clockwise from top: iggy pop, ron asheton, steve mackay, chris wujek, rik hart,
merchman bob, eric fischer, jos grain, henry mcgroggan, mike watt and scott asheton
a word's-eye view from mike watt
of gigs done by the stooges in france,
spain, and switzerland
saturday, july 16, 2005 - aix les bains, france
thursday at noon my sister melinda came and got me for the airport. actually, she followed me to paul roessler's pad cuz I wanted to bring the boat there since I was going to be gone ten days for this second trip over to europe this summer for stooges gigs. the parking space under the apartment I live in has to low a roof to let me park something the size of a ford e-350 econoline van so I usualy have her docked curbside. more than three days that way invites a towaway to the impound yard though so I much obliged to paul and helen for making their driveway available to me in walteria, a little slice between palos verdes and torrance which is maybe nine miles from pedro. I wave hi to paul's oldest boy alex as I lock up the boat and get in mindy's car for the airport, he's leaving himself somewhere w/a buddy in a mustang. trippy how they're making the new ones look like early 70s mach 1 ones, huh?
at the airport, I stop in a shop hoping to find umberto eco's new book but they ain't got shit except mersh shit for reading mostly. I do find "light in august" by william falukner (I guess cuz of the "oprah book club" sticker put on it) and get that. the first leg of my trip is a flight to paris and that's a ten hour hellride made even more intense by what's rubbing under my levis. last saturday I was pedaling my bike early in pedro and down by the tank farm near the main channel my handlebar hooked a tree limb and sent me flying. again I am called on account for not paying attention. I landed mainly on my palms and they were protected by the heavy gloves I always wear but also involved was my port side knee which got scraped up good. fuck. I wear shorts usually for pedaling cuz of the chain catching on the pant leg and that makes me vulnerable for bozo spills w/my already lamed-out knees. I think I'm gonna start using those knee pads mountain bike dudes use cuz this shit is ridiculous. I can't pretend to think I ain't gonna ever tumble, even if I do kick myself into being more aware (which I most certainly am going to try to do). I did this a couple of years ago and that scrape went to the bone so at least it's not that bad but it is a painful mess and at my age, these things heal slow. I fucking hate it. to make things worse, the next day my friend juan rosenfelder came over from nyc and wanted to paddle so I took him over to long beach cuz that's where kayak's can get rented (only room for one in mine). instead of the usual crack of dawn I paddle at, we had to wait 'til the rental pad's open which is a time of day I'm not used to, meaning the sun was way more bright and higher in the sky. after taking juan through the canals of naples, I led him into the channel and then into the open sea out to the breakwater. about two and half hours worth of non-stop paddling (he kept up good for not doing this much) gave me a sunburn bigtime from the top of my socks to the bottom of my shorts. what a fucking idiot I am. so here I am on the plane going crazy w/my levis rubbing on both the burn and the roadrash, aaaaaarrrgggghh. luckily, a seat opened up behind me where there's no row of seats in front (cuz of the hatch) and I could sit there w/my legs straight instead of having to have them bent. thank god the faulkner for being so absorbing and taking my mind off the pain some. what a trippy story, pretty profound on me. stream of conscious in lots of ways but it reads familiar cuz of the writing. how could I explain it? better to be read is what I'd suggest instead of me trying to distill it. it's a mindblow on me and causes much internal discussion w/myself. it's the only way I can figure it, to make these dialogs w/myself. the faulkner cat wrote wild but maybe that's just where I'm at these days. all the words seem to explode in my head.
I get to de gaulle airport near paris around eleven and then it's the mad rush to get to the connecting flight for geneva. the way they work unloading the plane here is you getting on a bus and then rushing around on another one to get to the next gate, fucking insane if you've got just an hour - you need at least two to have some calmness. I just make it, hauling ass big time and I'm so glad my bass has be staying over here in europe since I brought it last month cuz it would've certainly missed the flight. I see roadboss eric - he missed his flight or rather had his ticket cancelled (what?!) and he's even yanked off the plane we're taking together but makes it back in time before takeoff. one of his bags didn't though. we're in geneva at one pm (it's friday now - nine hours ahead of pedro) and pass to the french side, meeting saxman steve mackay who also lost a bag coming from frankfurt. the airport people find that but eric's still out of luck, damn. this is why I check in baggage only when absolutely necessary and have a little carry on for my clothes. a young man named jerome takes us in a minivan fifty miles south to a town called bourget du lac in the savoie part of france. it's sunny and pretty warm. I don't usually wear shorts cuz of my ugly knees (even w/out hurts they're hideous) but can't wait to get into the pair I get cuz the pain of the scrape/burns is making me insane w/the car ride. steve helps me konk during the ride w/some spiel which is a relief though.
the konk pad we're at is called the hotel ombremont (says in the room info book that it was built in 1927 and winston churchill has some stays here) and it's right on france's biggest freshwater lake, la du bourget (sort of like the name of the town, huh?). it sure is pretty around here. ron, scotty and tourboss henry are here, great to see them again - always is. the rooms are kind of hot cuz the only cooling is a rotating "tower fan cooler" but it's not intolerable. outside it's hotter than cali was and a little more humid. I konk some and then chow w/the guys in the pad's restaurant - whoa, what a clip joint! the cheapest thing is fortyfive euros (about $53) but scotty buys me a plate of fish. he's such a generous man w/me. later I spend fifty euros on beers for everyone (one round!). I rarely spend money on these pads we konk at, they're such burnwards w/the dinero. after chow, I go to scotty's room and he tells me about ideas he's got for a label he wants to start. he's fed up w/corporate mersh bands getting shoved down people's throats, says he see it happening on his daughter. he tells me music's not competition, it's meant for enjoyment and there's lots of different ways/styles to express it. he wants to embody that kind of thinking in making sounds available.
the next day I'm busy w/the faulkner book and then hoof around a good part of one side of the lake. people are swimming and boating, it's pretty beautiful parts w/forest and ridges all around it. I find a chow pad and have a big panini for four euros - this is what I'm more used to! I don't mean to sound like a cheap bastard but I wanna bring bones back to pedro and not donate it all to the local economy. not cuz of the folks though cuz everyone's really nice.
no soundcheck for the gig, it's a festival called misilac and there's lots of bands. we're going on at eleven tonight and since it's across the lake in aix les bains (bains = baths, the romans built them here way back), we're taking a boat over. iggy's w/his girl nina and we all hop aboard a forty footer to make the cruise. pretty intense in the pitch black but pretty fun, the bow way up out of the water as we haul ass. I like boats. the gigboss alain rides w/us, he's a cat from tunisia. I'm wearing levis for the gig so roadboss eric takes me to the medics where I can get a dressing for my knee wound. the bandages I brought just won't stick. a friend back home had some shirts made w/images screened on them from my stickers and such. I got one on tonight that has one of the anchor I wear around my neck. ron's got his army coat he's worn most every gig since coacella and scotty's got a gray button up shirt. steve's got a violent femmes t-shirt on, he just did a few gigs w/them. of course, ig's got just jeans and boots. ok, the cherry gig for this leg of our summer touring.
