iggy + the stooges

in france, monaco, belgium, italy,
czech republic and switzerland

july 2010

a word's-eye view from mike watt
of gigs done by the stooges w/him on bass

watt in herouville saint claire, france before gig - photo by scott asheton

scotty-san's shot of me just before herouville saint claire gig

friday, july 2, 2010 - herouville saint claire, france

   wednesay at 3:30 pm was liftoff time for watt on bass for this tour leg - the longest of three for the stooges for this summer... hey, that's using "for" four times in the same sentence - ain't my chimping just the fucking worst? I say "chimping" to infer the not-so-new idea that if you locked a bunch of chimpanzees in a room w/just as many typewriters and gave them enough time (like fucking forever), they'd eventually type out all the works of bill shakespeare cuz of the finite possibilities of random hits ofn the keys. I say this to keep myself where I belong - in the fucking 'tard bin cuz I barely have anything together w/this writing struggle yet I find myself driven to do it. I am weak against the obsession even though it takes some effort from me - ain't that fucked up? don't mean to sound like I'm justifying anything so please forgive me on that note too. my sister melinda teaches sixth grade now days so instead my friend going back the longest w/me in my pedro town, poolcleanerman (I decide to make one word from three) tony, who's just the greatest buddy to me, a twleve and a half pm hauls my yellow-jacketed self along w/my yellow clothes sack and yellow bass case to lax airport for flight to paris on boeing 777. only ten hours in metal cylinder tube breathing farts. in far back but very glad to have aisle seat. lots of good konk since I'm arriving thursday around eleven am (paris time nine hours ahead of my pedro town's time). great, everything yellow arrives. merci.

   once more it's great to see these kind gentlemen who allow me to accompany them (in order of today's appearance): tour boss henry, scotty-san/brother steve, helperman derek see, roadboss eric and knobman max. the put in my sunny feeling that charles de gaulle airport is experiencing now - same w/french frere's gig boss alain and helperman olivier - everyone gets the big hugs from crazyman watt... driverman sebastian too. it's a little under two hours driving west to get us to normandy region and to the town of cabourg, we were here four years plus one month ago. we were here a few days, same 'tel even: le grand hotel where marcel proust lived here like seven years maybe? I do remember one day during that time was june six and a bunch of us visited the d-day landing places which included ronnie - it was so great to be w/him that whole day, being w/him and seeing how interested and how much he knew about all of that. it was weird on me too about all those people killed but in my mind now was memories of ronnie on that day in 2006... I can hear his voice now, the sound of it and the words he used. I was so glad to be w/him there, all the different pads we kept driving and all that we saw. it made me very sentimental to think of that day being w/him - and at this 'tel w/all the little swallow jamming around like they do, damn are they quick and beautiful.

   this gig ain't the first once since last euro tour leg back in may hoot_stooges-wattdiary2010a.html. there was one in june - it was in toronto, canada for the nxne festival. that was a blast, a very intense gig in the middle of dowtown, at dundes & younge street which is sort of like their version of times square (toronto kind of is the nyc of canada in a way). it was free for folks to see, just out there on the street and there were like thirty thousand of them, canada cats w/very warm hearts giving us much emotion. the gig was way cooking, smokin' and a wailer. I did get some cramps in my arm near the end - it was much swelter and I soaked my outfit big time but at least it was thunderstorms like was predicted... stooges kept the rain away again! now this gig came in the middle of a trip I was already on away from my pedro town. six days earlier I had flown to brooklyn in new york to finish recording my parts for third opera, my "hyphenated-man" album w/bass brother tony maimone in his studio g. now I said "my parts" cuz my missingmen tom watson and raul morales had already recorded theirs thirteen months ago in the middle of our "prac'n the third opera" tour. they did a great job to get all thirty parts (the piece is made of thirty tiny "songs" - each a different kind of "man" - you'll understand later when it comes out in the fall) done in three days. and brother tony was so fucking happening to keep both that together and this here trip w/me... HUGE RESPECT FOREVER to him. big time. yeah, so crazy to record the things separate like that but I wanted to give respect to d. boon and george hurley (minutemen) cuz of the tiny song thing so I thought if just tom and raul recorded together w/out ever hearing the bass, they wouldn't be tugged along by the only minuteman involved. another trippy thing was I wrote the whole thing on one of d. boon's telecaster guitars and everyone knows (or should know) I am terrible guitar player but much respect tom watson for getting the whole thing off my demos - the whole things except one little solo in one of the tunes which I asked him to compose himself (consisting of three small parts of about three seconds each), what a beautiful man to do that for me. he got that all learned and then both of us w/guitars on in my prac in pedro learned the thirty pieces to raul, me composing drum parts by have raul try different things but again tom helping by helping me explain and explore stuff. I mean I'm terrible w/guitar but w/drums, I can't even operate them... but I did have three-way dialog I running in my head and both these righteous were patient w/me to realize it to them. even though they were my parts, I wanted it natural for them and there way of playing. I did not want the bass bogarting on them and yanking their shit around so that's why I thought of doing it later. I know it's kind of insane but that's why I tried chimping some explanation here. the plan is to debut the piece live w/a twentytwo gig in twentytwo day tour of japan october seventeen through november seven this fall w/our good buddies in the tokyo band lite sharing the stage w/us, one night they're on last, the next night we are. the last week we'll have lou barlow along cuz he's been touring w/the missingmen - tom and raul - that tour last year had some dinosaur gigs (lou balrow's the bassman there) and he asked me if he could "borrow" tom and raul and I said "hell yeah!" cuz the more those two play w/each, the better for me when it's my turn to share them.

   anyway, I didn't mean to get off on this tangent so much - fuck, I'm sorry. what a fucking watt foist on the stooge journey... again, sorry. you look out the window here at this le grand hotel (it's name but I guess you could say it's kind of like that in an old way) and there's the sea, massive tide and shallow beach make for like a hundred feet to where the surf comes up to. tonight I'll try and get a sunset picture - my pedro town faces east and that's why my sunshots there are sunrises. I gotta rustle some chow though so I go down the main cabourg street which is done up kind of like a vacation town would be and there's a pizzeria pad where I get a french-style hot dog: a baguette spread open w/two dogs end-to-end and covered w/melted cheese. trippy but great, crunchy crust - oh yeah, french fries are w/it, of course! I bring these back to my room to chow w/some beers from the eight-to-eight market and then work on the bass for the new funanori song "living on the hill" I was sent.

watt's 'tel room in cabourg, france - working on funanori

I've already sent six versions, I got working on it soon as I got back from brooklyn. what I did was bring my pro tools mbox mini and use that w/a little set of logitech speakers and my 13" macbook pro 'puter. the dan bass (1965 gibson eb-0 modified w/rio grande pit bull pickups) is great for gigs but kind of noisy for this recording stuff - I gotta get it more shielded when I get back home but anyway, these are just ideas things for to approve of, making composite bass track from my feeble efforts - I'll rerecord the one good part when she's sure of what's right w/my moon bass in my pad. I got six done before I left and get few tonight before konking. I feel no jet lag and konk right in sync w/french time after a good long evening hang w/scotty-san discussing all the stuff he always makes so interesting. I love him.

   gig day and I pop and soak a little in pretty good size long-ways tub, stretching on the knees, yeah. another sunny day - like cali weather w/out the june gloom... I mean, there's a marine layer but it lies real low (last night's sunset was at like ten pm! actually, never made to the water cuz of this marine layer) where in my parts it is not just by the but the whole sky so not one time last month I saw a sunrise in my town! sure, by noon it burns off and we're sunny so cal but not at sunrise in the summer. anyway, the trough here is free (so is the internet - fuck yeah!) so I shovel up a sandwich made of baguette (not whole one!) stuffed w/salmon and then some scramble eggs (milk in them here though so a little bit), bacon, yogurt and fresh pineapples. wash down w/coff but they give you hot milk - hell, the milk is what I use to cool the coff off w/besides tempering gut souring. anyway, I'm grateful. I go hoof much by the sea and remember the d-day stuff w/ronnie - we were on omaha beach even. we got soundcheck at eleven am and the town where the gig is takes half an hour drive. we go over the first bridge liberated by the d-day landings... the gig's on the estate of this old mansion - people are calling it a castle but it looks like a big old fancy house and it's called the festival beauregard - there's stickers all around that say "I (heart) john" and I guess the estate owner might be a certain "john beauregard" but it's all a mystery about that cuz scotty-san's asked many folks here about it. it's a very nice place to have a gig, an opening in the trees, the trees making around the whole gig field w/the to old pad to rear and side of a insta-stage from some huge semi-trucks. yesterday I got an email from ig saying we're changing the key of "I need somebody" and "penetration" from g-minor to e-minor so we go through that. we do a new take on "no sense of crime" which we did at that toronto gig last month (and I clammed the end part like a fucking bozo) that has the bass playing "half as much" as per ig's instructions on the phone to me the day before getting on the plane. james williamson has got a gold les paul guitar w/a piezo pickup bridge that can make it sound much more like an acoustic guitar than the magnetic ones. he tried that out at the toronto show and it sounded good though it has to go direct so now he's gonna also run it through the smaller blackstone amp that's not mic'd up. oh, forgot to mention seeing mr slouch and jos - great to see them again! mr slouch again brought for me two laney nuexus bass amps (each w/its own 8x10 cab) and a little one-fifteen combo to blow sideways at me.

scott asheton at festival beauregard 2010 soundcheck

scotty-san's on that chrome so-called rat-scabies drum kit again (jos assures me it's not rat-scabies' kit). we do a good long check which I dig cuz it has been ten days since we last played together. I get back to the 'tel and lay some more bass versions down for the new funanori song. then I hoof to get some chow so it ain't so close to bail time - on recommendation of brother steve (cuz he chowed there last night), I have steak fritz at a chow pad called l'embarcadere which is on that main little old town part of cabourg street. it is good and econo. I go back and get my gig outfit on: black levis and solid black flannel. oh yeah - no more mustache - james williamson asked me to cut it last gig in may and I said sure, no prob. I think he thought I always wear baka hige! I do beginnings and ends prac w/him and scotty-san... I then get one more bass try of new funanori song and send them all to her just before nine bells which is time for us to bail to play.

   we make the half hour drive over and they put us up in the old mansion, going up the round corner tower steps to the top floor. beautiful view of the sunset over the trees, whoa. I warm up on my bass (brought it w/me from the 'tel) and james warms up his strat - I'm pretty he doesn't play that any more on stage but he always warms up w/it. we're told there's a problem w/that piezo bridge pickup but an examination of the control compartment showed up some wires shorting (derek see said it's very crowded in there for the preamp and all) and some tape insulating bare connections was the fix. I drink two bottles of "powerade" which is pretty much like gatorade - in toronto I cramped up pretty bad near the end, it started when I put my starboard hand in the air and I felt it move right down my arm and into the ring and pink fingers - fucking weird. anyway, I'm trying to head that off - very glad the weather is so nice, not sweaty and not cold - it's very nice. we go on at ten before eleven tonight... first we make about a ninety foot drive in a station wagon to steps rear of stage? something like that. I hate bringing the bass in a vehicle cuz of the risk of the headstock getting knocked and then out of tune but... yeah, well... of course I am nervous but I am determined not to freak out and try and keep it together. first gig of a tour leg always a pants-shitter... hell, there all pants-shitters.

   ig asks if we're ready (we're stage port, in the dark) - I see in his face "we're here to work this - HARD!" and charge out when he gives the word. well, I try to but behind brother steve doing the cane walk, that's a little hard so I swing wide around him and get on over to mr slouch and grab the dan bass... "raw power" - james, then scotty, then I'm in and we're off! bam, we hit it hard and everything feels like it got singed by a melter-pulse. the laney amps are sounding really good, whoa, really good. respect. "kill city" in a couple of change I get 'pert'-near edgy but don't lose it/don't clam... gotta not carried away too much by the singer's intense commitment to emotion (not enough to flip out) but man, am into it. ig in blastoff sound barrier bust mode, rallying us into "search and destroy" and well into blister country. of course it's all blowing my mind but I hold on - no clams yet. "gimme danger" and things are thick and good then the bridge comes and I space on the first 'e' I'm supposed to play and mentally give myself the mussolini headkick several times but not enough to clam it again. now I know why il sogno del marinaio (a trio I'm in w/two great italiano cats) drummer andrea belfi hated to anything the slightest overconfident, well, not hated maybe be he would touch his balls to ward of the bad luck (sort of like u.s. people saying "knock on wood" in the same situation?). I roll up my sleeves for "cock in my pocket" and we have a GOOD TIME w/that one, yes yes yes. invite to volunteer dancers - invite from ig in french and we got the stage hopping for "shake appeal" big time and still keeping it pretty tight. band intros before "1970" a shoe had come up earlier but there's not another one when ig calls my name (ha!) and actually like every other french gig, the people are very VERY enthusiastic! big respect to them. bash! bash! bash! on the bass for "l.a. blues" - I think first time I've ever spaced and didn't play some trip on "giant steps" but I do bust the "a love supreme" riff at then and also the rest of the band is playing wild-ass too, it's not just baka kigahen bass player. I fuck the laneys in their speakers some, poor dan bass. it gets karma though cuz in the b part of our next one, "night theme" I space on the d and play a fucking g - where is my mind?! aaaahhh so embarrassing. "skull thing" is more together but james extends it out a little for steve's sax - ig giving delicate to move it along (hopping up and down, waving arms wildly) and we're into "beyond the law" which he sings really good - he's been singing good all night, respect. the list says "I need somebody" next but ig asks if can get a right and scotty-san blap-n-blap-n us into "I got a right" which is fucking intense but next to the last chorus I get the right chords but space a little on the syncopation/note trip coming back up - what's w/this spacing? fucking I got some much focus drilling out of my heads towards the bow of our boat (ig) but I guess the nerves are getting me a little but they are there, the notes - I just got on the shoulder of the road there a little. I feel them in my soul! gotta do better - do better for "I wanna be your dog" next, sure! ig on all fours for the four-four on the floor. he's great but no stage dives tonight - the moat way to big though I seen in his few times he might've just said fuck it and lept. "your pretty face is going to hell" next and a real good hard charger. scotty-san puts an end on the ending but that's ok, I think he's done it that way once before. "open up and bleed" has bass mute for beginning of second version - I tuned to make sure I was ok w/tuning but damn, the bypass switch is made for foot and doing it by hand (it's up on scotty's drum riser) makes for a not-so-certain move and sure enough, I ain't in the song for when I'm supposed to be - I'm muted! I get it on in a few seconds a look over at mr slouch who I know is thinking "what a doof, watt" and I can't blame him. it feels like great version w/ig the bow of the boat - we go off stage quick and rally round ig while he sizes up the sitch and gets his breath. ok, we're back on w/a hard driving "death trip" - pummeling but I have to say for me, most compelling! ig then looks at me and then w/a smile he hollers "no fun" and we rip into that baby - I know it ain't in the title but it's really fun to play. last gig (in toronto) we tried for the first time "no sense of crime" and here we go again w/more econo in the rhythm section, especially w/the bass and unlike in toronto, I don't clam. it's a trippy tune for the stooges, a ballad (even more than "open up and bleed") but ig really sings it beautiful, just beautiful. he's calling out the tunes now: "fun house" to cut things up and then a first-time-ever-for-us: "gimme some skin" which starts off real good but then takes some operator error blows but not enough to sink us, we finish it up and along w/it, the gig. great gig in my opinion. of course I can do better and will try w/all my might. stooges deserve competent bass person.

   after a little bit of getting wind back into my lungs, I join scotty-san and brother steve on a sojourn to the chow area and find a bunch of good stuff. but of course, this land (france) has lots of good chow! this is an outdoor area and there's a bowl w/big welks (kind of snail) - I yank them from their shells by their "foot" and chow these fat plugs (almost the size of my thumb) one at a time, about five. then some pate for a piece of broken-open baguette w/some cheese (unknown kind to me) and yeah, that's enough to make my belly happy. actually, I don't really like chowing a lot after gigs. oh, there was a big long sausage like trip but a slice of that kind of tasted like head cheese or something so not much of that for me. back to the old mansion/castle and up those spiral stairs and to the room next to ours... ig's there w/nina at a big round table - across from them is james williamson and his wife linda and the table's set for a big chow... ig invites me but I don't wanna bumrush - I'm just wondering his thought on the gig... "was it a good one?" I ask and he said it was. I thank him much and bow deep.

