mike watt + the missingmen

"prac'n the 3rd opera" tour 2009

tom watson - guitar
raul morales - drums
mike watt - bass + spiel

tour diary - week two

tom watson - april 26, 2009

raul morales - april 26, 2009>
mike watt - april 26, 2009

tom watson, raul morales and mike watt (top to bottom)

friday, april 24, 2009 - jascksonville beach, fl

from watt:

   pop at sim's and hose off in shower as soon as sun pours in through living room window. sim gets up and starts cooking up bacon and eggs for breakfast burritos as his wife mikki heads for work. big respect to both of them. a little smokey in the kitchen but not bad. cilantro for the chow too, yeah! it is great weather again - so lucky this tour... not boiling hot or sweaty but not cold or rainy either - alright! everywhere has weather like my pedro town sometime during the year!

   big hugs to brother sim as we bid him farewell... we head west on I-10 towards jacksonville. we pass the suwannee river - maybe the only freeway sign for a river that has musical notes (from steven foster's song "old folks at home") on it. we do many listens of the third opear prac pad jam, we hear some t-rex. tom plays some jack nietzche solo shit, then we hear some pere ubu and wire. just west of jacksonville, we swing south on the loop for the oldest town in north america, saint augustine. my buddy rob lives there and he's got some "man in the van" stickers for me. great to see rob again - a great GREAT cat. I stayed w/him in his town once and got to look around, some interesting things here like the oldest house still standing in the u.s. and one of the few forts made of "coquina" which is triny crushed ancient sea shells called castillo de san marcos that the spanish finished building in 1695 - it absorbed blasts from england canonballs and saved the spainards there when attacked though the town did get burned. rob told me forts made out of that stuff were pretty rare, like this place and puerto rico. oh, rob also found out in a trip to long beach he was related to the bossman mark of that club there: di piazza's - ain't that a trip?! big hugs w/him and then I wheel us north up the coast (hey, our first view of the atlantic ocean!) on fl-1a to jacksonville beach and get to where we're playing tonight around four pm - a pad called "freebird live" which I'm told has some ownership w/relatives of some of those in lynyrd skynyrd or something? I hope I ain't total relating stupid info here, just don't know for sure. we unload and I go across the street to chow a grouper sandwich - a very cool man behind me named chad buys it for me - him and his buddy have seen me play before. many thanks to them. I go to the beach and get a closer view of the sea, the florida sand... makes me think of my pedro town on the other side of our land, and also the other lands on the other side of the sea (sam in brighton, for instance)... my mind wanders...

   smaller stage than last night so murph's drums have to move to let raul's on but everything else stays the same. we soundcheck w/sounaman les - hey, the gigboss is tim from jack rabbit's - a club I've played many times not too far from here - wow, what a trip! good to see him again. he helps tom w/the leash he soaked and wrecked accidently w/a spilled glass of water last night. I chimp diary 'till it's time to go at 9:30 pm. oh, I did talk some w/dinosaur bassman lou about stuff - how great it is to see play so close to murph and how his bass goes so great w/j - I tell him about my third opera and I think of him in the 90s doing a cover of "black sheep" by the minutemen - I find some live versions at archive.org and download them so maybe the missingmen might make their own try at doing that tune. georgie sure did write some trippy words to that one, huh?

   les has great monitors for us - yatta! this helps weak-voiced watt, believe you me! thank you thank you, soundman les. the gig goes good for us though I notice tom a little distracted - turns out that he put on new strings and they got out of tune. I gently ask him to get it the fuck together between one of our tunes - just kidding but you know what I mean... like to keep the damn rope taunt, you know? I blow some clams, believe me. I am trying hard and I know my guys are - we wanna do good for our dinosaur brothers! it is a very intense gig and the people here are really giving w/the spirit momentum, getting things lit - thank you much, people, thank you! I get off the stage and give sweaty hugs to lou, murph and j - good brothers, inspiring. the padboss bradley tells me, "you made this old hippy wanna play punk!" - much respect to him (though he must be ten years younger than this old punk rocker!) - he gets me a drink of beam. I go to check on raul and see brother hugh manatee - big hugs for the big man, much respect! much respect! ed fROMOHIO's old girlfriend el is here - she offers her pad for konkage - thank you, el. I go back and use the skype trip to help eiko-san w/her english-go. the dinosaur brothers say hi to her... tajimi to jacksonville beach connect - ha! last night w/managerman brian, he's a great cat... hope I can see him again soon. the dino team rolls hard w/much tightness - brother murph slammin' - yeah!!!

   we pack up the boat quick when all is done and follow el w/brother bill bryson (gainesville "covered dish" boss and for causey way bandman - happening brother!) and we follow her to jacksonville (not the same as jacksonville beach - more inland) and her pad and I get in the chonies quick cuz I am soaked... I was that filthed-out brighton blue flannel in the sink w/some dishsoap and put on top of the kick drum case in the back of the boat. I then get back to the pad and stretch out real tired on the couch... two young neighbors of el's are summoned by her and we talk music for a bit - they got a band called the loons and I wish them much luck, explianing some watt ideas I've learned from all kinds of others about the magic I see in music, both the expression and the sharing - the possibilites, you know? the potential! I think about one day getting to do a funanori album and konk after el drapes a blankie on me.

from raul:

   Woke to a little spirited dog licking my face. Jumped in the shower to scrub off last nights gig stink. Before we bailed sim made us some breakfast burritos. And also left us with some parting gifts. A echo plex for Tom to use for the up-coming recording, and a bitchin' new dash ornament from sri-lanka. A kind of medusa head with bulging eyeballs, and big teeth and cobra's all around it. It's looks cooler than i explained it, and hopefully Watt will post a shot on the hoot. Also got a new group of homies going the dash the day before on the drive down to tallahhassee. The boat dash is loookin' sharp!

   Got to drive south past Jacksonville to St augustine so Mike can pick up man/van stickers. Maybe a half hour past our spot. St. augustine is a rad little town. Was here with underground rail road, japanther and killer dreamer just last Nov. played a house gig, and met and stayed with some really cool folks. It's the oldest city in the united states, and has a neat old spanish fort on the atlantic built out of little sea shells. Suppossed to absorb the cannnball blows real good. When i was first here, i had a couple days to cruise around on a bike and was able to check out the fort and explore the town. No camera that time though, so this time around i got Tom takin' some shots for me out the front window. I sleep a bit on the way to jacksonville beach from st. augustine.

   Once there i set up the drums while Tom goes to get a phone to replace the one he drowned the day before. I take my time doing this, no rush. The dino guys are busy shooting for video, but the gear is up, and ready to go when they are. Murph's drums got to be moved back a bit frr me to fit. This stage is just to small to set up in front of his like like the night before. Not a hugh deal, there crew are very cool people, and totally understanding. Club people are cool to us too, les did a great job getting our sound going for us. After making a few calls home, i go back to club to hang and get prepared for the gig. Watt wants to try and learn blacksheep, old minutemen song. He finds a couple diffrent live versions, and i have the studio verrsion. Real short song, Tom and i try to learn it quick. I'm anticipating doing it tonight.

   Show was good for me, and i hope the rest of the guys. I know that watt's voice was a bit hoarse, but he screamed his brains out man. Tom also, they both played great. While i was pulling the kit off stage, i saw a buddy from st. augustine, Matt Pius, and also Jacob Hamilton. Two guys who put on a house gig for the killer dreamer tour last Nov. Todd from pedro had called earlier and said they might be comin', very glad they did. Also, while selling shirts, i got to meet the man vs. food. Such a trip, every once and while i catch his show where he'll eat the hottest or the biggest food he can find. You know a hamburger as big as an extra large pizza, our habanero chicken wings, accidently rubbing the sauce in his eyes. I know this sounds weird, but i'm glad he's still healthy enough to do regular things like go out to gigs. They must time the filming months apart, if not he'd most likely explode. Nice man, also tripped me out that he knew me and liked the drumming, having seen me play before at south paw in brooklyn with pete and mike four years back. Dino guys play great man. Lou plays the bass like a guitar, strumming chords out on it, and murph is a hard hittin' dude, and J, still a guitar wizard.

