from top, left to right: iggy pop, ron asheton, scott asheton, steve mackay,
mike watt, henry mcgroggan, jos grain, eric fischer, chris wujek, spencer
weisberg, rik hart, monitorman tristan, koala, john pope, pelican
a word's-eye view from mike watt
of the first ever gigs done by the stooges
in new zealand and australia
friday, january 20, 2006 - auckland, new zealand
alright, the first time ever for the stooges in the antipodes! our last gigs were around seven weeks ago in brazil (first time for us there too) and ig decided then we'd just head in a day early and not prac cuz he thought we we'd be good and tight. pretty amazing about this band, really - how we can just jump on and ride it out like that but then again, we got these tunes so very much ingrained into our fabric. cuz of the time differences (the international date line involved even!), I left tuesday night. usually they're morning flights but cuz of the sitch, I'm into the plane leaving at 8:30 pm so I can get last minute shit done (no matter how much in advance I prepare, there's always something I've spaced on - always) and also get myself good and tuckered so konk will be an easy move for the flight. it's 6500 miles and twelve hours inside the metal tube, breathing farts. can't wait... hey, it's more than way worth it to get an opportunity like this so I hope I don't sound like an ingrate. my sister melinda took me up from san pedro to lax (los angeles international airport) and I meet up w/scotty, ron, roadboss eric and helperman chris at the qantas part of the bradley terminal. I brought my wacksack to carry my alpurse 'puter in and a little carry-on girly bag for the gig t-shirts, a pair of levis and a coming home shirt cuz we got a lot of flights for this tour and I don't wanna be have any whalebag in tow. I brought a little jug of tide laundry detergent w/me to do scrubs on stenched clothes in the heads of the 'tel rooms I get put in, drying them out on the lip of the tub or hanging them over a shower door. iggy joins us and he gives me a cd-r of demos him, ron and scotty have been working on... it's called "seven stooges" and I can't wait to lay it on my ears, alright! he's in great sprits as is everyone. I saw scotty last night in west hollywood cuz he wanted to break his flights up some and it was also a good chance for me to show him the new boat too. steve's flight from s.f. is a little late but he joins us in time so we all board together. knobman rik, helperman jos and tourboss henry took different flights than us cuz they live in europe (rik-scotland, jos-england and henry-poland). it's a trip how were all so far apart when we're not in stooge mode. at least I got an aisle seat cuz the cat next to me is a big cowboy version of an australian and he's pretty squished up - I don't mind him giving me no armrest and eric up in front of me has an even bigger man next to him. that's the luck of the draw when you w/the salt lick back in the cattle car. no matter though cuz like I said, it's way more than worth it. hell, they could strap me to the wing w/a bungie cord and as long as I was getting to do a stooges gig, I'd bear it. I just got a fifth generation ipod, the ones that can play video as well as music... I put over sixteen hundred songs (264 of them john coltrane) and twentyeight videos (including "the sand pebbles" - me and d. boon's favorite movie when we were boys) plus the "in-ear" earbuds I was given at last summer's warptour so I can pretty well isolate myself when I'm not konked. I watch the new new york dolls video "all dolled up" I was just given and pretty much dug that. after that I saw for like the twentieth time "the world according to john coltrane" which I never get tired of seeing (that and "the john coltrane legacy" might not be the best documentaries but just getting to hear and watch all that trane makes them pretty ok w/me. there's some kind of pasta the chow us on the plane and I choke that down, hoping it'll help me konk and it does.
I pop an hour before touchdown and whoa, where did wednesday go cuz we're gonna land in auckland at 6:30 am on thursday... wednesday just disappeared! that was trippy but makes sense since new it's twentyone hours ahead of pedro time here. I've been to and played new zeland only one other time and that was ten years ago, helping out porno for pyros w/some bass cuz there were part of this "big day out" festival back then. we land on time which is pretty good seeing we had to leave an hour late cuz of the planes generators being out and them having to crank each enigine on one at a time. that was a neat tour in a lot of ways - it was the first time I really played bass as a sidemouse and the porno guys were a blessing to both play for and be alongside, I learned much and perry gave me the inspiration to do my "contemplating the engine room" opera. it's a big reason me, perk and peter (both those guys were were the heart of p.f.p. w/perry) still got our hellride thing where we try taking some coltrane perspective on stooges tunes, in fact we just did a gig in orange county last saturday. an easy glide through immigration (thank you, new zealand!) and this cat named john pope picks us up - the "big day out" people have put him w/us for the tour. he's an australian w/a strong accent and is cool people. he drives us to where we're staying, the ascott metropolis in downtown auckland. it's right by the albert park where perry told me about birds being like spirits all those years ago. it's looking like rain so I wanna get out and hoof by the water quick before it comes but eric tells me henry rollins is chowing in the 'tel's chow area so I go and spiel w/him to catch up, it's been a few years since I've really got to rap w/him - he's an old buddy. the rest of my guys meanwhile go and forage and when I try to find them, I can't find a trace. I hoof all over... auckland's a hilly town that's on a narrow strip of land w/ocean on both sides. there's some docks and even a few hammerhead cranes for unloading cans (a very, VERY miniature version of my harbor) and as I'm searching for my peeps, I'm checking out all that too, almost a visit to the new zealand maritime museum even but I'm thinking somehow I'm gonna find these guys if I just keep on the move. you can notice the influence from england big time but like australia, there's someting of it's own here too. for one thing, there's bilingual on the streets signs, maybe maori? of course there's royalty stuff everything's named after - the big street is call queen. I see the nz-1, a huge mother of a sailboat that ran for the americas cup. crimony is this thing big, they got mounted out of the water and the even the keel's like twenty feet or something from the deck. whoa. I do run into eric and steve eventually, but scotty's gone back (he's the one I wanted to take to the maritime museum) so I get a kebab to chow and head back to the 'tel. I felt the sky was gonna rip open and flood anyway... sure enough it does - me and scotty watch it from his balc (our rooms are next to each other and even have a connecting hatch) and shit if it ain't like a full-on squall w/even some whiteout, like it was snowing (up high where we are on the twentythird floor but melting before it hit the deck)! I hook my 'puter up to scotty's tv and have him watch the elvin jones documentary "a different drummer" which he really gets into (he says "elvin was the master of the double stroke"). a little later, the other part of the crew comes by and we watch another doc, "the mc5 a true testimonial" one. all these docs, it's a trip! later for dinner, we all hoof to a chowpad called "mecca" and I have some kind of lasagna that's got chicken and fried pumpkin in it, pretty good. there's some "big day out" party not too far at a little bar and me and scotty hoof there - the dj plays some sly + family stone which is happening - knobman rik hart comes by later w/tourboss henry and it's great to get to see them again - big hugs. I can't stay long though cuz tiredness is on me pretty hard so after trying to follow scotty out (it seemed like he was leaving) I end of getting back to the 'tel and konking at like eleven bells.
first gig day of the tour, friday: I pop and hoof to where them guys told me they chowed breakfast yesterday and find rik and helpermen jos and chris there. the breakfast is like an england one but jos also gets them to put "bubble and squeak" w/it - mashed potatoes and cabbage bits (jos says it's traditonally just whatever you got from leftovers), makes for a good shovel. rik and chris bail but me and jos have a discussion on evolution. jos is a bright man and has some good points, makes me think. we both agree we all know so little about so much - we gotta laugh at all this competition for cornering the market on dogma. the suns out bright (actually, it came out last night and it's why going for dinner wasn't a soaker) so hopefully the festival will have good weather. I leave w/the crew at noon to get to the site early so I can see sleater-kinney, there on this tour too - alright! I'm told the little gibson bass has been snapped in transit, right at the headstock where it's had three previous breaks. damn. I don't get to see it though cuz the way the 'tel works the room keys, the elevator will only take you to the floor where your room is so I can't get to helperman chris' though I believe what he tells me is true. jos has his epiphone eb-3 I've used a few times last summer when the same thing happened. I don't think the case is giving me enough protection and am going to have a new one made for her, there's a canadian company that makes form-fitting ones and though they cost some bones, it's worth it. the gig's at a rugby field called ericsson stadium, I think the same place where the '96 one was. I go wade through the throngs of young people (seems mainly like teenagers) to get to the stage sleater-kinney's on which is way far from where the dressing rooms are and the stage we'll be playing on later. the sun is relentless and I use my coat to drape my head while the band before them copies this current sound I hear a lot of bands doing lately (aren't us humans just so prone to fall for that?) and then get up close when it's their gig time. I'm closer to the port-side p.a. columns and damn if it don't seem like the mix is all lead guitar, snare drum and singing! it's pretty trippy, kind of a surreal blues-psychedelic thing. the snare's so loud I can hear the wires even, I can dig it. ok, it's not a full mix but in a way it's an artistic take and I really enjoy it. I've taken my friend raymond pettibon to their gigs a bunch of times and they trip me out too, maybe it's got no bass and it's kind of alien on me - their arrangements and ways of doing things music-wise is wild on me and even bizarre. but since when do you always have to understand something to enjoy it? hell, look at "finnegans wake" for fuck's sake. they're all really good at playing and wow can they singer wail, what pipes! good band, brave band - not afraid to risk it. new zealand's under this big hole in the ozone and damn if the sun ain't broisting me right up, quick too. when sleater-kinney finishes I get back to shadeville as fast as I can but it ain't too fast cuz there's much plug w/all the people. folks are cool though, not bellig - just a slow go. I get back and shovel some squids and tiny octopuses they got in the chow tent. there's some nice cats backstage who rap w/me. I tell carrie and janet how I absorbed their set and I sure hope I didn't get the soundman in trouble - I say the same thing to corin (her husband lance is here w/their boy marshall - he was riding high on his pop's shoulders and being such a character) but I am clumsy w/words and probably didn't work it right. aaarrrrgggghhhh, idiot watt. I really dug it, that's what I meant to get through to them.
iggy, ron, scotty and steve arrive and I work out some w/jos' bass. plays ok, it's saved my butt at least a couple of times. ig tells me he remembers it being boomy... man, I should've picked up on what he was telling me here but... we're on at 8:15 pm which is so righteous, a perfect time I think. ron keeps tell us about it being the cherry gig - yep, the cherry gig for this tour... the shake-down one. these things can be intense - no prac either. everyone's in a good mood though - yes, finally the stooges are playing down under! they call new zealand cats "kiwis" - ain't that trippy? lots of good folks here. they always tell you there's only four million or so - just like they do in ireland and scotland but so what, people is people. ron does his pacing manuevers, he's got his denis tek navy medic coat (even though it's camouflaged) that says "stooges" on the back. he tells us when the three stooges played scotland in the thirties, they had to change their name to "hooges" cuz stooge was scottish slang for fuck in them days. so I gues we're "iggy + the fucks" then, huh? scotty's working out w/his drum sticks and steve gets in some honks and toodles w/his sax. after what seems forever, it's time - the tour's on for REALLY real now. we load up into two golf carts and run down this tunnel towards the stage. whoa, I better hold the bass straight back so it don't wack anyone. we get up the stairs and iggy hollers "let's go!" and we're off. I run over and hook up my bass - they got two ampeg svt pro-IV amps, each connected to it's own 8x10 svt cabs. it'll work, I think. ronnie rings out the chords to "loose" and the boat's underway, whoa! ig comes out stomping and dancing up a storm, he's singing great too. not too hot up here and the humidity's ok. I got on a black "san pedro skate park association" t-shirt that vinnie vegas gave me back home - a rare one cuz it's got the design (a dude w/a gut that's bellin' so hard that it's being hefted by a wheelbarrel and has a upside down skateboard on it, like it was a table!) on the front instead of the back like most the t-shirts in my town. what's up w/that? things gotta change! anyway, back to the gig: the band is smokin' and running flat out. I'm hanging on and 'pert-near riding the whole deal like it was a huge crashing wave. I got my eyes on iggy big time but all the while got my head up, checking in constantly w/ron and scotty. "down on the street" next and it's thunderin' - the stage is kind of flimsy and is resonating pretty heavily. time for the "song about a magic number" and we're into "1969" - boom. wow, ron and scotty are playing so great, amazing... to just jump on and ride like that! "I wanna do an fucking animal song" - iggy pulls us into "I wanna be your dog" and it "blow me down" time for wattster and hopefully everyone else too. I'm really digging it, ron wails out a righteous solo. ig gives it a good long pause before "lllllllllllllloooooooooorrrrrrrrd!" time for "tv eye" and it's pumpin', fuck! dynamic change time w/"dirt" and it's a little weird after the solo - ig giving it time before he comes in w/the last bit - I think my bass is too blurry maybe, shit. now looking back on it, I should've reacted more in real time and cut the lows... aaaaaarrrrrrrggggghhh. "real cool time" w/"no fun" backing it up and I'm wondering how can iggy get anybody upstage here cuz it's so high but then again, he's been down and back up several times himself! well, he's iggy but up come the kids when he asks for them - man, is this crowd young... lots of teenagers. there's not too many up here but there's enough to get a good vibe going. we get to starting the second verse of "no fun" and I'm thinking, did I just play the chords to the last verse backwards? shit, I can't tell! I gotta let it go though so I can stay in the moment. ig introduces us to the folks and then we're in "1970" and "mindroom" (iggy and ronnie's "duet" of sorts - it's trippy and great). I'm trying to clean up the bass sound but ig's called in "fun house" and I gotta move - usually I'm right there but this time I'm a few beats back - aahh, I'm angry at myself. I get a little flustered and clam up some - I rush over to ron's side real quick to find the one again... man, can ronnie play great rhythm guitar besides those scorching leads, he is so happening to be playing w/as is scotty... what a tight team these brothers are. "l.a. blues" tumbles and splatters all free and crazy, iggy walking of frankenstein-like while telling the kids "I am you." ron gives the signal and scotty's hihats us into "skull ring," woomf!!! ron improvises on his parts - he's doing new stuff... alright, coltrane! after this tune, the plan was for iggy to do an audible and call out either "dead rock star" or "little doll" but instead he has us go straight for "double dog" (us doing "I wanna be your dog" a second time) - we only have an hour and time's up. right off the stage, iggy hollers "WE CANNOT EVER HAVE THAT BASS USED AGAIN FOR A GIG!!!" (or words similar to that effect, I think I'm pretty close though). he said it was going wwwoooooooooooommmm and bogarting the entire sound on the stage for him. man, I hate not be able to make things happen right - I take it really to heart cuz he means so much to me - this band means everything to me... I put every bit of effort and whatever I've gotten from all my past music stuff to be here in the moment for them. the way I see it, there is nothing the person mike watt needs to get out of this - even though I'm learning tons - I very much believe it's not about me, it's about what I can do to best help them... I have my own little bands to deal w/that and what's here is a fucking legacy, a sound and a way of doing music that's unique, special and a mindblow. it's the full-on real dealio, period. I can't lame that out, I have to been forever vigilant and focused on that. I ride back on the golf cart to the dressing room trailers w/ig and he tells me "you played well - it was the bass." I am wordless though except for a soft thank you cuz nice words from ig I could never take for granted and never want to. same w/ronnie and scottie as we after-gig sit... they tell me not to take it hard but I can't find conversation cuz I don't need to be verbalizing excuses and convoluting rationalizations in pitiful lame dodges at accepting responsibilities. these guys are so generous w/me, they wanna boost me up. I love them so. ig comes in our room again telling me not to worry, "we'll get it better next gig w/another bass" and brings me a wine that I can't remember and even the taste alludes me cuz my mind was so plugged up and absorbed w/this screw-up. quiet watt, stuck on reflect. god bless the stooges.
me and scotty are asked to do a television spiel but I don't talk much, freeing scotty to say the things that are really important. his words are good and I take them to heart, I think they're important that the kids will get to hear them - the interviewer herself tells us she's twentyone and for me it's pretty righteous younger people are open to thoughts from those w/some miles - much respect to them. back to the 'tel and off w/the sweaty pedro shirt. I konk in my chuck taylors and soaked levis on the deck, my head stuffed w/recriminations. I am powerless to subdue the force-feed. there is some grace in brief wonders on how amazing (ain't this the third time I've used this word in reference to them? just gotta do it) those guys played though, getting me awestruck enough to bring on sleepytown. ain't that a trip? this is the power of the stooges on me.