   I ride back w/scotty and steve, konking 'pert-near right I get in my chamber's hatch, hose off and get into tomorrow's travelling outfit. I konk on the deck that way: dressed ready to go cuz it's early pop.

monday, july 5, 2010 - monaco

   it's sunday at 8:44 am and fuck, I am baka! it's roadboss eric on the horn saying "roll!" I had put the curtains open to let taiyo stomp on my eyes - I never konk late but I guess the nine-hour-ahead-of-pedro-time might have me weird - wait, that sounds like a fucking excuse so forget it - my fault, I fucking blew it and... well... anyway - I'm all packed from last night and dressed and... and... I'm down those fucking stairs as fast as my palsy self can go - no charges cuz I never get 'tel stuff, "merci" I tell the desk lady - good, there's henry and scotty - a festival lady takes us cuz the boat w/crew and steve has already bailed. she jams quick and we're there at the carpiquet airport in caen just after their van pulls up, whew. I'm never late hardly and feeling like a fucking idiot jerk for blowing it w/late konk, shit. we fly to nice (french town name) on crj-100 plane, me and steve in last row of port side. it takes just over an hour to go from northwest to southeast france - pretty much the whole country! that's sixtyfive million folks, whoa. so much farmland too. it was surprising how much of the drive to normandy from paris looked like going down the I-5 in the central valley of cali a little bit. here in nice, it looks more like so cal w/the spanish tile roofs and pads that look a little like ours (some of the cabourg ones looked a little bit old-time german/dutch/swiss!) back home.

   it's a short drive - like half an hour east to monaco, the principality of monaco - the one w/the flag that looks like upside-down poland one! this is my first time here though I've driven by it when going from/to italy along the french riviera route. the whole pad is one town on the cliffs over the mediterranean sea. I think the only smaller country in the world is vatican city! there's a light-up sign as we enter the land announcing the gig "5:2011 place du palais: concert zz top et iggy & the stoogi" it says. we're driven down to the sea and then to the east part where we're staying, monte carlo bay hotel. I am given huge chamber w/two beds on ninth floor w/balcony view facing all of monaco including the palace in the old city. also there's a bunch of garden and swimming pools below on these 'tel grounds. it is sunny and kind of humid. I gotta find a store w/econo stuffs so I start hoofing. right across the 'tel's front is some stairs... I figure on taking these cuz the ride here on the road I saw pretty much nothing in terms of econo market. the stairs are steep ones going up and up 'til they end at boulevard d' italia and I make decision for port turn here cuz the map is showing almost the whole country this way. I hoof for like five hours all over, eventually getting to the public beach on the sea after seeing nothing but fancy condo buidings, spendy highend stores - one "shopping center," the metropolitan had only big monies jewelry/clothes/etc pads! but it was cool in there cuz of the air-conditioning which was some relief - even by the sea it was pretty big time sweaty... finally I asked a young person who sold me a chicken and cheese baguette sandwich where was there a store like I was looking for and though I'm told there's stuff in the old city ("the rock") and west of there, it's too far for me to hoof. this cat did tell me about going to school up the hill kind of where I got most west and remembering a market - hell, I decide to try it - oh yeah, forgot: on the way to the beach was a japanese tea garden built in princess grace kelly's honor and there was some neat stuff like a three foot taki (waterfall), some rock gardens/laterns and like fifty different kinds of koi (carp) swimming in the green water but all the noise around it made it kind of not like the serenity places I've found in other gaijin ones. anyway, all I find up that way that young man directed me was a liquor store where I found a bottle of jim beam for eighteen euros which is pretty econo for europe. I get that and start hoofing back. I find an actual kind of econo patio chowpad where I get the "american burger" which is a baguette stuffed w/french fries and a little bit of burger w/white cheese melted on it. I put this in a sack to go chow later. I'm back on the road I started out on 'pert-near five hours before (we arrived to the 'tel around two pm) but blow by the stairs, the ones I took up and pass a police station and voila! here's parts that look econo, in fact I learn it's france (there's a little bit of that here before you enter italy). I get some waters and stuff very econo at this little market and then head back to go down those stairs - if I had only turned starboard at the beginning of my journey, ha! I'm glad kind of though I got to see what I did, even though it was none of the old stuff it was like half the fucking country! scotty-san calls me at eleven and I bring the beam over there and we have good spiel while sharing it w/water. then he wants to chow! ok. I walk w/him on that road we drove in on - there's the beach and I see a pad open but some cat puts his hands on my shoulders and says it's a private party - like I was bumrushing! I wasn't - I had no idea but I ain't offended. we get back on the road and scotty-san says how about this sidewalk place... it's called "black diamond" - ha! he gets us hummus and some good boeuf, so very kind of him always w/me. we hoof back. man, I sure respect scotty-san. he is a very good man.

   sunday ("the fourth in someone else's country" - remember that minutemen lyric?) I pop and get free trough which is pretty good one, using softboiled eggs instead too-milky scrambled ones but damn, I'm a little messy w/those, having to use toast to yolk-sop. there's good pineapple w/the yogurt also. I chimp diary 'til steve and me are picked up by kamilsky and his buddy jerome for a recording we're gonna do today - brother steve's invited me to do one of his songs. this studio is just west of monaco in the town of eze in france - we passed it coming in yesterday.

watt, kamilsky + steve mackay (l to r) at deaf lab in eze, france on fourth of july, 2010

the studio is called deaf lab and is a pad going under different stages of reconstruction - right off the highway and pretty spectacular views of the little cliff pads and mountain geography of the area. the studio cats are david and max plus there's a bassman named morgan who lets me use his musicman stingray u.s.b. bass through an svt-III and 4x10 cab - my bass is in the truck w/mr slouch who's still driving from cabourg w/the gear. I think he konked in lyon last night. kamilsky on guitar, a young man from this area named damien on drums - brother steve on his tenor sax and singing for a song of his called "expatriate" which comes from his days thirty years ago living in europe. we do much different version than original but steve is very pleased (jerome made video of the final take). he plays on one of the tracks of morgan's band and then we chow some pizza that's called in from a nearby to-go pad (one is three cheeses and walnuts!) before doing some mainly kamilsky-led jams (except one I bumrushed but still did it in b cuz that's his favorite key) w/a drummer named alex cuz damien had to bail earlier for a gig. both these drummers did really good job, respect to them - also to everyone here at the studio for being so kind and together. whew, seven hours altogether but it was good time - kamilsky gets us back to the 'tel just after midnight and I konk in moments after getting to my chamber.

   gig day and I pop, soak and shovel from the free trough pretty much like yesterday. soundcheck and I finally some of the old city cuz the gig is in the courtyard of the palace (place du palais) and is called the monaco live music 2010 festival. I also see the other side of the marina where there are many big bucks yachts (I forgot to mention all the same kind of autos driving around: ferraris, rolls, porsches, lamborghinis, maseratis, bugattis, etc). ig, scotty and james had met the prince (albert II) the day we came up at his pad and they said he was nice guy - he's about four months younger than me and went to college in j mascis' town, amherst, ma. it is sweaty, more humid than hot and we get a lot of songs out for soundcheck, even a take on "heavy liquid" which needs some work, we agree to do it every soundcheck we can now. we ride back and you can tell this is much more the tourist part of town and not just for money folks - there's many cruise ships I've seen tie up here and probably cats even drive here from france and the rest of europe. our 'tel has a casion and so do all the other big ones plus of course there's the monte carlos casion but it's not so much like las vegas if that's what you're thinking. oh, by the stairs to the stage there's a statue of the first grimaldi (the family running this land for 'pert-near seven hundred years) who snuck in this castle dressed as a monk - the stature shows that and you can see two of them on the coat-of-arms. and yeah, the dressing rooms are just past the "old treasury" and what probably was the stables cuz of all the old horse tack up on the bulkhead on display. we get back and I gotta wash this shirt in the sink cuz it is completely soaked... it's gonna be a swelter gig tonight!

   time to leave for the gig and we get there just after eight pm. we're going on at five before ten the guys who met the prince get to take pictures w/him now. backstage w/us are the zz top guys - pretty happening for me cuz I saw them in the early-middle 70s and really dug their third and fourth albums big time, really fucking BIG time - I loved them and they were my kind of power trio in those days, my favorite.

dusty roads + watt in monaco - july 5, 2010

billy gibbons, watt + frank beard (l to r) in monaco - july 5, 2010

you know, when I do interviews about bass I'm thinking now I don't give enough credit to dusty roads cuz I learned tons from him. I'm gonna make that right. I get to talk some w/frank beard, the drummerman - what a very nice guy. so is mr dusty, man, he is something. his fingers are kind of small, like thumbs but man, he can work a bass like no one's business. he is very kind to me too. what nice cats. I go over the songs w/james williamson even though we did earlier in his 'tel room but this is like all the way, not just beginnings and ends like we usually do. finally it's time to go on... and we go up to the stage. the courtyard's packed w/folks just like a regular gig and the prince is supposed to be somewhere - I wasn't told, I don't know, and hey, I'm focused on ig anyway as he asks us if we're ready and then tells us to go. this time I ain't behind brother steve like last time (he had to use a cane cuz of hurting his tailbone falling out of bed about a month ago while have a nightmare) and get my bass from mr slouch to blast into "raw power" and yep, that's what we do. ig's vest comes off before he sings his first words! he's all the way powered up and so ALIVE it's a total mindblow and scotty-san is just fucking slamming on the skins, whoa. ig hollers "hey prince" towards that balcony where I think he and his fiance are at. trippy but I keep focus on ig and the band - I do not wanna be distracted! the set's pretty much like last gig - "kill city" is next and is ripping. I drank two bottles of powerade and there's two up here on the drum riser for me. we're into "search and destroy" yeah, I was right - it's zz drummerman frank beard watch us from stage starboard, whoa! we finish the tune - no clams yet for me but the black flannel is already sweated - ha! no prob, keep charging, I'm thinking. "gimme danger" up now and it's real good flow and I nail that bridge part tonight, I'm pretty sure - ha! again! it's a good time, ig down in the pit and there's cameras to follow him and put him on the screen so he doesn't disappear from the people - great. "look out" he says to the folks as I roll up my sleeves and we slam into "cock in my pocket" - there's sweat pool now at my feet so I'm being careful... I saw jos slip and go down last gig right in front of me, I'm glad it didn't hurt him - there's nothing worse than a slippery stage. ig calls for dancers to help us w/"shake appeal" and the appeal brings on a bunch of younger folks who dance about ig like crazy, a good time on stage. I get bumped some even - not bad but I do get a little confused in the first chorus but recover quick. people are having a good time. "1970" after band intros (ig VERY kind to me) and this time I don't forget my "giant steps" quotes for "l.a. blues" and also there's more of the other guys too, it's actually kind of shorter but I do still fuck the laney amps in the speakers some. I had a cable go out at soundcheck but mr slouch assured me this one I'm using now was built (soldered?) by him and sure enough it holds up to that. scotty gets us into "night theme" in a trippy way, him slipping his drums after us, yeah! then the "skull thing" (back to the old sixteen bars worth) and then "beyond the law" which feels for me MIGHTY. I am soaked to the bone now w/sweat and in fact, a few tunes back my leather bracelet had cracked and split bust still stayed on my wrist 'til I yanked it and tossed to the folks. damn. still ain't cramping yet though... this time there's no "I need somebody" to skip on the list and we go to "I got a right" like we have been doing and it is a bullet train flying by, lordy! I keep it together the whole time too, not dropping any final chorus hits. whew, I was focusing - that's why it's good for me to write about my clams in this diary chimping, it helps me w/focus for the next gigs... wish folks could understand I ain't trying to put beatdowns on myself just for the hell of it. we go to "I wanna be your dog" and real good hits w/james right w/scotty's crashes, not ahead - much much good drama! the whole tune has great drama and singing from ig, right down to the "take-it-down" part (love how it follows the same dynamics there that he got us going for the tune right before it, "I got a right" - yeah, a bounce-back!). whew, not cause for pause - just a little spiel to set up a motor-down "your pretty face is going to hell" where scotty nails the ending and the band blasts along right up through - whoa. I gotta tune right after cuz I haven't even used that string since "l.a. blues" and it's the one that's flat and I do use it in the chorus of this one... I check, yup, it's flat - damn it! well, I tune it up. actually I could hear in the song and that's why I was chucking hard on that b note! ok, the set-ender now: "open up and bleed" and everything running good even no cramps in the ends - I've finished both bottles up on the riser but fuck if I don't start feeling it during the end wind-up part but in the left hand in stead of the usual right - only a little but I'm feeling it still and what's trippy is that it seems to me if I become aware of a potential cramp-up situation, my fucking mind seems to induce it more just cuz it is aware of it! is that a trip? we run off stage and wait for ig's word - I'm thinking "man, that was a short wind-up for the end of 'open up and bleed' - maybe the shortest ending we've done for it yet?" anyway we get back out and ig calls for "fun house" but I'm way loud - at the level of that last end part wind-up and besides that, I'm way aggressive w/the finger blows and octave-up and shit - ig tells me to "cool it!" - echoes of minehead back in april... I go way down and he wonders aloud over the mic if it's the right key but I check my fingers, I check the tuner - yep... ig says "it better be or..." he's making a good point... I get way tiny and even bring in the back pickup to put myself more out of phase (the dan bass pickup's are in trippy places that make them out of phase w/each other) so the attack/presence./level is big time diminished and then it comes on - just like that - super huge cramps in both hands but the starboard really getting them, my hands turning into claws for the next one, "no fun" I can barely use them at all - thank god it's the last tune but what the fuck is up? I apologize to ig right when we finish and he says it's ok - later in the dressing room he tells me it was the octave and the stage's overtones dealing w/resonances and stuff. I just wanna do good for him and feel like an idiot. he says we learn by experimenting and it was ok - he's smiling and laughing and stuff. he is sensei. much respect to him.

   max says good gig but about a fourth in the plug was asked to get shoved into the jug some from somewhere. james is miffed. "that's show biz" I'm thinking. scotty-san tells me to go take shower, saying he don't want me getting heat stroke. for me, the gig was no different than any other stooges gig - we've played in courtyards before and old europe-style settings which is real neat - I think even where I thought the prince was incorrect cuz my buddy jose sent me pictures later and it didn't look like a little balcony but rather a ground floor patio. I love doing every stooges gig I can. I work them w/everything I have cuz I love them. I love playing even though it's hard and scary.

   I take shower and change clothes, I am so fucking soaked and there's showers back here - it's tough to use my hands even to get undressed cuz they won't open up... I end up having to press them open-plamed against the bulkheads for a long time and then my foot arches and calves start to cramp up too, fuck. I go to talk w/mr dusty to take my mind off this shit and he's very kind to me. he tells me about switching from a gibson to a fender cuz some guy was being an asshole and making fun of him cuz of his short fingers but he said actually it was the best thing for him. I go watch most of their gig - their basshelperman, pulls up a case me to sit on and even gives me a dusty roads pick though I only see him use fingers the whole gig. he's a great singer too though mr billy does must of it, they do a lot together also. mr billy's an incredible guitarist and mr frank is really grooving - them all playing together is really something else. wow. I played a telecaster bass in the later minutemen days cuz I finally found one and I could play like mr dusty. now I got to see him work it up close - crimony! they get done and I tell him "much respect" even start foaming some but work hard to hold it back. he is very gracious. I talk to mr frank and he's also very gracious - I saw him watch our whole gig - he says he dug the stooges show said "it was mach twenty the whole way!" mr billy goes talk to him and I thank him, also he's big time gracious - they're all so nice to me. I told mr frank about seeing them in my teen years - I tell him and mr billy I'm an old punk but they put HUGE influence in me and d. boon - why we wanted to be a powertrio, more than cream - be more like them w/their mic stands up there real close together.

   the chow lady the have, colette, let's me have a chunk of salami... I accidently grabbed (didn't know, I swear - I thought it was our cooler) a little one that happened to be part of her stores but she ending up giving me that also. what kind folks, this zz team. big big respect to them.

   after riding back to the 'tel, I spend a few minutes w/scotty-san in his chamber finishing the two fingers of beam left and talking to him some about my pop, how he talks kind of like my pop did, weighing his words and not just spitting them out. I am so sore but he makes me so glad I get to play w/him and know him. I thank him back here for being my friend, I thank him dearly. I go konk.

wednesday, july 7, 2010 - paris, france

   tuesday morning I pop at eight bells and shovel w/tourboss henry for the last morning trough (same fare as previous shovels here) at this 'tel. I'm thinking quarter of eleven lobby but actually that's shove off time so once again I am fucking baka and make error. damn me! on top of that there's some misunderstanding about the internet which I was resigned to accept of course but tourboss henry being the great cat he has makes the gutpunch only half of what those clowns wanted to deliver me - of course I was trying to go econo like I always do and go incremental but they had a jive scheme that no one ever had foisted on me before but anyway what really matters to me is tourboss henry is great cat and deserves big respect from me. he also doesn't need a fucking late watt anymore so I'm gonna work on that... never happens but now twice in a row? I'm a fucking idiot tonto baka. we make the short ride to the nice airport (love the sculptures of all those glass fish that were allowed to sort melt in a pile they got in there) and take an airbus 321 to paris charles de gaulle - yes, how I'm learning this airport! from there it's to the hotel regina, right near the louvre - I think this is my third time there (at least!). it is very warm but not as humid as where we were.

   I know where the little market is (called "eight to eight" in french, can't remember - pardon!) where I can get water for a euro a liter and the beers for twice that instead of you-don't-even-wanna-know-what at the 'tel (hell, scotty-san told me at the burn ward they're at, it was fiftyfive euros for a salad w/salmon pieces in it). I see mr slouch in the lobby, he drove jos' van safe from monaco - what I mean is he's safe! baka watt. so glad mr slouch is safe. however, the van is at the venue safe and I don't have access again to my bass - again I let down funanori, crimony!!! I feel baka. hiyori visits from hamburg and I give many speeches, many speeches! it is embarrassing. I chow tuna salad from sidewalk chowpad close by, bringing it back. I konk kind of sweaty w/no blankie.

   gig day and I shovel not so much from the free trough, just some scrambled eggs (luckily not so much milk in them) w/tiny potato wedges and bacon on top plus some yogurt. I chimp diary, catching up 'til combination soundcheck/beginning + ends prac at the venue. the gig is very close to the 'tel, a pad called l'olympia that's been renovated (it goes back to 1888!) and is really nice, a great pad - like ig says, "cracking sound" - yep. and man, what a chow here cooked up for the crew - roadboss eric brings me into the galley where I have pork (bigger than a chop and w/out the bone), incredible salmon ravioli, peas/carrots/potatoes/curry plus a slice of some very happening giant salami, whoa! in the dressing room I find last gig's outfit laundered - even the fucking chonies (shitagi)! roadboss eric is beautiful, much respect to him. he does so much for me like that, very VERY kind. him and tourboss henry - both deserve HUGE respect from me. they do kind things cuz they wanna and not have to - I try my hardest not lean on them and am forever learning how to be less of a baka in their lives and be a good man. they are very good men to me, very good. I know work bass for stooges but I see myself working for them too - same w/jos and mr slouch. these are all very good cats I have honor of being amongst. I do not take it for granted even though I fuck up sometimes and do baka things... they always let me apologize and try to do better for next time and that is also very kind of them. max too, I'm learning him. he talks very honest about the sound and is always interesting in his perspective so I'm listening careful. w/all these good cats, that's what I need to do, be better listener, better doer. I forget to tell tourboss henry I'm hoofing back to the 'tel - what a fucking baka... I told others but not him, man is that stupid. luckily he hollers from the hatch to ask what the fuck is up and embarrassed, I apologize and enlighten him. w/out realizing it, I konk on the 'tel chamber deck but thank god I pop in time for lobby. fuck, I cannot be late for anything again.

   me and brother steve get our pickup at quarter after seven. I'm not in my outfit cuz roadboss eric was so very kind to have it scrubbed and so it's waiting for me at the venue. now we're on at nine but it's good to leave early cuz actually it's faster to walk than drive (that's why I hoofed back after soundcheck), the traff here in paris is very much plug. we arrive at l'olympia and drive right onto the sidewalk and through big wood door (big ones!) to an underground parking area - I see jos' big blue mercedes sprinter van. I get into my outfit and start working my bass to get loose. I've already drank two powerade bottles hours earlier and now finish a third. I'll save the fourth for the stage. I am determined not to cramp up like at the end in monaco. james williamson keeps telling me he's gonna make me a custom bass. he says there's no good tuning w/my bass w/the stock bridge it has. I show him where it's in tune on the open string and on the same fretted up on the neck - not all the way up but then not much stooges is way up on the neck. I explain to him how the rounded "uni-saddle" (there's not individual string saddles) is really good for keeping strings from breaking but he says bass strings don't break... ha! he don't know watt! I don't mean to be disrespectful at all but I have a HUGE history of breaking up to three or more strings in a single gig on bass. I mean most of that was when I was more younger but it still happens from time to time. I'm gonna really watch my tuning tonight. I will not be surprised if something goes wrong but I'm gonna try hard.