   Met el too, friend of ed crawford, guitar player from fIREHOSE. She was with bill bryson from Gainsville and the causey way... My band leeches are on a comp record with them. Nice to see billl again, and great to get to meet el. She's a sweet heart, and offers up her place for us to stay for the night. I usally won't eat before the gig, semi scared that i might hurl it all over the stage while we're playing. So no food today, and a few beers after the show. My stomach needs a little something in it, so el makes me a turkey and mustard sandwhich with one slice of wheat, and one slice of white. After wolfing it down, and digesting a bit, sleep comes on easy. She makes me up a little bed in her sewing room. I layed down to crash and one of her doggies laid right next to me. Guess he was tired too.

from tom:

   a haze of charring flesh wafts through the air, and creeper (the little dog, roxy) is exploring through our sleeping bags as we arise. sim is multi-tasking in the kitchen and i know that on an electric stove it's difficult timing things, so no criticism i try to help with scrambled eggs, but i think im just complicating matters. soon i realize that the glass of water that i knocked over last night (and tried to mop up in the dark) had left a small puddle on teh floor where i had my phone. the phone is rendered useless, despite the several attempts at drying and re-starting. we eat breakfast-burritos and hang out with sim for awhile. in a highly generous act, sim shows me his old echoplex, and he gives it to me. i feel it's too much of a gift, but he insists, and acknowledging the fact that i don't own any sort of echo or delay device of my own, i accept. i've always wanted one, i can't believe it. thanks sim, i cant wait to use it. needless to say, we ultimately load up and wave goodbye to sim. we cruise across florida towards st. augustine to pick up some of mike's stickers from his friend there, rob dipiazza. i remember him from a pair of pliers tour years ago when we stayed with him. it's a brief stop and i need to find a new phone, so we take the scenic route through the old city and along the coast of the atlantic northward and into jacksonville beach. we get to the freebird club and load in and tim there graciously drives me to the at&t place and i pick out a phone that i can afford and we head back to the club to get it together. i like the club, it's right down by the water, but it's in the party section so that worries me a bit. raul and i pick up a couple sandwiches.

   the gig is fun, but the monitors are the high point. i mean, the best monitor sound of the tour. les is the sound guy there, and he's all alone at the board in front, but he dialed them in at soundcheck and they do the trick for our entire show. i cant emphasize it enough what a difference that makes for us. it's funny though because we only need vocals in our monitors and for some reason that's really hard for us to get. i think we thanked him about 500 times. okay, once more, thanks les.

   dinosaur sounds amazing. i try to talk with my old friend from gainesville, bill brison. he was the synth player in a band called the causey way, and it has been years since we'd spoken. it's great to see him again, i think we met during a transitional time for us and i recall having some heart to heart conversations with him. one of those people that i felt comfortable spilling stuff out with., a very genuine kind of soul. however, trying to catch up with someone at a dinosaur gig is sort of ridiculous. i also, meet bill's friend, el, a sweet young lady, and then realize she's the person who we plan to be staying with tonight. the evening continues and after i load up cabinets and guitars and help raul with drums, i speak briefly with dinosaur murph, and then almost get my right arm removed by the side mirror as mike pulls the van back out of the driveway. at least it's not my bad shoulder. no big deal, but it brings to mind that we will be recording soon and how we all need to be careful not to have any stupid accidents, especially self inflicted ones.

   we follow el to her place by the river and have a nice time talking and clowning around. i am really tired, but after i eat a sandwich i get into one of my hyper moods and i start feeling like i'm going to have trouble sleeping, a common thing for me sometimes. so, it turns out to be a late night, but a nice one.

saturday, april 25, 2009 - charleston, sc

from watt:

   pop w/the sun or maybe a little after cuz it seemed I was getting bathed w/it - I go bathe standing up getting a hose-off, using "body-wash" - no bar of soap here, ain't that a trip. kind of like shampoo in the way but hell, I just dig having pours not so clogged up w/sweat purgings, you know? my men are not in the living room - I thought someone was on the deck there but maybe I was wrong cuz I see no one... over to the room w/tom and raul - I ask them to rise and they do, tom showing me his legs one at a time but it ain't his legs he's trying to show me I think cuz I notice his toe nails - whoa, they're painted pink! later he told me something about being up late and el painting him up there on the toes... tom is adventurous man.

   bye el. we actually got a head start cuz I-95 is right here and so north we go on it and after a bit, are across the border into georgia where I stop us to get gas for the boat and subway tuna sandwich for my gut... tom tries some of their "flat bread" after taking forever in the head - I warn the worker it might be fouled by their minds are moving kind of slow... maybe cuz we're early - I offer to donate the change I'm due when cashmachineyoungman spaces but I can't find a tipjar and he's kind of embarrassed but I tell him I was only kidding and not to worry. I find some chilies-in-vinegar sauce at the filling station store which ain't got much heat but it does got a trippy flavor: kind of tart, you know? I like sour and hot and not so much sweet and salty. further north past savannah and into south carolina before leaving the interstate for us-17 and through old rice plantation country toward charleston... we pass the caw caw swamp where once two happening cats took me paddling in a canoe in these rice irrigation ditches... damn, whe was that? forgetful baka watt - or beore I forget, ig calls me while I'm driving us - great to hear from him, wow!! he tells me all kinds of stuff and wishes my missingmen guys well - he's heard the new estel trip me and brother steve mackay recorded w/in dublin last year on a stooges day off and dug it! whoa! much MUCH respect to mister ig... I tell him "thank you very much" and hear his updates - very inspiring every time he talks to me, wish I had words good enough to convey that right... my communication skills being so fucking weak and all, aaarrrrrrrgggghhh - w/so many I communicate so poorly.

   we get to the music farm in downtown charleston around two. I've played here once before - once too at the older music farm... I guess this pad now has the fourth set of owners, I learn this from soundman mike is very cool people. sad to learn the cumberlands is gone, I played both of them and dug it big time, bossman sinan there... shit, hate to hear about good things that crumble up - oh well... I chimp diary and then listen some to lou as he starts the dinosaur check, he wails a long time on bass before murph joins him and finally j - this is the routine I've been learning. oh, there's outside power from a generator w/a model name of "whisperwatt" cuz I guess a couple of days ago the pad's own juice blew out in a gig. the roof here is huge and round cuz it was a train station built in 1857, just down from the market where I guess among other things, folks were bought and sold - terrible memory, terrible reality. what the fuck we were thinking as a country then?

   I talk w/j about the equipment he's using, what's outfitting his "chamber" on stage - I say that cuz of how it's arranged - same place where my amp goes when missingmen play is where he stands... he tells me he's got one victoria 80212 tweed 1958-59 era fender twin clone firing right at his right temple from atop his effects bay case - actually there's a head-only version on the deck and it's hooked up the combo's speakers (the combo amp not being used) and then behind him in slight semi-circle starting stage-starboard is a hiwatt dr-103 100 watt driving new slant plexi-reissue cab atop a straight one, next to that is a marshall super pa plexi 100 watt driving top 4x12 slant cab (maybe from the scorpions band, he says - maybe?) w/a reissue plexi straight 4x12 cab on the bottom and finally next to that a marshall super bass plexi 100 watt driving two recovered purple early 70s 4x12 marshall cabs (one slant, one straight). by the way, lou's using a "little mark II" mark bass amp through a svt 8x10 cab and a mid to late 80s marshall jcm 800 2210 amp through a 4x12 marshall slab cab atop its case. I do this for folks always asking me about j stuff. I'll find about the dinosaur instrument stuff themselves tomorrow, murph's drums too. you know about mine, right? 1965 gibson eb-0 w/lindy fralin pickups, original mudbucker removed (the dan bass) through my eden stack: naviagtor wp100 preamp to wt1250 stereo amp w/each giving 430 watt rms to a d410xlt cab for 8x10 of ported punch and POW! you can even tell which notes I'm trying to play which means it don't forgive clams w/muddy mystery! tom's using the j mascis model fender jazzmaster I gave him through a early 70s fender twin sitting on top of road case cover he just got for it and raul's playing a ludwig bonham style silver sparkle kit I gave him last year. ok, that's some gear talk!