sunday, january 22, 2006 - the gold coast, australia
the flight out of auckland for me, steve and the crew is early enough to have me in the lobby at 5:30 am, that's what's so happening about being able to getting in at eleven after the auckland gig. trippy too how I just popped at five bells, like my body knew. we're going to the land due west w/'pert-near the same flag (except the stars are white instead of red ones here), australia. maybe five times bigger in pop(ulation) too, w/a land close to the size of back home (minus alaska maybe). it's hard to gauge these things when you fly from big city to big city though - to think my home state cali alone has like 14 million more than australia's entire twenty is a trip. hell, the CITY of los angeles (just the city, not even the county, let alone so cal) is bigger than all of new zealand... well, it gets lost on you kind cuz perception is so acute. it's a good thing in some ways cuz it can balance things on a human level. it does make me wonder how we ever manage things back home but then again, you start to think about china or india and... well, it gets overwhelming. just like playing last night for thirtyfive thousand people (I've heard this next gig in sydney is sold out at fifty thousand plus!), I gotta think of it as gig in a tiny pad or it whup right up on me... one reason I concentrate so much on the guys I'm playing w/and focus on that. I don't really hang out in malls and "people watch" either. the whole trip of the one and the many really weighs big time on me if I let myself wallow confused in such thoughts and not pry my head away and let it go. no wonder there's so many "ideas" out there regarding control and how to implement it. aahh, I wanna bolt and git so hard sometimes... "quiet your brain, watt!" a three hour flight along w/a three hour time difference means we get to the airport in brisbane at almost the same time we left. this part of australia we're in is called queensland and it's the most north we'll be in australia, which means hotter. yep, that's the way it is south of the equator. we drive south for almost an hour to get to a town called surfers paradise which is much like a tourist town in florida including the climate - it's humid enough to sprout gills, crimony. maybe the sun's a little brighter though and for the surf is gnarlier - you can see the rips in the breakers which pile up on each other in threes and fours. the 'tel is the marriott resort and like two blocks from the water. there's a walkway right along side it and I hoof towards town but kind of get turned off by all the highrise 'tels and mall stuff - maybe tomorrow morning... I turn off towards a little cafe and whoa - jos, rik and chris are there so I chow and rap w/them for a while. I go back to the 'tel and see ronnie - he asks me to join him where they got some big seats and we spiel, he's got great stories and always keeps me captivated w/them. that's how beginning of stooges tours are w/me, I spend time learning how the guys are so I can catch up... I'm a little isolated from them off-tour in my pedro town. one of ron's stories is a mindblow in particular. he tells me about one early 70s stooges gig at a nyc pad called "ugano's" maybe (not sure of the spelling) but they were about to go on and what he calls a "baby's fist" of cho-cho gets thrown on the table in front of him and everyone's head goes down over it, each w/their own tooter device and starts snorting it up. he said miles davis was there, in fact he was right next to him! ron said in his mind he kept thinking "I can't believe this is happening - it's miles davis' head is right next to mine and we're both bent down and pulling up powder into our faces - I was tripping out!" crimony. he's done a tour here in australia, after the stooges where he played a lot of gigs and has lots of stories about that - ron digs this land much and even said he almost moved here to stay. it's fun listening to his stories but then again he can make 'pert-near anything sound very interesting, he's got a great gift of spiel and so does he brother scott though in a different way which to me is natural. I can and do listen to them every chance I get. I wish I had their talents rather the windbag tendencies I have. oh well, I'm trying to learn to be a better listener anyway. "a man's gotta now his limitations," I'm always reminding myself. I go to chimp diary and come dinner time, I'm called to join a bunch of the guys at the binnehana restaurant in the bottom of the 'tel. I get to sit right in between ron and scott, yeah! I spend the most I've ever spent on a chow on tour - $51 australian which is about $39 u.s. for what they call the "land and sea" plate which is steak and scallops. the bennehana pads are kind of a chain and I've seen them all over though have only chowed at them maybe once or twice. the chef cooks the chow right in front of you and is very theatrical w/the knives and such. he scoops up a shrimp piece and tosses it in the air at me so I can catch w/my mouth, dophin style. both the asheton brothers offer me up some of their tampura too... man, am I stuffed. time for watt to konk so I do right when we're done.
ok, gig day and I'm at five am. I konk early when I'm in pedro town and so it'd good to get to do that when possible on tour too. the gig's not too far away in what's called the gold coast (at parklands in southport) but I wanna bail for there w/the crew so I can see sleater-kinney plus maybe giants of science and hank rollins too before it's our turn. now I got kind of burned up big time from being out at the gig in auckland and even walking around here yesterday so I am intent on getting a hat. it's ok this early and there's even a breeze blowing - I'm going straight into mall land downtown to find both econo headgear and chow. here it is at like seven am and someone hands me a flyer for an cheap shovel at a pad called "naomi's shoe" - it's in a sort of enclosed mall area w/a big ol' replica of michelagnelo's "david" which I don't know, it cracks me up, the sense of all this... some heavy corn, quite mersh but I guess it attracts consumers cuz it's already starting to fill this fucking early, damn. whatever, I shovel yet another england style and search fro a hat. what I need is a brim though and all I can find is baseball caps. fuck that. I then chance on a souvenir kitsch joint and they got asian coolie style hats for five bucks. the australian dollar is about seventyfive of our cents (new zealand was like seventy) which is quite a climb since I was last here in 2001 w/j mascis + the fog - it was like fiftytwo cents then, did our dollars go far then! on watt perception level, it very much seems like a global economy - all these places I've been w/the stooges around the world in the last couple of years if you translate the local prices into u.s. dollars, shit ends up being about the same everywhere. anyway, I got plenty of brim now and feel safer. I hoof back and join the crew, john pope's taking us to the venue. I've heard it's been raining for four days right before we got here and the soaked ground can testify to that. there's tons of son today though, blazingly bright and the moisture in the air is pretty brutal. oh well, better than a torrent or mud bath. sleater-kinney is in a big tent which makes their sound almost 180 degrees different than auckland's - all murky w/bogarting kick drum and 'pert-near no snare and if it wasn't for corin's intense pipes, she'd be drowned out kind of like carrie's voice is. it's a tough mix situation for their soundman, I know and he does get it better some. you can tell the humidity's beating them down some by the end of their set but they slug on through. I'll tell you one thing that makes the sound kind of trippy - this coolie hat cuz I can hear differences on how I tilt my head... 'pert-near sort of like when I wear a pumpkin (a real one w/a hole cut out in the bottom instead of the top for me to put my head in) for halloween gigs but missing that good taste/smell fresh pumpkin can bring you (I love chowing pumpkin). I get back to the dressing room area and man, is our little unit a shvitz - what's the air-conditioner here? a check for voltage by plugging in my 'puter shows a no-go and also noticeable is no sound coming off the stages - power blackout. kids are starting to holler and even throw stuff. roadboss eric briefs me on the sitch and it appears both the main and backup generators are down, maybe even the linkage that kicks in one w/the others fails has fried... oh oh. I chow what they call a thai wrap but it reminds me sort of those hippy burritos back home, the kind that are never cooked all the way to the middle (way different than a mexican one). funny too is the salad along side it is exactly the same innards as the wrap but w/out the tortilla-like part! alright. after shoveling that, I then chimp diary on my 'puter using its battery for a bit and then suddenly power's back on and we're back in the ring. alright! what a nightmare scenario if otherwise would've been the case, cimony. one of the franz ferdinand cats, the singerman alex, talks to me about the minutemen and it turns out he's from glasgow and knows my friend dep at monorail records, a great pad where I played in the area it's at my sickkness opera last may w/my version three secondmen (raul morales and paul roessler). a small world, huh? he says his band was part of a whole scene built around that store and it was way organic. jack white comes by (I'm just standing out in the middle of the "court" or whatever) and talks to me about vans, about how his first one was an old econoline and a beater but still was reliable. there's people in the bands here that are very casual and w/out attitude about just spieling w/you - no hang ups though it is fucked the sleater-kinneys can't come tow here were at cuz of "wrong pass" bullshit but I press for them to at least being "allowed" on the stage when we play. I hate heirarchy and 'tude, fucking hate it. "big people" and "little people" - hate it cuz hell, I'm "little people" for sure. the "big day out" boss vivien lees himself (the name vivien in australia is common for men I'm told by knobman rik) comes up to me and we talk about ten years ago w/when the festival was in its early days and I was there w/the porno for pyros team. helperman chris brings me the bass that's been rented for me tonight - a recent model kind of cream-colored fender standard precision, a white one. it plays ok but boy is it big for someone used to littler ones like mine. I played a fender for years though and just worked one for a benefit in minneapolis last month (a trippy sidenote to that is I also did a little talk at the mcnally-smith college of music earlier in the day before the gig and the boss there announced they were starting a "mike watt scholarship for bass" to be awarded to a newcomer annually there which was pretty much a mindblow for me) so I can hang w/this I think. at least it's got a rosewood finger board so there's not too much "dink" though I do detect kind of a dead 'd' string (a not too uncommon prob) but hopefully this'll get us through the gig and I'll be able to have my little gibson fixed in sydney.
ig, ron, scotty and steve show up w/tourboss henry about an hour before we're to hit the stage. I put another pedro t-shirt for this gig, a local 13 (i.l.w.u.) one that says "work together or don't work at all" along w/a longshoreman hook in a fist. I gotta wear it backwards cuz the design was printed on the back (like most in my town, why?) but tear the tag off and just live w/the collar choking on me some. fuck it. the stretching, hand-shaking and pacing begins... the pre-gig ritual. ron's gonna play his new reverend guitar, an all-wood one kind of like the ones he's been playing but w/three soapbar pickups instead of strat ones. trippy, he's never even touched - the first notes he strums on it will be the first notes of the first tune! man, he's got nerve - I can dig it. the ferdinand cats run a little over w/but it's a neat long can-like jam and then it's our turn. whoa, this is the most australians I've ever played for. I only take one peep at the peeps though cuz I gotta maintain focus and glue my eyes on ig and the ashetons. man, does this bass hang pretty low and whoa, the frets are kind of far apart. what's weirder is the sound is kind of tiny, what's wrong now? life is funny. anyway, the band kicks into "loose" and everything is thrown forward, I feel a huge lurch - physical only in the fact this music is some major kind of woomf! ronnie's new guitar sounds righteous, yeah. it doesn't sound like I'm booming w/bogart like last gig - in fact it doesn't sound like much at all! I'm thinking just about playing for these guys, kind of trippy w/the long scale and just how the pickups are under the strings and where the thumb pivots to prop up your plucking hand - little things that you take for granted. it's ok, I got it under control. iggy is singing and dancing like a fully lit man enraptured w/celebration and fireballs, it's way intense and I love it so. second up is "down on the street" (trippy, scotty yesterday told me this tune was originally called "down on the beach" and he suggested to ig to rename it which makes sense w/lines like "floatin' around..." - whoa!) and we charge hard w/iggy definitely the bow of the boat, driving us hard at full steam. we kick into "1969" and ig hollers "more bass" so I bring the levels up, having to let go of "the flipper" some (I call me using two or more fingers plucking in unison "the flipper" cuz it puts more meat on the string) and he looks over - he's very aware of 'pert-near everything and it reminds me to get solid on all my notes which I also believe is a very important thing, no connect-the-dots here in real time, no faking it even if you're trying some machine adjusting. "I wanna be your dog" is our next wail and my intro (following ronnie) might be a little sharp cuz I guess wrong on this unfamiliar (for these days, sort of) lonnnnngish neck but get it together w/scotty firing up the backbeat after that righteous fill he has for an intro of his own. ronnie sounds so good that I gotta just get my head full of his sound from his amps so I knell right in front of his cabs for his solo - whoa, that's some brainfloss! then "tv eye" burst the bubble for me, inside my head and I just gotta shake myself silly - can't help it! the tune has totally got me. I hang on some though cuz I gotta deliver for these guys and not totally freak. "dirt" is where I start having problems w/the bass - the tone's totally out the window and I got no definition or what sounds like anything above a hundred hertz... what's up? it sounds like I'm coverd w/five hundred pairs of dirty underwear, two miles of country road in the bottom of each of them, ah shit. for "real cool time" my sound becomes more and more tiny, 'pert-near into mime territory it feels like. not to get too self-absorbed though cuz I'm digging on ig getting people up on stage - it's kind of a chore for him tonight but finally he gets a small version of an invasion happening which carries through to "no fun" but my sound is doing some real major shrinking dink so I just think "fuck it" and yank the controls all the way up as ron's solo is almost finishing and now the amp is roaring in some weird distorted way, shit. at least I got some volume but it's terrible. I'm thinking it musn't be the bass - probably wasn't the black one in auckland either but either these fucking amps or maybe even the diriect box. I let jos know but I don't know if I made myself understandable... iggy then introduces the band, calling me the "new guy" which makes me feel really good - what a trip to be the "new guy" in the stooges, THE STOOGES... it's still hard for to fathom. much respect to these generous gentlemen. now I find my sound really weird for "1970" and gotta bring down cuz it feels like these amps are gonna blow (fuck, they DO blow!) but I rush around anyway to visit steve (who comes aboard w/this tune) and ron on stage port - I ain't gonna let this technical shit get me down. "mindroom" and then "fun house" follows - what total mush now I got for a whatever, now a midrange gush has sucked out all the punch out from me... aaaaarrrrrggghhhh. it's frustrating for the whole crew up here I know - ig flies up and delivers five or six rabbit punches on my chest and I'm grateful for it - at least some "punch" there! he's so graceful too in the way did, leaping and twirling around to give it to me good. he's drenched too, the humidity is drowning us in wetness. I don't play much in "l.a. blues" feeling that in my current sitch, less is probably more. I'm feeling the hot wet now too kind of and it's hard for me to move/shake as frantic as I want to for "skull ring" but try hard to force myself. ig keeps turning back to scotty to play faster (like after every line!) but scotty's got his head down cuz he's boiling up too. he's still slamming the giant groove I think I feel what iggy is too. ron spaces a little on the intro for "dead rock star" (later he said he hadn't played it since rio de janeiro!) but I think it was still ok, just a little trippy while scotty is rock solid - some big slides for watt cuz of the neck but are these notes even realized w/what's coming out? I think it's been decided by either stageman jos and/or (do they talk to each other during the show somehow?) front-of-housman rik that's the prob might be the direct box so jos switches out for a new one during our last tune (the double dog version of "...dog") and I'm out for a bar or two but that doesn't really help things. we're off. it sounds like the kids dug it much. I find I lost my bracelet (not the bicycle spoke one but the other) and think back - I did see a lighter and some new wave glasses that were thrown up at me) but maybe it's an ok trade cuz ronnie got an actual skull ring (a silver ring w/skulls cast all around it) thrown up to where he was standing. it's really neat and everyone digs it. ig says "last show I had behind me a bass solo and tonight I had a guitar one" but has good humor about it. he tells me "mike, you didn't even need a bass up there - you being focused and right on cue helped me much, I needed confidence for this gig." I knew it was a hard one for cuz of the weather, bass, etc. but I still thought he did incredible, I mean he was (if I may sound like a girl) "awesome" in every TRUE sense of the word. I was blown away. scotty and ron too, righteous. of course I can't leave out steve either. ig works so hard, I know it's infectious on all of us and it carries us though. to hear him say I help a little too means so much to mean, I can't express it enough or find any kind of words to really say what's in my heart about that, it's worth more to me than anything in this music world. I look down at this fender bass and whoa, did it get chipped up by watchband. damn, sorry. all sweated and soaked totally through the levis, I run by the table where ferdinand alex and sleater-carrie are tell them "I love stooges!" and chomp my teeth twice down together hard to make them click-click loud, I'm fired up. back w/the asheton bros and steve, we commiserate on the gig w/ron saying he felt like he was playing naked and all by himself. well, I'm pretty sure it's not just the bass but the amps and knobman rik comes in and said the direct box failed for sure.