   now this is kind of weird cuz here I am writing about the gig real early the very next morning but fuck if I can remember lots of shit clearly. I do know the order of the tunes. I do know ig did his first stage dives of this tour leg here in paris - like three or four of them but can't recall exactly in which tunes it happened. I know his dick popped out cuz he was moving jut past me when it happened, more towards the end of the set... I know I played probably my worst version of "no fun" ever - that was at the very end for sure... I remember us just about to go on and ig saying "is mike here? is mike here?" and I was but I was behind his shoulder like a baka... anyway, I try to chimp some stuff about how the gig ran down... cuz I thought he lots of ways it was really smokin' - "raw power" starts us up. whoa, to see this packed pad all up on their feet, balcony folks too - crimony! ig is the lightning rod to their feelings being lit by him, it is fucking intense. he's singing great - oh, the vest came off in moments of the song starting... of course I have to mention the vest! actually, it's a very nice one not that I know anything about them but it looks good on ig - hell, it looks good w/him not wearing it! he rallies us, he rallies the folks - the gig is on! boom! he hits the deck from a slip but tumbles, rolls and right back up - what a move! bam! he leads through the tune like a powerhouse wailer! next right up: "kill city" wham! I'm right that at scotty-san's starboard crash cymbal, looking back it him when he thumps his floor tom and we both smile. the same one or two second gap between the fist two songs is all there is 'till we're into "search and destroy" cuz ig 'pert-near immediately pleads for us to not keep him waiting but to rev up, rev up. it's the set for a steel driving crew. frere cedric has great stage sound for us, HUGE respect for him. james gets us into "gimme danger" after ig talks a little in french - that's so happening he can relate to the folks in their language, it shows good respect. he sings w/all his heart, I get big feelings inside, it is deep. it is very emotional for me but I keep focus and try not to get lost in the head - that would be the worst cuz I got a job to do but it's trippy cuz I love stooges music so much... sleeves get rolled up for "cock in my pocket" and this one is always really fun, 'pert-near every time - the words, the music - just great fun for me and I work the bass seriously that way - ha! I make baka sense! "bring on the dancers! everyone get up here!" exhorts ig to the folks and our stage fills up quick w/them. we slam solid "shake appeal" and I make up for clammed first chorus from me last in monaco. some great french dancers - one cat in levis and bare-chested gives me 'pert-near private performance - I hug him when we finish. hard for me to see much in the swarm but he was right there in front of scotty-san the whole time! band intros (when we're done and going back to the dressing rooms, scotty will tell ig he loved it when sometimes in the old days ig would say after introducing all of us, "and I'm fucking iggy!" but ig says he feels weird introducing himself - I think I understand) going into "1970" - whoa, something happens in the first chorus and I run over to james to show him where my fingers are and at what point in the tune we're at. ig takes it in stride and comes "l.a. blues" is reminding of something from shakespeare in his evocative spiel why I go at my little bass like a dervish thug find some kind of redemption somehow through a quote from john coltrane... of course I beat it out tune but am on tuner 'til scotty-san gives me a little time to get right before "night theme" (I get three of them in there - the 'g' I can get in another break) and we have our instrumental moment of the night cuz this is one point where ig ain't on the stage w/us w/out being in either the moat or the sea of folks. it ain't for long though, it's a little tune and gets followed up by james riffing the "skull thing" and us joining him through some choruses of that while brother steve lets his sax work the melodies in an abridged version of what ig used to sing in the older days. I make guess when james is gonna segue into "beyond the law" and it is wrong guess - my first clam (I think) of the night but maybe not a giant one cuz the 'b' is still in key - ahhh, I hate to sound like I'm rationalizing! ig's trying a new approach to singing this one, he told us about this idea not too long off the stage in monaco. actually I liked his old version but I like this one too - he is great singer. you know, I didn't mention it but at one point the mic hit the deck and came up kind of dead - I can't recall exactly where (later I learn from max it was "beyond the law" - I'm sure I heard ig doing it w/his approach idea) but I know it was a mic prob and not ig's voice cuz I'm in my head always singing right along w/him, even if I don't know exactly when the words are gonna come or if he's gonna improvise a phrasing or embellish a line, I just get way into cuz he yanks that out of me, it's like thoroughly wide open connect into head and heart, trippy. I like his voice real loud on stage, I like loudest thing - even louder than scotty-san or me cuz it's our rallying cry, our center of gravity. his body dances too, that language very important... I think it would be very hard for me to work stooges blindfolded - I'm not talking about looking at the little bass neck cuz I hardly look at that anyway, I'm talking about taking direction from ig via his movements. we do "johanna" for the first time since maybe london (england) two months ago? this was a little rough for soundcheck but not for showtime, whoa, is it a slammer! oh my, fucking crimony. ig wants a right - he asks the folks in french about the "rights of man" and then scotty gives him some right drum to get us going on a breakneck "I got a right" which blazes forth and I don't clam (very grateful) but maybe one second to celebrate cuz ig implores us for a right away "I wanna be your dog" - hey maybe somewhere in this tune the dick popped out now that I think of it - anyway I'm pretty sure he did a stagehurdle and the folks - here the folks are very close, maybe only a three foot moat and they're hardly even lower - these are the stages ig loves to work though one prob is there's hardly any fucking air, very hard to get oxygen in the lungs or feel some kind of cool. the come-down part of "...dog" w/ig on all fours, mic stand gets tongue and crowd peeps are chorus chanting - incredible experience for the bass player to witness, I'm tripping on it all but focusing my most to keep good for the band. ig asks to wait a little for "your pretty face is going to hell" though not much but it's enough of me to check the 'g' string tuning - yeah, I finally need that string for this song and I remember being sourass here some last gig. I wonder if I rushed the first bar? if I did, scotty-san got me back home safe and we rock a lot of fun w/this one and do tight rhythm for james williamson - I check in brother steve when we hit those 'd' parts before the chorus - ig getting close w/us in front of the drum riser for the chug and the ending and then the out, whoa. "open up and bleed" and man, it's trippy but more than ever before, I feel every word ig's singing - I feel it deep inside like they're living whole lives w/in me in just moments 'til the next ones come - this a very powerful song. we run off where we came on and ig says "three more!" but it ends up being four. I get the back part of the "death trip" lick backward - baka watt! just one so maybe you could say it wan interesting fourth harmony! no excuses. ig points to james like "yeah" for both of his lead guitar parts - I'm thinking too, "yeah, james on lead guitar!" ok, now time for watt to atone for the monaco major mess-up, ig calls for "fun house" and I play it as close to the album as I can: tempo, attack, dynamic - everything I can muster. I never deviate one iota, absolutely no improvising - just the one lick over and over, not even octave lower when he says "take it WAY down" and ig seems to dig it but I can also feel he wants more. several times he comes up to steve and wants him to "BLOW!" and "BLOW!" "BLOW!" "BLOW!" - you get the picture... he comes up to scotty and says "FASTER" - he wants it faster (I'm guessing) so I pick the tempo up, trying to move it where he wants it. I think we get it there by the end for him, I'm hoping (later he'll tell us we did) - he calls out "penetration" which is kind of a surprise and the first time we do it in e-minor (a step and a half lower than the album). it is trippy this way, I will learn it better. we do it pretty good tonight, I feel. the last tune for us is "no fun" and I feel I did this my worst ever. I don't know, some kind of overtones or something but I became distracted and thought I was horribly out of tune and clammed many chord changes, looking at the stupid tuner and just fucking up one of the verses even... so embarrassing - and I'm looking over at mr slouch like he had something to do w/it! what a fucking baka I am! aaarrrggggghhhhh, so pissed at myself, so pissed. ig was concerned and came over at one point but when we got done he didn't bring it up. instead he said we did "fun house" ok - it got better when we got it going faster so I know next gig to get it up right from the get-go. he was happy w/the gig but said it was hard w/no air. it was hard w/no air - I didn't mention that cuz I was just glad not to have any cramping ever through the whole gig. I think drinking the electrolyte drinks earlier is the way to go. it's too bad about that last lame-out on my part cuz it brought me down a little bit, being disappointed w/myself but actually it was a very happening gig for a sold-out paris audience that was very kind a generous w/their emotions. they were very kind, truly. much respect for paris. I just wanna make up for my "no fun" clams! fucking baka watt! almost there too... just at the end... well, there's a lesson about something in there somewhere and I will try harder to fucking learn it.

   ig offers a pinot noir wine he says has that he decanted and I have a glass of that and it is real good - I know so little about wine really but he's let me drink the best ones I've ever tasted. I thank him... and say I thought he really did incredible work - well, I think he does every he gets on stage - that's what I've seen now for more than seven years. I go and talk w/the other guys and everyone's happy, it's a good spirit. there's a ceremony or something in one of the other rooms for stooges getting a france platinum album for "raw power" but I feel weird trying to get credit - it should be for the guys who did that, not for the student who learned from it! I see my old friend warren ellis and we have a good long talk about stuff. I got to jam many times w/the dirty three during the big day out australian festival in 1996 when I was bass for porno for pyros and that was great experience for me, great one. warren hips me to this cat named cooper moore and I am definitely gonna check him out. so good to see warren again, a great cat, truly. I give him my john coltrane pin and a big hug. I walk back instead of taking car, like after soundcheck. unlike then though I get lost some cuz of giving speeches to hiyori who has 'tel nearby. I feel like fucking baka. I shower after being back cuz I am so tired but I am so glad too I didn't cramp up like in monaco, that was so painful. what's a little painful is thinking about the "no fun" clams - I konk thinking about playing it my best next gig!

friday, july 9, 2010 - zottegem, belgium

   yesterday in paris: pop at eight bells and pop clean cuz I hosed off before konking last night - best idea... what don't I always do that? slow fucking learner. down the stairs (only one more round left - never once used the ONE 'vator in this 'tel) for a petit shovel from the trough, man alone. the table next to me had this alone lady speaking italiano non-stop w/a bluetooth headset in one ear (you could see the blue light through the hair) and she was alone but if you were blind you might've thought she had the most patient listener ever - like hiyori and those fucking speeches from me... this lady was spieling while shoveling, excellent skill. she got up when finished and the power spiel never relented a single syllable worth - I was in awe, hearing the spiel grow fainter (opposite to her entry) and she got further from the troth. crimony. all my shit was packed in the sack last night I just chimp diary 'til time to bail (just after eleven am) and au revoir, hotel regina. brother steve's out front and we join the crew and get to the gare du nord (north train station) cuz that's how we're getting from here in paris to brussels in belgium - by the train. there's some comedy involved cuz of the shlep of the gear - there's my bass but I ain't gonna be able to play it! well, I will tomorrow night but that's WHEN it'll be possible to. see, mr slouch has to get the equipment van down to perpignan (southwest france, right near spanish border and the mediterranean sea) cuz the very next day after our belgian one is the next gig not too far from it. the train is quick - an hour and a half ride and we're in brussels - almost as long to make the couple of miles to the station - ha! I exaggerate - a little! pretty funny unintentional comedy routine played out before we get to the metropole 'tel - an oldie that's only a bit more than a ten minute hoof to the manneken pis which is a little short of where I go tonight, I'm looking for the shop I got six of these figurines but I space on where exactly I got them (it was by the 'tel we stayed at here that had an england name for it) and just check the old place out 'til the tourists make me crazy and then I go get some doner kebab feta on anspach called cappadocia - I get it to my room w/some one euro fifty centiliter jupiter beers and a one euro liter water (I love chimping these prices here cuz the 'tels are such fucking clip joints!) and have a good chow and then konk after a hefty soak a little whiskey that was in the clothes sack in a sock I'd forgot. the soak was good not just cuz of hoofing on the legs/hoofs but it was pretty sweaty - summer is here in europe big time.

   gig day and I pop at nine for the free trough here - a pretty good shovel here, I sit across from tourboss henry... we talk about the recent u.s.-russian spy trade and then later we go a few blocks to scrub clothes clean at a laundromat called the wash club w/him using thirtytwo kilograms worth of washing power to wail on his duds. we see a huge painting of tin tin characters balanced all on top of the manneken pis - hey, I passed a tin tin shop I think yesterday - yeah, what a trip. anyway, I'm a clean as I can for now and I start w/drinking the electrolyte drinks, this one called aquarius. I chimp diary and then go for round two of doner kebab feta at the same pad but they forget the feta this time (or maybe they were out) but it sure is good. I go get some manneken pis shots besides ones of everything else I see trippy. we ain't leaving 'til nine pm tonight - there's no soundcheck... the crew had to bail at two pm and they get only linecheck. that's cuz the gig's fortysix klicks (almost twentynine miles) away in zottegem and then get on over to oostende on the belgium coast to fly down to where mr slouch is in perpignan w/the gear - we're playing on everything rented except guitars/bass/snare. anyway, we gotta fly right after cuz back-to-back stooges gigs is not a common thing (though we got another one at the end of this leg and had one back in april) and well, we gotta do what we gotta do, right? we check out of the 'tel at nine pm and start to roll west.

   this gig's the rock zottegem festival which the driver says is kind of trippy cuz "zot" means crazy in flemish though zottegem is the real name of the town it's in. does belgium have a crazy town... does it have town w/crazies in it? I've always dug playing in belgium and lots of great cats here. speaking of crazy, I cut myself shaving and have got a piece of tissue on it to stop the bleeding... I remember seeing my pop this way in the morning sometime when I was a boy! anyway, we get to the site and we're put in a locker room (this is some kind of sports place) w/the stage far away in a giant tent. we're gonna go on at quarter before eleven pm and though that's late, it's still real warm and humid - this is gonna be a swelter gig especially w/the "micro-climate" of tent gig. ig comes into to brief us, we're gonna do "I need somebody" for sure and he wants a "like being hit by a truck" kind of a thing to it. ok. then me, scotty and james prac beginnings and endings. then my bass disappears - oh, it got taken to the stage... baka watt! gig time approaches...

   we're taken by car to the back of the big tent. we climb up the big stairs. I still don't have my bass. we head over to the wings at stage port - hey, there's miss sally! first time I've met her but no time to talk - I was told last year about her doing a youtube video of a minutemen song and she I thought I'd tell her she did good. wow, and now to meet her (for one second!) - much respect but anyway, gig time - ig asks "where's mike?" I tell him I'm right here but it's kind of dark... he asks if we're ready... then "GO!" I run over to stage starboard but there's no bass - of course there's no mr slouch cuz he's in perpignan... I run back over to get my bass from helperman derrick, he's got it - whoops, we forgot to work that one out but I get plugged in time to jump in right for our opener, "raw power" and WOOMF, we are off! we're on rented stuff and man, was I spoiled by the laneys! these two ampeg svts are total mudmeisters! that's ok, "a poor carpenter blames his tools," right? ig wants us faster, I'm trying to push... the belgian folks are VERY enthusiastic, wow - great, great vibe. the air is thick w/moisture though - glad I did those electrolyte drinkups all day cuz this is gonna be a drencher for sweating it up for me. scotty-san's working a beatup sonor kit - "kill city is next" and I keep looking back at him and forward at ig, who is tearing it up. man, he really wants us to go but I'm wondering about the monitors - the drums are real loud on stage but I wonder if scotty's hearing us. "search and destroy" right up and I feel ig wanting us up w/tempo but I can't push too far w/out leaving scotty and I can't do that, it'd be way baka. now we're into "gimme danger" and right before I give the amp eq some more mids. my first clam blow of the night is one wrong interval in "cock in my pocket" - aaarrrggghhh, just two notes but... ig wants us revving faster - I'm trying but I think... you know, they put the drums actually behind the amps so if the montiors aren't happening... I just hate to think ig's feeling any frustration, just hate - I wish could do something. I can focus more. ig's not lost in himself - I hope I ain't making it seem like that cuz he's putting on a hell of a show, fantastic - he calls for dancers to join us in "shake appeal" and I go around the sound of my amps and ask miss sally to join the folks up here w/us... whoa, there's a little rowdiness but I get nothing bad - one young man yells "minutemen!" and does his pow-wow stomp... another cat grabs me 'pert-near by the ears give a face kiss, yeah it was like my whole face was in one kiss - of course I gotta keep my hands on my bass and work it. miss sally comes out, yeah - right as james solos but then some security lady leads her off - what the fuck? I see cats taken off one by one for doing nothing bad, nothing crazy - I do see some maybe-a-little-too-wilds get the tap but lots of folks just having fun are getting the fucking hook. hmm... makes me mad some, fucked up. people just dancing and not causing trouble should not get yanked is my opinion. band intros - again I check tuning before "1970" - I've been doing that every tune cuz james is set on building me a new bass. he asked for my specs earlier in the day, even said he'd get a yellow case for it! "l.a. blues" and my freak out gets the short stuff when after a little fucking these mudsound ampgs w/my bass the cord breaks off right in the jack! I ask james and steve to keep wailing while I pull the cord piece still in the jack out w/my teeth and jos rushes me over another cable - a slipped one from scotty and we're into "night theme" - that dilemma lasted only seconds, great work from jos and the band covering for me... see, there was no right angle plug for me tonight and that left it vulnerable to my behavior. whew... just hope this bass james is having brian michael build is tough stuff! I catch the move on "skull thing" (sic) to "beyond the law" better this time, waiting for the nod from james... good going on this one and then "I need somebody" and I'm thinking foundation, foundation, foundation. ig really slams the mic stand to the deck, over and over and over - I get a little scared when this happens but try not to show it, I feel the stage take every blow... ig wants a right, we give him "I got a right" and it really believe we're blasting it fast enough, I'm hoping... it's a headrush for sure. he immediately calls for "I wanna be your dog" right after. james goes to his guitar solo and ig does his first (and only) stage dive for the night - it's a fucking wailer, way out there and I see right away blood coming from his right temple. james keep on his solo past usual but I go to my softer part after the regular sixteen bars - I'm worried... someone puts a red cowboy hat on ig and the blood spurtin' out is as red as that hat, someone pulls it off... roadboss eric helps up on the stage and he's soon up next to me. jos comes over w/a towel and I hear ig ask, "is it bad?" I say "about half an inch" but I don't think he hears me. he keeps singing, keeps going - there is not one pause or stop, blood all over the stage and him, it keeps going - we go into "your pretty face is going to hell" and he gives an intro, like nothing happened though he does make many references in "open up and bleed" - never have I see a tune so actualized, I'm fucking in awe. we wail on it. whoa. the fast part comes and blood's going everywhere as he dances up a whirler. crimony! we come off. ig's in a chair and francois tends to him. like that, he's back up and we're back on for "death trip" and again he's actualizing his hurt, blood still going everywhere. "no fun" is it, that's it but I make sure I don't clam it tonight - I bank my life on it and focus like a motherfucker. I go off stage starboard this time and wait to see what's next - ig's being helped off the stage, I stay well clear and just hope nothing's bad. I'm too scared to go back so I sit on the stage in the back behind the scrim w/miss sally and her boyfriend. it's kind of too loud to talk but I try. I give the bass to her to play. after a while though, I gotta go - soon we gotta fly so I bid farewell. my nervousness won't go away from me not knowing what's up w/ig...