   I hoof around by myself to soak in some beautiful charleston - see a lifesize model of the css hunley oustide the museum, the first sub to sink a boat by using a bomb on the end of a big boom on its bow near the end of the civil war, guess it was hand powered... enough about that kind of gear talk, I know ronnie would've known about it which makes me think about washing this jacket he gave me that I'm wearing when I ain't playing - I'm wearing it w/no shirt under, you know? must smell up to high heaven but like lots of stuff w/me, I get oblivious.

   no chow tonight, fuck it - don't feel like it. we go on at nine and a half to a packed house. slamming gig, really - thank you charleston people for all the focus and good vibe, wow. thank you too to tom and raul, real good playing though I think tom got a little deatached w/the the first and the last tunes (bookended it!) but only tiny bits - blurred things out for raul and the beat got momentarily lost - the acoustics must've aided and abetted that but what's the excuse for me fucking up georgie's great words to "anxious mo-fo" then? none! (see choke here!) I blow my share of clams, yep! thank you, tom and raul for tolerating that... the gig-goers and listeners too. raul was actually set up a little in front of us cuz of the stage sitch, that was kind of trippy but I do like having him w/me and tom as much as possible - I totally hate the idea of anyone in our trio less than equal in the way we deliver what were trying to deliver.

   dinosaur is smoking but we can't stay for the whole gig cuz this nice man howard has to bail and we're konking at his pad. I go get the boat and this lady named beth who tells me she plays bass and is from athens (georgia) gives me chili bottle holster for my belt and a bottle of yucateca mexican habanero sauce - whoa! she said she read about my baka memory in this diary here - what a very kind soul. we pack up - hell, our stuff was in the wide open left outside! so lucky for no donate! we follow howard to his pad not too far away across the river and I get to rap w/him, his brother and then his cousin too about all kinds - you know, the whiskey-fueled raving I can get going on though maybe a little different cuz of it being scotch and not bourbon? I don't know, I just know I found them very interesting and deep cats and dug much all the exploring w/idea talk 'till I run out of gas around three bells and am out fast on the couch in my chonies.

from raul:

   Woke laughing, watt was doing a little Carmen Miranda fruit hat kinda dance. He's good! Tom popped up soon after. El's place is right on the water. So with the little time we have in the morning i take a walk out on the pier to check out the scene. After that, a quick clensing of body and boat , then off toward charelston. I was there a few months ago to play the black cart, and tonight the show will be right down the block from there, a way bigger pad called the music farm. We find some hourly parking down the street from the club, and i keep pumping in change every so often so we won't get towed, that would blow. Before sound check i go looking for the post, and or a music store... no luck with either. The post closed at two due to it being sat, and as far as drum stuff, that's just proving impossible to come by.

   After sound check i go walking around a bit more, this time looking for a store that will have a battery for my old mac machine, and a place that will fix my watch band. No dice with either of those either. The guy at the mac store snickered when i got the computer out. He informed me that the apple people don't even make batteries that old, and i'd have better luck finding one at mac mall and having it mailed to me....aarrgghh! This battery has had it, and the only way i can use it is to plug it in. So dumb of me for not taking care of that before i left home. Well fuck it, at least i can get a walk in and check out the old town.

   Good show for us tonight, lots of folks to fill up this space. People up front too, seemed stoked that we're there to play for em'. While we were sweatin' it out, i could spot both j. and lou checking us out from the second floor green room window. Made me think of the two old dudes from the theatre in the muppet show. Not calling em' old and grouchy, it just reminded me off those two heads popping checking shit out. From the stage Watt had asked for a safe place for the boat and a floor for three dudes to sleep on. So while i was slingin' shirts a guy by the name of howard came up to ask if we were serious. Very serious i tell him, and let the dudes know that someone is kind enough to put us up for the night. I sold two shirts and packed up to get outta there. We loaded the boat double time while the dino guys were playing the lung, one of my favorite tunes of there's. Sorry we had to miss the rest of the set, but like Tom herman says... you gotta do what you gotta do!

from tom:

   the view of the water is amazing in the morning, but we have to get on the road to charleston, sc. so we say thank you and farewell to ellyn. however, very soon we find a subway and i try a chicken ranch sandwich on flat-bread, unfortunately they don't have any breakfast sandwiches at this stop, and my choice is rather under-whelming. i add plenty of hot sauce for flavor. in the van we run through our list of songs to record next week, i miss a few but i do pretty well calling out the thirty songs titles. it feels like a long drive, and the green corridor of trees that line the turn off towards charleston becomes more swamp-like as we get closer, giving the effect of something being concealed or hiding in the dense and mossy green-ness. the air becomes equally thick as we progress to the music farm. the music farm is an old building in an area that is becoming gentrified. in fact charleston is an amazingly beautiful town with incredible history, it's very hard to describe. the surfaces on the old architecture is something that people try to copy but never quite get right. in any case the structure has been transformed into a large live space with high, curved vaulted ceilings and a wide, terraced floor. there is a lot of waiting around and i sit and write for most of it. i'm still having fatigue, and the humidity makes it worse, so i take it easy. stacy is one of the people helping out at the venue and she fetches the best cup of coffee i've had on tour, and very appreciated.

   by the time of the show the place is pretty much filled up, maybe 1000 people or so. our set feels good to me, but sometimes its had to feel connected as a band in larger rooms, so i'm not sure how mike or raul feel about it. i watch dinosaur fro out backstage window and they are amazing tonight, and it's fun to have this view of them. before they finish, we load up and follow howard to his place for the night, raul and i share a room upstairs and hear mike's voice talking to howard and a couple of his friends slowly fade as i fall to sleep. .......i awake suddenly and realize that i was talking in my sleep, raul had to witness my night terror cries, and i explain to him what happens to me sometimes. he said i was counting; "1,2,1,2,3,2,.." or something like that. that sounds kind of creepy even to me, and so i go into as much of the dialog that i can remember from the shining, including the opening credits music by wendy carlos. there was alot more to this part but i wont bore you with it. i was lucky to fall back to sleep.

sunday, april 26, 2009 - asheville, nc

from watt:

   pop at nine bells - can you believe that? I can't but me there soaking in morning sun and making sure what I'm seeing w/mglass on is right - that my watch says nine-oh-nine kind of trips me out for a bit... the pad is dead still as I make it up to the head and hose off w/the shower. I get my men and then write howard a thank you note before we bail... such kindness from him, huh? beautiful man - his bro and cousin also. I love their spirit and curiosity, their humanity.

   we head west on I-26 towards the capital town columbia and then on to spartanburg before heading into north carolina. trippy how the trees turn from pine to poplar - are they aware of the border between the carolinas? speaking of aware, I forget shit... did I mention w/got some kind of totem from sri lanka on the dash donated from tallahassee's mister sim? tom must've told you about the echoplex from the same kind gentleman, right? what about all the music I get - like from brother anthony in jacksonville's snore? shit, sometimes I feel it seems like cuz I can't remember everything, it might appear I'm choosing what to recollect and in turn, that might appear to what I'm excluding but really people, it ain't the case - I am just not too good and getting things right. I wanna try to be less lame at though... maybe it's impossilbe mission? probably. I do remember yesterday (I usually write these diaries the next day) chowing not a subway tuna but going for a blimpie one to compare - I asked my men if it was ok and they said go for it. I didn't think the tuna or bread was as good but did trip on how meticulous the young man who built the sandwich laid out the picikles and peppers in straight lines, not just clumps from each grab. we got our cheapest gas of the tour so far in south carolina: $1.76 a gallon.

   we get into asheville around three pm and it's the first time I ever played this town. the weather's been just beautiful, really nice and pleasant. the venue is called the orange peel and it's a pretty big pad for what I play. I remember warren haynes is from this town - I remember him telling me when I did a song w/him and drummerman matt for that gov't mule album w/all the different bass player after alan woody passed away, we did creedence. I like warren and matt - man was that nine years ago now or what? well, there's an old truck across the street and I'm checking it out - something from the early 50s maybe - I meet these two cats named richard and don that are really nice and we're talking - I tell them we'll chow later. mark, the video cat filming dinosaur for their next one asks me to sit in that truck, I mean on the floorboard and watch j do a "daffy" w/two skateboards - no doubles for this. he has me hold a bar I ain't drinking though - it says its flavor is strawberry - what? definitely a prop. my old buddy from the porno for pyros days, thomas johnson (teej) comes by w/his friend richard - wow, it's been years since I saw him... big hugs! he teaches music now a couple hours east (near high point, where john coltrane had his younger years though he was born in hamlet) but back thirteen years ago, he was doing samples on stage while I was on bass and he recorded the "good gods/urge" album. after soundcheck w/my men, we all go chow at a pad called noondle house (I think that's what it was called and that's what it was, kind of a mix of thai and china) and have some soup w/noodles (!), veggitalbes and other stuff I can't tell - I like it... me and teej remember stuff together out loud for everyone to hear. it's a good chow - I don't usually do chows like this on my tours but fuck it, tongiht I did. we go back and I chimp diary while waiting for the nine pm go time.

