word from all kinds of people, in my sickness I feel weak but they buoy me up and help me float through the shit. thank you, all. amanda introduces me to her brother who came from saint louis, a very nice man. glad to meet him - his sister's always made it nice for me to play here at the bottleneck. al's here, a cat who most always spends time w/me here but he's now moving to hawaii, probably the last time I'll see him here. good luck, al.

   after settling up w/amanda and saying thanks to all the good bottleneck people (thanks again for the sound, aaron), we get the gear in the boat and take kevin aboard w/us - he's invited us to his pad to konk. there's chow on the table and my guys dig in. I have some horseraddish on bread w/a slice of turkey, this is intense! I dig it. beaten down w/all the things beating me down (!), I must submit to the konk ward. kevin lays out a little rubber mat and I konk quick on this. adios.

sunday, june 2, 2002 - denver, co

from tom:

   kevin has food for us in the morning and take a shower and join the feast. on the weather channel we see that it's going to a hot drive through kansas to denver. it's 560 miles from lawrence to denver and so we must get going. the morning heat is not too bad but it quickly starts to get uncomfortable and hits 100 degrees by noon. jerry tries to sleep in the back and I type as mike drives for the miles into a strong head wind of hot air, and then I take over at the wheel. luckily we have enough water to keep from dehydrating.

   along the way I remember the dream I had last night. in the dream I am at my folks house where I grew up in manhattan beach, ca. years ago during my childhood the house next door hadd a big grassy side yard between our house and our neighbor's. in my dream my parents are out of town and I am having a band play outside on the grassy yard and people start packing the place and finally our house starts to get trashed and I have to call the police to come and break up the show. there's some very obvious symbolism in there with a dose of anxiety.

   9 and a half hours later we roll up to the bluebird theater and load in the side door right on time (actually about a half hour early). the bluebird is a beautiful old theater built in 1913 and customized for live music. this will be my fourth time playing here with mike and the people who run the place are very cool. the monitor man andy is working out some technical bugs from the show before us and then the brides show up at about 6:30 or 7 and we get to check. this is our third gig together and with me using dimitri's hiwatt amp and I am still figuring it out. it sounds great but it's so loud and it doesn't react to the volume knob on my guitar the same as I'm used to, and that's something that I need to work out. after check jerry and I walk across the street to get some food and watch the final game between the lakers and the kings. the game is intense and goes into overtime, and since the game is in sacramento jerry and I are worried about the home court advantage. the game comes down to the wire but the lakers pull it off and in some way I feel sorry for the kings because it was so close. after that we go back to the club.

   the brides are just getting ready to play and I watch them work their magic on the crowd that's starting to roll in. the altitude is much higher than we are all accustomed to and I know it will make it harder on us tonight. we go on after the brides and there's a good sized crowd at this point and we do our thing. it a good show and after we spend a time talking and signing things and finally loading out the front of the venue into our van. ryan hops in the van and shows us the way to his place and the accomodations that he and laura and mark have for us. I got a bed upstairs and point a tiny fan at my face and go to sleep with the windows wide open.

from jer:

   mike wakes me and kevin has the chow all ready. I take the plate and start cutting the steak up. along w/the eggs and potatoes it's potent meal that powers me up for the day. I inform mike the weather channel is calling for a windy drive w/temps in the 100's. ugh! not much to say about the drive, 'cept I tried not to move for 9 hours. the hell ride finally ends and I walk into the bluebird theater to check on the stage status. were able to load in and set up while waiting for the brides and their hiwatt amp for tom. not long after they show and we get the check done quick. tom and myself then walk across the street to decent burger joint for some din. on the tube is the 7th game of the laker's/king's western conf. playoffs. it's the 4th quarter and there separated by only 2 points. it's a tense, finger biting final 2 mins.. all back and forth on the scoring 'til time runs out and their tied at 100 a piece. our food arrives and we watch the overtime sessions w/peeled eyes. of course our laker's pull off the classic ot win and we know weill have a great show tonight.

   we walk back in to the theater and see sheri the bar girl I met last tour here. she's a very cool lady I'm glad to talk about our trips to hawaii in the last few months. I was there to get married in nov. and had a blast. the brides begin their set and I retreat to the basement green room to save my ears from overwear. the tour at this point is not so forgiven to my hearing. I do love to watch the brides, but it'll make my show that much more difficult to handle. tom and myself lounge for a while and talk during their set. as soon as I hear the last song I'm out the door waking mike for our show. we get going on the old set from last tour w/a few small changes to the order. for the most part we do a good job. I do have a problem hearing mike's bass on the first half, but he gets the volume up as the set proceeds and I'm to sync better to the end. when the ended I head up front and hang w/the brides at their merch booth. I meet a girl who's having her 21th birthday at the show. I sign her poster and wish her a great life. her friend tessa is standing nearby and her b-day is in about 5 mins. at the strike of midnight. I have her wait 'til the top of the hour then wish her the same. very sweet young ladies. the house help out w/the gear and load out is a breeze.