   I'm thinking he might took a blow on the barrier but then roadboss eric tells me it was another dude's head that was the anvil w/ig's head the hammer. crimony. the belgian man leading me back asks me to have a beer w/him... I talk about all the heart ig gives to a gig and this cat said he could feel the difference, the BIG difference w/the other acts. ok, I start down the hall now for the rooms - there's ig! I guess he just got back from the medics - he says to me "ten stitches!" and laughs. whew, I'm relieved - I bow VERY deep and tell him "much respect" and then go to shower. hey, by the way: no cramps in the hands. good thinking of henry earlier today, good thinking.

   about two am we start on the eightsix klicks (about fiftyfour miles) to oostende and where we're taking a private jet (it's an icejet dornier 328) to perpignan in southwest france, near catalan part of spain. we get on board and I sit where I pretty much always have in these situations, near the hatch (port side) w/scotty-san next to me and brother steve across. scotty talks much about mark twain's the adventures of huckleberry finn - he loves that story and so do I. I love hearing him talk about it, love it, him doing it the scotty-san way. I don't remember getting off the plane, I think it landed at six am - or five am? there was some whiskey. there was some chicken. I don't remember the ride to the 'tel, one called "las motas" and if you live in pedro, that's a funny name for a 'tel. I remember konking good and hard.

saturday, july 10, 2010 - argeles sur mer, france

   I pop at noon. I pop the hatch and begin to wander... I see derek see - he goes w/me as far as the road outside the driveway but then turns back. I see a boneyard and explore that. new orleans style w/big crypts, also like the ones I've been to in paris. in a way, these seem like a hood full of trippy kind of tiny pads. outside it looks like parts of so cal a bunch - I discover it's a little town called alenya just southwest of perpignan and they even have a school for flamenco here! d. boon loved flamenco, had a flamenco guitar and roy mendez-lopez taught him all kinds of stuff about it. big respect. I find a little store and get some water (one bottle fizz/one w/out) and a chicken sandwich that's made up like those shitty ones in the u.s., you know: in the triangle plastic package. I hoof back to the 'tel after a little more exploring... looks like their version of tract housing around her - that new way mixed w/what's left that's old, trippy. back at the 'tel, I run see france gigboss alain and go over to him - he's chowing w/the patti smith group. I first met lenny kaye when he was walking his dog by jim o'rourke's brooklyn pad when I was staying there for a week one summer not long before jim moved to tokyo. everyone's very nice to me, big bow to ms patti. I sit on the deck at bassman tony's feet and chow that sandwich. yep, just as shitty as the u.s. ones - I did this last winter in italy too... I think I wanna stop doing these tests. I think it's safe to say all these kinds of sandwiches are shitty. me and tony talk big time about bass, it's a good time w/him. I go back to my chamber and chimp diary 'til I konk w/nap, 'puter in lap... baka watt.

   time to check out of las motas (that name!) 'tel and leave for gig in argeles sur mer, about twenty minutes south. we're about to get in our ride when ig comes out - I think we have caravan. he looks great! there's a little bit of a shiner (just tiny bit) but his recuperative skills are incredible! someone says even "very photographic" so I ask if I can take quick shot and he says "sure" so I snap one of him.

iggy pop in alenya, france on july 10, 2010

we're off. french gigboss alain has arranged for stooges to play w/patti smith group, something he's wanted to do a long time. this festival is called les deferlantes and is at a vineyard called valmy, it is a beautiful site for a gig. we share top floor of the chateau w/patti smith group - it's on the top of the hill and surrounded by rows and rows of terraced grape fields. the weather is warm but the sky beautiful w/sunset coming on. I am worried a little cuz there's no sportsdrink stuff (gatorade, powerade, etc.) so I put some salt in water in drink that. I don't want hand cramps, I very much fear that hand cramp shit. I had earlier put last night's outfit (black flannel, black levis) out on the las motas 'tel balcony to dry but it smells real bad so what I did was wear non-stage outfit and will put these stunk-up clothes on right before we go on. I can't think of another way to do it. a couple of songs into the set I'll sweat it all up and it won't matter anyway. scotty goes and meets w/patti - he played w/her husband fred and I think it's been a long time so big big hugs. lenny comes in to meet w/steve - he tells him he has carnal kitchen demo tape still from 1970! they go play their gig and tear it up. one of the gig helpladies found sportsdrink stuff and I do two of them. roadboss eric brings me my bass, yeah, I get to play her (wish though I had her for funanori during the day) and tuned up. I get into stenched outfit as downbeat time gets nearer - I stay far from everyone cuz of bad smell... 10:35 pm finally arrives...

   up on stage and there's mr slouch w/the cord in his hand - yeah, I get to go through the laneys again! "raw power" starts up from james - we kick in but where's the singing? ig's real small and that's difficult for me, I really rely on his voice to give me confidence, give me focus and plus I love hearing it, love his singing. I'm not sure when some of the changes are, shit. I think the was a little stumble somewhere but I hang on and don't freak out (that's very important). the crowd is great and it's trippy looking way cuz of the terraced vines on the hills and all, very beautiful - same w/sun now sunk but a trippy kind of glow leftover. ig's vest stayed on for actually a whole verse. he said he was gonna be calmer cuz of last night's hurt but he's revving up more and more... "kill city" now and he's working the whole stage and really tearing it up in "search and destroy" - whoa! I don't think there's gonna be stage dives but sure at "sitting around the campfire" time, nope. for back to back gigs too his voice is real strong for "gimme danger" and we simmer it down to re-explode for "cock in my pocket" which turns out to have an interesting ending, sort like scotty-san giving a little elvin jones tribute there in the homestretch. ig laughs, he's a good mood. dancers up on stage for "shake appeal" and it's a fun time, nothing crazy/violent but just wild funny dancing. ig even lets some cats sing some lines. "1970" follows band intros - brother steve getting his in french, yeah. it is sweaty but no cramps, I am grateful. wild "l.a. blues" - of course! I have some soreness that ain't like cramp but just kind of stuff that comes w/doing gigs but I can handle that. "night theme" and then "skull thing" into "beyond the law" - I'm together w/it all, the band sounds tight to me. ig calls for "fun house" but for some reason my head went stupid - he calls again and inside I tell ask myself "what the fuck is up, watt?" and dive into it, maybe a little too fast but I wanna do it right for ig. I have been checking the tuning every chance I get and I'm thinking that's what happened - you understand why I'm looking at him 'pert-near the whole gig?! so it's a little quicker "fun house" but it's pretty slammin' and ig's dancing up a storm - you WOULD NOT know this man took a major blow and bled like a stuck pig the night before, you WOULD NOT! incredible. he tells the folks bastille day is coming up and he wants to talk about the rights of man - "can I get a right?" and scotty-san answers w/his drums - YES! we roar up "I got a right" big time, whoa. maybe one beat max in between before he calls "I wanna be your dog" and yes, there's no stage dive but no, it is not pedestrian version - NO WAY! yeah! "your pretty face is going to hell next" w/a trippy end part cuz james finds himself on other side - ig hollered "get into the rhythm!" and I think that threw him some but we get it ended ok - ig laughing some - like I said, he's in a good mood. we finish w/what knobman max later says was our best "open up and bleed" yet and come off stage w/the abandoned guitar/basses feeding back. encore: I check tuning - hmm... sharp on all the strings - ig gives me time to get them right (I was right there before we ran off though, hmm...) - we pummel "death trip" solid, ig then calls an audible for "penetration" and we close w/a rousing "no fun" - whew! the gig's a soaker in terms of sweat for me (down to my fucking socks) but no cramps - yatta! I'm so glad.

   upstairs in the chateau I'm before everyone and holler john coltrane's name a bunch of times - I am so glad! it was very happening gig. lenny comes back... he told us before he'd have to bail and miss the end but when I ask why he's still here, he says he just couldn't leave - much respect to him! I go and ask if it was he like the gig and he says "yes!" - he tells me I played real good and you can't know how happy that makes me. I thank him big time, big time. I told him every gig means so much to me. everyone is in a great spirit. this is a GREAT joy. truly.

   the bus is gonna leave at two am - bus now for all but the last gig for this leg so we got much time to relax and I even get to shower which is very great thing! roadboss eric even asks for the stenched stage outfit (in a plastic sack), I am truly grateful - he is a great man, thank you much, eric. it's time to saddle up and I meet the driver george - it's a german bus company but I think he's from australia? he's a nice cat. we all have a good time as we roll the 350 klicks towards marseille, I konk about three in one of the bunks, pretty wore but pretty fucking happy, let me tell you.

monday, july 12, 2010 - istres, france

   sunday morning I pop at nine bells in foreward port-side lower bunk of bus... driver george gets to the hotel pullman marseille palm beach in the roucas blanc part of marseille - about four miles south of downtown but cuz of the cliffs and how we're facing, not visible to us. what is visible is a marina that includes kayaks! beyond that is le plages du prado. seeing people paddling instantly puts a jones in me for paddling my kayak in the harbor of l.a. back in my pedro town - man, how I miss it. the pedaling of my jitensha too... all on hold cuz of my tour life but this working-bass-for-stooges is very VERY important for me, I love stooges so much. I go hoof south to search for tiny store or market. I can't find any - just chow pads, some hair cutters and a couple of pharmacies - hard to believe but true! taiyo (sun) is VERY strong and sweat my outfit out big time. I find halal pad and get doner kebab - it's put in a soft baguette instead of pita w/fries stuffed in w/the meat. it tastes good. I actually make two rounds of the area (trippy, the gotta a replica of michelangelo's david in a roundabout leading to le plage (the beach). I go back and chimp diary. unfortunately AGAIN no bass so I can't work on new funanori songs, fuck. I set out again when evening approaches, this time trying the other direction, checking out the memorial des rapatries which is made from a blade of boat's propellor, a big one.

memorial des rapatries in marseille, france

the memorial is for the french people who came back from north africa in the 60s after it was liberated. I go back the other way again - third time - to get some dinner chow, just a little burger and fries at a pad called "all in" that advertises tapas - man, is this a "little" burger, maybe it weighs three ounces! tiny meal, maybe healthy for this kind of stuff. there's more in what they call "sliders" back in the u.s.! the ownerman is very nice though. I get a couple of small beers before the tap gets "too hot" I'm told. it is fucking hot, even w/out the sun, it is broiling. they've got the soccer world cup final on, spain vs holland... over an hour and no one's scored. trippy game, soccer - and the nationalism that goes along w/it. for me, a little scary. for paul in oberhausen he's picked spain to win cup. I think there is metaphor somewhere here about where you're born being just that: being where you're born or like I've heard before "it's not where you're from, it's where you're at" and I say that cuz of all the crazy shit that happens of getting too high and might on nationalism. I ain't trying to be hard on anyone cuz like I said, some of this comes from a little bit of fear and fear ain't such a good place to come from either. I admire how these cats can run around like they do and not having fucking heart attacks. so frustrating too not getting to use your hands. maybe I'm too used to basketball - I sure miss seeing the high school games w/raymond like we used to. pretty intense. I get back to my 'tel chamber to see spain win - paul was right. I must learn new ideology from him. I remember something on the plane here making me think of edgar allan poe's "hop-frog" which I had read when I was more young, like a teenager. I wanna flow it to him so I go to a great place to find reading stuff, the gutenberg proj and sure enough, it's there. I flow it to brother steve too... also jose in london cuz he was tripping on the monaco gig we did. I do an edition of the watt from pedro show by myself, man alone. then I konk.

   gig day and I pop at seven for the free shovel in the trough here. a lady from vietnam descent helps get fried eggs from the cook which is very kind cuz I just ain't used to the style of scrambled eggs here (cooked w/milk), not to be whining or anything. there's mushrooms, toast and bacon to go w/it and of course I wrap up a pocket sandwich w/cheeses, salamis and mustard for later. there's no soundcheck cuz of the distances involved and the driving that would require. I make one more journey south cuz I spotted a monument to arthur rimbaud. he died in marseille and this sculpture was made by jean amado. it's inspired by rimbaud's "the drunken boat" maybe?

monument to arthur rimbaud by jean amado in marseille, france

   je sais les cieux crevant en éclairs, et les trombes
   et les ressacs et les courants, je sais le soir,
   l'aube exaltée ainsi qu'un peuple de colombes,
   et j'ai vu quelquefois ce que l'homme a cru voir!

   I know the skies splitting with lightning, and tornadoes
   and the surf and currents, I know the evening,
   dawn exalted like a flock of doves,
   and I have seen what the man thought he saw!

rimbaud's poetry had big effect on my in my early twenties, it was profound on me. big time. I even wrote some songs to some of his poems. I was too embarrassed to show d. boon though... I was just learning how to write songs, putting bass to rimbaud's words. god, I look back at the songs I DID show d. boon, the ones for the reactionaries and man, it truly is embarrassing... he was so kind to tolerate such shit from me!

   we bail at eight bells for istres, sixty klicks (about thirtyeight miles), on the west shore of etang de berre - brother steve says it's the biggest lake in france (speaking of stats, I found out marseilles is oldest french city and number two in size). we're in a little renault box van and the driverman is driving it like the mercedes we're following (ig's in) but this cart can't handle it - we're all over the road and bouncing up and down fucking crazy-like. I get scared and put my head down, hands clasped after muttering "mr toad's wild ride" not too loudly. brother steve asks loudly in french for slower driving... him and scotty both thank the driverman when somehow we reach the venue for not killing us. I am shaken.

   the venue is outdoors w/a an old house next to it where we're taken to the top floor. it's here I change into my black flannel and levis. me and james start playing on axes, scotty drums on his leg, steve readies his sax - oh I forgot to say we practiced endings and beginnings back at the 'tel in the afternoon. there's a one man blues act called son of dave opening up (we're supposed to be on at 10:15 pm). it's a little warm but very nice weather. this gig is part of les nuits d'istres festival and we're playing right in front of seats going up at an angle, everything pretty close up and not like an open field gig. it's like an outdoor theatre, nice. mr slouch drove all the stuff here so that's what we're using. ig says "go!" and "raw power" is right out of the box. man, my bass sounds good on this stage through mr slouch's laneys, real good! we're just about to end the tune when a fucking nightmare comes down on me. it's been twenty years (last time at the cabaret metro in chicago) since I have had a blow-out but there goes my port-side knee... maybe I slipped on my cable? it freaks me out just to chimp this now cuz I can feel it going... it was only out real brief (we're talking kneecap dislocation - fuck, is that hard to type) but I go straight to the deck - thank god it went right back in but I have no strength in my left leg, the muscles right above the knee are useless so I sit right up on scotty-san's drum riser and we go into "kill city" - white hot lightning pain flashes are skewering my head and sometimes I can't figure what part of the song we're in but somehow I don't clam too bad, I rally myself and get it kind of together. ig is dancing and singing great but he's looking back every now and then probably thinking "what the fuck is wrong w/watt?" see, you can't through my pants, you can't tell something happened to my knee. I'm trembling and sweating but I can't let these guys down and get it more together for "search and destroy" - at one point ig turns to me and gestures to get up but I have to mouth to him "I can't" and I'm almost crying, I'm so sorry I'm so fucking weak and my body just a fall-apart-piece-of-shit. I don't know what to do, I just keep playing. I do ok for "gimme danger" mr slouch comes to give me ibuprofen at one point - is it now? I now he dropped one and picked up and shoved in my mouth - he cares much about me and asks if I'm ok and ig knows now I think about my condition cuz he says "we don't need a conference" and I waver slouch off... and then clam some in the first round of "cock in my pocket" is a little tough cuz just then a pain flash lightning rods through my head, whoa. I recover though. dancers up on stage for "shake appeal" and the stage is pretty shallow so things get hectic. mr slouch is helping me be safe - I can move to avoid and I'm lower (sitting) so people are dangerously close to hurting my leg - of course they don't know what's up w/me and I don't blame them. the monitor man jumps in! it's a very crazy time tonight w/this baby. I'm holding on and doing ok 'til the very end when bolt of itai ("pain" in jap) skewers my mind and nervous system and I totally clam the ending, fuck. I have to toughen my resolve. there's a huge pool of sweat beneath me on the deck cuz I'm sweating from both the situation and shaking it up. band intros - ig tells the folks I'm "having a bad knee night" and says "we love you, mike" and the people give me a good cheer - very kind to the fucking lamer, very kind. I'm wanna do good for these guys so bad. we go into "1970" and I am fired up... trying to get into the beat and having the bass sit on my right leg, I start stomping w/the left foot but this insane cuz that's connected to shin bone and that's connect to the hurt fucking knee! fucking baka watt. "l.a. blues" - I go for it, some itai jabbers but I get in the trane parts in some kind of way... some clams in "night theme" cuz of the same thing but not bad. james has the "skull thing" go on a little longer than usual before "beyond the law" - me being on the riser like this is hard for him or scotty to really see me and I can't "tart" (as in "pop-tart") to use body language to facilitate the "lynch pin" role better. fuck. I can pump "fun house" pretty good but start that stupid pounding w/the foot the hurt knees' connected to 'til itais stop me. "I got a right" next and maybe that's ok - I'm fucking hellbent to do what I can, it was just a few days ago in belgium when he played all hurt... we choke the hell out the ending of "I wanna be your dog" or maybe I did - I know I wasn't there to help much w/cues, fuck... there was chowder there. we get it together for "your pretty face is going to hell" though - almost slid off in the ending but it didn't and ig gave me and scotty smiles. "open up and bleed" for ender and I remember ig a few days ago in belgium not giving up when he got that big cut on his head and so I say fuck it and stand up - I do the song standing up, I feel no balance and it was so scary - if my knee went again it would be insane disaster but I just had to make myself do it, I don't know - maybe I wasn't in good state of mind... somehow I did it. I could only go to side of amp when we finished, mr slouch helping me. then they stooges come out for the encore and I get back on the riser and get my bass - I can't stand anymore. something happens at the beginning of "death trip" - I can't tell what but I can tell you ig started us over again. we get the groove and do the ending good though. I can't hear what james is doing to begin "penetration" and have to wait a bar or two, fuck. I think it got going ok though - ig was great singing it, I know that cuz I was watching him now like I was in "open up and bleed" - watching and drawing inspiration from me. I try to look at scotty but it's fucking hard from where I'm at on the riser. I feel so lame, such a weak link. I give all I got for "no fun" and that feels good. the istres people have been very good to us, even w/weakened bass player. I ain't trying to make excuses or feel sorry for myself, believe me. I just love this band and feel they deserve good bass, good lynch pin. aarrrggghh, am I fragile. I apologize to ig, he asks if I can do the rest of the gigs and I tell him "shit yeah, I will do them, no matter fucking what!"