   it's a good crowd when it's go time and folks are calling my name - whoa, I've never played this town and tell them before we start. now it's kind of a tough room - hardwood floor and wider than deeper but I'm proud of my goes really going at it right out of the gate and I think it's a mindblow for the people - I think especially montiorman sean and soundman dan who probably didn't expect what we're bringing cuz I think soundcheck has us off balance cuz of that video thing I was asked to do for j - they might've thought I was pulling a princess stall and then I do short ones anyway but later I find out they were into being part of our team effort when I thank them big time for their hard work. now I blew some little clams (even in "...mo-fo" but at least not the same word ones!) and the beat even got turned around for a bit in the b.o.c. tune but I thought it was a happening way in which the folks laid out a sea of good vibe we could wail on - they got really into it, very generous and open folks here - huge thank yous for them. I push and push really hard, raul and tom right w/me - such a good job. we get done and the first thing I do is get that detergent raul got and was the stinking blue brighton flannel in the sink in the head cuz damn, it was foul on me for the gig (the jacket's getting that way too, believe me). I see lou and he said he watched the gig and dug it. whoa, much respect to him. I saw murph watching us last night and even directly for him a few songs, hollering out his name at one point - it means a lot for me to do as good as I can for the dinosaur brothers cuz I respect them much, truly. their gig is really good, really good - whoa. I get to tell them each that after too, got to see the whole gig. a pickup winder friend of j's comes by to lay a guitar on him, a paisley kind of jazzmaster type w/a WHOLE BUNCH of switches - crimony! I talk to this cat a bit about my basses and what I'm looking for in pickups... getting to talk about my basses and ideas about them this way - j must be tipping!

   anyway, time to bail - oh, I didn't see my four dinner friends (sorry - especially you, teej!) but did see a cat from trainwreck and one from the south french broads which are both great bands. man, there was a lot of great cats I met tonight. we take raul's buddy j.d. to a pad where his other buddy morgan just moved to. a beautiful white cat w/a tag w/the name cracker on it spends time w/me under the moon - just us two and she's purring... then there's two others who've gotta be related by their looks... man, there is nothing like cat love for someone like watt... I miss my man so much but am grateful for these nekos being kind of me like this, especially the shiro one which just loves and loves. I go into the pad and lay out on a couch, a few nice people there and they go out to the porch to rap but man, am I tuckered from the day's work and must konk - I use a mask I found in my sack and use my konk sack for blankie lightly - it's very calm weather, like I said earlier (lucky missingmen!) - and am out real quick-like, barreling right into sleepytown.

from raul:

   First things first, wake up and take shower. I sweat to much to even miss a day of this, shipmates would not be happy. Wait, back track. That was not the first thing i did. Really, i woke up and remembered the during and post Tom dream freakout from the night before. See, we had shared a room with a couple beds upstairs. Old style room, almost farm house vibe. In the room was a painting of howard's mother in law when she was younger... nice painting. Something about it had a creepy feel though, not the subject, just the look. Hard to explain, but it really scared me when i woke up to Tom gasping for help in his sleep. In a near whisper he was counting 1,2,3 help me, and that thing was staring me in the face. Totally out of some horror movie. I called out tom's name to wake him. Told me it happens from time to time, and if it comes on again to just shake the shit out of him. Even better though, is after we were both awake, we started talking about the movie the shining, freaky in it self. He gave me a short version doing his favorite lines from the flick. Him sitting on the edge of his bed half asleep doing his jack was pretty scary. Acting out all the freakiest parts, and doing his own rendition of the opening song. Took me awhile to feel normal again.

   Hung with Tom and had some coffee out in howard's backyard. He played some stuff of one of his first bands, toxic shock..78. I was just born, whew! Very neat, total beach punk. I think they did some of their first gigs in pedro with minutemen, Right there on 23rd in pacific, a block passed the nam's red door. Lou knew about em' and Tom was making a disc to flow to him. We ended up bailing from howard's before he was even up. So, i didn't get a chance to say it personally, but thanks very much for the hospitality Howie.

   Show tonite is at the orange peel in asheville. I like asheville, played here lots. The last time being november, doing three gigs in one day. A favorite place of mine to play here was the pink house, but it's long gone, burned down a few years back. Also have some good people that i know here. Josh mayfield from queer wulf, and Morgan, from black rainbow to name a couple... check out their bands. Morgan recently transplanted from s.f. and i just saw him in pedro a couple of days before i started this tour, always good to see him though, and i'm looking forward. I got a call from him and jd when we showed, they're at some music fest in the woods, but will be able to make it to the gig.

   After sound check, and retrieving the buttons that aicher had made and sent to us (thanks much scott) i hoof around town to try and something to eat. Fuck, what a jerk i didn't even ask the guys what there plans were. Not intentional though, i was on the phoney with paloma, and just started walking without a destination in mind. Ended up at a burritto pad. Got a table for one, and went to the bathroom to wash a potential swine flu of the paws. When i got back, and took a look at the menu, i got up and walked rigth out. Eighteen dollar burritos... no way in hell is any burritto worth that, especially in a psuedo hippy town with nothing mexican about it. I ended up calling tom, and he and watt along with some friend of mike's meet me up at the noodle house a couple of blocks from the show space. Back at the gig while setting up drums in the downstairs area, i called mom and had a good conversation with her. Need to make the time to go visit her when i get back home. It's a little harder, she's not pedro any more. she moved to apple valley when i graduated pedro high. She thought it was getting to crowded in town and wanted better parking maybe? I decided to stay.

   Gig for us was good tonite. I mean i always have little space outs, and just forget how to play or do weird shit here and there, but i thought we had good momentum going. One thing i need to work on is listening to myself. Not for self centered reasons, but just to make sure i watch my speed... sometimes i don't realize how fast i'm actually playing. I think i've shortened an hour and a half set down to forty five minutes. Regardless, of my own mind wonderings, the people of asheville seemed to enjoy our set. I know that watt was bummed that they didn't pump coltrane to loud before the set, but i think the fact that he had never played here before and was excited to do it made up for it.

   After the gig i went out to hang with morgan and j.d. Also wanted to find Mayfield and his girl liz. Talked with them for a minute, enough time to say hello and give em' both a hug. Two very sweet people, i've known josh for about eight years now, and he and his girl put killer dreamer up our last time in town. He was chattanooga, but has been asheville for a couple years now. They must of bailed early though, i didn't spot em' the rest of the dinosaur gig. Morgan and j.d stayed around for the jr, and helped me with the shirts. Thanks much guys. Morgan also lives just a few blocks away, and has offered his place to us. Sounds good to me, the guys are into it too. Dino guys rule tonite, and i have a near perfect spot from the merch table. Bass player lou has good style, lots of chords, he seems to be playing the thing like a guitar. Fun show, awesome to play for the people of this town... i always have good show memories from here.

from tom:

   in the morning i get up, shower, make some coffee, and burn a cd of toxic shock music for lou. he had played some of one of our songs on bass during soundcheck yesterday, so i thought he might like to hear some of the stuff that we never put out. soon we load up and roll.

   it's not so far to asheville, nc. and we roll into the small town around 4. the orange peel is a fairly big room, it looks like is must have been a roller rink at some point. after soundcheck we walk to an asian noodle house and order some pad thai with tofu and shrimp, the same as raul, and a newcastle. i'm craving some carb's and the noodles are satisfying. we eat some friends of mike's, including tj who played with mike when was doing the porno for pyro's tour in the early 90's. kind of a low key time before we go on around 9 pm. it's kind of nice to play early for a change, and be able to enjoy the show afterwards. i hang with raul out front selling shirts and buttons and talk to some of the locals. the next steps are getting over to morgans place to crash for the night. i call caroline and we are both feeling drained. it's coming down to the wire for her show in san francisco, so i try to be helpful and supportive, but i know it's hard to give her advice on things she knows so much more about than i do. so, i just tell her i believe in her, or something like that. morgan and his homie's are acquaintances of raul's and there is some talking and drinking before i sack out.