thursday, january 26, 2006 - sydney, australia
monday had me pop early and skip the usual chow forage hoof to instead hit the salt water pool before we're to check out and head for the airport. man, can you float is w/all the salt in this baby and it's pretty warm though not totally like a pool. there's lost fish swimming around w/you too and I can feel tickles from maybe their mouths? kind of weird. ig's out early down here too - that man worships the sun and is always getting tons of it. for all the time I'm in my kayak paddling (tuesdays, thursdays and saturdays when I'm home in pedro), I really haven't swam a bunch (except for the polar bear swim on new years day at our cabrillo beach) and it's trippy to move my limbs like this. I can swim pretty good, learned as a kid and even could tread water w/no hands for twenty minutes besides doing the one mile swim so I could be taught to handle a little nine foot sailboat as a teenager (my pop's idea). ig asks me if I went in the surf and I tell him I thought it was too intense w/the rips and all and he said he decided against to cuz he said he reminded himself he was here to work (meaning doing the gigs). spence went surfing though. the space had for folks (you gotta swim between these flags they set up on the beach) was really narrow where they let it happen and the life guards were running out all the time. they even had jet skis. at noon we headed for the airport to fly out of queensland and into new south wales where australia's biggest town is, sydney. there's an hour time difference and w/the flight being an hour, we land at almost the same time we took off! john pope gets us to the four seasons in "the rocks" part of sydney. I immediately set out for some chow forage and find a tiny sushi counter in this part called "the menzies" down george street where the subway is and they got maki rolls for ninety cents each ($.67 u.s.) - two inches in diameter and four inches long, great deal. I get six and head back and stumble onto a little street near the 'tel called nurses way, I find a tiny japanese specialty shop and get one "yebisu" beer for scotty and one for me. up to his chamber, we rap for a while and then I tell him about this place I saw a block from the "ichibankan" store, a pad called "fortune of war" which says it's the oldest bar in sydney (1828) so we gather steve up (he's next door) and have a couple of beers there. it's a neat old timey style and only a few folks which is neat, especially considering how it's kind of mersh in this neighborhood. getting back, I then get my stenched and sweated clothes into the tub w/the tide detergent to scrub them up. this pad has windows that don't open so I wanna this shit to have lots of time to dry. konk time for watt.
tuesday finds me popping early and hosing down quick to get out the hatch and back south on george street to a breakfast pad I saw yesterday that looked econo. it's england-style fare and is a good shovel for about five bucks u.s. I get back to the 'tel to chimp diary and then join helperman chris and roadboss eric in a journey to a pad called sound level to have a guy name colin look at the little bass. colin's cool people w/no jive rap to bore us w/and says he can glue it right up... I believe him - I believe in him to do it. alright. back to the 'tel and this cat named timothyben from the duet called gallucci comes by to pick me up. he's a young drummer (twentyone years old) that emailed me when I was back in pedro, asking if I would jam w/him and his brother jake on guitar (he's seventeen) at a sydney pad called "cafe pacifico" (yeah, australian mexican food!). he brought the minutemen "we jam econo" documentary to sydney last month. I said "sure, we can do some stooges songs" so he takes me to this sony/bmg place where he works near by the 'tel and we do some prac in a little studio there. we spend a few hours going over everything from the first two stooges albums except "we will fall" and "ann" plus I get them to make a stab at "the red and the black" by blue oyster cult cuz I've done that w/so many folks since me and d. boon started doing it when were fourteen. they thought the b.o.c. tune was too hard cuz they tried learning the "tyranny and mutation" version but I show them they could play their own way (which is kind of the way it should be) and got it going pretty good. they rented a musicman sabre bass and a sunn 300 bass amp for me. it was fun being w/them, I dug their spirit. when we got done, timothyben brought me back to the 'tel and I take steve down to "the menzies" and we get six maki rolls each and bring them back to chow them w/scotty, who's shoveling himself some 'dines. I'm kind of tuckered and start snoring in scotty's chair 'til I work up enough strength to get to my deck and konk on that. oh yeah, steve told us that the ferdinander nick had him blow sax for a tune using pro tools on a powerbook. happening.
wednesday morning and it's a rainy one as I hoof out towards where I chowed yesterday but see a stairs going down labeled "food court" and follow that up. hmm... enlgand-style like yesterday and fifty cents more but also more chow. however, once I start pushing it down, it's obvious this shit's been cooked way before and just heated up for me now. yech. idiot watt. luckily I blow it out in one piece like a cinderblock. I'm usually real careful but sometimes I stumble. luckily I got cast iron tourgut and get weather such shit. I chimp diary 'til it's time to do an interview for "insight" w/a nice cat named steve who's been in new zealand until the last two years. I like his style, he makes the spiel refreshing and even inspiring for me. much respect to him. then a north carolinian named jefrey (married an australian lady so lives in sydney now) picks me up in his work truck ("gutterboy" painted on the side cuz he re-does roof gutters) and takes me to his pad to interveiw me for a book he's writing on songwriters. he makes me a sausage in tomato sauce sandwich that is good eats too. my way of writing songs is probably weird but he asks me good things and also lets me fly my freak flag on the subject. I try to give him as much background and insights to songs I've made, enough to fill up two of his one hour tinytapes on a voice machine. he's got much of a handle on things cuz he writes songs himself and even has a band called clemente. shit, I could've gone on and on about it, telling him each and every tune I wrote came about and where I hoped it was going once I got rolling. it's not something I think about a lot but when I do, it's kind of trippy on me. I guess they're the closest I'll ever come to having actual "babies" or whatever. he drives me back to the 'tel and on the way, I see a liter bottle wheel on the seat between us and ask him if he's got a knife. he gives me one of the razor carpet-cutter kind and I slice off the top and start pissing it. maybe I kind of freaked him out a bit but I launch into how and why I wrote "piss bottle man" and he gets the point. I tell him about how "corona" and "I felt like a gringo" were both me and d. boon's different takes on the same trip we took one fourth of july to mexico (it happened to be their election day). too bad he didn't have the tape machine going. jef's good people. gig time w/gallucci comes around and timothyben takes me and steve to easy sydney where cafe pacifico is. scotty and eric show up too which is great. have rock action for moral support is a big BIG plus for me. there's lots of folks here - it really is a (kind of) mexican cantina and there's been boxes put up to try and soundproof the place cuz it ain't really for gigs. lots of folks are here though and I even get to meet the barman in person from the bar I-94 website which gives much respect to the stooges. everyone here is very cool and I meet a lot of nice cats, much respect to them including the jefe of the pad - they all make me feel quite welcome. nine pm and it's gig time, I kick it up w/a jack bruce take on those great dave alexander bass lines as timothyben and jake wail w/me. steve's doing great on the sax tune, I asked him to blow on every tune that we do. finally I blow up the bass amp though (not on purpose) and the gig's done after an hour. never did get to do the b.o.c. song though, damn. I really proud of these gallucci cats, they sure had the spiel and the folks were real fun to play to. man, what a neat thing to do. scotty said he dug it too which really makes me happy. now that was a blast. we take a cab back, laughing most the way... even on the deck as konk came up me.
gig day and it happens to be australia day which is kind of like the fourth of july back home but obviously different in the fact that the folks here didn't break away from england like we did but it is a celebration of australia by australians. I pop at like six bells and man, I can throw down another one of these england-style breakfasts (or "brecky" like I hear it called here) cuz I can 'pert-near feel like my back teeth are swimming in grease so I go to the little store behind the 'tel and get some 'dines in hot sauce along w/some rycrisp kind of crackers ryvita for fiber. idiot watt, I forgot my psylium husks back in pedro... aaaarrrggghhh. being there being a gig, I can do the rest of the days chowing at the free trough they got going at the venue. I bail w/the crew at noon and we take some back roads through some sydney suburb, lots of roofs w/sort of similar spanish tile style on one story pads like we got home, like a so-cal version of vancouver, kind of. I saw an aborigine guy on street corner as we were heading out, my only glimpse of one since I've been here. ig's helperman spencer's w/us and says he'd like to check out where they live, the driver says there's a section of town w/them but it's heavy though I'd like to see it too. I've read they've got the oldest culture on the planet, like forty thousand years. I did get to meet and learn a lot of stuff from a few of them that perry had on the porno for pyros tour I helped w/bass on ten years ago here. we saw some people in black and white striped jail suits too, obviously "celebrating" some of the heritage here. I think of the aborigines and can't help but think of our own native peoples where the u.s. too. disappeared people, crimony.
we get into the backstage parts and the dressing room trailers are split up w/shrubberies in between. there's a "tiki bar" and pinball area but I never hang out w/that stuff. I do get my little gibson bass from roadboss eric and get to check out the gluejob colin did w/it and am very pleased - I think it's gonna hold up good, even in my thugwrestler hands. he fashioned a wood brace to help the case let the headstock float more so less stress will be on her meaning more protection. I show it to carrie sleater-kinney but she's busy w/pinball. young people are great w/the eye-hand coordination thing, huh? the "sistas in the pit" sticker I got on my bass reminds of that band, a great one from oakland I've shared the bill a couple of times w/banyan and I ask her if she knows them, idiotically saying "girl band" - how fucking patronizing of me, like when do I say "boy band" when I'm talking about music groups? I am embarrassed and ashamed, fucking idiot watt. they're a great band period and I just wanted to let her know about them. I am so awkward w/fucking language (or is it fucking awkward w/language?) and think probably I will never in this lifetime ever get that together. I am continually yanking my foot out the mouth. our helperman jos is having big 'puter problems w/his ibook so I go to help him w/that but he's got some hardware foulups that are beyond the bounds of flushing the pram or using disk utility or diskwarrior on it in target mode. we give it a good try though. doing that however and becoming lost when I try to find the "essential stage" means I just miss sleater-kinney doing there set, aaarrrggghhhh. I am determined to seed henry rollins though, having blown two chances already. you can see I'm inept in lots of areas in my life. I shovel some curry and salad and then head on over to where I finally found those "side stages" (they're actually pretty big) - outside the "stadium" part on some ring road. I'm early for hank but there's a band playing on the stage beside his (there's two of them next to each other, just like the two big stages, where the stooges play on one so there can be a band playing while the next one up can their scene built), they're called the go! team and are from england. I've never seen or heard them before but they are wild. they got like six people and besides the bass player, all of them play all kinds of instruments, switching off real quick between songs. there's samples going on too and w/two drum sets up there, I can hear like three at times. sometimes there's harmonica in the mix, sometimes banjo, melodica, glockenspiel - always someone on guitar and a main singer lady who's got a great voice. they mix all kinds of styles too and what energy, a trippy band. I don't know what they sound like on record but their gig is great. right after them on the stage just starboard is hank rollins doing his spoken word spiel and its great. he's got a story about writing a song w/iggy at a soundcheck and then playing it - ig making his stage entrance by running on and crashing into money mark's keyboards (it was a gig where hank's band was opening for the beastie boys). he works in australia day w/his take on how it's observed ("beer belly guys who've eaten too many sausages and have worked much too hard") and how much the current prime minister boss here is a fanboy for our president boss back home plus all kinds of other stuff - from the personal to the public. he keeps it moving w/his good spiel style and has a huge crowd as far back as you can hear him hanging on for the next word which is a pretty intense talent to get on at an outdoor festival w/so many other distractions, truly. I hoof back to the chow area and rap w/a cat from long beach named ikey - he's working keys for the mars volta. I can tell him some long beach stuff (it's the town east of pedro, we share the harbor w/them and wilmington) cuz I read electric meters there for edison in the late 70s and the minutemen had a prac pad in the west part, near santa fe street. ok, my stooge bros should be arriving so time to meet up w/them... on the way over I bump into flea - he's got a pad three hours south of sydney (he's part australian too) and look who he brought, his new baby girl sonny bebop! big hugs for the bassman. finally inside the compound - hey, the dressing-trailer-whatever next to us is that go! team band and damn if one of the guitarists/glockenspiel/melodica operators ain't the same lady that was in a band from japan that opened up for us last summer in melpignano, italy (in the heel part if you look at the country as if it was a boot) - a trippy two piece called yumiyumi. her name's kaori, ain't that a trip? there's other go-sters named sam, jamie and who seems the bossman, ian and I start in w/my "review" of their gig which probably makes it obvious I'm a wigger and a fuckin' go-off. people who know me can expect this but strangers? man, I wish I had a ripchord I could yank on a poof-like disappear when the foam and gush gets like it gets w/me. fuck, I don't mean to weird anyone out and also, I should be kind of thinking of this imminent stooge gig maybe (well, it's percolating from way down and maybe this spiel is some strange compensator device in reaction) - but in a way I am cuz me getting excited 'pert-near about anything can translate a healthy jolt I work into my throwdown for the gig. I just can't get wore out in the act of getting fired up. it's hard to reel it in when you're wack and just cast out from an impulse that just seems beyond you. I cringe when I hear an audio tape of me up like this... folks must think I got drogas fueling up this shit. it's almost like I have to use my hand to come around the back of my head and yank myself away - like I was my own "hall monitor" or whatever. they're nice people though but... (time for new paragraph!)