   jos mostly carries me to the bottom floor of the old house - I can't get up those stairs - no, first he brought me outside and some paramedics looked at me, I took off my levis and was in my chonies... my knee a fucking pomelo grande but at least not all black, blue and yellow like last time twenty years ago. they feel around and speak mostly in french (of course!) but I'm too baka to know much but they help me - bringing me to that old house where they do my blood pressure and tie a sack of ice around my knee after this very kind neurologist lady checks things out. they leave and ig comes over to say he wish he would've know earlier what happened and I almost cry saying I'm sorry, I didn't mean to let him down. he said "osgood-schlatter, right? we ought to start a side band!" (we share this condition). actually my condition is even worse cuz of congenital stuff like me being born w/the kneecaps to outside. doctor mizaguchi did surgery on my starboard knee when I was twentythree and the port one the year after to reattach the ligaments further over on my patella to yank them more inward cuz by that time they had become so bad they were falling out all the time. since his operations (that's why my knees have big zipper scars), they've only fallen out three times now. jos carries me to a car that takes me to the bus, then he carries me up the bus. he's a good man. he was in a horrible motorcycle crash last year in portugal and had to heal up and get much physical therapy cuz of broken pelvis, nightmare itai. he can relate big time, like ig w/his hurts. everyone's been so kind to me. I have much respect for them, much. the son of dave man sits by me and tells me about recording in wisconsin.

   driver george starts us on the 290 klicks (181 miles) drive to lyon, where the next gig is. I have some beers w/the guys but we all konk pretty kind of soon but not before we stop for a cigarette break. I tried to walk a little and went right to the deck - luckily the knee stayed. what a fucking stupid baka thing to do. we get back on board and after a little talking w/scotty-san, I go back where I was the night before. I've learned from the old days how to lift the lame leg w/the good one by getting the top of the foot under the heel. I'm so lucking I ain't in the raging pain I was last time this happened. all that itai that flashed on me during the gig is pretty much gone. I konk, feeling the rhythms of the bus motor.

wednesday, july 14, 2010 - lyon, france

   tuesday I pop to hear george saying the rooms will be ready at ten am but seven rolls around and he rolls right up to the hilton at the centre de congress in lyon, right on the river rhone. jos gets me into the 'tel and tourboss henry helps me to my room on the eight floor... fuck, I would've never gotten the clothes sack up there myself. I use the bed to get my leg flat. henry gets my breakfast chow on a cart, very kind of him. he say he'll go w/jos to an orthopedic pad and get me crutches and a knee immobilizer. I have these at home - they haven't been used for twenty years. around noon they come back w/what thy said they were gonna fetch, what beautiful men - so very kind to me.

watt w/knee immobilizer + crutches in lyon france - july 13, 2010

then I get big time devastating news on the 'puter... my dear friend of forty years, tony platon, passed away in his sleep last thursday. my mind is numb. for some reason I can only think of the second song of my third opera ("beak-holding-letter-man") and of the bosch-painted creature that inspired it for the longest time... then comes the crying and then the pondering - my head in my hands and the pondering about everything. the knee means nothing. I met tony just before I met d. boon, when I was twelve. I was just here to california from virginia a couple years... I can see his face I think the first time I was talking w/him by the bungalows at dodson junior high - we were in the north part of pedro and didn't go to dana. I knew his brother mark first in grade school (taper avenue, he was my age and tony a year and a half younger) - he's the one who gave me the news. tony was my longest friend in pedro still living and he probably talked the most to me on the phone in the last fifteen or so years on the phone - usually when I was on the deck and just before konk. I don't use the phone hardly at all except for him and some w/nanny, talking about the animals at her children zoo. I just don't for the longest time now. he was a pool cleaner man but he was curious about everything and we'd discuss all kind of shit. also he great relationships w/his customers and I hear all about these folks who saw the good man in him I did - I think tony brought that out in people, he had such a good spirit - even w/hill people, folks w/big dinero. I'd hear about them all, they dug talking w/him while he did his work in their yards. actually I think some of it came from his pop cuz he sold furniture at barker brothers in downtown l.a. and was GREAT spieler, always made you feel comfortable and interesting stuff to say. he passed away from bad heart a few years after my pop got took by cancer (tony's pop: '95 I think, mine: '91) and it was big blow to us both... I look at my knees... tony was born w/out hip sockets and it was a time before the plastic replacement ones so most doctors said he'd never walk. there was one guy though that did some radical thing by carving right into his bone and he didn't have to stay in a chair but he did have a limp. and as he got older, it was bone on bone and he big BIG pain. I've had hurt but nothing compared to him. those surgeries had them drilling through his shin bones w/stainless augers and having to keep him from junking out, they'd cut back on the shit and he holler himself horse. tony would really hurt. it always gave me perspective and those thoughts would be backhand me back into reality when I'd even a little start feeling sorry for myself. through those forty years we had much fun together - lots of good times! we saw many blue oyster cult gigs as teenagers, black sabbath, alice cooper. later, he went to some punk shows w/me but stayed listening to bands he liked when younger like e.l.p. and rush. he got into playing guitars and even collecting some but never joined a band. I did a bunch of jams w/him - even much later I had him on my radio show three times w/brother matt - tony doing lead guitar wails in collaboration w/his "spin cycle" segments, cracking us both up big time! he never left pedro I took him on a couple fIREHOSE tours to sling shirts so he could see the u.s. outside of pedro. he named his first son after me. forty years means lots of different stuff together. I remember us driving up to hollywood to chow at pink's and go look at guitars he'd dream about (and me w/basses!) when I had my knee sugeries in the early 80s - me driving a fucking manual stick shift tranny w/my leg in a total cast - pushing the gas, brakes and clutch pedal w/the same foot from the leg w/out the cast and tony would trust me. we'd just bust out laughing each time we realized how insane it was! my big dream was to take him to a foreign country, maybe greece cuz that's where his pop's pop immigrated from there. now there's no chance. he loved me playing w/the stooges. in fact, he took me to the airport for this stooges tour leg and I got a shot of him while I was getting out of his truck:

tony platon after just dropping me off at lax for this tour leg - june 30, 2010

he loved d. boon's guitar playing. I remember the time he let me borrow his late 40s martin acousitc he got econo from one of his pool customers and us minutmen were playing at ucla was no amps (me lame on acoustic guitar too, georgie on bongos) and d. boon strummed the shit out of that baby - not to hurt but I gave it back to tony and there was giant strum marks on each side of the soundhole, huge ones! coffee spilled on the back too, not on purpose - hell, I put in the back of vw squareback w/out a case (he didn't have one), just rolling around back there w/my hundred dollar epiphone! we didn't know much about fancy stuff when we younger. all these memories flooding me - then numb, then things from the old days pile on each other in my head... but he was also in my current life - he loved nels cline's guitar playing. he loved anyone who could whup it up w/emotion even though it wasn't intellectual, he felt things emotional and was honest about his feelings. he had no front, he was who was, tony, and that was great. he was solid as a rock. life dealt him a hard hand but he always had good spirit to share w/me, always! we'd debate all kinds of things but always came out agreeing somehow in the end, just to make sure that's the way it end up and not in some kind of hell. he was very kind to me. I could tell him everything and anything. we would talk about government. we'd always be laughing at everything, finding the trippiness in whatever. we would talk about god. all I could do all this afternoon was think of all stuff over all the years... sundown starts to happen and huge shafts of light come from the behind the clouds and the sun sinks... all the crying... all the getting it together and then crying... very emotional on me. it's hard to write about this - I can't explain right or even close w/my pathetic chimping what tony was to me - he was dear and true friend.

   brother steve comes by w/some tuna sandwiches for me to chow. it's a difficult night for me. I konk in the knee immobilizer to make sure I don't hurt myself more in crazy konk.

   so gig day comes, I pop out of bizarre dreams abstract w/colors twirled up incomprehensibly and w/wack sounds to go w/it - all at once and none at all and hardly in between but in gale wind like of grip on me or rather like in the most intense venturi. I do make my way to the chow pad and a young man there helps put chow on a plate and carry it to me - some fried eggs, bacon and toast w/round marble-sized potato things. I go back on the crutches and make up a pocket sandwich for later w/some ham, cheese, mustard and pickles. I can get around - I know about this lamed-up stuff from my old days but I am less younger now so I don't how that is... I choose not to explore around this compound/mini-town but I'd like to... shit, I'd like to get to the river I see out my window. I chimp diary and then go to soundcheck. it's in the middle of lyon - the old town, actually it was an roman town called lugdunum and where we're playing is the theatre antique de fourviere which is an amphitheatre from a couple thousand years ago. it's for the les nuits de fourviere festival and not only that but it's bastille day which is like the fourth of july in the u.s. for these folks, the start of their republic. we do a few songs and yep, I can play in this immobilizer and am grateful for that. I'll plant myself right in front of scotty's starboard crash cymbal. there's some boom so I come down on the laneys' bass eq from noon to nine o'clock. max says ok, great. don't wanna bogart w/bass - its not a reggae band! it's weird, me riding in my own car but at least henry rode w/me here and steve's riding back w/me. I have to bogart the whole back seat, sitting sideways. I show everyone how I move the lame leg w/the good one by getting under it. me and scotty practice beginnings and ends in james' room soon as I can get a new key cuz the one that worked this morning doesn't work now... ig calls just before we start and james is talking w/him - ig wants to know why all those clams last gig and james says some of it was cuz I was there to cue off of and that's right - I let the team down cuz of having to sit on that riser but I was just so hurt and scared to go down again - maybe that getting up for "open up and bleed" was stupid but I wanted to be brave like ig even when really being scared shitless. we go through the tunes and then I go back to my chamber and chow that sandwich while doing some thinkings... then I write brother tony maimone in brooklyn about these third opera mixes he's made for me, he's doing a great job. I then risk a bath to float this leg w/the swollen pomelo grande and I do it w/all the fucking maneuvering it takes to get it done and not get more hurt. I am grateful. I'm gonna wait to get the stage out fit on at the gig. I get my clothes sack to the 'vator by hanging it on one of the crutch handles but a man from this 'tel comes and helps me. the put in a car by myself this time.

   it's raining a little bit, oh no. you know about slippery decks! they bring us underground and I begin getting undressed. brother steve helps w/the port-side leg cuz I can't get to my show cuz it can't bend. he helps get the blue levi off and the black one on. big thank yous to him arigato. same tying the shoe. fuck, forgot my belt but this immobilizer will keep everything up cuz it's on tight as hell (I want it that way). james suggested I wear baggy pants but relented when I stressed strongly I would look even more stupid w/hammer pants on. ig comes in says he likes the look, kind of mechanical man... it's blue and black, germs colors - but the main thing: I feel safe. son of dave is opening up again, we're to go on at quarter after ten pm. fifteen minutes after son of dave finishes, olivier brings me around the back so I can come from my side and be behind the bass amp, ready to trade my crutches for the bass w/mr slouch. I see james come out from his side of the stage, the way it usually goes - never seen it this way cuz I'm always part of the team charging out but in my head I'm imagining ig hollering out "let's go!" when I make my way from behind the amp (what do you think the folks were thinking?) to in front of it, around the monitors and being very careful - jos taking my crutches and mr slouch putting the bass around me - I get in front of scotty's starboard crash cymbal just in time for my entry into "raw power" and the gig is off. damn, is it trippy playing like this... so stiff w/the only motion coming from my fingers - I can't throw any of my body into the notes, I can't throw my fingers at the strings - very strange for me, truly. a little tough to groove even and I have a little fear I might topple cuz I'm so stiff but as the song goes on, I get a little more relaxed. it is freaking me out though but I big time don't wanna choke and let these guys down - I love stooges. I can wheel around some to cue the endings, that's good - it's the scary this first time though I did try it at soundcheck but that was w/out a full house of enthusiastic french folks - especially in the pit, crimony! the rain's let, I'm so glad for them. in the first verse, ig throws off his vest but I can't "swerve to avoid" so I get in right in the face, buttons and all. it wasn't his fault, he threw back from over his head and wasn't even look cuz he was focus on the tune like he should be. I ain't mad, it was kind of a trip - I saw if flying and was helpless to do anything - actually I didn't wanna take any chances of hurting my knee so I took the blow instead. "kill city" next and it's just so strange that only my hands are moving, so strange! I think I did ok but when we get to the second setup for the chorus in "search and destroy" I hit a fucking a-flat instead of the f-sharp I'm supposed to... I'm thinking it's cuz the bass isn't being slung on my body like I'm used to and am not sure where the notes are. beat me w/the side of a fucking two-by-four, I rally though for "gimme danger" instead of just stewing in self-pissed-off-ness, that is not productive way of behaving. so many gigs into this tour leg and ig's still singing really great and dancing beautifully, working the whole stage. did I roll up sleeves for "cock in my pocket" ??? I can't even fucking remember but I do recall doing it pretty ok - a good one for bastille day, right? correct! mr slouch is beside me for "shake appeal" for abunai ("danger" in jap) but the lyon dancers are very kind and gentle w/me. for some reason though, I called the ending early (maybe not? I think I did) and scotty-san wasn't looking - james went out w/me but cuz the drums kept going it was good we went around again and ended it w/him. I think ig said something about not being perfect but good enough or did I make that up in my head?! it was so strange for me stiff like that - like showroom dummy. I shouldn't be so self-conscious about it, shit, but I am relating my feelings. actually I'm just really glad I'm here to help and not lame them out - I truly do love the stooges. band intros, stickman version of "1970" from me where I hear things so strangely, like a from a disembodied perspective instead how I usually feel all caught up in it. in my freakout part in "l.a. blues" which is very tough but I get some "giant steps" semi-quotes out... I actually hobble over to the front of the laneys stack and give two pathetic humps to them (did I even make contact?) and look over at mr slouch and jos, feeling so embarrassed. I hobble back over to my place and let scotty-san know I'm ready to go and we do the "night theme" to "skull thing" to "beyond the law" medley w/out me clamming and maybe ok, I hope. ig calls for "fun house" next and I get it started on the next beat, I'm glad. I'm a little one-dimensional though and ig has to use his hand a little to direct some dynamic in me and I follow close. you know on the album he hollers "let me in!" and the band doesn't relent but he wants that here (gigs in the older days, ronnie would always look over and either smile or out and out laugh at this part cuz no way was he giving in!). I get real small and come back w/the choruses each time. it's such a swinging song and being all stiff like this is so opposite - ha! trippy, life's lessons. ig asks for a "god damn right" and scotty gives us the "I got a right drum in and we blast forth, woosh! first go 'round of last chorus something happened but I got back on and back in, I am glad. this is very tough tune to do stiff like showroom dummy! ig does the "leaning tower of pizza" tumble over stage dive during the guitar solo of "I wanna be your dog" and I'm thinking for some reason about my sweating - there's some but not like usual but no shit, right? bizarre thinking from me - guilts for being too dry meaning I'm not working hard enough. "your pretty face is going to hell" up RIGHT NEXT, only a tiny intro - boom boom boom... ig give great mime of woman putting on makeup and since a couple of seat cushions have come up on stage already (old tradition at this pad is for folks to throw their seat cushions onto the stage if they dig the performance), he uses one for a handbag (the cushions got handles like a handbag) to drive home the point as he pouty-mouth swagger-hip walks across the stage - great! jos helps me off stage-starboard after a very heartfelt "open up and bleed" w/the ending feeling so trippy the way I am - I wish we could've taken it up to a million miles an hour, really, I do. encore: we come back and ig asks the folks if they wanna take a trip w/him and they all holler "yeah!" so we give them "death trip" which is kind of a trip, huh? we lock in right from the top, good one tonight. "penetration" is next I'm finding it a little hard cuz again, how the bass sits on my stiff body but I get it mostly I'm hoping... no eye-contact from scotty means stumble ending a little bit - I think I'm wheeling about too late, gotta do it sooner. we finish up w/a good "no fun" though and that's when a ton of blue seat cushions come flying up, many hitting me but I have to say none w/the force of that vest of ig's at the beginning (after the gig, james tells me I was almost hit bit a mic stand too, didn't realize!). a very good gig even if strange for me. I'm so glad I didn't fuck things totally up. I lift my bass over my head and holler "happy bastille day!" to the people... much respect to them. they were so good to us.

   jos helps me off on my side, I make the trade w/mr slouch and go down tunnel (dressing rooms are way under stage) on my crutches. I meet ig coming the other way, nina saying I did good and then ig too, even said I looked good! much respect to him, so much. I just wanna do good for him. james wants me to go upstairs and see the bastille day fireworks but I'm in no shape, I'm so sorry I have to decline. ig comes in while eric helps me get out of semi-sweated outfit (thank you so much) and gives me a glass of a wine from 1947, he says his birth year. it's very sweet and a yellow color, trippy. I go take a shower... this is so scary, being w/out the knee immobilizer and there's a step up I have to make and sure enough, I 'pert-near take part of a tumble - not a whole one but enough to scare the fucking shit out of me. fucking baka watt, I'm very grateful not more hurt and I am very VERY slow and careful about getting toweled off, shitagi ("skivvies" in jap) on and back to little dressing room to get IMMOBILIZER STRAPPED BACK ON quick as possible. fuck. henry introduces me to lady who sold him this most precious item for me, plus the crutches - I thank her many many MANY times - very VERY grateful watt. I chow a little fish w/dill - oishii ("tastes real good" in jap) pluse green beans. son of dave comes and visits me, I find out his originally from winnipeg and we talk about guy maddin (who dig VERY much) while his valet (or butler is what he calls him) wants to sign my immobilizer and I say sure... he writes:

   "come back soon, man! trisx"

   both of them are so kind to me. I tell them how I got to narrate a showing of mr maddin's "brand upon the brain!" at the egyptian theatre up in hollywood a few years ago and what a great honor that was for me, fucking righteous. I got very caught up in it while I was in the moment spieling for it... I hadn't actually seen it 'til the performance was happening cuz I was asked w/such short notice so I was like the audience people in a way, finding about it as they were, as it was going along. that was such a mindblow for me, an incredible experience that I'll never forget.