monday, april 27, 2009 - carrboro, nc

from watt:

   pop w/some itching - damn, should've showered before I konked cuz I could've but was just so beat... it ain't like I was beat, it's cuz of the ase (sweat) clogging the pores and making me feel like I'm skinned w/a carpet of carbuncles. I do hose off now and even fucking shave... ever since ronnie passed, I don't want any beards or mustache though it is tough for me to drag the fucking steel across the face every morning - yeah, BIG DIFFICULTIES I can bet folks reading thinking "get some fucking perspective, baka!" I agree w/them. the cats come in through a tiny hatch in the window... man, do I love them and give them good rubs w/their gorgeous fur returning the same to my palm. the weather AGAIN mild and morning sun beautiful and bathing the foothills of green. I use tea cuz I can't find either the filters or the coff to get the caff in me - the only one here w/that bitter alkaloid is called "english breakrast" which kind of makes sense. when folks who live here do rise - I konked so quick, I didn't really get to know anyone except j.d. who rode w/us (he konked on the porch) and raul's buddy morgan - they cook up a great chow of greens and potatoes (maybe morgan helped too) and I put some happy shovel-fulls down. very kind and nice people, mike-san is very grateful. I get an email from uncle ray in cleveland that says:


   also, both eiko-san and mister shimmy in japan warn me of this swine flu shit... scary - very scary. I guess almost two hundred people have died in mexico (ms yuko and mister shimmy have cornelius gig in mexico city next month) and infections are in other lands too (u.s., one of them) - this is one reason I believe health care is more intense "national defense" than all the weapons of war industry can make $$$ off of scaring folks into throwing benjamins their way. seems like lots of thinking is oblivious to that and something like medical insurance considered a luxury... crazy.

   we roll west on I-40 and damn if I ain't gotta pull the boat over three different times cuz of what I'm guess was that soup last night cuz of all the chili oil and seeds that I had in it coming out of some intense wrangling and gut wrenching. one pull-off had a yet another tuna subway sandwich absorbtion but I'm sure the hurt came not from that but last night - call it a gut feeling... oh, I should say we took nc-54 at burlington to come in w/very VERY light traff into carrboro instead the typical way I've come from the west, through chapel hill and school plug - thank you garmin map plotter meister! we hear sly's "there's a riot going on" which is sounding kind of trippy coming after the three-times-around-listening of the 'tard prac pad demos for the third opera. we're on a tom herman (pere ubu guitar) kick now too and getting into his "autumn leaves" and "steve canyon blues" on a daily basis also. oh yeah, I play tom and raul the unknown intstructors' third album "funland" which comes out in about three weeks... I didn't realize they know nothing of this proj - I'll play the first two release on the drive to charlotte - the david thomas (pere ubu singer) connect yet another brick in the ubu wall cuz tony maimone (pere ubu bass) being on board for my this third opera - speaking of which... just before the gig last night me and tom were talking about tony and all of the sudden the ringing leash has who on the line? brother tony! that was a fucking trip, like tom summoned him w/invisible brain waves... or maybe they were visible? anyway, we decided we'd bail right after the baltimore gig and get up to brooklyn and studio g.

   the sure beta sm58a mic I donated to the jacksonville beach venue is being mailed to the ottobar in baltimore so in the meantime I'm thinking I need something and anyway that donated one's a little bit up so fuck, I'll give it to tom when I get it and provide myself w/a new one. I hoof a few blocks from the venue (cat's cradle) and get one from a nice man named jim at the music loft. we do soundcheck w/soundman kemp and montior andy - both great cats and I love the boss here, mister frank heath who's run three versions of this club in different pad that I've played - much respect to him, one of my favorite gigbosses ever - a cat that's never given me anything but total respect and focus. he's very cool and funny people too, in his understated way. I spend some talking w/dinosaur's roadboss rob who I like, just getting to know him and he's nice to me, helping when he can. he says he's lucky to be in tour mode and detached from news like pirates and pig flu (though you know I now know about the pig thing). dinosaur soundman brother noel ford talks to me about what are we doing w/a day off tomorrow - saying "the word is 'I'm a worker, not a shirker' - right?!" he's a great cat I dig so much. I get to spend time w/the dinosaur guys too instead of chowing, I dig them much and they are worth more than their weight in chow to watt.

   nine bells and it's time for gig - acutally, rob says to wait 'till 9:03 pm so that's what I do and then we hit it. at first I was a little freaked cuz of what I thought was some jaded chin stroking but very quickly as we get the ball rolling, folks come up close and get into it. this town (and the one butted right up besides it, chapel hill) gets a lot of bands through so in a way you can understand some jadedness... right? our gig goes good, raul rushing ahead at one point in "forever/one reporter's opinion" but me and time waiting it out and dropping back in right on the dime - there's some humanity showing in that, I think. we really momentum up the gig into a blast by the last slam, a great job by tom and raul - I'm very proud of them. the gig beats the hell out of me but I make it out alive - hey, I push that hard on purpose so please know that - I have to! dinosaur's set is flamethrowering their tunes to the folks, very VERY happening. lou's got a sensitive rapport to w/the crowd tonight - he was talking to us before going on, saying very nice words about him being young and seeing the minutemen - yes, we have to do "black sheep" w/him, it is decided! while they're wailing, bill and barbara come by w/shirt replenishing from their great kung fun nation (tannis root) company and to say hi, love them dearly... talk to them about the first minutemen north carolina gig in 1984, in the basement of a church (called "saint john's cultural center" I think) in durham, put together by this cat simon bob who had a band called the ugly americans... that was a trip for a pedro band, a good thing.

I get to talk some w/gigboss frank heath as we load up the boat - much respect to him! he says maybe another version of the cradle is coming, not too far away! good luck, brother. we take drummerman murph w/us to former grand national (ed fROMOHIO's band after fIREHOSE) bassist jenni's pad - oh yeah, mac and john from superchunk came to the gig - so good to see them again, wow - really REALLY good cats - mac had to bail cuz of family and children now but gets the big hug and watt recording update in no sane terms (sorry, brother!) but john wants company at a bar nearby - actually jenni's pad is his now that he's relocated to new york city - she rents it from him along w/alex, a very cool man from baltimore originally - yeah, he knows babyleg.. what a small world! oh, I forgot too that grand national drummer laura's here too but I'm way too tuckered so konk as those folks all go to join john (he told me he's drumming now w/bob mould - whoa!). man, I wish I had the stuff inside me but fuck, I'm fiftyone now and have to focus what I can to working the gigs are hard and driving the boat safe for my guys. a man's gotta know his limitations - a reality at this point not too hard to realize... man, what a righteous couch they got here - I konk quick.

from raul:

   Wake up a little later than usual, a bit past nine maybe. Just in time to say bye to j.d. before he bails for work. Morgan cooks up some kale, taters and eggs for the band and the other guest he's got at the pad. Headed for carboro north carolina today. This will be my second time here, the first being with the secondmen playing a halloween gig about four and a half years ago. I had picked up some masks in a d.c. drug store. Watt was a uncle ray lookin' character, and i wore an old lady gypsy mask. I remember pete taking the time time to paint all his arms and face entirely red to be some kinda devil, seemed like maybe even more uncomfortable than a choke mask.

   Check took awhile with the dino guys. I wanted to hoof it to the music store during, but wasn't sure on the time i'd have.... turns out there was way more than enough! Not sure how far it was though, and didn't want to risk being a no show when our turn came. Turns out it wasn't far at all, but was closed by the time i got there. Had a good walk though, sometimes good to stretch the body in diffrent ways than just loading gear and playing drums. Also i get way to anxious sometimes, and have trouble sitting at the club five hours before the show starts. Found a small co-op market, picked up Tom some pills to stay healthy before recording also coffee for myself.