whoa, I sure did get caught up in my spiel w/these go team! cats... idiot watt, how many times I get all carried away like that, 'pert-near hypnotizing myself w/my own spiel... symptomatic of mental illness and/or a truly arrogant inside? fuck, hopefully more of the former if I had a choice cuz frankly, I am fucking tired of the self-centered shit... I try and think back where did all that get going and whether it was something from total little boy days. obviously, if it's truly arrogance then it's got a matter of choice and I can't be shirking by blaming circumstance or some such shit... just gotta take it on the chin and get it the fuck together and let go the fucking ego. man, sometimes I wish my essence was blasted into virtually infinitely maximum distanced particles so it'd be impossible for me to have any kind of center except maybe around a true desire to not be a hell in anyone's life. I got so caught up in the gush that foamed up in me, music gets me lit like this - it's weird how I get plugged in and sort of like grabbing an electric fence, I can't let go for the life of me. idiot watt. roadboss eric gives me a sign from a small distance away and I know I only got an hour before downbeat so I gotta realize my first duty for even being allowed around here in the first place - to work the bass for the stooges. I quickly (!) excuse both my self and attempt the same w/my behavior (try to, anyway - I remember steven drodz of the flaming lips observing me ranting at old friend wayne coyne and telling me "you're just like this, aren't you?" I am realizing that more and that's why I sequester myself to "man alone" in my pedro town, more and more... it's like a foible deep w/in me maybe and can't be changed but rather in terms of trying to be responsible, spreading to others more and more freedom FROM me) and head for the stooges trailer dressing room (this being a "showground" or what us u.s. people would call a fairground, the dressing room area's in a huge barn like building w/box planters of shrubbery to act as dividers) and find scotty, ron and steve sitting in some pretty chilly air. I mean it's not too comfortable w/the sweaty reality of the outside but there's some bone-chill w/the way the air-conditioning is going in "the dressing trailer" so I quick get into my "sistas in the pit" shirt (these is a black one - I wore a white one back in november in rio) and then get back outside to do stretches. I do wanna connect w/my guys though for both focus and inspiration so I end up going back and forth, inside and outside... ron's sick w/some gut prob due to ingesting some kind of bad chow but he can't figure what it was. all he knows is that's brought a big hurt on and I feel bad for him. damn, to do a gig like that is tough. steve and scott are in good shape and their spirits are high. ig's next door in his room prepping his inside zone for the maximum blast I just know he'll launch up on stage... festival boss vivien comes by and gets hatch-slam from him. I wish folks could somehow be hipped to how much iggy focuses on what he's gotta do when he's gonna work and not come on him before a gig - it's much easier after w/the pressure off. man, I'm feeling bad for ronnie - shit, I know he'll soldier on but how I wish I could bring some kind of relief for him from the sickness. the usual eternity finally transpires and we're loaded up in a mini-van for the stage which is in the arena part of these showgrounds. roadboss eric hands me the little gibson - well, the strings have been tight on her now for a good amount of hours and it's looks like colin's gluejob has held fast so that's good. I'm glad I earlier in the day put a new battery in her too. in my mind though I'm kind of scared (not just the usual "this is fuckin' stooges gig!" scariness but also the "how are things gonna go basswise?" fear) but I gotta stand up to it - for the team. ig tells "let's go" and I run out to my side, stage starboard (that's why I like coming out first since we almost always enter from stage port) and plug her in. alright, new amps - looks like one's a svt pro-II like the other ones but the one next to her is an older svt II. I wonder how they'll go? I am confident about the direct box cuz knobman rik had eric get one he specified, an ar-133 made by a company called bss. a search for a radial jdi earlier by eric turned out fruitless but I very much trust rik. understand - there's no soundcheck at these big festival things so I just gotta wing it and pray. man, have I been praying the whole I was stretching out by the shrubbery! ok, scotty kicks up the drums for "loose" and ron's chugs on that opening chord (once again on his new reverend guitar) - we're off! I was told there's fiftyfive thousand people here today but I'm try really hard not to be distracted and give no peek-outs to the peeps though much respect to them - I got my eyes glued on ig. he is kicking it up hard and singing his heart out. whoa. he asks jos a few times for more monitor - I can dig that too cuz I just love hearing him sing and it also nails me right there to the moment... I can't get enough of his voice cuz like seeing him move, it grabs in the soul and turns me inside out. I do wish I had a little more of scotty's snare drum. like what hank rollins told me earlier in the day about when he watched us at the gold coast gig, "for me it's all about scotty's left hand." amen to that, I can dig it. I'm pretty blown away by the bass sound - shit, I hate to somehow think machinery is more important that the human factor but I can actually hear notes and of course I know how to work my hands on her - I think it's six years now I've been using this bass. one weird thing though is I can't really shake myself silly or maybe I just wish I could more so I'm thinking maybe I'm a little tepid/hesitant cuz of the machinerys unknowns or maybe it's this humidity or I don't know what (sometimes it's just that way, gigs are unpredictable for me) but at least I can focus on playing right. I do push hard to try for that ecstatic state but that's more and in my head and hard to wring through the rest of my body... small potatoes really though in the big picture when hey, I'm part of this stooge music - "lose yourself, watt" I keep thinking inside, "let ig, ron, scotty and their music take you" I repeat over and over to myself. ig hollers "play 'down on the street,' motherfucker" and that baby bolts out of the starting gate, a shoe from the crowd flying up high but missing everything but the deck of the stage. up on my amps he goes for ron's guitar solo and down I go on my knees, pretty intense. "no walls!" for sure. "a real o-mind" totally. "1969" next - is my 'e' string a little sharp? aaarrrgggghh... you can always choke up on a flat string to get it right but it's tough w/a sharp one - looks ok on the tuner when I octave up for the breaks, hmm... maybe just a little bit cuz in "...dog" (the following number) I do an octave w/that 'e' open - aahh, I'm frettin' a little too hard, gotta let loose some on that shit. man, can one make a mess and tangle of things in the head, huh? the band's smokin', that's the bottom line and it's blowing me down (in a good way!). iggy launches into the crowd, ronnie lifts off the leads and scotty slams home the groove - holy moses! part of the intro riff of "tv eye" is w/out amps cuz ron has the wrong box button pushed but he alleviates that prob quick and me and scotty follow him into one of the most slammin' takes on this tune I've ever been on, truly... feels like the stage is levitating, 'pert-near! maybe it really is?! in the chug part, ig says "tv" and gives the thumb-down - funny cuz this is being filmed for a later broadcast but it makes much sense cuz how much feeling has been dumbed down and attempted to be controlled by that idiot box (or the doofs behind it)? "ram it!" we all come down together on it in between percolatings. ig has a little spiel before "dirt" so I can make sure on the tuning... like scotty says, what we got is a workingman's set - especially these first five. I've gotten some "shook silly" freak outs going but can't sustain them much, even though I wanna bad. damn, I wanna fly around like iggy! anyway, a good take on "dirt" though I didn't cue iggy right after the solo w/a little two-note phrase he told me about before the show cuz I guess I was a little afraid of confusing ronnie but ig reads the stich well works it good. "real cool time" is a real cool time for me especially after being tiny nano-flaccid the last gig we played this. my outfit now is soaked down to the soaks w/sweat. I'm wondering how does iggy get up and down this high-up stage and even more it's trippy how the kids can but he urges them on much and some brave cats take him up on it which is so great. lance and his wife corin (from sleater-kinney) told me they wanted to have their young son marshall up on stage to dance w/us for "no fun" but I don't see them 'til guitar solo time and then it's over there by ron so I get on over to stage port and get low so I can play for the little guy who's got headphone ear protection on, his proud folks dancing w/him, totally precious and righteous. however, me being the klutz I am - even w/ronnie warning me about his pedals being vulnerable - I stumble on them and cut out his sound though very lucky it was right on the final note. man, do I feel like a fucking idiot and get stage starboard quick after apologizing to him. idiot watt... christ, what a bozo. ig does the band intros ("from san pedro, the minuteman...," plus "the man in the driver's seat, rock action!" and "the undisputed heavy weight champion, ron asheton!) and mindwarp into "1970" melding into "mindroom" - ig intoducing steve mackay during that "meld" cuz in the "I feel alright!" parts is where steve joins us for the rest of the set. iggy hollers "fun house" and yeah, I got some definition and can hear the actual riff as I get us into it. man, I love this little bass (I know ron's into too cuz he said it was like he was playing alone and naked last gig and scotty said it was farting in his monitor). I get a little hip in my step too, alright - not as much go-off and energy as I'd like but some. I'm laying that bass in scotty's groove though and not getting lost, that's what really key though. a kind of shorter "l.a. blues" follows and I wrestle the bass up though, then ig run out after his bottle-of-water-poured-over-his-head move stage port after we load up "skull ring" - I'm pretting good in tune here which is really important to the song, I've blown that out of the water in some of our first gigs. trippy but in "dead rock star" I'm feeling a little kind of sore in the calves now - trying to fight it but maybe the humidity or whatever - maybe just lame wattness is sort of beating up on me now, like invisible hands coming up from the deck, trying to grab me by my ankles and drag me down. shit, someone chucked up some chewing gum too and bozo me steps right into it. however, this is just little crap - the big picture holds up a righteous gig. one more dog to go though - the double dog, our "I wanna be your dog" reprise and we're off, scotty holding me up as I almost stumble. iggy's really put a lot out (he always does though!), amazing. he tells me the bass sounded good, he said even in the side fills it did. man, I'm glad I could finally come through that way, thank you little gibson bass! I'm glad I also kept the focus to work it right, staying in the moment right along side these incredible stooges. I bring the colonel and niagra back w/me cuz they want a beer and we find ron's just puked his brains out behind the trailer. an examination by steve alerts us to the fact there was much undigested spaghetti so maybe it was food poisoning. ron was a champ to play the way he did though, much respect to him. me and scotty do an a little spiel w/nme.com but you know how that stuff gets redacted - I just hope they print up some of what of scotty says cuz like his brother ron, his words are choice and not full of filler - direct and concise, like their drumming and guitar playing. to beat the traffic, we again bolt after not too long. some spiel from me w/john pope about australians being sent to war, like gallopoli and such - ronnie knows alot about it too. whoa, to get back to the 'tel before eleven bells is a very happening thing. of course the soreness comes down on me now that the adrenaline has run out and I hit the deck soon after hosing off the gig sweatiness from me, immediately after washing the levis, skivvies and sistas in the pit shirt that are way sopping. happy australia day from watt.
sunday, january 29, 2006 - melbourne, australia
too bad we couldn't have played yesterday (saturday) but I understand the reasoning into try and keeping the gigs on weekends - probably one reason this festival is on its twelfth year and not been beaten down and done for and they had to move the whole kaboodle from sydney which is like a day easy drive and I think they're saving up the jam for the last one in perth cuz that's a hellride anyway w/out any "holiday on a thursday" thing like we just had w/australia day. anyway, the day after the sydney gig, I popped at six bells and then went to that convenience store to get a bowl of ramen soup - a big one w/meat, veggie and spice packets you mix in. this land having the enland thing in its upbringing, there's electric kettles to heat water for the tea so there you go, 'pert-near a homecook. I chow that and then chimp up last nights gig in the diary. a little later, scotty called me to do a boatride of the harbor and we go to the circular quay to take a captain cook crusies trip. sydney's in this huge harbor that's gotta be one most protected natural ones on the world, it's amazing. we go all the way aft and scotty gets on the top deck w/his video camera but the blaring sun is too wailing for me (and the wind would blow my coolie hat off big time if I had tried bringing it) so I'm right below him on the middle deck. there's a taped voice over a speaker that tells you things but thank god it's not oppressive like a tour guide. lots of the things pointed out have roots in the convict past here, australia being mostly a penal colony for england. they talk about this one guys sentenced here seven years for stealing a loaf of bread. he got so onery that they chained him to a rock for two years and he dug into the side of cliff and like a cave. some escaped though and became bush rangers (bandits). there's also stuff way newer like the opera house which is beautiful and the harbor bridge - there's a maritime museum halfway through our trip but scotty doesn't want to get off - damn cuz I love that kind of stuff, boat shit. I can see myself abandoning him though even though he tells me to bail... it's hard for me to do that - christ, I'm 'pert-near verged on self-centered enough. we passed a lot of little islands and one's called manly - not after anyone named manly but from what some england guys thought of aborigines they found gutting a whale there - they were "manly" in stature. I think of tecumseh or pontiac - big chiefs in u.s. indian history revered by white cats but at the same time, they're the same one decimating their peoples. the voice on the speaker calls it a "tough time" and dealing w/the legacy of how the natives were treated as still "tough." back w/the porno for pyros tour I found out how similar the u.s. natives and the aborigine thing here were, from some who were w/us as musicians and dancers. after our trip, we meet up w/saxman steve and it's round two w/the ramen soup bowls, this time adding 'dines, oysters and mussles (all from tins) to them. it's a good chow. I get so caught it up, I don't know where the time is and space on getting to where sleater-kinney was having there own gig here in town - I also had an invite to see the volta cats w/the songwriter book writer jef too... shit. well, too late to do anything about it after realizing it, roadboss eric joins me and steve for one more trip to the "fortune of war" bar. we see ron on the way and he's talking to deniz tek who I get to meet, much respect to him. scotty stays w/them to catch up while we find the "fortune..." being blared up w/a cover band (even a violent femmes one - steve's trips on that cuz he tours w/them) and we meet the crew for a band from england called the subways - the actual members are still teenagers. I've tried to see them but they go on really early but maybe there'll be chance for me later down the line. nice "blokes" (same as in england, they call guys that here as well as "mates" and there's also a nickname for women: "shielas"), we have some good spiel. tiredness comes on me and it's time for farewell. both deck and konk await.
saturday's the day to fly to melbourne and we're leaving at eleven bells so that gives me some time for one more hoof around the blocks near the quay. nice weather, neither rain or sweat but this town will soon be all past tence for me. I snap all I can w/the digicamera and chow a bacon and egg sandwich. there's a couple of model boats (like three feet long) on display that have a card under them saying it took two thousand hours to build them from scratch, crimony. there's a donate request for the blind can so I chip in. we load up the usual two minivan caravn w/john pope in the lead and head for the airport. only an hour flight across to the state of victoria (same time zone) and again I'm up front in business - in fact, sitting again next to ig and he asks me about what bands I've been seeing when I come w/the crew so I tell him and he's interested... he already knows about all these cats I've seen for the first time (of course I do know rollins and the sleaters), he reads a lot. that's why I like festivals cuz I really do get out of the loop, I don't read music news maybe as much as I should. I do like in a way experiencing a band w/out hearing anything about them, you get a gut level thing going w/no preconceptions and that can be a trip. melbourne's laid out much different than sydney, it's spread and w/wide streets reminding me kind of so cal back home. the weather's humid. john pope gets us to grand hyatt melbourne, which is just north of the yarra river in the middle of town and after some chimping, I hoof around for chow. I find a subway sandwich pad and try a tuna one - same as back home and when you translate the monies, costing about the same. no potato chips though, gotta get them next door at the 7-11 (much smaller than ours and no beer - that's only sold at "bottle shops"), some "lime and pepper" ones. cigarettes about eight dollars u.s. for twentyfive in a pack. I chow that and get a good way through my "will in the world" (stephen greenblatt) book on shakespeare. what a bio, only about ninetyseven percent conjecture or something w/every "if" leading to ten other ones! I go downstairs for air (these fucking 'tel windows are like the sydney ones and won't open... fucking "seal-a-meal" or what?) and I bump into tourboss henry who has barry from all tomorrow's parties w/him. we catch up w/some spiels 'til I'm out of gas. then comes sueno.
gig day for melboure (sunday) and the "big day out", I pop at six bells and hoof towards the river yarra and then to the flinders street train station, which is got that edwardian old style design to it (only the outside, the inside's real new where the trains are). there's a lof of misty fog, kind of like my pedro town when I set out pedaling or paddling early and low and behold, there's people kind of paddling in the river but instead of kayaks, they're skulling and look pretty pro at it. there's a brand new movie institute real-modern style complex. down an alleyway for me and I find a chow pad called "andiamo's" and the got the england-style "breaky" going but also have tobasco (finally some heat) so I drown the chow in that before shovelling it down. I explore around and fill my eyes w/things melbourne, at least in these parts. back to the 'tel, I leave w/the crew (young spence wants to get some 'gars at the store where the cars come up, there's lots of cubanos but I wonder if he knows how much those cost or how you can't bring them home?) at noon. the gig's at a new place for this festival, princes park and it's laid out kind of sideways instead of a circle like the other ones. that means getting to the other stages is a lot easier. however, it's really muggy and hot. I get there just in time to miss the subways, damn. I do get to see the sleater-kinneys and go! teams but their stages are under huge tents (like in gold coast) and there's no fucking air, oppressive big time. whatever, I watch them both anyway... and both are great. walking toward the tent to do the do, here's carrie so I relate to her something bugging me about something I said at the sydney gig. I had just been brought my bass and was going to put a battery in it, but the sistas in the pit sticker causes me to tell her to "you should check out this girl band." fuck, what an idiot - like I call all-male groups "boy bands." sometimes these things take days to register on me, the moment being so divorced from me being fucking 'pert-near even conscious of it - when will I be able to get on that and get it right or at least more happening? she shakes it off and says "it's all about semantics, mike." anyway, I still wanted to acknowledge that sounded like stupid-ass patronizing on my part (sistas in the pit are a happening band - girl, boy, whatever) but back to the gig - guitar trouble for her (maybe a cable?) and a little muddy in the overall sound (cuz of the tent?) but the sleater-kinneys tear it up tough big time. trippy that janet says she'll make up for the clams at the next gig cuz I think she was slamming but that's the way it is lots, different takes on the same event... the doer vs. the witnesser. I take the coolie hat off and use it for a fan so I don't pass out. I'm up close but nowhere near the middle and can't imagine how those people can fucking handle it. same w/the go! team, crimony! their sound is much better than when I saw them in sydney, no pulsing sound like the limiters were constantly kicking in and out though the singing was kind of buried but man, their singer lady sure showed she could dance even if it seemed she was miming w/the vocal (she wasn't though, I'm sure it was the mix and/or stich). when the little drummer lady came up and did her solo sing, the piano this time didn't bogart her out - one reason I talk to bands about how I heard the gig is so they can have some feedback cuz you cannot tell what's coming off the stage when you're on it. I've said this many times before but you playing is like only the monitor and the knobman (or lady) is the transmission getting it to the people, you gotta trust so much in them - they're virtually a member of the fucking band. I go to chow so I can do it early enough not be too close to gig-time and talke w/this young man named who sings and plays guitar for an australian band on this tour called wolfmother. I actually first saw them in los feliz (a little east of hollywood) last september when me and kira did a dos (my oldest band, twenty years now - just two basses, kira and myself) set for this thing called arthurfest. he seems like a sensitive cat and we get talking about things. he tells someone said one should meditate on death sometime every day but two days ago him and his girlfriend just had a baby and now that's making him think about that, like maybe meditate on life. well, since for me it's kind of like two sides of the same coin, maybe both then, huh? stuff is gonna wander into your head any way. wander, wonder - makes sense. the hard part is letting go of trying to control everything (well, I guess not letting go of trying to control that!)... I'm happy for him and his new little family.