   we get on the bus for the ride towards our only italian gig this year. everyone konks pretty quick - except driverman george (of course!) and scotty-san, brother and me. we spiel for a good hour and a half before I go back to where I've been bunking and konk pretty quick, for I am beat. I think of tony and how we spiel before I'd konk in my pedro town so many times - sometimes w/him still on the phone, him telling me the next day and both of us laughing. I love you, tone... buona notte.

friday, july 16, 2010 - azzano decimo, italy

   yesterday during the drive from france it was kind of swelter and I had pop in after some hours of konk and get water my throat... back in the bunk and then down to shitagi and brace back on made for some coolness and konk came 'til about nine bells. there's a little sliding hatch in this bunk and I can see the tiny road 'pert-near w/out any shoulder we're on must mean italy, out in the little towns. this bus is big - six wheels (the two rear ones can turn w/the front ones) so when I leave the bunk part up front, I see barely the little locas cars getting around us - some all balls out though and don't even slow down, 'pert-near a game of chicken but our driverman george has very happening technique and we move through the wine country of northern italy. this pad we're staying at is in fact an old vineyard estate called villa foscarini cornaro in the tiny town of gorgo al monticano. it's a real beautiful pad and land but man, it's really swelter here. our trip from lyon was about 750 klicks (about 470 miles) and so no prob for me to hobble the hundred or whatever feet to the chambers but the 'tel people put me in a golf cart - aaarrrrrgghhhhh, I hate being not independent. I do take the stairs myself, gorgeous pink marble ones up on flight to my room which is cooler than outside but after many hours w/the thermostat set to go down to 18 degrees (sixtyfour and a half f - just to see if you could start going that way), it moves only a half degree at most off of twentyseven (eighty f) so that means just shitagi and immobilizer for me which is ok. I was the italian shirt ste gave me in the sink and dry it from a cord hanging in one of the windows where I can still keep it shut cuz it's inset in the bulkhead. it dries in like an hour! very hot here: very hot, very humid - mushiatsui (guess what language?). I grabbed a loaf of french bread, not baguette but big-around one like back in u.s. plus a pack each of swiss cheese and salami slices and that's what I use for chow all day while I work on funanori - yes, I got a bass in my chamber! it's not mine - it's jos' that he brings along for backup (it got put in the bus for us to prac tomorrow at the 'tel cuz no soundcheck will be possible) but it's better than nothing and I first put together a track for new tune "living on the hill" from the first ten tries of parts she approved of and then start working on tries for the chorus cuz none of them made the cut. I do ten of them. I'm trying to be creative. I'll record a good version of the entire bass track at my pedro home w/my moon bass once I know what is happening - this is just for ideas for to her to hear so she can choose and organize. it's a trippy way but I find it interesting and challenging. I find no problem w/shit getting thumbs down and going back to drawing board, it's great thing about funanori. I think it helps me try to better bass player and composer. it is a process! it's kind of a struggle to have my leg up while doing this but well worth it. takes my mind of the shvitz that's going on here in the chamber. it ain't real bad to be a beatdown but thank god I can just sport shitagi (chonies) and immobilizer! night time comes and I wanna send what I've recorded but that means out in lobby (same floor as chambers though, grazie!) and this building us all of stooge people are in is only us except for two others (I'm told cuz actually I saw only one and once), these hardly any staff which is kind of the 'tel folks to have such privacy. so, I just crutch around like I am in my chamber - the stooges cats don't give me hell. anyway, I'm out there doing the upload and james sees me and says he'll go get me a bottle of wine grown here. that's very kind of him. I konk a little later in my chamber.

   gig day and I pop at seven bells and there's no tub to soak in so I'll go for the hose-off. now I'm remembering after the gig in lyon w/that shower hell so luckily this shower has doors that slide open to expose a corner you enter in. this gives me enough space to sit on the shower deck and block the hatch enough so the whole fucking head don't get wet. also, the shower head's on a hose so I can hold it w/my hand and control the spray direction big time. this very safe way for me to get clean. I am very fucking grateful! I go to hobble towards the free shovel, not knowing exactly where the trough is but see brother steve and he accompanies me to where he's be given directions, in another building not too far away. I ain't very hungry though and just have a big roll stuffed w/mustard and - guess? swiss cheese and salami! that's what they got out here, a different kind and fresher than the supermarket pack kind I had in my chamber. we have coffee out of a silver pot too, skinny spout and all. very nice cups... this place is a trip. hobbling back, I check out the hedges, they've been cut in mazes w/statues in their center. there's the hugest fucking oak tree, damn... I wonder how old? magnificent. I told steve about james ellroy before and I how I really dug his l.a. quartet so he's reading his "blood's a rover" now and is way into it, alright! I got to meet mr ellroy once at a l.a. area book store ("romans" maybe?) and got him to sign a copy each of "white jazz" for both me and raymond (for his birthday). he was intense and I liked him. I asked why did danny have to die in "the big nowhere" and he told me the socio-economic politics of that time (where the book was set) dictated it, something like that. he wrote in my book "stab out, l.a. style!" and I gave him a brother handshake. I go to my chamber and chimp diary 'til time to do beginning/end prac w/scotty in james' chamber - james' has coolness in his but fuck it if I'm taking off the immobilizer to get into more than shitagi (skivvies) so I crutch on over as I am. we get done and I konk for a nap. I need it. I get into my stage outfit stuff except the shirt (I'm sweating out the non-gig outfit shirt, wearing the one ste sent me cuz it's made in italy!) so I don't have to change over there. the gig's in azzano decimo which is ninety klicks northeast of venice and twentytwo klicks from here so we bail at eight and a half. sure is pretty country, I can see it better on this ride. we get to the venue and it's public elementary school - the dressing rooms are class rooms and the gig's out in the playground area w/an outdoor stage. trippy. it's for the fiera della musica festival and the folks here are very nice. I put on the black flannel shirt and my "a love supreme" cover shot john coltrane pin and go out to see gang of four playing, thirty plus years since I last seen them. only two original guys left, hugo and dave are gone. the singerman jon is righteous, his voice in great shape and really belting it out plus dancing up a storm - in all this heat and humidity too. wow, he's really something. I only know the old songs, their first ones. when they get done, he comes off the stage sweated up to the hilt and winded big time cuz he really wailed on it. crimony! he's sitting on these steps and I crutch on over to tell him "much respect" and say I saw him last play in orange county, california and he laughs saying I was the only one (it was a little crowd but that was ok for w/me) and I said, "no, me and d. boon" and his face changed and he said "I loved the minutemen" - what a very kind man. wow. d. boon liked those first songs of theirs too. jon sure worked hard and did a great gig. he asked about my knees and said he had some "ops" (operations?) on his too. I see ste from the spacepony and visit w/him some, great to see him again. he lives where dante died, ravenna. great cat, very kind to me. I go back to the room and ig's discussing stuff w/scotty and james then we work on the ending of "your pretty face is going to hell" cuz there's some question of counting. ok, we count it out. everyone's worried about the heat but I'm thinking we've had way worse - like last time we played in italy (venice 2008) or in switzerland (montreux 2006) so I think we can handle it. I can't move around much anyway but I know it'll be tough for scotty. hopefully there's a fan blowing his way cuz I care much for him. I paced on get the brace for my right knee and roadboss eric gets me another one of ig's - grazie mille.

   just after ten and a half - I go out ten minutes early to crutch over to my side of the stage and up some steep steel stairs but I take it slow. I don't go behind my amp this time but rather sit on a stool by mr slouch's set up. when I see james trot out to start "raw power," I crutch over to in front of the laney amps and hand the crutches to jos while mr slouch slings the bass over me. we're off and I'm there. hmm... the bass is kind of thin and I remember turning down the low-end for the lyon gig but no bother w/that now, this show is on! ig gets hit w/red paper mitre that says "pope iggy" on it but takes no notice... the vest flies off but unlike last gig, this time misses me. so weird so stiff and all the movement just coming from my fingers but I focus hard to do as best as I can. the italian folks are very emotional and responsive, even w/all the heat, amazing. the place is jumping! right before "kill city" I put the amp eq bottom back to flat and mr slouch gives me a nod of approval. "search and destroy" follows (starting last gig, steve's back on the clave sticks instead of the tambourine) and the band is crackin' (ig likes to say that when it's good), "gimme danger" too. I roll up my sleeves for "cock in my pocket" - yes, even in this condition - while ig says many grazies to the folks. they deserve it. "shake appeal" has a small number of dancers, was that the security's fault? I saw spacepony ste try to get on board but was denied - damn. again, I go early for the ending but I think I know what's happening - ig's doing the cue three times instead of twice and scotty keeps going so me and james go through it twice. I start to hobble over to tell james while the dancers are being cleared off the stage but he waves me back and tells me not to move. ok. band intros and then "1970" and the sensation of being showroom dummy stiff is a little different than last gig cuz that was so new but it's still very strange for me but maybe strange times call for strange men so "fuck it, just keep trying" I tell myself. it's really weird w/the freakout - I'm thinking like I'm giving a recital rather than going off in "l.a. blues" - again I stiffleg over to the amps and give them some very lameass fucks before the "night theme/skull thing/beyond the law" string-together pushes ig out again from the wings. he tells the crowd that cuz italians got good rhythm we're gonna do "fun house" and yep, that's what's up - I remember last gig and know the dynamic good, I'm thinking now from those directions and go way softer for his verses. he is really dancing it up - hell, he's been doing it all good but really laying it out here now, big steps! I wish I could do big steps! hold on, watt - you can only dance in your head. we do our best (in my opinion) "I've got a right" yet and then I'm thinking "hey, no real clams so far from me" and sure enough, in all three fucking choruses of "I wanna be your dog" I miss the g-to-e move... crimony! I space and can't remember it's GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG, what a fucking bozo - so embarrassing. idiota! I bone up for "your pretty face is going to hell" and "open up and bleed" big time, shit - I'm always trying hard but fuck... anyway, I play those right - pretty sure I did. now I'm full of doubt! I think that was just a karma backhand to get into me reality and not getting to full of myself. from now on I don't try to get too happy w/self-approval and work harder staying in the moment, keeping the focus there. I hobble off w/jos' help and the hobble back on for the encore: "death trip" real solid and both "penetration" and then "no fun" having some trippy endings, kind of but it goes good and these folks were sure showing us much kindness and big time spirit. I slowly crutch back to the dressing rooms. I am grateful for not falling over!

   I ask everyone where did they think I clammed and roadboss eric gets it right on the nose about "...dog" - respect to him. I go explain the whole deal to james and tell him I'm very sorry and feel so stupid. I don't know how to explain what happened, just baka watt for those three moments. I ask him about the beginning of "no fun" and was I hearing things - I know the ending was kind of weird maybe cuz of cues (was it "c'mon" or "no fun" ???) but we all read ig's body language and got it together. everyone agrees it was a good gig even w/the heat. actually I ain't completely drenched cuz of the showroom dummy stance, not in the levis anyway.

   I go put on the italian shirt and go into the hall - I see ig w/just towel wrapped around (man, did he work hard, probably just showered) and I ask him "good gig?" and he smiles big time, saying "yeah!" - "alright" I say back, much respect. that gives me a REAL GOOD feeling when he says it's a good one. I then crutch outside to find my il sogno del marinaio fratelli andrea and stefano but don't see them anywhere... the italian gig-goers are so kind to me, very kind and sincere. they're beautiful. they talk about the gigs, their towns, everything has much passion in each telling. wow. big love. then I see them, fratllelo stefano and fratello andrea - big hugs, big ones - even for crippled man!

(l to r) andrea belfi, mike watt + stefano pilia in azzano decimo, italy on july 17, 2010

I haven't seen them since our recording and tiny tour last winter - so good to see them again. they tell me our first album ("la busta giallo") has only two songs more to be mixed - yatta! jacopo (zu drummerman) comes over - he's moving to tokyo! but maybe we can do tour w/zu sometime... we plan. I might be able to do some il sogno del mairnaio gigs after "the nightmare before christmas" all tomorrow's parties in december cuz curators godspeed you! black emperor have asked me to do my european debut of my "hyphenated-man" opera there w/my missingmen. I will talk to euro bookerman dutch dude carlos about possibilities. I sure can't wait to play w/them again and wanna start make plans and composizioni for second album! they inspire me much, very good cats, dear friends, brothers to me. we spend long time spieling, good spiel... luca from novaradio joins us - he drove all the way from firenze, whoa! so good to see him. he says he brought some wine and goes to get it but eric comes again and I have to get on the bus cuz we gotta bail so I tell stefano the wine's for him. so sorry, luca. last hugs - I hobble away.

   it's a nine hundred klick (563 miles) hellride to next gig so we have a second driverman to share the wheel, his name is bodo. it's an early night for everyone and the crewmen bail for their bunks. we're short scotty-san cuz he's on the plane w/the others so me and brother steve stay up a little - I chow some grilled lamb and taters from a chow pad not far from the venue that the folks there got me, some salad too. molto saporito! I go to the bunk and the air conditioner's been fixed so konk comes like that, I'm out.

sunday, july 18, 2010 - ostrava, czech republic

   saturday and I pop from trippiest dream (sogno/yume) aboard the bus here in the fore port-side bunk - the usual side for me so I don't think it was outside physical stuff to much account for it. it was one of them riddle ones where you know for sure deep down there's something to be learned, someone (?) something somehow trying to get through to you and help you understand on a level that hardly exists anywhere else, a way far under learning. it was a gig situation in the most abstract circumstances - not a stooges one but one w/my guys but I was never sure who was which but in a way it seemed all of them, popping in and all from all the times since minutemen and fIREHOSE I've had my own bands. and then there was the other band - we were gonna share the stage and do this gig w/another band and they were very good people - one personality in particular that I couldn't help but pick up on every single detail and though this was not the first time meeting (very much fucking hardly!), everything seemed much more rarified and intensely special yet very casual and nothing uptight but... I was tripping on it, big time. then somehow I was yanked away to be in some other part of the town - I could feel it was important to do this but can't for the life of me know WHAT it was for or what was I supposed to do... all I know is eventually I had to get back for my own gig seeing all I really was doing was just wandering around. talk about a riff on kafka's "the castle" - oh man! however, it was different in the way I knew I was getting learned in a way that could only happen in this matter so it was just crazy misunderstanding and perplexity for the fuck of it but more like this was the only way it was going to get through to me - sort of like the message of the purple sweater which I still have trouble articulating just what the lesson is but am absolutely convinced it is one of my most crucial learnings I ever got taught. whenever something strikes me as most profound, my head instantly recalls the lesson of the purple sweater and though like I've said, I've never really got all that figured out I still somehow find a resonance w/it. I get back to where the dream started - actually it's next door in some kind other social kind of place and wander aimless forever around there, never actually playing which was the reason to be where I was in the first place. the music didn't seem important 'til thinking about in my room at the hotel imperial here in ostrava (most east big town in the czech republic) and realizing music was the most central, the only real legitimate connection - everything else just illusion/confuision and w/out substance. I finally relaxed some, it seemed to sit real good w/me there, felt right... a sense of relief w/out having it spelled out or reduced by generalizing approximations - letting it be for the sake of it being what it was and that was enough. I remember scotty-san telling me about the tao - maybe it's something like that. I did find good feeling of relief even though I can't give an explanation, I had content feeling! nothing is figured out but it's ok, it's ok. I think in a way it was some sort of revelaltion of reconciliation w/fucked-up parts of a what maybe mr welles would say be a "unfortunate personlaity" maybe? I felt breather after intenseness, you know? that kind of feeling and it brought natrual smile inside and outside to me. wakarimasuaka? I wouldn't blame you if you didn't, truly.

   from the old pictures in the hallway on the bulkheads of this 'tel, I think it used to be called "german house" in german. "ost" is east in german so I'm wondering if this is sudetenland? let me check wikipedia! answer: NO (maybe, it's just wikipedia!). the prices are very econo and I go for room service so I can pay in euros when I check out and it saves me from having to hoof though that really bums me out cuz I can't explore, can't snap shots, et cetera - besides for making for a hard time w/the gigs, this is really lame thing about my hurt knee but I'm careful not to wallow too much cuz fuck, it could be so SO much worse. it was twelve hour bus ride so late afternoon when I get a nicoise salad which has got a huge pile of tuna surrounded w/anchovies, olives, cherry tomatoes, onions, hard-boiled egg slices, dijon mustard and sitting on a bunch of lettuce. it's a good chow and I hankered for greens anyway. then I did careful listens to the many mixes of the twentyone tunes (out of thirty - he's got nine more to go) or rather parts cuz they all go together to make one piece of my third opera "hyphenated-man" that bass brother tony maimone is doing at his studio g in brooklyn. there's good and fast internet here and more econo that anywhere else: six euros for a day (they actually let me have two days for the six). the files are big so the happening internet is righteous. I know brother tony would want me there by his side w/the mix but what can we do? gotta get it done for the early fall release in japan and the tour to support it there. I trust him much too, he's a big bass hero to me. roadboss eric comes to the hatch in the early evening and says my presence is required by scotty-san in the chowpad downstairs. I get dressed (in shitagi mode like in italy) and crutch on on over - he's w/brother steve and they're both shoveling and though I ain't that hungry, I gnaw on some of the lamb bones scotty left some meat on and drink beer w/them. scotty asks today's date - fuck, baka watt!!! it's his brother ronnie's birthday, of course! same day john coltrane died, july seventeen (ronnie would always laugh about that). right then, the biggest thunderstorm outside really gets going, big time thunder and lightning - the chowpad's lights browning out and all. so us three talk about things - and puff tobacco! what chowpads let you smoke in them these days? I go back and konk at like ten bells - even w/all that bus konk (most of that ride I was konked) my body is telling me please.