   After the gig we were going back to jen's place, formerly from grand national, also a band that ed crawford was in when he was living in chapel hill. On the way out of the lot we hijacked murph, dino drummer. He thought we were going to the bar after, and jumped in the boat with us, instantly being handed a fresh piss bottle. Insted watt folowed jen to her pad, and murph was totally confused at the sitch, and maybe worried about being away from his band. Cool house though, big prac room down in the basement. First thing Tom and i do is set a time to prac some of the new tunes tomorrow on our day off. No prob for murph either, after the the boat was safely parked for the night, Murph, Tom, and i hitched a ride with jen to where he thought we were going in the first place, whiskey town. None for me though, just a beer and a game on the pin ball machine in the corner.

      Woke on the floor in the extra bedroom in the back that me and Tom bunked in. The night before i had mentioned to jen that maybe besides being able to parctice, that a bike ride and a cookout might be good for the day off. Before her and her guy bailed for work, they left me the keys to there beloved hundred dollar beach cruiser "black champion". Perfect day for a pedal, and perfect scenery too. Right out there front door was a walk/bike path that led right into the country. Very cool, going over streams past beautiful fields, and even a lake. It was a long time going, taking pictures for them of their bike in these diffrent spots. The plan for me was to make it back to the music shop from the day before. I thought i had the direction pretty good, trying to remember the drive back from the night before. I was way off man, and finally decided to turn back a mile or so into the trip. Not a prob, going the wrong way made it possible for me to have one of the best pedals i've had in awhile. Once i was on the right track, it was almost an all uphill ride up franklin, very hard on a cruiser. I had to walk some of it, but also knowing that the ride back would be a breeze. Once i finished the pedal from chapel hill to carboro, i celebrated with a burritto the size of my head.

   Ride back was good going, and since i knew the way back i was able to take the less major streets, and soak a bit more in. Also picked up a card reader for the shots, and some tape to get the shirts rolled to make it easier to find the sizes... nothing from music shop though, no love for the drummer! Next thing to put into effect would be the cookout. The three of pitched in, and tom and i went to the local market to get fixin's. Chicken, steak, and a bunch of veggies. We mad some killer kabobs, and ate until we almost exploded. People started to show once the last round of food went on the grill. One guy in particular, hartman, drummer man from southern culture was very cool. He heard i was lookin' for mallets for the recording coming up, and offered to go check out his prac pad to see if he had anything to help. It was only a few houses down, and laura, drummer for grand national and i decided to make the walk with him after hearing about his "drum room". Wow, just recently have i started to foam over gear like that. I know i play em', but usually i'd just play anything that i could get my hands on. This dude was sponsered by ludwig, and had foourteen or so near perfect kits spanning from the fifites to the present. Also some really old snares from the mid-twenties. Hugh collecter, not just drums, but everything.. his place was like a blast from the past musuem. I appreciatted his trying much, but still no luck with the mallets.

    The party had started to pick up, and the guys decided now would be a good time to practice black sheep. Earlier in the day while doing laundry we had went thru the form and words a couple times. But at night, we played the hell out of that tune. Each time getting louder and louder, until the other band there was inspired to prac a little too. When the time comes and lou's ready to sing black sheep, we'll be ready to play it. It had been a long day, and i was beaten from the first major pedal in a few weeks. After a phone call home to let my girl know i was thinking about her, sleep came easy.

from tom:

   i awake to mike's voice again. i think he's talking with eiko on skype. his voice is loud, but horse. i think of health matters again and the quest for some golden seal. the last thing any of need is to get sick right now before recording, and the swine flu epidemic is seriously spreading. morgan starts frying potatoes and i comment on his technique. it reminds me of when i lived in san francisco, and how good they can be when you don't have much money for food. in fact the vibe in this place is very familiar to those times indeed. we do some emailing and talking and then shove off again. you may be noticing a pattern to our movements.

   we hesitate from pulling off the road at the first subway sign, we had only just started rolling again. but soon there is another subway and we can't help stopping this time. i try a grilled steak (so called) sandwich, but it's not much more to write home about. my knee is starting to really bother me, and getting swollen just behind it down into my calf. earlier a nice fellow at morgan's, chris, i believe, had a story of jumping while playing guitar and coming down on his knee funny and braking it. i have to be careful not to do much more damage to mine, so i put some ice on it while we ride to the cat's cradle. i've played this place a few times but it has been some years since i've been here. still, it has a familiar feeling and smell to it. after check i go to the the local bbq place and get the pulled pork plate with cole slaw and mac and cheese.

   our set goes well, so does dino's, we see jenny and laura from grand national and we chat until we have to load out and follow jenny to she and alex's place. murph hops in the van and we take him along, but i think he thought we going to the bar where lou and other friends of his stopped at after the gig. mike hits the couch, jenny, raul murph and i jump back into jenny's focus and make it an hour before last call is served. i have a nice talk with murph, it's great to talk with someone with so many parallels and interests as we have, and we complement each other for a bit. lou is ready to bail and murph, and ash (whom i only realize later is from the band polvo, otherwise i would have said how much i liike his music) walk with lou out the door and disappear. i have a short phone conversation with caroline and then we head back to jenny and alex's and jenny makes us quesadillas and we all hit the sack.

wednesday, april 29, 2009 - charlotte, nc

from watt:

   tuesday in the early am found taiyo filling all this glass in the living room w/first morning light here at john wurster's chapel hill pad that jenni's renting springboards a pop for me to take hold on (hard to call these windown cuz they're from top to bottom and the whole corner of the living room is nothing but them - careful if you're naked from the outside but righteous seeing all these trees from the inside) - I go and hose off... damn - I forgot to mention seeing mike salmon last night! he once built me a throne made of trashcan parts, pretty ingenious. I think he was sixteen when I met him in this town and now he's all grown and w/a family but still comes to gigs of mine - I gave him big hugs! his old buddy katie just wrote this "what makes us human?" story in "scientific american" which was a zine I read as a teenager - my pop got me a subscription cuz he thought I should be curious about things - even though we were working class... anyway, much respect to katie and so great to see mike again! oh, there's a trippy swine flue guide in that zine I stumbled onto also. shit, there's no coff but that's ok cuz I get the boat in to get the oil changed and fuck, we got no gig anyway so this is a relaxer of a day, kind of. there's a washing machine/dryer in the basement (besides a prac pad - alright!) so the coat ronnie gave me finally gets to get washed along w/two levis and two chonie - oh and that blue brighton flannel which now has a small l-tear on the back - my fucking cab must have grabbed it w/a plastic corner not so flush when I backed up into it last week, I remember now. I get the soiled shit in the machine and as roomie alex gets off to work, he hips me to university ford - a ford dealership maybe a mile at the most down the road! alright. jenni has to bail to work cutting hair, like my oldest (not older - I'm my ma's oldest) sister melinda (fortynine) though she teaches now (grade school) like my little (fortysix) sister has (high school) for many years. both of these good people are so kind to me and my men, letting us stay a day like this - we'll cook them up a big q (pedro abbrev for bbq) later today.

   I drive down and get the oil changed and tires rotated at the dealership - I also find out the brake fluid's got some moisture in it so I get that purged and replaced. while it's going on, I hoof to the mall across the road and find a japan fast food chow pad - "japan express" but it looks bunk... man, I can't wait 'till econo chow from their makes it here in the u.s., not just bourgeois sushi, you know? I'm talking both econo and healthy - not bunk or spendy. there's a sub place - not subway but old fashion east coast style w/the lunchmeat/vinegar/oil/lettuce/tomato "torpedo" or "hero" trip that is pretty good. there were some pads in pedro like this when I was a boy - one was called "petone's" I think... me and d. boon would chow there... it was in the park western part of pedro - in the same shopping plaza where I got my first bass, a kay that looked a little bit like a gibson eb-3 but w/action a little higher: par w/the bow and arrow school of fretting struggle. it's a relief to have the boat done cuz it's the center of the touring uninverse, you know? much respect to the boat! I try my best to be good to her. many blessings for the boat and all her sail w/her.