I get back to our dressing room trailer area and find the guys there. I get on the outfit (the top half, the bottom half - levis - are the same on and off stage!) I brought for the gig, one todd gave me that has the name of his label "recess records" in red on a white shirt... let's hear for music from pedro! roadboss eric has some disturbing news though it has nothing to do w/this show... seems some mookie-mook music publication in england had awarded the stooges the "best gig of 2005" award for the apollo show we did in england last august but since there was no big label money to fly the band out there to play and then accept the award (and they wouldn't just have iggy), they were giving it to some band that did. damn, can you believe that? what a bunch of fucking chumps. whatever, if you hang your hat on being validated that way then I guess it'd bunch your panties all up but I'd rather repeat something a great man once said, "get me a shovel." billy walsh comes by to say hi to me. he runs a pad here in melbourne called the cherry bar and used to drum for the cosmic psychos. when I was w/j mascis + the fog for an australian tour five years ago, we played the cherry bar and did a gig of all stooges stuff. man, did I get some cramps at the gig, one was like golfball fucking rose up on my forearm! damn. good to see billy again. the co-boss of the festival (along w/vivien), ken west, comes by to visit and though steve doesn't recognize him at first, ken does and relates to him tour managing violent femme gigs in the u.s. during the 80s - small world! now steve remembers... ok, back to my world: the little gibson bass is in good shape so that's one gig and one flight it's made and stayed together, alright! what I'm sad to hear though is ronnie's sick again from bad chow. damn, second day-of-show rotgut for him in a row. iggy says in a way he's glad to hear cuz he thought was just him being at an age where maybe every gig now had to be paid w/a bout of the runs. of course he's not into ronnie hurting though. ron says he was on the toilet for hours and there was some puking too though he says it's not gonna be as hard as in sydney cuz at least it's behind him and he's not in the midst of it like last time. I do my stretches 'til it's go-time and then we're loaded into golf carts and a minivan for the stage. there's roadboss eric w/my bass at the bottom of the stage stairs. I take hold of her and sling it. ig gives the "let's go!" and I run across the stage. whoa, it looks trippy looking out for the brief bit I do - there's amusement rides in the background, making for like almost a circus trip, 'pert-near. the folks though are boomin' w/enthusiasm however and it feels like the whole pad is gonna pop as scotty hihats ronnie in for "loose" and this show is underway. jos has got a good sound on the stage and I can hear the snare drum better than in sydney, ron's guitar sound is so very happening too - that's a new good axe he's wielding. "down on the street" and I feel some breeze - it's cooled down and we play doesn't have a big top to stuff up all the air. the sun's coming today bringing a little golden glint on things too (we hit at 7:50 pm). iggy tells the folks "we're the fucking stooges!" - I've never heard him once say "iggy and the stooges" - it's always "stooges" as in a all-for-one band context. it's his call but for me it makes perfect sense, I can see what he means totally by that. we're into "1969" and I get I'm always getting a sense of turning and churning for some reason in this tune, I love it - even turning me inside out as well as twisting me up like licorice and the screwing me back down. our first blast of "I wanna be your dog" and ig'd into the crowd - hey, this stage is pretty high up and it's a mindblow how he's able to get up and down so much. before "tv eye" whups it up, he looks out to the peeps and hollers "I can see you, baby!" and then "I can see you, motherfucker!" and looking more up front "I can see you little guy... you look like you need some punishment!" and then "lllllllllooooooorrrrrrrrrrdddssss!" us onward. man, is this some sock-it-to-me shit, I'm almost out of mind but holding on to stay in the moment and work this right w/these guys though I have to admit there's a raging sense of fucking "I'm off" detonating from deep within both brain cells (the ones where the dreams are held) and depths of the spine shit, like it's been set off way within me. it's a trip and it feel 'pert-near like me eyes are all whites (either that or all blacks) w/no pupils. I cue the middle part better for ig in "dirt" and dovetails it like a master carpenter. I notice blood from him all over the deck in front of me, I wonder when and how that happens? did I come in on the 'a' chord for "real cool time" or did I wait for the 'g' - here I am just hours later chimping my recollections and some shit is just lost to the vortex though why would I be wondering about that happening unless I'm mixing in former gig memories or even imaginary ones? I am skeptical of my own head and thoughts - you can take that into outer space. kids come up in the guitar solo and are dancing wild and crazy w/ig, having a good time. him too, he's digging it. we dive into "no fun" for round two of "dance your brains out in front of everyone" and what's this, yet another lighter and pair of new wave glasses are tossed up at me, what's that? roadboss eric is up kind of close on me - I know he's looking out to help ig and all but I'm kind honed and wish I had a little more room... I look over at ronnie and he's way back and to the side - he don't have to worry about me klutzing it up and kicking his pedal out cuz I can't get near, a huge dance mass holds the middle mark. ig tells the crowd that "melbourne is our kind of town," then starts introduces the band and when he gets to scotty, I look stage left and there's hank rollins, intent on us again, bless him. I know he's tied to scotty's left hand (cuz he told me so) so I look at scotty as ig moves on to ronnie and give him my left hand - up and down, like it was around a shaft. he cracks up. iggy yells "play 1970, I wanna fuck everybody!" and ron has a trip way of getting the intro going but scotty's flams set it up for me to plow - we had tiny bits of trouble w/this the first two gigs but it always got wrung out good when we all got going on it. whoa is this a good take on it, I feel like I'm like spence was when he was surfing up the rage-curl at gold coast... rip, rip, RIP tide, man! I let a slight feedback go under "mindroom" (but no bogart) and then we're into "fun house" which is one crazyass stomp, damn! a shorter "l.a. blues" than usual but you gotta realize stooges ain't (and shouldn't, I think) be paint by numbers - ig calls it as he reads it and that's pretty fucking right on. he comes back soaking wet for "skull ring" and I can see that herniated muscle sheath on his right bicep swell up, intense. he didn't ask for it in sydney but tonight he's turning around repeated to get scotty to "come on" and fight what I guess is some perceived leadfoot. I'm just trying to hang w/the groove which for me is big enough to have this whole town jump on and get throbbed. he calls out "not right" next and here's one we haven't done since brazil but it's pretty good - amazing about how these guys do stuff like that. it's almost like the tunes have a life of their own and play us! I know it's not that way but sometimes that's how it 'pert-near feels. I space and forget to "pop-tart" (cue) scotty in the middle but here's there despite that, however I am there for the ender which later he'll tell me is a good thing. we finish the gig up w/the "double dog" (scotty giving the intro and extra go 'round cuz the lights went off and hollering-in-the-monitor threw him off some but we get the train right back on track after some blurriness) and we're off, ig saying he dug it much (I'd say this is his favorite one this tour) while he sits on an amp case to catch a breather w/me straight-legged on the deck right down from him while the other guys head for whence we came. when iggy's ready to go, there's no room to sit in the gold cart so tourboss henry tells me to stand up in the back and hold the roof - that's a trip, never done that before. glad we didn't hit a bump. I see three of the go! teamsters and wrap w/them, again getting all caught up in windbagging, egged on w/all this adrenaline in me 'til that runs out. they're kind to tolerate such a crazy asshole but in ways it's better than me doing that on ron, which I've done before when I couldn't find the strength to contain it. man, does this stooges stuff get me lit! when I do get back, I find I blew it cuz there was supposed to be a radio spiel I was suppose to give but ronnie covered for me (though he was sick, no post-gig puke for him tonight - like he told us earlier, it was more of a pre-gig forever diarrhea thing for him this time). I feel like an idiot, aaaarrrgggghhh - I never want let my guys down, ever! I also find out a friend of steve's gave him a huge bear hug and cracked a rib where had surgery and now he's hurtin' crew, damn. the guy probably didn't realize what he did. a nice writerman named patrick is aboard and says hi while I get the soaked shirt off. even w/the breeze and the cooldown, it was still pretty warm. john pope soon has us on the road for the 'tel, saying the gig was all the way filled at thirtyeight thousand. good thing cuz believe or it not, it's looking like a storm's coming in! whoa, weather changes fast in these parts. hey, it's chinese new year (steve says it's the year of the dog) and there's fireworks blasting along side dragons dancing on some the chinatown streets right near the 'tel, intense.
at the 'tel, me and scotty have a beer w/some folks from the magic numbers. the drummer man has his left hand and wrist all swollen, he says he thinks he broke it. damn, it looks painful. they ask us to join them in a hoof to a pad some blocks away called "cookies" where there's the festival after-party. well, I haven't been to one yet so I urge on scotty but as we're hoofin', he dawdles and moseys 'til we're almost there and then cuts out after seeing henry, who's just leaving this thing. oh well. I almost go join him cuz I like his company much but maybe he wants it alone so I go upstairs and rap some w/omar from the volta guys. it's way loud and crowded plus omar's an understated type (which is cool) so I'm 'pert-near in monologue mode. a little of this and my shit is beat anyway, out of gas and feeling the joints all sore as hell. damn, I get stiff an hour after we play so it's a trip I made it this far. I hoof back to the 'tel in a rainy mist and then konk on the deck in room 1007, the seal-a-meal chamber I'm calling home for five days. weird.
friday, february 3, 2006 - adelaide, australia
monday I popped early and started chimping diary cuz I was all excited to put down my thoughts about last night's gig. I mean they're all mindblows for me but last night was a good combo of things and it was great to know that ig dug it so. I dig making him and the asheton brothers happy, that's my main goal whenever I'm allowed to do w/music or really whatever w/them. the only thing free in this seal-a-meal burnward pad is some instant coff in plasticwrap tubes and some teabags (what's the difference between "breakfast" and "earl gray" tea, maybe the caffeine content?) so I just put in all in one cup and add water boiled up in the kettle (like I've said, that's a happening thing about england-influenced konk pads). downstairs at eleven bells cuz john pope's organized a sally forth to the healesville sanctuary about seventy miles northeast of where we are now. it takes two minivans though ig, ron, scott, jos and steve ain't going so there's a lady driver named julie and I'm in that boat. we travel through the melbourne suburbs, they stretch almost the entire way and julie says that's a new thing cuz it use to be all open land, kind of like what you see when you're driving between austin and houston in the u.s. that's the way of the world, I remember being a boy and coming to so cal from virginia and 'pert-near the whole way from l.a. to san diego was nothing but either orange groves or open land except for camp pendleton. just before the sanctuary, we stop for some lunch trough at a chow pad in the lobby of an older hotel ("the grant" maybe?) in heallesville. for around $7.50 in u.s. monies, I get this steak called a porterhouse killpatrick and huge w/two oysters on top that have grilled onions in them. good eats. tourboss henry's sitting across from me but maybe that's a burden for him cuz it seems very common for a situation to come up (though I swear I ain't looking for it) where I can draw a bodily fluid analogy to something someone's about to chow... in this case it's chris' dublin pie that's puzzling him about he's going to get into so I tell him "you gotta rip open the scab to get to the pus" and henry gives that look he gives. sorry, henry. I'm a fucking idiot. everybody's digging their own chow too, this is a good pad to trough from. ok, onward now to the sanctuary. it's pretty gray out and verging on sprinkles, I'm glad I brought my coat. first up is the dingos, the wild dogs of australia and they're beautiful w/the orange-red-rust coats. they do their howl songs together after my visit and I capture some on the little digicamera movie mode - there's only foliage to view but their choir comes in loud and clear. we're led to an amphitheatre where a bird of prey presentation's to be held but cuz these animals are wild, the kite screamer bird only makes a flyby and then hides cuz of an eagle somewhere close and these creatures are very territorial. to keep everyone occupied, a man who's from an aborigine ma and a scottish pop throws boomerangs he made himself for us, saying you want the thin ones if you want them to fly right - not the thick fat ones in souvie stores cuz their just for show. the kite screamer stays away so out comes a black breasted buzzard who knows how to break emu eggs w/a rock (not trained but through instinct) and some kind of owl that flies right over me, skimming my head by inches. trippy how you don't hear the wings flap, feeling only the woosh of it tearing right over - man, are they fast! there's ibis birds walking all over - the ones you see in those ancient egyptian hieroglyphs. they're quite a trip and are not afraid to walk right up and check you out. in a pond is some white pelicans - gorgeous. the ones we got back in pedro are brown ones - cousins. I love pelicans much, trippy how they have a song only as babies and then become silent as they grow up. the last tune on my sickness opera is called "pelicanman" cuz I admire them so, finding inspiration in them. in his own space is a tasmanian devil, a feisty little guy w/red eyes and some fangs showing. I dig him. much more calm are the wallabys (like little kangaroos) and wombats (sort of like a badger) - one konked hard w/feet in the air on his back and sprawled, a totally relaxed konk! a funny looking fellow (still not as funny looking as myself though) is these two echidnas, spiny little ones w/a trippy snout for chowing termites and ants. there's some tall gray redhead stork types called broga milling around though some are konked w/their head under their wing, oblivious to us humans studying them. I check out this spot-tailed quoll w/his long tale running back and forth - so many animals native to australia that are new to me, love it... this is what tour is about! I see a big lace monitor lizard out sunning, huge. then there's the 'roos, western australian and the red kind. they're lounging in the grass though some check me out pretty intently while scratching themselves w/long forearms, 'pert-near like a human does, not like a dog w/it's hind leg. trippy tongues too. kind of wish they'd hop so I could see that but obviously they can't be bothered. much respect to them. then I see a place where they have glass to let you see the platypuses under water - these folks are truly a trip, damn! they got this rubbery duck bill and swim their eyes closed. their beaver tales look like they've been sewn on (maybe that's how my head looks like to them though!). incredible little ones. the emus are seem as curious of me as I am of them and stand almost my height - they come right up to me and give me the look-see up close, whoa. my last stop is for the koalas and they steal my heart. for some reason I think of them like little furry chariman mao - I don't know why. they're chowing up a storm on eucalyptus leaves, looking 'pert-near a little buzzed on them. one does some climbing right in front of me - not up and down but side to side and it's a trip to this little go, incredible his graceful moves. they're breaking my heart, I wanna cuddle them so. ronnie told me about him getting to hold one once years ago and it pissed all over him. I would bear that easy to do the same but these little men look quite at home w/their tree life and I feel grateful just to stare and wonder at them, which I do for fortyfive minutes. time to go for me though - I got a radio interview to do and after blowing it and missing last nights after-gig ones, I'm not doing the same. john pope takes me and roadboss eric back ourselves, leaving the others so they're rushed on and we get back just in time for this young man name liam to take me to rrr studios and do a spiel w/a cool dj there named woody. the singer/dj mia (a lady from sri lanka) is right before me and I get to talk a little to her, cool people. so is woody (his buddy liam too) and it's a good spiel, him playing a few minutemen songs from "double nickels..." even. he said "we jam econo" is coming to the melbourne film festival soon, that's very nice of them. this is a listener-supported station like kpfk back in l.a., something I've supported since being a teenager in the 70s, something I dig much and think is so very important, especially w/all the mersh and prgrammed other radio out there. when I get back to the 'tel, I get a call to join scotty, ron and eric for a chow forage. we go north some blocks and end up in china town, ron sighting the "post-mao cafe" and suggesting that so in we go. mao kitsch is all over this joint but it's some really good shovel - I choose the claypot squid and everyone donates their thai dragon-like chillies to the bunch I got served w/and am big time loving it. the waiter's a trip too cuz every time he serves you something or talks w/you, he finishes each of his phrases w/"ah ha!" in a little laugh that has a little bit of an ironic twist to it, intriguingly strange (have I ever used those two words together before? hmm...). I'm 'pert-near done when we hear all these explosions - I rush out into the street w/the little digicamera and chinese new year's still being celebrated w/these two big dragons dancing a few doors down and tons of firecrackers are being lit almost all at once. intense! I get a movie of some of it. we get back to the 'tel (so great to get scott and ronnie hoofing, alright!) and it's sailor down for watt, he's tuckered.