   I pop at five bells and slowly do tub thing... I am successful and don't get hurt. I soak real long time. easier getting out then in. I wash italian shirt in sink and there's an electric towel dryer rack that does just that: dry it. I crutch down to shovel from the free trough... fried eggs cooked right there w/baked beans (kind of england style?), big thick zucchini slices (not england style!), half a broiled tomato, a split-end small hotdog kind of sausage, bacon, mushrooms, taters and toast. there's two guys in their early 30s real loud using simple english like "I love you!" w/each other and 'pert-near like they're yopporai (borracho) but it's seven and half in the morning! it's trippy cuz usually euro chowpads are mouselike quiet - that's why I notice it. no big thing though. I go back up to my chamber and chimp diary and listen to the rest of the "hyphenated-man" mixes - great job from brother tony. my other tony, the one born and raised in pedro I just lost - I think about him hearing these mixes cuz we talked much about my third opera and he couldn't wait to hear it realized... man, did he support me so much w/my bass trip. he loved to talk about music and though he was never in a band, had man guitars and mandolins, loved playing them every day just to play them. self-taught. oh man, I start crying again. I have the backup black epiphone bass of jos' to do prac w/james and scotty. they wanna do it in my chamber so I don't have to crutch it. I get it together in time to do prac w/them. once again I start getting sad about losing tony, aaarrrgghhh - "buck up, watt" I tell myself... gotta get it together so I start working on new funanori song called "omoide" and figure out it's chords and structure. the title means "memories" - ain't that a trip? it has beautiful harmonies and many possibilities for the bass - I will compose many versions!

   checkout w/brother steve at eight and head to the venue, not too far away in a field just outside of town. it's been raining but kind of lighter now though the sky's real gray. finally a chance to wear the yellow jacket! it's been so hot it's been in the clothes sack this whole tour leg. ania rides w/me and steve. she's tourboss henry's partner and came to the gig from where she lives in poland. good to see her again. she has empathy for my knee, very kind. no chow since asagohan (first rice - breakfast!) but there's some wasabi-covered something I chow... interesting. we're not on 'til quarter after ten so I just sit w/leg propped. ig does come in to go over stuff w/us - I think I know now the cue to end "shake appeal" for real - slow learner watt! I didn't write about last time but the italian gig "open up and bleed" was too fast so he asks james to get that back some. he gives a bunch of other pointers. he asks maybe a month of healing for my knee? I nod. he can relate, I know but I hate letting him down and will try hard to play better, even as stiff-ass-ironing-board-boy. mr slouch tells me about his drive in the equipment van (jos' sprinter) from italy and that going through austria was one of the worst storms for him ever. I tell him about some of white-knuckled-pants-shitters I've had to do w/hurricanes in florida and alabama but only to relate cuz I have much respect for him. I go to the stage ten minutes early so I don't have to rush, roadboss eric helping me navigate the mud and wetness.

   I first sit in a chair behind a curtain and then me and the chair are moved behind the bass amps (once again we get to use our stuff, yeah!). were doing the colours of ostrava festival and these three czech guys come out to talk in czech w/something do w/it... an older lady (not real old but not girl) comes out to accept a huge bouquet of flowers - damn, I wish I could understand what was being said but it's gotta be one of the trippiest intros I've seen the stooges have cuz usually there's NO intro - I see james and move to my place, giving crutches to jos and getting the bass from mr slouch - I feel a slap on the shoulder from ig as I'm wheeling around - fuck, I wish I could be quicker cuz I'm so slow in this condition... I am in time to join in right for "raw power" but I have to tell you, it is fucking stiff and maybe kind of even stumbly in places cuz it's so hard for me to bust out of the gate w/this and how I am now. the field in front of us is full w/hollering czech cats and it looks like the rain has stopped, I'm so happy for them - I always feel bad for folks getting soaked at a gig w/a storm. the stage is dry. ig accidently stomps on my port-side toes - I can't move to avoid! he don't weigh much though. I laugh. he vest comes flying off and over his head, the gig is definitely on and he is wild, man - I wanna move like that! I wanna sing like that! "kill city" - the bass is too loud coming out of the monitor and I want more of ig singing... actually the czech cats have got a great stage going and I hardly ask for less of me but I need that to happen and signal to jos and mr slouch. it's difficult cuz of my fucking knee but they get it happening for me - I see helperman derek turning knobs on one of james' blackstar amps for "search and destroy" - I go to the octave a little soon going into one of the choruses (second one?) - I did this before on a gig before, hmm... good "gimme danger" and "cock in my pocket" but ig feels unbalance on stage - "this is a guitar band!" he hollers - hobble over to him and ask quiet close up to him and he answers "no, you're alright" while "shake appeal" dancers are gathered up... whoa, only a handful. I'm glad a few more get to come on board as we start the tune but it's still kind of tiny... they're good dancers though and earnest. we do the tune very together, even the ending and me getting bumped some accidently by some dancers (I'm very VERY vulnerable in this condition and someone could really hurt me if they wanted to - I have no support going front or back and very little even side to side), alright! I hope never to clam this tune's ending again! band intros next - thank you so much, ig - we storm out "1970" (or "loose" like james likes to call it at prac!) and this time for "l.a. blues" I don't even try to fuck the amps cuz it's so pathetic the last two gigs but I do wail the strings really REALLY hard w/some freakout... scotty uses nose hanky and they gets us into "night theme" which brother steve is sounding good w/his solo... james alone to get us into the "skull thing" and then nod me when the "beyond the law" segue is under way - good flow, the band is really coming together and by this point in the set (actually maybe by third song), I can use my body for some up-and-down tiny bounce - not that any part of my feet leave the ground but I can jiggle, you know? it helps someone like me, I swear. remember, I'm not born musician - I got into this to be w/my friend. now it's really dance time for ig now - he calls for "fun house" and you would never know this was the ninth gig of this tour leg, nope! I work the bass dynamics intense for him and the verses. he even does the low part ("we've been separated") in the middle of the stage instead of way over across from me. I'm learning! we finish and tells the folks about going to school as a kid, being told democracy was about having rights and then finding out that was bullshit. he turns to scotty-san and asks in a holler "can I get a right?" and scotty snaps up the snare drum fuse to blow us out of the "I got a right" cannon. slammin' and wham, into "I wanna be your dog" - no stage dives but he does get on the deck w/the folks up front and there are screen cameras I think - he let's one cat have a holler in the mic from the front of the crowd and this guys yells "I wanna be your dog shit!" - hmm... interesting. brother steve gets a big sax solo cuz ig's down there w/the folks much. I get all the choruses right! so embarrassing last gig but I was determined tonight! ig has skip "your pretty face..." and go right into "open up and bleed" which has a good tempo and also I'm doing what max asked me to - in the verse riff where I go from a to d, don't let the d still ring while I hit the a but play each note by itself and not make a muddy fourth chord. I trust max much and I know he's right on the money so I use the same finger for each note and that way they can't ring out together cuz the d will die when I lift it to fret the a. I can't thank max enough. the ending is a trippy, pretty intense w/just me and scotty wailing on it, after both ig, then james leave. whoa. I go behind the amp w/the help of jos (thank you so much, jos!) but not too long cuz pretty quick ig leads the rest of the band back on and we take the folks on a "death trip" which is good and tight. "penetration" right after and w/a different ending that ig just organized - he leaves the stage for us to finish it up as a four piece... not far off, just on the starboard wing but it's trippy to see james do some geisha boy steps to the center - yeah! ig runs back on and leads us into a huge rouser "no fun" and I do hit one d note in the wrong place - how could I NOT BLOW A FUCKING CLAM at a gig, right? yeah, like just one. anyway, I feel it was a very happening gig. thank you czech people, thank you stooges.

   roadboss eric holds me by my rear beltloop like a tug would do a huge canboat coming into the harbor - ramps (especially wet ones) are real scary to go down but I go easy and make it w/no tumble (thank god). very happening spirit backstage - ig comes brings a bottle of his wine from france - he says gig was good one when I ask - yeah, I'm very happy. the wine tastes different than two buck chuck, whoa! I hug scotty and let him know he played righteous and that I love him. I talk w/james about stuff like these heavy metal festival gigs we have coming up and this bass he's building me - he's convinced it's gonna be good one. he uses iphone to email his builderman stuff about sweating very hard and maybe the pickups getting soaked since he don't wanna use bartolinis but some custom ones where the pole pieces will be right under the strings. it's very kind of james to show so much concern!

   two-tiered travel so bus people are to shove off at one and a half am but we actually pull anchor at a half hour early. it's at least sixteen hour haul to our next port so why not? of all things we talk about the dan (I only liked first six albums and know them by heart cuz georgie always wanted to here on tour w/minutemen/fIREHOSE) as the bus rolls, too much. about an hour later I get bunked and 1)immobilizer off 2)levis off 3)immobilizer back on 4)watt konks.

tuesday, july 20, 2010 - nyon, switzerland

   monday I popped when the bus stopped to switch drivers... maybe nine am? it was only to piss, get some water and swallow an ibuprofen cuz a little bit difficult for the stiff leg in the bunk but not much. I konk again and pop at noon when the bus pulls over in a rest stop cuz of the traff being total plug. I am no longer homesick! anyway, it's trippy how it's easier for me to konk in a rolling bus than a stopped one. actually, I don't have much bus-riding experience when compared to the time I've spent in vans - it's like maybe one part to ninetynine? something like that. the traffic through germany is pretty bad, especially around munich. we eventually get past it and stop for chow - I get a big knockwurst, a roll and a packet of mustard and chow that. the lady running the head (in the old days they always had folks running the heads in europe and you'd put money on a plate to go use them) let's me into the handicap stall which is way happening cuz there's rails to hold on to and their big enough for the leg to stick straight out. it's a thirteen hundred klick hellride (812 miles or two pedro to s.f. trips) and it works out to like sixteen hours. the busses here are limited to how fast they can and these even a 'puter "policeman" in the dash to regulate stuff and keep things safe. I'd rather be safe then get there early, for sure. I go in the aft part of the bus (the bunks are midships) and chimp diary. when I finish, I go fore and talk w/the guys. lots of talk about bowie and his recordings, his gigs and stuff! surprising, I haven't thought of a lot of his music in a long time. I really liked carlos alomar and of course the spiders from mars but probably everybody w/that cat can play their ass off. like I said, haven't thought about this stuff in a long time... I wonder how old max is? I like him, he knows a lot of stuff. derek know a lot too, a lot about music - he's got a spiel on the web called derek's daily 45 where he talks about all the 45 rpm singles he collects, one 'pert-near every day. jos is quite reservoir of knowledge as well though it's more eclectic. roadboss eric likes to know how things work - especially boats, check out the tug he's been working on at getting restored all himself. I have much respect for all these guys... of course there's brother steve http://stevemackay.org/ too - everyone has a piece to add to the good spiel pie. lucky watt to be w/such folks.

   we go into switzerland and then come out the french part just north of geneva just a klick or two to a small town called divonne les bains, france where the 'tel is at, it's called the domaine dedivonne and the weather couldn't be more like my pedro town, very nice! I go to listen to mixes bass brother tony maimone's done for my third opera, "hyphenated-man" that's made of thirty pieces (not necessarily in this order but sort of): "arrow-pierced-egg-man," "beak-holding-letter-man," "hammering-castle-bird-man," "belly-stabbed-man," "bird-in-the-helmet-man," "shield-shouldered-man," "fryingpan-man," "funnel-capped-man," "stuffed-in-the-drum-man," "mouse-headed-man," "own-horn-blowing-man," "finger-pointing-man," "cherry-head-lover-man," "pinned-to-the-table-man," "lute-and-dagger-man," "jug-footed-man," "head-and-feet-only-man," "thistle-headed-man," "boot-wearing-fish-man," "blowing-it-out-both-ends-man," "confused-parts-man," "baby-cradling-tree-man," "hollowed-out-man," "antlered-man," "mockery-robed-man," "bell-rung-man," "hill-man," "hell-building-man," "man-shitting-man" and "wheel-bound-man" - well, he's got more than twenty done and will get the rest this week at his studio g in brooklyn, ny. much respect to all his hard word. he wanted me there alongside him and fuck yeah, I wanted to be there too but there was stooges work to be done so it's understood. I trust much anyway and we've been integrating feedback w/the mix flow and then me emailing him back when I can. man, it was sure great doing bass next to him and not having to phone that in! BIG respect to him! also he's got a baby coming w/new wife miry, HUGE JOY!

   I wanna be still as much as I can w/this knee the way it is. I've be brining it out of the immobilizer a little - had to for the bath which took some thought and time to get in/out the tub safe and how righteous to let the whole leg float, VERY happening. even out the tub I got a little bit of bend but do that sitting down w/no weight bearing on it at all and we're not talking ninety degrees of bend either. it's still got a way to go w/healing and I ain't gonna try to do anything stupid - well, not try to anyway. brother steve brings over a calzone and I can chow only a little bit but that was sure nice of him, truly. I konk at like ten... this fucking knee tuckers me out, even just being in the chamber - crimony!

   gig day and I pop at six bells, do the tub adventure. it's a long one and kind of deep which makes righteous soak. I crutch to the trough - no 'vator, all stairs. I pass the casino - I guess this 'tel is connected a casino, hah! good thing my secondmen drummer jer ain't here! I just shovel just a little: some too-much-milked-up-scrambed-eggs, a bacon, a little sausage, a tomato half, shrooms and two toasts. I go back to the chamber - trippy hatch padded on the outside - and try and get some more mixes from the very shitty internet here but at least it's free and I actually get some stuff done. me and steve bail at noon w/the crew, not too far away in nyon - we're out of france in like five minutes and visit one more time w/driverman george to get the stuff stored there - that's why I couldn't do bass for funanori when we dropped anchor last night cuz the bass was here and we were at the 'tel. I go to the dressing room which kind of like a twenty foot can (shipping container and it's warmer today so I got my shirt off as a chimp what your're reading now. I did go lunch around two pm and that was great: a salad w/peppers and cucumbers, then mixed veggies on top of green beans (yeah!) w/steak and french fries. it's all cooked up good. I then go to chimp up what I'm chimping here while waiting for "hyphenated-men" mixes from brother tony. I do as much as that as I can before the kick drum and bottom-end of the band before us (they're called n*e*r*d) makes it impossible to hear what's going on - espeically all the bass solos for the last part "wheel-bound-man" so I give up... around this time scotty-san and james williamson arrive from their 'tel in geneva and james is set to prac beginnigs/ending but it's useless w/the din cuz we can't hear each other. this ain't the band who's playing fault but just a prob of dressing room pads being close to the mainstage and their massive p.a. systems. when they get done we can do our prac w/time to spare - I've been in my black levis so I just trade this purple plaid shirt my ma gave me a couple of xmases ago for a black flannel one, attaching over starboard pocket a pin of john coltrane at the guggenheim museum in nyc (second night w/it now) cuz the "a love supreme" got donated in italy which ain't a bad land for it to get donated in. this gig here is called the paleo festival and we're on at quarter of eight pm but I crutch out ten minutes early - big long ramp means smaller grade and easier for me. I see lemmy's bass rig (motorhead is after us) and fuck, I wish so bad I had my fucking camera - baka watt... should've notice this earlier but I was kind of on purpose in that hot box dressing room pad to rest up my knee. anyway, the head's an old marshall that has "murder one" in plastic letters w/military (russian?) wreaths w/star on each side that. it's a tall stack, maybe four twelves in the top box and four fifteens in the bottom? I think actually he has a stack for the other side of the drum riser as well. I've lemmy like three times - one was on his bday when we were both playing the first avenue in minneapolis (I was in the entry) and then a couple of months ago we were both in danko jones video but the first time was when I was mixing my first opera in glendale and he was in another room mixing a record of his and he gave me his bottle of wild turkey bourbon. every time he was always so kind. kind of lame we gotta bail a half-hour after we play and have to miss him but that's what's in the cards. I sit on a road case behind my amps.

   the stooges come out and I make my way to the front of my amps - only jos here and no mr slouch. it's also rented stuff - two ampegs, one a svt-II pro and the other a silver face svt class reissue. oh fuck, I forgot to put the brace on the starboard knee (the "good" one), the soft brace (not immobilizer) from ig I wear under the levis... baka fucking watt (forgot to shave and wear socks too but this is much more critical) - I better be fucking careful, better be... I trade jos my crutches for the dan bass and we're off. I'm more together on "raw power" than last gig but still it's a little tough on me w/stovepipe leg - not to blame stovepipe leg and I even did prac on the song standing up in dressing room pad but fuck, just so awkward but I don't wanna make excuses. these amps ain't the laneys but they are better than than those lameass ampegs I had to use in belgium. the sun is wailing on us, about ten o'clock high. there's a huge field in front of us the fills real quick, whoa - lots of cats here. I see someone in a total purple body suit (nylon?) - I mean even the face covered - being tossed on top of people's hands... no air getting through for the lungs? no sight? trippy. time to not lose focus for watt though - we're into "search and destroy" next cuz some songs have to be scissored to fit the set into sixty minutes. there's huge side screens so that means cameras on us, tripod on each side - I wonder if they're showing cojo (me) to the people... I don't look over though, just try to play best I can and keep my eyes mainly on ig which means turning my head much cuz he's working the huge stage hard w/dances, leaps, moves while he's singing and in between. he uses mic stand too and that's usually straight up center, like for "gimme danger" next (I put the midrange up cuz it was actually under flat plus some highs - james wants definition from me) then we skip over where usually "...pocket" is and go to "shake appeal" after a dancer appeal... now I don't know what's what but the band before us called up only girls for a stage invasion (where did they get this idea?) so ig says anyone can come up and dance w/the stooges - guys included - alright! a few of them have motorhead tshirts on. another cat looks my way and says, "remember me? I'm from lyon!" that reminds me - I think it was lyon was I saw long-time-many-stooges-gig-going-man rob (I think he's from england) up on stage dancing w/us yet again! man, if I wasn't hurtin' the way I was I would've hugged him big time - he is truly into it big time! anyway, back to this gig - I get more in front of my amps cuz I'm very vulnerable front-to-back and w/the drum riser behind me, I might even be more so. I trust people to be kind but maybe there's an accident or something plus I was baka and forgot the starboard knee brace. ig asks for water and this dancer gets a bottle for him from the riser and hands it to him, I see her give her buddy a tripped-out face like "I can't believe that just happened" and I'm so glad for her. it's little things, human things that are special in life, huh? we do the song good, ending it right and everything. many hands shakes from the cats w/the motorhead tshirts on - yeah, very kind of them, merci! band intros (they speak french in this part of die schweiss so ig uses it for brother steve's) and then "1970" after he tells the folks "and I'm the fucking end of the world!" and pours a bottle of water over his head - didn't do that in ostrava, didn't have to but GREAT idea here cuz it's sweltering but I notice the sun starting to sink some behind the mountains... I tuned while the dancers were going offstage and noticed it wasn't muting so I checked it out - only one tuner tonight but the output's coming out of "bypass" and not the other one - ahh, that's it. I correct. I like two tunes cuz like w/the next one up ("l.a. blues") where I beat on it so hard, I can check and tune w/out it being muted and the freakout sounding empty. I have to mute here for a few seconds (I did try some amp fucking but again, so pathetic w/the stiff stovepipe leg) and then come back w/the "a love supreme" quote... kind of hesitating when "night theme" is brought in from scotty but maybe that was trippy and only a beat really - we go to the "skull thing" and ig gets back on stage (during "...blues/...theme" he's off stage-port) and rallies the folks big time. the crowd really is a good and responsive one, much dancing out there on the grass even w/them packed together... the power of the stooges - I forgot to mention at that ostrava gig that about this time in the set I saw a wheelchair get hiked up over the barrier - some cat had been in the pit in a chair that whole time... and w/the rain! how?! crimony! gigs are trippy - anyway, back to this one and "beyond the law" melding in and rocking hard though I miscounted the end phrases w/the triplets but luckily they're the same note (e) as the final one so my choke ain't as bad as it could've been... baka watt tells himself to focus harder... "fun house" next and I read ig's dynamics and keep the bass w/him and not against - I can shake a little but still, I am stovepipe bound and anchored, aarrrrrgggggghhhh. "I got a right" slams in next, whoa. BOOM! I space a little in the breakdown part and do more than just the front e notes of each bar but it's tiny and low before I realize and get it together. it was a great idea of ig's to make for holes there so the tune can breathe. after the solo in "I wanna be your dog" (next tune), ig's down in the moat w/the folks on the barrier which is way happening w/the cameras probably showing him working the folks instead of them having to watch a leaderless crew up on stage when those cameras aren't there. I love his performance so much, so much! this "...dog" gets a strange ending though - like the istres one? almost same kind but me and scotty tag the last d tight so the final finish is right on target (I then put my hand on his on the snare - "steel driving crew!"). speaking about "right on target" - someone from the crowd nails me about three inches above the hurt knee w/a tallboy can of beer w/maybe only a sip or too taken from it so it slams into me hard. I saw it coming but didn't wanna move suddenly and hurt myself in this fragile state I'm in - james kicking the can away and I'm seeing all the beer flooding out from me cuz I gotta say the immobilizer was padded enough to really protect me (cuz I thought for sure I'd bruise but later I found that wasn't the case, lucky watt)... there was a moment a little later where I just looked at the crowd and yelled "motherfucker!" but then checked myself cuz that kind of negative shit and what I'm into, nope - I started smiling instead and keeping for focus on ig. no "...going to hell" and straight to "open up and bleed" for the closer. I've learned soundman max's well for the d and a notes I play in verse not being together and making a bogart fourth chord - a million thanks to him for learning me that, at least a million... it's a big wind-up ending w/me and scotty-san alone w/me doing what he asked me to do better than last gig (I am slow learner!)... jos helps me behind my amps. encore time and I see ig coming so I make my way back by not using the crutches but hanging on to the amps (they're belted together) and get the bass from jos for "death trip" which ig calls after asking the crowd if they'd like to join him on one. me and scotty-san are solid team, driving this one down the pipe. ig calls for "no fun" to be the closer and we do it good for him - I wonder if he wanted it faster? the gig's done and I see him smiling after getting my crutches from jos and making my way to be last man down the ramp... "slow go for watt down the ramp" and I hear nina laugh and agree.