henry leads onto a stage that's not too high off the ground. it's facing another one like five hundred yards or so away - the bands alternate playing on each so the set up can happen on one while the other has someone playing. we start up of course w/"loose" - whoa, pretty trippy to have this bass on. I just did six warped tour gigs and a couple local banyan ones w/a similar one, maybe a year or two newer (both are 60s gibson eb-3 modified my way) but it hangs and plays different. it's a an old feel for me though once I get going on her. I'm on the same amp I used last leg, a marshall 400 w/two 8x10 cabs (belonging to mani from primal scream - thank you!) though I had fixed it for the eden folks to have me use their stuff but the hiring company in england wanted to charge double for travelling cases than what jos got the marshalls for so I said fuck that. sure, I love eden stuff but I ain't letting the stooges get held up for extra bones. it wasn't them either cuz they wanted me to use it for free, it was the hiring company and their "request" for cases. mani's sounds good enough anyway... the band is charging hard. no arm folding from the crowd either, the french cats are way into it. "down on the street" next, whoa. I can't help myself, I get on my knees when ig gets up on my amp - sure hurts but fuck it. at least I can get back up! "1969" which iggy always calls "a song w/a special number" - ronnie wah wahs us in and the sound snakes about w/that riff the just gets all through me. animal song time, "I wanna be your dog" barks up and through real good. bow. wow. ig launches into the crowd. a quick run over to ron's amp to catch "tv eye" burst on following iggy's holler and then back over again and onto my knees (again!) for the guitar solo... I'm way caught up into the gig and holding up good too which can be tough the first time I get back w/these guys. between these two legs though I did three dos gigs along w/those eight other ones so maybe I'm a little broke in. it's still hard to figure though cuz last cherry gig I had just done six weeks w/the secondmen! I am not a consistent man about that kind of stuff, huh? well, I just wanna do good every time I get a shot. ig looks over at the beginning of "dirt" - there's some weird overtones in the lowend of my bass and I think he might be sensing a tuning problem... I know for sure the 'a' string is there (I check while he intros the tune w/a rap about fucked-up people making you feel small) but now as I'm chimping this, I wonder about the 'd' string, if I was sharp. I do cut a little lows w/the eq on board my bass. it's that look ig can give you that makes you think "I gotta get it together!" and I don't take as stinkeye but rather as "hey, I better get it together." look, ig's got a tough enough job doing what he's doing and I'm there to help him all I can, that's what I believe, I that's the ethic I'm trying to bring to my thudstaff workin'. I don't let any clam shit slide - I wanna get right on it cuz these cats so much deserve it. I think the bossman alain had words w/security cuz we have no probs bringing folks on stage to dance w/us for "real cool time" and "no fun" though I have a little triffle w/the last two chords of the "...time" riff when the guitar solo comes - why am I throwing in a b where it should be g?!! I get it together. one guy dancing on stage whips down his pants and exposes his shortcoming, no probs w/him having authority come down on him though - no one w/a uniform and their own club to raust him. a lady dances her way into my face and hollers to me "do you know I love this band?" well alright, merci cuz so do I! ig introduces the band before "1970" and says I'm from san PAY-dro which is the right way you say it - everywhere except for the folks that live there! I don't what we say PEE-dro but we do. it's still very kind of him to say our town, much respect and him saying MINUTEMEN too, much respect again. "mindroom" has ronnie pulling off harmonics while iggy free verses - they do this together really good. I don't play in this one but I'm focused right on ig (hell, I'm pretty much that way 'pert-near the whole gig!), waiting for him to holler "fun house" so I can start that one off. whoa, bump and grind time - stooges style! steve's playing great these days, the whole band is saying that and you'll hear the same from me. so righteous he came and saw me and kira do that dos gig in oakland a couple of weeks ago. he's always been there for me, like ron and scott too... these cats are brothers to me. we whup it up to nth degree and then drop in way day for the "...been seperated" part - I take the bass riff down an octave too (much respect to dave alexander) and then we kick it back up all the way for the coda and freak big time for "l.a. blues" - I get some string yanks in w/my teeth too. back w/some grove w/"skull rings" and "dead rock star" - I think these two newer songs go good w/the older dealios, good stuff. the asheton brothers are laying some heavy HEAVY track w/their train (by the way, it's both ron's birthday at midnight - the 17th - and the day john coltrane left his earthly state). we go to "little doll" and nail it good, including the ending. hell, first gig back and we've been right on w/all the cues which is intense. we finish up w/an intense double take on "...dog" and we're off... but then back - an encore! usually iggy doesn't bring us back but we do just that and finish our playing for the savoie folks w/"not right" - scotty's asked me to cue him for the end and I do just that, popping into his view right before cutting the tune off which he thanks me right after cuz he said he was for sure gonna keep on going... he sure did have that wheel turning!
the whole band is very much into the gig, we talk about it in the trailer. iggy cracks up when he comes over to check w/us cuz this little trailer dressing room is a total gas chamber! there's tables out front in like a chow court so I go out and talk w/him, sitting next to scottie and eating a piece of salmon (the morning shovels at the 'tel were free and not massive in content but good, after that I only had that panini) and then nina doesn't want her steak so I chow that too. iggy asks if there's desert (he didn't eat much of his steak, mainly stabbing it up w/his knife as he was talking to me about some "california punk bands") and gigboss alain has a tray of like fifty little tarts brought over, hilarious! it's a good cherry gig for this leg. ig says there some wine and I get the bottle. it's called a "cote rotie" and man, is it good... I mean we're talking about an idiot from pedro who don't know shit about this wine art but let tell you this was mindblow on my sense. just one little glass but man, do I dig it (tourboss henry says it's a $500 bottle, damn!). we take a minivan back instead of a boat after a good while and it's konk time for me as soon as we're back the 'tel. I sure dug tonight's gig. I love the stooges!
sunday, july 17, 2005 - talavera, spain
pop and shovel at the free trough action downstairs. get to spiel w/gigboss alain, he'll be doing wednesday's gig in six-fours (alain tells me it means "six ovens"). he gives me the new cd by an artist he works w/named rachid taha call "tektoi" and it's pretty trippy - tunisa music mixed w/techno and rock. it's beautiful weather again but we're soon to bail for spain. there's a small airport nearby and what do you know, it's captain nick from last summer and the bombardier "challenger" private jet that flew us around last summer! great to see him again. he's got a new copilot named max and an attendant named ester, good peeps. I sit across from scotty like last time - he won't look out the window cuz of uneasiness he feels being lofted into the air. I do though and take many shots w/the little minolta digicamera. ester brings on the chow and I get this big hunk of steak, circular in shape and about three inches thick. the euro style for cooking this stuff is kind of raw but I don't mind it like the other guys. I probably eat more steak on a stooges tour than I do any other time at home in pedro.