tuesday I'm up at six bells, I had a very frightening and heavy dream. my old minutemen/fIREHOSE drummer george hurley, a man I love dearly was in it and he was pissed. apparently in this dream he had read some little books I had written in or something like that (this is a dream and not all the way logical) and what he read made him angry w/me, very disgusted. this gave me no end of sadness - I'm talking both in the dream and after, when I popped cuz I was searching my head why would some such things come to me in sleepytown like that? I think the world of him and we toured real close together for fourteen years. usually I get insecurity dreams early in tour but we're like two-thirds done now. I can figure it out but am wrung but the emotion it put heavy on me, damn. it was a series of images of seeing him disgusted and them me seeing me broke down, frettin' - it was a nightmare, big time. I soak in the long tubs the got here (one thing nice) and ponder this, then get downstairs and move my legs to try and pump blood through me and hoof it off. I do a total re-run at that "andiamo's" chow pad and cuz of the rain, head back to the 'tel to both chimp diary and finish off that shakespeare book. kind of weird - I just kept thinking of the anthony burgess ("a clockwork orange" author) "nothing under the sun" book that pettibon gave me to read a month ago, maybe cuz there's a lot of stuff here in the "bio" that I'm seeing in a book written forty years ago (greenblatt even quotes burgess from his "novel") though obviously burgess' was a "novel" but knowing him, he had put much research into what is supposed to be "known" about "willy shakes" (what brother matt calls him). guess who I think is the better writer? sorry mister greenblatt. it's good for me to keep getting beat over the head w/different versions of the same thing though (even w/something that has the ghost of conjecture haunting every "pronouncement") cuz damn if my head can mix shit up. I'm keen on learning this period cuz of stuff I wanna do w/pettibon, very much so. it's almost as if I owe it to raymond even. well, evening starts to come on and I get a subway tuna sandwich but they don't have just plain yellow mustard, only the honey kind that lames it much when I shovel it. I like tart, not sweet - I'm into sours. not only does it taste bad but it's very much "short stay" and I blow it out w/in minutes. this is not that all a bad thing though cuz all the chillies loaded up on me at the "post-mao cafe" were taken down by me w/all their seeds and they've been burning on the way out so the subway sandwich kickin' down the barn door to fly out also takes a bunch of those suckers and I get a kind of bowel flush. the go! team people told me they were having their own gig here in the saint kilda part of melbourne (in the bay, by the water) so I get a cab to take me to a pad called the prince of wales. looks like a hotel w/a bar in the bottom, tables on the sidewalk and I meet go! team man sam there. I remember this neighborhood being a lot rougher when I was here w/j and much more intense w/perry before that. looks as if it's "gentrified" like they say back home. whoa, fortyeight dollars (about $37 u.s.) to get in! sam says to be on the list and in fact, asks me to come and jam w/them when the last tune comes on. whoa, I didn't expect this... I mean I wanted to see the gig but I didn't know about playing though that is quite an honor so what the fuck (however, little boy fear starts climbing up inside me - immediately... fuck - what do I play? how does it go? will I choke? etc., etc.). sam tells me about jamming w/folks he met in a foreign town (relating to me playing w/those gallucci cats in sydney) and getting taken out to some isolated prac pad in holland and not know what was gonna happen - even scary - but it all working out just alright and it being fun. dice is meant to be rolled in this life! he has to get ready so I sit out there and think (agonize!) and then go in to see them play. the gigboss lady says she's glad I'm here but what do I like about this band? that's a trippy question. I think to each other we are all weirdos, why do we do what we know if how we can be sure that we're right about what we think that we're about? something like that. I am one to be moved, I think I've learned that. I am a private person, I am alone at least ninetyfive percent of my life but I do get smitten, I have a long history of that and it's had huge consequences on me. it's like something from the outside brings all this focus to the enormity of the boiling up inside me, a kind of "objectiveness" in some non-philosophical way... it's more like phenomenal. it's not like I glom on but reference a new perspective on myself via trying to understand how things get done by others in what seems to me a creative way. it's like getting lost in a book that's written in a very personal style for no other reason than just cuz it happens. things that are beyond me are ok, "understanding" things through some lame kind of reductionism is a not a strong point of human experience, I think though like I've heard from john coltrane in an japanese interview: "I could be wrong." I think you can get a feel for things but that's why putting in work on your own is so important. the doing's in the knowing, sort of. see how I hedge on all this shit? I'm terrible! now you must know what it must be like for raymond to hear me rant! damn, he's a patient man. anyway, back to this gig. I see them play and they're great... they say the last song's coming so backstage w/me. there's a roadboss here and I ask him what kind of effects on the guitar is having those horn sounds coming and he says there's a box on stage that puts those sounds out and no one's playing them - he points to it. hey, that's a trip! hodges put some sounds from the "...engine room" opera when we toured that back in '97. more like fog horns and trains coming down the track but the same idea. oh, that's why the drummers have headphones... anyway, I'm real nervous and have to admit it's a little hard to let go and get into the songs cuz I'm worried about fucking things up for them. shit, I don't even if I'm coming out and the right time... the roadboss helps me and before I know it, the bassman jamie has put his fender around my neck. crimony! he told "e major" so that's what I'll work... damn, he's as tall as me - I could swear but his bass is sitting up really high on me - like a bow tie! my arms are bent up like a little bird. I'm just all insecure and frettin'... man, the tune has a killer groove and I start working it like "taxman" (beatles), kind of but maybe that's fucked up so I just go - it's the go! team, right? I try to rev it w/some soloing, they're all over the stage going wild - I'm scared up against jamie's amp... man, do they quiet up on their stage, tiny... kaori points to the front of the stage but I'm too frightened... aaahh, scardy-cat - I look over at bossman ian on the drums - "I ain't fucking up the tune am I, boss?" that's what I'm thinking. I can tell I'm total deer-in-the-headlights now, what the fuck. I do start to laugh though, laugh at how rigid and fucking froze up most of me is - at least the fingers are going. man, I hope it's thick enough but not a bogart... maybe I'm dinking it w/too hard of plucks... aahh, all and everything going through my head. they're having a bunch of fun though and I admire it so - they end up in a dog pile even but that don't register on me 'til it happens and it's too late for me to join them. fucking baka watt. I just have to laugh at myself and run backstage roaring my head off, at myself - big hugs for sam. I apologize if I ruined anything, shit... I know I could've better - another one of those "in the moment" moments that gets me paralyzed. I tell them all I just hope I did ok and helped out but they're just such nice people and tell me not to worry. I worry though. I hug jamie up, "hey I didn't weak up your shift, did I?" he's a good cat and shakes his head. all these years and all these gigs and I can still get like it's my first one ever, I swear. I talke w/ian a bunch, rattling nervous apprehensive/music idea stuff - it's all spilling out of me cuz the whole situation is kind of tripping me out now - I didn't know this was going to happen and of course I got recriminations against myself about how I could've been "more prepared" or could've been "thinking clearer" - baka watt. kaori tells me it was like "real punk rock" ha! alright! I feel a little bit better though I'm still embarrassed and sneak out when no one's looking. much respect to these generous people, beautiful. thank you thank you. I'm lit up the whole cab ride to the 'tel. the tv is on, must've been from the cleaning people. it's a channel that's all russian language, like a channel from russia. I'm trying to figure out what's going on and konk right there on the deck doing it w/out even a blankie.
I pop in the morning after an insane nightmare. I didn't mention it but I had one the night before too. that one had george hurley (minutemen/fIREHOSE drummer) in it and he was disappointed in me. he had read something that I wrote, not publically but like he was going through stuff of mine and saw writings that appeared to me like he was disgusted. it was in the dream so it didn't make logical sense but it didn't like it was an article or diary/history/bio whatever but some other kind of thing, something beyond me trying to fish up now. what was really upsetting to me was that he was upset w/me and this hurt me much. it wasn't even like it was his fault but just somehow had to be. it was fucked up for me and left me very unsettled. I think that's why I'm writing about it now. this nightmare had to have some of it fed from that tv. I popped w/it on so I know it must've going the whole time I was konked and now that I think of it, there was some kind of documentary they had going about stalin and his terror shit. anyway, my secondmen organ player pete mazich was in it and it appeared as though we were doing a gig in russia and a buddy of his was going to be on drums. it was a big pad, like w/seats going up w/a stage down in the middle of a bowl - sort of like a wrestling ring but w/the seats going up at a big angle so it was like an inverted funnel and the "ring" (stage) and the bottom of it, looking real tiny. anyway, his buddy had a snare drum in his lap and he was hitting it w/a drum stick, like doing prac when the stick went though both the top and bottom head. oh no, there was no bravo (backup plan) so it looked like we couldn't do the gig. I kept asking pete to have his buddy do say something to his friend to try and make things happen so we could play but he was acting like that really unreasonable for me to ask and was disappointed (like w/georgie) in me for even putting that to him. I couldn't figure out why pete was like that cuz he's the most righteous man in real life - again, it was very unsettling for me. the promoter people were getting really pissed - strangely, I could hear them yelling up at me over the huge distance from the stage. finally I freaked and bolted for a door leading outside and on the streets there were riot police w/guns that shot potatoes - there were potatoes stuck on the ends of the muzzles and they were firing them a rioting people. I was totally weirded out by all this and ran for my life through a maze of crazy twisting streets. I woke up in a big sweat and totally thought this shit was really happening, all anxiety bound in a fit - like w/the george one. I wonder what's up? usually I get one of these in the first of tour cuz I know I'm feeling really insecure and it manifests itself some that way but after getting my rhythm going w/the "you're not in pedro anymore" mode, they subside. to get these like this now when the tour's winding up is pretty weird for me. hmm... I had saw on a map there was a chinese masonic lodge so I wanna go by that and head for near where I chowed w/ron and scotty at that "post-mao cafe" night before last. it's supposed to be on waratah place - the older smaller streets here are like tiny alleys but I guess I fucked up and was a block east cuz there's a city council building and in this alley (street) were all these signs, made up to be almost like parking and traffic ones though some looked like for a restaurant or something. there were over fifty and what really was trippy was what written on them, like aphorisms or wise sayings. I took pictures and this is what they said:
"the oracle at delphi neither utters nor hides meaning but shows it by a sign"
"the name of the bow is life but its work is death"
"yield and overcome"
"bend and be straight"
"empty and be full"
"wear out and be new"
"have little and gain"
"have much and be confused"
"that which is at variance with itself agrees with itself"
"it is the opposite which is good for us"
"the top is bent downward, the bottom is bent up"
"the excess is taken from the deficient is given to"
"we look at it and do not see it"
"we listen to it and do not hear it"
"we touch it and do not find it"
"everything flows, nothing abides"
"the fairest universe is but a heap of rubbish piled up at random"
"the softest overcomes the hardest"
"having and not having arise together"
"difficult and easy compliment each other"
"long and short contrast each other"
"high and low rest upon each other"
"voice and sound harmonize each other"
"front and back follow one another"
"good and ill are one"
"it is in changing that things find repose"
"follow it, it has no back"
"meet it, it has no face"
"fire in its advance will judge and convict all things"
"the best of man is like water"
"you cannot step twice into the same river"
"work without doing"
"taste the tasteless"
"magnify the small"
"increase the few"
"reward bitterness with care"
"opposition brings concord"
"the form of the formless"
"the image of the imageless"
"souls take pleasure in being moist"
"be the valley for everyone"
"I drift like the waves of the sea, with out direction, like the restless wind"
"thorn bushes spring up where the army has passed"
"effect emptiness to the extreme"
"keep stillness whole"
"nature loves to hide"
"to become whole first let yourself be broken"
"if you open yourself to loss, the lost are glad to see you"
"bigotry is the sacred disease"
"the way up and the way down are one and the same"
"the hidden harmony is better"
"bearing yet not possessing"
"working yet not taking credit"
"leading yet not dominating "
"for a room it is the holes which make it useful"
"it is the thunderbolt that steers the course of all things"
"dwell on what is real and not the surface"
"blunt the sharpness"
"untangle the knot"
"soften the glare"
"and merge with dust"
I couldn't wait to show these to scotty cuz he knows lots about ying-yang, lao-tzu and buddha stuff and for some reason, this stuff brought that to mind. I went over to the next street and found the masonic hall, a more modern sign in english and an old one in chinese. I explored all over this chinatown part and then more of where they edwardian era buildings, more to the east. when I got back, scotty came and got me and we went to the bottle shop for some beer and got some great indian chow to bring back and chow in my chamber. I had this righteous pumpkin masala... I sure wish my pedro town had an indian chow pad cuz I really dig it - wow, that nan bread too. steve comes down and joins us, we have a good time spiel for some hours - steve's theory about those signs in that small street is that is was some kind of public arts project... makes sense. then I make another journey like last night, to see damo suzuki w/omar from the volta cats at a little upstairs bar called "revolver" in downtown melbourne. their managerman lalo has me ride in a packed minivan w/all of them. very cool peeps, good cats. everyone's watching damo do his thing w/some folks on stage and then he brings on omar. no jamming for watt tonight though, I'm just watching. damo was the second singer for this great german called can in the older days. he's great, I dig him much. omar does really good w/him too, a long jam w/improvising behind damo improvising w/spiel and singing. I see an hour and a half and then bail cuz standing in this packed pad has had its way w/my lame knees. so glad I came though. I get back tuckered big time and konk quick, will there be a third nightmare? sure the fuck hope not.
I pop early and hoof around a little, trying a chow pad across from the "andiamo's" one called "leo's" and it's pretty close to they same. maybe it's me not being sensitive to notice the difference ("all taste same" - baka watt!) though they did have something I wanted to try called a "pie floater" but it was too early. we fly to adelaide later this afternoon so I spend time w/scotty cuz I love being w/scotty. I mean he's not really getting out of "the chamber" (though he's hating this pad cuz not only do the windows not open but he's on a "security floor" where no one can get to him) but still, me being w/scotty guarantees I'm gonna be learning something. a short flight to adelaide and we find the time zone's changed one half hour. that's a trip, like w/maritime up in eastern canada. the sun's out bright and it's beautiful. we're at a 'tel called the hyatt regency by the big train station downtown. trippy, we get there around four pm and ronnie "holds court" at the restaurant area 'til like two in the morning! hey, at least he was sequestered in the chamber! he's great to be around like his brother but his spiels are different, being more like into history, like d. boon. I love both the asheton brothers much! saxman steve joins us too, as does some of the white stripe people: cousin ben, roadboss john and drummer meg. I take a break for a bit to chow a couple bowels of that japanese style ramen soup you add hot water to, filling one bowel w/'dines. then I went back to rejoin the folks there, I was social! then the tank got down to fumes and I was out of gas so I retired to konk. it was fun spieling w/those folks... man, ben's only twentythree but boy, did he know some detailed shit. he asked ronnie some great stuff, better than what comes at him in most interviews! john knew a lot too and he's from new zealand. much respect.