   a local couple offer their pad for the night and we take 'em up on it. the drive is only about 4 mins. and we get to relax on the porch for a bit. I ask about using the phone and laura the girl helps out w/a cordless and a room where I can have privacy and a place to sleep. I talk some w/kel and tell her of the day. the heat really took a lot out of my body not to mention the altitude here. at 5280' this is the mile high city. I wish her and rilei all my love and soon knock out.

from watt:

   pop and hose off while kevin's in the kitchen getting chow ready. we gotta leave early this morning - 560 miles to denver. we get one hour for going west across the mountain time zone but we gotta leave at nine to make the one hour window before load in at six. damn, kevin has steaks on the q outside and fries up eggs, potatoes, onions and mushrooms too. along w/toast, this is some great breakfast chow even if it is a little heavy. haven't had steak all tour, I don't think. I keep things kind of light, it helps me stay more nimble. a little in moderation though, that's ok. it is a real good chow and I finish it all. thanks, kevin. he comes in to tell me the rear hatch of the boat appears to have benen left open all night - oh my god! I didn't use the konk sack last night and instead used some blankies of kevin's. tom must've left the hatch open thinking I was going back there. man, are we lucky there wasn't a major donate. an honest mistake and I think we'll learn from it. kevin bids us farewell w/a great care package of stuffs, quite kind of him on top of everything else.

   we roll and get gas and ice for the cooler. it's already pretty warm. west on the I-70 the whole way there is the plan and I think we're going to feel it - the sky is cloudless. it heats up in the boat and it's kind of hard to compensate w/some open window cuz there is one motherfucker of a headwind coming up on us out of the southwest. it must be like twenty or thirty miles an hour, I gotta use lots of gas pedal. when I do roll down the window, there's a howling like a jet engine roaring, it's incredible - really loud. I also get face slap after face slap from the wind jamming in, I can only take so much before I have to roll the glass up again to get some relief. it's fucking intense. the boat is holding up good though, it's over a hundred degrees on our inside thermometer. jer's on the back bench swimming in his own sweat. the eastern part of kansas has lots of up and down, believe or not. I'm not saying mountains but there's hills involved. when you get more west, that's where things flatten out. we're ascending slowly too the further we go. remember, denver is a mile up - this is the high plains. there's lots of construction on the road and I gotta keep even more than the usual eye peel to make sure we're safe so I can't get too abstract w/the thoughts on this roll. I do go over in my mind something I call "the lesson of the yellow dress, " I have to talk about this sometime. it wouldn't make too much sense now though. we pass through fort riley and junction city, tim mcveigh connections. I was on tour during the oklahoma city bombing (1995) and as it turns out, was in junction city the same time tim mcveigh was there, a weird coincidence that led the fbi to send two agents to visit me in pedro a year later to see what I was doing there. I was konking there on a drive opposite to this one here, denver to lawrence. it was a day off and I konked in junction city, I was going to do it in abeline but opted for one town further. strange the way tour can put you the weirdest of situations, even if you're not aware of it 'til later or even if you are, like starting my last tour on the day of another violent attack (sep eleven). makes me want to work the little bass for peace even harder. I have such hopes it can send out some kind wavelength in that regard. I know I come down kind of hard on her but I'm gentle too, there are time when I'm trying to coax w/smoothness instead of the fist blows I sometimes get carried away w/doing. I also have begun to believe that maybe it's not just a transmiiter - mabye its a reciever too. I sure seem to feel things though, kind of emotional too. maybe it's from me cuz I'm the closest one to it? I wonder...

   after four hundred miles and seven hours, I hand the wheel off for the first time since I albuqureque - the only other time on tour I've had someone else drive. this west hauls at the end of tour get heavy on watt, epecially w/tour life wearing a little bit on me. right inside the border of colorado, I have tom take the helm. I asked jer but he started his mopey thing so I said for him not to worry and tome would do it. I need a happy drummer and not one who feels he's in a chain gang. I ask him about this and he says I'm getting better, he's says I'm not as bad as last tour (his first one). thank you, jer... I promise to try harder. we get into denver and park near the side entrance of the bluebird theatre at 5:30 - a nine and a half hour hellride, whoa. I took jer's place on the back bench and though I got some chimping done, it was a fucking shvitz back there. this pad, the bluebird, is so great - a vaudeville theatre built in 1913. I'm so glad to be part of it's tradition, all the cats that've played here for like the last almost ninety years - whoa! links in the chain... there's a pad next door that sells trippy occult ornaments and arcana and the back door is open. there's the most righteous russian blue cat there - oh... I had one before I had the man, in the late 70s 'til he died of feline leukemia in the 80s - the man found me soon after. in fact, I also called this russina blue I had back then the man. I believe cats have a world much more based on smells so names don't be mean as much. I thought it might be rude to make them more like people since I loved their righteous catness.