it's not too long of a flight and we land at a small airport just outside of madrid called torrejon. it's got a lot of military planes and ron's way into that, knowing what type the fighter planes are but remembering what these huge flying boat ones are called escapes him. oh well, he's usually right on the money (like correcting me about trane's passing being july 17 and not the 20th - I mixed it up w/the first moon landing... my fucking memory is out the window!) cuz he reads up big time on history, reminding me much of d. boon and his same interests that way (absorbing history, especially military). it's really warm but dry like california. we're driven into the center of madrid to the hotel ritz, a big fancy one built in 1910 (a five star rating is by the front hatch). a look at the menu and eight euros for a glass of orange juice confirms that but we're way inside town so they'll much competition available for econo choices. another neat thing I discover is the el prado art museum is right next door! also, it being sunday means free admission. it closes at eight so I make up my mind to head over there cuz we're do to bail for the gig a half hour after that. the collection at the el prado is amazing, damn. all kinds of goya, el greco, ruebens and other's paintings plus greek and roman sculptures. the real mindblow for me though is seven works by heironymous bosch who they here call "el bosco." took me a little time to figure it out but in a way it was good cuz it made sure I saw 'pert-near everything (I spent three and half hours full-on in absorbing mode at this pad). man, the bosch stuff was so much different than the color plates I've seen of them in books - way different. this museum doesn't put any glass in front of the works and you can get right up on them. they had the triptichs "the garden of unearthly delights," "the hay wain" and "the adoration of the magi" opened up but still allowing you to see the outsides which are visible when they're closed up. there were also the "table top" works of "the seven deadly sins" and what's called "the stone surgeon" (bosch stuff is mysterious, not a lot is known about either him or his works). there was also two of his "temptation of saint anthony" paintings - one of which is almost my favorite of his, the one where the monk has got the trippiest stare ever, looking out to wherever while little gangs of bizarre amalgamated characters converge upon him. the hell panel of the "...delights" piece looks so much more alive than photos I've seen of it - incredible to know it was painted five hundred years ago! the puzzles and riddles in the imagery is amazing and keeps my jaw dropped - I must look like the biggest goof, foaming up on this stuff. I can't help it. I'm digging lots of the other work by the other artists too, even if I were here eight hours I'd feel pressed for time to absorb each piece right. man, just the firing squad scene by goya alone... and of course, the bosch. this experience is profound on me.
on my way out, I see tourboss henry - he got to see some of the el prado too, good man. we get back to the 'tel for the ride to the gig, an hour and half one to talavera, about eighty miles away near albacete in don quixote's la mancha region - that book is celebrating it's four hundredth year. much respect to cervantes. I read "don quixote" one tour w/the porno for pyros guys in 1996, a funny but also heavy story. I bring the padded neck collar w/me for the ride and konk some - the hurt knee wore on me w/all the hoofing at the el prado. the gig site itself is kind of strange, even the driver got lost some. it's between two huge buildings seemingly still under construction, almost like a six or seven wide long alley but w/some sort of thin roof over it. there's two bands opening up and they're sounding pretty echoed up, looks like a character builder for us. the p.a. system is the same one from last summer's santiago gig so I can imagine what it's going to be like. oh well, we'll sailor on - I like playing w/the stooges anywhere! location? I am not one to care much about that! I got a black t-shirt that has the d. boon sticker art that's his face and "punk is whatever we made it to be" around it. trippy that danny from new jersey gave me a version he came w/of the same thing back at the dos nyc gig a couple of weeks ago. I'm gonna wear that at a stooge gig next month. ron and iggy are feeling a little sick cuz of the chow at the gig last night. I chowed what they both ate but am fine, many years of hellrides have undoubtedly given me some cast iron tour-gut. eleven bells and time to go. we're using the same set list as last night.
we go up to the stage and suddenly the gig's on, just like that. it startles how like everything gets underway in mere seconds though I have to admit I dig it like that - no hype or wind/gasbag intro to stupid things up. I even forget to take my eyeglasses off for a little bit but soon have to do that or they'll go flying. of course, we started w/"loose" and things are kind of ok, even w/the horrible stage monitors and roller rink-like sound cuz of the locale acoustics. the spanish kids are way into it and give lots of their emotion - much respect to them. this time on "down on the street" is w/out getting on my knees though I crouch as low as I can... I'm scared I won't be able to get up again if I kneel on the deck. there seems to be a lot construction dust blowing around, almost seems like it's fog machine shit but it ain't. "1969" goes down pretty good but the next one, "I wanna be your dog" has problems. it's clear to me that scotty's flying blind and can't hear the rest of the band cuz right after his intro roll, he's on the other side of the beat and I don't even know if he can tell. ron sure can by the look he's giving me so I stay w/him. w/think scotty'll get it back in after the first chorus but no go so I stand in front of him and word out the second chorus for him w/my mouth, hoping he can lip read it but it's not 'til the guitar solo he gets back on and even then iggy asks him to stop to get back on but he just recovered so we finish up ok. whoa, that was a rough ride there. I ask helperman jos if scotty's got me in the monitor and he says no - it's like how I thought. it does take a lot of focus to keep on cuz the sound is a big messy swirl though ig's working the stage good... we do come back strong w/"tv eye" and nail it good, even staying tight for the chug part which ig has paired down a lot, almost straight going into the "now ram it" but we're all locked together so everyone's aboard. no sleepwalking for stooges members working a gig! I can dig that big time though, love it. this time before "dirt" I make sure I'm in tune and especially that 'd' string cuz of last night's probs here. we drive it home good but the next one, "real cool time" is iggy's turn to get on the other side of the beat - ron later says he though ig was doing a dean martin thing and "singing on the outside" which ain't too crazy, I just know it's hard for us to hear on stage cuz of the ricochets off the wall w/the sounds, making things mumble-rumbled and blurry. when it comes time for ron's solo, iggy's got some trouble w/the security letting kids on stage so he stops us for a bit 'til they lighten up. lots of young dancing spainards join us for the rest of the tune and "no fun" next, emotionally making up for the challenges the venues physics are bringing us. I lost half of my sound too cuz one speaker box had it's speaker cable pushed out from the bass pumping but jos pops it back in, mucho gracias. "1970" is up and in, slamming pretty good especially considering. scotty sure is slamming drummer and ron's solos are like those jet motors we were hearing earlier. pretty intense for me! I holler "blow!" into steve's ear as he makes his entrance on the sax. "mindroom/fun house/l.a. blues" follows and is much on for the most part (I just float w/scotty on the dips w/"fun house" cuz my main goal is to stay tight on him while focusing as much as I can on ig... of course there's ron too - I'm plugged into all three of these cats the whole time, no wonder I don't look into the crowd much!) as is "skull ring" and "dead rock star" though maybe those two had some drags sort of - like I said, scotty's flying blind as far as hearing us. iggy points at me and hollers "little doll" but we've changed the beginning so I gotta wait for scotty to count me in, I'm gonna to him about that... when ig what's something happeing on stage, he wants that now! the tune goes good though. also, the second go of "...dog" is much more together than the first one we did tonight and we finish up strong. we come back for "not right" as an encore and close the gig tight. alright, we pulled it out. this was a tough gig for the stooges but I admire so their determination to keep it together. viva.
scotty, steve and some crew chow while we cool down but we hang out a lot shorter than last night cuz of the big ride we gotta do to get back to madrid. it goes pretty fast 'til about twenty miles to go when everything slows to a crawl for a guardia civil checkpoint and machine gun toting soldiers giving the stinkeye. at least we didn't have to get out and soon we're back at the pad. man, am I sore. so glad I brought a pissbottle on the ride too cuz that most surely had to be used right before that checkpoint. I konk in seconds after bidding my compadres noches and shutting my hatch, not even undressing.