comes friday gig day and there's lots of sun to greet me for a six bell pop. trippy how there's 'pert-near an alarm clock inside me, seeing I pop so close to the top of the hour - how? who knows but I'm into it. there's a big tub for some sore joint soakage - even w/not so many gigs, I'm still feeling the 180 year old man thing... maybe it's cuz I'm out of regular pedaling/paddling routine, do I miss that so. there's a huge aboriginal art sculpture and painting installation outside in front of this 'tel in like a lower courtyard and I get lots of snaps of it. there's a plaque that reads: "these works tell a story built upon other stories, most notably that of tjilbruke, a aurna ancestor. the name yerrakartarta means 'without design' or 'at random' - yearrakartarta, how far do we isolate and unravel and what is measured?" and another that says: "kaurna yerta natta atto nanga yakko atto bukki nakki - this artwork is a tribute to the kaurna people who are and have been part of this country since time immemorial, understanding and observing the immutable laws that bind all things." I actually see some aboriginal or people w/that in their roots walking around here, not lots but some which was much different in these other towns previous (you could say the same about most u.s. cities and native peoples). I find a chow pad name "leo's" and shovel some england-style breakfast. man, I ain't gonna touch this kind of stuff again when I get back to the u.s. (I usually breakfast w/oatmeal at my pad). I go back to chimp some diary and then join the crew to drive over to the gig at noon. tourboss henry's face is full of toilet paper bits stuck on shaving cuts - reminds of seeing my pop when I was a boy early in the morning sometimes. a short ride from john pope and were at the venue - it's at a "showngrounds" which in the u.s. is where'd you find county fairs being held. first I watch the greenhornes who are kind of a bluesy and 60s roots trio from cincinnati, very tight but relaxed in how they work their gig - maybe guys in their thirties. drummy holds his sticks traditional even. then I go see the subways, this band's a trio from england that age from nineteen to twentyone and they have tons of energy, running all over the stage and playing their hearts out. the main kid sings in his accent and they remind me a little bit of the jam except w/out any mod stuff, either in clothes or in copping a 60s sound. the sun quickly ducks out for gray and threatening rain, sheesh. I go back to where dressing room trailer land is and talk w/ikey about coltrane, this is something I can get into big time and windbag right through sleater-kinney's set, damn. seem I can't help myself at times, getting caught up in bagging some serious wind, aaaaaarrrrrrggggggghhh. round two is w/the go! team and I give sam a d. boon pin (made in pedro even!) cuz he said he has a friend who made a giant painting of d. boon is his car modeled off his picture on the "double nickels on the dime" artwork. I try to clarify something w/ian when he asked me the other night if I hear in time signatures - I think I hear more in syncopations and polyrhythms rather than ranging further into timings fives, seven, nines or whatevers cuz it's hard for me to feel those but as far feeling out inside of four-four or two-four or even three, I'm curious to find different ways to play the holes and buoy the beat w/counterpoint, trying to get the big picture built w/little scenes. then I share some thoughts about religion in government w/jamie (don't dig it!) and I have him wear my bass to see where the strap (my strap is screwed on so is always there) lets it hang on him... it's way low! different pokes for different folks. my stooge guys are coming early so I go lay on the trailer deck after a fruitless search for chow (well, half a tuna sandwich) cuz it wasn't ready. iggy's in good spirits - the "rock doctor" helped him w/antibiotics for a chest infection that was coming on w/him. this doc is the same one who helped steve w/his rib (torn ligament rather than what would've been much worse, it being cracked). I put on a black t-shirt for the gig that todd from toys that kill gave me of his band. ronnie likes it a lot. toys that kill are a pedro band, yeah! (todd also runs recess records - a pedro label, did I already say that in this spiel?) I watch the kings of leon who are not what I was told they were - allman brothers southern rock. sure, they're three brothers and a cousin from tennessee but they're young cats not doing a retro thing, I can definitely tell they listen to lots of stuff. I saw a video of them that even reminded a little of me and d. boon (a little little bit), a kind of spencer-davis/taj mahal lick w/like creedence/stooges drums kicking it up - I had been talking to them earlier (their trailer's right next door) and been telling them this. that's why I think you should listen and come w/ideas about bands, books, movies, paintings, poems, whatever by direct experience if you can cuz you just can't know really and things can get silly under the pretense of getting "understood" by playing "telephone" (telling one guy who heard it from another guy who got it from another guy, etc.). they kick up a good set, smokin'. I go back stage... iggy has been asked to give the franz ferdinand guys an award from nme (the irony is too much, huh?) and he does great w/this very econo in its brevity but thumpin' in its intent spiel for them, it all being filmed and everyone cracking up much. pretty hilarious, the ferdinand guys laughing much too. the trophy's a granny smith apple stuck on a bronzed hand giving the middle finger w/a styrofoam dixiecup on the apple to make it look like a hat and then a cigarette but stuck where a mouth would be. I don't know what "best..." it was for.
alright, the rain's held off come our gig time. a little wetness on the ground but nothing from the skies. iggy tells us "let's go!" and I run over to plug in, ron and scottie do likewise in their own matter. I'm told twentyfour thousand are here, the smallest gig of the tour (besides my cafe pacifico one in sydney w/gallucci) but that's still big numbers for someone who's worked a lot of rooms in his time like me. shit, I'd go off for if there was just the soundman cuz shit, number one - it's the stooges and number two - that's the ethic that's been pushing me all these years - no cruise control for watt. "loose" is loosed... swoosh!!! the bass is sounding thick but not bogarting w/bottom. there's and growl w/some ridges on it too. scotty's louder on the stage which I'm into and ron on his new guitar is what ig calls doing "buzzsaw" (but I don't know if that applies to this new reverend guitar w/the soapbars - it's piled up w/tons of tone and body, more of a physical thing that both grabs and sends you - of course most of this is from ronnie's hands and heart but at least the machine puts less of a kink in that flow) and for the bow of this boat it's iggy himself coaxing out all kinds of shapes and dimensions from a body and voice in action... maybe not coaxing but "liberating" or "erupting" is more like it! "play fucking 'down on the streets'!" and that we do. on my knees for when ig's up on my amps and right away my mind thinks of when I was last on stage, as a go! team guest on tuesday w/all that tiny sound and contrasting that w/the BASS GUITAR RUSH AND ROAR that's pretty much fully flooding over me now. it's intense. trippy how standing up and having your head just a few feet higher can make such a difference - not that's quiet time when I'm off my knees but even the deck thunders when you go for yourself low, wading in all that flow of low from bassy. oh this little one, I sure dig her. to help w/the thick, I'm playing w/the index and middle fingers in unsion, like they were stuck together - what I call "the flipper" thing. I'm working on getting the ring finger in on it too so I can a three-way going, even thicker cuz of more flesh on the string. what I gotta do is being consistent and really force-feed the feeling, not fake it but bring it forth from what I'm reading from what these three cats got going, to be some put to use mortar, glue or grout - that's what it's about. tonight's the fiftyfirst gig since that first one in coachella 'pert-near thirtyfour months ago but I still see everyone as a lesson on me getting it together, trying to make some kind of sense w/this thud staff. thinking now - right in this moment - I'm figuring this is the best take I've had on this tune (we're in "1969" now) - don't ask why such a thought would be in my loony tune mind at this time - but that's what there for a moment... automatically though I check myself and give the heave-ho to that slice of wonder bread and get back into the actual moment w/all eyes on the ig-one. some machinery problems for me in "I wanna be your dog" - my sound starts choking up about halfway through, drop outs and shit. the tune is a full-on blaster, ig and the asheton bros playing it so righteously so don't let me lame out the bottom line w/more of watt's self-centeredness... I'm thinking maybe it's these amps going down but right near the end, helperman jos comes and switches out a cable between the tuner and the direct box. I'm waiting to see how that works as we get into "tv eye" - idiot watt is in the way of scotty seeing his brother doing the opening chords so he can come in on mark, I didn't do it on purpose but I gotta be close so I can be right there w/both of them and not miss the boat. I just gotta be more conscious of others dilemmas, especially a drummerman who's stuck on a seat and can't move around as easy as I can. scotty nails it despite the fucking idiot in the way and this song blasts like a hard charger. I'm on my knees w/my head stuck right into ron's speakers for his solo, it's putting up "to the moon, alice!" holy smoke! man, did that launch me. ig's got some spiel in the middle chug part before the "ram it!" thing ("everyone's got a tv... big deal"). some calm down for "dirt" after iggy tells everyone, "when you're up, you're a genius and when you're down, you're dirt." I can feel every syllable he's singing resonating and punch in on me from inside, damn. "real cool time" and scotty kicks up into ronnie's chords - "play hard, stooges" says ig - yeah, and what other army? I know what he means though, it's 'pert-near a cipher for "these asheton brothers for sure play fucking hard!" I'm holding on, trying to... I got more life in me than any gig yet on tour tonight, I'm into that cuz then I can translate this wild shit in my head and soul that these three are firing up inside me to my body and resonate through my tissues to celebrate it, to ride it - even kind of surf/skate it (the idea of watt on a surfboard w/his fucked-up knees and deficit coordination is a total laugh, same w/a skateboard - this is totally residing in the realm of the "you wish" imagination and weak-ass metaphor land). scotty gets us right into "no fun" - kicking it over before iggy can even finish his command to get it on... like scotty's said many a time: "it's a workingman's set." whoa, the stage-invasion dancers that iggy invited on (actually, he invites everyone on - I think he really dig it if there were less folks in the audience than were on stage w/us!) are now putting into a higher gear, kind of opposite what lots of times happens - dancers starting strong and then totally running out of gas for this one. hmm... what's spurring them on? whoa, bursting out from the side of the stage it's go! team's kaori - what a trip! she's flying across the stage. it's so intense, I see roadboss eric make a move like he's sensing a threat so I move to kind of block him, make him hesitate some so he can realize it's ok. I'm not going to cower like I did tuesday night in saint kilda and get on my knees to play at her for her at her feet. she's dancing wild, hot damn! everything blurs in my head - I go into my mantra "get it together, watt" so I can maintain focus and then see this tall cat comes over to dance it up too - what a great flannel he's got on... I get back up on my feet (probably all decrepit) to admire it. tune ends and I get a big bear hug from another dancerman after I tell that flannel guy I dug his shirt. brotha/sista handshake for miss kaori too. ok, time to breathe. ig introduces the band. I notice the rain's held off, how? stooge power, maybe. ronnie gives the peace sign w/his salute when iggy presents him, alright. "1970" kicks in and howls hard. jos was right about that cable being bad cuz my sound's been 100% since - thanks jos. he gives me some water (thanks again) as ron and iggy levitate things w/"mindroom" 'til ig calls "fun house" and I'm right there w/the intro (even when putting water in me, I got my eyes on him). man, the band is tearing it up w/this tune - crazy! tense, release and snap - all kinds of dynamic cycles within the verse/chorus terrain of it. I start wild in "l.a. blues" but wind it down and even stop playing when iggy tells these security doofs to take it easy on a young man in the "moat" between the stage and crowd. fuck that abusive shit. I come to the lip of the stage too w/my bass hanging in my hand (not being played) to show them that a five on one beatdown is not happening. they lighten up and we get into finishing (ig saying "I am you") and the chik-chik-chik-chik from scotty into "skull ring" - iggy running to the deck's bow after pouring a bottle of water over his head from stage port. the beat is pumping (not a hint of leadfoot from drummy) and ig stares me right in the eye w/a look of "yeah!" whoa, that was heavy. I can't remember exactly where but hank rollins has been at every set we've done this festival and somewhere around this time I see him hold up a camera so I hold up my left hand (not in a fist but in shaft-handling mode) and see the flash go off. alright, that's what it's all about - much respect to scotty. iggy calls for "not right" (this one's an audible cuz "little doll" is on the list too but it's all dependent on how ig's sizing up the gig) and we push that one right into everyones faces and ears/abdomens. lordy. the "double dog" take on "...dog" and we're out - hand on shoulder w/scotty, we go off stage together. that was some gig. damn. backstage and I'm reminded by the brothers about keeping the asheton-to-asheton line of sight thing that's gotta be kept aware of. what they say is important - I gotta be a more conscious socketman (lucky pierre). ig brings over some a 1999 bottle of bordeaux. I have a little bit and man, is it good. to beat the traff, we get bundled off to the 'tel after about forty minutes.
I drop my wacksack off in my room and then john pope takes me, roadboss eric and helper man chris to some upstairs mersh bar downtown called "sugar" which looking pretty hollywood. pretty empty too, us three and like twenty woman besides the help. dj man is playing new wave like romeo void and such, I'm starting to feel tired. hey, the paper said 10:30 and that's what I do: come when told to. this happens back home too, I get invited to some hollywood thing and am always first and man alone but fuck it, I don't care... the obvious happens and everyone shows up together fashionably late. the kings of leon cats come bring me some jim beam and I'm feeling better. I go to where I can find a chair w/a back to it, by the pool tables and talk w/their bassman there. he's only nineteen! damn, like w/after seeing the subways, I think some about mortality - like I'll probably be dead when they're my age! just means I gotta work all that hard to get in what I can 'til my shifts done. he's cool people - I tell him bass his bass was sounding deep and he tells me he listens to that cat in joy division named hook. I remember that black album cover record they did. he says he's been playing three years - whoa... I tell him we're all team. he wants to get me a third beam but I tell him soda water. he can see the old man get borracho in perth. I hoof w/my two compadres back to the 'tel, eric telling me and chris the reason there was all those ladies early was cuz they were paid to be there by some agency that was hired. pretty funny. 'pert-near home, we stop at a peetz pad and I get a 12" pizza on the way for about $4.50 u.s. it's called "the mexican" and said on the menu "peppers (optional)" what? optional? I bring it back and go to scotty's chamber and find ron w/them there, spacing and forgetting to tell ron about the peppers and him being a michiganer, it's rough sneak attack on him. I truly didn't mean for that to happen, ronnie - I'm sorry. after a bit, scotty says "it looks like it's konk time for you, mike" (probably cuz of the chin-on-chest, mouth wide open, snores emitting and eyes shut thing I got going) so I head to my chamber and hit the deck there.
sunday, february 5, 2006 - perth, australia
yesterday I popped and soaked in the tiny tub (not like the lap pool in melbourne!) - no head sore but plenty of joint ones. time to push blood through me. I shovel at the same chow pad I did yesterday and the look around the exhibition center, there's an art installation dealing w/the "kaurna reconciliation" which is "dedicated to the kaurna people and recognizes their traditional ownership and custodianship of the adeliade plains." there's that name "kaurna" again - first time I've leaned the name of one of the aboriginal people (what they call themselves). there's something engraved on the parliament building I find kind of funny, it says "THE PROMISE: HIS MAJESTY'S SUBJECTS OF THE PROVNCE OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA ARE TO RECEIVE A CONSTITUTION OF SELF GOVERNMENT AS SOON AS THE COLONY SHALL BE IN A STATE FIT TO ENJOY THAT INESTIMABLE ADVANTAGE" - reads like something I hear now a days back home, kind of! oh, the business of running colonies. anyway, the sun's out but gray is on the verge and rain could be here quick, just like yesterday. we're leaving for perth in the afternoon so I go chimp the actions of last night's gig before john pope takes us to the airport. it's a three hour flight but we gain two and half hours (the furthest time zone away from home we're going to, perth is on australia's west coast) so it's like we just left. the weather's much different though, this is like palm springs on the ocean or something like that. hot but very dry and arid. we're staying at 'tel call the duxton, right near the swan river. I got a picture of an australian swan in healesville, they're black w/a red bill and face. pretty. I'm called up to help tourboss henry w/a dvd of the sydney show so iggy can pick which songs are going to on australian televison in a few weeks. henry doesn't think his mac can read the dvd so I bring mine and meet him in ig's room. there's no jacks on the hotel televison so I can't output it to that so ig'll just have to use my "alpurse" (short for "aluminum purse" cuz I put a handle on my 12 powerbook and it looks like a purse and it's got an aluminum body). well, iggy tells me to sit next to him and watch w/him - I guess I'm just not dropping my machine off here for them to use. oh dear, I think I'm gonna shit a pecan log. here's ig in his bathrobe w/the dork bassist right beside and we're watching every second of the gig. man, in my head I keep trying to remember if at any moment am I gonna see myself blowing a huge clam while we're playing - I'm scouring my head and trying to think ahead as the gig goes on. actually, since this was the first gig w/my bass just glued back together, I played kind of conservative and didn't get too wack. this is ok for being careful w/the parts but in a way, it's way too tame to try and keep up w/the fire iggy's bringing forth, I mean in a physical sense. I'm watching and I want my body to move way more but I have to admit I'm grateful for keeping it together w/the right parts in the right places and working it w/ron and scotty. this was mixed by televison people and not knobman rik hart and along w/the tiny speakers on the alpurse, the bass guitar and kick drum are pretty lacking though it might be different on a real stereo. I will say this, ronnie is raging w/his guitar playing - man, is it a mindblow - big time! it's blowing me away. iggy's singing real good too though he's real critical about himself and even wants me to rewind stuff stuff so he can review it. iggy doesn't pass the buck w/clams, he takes full responsibility. you can tell it was a humid gig cuz of how it's weighing on us but ig's still amazing w/kicking it out his hardest, it's unbelievable. scotty's slamming it really good too - that drummie cat in the kings of leon was telling me how it's a trip how scott's groove drives so hard and big though it seems like his hits are so relaxed. that's totally scotty's buddha nature if you ask me. we finish watching the gig and ig picks the tunes he likes which is almost everyone except a couple. man, that was intense. I just wanna do good for these guys - this ain't about mike watt but timeless music from the stooges. ig thanks me and then I go show tourboss henry how to run dvds on his 'puter. I visit w/scotty a while and then we go to the bar. ronnie's there and asks if I was getting dressed down by the boss cuz he saw me go into iggy's room and I didn't come out for a long time but I explain about watching the sydney gig w/him. I talk w/sleater-corin and janet some but I'm out of gas and wanna do good for the last gig so I konk at like nine. a man's gotta know is limitations.