   we set up on this stage used by so many other so many other times and soundcheck w/matt. I'm feeling better in the aches department but my throat has got a raw spot in the back left side of it. damn. I use these ricola orange lozenges to keep things moist and not so hurting. there's throatcoat tea downstairs and I have lots of that. in fact, there's tons of stuff here - the bluebird folks are very nice - always have been and I dig much working for them and the boss, doug kaufman, a good friend from so many gigs w/him. he does bass too. he's not here tonight but things are getting run by jim, who's a great cat. anyway, there's some chinese fortune cookies here and I take the plunge. the one I pick says:

"you may attend a party that has strange customs"
   hmm... there's pears here. yum, man - yum! I've been eating pears every day I can, a guaranteed joy for my mouth and senses - lovin' it. I put my mouth way up in them when I'm chowin' them, so my nose can get on it too kind of. it's good when they're softer but I'll chow them firm too. some plums here also, I dig them too. they're tiny. a couple gobbles - then gone! I might've beat the attack these bugs just have put on me but I'm definitely shaken. time for watt to konk in the boat.

   god, it was a swelter on the ride here but the weather's really cooled off. no prob w/konking, I'm out good and quick. I dream some dreams that have me sliding in and out of shelves, falling from one shelf to the other, like I'm following a the form of the shelf w/my body as if it had no bones and I was like a jelly or something. my eyes were seeing all top, then all side, then all bottom as I followed the shelf's surface and dripped on to the next one. things slow down. I feel things put on me, like plates and saucers. I'm like contact paper lining these shelves and a whole household's worth of dinner and cookware is getting stacked on me. I can't move. I feel rings being pressed into me from the plate bottoms and upside down cups. I'm feeling divided up and sectioned off - my body getting split into regions where each piece of crockery is pressing hard into me. where are my bones? I'm searching for them, they seemed lost in my flesh bag self. that self is feeling more and more less like it has any thickness - I feel so spread out, it seems like I'm outrunning my boundaries, I can't tell where I actually end or begin. ok watt, out of crazy dreamworld and into crazy reality - gig time.

   into the front door, I have to say, such a great marquee above the front door here - isn't that a weird thing to notice? there's so much I like about this theatre, the people too. up to the stage and let's get this going. my throat is hurting and it feels like there's more hurts in my mouth too. damn, what is this? maybe it's a tooth. two of them are gone on the left side (my left side) and believe it or not, the pain seems to be coming where those spaces are at! phantom pain? I heard about that from my doctor who did my knee surgeries when I was in my early twenties. he said that people who lose limbs still feel pain in where they were, is that a trip or what? all I need. anyway, gig time: we get off the ground good and do a pretty good set considering the weak link, the doof on bass. the denver cats have always been so kind w/me and they're like that tonight too. I play as long as I can, as long as I can hold out, an hour and a half or something 'til weakness shuts me off. my guys do wonderful, big thanks to tom and jer. neat to have a handle on the low end machinery too. gives me enough attention to spend on other areas of hurting in my world - ain't that a trip?

   lots of folks want stuff I'm slingging, the biggest night of the tour. too kind of them. damn, makes me blush. very sincere of them though, their kind words and niceness. this cat dan offers us a pad to stay but laura tells me her room mates have cleaned all week and look so forward to us coming so I accept her and her buddies offer. dan's pad is like an hour away too and it's just too much for watt to drive like that after a gig. too much cuz he's too beat. I give so much of it up for the show that there's not much left for hellrides, even little ones. we ask dan to follow us and he can visit there. ryan rides in the boat w/us and we head to the cherry creek part of denver. him, mark, laura and maybe someone else too lives here in this house. there's a lovable dog named georgie that is all about "reading the newspaper" big time. she's a gray hound, pretty. I immediately go for a couch in the living room and lay out in the konk sack as I am so tuckered. really. my mind is racing though. this happens sometimes, even though the body is exhausted - the mind seems far from it. a hellish state. what a way to end week seven, oh well... I know konk will come w/this konk mask and all. I start reflecting on the hurting and how to localize it, reduce it to smaller and smaller areas. this brings on a weariness that's more than enough to sink the consciousness boat steaming about in my head, letting the soft embrace of everything I imagine ever so lightly float me tenderly to sleepytown.

read week 6 of the tour diary

read week 8 of the tour diary

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this page created 05 june 02