wenesday, july 20, 2005 - six-fours, france
pop and immediately head outdoors after soaking off w/some bath. no free shovel at this pad and you can imagine what the trough is like if orange juice is eight euros so I wander and soon find a pad nearby called v.i.p. that has desyanos for three and half euros - that's orange juice, coff, two eggs, a roll and bacon. damn, it's monday and all the museums are closed - the naval one is right nearby. I find a lighter for ronnie, he's asked me to get one on my rambles cuz you're no longer allowed to bring them on a plan. I hoof around 'til noon, when we're to leave to fly back to france for another gig there. we got two days off first though. the driver gets a little lost and we try to get into the military part of the airfield we came into but roadboss eric remembers the gate we took yesterday. captain nik has got the jet ready - no customs stuff w/this scenario, so easy for us to get around. he flies really good too, smooth everything - take offs, flight, landing. much respect to him. ester serves another steak, though not as thick but just as good (and 'pert-near raw). we land at a little airport near toulon on the south coast of france and get driven to a pad in st. cyr called dolce frigate - funny, the little bus had little aisle seats that scotty unfolded for me so I could sit right next to him. it sure looks a lot like so cal out here - palm trees and spanish tiled roofs. the land does too except for all the terracing. there's a lot of families here and little kids running around. it's one of those pads w/a golf course and not really in town. you can see the mediterranean sea easy though, not too far away. I sure wish I could hoof on over to the shore but this knee is really hurting (my legs are peeling big time from being all burned too) and I gotta rest it. roadboss eric made the trek though, aaaaarrrrgggghh... I wish I was him. I gotta heal though.
later in the night, we have a chow for ron, a delayed birthday one for him. me and scotty have duck, the prices here much lower than the last french pad. it's neat seeing iggy and the asheton brothers interact, it's pretty natural how they get on. it's like I get to be let into a kind of a family. this whole team is like that even. my awkwardness is still there but they make me feel good to be a part of it. I know I'm weird but they sure are generous. I just wanna do my best for them. I felt tired and konked about eleven but that last only about two hours. after that I could sleep for shit so I read the faulkner "light in august" book I got before the flight from l.a. to geneva. thank god I had that book w/me and damn, if it didn't help me much w/my emotions. emotions? well, it wasn't insomnia keeping me up but kind of a freak out. what was trippy was that I read parallels into what I was reading in the faulkner and it actual help me reconcile shit that was egging on major panic attacks on me - I mean I was sweating it out. that's how caught up I can get in my own head. this book is great though, I couldn't recommend it enough to anyone. I 'pert-near read the whole thing before dawn came to the rescue and a free shovel at the chow trough snapped my spaz-out. the night's lack of sleep though wore me so that I had to spend the rest of the sun hours putting in konk then - it's a fucking debt that's gotta get paid somehow. come evening and I had a club sandwich in scotty's room and hung w/him. he's righteous company.
gig day and I do finish the faulkner and get my head/body back regular. I chowed the morning shovel (w/steve mackay, like yesterday - trippy he's getting up the same time as me) first and then finished off the last sixty of it's five hundred pages. it some ways it ended very happy but definitely not in others. it was a thick trip, lots of things happening at different levels but wrote in very plain speak. fucking powerful on me, not regular or ordinary. whoa.
like the last two gigs, no soundcheck and this is tough for scotty cuz he can't adjust the drums he's using 'til we're underway. like the those gigs too, this is an outdoor deal (it's called the "les voix du gaou" festival) and we're going on at 10:15 pm. it's a winding road we take to six-fours which is on this tiny island right off the coat that has a little one lane road. just before bailing, I get the word from tourboss henry that there's a huge crack in the headstock of the little gibson bass, uh-oh. when we get to our tent backstage, it's brought into me and sure enough, it's cracked right along the same fracture it had a few years ago which a boat wright repaired. no one knows how it happened but whatever, I'm philosophical about it - the faulkner book dealt w/resigning yourself to some things to bring yourself peace... "the bitter defeats and the even more bitter victories." the good thing is jos has an epiphone bass he got for in case of a need for back up that's pretty close to mine except for maybe the electronics. it's less than a year old and painted black. same three-quarters scale even. I used it for a practice we had in barcelona the day before the primavera festival at the end of may. I'll use this one for the next three gigs and then bring the broke one home to fix. I got a blue one I used for the last couple of weeks in cali I'll bring for the next gigs at the beginning of august in the meantime. nothing to get the panties all bunched up for. "a poor carpenter blames his tools" anyway, right? ig comes and asks about it, we both know gibson stuff has such a weakness at the headstock cuz the angle they put it on. he asks about my t-shirt, it's got something called an inkan screened on it which is a japanese phonetic writing of my name - something they would carve into a stamp so it could be used for my signature, like on a check. it's very ironic that the two "words" used to make "wha" and "aht" translate to "place of peace" - hardly the case, huh?
let's do this gig! we bust it open w/"loose" and my sound's a little puffy so I back up on the neck pickup some. these basses have these "boat anchor" pickups that have tons way more windings than most and so jos is having a time w/padding the direct box to compensate - I wish I could help but I gotta do the gig! no folded arms or chin strokers in the crowd of french folks, they are fully charged up for the stooges! the bass hangs a little different on me and there's not as much punch like my own but this is gonna work ok. again, I crouch instead of going to my knees during ron's solo in "down on the streets" - too hurt in the knee still. the band's playing really good though, real tight - what a recovery from that "character builder" in spain sunday. there's a bunch of wind and in fact the gig was almost cancelled, they had to remove the canopy over the stage but the sound up here is not as bad as we thought it would be. well, iggy's voice could be louder - I love it when he's loud cuz he's both a great singer and I can follow him tighter, it's very inspiring. I think we gotta get on the intonation of this bass some cuz "1969" is kind of sharp... the bass should be in tune no matter where I'm playing on the neck. I can't get distracted cuz this stooge train in full chug and slammin'! "...dog" is all the way together as is "tv eye" which again has iggy have us do only a little after ron's solo before we RAM IT! but we're w/him all the way. I make sure I'm in tune for "dirt" - ig gives a little spiel about the band being told they were shit during their days in the 60s and so that's why it got wrote. man, does he drop to the deck in the middle part, whoa! intense but calmer than the blast we fire off for "real cool time" - again gigboss alain must've worked things out cuz folks get up on stage easy and quick. that same lady who told me she dug the band during the gig in aix les bains dances in front of me and says "do you remember me?" then a guy runs up and kisses me on the cheek. yet again, another exhibitionist just has to yank down his shorts but this guy gets them all the way down to his ankles so he has to hop around - iggy goes over to ron during his solo (the crowd on stage always mobs around iggy) and lots of stage dancers get on their knees and start bowing to ronnie! he gets way to the side for this part of the show so there's plenty of room. actually, there's more danger from iggy - at the spain gig ron got his nailed by an incoming mic stand ig flung (just wild, not on purpose). "no fun" is next and finally that guy gets his pants up. everyone's having a good time on stage though, I'm getting into it w/the folks, singing the words w/them into the air. it's a good time, a real cool time. ig does the band intros and even says "from san PEE-DRO" - looking at me w/a laugh as it does it, alright. much respect. we really storm "1970" out and then after a little shorter "mindroom," bring on the "fun house" and "l.a.blues" attack. yeah! "l.a. blues is abbreviated too, w/no "I am you part" and scotty 'pert-near catches me off guard, starting off "skull ring" but I get w/the program quick. no sleepwalking in the stooges! I'm into that. iggy talks french w/the crowd lots during the show, like he did spanish w/the talavera gig. I think it's very happening he can do that, righteous. there's been some stage lights though that has been giving him trouble - they're way bright and focused right in his eyes. he keeps asking for the light guy to calm them out but it doesn't seem to sink in 'til finally when ig calls him "asswipe" does the guy get it together. the same guy has a problem getting the lights on the crowd cuz iggy likes for the crowd to get some attention on themselves - he's really not w/the "rock light show" and other cornball shit and I'm w/that too. we're in the windup now - "dead rock star" next, good swell in the end part - powerful. we do "little doll" real good, scotty bringing me in w/just a flam instead of counting it - we've done away w/the two bars of just bass for an intro (much respect though to dave alexander - always). then the double take on "...dog" all the way wild and we're done. back on for an encore after a couple of minutes w/"not right" - au revoir. smokin' gig.