   now the scariest part for me... we leave pretty quick so I gotta get this shower done. I get all my stuff I'm gonna change into (the clean stuff, lord have mercy) the shower and then get out of first the immobilizer and then the stenched outfit. it is ordeal but luckily show has ledge I can sit on and there's pipes I can pull myself up w/cuz you see, w/the immobilizer off I am fucking totally vulnerable, totally fucking fragile - more than at any other time. also, there's slipperiness so I think out every move in advance before doing it and make the move slow and careful. I get hosed down. I fuck up and turn the hot up too much for a little scalding but not bad. now the getting out and then into the clean outfit. whoa, easy does it, one step at a time... fuck I forgot to bring in a towel, baka watt! I uses the crutches to get to the hatch and luckily tourboss henry hears my call and brings me a towel, dzieki dzieki dzieki ("thank you" in polish though his scot cuz that's where he lives w/ania) much... back to the ledge to sit on. fuck, total relief when I get first the shitagi on, then the levi, then - thank god - the immobilizer... now I feel safe, whew - I breathe deep and say grateful prayer, then leave shower w/stenched outfit in plastic sack. nina comes by and asks how I am and I tell her how the shower part is the scariest part out of everything. she says she hopes I take it easy in this upcoming break before the next tour leg and tell her, yes, I very much am. I will work on funanori, recording here in my pedro pad (I call it studio thunderpants) and getting the "hyphenated-man" artwork finished - that's all I'm committed to doing so I don't have to leave my pad ever except saturday, when the memorial for my old friend tony is. in the last year and half it'll be my fourth and before that I'd never been to one - not even my pop's or d. boon's. it's different now, I think I got a little bit more brave. anyway, we load up and get driven straight to the private jet part of the geneva airport. the jet is an embrarer 135 - me and scotty sit where we usually do but instead of steve in front of me, I get to put up my leg and james sits in front of scotty. we first talk about machiavelli and then talk goes to hoodwink, the hoodwinker and I tell james what I know of some freemason stuff... just saying, no lecture - I end up quoting popeye "I am what I am and that's all I am." there was some good chicken-on-skewers I dipped in a mustard bowl that was real good. had some whiskey but it wasn't bourbon, that's ok. alain and olivier are waiting for us at the rainy-but-not-too-much biarritz (basque part of france by spain in the north) airport and we get to the raddison blu 'tel just after midnight. I konk 'pert-near immediately once chambered entered. tuckered watt.

wednesday, july 21, 2010 - biarritz, france

   eight bells come and I pop, I crutch to the 'vator and down to the trough where the shovel's free. it's those too-much-milk-in-the-scrambled-eggs again - aaahhh, I hate myself for hearing me be the bellyacher... I hate the spoiled baby w/a HUGE sense of entitlement that differentiates for me the difference between honest critical thinking and self-serving bellyaching ("whining" would bemore squarejohn way of saying). so I shovel some of these onto the plate after first putting one of the crutches by the table I'm sitting at so as to free up one arm for plate holding and the other for crutch wielding. this is after about four offers of help from four different members of the staff. they're very kind but you know when you're this way, and used to taking care of yourself - accepting help unless you big time need is very hard - jos was telling me he felt the same way, healing up from that motorcycle crash he had recently. I'm thinking about these lame eggs and asking myself why make a big deal about them when there's all this other righteous chow here in france: chirizo, salami, salmon, happening breads, trippy cheeses, good fruits - fuck, there's this mustard in a big gray earthen jar w/a big red stopper cap that's made totally out of seeds that ain't been crushed that I love big time! I first had this years ago at jimbo's pad in nyc when he lived on canal street near west broadway and here it is again... see, I think the thing regarding me bitching about those eggs is really about control - me wanting to control shit, which gotta has something to do w/(I have to admit it) fascist tendencies - can I call it that? do I dress it up or own up to it? if I own up, then maybe I can do something about it. anyway, I served myself up some anyway and put it on the toast I made along w/shrooms, some bacon, a piece of tomato, one of those cheese slices of I don't know what kind it is and then folded the toast over for to make for all them tastes coming together in my wordhatch, using chomps w/the teeth. I like it. I repeat this 'til the plates clean, washing it down w/coff. then I crutch back upstairs and call roadboss eric, then tourboss henry, telling the I'd like to go to the venue w/the crew.

   one pm I go w/the crew to the venue. the weather is rainy gray so it's a good thing it's an inside gig. however, it's inside a huge box-like building just built (this is the first music event here ever) and it's more like a convention hall - in fact I think that's what it is. we're on the first night of four nights for the big festival (paleo in nyon was a five day one!) and what makes it also a little bit of challenge is it's coming back-to-back w/the last which the stooges rarely do - trippy there's actually two of them this leg alone. the rooms are big bit only one outlet! the folks working the gig are very helpful though and acknowledge how new this pad is and the people running it. I take it in stride, nothing to get a heart attack about or to even start acting uppity. the internet ain't happening at first but eventually is and I can start helping brother tony maimone w/the "hyphenated-man" mixes he's doing for me. I even get to do some skype and help learn eigo (english language) w/eiko-san - see the advantages of coming w/the crew? also, I can't hoof around town and take pictures anyway w/this hiza (jap for knee) hurt which is lame... I heard there's some righteous beach below the cliffs here and damn, this is my first time here but ever since that gig back in istres, it's been like this for me but in perspective, it could be a lot worse so in big ways I feel grateful. the big room w/only one electrical socket does have the trippiest furniture: big cubes and a rectangular couch made out of this permashape foam rubber whatever that's actually comfortable, I mean maybe not if you were naked but otherwise... chow is at seven and it's downstairs where we led to big table in the back that's got all kinds of salad stuff. us and some crew cats from the other band are gathered around as well as us and I awkward w/the crutches and all - don't wanna knock into anyone so I say, "excuse me, I'm a cripple" when they all start laughing and I notice one of them is missing a leg and has a prosthetic and feel so SO FUCKING STUPID and embarrassed to no end... I don't know what to say. what a stupid fucking baka tonto idiota watt. man, I really put my foot in my mouth that time - about three feet deep at least. I am not a cripple, I am just hurt. I feel much for that man but don't know what to say so I feel weird and chow both the salad stuff and humble pie. a little later they bring what I think is chicken on skewers but max says it's pork. max seems like a lot smarter man than me so I go w/his thoughts on this.

   back in the big room (dressing room, I guess) I'm told we're going on at quarter after ten cuz we're flying to charles de gaulle airport right after we play. that means the first band's on at eight, some called julian. they don't go on cuz they don't think enough people are in the pad and don't even show up 'til like five minutes are left of their set. I'm not into powertrips or shit like that but I think roadboss eric was very right in keeping people to their set times. I've gone on w/my bands many a time to whatever character-builder situation presented itself cuz I know would like the same done when I'd play later. if you agree to do a gig and they give you a time, don't lame it out the folks after w/you some stall shit and the cascade fuck that follows it up. just my two cents. we find out we're gonna have to fly instead early in the morning cuz of an air controller strike but that came later. I mean I've had this done to me at benefits where you're supposed to be helping some cause and still people are thinking of their one-and-only career move... look, a life is hopefully made of many gigs so please roll w/it. the stooges guys come and we prac the beginnings and ends. scotty tries some perrier water after to get a belch going and the helps feel better. I'm already in my stage outfit, just had to trade the purple shirt my ma gave me a couple of xmases ago for one of my black flannels. I'm so grateful for eric washing these when he can along w/the black levis and chonies - that's so very VERY kind of him.

   I go up on stage ten minutes early and sit where mr slouch's stuff is stage starboard. I think it's better than me going way out there to sit behind the amps. we got all our stuff mr slouch carries around in jos' sprinter van, that means I got the laneys, yeah! maybe it was caving for the first time slot but the pad has filled up good, it's no cave at all, no way and folks are very enthusiastic. I see the stooges come around the back of the stage and then up stage port - when I see james, I start crutching over - the last gig of this first leg of summer touring's about to start up! I trade crutches for my bass from jos and mr slouch slings the bass on me, I'm ready as the guitar to "raw power" starts up - whew, a relief there - the band's going full bore - shit, it's ig going full bore and we're trying to keep up w/him! it's really something, I gotta tell you cuz not only is it the last gig but it's the second in a back-to-back: much respect, MUCH RESPECT! he is wailing on it like nobody's business. and the biarritz folks are way w/him - my eyes are on him and I see them beyond all focused real good cuz it's ig the lightning rod, the crux of the intent, the bow of the boat! I am stovepipe-leg and w/a little stumble - I don't why this tune has been giving me this challenge in my current sitch but maybe I'm getting a little better at it. I have to think in a way I might have a little advantage by keeping more still even - maybe. the bass does hang on me strange or the way I have to situate the stiff body is like a cardboard cutout but what I'm thinking is maybe there's lessons for me to be learned here... I'm thinking - but not too much!!! there's a gig going on! actually, I'm thinking this now, chimping these thoughts the day after on the plane home. anyway, at this point where I was parked right in front of scotty's starboard crash cymbal and trying as hard to put as much focus into ig and the stooges as I can. I can actually kind of play to ig's body moves - especially w/the next one "search and destroy" (ig earlier told us he wanted an "event horizon happening earlier" and so "kill city" and "cock in my pocket" are optionals tonight for later in the set) cuz he has the tune so much in his fabric, I let his body yank the notes out of me in time and it's very much non-machine-made and swings like hell. it's a trip and yet another good reason to watch him like I do - he's doing body conducting! great. I got a footstomp on the stovepipe leg but he don't weigh much and I can't really move it... no prob, no prob... onward to "gimme danger" but before he asks for more body in the guitar... I had heard helperman derek say one of the guitar amps was going out even w/him putting in new tubes so maybe that's what's happening. the show must go on though and ig sings it good, the band right w/him. he calls for "shake appeal" dancers and security is not letting many up - ig points out one in particular but this cat won't relent, just won't. we got some folks up though and they dance real good - I get more in front of my amp cuz of ironingboard-body situation but the dancers are real nice... I think I got the ending nailed to and we all go out tight - slow learner watt go it! the thing is to open and let ig explain it to you and it'll all make sense - how many years has he done this? he tells the folks "hooray for the all the biarritz dancers! boo for the one security nazi!" I crack up. band intros and then scotty-san storming hard w/an intense (I know, is there any other way to play it?!) "1970" - whoa, I'm loving it. it's hard w/the stovepipe-leg in "l.a. blues" - yeah, but I hate to sound like making excuses - I did get some crazy stuff there and maybe feel more awkward than I sound - ha! I am always awkward person! I'm in tune though, "night them" and then the return of the dancing ig (no lyrics in the short stuff "skull thing") to sing once more w/us for "beyond the law" and I count better and get the ending right (as opposed to last night, baka watt). incredible dance moves for "fun house" and I'm getting it together w/the control thing w/the dynamics - thanks to ig for the patience, thank you gracias merci. very dramatic too ending the way we do w/out a freakout into "l.a. blues" - his thinking was real good to mix it up like that w/"1970" - good aesthetic, great! I like ig's intro spiel on "the rights of man" for "I got a right" cuz it makes me think about reality and appearances and the importance of knowing the difference - that's what it means to me and the tune itself is blister city and I think the band has really got it together. there's no air in this pad - ig said early in the gig and now we're into "I wanna be your dog" which he works good w/the folks even though there's no cameras and side screens, of course he goes for it though, of course! steve's got some big solo for the sax in this breakdown, waiting for ig to get back up onstage and give the "park it" signal. no air, I've got a puddle of sweat at near my stovepipe-leg... oh someone threw up a paperback and for a moment I tried to read the title - "anthology" in the beginning of the title but I don't have my glasses on (they're on the riser by the tuner)... I did get what I thought was one of those "pick" or "fork" combs but I think was a hair barrette and put it in my immobilizer - I lost it later but no matter. I usually don't take the time to do this but there was a second - ig says "go straight to the ballad" and I tell scotty "open up and bleed" and we finish up strong w/that, me and scotty last on and then jos helping me to the side. ig pretty quick runs out for the encore and I'm kind of panicked cuz I see my crutches behind the amp but jos helps me out, holding me up. we're into "death trip" and then surprise - "penetration" (maybe surprise to me but I thought ig said we might do "kill city" here). near the end I follow ig cuz he's coming over to the wings on my side but then I realize he wants us to finish it w/out him like last time and I look over to james and then him, steve and scotty all bring it home for the finish. a whupped-up "no fun" for the closer and this tour leg is done, jos helps me off and then gets me my crutches and glasses, thank you! I get down the stairs first but they gotta come from the other side so I wait for cuz I don't wanna get in the way - ig giving me the thumbs up as he approaches - alright!

   I sweated out this flannel, yeah! I have nothing but the going-home-outfit that ain't stenched and that's all the yellow sack is carrying. I'm very grateful I get to leave the dan bass in england for the next tour leg (leave my pedro home july twentynine), I drink a basque beer called "eki" and I like it. I put two more in the sack w/last night's soiled outfit eric gave me - made no sense to have it washed cuz this string of gigs is done! much thanks to him once more from me.

   unrelated entirely: me w/strong voice like a baka, kind of bizarre. I make mindnote to apologize tomorrow cuz I did it in the boat too - over outfits (defensive!) instead labor stuff!

   the room I was checked out of is check in again and I do very careful shower, glad to not get hurt myself, glad to get myself clean. I lay out the going-home-outfit on a table w/socks, levis (blue ones), and never worn this tour plaid flannel - getting everything packed in yellow sack. not enough room so metal jim beam can/box must stay. I thought it might be good for storing stuff in but... oh, I did get to talk some w/brother steve - he finished that ellroy book and put it in my sack.

   one more "eiki" beer and then I konk but pop at five and a half for piss which is good cuz the wake-up call never came for six and a half bailout! there's some chow for us by the 'tel people so I make two sandwiches w/tiny baguettes stuffed w/some kind of cheese, chorizo, salami and that righteous all-seed mustard. man, I wanna get a jar of that! drive to the private plane part of the airport and there's no plane yet... I sit outside cuz of my stovetop leg, henry comes over and gives me good support, then scotty and steve. all good men. less than hour later though an embraer legacy 600 takes scoops us up (austrian pilot, ukranian stewardess) and though I get my same seat, james got scotty's. alain sits across from him and talks about the time we stayed five days in margeaux - ronnie's birthday chow, the last time! I konk the rest of the hour flight to charles de gaulle airport, remembering. we land just in time for lots of the guys early flights to be made, including ig and nina but for some reason, I'm put in a car w/ig and nina instead of their escort (airport person) that can whisk them through. fuck, my flight's not for like four hours! I don't know what to do - I know we were to leave from the same terminal so maybe that's why. nina puts my sack on a cart for me and one of my crutches so I can push it but I feel so sad about leaving them there though ig does get tourboss henry on the horn. I worry. I've tried so hard no to be burden w/this knee sitch but it's here I felt real helpless, damn.

   I go check in and the flights fortyfive minutes delayed - I don't care, really. better than being late, better than being late - that's what I always think about airports and stuff like that. the security thing is different cuz of my knee, they take me to one all by itself, the security folks very kind, even letting me use my crutches after removing my immobilizer (my most vulnerable state). I go to the gate on the far end of one side but the sign there says "transfered" so I'm thinking, "you know, maybe we taking off at this other gate which is the far end of the other side but I'm so glad I made the hoof (lots of time anyway, even w/my big time slowness) cuz yes, this time I guessed right! there's the 777 to take me back to my pedro town. tourboss henry got me a seat in the premium econo plus it's behind a bulkhead so I got good room for my leg. I make the ten hour flight ok. the customs officer tells me ligament hurt is worse than bone break - I believe him! my sister melinda picks me up and gets me to my pedro pad around six pm. I am big time relieved... I made it, the stooges lost no gigs - very grateful watt. I got eight more days 'til second stooges summer tour leg... I get on the deck...

april + may 2010 w/the stooges

august 2010 w/the stooges

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this page created 09 jul 10