   I get back and chimp diary, getting it all updated w/mine, tom's and raul's entries and then we work out the minutemen's "black sheep" to do w/lou barlow tomorrow in charlotte. tom and raul have gone shopping across the street and when alex gets back, he fills the outside q's gas bottle up and my guys cook up tons of bobs (abbrev for shish-ka-bob) w/veggies, chicken, sausage and beef - way lots but it's enough cuz alex's band buddies (jenni's in the band too!) and southern culture on the skids drummer john come by plus moaner drummer laura and it's a good time in some glorious cali-like VERY COMFORTABLE weather w/not even the bugs wailing so I got my shirt off but I guess raul said he some chomps on him - he puts on some repellant but like I said, I didn't need any. there's some evan williams whisky - ok econo bourbon I drink back in pedro... hey, at least the bottle ain't plastic! oh - besides all three getting that minutemen tune, it was great hearing tom and raul go at it w/the third opera - much respect to them. I konk early after spieling w/eiko-san via the skype, jenni and laura tripping on how that works. somone jenni cut hair for today knows someone who knows someone who just played in nagoya and met eiko-san so like she's learned to say "it's a small world" - yeah, that a trip.

   wednesday is gig day and I pop again to living room full of taiyo and hose down one last time at this great pad. barbara from tannis brings us a batch of shirt rock so we don't have to do shipping - baka watt trying to think ahead. she brought us some righteous cookies too, much respect! we come whence we came monday except at greensboro we go from I-40 to I-85 to get to charlotte. it's only two and half hours of rolling - raul directing to a subway halfway through our trip that was 'pert-near two miles of the interstate! nice lady there making them though and they even had the three for fifteen deal - tom getting into a deep discussion about which subs are "premium" ones (tom never gives a simple or easy answer and is even more intense about his small-talk questions! gotta love him). the pad we're playing is one I've never played (though I heard the milestone is still open - damn!)... yeah, kind of a community theatre though acts like molly hatchet coming through by the poster in the window - not much dinosaur and for sure not as much aggressive gay disco as missingmen but that's ok - I thank them for being open-minded enough to let us give it a shot (of course I gotta be thanking the dinosaur brothers!). there's a chowpad next door that's got "bourbon porkchops" written and I can't resist - I chow hardly any dinners on a mike watt u.s. tour and shit, the twenty I got from brother rob (purple bus tourboss) goes to it, ALL - I do that maybe once every two tours! I got stomach for only the greens and ONE chop but I put the rest in the boat for manana.

   we soundcheck w/ansley, who walks away so monitorman john has to finish it - people, we do one b.o.c. song for soundcheck! however, today we do "black sheep" a few times w/brother lou and he's VERY happening - man, does this cat have a voice or what? go listen to "the freed pig" and tell me what you think. all three of us so much honored by mister lou just doing a soundcheck w/us! wow! that's why we went on longer - that and having brother murph try "fun house" out w/us. yeah, very good! you go, man... no zappa fills either - remember, it was murph and j who helped me after that sickness that 'pert-near killed me in 2000 get back in the saddle w/three nyc gigs doing nothing but stooges - much MUCH respect to them both, MUCH respect. very critical point in mister watt's life, VERY critical.

   the gig comes for us at eight bells - early but we're into and charge hard. sound is weird to focus the singing around cuz of the acoustics and then it's trippy how the audience is divided cuz of drinking - some cats way starboard cuz of that but it's ok, really, it's ok cuz we three, we free three come together to share everyone who'll give us a shot and I dig that spirit. I'm so proud of tom and raul, much respec to them. I try my hardest. they're there for me. blessed be, blessed be! be gratitude for the gig-goers too... I did wonder why such a tiny amount of mister coltrane was getting over the p.a. before we went on but I think they understood I was so grateful for north carolina being the home for such a spirit and a voice we all can get beyonder alongside.

   I talk w/a writerman named jake after, him and his buddy pickupman curtis who I met in asheville a couple of days ago. very nice gentlemen, happening cats. I turn jake onto richard mckenna and john kennedy toole while also passing on to curtis essential john fertig infos about some czech cats making non-reverse thunderbird clones for way econo - I have a real gibson 1966 one, recorded "contemplating the engine room" w/it, a good fucking machine, a good one. I go outside to rejoin my me and look who's here: j.d. and morgan from asheville, yatta! they drove two hours... I give them big hugs and wish them safe seas for the drive back.

   a very kind lady named sarah lets us konk at her pad not too far away that's very safe for the boat and she is righteous people. we pass a pad called "chasers" on the way and safe in her pad I tell her some about growing up in navy housing when I was a boy. she moved to the south from philadelphia. I tell her about my great-grandpa and his town in arkansas, earle. I finally got the nerve to stop there a year and half ago. man, day off puts the rhythm off some - I feel a little sore! I konk into the depths of tiredness, maybe a little confusing shards of spiel floating among the whirlpool? gastonia ain't too far from charlotte and that's where james worthy was from, huh? big game james!

from raul:

   Playing a big old style theatre tonight with a six foot high stage, kinda trippy for me. I'm more used to the floor of a kitchen, or backyard you know. Soundguys trip out on how close to eachother we are, and how close i am to the edge of the stage. During sound check, after playin the red and the black, something we always do check with, we run through black sheep with lou barlow doing the singing. We also do a run through of the stooges fun house to get Murph familiar with the tune so we can get him up there with us too. He also played along with us to black sheep, but just for the fun of it. After check, went for a little walk around the art district of charlotte, picking up some coffee, and also checking out a couple of thrift stores to maybe find a shirt or two. I only brought three with me, and i sweat em' and stink em' faster than i can wash them. No luck on the shirts, no prob. I got a couple airing out on the shelf in the back of the boat. After awhile they're just too offensive, and i got to get back to the lesser of the smelly.

from tom:

   it is a good sleep, something i needed. i shower and find the coffee maker and have some talk with jenny before she heads off to her job. their place is an amazing house with a practice place set up downstairs, incredibly perfect for our day off. raul jumps on a one of their bikes to check out the local music store. i ask him to pick up some heavier guage strings for me to use on my jazzmaster, and spend time responding to emails and play a little guitar while mike takes the van to get the oil changed. when raul retiuns we run across the street to the super market to pick up food to put on the grill later on. my knee is really bothering me, so the day off couldn't come at a better time.

   in the afternoon alex returns home, and as raul and i prepare the kabobs he runs out to get the propane take for the grill refilled. it seems like we got way to much food and beer, i had invited lou from dinosaur to come by to run through "black sheep" which we want him to sing on, and i say to invite anyone he'd like to bring for the bbq too. i don't hear back from him, so i guess it'll just be us and alex and jenny. we have more food than we need for just us. raul and i get the grill going and do some kabobs, they turn out really well, in fact i think they are the best i've ever had. mike and raul and i pound a few of them, but alex just got home from working at a restaurant, so he has no interest in food at this time. by the time jenny gets home, laura shows up and then a couple of their friends stop by too. we keep the grill going and everyone eats, and drinks, and talks, and it turns out to be the perfect amount of food for this occasion. it's a really nice night and the guitar gets passed around for awhile until i feel tired and make a call to caroline and lay down and fall asleep. when i wake with my clothes on, i realize the guests have left and i prepare myself for proper sleep.

   wednesday morning we gather our senses and give our thanks to alex and jenny, we don't have a long drive to charlotte, but we want to get back in the swing things. sometimes a day off can break the spell and groove that you build up during tour, especially a watt tour because the music is so tightly wound on stage. we are also waiting for barbara to bring more t-shirts and when she stops by she has fresh chocolate chip cookies for us. we soon head out on the road.

   our travel takes us westward to charlotte and we pull up to the neighborhood theater and load in the back. i put on heavier strings to see how they will feel on the jazzmaster, and elevate my leg with ice. still working on getting a bandage for compression, but it was good to have a night off of it for the rest. we play early tonight, 8 o'clock, i think. the theater is divided between drinkers and underage folks, it's always strange but wt least it allows everyone to be there. we meet an acquaintance of mike's named sarah and she offers her floors to us, we gladly accept and i find some space in her office room and put down a yoga mat and my sleeping bag and go to sleep.