iggy and nina have to bail quick cuz of the tiny bridge but ron and scotty have interviews to do. ron asks for me to join them which is very generous - I don't say much but what I'm most proud of is letting these folks know how generous these gentlemen are, truly. man, do the french love "le stooges," big time. much respect from them so likewise back. right when the spiels are done, we ride back to the 'tel and pass one of those travelling amusement park carnivals. scotty suggests him and ron go in and buy into one, take it on the road. that woudl be a trip, huh? we get back and me and scotty talk some, good times. he wonders out loud about what iggy means in his rap before "not right," about "now it's time for some real music" - I'm thinking scotty sometimes gets like me, thinking a little too much. ig's way into it, that's what I think. I konk a little sore but happy. even w/the hurt little bass. 'pert-near nothing beats a good gig.
friday, july 22, 2005 - luzern, switzerland
popped and shoveled for free one more time at this dolce frigate pad. w/the hurts I came w/for these five gigs in euroland (in ten days), I am getting way more intake on the trough tip versus output in terms of body movement than in my pedro life... if it wasn't for these gigs, my body wouldn't be getting heated up or the pumped up at all. really though, it's the hurts and me wanting them to get healed cuz I know doing shit to keep them all busted up will just prolong the hell. I'm learning though - if I paddle later in the day than crack of dawn, the sunscreen goes on. as for pedaling, I'm wearing those kneepads. to repeat any of this again will find me breaking my own foot off in my own ass. anyway, it's a good final shovel and it's a hege on having to buy later chow anyway (it's free). we're due to fly over to switerland after bailing from here at noon. in the meantime, I chimp up last night's gig.
we take a minivan through some winding road back to the little airport near toulon which we came in from spain, it's called le castllet. these little airports private planes use are night and day in comparison of being easy to get in and out, nothing like it. like putting your fingers in the butter, 'pert-near. captain nik even helps load the bags in the back - him, max and ester are going to see the gig tomorrow night in luzern. he seen us w/the last crew he had last summer when we were flying w/him. he is such the man in getting things together - all of it from the douane/zoll (border) people to the bags (like I said) and of course flying the plane like a champ which I'm not exaggerating a bit - better than any mersh jet I've ever been on. maybe they fly different, I don't know but as a passenger I feel really safe w/nik. he works it like how I'd like someone working bass w/music - like that. it's a sunny day but there's some wind and clouds are rolling in. we got some alps to fly over. only a little over an hour flying though and ester jams to get chow on - yeah, we get chow that's tastes way more happening than anything I've had on a mersh jet. steak again for watt, crimony! scotty gets a fish w/the head on it (I think ron did the other day too) and he's grossed out which kind of trips me out cuz he hunts and fishes all the time. hell, I eat fish w/the head on it all the time - if the head's there, I'll cook it and not chow it but maybe it is weird... different pokes for different folks. t-shirt bob is flying w/us cuz jos is making the hellride w/the band gear in his long blue mercedes sprinter van. bob's accent is way slighter than either rik or jos' - I think he spends time in nyc though so maybe that's why. he's cool people - born in 1971 but says his favorite music is from 1970! alright. I'm glad I'm finally getting to know him, he's been behind the scenes mostly but now he's being where we are and I like that. I hate divisions of labor. you know, you see iggy on stage w/just jeans and boots but off-stage he's kind of like me w/just one outfit though it ain't the stupid blue plaid shirt and levis I wear (shorts this trip though cuz of the hurts), it's this bright pink pants and jacket from last summer but this year he's got a matching hat. he says he's getting an even wilder pink outfit for the final leg, the england one. he gets this stuff made in miami. scotty's b-day is in august but ig gave me his presents early (last flight) and it's a cool ventilated brown shirt (also from miami) and a really nice watch.
speaking of watches, we land at an airfield near zurich and there's bigger jets (swiss air? I think they just got bought by lufthansa) but still captain nik finesses the sitch like that and soon we're motoring towards luzern, about twenty miles away but it takes some time cuz of traffic. switzerland is a land of the alps and that's what you see when you're rolling through this land, little valleys w/houses and farms going up the slopes 'til they get too steep or rocky - it's a pretty land. luzern is a pretty town, whoa. there's valleys w/big lakes ('pert-near little seas) and that's where luzern is, on the mouth of a river that goes into the vierwaldstattersee but there's like at least four other "sees" so there's old side-wheeled paddle steamers working the water. they must be like a hundred years old! they speak german in these parts (the "lucerne" way of spelling this town is french). we're staying at the schweizerhof, a hotel that's been run by the same family since 1861. I'm at a room next to steve mackay on the top floor but only spend enough time here to plug in the battery charger - damn, I'm glad I brought all three batteries I own for the minolta digicamera (dimage xt) cuz it runs them out way quick! this 'tel is right on the water in the middle of town so we're not isolated in the least like at the gold resort pads and hoofing is more doable w/my hurts. I hoof through the narrow streets of the old town, cross the old covered wooden bridge from the 1600s and re-trace the route we road into cuz I saw (scotty actually spotted it) a kebab pad and want to chow there (I traded in some euros for swiss francs - this land is not part of the e.u.). I go by a former bank that's a museum w/work from picasso, miro, klee, braque and others but it's closed now. damn. get back to the 'tel and meet w/ron and scotty downstairs, talking w/them... soudman rik, helperman chris and shirtman bob joining us for a while. some talk about the bombs that went off but fizzled earlier today in london, three subway stops and one on a bus - the same as a couple weeks ago on the seventh (like fifty people killed) but cuz the pops were tiny, no one was hurt bad. thank god. I hope this ain't cornball but man, I wish persons who need to express themselves would turn to artistic ways in which violence isn't foisted. it sounds naive maybe but violence as a solution for me is fucked up and bullshit. we are an idiot species to do this to ourselves, putting the hurt out to try to enforce some sense of will or whatever. let it go, let the fucking violent shit go! I say a little of this to the guys but in my head its a huge thing, a frustrating thing. frustrating cuz I can't really do anything about people and how they're gonna conduct themselves. I don't wanna control their lives, I just want them to think on this violent shit and figure why it's fucked up. to make that leap - all kinds of people do it for all kinds of reasons but can't we wake up in the morning and look ourselves in the mirror and say "for the sake of everyone else on this planet, I am going to keep it together enough that no one takes pain or gets smote cuz of what might be on my mind." maybe it's some kind of weird sense of respect I'm asking for, I am confounded... man's inhumanity to man - that had a strong vein in the faulkner I just read. he use good writing to wrap my head right around it, made me cry. that story was a bomb that went off in my head. I'm gald to say though that the only things to take the blows were stupid and arrogant notions. thank you much, mister faulkner.