I pop on the last gig day early, like four bells. superbowl? hey, it's sunday but not sunday in the u.s. - I checked the tv and saw instead something called "puffy, ami and yumi" - a japanese cartoon w/a punk rock guitar lady and her new wave friend, maybe they got a band cuz it looks like they're riding around in a tour bus. it's crazy though, not much about music - the guitar lady finds a ninja outfit and starts kicking the shit out of everyone, even her friend. she finally gets the outfit off and calms down. then the new wave lady gets jonesing for these little toys you get in a cereal - she needs to collect the whole set and can't find "the one" - big dilemma. she beats the shit out of people trying to find the "huggle bunny" or whatever. I go out and hoof, exploring what I can in the time I have. shit, my batteries in the digicamera (oh, I don't think I mentioned it but I have a canon sureshot 520 I got econo w/me this time) so I start back and meet sleater-carrie and ask her if she hoofs around at the crack of dawn like me. she says no, she's just looking for a chow pad. you have to understand that these konk pads we use have like thirty dollar shovels so fuck that. I'm holding out for the free gig one. I show her these nail clippers I just got - you're not allowed to bring them on planes now and anyway, I'm not using it for nails - I used knobman rik's for that. what happened was I looked in the mirror before bailing this morning (I don't look in mirrors much) and saw my fucking nose hairs had grown into my mustache. not so bad for me but pretty disgusting for those who have to look at me while they're saying something so I got these to fucking wack them off. viva la middle age - I can't wait 'til tufts of hair start growing out my god damn ears and I start to look like a koala. I didn't mean to but I think carrie got kind of grossed out. I just fucking out loud sometimes and not realize what I'm saying or why I'm bringing up whatever. I get them nose hairs chopped down and then go to the gig site w/the crew at noon. I didn't chow so I get the free shovel here - best gig chow since the first one in auckland. I shovel some of that thai meat on a stick w/the peanut butter sauce, some salad, rice, spring rolls and maki (california and tuna rolls). the sun is really bright but at least there's a good breeze blowing and it's not humid. I talk old rock w/the wolfmother guys, tell them about the times I saw black sabbath in the 70s. it's a trek and a half to the stage where sleater-kinney plays cuz this gig's at one of those showground deals and everythings spread all over. they play good and have the best sound of all the five gigs I've seen of them. one of them says they were told western australia almost tried to succeed in the 30s but none of the kids seem like they know what they're talking about. I then go see kings of leon play their whole set from the stage - the only time I've seen a band this way this festival cuz usually it's the worst sound ever. they're on the big stage and I get put by the bass amp (for the first time I get to meet monitorman tristan - I was unaware he was w/us 'til knobman rik told me he was brought on board, usually we just work w/the house folks w/that) and dig that, I really get to check out this young man's riffs. he's really good, only three years on it too. they're a good band, a kickin' drummer and the two guitar cats work it good together too. back to that far-away stage and see go! team once more, jamie doing a bass freakout at the end. good sound for them too. I try to get some dinner chow but they're not ready yet so I grab one of the tuna sandwich halves they got on a plate to hold people over and see beast of bourbon (australian cats) who are very happening. they've got a heavy bluesy sound w/a great singer, I dig 'em much. over to the dressing room trailer things to meet my fellow stooges who've just arrived - on the way I rap w/the mars volta cats whom I've been unable to see cuz of them being on stage at the same time we are every fucking day of the festival, aaarrrrggggghhhhh. omar takes a picture of me while their sax man adrian and bassist juan. adrian is way hip to coltrane and also knows about charles mingus' "beneath the underdog" book, which I recommend that everyone who does music should read (same w/the miles davis autobiography - I even got george hurley to read it on a fIREHOSE tour and he thanked me for it). inside w/my guys, everyone's up for the last gig. "only two more dogs to go" says scotty, meaning one more gig cuz we do "I wanna be your dog" twice in the set. ron starts up into his pacing mode, back and forth while scotty bam-bams right on his leg w/his sticks cuz he's lost his knee pad. steve gets some honks out of his horn to work the reed up and I get into my t-shirt for tonight, one from steve (who interviewed me for "insight" magazine in sydney) that says "love" real big and in smaller letters "is a killer" below it. trippy, the last gig of a tour cuz if you've made it this far, how can anything go wrong? I almost totally believe that nothing can go wrong on the last gig of a tour cuz of that but then again, that's MY tours and here I'm to help the stooges and I better not let myself have something go wrong.
the ferdinand folks finish up and it's our turn. tourboss henry puts us in minivans and we drive like a hundred yards to the back of the stage, kind of weird but I'm w/the team. roadboss eric hands me my bass and up the stairs we go. the air's dry and not too hot though the lights will heat things up for me, especially when I get my shakes going. ig hollers "alright, let's go!" and I run out to my side of the stage which is the further side. for some reason (iggy's reason), we alway come in off of stage left and stage right is where my amp is so me running out first keeps me from running into anyone else - it ain't me being a hambone. shit, I'd happy to dumped out of a turdpurse - no problem. soctty hihats us into "loose" and the last gig is under way, whoa! this gig has about as many folks as the adelaide one and it seems like a lot of them are watching us, iggy works 'em good, going from one side of the stage to the other and belting his heart out. this man is not one to just "trot it out" for a show, it's the full-on hard charge and what can we do except to aid and abet. talk about getting your moral launched, damn! "down on the streets!" he hollers and we're bound to his will, driving that tune home. then some maxi-churn w/"1969" and I rotate as much as I can muster w/my ankles - I'm trying to anyway! next is go-around one for "I wanna be your dog" and something really rare happens, I hear ronnie blow a tiny clam. it was the microscopic, one little rhythm hiccup but it kind of trips me out some cuz he's such right-on cat w/his parts - it's gotta be an aberration of some sort though it lasted for like maybe a tenth of a second. I'm just pointing it out cuz it's so fucking rare I ever hear something like this. he's right back together though within a cunthair of a moment and I got my head in all his speakers to take the full load of his guitar's roar as he solos. I see hank stage port again, alright! "tv eye" kicks up on ig's "lllllllllooooooorrrrrddddd!!!" cue and it's very much out the barrel and in full blast ascension. holy smoke! "do you see that cat?" hell yeah! we smolder some for "dirt" w/ig hugging close to come back after the middle part, I gotta get better at cuing him for that, ronnie looking for the head's up too. we work it tight and then end it gentle - gentle for the stooges, that is! stage rush time for the peeps w/"real cool time" and "no fun" and look who's up hear w/the crowd of kids - it's the wolfmother guitarist andrew and he's going off, alright! what a blast, I can see it in his face and he's leaping all over in front of scotty's drum set, going off - good work, andrew! iggy introduces us to the australian folks one more time in one last town of theirs and it's so good to hear him say scotty's "in the driver seat" cuz he most certainly is... man, does he drive this band and drive it good. I remember dear art collins (ig's manager who died suddenly last year, a most righteous cat) saying he thought my bass was "really heavy" when he heard it at that first gig we did back in coacella but to hear iggy introducing ron as "the heavyweight champion of the world" I can do nothing but agree cuz ronnie's playing is so much that - the best I can do is to aid and abet. I love iggy telling folks I'm from pedro and I'm a minuteman, that's so very nice of him. we go into "1970" and what's this? my 'd' string is like a half-step (at least) flat and I gotta shit the riff up to the 'e' and 'a' strings - don't know how that happened but I gotta be in the moment and react quick. of course the same notes on different parts of a bass sound different (did I say that clearly?) but it's kind of more like dave alexander-sounding here... hey, maybe I should always play it way up here on the neck! I get some moments to get that wacked-out-of-tune string straigh while ron and iggy dual it up for "mindroom" and then I'm there w/"fun house" as soon as he cues me w/the title shoutout. wow, I got a little energy in me to twist it up some. I really hate when I'm feeling my calves like they're cast in lead and I can't shake myself silly all the way through, like I've been cut off at the knees. sydney and some of brisbane were kind of like that for me. I just gotta get wild or the huge weight of self-consciousness caves down on me... aaarrrggghhh, the worst! it's sounding like the amps are kind of fading, the low-end shrinking up so I put the bass eq up to compensate - just the rest of this one gig left, baby... please hang on! it does for "skull ring" and "not right" and I'm really laying into the little bass now... one more dog left! iggy wants all the lights on, he wants all the lights off - I'm confused but it doesn't matter cuz what counts is getting to play w/these cats on such a great song, one final time for this tour. it's not just a re-run of the first time we do cuz at the end here we got steve on the sax and plus the gig has been a journey and here's where we are now - ig illustrates that best, it's 'pert-near like his summation of all that's transpired and a kind of "hey look - we made it this far!" I love it. we're done and I kneel on deck just back of the curtain w/iggy sitting on an equipment case, catching his breath and saying "we're done!" the other guys head back to the compound but I sit w/ig. he says "last one for three months! oh mike, you got four right when you get back?" and I tell him yeah but ONE stooges gig equals like FIFTY of mine and we both laugh. these gigs are such total space launches for me, let me tell you! I love it! back in the room I join the guys and fill a bag up w/beverages, some water and even a few beers. it's trippy at the end of one these tours how everything's all kind of wound down and sputtering out. I've been told there's a final party nearby the 'tel later on so maybe I'll go and get to say some good byes there. not many here left except the beast of bourbon cats who I most heartedly give thanks for all their good will and great playing - great band and good peeps. john pope gives us on last lift away from the gig, steve and ronnie talking war history in the back.
whew, out of these wet clothes and into my last dry outfit... that's funny cuz basically I have just two outfits and have been pacing them between washing and wearing (except for a different gig-time t-shirt that gets worn only once) so it'll work out right. hey, scotty wants to go to this party w/me, alright! I love being w/him. we meet and talk w/folks in the downstairs bar before heading down the street some blocks to what look like a bank skyscraper - scotty starts lagging behind like he did in melbourne while ferdinand alex answers my question to him about how his band started (in the bar we had some spiel about "red state/blue state" and what a crock of shit I think that is, people are more complicated than that) so when we get to an elevator where dressed-in-black men conduct the uplifts, I go back and accompany scotty - he doesn't bail at the last moment and joins me which I dig much. we go up to a floor way up and there's folks there from the tour there, stairs go up to where you can smoke and I get some jim beam whiskey there and sit next to scotty. I'm feeling fatigue come on me pretty strong now. hey, it's kaori from go! team and she wants to know about how my chuck taylor's are laced so I show her how I do it and she does likewise w/hers. it's putting them straight across instead of having them cross like an 'x' so it puts less strain on the top of your foot. she says she likes "mike watt style" but I have to admit that kira showed me how do it after she read about it helping runners somewhere, where the laces cross each other on the sides underneath and not over the top of the shoe's tongue. we take a shot looking down at one of each of feet next to each other and it's like someone who's had their legs re-attached wrong! I ask her how she got into music and she tells me about her ma taking her to gigs in japan when she was like fourteen and her thinking to herself "that's where I wanna be" but she noticed everyone on stage was usually boys... she wanted to be part of it but tells me "I don't want to be groupie" so she went and got an econo guitar and taught herself to play. I ask if she had a friend to learn w/like I did w/d. boon but she said no, she just did it on her own. damn! she picked people at her school to be her band, called it "honey dip" and started doing gigs. pretty wild, motivated people inspire me! after that came yumi-yumi and they went to england but she said that band had problems and so she tried out for these go! team cats and they brought her aboard. she tells me a friend told her I had a "long music history" and she wants to be as excited about music as I am when she's my age (I'm twenty years older). that makes me laugh. hard. man, that was a great talk... other folks come up and talk on me but I'm really not that social and feel awkward. scotty's bailed but I'm glad he spent a little time w/me. go! team singer/dancerlady ninja comes and says I gotta go downstairs cuz there's something there but it turns out she wants me to dance to the music down there. man, I try - I try hard but I am tuckered and my legs will barely move. I know it sounds fucking pathetic but I'm just out of gas. I do half-time things, even quarter-time! I meanwhile talk w/go! team guitar/drum/banjoman sam and his girl - they sure are nice folks and help me feel a tiny bit less of a klutzed-up dork. the king of leon bassman jared comes up and dances alongside, asking me "why are these two good-looking bass men dancing here alone?" alright! there's a tray full of shushi chow I spot w/no one around it so I stuff my jacket pockets w/maki rolls - hey, I'll have something for the morning. I bid everyone bye, kind of embarrassed and hoof back to the 'tel. so much different than my pedro town - not likely I'd be hoofing alone down one of my streets at three bells in the morning! hearing my steps (yeah, even w/sneakers!) I think, what a full tour in a way - different than a watt one but all these cats putting impressions on me - I don't if people realize how they effect me, I'm not that social and it's really not such small talk when they're generous w/their time for me... and of course, just the reality of doing stooges - playing onstage w/my heroes... oh boy. I konk on my room's deck w/trippy thinking.
everyone but iggy, the asheton brothers and myself hit the airport soon after I got back to the 'tel. I stayed monday and hoofed around w/scotty by the swan lake. we saw a trippy coat of arms on the side of a court building and took some shots but a policeman came out and said that was not allowed (I got one in though). hmm... it was a shield w/a kangaroo on each side holding boomerangs. we have some 'dines and oysters on crackers up in scotty's room and do lots of the spieling we usually do - it's never boring w/scotty, he's a very interesting gentleman. come night, I go out and across the road to the little store to find a huge rain is coming down but not a cold one. I hear someone call my name and it's iggy hanging out a window of a car leaving for the airport - "see you in iceland, ig... great tour!" I tell him. oh yeah, the superbowl was on when I popped early this morning - ronnie told me to see it... two years ago I actually saw it w/his in his ann arbor pad cuz I was there to record a junior kimbrough song w/the stooges for a tribute record. I didn't see him today though cuz he's in sequestered mode. what a boring game though, pittsburgh being a little less lame than seattle so they won it. also lame were the rolling stones at halftime, no disrespect intended. I guess I get a little too picky. all three of us leave at like four in the morning on tuesday and make the flight from perth to sydney. only four hours for this leg but it's fourteen from there to l.a. luckily not a lot of folks on that flight so I had a whole center row for myself but a young man said I had taken that from him, hmm... things are weird for a bit but then I just say hey, I'll trade you for that three-seat row he had and he can have this five-seat one... there's enough bellig(erence) in this world and what a "principle" for me to get all huffy on. this cat's tired and maybe I can help some. I konk fine anyway (I also have the ipod going w/those "ultimate ears" form fit buds feeding me what ended up being eighteen straight hours of coltrane!) once I finish chimping up the rest of this here tour diary. putting these last words down has me thinking much of the righteous stooges: iggy, ron, scott, steve plus all the help/love from the helpermen henry, jos, rik, eric, chris and spencer plus native john pope and monitorman tristan along w/all the new and old friends I've gotten the great honor to share this "big day out" tour w/too. I have so much respect for all involved, truly! my sister melinda comes and gets me at the airport - hey my bass made it in one piece! back to pedro at eleven am, a little later in the day for me to be pedaling but not too bad... I get on my bike and say hi to my town, thinking what a mindblow this last tour was... loved it, big time!
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