thursday, april 30, 2009 - richmond, va

from watt:

   pop w/gray light coming through the window - curtained sun being made opaque - hmm... maybe our first not so righteous weather of the tour? I go hose off and comtemplate this... how very lucky we've been this tour so maybe we're do. sarah's got an imac w/an airport card so I set it to share the hardwired ethernet internet connect she's got and prac einglish-go w/eiko-san, teaching sarah how easy it is to get happening - "that's why we got macs!" (not supposed to be a mac commercial though, please don't absorb this as such!). big grateful thanks to sarah after some coff and we head whence we came 'till durham, where we keep on north w/I-85... yeah, like four times I think we saw that stretch of I-40 starting w/charleston to asheville, then asheville to carrboro, then carrboro to charlotte and now on to richmon - ain't that the magic of intellegent routing?! actually there's much more riding on a pad booking than routing (availability, like day of the week, etc) but when we stop to get gas and subway (yeah, yet another tuna one!), I give old friend bookerman steve kaul (the man outside the van) a call to joke w/him about this. he is the best man to have outside the van in u.s., dutch-dude carlos for europe. back behind the wheel, use the bluetooth earthing to talk to brother tony in brooklyn about recording starting sunday - man, is he into it! so are we. I ask him about "steve canyon blues" and he said that was a trippy song for ubu to do live, they did it w/peter laughner. turns out that tom herman recorded that in 1972, way before the singles - damn! I love learning stuff from brother tony. he asks about drum sets - ha! we all laugh cuz the one in my prac pad (that's what's on the 'tard prac pad 3rd opera demos) is a beater cobbled together... I just got tired of waiting for drummers to set up or tear down and so got a kit for prac. anyway, we all agree to try whatever works - make it an adventure... my third opera! mindblow for me.

   north on I-95 a little at petersburg and then right into the middle of richmond near the capitol district is the national, a fancy theatre pad that holds fifteen hundred, biggest pad w/the dinosaur cats. was added at the last minute cuz the pad originally planned to do it went belly up just recent - brother kyle wrote me an e to let me know and I inturned enlightened van outside the van man mister kaul! everything's cool, whatever happens, happens and I'm just happy to play w/my men and these brothers in the state I was born in, virginia. probably different now than back in 1957 but maybe that's a good thing. we do soundcheck w/dustin and squirrel - actually just dustin cuz he runs back and forth to do monitors but squirrel helps w/setting up and he's a good cat, so is a tall young man named john. I go upstairs into huge fancy "backstage" area - many many rooms, all fancy and nice... tom gets massage from a massage lady, don't get picture - only hear about it after so I can't enlighten caroline to the full extent but tom has a hurt knee and I hope it helped... hell, he's been using ice in the boat - maybe a result of an awkward load in/out? I hate to see him have itai ("pain" in jap)... I'm very glad he got those rubs. I use skype to talk w/my hermano jose who is from valenica (catalonia) but has lived in london awhile w/kyoko - they are righteous couple. I got to stay w/them a couple of times during stooges trips through those parts and they've been the nicest to me. jose's on kind of "parasite tour" (his words) cuz he's been having trouble w/his guts and the england doctors couldn't find anything even though he was being wrung through the wringer but a trip to his hometown for some supplemental education for educating and visits w/docs there after reoccurrence of the hell found he had a parasite - docs from both lands had sifted through what he dumped for them (he told me many dumps many times) finally found parasites in his last blowout, which was for the catalonian ones... is there a difference in the quality of examining dump in those two lands? I think that's why they call it "practicing" medicine - I know misdiagnosis 'pert-near killed me nine years ago. folks gotta be more thorough w/examing dump! hmm... now that I think of it, I was asked to give piss to be examined but maybe still similar situation? I'm just happy for brother jose, viva jose! don't have a lot of time cuz onstage is eight bells but I do get to introduce him to tom and raul - I hope when I bring the third opera, him and kyoko can meet my men - maybe we konk and the whup up some of the great chow they laid on me - many MANY RIGHTEOUS CHOWS, big gratitude to them from me. I made him a song so we could collaborate w/music and I called it "paddlin' in my jinbei" - we both got jinbeis and in fact wore them together at a stooges gig in benicassim (in his homeland) 'pert-near two years ago now - a day w/many deep memories for this bass player from pedro... I have a picture he sent me the xmas after I keep on a bookshelf in my living room and always look at it when I come in my pad. actually, I think the bassman from brazillian girls took it... I'm starting to remember that day now...

   whoops - back to this tour: we go on - "hey there, virginia!" I gotta put on my flannel cuz I left it (all stinking) on j's pedal container-structure. I wanna wear the coat ronnie gave me as much as I can so I don't do gigs in it -- saving that for the brighton blue flannel. whoa, right away there's pretty bad sound and feedback but fuck it - just laugh and charge hard. I gotta stop us a few times cuz the feedback just swallows us up but then put us back in full force 'till the next lowend mega-bogart feedback gobbles up the entire sound. actually it's a good gig cuz the richmond folks have great heart and share their spirit most freely - big respect to them. lou does beautiful version of "black sheep" - righteous. murph comes on for "fun house" and does real good, sitting right in back of raul - both cats on both kits going strong though murph did hold back some when I hollered "blow" to him to go off on but that's ok - such an honor to have him aboard. of course I thank soundman dustin for being our fourth member before our last tune "we are time" - oh, I had to do the gig w/the chickenhead balance knob missing from the dan bass but that's ok cuz I ain't using any bridge pickup anyway - it's all neck. luckily, dinosaur helperman dan found it and I got it in my levi pocket. after we're done, I hug dustin, telling him it was a hard room, I know and our band is weird - he's laughing as I'm telling him I know he tried hard and that's all you can do.

   brother noel though does an incredible job mixing dinosaur to sound... well, increible! holy cow, what a great fucking gig and everything clear and powerful, everything. they smoke! big congrats to them and then we load out quick - brother kyle is there to guide us to his pad in the oregon hill part of town after I get many many kind hugs from viriginia brothers and sisters, yeah - lots saying they're playing bass too - respect!

   brother kyle's got a great little family, we meet wife tara and son maddox - she's from palos verdes, the big hill west of my pedro town w/the big ching kwon dough. I'm told little maddox wore his "mike watt shirt" - a flannel and then he got into trouble for spitting on someone. brother kyle had to learn him some manners! he's a great little guy though, real smart and only three years old, much respect to his parents! we get cooked up some good tasting sausages to go w/some jim beam and beer - flowing all kinds of good spiel cuz I've shared many adventures w/brother kyle - him putting on shows for me even, for my secondmen (w/pete and jer) and my pair of pliers (tom was in that band as well as the jom and terry show, yes sir!). there's seven dogs and five cats that also share this pad, whoa - love it! especially woofy, especially woofy. I konk real happy... what a very happening family.

from raul:

   Again, another hoof to a music store about half mile from the club. It'd be nice if insted of folks telling there's a music shop in town, they'd just be honest and say guitar shop. The dude had two different sizes of sticks, and a couple of used cymbals. Not his fault, but of no use to me. So still no luck, got to do a walk around richmond though, so not a total waste. Besides the wailing feed back while watt tried to talk to the crowd, gig was great. He just gave up the mic and was screaming what he was trying to say... very good for the throat. The band has been playing well, and while selling shirts after the gig, lots of nice folks come up to let me and Tom know, very cool of the richmond people.

from tom:

   i wake in the same position as when i first went to sleep, and i feel sore. my knee is not feeling so good, more R.I.C.E. though, traveling with raul and mike is easy, we get along really well it seems. any tensions that arise are dealt with head-on, or, in a highly developed jargon and subtly referenced humor. some call it "cabin fever," some name it "stupid" and i know that my mind can go way out there. however, mike does have a threshold during tour, since he is doing the driving, at least that's how i look at it. still, after many tours together this is by far the tightest band vibe i've felt with him and it comes through in our playing. the connections we build during our time in the van are essential to the connection we have on stage, as surreal as those might be. it feels like group therapy, or free association combined with navigation and sight seeing.... i think that's all i have to say about that.

   we travel over familiar roads eastward as we drive to richmond, va., pulling into town we approach the national theater. the name describes it well. there's a hot tub backstage! i jump in, as well as a nice restaurant connected to it where i grab a fine glass of wine and steak salad (i think it's my first ever), and i sit back, very happy with my choices. the young lady serving me asks how i like the dressing and i say that maybe some terragon or rosemary would be nice in it, and so she brings me some. man, i was kind of joking (not really though- she asked). after eating i get a massage!! this is too much. perfect for my knee though. i think of the recording and being in as good of shape as possible and justify the $45.00 for the massage easily.

   dinosaur is amazing tonight, as they probably are every night, and i enjoy listening to some of their set before we load out and follow kyle to his place for the night. his little boy, maddox and his wife tara are still up and they greet us as maddox inflates the air matress and kyle grills some sausages on his bbq. kind of an amazing day.

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this page created 25 apr 09