I pop in the morning early and head straight for the free trough downstairs. it's gig day for here in luzern. lots of chinese tourists likewise chowing are my only company. I go check out all the swans at the lake. they are a trip. they come on close too - not in a violent way but not for getting petted either. I think it's for chow, later I see an old man chowing them and damn if their necks reach up 'pert-near to his shoulder! there's a church from the 1600s I go in and look around - what an amazing pipe organ they got in this place. original secondman pete would surely be blown away by this. some of the pipes are as big as telephone poles! there's a stained glass window way up high above the altar of a triangle w/an eye in it. outside there's old streets to trip on - europe is great for this kind of thing. this is a pretty town.
we got a soundcheck for the first (and probably only) time this run. the festival is called "blue balls" which is kind of funny cuz the locals here aren't aware of what "blue balls" means to us in the u.s. (me and ron disagree over this - I learned it was from too much boning while he says from unrelieved sexual arousal... maybe us people in pedro are weird). it's an indoor gig but the main hall here at kkl luzern (cultur and convention hall) is pretty big. everywhere you look around town is posters w/iggy on them for this event including kiosks and banners from power lines. much respect for these euro towns showing such respect for us. I mean the stooges have always meant everything to me but it is a quite a trip to see how they dig them over here. there's noise restrictions so for soundcheck, I play really low. besides, one of the 10" speakers from one of mani's bass cabinets is being replaced cuz it took a blow from iggy's boot last gig. I think everyone's kind of bumming on me playing low but let knobman rik turn it up out there and be in control instead of watt trying to mix it from the stage. I ask for the bass to be put in the monitors to help people out. I'm not trying to be lame, I just don't want the gig getting yanked cuz the bass was too loud. sure, it'd be great to hear myself but I'm thinking of the greater good and I'll do w/out if I have to. clouds have just moved in quick and it's starting to rain (europe's like that, even in summer) so the guys go back to the 'tel via a minivan but I stay so I can shovel some free dinner and the 'tel is way close enough to hoof so I'll do that when the rain calms for a moment. the trough is indeed a real good one and I'm the first in line, getting a little fish, chicken and yet again - steak! plus some salad and veggies, it's really good even though it's "man alone" (scotty's phrase) once again. I chow lots alone on tour. some of van morrison's crew is having dinner across the room, he's gonna play on another stage just before us. man, I'd like to see his gig - what a voice on that cat. I hoof back to the 'tel.
I chimp diary 'til gig time and the join the guys for the ride over. I think everyone's a little freaked that I played so quiet at soundcheck but I tell iggy to just let me know if he needs more on the stage so he can feel right - I know he likes to "feel" the music and not just hear it. there's a one-man-band act on before us and he's pretty good though I don't catch his name, damn. nervous time as we pace but finally eleven rolls by and it's our time. we ride the tiny elevator down together - some lady tries talking w/iggy on our way there but I wish they could know that he focuses much on getting it together for the gig so it's not rudeness in his reactions, it's just he's got a lot on his mind. it's way better to wait after the show and he's given the go. like he says, "I'm getting ready to work" and that is very much not just talk. he works it, people! ronnie jams out the opening chord to "loose" and we're on... whoa. the pad is filled so I hiked up my volume just before doing that gliss to take me in - I'm figuring all these folks should soak the bass up enough not to let it bogart. I see shirtman bob on the side - alright, he's helping out on stage too. everyone on the stooge team puts in what they got, I can dig that. I'm wearing this t-shirt of my cat (the man - he passed away around five years ago but he was a dear friend to me the longest time) that nanny drew where he's playing w/a bass string. iggy asked me about while we were getting ready upstairs. I look down on him for luck. the band is already cooking, whoa. I wish I could get down on my knees for "down on the street" but they're still too sore. I try as much as I can though. "1969" next - I sure can tell scotty's got me in his monitors cuz this rhythm section is winding up tight, damn! for the guitar solo in "I wanna be your dog" I see iggy totally launch himself in to the folks, like a huge javelin toss. holy cow! the swiss cats are way into the gig and don't let him even come close to falling, they hold him up good. they're really responsive, not the "arm-folder" stereotype you hear some folks say about the swiss - they are way into it. "tv eye" goes wild and ig tonight makes the chug part longer to give a rap on being a tv puppet - not on tv but sitting there in front of it. I tune up for "dirt" to make sure but the tuner (a korg dt-1) is flaking out big time, going on and off. oh well. I feel the vibrations through the neck to help me get it on (a trick I learned in the minutemen days) and luckily there's no sour-ass for ig to try and sing over. I wanna make it right for him. "real cool time" and iggy implores the folks to get up on stage w/us. I think that alex cat from moscow is here at this gig too - whoa, he gets around! there's much wildness but still people have respect and let us play, right on through "no fun" and then they bail back into the crowd when the tunes done. much respect to them. again, ig makes sure I realize he's saying PEE-DRO for my town when he introduces me - we both crack up. I love it when he introduces himself, "I'm fucking iggy and I'm gonna blow your fucking mind!" and we fly right into "1970" - holy cow! it sweaty in here, my levis are soaked 'pert-near to the knee. a little rest for me while ig and ron riff on "mindroom" and then it's a full-out jump funk freak for "fun house" - steve mackay w/honks and toots galore w/his sax. man, is he blowing hard tonight. real good. the freakout for "l.a. blues" has some space too - everything's breathing a little more tonight. the two newer ones, "skull ring" and "dead rock star" have scotty keeping up the tempo fine, I think ronnie saying that leadfoot stuff about the spanish gig has made a little impression on him. he's been slammin' home a thorough groove though all night. iggy introduces steve mackay as "the white nigger" on sax. we start "little doll" w/out a count like me and him worked out - we want to get in quick once ig points at me and hollers the title. the original starts w/the bass line and that's why he does that but scotty brings me in this new way and we're solid from the git-go then. we end up the set w/a divebomb version of the "double dog" (ig again into the crowd!) and then we go off stage where iggy says, "let's count to forty and then we're back on w/'not right'" and that's exactly what happens. show over then, right? I head for the elevator w/ron right behind me but the door closes on him... damn it - I push the buttons for down as soon as it gets up to the dressing room floor. good thing too cuz ig's called for another tune! we do "little electric chair" and man, has it been a while since we've played this one - maybe practice at barcelona? I think I played the new part a little wrong - I know I got mixed up where I first come in and so when we finish. we get through it ok though and I ask ig for help w/it once we're in the dressing room. I think I got it for next time. he tells steve that "the white nigger" thing came from an essay norman mailer wrote about beatniks exploring black music.
the crew from the jet: captain nik, max and ester come back to say hi - they came from zurich to see the gig. that was nice of them. there's a big tray of chow and steve's digging in - I have a little of the fish, good stuff. the cheese is made up into flowers - some way of carving it that way w/a special tool but man, I have enough cheese on these euro trips - too good! we have a good time talking w/the flight crew, ester wants to know how I tour in my own mode cuz she sees the boat on the sticker (captain nik tells he about the diaries I chimp) so I explain to her the slight (!) differences between touring as watt and as a stooge. you know, like a "hand to man" thing. ig says "some wine for the bass player" and here's a bottle of italian barolo wine and man, it's good - really dry. I don't know much about wine but iggy sure had educated me some on good ones! much respect and thanks to you, iggy sir. after a bit, everyone makes there way down to the vehicles but I go out the other side cuz I want to hoof it back.
going over the bridge, some young people ask me if I want some "stomach licks - they're free!" but I tell them no thanks and look at the swans konked on the lake - they got they're heads under their wings, trippy. I talk w/scotty some when I get back, not too long cuz he wants to pack but enough to absorb some of the wisdom he's always generous to flow. it's good to temper the trembling going through me cuz of the intense gig-train I was just chuggin' on. damn. back to my room, I hear sounds from steve mackay's chamber next door and give the special knock to let him know it's me. he's got al jazeer on the television and from the pictures they're showing, it looks like more bombings but this time in egypt. hard to tell for us cuz we don't know arabic but we can see the maps and the hurts on peoples. damn, more sadness. steve calls home to tell his patty he's ok and he's glad his companero watt is w/him. much respect to you, saxman steve. I say a silent prayer for peace and go over to where my own deck is and konk.
saturday, july 23, 2005 - carhaix, france
pop at seven and head straight down for the free shovel after hosing off w/a quick soak. I'm the only one here except for the folks serving. the big fruit and yogurt thing plus some eggs and tiny sausages, damn if I ain't gonna have to pay much w/pedaling and paddling to fight off the impending bell but in a way it ain't that bad cuz I dig pedaling and paddling much. I should be able to get to that monday morning when I return to my pedro town cuz my hurt knee and sunburns are well on the mend. first thing though is to get some knee pads (the kind w/the plastic guards) cuz I am not gonna put my poor patellas through this again... I look like a dork anyway so who cares if pedro peeps see a knee pad wearing dork pedaling at the crack of dawn in the their town?
after shoveling, I head outside - my last morning in luzern. pretty incredible the whole sweitzerhof lobby and stairs out front are spotless cuz there was quite a shitload of folks partying it up big time when we came back from the gig. it must've been some kind of extension of the festival cuz there were signs for it everywhere. I go over to the lake out front to visit w/the swans once again. the same old guy I saw feeding them yesterday is here again and the chow right out of his hand - he must do this regularly cuz it's like they know him. their necks are so long they come up to his shoulder height easily. some of them waddle right up to me and seem kind of bummed I don't chow them too but I got nothing unfortunately. they're not aggressive, just kind of disappointed. I get some good shots though. I've been chased around by canadian geese before - these cats seem used to people. it's funny to see them give themselves top-of-the-head rubs on their back w/their amazingly flexible necks. they sure like to primp and preen too. beautiful creatures, truly. there's ducks and little sparrows too and they don't mind me sitting near them, righteous. w/the sun out all bright like it is, I sure am enjoying this last swiss morning for me.
10:30 am and we bail for the airfield (flughafen) we came in at near zurich. we pass a car fully engulfed in flames on the side of the road, whoa. I always look for burn marks on the road left by scenes like this when I'm driving during my own tours to keep me humble, keep me aware. captain nik, max and ester are waiting for us w/the challenger jet and we make the flight to brest, on the west coast of france - in the brittany part. there's chow on the plane - again, steak for me but at least it's a small one. all the beef watt's been chowing on this trip, huh?! it's an hour and half flight and captain nik floats us along most calm like - this cat is a very happening pilot, he truly makes a art of it. we never get jerked, never get bumped up - a real feather ride. too bad we have to say bye... I sure hope we get to fly w/him again (well, there's one more after the gig tonight).
we land in brest but the gig is in carhaix which is a tiny town an hour or so away by car to the east. it's raining, gray skies. the stooge guys are going to konk at a 'tel here but I decide to ride w/the crew guys to the gig and konk there. the drives to the show kind of get on me, rumbling up my nerves so if there's a way to get there earlier, I'll take it. I konk on the ride and miss what's flying by the windows. probably farmland from the looks of where the gig is - a big outdoor dealio called the "vieilles charrues" festival and sure enough, alain from the other two french gigs this trip is involved. good to see him again. the dressing rooms are portable jobs in a little court and lucky watt finds a couch in ours big enough to lay out and even equipped w/pillows so I konk for like four hours easy. when I pop, there's dinner on in a chow tent so I get some beef one more time! I put a big salad w/that though to step on the massive cow intake some. you know back in pedro I won't be able to even look at any steak let alone but it down the hatch. I haven't seen many bands this whole trip. there's a bunch on today and most of french but the rain coming down w/mud everywhere keeps me backstage. I can't afford a slip and a possible knee-pop in my condition. well, I can NEVER really afford that but me being a little more hobbled makes me even more vulnerable. I keep hearing the stage is really getting drenched, even w/a canopy cuz the wind's blowing it on stage. oh boy, guess I'll be hugging my amp - a wet stage is a definite knee-pop sitch. the stooge guys arrive and I'm glad to see them, you can't know how much. I got a t-shirt on my friend susan made me from my "man in the van w/a bass in his hand" sticker though she had it all reversed out. last night I was telling the little jet crew lady ester after our gig about how my kind of touring is different from stooge kind but w/out this band in the old days, I really doubt there would've been any kind of punk scene for me to learn this "man in the van" way - me and all the other punk rockers (old and new ones) owe these cats so much... to even get to play w/them is such a total mindblow for me, I can't find words good enough to explain it right. if the two ways of getting to the gig are different, so be it - that's life and I don't find any problem w/it. there's different ways to work a gig and I'm trying to learn as much as I can from all of it. for sure I wanna do my best for these cats cuz I love and respect them much. every way I find myself trying to learn from music is a good scene, a great opportunity to keep myself in a challenging place where I get taught by that sitch and not get soft in nerve or caught up in some tiara-wearing mode. touring different is in some ways like how pissing and shitting are different - in the end you're still purging one way or another.
the stooge guys arrive. it turns out none of them got much konk, that's lame. there was no prob for me here but maybe I was just lucky. now comes the pacing, ron lead's the charge. he's pretty intense on this, making lap after lap around the dressing room. his buddy bernard and a friend (very cool people) are out front but ron's too nervous for much contact. he really puffs cigarettes at this time too. scotty's puffing all the time, hence the "puffenstein" nickname but he don't pace much, he's got a knee pad he can prac his drum sticks on and does that. saxman steve is quite a chimney too and of course watt is pitching in also - it's pretty much a gas chamber where we're waiting it out and when ig comes on over to visit it's pretty much a total gag-out for him and he makes his appearances brief enough so he can keep some help. what's a trip is scotty told iggy he's quiting smoking this upcoming winter. whoa. these guys all smoke these light cigarrettes but I notice you sure yank a lot more down - maybe there's more holes in the filters or something. probably evens out and about the same amount of tar gets painted on your lungs whatever. it is a weird gig.
what seems like forever finally passes and it's time for the real gig. the rain's starting to come down as we climb up the stage - iggy always likes us coming in from stage right so it seems to me that me going out first (not until ig gives the word, "let's go!" first though) makes sense so I don't have to run past anyone. man, is ig in a state - most the time before hand he's in his room by himself and getting things focused in his head, in his body and he's detonator ready when it's downbeat time. damn! he doesn't enter the stage right off the bat w/us though, I run over and plug in as quick as I can cuz scotty's counting ron in for "loose" and then ig leaps out front w/the first "woo-ooh!" to get us under way. it's an intense explosion, especially having that "fun house" album seared into your mind, note for note. to actually being a part of it going on is almost too much weight for my mind to take but I hold on, using ig as a focal point to keep from losing it all and not keep it together. later I'll find out it's like fiftytwo thousand people out there but man, is it sure looking enough like a sea of folks to me. there's banners and flags hoisted - an inflatible sex doll even, pretty trippy shit and they are all so much into it. whoa, I just gotta hang on and be part of this steel driving crew, get it done. inside there's a part of me totally cracking up at myself - like, "who the fuck are you watt to play such stooge tunes and have your mind blown so?" don't want my chuck taylors to take a slide on the deck so I keep things w/moving a lot though my body's vibrating like it was plugged in. shit, IT IS plugged in, plugged into this band! "down on the street" and down on my knees is to hard a call for me - I can see the blood coming through my levis. damn, you heal slow when you're not as young. except for iggy - he had a cut in lisbon that we all swear healed up in just hours. ron told me a story how he once duct taped a big crack in ig's head up once in the old days. crimony. "a song about very magic number" is how iggy introduces "1969" and hey, this backup epiphone black-painted bass-of-a-jos is doing ok, easy to play even if the sound's a little spongier than my boom tube. it's so happening though that he had this in reserve for such an emergency. good thinking of jos. I remember in the earlier gigs of stoogedom in these w/watt days, they had a fender jazz bass for such an occasion... never had to use it though. "I wanna be your dog" is resonance upon resonance as far as ig presence and crowd wail and ron/scott slam-bo on a energy level. I mean, you hear resonance and of course you're going to think sound and of course, the band's making quite a sound but there's another aspect that's much impressed upon me also - this energy electricity-sounding-like-fabric-ripping thing that's puts a big awareness on me... prying my pie-eyed eyeholes even wider open to push this scene inward to pull my mind more outward. thank god the low is somewhat sort of an anchor or I'm sure I'd be kiteboy w/neither string or tail - spun. "tv eye" is my chance to shake back at this firestorm, get ecstatic w/oblivion spin/shake/rattle whup-myself-up-good... like thurston said, "you weird and crush the cranking raunch." amen, brother. some apparent settle-down but actually it's just the same powderkeg plow-on manifested more simmer-like, no powderpuff. no sleepwalk either, you gotta be in the moment w/these cats and I'm way into that - it's always been my ideal to be in "real time" and not just connecting dots. I was lucky enough to play w/d. boon and that's the way he did it. the rain's really blowing on us now - coming in sideways but somehow iggy still gets kids to get up on stage w/us for "real cool time" and "no fun" - hey, there's that cat from moscow, alexander - damn, he's the first one up and what's this, like his third show in a week now? wow! of course, he's singing along w/iggy but ig's changing the words around - I told you that you gotta be on your toes w/this band - even if you're not playing w/the band! no pants come down this gig from a stage dancer this time, I do get some hugs, handshakes and a kiss on the cheek from some guys when we finish. ig again makes sure I hear him say san pedro the way we say it in our town, PEEDRO (he's still into saying the "san" part, something we mostly do away w/but that's ok) in the band introductions before a slam-slam-kablam verision of "1970" before it warps up into ronnie modulating for "mindroom" as iggy illuminates it w/lyric. I'm totally on the awares for ig to give the "fun house" cue to kick that one off. whoa, the rain's lifted and things are calmer weather-wise though it ain't on stage, culminating into a "l.a. blues" freakout, rolling up into a "skullring" full-on press. my mind keeps thinking "carpet stomp" or the widest slicks ever you seen on the fieriest rail ever. there's some seemingly calmness again w/"dead rock star" (great rap for what's rotten in denrock from the ig right before) but like dirt, it's a covert thump building up into a gusher coda. that done, iggy reads the stich and yanks us into "double dog" mode and the gig's coda is lofted. holy cow! words fail me. "not right" after we're called back - it's the "one more" and then we're finished. that was way wild, much respect to the french britanny folks.
ig brings over a bottle of wine after calming down - a bordeaux called "la becasse" and wow is it good. I've heard of "wine and cheese" - of course but haven't really tried them together 'til now. there's a bunch of little roquefort pieces and steve hips me to actually trying it. shit, I like it and it just because I played my fucking brains out... but maybe it is? don't know, just know I'm soaked up sweaty big time, even w/it not being all that warm but that's how a gig that grabs me gets me.
we make the big ride back to whence we came this morning and captain nik gives us the big loft up to that little airfiled near paris and charlse de gaulle airport that private jets use. one last bye for such a righteous flight crew, much respect! we're put up at mariott express 'tel not too far away - I'll be riding to de gaulle alone cuz everyone else is leaving so much earlier. what can I say about the flight back? it was long and I was konked for most of it. I don't want it sound like travelling in a metal tube and breathing farts for hours and hours is anything like too much of a burden as far as getting to play w/the stooges is concerned. a toll to be paid, that's it. I made do. these noise-cancelling headphones help big time. so do good books. so does knowing there's another couple of gigs coming in like ten days. I stop at ny's jfk airport first to clear customs and jump on another plane run by a new delta thing called song. whoa, you gotta pay for the chow here- I'll do w/out. oh - before I left, my friend kath came by the gate for just a second (she works at the bronx zoo) and gave me a copy of today's ny times' op ed section. blocked by glass, a workerman passed the paper on to me. this lady named sarah vowell said nice things about the "we jam econo" minutemen documentary, contrasting in a trippy way our minutemen band and people using that same name (not really our name cuz we got it from folks before us) to act weird w/the border w/mexico. I chimp diary the last air leg back to cali. my sister melinda picks me up and brings me to my pedro town. whew, another successful stooge mission complete... righteous!
iggy pop + the stooges
iggy pop + the stooges
loop back to mike watt's hoot page